Don Juan's mother / WED 6-17-20 / 1960s band with car-related name / Company that's RAD on New York Stock Exchange / Longtime director of La Scala New York Philharmonic

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Constructor: Daniel Raymon

Relative difficulty: Medium (4:21)

THEME: FIELD OF DREAMS (53A: 1989 Best Picture nominee ... with a hint to 20-, 24-/27- and 32-/37-Across) — theme answers are kinds of fields (?) that are also things upon which you sleep, perchance to dream:

Theme answers:
  • BLANKET OF SNOW (20A: Winter whiteness)
  • SHEET / OF ICE (24A: With 27-Across, slippery hazard)
  • BED / OF ROSES (32A: With 37-Across, metaphor for comfort)
Word of the Day: TOSCANINI (23A: Longtime music director of La Scala and the New York Philharmonic) —
Arturo Toscanini (/ɑːrˈtʊər ˌtɒskəˈnni/Italian: [arˈtuːro toskaˈniːni]; March 25, 1867 – January 16, 1957) was an Italian conductor. He was one of the most acclaimed musicians of the late 19th and of the 20th century, renowned for his intensity, his perfectionism, his ear for orchestral detail and sonority, and his eidetic memory.[1] He was at various times the music director of La Scala in Milan and the New York Philharmonic. Later in his career he was appointed the first music director of the NBC Symphony Orchestra (1937–54), and this led to his becoming a household name (especially in the United States) through his radio and television broadcasts and many recordings of the operatic and symphonic repertoire. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is another one of those themes (like yesterday's) where the cleverness just misses slightly, in a way that has solvers wondering if they actually Got it, or if there's something they're missing. Yesterday, it was the "square" part needed to make any sense of the whole "area" angle ... a logical gap that had to be filled by the reader, but which in some cases never got filled (without explanation) and even when filled was much more likely to elicit a "... huh ..." than a "wow." You can get as clever as you like, but your gimmick better Land, eventually, or else it's a flop. Today ... instead of supplying "square" we have to infer what the hell "fields" has to do with anything. This isn't hard, but it is unsatisfying. There's just too much going on for this to really work. You have the whole bed metaphor thing, which seems like a fine theme, but then there's the revealer, which adds this "field" element, which just makes things odd. The "field" metaphor seems fine for BLANKET OF SNOW, but seems very tenuous when applied to a mere SHEET OF ICE; yes, technically any expanse can be a "field," but ... bleh. There's a cogent core idea here, with the BLANKET SHEET BED set, but the revealer tries too hard and slips and face-plants, imho. I would add this assessment to the fill. Or at least to the NE and SW corners, where the constructor clearly thought he was doing something *good* by putting those "Z"s in there, but woof, no. That is textbook Scrabble-f***ing. The "Z" is not worth INEZ / OZS and the surrounding fill (DOMO, GTOS). Any half-decent constructor can construct that corner cleanly and even interestingly in under five minutes. But some constructors still labor under the delusion that "Z"s (or "Q"s or other rarer letters) will make their puzzles inherently snazzy. The SW corner is even more egregious, as ZONAL is such an awful, painful adjective (57A: Like certain transportation pricing). "Oooh, a clue about transportation pricing! Cool!" said no one. Just make the "Z" a "T" and write Good Clues. Come on.

The rest of the fill is really bad in places, especially the north, which is a minefield of garbage. Like, it's garbage that also explodes. OLEIC REATA OMANI! It's like some kind of unholy incantation used to summon OOXTEPLERNON, the God of Bad Short Fill. DSO APER CPO all ensure that we never get too far without groaning, and then the south is rough too, with the plural DDAYS (always awful) and the semi-archaic "I FEAR ..." really making things not very fun.

  • 6D: Ancient Mexican (OLMEC) — I had AZTEC
  • 7D: Rodeo rope (REATA) — I (confidently) had RIATA. So confident am I in that spelling that I've actually had to correct myself twice already while writing this blog post. I guess REATA is the Spanish, and that spelling survives. There's kinship with "lariat" that makes me want the "RI" spelling. For the record, RIATA is roughly twice as common in Shortz-era puzzles as REATA
  • 16A: Don Juan's mother (INEZ) — wasn't sure if this was gonna be the INES spelling. Lesson of the day is—if it's Don Juan's mom or a hurricane, it's a "Z" 
  • 53D: Only digit in the ZIP code for Newton Falls, Ohio (FOUR) — I had FIVE. How in the hell should I know? What a miserable clue.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:08 AM  

Did Rex miss the point that the field is a field of DREAMS?

Also - I thought that the ZIP code clue was pretty cool. It's the sort of information that I have previously referred to as a "red motorcycle fact". That is - something to know in case some dude on a red motorcycle pulls up alongside and asks you, "Hey, bro! What's the ZIP code that uses only one digit?"

Mike in Mountain View 12:17 AM  

Aha moment for me came when I saw the clue for 62A ("Word often misused in place of 'lie'" and I said, "Aha, NYTXW must have read my comment on this blog yesterday." To wit:

the clue for LAYON should have been "Word pair that is most often used ungrammatically."

Today's puzzle was fun, even if @Rex is right that the revealer doesn't pop.

GHarris 12:30 AM  

Have to go with Rex on this one, including a commitment to spelling it riata. Audio became a gimme so no problemo coming up with four as the zip code digit.

puzzlehoarder 12:31 AM  

It's hard for me to compare this to other Wednesdays for difficulty because I fell asleep finishing it. Happened sometime after figuring out whether it would be ZONED or ZONAL at 57A.

I also had a RIATA/REATA and a SIGNIFY/DIGNIFY write over. Very exciting.

When I woke up the solve was easy to finish.

Frantic Sloth 12:31 AM  

Okay, I get that it's a metaphor and all, but who decided that a BEDOFROSES is comfortable? Vlad the Impaler?
It ain't Moses because he only supposes his toeses are roses. (Erroneously, by the way)

I'm over GTOS now. Are they the new OREOS? How 'bout trying to fit "Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Classic Brougham" into your grid? Now that would be impressive.

