Bone cavities / THU 6-11-20 / Bag in commercialese / Where to find American in Moscow / 1960s TV character who often said Surprise surprise surprise / Old TV knob abbr.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium (???) (I refused to read the "Notes," so I had to find and decode the 2-letter squares without any visual aid) (any difficulty this one had involved those squares and their crosses) (although it probably helped to be old and/or a longggggtime solver 'cause hoo boy is this one rooted in the past)

THEME: "MY WAY" (41A: Hit for 20-/22-Across (1969 or 1977)) — 20-/22-Across = both FRANK / SINATRA *and* ELVIS / PRESLEY (giants of POPULAR / MUSIC); you gotta write both their names in (resulting in two letters per square) to get the correct result in the Downs

Gotta imagine FRANK SINATRA over ELVIS PRESLEY for Downs to work:


Word of the Day: Gertrude EDERLE (2D: First woman to receive her own New York City ticker-tape parade (1926)) —
Gertrude Caroline Ederle (/ˈɛdərli, ˈd-/ ED-ər-lee, AYD-; October 23, 1906 – November 30, 2003) was an American competition swimmer, Olympic champion, and former world record-holder in five events. On August 6, 1926, she became the first woman to swim across the English Channel. Among other nicknames, the press sometimes called her "Queen of the Waves." (wikipedia)
• • •

There's probably potential in this whole "they have the same number of letters in their first and last names" thing, but this execution was a Huge miss. The doubled-up letter thing ... OK, fine. It wasn't particularly tough, it was slightly annoying to fill in on computer, but it works OK. The problem is ... there's really nothing to do with this fact. The rest of the grid is so limp. "MY WAY" is just five letter and then ... really, POPULAR / MUSIC, *that's* what you're gonna use to anchor the entire bottom half of the grid, thematically. POPULAR / MUSIC was astoundingly, painfully anti-climactic. All this action up top, and then pffffffffft down below. Also, oof, the cluing. It's just a bunch of numbers and dashes and cross-reference commands. With this, Giant in that, See this, Hit for them, With this, see that. There's zero content in those clues. No color, no zazz, no nothing. I just can't get over how bad POPULAR / MUSIC is as your big finale. What's more, the fill on this one is particularly unpalatable. It's worst at the ANTRA SAK connection (woof and woof) but HOR FEH EKE DER RNC OOH BARI x/w OREM ESTE ASTA EDERLE —none of this is doing you any favors.

So, let's see, sports stars of the '20s and movie dogs of the '30s and singers of the '50s and TV stars of the '60s ... wow, this one really was aggressively nostalgic. The entire 21st century can f*** right off, I guess. I mean, when your idea of a current event is Nick NOLTE's being named Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine, that tells you a lot about the narrow segment of the population for whom this puzzle is exclusively intended. Diversify your content or don't bother to make puzzles, thank you.

My favorite answer today is ROCK STAR (4D: Moon or Mercury). The clue involves great misdirection, and with ROC- in place, I figured something ROCKET-y must be happening. I mean, two heavenly bodies in the clue, gotta be a rocket involved somehow, right? Right?! Wrong. Keith Moon (The Who). Freddie Mercury (Queen). Nice. The rest of this puzzle, less nice. Again, the main problem is how badly a potentially interesting theme idea was fumbled in the execution.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. you can find an American in Moscow in IDAHO because there's a Moscow, IDAHO (home of the University of Idaho)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:10 AM  

Easy. Trying to get the puzzle to work in the Standalone App and filling in the double letter squares were the only time sucks.

I have no memory of ELVIS covering MY WAY.

Apparently the theme put some pressure on the grid because this did not seem smooth.

...and what @rRex said about the 21st century. Only two of the people who were puzzle answers or were mentioned in the clues are still alive (if I counted right).

Joaquin 12:13 AM  

Rex says to this puzzle constructor, "Diversify your content or don't bother to make puzzles, thank you."

But before registering this complaint he points out, "... sports stars of the '20s and movie dogs of the '30s and singers of the '50s and TV stars of the '60s ..."

Seems pretty diverse to me (though I see no need for a crossword puzzle to be diverse).

Frantic Sloth 12:17 AM  

Oh, do I despise the lookie-loo clues! That is not what I want for a "theme" - much less on a Thursday.
UGH. And look at all the yelling I'm already doing less than 1/3 of the way through!
More later...

Well, turns out that was the least of my troubles. So, there is a rebus in there, but I had no idea how to figure it out until I downloaded the puzzle to AcrossLite and got the note! Kind of an important detail to be left out in the cold. Geez.

Honestly, would it be so freakin' impossible for them to include these notes on the online puzzle???
Yeah, I mighta maybe possibly coulda kinda figured it out e.v.e.n.t.u.a.l.l.y...but I gotta get 'er done in time to share my pithy brilliance with all y'all and we're losin' daylight here!
When I finally got the trick, it was an "ohhhh!" moment. In my world those are in the "aha" family, but are from the genus slappus caput (or forehead battery) as opposed to the "gotcha!" attitude that fuels the "aha!"

Fill? What fill?? Oh, yeah - that stuff that was practically no help at all.
I can't even.

It was fun. 😄


Surplus italics for sale. Cheap.

Randy Miller 12:18 AM  

FEH is ridiculous crossword/Scrabble-ese (went with FIE first, then FOH, which both seem more common), especially crossing a poor clue for EDERLE and an alternate spelling of MOJAVE. Fix up that corner and you'd have a decent, albeit boring, puzzle.

wrivz 1:10 AM  

I'm tempering my (young millennial) reaction to this understanding that it's got to be similar to that of an older solver reading something like RAGEQUIT from yesterday, but the datedness of some of these answers led to several clear Naticks that should have been caught in editing. BARI/OREM is a deeply unfair cross, I've never heard of GOMERPYLE or HOR, and I've never heard of a SAK in any sense so it ended up being a Natick across KASEM (wasn't sure how it was spelled and SAC made more sense than SAK, so CASEM went into the grid). All in all a terrible puzzle that was unfairly difficult to me, and I imagine anyone else under the age of 50.

Mr. Alarm 1:41 AM  

Very retro answers, as you correctly pointed out. I agree with your summation, except I don’t think of Keith Moon as a Rock Star.

Steve 1:43 AM  

Does anyone know if there is a keyboard shortcut in Across Lite to enter multiple letters per square?

okanaganer 1:46 AM  

I feel like we've seen this Moon/Mercury misdirect before. I saw ROCK---- and thought: ROCK ORBS? Cuz those 2 planetoidal orbs are... rocky?

(In fact, Mercury-Venus-Earth-Mars are referred to as the terrestrial planets since they're, well, rocky. Wikipedia says: "A terrestrial planet...or rocky planet is a planet that is composed primarily of silicate rocks or metals". Our moon is almost as large as Mercury, and larger than Pluto, so it's practically planet worthy. One could even argue we are a double planet...neato.) Okay, thin excuse for astronomy talk exhausted. Bye!

PS: Across Lite rejected all my rebusy entries completely, eg F/E, R/L...: why?

Ando 1:55 AM  

I kept doubting myself on Moon/Mercury as ROCKSTARs. Keith Moon was a legend but drummers are seldom considered 'rock stars' unless they sing, especially when offered as a pair with Freddie Mercury. I figured it was those two but had to be a different answer. Sadly, no.

Fartsniffer 2:03 AM  

I didn't even know they posted notes visible in the app, so I was doomed from the outset. I knew there was something going on, but I couldn't find a clue with a hint in itIit. knew they sometimes have themes, so I checked for one of those, but not for notes. I liked the idea though.

chefwen 2:40 AM  

I usually avoid the “note” but in this case I read it and printed it out in the newspaper format as suggested, but that cut off all the numbers on the left side, printed it out in Across Lite and just filled in the slashes that showed up on the newspaper version. Problem solved and we had a great time with this one.

Had to change vows to I DOS at 40A, no biggie. Struggled a bit, but the AHA moment figuring out 20 and 22A was sheer joy.

Thank you, Mr. Collins, a very satisfying Thursday puzzle.

