When doubled 2010s dance / THU 6-24-20 / Efficiency symbol in physics / Golfer Poulter with three PGA Tour wins / 1950s-60s sitcom nickname / makes the going great old ad slogan

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Constructor: Amanda Chung and Karl Ni 

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (4:58)


THEME: GO OUT ON A LIMB (51A: Act riskily ... or what three answers in this puzzle do) — three answers go out (i.e. off the edge of the grid) on a limb (the part hanging off the edge of the grid is also the name of a limb, such as one might find on a human, or turkey):

Theme answers:
  • WORKS LIKE A CH(ARM) (20A: Totally does the trick)
  • "(LEG)ALLY BLONDE" (35A: 2001 comedy starring Reese Witherspoon)
  • WHISTLE BLO(WING) (42A: Reporting internal wrongdoing)
Word of the Day: PLAYMAT (40D: Crawl space?) —
Noun
  1. mat (flat piece of material) designed for a young child to play upon. (yourdictionary.com, whatever that is)
• • •

I have seen "off the grid"-type themes before, for sure, but this one makes pretty good use of its revealer. A bit weird to have your limbs be arm, leg ... and wing. One of those is not like the others, no matter which animal you take the limbs from. Humans don't have wings. Chickens don't have arms. Maybe it's supposed to be a joke? I dunno. Anyway, might've been cool to do arm twice and leg twice—get all the human limbs *and* stick with one species. Also, might've been much cooler if the letters that appear in the grid were actual words. ALLY BLONDE fits the bill, but ugh WORKS LIKE ACH and WHISTLE BLO are ... rough. I guess both ACH and BLO can stand alone as crossword answers, so maybe you could say they're not total nonsense, but ... I just wince when my grid is full of nonsense. I know I know, you add the limb and poof, no nonsense. But grids should look good as is. The fact of ACH at the end of WORKS LIKE ACH really hurt me, as did the cluing of regular old SETH as some Egyptian god (!?!?!) (12D: Egyptian god of chaos). I had SETT for the god and WORKS LIKE ACT as the answer. I was certain that the theme was somehow going to involve MAGIC ... like ACT was somehow standing in for "MAGIC" (i.e. "works like magic"), since "magic act" ... is a thing. This made total sense to me as I was solving, though *exactly* how I thought this whole "MAGIC" dealie would play out, I don't remember. You know, you're solving, you get a themer, maybe you have only a vague idea of how it works, but you keep plugging and have faith that things will become clear later. Well, I finished the grid and still had SETT up there. So boo. Error. Oh well.


Hardest part for me was the mid-east, largely because I didn't really understand the theme yet (even though I was almost done) so the BLO part wasn't obvious. Also, PANAM slogans are wow, yeah, before my time (40A: "___ makes the going great" (old ad slogan)). And I thought [Dum-dum] (37A) was maybe some kind of drum because I would never spell it without the "b"s on the end (i.e. "dumb-dumb"). A Dum-dum is a (delicious) lollipop. So BOZO, couldn't get. Was proud that I remembered the NAE (NAE), and that Definitely helped me get things sorted in there (50A: When doubled, a 2010s dance). Only other snag was in the west, where I had CLOSE TO before CLOSE BY (14D: Near) and NYSE before NYNY (29D: Big Apple inits.), and both of those errors were running right through the front end of the themer ALLY BLONDE (and again, at that point I still had no idea about all the limb business). Rest of the puzzle played pretty easy.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

116 comments:

Frantic Sloth 12:01 AM  

So this was my thought during my solve:

"What are these things? Limbs hanging over the sides like they're being dangled into a swimming pool? Can't really picture a WING doing that..."
And so it wasn't.
GOINGOUTONALIMB, huh? Sneaky. And fun! Unlike my cherished rebuses, this was the opposite. Sort of an anti-rebus or Bizarro rebus where something is missing or kicked out instead of squoze in.
Had to wait until I got to WHISTLEBLO(wing) to grok the theme, and had I known there'd be only three (๐Ÿ˜•), I might have taken more time to savor.
As it is, I feel a little gypped , I gotta say. I know it's "only" a Thursdee and a smaller (than Sundee) grid, but still... I want what I want and I'm spoiled so I can whine about it. So... whine whine.
There. I'm done.

The fill was more gummy than chewy, but at least it wasn't slurpy.

Looks like a lot of Os and Ls in the puzzle to me...

Don't know why anyone should care about that. Even I don't.

๐Ÿง ๐Ÿง 
๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰

Richardf8 12:21 AM  

26A - This is wrong. Soy burgers have been around a long time. What makes the Impossible Burger unique is a protein called Heme (https://impossiblefoods.com/heme/ ) which is derived from genetically modified yeast. It is a component of hemoglobin, but because it is sourced from yeast it is vegan. This gives the impossible burger its beefier taste.

Nice misdirection on 40A - I was looking for a laxative, not a dead airline.