This puzzle was okay. FIELDOFDREAMS is one of my fave baseball movies. (Used to include Bull Durham on that list, but I can't bring myself to watch anything with Susan Sarandon anymore. The reason why is not important. Besides Hey! Look over there!)


I think maybe Tuesday and Wednesday should have switched places. Maybe I wouldn't have been so spastic if yesterday's puzzle was today's instead.

Then again, as my mother used to say, "Yeah. Much."


mathgent 12:38 AM  

Rex expressed my feelings exactly. A half-baked idea with no pizzazz.

Too many tiny words in the grid. Over eighty percent have fewer than six letters. If it wasn’t attached to a clipboard, it would blow away.

jae 12:39 AM  

Medium, about the same difficulty level as yesterday’s. It had the same issues with the theme as @Rex did.

At Xwordinfo Daniel says the theme answers “sort of visually represent BLANKET, SHEET, and BED”. I sort of see it but Jeff didn’t think it worked well enough to justify mirror symmetry.

Anyway, I sort of liked it.

I grew up in Ohio so 4 was a gimme.

Harryp 1:07 AM  

Looks like this should have played yesterday, and vice versa.

okanaganer 1:23 AM  

Nothing really to say about this puzzle except for... I can only call it a moment of horror. I skipped the upper left, filled in the rest, and came back. I thought 14 across might be GRAB. So for 4 down "Common clothing item... or what you might become when wearing it" I had -BEATER. And all I could think about was this was a rebus, and it was [WIFE] BEATER. You know, "wife beater shirt"? Oh, the horror. I thought Rex was right and Will truly had lost his mind. But the real problem is I've been reading this blog too much. Whew.

On other puzzle news, I was again Queen Bee today (Tuesday) after losing my 3 day streak on Monday (by somehow missing NATANT after somehow getting two plant types I had never heard of). But even better, today I did Letter Boxed, and not only got it in 2 words, in about 2 minutes, but also did it without repeating any letters. It can only go downhill from here! Brag finished.

[PS @CDilly52 from yesterday 10:19am... I will be driving past Bear Creek park Wednesday morning. (Provincial park campgrounds have recently reopened as our Covid cases are declining steadily.) BC has so many beautiful places, living down in the valley bottoms we get pretty blase about them. I often go onto Google Streetview and click on the views hikers have taken way up on wilderness mountain lakes... oh momma!]

Richardf8 1:52 AM  

The Field of Dreams is the fully made bed. So yeah, the theme worked. Mr. Roboto has been getting quite the workout lately, including a storyline in Dick Tracy that culminated in a cameo by Dennis DeYoung. So yeah, I smiled for that. I had a small advantage over Rex on the Zip Code thing: I live in MN with a Zip of 5xxxx, so I could eliminate that as an Ohio Zip Code.

Greg 2:11 AM  

OLEIC crossing REATA (with that spelling?!) is just ridiculously stupid.

Mr. Alarm 2:54 AM  

I think you’ll find most of us think it wasn’t “field” that was the revealer, since one usually “dreams” among SHEETS and BLANKETS on a BED .

chefwen 3:33 AM  

We usually solve separately on Wednesday’s puzzle, but today it took both of our brains (obviously not in gear) to finish this. Looking back, now that we are done, I have no idea why. Things just weren’t clicking. He knew ZONAL, I did not. I knew and or guessed at TOSCANINI, he did not. Etc. Team work, I love it.

D Peck 4:47 AM  

I also thought BLANKET SHEET BED FIELD were all meant to be analogous at first, and I also thought it didn’t come off. Then I realized, or I think I realized, that the whole BED metaphor applied to DREAMS, not FIELD. The positionally correct BLANKET over SHEET over the BEDstead were meant to convey the FIELD (I.e., environment, not level expanse) where DREAMS occur. At which point my initial “Huh?” became a grudging “Cute.” It didn’t make up for the bad fil,l but I thought it was appropriately corny for an early week puzzle, though it played more Tuesday than Wednesday to me. Yesterday, by contrast, was a total “Why bother?” experience.

GILL I. 5:49 AM  

Talk about FIELD OF DREAMS and the ones I've been having since this COVID disaster. My brain, my body, my central lobe control panel has taken off in directions unbeknownst to me. No BED OF ROSES.
JAWS was my first. Talk about dreams and being SCAREd out of my pants. I never again went skinny dipping in Amity .
Do people really write OZS in their birth announcements? I always wanted to tell everyone to get an epidural.
Drug MULE actually made me laugh a little and then I cried. Imagine shoving a little coke up the "where it don't shine" area. Psst...I'll take a kilo. Oh, OK...just wait a sec while I use the loo.
OLMEC's are cool beans but they sure had big heads.
Do chicken lie or LAY eggs?

Lewis 6:03 AM  

I like the bold look of the grid with big blocks of black as opposed to the scattered dots of black we often see, and I especially like the smiley face at center stage.

Terse and vague clues kept my brain engaged, and the poetic description of a bed, dressed with sheets and blanket, as a field (environment) of dreams, gave the puzzle a soft feel that puzzles -- so many with logically based themes -- often lack.

Nice one, Daniel. Thank you!

ChuckD 6:15 AM  

I liked the look of the grid - but it came at the expense of a lot of shortish fill. Like yesterday - I thought the theme had an elegance to it - but not overly exciting. BLANKET OF SNOW is good fill themer or not. TOSCANINI and TEENIDOLS were nice to see also. I figured Rex would eat up ZONAL since it’s a form of progressive taxing and a woke topic - especially here in regards to the East River crossings. I did like his Husker Du link today though - not one of their great records but always nice to hear.

QuasiMojo 6:17 AM  

Is every day a themed puzzle now? What a weird one today. Freud might have been an expert in the "field of dreams" but I doubt even he could have made sense of this one.