Teresa 3:04 AM  

For once I agree with Rex. This one's a total dog. I quit 1/4 of the way through out of a lack of giving a damn. And the alleged older skewing was no help. I'm happily anticipating my 66th birthday, worked in radio, including with *popular music* of that era, AND I read the notes, and I still couldn't make inroads. It wasn't hard so much as unyielding and pointless. I want my Thursday back.

Ann Howell 3:52 AM  

Doing it online meant that I just had to visualize "Elvis Presley", but that was a strangely not-to-difficult task. I got a kick out of ROCK STARS and LOSES STEAM for "Flag", but the rest was a bit FEH (!). The "big reveal" was especially disappointing. Come on, Friday!

manitou 5:12 AM  

My way of referring to each of these singers will now be by the name Ferlavniks Spirneastlreay.

nevercared 5:45 AM  

Just a monstrous turd of a puzzle clearly made by/for geriatrics.
The constructor should read some current events/pop culture materials or retire from puzzle making.

Anonymous 5:49 AM  

@Mr. Alarm, Keith Moon died 42 years ago. Think of him as a rock star who died almost half a century ago.

Conrad 5:54 AM  

If @Rex were Crossword Editor we'd get about one puzzle every two weeks.

QuasiMojo 6:13 AM  

I got all the correct answers but had zero interest trying to squeeze them into the app using the rebus button. I prefer to give up my streak than bother with it.

Shirley Bassey recorded a dynamite MY WAY.

For a moment I thought Moon and Mercury were types of TAR.

I had the "Pop Pop Musik" video in my head too while solving.

What's next, a James Dean puzzle?

Anonymous 6:25 AM  

Too bad Sid Vicious doesn't have the same number of letters too.

Lewis 6:34 AM  

Well, maybe the key to enjoying this puzzle was to not see the note -- and I did not. And also solving on computer so there were no slash marks in squares. I usually see the notes, but I just missed it this time. And thank heavens. Figuring this out without the note and slash marks made my solve tough and therefore glorious. Here's my missing-the-note post-solve reaction:

"Ahh, there's my Thursday, where you go from "Keep filling in letters, things will become clear," to "I kinda see what's going on, but not entirely," to "Yes! Yes! There it is!," and "Man, that was sweet!," and for a brief moment you feel like you're ruling the world, then you laugh that off and end up filled with gratitude as well as awe over the brilliant concept. Now *that's* Thursday. Bravo, PAC man!"

GILL I. 6:40 AM  

@manitou 5:12. Yay....first laugh of the morning....
OK, so first..... I didn't get any note from my teacher. Just solved this like any other bunch of slashes on a Thursday. Dear, sweet, EDER/LE and yummy SATA/YSAUCE made my blinking eyes open wide to this cute little, and very easy, romp. I thought this might be fun for those folks trying fiendish Thursdays. It was probably my fastest in quite some time. I only wish SATAY had some peanuts.
Nothing really made me stop, get up, and do some laundry. It just all fell into place.The only thing I didn't particularly like was 44A. NAMES? Well, of course William and Mary are such, but so is Billy Bob Thornton.
Speaking of...Nick NOLTE has to get rid of that ridiculous mullet. Some people age well...others...yikes! I mean it's not like he can't afford a little nip and tuck (although I don't believe in them unless you're Cher and you have to look like you're 35 although you really are old as the hills) but that hair? I liked him in Lorenzo's Oil.
So you LOSE STEAM with flag? I guess flag is one of those words that has lots of meanings. I like the "flap about loosely" one.
I think Peter could've clued STU with Schlakman and HINES with Gregory. Hah....
I liked seeing DREAM with MLK Jr. Just today, my daughter and I were talking about him. I'm thinking of George Floyd's daughter and hoping she becomes the symbol of hope and inspiration. One can DREAM?

olfuddud 6:55 AM  

Generally, I really enjoy the puzzle, only to read this blog and find out it sucked. Add the monstrous age bias of some the respondents, and just about all the fun has been sapped. My next move is obvious.

ncmathsadist 6:57 AM  

There was a chokingly large amount of really dusty crosswordese in this one. Perhaps the worst was ANTRA.

Dave 6:59 AM  

The song is "highly overrated"

Surprised the ubiquitous Anka isn't in the puzzle, since he stole the melody and wrote the lyrics

TJS 7:07 AM  

Every time I had to fill in a rebus square, I started to look for the rebus key on my laptop. EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Halfway thru this I hated it so much that I started thinking all this isolation (we are still on shut-down in the D.R.) is starting to get to me because I have hated almost every puzzle for the last few weeks, with some rare exceptions. But atleast today I get to agree with Rex.

Sydney 7:10 AM  

On the IPad I had no notes and had to figure out what was going on all by my baby lonesome. When I finally solved it I had the same reaction as Lewis... Wow! That was fun!

kitshef 7:18 AM  

I absolutely loved the theme, and the overall difficulty of the puzzle made it hard to get to the point where I could get it. Penny dropped at MY WAY.

And we got some interesting echoes: TATTERS and TATER, CHESS and CHESTS.

And hooray for MILNE again.

On the downside, SAK crossing KASEM is clearly unfair. OREM crossing BARI is ever so much more so.

Anonymous 7:23 AM  

@Steve, tapping the tools icon at the bottom of your screen, and then tapping “rebus” will show you the option of having rebus keys display automatically. Oddly enough, in this puzzle, entering two letters in one square showed as incorrect.

Lance 7:31 AM  

For someone who champions so hard for gender diversity, Rex seems perfectly content to absolutely slam down some ageism.

ChuckD 7:31 AM  

I’m just never on this guy’s wavelength - his puzzles just don’t do it for me. If you’re going to have a theme - at least support it somewhere - there’s nothing here. The fill felt like loads of antiquated names and ARCANA. The dual entry on the phone is a nuisance also - not a fun time. Highlight was ROCKSTAR - and yes Keith Moon was one of the great ones - in fact helped create the genre.

Z 7:46 AM  

@anon 6:25 - Exactly what I thought.

What Rex said minus all the bitching about the online solve. The paper puts a slash in each square, so it makes much more sense visually as you solve. And, of course, the only online app able to replicate the paper isn’t the NYTX app, it’s PuzzAzz.

Let’s see, New Yorker, BEQ, Chris Adams, AVCX, Fireball, USA Today, LATX. I’m pretty sure I could take the latest puzzle from each of these and not get as many dead pop culture clues as we got here. Nick NOLTE. OPRAH Winfrey. Everyone else in this puzzle is as dead as Yorick. I am surprised Geritol wasn’t in the puzzle somewhere.

A little something from this decade to cleanse the palate.

amyyanni 7:49 AM  

Fan of Frank since birth (parents had a lot of records) but not so much of the puzzle. Feh.

Anonymous 7:50 AM  

The tenor of these responses is truly baffling to me. (The ones about the content of the puzzle, not the ones about the details of its construction, fill, execution, etc.)

I'm a middle-aged man who never minds puzzles that broaden my horizons, in terms of content, as long as there is enough help there in terms of crosses to solve them. When I come across references to ragequitting and twerking and dabbing and video games in crossword puzzles, I just smile and think "Cool, this is something that kicks me outside my normal frames of reference!" It's fine. Nobody's actually making me play a video game or, God forbid, twerk; it's just a puzzle with a different flavor, and I might even learn something about a cultural touchpoint or two.

This is why I fail to understand why so many people get so freaked out, to the point, seemingly, of being actually offended, when a puzzle comes along whose focus is somewhere else. OK, so you had to write in some words that weren't from the last five minutes of pop culture. But that was the actual theme of the puzzle. Can't you just do that once in a while, and maybe even enjoy it? Isn't it OK to have some puzzles that are vibrantly current, and others that are (as Rex described it) "nostalgic"? Can't we do both sometimes?

It seems to me that today's puzzle was just trying to celebrate a certain era, and two cultural icons who, in fairness, are and will be way more culturally and historically significant, in the long run, than most of the pop-culture ephemera that populates crossword puzzles typically.

There's a reason why we still remember Sinatra and Elvis after 65 years, and Freddie Mercury and Keith Moon after 45, not to mention Ellington and Holiday and Hendrix and other popular music icons who have stood the test of time...and will still remember them in another half century, when references to Gangnam Style and Angry Birds and LOLCats elicit only baffled head-scratching.