This thing Wednesdayed. No crunch. Not even the amusement of a Fearless Fos to perk it up. The long downs were more interesting than the themers.

Tom R 12:25 AM  

I sort of guessed what was going on, then the revealer actually revealed something and I confidently (and correctly) finished the theme clues. Easy for a Thursday. I had fun.

Runs with Scissors 12:29 AM  

1A - THE BEAV!!!! Flashbacks, GUYS. ODES to LIONEL trains and BOZO the clown!!

I swear those days were HAZIER than all get out. Even an ALLYBLONDE couldn't save the day. So I put on A HOT HALO and NAE, did not GO OUT ON A LIMB, CAPN!! OH SO your PONE is ALIEN?

On the downside, my PLASMA stuck to the OILPAN. AZALEA NO MORE; the POLICE HORSE trampled on my PLAY MAT. NON, NON I say.

Fun puz, had no idea what was up at first. Got "WORKSLIKEACH" and it just seemed...unfinished. Like a LIONEL train without a plug.

Once I got the trick it went like an EPIC YELL. Limbs everywhere.

Tomorrow should be fun. One may hope.

Mark,
In the shadow of darkened theme parks.

egsforbreakfast 12:53 AM  

I agree with Rex that the non-sensical theme answers were a weakness, even though they made sense once the appropriate limb was added. I would ,however, disagree to some extent about “wing”. There was a period, from around 2005 to 2019, where no tennis commentator would use any term other than “wing” to signify which side of the body had been utilized. A typical comment exchange might go:

Patrick McEnroe: Fantastic down-the-liner from Fed off his backhand wing.
Mary Carillo: Patrick, I’ve been saying for a while that Nadal is better off the forehand wing than Fed is off his backhand wing. What do you think?
Patrick McEnroe: Fed might beat Rafa backhand wing to backhand wing, but Rafa probably wins 4 out of seven off the forehand wing.

This was an inviolable rule for years. Any commentator who used “side” or “stroke” would have been summarily dismissed, never to return to broadcast tennis. Thank god, there seems to have been a bit of a break in the “wing” lock in the last year or two while the McEnroe brothers search for a new exemplar of their hipness.

I liked the puzzle in general, and loved that TORSO (64A) sat there without arms, legs or wings.

Harryp 12:55 AM  

I don't remember where the revealer claimed the appendage(s) must belong to a certain mammal, reptile, whatever, so I'm perfectly OK with one of them being a wing. Maybe an angel or something. Fun Puzzle, but probably easier on us old folks with answers like 1Across.

jae 1:39 AM  

Medium. I knew some was going on when LEGALLY BLONDE wouldn’t fit, but it took going through a rebus phase to sort it out. Just about the right amount of trickiness for a Thurs., liked it.

okanaganer 2:30 AM  

Error for me too, in my case at the last square! For "Informal title of respect" I had CAPO. (Tony Soprano, eg.) Which resulted in "Foreign denial" being NOO. I visualized a Scotsman saying that. "Noo, lassie, that cain't be so!" Scots are foreign, right? Even here in Canada.

Evidently a limb is, per default Google search: arm, leg, or wing. The theme is concise!

OK admit it, how many of you automatically typed in OPIE at 1 across?

chefwen 3:11 AM  

I was looking for rebus squares after I had WORKS LIKE A CH and ALLY BLONDE. Ignoring that as I worked my way down GO OUT ON A LIMB popped up and I had my lovely AHA moment. I get it, that was easy enough.

My biggest hang up was in the mid east section where I spelled BAEZ as BiAZ, I always do that, I’m hopeful for the day I remember the A first. Then I went and spelled AZALEA AZeLEA so I had no idea what PiNeM was.

I liked it, but it could have had a couple more appendages.

Rugged XY Man 3:28 AM  

I've been going through mid-'90s puzzles when Will was beginning. He wasn't good. He was quite good in the early aughts, but has dropped off considerably lately. How this train wreck of a puzzle passed his blue pencil I'll never know.

Loren Muse Smith 4:03 AM  

Love, love, love puzzles with stuff that goes outside the grid. My hold-up was that LEGALLY BLONDE and WHISTLER BLOWING both have instances of BLO, so I was looking for some kind of BLO trick. I finally saw the trick with CHARM and WHOOPED. Quietly. Since I’ve just returned from NC with Mom in tow, and she’s still asleep.

Speaking of Mom, her inspired “traveler’s item” is a small extension cord she keeps in her train case. How smart is that? She can sleep on whatever side of the bed she wants because her charger will reach no prob. I now have a small extension cord in my train case.

I keep looking back and seeing ALIEN TORSO. Didn’t they used to open for Metallica?

“They take dedication to write” – Rex’s daily takes on the puzzle. For about 13 years. Come hell or high water, we have a place to show up every day to run our mouths, to make friends, to wordnerd out, to commune. And when he is otherwise committed, he procures subs to keep it going.

