Coastal environment simulator at aquarium / SUN 6-21-20 / Nonvenomous fast-moving snake / Onesie protector / Cabinet inits since 1980 / Geographical locale whose name means waterless place

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Constructor: Byron (old like me) and Harrison (EIGHT YEARS OLD) Walden

Relative difficulty: Medium (10:15)

THEME: "Animal Crossings" — "What do you get when you cross ___ with ___?" riddles, where the ___s literally cross right next to the answers to each riddle:

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: HASSAN Rouhani (13A: Iranian president Rouhani) —
Hassan Rouhani (Persianحسن روحانی‎, Standard Persian pronunciation: [hæˈsæn-e ɾowhɒːˈniː](About this soundlisten); born Hassan Fereydoun (Persian: حسن فریدون‎) on 12 November 1948) is an Iranian politician serving as the current and seventh President of Iran since 3 August 2013. He was also a lawyer, academic, former diplomat and Islamic cleric. He has been a member of Iran's Assembly of Experts since 1999, member of the Expediency Councilsince 1991, and a member of the Supreme National Security Council since 1989. Rouhani was deputy speaker of the fourth and fifth terms of the Parliament of Iran (Majlis) and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 1989 to 2005. In the latter capacity, he was the country's top negotiator with the EU three, UK, France, and Germany, on nuclear technology in Iran, and has also served as a Shi'ite ijtihadi cleric, and economic trade negotiator. He has expressed official support for upholding the rights of ethnic and religious minorities. In 2013, he appointed former industries minister Eshaq Jahangiri as his first vice-president.
• • •

You know what can make me like corny dad-joke riddles? Puzzles co-constructed by 8yo boys and their dads, that's what. Everyone should co-construct with a kid. They should do a whole week of that. Co-constructor has to be in elementary school, go! OMG this puzzle even has a title of that app or game that I keep seeing people mention but that I've been studiously ignoring because why are grown people playing children's games but here it is on a puzzle constructed by an actual child, so I am All In, sign me up, etc.! Only SMILES, sorry folks, I know you kinda like the grouch but Not Today. OK, if I were being really truly Scroogey, I would say EXTRA DRUMSTICKS isn't as much of a coherent stand-alone concept as the others, and LIGHTNING SPEED is not an entity, which makes it weird as a result of even fantastical cross-breeding, and crossing plural animals with singular animal is ... interesting. But pffffffffft, don't care. I think these are cute. The grid actually played hardish for me in places, though my time was totally normal (it's a post-Negroni time, too, so ... you should probably shave a minute off my time if you want to know what my time would be like under normal, not slightly buzzed conditions). I liked that there was a WAVETANK to go with all these EELS and FISH and what not, though tbh WAVETANK took me a long time to get. Also difficult for me: CAT'S EAR (don't ... know what that is), and AREOLE (did not know that sense of the word and also spelled it AREOLA at first). Oh, and HONEYBEE! Napoleonic symbol? News to me! Funniest word in the grid to me is ADZING, a present participle so improbable it makes me giggle.

I don't think I understand RECAST as the answer to 23A: Put in another light. Oh crud I just got it. I could not shake the idea that someone was changing a lightbulb ... or RECASTing a play and the star of the play was somehow metaphorically a "light." But "in another light" is metaphorical. Gotcha. Never heard of a RACER, so that "C," yipes (3D: Nonvenomous, fast-moving snake). NOMEN was hard because Latin (I thought "NOMEN" was just "name" but I guess it's the second of three usual names in ancient Roman, huh). Wrote in EAST END before WEST END, that was dumb (69A: London theater district). I hope that Harry was happy that he got to put PEE in the grid, though tbh it was probably Byron who was tittering at that one (118D: 16th letter). OUTOFIT is a really fantastic entry that I had trouble parsing. It's weirdly rare—twice this year now, but only five times in the Shortz era total. It took me til the last letter (which, ironically, was the first letter) to figure out. Seriously thought AUTOFIT might be a thing (64A: Dazed and confused), but it made zero sense for the clue.

Have as happy a Father's Day, or just day, as you can. XO

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:16 AM  

Animal Crossings.
Okay. Not the best/not the worst. No strong feelings about this one either way. I will borrow @Z's terminology and admit to raising an eyebrow or two here and there, though:
ADZING? Looks like DICING has somebody to go to the movies with. I'm sure it's a thing, but is it the kind of thing people use with any regularity or want to hang out with?

Don't even get me started on the visual for CAT SEAR. I need to know - is it replacing the hamburger as the backyard cookout partner to the hot dog? But which condiment/sauce/chutney pairs best?? Obviously the wine would be a Catbernet.

Only speaking for myself here, but I've never DUGIN to work in my life. Work is simply "begun" - and with no particular gusto either.
Now a lasagna on the other hand...

And "soothing" TALCS? Why certainly, in that carcinogenic kinda sorta way. Ask Johnson & Johnson about their baby powder.

I'm just jumping all around the grid here, harvesting green paint in honor of the summer solstice. Bumper crop today.

I did like FRAIDNOT as an important reminder that the elements can adversely affect your hemp mooring line.

@Lorelei Lee Whatever you do, don't look at the clue for 100D. 😉


Bax'N'Nex 1:05 AM  

As I was doing this I kept telling my self “Mike is gonna hate this”. Random animals? Why these animals and not the ones Mike felt would be better?

Just shows ta go never know!

Maybe this is a sign of better times to come.

Peace and Love, peace and love...

egsforbreakfast 1:50 AM  

What a cute effort. You almost feel like you know Harrison just from the kind of jokes he produces. Glad to learn that Rex likes Negronis. Definitely high on my list, and occasionally responsible for my list when high!!!

Happy Fathers Day, and thanks for the Animal Crossings Byron and Harrison.

Beth C 2:29 AM  

What a fun review! I hope many, many fathers enjoy their Sunday solve as much as you did, Rex!

chefwen 2:37 AM  

That was sweet. Loved that Byron constructed this with his son.

When I got the first long one SWIMMING TRUNKS I did let out a Dad Joke groan. That was my only groan, they got a lot cuter after that. Sorry Rex, I laughed at EXTRA DRUMSTICKS, my favorite one.

Have to stay away from Sushi as I’m allergic to raw fish so IKA was a learning moment as was CATS EAR. Being a card carrying member of the Crazy Cat Lady Club you’d think I had heard of those, not so. Now I want to plant some, just because.