Why are the themers chopped up after the first one?

HIPPO should be clued to show it's an abbreviation. I was looking for a lake. Which led me to SLEET (I imagined for a moment the theme was winter!)

"Longtime" seems to me to indicate a current conductor, not one from a "longtime" ago.

We needed an Agnes OF God to go with Inez.

No wonder so many of us are doing SB and Cryptograms and referring to the WSJ and LAT and New Yorker puzzles. The NYT is jumping the shark. JAWS, indeed. (Most overrated movie of all time.)

Dave 6:39 AM  

"Oooh, a clue about transportation pricing! Cool!" said no one. made me lol!

Hungry Mother 7:15 AM  

Had sIGNIFY and refused to LAY off of it, so failed today. I also had RiATA, but could have changed that.

Z 7:25 AM  

SNOW, ICE, and then ROSES? Wha? And, yeah, that is some serious contortioning to make FIELD make sense. Makes yesterday’s revealer downright sensical.

Lots of mail room trivia today. ZONAL and FOUR were both gimmes because I spent time processing mail for my alma mater. That was back when INEZ always won the NCAA office pool. INEZ was 5’1”, maybe 100 lbs, and past the age where she could have retired. When you imagine “sweet little old lady” you’re imagining somebody who looks like INEZ. She handled all the bulk mailings for the admissions office so we worked together a lot. And she watched every college basketball game that aired. INEZ always won the pool because she knew more about college basketball than anyone else in the office.


kitshef 7:27 AM  

ZONALly, my solve was all over the place. Definitely not on board with those who think this should have been switched with yesterday's puzzle (which was hella easy).

Theme did not quite cohere for me. Thought I had missed something linking ICE, SNOW and ROSES, but apparently not.

I could see the BLANKET being half off the bed – must have been a warm night. But what is the SHEET doing way over there?

amyyanni 7:29 AM  

Oleic, Omani, Olmec, Oh Man! I need to go back to bed...

kitshef 7:29 AM  

Oh, and how is NO DICE" "terse? "Terse" would be "no".

pabloinnh 7:33 AM  

BLANKETOFSNOW and SHEETOFICE had me thinking we were getting a "September in NH" puzzle but it turned into something about a great baseball movie (with Fenway Park), so OK with me. Hand up for the REATA thing, also wanted INES and was having trouble imagining how the OSS might be involved in a birth situation. Scary. Also TIMEX before ROLEX, I'm much more familiar with the former. If I had enough money to buy a Rolex I'd probably get a new car.

Was hoping that the "crooners who cause swooning" would be TENORS, but of course it didn't fit, even though it's clearly the best answer.

Nice little Wednesdecito, DR. I had fun. Thanks.

OffTheGrid 7:40 AM  

I will pile on. The theme was not well done. First, BLANKET OF SNOW and SHEET OF ICE are real things. A BED OF ROSES is not. Second, BED OF ROSES is a metaphor for ease of life, not physical comfort. Third, I get the bed dream connection but nobody ever thought, let alone said, "A bed is a Field of Dreams". It's just not a thing. Verdict: Major theme fail. The OLIEC, OLMEC, REATA central north was nasty. These answers are all Fri-Sat. level. Who didn't initially consider Aztec or Mayan, folic or amino, lasso? Otherwise I enjoyed the solve. I always enjoy the solve, even if I'm not dazzled by the construction.

Conrad 7:45 AM  

For the "slippery hazard" at 24/27A wanted "West Point Ramp," but it didn't fit.

Lewis 7:58 AM  

@conrad -- Hah!

CS 8:27 AM  

Definitely felt harder than most Wednesdays for me. Like the theme, but the fill.... bleh.

Hands up for Riata

Timex before Rolex (filled in first in the SE corner)

I did like "No Dice" . Wish I could say it instead of "I'm sorry, I'm not able to do that" :-)

--- CS

Twangster 8:38 AM  

I'm surprised no one has commented on the obscurity of the band the GTOs. I'm pretty knowledgeable on Sixties music but that didn't ring any bells (although I'm familiar with Pamela Des Barres). According to wikipedia they released one album and performed live a handful of times.

Someone should use a Grateful Dead-related clue for DSO sometime (Dark Star Orchestra), perhaps in the Saturday Stumper ...

Nancy 8:55 AM  

My response to the 10A quotation was a great big "Come again???"

I didn't know Don Juan's Mom.

And the tricky MEOW clue (12D) got me good. I was looking for something ending in an S, something along the line of "editors", and I remained flummoxed by the unexpected W until the bitter end. At which point I had crashed and burned in the NE.

I found the puzzle pretty flat and not much fun. I wouldn't have much liked it even if I'd been able to solve it. Is the MEOW clue fair? I suppose so, though I'd maintain that MEOWing is not something that comes naturally to most humans.

Anonymoose 9:03 AM  

I'm surprised @Rex didn't point out that GTO was a girl band. Girls Together Outrageously. Take that!, Gran Turismo Omologato

RooMonster 9:03 AM  

Hey All !
Now seeing why Jeff Chen gave the MonPuz his POW. Have to join the crowd of Eww-ers on this one.

I take it Daniel chose mirror symmetry only to get the BLANKET, SHEET, BED to stack in order? Because all the themers ARE symmetric. We have 11, 10, 10, 11. Odd.

And two cold-weather things, and ROSES? Odd again.

Had a two-letter DNF today, which, speaking of odd, doesn't upset me as much as a one-letter one does. HUlK/COPlE and ILiIC/RiATA. REATA most definitely should've had an "Alt." attached to it.

@Frantic Sloth 12:31
Got a big LOL at your Cutlass comment! GTOS are plentiful if you search 'Pontiac' on e-Bay, far more than Cutlasses in your Oldsmobile search.

@Quasi 6:17
Maybe you're funning, but you must know the NYTXW is Themed Sunday-Thursday. Friday and Saturday are non-themed.