I used to enjoy visiting this site so much, but it has become so relentlessly negative and intolerant that I come here less and less. Centering a crossword puzzle (again, just a freaking crossword puzzle, for goodness' sake!) around Elvis and Sinatra is not justifiably cause for offense. On the other hand, ageism is offensive. So is dismissing a puzzle (or a person) with more than a five-year cultural memory as "geriatric."

There are huge segments of our population, hundreds of millions of people, for whom Moon and Mercury and Sinatra and Presley are way more significant than internet memes, comic-book movies, or video games. And most of them -- most of us -- are pretty good about tolerating the constant intrusions of pop culture and internet culture aimed at 17-year-olds that pervade so much of American daily life.

But for god's sake, let us have the occasional crossword puzzle about our stuff, once in a while, amid the flood of internet memes, without calling us geriatric.

OffTheGrid 7:50 AM  

The appearance of Casey KASEM was a nice touch.

Joaquin 8:11 AM  

@anon (7:50) - As we would have said 50 years ago, "Right on!" There is a boatload of stuff to be offended by in this day-and-age; crosswords ain't one of 'em.

MR. Cheese 8:16 AM  

NYT tool shows rebus horizontally so I never saw Elvis. When complete They showed vertically. Huh?

StevieO 8:16 AM  

Yes! Yes! Yes! Best comment here in ages! Unmask yourself, Anonymous. Your wisdom is welcome!!

Carola 8:28 AM  

Not able to get any kind of firm grip on the top tier, I decided to try the bottoms-up approach and started out with with ISAAC and MILNE, who led me to MUSIC, Once I'd ascended as far as MY WAY, I GRASPed that FRANK SINATRA was on one side of the slashes; I had to wait a bit for ELVIS to materialize (nice cross with ROCK STAR). I agree with @Rex that POPULAR MUSIC has a sort of sad trombone feel to it; still, I had fun figuring the grid out.

Help from previous puzzles: FEH, OREM, BARI, COATI, NOLTE as clued, (and, I'd thought, cASEM). Help from being old: GOMER PYLE, NASH.

Lewis 8:31 AM  


Ok. So I’m at Mom’s in NC and hence had to solve this on my phone. I can’t even post from my phone, so I emailed this to @Lewis to post ‘cause I want to agree with @chefwen and come to Pete’s defense. Surprise surprise.

I caught the rebus-some feel very early and had to just picture the two letters in my mind since I have no idea how to do stuff like that online. No prob.

Here’s my take on the reveal: POPULAR MUSIC fell before I had sussed our exactly what was going on, so it was an enormous help in getting SINATRA and MY WAY. So then I went back to mentally retrieve the second letters, and I was electrified when I realized it was ELVIS.

I. Loved. This.

-Loren Smith

Coati Of Many Colors 8:34 AM  

I prefer Dorothy Squires' version of "My Way."

CS 8:36 AM  

I agree with Anonymous (7:50), Joaquin and StevieO

Thursdays are usually my favorite days - having rebuses and the like only add to the fun of solving a puzzle. AND I like learning new things! Didn't know about the CHESS fiends (guessed it) so that was fun.

Also (showing my old-fashionedness in a way although I embrace new things), because I do these in print I never have any of these issues with online solving. The problem is not the puzzle, the problem is the app/online presentation. So complain to whomever it is who creates that, not the puzzle constructors!

Got this one from "My Way" .... thought "Crooner Music" (FEH) :-) but obviously didn't fit in the crosses.

Let's just have fun with the puzzles and repurpose any anger towards doing good things in the world.....

-- CS

Frantic Sloth 8:39 AM  

@Anon 750am You're my new s/hero! 👏💪💋

Nancy 8:42 AM  

Not hard, but quite clever. It's sort of the reverse of the famous Clinton/Bob Dole puzzle: in that one you solved it your way, without necessarily realizing that there was another possibility. At least I didn't at the time. Here, the slashes plus the two letters on the crosses contained in one square compel you to know what's going on from the get-go. Which made it much easier, of course. It also helped me to remember how EDERLE spelled her name -- which I kept trying to spell without an R. And, FWIW, I spotted ELVIS before I spotted FRANK.

Subject for discussion: Was it possible to be both an ELVIS fan and a FRANK fan at the same time back in the '50s? I was solidly with Ol' Blue Eyes who made my heart go pitty-pat, pitty-pat. This was decades before I or anyone else knew about his misogyny, his Mob ties, or anything else. Meanwhile, it was ELVIS who seemed somewhat disreputable to me: not the gyrations, which were fine with me, but the hooded eyes and the curl of a sneer on his lips which made him seem like a real (word of the Fifties, wait for it) *hood*. FWIW, I never liked Brando or James Dean for the same reason. I liked my movie stars charming and sophisticated like Cary Grant.

Interesting clues for CHESS (71A) and HATE (50A). I always thought Juno was a sweet Goddess. Lovely clue for SCENE (58D). A nice job all around.

Ann Hedonia 8:48 AM  

I'm old (63) so I like old things, but I hated this puzzle. HATED IT! (that's a reference to the black, gay movie critics on "In Living Color", which is an example of diversity.)

anyway, this was just stupid and made me angry right before I have to do a hearing.

pabloinnh 8:52 AM  

No notes, had the same problem with the numbers for horizontals being cut off when I printed the puzzle, didn't realize that the slashes meant two letters in the same space (duh!), solved it from the bottom up, which meant I got MYWAY right away, which meant I was looking for Sinatra and not Elvis. So Sinatra appeared with a bunch of superfluous letters that I didn't bother to decode. In short, this was a fun puzzle that I failed to appreciate. Very nice work, PC. You deserved better from me.

As has been pointed out, some of us have no problem with puzzles that skew geriatric, although the term "geriatric" itself seems a bit demeaning.

In SB news, I learned last night that you don't post an answer until the next day, which didn't appear because a highly principled mod caught it. Oops. Live and learn. Although @JC66 and I had some fun with it.

Blue Stater 8:55 AM  

SATAY SAUCE is an Indonesian dip, not a Thai one. For the umpteenth time: put the puzzle through the copydesk....

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

Do the crossword in the NYTimes print edition and you won’t miss anything. The double letter clues squares were indicated by slash signs.

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

I agree but don’t unmask yourself. Anonymity is preferable to those of us who think, without having to be identified or “followed”.

BobL 9:07 AM  

Yep, anon@7:50, you should get a monicker so we don't skip over your sage remarks.

William of Ockham 9:07 AM  

This puzzle is very simple to an old fart solving on paper and likely impossible to a millennial.

56D should have been clued 'Soulman Hayes' to be sure that the caption of the puzzle would be

Sub-offensively bad

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

Anonymity is preferable on the internet when one can get trolled on a crossword blog.

effing sad

Z 9:11 AM  

Why does OK Boomer come to mind? (full disclosure - I'm a Boomer)

RooMonster 9:17 AM  

Hey All !
Lots o' mixed feelings on this puz from y'all. Interesting reading.

I solve on the NYT site, which nine times out of ten gets the grid correct. Today was the tenth one! There weren't any slashes, but the Note is above the grid, and the first thing you see when you click to open the puz. So I knew a trick in 20/22A was there. As a bunch of Downs I wanted weren't working, I figured a slash-rebus (I guess you can call it). Got P___ MUSIC first, didn't really think it could be POPULAR, too Green Painty. But, it was. Then got MY WAY, so threw in FRANK SINATRA, and sorta backfilled the Downs until I had __ESLE_, and through pattern recognition, saw good ole Elvis.

Once puz was finished, FRANK and ELVIS end up stacked as if two separate Acrosses. That makes the Downs in order, if that makes sense.

Wanted the other two long Acrosses, 34 & 46, to be included in the theme, but just regular fill.

That NIMBUSES/BARI criss is a Framingham, no? NIMBUS not in the tip of the cloud-tounge, and SEEMS TO need an extra S, NIMBUSSES.