Four letter word meaning “dum-dum” that begins with B: boob, boor, BOZO. Ok. Boor not so much but still.

“Like hedgehogs” – hmm. Took forever to get SPINY. Spiky just wouldn’t cut it.

“@Richardf8 – “___ makes the going great” . . . My first thought was ex lax off that second A. Great minds and all that.

Steve 4:14 AM  

From Wednesday's WSJ puzzle...

How's this for a Natick cross:

29A Chacun ____ goรปt
22D ____ soit qui mal y pense (Order of the Garter motto)

mathgent 5:31 AM  

I agree that having two arms and two legs sticking out of the grid would have been better. WING, while perhaps technically a limb, feels wrong. It throws the grid out of balance.

Enjoyed figuring out how to fit the three themers into the grid. A bunch of fun words, like BOZO and WHOOPED. Smart cluing. Liked being reminded that Joan BAEZ sang at the historic march. Only one piece of junk (OHSO). Very good piece of work.

ETA clued in a new way. I don’t remember it from physics. I’ll go look it up now.



Anonymous 5:34 AM  

I have a wishful theory that Arm, Leg, Wing is a Goodfellas reference.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_W7DvKlsks

The order is the same:
"Here's an arm"
"Here's a leg!"
"Here's a wing!"

If this was intentional, then I think it would be hinted at even better if the SE corner were indeed CAPO, as a previous commenter noted

kitshef 6:01 AM  

That was fun. Certainly not easy for me though due to many wrong guesses. Box to BIN, kAhN to CAPN, toLL to YELL, pen to MAT, eerie to ALIEN, AUdiS to AUTOS, dOdO to BOZO.

MACY to become the new MILNE?

kitshef 6:03 AM  

@Richard8 - Impossible burgers do contain soy, so I would say the clue is technically correct, though leaving the wrong impression.

ChuckD 6:14 AM  

This was AHOT mess - surprised Rex didn’t rip into it. Don’t mind the theme concept - we’ve seen it implemented well in the past - but this was a swing and miss. Only three weakly clued and flat themers with a vague revealer. Maybe it seemed worse to me phone solving?

The grid was odd also - the corners giving us all the short garbage - OHSO, CAPN, SETH?? I always like to see the the BEAV and LIONEL was nice. The reference to Impossible Burger near CUD is completely fitting.

Maybe it’s the recent weather in combo with reading about the spike in the virus that has me down - but this puzzle was just not enjoyable. Hopefully a better Friday?

Lewis 6:31 AM  

I clawed my way through this charming out-of-the-box offering that had enough vague cluing to nicely slow the go (and if I CUD interject here: I don't KIA how long the solve takes, as I'm a sipper).

For a while I had PANEL instead of GAVEL, as something a chair might chair (hold).

I NU IT would be an entertaining solve as soon as I saw the creators' names, and they didn't disappoint. Thank you two!

GILL I. 6:43 AM  

How did I not like thee....let me graciously count the ways: The cluing had me doing the HUH dance. You don't want to see me do it. I'll do it anyway. My first trip on the rug was with SETH. Why do you clue him with some Egyptian wannabe instead of Rogan or Meyers? Then, you really want me to know Georgia's State wildflower...? PAN AM clued like it needed some Metamucil? Full confession: When I arrived in NYC penniless, and trying to pay my way, my only friend told me I should try for a job as a "stew" with PAN AM. I was bi-lingual. Why not? I did give it a try. I got an appointment. I was nervous as hell and took about 3 days to get ready. I spent hours on my make-up and hair. I wanted to take a cab to Park Avenue but I was too poor. I took the subway instead. I got off at the Grand Central Terminal and carefully walked to that majestic, tall building. I took the elevator to the top floor. I walked in. Seated, in perfect straight backed perky sitting positions were about 500 hundred gorgeous blondes. Deflation hits like a bomb. The charming, gorgeous, woman who interviewed me, told me I was kinda the person they were looking for....except....I weighed too much. I was 5'7 and lots of change, and weighed 132. Nope....you're over our fat, scale-o -meter. You flunked...Waaaaaah. Now that I think of it, Metamucil would've been a better answer.
Anyway...I moved over into other areas that gave me the huh's. I thought of the impossible burger. SOY? Well, sure. Has anybody ever tried a double-double at In-N-Out and said: Gee, damn it.....this needs SOY or maybe some tofu?
I cheated and looked at the reveal thingy. Oh, it's a LIMB. So I went upstairs and filled in the empties in the ARM/LEG. My biggest concern is that my WHISTLE was a BLO(wer). What the hell is a WER? I'm the BOZO who missed the boat.
OCHO and out. Thank you very much.

amyyanni 6:51 AM  

Cluing really appealed to me. NW - ATTIC, GAVEL, lovely. POLICEHORSE reminded me of a special marathon I ran in Saskatchewan, where the Mounties train. They are neat. An additional treat was that the packer pickup was in a museum. And I'm missing races, can you tell?

