King or queen / TUES 6-30-20 / Talking horse of old TV / Not sit idly by / Scenic views

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Hello, everyone! It's Clare for the last Tuesday of June. I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe (and wearing masks!!), as COVID cases are spiking again. I've been pretty much just staying in my little bubble while finding ways to occupy my time, including... crossword puzzles!

Constructor: Zachary David Levy

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: JUSTICE GINSBURG (54A: Subject of this puzzle, who once said "Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you") — Each theme answer relates in some way to the life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Theme answers:

  • ON THE BASIS OF SEX (17A: 2018 biopic about 54-Across)
  • FLATBUSH (22A: Brooklyn neighborhood where 54-Across grew up)
  • THE NOTORIOUS RBG (34A: Tongue-in-cheek nickname for 54-Across)
  • COLUMBIA (47A: Law school where 54-Across finished at the top of the class)
Word of the Day: ABSCAM (42D: Sting that was the inspiration for the 2013 film "American Hustle")
Abscam (sometimes written ABSCAM) was a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sting operation in the late 1970s and early 1980s that led to the convictions of seven members of the United States Congress, among others. The two-year investigation initially targeted trafficking in stolen property and corruption of prominent businessmen, but later evolved into a public corruption investigation.. "Abscam" was the FBI codename for the operation, which law enforcement authorities said was a contraction of "Arab scam". (Wiki)
• • •
I think this was my favorite Tuesday puzzle I've done a write-up on in a while, largely because I enjoyed the theme, and the construction of the puzzle was pretty good. I was really happy to see RBG in this puzzle, as I'm bit in love with her — as both a general fan of her and her life and as a law student who really admires her opinions. The theme is also quite timely, as the Supreme Court has been issuing a lot of opinions lately, including a decision on an abortion case on Monday, and RBG is known for her stance on women's rights (which is essentially the whole plot of ON THE BASIS OF SEX).

While I got the theme pretty quickly, I did pause for a bit at the revealer because I wanted to make "Ruth Bader Ginsburg" fit at 54A instead of JUSTICE GINSBURG. Once I got the "j" in JAR at 54D, though. it became pretty obvious to me what 54A was. It also took me a little time to get FLATBUSH (22A), which is just an area I've never heard of before. On another note, I really liked the fact that the first answer in the puzzle was PREAMBLE, dealing with the Constitution, which ties into a puzzle about RBG very well.

I also liked the structure of the puzzle a fair amount — many long acrosses that led to some more interesting, longer answers. While that structure did lend itself to a lot of three-letter downs, I think the constructor kept the clues/answers pretty varied. Sure, there were some crossword-ese words like ODE, USE, TAD, and TSP, but I found the puzzle to be overall pretty surprising and not as much of a "typical Tuesday."

I did get stuck in a few places, which moved this puzzle more toward a medium Tuesday rather than an easy Tuesday. I've never heard of HILO (35D: Biggest city on the island of Hawaii); I tried to make "Oahu" or really anything else fit there. I also hadn't heard of TRAC (34D: Gillette brand name) and tried to put "Atra" there instead, as that's more of a typical answer in a crossword puzzle. So, having HILO, TRAC, and then ALIF (41A: Start of the Arabic alphabet) made that section challenging for me. I also really wanted to put slightly wrong answers in a lot of places — I wanted "macro" or "micro" for 32A instead of SOCIO economics; I wanted 61A: What to do "and weep," in an expression to be "read it" and not READ EM. I originally put "boast" instead of BOOST at 23D: Help by speaking well of.

There was some added flavor in the puzzle with a couple of clues in particular. I got a little chuckle out of 33D: Places dogs go at cookouts as BUNS. And, while it took me seemingly forever to get 62A, as my mind went to royalty, chess, playing cards, etc. before realizing it was talking about a  MATTRESS, I enjoyed it.

I did have a few nits with the puzzle. Having Netanyahu (6D as BIBI), who's facing criminal charges, in the puzzle wouldn't be something I'd do. I though ICE at 37D: Word repeated in __  or no __? was pretty cheap — so many words could have fit in there. Calling it a "pod" of whales is much more common (as far as I know) than referring to a group of whales as a GAM.

  • I don't think my dad and sister (who have both worked at newspapers) would appreciate me referring to a newspaper as a RAG (44A)!
  • I'd bet that the southwest corner caused some stumbles among people — you've got ABSCAM (42A), which is older; there's SIA (56D), which skews younger; and then there's ASIANA (59A), which isn't even South Korea's largest airline — it's number 2, so unless you're a massive airline enthusiast, you might struggle a bit.
  • PROSIT (1D): I've heard a lot of toasts before, including prost, but I've never heard of this one; do people actually say that?
  • Congrats to the constructor Zachary David Levy for a super strong debut! He says that this puzzle is dedicated not only to RBG but also to his wife, who happened to cross paths with RBG as an 11-year-old immigrant from Ukraine and is now a successful oncologist. Here's a link to his amazing dedication for this puzzle.
Stay safe, everyone!

Signed, The Notorious CMC

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:59 AM  

Well, that's it.
I will fight to the death to defend the good name of any crossword puzzle that has RBG as its theme - and doing it so well to boot!
I suppose, if I look hard enough I could find a nit here and there, but I don't want to. So, I won't.

Congratulations, Mr. Levy - you've found a way to shut me up! No easy task, that.


Except for this one itty bitty thing that just jumped out at me: SNAFU abutting TOOL. SNAFU TOOL or a perfect description of that Ebola bag squatting in the White House.

Tale Told By An Idiot 1:07 AM  

Scene I.
OK, I watched the videos, I know what to do. The preamble is slow: snuggling together on the mattress, fingers wandering carefully up a gam and toward a flat bush. But then my heart runs riot as the run-ups to the act increase in tempo.

Scene II.
Did we do it, she asks. Sure did! Her eyes pop open. But how? I thought you had too many IPAs and too much anisette. Ah, bibi, I reply, I learned many things at Columbia, including how to stay sober enough to do the act while drinking a s**t load of booze. Well excellent, she said. In that case I will marry you - not because you will take me to Oslo and Maine, but just on the basis of sex!

