Stuntwoman kitty known as fastest woman in world / SUN 6-7-20 / Sadistic feline character in Scott Adams strip / Montana in the 1980s / Put bluffer in tight spot / German city where Charlemagne was buried / Appetizer often served with mint chutney

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Constructor: Andy Kravis

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (13-ish)

THEME: "Surplus Store" — "Sur" sound is added (+) to beginning of familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases clued wackily (i.e. "?"-style):

Theme answers:
  • SURGERY VERDICT (23A: "The operation was a success," e.g.?) (jury verdict)
  • SURPRISE FIGHTERS (36A: People who start arguments out of nowhere?) (prize fighters)
  • SURLY MAJORS (54A: Officers who woke up on the wrong side of the cot?) (Lee Majors)
  • SURFER BALLS (69A: SoirΓ©es where everyone is dressed in their finest board shorts?) (furballs)
  • SURPASSED PERFECT (86A: Got 101% on an exam, say?) (past perfect) 
  • SURFEIT OF ANGER (105A: Why someone might practice deep breathing every five minutes?) (fit of anger)
Word of the Day: Kitty O'NEIL (93A: Stuntwoman Kitty known as "the fastest woman in the world") —
Kitty Linn O'Neil (March 24, 1946 – November 2, 2018) was an American stuntwoman and racer, known as "the fastest woman in the world." An illness in early childhood left her deaf, and more illnesses in early adulthood cut short a career in diving. O'Neil's career as a stuntwoman and race driver led to her depiction in a television movie and as an action figure. Her women's absolute land speed record still stands. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was a slog and the past few days have been slogs and I just don't understand what is happening. Yes, the National Mood is awful and it's affecting my mood for sure, so we can ascribe some of the downer feelings to that, but honestly there is a dismal quality to the voice of the puzzle (that is, the editorial voice—the editor is the one who shapes the final look of the puzzle, esp. the clues). The whole vibe of the puzzle this past few days has been somebody's idea of a good time but not mine. There's no daring, no joy, no bounce. Difficulty without joy is so miserable. I guess there are people who just like difficulty for its own sake, but if I don't get that pop of "oh cool" from breaking through on a difficult puzzle, then the whole experience feels very much not worth it. This puzzle lost me from the jump—literally from 1-Across: Sadistic feline character in a Scott Adams strip (CATBERT). It was a gimme (well, I could infer the answer from the clue) but please hear me when I say F*** that guy, he was never funny and now he's a right-wing Trumpist dipshit of the highest order. And at 1-Across! This is the Tom Cotton editorial of 1-Acrosses. Like ... how did this happen? Why? Who needed this? (also BERT is in the puzzle, and even if it's not technically a dupe it *feels* like a dupe, i.e. a duplicated word)

Then the theme. It's surs. Yes, sir, it is. That is surely the theme. I kinda liked SURLY MAJORS. The rest, pfffft. It's so repetitive, which just adds to the overall grinding feeling. I kept knowing what was coming, but then having serious trouble figuring out what the theme clues could be going for, then eventually getting them and going "OH, OKAY" (btw I had "OK OK OK" there at first) (104A: "Well, all right then"). BILLOWY is kind of a cool word. SQUIRT GUN is fun and has a clever little "?" clue (73D: Water heater?) ("heater" is slang for "gun" in case that was somehow not clear). BIG DANCE is nicely colloquial and original (4D: March Madness tourney, with "the"). So there were moments of entertainment, but there weren't enough of them.

  • 22A: The Red Baron, for one (AIRMAN) — me: AIRACE ... :(
  • 32D: Off the beaten path (AFIELD) — me: ASTRAY ... :(
  • 30D: Go on a rampage (RUN RIOT) — me: RUN AMOK ... :(
  • 72A: "Holy guacamole!" ("WOWIE!") — me: "ZOWIE!" ... :(
  • 58D: Gets going, so to speak (ROLLS) — me: ................. [shrug]
  • 71D: They often end on a low note (BASSOS) — ooooof this one. BASSI is the plural, which I know as it was In The Puzzle On Friday. Sigh. So I wrote in BASSES, which also a plural of the low singing voice, and then I didn't check the cross, and ended up with Kitty ENEIL, whom I'd never heard of and whose clue is written real weird (why would a "stuntwoman" be known for being "fast"??? I mean, I know now, but the clue is weird as is). So that was (un)fun. 
  • 107A: ___ Mae (SALLIE) — me: FANNIE ... :(
  • 82D: Frequent result of wearing a bike helmet (HAT HAIR) — me: HAT HEAD (following the example of "bedhead"). So, yeah ... :(
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Colin 12:01 AM  

"Surplus Store" was a relatively easy theme for me, especially since "sur" was added always at the start of each answer; it would've made for a harder (and more interesting) puzzle had "sur" been added anywhere including in the middle of phrases. I found "SURGERYVERDICT" a bit of a square peg in a round hole, since one really does not say "sur-joory" but rather, "sur-jery." Also, Lee Majors (in "SURLYMAJORS") seemed out of place - the sole name among all the theme answers. (Disclaimer: I loved The Six Million Dollar Man TV series - remember his 1970's leisurewear?)

When I saw the final answer "SURFERBALLS," I rather conjured up a clue "wave rider's courage"! I liked the fill mostly but if "OHOKAY" (104A) is considered fresh, then perhaps the editor needs to get out more. Also not so sure about "HATHAIR" - isn't "HATHEAD" more like it? Like bed head, not bed hair.

"CALDER" (love his work) and "TRIFLE" brought smiles - my mother used to make an English trifle now and again. My favorite clue was "How a tandem bicycle is built" - "FORTWO" recalled the song "Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built For Two)", sung by...

...The incomparable Nat King Cole:
...Or the HAL 9000 computer:

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do.
I'm half crazy all for the love of you.
It won't be a stylish marriage;
I can't afford a carriage.
But you'll look sweet upon the seat
Of a bicycle built for two.

Frantic Sloth 12:11 AM  

I dunno. Maybe I'm doing too many (other) crosswords, but I feel like I'm seeing the same words over and over again - and it seems to happen much more frequently lately than in the several decades of solving I've done until now.

Is it me?? I doubt it. Furthermore, I probably wouldn't even have to cite examples for the commentunity (@LMS©) to dig it.

(Pardon me while I climb out of the 60s jive hole I apparently fell into.)

Embarrassing moment: It took waaaay too long for me to get what CALDER had to do with "mobile payments", and it didn't help that I was thinking retail, so...CALDoR? But Joe Montana wasn't a NINoR. Hmmm. The only CALDER I know is Alexander, who creates sculptures of mobi....oh. πŸ™„

Theme was fun, but why do I have the feeling that OFL won't like it?

Quick! Somebody fling a kitten at him!

Joaquin 12:16 AM  

I had 69A (SURFERBALLS) from the crosses and, frankly, I was a bit hesitant to look at the clue (fearing some ocean-related disease I hadn't heard about). But ... I guess if you can wear your best board shorts you don't have surferballs.

Richardf8 12:30 AM  

How I would clue 69A does not match this blog’s level of diction. That SURFER BALLS sits at 69A speaks for itself.

