Shoe designer Caovilla / THU 6-4-20 / Title woman of 1965 Beach Boys hit / Beginner's trumpet sound / Low-effor internet joke / Early people of Great Lakes / Early PC software / Original occupation for Rachel on Friends

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Constructor: Barbara Lin

Relative difficulty: Easy (4:29, first thing in the morning)


THEME: Unhappy workers — corny verb-phrase puns related to different occupations:

Theme answers:
  • 17A: The unhappy drill press operator FINDS WORK BORING
  • 24A: The unhappy calendar maker NEEDS A WEEK OFF
  • 40A: The unhappy elevator operator ASKS FOR A RAISE
  • 52A: The unhappy orthopedic surgeon WANTS MORE BREAKS
Word of the Day: RENÉ Caovilla (12D: Shoe designer Caovilla) —
Edoardo Caovilla, the father of Rene Fernando, was a student of Luigi Voltan, who had been the first to make shoes in Riviera del Brenta's. Edoardo Caovilla favored high-end fashions marrying craftsmanship with couture. Edoardo’s wife would embroider shoes by hand in a small room with four other people. The room in which they worked has been preserved in the Caovilla factory.
In 1950, Rene Caovilla went to Paris and London to study design. He returned home and began working with his father. In the early 1960s he took over the family business from his father. He met his wife, Paola, whose family was also in the footwear business at a shoe fair. Paola became responsible for public relations and the Caovilla handbag line. His concentration was on the high-end of the market with opulent evening shoes. His work is known for elegant detailing and high quality.
Beginning in the 1970s, he worked with Valentino Garavani.. In the 1980s, he began to collaborate with Christian Dior and Chanel. Working alongside Karl Lagerfeld in 2000, Caovilla decided to create jeweled shoes. On 10 September 2007, Harrods hired a live Egyptian cobra to protect the shoe counter, guarding a pair of haute couture ruby, sapphire and diamond encrusted sandals launched by Rene Caovilla.
Among the numerous celebrities that have been seen wearing Rene Caovilla shoes are Jennifer AnistonTyra Banks, and Heidi KlumKristen Stewart, and Nikki Reed. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is a Wednesday puzzle. Is it Wednesday? Seriously, is it? Days of the week are infamously hard to tell apart during this whole pandemic business. (Checks calendar) Nope, it's Thursday alright, so I don't know what happened here. The theme type and the difficulty level both scream Wednesday, but OK, let's just roll with it. These are corny puns. If you like that sort of thing, you like it, and there you are. I like that there is kind of unity to the group on a couple of levels (all of them are "unhappy," all of the answers are 3rd-person present indicative verb phrases). That second themer feels a little off, compared to the others. Drill press operators bore, elevator operators raise (people), orthopedic surgeons help fix breaks (of bones). Calendar makers ... ??? They make calendars, which happen to contain weeks??? If you took a "week off" of a calendar, it would make no sense. This is not a paradigmatic activity of a calendar maker, although ... I wouldn't know exactly what a calendar maker does because ... what kind of job is that? I recognize the other jobs as jobs (although elevator operators today exist almost exclusively in movies from the 1930s). Calendar maker? Really? Both the job itself and the phrase associated with it feel ... well, weak (rimshot!).


There were lots of little sticky parts to this puzzle, all the stickiness due to cluing and none of stickiness very sticky. I had the hardest time with TREAD (5A: Tank part). I had -READ and wasn't sure. I kept picturing the turret. Is the TREAD the part on the ground? Is it just called a TREAD? If you said a [Car part] was TREAD, I would be a little mad at that, for sure, though technically you would be right in that a car needs tires and tires have treads. I am not a tank part specialist. I had INIMICAL (??) before INDECENT (4D: Not appropriate) and had some difficulty coming up with DEEPENS (20A: Increases in intensity). DABBLE AT before DABBLE IN slowed me somewhat (9D: Casually try). No idea about the shoe designer guy, but crosses took care of him pretty easily. Same with FTLEE (28D: One side of New York/New Jersey's G.W. Bridge), although at least I've heard of FTLEE and seen it in puzzles (which meant I could get it from FTL--). I don't think of RAW BAR as a "server," so that was weird (43D: Seafood server). [Graze] was a tough clue for SKIM (at least for me). And despite my daily non-sleeping household activity being roughly 75% KITTEN-related, I had zero idea what [Cute calendar subject] was getting at. That's a pretty tenuous connection, there. I object to all calendar-related content in this puzzle. The rest was mostly tolerable.


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

111 comments:

nevercared 6:24 AM  

Calendar maker is supposed to be a real profession?? LOLOL.... Uhhhh....
What a lame theme.

Hungry Mother 6:35 AM  

I’ve been in DAKAR and raced through this one. Just an easy one.

Lewis 6:37 AM  

Good bite for me from the vague cluing and things I didn't know, which made the conquering sweeter, and thank you for that, Barbara. Your clue for ADD -- [Perform an operation] -- by the way, is lovely, and I did notice those six double E's. The puzzle's theme, disgruntled workers, brought to mind those tens of millions today who wish they were working. Please do what you can, those of you who can, to help them!

Chris Christie 6:38 AM  

"Time for traffic problems in Ft. Lee." Google it.

pabloinnh 6:58 AM  

Agree with OFL that this one felt misplaced. I bet lots of us were looking for our Thursday rebus or some other sort of challenge. This was OK but I, for one, am disappointed.

Also can't believe that Rex had a hard time coming up with KITTEN. which seems to have been in the news lately, at least around here.