Anonymous 1:13 AM  

Flatbush Zombies ftw

jae 1:28 AM  

Medium. Nice tribute, liked it. Solid debut.

If you haven’t seen the movie, you should give it a look.

****SB ALERT****

I start the SB late in the day and carry it over tnto the next day, so If you’d like to discuss yesterday’s answers I’d appreciate a SPOILER ALERT.

egsforbreakfast 1:38 AM  

I can say nothing but “brava” fora tribute to RBG! Once in a while I just think we should all step back and thank people who exemplify what this union is supposed to be about. Thank you Zachary David Levy, and thank you Clare for touching me deeply just when I needed it.

Ron 1:48 AM  

I'm thankful I saw Ginsburg and my boyfriend knew her nickname, but the other themers and trivia heavy sections were PAINFUL today! I can't remember the last time I've guessed this many squares!

CuppaJoe 2:06 AM  

Being from the Midwest, now living on the West Coast, I wanted “Fishhook” for 22 across (Flatbush). That’s what I call an “East Coast bias”.

chefwen 2:27 AM  

O.K Tuesday that I had no problem with other than 15A where I plopped down RUNS amok first. Good old MR. ED set me back on the right path. Nothing outstanding here.

Where’s my Tricky Tuesday?

okanaganer 2:28 AM  

Clare, serendipitous (is that a word) that you are guest blogging for this particular puzzle. A very all American theme, at a time when the USA is having a tough go. Here in western Canada the virus seems to be well under control but as you all know, that can change in a week or two.

SAX and SEX intersecting. "Prologues" and PREAMBLE intersecting. Coincidence?

PUNCTURE wouldn't quite fit at 51 across.

32 down wanted to be SNUB or SNARK or something. SNAFU was originally an acronym with the f-word in it. Sometimes "fouled" is substituted to maintain safe-for-work status.

new elctronics 3:28 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
amyyanni 4:19 AM  

Hi Claire, how serendipitous you got to review this one! As a former public interest lawyer, I love it for all the reasons you noted. Add in one of my favorite shows as a kid, MR. ED, and I am tickled. But also sleepy, so back to bed. Ciao.

ChuckD 6:07 AM  

Tricky Tuesday ?? As much as the subject - lets not call it a theme - is fantastic this puzzle felt like it should have been in TV Guide or a high school newspaper. No wordplay - just filling in trivia and whatever. Not a fitting tribute to a great person.

Best part of the puzzle was the 1A/1D crossing - all downhill after that. Did a lot of work on the B and Q stations in FLATBUSH so that was pretty nice. It’s also the birthplace of the super cool Richard Fariña

Lewis 6:32 AM  

I can't just bounce away from this puzzle and forge into my day. Here I sit, wrapped in emotion, centered on RBG. Filled with gratitude for a person I hold in such high regard, for her wisdom, fight and character. Filled with hope, imploring this idol of mine to hang in there while we need her so badly, to not say I'M OUT or I CAN'T.

Your tribute, Zachary, elicited a constellation of thoughts and feelings rooted in this period we're living through, foremost among them the bright light that RBG radiates. Thank you.

Hungry Mother 6:59 AM  

I thought I landed in Natick, weirdly in the SW, but I had a typo in the north. Probably some deep meaning in all of that. I found this on the Wednesday side of difficulty.

kitshef 7:12 AM  

I had sIP before TSP for my 5 mL, and wondered who and how they measured it. A sip of sherry might be little more than enough to wet your lips. A sip of beer might be half a pint, if it’s my friend Marty. Well, TSP makes a lot more sense.

Should have been switched with yesterday's, based on overall easiness. Yesterday, two themers I didn't know. Today, getting one gets you a bunch.

Two more awful CECs today. Will has gone way overboard on those lately.

kiNG before HONG, anyone?

pabloinnh 7:13 AM  

Talk about your straightforward cluing--PREAMBLE, VIDEOS, VISTAS, JAR, I could go on. I think that's what gave this a fill-in-the-blanks feeling for me. Made for an exceptionally smooth solve though. And hooray for RBG. Boy do we need her now.

Nice write up, Clare. Always nice to see you here as you share my granddaughter's middle name, right down to the spelling, which is clearly the way it should be done.

Timely theme choice, ZDL. Made for a zippy Tuesdecito.

Doug Garr 7:33 AM  

I got stuck in the NW even with Preamble as a gimme. Prosit? WTF? And what's with run riot? It's run amok. I've never heard anyone say run riot. I have no idea what ipa is either. So I breezed through this and spent 10 minutes with my chin on my desk trying to finish.

Anonymous 7:43 AM  

May Ms RBG live forever. She is everything everyone herein has stated. With just over 4 months until the election, we would all get whiplash and skin abrasions from the speed at which McConnell and his minions would get another Justice nominated and ensconced if anything were to happen to her before November.

Schuly 7:56 AM  

Such a sensitive flower, objecting to Bibi. You should spend some time in Flatbush and toughen up (and meet some actual Jewish people).

GILL I. 8:11 AM  

After Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed the first woman to the Supreme Court Justice , and history was being made, it was only appropriate that THE NOTORIOUS RBG be nominated to join her. We have some mighty fine strong women in the Supreme Court. We need more.
My first theme entry was ON THE BASIS OF SEX and I crossed my fingers it wasn't about some god-awful politician. I can name several. my delight, it was about RBG. I hope she sees this tribute to herself in today's NYT.
Fitting puzzle with the PREAMBLE to the Constitution starting us off. "We the People" would like to turn the TABLES and POP OPEN a bottle of anything but ANISETTE. Maybe a PINA Colada on ICE sitting under a veranda in HILO.
Second wave is upon us.....Stay safe.

Lorelei Lee 8:11 AM  

@Lewis, Thank you. This is a beautiful puzzle.

Justice Ginsburg, The Notorious RBG. The first theme to be met with a standing ovation.