Z 12:40 AM  

Why are AQUIVER and quiver not opposites?

I had 3 of Rex’s 8 bullets. Anybody do “better?”

Today’s moment of Elvis: It is not very far from sulphur to sugarcane.

I liked this more than Rex. The wordplay wasn’t great, but it got a smile or two. Once the light went on that all the themers would start with SUR it got easier. The fill seemed cleaner than usual to me with only a couple of wrinkled-nose moments. The ATHEIST clue sparks a Kierkegaardian SCREED in my head that I’ll spare you from reading. And CATBERT also got significant side-eye for much the same reason it annoyed Rex.
OTOH, MAUI WOWIE gave me the munchies. I also had fun coming up with my own NSFW clue for SURFER BALLS. ZINC doesn’t help. SURFEIT OF ANGER gets the “too appropriate by half” award while SHISH kabob makes me miss Dearborn. But then the vision of BILLOWY dresses on a ROMP makes it hard to be maudlin. Theme okay, fill decent, enough good stuff to balance the less than wonderful. All in all a fine Sunday.

EdFromHackensack 1:01 AM  

Medium for me. Anytime you get to repeat things like SUR it makes it easier. when I was in high school in the 70s MAUI WOWIE was all the rage. anyone else?

Dean 1:08 AM  

Back in 1896, someone with too much access to the NY Times Style Guide spitballed what to call denizens of the newest state, and the east coast has been wrong ever since. Someone needs to tell Will Shortz that Utahns have always regarded “Utahan” as a typo.

Joe Dipinto 1:35 AM  

I know a place that's quiet
'xcept for daisies running riot
And there's no one passing by it to see

Go away and send Alfie back stat, please. He would never subject us to a multi-paragraph screed. He knows what it's all about. You better ask him again.

I loved this. The only themer I wasn't thrilled with was SURFEIT/FIT OF ANGER, where the phrases seem too close in meaning. But the others I thought were all quite clever, and amusing.

First of a pair

A lot of non-theme answers I really like: AQUIVER, SQUIRT GUN, CYANIDE, SEDARIS, HOUSESIT, HAT HAIR, WELL-FED, CLINGY, AFIELD, BILLOWY. Why not clue MAUI WOWIE as a two-part answer? Cannabis strains are off-limits? They ran that unfunny pot-themed puzzle awhile back. And the MAUI clue is connecting it to WOWIE anyway.

Second of a pair

Nice juxtapositions: GLOM glomming onto CLINGY; SCREED under SURFEIT OF ANGER. Don't think I like BASSOS. Go with either BASSI or BASSES, I would say. But it's not egregious. I'm looking over this thing again and really admiring it. Just my kind of Sunday. Bravo, Mr. Kravis.

Now on to the Acrostic. But first, one last shake: C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon baby now

egsforbreakfast 1:55 AM  

Got the “sur” gimmick right away and this gives you 15 additional squares where you don’t even need to look at the clue. It would work better if the “sur” word wasn’t always at the start. Nonetheless, it was a well-executed theme.

Dude A: I’m REELIN from a case of SURFERBALLS!
Dude B: SHISH, that’s a TRIFLE compared to my SLOPITCH.

jae 3:15 AM  

Easy and delightful. I had to go over the theme entries post-solve to really appreciate what was going on. Liked it a bunch.

Robin 4:03 AM  

Regarding UTAHAN vs Utahn, well, this is the NYT which continues to defy local usage by publishing articles in which Manhattan's 6th Ave is called the Avenue of the Americas.

BTW: Being from SE Idaho, the Pioneer Day clue was a gimme for me. That was a local holiday at my office, on which date I would go golfing and skip the LDS-organized parade.

Anyhoo, as always, I do the buzz on-line and never look at the title. Got the theme quickly with SURGERYVERDICT. Didn'thate it quite as much as Rex, but have to agree that SURLYMAJORS was the best of the themers.

The one time I was close to a giggle was the MAUI WOWIE connection.

Vincent Collazo 4:15 AM  

Whoah! and πŸ‘πŸ½

Lewis 6:12 AM  

Kudos for a brand new OREO clue. The word has been in the Times puzzle more than 400 times, and the angle in this clue -- pet name -- has never been addressed, best as I can tell.

Kudos for some lovely answers (BILLOWY, WAIF, TRIFLE, JILT) and a tight theme, where not only the theme answers begin with SUR, but what follows SUR sounds like but isn't spelled like the word it represents.

Kudos for a plethorA of A-enders. I'll take a HAIFA / AQUA / SANDRA / HERA / PUMA / HULA, please, with a side of SAMOA / KOALA / PIRANHA.

And finally, kudos for an extremely squeaky-clean grid. This thing has been so well polished you could ice skate on it.

Kudos, Mr. Kravis, and thank you for doing this!

TokyoRacer 6:39 AM  

I was really hoping Rex would use the word "painful" because that's what this theme and basically the entire puzzle was, but at least he used "slog", "downer", "dismal", and "miserable".
"Gery verdict"? "Fer balls"? I'm dyin' here....

ChuckD 6:54 AM  

You can keep the theme - fill in SUR and go from there. Not interesting or elegant. The overall grid was a little choppy but was decent with mid length fill. Didn’t know CATBERT or SANDRA but really liked SQUIRTGUN and HATHAIR. I think it should have been condensed into a Wednesday.

Teresa 7:00 AM  

Anyone else notice the misspelling in the NBC clue? That kind of a bloc is a bloc, not a block.

amyyanni 7:05 AM  

Didn't know Scott Adams is such a jerk. Sad. Enjoyed learning about Kitty O'Neil. Calder clue definitely a highlight.
At least there wasn't a lot of bad fill.
Reading "On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous."
Highly recommend.

JonB3 7:18 AM  

Continuing the @egsforbreakfast theme...

DudeA is jogging on the beach wearing only his shorts. He finds a tennis ball and with nowhere else to store, shoves it into his shorts.

DudeA is jogging along and DudetteB asks to join him to which he enthusiastically agrees.

DudetteB notices the bulge in DudeA's shorts and eventually asks "what's that?"

DudeA replies "oh, that's a tennis ball"

DudetteB says "that must hurt, I've had tennis elbow"

Pamela 7:32 AM  

Today was (almost) a breeze compared to yesterday. I say almost because I had a fatal error at HoIST/BoWITCH. The first seemed reasonable to me for hold up, and the second, which I’d never heard of, seemed more likely than the correct BEWITCH for Entrance. I still don’t get it. Can anyone enlighten me?

But the rest I enjoyed well enough. Lots of clever clueing, nice, and the themers, while not laugh-out-loud, were chuckle worthy.

Fave of the day: ATHEIST- One who’s unfaithful.

And MAUI WOWIE- groovy.

Hungry Mother 7:38 AM  

I read the title today and it helped me muddle through. It felt very sloggish, but it slowly got got (watching too much of The Wire lately).

pabloinnh 8:11 AM  

I was about to make the point about the syllable following SUR and its spelling but @Lewis beat me to it, so I'll just second the motion that it's a cool feature.