This was fun, but over well before I wanted it to be. Did the big WSJ Saturday because I had extra time (you doesn’t these days) and it was even easier, but enjoyable.

jae 3:18 AM  

Medium. There were some easy spots and there were some tough spots, hence medium. Cute and amusing, liked it, or exactly what @Rex said.

Anonymous 3:31 AM  

Glad you liked it, Rex, me too. Didn't realize one constructor was a kid, but that just makes it jollier. One of the few Sunday puzzles I was able to finish (I get it in the Sat-Sun issue) before looking here.

Marc 5:16 AM  

First Sunday Ive attempted in a year and it was a good one. Few hangups but really liked the theme. Happy Father's Day to all the dads!

Anonymous 5:59 AM  

Please bring back the real Rex.


Colin 6:08 AM  

Wow, OFL likes it! I too think a father-son team for this Father's Day puzzle is terrific, but 8-year-old (8!!) Harrison outdoes himself in those corners. Kudos!

(Although, any 8-year-old boy who clues APR for National Beer Day celebration and CAMARO for a sporty Chevy... likely... has a glint in his eye!)

My one quibble: Since when is "business class" ECON? As Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau said, "Not anymore." Nowadays, business class on a plane or on Amtrak is close to first-class. Nowadays, coach = ECON.

Lewis 6:17 AM  

I'm with @rex 100%, from the heartwarming picture of dad and son working on making a crossword -- a Sunday crossword! -- to the Rexnits© and the pffffffffting of them, as well as not knowing RACER and thinking that PEE would have caused laughter among the pair. I also liked the child-joke clues for FISH [School group], CLASSROOM ASSIGNMENT [Desk], and NESTS [They might take a few swallows]. The first theme answer SWIMMING TRUNKS was the best, IMO, made me actually laugh out loud. The solve was smooth, too smooth for a Walden, but when I read afterward who the co-constructor was, well my heart warmed, and every time I look at the puzzle, my heart rewarms. Nice touch, NYT, for Father's Day.

smalltowndoc 6:23 AM  

Are these Dad jokes or Son jokes? Doesn’t matter, the idea that father and son constructed a Sunday NYTXW together makes me smile.

I loved spending each Sunday doing the Times XWord with my Dad (bigcitydoc). Gone far too soon, he would have been 92 this month. Wherever you are Dad, Happy Father’s Day!

My daughter spent some time at home this past month (It’ll always be your home, Princess, and thanks for the really cool left-handed, mustache-protecting, bagel-warming coffee mug) and we did the Times Xword every day. So a cherished bonding experience continues.

G. Orwell 6:51 AM  

Love that the puzzle is just overflowing with non-themer animals, animal referencea and animal related things (including Charlie the Tuna!). A real kid's mind at work.

And remember...All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

ChuckD 6:55 AM  

Count me in with the group who liked it more upon learning of the father-son connection. Theme was fine - like @Lewis SWIMMING TRUNKS was my favorite. The overall fill was a little sloggy given the grid set up but there wasn’t anything terrible. Liked HOT WINGS and CAMARO - just imagining those are from the son. Yes Rex - Napoleon was a big fan of the HONEY BEE and I believe it was on his royal coat.
My two boys were still picking their nose at 8 - I’m impressed at what Harrison did here. Maybe we’ll be seeing his name again soon.

Anonymous 7:03 AM  

Apparently, I’m not as smart as a third grader. SWIMMING TRUNKS? Okay. ELECTRIC CHARGES? Okay. LIGHTNING SPEED? Okay. EXTRA DRUMSTICKS? WTACTUALF? And now, to see it lauded as a favorite, laugh-out-loud-worthy “joke?” Please, somebody, anybody, before my head explodes, explain to me how crossing a chicken with a squid produces extra frickin’ DRUMSTICKS.


QuasiMojo 7:26 AM  

Okay it ain't Turgenev but it was very well done. No groaners. I even laughed at the idea of trunks swimming. Disneyesque. I just wish the Foccacia had some OLIO nearby. I have never heard of this Draco fella except perhaps in a distant puzzle and had to cheat by coming here to get the last letter. But I'm glad I did because I read Rex's write-up! SMH. Whoddathunkit? Happy Father's Day to all. No matter how you feel about all these holidays, or tribute days, it's a time to celebrate life and our loved ones, and those we lost.

Anonymous 7:27 AM  

ECONomics class.

MexGirl 7:49 AM  

Chicken legs = drumsticks

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

A squid is a cephalopod, which has eight “legs” (depending on what you call a leg). A chicken leg is called a drumstick. Hence, the cross yields eight drumsticks. Admittedly a stretch, but definitely kid cute. Octopus might make a little more sense.

Joaquin 7:54 AM  

@Colin - ECON is a business class one would take in school, not the style of travel.

r.alphbunker 8:04 AM  

What do you get when you cross an ox with a cheetah? A speed solver that finishes with errors. See solution. Click the fast link to see the cheetah and the Show handed in grid link to see the ox.

Joaquin 8:05 AM  

I recall wanting to construct crosswords when I was eight years old. Unfortunately, back then the alphabet had not yet been invented so I had to make do with some father/son hunting and gathering.

Happy Father's Day to all you men who have earned the title "Dad".

DDG 8:16 AM  

This puzzle was a great Father's Day gift for all of us who have raised children and marvelled at their intellectual growth. And if their glee at potty humor cannot put a smile on your face, nothing will.

John R 8:17 AM  

I enjoyed the theme today, but was not able to finish the puzzle. Three naticks for me! That is the most I've run into in a long time. I had an E in ALIF crossing ANIMA. I had no idea on CATSEAR, so did not know if the TV was an LED or LCD. Also did not know AREOLE crossing the CATSEAR. So for a while I had EATSIAR for the dandelion.

I did know about Napoleon and the bees. Years ago there was a travelling exhibit that came to the Detroit Institute of Arts. The centerpiece was Liberty Leading the People by Delacroix. It also included a portrait of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David. The docent pointed out the gold embroidered bees as an example of the detailed realism that preceded the more romantic style that followed.

Lorelei Lee 8:20 AM  

Ok, so Accwa is the capitol of nothing. A Cats Paw isn't a plant. And Frost did not pen something called A Tree Lies in the Garden. But he could've cause he's kinda depressing that way.