Flatbush, where Charles Ebbets reclaimed land from a garbage dump and built a ball field for his Brooklyn Trolly Dodgers. If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch Ken Burns’ series Baseball for free and fill that little emptiness inside. If you don’t tear up a just a Tad in the first 10 minutes, you’re being more of a man or a woman than you need to be.

The Preamble, just as a reminder, “We the People … in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity...” Wear a mask and provide for the common defense.

And Boson! The Higgs Boson, the “God particle,” a nickname every physicist hates, including Higgs himself.

A great collection of words. Read ‘em and Weep. Tuesdays this thought provoking are few and far between.

Petsounds 8:12 AM  

Very nice write-up, Clare. Glad you got to do it. Like you and many others here, I consider RBG a national treasure. I remember too well the bad old days when people like me--women--could be denied a job based strictly on gender, and potential employers didn't even try to pretend it was for some other reason. I once had a department head at a very prestigious East Coast hospital ask me if I were married (yes) and on birth control (!!!), because he didn't want to hire me and then have to hire someone else because I'd gotten pregnant. How ironic, and how brilliant, that she sometimes chose male defendants to prove gender discrimination in the cases she argued before the Supreme Court. She changed everything for women in this country.

So it was nice to see a puzzle devoted to her, but I confidently entered a lot of wrong answers, not because of clever misdirect, but because of just being on another wavelength entirely--e.g., I've always heard "READ IT" and weep, wanting to enter POD at 58D, and trying to enter RUTHBADERGINSBURG at 54A. And my furnace never produces any ASHES.

On the other hand, enjoyed seeing STU, ABSCAM, and BOSON.

Blue Stater 8:13 AM  

*Terrible* Natick with ASIANA and SIA, particularly on a Tuesday.

TTrimble 8:23 AM  

I am a little surprised Rex didn't know FLATBUSH (e.g., The Lords of Flatbush, with Sylvester Stallone). And yes, Rex, PROSIT is a thing. It's considered more high-falutin' and old-fashioned than "Prost" which is the shortened form. More info here.

I too was thrown for a loop, putting in "pod" before GAM. Also with "m-cro" (leaving my options open between "macro" and "micro") before SOCIO. Also entered in "king" before the correct HONG. There were a few other small hiccups.

The scientist in me appreciated BOSON. Is that a well-known word for your average Tuesday solver?

webwinger 8:26 AM  

Three cheers for RBG! (Each of 15 letters, thank you.) And one for her SCOTUS brethren and sistren after yesterday’s decision.

Somehow I missed ON THE BASIS OF SEX, but the 2018 documentary RBG was superb. Hard to find anything not to like about her, unless you take issue with “everything she believes about the law”, as her good friend Justice Scalia said jocularly in one of the film’s many precious moments. When I reflect on the fact that Ginsburg and Scalia truly enjoyed each other’s company, and consider the wonderful quote clueing 54A, which I had not heard before, I’m saddened more than usual by the level of personal bitterness our public policy debates have descended to.

Not much x-word joy to be had beyond the opportunity to celebrate the puzzle’s celebrant. It started out feeling very easy, then fought back pretty hard toward the bottom, even after I had the theme concept. For some reason I assumed 54A would begin with Ruth Bader and didn’t even bother to count out the remaining squares until nothing was working down south, where there seemed to be quite a bit of fill that was above Tuesday level difficult even after I corrected my error.

TTrimble 8:28 AM  

Aw, heck, missed the fact it wasn't Rex today; it was guest blogger Clare Carroll. Rex could probably use a respite from all the dissing.

J. Marshall 8:30 AM  

Confirmed 96-3. Doubt we'll see those days again.

William of Ockham 8:33 AM  

Beautifully constructed grid, meh and very easy puzzle, easier than yesterday

OffTheGrid 9:02 AM  

I created a lot of my own resistance. pod(GAM), kiNG(HONG), alert(SOBER), micrO(SOCIO), BeBe(BIBI). Also delayed by trying to think of somebody famous with the first name "JUSTICE". All got resolved in a satisfying manner.

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

Very hard for this Brit - never heard of this person, so one for the Americans I guess (fair enough given it's a US puzzle!)

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

A slightly dissenting opinion. I wish RBG were a better writer and not just a reliably sensible vote.

Megan P 9:06 AM  

There was a time when every single person doing this puzzle would have gotten "Flatbush" instantly. It's kind of wonderful that the puzzle has spread to the degree that some people have to learn "Flatbush" from the puzzle itself.

mathgent 9:06 AM  

Like @Blue Stater (8:13) I got Naticked at SIA/ASIANA. BTW, I was driving down Chenery in Noe Valley here in San Francisco a few days ago and passed a short street named Natick.

I liked the documentary about Ms.Ginsburg. Like the doc, the puzzle is well-constructed and enjoyable.

For the last few days I’ve been getting Quora as an email. I didn’t ask for it. The lead item is always about mathematics so they know something about me. Anyone else?

Hawaii, called The Big Island, had a big volcano eruption within the last year or two. Most of the island was covered in smoke for months.

Liked seeing READEM and weep. It reminded me of my old poker group.

Unknown 9:06 AM  

PROSIT was the first thing I filled in.

Back in HS German class, we learned a sing-song toast that went:

"Zum prosit, zum prosit, gemütlichkeit!"

bigsteve46 9:13 AM  

Is a clue for a major universally-known neighborhood in NYC in a NY Times crossword, an "east coast bias? It's still the NEW YORK Times, rubes! (Sometimes I just feel like the crusty over-the-hill NY born-and-bred grump that I am.*) Hard to avoid a little crustiness these days, although I do try. Actually being alive and (relatively speaking) well, and not (yet) broke and still able to get the right shoe on the appropriate foot, should be enough these days - and it is, so I apologize for that "rube" usage, although its too much trouble to go back and find a better word.

Nice puzzle, very nice write-up and a good start to a nice sunny day - at least so far in ZIP 10803.

* “Age is not a particularly interesting subject. Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough.” (Groucho Marx)

burtonkd 9:24 AM  

Was thinking about Ashanti, the singer and Asahi, the Japanese beer. Tough to spell the airline with all that swirling around. Definite Natick for a Tuesday.