Overall, not terrible, a semi-rebus-slash-mashup puz. At least there's a HOR crossing IDAHO. Har. 😋

Three F's

gregg 9:22 AM  

Loved your comments as much as we loved the puzzle. We are geriatric in OFL's parlance so it was in our wheelhouse. A great Thursday for us and lots of memories.

DanGolder 9:38 AM  

This was impossible for me. Only been solving for about a year and am 29 years old. Just getting to the point where I can pretty reliable solve every puzzle aside from a tough Saturday or one/two letters amiss on Sunday.

I was so frustrated when I kept having to skip clue after clue because I've never heard of ANY of this stuff. I like learning about history from puzzles but I'm not interested in learning about TV from before when TV got good.

Not fun at all and then when I finally cheated (googling ancient "cultural" references) to get a foothold the rest of the puzzle was totally joyless for me.

Geri Tall 9:42 AM  


Fortunately GERITOL was not in the grid and don't you think ARCANA has a lovely irony to it?

What's the anti - #OKBOOMER ?

Whatsername 9:43 AM  

I liked it, a very satisfying solve. I had no notes but did have slashes which were self-explanatory. It certainly wasn’t difficult and yet there was a little bit of sussing involved to get that 20/22 across combination. LOSESTEAM was nice and the clue for ROCKSTAR. Unusual to have a five-letter theme answer, but I really liked the concept and that it was something out of the ordinary.

Rex complains about diversity but I’m not sure what more he wants. We’ve got sports, music, TV, literature, geography, history, Shakespeare, Spanish, Italian, German, and Martin Luther King Jr. who could not be more relevant to current events.

I so wanted Brad Pitt for sexiest man alive but he was 1995 (and 2000) and of course one letter short. I must say he’s still a contender, one of those men who’s aging well. But @Nancy - Cary Grant? Oh yeah, there was a man.

@Frantic (12:27) “Genus slappus caput.” 😂 Rest assured your unflagging dedication to your adoring peer group does not go unnoticed. I would hate to think how to start my day without benefit of your pearls of wisdom.

@Anonymous (7:50) BRAVO!! You deserve a standing ovation for that post! I might be overly optimistic, but I think there are a few of us who can still manage to get up out of our easy chairs and flap our arms around enough to give you one. Please don’t be a stranger. Oops, that was probably a geriatric expression. Sorry. I really must try to be more diverse.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  


Diver 9:46 AM  

Ugh, that was a miserable 12 minutes. If your puzzle needs notes then it needs to be rethought. And I'm really sick of cross-references clues. Take this one back to the drawing board.

mathgent 9:52 AM  

I liked it. Very cool to have Sinatra and Elvis intertwined. Two of my special favorites.

Paul Anka bought the melody and wrote the lyric especially for his buddy Sinatra. One of my favorite CDs is Sinatra singing Cole Porter. After a career of singing the beautiful words of the greatest lyricists of his time, it’s a wonder that he was able to make sense out of Anka’s goofy verse.

For what is a man, what has he got,
If not himself then he has not
To say all the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels,
The record shows, I took the blows,
But did it my way

Dexter Green 9:53 AM  

RooMonster: The plural of nimbus is NIMBUSES, one S, not two. Or you may use the Latin, nimbi. See Merriam Webster's.

egsforbreakfast 10:03 AM  

@Anonymous 7:50. Well said!!! For those who disagree, perhaps TIGERBEAT has a more topically-current puzzle.

Rex and others who want an up-to-date vibe have surely noticed that TASE and HATE provided that in spades.

This was a bear to solve in the NYT app, but wow was it satisfying to finally get there.

EdFromHackensack 10:11 AM  

ANON 7:50 I swear I was about to respond "Right on!' but someone beat me to it. Whether is a puzzle is in my wheelhouse or not is not my criteria on how to judge it. If you are able to figure things out that are outside your comfort zone, well you may learn something and it can enrich the whole crossword experience. I think this puzzle was brilliant, how it stacked Elvis and Frankie.

My college roommate (we graduated 1981) used to brag that he looked like Nick Nolte. We recently had a golf outing and one of our old friends commented "You know, you really DO look like Nick Nolte". We laughed

Z 10:14 AM  

I don't want to pick on @Anon7:50 and all of you cheering them on, or even get sucked into this fight, but you are all making "geriatric" too apt.

The NYTX is the quintessential crossword for the occasional crossword puzzle about our stuff except it isn't "occasional," it's nearly daily. The mention of "rage quit" by 7:50 is a perfect example. The top Urban Dictionary entry is from 2005. Nobody can keep up with everything, but being unaware of mainstream slang from the past decade and half ago certainly makes everything else you say sound like "GET OFF OF MY LAWN." I am resigned to the fact that the NYTX is going to skew old and I have to go elsewhere for fresh crosswords. I just wish the NYTX didn't skew dead so often.

I'm out of here. Until tomorrow.

Crimson Devil 10:23 AM  

YOU-DA-MAN anon 7:50 !!!
Puz rocked; don’t need no stinkin notes.

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

I'm 27 and I managed to get the Frank / Elvis bit almost immediately. Moon and Mercury wasn't a problem either.

When Rex (and the other commenters) say it's old, I don't think it's in reference to those clues. It's GOMER PYLE crossing HOR and NOLTE, and maybe SAK crossing KASEM (still don't understand SAK and it's rare that I can't understand an answer at all... like Sak's Fifth?) that are near impossible if you're below a certain age. Frank, Elvis, Keith, and Freddie are pretty timeless figures; those others are unfortunately not. I felt like I crushed the top half, which was actually an interesting challenge, only to get hung up on those where I had no idea.

Generally, I'm also of the opinion that slang and pop culture today are clearly within the grasp of anyone who is alive enough to do a crossword, even if more accessible for younger solvers. Equivalently obscure pop culture from 30-50 years ago is not the same.

All that said, I'm ok with puzzles like this, especially once in a while. From reading Rex's blog I think it's pretty clear that the problem is with a pattern and system of doing this. If you consistently have puzzles with clues that only older folks will get, paired with creators who consistently lean white and male (I don't know if this is true, but from what little I've read I think this is true and Rex would certainly feel this way), AND you have GAFFES like the NYD slur last year + lame apology, it becomes a pattern.

THAT is what Rex is lamenting. That's what he means by lack of diversity. And for everyone who said "this had clues from the 1920s to 1960s!" or "there's music and sports!" or "MLK is in it!"... I think you must know that's not what he means by diversity.

All this said I enjoyed this puzzle. Minus a couple of crosses that I thought were absurd. I actually got BARI but have never heard of OREM in my life, so was fine there.

aeevans 10:27 AM  

Thank you for Nina Simone!!

Hungry Mother 10:30 AM  

I never read the notes and sometimes don’t read titles, but I saw that it would be the two names interleaved. Somehow, I ended up trying to put the rebuses on the line below, which makes no sense and leaves an extra letter. Also, I had cASEM before KASEM, which I always do and always forget that I’ve done. I kayaked in accompaniment of a marathon swimmer in the EDERLE swim from Sandy Hook to the Battery. It was quite exciting to paddle by Ambrose Light and under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. A few years later, I ran the NYC Marathon, which started ATOP the bridge. Good times!

David 10:35 AM  

Nimbuses and Antra. Yes, I'll always complain about constructors making plurals depending on their use in the puzzles rather than their languages.

Outside of Rock Star and Loses Steam this was a snorefest for me. Yeah, Frank and Elvis, My Way, popular music. Whoo hoo. And who has ever used "sak" in "commercialize" or otherwise?

Gomer Pyle? Did Jim Neighbors sing My Way as well? That would make the reference okay. All I remember is Impossible Dream.

Just not for this geriatric. I hope we get some sparkle tomorrow.

Edward 10:35 AM  

63-Down: GOP grp., three letters. Correct answer is RNC but, admit it, you wanted to put in KKK.

Ellen S 10:38 AM  

Just FYI, anyone solving on an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch has the option of using Puzzazz. I’ve been using it for years and it has never let me down. This is not a solicited recommendation, it’s just when I come here and people complain about how they didn’t see the note, I always see the note. (Except today: the “note” was apparently only for platforms that couldn’t put a slash in all the squares for 20/22 across.). Sometimes Puzzazz gets it right even when the print version messes up, judging from the howls of outrage here on the blog when that happens.