CanaDON 7:07 AM  

Not convinced INUIT is correct as it describes the plural for people of the North (like ‘CANADIANS’ and ‘RUSSIANS’) . An arctic native is an “Inuk” . “Arctic natives “ might have been better ...

Snoble 7:07 AM  

I didn't pay enough attention to the wording of the clue for whistlebloWING and had whistlebloWER in my head--even after I had solved. Came here to find out what the heck a "wer" is. Duh. Dum dum. It was actually this blog that taught me the importance of tense in the clue/answer correlation.
Enjoyed the small light bulbs at auto plant and scary story misdirects.

pabloinnh 7:11 AM  

I like me a Thursday with a gimmick, and this is a good one. Got the revealer before the themers, and boy is that helpful. With @Lewis for PANEL and @GILL I for wondering what a WER might be, but no other real snags. If you can have a police dog, I guess you can have a POLICEHORSE. Some crunchy ? clues and I had to relearn how to spell AZALEA, which answer surprised me because Georgia is all about the peaches.

Thanks for the fun, AC and KN. A Thursday doing some very nice Thursdaying.

TJS 7:14 AM  

Is it me? Very possible, since we are living under estraordinary circumstances, but it seems that the ratio of enjoyable to blah puzzles for the past few months leans heavily to the blah side. Is there ANYTHING about this puzzle that signals a Thursday-worthy challenge? Is the cupboard really this bare? How many Mondays are going to be POWs?
Anyway, good to hear from you, @LMS.

Lorelei Lee 7:21 AM  

Rummaging around in my mental attic looking for the Beav, my Lionel train, an old PamAm boarding pass, something by Uris. But that stuff is getting hazier all the time. The puzz brought to mind one of Gary Trudeu's Inside Reagan's Brain strips.

Got the rebus right away, but was thinking Whistler Blower. So that threw me off till I came here. Wing would've made about as much sense. Is a wing really just a limb? More like a super limb.

@ChuckD, Impossible Burger near cud, har! You saved the day. I'll never hear mention of one again without thinking of that comment.

Hungry Mother 7:39 AM  

Lightning fast once I realized no rebuses. Everything easily gettable. Very nice theme.

QuasiMojo 7:48 AM  

None of this was on my wavelength and only some in my wheelhouse. Starting with MUG for traveler's item because of those hideous traveler's mugs people carry around with them nowadays, did me no favors. I wanted GRANT for the thing a chair might have, thinking it was an academic chair. That led me to MERV for the sitcom guy. I wasn't sure about it but at least it's a name. And RRs for "double transport" made sense to me. I will spare you all the EPIC repetitions of similar errors in each AREA of the grid. Except to say that PLAYMAT might be missing a body part too. Those staples in the centerfold must have fallen out.

I agree with others who didn't care for this. Another pointless exercise in reaching for a concept but leaving me hanging off the edges hoping for something solid --and worthwhile -- to hold onto.

Speaking of ESP, Shirley McClaine wants royalties for her title "Out on a Limb." I wonder if she was SETH in a former life or just a bird on the WING.

Mikey from El Prado 8:06 AM  

Are there other limbs besides arm, leg, wing?
For some reason I couldn’t come up with any others, so perhaps the grid completes the conceit. But, it’s early for me (before 6 AM MDT).
Paws, claws, hooves, hands, knees, feet are all parts of appendages.

I’ll GOOUTONALIMB and say this was a good puzzle.

Z 8:08 AM  

Hand up for really liking the theme concept. I always like a good anti-rebus. Hand also up for wondering just how old the puzzle has to be to get accepted. Holey Moley BEAV at 1A was a harbinger. At least the clue for MACY was a little more current and not the department store again. Hand up for wondering how Ex Lax let PAN AM steal their slogan.

I really wanted the “scary” of “scary story” to be Richard Scarry. Sigh. My only excuse is the youngest is 24, so it’s been a long time since I read those books.

Before understanding what was happening I noticed that two themers contained BL, so I was on heightened rebus alert. Something about being on the wrong track makes uncovering the actual conceit more fun.

@LMS - No, ALIEN TORSO was an 80’s new wave band. I saw them open for Elvis Costello.

@JC66 late last night - Think of “random” in this sense as a spectrum rather than an either/or. So Eno and Ono are more random than Oreo but less random these days than Yma or Asta. They all have some cultural relevance but all significantly less than the rate of appearances in xwords suggest. Choosing an arbitrary scale where 1 is not random and 100 is maximally random we might put all these examples on the scale between 60 for Oreo to 80 for Yma Sumac. I’d put your minor pope in the 90’s. Who the hell knows all the popes and who cares?* I put Roman Numerals somewhere around 270 on this imaginary scale. That is, three times more irrelevantly random than the most obscure pope who died in DCLXVI. Just ban them from your word lists, constructors. /Howl

*If you’re that person, the one who knows all the popes, substitute, I dunno, randomly spelt rapper names.