Loved the clue for BOSON, which takes something that looks unknowable, then turns out to be a new fact about something you do know.

The ELDER and ALDER trees aren't so similar - why do their names have to be so close.

Seems like I've been tricked by the king and queen mattress within the last couple of months.

I met Justice Ginsberg as part of a group because I was playing for an opera company and she is a big fan. She gave a talk about the law and how it would play out in several "cases" depicted in famous and obscure operas. Our company provided live excerpts to go along with it. She definitely proves that physical stature is not required for societal stature. She is also one of those people that changes the air in the room when she arrives!

RooMonster 9:30 AM  

Hey All !
Is MRED related to MRAZ?

@tale told
Awesome one today. Look into a Romance Writing Career. 😋
And use POP OPEN. Har!

Interesting wide open corners, not that common for a TuesPuz. The NW and SE are closed off, however. One itty square to get in or out. But that's an itty nit.

GINSBeRG my all-too-familiar one-letter DNF today. REPeTE didn't make sense for 44D (is it even a word?), but did that stop me from putting in that E? Heck no. Apologies to RBG and @M&A about the non-placed U.

READit first, causing a double-dyslexic moment to put in mAImi for MAINE. (Double because vowels switched, and its South, not North, ya big dummy.)

A tougher Tuesday here. Congrats to ZDL on his RBG puz, ad his debut. Good on ya, mate! Still submitting myself, still getting rejection e-mails, apparently my puzs still suck! I READ EM and weep when I get those "Sorry" e-mails. ☺️

My LOAD of self-pity aside, had a good time on this puz. Off to SB, were I missed two I should've gotten Yesterday.

Two F's

Nancy 9:39 AM  

Well, she may not have her own commemorative stamp yet (someday she will!), but now she has her very own tribute crossword puzzle. And it couldn't happen to a nicer JUSTICE!

Also it's a very good tribute puzzle, which sometimes seems like an oxymoron, but isn't today. Harder than most tribute puzzles. Also harder than most Tuesday puzzles.

Didn't recognize the recipient of the tribute immediately, though of course I should have. While ON THE BASIS OF SEX rang a big bell for me, I have, as you may know, a very fuzzy memory and all I could think of was Gloria Steinem. So when THE NOTORIOUS RBG came in, I didn't see it coming and was delighted.

I had some SNAFUS that I don't imagine anyone else had:

My Octoberfest toast (1D) was PROBST -- a strange Malapropism of PROSIT and PABST, I would imagine.

I READ IT and weep. I never READ EM and weep. But that's just me.

I had the D, R and S and wrote down CEDARS (42A) instead of ALDERS. Guess I don't know my trees all that well. That loused up three Down answers. What was CBS CAM? CB SCAM? (42D). What was EIKE (43D)? What was ICA (37D)?

A lot of things to sort out for a Tuesday. Plenty of thinking required. No junk. Did I enjoy this puzzle? SURE DID!

Bill Ockham 9:44 AM  



Z 9:52 AM  

Pretty sure I learned about FLATBUSH from Bugs Bunny.

@mathgent - Either log in to Quora and unsubscribe- probably someplace in your account profile, or see if there is an unsubscribe link in the email itself.

Learn SIA. She is destined to live as long as Yma Sumac and Yoko Ono in Crossworld. Besides, the music is fun. Speaking of, we haven’t seen Yma in awhile.

Over at American Heritage Dictionary they say that GAM is specifically a herd of whales while a pod is a group of marine mammals which could be whales or hippopotamuses (or is that hippopotapodes?). Now you know.

Regarding the alleged natick, if you have AS-ANA and the clue says Seoul it seems like something Asia related is inferable. I almost wrote in ASIAir, but MAINE stopped me. You know how much I hate crossing PPP answers at a vowel, but of all the offenders, this is one of the most mild.

TTrimble 9:55 AM  

I think I might occasionally get a Quora post in my Social box (or maybe even Promotions). The only thing I get in my Primary from them is some kind of invitation to play some kind of role in their organization (not interested). I've written a few math answers there, which is how they know about me. But it's not a great site IMHO. (Mathematics StackExchange and MathOverflow are much, much better.)

OTOH, for some reason I get emails from Word Genius, and sometimes I'll click on it to see how far I go in getting all the answers right (which is pretty far; their words are not as unusual or rarefied as they may think). There I *do* feel an occasional passing urge to get involved in their outfit, as I very often think their writers don't have a great ear for the English Language. People who use fancy words without quite knowing what they are talking about are fairly annoying (and common).

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Anon 7:43
I don’t think you’ve been paying attention to the decisions SCOTUS has been handing down recently, including two this week! Gorsuch joined the Liberal wing for one case, and Roberts did the same on Monday. Fact is, the justices the right were counting on have been quite disappointing. Read any of their sites, e.g. National Review, or First Things etc and the consensus is with friends like these who needs enemies.

Flatbush is home to one of my favorite pizzerias: Lenny and Johns. A true dump. But my kind
A dump. Two slices, a rice ball and a Coke might set you back $6. Maybe. And deeelicious. No pretense, no BS, no nothing but shakers of garlic, hot pepper and oregano.

Joseph Jakuta 9:58 AM  

This is why I had heard of FLATBUSH:

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

Gam must be used 500 times in Moby Dick. Anybody got a Concordia to confirm.
But pos is most certainly used much more frequently..Hippos come in bloats not pods.

Hartley70 10:00 AM  

Oh Joy! A puzzle devoted to the woman I admire most in the world. Could this Tuesday get any better? Nope!

As an extra treat, there’s Clare! Not a bit of snark in her review to spoil the mood. The fill was fine too, although I would still have been satisfied with dreck. It was Tuesday appropriate and I really liked seeing PREAMBLE. Oooo a puzzle devoted to Con Law would be a fun theme.

Banya 10:03 AM  

I spent half my time putting in RuthBaderGinsburg wondering if it was some kinda rebus. Finally looked at the clue for JAR and figured it out. Had Alarms for ALERTS which made ANISETTES hard to get and I have no idea what the term GAM. So, basically, the top 2/3 was easy for me and I spent most of my time on the bottom 1/3.