This felt like a good old-fashioned Sunday to me with a repeated gimmick that changes enough that figuring out subsequent answers is fun. So I had fun.

Also had DIEGO Velazquez, my favorite painter ever.

Thanks for a fine Sunday, AK. Aces with me. Solid, Jackson.

Michael 8:15 AM  

I thought the exact same way about catbert. Screw that guy.

Frantic Sloth 8:25 AM  

I knew I forgot something.


Twangster 8:25 AM  

Well at least I learned the correct pronunciation of surfeit -- always thought it was sur-FIGHT.

Lorelei Lee 8:38 AM  

It may be that this theme's success relies on a good-natured solver, but a constructor can't always count on that (see above). Yet the fill, Wowie! Trifle, Screed, Billowy, Clingy, Romp, Delphi, Calder, Shaker, Spackle, Cyanide, Delouse, Squirt Gun.

That's some fun stuff to type, say out loud, or stop and think about. I ran riot. The cluing was clever. I was all aquiver. I also didn't walk away from a Sunday puzzle out of boredom or frustration, a rarity.

@Frantic, I was eager to see your brain and fun rating.

pmdm 8:43 AM  

Robin: As far as I am concerned, its the Tappan Zee Bridge, the Interboro Parkway, and the Triboro Bridge. Etc.

Sharp makes some good points today, but my reaction is closer to that of Z's reaction. At least now I get the entire way the theme works. Was blind not to get it by myself.

I used to get some laughs out of the Dilbert strip when it first came out. The political position of the writer for me is entirely separate from the humor of the strip. I find it sad that the creator supports an evil person, but who better to drow out humor from evil and stupid people? Perhaps its a case of what you don't know won't hurt you. But it will affect how you interpret the strip.

Alex S. 8:46 AM  

Glad I stuck to my practice of not reading the puzzle title before doing it. This one was too explicit, especially since the SUR addition was done the same way each time.

Also learned I pronounce SURFEIT wrong, not that it's a word you really ever hear aloud. First reaction to get that one was "what's a feat of anger?"

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

It seems to me this puzzle was written by someone who thought it was really funny or something to have Maui and Wowie in the same puzzle. I solved it, but it was slow for me, and I did not understand the theme until Rex explained it. Thanks, Rex. Those puns are some of the worst I have ever seen. There was a part of me that didn't care about getting it because it was just bad.

Unknown 8:52 AM  

Rex, you missed water heater? for SQUIRTGUN, even though surely any firearm reference must be removed. And ATHEIST may offend Christians, it must go. CATBERT may be allowed to remain since the clue calls him "sadistic." But OREO -- now, in my youth (1970s) that was a pejorative used by some black people as a hip way to say "Uncle Tom," it meant black on the outside, white on the inside. Oreos must heretofore be banned from the NYT puzzle. And what of Charlemagne, didn't he establish the Holy Roman Empire? Out with him! Likewise the very word Czar, not to mention these constant references to German cities.

kitshef 9:02 AM  

I don’t pronounce the ‘gery’ in ‘surgery’ the same as ‘jury’. Nor the ‘passed’ in ‘surpassed’ like ‘past’. This is why I tend not to like puzzles based on pronunciation gimmicks. Too much regional variation.

Beyond that, too easy. Even the attempts at tricky clues (ATHEIST, DELOUSE) were utterly transparent.

Technically, one can go north or south to get from Benin to Togo. And along the Mono River there are places where you can go east – or basically any direction you can think of.

Unknown 9:03 AM  

To Andy Kravis: i loved this puzzle. The new way to clue "NINER" -- we 49er fans maintain Joe was the best ever. With your BART clue i'm wondering if you're a one-time northern Californian despite the Brooklyn and Columbia connections. "Nit pick?" and 28A were great clues. I went through filling in all the ones i knew such as Fannie Mae and Run wild, and gave the eraser a nice workout. Time for some Maui Wowie.

Jstarrracewalker 9:04 AM  

Bewitch: put into a trance. Entrance.

kitshef 9:08 AM  


Joe Dipinto 9:08 AM  

@Pamela 7:32 – As a verb, "entrance", with the accent on the second syllable, means "bewitch".

Nancy 9:17 AM  

Felt slow and sloggy and I almost dropped it. Once I had the theme, it was the same throughout and there were no further SURPRISES. And there were no funny answers.

What's with CATBERT and BERT in the same puzzle -- almost in each other's laps? Even one of them would have said to me: "This is not a puzzle for grown-ups", but two?

Every once in a while a good clue like "Montana in the 1980s", "One who's unfaithful" and "Hotheaded ones" appeared, but that was amidst an awful lot of slogging in the interim. I had a couple of hiccups: RUNS before RBIS at 70D; and my usual _____Mae conundrum. "You won't get me this time, Mae", I said, writing down --NNIE and waiting to see if it was FANNIE or GINNIE. Alas, no, it was SALLIE and I never thought of her.

I finished, and now I'm going out early into the beautiful sunshine. But I'd be lying if I said I really enjoyed this.

Petsounds 9:20 AM  

I'm with Rex today--about this puzzle and recent ones. Mostly they've felt like work, with an occasional--very occasional--moment of pleasure. A cigarette break by the loading dock for a few clues like those for SQUIRTGUN and...well, that's about it. Oh, wait: Enjoyed the "Nit/Knit Pick" clues too. Credit where credit etc.

But couple the joyless fill and lame theme with many mistakes and you have a Serious Sunday SLogTM. I hear people say "hat head" all the time, but never "hat hair," so that was one. My bad: Wrote in APOLLO for "___ Creed" before having any downs to show me the error of my ways. Had AIRACE for AIRMAN, FANNIE Mae, WOWEE. I've played poker for much of my adult life and have never heard anyone use the term RERAISE.

I'm waiting for some puzzles that really make me sit up a bit straighter and maybe even laugh out loud. Too much to ask?

Z 9:28 AM  

@Teresa - As I suspected, “bloc” is much more limited in usage than “block,” but the “k” spelling may be used in the same sense as the k-less spelling. See definition 6 here for example.

As several have now pointed out, the CALDER clue is great wordplay. I’d like PPP more if it was clued with wordplay more often.

@Pamela - “Entrance” as in someone has entranced you, put you in a trance. See the second set of definitions. (Added because my spidey-sense is telling me somebody will claim that version isn’t a real word) @Joe D - the A is also pronounced differently.

@kitshef - Just AIR ace, RUN amok, and fannIE mae here. I’m usually much more attuned to the guy. You’ve also made the pronunciation observation before, but I can’t help but wonder what SURGERY sounds like when you hear it. It’s an exact match whenever I hear it.

webwinger 9:31 AM  

Fairly typical Sunday, I’d say. Finished pretty quickly, but did not seem too easy. Theme was uninspired but, OH, OKAY.

Liked the NEEDLE and DELOUSE pairing. Good clues for ATHEIST and CALDER.

Going to check on @RP now. Betting he will tear into CATBERT. Have never really understood his antipathy to Scott Adams, whom I continue to find quite clever most of the time, even after many years of mining the same humor vein, for the most part apolitically.

Yep, got that right...