I died in the SE corner, the victim of my tendency to over think the simple and miss what's staring me in the face.

But it was a lot of fun to see stuff like Chickens, Elephants, Rhinos, and my old pal Sonic the Hedgehog.

Oooh @Frantic you're evil! I came here chanting your advice like a mantra and you poke me?! Insert sobbing emoji here.

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

You’ve claimed a couple of times you haven’t seen Z use disparaging terms or insults di43ted at people,
May I point you to his comments last night some time @fter 11Pm.
It’s fairly typical of him. He misses a point, gets angry. Then waits to post something lousy, in this case, more than discourteous, but rather down 49ght offensive. A***shole? Ok, then. Thought there were proscriptions a giant that kind of language here.

Colin 8:52 AM  

Ahh, thank you all for clarifying ECON!
(Face palm.)

CDilly52 8:58 AM  

What a happy, happy puzzle for such a happy day. Doing things with our children is such an enlightening experience. And in this instance created a delightful Sunday puzzle. All of you who are fathers, have a wonderful day hopefully with your family. From the instant he almost drove into a neighbor’s yard when I blurted out that I was pregnant (at our most abjectly poverty stricken) anD on, my husband was a Premier League Dad! His relationship with our daughter was the envy of many. Including me at times.

When Kate was about 6, Larry started his own software development company and worked from home except when visiting clients. He also was the bus driver, the picker-upper, the take to ballet 4-6 times a week - every week - for years. And he read to her every single night. I had to horn in on the weekends to get some time!

Truth is, I often envied their close, easy devotion to each other. Although her unplanned birth derailed our “Grand Plan,” life does have a way of intervening, and our lives were wonderful and as Larry used to say “Kate-centric. Just the way I like it.”

One of my favorite memories so aptly describes our daughter and her loyalty to people she loves. One unusual day, I was the ballet bus driver from Villa Teresa School, and gathered Kate up with her three other 3rd grade friends who took class with her at Ballet Oklahoma. As we sat waiting for the kids, the moms would visit and I learned that there was a great deal of snarking about husbands going on! Of course, the moms barely knew me, I was busy being a young ambitious lawyer and could see the “you aren’t a Real Mom” in their eyes. To say that they were cordial but cool toward me would just about sum it up.

Class ends and the girls troop out, loud and sweaty and dressed in their typically odd collection of apres-dance wear. I was at the other end of the waiting area talking to the Business Manager who happened to be an old high school friend of my husband’s and all of a sudden, I hear my child’s anything but “inside voice” saying, “My Mom doesn’t MAKE my Daddy do anything! In fact my Daddy can DO anything!!” And a second or two later, now back to Inside Voice with a shoulder shrug and the “palms up” gesture of resignation . . . “Except hair. Daddy can’t do hair,” and picked up her backpack and dance bag and off we went. In the 45 minute drive from NW OKC to our home in Norman, I just had to ask what prompted her outburst.

“Well,” says 8 year old Kate, “Mrs O must not like Alicia’s Daddy because she always talks to the other moms about how ‘Kate’s Dad is all involved and Kate’s Dad does all this stuff.’ So today she asked me, ‘How does your Mom make your Dad get so involved,’ and I guess it made me kinda mad. But, Mom, Daddy tries but he really can’t do hair.”

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers everywhere!

Mustang Bobby 9:07 AM  

This was fun, all the more because for Fathers Day, and my dad loved animal jokes: if you replaced the priest, the rabbi, and the pastor walking into a bar with a fox, a rabbit, and a raccoon, he was rolling on the floor. Yeah, there were some stretches here (CATSEAR? Seriously?) and some punny clues that got the appropriate groans, but all in all it was fun. And my dad, who left us on Memorial Day, would have loved to have been told the jokes that came out of this one.

RooMonster 9:08 AM  

Hey All !
What a funny theme! As an adult, you forget how funny nonsensical and made-up things are. ELECTRIC CHARGES! SWIMMING TRUNKS! Good stuff. The animals being "crossed" are outrageous to think about. A FISH and an ELEPHANT! A SQUID and a CHICKEN! A RHINO and an EEL! A CHEETAH and a FIREFLY! Had me all SMILES as I solved.

ADZING got a big chuckle, too. What an awesome word!

Gonna have to go to xwordinfo to check out the Walden's blurb after reading here about the corners, etc.

Happy Dad's Day to all, father's or not.

Seven F's! (With only two in the abundant themers) Nice F representation, you two!

pmdm 9:09 AM  

Are the youthful works of Mozart, Rossini and Mendelssohn wonderful to listen because because of the youthful age of the composers? Not really. Something isn't great because it was composed by a precocious child. I expect reviewers to be consistent. So ...

I consistently dislike PPP that gets in the way of may solving. So yes, I disliked a bunch of the PPP in the puzzle today. But overall, I enjoyed solving it. Not as much as today's acrostic, for what it's worth.

It would be interesting to see what the child can do without adult help. SO go to it. I will be waiting.

JC66 9:19 AM  


From latest night.

Just my feeble attempt at humor...maybe, if you change your deodorant, the trolls will leave you alone.

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

Medium? I thought for sure you'd call it easy. After all partly constructed by an 8 year old! I had no trouble figuring out the theme. I'm a retired third-grade teacher and I LOVED doing riddles and jokes with my class. Like - what's round at both ends and high in the middle? State Your Name is the theme if I should ever construct a puzzle.

Nancy 9:36 AM  

This puzzle was more fun than a barrel of monkeys. More fun than a school of EELS. More fun than a memory of ELEPHANTS. More fun than a coop of CHICKENS.

Imaginative, funny, highly playful and unexpected. My favorite theme answer is SWIMMING TRUNKS but ELECTRIC CHARGES is pretty wonderful, too. When I read the blog, I may find out why you get EXTRA DRUMSTICKS when you cross a SQUID with a CHICKEN -- the one answer I didn't understand. But why quibble? If I had to pick only one word to describe this puzzle, I'd call it delightful.

To 8-year-old Harrison: you would seem to be a youthful prodigy with a brilliant future ahead. In puzzles, or in pretty much anything else you choose to do. And don't forget to treasure your father. He's the kind of mentoring Dad a kid can only dream of.

The Clerk 9:42 AM  

Awesome puzzle. ECON and RHINOCEROS clues are chef’s kiss.

TTrimble 9:44 AM  


Relative noob here; still learning the lingo. What's PPP?