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

Kilauea has been erupting continuously for the past 30 odd years, though there was heightened activity last year.
Volcanos National Park is terrific, but you can get some tasty view just driving through one neighborhood and hoofing it for a little bit. Watch your step though, there is literally lave bubbling up through to the surface in many places. Incredible, obviously, at night.
This is really just up the hill from Hilo.maybe 12 miles.

jberg 10:11 AM  

I haven’t read all the comments yet, have to run. But first:

Terrific puzzle. A little tough because a) the NW and SE are connected to the puzzle only by a single square in a theme answer, and b) like everybody else, I wanted Ruth Bader instead of JUSTICE. Well, I do want justice but you know what I mean.

BOSONs are a category of particles, of which the Higgs B. is an example, so the clue doesn’t quite work.

Back in the 50s Flatbush was the only Brooklyn neighborhood anyone knew about (although we pronounced it wrong), it was the epicenter of the Brooklyn accent. Today not only Clare but several others had never heard of it. Is that because the Dodgers moved?

My Dad grew up speaking German at home; PROSIT was his go-to toast.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

New phone, who dis?

Lorelei Lee 10:15 AM  

@bigsteve46, I like your Marx quote (I'm a Marxist myself :). Local TV news was just celebrating a guy who'd turned some crazy number over 100 and I thought that for all we know, he might've always been a nasty SOB and just outlived his own reputation. But I'm getting grumpy too.

@Doug Garr, I say run riot, though I love "amok." Can it ever be separated from run? Like, "He's amok!"

@PetSounds, I was told at my first job that my predecessor was paid more because he was married.

@TTrimble, I think the big success a few years ago at the Hadron Collider was all over the news for a brief flash, but not cluing it with Higgs was Un-Tuesdayish.

Ernonymous 10:23 AM  

I think of SIA as crosswordese. This is the 4th time It's been in the NYT puzzle in 2020, which is the only reason I got it. She is a "one named singer" 3 letters.
My grandfather, who was in WWI, really my step granddad, was a big Republican and he used to carry a letter from Reagan in his wallet. It was a form letter, but he thought it was personal. Even as a teen I thought he was being duped sending his small amount of income to them. Anyway, they lived in Florida, and he was always going on about his "good friend Congressman Kelly." Kelly was convicted in ABSCAM!

KnittyContessa 10:28 AM  

Loved the RBG tribute. I initially made several of the same mistakes Clare did. Most were easy to figure out but not all. Sadly, this ended in a DNF for me - on a Tuesday! Not happy about that. I had zero idea who or what BOSON was and BOaST looked fine to me.

Joaquin 10:30 AM  

@Z - Unsubscribing to Quora is easier said than done. I've unsubscribed twice but still get it daily.

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

McConnell and his minions would get another Justice nominated and ensconced if anything were to happen to her before November.

Optimist. 21 January. That reptile wouldn't "allow the election to determine the next justice".

and meet some actual Jewish people

Bibi ain't so popular among the diaspora as in Israel, where he ain't all that popular to begin with.

the justices the right were counting on have been quite disappointing.

Well... the immediate tell will be the taxes case. Among the Left Wingnuts, these so-called Liberal decisions are just meant to balance giving the Presidency over to Dictatorship. Don't count your chickens, and all that.

Don't know whether to be sad or elated over an IMELDA clue that lacks sole.

Crimson Devil 10:46 AM  

Great tribute, puz & writeup, to national treasure. Also good to see comment re another national treasure , Ken Burns...and to Mr. Ed, of course.
Nice tale, also.
RBG’s husband, Marty, was also helluva lawyer.
Why are MATTRESSes always on sale?

Mortimer 10:52 AM  

Oof, the irony of the constructor dedicating this puzzle to his wife, an immigrant, 5 days after RBG sided with fascism in an important immigration case. You hate to see it.

CuppaJoe 10:52 AM  

I got ASIANA rather easily because of a 2013 incident at SFO. The local news media treated it as if we all knew what Asiana is, so after weeks of scandalous stories, we sort of know the airline. (West Coast bias)!

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

Flatbush (and NYC geography, in general) was definitely better known back in the days when Brooklyn still had a baseball team, and when most network TV originated from New York. In the 60s, we became more familiar with all things SoCal.

What? 10:56 AM  

Never heard of Flatbush? How is this possible?

TTrimble 10:58 AM  

@Lorelei Lee
Yes, that was my suspicion too: un-Tuesdayish. For those who don't know, the Indian physicist is Bose. The name is probably associated more with commercial sound systems than with particles (different Bose however).

Re BOSON: yes, it could have been clued "type of (or class of) subatomic particle named for an Indian physicist". But I don't consider that the omission of "type of" itself makes the clue wrong. One might also say that "subatomic" is not entirely accurate either: is Helium-4 "subatomic"? It certainly obeys Bose-Einstein statistics. (But this is getting kind of nitpicky.)

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

The irony here is that she is a really horrible justice and it has nothing to do with politics. Even conservatives find her personable and clubby, so its not a matter of disagreement. And a lot of conservatives can find common ground with Judge Sotomayor. The problem with Ginsberg is that she is inconsistent, cloudy in thought, she writes terrible decisions that are nearly impossible for lawyers to parse out, and she generally makes things murky when they need clarity. Her original reputation as notorious has more to do with her shortcomings on her job, its not a good thing to have lawyers of all political stripes groan when word comes down that she wrote an opinion. This is one of those areas where the gap between public perception and lawyers is pretty wide. Leaving aside whether you agree with her or not, the odds are more likely that you have no idea what she is saying.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

Anon 10:42
No, not even close June MED v Russo was the biggie. And what looks like a 5-4 ruling is really an 8-1 decision. Only Thomas’s dissent got to the crux of the issue, which is of course, how the court in Roe came to find a right to abortion in the constitution. Iprussomis really a repudiation of all the right has been hoping for in court appointments.
Today’s ruling in re Montana is a trifle in comparison.