I am myself older than dirt, but not old enough to remember Gertrude EDERLE all by myself. My mother used to talk about her, though, so that was a gimme. Tom Mix’s horse was named “Tony” by the way, in case that ever comes up.

Tom R 10:58 AM  

Could not get much traction at the top because the downs had that double letter in them. Read the note and realized a rebus was going on. Rather than work on this, solved the bottom 2/3 so had my way and popular music at which point I just filled in Frank Sinatra which, in the view of AcrossLite is all it takes to be correct. Then worked out the downs and quickly got the Elvis Presley part. Clever but tedious.

This is a glitch in AcrossLite. IMO if there is a rebus square it should not be counted correct unless all the letters are entered, not just the first one. And once again, I have to carp, the Times should not be publishing puzzles in AL that do not look the same as the printed version. Why? Because AL is a Times product and most of us use it when we get the Times online.

ghthree 10:58 AM  

Two observations:
1: For Nancy at 8:42 "Haughty Juno's unrelenting hate" is from Dryden's translation of the Aeneid into Iambic Pentameter. Quite a bit more "nostalgic" than last century's rock stars.
2: My wife and I regularly print out two copies of the puzzle and solve together on separate clipboards, trading comments over coffee. We saw the slashes, but never the note.

oisk17 11:00 AM  

Loved it. Even though only extensive crossword experience allowed me to get Kasem with sak, and had no idea that Moon is a rock stat. There are so few puzzles with a "retro" theme; the youngsters should not complain...

bauskern 11:00 AM  

What a fun puzzle! Granted, I'm 60, and solve on paper, but this one had me from square 1. So clever.
My dad used to say, "Those who can, do. Those who can't, criticize." Why do I think of Rex in conjunction with that phrase? And it's a shame, b/c he really does know his XW stuff. But the constant negativity is a drag.

And anyone who uses the phrase OK Boomer is never coming to my parties! @Z
P.S. Keith Moon was *never* a rock star; Roger Daltrey was! But I still liked the misdirect on the clue.

pmdm 11:02 AM  

Yesterday, once again Jeopardy! sharedsomething with the NYT puzzle. Both included answers dealing with The Avengers, although the TV game involved the TV show not the movie. There is certainly enough in today's puzzle that could result in three days in a row.

Amazingly (to me), I figured out FRANK SINATRA and ELVIS PRESLEY right away. GOMER PYLE (which I never watched) took a lot of thought. Overall, a thumbs up, but barely.

If, like myself, you stay away from the mainstream, modern slang is impossible. Perhaps gratefully, I am pretty bad with oder PPP. But at least I recognize it. I understand people's preferences, but I would prefer resurrection of Patrick Barry puzzles.

I solve using the paper version and am always amazed that the NYT charges for access to the puzzle but screws up how online puzzles appear. If enough of you emailed Shortz every time a real problem happens, maybe he would have enough ammunition to convince those responsible to correct the problem.

GILL I. 11:08 AM  

I didn't read @Rex before I posted because I know he doesn't seem to like Peter's puzzles.
I'm not old because I don't feel old and I'm not young because I'm not. I'm a crossword puzzle enthusiast. I guess you'd call us cruciverbalists...or better yet , this is a game that has a way of sucking you in for hours on end.... and I love it.
I remember reading somewhere about this person doing one on a train. He said that some lady left her unfinished puzzle on the seat and he picked it up and finished it for her. Turns out she didn't get off, she just went to the Loo. When she came back she gave him the proverbial stink eye. I would've shoved it somewhere where the sun don't shine.
There's always something for everyone. I understand the old moldy and the tried and true, but I don't really care. Sometimes we need some old Elmers glue to get things done and sometimes a good slap in the head gets that glue to @Frantic's "Genus slappus." It will either tickle my fancy or make me groan. I almost never think it's a waste of time. It's MY time to indulge.
Everyone has an opinion (like @Blue Stater who thinks that SATAY SAUCE is only Indonesian....its not...and I have a bottle of Dynasty Thai Peanut SATAY SAUCE to prove it) and that's what makes these comments and this blog so interesting. @Nancy thinks Frank Sinatra is the cat's meow - I couldn't stand him. I'll give her credit for Cary Grant but I prefer drool fest Omar Sharif.....and the beat goes on. What would we do without @Z refuting everything, @Loren and her amusing stories and @Lewis with the most incredible upbeat personality on this planet? When I finish a puzzle.... be it dull, amusing, fun, old, young, I really look forward to coming here and reading these comments. @Rex is predictable----sobeit.

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

The old references didn't bother me, and I thought the FRANK SINATRA / ELVIS PRESLEY was cool (even though it took me ages to figure out as I didn't see the note).

However, POPULAR MUSIC is terrible and greatly soured the puzzle for me.

ghthree 11:16 AM  

In search of the mysterious note, I tried Deb Amlen. Unfortunately, she published a day later. Guess I have to wait until tomorrow.

Arden 11:26 AM  

Solved on paper. Terrifically clever! All in my wheelhouse, although a tad too young to have been a fan of Sinatra and Presley.

Dave 11:27 AM  

FYI, I was able to get the app to accept this by including a / in the rebusses (rebi?)

As far as the content goes, it was mostly no problem for a Gen Xer like myself. I dislike it when this puzzle thinks I should know about Harry Potter. Why would I know about kid’s books that came out after I grew up? I think pop music history should be GRASPable for most people.
I however prefer The Sex Pistol’s version of My Way.

Anonymoose 11:28 AM  

So we don't want a lot of PPP but when it's there we each want it in our own so called wheelhouse or specific era(or area) of knowledge. That shouldn't be difficult. C'mon constructors and editors, make us all happy!

Lorelei Lee 11:29 AM  

Sorry, I'm with the "kids" and @Z on this one. If a puzzle ran that was this overtly weighted with a Millennial theme and fill, there would be widespread condemnation. And I'd be guilty of it myself.

But ya know, can't we all just get along. Overt ageism is really unacceptable.

About the puzzle, I folded like a cheap suit.

old timer 11:42 AM  

Quintessenial Boomer here. When I first heard rock 'n roll, Little Richard was my ROCK STAR, though it was understood Bill Haley more or less created the genre. ELVIS was supposed to be, but that was more in the minds of my parents' generation than mine. From early in his career, ELVIS, like FRANK SINATRA, was the king of POPULAR MUSIC -- the music that played on your parents'radio stations. His version of Blue Moon was done earlier by Mel Torme' and, I learn, also done by SINATRA at some point.

So we had an appropriate pairing today. I got FRANK SINATRA right off, and then ELVIS PRESLEY helped me complete the solve.

BARI is a place familiar to my generation, too -- if we went to Europe, we likely went to Greece, and if you did not fly (as my group did) from Rome to Athens, you took the train to BARI where you boarded the boat for Piraeus. I've seen BARI in many xwords over the years.

SATAY is of course a sauce used in Indonesian cooking. But our first THAI restaurant featured SATAY chicken, so the clue was not inaccurate IMO.

Nancy 11:47 AM  

@Whatsername (9:43) -- ...And just as we didn't know stuff about FRANK back then, we didn't know that about Cary Grant either. The stars kept their secrets. And yet, I sort of did know back in the late 50's from my parents:

It seems that their good friends, Ruth and Leonard, were aboard the Liberte as it sailed from NYC to France -- the same voyage that was taking Cary to Cannes for the filming of "To Catch a Thief". Ruth and Leonard ended up at the Captain's Table, I'm not sure why, maybe because they were quite rich, but anyway, Cary was there too. And Ruth was beside herself with excitement. The problem was, as my mother explained to me, that "Cary was only interested in Leonard". I was completely shocked and disillusioned.

But then at some point years later I saw a TV interview with Sophia Loren and how she almost left Carlo Ponti for Cary Grant and how much in love with him she had been and what a wonderful man he was. And I thought: Here's a worldly, sexy woman who is hardly naive about men. She couldn't have been fooled. And therefore Cary must have been thoroughly and enthusiastically bisexual.