Z 9:49 AM  

Unusually difficult here, mostly of my own doing, especially through the middle section. Having Mad Men on HBO certainly didn’t help anything. Plus, my QATARIS were in Yemen to start. Oof. What else?... WAVE poNd before WAVE TANK. Lots of good stuff here, so it never felt like a slog, but it felt tougher than yesterday’s offering to me. It was the image of a ten-legged chicken that got the biggest chuckle here.

@Frantic Sloth - I too, thought of @Lorelei Lee’s plaint. 😂😂😂
On a more serious note, did you see this? I doubt that will be the end of the research but it’s not as clear as some lawyers would argue it is.

@7:03 - You caught me. I’m so embarrassed. I did indeed point out that when people engage in certain behaviors other people view them negatively.

Nancy 9:49 AM  

EXTRA DRUMSTICKS. Got it! Squid have all those many, many arms. Lovely!

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

NORDSTROMS should be NORDSTROM. No S on it even though it seems like there should be.

Barbara S. 9:51 AM  

Any nits I thought I had to pick with the puzzle were immediately cancelled in light of the co-constructors' relationship. What a great father/child project.

I had some minor trouble in two areas:
1) The CATS EAR/LCDS/AREOLE neighbourhood (hi @Rex and @John R). At one point I had LeDS and ARbOLE, resulting in eATSbAR for the dandelion lookalike. Eats bar? Sounds more like a diner to me.
2) I had PeTON for PITON, resulting in PeXY stix. I don't know PIXY Stix, so that almost looked OK, but I fiddled around with it until it came out right.

I can't quite figure 29A "Not down so much" = DIET. I realize that dieting is a method of getting your weight down but I somehow can't quite reconcile clue and answer.

Short snappers:
- UZI crossing BAZOOKA, both clued in kid ways: The Terminator and bubble-gum.
- Unusually, they gave us "Tirana" and we had to fill in ALB.
- SKINK is a type of lizard?? New to me.


[Drumroll] What do you get when you cross a puffer fish with a pig?


Oof, and I'm not even a Dad. Happy Fathers' Day to all who are dads or who have ever had a dad (biological, adoptive, spiritual, mentoring).

KnittyContessa 9:54 AM  

The themers were great. Love that this was done by a father/son team. Everything else about this puzzle, though....not so much!

18D - shouldn't swallows be capitalized? Way too much PPP. The 13A, 16D cross was a guess. I've never read/seen Harry Potter so DRACO slowed me down. Never heard of CATSEAR either. I had ARiOLA so that took a while. I eventually figured it all out but I wasn't too happy doing it.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads!

Hungry Mother 10:11 AM  

Pretty easy and then a slogfest due to whack-a-vowel across a few entries. Definitely a L today because on paper it would have been incorrect. I think constructors can anticipate those situations and give us a chance in one direction. Not the Father’s Day gift that I would have liked today.

Robert Weinert 10:11 AM  

Loved the puzzle. Did not realize co-author was an 8 year old until after completion. Kudos. Am happy to read most commenters and the big man, Rex Parker, had some positive things to say. A rarity that he likes something. Perhaps because it is Father's Day.

LeaveItToYourGoat 10:13 AM  

Does anyone else do Matt Gaffney's weekly meta crossword challenge? Today's "Animal Crossing" theme reminded me of a very clever MG meta puzzle from a few weeks ago.

I loved the corny dad-jokes from this puzzle. EXTRA DRUMSTICKS got an audible laugh out of me, and it looked even better with HOT WINGS running perpendicular to it.

I worked through this one clockwise, so I didn't fully grasp the theme by the time I got to 40-Down. I had RHINO- and I thought this was going to be a punny answer about rhinoplasty or something.

I had no idea this was partly constructed by an 8 year-old, but looking back through some of it, it makes a whole lot of sense. The way BAZOOKA was clued (as the bubble gum instead of the stovepipe rocket launcher), CHEETAH being seen as the epitome of speed, the "Lee Ratner (!)" part of the clue for DCON, and PEE clued as "16th letter" just ooze with child-like innocence and imagination.

Looking forward to seeing more puzzles from Harrison!

Colin 10:15 AM  

@Barbara S.: "Not down so much" as in "I did not down so much food" because I was... DIETing!

FWIW, it took me a little while to get that one, too.

MissScarlet 10:18 AM  

@frantic sloth: it’s not the talc, it’s the asbestos.

@CDilly 52: thank you for your wonderful memory.

Thanks to several for explaining ‘extra drumsticks’. That was driving me nuts.

Fun puzzle. Hard for me. But fun.

Amie Devero 10:19 AM  

Never heard of Animal Crossing (the game) before today. And then, coincidentally, ran across this short documentary film (which I recommend) right before doing puzzle. Weird coincidence. Here's the link for the film:

EdFromHackensack 10:20 AM  

Still scratching my head at EXTRA DRUMSTICKS, I came here expecting a better explanation. that one is just a thud. But I did enjoy the puzzle and the fact that an 8 year old son helped out! I had one square wrong: eNIMA instead of ANIMA. I just didn't know it - and BASMeTI going the other way seemed reasonable. SO I guess I was Naticked there. Took me awhile as I didn't know ACCRA or AREOLE or CATS EAR or PITON and needed all the crosses. But heck, thats OK - we all learn things doing crosswords right?
In 1985 I bought a midnight blue Camaro with T Tops from Malcolm Konner Chevrolet in Paramus NJ. As I drove it off the lot "Don't You Forget About Me" by Simple Minds came on the radio. Every time I hear that song it reminds me of that good old Camaro. Fun times. Happy Fathers Day to all it applies to. :)

Lorelei Lee 10:20 AM  

@Barbara S, Google Blue Tongue Skink image. They're awesome. It seems they come in navy and teal.

@Z, See earlier comment (also, got it on the crosses so I didn't even see the clue :).

pmdm 10:27 AM  

PPP is a term coined by Z meaning proper nouns, popular lingo, and products names. Those crossword entires are either in you wheelhouse or not. If not, your only hope is to get them by the crosses. If you don't know one of the crosses, there might be several reasonable ways to fill in the grid, and guessing the correct one is a crap shoot. When the number of entries approaches approximately 33% of the total number of entires, the magnitude of PPP in the grid angers a lot of solvers.

Perhaps Z explains it better.