Oh well, the SB has a ton or words. Crunchy Friday? Please?

amyyanni 6:58 AM  

Grateful to be working from home, but it has its own set of challenges. Some are provided by the two grown kittens in the home. Agree this is a Wednesday-Barbara was surprised by its placement as well, it seems.
Was hoping 41 down would warrant a new Alfie photo! Thanks, Rex.

albatross shell 7:02 AM  

Who told Will Rex had a kitten? Or did someone say Rex is having kittens today and Will misunderstood? And why didn't it work like yesterday? And is the kitten the whole reason that some have found Rex happier lately? Oh the mysteries of life and rexochology.

Me? I must be getting a little like Rex because I thought it was Thursday and every thing I did not know I got from crosses and guesses by intuiting the best crossword answers, vowel placements etc., and most of them were correct. Tried NEEDedadayOFF for my first themer guess. Then found the proper tense and time period fairly quickly. Filled in KITTEN with no crosses. How did Rex not get that?

Came here and discovered the day. Somewhat deflating. I thought the theme was solid and amusing. Rex's criticism has some merit. Maybe he should be a crossword whisperer instead of blogger.

Anyway I had fun. I know. ERIES. But I guess it's OK.

Hey ROO, why are so many F's in the theme answers? What is that percentage compared to other letters?

Lobster11 7:04 AM  

Agreed that this is a perfectly serviceable Wednesday puzzle. My only complaint is getting cheated out of my Thursday puzzle this week.

mooretep 7:08 AM  

Deep State Crossword Conspiracy confirmed.

OFL shows pictures of his new best friend, et voila!
One day later.
Kitten in the puzzle.
Crossing "Asks for a raise" and "Wants more breaks".

Release your tax returns!

albatross shell 7:14 AM  

And I thought everybody knew Fort Lee. The abbreviation through me off. Better clue: Place with political traffic problems.

GILL I. 7:17 AM  

I'm pretty sure I wanted to really like this. I'll start with saying that I'm so damn happy TORIC didn't find its way in today's puzzle. Then I'll move on to 1A and that GOBI thing. I mean if Barbara had clued it as where you would find the Bactrian camel or the jerboa and even the goitered gazelle, I might've had a chance. Well...as it turned out, she chose that velociraptor fossil. Inking in ASIA right off the bat didn't help.
I moved over to TREAD. Actually TREAD was the head scratcher du jour. I had to wait for that answer. Thank you Catherine OHARA for giving me an inkling. You all have gotta watch Schitts Creek. She's the bomb. So I get TREAD and I'm thinking about Mickey's costume. Was he an EARL? No, he was all EARS.
Moving along....I got the theme answers without problems, but I sure did some further head scratching with some of these answers. Why clue RENE as quite possibly the ugliest shoe designer this side of the Mississippi? I mean his little beach sandals go for about $20000 and you can get the same ones at Walmart for $2.00.
I'm super happy that Naomi OSAKA got herself in a puzzle but dang....You've got RAW BAR, why not clue OSAKA with some Sushi.
Anyway....@Rex is right. This was Wednesday fare with some added strange cutesy cluing. Oh, and if you're going to give me two calendars, you might just give me one with pictures of hunky Australian Firefighters. I mean I think KITTENs are cute and all but you should see them hunks holding little puppies.

kitshef 7:20 AM  

Bad enough to run this easy boring puzzle any day, but where is my Thursday?

Pretty sure there is no such thing as a calendar maker. There are graphic artists, who might design a calendar. And there are print shops, who print them.

Hoping for better things tomorrow.

Margaret in New Jersey 7:29 AM  

FTLEE, or Fort Lee, gained some fame as the target in the Chris Christie - GW Bridge scandal. That should have been an easy one.
On the whole, pleasant, but I expect more on Thursday.

ChuckD 7:37 AM  

This is not a Thursday level puzzle. Theme was so soft - but overall fill was fine. I have “The Beach Boys Today” on vinyl from one of my older brothers. It has RHONDA and the great Please Let Me Wonder.

Agree with @Lewis regarding people out of work still - gets a little lost with everything else going on.

MarineO6 7:46 AM  

Thursday puzzles have been pathetic the past few weeks, and this one did not disappoint.
Another Wednesday or even Tuesday level offering on what used to be my favorite puzzle of the week.
Bad enough to have to deal with the crap going on in the country, now the puzzles suck too.
And to top it off the execrable Elena Kagan was clued.
Bad day all around.

Z 7:59 AM  

I'm pretty sure I wanted to really like this. Well, damn. @Gill I already perfectly encapsulated my reaction.

@webwinger late last night - I don’t think “confusion” is quite the right word. I am constantly amazed that people who do crosswords constantly fall into the “I know this definition so all other definitions are ‘wrong’” trap. But you’re main point is spot on, people were thinking geometry instead of topology. Given that crossword cluing constantly plays around with the vagaries of word meaning it’s gobsmacking to me that we have variations on this discussion so often. It makes me want to ask them how a raven is like a writing desk.

Okay @everyone - Rex’s use of the picture of “Vivian” has me stymied. What am I missing? And I already discounted any “drill press” related humor because that’s not Rex’s style.

albatross shell 8:13 AM  

@Z
Elevator scene.
Poe wrote on both.

TJS 8:36 AM  

Remember, people, Monday was designated "puzzle of the week". Sheesh, I guess we just have to get thru this. A Thursday without one moment of difficulty or enjoyment.

I guess Trump got that military parade in Washington after all.

RooMonster 8:39 AM  

Hey All !
Standing over in the WedsPuz crowd.
Better take my trash out, as Wednesday is trash day in my neighborhood. Wait, why aren't any other trash cans on the curb? *Checks phone for day and date* Oh, it's Thursday. Hmm.

Nice puz for what it is, albeit not for Thursday. Occupational humor. Mine? The unhappy Limo driver... -- NEEDS A PICK-ME-UP.

Fill was nice. Not much junk. Even Rex didn't complain about it! KITTEN fuzzies, maybe?