**SB Ramblings**
Missed one word again YesterBee. Argh! The 8-letter one.
Today's is providing some resistance too.

**SB over**

DOMO arigato, all.

Five F's (all in the themers/revealer)(different theme, no F's)(but still a nice count)(tired of these parenthetical comments yet?)

Richardf8 9:03 AM  

“I totally didn’t lay that egg! It just, um, apparated into the nest right under me!”

Petsounds 9:18 AM  

For the first time in, literally, years, I just quit without finishing. Boring and frustrating at the same time. Not worth my time when there are so many other puzzles available.

Best thing associated with this puzzle is the comment from @Conrad.

Sir Hillary 9:27 AM  

The theme and Scrabble-f***ing were apropos for me, because my reaction to this one was Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

Can we just have Robyn Weintraub every day and move on?

William of Ockham 9:35 AM  

Boring, I'm off to the dentist for some fun

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

the only time this meat sack has ever paid ZONAL transport pricing was a DC cab, decades ago. seem to remember they're now metered. also, at times, e-commerce thingees have had ZONAL shipping charge, about as recently.

RooMonster 9:53 AM  

That would be 13, 10, 10, 13 for the themers. Dang, Roo, count much? 😋

@pabloinnh 7:33
Almost fell for the TIMEX trap also, having only the X, but noticed "time" was in the clue, and said, "Unless the puz is radically off the rails, it can't be TIMEX." Thankfully it wasn't.

Was hoping the LAY/LIE clue thing would bring @LMS by for a fun explanation. Anyone in touch with her? Is she on vacation somewhere?

RooMonster One Two Four Guy 😀

Whatsername 9:55 AM  

For the second day in a row - what Rex said. For the second day in a row, the theme fell short, but then I absolutely hated FIELDOFDREAMS, most overrated movie ever. (Sorry @Quasi.) So that may have had an effect on my reaction to the puzzle. OLEIC crossing REATA was kind of a dirty trick. My first response to 63A was Timex before ROLEX. Pretty much tells you what neighborhood I live in. I thought it was interesting that the clue “metaphor for comfort” was used in the crossing of BRA. Yeah right.

@Lewis (6:03) That’s a smiley face? I thought it was a canopy BED.

@Contad (7:45) Nice catch! 😆

jberg 10:10 AM  

Two schools of thought here. Rex: every word in the revealer should be significant. Some others: you only need one word, and here it’s DREAMS. De gustibus non est disputandum.

Zip codes start in the east with 00..., then work their way westward. I grew up in 53724, west of Ohio , so it’s four. If you don’t know any midwestern zips, just wait for the crosses.

I knew Mr. Roboto only because Rex linked to the song the last time he was in the puzzle.

The puzzle was fine, but I’m dry disappointed to come here and find no one arguing about the plural of ‘cello.

Nancy 10:23 AM  

@Whatsername (9:55)-- You think FIELD OF DREAMS was a terrible movie? You should have had the great misfortune of being the Literary Guild's first reader of the manuscript of the novel on which it was based: "Shoeless Joe" by Roy Kinsella. The Managing Editor saw fit to ignore my scathing reader's report -- either because he genuinely liked the novel or because he knew ahead of time that it had been bought for the movies. The novel did zilch for LG at the time of its initial publication, but after the movie came out, it did very well indeed. I actually kind of liked the film, which took a vague, amorphous, extremely quirky and indulgent novel and put flesh on the bones, as it were. I admired the screenwriter for seeing in this flawed book the seed of a nostalgic and rather moving film.

AW 10:29 AM  

Still don't get MEOW (12D). What does meowing have to do with copying? I had M E _ W and refused to belief the word was MEOW. Made/makes no sense to me.

QuasiMojo 10:33 AM  

@Roomonster, actually I didn't know that! Lol. I usually skip Mon and Tues. I like a theme now and then but some of them lately have been very Ho-hum.

@Whatsername, no worries. I skipped that turkey. My hype sensors went off.

@Conrad, your comment reminded me of a time I was driving along the NYS Thruway near West Point and hit a patch of black ice on a downward slope during a sleet storm. My car did a 180 right into the oncoming traffic. Luckily it did the other 180 a second later and I was able to switch lanes and avoid them. It was like a scene in a classic Hollywood car chase.

Newboy 10:41 AM  

Comfortable solve. So cozy I didn’t need a SWEATER. Rex is probably right, but I thought Daniel covered the BED quite nicely with his BLANKET covered SHEET. It lets us drift deeply into a refreshing FIELD OF DREAMS while bypassing those nightmare SCARES. Bet he spent hours trying to get REM to replace GTO?

egsforbreakfast 10:42 AM  

I thought the puz was ok. Not great, but not bad. As others have pointed out, the theme works fine if you don’t try to follow field through all the themers. It’s not part of the theme.

My other objections to Rex’s critique are:

1. “Oooh, a clue about transportation pricing. Cool!” Said no one. Couldn’t you insert the subject matter of 90% of all crossword clues ever published in lieu of “transportation pricing” and have a statement of equal validity?

2. Only digit in the zip code of Newton Falls, Ohio. I had five, how the hell should I know? What a miserable clue.

There are only 3 possible answers (4, 5 and 9) because of the number of squares in the answer, and this was probably obvious immediately to every solver. So Rex is saying that a one in 3 chance, that will be resolved upon having one, or at most two crosses, is a miserable clue. Actually, I now see that you could have _ I _E and still not be certain, but that turned out not to be relevant today. In any event, I’m not sure what is “miserable” about it.

Carola 11:01 AM  

Just lovely - poetic and clever. The BED as a FIELD OF DREAMS reminded me of a remark a German friend made when I was showing her around our rental apartment which happened to have an unusually large king-size bed: "Eine Jubelwiese!" (Jubel = outburst of joy; -wiese = meadow).

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

if you (a meat sack of human dimensions) say "MEOW" you can be said to 'copy a cat', which can be morphed into just 'copy cat'. bad pun, bad clue, but par for the course.