Pamela 10:33 AM  

Great fun today. I laughed like an 8-year-old boy at the first themer. It took a minute to get the squid one, then it became my favorite. Such a silly puzzle today, I loved it. I didn’t realize it was Fathers Day until coming here, makes it even better.

Thanks to the commentariat for explaining ECON class. Detours along the way: ARiOLE, LcDS, misplaced C’s in the bread... The biggest faux pas was thREeLIES in my garden. I wanted therE LIES but couldn’t make it work, either sense wise with the clue or with the letters, so I settled, knowing it was a looong stretch. When A_ZING finally made D inevitable, LIES became FLIES and the rest followed. Fun and crunch. Perfect.

I had a garden with lots and lots of dandelions, which I would pull sporadically. I knew some of them looked a little different, but only as of today have I learned their name.

Happy Fathers Day. all you Dads!

Chance 10:37 AM  


RECAST has nothing to do with a play. To "recast" something is to say it another way, to put a subject in a new light.

Birchbark 10:40 AM  

This puzzle has EXTRA DRUMSTICKS. Beautiful cartoon goofiness.

A nice misdirect for me was iceax --> PITON, driven by the view that Lex's evil sister would be LExA. I wonder if this trap was set intentionally.

I don't know if beer and solving-time correlate. Two Two-Hearted Ales (7%) shortly preceded my personal best solve (3:02) late one afternoon, on the puzzle for Tuesday 6/24/2002. Other variables: chores were done, shower taken, barometer fair, windows and porch door open, family accounted for, no one expected anything of me.

amyyanni 10:48 AM  

@John R, spent many happy hours at the Detroit Institute of Art when I was a kid. Remember standing in front of a Van Gogh, studying the grooved paint, and thinking of him layering in those brushstrokes. Love the Diego Rivera murals too.
And love this puzzle. Brightly AERATED with a touch of HONEY, most wonderfully SMILE producing. Happy Father's Day.

LeaveItToYourGoat 10:50 AM  

Squid have 8 'legs' and chickens have 2, so a hypothetical squid/chicken hybrid would be an 8-legged chicken, giving you 6 extra "DRUMSTICKS," a common poultry term for the femur bone (I think).

kitshef 10:53 AM  

Overall easy, but Naticks galore. HASSAN/SONIA, CATS EAR/AREOLE, CATS EAR/LCDS, DRACO also crossing AREOLE and LCDS ... probably missed a couple. Of those, DRACO was a gimme for me but all the others were mysteries. Surprisingly, I guessed right on all those, only to trip up at ALeF crossing ANeMA.

I think it is highly unlikely that any of these proposed crosses would result in viable offspring, and essentially impossible that the offspring would be as described.

gloriosky 10:55 AM  

You’re hilarious! I had Cat Seat/Accta. I, too, wanted a tree in the garden, but was able finally to get Fireflies.

Kathy 10:57 AM  

I’m still trying to digest yesterday’s and today’s high PPP load. [insert belch here]

Wordplay is so much more fun for me. Today’s puzzle delivered that, plus the wonderful Father’s Day image of dad and son sharing an experience of a lifetime and a lot of giggles. So I can easily forgive the many Naticks today. Yesterday, not so much.

@CDilly52, they were just jealous.

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

Bazooka was clued as shoulder-supported launcher. Would have preferred your idea of having it relate to the bubble gum.

pabloinnh 11:06 AM  

I guess the jokes in this one didn't blow me away because they seemed familiar. I've heard variations of the "extra drumsticks" punchline for a long time, have to say I did like SWIMMINGTRUNKS, just for the visual. So medium fun here, learned CATSEAR, which given the number of cats that have graced our houses, I was happy to get to know.

Thought this was a good example of OFL judging a puzzle on who constructed it. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at his (for him) glowing review. I didn't realize it was a father/son team while I was doing it, and finding that out was nice.

Best answer for me was the CAMARO (hi Ed). When I got out of college I needed a car and I wanted something sporty, like an MGB or a Triumph. My folks, especially my Mom, would not allow such a thing (Too dangerous!). I wound up with a steel blue '68 Camaro with a 327, four-barrel carb, and four on the floor. The fastest and most fun car I ever owned, but not the safest.

Happy Father's Day to all you dad types. Off for a cookout with my younger boy, and awaiting the arrival of his older brother from England in August, as he and family are moving back to NH. Huzzah!

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

Don't know why cluing is different on line vs printed copy in magazine section I received yesterday

Betty Danger 11:15 AM  

I like the happy Rex!

TTrimble 11:23 AM  

Thanks for the explanation, which seems clear and comprehensive enough. The question, as I now perceive, pops up periodically.

Z 11:24 AM  

@Barbara S and @Colin - Hand up for grokking the clue after filling in the answer.

@Anon9:51 - Shortz and the Waldens sneakily clued it as “department storeS. So, “metro Detroit has only one NORDSTROM but Chicagoland has three NORDSTROMS.” Don’t blame me, that’s an especially sneaky POC (“plural of convenience” for the new people here - not my coinage).

@pmdm - Nope. You nailed the PPP explanation. I normally claim the P’s represent Pop culture, Product names, and other Proper nouns, but your PEEs are just as good as mine (you know what they say about PEEing contests).

EXTRA DUMSTICKS is still getting questions even though it’s been answered so I’m just highlighting the answer. A SQUID has 10 appendages, so if you cross it with a CHICKEN you would get a 10-legged chicken, ergo EXTRA DRUMSTICKS. I also just learned that a SQUID has 8 arms and 2 tentacles. I didn’t know there was a difference.

Carola 11:35 AM  

HOT WINGS and EXTRA DRUMSTICKS? EAT AWAY! And to heck with the LIPID level. I loved this puzzle's jokey ANTICs, especially the FIREFLIES-CHEETAH cross. What a very CHEERy way to start the day.

New to me: HAWSES (partner of "hemses"?). Spelling lesson: FOCACCIA, RHINOCEROS (not -uS).

@John R 8:17 - Thank you for the David reference.

Newboy 11:35 AM  

App ate my long response. In short, Perfection for the day! Now back to see what y’all think.

JC66 11:37 AM  

Hate to be a grouch on Father's Day, but I did this last night and thought the puzzle was poor and that @Rex would REAM it..

Came here this morning to learn that Harrison is 8 years, and my feelings did warm a bit, but let's remember that an adult was a co-constuctor.