Preferred Customer 9:33 AM  

Hi Colin, this is a regional thing. Where I'm from the two are pronounced the same. PC

Z 9:37 AM  

@kitshef - And I forgot that you reminded me that I had to drive south to get to Canada from my condo in Detroit if I wanted to do any five pin bowling. That is right there with the fact that Alaska is both the westernmost and easternmost state in the union in my geographical quirks file.

Teedmn 9:39 AM  

I first started to grasp the theme when I had SURF______L_S in place but thought there might be a PLUS at the end to get SURPLUS. And was the part of the theme answer in between going to be a store? Wowie, this was going to be wild...never mind.

I'm glad I've never had reason to say the word SURFEIT because my mental pronunciation did not end with a FIT sound, more like fate. One faux pas I've been prevented from committing, whew.

I liked the silly clue for PIERRE, SD.

Why does Give a whirl mean TRY? (Inconclusive, it seems to me).

I liked the bicycle built FOR TWO clue and answer. I always know when I'm being told an urban legend when the absurd anecdote's source is 3 degrees of separation from the teller ("This happened to my wife's coworker's daughter"). I always thought I was getting cream in my white Russians, not MILK! SPACKLE seems like it should SPArKLE. I thought the clue for SQUIRT GUN, "Water heater?" was very clever and "Hotheaded ones" for MATCHES. I think Andy has watched too much TV (ORDER NOW and Don't touch that DIAL). With the first O in place at 103D, I had to wonder if someone had a pet ORca. I was looking for a label for a stand that sits at the altar - JILT, har. I only have the one DELOUSE - the CATBERT-BERT repeat.

Andy Kravis, I really enjoyed this Sunday puzzle. The theme was well executed though the clues could have used a jolt of punniness. Thanks!

LeaveItToYourGoat 9:40 AM  

Christ, Rex. The emotional toll it must take on you every time you see the name of someone right of Trotsky has to be exhausting. It's too bad Pravda doesn't have its own party-approved crossword safe for all people suffering from TDS.

As for the puzzle itself, it was pretty meh. I couldn't GLOM onto anything in the top in my first pass through, but I was thankfully able to fill in the entire bottom and most of the middle working counter-clockwise. Getting the SUR- theme was the breakthrough I needed to get rolling in the NW.

The theme was boring, but I liked SURPASSED PERFECT and SURPRISE FIGHTERS on their own. HOUSE SIT and BIG DANCE were a couple of nice entries.

I made the same mistakes as Rex with FANNIE for SALLIE and AIR ACE for AIR MAN.

Lance 9:49 AM  

Really liked the clue for HATH AIR. I assume the bicycle helmet part was referring to the ancient x games. “That bike rider really hath air on that jump”

Also atheist and heist are a bit too much dupe for me.

Anonymous 9:51 AM  


RooMonster 9:52 AM  

Hey All !
Lots of openness in this puz, which is nice. Fill clean for the amount of longer entries. As others, SURFERBALLS the funniest themer. Took a second for SURLY MAJORS to parse correctly. Kept saying "early majors" and wondering what that was. First semester as a freshman in college? Har. SURPASSED PERFECT to me is the one not disguised enough. Too similar, I think. I pronounce SURFEIT as "FEET" also, so my "feet of anger" was a head scratcher. Maybe "feat of anger"? Sure...

Don't think I've ever seen a SAMOSA in real life. Guess I don't go to fancy parties. Now, MIMOSAs on the other hand.

@Pamela 7:32
Yes to the O, my one-letter DNF spot. Didn't now what BOWITCH was (a secret scratch whilst bent forward?) (Derek spellcasting?), but the HoIST was fine. Funny how HOIST and HEIST can both be a hold-up.

Did like puz overall. Pangram, I'm sure, without confirming. I see two Q's, a Z, a J...

Nine F's! (Five in themers) Good on ya, mate

Colin 9:52 AM  

@Preferred Customer (9:33): Understood, yes - which is why I qualified my comment with "a bit of..." since I still felt it was OK no matter how one pronounces "jury."

I always appreciate the work that goes into creating these puzzles and thank Andy Kravis for this as well. No SCREED here!

GILL I. 9:54 AM  

Oh...I had lots of moments of entertainment. Maybe because I was in a good mood last night. I used @chefwen's classic melting hot chocolate soufflΓ©' recipe and had it for dinner last night.
I like Andy Kravis and I like his cluing. He comes across as a pro. No cutesy things for siree. Well except for maybe those BALLS.
I like things that start with SUR. Memories of Big SUR and drinking very expensive cocktails at Nepenthe. Shopping for little kitchen tongs that cost about a thousands dollars at SUR La Table. My Dad who owned a lovely little apartment in Villefranche-SUR-Mer. See? You can take anything and make it a little fun. My favorite is SURLY MAJORS.
Memories also of BART. When we lived in the East Bay, I took it every day for about a year and I hated it. When I lived in San Rafael, I use to take the ferry to SF and that was the cats meow. BART was always getting stuck in the tunnel and even if you looked like a very pregnant beached-whale, nobody would dare give up their coveted seats.
Yikes....@Frantic. How do you find these videos?

kitshef 9:56 AM  

@Z 9:28 - first vowel in -gery is a schwa. First vowel in jury basically a long 'u'.

xyz 10:01 AM  

WWIACE for AIR ACE (gen.)

Rex, rather correct.

A slog of the lowest order

three of clubs 10:27 AM  

Why so despondent? the revolution is on! come out and join the party!

Birchbark 10:28 AM  

The puzzle played played much more segmented than the grid looks, apparently by design. And so took me longer to solve without being too difficult. The reason: the first words of the theme answers end right at the "gate" to another section of the puzzle -- instead of entering new territory for crosses, as in a "breezy" solve, the first word alone takes you just to the door. You have to jump to the other side, start anew, and backfill to restart the solving flow. This structure is well AFIELD of what @Rex is DRAWN TO. But expectations adjusted, it was kind of fun to see the the pattern hold.

If you filter what is "loose and flowing" through the meadow and its gently dynamic tree this breezy morn, you would say wILLOWY, and not BILLOWY. THUS, I wondered whether wEWITCH might be a collective form of "entrance."

Two paragraphs doth not a SCREED make, so I will add this one.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

LOL, the tolerant left. Rex doesn’t like someone’s politics so it shouldn’t be in the puzzle? Ok.
As for the Cotton kerfuffle, the shame is all on The Times’s sid3. Not for having published it;
— Bennet was correct when he originally defended its publication by saying ideas contrary to The Times’s editorial position deserve scrutiny and debate—-but their craven and dishonest reaction to the anger mob. Disgraceful indeed.

pabloinnh 10:42 AM  

FWIW, in this part of the country, where we wear lots of toques (pronounced "tukes") in the winter, the resulting tangled mess is always HATHAIR. I have never heard anyone say "hathead". not once, ever. If this is a regionalism, then other regions have it wrong. So there.

claude taillefer 10:49 AM  

CSNY wasn't at Woodstock. CSN was.

Suzy 10:50 AM  

Awful puzzle and the acrostic won't load. Another disappointing Sunday from the NYT.