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

Come on.The ask yum case was 7-2. It want just Ginsberg who departed from the left’s bloc. Have you read the dissent? It’s ludicrous.

Joe Dipinto 11:24 AM  

You've never heard of Flatbush? This Flatbush native has an opinion on that.

Nice puzzle. Who doesn't love RBG? I saw "On The Basis Of Sex"; it's not all that memorable a film, but it's worth a viewing. The themers are all suitably connected to her life, and succinctly clued. ASIANA looks like it should mean "stuff from Asia". "He began collecting all sorts of Asiana, to the point where he had to get rid of half the Southamericana he'd amassed."

Verdict: A supreme debut puzzle. No dissent.

@mathgent – I got an email from Quora yesterday saying they "found some Spaces" for me. Wtf? I've never used their site. I unsubscribed, we'll see what happens.

Carola 11:24 AM  

The first theme answer got a "Yippee" from me - I was delighted to see this tribute, and defer to commenters above for their eloquence in explaining why.

@Burtonkd - As a fan of opera and of JUSTICE GINSBURG, I'm envious of your "moot court" with various opera malefactors. It must have been enormously entertaining.

Adding on to @Unknown 9:06 and @Bill Ockham 9:44 - it happens that the PROSIT song can easily be adapted as a toast to today's theme, by replacing "Gemütlichkeit" with "Gerechtigkeit" (JUSTICE). Sing along, in honor of RBG.

Swagomatic 11:45 AM  

For me, it was a tougher than average Tuesday. I enjoyed it, though.

Z 11:53 AM  

@anon9:59 - Yes, Hippopotamuses come in “bloats.” What American Heritage is saying is that “pod” is applicable generally to marine mammals, so can be used for hippopotamuses. Other sources mention dolphins and porpoises, as well as birds. Why marine mammals and birds? No idea.

Ernonymous 11:57 AM  

This comment section is exactly like Quora. Ask a question about any topic and you will get an expert opinion, anecdotes, true stories, and someone else (anon) saying all if that is wrong, and actually the truth is his opinion.
What's the best way to cure a hangnail?

Masked and Anonymous 11:58 AM  

RBG is a most primo subject for a dedication puz. thUmbsUp to this impressive debut. Only 74 words, once again. Only minuscule objection would be how closed-off the NW & SE areas are from the rest of puzgrid civilization. Only exits/entrances were grid-spanners. Sooo … lost some nano-seconds re-bootin to the outside puzworld, but nuthin that would consume an entire extra cinnamon roll.

First learned FLATBUSH when I saw "The Lords of Flatblush" flick, back in the 70s. I think it had young-ish versions of Rocky & The Fonz starrin in it. Believe I learned HILO about the same time, but can't quite pin that one down on why/how.

Clare does another real fine blog sub job, but I don't recall that I learnt USE or ODE or TAD from the ese-sleaze of xwords, tho. Puzzles the M&A. I've actually seen them 3-toed pups USEd a lot, other places. However …

staff weeject picks: TSP and ETS. I'd grant that yep, these are bit more xwordese-y. But they are also very xword eazy-E. Sooo, no harm no foul, at our house.

Like many other solvequesters, M&A had RUNAMOK. Heckuva good corner up there in the secluded NW, what with PREAMBLE & RUNRIOT & SUREDID & a grid-spannin themer. Impressive first step onto the NYTimes loony surface, by the Levymeister. Kid's got some game.
Also, wanted KING before HONG (yo, @kitshef). (Lost precious nanoseconds.)

Thanx for the supreme fun with RGB, Mr. Levy. Congratz. Stop by the court to play again, soon.

Masked & Anonym8Us


TTrimble 12:01 PM  

So glad you didn't say "hippopotami"! (Not that I expected you would.) Yesterday we had "rebi", which is funny in its way, but hypercorrections don't get much more blatant than that.

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

Marine is generallly re-saved for salt water.

Lorelei Lee 12:09 PM  

@Joe, Gmail and Blogger are Google apps and Google knows your search history.

And @TTrimble, thanks for the info on Bose. Bff's husband had been head of the Klystron/Microwave Department at SLAC (part of a nice long career) and walked me through what it all meant during the run up, but he didn't go back to Bose.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

Mods have spiked a couple of my posts. But for those interested, The Nation has a piece on RBG right now. Illuminating.

Dr. Oz 12:21 PM  

A cure that guarantees no recurrence is distal phalange amputation.

albatross shell 12:43 PM  

Crossings: RUN RUN, SAX SEX. PREAMBLE prologues. I like that stuff. Less so: NOTORIOUS EVIL.

PO-PO PEN: Cop writing utensil. Or Place for cops using choke holds.

RUN RIOT not uncommon. Kids and imaginations often do it. Def Leppard does the song. Maybe Z mentioned such before? My memory needs a recall.

The 3 spanners were perfection. Then throw in COLUMBIA and FLATBUSH and the back story and Clare's links.

Real easy if your brain is sharp, but quite tricky if you were having a slow day. Misdirects and toughies in some crucial areas. I was having a slow day and had fun nailing it all down. The I in SIA being the last too fall. Needed the music to know it was right. Second guess. I count that as a solve for me. Someday maybe I won't.

chasklu 1:01 PM  

For me the Natick was PROSIT / IPAS. And with Key as the clue for ISLE and King or Queen for MATRESS, this was more of a Wednesday puzzle.

GILL I. 1:02 PM  

@Anony 11:08. Interesting. What can't or shouldn't be disputed is that Justice Ginsburg is a pioneer for gender equality. She wasn't inconsistent nor were her thoughts cloudy when the ACLU Women's Rights Project was born under her leadership. She fights hard for sex discrimination. RBG was appointed during a time when both women and men - as well as gender neutral people needed her the most.

Anonymous 1:18 PM  

I get that you like RBG’s politics. But Anon 11:08 is correct. She is not a very good jurist.