And @Rex loved it! (Agree with @pabloinnh that this is a prime example of @Rex'x opinion of a puzzle being affected by who's constructing. Just imagine if it was Bruce Haight and his daughter).

My biggest nit: How do you have HONEYBEE right above FIREFLIES and crossing CHEETAH?

Teedmn 11:37 AM  

This is a cute puzzle and a great way to celebrate Father's Day. But I could have used some help keeping track of the cross-references (color-coding, anyone?) When I struggled to make sense of how crossing chickens and rhinos got you extra drumsticks, well perhaps if I had remembered to take the word CROSSINGS in the title literally, yeah, you feel me? Chickens and squid, rhinos and eels, duh.

I think the best, trickiest clue-answer pair was OPED for "Take in the newspaper" (which I originally thought might be "read", har). "Not down so much" = DIET was pretty good also. "Touchingly" = BY FEEL. "Picked (up)" = CHEERED. "Congregate to rest" = ROOST. " "Cheese" products" = SMILES. There's some fun stuff hiding in there.

FOCACCIA (my husband makes a great Greek version with olives and feta), MAUI (I've been on the Hana Hwy.), NOD OFF, which I'm notorious for doing. My favorite theme answer was ELEPHANTS crossing FISH makes SWIMMING TRUNKS.

Happy Father's Day to all who qualify. And thanks, Byron and Harrison.

Frantic Sloth 12:26 PM  

Okay, so I'm a Grinch. Nothing like beating up on an 8-year-old to make you feel proud and mighty. Not.

But, it doesn't end there.

@JC66 919am It's not your attempt that was feeble, but my mind. 😆😆 (BTW, I guess I finally was left alone since all relevant comments were deleted. Huh??)

@Lorelei Lee 820am It's true. I am evil. Paradoxically, I meant no harm and I apologize for the jab. I'll just borrow @JC66's "feeble" joke moniker and pin it on my chest, right below my medal for bravery above and beyond for tangling with an 8-year-old kid.

It's already getting crowded on there, but gonna hafta squeeze in another decoration for duncing:

@Z 949am "I too, thought of @Lorelei Lee’s plaint. 😂😂😂"
Thanks for the "too", but I didn't get that joke either. I know - it's that Captain Renault kinda way. And no, I didn't know about the study which was interesting and yet, not surprising since isn't that always the way? 🤷‍♀️
Also @ Z 1124am It's clear I've already had too many, but I'd like more of those EXTRA DUMSTICKS, please. 😉

@MissScarlet 1018am - Thank you. It's my forte and part of my "considerable charm" to shoot my mouth off on things about which I know nothing. Also, see above for additional interesting information on the subject.

@CDilly52 858am I don't think I owe you a mea culpa, but I've been wrong on (the oh-so-rare) occasion before, so just in case: I'm sorry. I really just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your story. You and your husband obviously did an excellent job in raising such a sweet, spunky and honest person!

And just in case you or your dad are reading this, to Harrison (or do you prefer "Harry"?) Walden:

If I had your smarts at my age, let alone yours, I could rule the world. If I had your imagination, I could dream up elegant cures for all its problems. And if I had your talent, it would all be accomplished effortlessly. It's obvious you make your parents proud, but don't sell yourself short - you make us all proud. Congratulations on a job very well done and do keep it up!

Thank you,
A Frantic Fan

burtonkd 12:39 PM  

Happy Father's Day All!

Ernonymous 12:45 PM  

@anon 8:43 am and you're already starting in on your passive aggressive nonsense? Didn't you basically ruin yesterday for those of us who like to read the comments for entertainment and information? Yes, you did. We don't care about your petty obsession with Z. Find another hobby.
Your passive aggressive digs disguised as innocent questions is really getting old.

Swagomatic 12:51 PM  

Okay, okay, after seeing the father and son team, I think it's fine. I think it's appropriate for father's day. And the cross references were right by each other. Two pencils up.

Barbara S. 12:53 PM  

@Colin 10:15
Thank you! [forehead slap] I often forget that "down" can be a verb.

@Lorelei Lee 10:20
Wow! I've heard of "silver-tongued" but blue is new. Astonishing shades, and I gather mostly for communication, either within the species or to ward off predators.

@Anonymous 11:00 and 11:11
Is there really a version of this puzzle with a weapons-related clue for BAZOOKA (20A)? The puzzle I accessed had: "Bubble gum brand." Does anyone have an explanation for this?

[Another drumroll] What do you get when you cross a SKINK with a stag?


OK, I'm holding up my left hand; my right hand is resting firmly on the NYTXW; I'm taking the pledge: "I agree to abstain from posting any more goofy animal crossings now or in the future."


That last word for QB makes me want to rename it "Spelling Bear" because it is. 🤬

F-Slo (Hi, @JoeD)

Frantic Sloth 1:13 PM  

@Barbara S. One more: What do you get when you cross a donkey and an orangutan?

An Orange Ass.

I know - not funny. But it does exist. Come to think of it, it's not funny either...

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Love this story, all aspects!

Anonymous 1:17 PM  


Anonymous 1:19 PM  

with you on that!

Old Actor 1:28 PM  

Chicken joke: It's old but maybe you haven't heard it.

A man was driving in the country when something zoomed past him going over the speed limit. He saw it run to a farm house. When it stopped he saw it was a chicken. The man stopped and saw a farmer in the yard. Fascinated, he asked the farmer about that amazing bird.

The farmer explained that the chicken had 3 legs and that he bred 3 legged hens.

Why? the man asked.

Well, my wife and daughter and I all like drumsticks, so we only have to cook one hen.

How do they taste?

Don't know, we've never caught one.

Pamela 1:28 PM  

@Barbara S. I did the printed puzzle today, and yes, the clue for 20A is ‘Shoulder-supported launcher.’

I mentioned 8-year-old earlier as a nod in the right direction, but neglected to properly credit the co-constructor: Well done, Harrison! And Dad, of course.

Especially nice today that Rex was so out of character😉

Is it my nostalgic re-imagining, or didn’t the Sunday theme used to be more silly, more often? So often these days the cleverness becomes just work, less word play, more gimmicks. I’ve been a Sunday only solver for many years- since the 70’s, at least, and remember enjoying them most of the time. One Thanksgiving theme actually stuck- I still remember HOUSE OF SEVEN GOBBLES!