Randy (Boulder) 11:05 AM  

Haha! I had WAHOO and OAHU before WOWIE and MAUI.

Unknown 11:06 AM  

Awful puzzle. Smarty-pants creator should stick to his day job.

Nomi5imon 11:06 AM  

Hi -Please help. I always enjoy Rex and the equally erudite comments. I’ve only recently starting doing the puzzles everyday online and I never see any notes relating to the themes - if any. In print, you’d see them. Is there a way to see the puzzle as it appears in print?
NB Not happy with the NYTimes these days. Headlines, editorials - bleah. Think the WaPo is doing better.

Joe Dipinto 11:08 AM  

@claude taillefer – actually Neil Young did play with them at Woodstock. He had just joined the group.

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

From the moment I found out that Adams kept his corporate job (Pac Bell, now owned by the New AT&T) for some years led me to infer that he was making fun of cube workers, not their feckless, evil overseers. Now that he's making money as an 'innovator', the mask has fallen. Anyone who believes in Trump just because he can flummox millions of feckless voters is in need of professional help; policy, who cares about that?

One might wonder how Adams views the success in building The Wall; oh wait, it's just around the Dear Leader's Bunker.

Anonymoose 11:14 AM  

@ROO. I believe the grid lacks an "X" for the pangram.

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

CSNY wasn't at Woodstock. CSN was.

wrong. Young was there. "Scared shitless" is near the top of all time concert patter lists.

claude taillefer 11:21 AM  

mea culpa

Unknown 11:29 AM  

Rex I really think you nailed this review today. As my wife and I were reading it, we kept poking each other and saying “exactly! Well put!”

HOWEVER this puzzle had possibly the best clue I’ve seen yet this year, which was 18D: Early accepter of mobile payments (CALDER). Terrific!

Ethan Taliesin 11:48 AM  

Had HOIST for HEIST for "What's the holdup?" and then spent some time trying to figure out what the hell was wrong in that area. "Entrance" was a killer homograph clue for BEWITCH. Well done. Hard section

The Alexander CALDER clue was fantastic, though I crossed it into existence and then appreciated it.

There was some good cluing today

Frantic Sloth 12:00 PM  

@kitshef 902am & @Z928am Never mind SURGERY, etc. I need to know how you pronounce PASSED and "past" differently.
And I do mean need.

Carola 12:15 PM  

I'm with @jae 3:15 on this one. Kept me engaged all the way. Extra smiles for CLINGY, BILLOWY, SPACKLE, HAT HAIR + thanks for teaching me where the H goes in PIRANHA.

@Pamela, like you (I think), I wanted "Entrance" to be some sort of entryway, and with EWITC in place, I had to do an alphabet run.

Tom R 12:17 PM  

Well Rex might like 4D, but even though I knew exactly what the clue referred to, I never heard it called the Big Dance so it really stuck me for a while. My two nits to pick, though, are 52A: City with a view of Mt. Carmel because Haifa is actually built ON Mt, Carmel. Somehow that clue doesn't seem appropriately worded. The other is 68A: Why the question mark? Just change the clue to one word "holdup" without the rest on question mark.

Frantic Sloth 12:22 PM  

@Roo 952am "Feet of Anger" is the title of an album by a band named (of all things) "Pandemia". I sh!t you not.
BTW, I had to look this up because I wanted to find a video of angry feet. Alas, this was it.

Which reminds me...@GILL I. 954am You thought my earlier video was alarming...maybe don't watch the one in this post.
I remembered that Steve Martin routine and thought..."hmmm, might find a flung kitten there." Literally, that is what I thought.

Linda R 12:28 PM  

@Teresa 7:00 am - Could you explain why "bloc' would be correct in the clue for NBC (48A)? "Block" seems right to me and now that I've looked at the definitions of both words, it still seems right to me.

egsforbreakfast 12:29 PM  

@Roo. BTW, if you go to, it will tell you what letters are missing from achieving a pangram, among other statistics about that day’s puzzle. @Anonymoose is correct that x is the only one today.

Wondered if anyone else noticed ATE AT and A TEAT make for a cute sentence. You could try to work AT EAT into the mix as well, or even A TEA T.

burtonkd 12:35 PM  

I enjoyed Dilbert strips back in the day, and read some of his other books. This Bloomberg article provides a bit more context than just right/left politics. Written in 2017, so doesn't go into more recent history. Interesting how the Dogbert character was such a precursor to Trump. Some other troublesome stuff regarding women there...

@pmdm - I went on about those very roadways and bridges a couple of weeks ago.

I hate to be a hater, and complaining about a complainer is a bit stale, but today's blog told us everything about REX and almost nothing about the puzzle.

Just did an 80+ mile socially distant bicycle ride in the heat yesterday, and can assure you that HATHAIR is a thing. (helmet-hair in this case).

webwinger 12:44 PM  

@GILL: Ah, Nepenthe, respite and Nepenthe… Beautiful lifetime memories from Big SUR worth the exorbitant cost.

@Tom R: With you re HAIFA/Mt. Carmel.

Went to Wiki to get the skinny on Scott Adams. Learned for the first time that he endorsed Trump in 2016, which he apparently blogged about. If the views that informed that decision crept into the Dilbert strip, I didn’t notice them. I can understand why people who were not evil preferred Trump to the alternatives (though that seems to be getting harder by the day—think he may finally have arrived at his “have you no sense of decency” moment).

I am reminded of the story of Al Capp, creator of the comic strip Li’l Abner and its famous fictional locale Dogpatch, recently mentioned here by a number of bloggers. He was a brilliant satirist and one of the best comics artists of all time. Started out in the 1930s with strongly leftish views, but by the end of his career in the 1970s was very far to the right; slung a lot of mud at the likes of Joan Baez (represented in the strip by a character named “Joanie Phoanie”). I think he retains a rightful place among the giants of his genre.

One more thing: A week or two ago I wrote here about researching the 1957-58 “Asiatic flu”, and recalling an article I had read as a kid about it in Life magazine. I was able to track that down, and found it much as I remembered. But here’s something I didn’t expect: There’s an accompanying two-page graphic spread drawn by the cartoonist Walt Kelly, who was and still is revered by liberals—particularly for the famous Pogo strip in which his swamp critters declared “we have met the enemy, and they are us”. (Kelly was also a close friend of Capp’s.) In this drawing, various Pogo characters offer information and common sense advice about the flu in a humorous way. Overarching those vignettes is a huge devilish-looking personification of the epidemic, who is portrayed as deploying legions of little devilish flu germs all over the scene. Both the big and small devils have distinctly Asian features…

It’s worth reading the entire short Life article, mostly centered on photos as was typical for the publication. There is clear expression of major concern about that year’s flu (which ultimately killed more than twice as many Americans per population as Covid has to date), but with a calmness and steadiness that is sadly missing from most of today’s pandemic journalism.

Seth 12:54 PM  

Like Rex, I ended up with Kitty ENEIL, before realizing it had to be an O. I expected to run into trouble around there, since honestly AACHEN and ONEIL were real Natick territory for me. I have a vague awareness that AACHEN is a name I've heard but the N was still a guess for me.