@albatross shell
The percentage is 80% themers, 20% other words. And if you believe that as fact, I also have a bridge for sale. ��
Seriously, though, it does seem as if themers didn't contain F's, they might disappear from the alphabet! I don't remember when I started noticing F's were sparse, but I took it upon myself regardless to champion for them. ☺️

F rave/rant over
Five F's (four in themers) (OK, F-ness really over now!)
FEEDS ME ME
RooMonster
DarrinV
(And it's a Hard G for GIF) 😋

Anonymous 8:39 AM  

Yeah, F'in puzzle! Had "faded" b4 "jaded". Fouled me up. Play ball already. Btw, when did u Twinkies change the name of Lake Calhoun?

Lorelei Lee 8:40 AM  

No time to write. Working on my new book, The Calendar Maker's Wife. He takes a week off and the wife walks around in a daze. When it finally throws off the NYT crossword schedule, she leaves him for the more reliable drill press operator. That's the breaks. His work is a bore, but at least he knows what day of the week it is.

BTW @Rex, that live Egyptian cobra Harrods hired to protect the shoe counter? When Covid hit, they gave it the boot.

William Tecumseh Sherman 8:44 AM  

You know that thing that tanks have? It's called a track. Tanks have tracks.

Z 8:54 AM  

@albatross shell - I was thrown off by the sofa built for two in the elevator.

bauskern 9:10 AM  

It's a puzzle. Did it feel like a Wednesday? Who cares? I guess whining about the relative difficulty/easiness of the Thursday puzzle exemplifies White privilege. Jeez you guys have it so rough.

Lorelei Lee 9:19 AM  

@Sherman, Thank you. I stared at those blank squares for a while and thought the same thing. Your fellow soldier General Halftrack would've been appalled. BTW, why did the bunch from Beetle Bailey never seem to go to war?

DavidL 9:19 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Petsounds 9:20 AM  

A definite Wednesday puzzle, but I enjoyed it and pretty much sailed through, with an almost-record time for a Thursday. I liked the silly puns and don't really care whether "calendar maker" is a real job. It was fun.

Like @William Tecumseh Sherman, I wanted TRACK for the tank part. My uncle drove a half-track in the Battle of the Bulge, and I was always fascinated by that name, which he explained was half-track and half-wheels. It took me a while to figure out a use of "track" I'd never heard before. Didn't know JAFAR but the crosses filled it in easily.

I like @Gill I's idea of cluing OSAKA with sushi somehow, especially since I've been watching the delightful "James May: Our May in Japan" on Amazon Prime. A slightly off-kilter tour of Japan from north to south. Watching James and his super-exuberant translator guide Yujiro is worth the price of admission.

webwinger 9:25 AM  

Thursday! Thursday!! My crossworld for a Thursday!!!

Rug Crazy 9:28 AM  

I'm with REX. also partials like ____-Pacific just suck.

Bax'N'Nex 9:29 AM  

OMG...I agree with Mike! World. Spinning. Off. Axis...

Thursday’s are my favorite day, kind of a let-down.

But THWART...what a great word. That saved it for me.

Peace and love.

mathgent 9:29 AM  

What little fun I had came from some words which are fun to say. JAFAR. THWARTS. DABBLE.

Only 8 Terrible Threes out of 72 entries. Good. Only 18 entries had six letters or more. Bad. About two-thirds of the entries have four or five letters.

After talking about Michael Caine yesterday, we saw Miss Congeniality last night. It holds up pretty well. Some clever stuff. Caine plays Sandra Bullock’s beauty pageant coach and is teaching her how to walk gracefully. “Glide, glide!” he urges her. They are practicing on a New York street and a car comes close to hitting Bullock. She slaps hard on the hood and yells at the driver, “We’re gliding here!”

Bax'N'Nex 9:30 AM  

Oh...and much thanks to Joe D. For yesterday’s lesson.

Tim Aurthur 9:36 AM  

Operating an elevator has its ups and downs but it's easy to make your way to the top.

Frantic Sloth 9:38 AM  

I can never see or hear FT LEE without thinking of one of these.

Happy to see KITTEN in the grid and hope it foreshadows more kitteh pics from Rex.
That Alfie. There oughta be a law against so much adorable. 🐈❣️

I don't know whether I'm tapped into Barbara Lin's wavelength or if this puzzle really was that easy. Maybe too easy for a Thursday.
And when are we gonna have a rebus again?? Seems like it's been forever...🤔

pmdm 9:43 AM  

If you have nothing better to complain about, complain about the difficulty level. Me, I'll complain about the amount of PPP (as I too often do). Probably par for the course for a new constructor. That will change, I predict. I don't consider research fun (even when I'm learning something), so today's puzzle did not pull me in.

Banya 9:44 AM  

I think my main problem with the theme is the verbs in the beginning. Why does the calendar maker NEED and the orthopedic surgeon WANT? They can be easily switched... It's just arbitrary. I filled in Need for orthopedic surgeon which made me stuck in that corner for a while before I finally switched it to WANTS.

Nancy 9:46 AM  

Another name I've never heard,
Another name that makes me stall.
At what point do I scream "Absurd!"
And fling the thing against the wall?

I do not know the Schitt's Creek star.
I do not know the Rocky foe.
I don't know who you people are,
And truly I don't want to know.

"Aladdin" villain, go away.
And Beach Boys woman, please get lost.
This sea of names is not okay,
And none of you are fairly crossed.

Without those names, this playful theme
Might well have earned my deep esteem.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Are you THAT Chris Christie?
Why aren’t you at a Bruce Springsteen concert? Or at a closed beach?

Newboy 10:21 AM  

Rimshot indeed, but I enjoy Dad jokes, so this one was fine. And KITTEN gave OFL license for another cutie pix! Even without the pandemic I’d be amused. Though the BED , RHONDA and B SIDES cluing all seemed like ole friends dropping in for a morning cuppa, the smooth flow and 🐱 work for Ms. Lin. Thanks for a light to start the day Barbara.

three of clubs 10:21 AM  

Sweet movie about an elevator operator streaming on Netflix: The Lift Boy (2019)

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

Terrific visit with Pet Shop Boys...Thanks!!