Petsounds 8:21 AM  

@ChuckD: I'm with you. Got the theme pretty fast and it was fine, but nothing else clicked for me. Cluing felt off in many cases--how is a playMAT a "space?" 42D: Entered SHOUTED confidently, and that, along with MALL at 56A (What kind of shoppers stop at a MART?...) made a mess of the SW. Would never have gotten AZALEA without the crosses because I've never thought of it as a wildflower, although Georgia says it is, so... Not much fun here, although it was nice to see MACY Gray right below the SPINY hedgehog--two of my favorite things in life.

Another day when Rex's solve time just blows my mind. Needless to say, mine was much more.

DeeJay 8:38 AM  

Welcome back, LMS!

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

Where have all the etuis gone? I miss them in my puzzles. When I was first starting out, they were a staple of xwords. Haven't seen one in sew long.

Joe Dipinto 8:48 AM  

Really, truly awful. Just sticking "limbs" outside the grid is not a visual representation of "going out on limb", no matter what the "revealer" says. Something has to be on the limb to make the idea work, and nothing is here.

Sometimes I wonder if the constructors and editors even comprehend language anymore. It's like there's this attitude of, "well it's close enough to making sense so we'll just use it as it is. No one will care." Blech.

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

Z,
Your explanation of random is ludicrous. none of the words you cite is random. You’ve constructed an arbitrary scale and assigned values to various words, substituting important for random undermines your strange idea. Randomness is unrelated to importance.

RooMonster 9:06 AM  

Hey All !
I want to read Rex's review had this been constructed by Bruce Haight. He would've ripped it a new you-know-what-hole it deserved.

The nonsensical things that the themers ended up were ridiculous. This puz does not WORK LIKE A CH. See? Ridiculous. BOZO-ish, one might say. To me, this is a representation of Established Constructors getting their puzs published for the simple fact they are known.

OK, off my complaining podium. Well... would've worked better as a WedsPuz.

The SW corner had some posers as clued. GMOS as Biotech crops? Eesh. AUTOS as Products of some plants? Double Eesh. Was that supposed to be an AloeS misdirect?

Sorry GUYS, but can't seem to find a good thing about this one. So I'll just go.

Not even an F...
OH SO ODD
RooMonster
DarrinV

TTrimble 9:17 AM  

Dum-dum (with that spelling) has been around a long time, longer than the lollipop; it's just a way to intensify "dummy" (not "dumby"). Doesn't anyone remember The Great Gazoo, an ALIEN from late 50's-early 60's TV? He used to call Fred "dum-dum".

I have no cavil with limbs from different species. (I can't think of any others either.)

Not too difficult for a Thursday. I also got stuck using "panel" before GAVEL, and I had "clothing" before DONATION. I thought of "Pabst" before PANAM. Otherwise it seemed fairly smooth.

Birchbark 9:27 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hartley70 9:28 AM  

This puzzle struck me as quite easy. I had a feeling this was going to be a casual Thursday when I easily filled in BEAV, and looking back once I finished, SATIATE was the only answer with much gravitas. I was happy to have PANAM remind me of my favorite airline. PLAYMAT was green paint to me and I would have preferred nursery. Today I knew the proper names. WHOOPie!

The theme saved this Thursday for me. I was surprised to see that the LIMBS truly were missing and not around the corner or adjacent in some mystifying way. I slowed up looking for an arm, leg and wing. I did have a second of “Which of these is not like the other two?”, but I can ignore it.

Sir Hillary 9:31 AM  

Either I have become seriously jaded, or the NYT puzzles are really boring these days. This is so perfectly "meh" it ought to be shown in the dictionary next to that term.

@Anon 5:34am beat me to it, but all I could think of was "Goodfellas". Liotta retching while Pesci eggs him on is, for me, the funniest scene in the whole film.

No AZALEA will be in bloom at the 2020 Masters. And I have never danced the NAE(NAE) in NYNY. Nor done the ETA with ETTA.

Okay, NOMORE...

Birchbark 9:37 AM  


DONATION BIN -- Where the old fill goes after the garage sale.

@Z (8:08) -- Your scaled approach to randomness is sensible. But I'd put Roman numerals (as used in crosswords) much closer to ordered end. The letter choices are so limited -- I, V, X, L, C, maybe D, maybe M (and only I, V, X for kings and popes). What we lack in specific knowledge is offset by a simpler palate for inferences; ERGO, less random.

goldbug 9:37 AM  

Thought exactly the same thing about the Impossible Burger clue, but I couldn't remember HEME so it just annoyed me further.

Anonymoose 9:40 AM  

Really wanted WAZOO for 54D, Up the_____

Joe Dipinto 9:46 AM  

Correction to my 8:48: that should have read ..."not a visual representation of 'going out on a limb'."

Okoume 9:50 AM  

You were missed!