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

"Oooh, a clue about transportation pricing! Cool!" said no one.

How did you know?! That's exactly what I said.

Whatsername 11:13 AM  

@Nancy (10:23) I wouldn’t say I thought it was a terrible movie so much as I just didn’t personally like it. The whole concept seemed silly and totally unbelievable to me, but I can also see the appeal for those who loved the nostalgia of the baseball legends. Interesting that you hated the book but liked the movie. I often make it a point to read a book that’s been deemed worthy of film production, but based on your review of Shoeless Joe I’ll skip that one.

@Conrad: Apologies for misspelling your name on my previous post. Typos happen.

old timer 11:20 AM  

REATA is a Spanish word. Riata is an Anglo misspelling. And as my dictionary reminds us, a REATA is also a "string" of horses or mules. There was likely a REATA of mules or burros in Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

INEZ versus Inés is a lesson in regional/historical español. With the Z spelling, residents of most of Spain would pronounce it ee-NETH. However, in Andalucia, the far South of Spain, Z is pronounced just like S. The Europeans who settled in Spanish America, from Argentina all the way to California, mostly came from that part of Spain.

So the holy saint is usually Inez, thus avoiding the need to put an accent mark over the E, because: if a word ends in Z or any consonant other than S or N, the accent automatically falls on the final syllable. Since the saint's name definitely does fall on the final syllable, if you call her Inés an accent is needed over the E. Omit the accent and the holy virgin would sort of rhymes with penis.

(Actually I am only assuming the saint was a virgin, but most holy females were).

To add the confusion, the I can be replaced with a Y. California has a Santa Ynez, I believe. Y all by itself is pretty common in Spanish, since it means "and". Pretty common in French too (sur le pont d'Avignon, on y danse, on y danse). Pronounced like our EE in both tongues, but in French it means "there" or "of it" (honi soit que mal y pense, the motto of the Order of the Garter).

A long-winded way of saying REATA is correct, but there you are.

EdFromHackensack 11:24 AM  

dunno, didn't really get the theme til I got here. messed up on DIGNIFY/sIGNIFY and RiATA. didn't enjoy this one at all. Got COPSE from the crosses, don't think I've ever heard it. oh well, there is always tomorrow ...

Masked and Anonymous 11:28 AM  

M&A maybe read too little into the theme revealer. I thought the FIELD part of FIELDOFDREAMS intended to use its "domain" kind of meanin. Sooo then … BLANKET, SHEET, BED would all be in the DREAMS (i.e. bedtime) domain. So I went away happy as a lethargic clam, about the theme.

The puz fillins did get a might desperate at times, but I did enjoy DIGNIFY, HASACOW, NODICE.

staff weeject pick: JDS. Stands for John/Jane Does. Or somesuch.
Actually, I had a mini-brain fart there'bouts and couldn't figure out for the life of m&e the ?DS/?AWS crossin, right at the puz's startin blocks. Kept wonderin if it was supposed to be the SAWS series of schlock flicks. NO DICE, M&A Breath.

Luved the MEOW = {Copy cats?} clue. If U copy (imitate) cats, U tend to MEOW a lot. Even tougher clue: {Ape cats??}. But would be flagged, on account of the 41-A APER answer. Anyway, the puz kinda won M&A over, becuz of that MEOW clue.
HIPPO clue was then ice-in on the sheet cake. That FOUR clue was a bit raised-by-wolves delish and thus also admirable, as it made the puzzle a little extra puzzlin … U know -- like a puzzle is supposed to be.

Still … ZONAL … har

Primo E-W symmetry, I guess to draw up a BED there in the puzgrid mid-parts.

Thanx for the dream-like puz experience, Mr. Raymon. Ultimately, I did appreciate the JAWS of nonthemelessness.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Barbara S. 11:34 AM  

I thought the theme was fine, based on BLANKET/SHEET/BED/DREAMS. Not brilliant maybe, but completely competent.

TOSCANINI got a raw deal, though, squished between a BLANKET OF SNOW and a SHEET OF ICE. I hope the afterlife's treating him considerably better than that.

I liked seeing the Belgian painter, James ENSOR, in the puzzle. One of those canonical artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with links to some of the major movements of the day. His work was often highly political using imagery from the carnival, the stage, the puppet show, and nightmares -- definitely nightmares rather than DREAMS. A lot of his symbolism reminds me of The Day of the Dead traditions elsewhere. He and his friends started the Dead Rat Ball (Bal du Rat Mort) as an annual tradition over 120 years ago and it's still going strong! It's a masquerade ball, held in Ostend in Carnival/Mardi Gras season. It's a blast apparently, and also I think a fundraiser for good causes.

@Nancy 10:23
W.P. Kinsella's "Shoeless Joe" is still a brisk seller in Canada, or was when I was last in the book trade. Time, and also perhaps the influence of the movie, have turned it into something of a classic. There's certainly a sub-genre of "magic realism" in Canadian literature. People might know "The Life of Pi," another novel/film in that category. Kinsella named one of his characters after both himself and a figure from one of J.D. Salinger's short stories. And Salinger himself is a character in "Shoeless Joe." All of which caused Salinger to threaten legal action against Kinsella and the publishers, but I don't think anything ever came of it.

***SB ALERT***
What can I say? Mystifyingly I've been on fire in the SB. I've reached QB 5 times over the last 6 days. But you know the old expression: the braggier they come, the harder they fall. Today I'm stuck at 31 words out of 34, and there ain't nothin' movin'.

Verbman 11:35 AM  

Lie is an intransitive verb. I lie down today. I lay down yesterday. I have lain down in the past.

Lay is a transitive verb. I lay the book on the table today. I laid the book on the table yesterday. I have laid the book on the table in the past.

jberg 12:00 PM  

Well, I learned something today! Until reading @Nancy I'd always assumed that the Kinsella novel had some relation to the song Shoeless Joe from Hannibal Mo,from "Damn Yankees"--and I did know that the latter musical was based on a different novel. But (never having read the Kinsella novel) I suppose they are both related to the historical character.