Whatsername 1:19 PM  

Had ASPENS before ALDERS and ATRA before TRAC. Liked the crossing of sleep ONIT with MATTRESS. Had no idea the Appalachian Trail went all the way north to MAINE but for my money, the scenery in the Appalachian area is every bit as pretty as it is in HILO. Seemed a little more difficult than the average Tuesday, but I loved the theme. Here’s hoping 54A continues to live long and prosper.

HONG Kong is a city comparable to NYC and yet has reported only 1200 COVID cases and 7 deaths. The difference is largely attributed to the fact that citizens voluntarily began wearing masks early on.
Here’s an interesting article pondering why many Americans are so averse to the practice.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

RBG’s position in Bostick v Clayton will harm women. Bank on it. Very short sighted.

Teedmn 1:22 PM  

I had forgotten the name of the RBG biopic so I wasn't sure of the honoree in the puzzle ON THE BASIS OF SEX. At 33D, I threw down Bbqs for where dogs go at cookouts even though there was no abbr. indication. This left the end of 34A a bewildering array of consonants: bSRBG. Because my crosses seemed sound, I was wondering what was going on. Eventually this all was cleared up.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is amazing and I know more than a few people who pray for her well-being every day. I'm more of a finger-crosser but indeed, I hope mightily for her good health.

Zachary David Levy, thanks for a worthy tribute subject and congratulations on the debut puzzle.

GILL I. 1:29 PM  

Dang...@JC66. The against are against me... :-)

Sir Hillary 1:33 PM  

Wow, I loved this. RBG is course eminently crossworthy of tribute, but aside from that, this is the most themeless-looking grid I can remember this early in the week. Check out those open corners and long entries. @Clare rightly points out that most of the length is in the Acrosses while the downs are short, but I sure didn't notice that while solving. If PROSIT is the price to pay for all this goodness, count me in.

Yep, I wrote in RUTHBA before realizing I was going to be two squares short.

Agree the ASIANA/SIA cross is tough. Wondering if AStANA/StA would have been any better?

I'm not a huge fan of SIA's solo work, but her collaboration with Zero 7 over multiple albums produced some stunning results. She is quite talented.

bauskern 1:43 PM  

A perfect Tuesday, and so nice to have Clare as a breath of fresh air. The one little Natick was SIA crossing ASIANA, but I agree for once with Z (who I sort of picture as Rex's Mini-Me, no offense Z!) that ASIANA is easily inferable as Korea is obviously part of Asia.

Anonymous 2:02 PM

Raoul Duke 2:06 PM  

The Lords of Flatbush is a 1974 film starring Sly Stallone and Henry Winkler. Worth a watch just for the cars and the location shots of that neighborhood.

"Read 'em and weep" is a gambling term, when someone calls your bet because they think you're bluffing, you flip your hole cards (thus the "them"). "Read it and weep" makes no sense.

Nancy 2:07 PM  

Some blog comments that perplexed me mightily today:

@kitshef -- What on earth is a CEC? You say there are two "awful" ones today, but what are they?

@Crimson Devil -- Who on earth is The Notorious CMC?

@jberg -- How on earth is it possible to "mispronounce" FLATBUSH?


And... @Joe D.: I laughed out loud at your SOUTHAMERICANA sentence. @Tale Told: I laughed out loud at your entire story.

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

If you are addicted to "Air Disasters", then you will well remember the SFO episode:

OK, so borderline Natick.

Frantic Sloth 2:30 PM  

Regarding the Quora Gnats:
To expand on @Z's 952am suggestion, I just now went into my Quora profile (yes, I was surprised I had such a "robust" one) and unchecked every individual option for them to send me an email. There are about 20. (There is also a "MANAGE" button for "Spaces You Follow", "Your Subscriptions", and "People You Follow" which you should probably look into as well. Mine were empty, but it would not have surprised me if something had appeared there, too.)

My experiences with doing the "unsubscribe" at the bottom (in the finest print imaginable, BTW) of these emails are abominable. More often than not, it doesn't work – and not just with Quora, but that's another topic for another oh, never.

And in case you're wondering, if you've asked a question on Quora or via Google and the answer can be found on Quora, you have to register to open a (free) account if you want to get that answer.
And that's where they have you. Profile created, replete with the 20 or so instances where they can email you.

Hope this helps.

And a big honkin' DITTO on @Nancy's 207pm question to @jberg re the Flatbush mispronunciation. Flate Boosh? 😂

Crimson Devil 2:34 PM  

The notorious CMC, is our blogmistress today, Clare M Carroll; ‘s how she signed off. Did fine job.

Z 2:37 PM  

@TTrimble - You’re relatively new so missed out on the Great Plural Of Octopus Debate. Truly one of our finer moments. As a result, I will with great irregularity choose -podes as my pluralization of snootery. Except with Prius, where the obvious plural is Prii. Although Priopodes (Pronounced pre-oh-poe-daze) does roll of the tongue.

@anon12:18 - Link? All I saw was a “Roberts is playing the long game” article.

@Dr Oz - Are you related to MR ED and MR Az? Anyway - Har!

@bauskern - I’m 6’4” and I think I saw somewhere that Rex is only 6’3”, so it’s better to say Rex is a Mini Z. 😎🤷🏽‍♂️😎

Elvis Costello RUNS RIOT Act.

Xcentric 3:07 PM  

Fun puzzle. Great theme. Spot on write up. As a native New Yorker, flew through most of the puzzle, only to get hung up at the same places many others did. Pod before gam, macro before socio, tried Ruth Bader before justice, never heard of Sia, didn’t know asiano.

Prost is a contraction of prosit, or just the way your ear hears it when the “i” isn’t emphasized between the sibilant “s” and the hard “t”. Lots of dialects in Germany.

Really nice job, Clare!

Dump the Bloviating Orange Chump so Ruth can finally enjoy her well earned retirement!

TTrimble 3:15 PM  

While I'm aware of "octopodes" (does that second 'o' take a macron?), I admit that I'd have an urge to give a smack to anyone who tried that out loud. (JK) Even I have my limits when it comes to pedantry.

Similarly, my nose wrinkles a little at "lemmata" whenever I see it, even though it's technically correct. "Dilemmata" would certainly be smackworthy.