57stratocaster 10:28 AM  

Always hope for a fun, tricky workout on Thursday...sadly none to be sorted out today. Very easy; by far my easiest Wednesday ever. Entertaining none the less. Thwarts is good...1:6 vowel ratio...

dt in aa

Birchbark 10:33 AM  

I knew it was Thursday. I did not know velociraptors were real. I learned of them watching "Jurassic Park." So the 1A clue for GOBI, with its intriguing "(1923)", had the trappings of a challenging themer right out of the gates. Instead, job dissatisfaction. BLAT.

Why was the lazy trash hauler unhappy? Because his business was picking up.

When mortals invoke the gods in the Iliad, the gods usually notice. They act capriciously, but they at least notice. And it is epic. I wonder how ATHENA et al. -- their ancient temples wonders of the world -- adjust to these latter-day crossword cameos, sharing space with RAW BAR and the like. Do they stir in their convalescence and wonder that it got from Troy to this? Is this the price of immortality?

@Nancy (9:46) -- "This sea of names is not okay/And none of you are fairly crossed." That couplet stands well on its own.

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

OK, show of hands: how many went through Alito and Rabat first?

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

The kitten has youo so distracted you failed to note two female constructors in a row.

Whatsername 10:42 AM  

Hand up for thinking it must be Wednesday. I knew I was going to be busy yesterday so I had done the puzzle on Tuesday night and sincerely - just saying - when I can complete the fill with just a glance at the clues, well that doesn’t normally happen for me this late in the week. TREAD tripped me up and was aggravated by ASIDE and RAGAT in the crosses. I agree with Rex this is a Wednesday with a few Thursday clues thrown in. Still, that doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s perfectly good puzzle on its own.

I’m curious whether there’s any significance to the clue for TAFT being number 45. Like maybe both one-term presidents?

@bauskern (9:10) You seem to be implying that only white people comment on this blog. Geez, you have a narrow definition of crossword solvers.

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

72A The CW puzzle solver ....
Requested a Thursday Challenge
77A But ...
Received a meh Wednesday instead

Not bad, just not much. Wasted too much time looking for a Thursday 'Trick'

CDilly52 10:45 AM  

When I saw KITTEN, I knew there would be one thing Rex would like 😻! Thanks for the Alfie update. He’s a sweet little guy.

The Wednesday-Thursday puzzle was sort of an enigma to me. I had the worst time getting started, and that amazingly clever “tank” clue! I didn’t get the military tank aspect until minutes - literally minutes after the puzzle was complete! One of my favorite things about crosswords is how many different ways it is possible to consider words. Language has always fascinated me.

The bottom half played like early week and helped me finish the top. I’m one of the folks who is a sucker for stupid crossword puns. Especially liked the first one about the drill press.

My dad was a very skilled amateur woodworker/cabinetmaker and I remember clearly the day he brought home an entire garage full of professional tools that he had purchased for a song at an estate sale. Full size table saw, band saw, large, drill press, router, and on and on and on, including beautifully cared for chisels, mallets, hand saws, and all kinds of things I k ew nothing about at the tender age of about 6.

The garage was his spot and we were allowed in by invitation only and never alone. Truth to tell, I would have been the one to cause some sort of mayhem by trying out one or another of the tools. But occasionally, Dad would show me how something worked and very, very rarely allow me to try it out. The drill press was the only one he actually let me work “by myself” which means he gave me a scrap of soft wood, set the press for a safe limit and stood there while I brought the bit down and watched the sweet smelling shavings curl up from the clean and perfect hole. One Saturday when I was feeling bold, I told him I wanted to saw something. He said. I, and I replied, “but this is boring!” He was in concrete-operational-I really want my privacy mode, and told me that’s all I get. I was downcast and said, “don’t you get it? This is actually BOR’-ING!” After that, I thought I was so clever and did as many riffs on the b “boring” pun for a long time. I chuckled at poor Dad, not ever a patient man, struggling with how much I think he liked me actually trying to get along with him and really wanting his privacy.

Enjoyed the workout today and the theme. To each his own, I guess.

Pamela 10:48 AM  

Pretty unexciting, except when I thought that 33A Polish, in a way meant EDge. But no.

I do love kittens. We had a mother cat when I was growing up. We always trained the kittens to go outside before giving them away. One was returned to us by an unhappy much older woman, who had wanted a quiet house cat. Tillie drove her crazy, inning around and climbing everything. Of course we kept her, rather than subject her to yet another change. She and her mother had kittens 2 weeks apart, 6 each. By the time the second set were old enough to climb out of their box, the first set was trained to go on newspaper. The second set untrained the first set- little puddles everywhere! We called them the Piddlehoffers. They were so much fun, 12 little puffs of fur running all over, climbing everything, including legs. I’d wake up in the morning with at least 2 or 3 on my bed. So sweet.

Mary McCarty 10:49 AM  

@Nancy Brilliant poem, except “none of you IS fairly crossed.” “None” is singular...well, actually, less than single, but let’s not go there.
I usually caf myself up for a Thursday, but this one fell half-way between my Monday/Tuesday averages. The puns were good, but no Latin🙁, unless you count ANTE and SEMI, which of course I do, and my good friend OVID (almost symmetrical with AVID. Nice!)
Agree with@mathgent about fun words to say, though I’d add BLAT and ERGS, which I always pronounce with a few more r’s for effort. That word always reminds me of afternoons when the crew team worked out on the rowing machines outside my classroom window. Wish they’d put as much effort into learning their Latin declensions, but at least I never made anyone vomit (that I know of!)