Our dog barks only very rarely, so I bark at her a lot, to encourage her. That might make me a COPY DOG, I guess.

Dan (Formerly) Tan Man 12:01 PM  

Had problems with the SW corner as I has Radison (I know it’s spelled wrong) for Rite Aid.

Read an article with the CEO of Rolex where he was asked what’s new in the watch biz. He said he had no clue. The puzzled interviewer meekly asked how that could be. The response was Rolex was in the prestigious business.

What? 12:11 PM  

Bed of roses is a metaphor.

Lorelei Lee 12:21 PM  

Flowerbed "A garden plot in which flowers are grown." Bed of tulips, bed of roses.

What? 12:23 PM  

So Nancy didn’t like “Field of Dreams”? Not suprised. Baseball nostalgia is a male thing - a boy playing catch with his father. A girl playing catch with her mother? Never heard of it.

Smith 12:44 PM  

@Quasi 6:17

Thank you for putting into words what I was mentally struggling with re "longtime seems to indicate current"...when solving I was sure of the answer but didn't write it in because the brain kept saying, no, he's 19th/early 20th c. And even when I did write it in it felt wrong, and you have clarified why.

Frantic Sloth 12:44 PM  

@What? 1211pm
Is it? Huh. Guess I should have mentioned that.

Anonymous 12:47 PM  

I think ROLEX buyers either have giant egos, "I deserve to own this", or have low self esteem, "This watch will make people think more highly of me". Either way it's just an overpriced watch that does nothing beyond what a reasonably priced quality watch does. It's a "Hey look at me" thing. Pathetic!


@Barbara S. 1134am

I was stalled at 31 words.
Got some hints from that Doug blog.
Reached Queenie.

If I can do that, I'm sure you can get there sans help.

Also, thanks for that whole ENSOR paragraph. You always have fun and interesting things to share.

Don't let it go to your head. 😉

Best Personal Regards,

Smith 12:51 PM  

@Roo 9:53 @Pablo

Hand up for timEX before ROLEX, and wrote in the margin "word in clue??" so clearly should be listening to myself...

jb129 12:57 PM  

Dunno - lately it takes me a long time to get started but once I'm done, I'm disappointed. Is it just me?

Teedmn 1:06 PM  

A slow Wednesday for me today. I was held up on the oddest things (e.g. 51D _F_AR, "What concerns me is..." = oF pAR?, 1A, _AW_, surely there weren't any sAW movies out in 1975, etc. etc.)

So I wasn't on this puzzle's wavelength and my two errors of RiATA and sIGNIFY illustrate that. Especially since OLiIC looked clearly wrong but I just SWEPT on by because RiATA is all I know.

The theme, it's a bit odd. I did like the clue for 4D SWEATER and 5D COOKS = "Does the dishes?"

Thanks, Daniel Raymon.

Lorelei Lee 1:15 PM  

Some days I come to this blog just for the bitterness, cruelty, and confusion. Other days I count on the executive branch.

@Nancy, I agree on Shoeless Joe. Field of Dreams improved it with the happy ending. Same thing with Forest Gump. Depressing book, good movie. The only two instances ever when I preferred the movie over the book.

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

Anon 12:47
Why stop there? Why have a Maybach when a Kia will get you there too? Why a Chanel suit when a sweat suit will clothe you?
The answer is beauty, craftsmanship, art. A Rolex is a master work. So are Chanel suits, and lots of other dear products. Sure, lots of low esteem types wear each, and lots of people with really lousy taste do too. But that’s a problem with them, not the product. ( Rolexes aren’t all that pricey as the spendy timepieces go by the way)

Anne H 1:29 PM  

As a former ‘cellist, I should reply that the plural is ‘celli! I also get upset when there is no
apostrophe in front of the “c”, because the instrument is formally known as a violincello.

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

Dan who’s presumably wan now that’s he’s not tan,
I don’t believe your CEO story for a second. Obviously if he said something so will it would’ve been “...we’re in the prestige business.” Not the prestigious business.
Any ea
Rthlyidea when or where you read it?

QuasiMojo 1:59 PM  

Glad you agree! @Smith.

@Nancy, you made me laugh this morning. Thank you. Someone gave me "Shoeless Joe" when it first came out. I read about half then regifted it. :)

SB pique. A not uncommon word that anyone who's bought a house would know is somehow not acceptable. Phooey!

Anonymous 2:22 PM  

a Rolex is hardly a masterwork. they bought most movements from Aegler, and some from Swatch (which owns 99% of component Swiss movement manufacture) just like everybody else. the only part that Rolex has ever been accused of inventing was a hairspring. the rest is just jewelry.

"Under the leadership of Patrick Heiniger, Rolex Genève purchased Rolex Bienne from the Borer family in 2004 for a reported CHF 1 billion. This was about the same time that Rolex was snapping up other suppliers like dial manufacturer Beyeler, winding crown maker Boninchi, and bracelet producer Gay Frères. The acquisition of the movement facility was an important step for Rolex SA’s strategy to become a completely vertically integrated watch manufacturer."

Rolex has always been a bling thing.

Z 2:26 PM  

@Anne H - Huh? I could have sworn the plural was violincellopodes.

@AW - In case you missed the answer, the trick is the implied subject. Not “copycat” but “what do you do when you copy a cat?”
@Whoever said they hated this clue - Okay, but why are you doing crossword puzzles, where this kind of wordplay is the coin of the realm?

@jberg10:10 - My initial reaction was “part of the revealer having nothing to do with the theme never happens.” But I’m probably just not remembering when it has happened. Going back to check would be tedious, but something I plan to keep an eye out for in the future. As I mentioned earlier, some serious contortioning can make FIELD work, but you need a mental chiropractor after doing it.