One of my favorite hypercorrections is "agendae". Originally there was "agendum" (something to be done), whose plural form is "agenda" (things to be done), which over time became a collective singular form in English (list of things to be done). So, it should be "agendas", thank you very much.

GHarris 3:39 PM  

All you anonymice who are disparaging Justice Ginsburg’s qualities as a jurist; if you are lawyers you can’t be very good ones.
As to the comment that Sen. Mcconnell would rush a replacement for RBG; really? After he lectured us about how inappropriate it would be to name a new justice in an election year and deprive the people of making the choice. Yeah, he would.

syracusesolver 3:40 PM  

A satisfying puzzle in all respects!

Prof Karl 3:59 PM  

Ein prosit, ein prosit, Der Gemütlichkeit! Zikka Zakka zikka zakka! Oi! Oi! Oi! Eins, zwei, drei gesuffa!

Nancy 5:47 PM  

Cryptogram Alert: for Joe D. --

A weird one today, Joe. Struggled, and then the first words that seemed to work were the last three -- odd as they seemed to be. I resisted at first, thinking I had lost my everlovin' mind. But I hadn't.

Birchbark 6:14 PM  

Moby Dick, chapter LIII, "The GAM":

"But what is a GAM? You might wear out your index-finger running up and down the columns of dictionaries, and never find the word. Dr. Johnson never attained to that erudition; Noah Webster's ark does not hold it. Nevertheless, this same expressive word has now for many years been in constant use among some fifteen thousand true born Yankees. Certainly, it needs a definition, and should be incorporated into the Lexicon. With that view, Let me define it.

"GAM. NOUN -- A social meeting of two (or more) Whale-ships, generally on a cruising-ground; when, after exchanging hails, they exchange visits by boats' crews: the two captains remaining, for the time, on board of one ship, and the two chief mates on the other."

Not a bad word for Tuesday.

Anonymous 6:53 PM  

Mr.Ed, the real stable genius.

Joe Dipinto 7:19 PM  

@Nancy – I only just got around to the Cryptogram. So far: Nothing. It may have to wait till tomorrow.

What? 7:23 PM  

That’s funny, I understand her perfectly. And I’m not even a lawyer.

Z 8:00 PM  

@TTrimble - I suspect both you and @LMS would like this parenthetical sarcastic quote from the M-W article about octopus plurals, and also from the belief that there is no word which cannot be improved by making it less comprehensible. I must admit that from a purely aesthetic sense I prefer octopi to octopuses since it is so much less hissy. But since I try not to look too much like a prig I go with the "-es" usually now.

RooMonster 9:11 PM  

Octopus + has been debated enough. What about Ambulance? Ambulances - Ambuli - Ambulapodes? Or is it like deer? One deer, twelve deer. One ambulance, twelve ambulance?

RooMonster Non-Plural Guy

Anonymous 11:23 PM  

Beatle Stu Sutcliffe would have turned 80 last week. He died before the Beatles became famous.

Harrison Rebecca 10:57 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 10:29 PM  

Awful puzzle. Both the answers and many of the clues were way too obscure for a Tuesday. Fitting how terrible the puzzle is given the subject but that's a bit too meta for me.

spacecraft 11:33 AM  

Never would I have thought that a grid containing my heartthrob SELA Ward would produce a DOD to oust her from the throne, but this one is undeniable: she's the theme! And again I rushed to "judge"ment by starting to write RUTHBADER...without counting. You'd think I'd know better. So, ink mess there.

This was a remarkably open grid, more Friday-shaped than Tuesday, and with three gridspanners plus two bonus 8s, very theme-dense. 61 squares is a lot. Yet there is not much at all in the way of fill junk. I do take issue with RUNUPS, as it is not a word (though inferable), and as for ANISETTE being called "sweet???" Not on MY palate. This is one of the bitterest tastes around.

These nits aside, I SUREDID enjoy solving it. I'm liking Zachary already; he has the same name as my Eagles hero, tight end ERTZ. More is certain to come from this prodigy. Bird--oh, what the hell: eagle!

thefogman 12:08 PM  

Beautiful puzzle about a truly remarkable woman.

leftcoaster 2:11 PM  

Homage to RBG. Perfect.

One error in the fill: Is it SIA or SkA? ASIANA or ASkANA? First wanted ASIANA but couldn't place SIA or be sure of ASIANA. Guessed wrong against instinct. Ouch!

rainforest 3:26 PM  

A quality Tuesday puzzle, one of the best ever for this day, *plus* a tribute to a true American hero(ine). DOD indeed, even with SELA in there.

Excellent theme, excellent fill, excellent cluing and general construction. A huge
43-down from me.

BTW, I really like IPAS, and I've been known to utter PROSIT on occasion.

Final note: RBG, you must live forever!

Diana, LIW 3:40 PM  

Juris Dr. Ruth is truly amazing to me. And this puz was easier than yesterday. And.....I didn't fall for the "Ruth Bader" error - JUSTICE was mine!

Learned that she went to COLUMBIA. Kudos!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 6:39 PM  


her REPUTE SUREDID turn the TABLES, see,


Anonymous 11:40 PM  

Surprisingly not too difficult of a solve since I had no idea about the background of RBG, although I am quite familiar with the mostly politically correct court opinions of hers.

Thanks for the write up Clare. But, I haven't worn a mask since the CDC and WHO launched this assault on the populace. Masks do nothing to prevent viruses from passing through or around them. Viruses are much too small to be stopped by a face diaper. And distancing by any amount of feet or yards is useless as the particles are always in the air and can be inhaled through a mask as you walk anywhere in this world. And the test results are bogus since false positive and false negatives occur with regularity. And even if there were that many cases very few people would have symptoms. Any death is tragic, but the numbers of total deaths has not changed. More attributed to Covid, and fewer to other causes. Politically influenced numbers like the phony AIDS "epidemic" that was supposed to strike into the general populace and never happened. Get out and enjoy life everyone, trust your good health and immune system, and stop worrying about a manufactured crisis.

Nice Tuesday puzzle.

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