(Note: The Ruth of the above anecdote looked nothing like Sophia Loren. Perhaps if she had... Sorry, Ruth.)

KnittyContessa 11:51 AM  

@anon (7:50) well said, amen and thank you!

I am currently in rehearsal for a play. One of my lines is "FEH" a word I had never heard before and still stumble over. Seeing FEH in today's puzzle gave me a big smile. I can't wait for rehearsal tonight!

floatingboy 11:51 AM  

Absolutely craptastic puzzle, even for a Thursday (my least favorite day of the week).

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

Everyone has a talent. Rex's talent is complaining. He can find things to complain about no matter what - truly gifted. He feels most inspired/aggressive when he self-righteously rants whilst virtue signaling. Zero humility and minimal perspective. Apparently it's a joy to behold for some. For others he's just the killjoy with the clubhouse.

Vlad 12:03 PM  

There are at least 7 states with a Moscow, and 2 states with a Moscow Mills.

Linda R 12:16 PM  

@Anonymous 7:23 AM - I don't know why but I don't have a Tools icon at the bottom of my screen in Across Lite. But at the top of my screen, I hit Options then Tools / Solving and then under Rebus Indicators, I checked Rebus Puzzle Indicator On and Symbols Used Indicator On - but nothing changes. In order to enter rebus letters, I have to hit Keypad / Insert / Keypad, then type the letters, and then hit Enter. It's very annoying, especially when there are a lot of rebus squares. If there's an easier way to do this in Across Lite, I'd love to know it. 

Uke Xensen 12:18 PM  

My only problem was the BARI/OREM cross, but eventually Bari came to me. I don't like the song MY WAY but the theme, which was explicitly mid 20th c. popular culture, seems legitimate to me. Given that theme, I can't see why you would call for more current cultural references. For me the theme answers were not a problem. But the puzzle was a little flat, with some iffy short fill.

QuasiMojo 12:31 PM  

@Nancy, Cary's wife (the last one I think) claimed he was the most heterosexual man she ever knew. I'm pretty well-versed in gay Hollywood history, but so far the evidence of Cary Grant being gay is scant. Lots of conjecture about his relationship with roomie Randolph Scott based on one early article featuring photos of them posing in scenes of domestic bliss. It seemed like a stunt gag to me. But people have read much more into it. Bisexual, okay. But that's not all that rare as Kinsey so long-windedly pointed out. Anyhow, the stuff written about other big stars lately is so far-fetched and utterly unfactcheckable that I consider it sheer fanfiction. Not worth the paper it's printed on. I bet Cary would have talked to you!

oisk17 12:39 PM  

Great puzzle. I was able to get the SAK KASEM cross only due to having seen Kasem in the puzzle, and didn't know that MOON was a rock star, but no matter. Thought it was brilliant. There are very few puzzles that play quite this "old," so I don't think one should complain too much

Masked and Anonymous 12:50 PM  

yep, that upper puzhalf was definitely harder than the bottom half, due to the rebus squares. But that's kinda different, and I tend to like different. Sooo … ok.

I reckon that the easy 41-A and 59&62-A themers were meant to help the solver with the much harder "slasher" themers at 20&22-A. But, if, like m&e, U just hung in there chuckin nanoseconds at crossers until the SINATRA/PRESLEY part started to become visible … well, then the bottom themers were a indeed bit anti-climactic.
Coulda maybe used a song by each artist that was different, but with the same number of letters, to do more rebus shenanigans in the lower region, in that case. ALLTHEWAY/SURRENDER, or somesuch.

ROCKSTAR really wanted to be a themer.
Didn't know SATAYSAUCE, at our CHATEAU.

staff weeject picks: FEH & SAK are both weeject GEMs.
REAIMS … har

Thanx for the nostalgic fun, Mr. Collins. M&A is Stuck on U, btw.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Swagomatic 12:56 PM  

This played like one of those (shudder) quote puzzles. I really did not enjoy it. Then, thinking that the slash was needed to make the rebus work, I put slashes in all those squares, which I then had to edit out to get the happy tones. This one was definitely not my cup of tea.

Nancy 1:08 PM  

@Quasi (12:31) -- Your last sentence may be the nicest and most flattering -- not to mention fantasy-provoking -- thing anyone has ever said to me on this blog :) Thank you, @Quasi!

Teedmn 1:13 PM  

I wanted 4D to be ROCKy orb. I wanted 40A to be "vows". I thought Moscow was in Kansas but it didn't fit. IDAHO took me on a little fact finding tour post-solve. There are more than 20 American towns named Moscow.

Something I'm hoping won't turn into a habit - putting in a C where I need a K. I got caught in the Nikki/Nicki thing last week and today I'm at Casey Casem/SAc. And as I did last week, I questioned it, C or K, and guessed wrong again. Rats.

This was an odd puzzle and didn't really hit the Thursday spot, but I think the construction of the theme was sound. Thanks, Peter Collins.

jberg 1:13 PM  

I think Nero Wolfe used to say FEH. Or maybe it was Gideon Fell. But they're both dead (or their creators are), too.

I solve in the actual NYT, which means a) I don't do it the night before, as the paper doesn't get to my porch until about 6 AM, and b) I didn't see a note, just the slashes in the squares. Figuring out what they were for was a fun challenge.

In my case, the challenge was made harder because I put down GooFS for blunders, which confused me about what to do with the crosses, and because, being a little foggy on my dates, I figured the first woman with a ticker-tape parade must be Amelia Earhart. This led me to all sorts of ideas about how answers might pivot around the slashes, or veer left or right -- but none of them worked. I think Duncan HINES was first entry to use the slashes correctly (he's dead too, btw), and I worked my way westward until I suddenly saw SINATRA over PRESLEY; from there on the only problem was changing vowS to I DOS (thank God for Moscow, IDAHO).

I guess POPULAR MUSIC really was what we called it back then. Pretty much all there was was classical, jazz, folk, gospel, and popular. Now there are about 500 genres. So anyway, it was all right as an answer -- but until I actually got there, I was just assuming that there would be more slashes in those two answers. When there weren't, I felt let down.

Personally, I liked the AWAKE/AWARE cross. And being reminded of the HORizontal hold! Those were the days.

p.s. Juno isn't dead; she's an immortal.

Doug Garr 1:22 PM  

As an oldster, now you know how we feel when the puzzle clues are all about stupid video games we've never heard of played by teenagers and references to hip hop and rap stars that we couldn't give two shits about.

bigsteve46 1:33 PM  

@re. Nancy 11:57 A.M. - I just recently received congratulations for the 45th anniversary of my passing of the New York Bar Exam (Why bother? Who celebrates 45 years of anything? Let's wait 5 more years and if by some odd chance I'm still around, then break out the bubbly.) This is tenuously relevant only as to your Cary Grant reference. It is an interesting anecdote but a pretty classic definition of "hearsay" evidence, and illustrates a very good reasons why hearsay evidence is generally not admissible in court. Your parents were told by a friend who sat next to Grant and that he appeared gay to that friend, not even based on too much evidence at that. On the other hand, Sophia Loren says "I ha a long term relationship with Grant and he's definitely not gay." Yet you are somehow equating the two bits of evidence to conclude that Grant was bisexual. But the two sources of evidence are actually quite different. If, again, theoretically, Grant were being tried in court, and whether he was gay was at issue, Loren's testimony would be admissible but your parents' friend's testimony would not. Loren could be cross examined as to what actually transpired between her and Grant and the bases for her conclusions, and other details; all your parents could testify to would be what somebody else allegedly told them. Now if one of these friends were available, they could testify - but even that testimony wouldn't amount to much since it would only describe some dinner table repartee, while Loren's would go to the heart of the matter and describe actual behavior. This illustrates what's wrong with second-hand evidence: people equate it with first hand, hence the conclusion here that the second (or is it third-hand evidence) is equally valid with the direct testimony as to whether or not Grant was gay. As Bill Clinton liked to say, I don't have a dog in this fight as far as Cary Grant's proclivities are concerned - but I certainly would have liked being on a long ocean voyage with Sophia Loren!

As you can all tell by the above bloviation: I REALLY having nothing better to do!!