@egsforbreakfast - I think there is a line between trivia and trivial trivia. I’d put TOSCANINI, INEZ and ROLEX in the Trivia column, but the clue for FOUR and ZONAL definitely fall in the trivial trivia column. The line between the two will vary by solver, but I strongly suspect that the number of people who find shipping trivia trivial has to be somewhere near 99.99999%.

@EdFromHackensack - I feel like COPSE has appeared in quite a few puzzles lately, so it seems to be on every constructor’s word list. Learn it since it will probably appear in another puzzle near you soon.

@Frantic Sloth 12:44 - 😂😂😂

Krytykal 2:34 PM  

Awful. Drown me OLEIC of fire. I hated every minute of this one.

Crimson Devil 2:49 PM  

Very much enjoyed does dishes, copy cats, drug __.
RE(?)ATA and Ancient Mexican crossing obscure (to me) acid, not so much.

Photomatte 2:49 PM  

The 7D answer, REATA, is simply bad. Reata is not only a seldom used spelling, it's also Tex-Mex slang for penis (large ones specifically). Was that some kind of wink-wink-nod-nod way of sneaking foreign slang into the NYTXW? Will we be seeing chingada or pinche from now on? I'm for including all words but to try and slip a reata in was painful. Wait, that sounded bad...

Frantic Sloth 2:51 PM  

@Z 226pm
Stop saying trivia(l). 😉

tkincher 2:54 PM  

I can usually slog through puzzles, but this one I really struggled to find any footing in. One of my least favorite non-Sunday puzzles in quite some time.

Anoa Bob 3:40 PM  

Want to add a little bling zing to your TIMEX watch? Tell people it's a top of the line tee-may.

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

Anon 2:22
Couldn’t find the quote huh.
You do realize almost manufactured source parts, right? I mean Roll Royces best transmissions came from General Motors.

Joe Dipinto 4:28 PM  

It's violoncello with an "o".

Why do you all persist in playing the obviously hopelessly incompetent Spelling Bee? How much fun could it be to win at a word game that has no idea what words are real?

I thought someone would complain about the seasonal lopsidedness of the puzzle. You have two answers representing winter and one representing spring/summer. What, no PILE OF DEAD LEAVES? Also missing: the Vast Tundra Of Nightmares From Thirty Years Past, the Desert Of Insomnolence, the Overhead Plateau Of The Scritching Birds. My Field Of Dreams has all those things.

I'd never heard of the GTOs. Toscanini's career might not have been quite so long today, what with his womanizing (as it used to be called). Anyway, this puzzle was vaguely okay. The concept gets points for being original. It sort of works. I guess we should be grateful for that much.

Inez is here to sing us out.

pyroclasts 4:29 PM  

Kinda amused that a bunch of people who can do these sorts of crosswords in sub 10 minutes are so unable to think about a metaphor for like 10 seconds

A BED is a FIELD on which you DREAM. FIELDs can also be of SNOW, ICE, and ROSES. Really not that hard, guys. Nothing wrong with disliking an admittedly weak puzzle, but at least show you understand it!

pabloinnh 4:46 PM  

@Roo, @Smith-

Wait, TIMEX was in the clue? Huh.

JC66 5:02 PM  

@Joe D

Even though the SB often doesn't accept words you would think it should and includes some you've never heard of, it's still a fun challenge.


I think they meant that the editors wouldn't use time in a clue for TIMEX.

Anne H 5:02 PM  

In my former reply, someone changed the spelling of VIOLONCELLO... 😩

Anonymous 5:05 PM  

Your understanding is creative.

Anne H 5:21 PM  

Thank you, Joe Dipinto! I reread my reply as I was trolling through the blog and had to correct
the spelling of violoncello... Someone (!) edited it after I posted that original reply at 1:29...

pabloinnh 6:44 PM  


Yeah, I got that right away. I was just being hilariously funny in my own inimitable, understated way. With limited success, which I'm used to.

Unknown 6:56 PM  

The whole center north was so atrocious I almost, for the first time, just quit. Why bother with something so badly made? My OCD made me finish but I spent the entire retime actively despising the creator, as the rest proved to be equally horrific. There is something seriously psychologically wrong with the creator that they could produce this drivel and feel good about themselves. In all my years (decades) solving I think this was the worst NYT xword I’ve ever encountered. Or at least the one I hated solving the most.

Barbara S. 7:03 PM  


@Frantic Sloth 12:50 p.m.
Thanks, @Frantic, you're a peach. But your warning came too late. I already have to turn sideways to navigate doorframes.

@Joe Dipinto 4:28 p.m.
What @JC66 (5:02) said. I seem to get less frustrated now than I used to over words they deem unacceptable, although I have certain pet peeves that still annoy. But I also like making up new words (that they also sternly reject). My favorite today was ELBI (plural of ELBOW).

(Note to Mods: In case you're nervous, that doesn't give anything away.)

egsforbreakfast 7:07 PM  

I feel bound to point out that violoncello is not the only correct spelling. The French call it violoncelle. I suppose there’s no reason we need accept only the Italian.

JC66 7:16 PM  

@Barbara S

I think the mods let your comment through because, as fans of @Z, they know the plural of elbow is ELBODES.

egsforbreakfast 7:26 PM  

I had an Italian uncle who would play the violoncello after drinking boatloads of Limoncello. We had to wrap him in cellophane when he died at a CASHBAR.

Nancy 7:38 PM  

For those of you who don't get the newspaper, Will Shortz's BRAIN TICKLER today is intriguing. I couldn't figure it out this morning, came home and got it tonight. Here it is:

What country with a two-word name sounds like the plural of one African animal plus the singular of another African animal spoken one after the other?

Joe 7:45 PM  

OLMEC? OLEIC? OMANI? This is fun?

Z 7:52 PM  

@JC66 7:16 - 👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽

Crimson Devil 8:00 PM  

Unabashed, uncompensated, of course, endorsement of Rolex: my pittance of inheritance from dear g-mom some 40 (sic) years ago, her daughter/my sainted mom, having been gone way too long/early, was just enough to blow on “somethin to remember granny for”, a Submariner.
Well, I’ve had it serviced, now twice—most recent this year (not cheap), and it still looks great, imho, and, jus like Timex (my first entry today), keeps on tickin.