Carola 10:51 AM  

Liked: JAFAR at the DAKAR RAW BAR, the flummoxing-to-me cross of TOWER (why would a TOW truck be a broadcasting aid?) and TREAD (I'd wanted "strap" for the tank [top]), one single DORITO ha ha ha, and KITTEN as an excuse for another photo of Alfie.

@Lorelei Lee - Happy writing! Your comment prompted me to wonder, what's with all the "The [Somebody's] Wife" titles, anyway? Where are the "The [Somebody's] Husband" novels?

What? 10:57 AM  

More like a Tuesday to me. Just breezed through it. Theme was just like ok and helped a lot with the fill. Ft. Lee and Chris Christie woke me up.
All in all, not enough to take my mind off COVid and protests.
I know this doesn’t belong here but I fantasize Biden winning and joy throughout the land.

Pamela 11:00 AM  

@Nancy (no avatar). Brilliant! Exactly.

Not impressed with OFL's constructoring 11:05 AM  

Hey, everybody, ziggy on over to the LAT to do a crossword co-constructed by Michael Sharp! I was so taken with it that on Diary of a Crossword Fiend, I gave it 1.5 stars! Trivia, dreck, zero wordplay. Utter slog.

Northwest Runner 11:08 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
What? 11:17 AM  

I do not like a crossword easy
It does not relieve my stomach queasy

As I ponder the worldly news
My gut spews arghs and boos

Come November I like to muse
I won’t need a crossword to block the news

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

well... TREAD or track on a tank? both, it turns out. the whole thing is a track, while the individual segments are TREADs. kinda figured that, but here's 'proof': https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuous_track

Masked and Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Kinda liked the theme's humor, but yep too easy for a ThursPuz … not the constructioneer's fault, of course. In fact, her xwordinfo.chen comment expressed some surprise, that it landed on a Thursday.

Extra themer: The outraged crossword blog author ... = ? *

staff weeject pick (of only 8 choices): OLA. Better clue: {7-up's unc??}

sparkly moments: THWARTS. DABBLEIN. DORITO. RHONDA. SPUDS. KITTEN [honrable mention].

Thanx for the fun, Ms. Lin darlin.

Masked & Anonymo1U

* = HADKITTENS.

**gruntz**

Doc John 11:31 AM  

"A Mr. Richard Feder from FT LEE, New Jersey writes in and says, 'Dear Roseanne Rosannadanna...'"

Northwest Runner 11:32 AM  

Shouldn’t have tried to embed html on my tablet. I think the straight quotes were made curly. Let’s try again with a word about Mr Richard Feder of Ft Lee NJ. Like Frantic, I learned about the place from SNL.

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/mr-feder-of-fort-lee-nj-and-lsquosnlrsquo-fame-in-limelight-again/

p.s. Is the comment above from *that* Chris Christie? :)

jae 11:38 AM  

Easy. Barbara said she expected this to be an early week puzzle in her Xwordinfo comments. Cute and smooth, liked it.

Z 11:38 AM  

@Mary McCarty - Not necessarily.

Nancy from Chicago 11:45 AM  

I agree this felt like a Wednesday. I did get KITTEN right off the bat (I must have kittens on my mind because of the Alfie pictures yesterday). Glad we got another one today! I vote for an Alfie update every day. He has big paws - he is going to be a big gorgeous boy someday!

Z 12:01 PM  

@Not impressed - Huh? Mirror symmetry. Slightly high on the PPP (31%) but not excessive and fresher than NYTX standard. Timely theme. Fresh non-theme answers. And I'm just guessing that the 15-letter grid spanner is a debut. Anyone giving it 1.5 stars is just being churlish.

@jae - I'm not surprised. this does seem more like a Tuesday or Wednesday level of difficulty.

Joe Dipinto 12:02 PM  

This is like the remix of yesterday's affair. There's that cute kitten again, now he's curled up on top of 41d. I didn't know Kurtis Blow had become an orthopedic surgeon.

Sailed through the Cryptogram. Have some pie.

old timer 12:02 PM  

DNF here, as I had "bee" for BED.

Seems to me a tank has a TREAD. That is the word I've always heard, for what people in the military apparently call a "track".

But you know, it is not only the companies that manufacture those calendars you can buy at Office Depot that are paid to make calendars. An important part of most secretaries' jobs is to create and update their boss's calendar, noting every appointment on his or her calendar, and reminding the boss of deadlines, etc. Secretaries, too, sometimes NEED A WEEK OFF, and indeed the boss may be required by law to let them have it.

Z 12:05 PM  

Just realized that today's constructor also did this weeks Fireball. The Fireball played more Friday/Saturday here and is far superior in my opinion. The title is "Scientifically speaking" and is apt.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

I liked the puzzle - I'll probably always like easier puzzles - but Rex is right. I thought of treads but waited awhile to fill it in, thinking "couldn't be!" Turrets might be better for answers for tanks. Love kittens. Love cats. Got me wondering if anyone has ever bred cats for tiny qualities to look like kittens forever, like they have toy dogs to look like puppies. Not that they should. Cats probably would never stand for it! (Btw, I'm a dog lover, too.) Keep those Alfie pix coming, Rex. - newbie

Suzie Q 12:21 PM  

Agree with @ Birchbark about learning velociraptor from Jurassic Park but not realizing they were real.
Thanks @ Doc John, anytime I hear Ft. Lee, NJ I immediately hear that voice.
Puzzle was disappointing. I feel sorry for Barbara Lin since she didn't get to choose what day it would run.

Smith 12:42 PM  

@Roo 8:39

The gigolo giftwrapped a gigantic ginger girdle for his girlfriend in the gibbet. Take a gander at the gif.

This is why teaching English to speakers of other languages is challenGing!