Lately, having had some extra time on my hands, I’ve come to enjoy the dailies somewhat- mainly because of this blog. I’m not sure how well the habit will stick,now that my NY world is starting to open up (Fingers crossed, along with everything else). Reading the posts here, I’ve learned a lot and laughed often. I thank you all for the edification, and more so for the entertainment.

Joe Dipinto 1:29 PM  

I think the reason I wasn't understanding EXTRA DRUMSTICKS is because it doesn't correspond to the other themers. Each of the others consists of two words, one specifically relating to one of the animals and the other relating to the other animal. So there's:






"Extra" has nothing intrinsically to do with "squid". You could cross a chicken with any four-legged animal and you'd have extra drumsticks. And never mind that squid legs look nothing like drumsticks.

There. I've eviscerated the theme a la Rex. That felt good. Happy Father's Day.

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

My paper copy of the NY Times Magazine has "shoulder supported launcher" as the clue for BAZOOKA.

GILL I. 1:32 PM  

Yes, I'm a lucky lady. Every man in my life has been a wonderful father. EVERY SINGLE ONE. From my granddad on down to #1 son. Usually there is an apple in the family with a worm eating all the inside juices, but I got the red delicious. I'm ICING some Spanish Cava and sharpening the scissors, because #1 husband only wants a hair cut and some bubbly for his day. He's easy. :-)
CDilly 8:58...Your lovely "unplanned birth" story actually made me smile. Both of mine sorta fit into that category. I was busy flitting across the country before my two children were born 9 years apart. How would my busy husband and I find time to be doting parents? As it turned out....we did. My husband owned his own business and he changed everything around so that he could do the bussing, shopping for fish sticks, putting a few things into the washing machine and keeping neighborhood kiddies away from the swimming pool. It worked. Our 6'3 son and 5'2 petite daughter turned out to be awesome parents themselves. We did a good job, didn't we?
I'm so glad OFL liked this puzzle....I did too. How can you not love an ELEPHANT crossing a FISH.....Was this your son's idea, Byron?
I always thought National Beer Day would be OCT. Isn't that when Oktoberfest is celebrated?
Hope all of you Father's are enjoying something grand today...even if it's watching re-runs of "Mad Men." Happy Papacito Day.

Z 1:35 PM  

@Frantic Sloth 12:26 pm - I was referencing your 12:16 am “@Lorelei Lee Whatever you do, don't look at the clue for 100D.” That that specific word should appear today cracked me up.

I don’t know the actual answer on the BAZOOKA mystery, but I suspect that between the time the print version was sent to print and the time the online version was finalized a decision to change must have been made. I seem to recall from earlier discussions that the print version is pretty much set and not changeable at least a week before we see it. Online versions have actually been edited during the day, so lots more flexibility with the online version.

Lorelei Lee 1:37 PM  

@Frantic/Z, I meant good evil re. don't get me started. I type faster than I think!

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

TALC isn't carcinogenic. It's talc that's been contaminated with asbestos that's carcinogenic.

Admittedly, talc and asbestos are chemically very similar minerals and are often found in the same locations, so perhaps it is impossible to mine talc without some risk of asbestos contamination. But it's not actually the talc that's the hazard.

Masked and Anonymous 1:39 PM  

@RP: yep. Fun SunPuz. Had humorous themers, herds of animals, and the theme clue cross-references stayed in their own zones, givin the solvequester some hope for success.

Really wanted to know what U get when U cross CHER with a HONEYBEE, tho … was that the HOTWINGS?

This 8-year old constructioneer dude has got some serious game, based on his puzgrid fillin contributions in the NE & SW corners. HASSAN crossin SONIA … hard on old M&A's nanoseconds.

staff weeject picks: TRA & APR. Well done on the weeject seed entries, young Harrison W.

fave themer: EXTRADRUMSTICKS (a SQUID's worth of leg parts). And HOTWINGS.
ADZING … har … ADded some extra ZING, with its Ow de Speration bouquetity.

Thanx for gangin up on us but keepin it in the family, Byron and Harrison dudes. Happy Father's Day, indeed.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Nancy from Chicago 1:40 PM  

Loved the puzzle and had no idea that Harrison was 8 until after I finished. Looking back though at the childlike clues others have pointed out, it makes sense. Such a charming "Dad jokes" theme for Father's Day!

@Colin, if it makes you feel any better, I had the exact same misunderstanding on the ECON clue.

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads!

Victor 1:47 PM  

Think of an 8-legged chicken.

Frantic Sloth 1:48 PM  

@Z Ohhh! Duh. I have to say, when I first saw that clue I thought "Uh-oh. Here's the universe dumping a giant, steaming turd on all of us" Then, just as quickly "That's really kind of funny." Should have gone with my first reaction, I guess. But, I'm glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

Greg 1:49 PM  

RECAST - finally got it.

TTrimble 1:49 PM  

@Barbara S.
The Bazooka is a reference to Bazooka Bubble Gum, which I remember from when I was a kid. There used to be a comic to go with it, Bazooka Joe. Man, do I feel old!

jberg 1:55 PM  

Yeah, me too for the shoulder-mounted launcher, delivered to my front porch this morning.

It took me more than a moment to figure out both ECON and HEAD ON (I had head up, a different sense of direct).

I think everything else has been said -- except that I can't even figure out what @Z, @Frantic sloth, and @Lorelei Lee are going on about. I guess I should go back yesterday's late comments, but hey, it's Father's Day! My kids are all away, but my wife is taking me to a restaurant with outdoor seating -- first non-takeout restaurant meal since March 18!

Frantic Sloth 2:10 PM  

@LL That's good (and a relief) to know! I swear people like us would pay a pretty penny for a sarcasm font. We so often suffer from its absence! 😉

LorrieJJ 2:18 PM  

Why the ! for Lee Ratner at 58D?

Ethan Taliesin 2:34 PM  

Like John R at 8:17, I had an E rather than an I at the ALIF/ANIMA crossing. I should have gotten that I guess.

It was kinda OK. The long answers pushed the solving forward at least.

Anonymous 2:58 PM  

It is NOT Nordstroms it is Nordstrom‼️

Unknown 3:02 PM  

Delightfully cute and enjoyable.

JC66 3:17 PM  

@Anon 2:58

As pointed out above the clue for NORDSTROMS reads "stores - plural.