JC66 8:05 PM  


Over my head. Sorry.


I dated a woman who dated your uncle. They met at the casbah.

Smith 8:06 PM  

@JC66, roo, pablo

Yes, I meant it seemed odd to have the word time in the clue *if* the answer had been Timex, so I should have known that Timex wasn't the answer.

pabloinnh 8:13 PM  


No offense taken. As I say, it happens all the time.

Also, SB related, I stopped at Genius today, saw how many words I was missing, took a quick look back at the letters, and said a fond farewell to QBness on this day. Tomorrow I'm hoping for something that seems a little more doable, and a rebus. Now that would be a Thursday.

Anonymous 8:17 PM  

Jack G,
Do tell about the NFL shield in your post.
Employee? Fan? Something else?

Joe Dipinto 9:19 PM  

@egsforbreakfast – Did Annette Funicello attend your uncle's funeral?

Re the WS Brain Tickler that @Nancy posted: both animals have appeared in the XWord quite a bit.

Anonymous 9:27 PM  

If anyone actually still read Latin and Greek they’d be embarrassed for what passes as humor. Viz elbow, elbi, elbodes.
The Greeks had a term for those who didn’t read or speak Greek:barbarians.
The Romans would’ve just enslaved you.

JC66 9:57 PM  

@Anon 9:27

Or maybe they should be embarrassed that they still read Greek and Latin.

Barbara S. 10:53 PM  

@Anonymous 9:27

1. I'm quite willing to stand corrected on ELBI if you can show me the true plural of any classical Latin noun ending in "OW."

2. I know nothing of Greek thus, in Greek-thought, I live up to my name.

3. As for enslavement, the Romans may well have tried it on with my ancestors, but they gave up and built a wall instead.

Marcus 11:27 PM  

Zip codes start with 0 on the east coast and increase to 9 as you make your way towards the west coast. So out of the possible 4-letter answers FOUR, FIVE, NINE, you know NINE is way too high (that's west coast), and between FOUR and FIVE, it's more likely to be FOUR since Ohio is reasonably far east, so it's probably the lower of the two.

What? 10:01 AM  

It bears repeating 😀

Doug Garr 12:29 PM  

CORD for "parachute part?" Allow me to make a major minor snivel. I have 1,858 skydives and the word CORD has not been on a drop zone in a zillion years -- even back when I started. It was RIPCORD, not CORD. And the only handle today that has a ripcord is the reserve parachute. Terrible misleading and stupid clue that only a real skydiver could not get.

RPCV Cameroon 12:56 PM  

As a proud returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Cameroon, 81-83), I was thrilled to see this clue for Corps (especially sneaky with capital and lower case). Did you know we spend more on military bands than the Peace Corps?

thefogman 10:24 AM  


spacecraft 11:34 AM  

REATA, if you'll recall, is the name of Bick Benedict's cattle ranch in "Giant." No problem there. I thought the theme was a bit tenuous, but okay. The two winter things make BED OFROSES stand out, like it doesn't belong. But that's a nit. Mostly, I liked this one. The fill is above average; even DDAYS only hurts a little.

No DOD today, IFEAR. Well, maybe INEZ... I thought sure I'd see a video clip of Bart saying "Don't HAVEACOW," but no. Mini-theme: SCIFI/EWOKS. I shall DIGNIFY this NOBLE effort with a birdie.

Burma Shave 12:18 PM  


Under the BLANKET and SHEET in BED
I FREED BEA OF her BRA to pet her,
BYNOW it's NOTSO CLEAR what BEA said,
but IFEAR I might LAY a SWEATER.


Anonymous 1:43 PM  

Ensor? ENSOR!? I quote OFL: "How the hell should I know?" Otherwise, a fine, workable puzzle, despite the whiners.

leftcoaster 3:09 PM  

The BLANKET, SHEET, and BED make for a nice layout, and good DREAMS can be a blessing, especially in these direful days.

SW slowed the solve down a bit, with ZONAL, ZAP, and the FOUR being the only digit in the Newton Falls, Ohio, ZIP code. So, is it some combination of 4s and 0s, or is it all 4s?

It's a pretty good puzzle, but RiATA - REATA was a petty annoyance along with the crossing OLiiC - OLEIC.

I think it's time for a nap.

Diana, LIW 5:02 PM  

Flummoxed by the NE corner. And I DO NOT LIKE cross referencing - it's hard for my old eyes to shift about that much. Sigh.

But I did finish my jigsaw puzzle. I was certain the puzzle was cheating, or that I would end up with extra or not enough pieces. But it ended well, too.

Diana, LIW

leftcoast 5:53 PM  

Inre: Newton Falls ZIP code--OK, it has to be 44444, the "only" digit, so now I know that 0 is considered a "digit".

rainforest 6:13 PM  

I thought the puzzle had a nice "feel to it. The theme was metaphorical, in my opinion, and the themers provided an apt template for the revealer.

I had no problem with the fill and in some cases it was unique. Good for the "Z"s, I say. Oh, for a moment, well, a few moments, I had sAWS in at 1A, until the D'oh moment.

Sorry. Renovation going on here.

sb 7:49 PM  

Did anyone notice that "zap" is not a sound that lightning makes? The sound of lightning is thunder.

rondo 9:35 PM  


Anonymous 11:48 PM  

@sb - I would say the sound of lightning depends on where the listener is located. It would be thunder if you are a fair distance away from the lightning. If the lightning is within a few feet or yards it is a scary crackle.

Much less arcane puzzle today - and more enjoyable - than yesterday's. Nice challenge for me. Not super difficult, but not a slam dunk.

Fauci throws out the first pitch tomorrow at the Nats' FIELD OF DREAMS. Might have been a fair amount of boo birds if they would have let any fans in.

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