QuasiMojo 12:44 PM  

Thank you @Nancy. I burst out loud. Brava!

Unknown 12:47 PM  

Lol

Crimson Devil 12:48 PM  

Liked it, quite doable, after I quit looking for tricks (many complainers have only to revisit Sunday).
Also began with track for TREAD, both are correct I think. Right Gen Sherman ? (Speakin of Generals, How ‘bout Gen. Mattis ?!)
Good to see Alfie again, reminds of fun pic he and Duvall were in, Second Hand Lions, in which they were old bros out west reputedly housed atop gold bullion, and blasted birdshot from front porch at townspeople who rode up to see.
Good to see tha Guv chiming in, if indeed that is he.
Also good to remember Roseanneroseanna Danna, and Emily Littela (Never Mind !): we do miss Gilda.
THWART a great word, surpassed only by thwack.
Elena/Sonya always good crosswordese. Liked function = ADD.

Smith 12:50 PM  

@CDilly 10:45

My Dad was also an amateur woodworker, and I was incredibly sad when we had to sell his tools at an estate sale. But your story reminded me that my cloud was someone's silver lining.

Whatsername 12:59 PM  

@Z (12:01) Your link provided a very good summation of the singular/plural dilemma. I was taught that it’s always singular because it is a shortened version of not one. Of course that was decades ago and as we all know, our language evolves continually. The argument for not ANY equating with plurality is certainly a solid one, and I am all for erring on the side of what sounds more acceptable. In doing a little research of my own I ran across this on Dicrionary.com:

“I left three pies on the table and now there are none. None were left when I came back.”

I thought it was one of the better examples of the plural usage. Just thought I’d throw in my two cents worth. Where is @LMS when we need her?

Regarding the GIF debate, I saw this posted on the Wordplay blog: The G in GIF is pronounced just like the G in “egregious garage gadget.”

Lorelei Lee 1:02 PM  

@Carolla! That's what made that title pop into my head. There was a point in publishing when it felt like every other book was about some guy's wife. Why?

@Nancy, The puzzle was worth it for the poem!

@Cdilly52, Your wood shop memory is just lovely. There's a short story in there somewhere.

Teedmn 1:03 PM  

While the theme was smile-worthy, this was a very un-Thursday-like puzzle. Easy and untricky. My main problem was 36D, which started with 36A as mELD.

With mAI in the grid, I splatzed in mAITRE de, marveling at having a female maitre de (which is only maitre d', I see now in Google). As the esses started filling in at the bottom of the SE, I tried to convince myself that the actual feminization of maitre d' was mAITRESS. I finally took another look at 36A and said oops.

Funny how long it took me to get 5A with TREA_ in the grid. I didn't know MEMEs were supposed to be jokes. And I'm glad, in a recent Zoom get-together, one of my friends was waxing rapturous over Catherine O'Hara in Schitt's Creek. Har, KITTEN in the grid, what prescience on the part of the constructor and editors based on yesterday's blog.

Barbara Lin, congrats on published puzzle #2 and thanks.

Nicki 1:03 PM  

Agreed re: puzzle. Bit mostly, more Alfie photos please.

CDilly52 1:07 PM  

@Smith 12:50. What a kind, and absolutely true thought. I am just now getting ready to sell my late husband’s massive model train collection and am doing so with renewed broken heart. Your thought helped change my perspective. Thanks.

Frantic Sloth 1:07 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC66 1:15 PM  

@Frantic Sloth

You have to subscribe, but it's worth it.

Kathy 1:20 PM  

@nancy, love your poem!

@? There was a funny garbage day story posted earlier but when I looked back for attribution, the post was gone. Hilarious and I relate!

I was shocked at how easy this Thursday puzzle was until I got to the very end where I where I stumbled at OVID IVAN, BESO RAGON DABBLESIN, OLA DAKAR. I wasn’t 100% sure of BLAT either. I just kept punching in letters until I got lucky. I’m always pleased to finish a Thursday, even clumsily.

Overall, an average puzzle to me but I am a sucker for a corny theme so that made it fun.

And...when I turned 16, my very first real after-school job, was at a small printing factory whose main product was custom calendars! Those personalized ones that were sold by schools, communities, churches, and the like as fund raisers. They had birthdays, anniversaries, and events on them and were shipped all over the country. The job we high schoolers held was calendar page collators. Yep, we assembled the batch-printed months in calendar order by hand, a job that no doubt was ripe to be replaced by machines. This was 1962. The printing was done by large noisy printing presses. We stood in another section at our workbenches comprised of 12 slots, one for each month, loaded a stack of Januarys, Februarys, etc. into each one, then we pulled the pages out, one at a time, and threw them into a vibrating machine that kept them square. We then stacked the pages in tall piles, applied glue along the top side and left them to dry overnight. The next morning we sliced them into separate calendars which were sent off to another area to be stapled onto a backing that displayed the name and custom graphics of the sponsoring organization. Amazingly we learned to collate at lightning speed and we could gossip and joke around all the while we were working. It was a great job and paid $.15 over the minimum wage of $1.00 / hr. So, almost sixty years ago was a calendar maker!

Today the whole operation could be done in someone’s basement with a computer and color printer. But I still smile to myself when I am using a copy machine and see the option “collate.”

jberg 1:37 PM  

I do like corny puns, so this one was fun. It's been a busy day so far, so I solved it in little chunks in between other activities, which kept me from realizing it was too easy.

Honest, my first thought for where that fossil was found, in four letters, was "dirt."

@Nancy, excellent verse! I know you do this professionally, but do you always do them this quickly?

@Frantic, you almost got it, but you need another " sign after "again."

I think those ERIES allied with the Frenches against the Englishes.

pmdm 1:48 PM  

Mary McCarty et. al.: Fill in the blank with are/is.

None of the comments on this blog _______ interesting.

The comments on this blog _________ boring.