LorrieJJ 1:38 PM  

I don't know if anybody else had this problem but when I printed it out on paper, as I usually do, it cut off the first line on the left edge so I was without numbers or the first two letters from one across to 41 across did anyone else have this problem?

OldGuy 1:47 PM  

I hated this puzzle

LorrieJJ 1:52 PM  

Nina Simone is a GODDESS!!!

Ernonymous 2:17 PM  

I met Jim Nabors. I was working at the Italian Trade Commission booth at the Fancy Food trade show in 1987. I wanted to say Surprise, surprise, surprise and Where's Sarge? but I controlled myself
I also met another Crossword Great at the same show, Rita Moreno.
So the New York Times app took my horizontal letters that were in the rebus boxes and fixed them to stacked up and down vertical - so you could make out the answer -when I left the puzzle briefly and came back. I had figured out the Frank Sinatra part of the puzzle but not the Elvis part yet
I was pizzed that the app showed me the answer before I was done, including adding a letter in that I didn't have yet. They really shouldnt do this fancy shit if they can't figure out how to make it work right on all platforms. I may have figured out the Elvis part but they didnt let me, just gave it to me. I only had Sata entered but the app put the Y in for me as well.

Joe Dipinto 2:20 PM  

Hey, don't be dissing Bari, @Rex, that's the big city near my grandmother's hometown. She used to mention it quite a bit.

@Dave 6:59 & @mathgent: Paul Anka neither "stole" nor "bought" the music to Comme d'habitude; he had a contract with the original French copyright owner to create an English language adaptation. In such instances the English lyric writer typically receives a royalty only when the English lyrics are performed or (maybe) when the English title is used for an instrumental version. The composer receives the full share for the music and the original lyric writer receives a reduced share for the lyric, in accordance with the bylaws of the foreign Performing Rights Society (in this case SACEM in France).

Time for some drummer jokes.

Q: What do you call a guy that likes to hang around musicians?
A: A drummer.

Q: What do you call a drummer who doesn't have a girlfriend?
A: Homeless.

Q: How many drummers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Five: 1 to change the bulb and 4 to say "I can do that."

Here's Coati Mundi, from Kid Creole & The Coconuts and Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band. My friend Willie (an excellent drummer) is playing traps –cool green tom-tom, Will! I'm gonna miss these outdoor jams this summer.

Time to hit the Cryptogram.

AW 2:22 PM  

Did this on the NYTimes puzzle app for Android and could not get the rebus box to accept my answers with or without the slash mark. The app also does not include notes. When I began to get that there should be double letters in every letter space for 20 and 22 across, I gave up as it was impossible to visualize. Sometimes it's sad being an Android user in an ocean of iPhones.

Bless this blog, though. The comments are just as enjoyable as the crosswords.

burtonkd 2:23 PM  

Since when can a CHATEAU be a house? I get that they are usually the prominent feature in the feudal countryside. I guess the country lyric, "a man's home is his castle?"

I kept thinking Joe DePinto (sp?) would name this tune puzzle with no notes.

I'm only okay with "Okay, Boomer" when it used as a defense against Millennial slander. Ageist defense against ageism.

Whatsername 2:28 PM  

@Nancy (11:47) Wow! I just always remembered associating him with beautiful women like Dyan Cannon. Had no idea there was ever any question as to which side he played for. To me he was always the ultimate tall dark and handsome movie star. [Sigh]

Smith 2:47 PM  

@Pablo 8:52

Weelll, geriatric can be in the eye of the beholder... when I was expecting a child a quarter century ago (today!) at was called a "geriatric pregnancy." Boy, was I insulted.

Good thing I haven't yet changed my avatar since ol' AA is back!

Solve on paper, weirdly saw PRES__y, don't know how it clicked but after that smooth sailing.

Did not have a TV growing up ("It rots the brain, the children will never learn to read", etc., so many of those TV references come to me only through the ether, but got GOMERPYLE off the P.

What happens to the bus driver when she stops at a MILKBAR so the kids can get a treat after the game?


Richardf8 3:07 PM  

I liked the rebus thing, and liked figuring it out without the note. That was the best thing about the whole thing.

POPULAR MUSIC was a big let down. It’s two versions of the same song, not a whole meta genre. Oh and at this point in time, the genre for MY WAY is kitsch. I don’t think one much hears the song outside of Olive Garden anymore.

Nancy 3:13 PM  

@Quasi, @Whatsername, @bigsteve46 -- So what I'm getting from the comments of y'all is that those pesky rumors -- including the Randolph Scott rumor -- that began circulating about Cary in the years long after he had completely captured my teenage heart may never have been true in the first place!!! Yippee!! I am so glad and so relieved-- you have no idea!!!

Ethan Taliesin 3:15 PM  

Easy but crusty.

Ethan Taliesin 3:18 PM  


...I wonder what ever happened to the Rolls Royce Keith Moon drove into the swimming pool.

pmdm 3:33 PM  

@Nancy: Your "hearsay" story seems to have hit a spot with some who visit here. It reminded me of a story a friend of mine told about reading Leonard's Bernstein's last interview. He apparently knew no bounds. (His daughter claims he used to tongue kiss her.) I did not read the interview, so it's only hearsay, but apparently it began telling the interviewer not to ask two questions: who was his favorite composer and which was his favorite sex. The Cary Grant story may not be true, but Lenny stories are more difficult to discount. Not that this has anything to do with today's crossword.

RooMonster 3:54 PM  

@bigsteve 46 1:33
Holy cow, I can tell you're a lawyer!

All this Hot Man talk is not my cuppa. Har. Let's get back to Emma Peel!

RooMonster Not A Lawyer Guy

WA 3:54 PM  

Terrific puzzle, must have been incredibly hard to construct.

Maddiegail 4:08 PM  

Bravo, Anonymous @7:50! (...If that is your real name.) Especially your last paragraph.

Crimson Devil 4:13 PM  

To Bloviating bigSteve;
excellent description of hearsay rule; there are good reasons for such rules of evidence: has to do with reliability.
I don’t think Irving Younger himself coulda done better job. (In eight months, I hope to pop the bubbly you described ! )

Frantic Sloth 4:14 PM  

I apologize for the length, but for the record:

It is not practical for everyone to get the NYT paper. I'm happy for all of you able to do the paper version, thereby not needing a note since it was all but laid out for you with slashes, but I'm not sure I would have liked that either. It might have made it too easy, which is worse! 😉
BTW, I understand there were slashes with no note in the paper, which is only slightly better than having one or the other – both would just be insulting.

(@Roo – lucky for you, you weren't solving on a stupid iPad. No note online there. (There was a note online using my PC on Chrome.)

@Z & @Ellen S - of course you are correct about PuzzAzz, but I try to not do the puzzle anywhere else but online since that is the only way to keep my streak alive – something I've just recently started tracking. (And I have forgotten before to go back and do the online version, thereby killing my streak, so there's that.)

It being a Thursday, of course I am always on the lookout for a rebus and I began to see it, but not exactly which squares were doubled up since the two letters in and of themselves made no correlational sense. They weren't scale notes, US states, or other abbreviations with a relationship.
When I got to MYWAY, Sinatra started taking shape, but I still couldn't get which squares to line up, and because I'm me and have no patience, I decided to download the puzzle to AL which always has the note if one exists and voilὰ!
So, this is my long-winded way of saying not everyone has the same grid in front of them and it would pickle me tink if gripers and braggers would simply take that into account before snarking at others.

And please do not infer (I can speak with certainty only for myself but wager I'm not alone) that these criticisms are in any way directed toward the constructor! They most decidedly are NOT. Only an ableist word would attack the creator(s) for these shortcomings. And they are merely shortcomings, not mini-apocalypses. (Though I admit I sometimes engage in histrionics because I can be such a spaz, but I plead an attempt (lame or otherwise) at comic relief [thank you, @Whatsername!]rather than serious criticism.)