Joe Welling 1:11 PM  

Z said...
Why are AQUIVER and quiver not opposites?

AQUIVER is not formed from the Greek prefix a- or an- meaning without or lacking. It's from the Old English. I'm not sure if it's from the preposition sometimes used as a particle, or the prefix y- or ge- used to form past participles. Something set ablaze doesn't mean it's the opposite of a blaze.

jberg 1:53 PM  

I enjoyed the theme BECAUSE of the slight variations in punctuation -- that's what puns are (almost) all about. As it happens, my JURY pronunciation is pretty close to =GERY, though not exactly; as for PASSED, it's different from PAST, but that difference pretty much disappears if it's followed by a consonant like p or t--I just elide them together. (Italians wouldn't do that, which explains my difficulty with that language).

I left the O in BASSOS blank (it could have been string instruments as well as singers) until I had enough crosses. I'd never heard of the world's fastest woman (at least in that sense), but ENEIL seemed improbably.

I read the clue for 25A as "Unimportant-sounding desert" and seriously considered writing in NEGEV before I noticed my error.

@Nomi5imon -- The way you get the notes is to buy the paper, but they never explain the themes. On Sunday they mostly tell you about the constructor; today, in addition, they brag that there are 4 answers that have never been in the Times crossword before: CATBERT, OH OKAY, BIG DANCE, & HAT HAIR. On that last, that's what I've always said and heard. I think a hat head would be a head that's the right size and shape to put hats on.

jberg 1:55 PM  

@Nancy, you have sunshine? I'm jealous -- see if you can send some this way!

Z 2:00 PM  

@kitshef - It’s amazing that people ever understand each other. I’d say both are said most often with the same sound as in “germ” everywhere I have ever lived.
@Frantic Sloth - I have heard “past” with a terminal sound close to the t in tsk. I’d say they are more often identical, but I have heard the variation.

@Joe Welling - I wasn’t really looking for an answer, and the shortest response would be “English.” If anyone really wants to know, here is a good explainer.

@nomi5imon - If you let us know what software you use some will explain how to see notes and titles. If you use an iPad, PuzzAzz is the best software for seeing exactly what people see in print.

Scott Adams is a morality tale on the dangers of free speech. If he had just kept doing his mostly apolitical strip and pocketing the money nobody would have been the wiser. But no. From almost the moment he started blogging (in 2008) his misogyny and racism were exposed. The old phrase is “better to be silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” In Adam’s case it should be “better to be silent and thought to be a mostly talentless hack than to speak and expose yourself as a talentless bigot.” JK Rowling is having a similar moment.

pmdm 2:04 PM  

Z: Nice to know that there does exist someone who not all "a" prefixes derive from the Greek. Now about the word inflammable ...

burtonkd: Don't they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Forgot about your comment, but it's worth repeating. Over and over.

And thanks for the link. My wife and I have often commented that conservative clergy can be very humorous - until you challenge their views. As a matter of fact she predicts how conservation a priest is by how jovial he is. Anyway, Scott Adams sounds like a true manipulator. I don't admire him for that. And it sound like he has less than enlightened ideas about women, although there's been no accusation I know of relating to his being abusive (unlike what follows Trump). I would use this analogy: Machiavelli states the unfortunate truth in The Prince (mabe not 100% of the time) but that isn't to say you agree it's good to use the advice. Just the opposite. But don't kill the messenger. (And I am aware Machiavelli was more than just a messenger which was bad.)

JimD 2:08 PM  

73d-- shouldn't the clue be Water Heat?

DigitalDan 2:10 PM  

Well, Rex, at least they didn't claim that the EPA was responsible for protecting the environment in this one. There's that.

Anonymous 2:30 PM  

The Acrostic today is what you're looking for, Rex.

Anonymous 2:36 PM  

@Joe DePinto, @claude taillefer, and @ Anon 11:16, I had the same thought as claude but Joe is right. Neil just didn't make it into the movie. Looked it up, "Their second concert together was none other than Woodstock 1969."

Xcentric 2:38 PM  

Agree with Rex, a slog, repetitive sur, no consistency in the wackiness.
I even made the same mistakes. But I am sure he finished in a fraction of the time it took me.
I did like the clue for Calder.
The Berkshire Museum gave Alexander Calder his first public commission in 1930 and his mobiles still flank the stage in the theater.
A few years ago, there was an exhibit of children’s toys he made - truly ingenious - and my grandchildren loved them and enjoyed playing with the replicas.
If I remember correctly, Mass Moca also has some Calder mobiles in their KidSpace.

CT2Napa 2:48 PM  

@randy 11:05


CDilly52 2:49 PM  

WOWIE!! I saw Andy Kravis’s name and brewed another pot of coffee and buckled up. But everything went more smoothly than expected until the entire SW quarter of this puzzle. I got stuck. Truly stuck.

Had ASST but thought 61D was “all’s” as in “all’s we’ll that ends well.” Turns out I out I was too clever for my own good, ergo not clever at all. because I actually erased ASST, and that left a giant white nothingland for a very long time. Ugh! I also recalled my brother’s stamp collecting days (I used to go into his room and slightly move his stuff just to set him off and hear him yell that “Somebody touched my stamps!!”) and put “block” instead of SHEET because well, it is the better answer from a philatelist’s POV. Plate blocks and all.

Bottom SW: MATCHES was great clue, couldn’t parse ATE AT forever, never saw OH OKAY (sheesh), fel into the fANnIE for SALLIE Mae trap and never ever thought of contacts meaning EYES. I only thought electricity and people. So, almost DNF, but mercifully remembered SAMOSA and Sussed our RETOLD. EYES was the very last to fall.

I’m in the “liked the last three days” camp but did miss my Thursday silliness or rebus.

I agree with @Rex that the tenor of our times has us all on edge, tense, sad and stressed. Looking at boarded areas of our cities reminds me of the civil rights years, and deeply saddens, but simultaneously verifies for me that our current “leadership” has caused a new awareness of human injustice in our country and the world. Hopefully, change will be real, and permanent this time ‘round.

I have always been taught that ALL lives matter. Howard and “Missus” McEllenan were close family friends. Their adult children and grandchildren were in our house as often as anyone, and the fact that I went to public schools (bussed part of the time) in which whites were the clear minority meant both that I have lifelong Black friends but also that from a very early age, I saw the inequality in my friends’ homes and was troubled. I recall asking Gran, my guide and Oracle, what to do. She told me to love everyone and forgive them their weaknesses. She was a testament to her words. Time and time again, she would take a giant pitcher of lemonade and a snack-cookies or sandwiches out to the alley when she heard the garbage trucks coming. She k ew the names of every city or federal worker who came to our home, postmen, sanitation, meter readers, workmen, everyone. She lives the mantra that people are people.

From those experiences, I also learned that not everyone truly believes that people are people, more good people than bad, that evil comes in all shapes, sizes and colors, and to give everyone a chance. I am devoting efforts this time around to the hope that we can finally appreciate that simple truth.

Saw a yard sign the other day that listed several truths:
People are people
Women’s rights are human rights
Black lives matter
No human is illegal
Science is real
Love is love
Kindness is everything

Can we hope?