[Not an opinion, just an example.]

I'll let someone else explain.

Nancy: You seem to have tickled a nerve, mine too. And I concur.

CDilly52 2:06 PM  

@Lorelei Lee from yesterday Re bad dresses and my beloved taffeta skirt: AMEN SISTER!!! I feel your pain-in fact I laughed out loud about the yellow dotted Swiss. Reminded me of a very eventful Eastern of my youth, pretty sore it was 4th grade.

A ridiculous “maiden Aunt” (Sylvia - that should say it all) dropped in from Toledo one Easter and insisted she buy me dress for church. Oh dear Lord! Mom and Gran warned me there would be no discussion of any kind and I Would. Wear. The. Dress. Period.

Now, I could get away with trying to work Mom, but hoo boy, when Gran, calmly but firmly put HER foot down, I knew there was zero room for negotiation of any kind. And I did not get to go shopping with my aunt. Probably a smart move on the adults’ part because everyone knew there was a high speed train wreck coming! To their credit, I did hear Mom and Gran upstairs with Aunt S showing her what size I wore and the kind of dresses I wore to school and I even heard Gran tell her that the taffeta skirt was my favorite by far and that I preferred things without a lot of decoration. Deaf ears.

Sure enough, pale lilac dotted Swiss, stiff, scratchy, crunchy, noisy, uncomfortable wholly unacceptable layers and layers of petticoats attached to the dang thing underneath. Made me feel like I was sitting on a pile of dirty laundry! A completely overwhelming sash that tied into a gigantic lacy bow at the back and cascades of more frothy, scratchy, ugly, lace down the front and a stupid purple organdy fake rose at the waist. OMG!!!! I never dreaded an Easter so much. I could hear Garth H, Danny B, Dean L, Bobby W and Steve K all friends living in my neighborhood and my besties at school and also members of my Sunday school class laughing like hyenas when they saw me Sunday. They also knew I’d probably get even later on, too. And maybe even they knew what kind of pain I must have been feeling as I skunk into the room. They chuckled, but laid off. Turns out, folks, I had my own Easter Miracle that year.

Friday came and I told Mom I had a scratchy throat but went to school anyway. Despite the fact that I did plan to “be sick” on Easter Sunday, I truly didn’t feel well that day and it got worse throughout the day. But Saturday came and it was uncharacteristically warm in Columbus Ohio for that early in the spring. Seemed like I didn’t feel any worse so I went about my usual routine. By dinner though, I did truly feel sick! Mom gave me “the look” and told me that accordingly, I was too sick to watch tv and I was sent immediately to bed after we ate.

Easter morning I wasn’t really sick but something wasn’t right. Mom looked skeptically at me and said my throat wasn’t too red and I had no fever, so off we went to church. We all trooped back home and had dinner. I ate an absurd amount of a personal favorite, creamed spinach and immediately afterward knew it was a mistake. But since I had complained for nearly three days, nobody believed me (and OK, I might have deserved some of that rep), and dear Auntie just had to get us out in the yard for pictures with the blooming tulips and daffodils and me looking like “a little princess”. At just about that moment, Gran tried to come to the rescue - I think she saw me turning that pale green about the gills look that kids have just. . . before. . . they. . . .

Yep. An ocean of creamed flowed spinach down the lacey front, over the stupid organza flower, and cascaded all the way down the pale lilac dotted Swiss. While I truly don’t think I could have made it into the house and up the stairs to the one and only bathroom in that little Craftsman bungalow, I freely admit I didn’t even try.

Barbara S. 2:17 PM  

@Crimson Devil (12:48) said:
"THWART is a great word, surpassed only by thwack."

I'd just read this on Wikipedia:
"[Christie] chose not to move his family into Drumthwacket, the governor's official mansion..."

KnittyContessa 2:25 PM  

@Nancy Loved your poem! Better than the puzzle.

@Frantic Sloth I didn't have to click on the link. I knew exactly who you were referring to!

Frantic Sloth 2:39 PM  

@Northwest Runner 1132am Thanks for noticing! Your link didn't work for me, so I hope you don't mind that I'm posting it here. Good article! 👍

@Z I agree that the LAT puzzle was better than @Not impressed's led me to believe. You have a link to that Fireball puz?

Never mind. Thanks, @JC66!

Deleted earlier comment because I forgot the end quotes AGAIN. 😤

Mary McCarty 2:49 PM  

@Z and @pmdmm: you’re right about the ambiguity of “none” when referring to a plural antecedent ; I was reading it as “not one of...”, which would need a singular verb; you both were meaning it as “not any of...”, which does require a plural verb. Don’t you just love the intricacies of the English language?

Frantic Sloth 2:52 PM  

@jberg - Thanks. It's getting to be a habit! 🙄
(At least I noticed before I read your tip...that's something, right?)

@KnittyContessa How could you not, right? 😉

Hmmm. 2 rights. What don't they make?

egsforbreakfast 2:59 PM  

I personally think that the theme worked fine on a superficial level in a very easy puzzle. If you want to criticize the calendar maker as inconsistent with the others, consider this:

A drill press operator BOREs for work. (True)
A calendar maker WEEKs OFF for work (kinda nonsensical)
An elevator operator RAISEs for work (arguably true but awkward)
An orthopedic surgeon BREAKS for work (false)

There isn’t any attempt at overall consistency intended. It’s just light amusement.

I also was wowed by @Nancy’s versifying.

CaryinBoulder 3:00 PM  

Probably easiest Thursday ever for me. 2/3 my normal time.

@GILL I’m with ya on Schitt’s Creek. We just powered through Season 3. The whole cast is hilarious, but I gotta say Dan Levy is absolutely brilliant. FYI, OSAKA is where conveyor-belt sushi got its start. A favorite delicacy there is takoyaki — fried octopus balls. (“I didn’t know octopi had ...” No, not that kind.) Pretty cool castle, too.