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

PAN AM slogan is an advertising classic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB9h4g6BAv0


pmdm 9:53 AM  

I have to congratulate Sharp for writing about his error. He could easily hidden it from us. But it is unclear from the write up how the error was corrected, especially since I solve of the paper version. Are you alerted to the error only when the software fails to congratulate you? If so, his solving time is fake. And many here would consider it a DNF. Not that I care.

I completed the bottom half of the puzzle by myself, but the PPP in the upper half defeated me. Just a few crosses let me discover OUTONALIMB but [LEG]ALLYBLONDE defeats me, even though I heard of the movie. I did live through the Pan AM and Leave It to Beaver eras, but getting those entries is very tough for me.

On a lighter note, I find some of the comments humorous (a better adjective than laughable). The over-the-top response to Z's comment is an example. Anonymity (intentional or not) seems to breed contempt, but if it is ridiculous enough one can laugh if aimed elsewhere.

Speaking of randomly bunched letters, NYNY does it for me. And perhaps AHOT.

Often more than one thing can fit a clue, but only one thing fits the grid. More than one thing makes an Impossible Burger what it is. Many solvers can lose sight of that characteristic.

William of Ockham 9:54 AM  

I learned NAE NAE
Decent puzzle

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

listen to most any football/baseball talking head, and you'll hear 'wing' when something goes wrong, or really right, with the QB's throwing arm or pitcher's pitching arm. and, of course, there's the 'Funky Chicken'.

Lorelei Lee 10:03 AM  

Anon@5:34, I watched the video. That's hilarious!!! How did you ever remember it? Would've made a lot more sense as a revealer (albeit obscure).

@Z, I see what you're talking about now. Thanks for having the patience to explain it.

@All who wondered what a Wer was. Glad I wasn't alone.

@Petsounds, I think a lot (all?) of our garden plants started out wild somewhere. Even roses. Figured this out at the Jepson Herbaria in Berkeley. An Azalea is actually a Rhododendron.

albatross shell 10:10 AM  

I got WORKSLIKEACH and thought the missing letters were AMP. Some kind of power theme? But ALLYBLONDE was next and showed the way to ARM. Top-notch theme and revealer.

OffTheGrid 10:11 AM  

I really liked the way this solve went for me. Saw there were missing letters in WORKSLIKEACH. Just had to figure out where they were. Rebus? no. Grid direction change? no. So I continued to fill in answers until the revealer revealed itself. I usually don't care for puzzles with letters ME (Off The Grid) but these were fine. I enjoyed a lot of the cluing. Easily the best puzzle this week.

bertoray 10:12 AM  

Initially had HARM,LEGA,and OWING as rebuses. Reread revealer for the aha doh.

Newboy 10:13 AM  

Nice catch @ egsfor! I totally missed TORSO and its missing limbs. Guess I needed ESP for that clue which took far too long to grok. Enjoyed the solve and the Thursday perfect zaniness; unlike Rex, I recall vividly the PANAM experience. Clearly, Amanda & Karl created this puz for my generation, so thanks to those younguns—even for the NAE NAE, known only from puzzle world.

Nancy 10:27 AM  

I knew ALLY MCBEAL, even though I never watched her, but who on earth was ALLY BLONDE? I really didn't watch her!

And so this one theme answer did fool me. The gimmick works better in the front than at the end, I think. But the main problem is that the theme answers are so few and far between. Almost no "there" there.

An ATTIC's not the least bit "scary" unless there's a steep, narrow, winding, unlit staircase with no handrail leading there. Then I'm not a-going, no way, no how. But the clue's question mark gave me the big hint I needed, as I was having trouble in that section. Wanted Lucy or Desi, not BEAV at 1A.

There needed to be much more theme density. Also this should have run on Wednesday. Not very hard. But enjoyable. And, after all the insufferable trivia of the last few days, it was lovely to have a puzzle with almost none.

KnittyContessa 10:38 AM  

My first pass did not go well. I thought 1A was Lucy, maybe Desi. I was convinced 40A was Exlax - Did you know Brooklyn was the home of ExLax? It said so on the side of the ExLax Building. The building was converted to co-ops years ago, don't know if they kept that sign up.- Also had DONATION Box before BIN. Thought 67A was CAPo. NOo looked like it could have been possible. 38A had SPIkY. I was just a mess for a while! Figured it all out and managed to finish in 20 minutes so not too awful.

Crimson Devil 10:44 AM  

Very enjoyable and apt Thursday puz.
Had simply W instead of WING for way too long.
TORSO fit nicely. Loved the BEAV, took the longest getting SPINY, all-in-all feelin pretty good about maself this day; to be humbled t’row fo sho.

Whatsername 10:58 AM  

Got the theme right away with 28A and knew instantly what the reveal was going to be so the challenge was primarily the remaining fill. I liked the Bizarro rebus as @Frantic Sloth so brilliantly put it ๐Ÿ˜‚ and would have loved a couple more themers, say with HAND or FOOT. I might call it Thursday Lite, but it was great fun and made me smile.