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

Because Rex did his usual anti Trump rant? You're easily led.

JC66 3:37 PM  


Great post, as usual. Thanks.

Nancy 3:40 PM  

@jberg (1:55) -- I just checked the weather report for your area online. It looks like the same good weather that NYC had today -- or something not entirely dissimilar -- is headed your way tomorrow. So don't despair.

After an oppressively humid day yesterday, in which I didn't go out at all, today was a "10": 71 when I left the house and 77 when I returned, with very low humidity (30% right now!) And wonderfully breezy. Sunny, but with puffy clouds providing additional coolth. My kind of day. Wishing you something similar tomorrow.

Frantic Sloth 3:55 PM  

@Z 200pm Yeah...not seeing/hearing it. But, I applaud your efforts!πŸ˜‰

OTOH, might I suggest that possibly starting a "T.E.R.F." war is ill-advised...If that is indeed your intention with the JK Rowling remark.

webwinger 4:02 PM  

@Z 2:00: Wow, clever double takedown of Scott Adams and the first amendment! Note how you let SA’s political views lower his critical estimation from mostly talentless to talentless. (Wonder what you thought of him before 2008–I’d say he was pretty widely admired then.) And throwing in J. K. Rowling to boot—thankfully her indiscretion is liberating us from the delusion that she is a good writer. (I’m actually inclined to agree with the negative assessment in her case, but that’s not new for me.)

When I was in college I heard Jerry Rubin (of Chicago 7 fame—cf. my comment on 1968 from 2 days ago) give a talk in which he very memorably said, I don’t believe in free speech—I use free speech. At that time he was for me and my peers a much admired voice in opposition to the “establishment” of the day: white Protestant businessmen and their conservative ilk, who were insistent on prolonging the Vietnam war. Today the real establishment is people like @Rex and @Z (though many police don’t seem to realize that—hopefully they will soon understand, and we will all be better off, seriously). But beware the consequences of disagreeing with them if you have a reputation to defend in academia, or the arts, or non-right wing media.

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

While puzzle solvers generally tend to be liberalish, Rex's group of followers is rather tolerant and diverse.

As USA ought to aspire to

RooMonster 4:07 PM  

@Anonymoose 11:14 - @Frantic Sloth 12:22 - @egs 12:29
Thanks. I didn't bother actually looking for each letter as I used usually do. Most of the time I count before I leap. :-)

I like to look for all the letters as I just said. I know I can go to xwordinfo, but that takes the fun out of it!

RooMonster Letter Seeker Guy

Andrew Heinegg 4:08 PM  

Hmm, and, as a pro-Trumper, you are not easily led?!?! Pretty unusual for a Trumper, seems to me.

Andrew Heinegg 4:10 PM  

Your writing is so clever that you must be a very stable genius.

EricStratton 4:29 PM  

Oh, Rex is opposed to a clue mentioning Scott Adams. No problem with Mao or Lenin or Stalin, of course. Cartoonist, bad; mass murderers, all fine. That you fancy yourself a scholar is absurd.

Scott Adams has had more original thoughts in the last five minutes than you have had in your life. Nobody cares about your rants. Predictable and inane. We get it, you are right about everything. We just don't need to hear it every single day. Try going a week without it. Yes, I get that I don't have to read your idiotic rants but I would be a fan if you could simply leave them out.

egsforbreakfast 5:24 PM  

I was going to post something about being an old FogeY and then making some inane point to go along with most of my other posts. In thinking about how to phrase it, my mind wandered until I lost track of what I was trying to say, but came up with:

“I may be dating myself,” he said solipsistically.

Anonymous 5:24 PM  

clever double takedown of Scott Adams and the first amendment

Along with Trump, Barr, and the rest of the Radical Right, you re-assert a false meaning of 1st Amendment, which states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

In no case does it require that citizens or other private parties promulgate text (broadly defined) which they find objectionable. If that *were* the case Faux News (along with NewsMax and the like) would have been shuttered ages ago. Of course, the Radical Right wants to shutter any organ which exposes their perpetual lying. Just ask Colin Powell has finally found the guts to tell us.

Anonymous 5:45 PM  


well, no one said you have to be here. just leave. yes, that means the comments will lose yet another Trump boot licker, but why do you think you'll change any minds??? Adams is clearly a sycophant for Corporatism. you may find that comforting, but not many of this blog do.

Anonymous 6:01 PM  

Oh yes, Rowling is delusional for saying this, and only this: there are male and female humans. Oh, the horror'!!!!!
Just checked NYC’s Covid 19 death count-29, 316 males. 17,142 female. The other 67 genders: 0.
No time to tussle to with the woke. Time has gotten away from me. It’s riot season! And I still have my Covid19 decorations up.

Geezer 6:15 PM  

I love me a good rant rant.

Anonymous 6:26 PM  

Rubin was right. Free speech has been perverted (as it pertains to the institution/liberty), it’s one reason 3rd girders have unlimited access to the most debasing pornography literally at their fingertips.

RooMonster 6:49 PM  

Back again, bit this time --

**SB Alert!**

Queen Bee again! Two days in a row. Dang, I'm smart! πŸ˜‚
My last word took forever to get, and basically got it just from trying different combinations of letters. By still... YAY ME!


Teresa 6:57 PM  

To those who cared enough to look up "bloc": perhaps you're right. I always thought "block" was a physical thing and "bloc" was figurative, a group of entities, like the Eastern Bloc. But maybe it's not that cleanly divided. Thanks for checking.

JOHN X 7:01 PM  

@Z 2:00 PM

Scott Adams is a morality tale on the dangers of free speech.

WTF??? That's fascism, Z, and don't try to do your signature backpedal from it.

the dangers of free speech

Don't pretend you didn't write this because you did.

Anonymous 7:16 PM  

1. Regarding The Red Baron, one guess was "German". I did not like that but it has 4 of the 6 letters of the correct answer, so the crosses kept confirming the wrong answer.
2. Regarding Scott Adams, I had been enjoying his work for decades, but I have noticed some strange material over the past few years. More recently, during the last couple of weeks, I see that all of the people in his strips have been wearing face masks, unlike nearly every other recent comic strip. Maybe there is some hope for SA after all.

pabloinnh 7:17 PM  

I suppose it was inevitable, given the times in which we live, but it still saddens me to see crosswords turn into cross words.

kitshef 7:27 PM  

@Frantic Sloth - well, it's the same as the difference between "had" and "hat", or "it" and "id", or "mussed" and "must".

Anonymous 8:11 PM  

John X
Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GILL I. 8:24 PM  

@pabloinnh 7:17. I'm beginning to understand now, why so many of my favorite bloggers have left. There are so many other "ugly" venues to vent whatever frustration you hold....this has always been my happy puzzle place. Now it has become the cross words place.

Anonymous 9:06 PM  

Z has politicized and invoke all manner of condemnation, calumny and cross ness for many, many years.
I’ve been his target from time to time and you turned a blind eye. You once claimed you’ve never seen him use derision or sarcasm. It. Was unbelievable then. And remains so. Don’t like the blog as it stands currently? Take a page from the free speech absolutists and look away.