Georgia 3:36 PM  

I think it means you wouldn't "down" (eat) so much food or drink.

Joe Dipinto 3:51 PM  

@LorrieJJ 2:18 – Because D-Con targets rodents such as mice and...rats(!)

Joe Dipinto 4:26 PM  

My guess on BAZOOKA is that there was too much weaponry up there with UZI also in the mix. So they decided to change the clue.

Anoa Bob 4:51 PM  

If you crossed a CHICKEN with a SQUID, seems to me you would get EXTRA WINGS, not EXTRA DRUM STICKS. DRUM STICKS are CHICKEN legs and a SQUID doesn't have legs, it has arms. The corresponding parts of the CHICKEN would be its WINGS.

CDilly52 5:01 PM  

@Mustang Bobby, 9:07 AM. I had a lot of trouble with CAT’s EAR, too, largely because I got all the letters put in correctly, but my eyes could not “unsee” CAT SEAR. So, I immediately erased the CAT. That was the very last thing to fall, I think only because I Googled CAT SEAR and the good Google elves gave the me blue question: Did you mean cat’s ear? Massive head smack! So since I had the right letters and put the same ones back in after the Google, is this actually cheating? Sounds like a question from a law schools ethics exam, LOL.

CDilly52 5:09 PM  

Hey @Roo, I totally agree. Kid humor is so much fun, especially watching your own develop their little sense of humor and seeing them with friends telling endless silly jokes that don’t make any sense but laughing uproariously anyway!

My Dad would have laughed at ADSING, and I chuckled thinking of him with his precise ways, telling me about each of his tools. One time, I recall asking him what he was lathe-omg, and the teacher-Dad came out and I learned that one “turns” an item on one’s lathe, and when I asked him what he was turning, he told me a replacement spiral for the grandfather clock.
Absolutely would have gotten a similar lecture about the adz. I do adore that word.

teevoz 5:17 PM  

Yay Rex! There is a heart inside that curmudgeon after all! This was a lovely puzzle, with the best backstory I've read. And as I tweeted, it inspires me and my expert xword loving son and 4 year old grandson who also is a xword lover to get in on the gig and go for a 3 generation construction team. May take until the kid is 8 to actually get something credible but we're going to try! Happy Father's Day, all.

Anonymous 6:44 PM  

There isn't a single thing in the puzzle suggesting that a child was involved. It's great but I suspect Dad actually made the puzzle. 8 year old? Puhleeze!

Anonymous 7:36 PM  

Anon 6:44:

There are some smart kids in this world. Nothing implausible here.

Joe Dipinto 9:40 PM  

*****ACROSTIC ALERT!!!*****


I finished it.

Main Puzzle ✓
Acrostic ✓
Crazy Eights ✓
Gas Lines ✓
5x5 Kenken ✓
7x7 Kenken – still in progress
Spelling Bee – still in progress

A Modeator 9:45 PM  

@Anon 9:07

I've been moderating since 9 AM and haven't deleted any @Anon comments today.

Sometimes comments just "magically" disappear.

Rather than cusrsing the dark, light a candle.

Try re-posting.

A different moderator 10:08 PM  

@Deleted Anonymous - That was me. Here is a quote from Rex to us from 18 months ago, “There’s so much garbage over the last few days. The comment “Isn't this guy supposed to be good at puzzles?” for instance, is harmless in its way but also adds nothing. It’s just a stupid snark. Is it contributing to the discussion of the puzzle? OK. If not. Delete. Especially delete unconfirmed accounts with clearly hostile intent. Ruthlessly delete them. I’m getting complaints about the comments section again, which I haven’t since you all so graciously took over.” I determined that you fit the description I put in bold. We do try to censor as little as possible, but you have been pushing it for over a week. I also deleted your comments today because you said nothing about the puzzle.

I Never Post 10:45 PM  

Is anybody still awake?

What do you get when you cross a giraffe with an arctic fox?
A tall, cold one. Bottoms up!

Pamela 12:26 AM  

🤣Thanks for the nightcap!


Mary Rose 10:52 AM  

Great review. I love it when you are cheerful.

spacecraft 2:11 PM  

Not sure a squid's tentacles would qualify as "DRUMSTICKS--" in this house they surely don't. But hey, the other ones hit pretty solid. They led with their chin; the first one, SWIMMINGTRUNKS, is bang on. The others, passably close. For any of this to be a product of an 8-year-old mind is awesome. Kudos all around!

The fill does get iffy in places; how could it not, with such widespread theme material? So we deal with the RMK and the RCD, yeah yeah. I love ADZ playing Scrabble; you can add an E or not, as desired. But as a verb? I guess. If it's a tool, using it verbalizes it. I hammered, I drilled, I"m ADZING. Alternate clue: Memorable elan in a commercial?

I didn't finish this in LIGHTNINGSPEED, but for a Sunday, it wasn't that tough. A nice entertainment on the day after. DOD is the ageless CHER. And young Harrison (after Ford, methinks?): you have an incredibly bright future. Birdie.

Burma Shave 3:56 PM  


NOMEN OPPOSE or are OUTOF the need,
AND SEENO reason for FEAR OF the deed,
so CHER was ASKED BY Sonny,
"Can you BEE a HONEY


Diana, LIW 5:19 PM  

Thanks to Mr. W, I got the Harry Potter reference and the last letter of the puzzle.

Hope you all had a great and safe 4th! Beautiful Sunday here - along with a fun puzzle. EXTRADRUMSTICKS for everyone!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the virus-free picnic

rondo 5:51 PM  

Corny, but fine. Seeing the byline, I figured a kid was involved. Good for the Waldens.

CHER is always a winner. I wonder if she ever played with STEELY Dan. In any sense.


leftcoaster 8:08 PM  

This one was OUT OF IT, as many Sundays are.

Anonymous 8:31 PM  

Pretty fair puzzle with a few aha's and a few groans.

I think OFL hasn't seen a racer maybe because I believe they are much more common in the west. Here in the California foothills one sees them along with gopher snakes, king snakes, garter snakes, and the most prevalent rattlesnakes.

Finished the puzzle in about four or five times the time for Rex, despite a few Naticks. Pretty amazing for an eight year old and his dad. Hope to see more from them in the future.

Anonymous 9:22 PM  

From now on when I do LAPS in my SWIMMINGTRUNKS I'm going to think of myself as an ELEPHANT FISH.

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