Speaking of braggers and gripers…oh, this age thing! Can everybody just take a beat, please?? Count me among those who appreciate learning new things – as long as they are fairly crossed. There is an argument to be made that some entries in this puzzle were not.
This recalls my first forays into trying to solve the Sunday puzzle as a tween. That was in the Weng/Maleska era (the significance of which I don't really understand – perhaps someone [who's actually still reading this] can elaborate) and I considered it a coup if I could get it halfway solved. There is no empirical evidence to which I am privy which proves this theory, but I seem to recall not knowing much of the PPP back then – because it skewed older. And it always seemed to skew older.

Maybe that's just an Old Gray Lady thing? I'm going with that because there is no other way to explain the relative ease I can complete most NYTXWs now – and I do mean relative!

@Tom R "This is a glitch in AcrossLite."

Yes and no. This problem has reared it's fugly little head in the past, so I contacted AL. They wanted a copy of the crossword which I sent them and ultimately got this response:
"We looked at the file. It appears that it was created incorrectly at the source. While it had a rebus solution, the rebus flag was not set. The only way this would happen is if NYT used something other than Across Lite to create the puzzle. We will check with them to ensure this does not happen again in the future. You may want to provide this feedback to them as well."
I didn't provide feedback. My bad.

Frantic Sloth 4:16 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frantic Sloth 4:26 PM  

Can't believe I have to add another comment (to replace the deleted one) because the page kept telling me my link was over 4600+ characters long.
And then I used the wrong link! Talk about ableist word...🙄's the rest of the post:

@bauskern – ditto on the "OK, Boomer" antipathy. Not sure why I respond to that on a visceral level, but perhaps it's the underlying dismissive tone, to which I say this.

@Nancy 313pm I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but…(wink wink)

jae 4:45 PM  

@jberg - if you did a version of the puzzle that had slashes in the grid there was no note. The note was about there being slashes in the print version of the puzzle.

@27 yr. old anon 10:25 - I had the same take as you did about what @Rex meant by diversify.

pabloinnh 5:08 PM  

@Smith-Yes indeed,"eye of the beholder" exactly. Here I am with a good start on my 70's and I'm still into running, haven't had any joints replaced, and am blessed with a positive outlook on life In fact my doc says he wants to be me when he's my age, but he's the only person who's ever said anything remotely like this, so I'm not sure I believe him. Anyway, my point is that "geriatric" always conjures up visions of people in rest homes watching tv and playing bingo. (Maybe they're doing crosswords.) It's a fingernails on a blackboard term for me. Probably hits just a little too close to home.

furpurrson 6:01 PM  

I hate rebus puzzles anyway. After this mess of a puzzle, they should be outlawed altogether.

Lewis 6:52 PM  

@loriJJ -- Try printing the puzzle at 95% or even 85%. That might do the trick.

Doug 7:05 PM  

This person for President.

Charles Emerson Winchester III 9:36 PM  


Bruce Fieggen 9:38 PM  

Agree wholeheartedly. Rex would only be happy if a puzzle was constructed by a woman and only referenced 15-20 year old women.I prefer a little variety.

Preferred Customer 10:03 PM  

Hi wrivz, I think you have to either be over 65 or have done crosswords for a LONG time to know Gomer Pyle and HOR.

Bari and Orem are just random, as far as I can tell.

Not too mention Sinatra and Elvis, big names but not part of my general knowledge.

I couldn't get anywhere, so it was a sea of DNF.

I find things like rage quit much more accessible, even though I am not a gamer because it's inferable from the clue and a few letters.


Preferred Customer 10:18 PM  

Hi anon 6:50, I am not enraged, but honestly there was so much that was either obscure or before my time that I could not get a toe hold. That's why having things from a variety of eras is better. I like to learn new things, but when over 50% of the puzzle is blank and the clues don't help if you are not in the demographic it is not fun.


Anonymous 11:09 PM  

wow. how did you possibly find a black woman who isn't a white man singing my way - in your daily playlist?
michael sharp for president. he obviously gets it.
and, unlike trump, would never find an excuse for not having a world record time solving a crossword "for a thursday".
when can we get back to the blog I used to enjoy. 80s videos included.

Matthew B 12:16 AM  

Printing it from the website had the slashes. No need to get the pape . Very easy puzzle for a Thursday but I did enjoy the Sinatra/Presley juxtaposition.

Garboy 2:27 AM  

Does Rex ever get up on 'the right side of the bed'? Is everything always wrong? does every puzzle that is not in his 'wheelhouse' have to be dissed? Is any constructor who expands his range ok or do they all get slammed...why always so sour, so unaccepting, so narrow?

Casimir 4:29 AM  

If you're in the app and hit the "i" at the top you get the notes. It helped with this puzzle. I always hit it on Thursdays and Sundays, not coincidentally my least favorite puzzle days.

William of Ockham 7:15 AM  

The idea of speed solving a puzzle such as this still has me laughing Friday Morning

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

First puzzle in forever that I just walked away from half done. Not that I couldn't do it. I just didn't care to. The theme was unnecessary and the fill was absurdly dated.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO THE EDITORS OF THE NYT PUZZLE: I'm old enough to know the answers to these clues. This doesn't mean I want my crossword puzzle to be a retro stroll down memory lane.

Unknown 8:04 AM  

I thought this was a very clever puzzle with some dated clues, but overall I have great admiration for the constructor!

spacecraft 11:09 AM  

Well, gol-ly! A clue that takes up that many lines catches my eye, so good ol' GOMERPYLE was my starting point. After I figured in FIGUREDIN, my first hint at the Mcguffin was the tune MYWAY. That kinda gave away the store. I must say, though, that lumping the PRESLEY cover in with the SINATRA classic does FRANK a grave disservice. I HATE covers anyway.

(Note: I again saw no "note" attached to this puzzle. Apparently the Sun does not see fit to include them.)

Pretty junky fill this time around. Never heard of SATAY; was grateful for the NAMES providing the A and Y. Gertrude EDERLE gives us a factoid I didn't know: first female ticker tape parade honoree--and so wins DOD.

As to the nostalgia and OFC's gripe, come on now. Look at the world now and look as it used to be; which would YOU rather think about? Yeah. Me too. Par.

Diana, LIW 12:05 PM  

My first thought when I saw that row of squares with /x in them was, "uh oh - now what?" But that quickly was tamed by an "easy" SW corner, the MYWAY answer, and then the singers were obvious.

I liked it anyway - my way or not.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for simple Thursdays like this!

Burma Shave 12:53 PM  


FRANKie was SCENE as a girl's DREAM


rondo 1:22 PM  

Notes? None here. I got the SINATRA/PRESSLEY part of the rebusiness first, so put in FRANK and ELVIS, then POPULAR MUSIC before anything else in the S. The rest was just filling in blanks; at least that was MYWAY to solve.

How could GOMERPYLE, U.S.M.C. possibly have lasted on TV as long as it did?

Interesting WAY to stack POPULAR NAMES.

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

Thank God!!!
Or is that too geriatric!!!

thefogman 1:41 PM  

Rather disappointed in this one. I liked the double decker answer but the rest was a lunchbag letdown. If I had MYWAY, the constructor the split answer gimmick would have appeared on all theme answers. Alas, the result is neither fish nor fowl. Pity. It coulda been a contender.

leftcoaster 5:29 PM  

Tricky enough, a bit confusing, and aged. All involving the theme.

Didn't get how the dates were supposed to pair up with the POPULAR MUSIC, the ROCK STAR, and SINATRA's "MY WAY". Sinatra showed up in the rebus-like row, but had the harder time with ELVIS PRESLEY. Shouldn't the 20A-22A clue be pluralized for two mid-century GIANTs, both Frank and Elvis?

ANTRA (something about the bones) for some reason called to mind the young, thin swooner of the 1940s.

Lost some steam on this one.

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

My wife and I always do these puzzles weeks or months after they are posted. Just did this one and absolutely loved it! What a marvel of creation!

I enthusiastically echo the comments of Anonymous 7:50 am, which begin: "The tenor of these responses is truly baffling to me. (The ones about the content of the puzzle, not the ones about the details of its construction, fill, execution, etc.)..."

Good heavens, how immature and callow so many of you posters seem. Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley will always be enormously more significant to the world than 95% of all the pop stars living now. Get a sense of history people. Get out of the tiny little boxes you seem to be living in.

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