When I think of the BEAV, the first thing that comes to mind is Barbara Billingsley in her perfect dress and perfect pearls in her perfect kitchen and spotless home. We’ve been programmed to think that women should aspire to be “more,” but in that era it was admirable and June Cleaver far exceeded the standards of her designated role. In the craziness of today’s world, her iconic image of the 1950s housewife stirs a nostalgia for a simpler time that seems almost bucolic in comparison.

@Loren: Nice to have you back again. Hope you enjoy your time with Mom. Some of my fondest memories of mine are the things we did together when it was just the two of us.



kitshef 10:59 AM  

@Mikey from El Prado - Flipper would qualify as a limb, too.

Leslie 11:03 AM  

@Gill 6:43 I have a similar story. I was bilingual and new in NYC and went to apply at Air France. I was told I didn't have the image they needed to project--this is for a counter job, not stew!--because I wore glasses. Still makes me mad. I hope your experience doesn't still rankle. In other news, I enjoyed this puzzle; I always like the ones that go out of the box. Tried to figure out rebus first, but it didn't make sense.

Nancy 11:06 AM  

@Egs for breakfast (12:53) -- Love, love, love your Mary Carillo/Patrick McEnroe send-up on the use of the word WING. As a tennis buff, I've had to listen to their drivel much too often and find myself muting them as often as not. But I don't blame Patrick. I blame the you-can't-shut-her-up-so-don't-even-try Mary Carillo. WING, as used in that way, is what I call "jockspeak" and Mary invented jockspeak. I'm not sure I ever noticed the WING thing, but I thought if I heard her growl one more time, "She owns that shot!", I was going to scream. What's more, Mary never met a tennis point that she didn't insist on talking over. It can be a game point, even, but if the score of the set is anything less than 3-all, maybe even 4-3, talk she will. And talk and talk and talk. I once called Mary Carillo "a disease" and, no, I'm not at all sorry. (Although someone had to take the place of the equally insufferable Bud Collins when he exited from the scene.)

@GILL (6:43) -- Not thin enough???!!! They perhaps wanted Twiggy???? What idiots.

JC66 11:13 AM  

@Z

We disagree on the definition of random.

Birchbark 11:16 AM  

@Nancy (10:27) -- Good point about scary ATTIC staircases. They're usually extra steep (scary) so as not to take living or closet space away from the floor below. Adding to the vertigo is the heavy and awkward old furniture we carry up and down, and the danger of a tumble.

Scary-ATTIC-summer reading: I recommend Charlotte Bronte's "Villette," which has a memorable one. Those who like "Jane Eyre" will find "Villette" similar, but with a more serious undercurrent throughout -- it is a beautiful portrait of self-assured loneliness.

egsforbreakfast 11:18 AM  

My wife’s first-ever real job interview was with PanAm. She hadn’t been schooled in the art of the interview, so when they asked her to enumerate her weaknesses, instead of saying something like “I’m probably too much of a perfectionist “, she said “Sometimes I can get really bitchy”. PanAm took a pass on her.

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

I vote for the Chris twins, Evert and Fowler. Let the sniping begin.

ghthree 11:22 AM  

To me, a dum-dum has always been a particularly nasty type of bullet. Merriam-Webster backs me up on this. They even list it as the first of two meanings. I'm glad Rex didn't know about that meaning, or he would have gone ballistic. Even though it wasn't the "right" meaning in this puzzle.
I had "JUT" for 23Across. It stayed for far too long, but my wife Jane eventually gave me the answer for 24Down, and we eventually got everything "right." Almost had NAE for 61Down, but we didn't like it, because of 50Across. (We print out two copies and solve on separate clipboards, passing comments back and forth over breakfast.)
Ultimately, it felt about right for Thursday.

Whatsername 11:31 AM  

@anonymous (5:34) Priceless! And one of my all-time favorite films. I mean fuhgettaboutit!

@GILL (6:43): I had dreams of being a stew back then as well but even though I only weighed about 100 pounds, always assumed I was too short. I never had the ambition to go for an interview though and now I’m glad I didn’t. 5 foot 7 and 132 was “too fat”? That’s brutal! Looking at these ads from back then it seems you would’ve fallen within the standards but it was a different time. Note one of them even required typing!


Ron 11:34 AM  

I thought that too, but the ingredients do contain "soy protein isolate" so I think it's technically correct

Nancy 11:40 AM  

For @Joe Dipinto (Cryptogram Alert). No spoilers. Not really. I only have one big "Yikes!"