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

Would a calendar maker be more like Pope Gregory, who could in theory design a calendar with a different number of weeks?

mathgent 3:36 PM  

I just did today’s LAT puzzle by Christopher Adams and Michael Sharp. Very solid. Better than today’s NYT, IMHO.

Smith 3:38 PM  

@Cary @GILL

Another hand up for Schitt's Creek!!

Nancy 4:03 PM  

Warm thanks to @Birchbark, @Quasi, @Lorelei Lee, @Knitty C, @pmdm, @Kathy, @egs and @jberg. I have to say, @jberg, that writing verse, which has always come naturally to me, tends to be both fast and pretty effortless. When it doesn't come easily, it usually means I've chosen the wrong meter, the wrong rhyme scheme, the wrong "hook", the wrong something. It's a big, big clue that I need to go back to the drawing board and start again from scratch. To those like to cite that old saw that writing is 1% inspiration and 99@ perspiration, I say bullshit.

@CDilly52 (2:06) -- What a hilarious story -- though I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time. Are all "Aunt Sylvia"s fated to be awful? I had one, too -- an aunt by marriage to my father's milquetoast older brother. She was a bossy, argumentative, know-it-all woman who hated children (they didn't have children) and she was as homely as a mud fence to boot. I remember one incident. Maybe I was 12 at the time? Or 13? Or even 14? I prided myself on my honesty, on never telling a lie, and so when Aunt Sylvia arrived for dinner one night in a ridiculous hat that was even uglier than she was and made the colossal mistake of asking "Do you like my hat, Nancy?", I said the only thing that an honest child who never tells a lie could have possibly said. I said "No."

After dinner, after Sylvia and Uncle Herbert had left, my mother beckoned me into her bedroom -- always a worrisome sign -- and read me the riot act. "If Aunt Sylvia or anyone else asks you if you like their hat, the answer is 'Yes'. No ands, ifs, or buts! And, no, Nancy, honesty is not always the best policy." Thereby teaching me for all time the critical social necessity of the white lie.

Joe Dipinto 4:07 PM  

@Crimson Devil & @Barbara S –

Mr. Thwackum is the name of one of Tom's tutors in Henry Fielding's "Tom Jones". He is *not* a sympathetic character.

Anonymous 4:11 PM  

have to answer @egs.

the answers represents what the 'person' is wants, presumably to make them 'happy' again,
thus
- press operator answer is self-evident
- calendar maker wants a break from making calendars, perhaps a WEEK, which, of course *is* his/her work
- elevator, again self evident, punning on two meanings of RAISE
- orthopod can be interpreted, in at least, three ways:
BREAK because orthopods sometimes have to (re-)break a bone to fix the problem
BREAK because, for example, s/he will fix a broken hip with an artificial version
BREAK in the coffee break sense

got no argument from me, unlike OFL.

Tale Told By An Idiot 4:18 PM  


@Nancy 9:46. Loved your poem! (A sonnet if my unreliable memory has not failed me again.)

GILL I. 4:44 PM  

Ooooh @Nancy...You did it again. Clever lady you are indeed.....
@Caryin in B 3:00....I've eaten lots of balls. My first was in Spain and he wasn't a matador...he was the bull. they're called "criadillas." Someone told me it was a ham croquette. Squishy, but quite yummy. The Chinese think if you eat lots of them, your sexual problems will go away. Then they go and eat raw bats.... I'll have to go look for some octopus balls. I bet their cute. :-)

Z 5:26 PM  

@Frantic Sloth - 2 rights don’t make a left, but 3 do.

Rex’s co-constructor Has a puzzle site.

iPad quote marks tip When doing the magic incantation to embed a link in the comments on an iPad you need straight quotes ("), not curly quotes (“). To get straight quotes press and hold the quote key. Six options will appear, slide your finger to the bottom middle one for straight quotes. Use the same technique for special characters like ç, é, ö, £, ¿, et cetera. The extra symbols are usually on a key that makes sense, for example the £ and € are found by holding the $ key.

Frank Lynch 6:09 PM  

FWIW, a Mr. Richard Feder of Fort Lee, NJ, was a frequent correspondent to Roseanne Roseannadanna on SNL Weekend Update. But I think that was before Rex's time.

Anonymous 6:16 PM  

A calendar maker would have had no problem solving 41 down.

Joe Dipinto 6:54 PM  

The Chris Christie v. Roseanne Roseannadanna showdown is tied 4-4 (not including response posts). I vote for Roseanne. Mr. Christie, you belong in New Jersey! (Thanks for that link, @Frantic Sloth. One of her best ones.)

Joe Dipinto 7:15 PM  

p.s. – Mr. Richard Feder weighed in on Bridgegate at the time.

egsforbreakfast 7:27 PM  

@Anonymous 4:11 pm. The constructor and all commenters, other than you, understand perfectly well what is going on in the theme clues and answers. The discussion is only about whether the lack of complete formal consistency is really harmful to a puzzle which is really about a Tuesday in difficulty.

Richardf8 7:41 PM  

Happened about a year ago. Minneapolis has that peculiar kind of wokeness that will erase the name of a dead slaver to honor the native peoples, but can’t keep its cops from sitting on African Americans until dead.

Richardf8 7:48 PM  

They live in an eternal state of Basic Training in an eternal 1954 into which anachronistic tech occasionally falls.

Unknown 7:49 PM  

I do love your kitten!!!
Pat J.

Whatsername 7:56 PM  

Just did Michael Sharp's co-constructed puzzle from the LA Times. Nice theme, solid fill, crisp long answers, an overall fresh feel. Five Stars from me.

Lemonade714 7:00 AM  

I am shocked that the readers here loved the LAT. Can anyone spell SYCOPHANT ?

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