Frantic Sloth 9:29 PM  

@pabloinh and @GILL I. Hear! Hear! I feel a little under siege and I'm not even @Z!

@kitshef 727pm Thanks for responding, but I say/hear the difference between hat/had and it/id. The problem comes from words ending in "ed" vs "t" especially when preceded by an "s" sound. Can you (or anyone) explain how what is essentially phonetically "sd" is pronounced without it sounding like a "t"?
Then again, I no longer care. ��

GILL I. 9:29 PM  

@Anonymous 9:06....I don't ever recall my claim agains @Z and his use of derision or sarcasm - although he uses it likes lots here. Someone accused him of using profanity. I've never heard him call anyone a down right ugly name. Pick your battles.
I've been a target as well. I'm loud and opinionated. But I like having some fun and I don't use this blog to fling shit. And please...don't get me started on free speech. You live under a communist and fascist regime like I have and then we'll talk turkey and share a drink together....maybe.

Z 9:36 PM  

@John X - What has your panties in a twist? That is something I’ve said many times before. I do wonder if you read the whole paragraph, though. Let me put it a different way. SA is one of those people who needs to be mirandized for their own protection. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may be used against you in the court of public opinion. If he hadn’t outed himself as a misogynistic racist I would have never spared him a nanosecond of thought, he’d have forever been some guy who made a career producing a comic I don’t much like.

Joe Dipinto 9:37 PM  

Taking a page from my friend @Roo –

Acrostic Alert!

Tough going today, thanks to answer H, for which I entered *two* wrong answers before arriving at the correct one. (Especially annoying because all three words are synonyms, have the same letter count, and the same second letter.)

Which caused writeovers and then rewriteovers in the quotation. Grrrr. It's been a long time since I made a mistake in the Acrostic. Needless to say, I did not earn QUEEN TICK status.

Frantic Sloth 9:50 PM  

@Joe D 937pm πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ "QUEEN TICK"

JC66 9:52 PM  

@Joe D

I only got H from the "crosses."

Anoa Bob 9:53 PM  

It's not HAT HEAD and it's not HAT HAIR that results from wearing a helment while biking. It's HELMET HAIR. That's why I keep my hair short. I ride a bike and I don't want HELMET HAIR. It's unsightly.

Anonymous 9:57 PM  

I thought this was easy ... at least from a theme perspective. I had the same reaction as you regarding Catbert ... Adams’ politics are such a turn-off for me that it tainted the puzzle. Sort how I feel now whenever I get an email regarding a sale at L.L. Bean.

Greg 10:25 PM  

I'll just weigh in (yet again), as a 30-year career classical vocalist, there is no such word as BASSOS, any more than PANINIS is a word. In Italian, the plural of a singular BASSO is BASSI, and in English, the plural of a singular BASS is BASSES. If a conductor ever referred to the gentlemen in the bass section collectively as the "BASSOS", he'd be laughed off the podium. And yet this "word" endures in puzzle after puzzle. It must be included in a constructor's database of words somewhere.

burtonkd 10:26 PM  

@pdmd - I meant to notice a coincidence more than accuse you of copying. Still lots of anti-Cuomo signs in Nyack, NY yards as of yesterday:) Triborough and Interborough were functional names that let you know where they go. Most Harlem residents use 6th and 7th avenues rather than Adam Clayton Powell and Malcolm X

Galileo Feynman 10:39 PM  

I don't know about anything else, but I do know,this being a Sunday puzzle, it should have been titled "Surmonday."

Apolitical 10:57 PM  

I have really enjoyed this blog over the past few years. It has been almost a daily routine to check on how I have done versus Rex and others and to see if my issues with any given puzzle were shared. Unfortunately, as with some Facebook friends and other situations, politics has reared its ugly head too far into what should be an enjoyable and stress free (other than the stress of puzzle solving) environment. Clues and answers in NY Times crossword puzzles are now hugely political. Today, the concern was Catbert - "but please hear me when I say F*** that guy, he was never funny and now he's a right-wing Trumpist dipshit of the highest order." I happen to think that F*** guy is funny and I don't hold his political leanings against him.

I'm out.

Mohamed sheteiwy 11:13 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peg 9:48 PM  

Thank you. I did not like this puzzle at all. Clues ambiguous, theme kind of dumb. Thought it was me!

Dimer 10:00 PM  

Newbie, timid first post.
Quite sure this day is not the day I am posting.

I wandered into the world of Crossworld so naive, yet Tuesday strong.

My cheats are a tubular website that gives me the BEST one clue, no Google.

I miss you already Rex, Z, I Gill, Piss me off guy that always deletes himself, anonymous @ 4:15, pablo, Roo

Uke Xensen 12:04 PM  

Easy but dumb.

Burma Shave 12:37 PM  


FORTWO guys from MAUI - ANDERS and BERT - they were dolls.
After the BIGDANCE, the girls were ALLSET, then SURPRISE!
C'MON, what's the chance? SHIITE, those guys had SURFERBALLS.



spacecraft 12:38 PM  

It figures that the only themer OFC liked contained the word SURLY. But why did he not also like SURFEITOFANGER? Oh well.

For a change I slapped down the NW in a NY minute. CATBERT and DOD Mama CASS were instant gimmes--I know nothing of Adams' politics (why should I?), but he writes a hella funny strip. I'm not one to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Though the rest wasn't THAT easy, I still rate this easy-medium. Loaded with puns--my favorite moment was not an entry but a clue: "Direction for one who's been in Benin to go to Togo." Absolutely hilarious. Had a couple writeovers: AIR ace before MAN, RUN amok-->wild-->RIOT, and PASSED the test. That last one cost a little time, running the list of state capitals...TOPEKA no good because of the KA. That change was the last aha! moment. Of course: PIERRE! I won't say I was DRAWNTO it, but I liked it better than the Fearless One. Birdie.

rondo 2:09 PM  

Now I know that OFL has no sense of humor. I have no idea what Scott Adams' politics are, but CATBERT is a hoot and Dilbert is one of the funniest strips out there. It is so close to real life, which we know OFL does not live. Annnnyway, hand up for AIRace first and then hoping it wouldn't TURN into a real inkfest with geRMAN, but the AIR stayed in and that's the area where I finished. The guys on the four corners are with the COSA Nostra. TURNS out Kitty ONEIL was quite the yeah baby. Still miss Ron DIEGO. Happy Fathers Day to Syndies.

Diana, LIW 2:37 PM  

Some people didn't like this puzzle. Some people don't like fun.

I'm not one of those people.

(and for pities sake, or is it pity's sake? let's please leave the political in the gutter where it belongs - end of editorial note)

I love puns and puzzles and enjoyed this solve immensely. I hade a two=letter dnf due to the usual PPP, but I care not. Now, back to my jigsaw, which I do believe I'll draw out for the duration of the pandemic.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for more summer days

Diana, LIW 2:42 PM  

PS - the word "BILLOWY" always reminds me of the movie "Mask," when the hero describes clouds to Diana.

Diana, still masked

spacecraft 9:50 PM  

@DLIW: Such a great film was Mask, not forgetting a wow! performance from Cher. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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