I don't like any of my three choices for the often obvious word. I don't see any patterns. Most of the words are too damn long. All I have to say is KIWRGLWTV STICBLVILWTV!!! I think I'm about to have an EPIC fail.

jberg 11:42 AM  

I somehow knew the Egyptian SETH ('sett' is a badger's home, by the way), so once I had WORKS LIKE ACH it was only one of those nanoseconds before I knew what was going on; and the revealer was perfect. @Joe DiPinto, you have to change the meaning of GO OUT to 'exit;' maybe the ON isn't quite right, but c'mon!

I've always enjoyed every ATTIC I've had, but it was a great clue, all the same.

I'm with @petsounds on AZALEAs as wildflowers. It's not that they aren't wild -- some species are, in Georgia, here in Massachusetts, and probably elsewhere. It's that they are shrubs, not usually considered wildflowers. But it's Georgia's fault, not the puzzle's.

@Loren, what a great idea! I use my phone as an alarm clock, and there have been way too many occasions when I have had to plug it in on the other side of a hotel room, then leap out of bed and grope my way across the floor when it goes off. Thank you for that! And welcome back.

Barbara S. 11:58 AM  

Not a PAN AM but a POLICE HORSE story:

For many years my husband’s father, Alec, was a performer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride. He joined the Mounties sometime in the late ‘20s or early ‘30s when riding was mandatory for every member of the force. Such a stipulation would be impossible today, but it wasn’t a stretch then because many new recruits came from farming backgrounds. Alec was supposed to go to London as part of the Canadian Coronation Contingent for George VI’s coronation in 1937, but during training his horse caught a hoof in a rabbit hole, fell onto his side and broke Alec’s leg. So no Coronation ride after all. This was disappointing because, as a working-class Scot, born and bred in Dundee, Alec felt he'd come a long way to be invited to The Big Show. After his performing days ended, he spent a number of years training new riders. And after that, he became a non-mounted police officer. My husband loves to paint hair-raising pictures of his dad standing on the running-boards of police cars, shooting at fleeing bootleggers. I know, sounds like something straight out of 1930s Hollywood.

There’s a romantic element to this story, too. In Alec’s riding days, performers trained on an open field accessible to all who wanted to come and watch. My husband’s mother, Jo, an excellent horsewoman herself (and an artist), used to avail herself of this opportunity – of course, to see the horses and study riding technique (ahem), but also (let’s face it) to watch the handsome young riders. And love blossomed! I’m sad to say that I never got the chance to meet either of my husband’s parents, both gone before I came on the scene. But they sound like a very vibrant pair indeed.

Riding in formation

Carola 12:09 PM  

Fun puzzle, and laughs galore sprinkled through the comments - what a nice start to the day! Themewise, I began to see the light when I ran out of space for CH[ARM] and decided that "SETHarm" was an unlikely name for an Egyptian god; so I stuck the ARM outside. But then I had to grope in the dark until the reveal did its job and got me the missing LEG and WING.

For those wondering what a "Wer" is: in Old English, a "wer" was a man, a usage which has hung around in the form of "wer(e)wolf" and in the very olden days also appeared in "wergeld," which in Old English law was "the price set upon a man according to his rank, paid by way of compensation or fine in cases of homicide and certain other crimes to free the offender from further obligation or punishment" (OED).

Help from previous puzzles: NAE, ATTIC (as clued), the spelling of AZALEA. No idea: MACY

Thanks for the laughs to @egsforbreakfast, for the "wing" commentary and PanAm story; @Harryp, for the angel; @ChuckD, for the soy burger's proximity to CUD. And to everyone else, too, such enjoyable morning company.

Andy S. 12:10 PM  

@Steve 4:14AM - Glad someone mentioned it. Wrong blog, right sentiment. Still fuming.

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

I miss Pan Am, the world was better with it in. And with stews that we’re less than 132 lbs at 5’7”.

Guess who? 12:26 PM  

Could not figure out what I had wrong, so finally gave up and went to “reveal”: instead of POLICE I had filled in POLITE: it was a Canadian horse, after all.

Swagomatic 12:28 PM  

I kinda though we'd get two arms and two legs. I still liked. Two pencils up.

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

I could not figure out where I’d gone wring, so finally gave up and went to “reveal”: instead of POLICE I had filled in POLITE. It was a Canadian horse, after all.

mathgent 12:32 PM  

Like Nancy, I usually mute out Mary Carillo. She moderates her mouth and her ego somewhat when they team her with John McEnroe, in respect to his excellence. Also, she’s known him since they were kids. I think that they belonged to the same tennis club in New York. They won Wimbledon mixed-doubles as teens. As Peter Fleming, his doubles partner on the men’s tour once said, the best doubles team in the world is John McEnroe and anybody.

Crimson Devil 12:33 PM  

AZALEA tale: legend has it that groundskeepers at Augusta National (yes, in Georgia: home of The Masters) once, maybe more, were so concerned that AZALEAs were close to blooming early, due to early, warm, Spring, that they scattered ice (much) among pinestraw surrounding AZALEA bushes in order to impede blooming until tournament began and TV cameras started to roll.

GILL I. 12:42 PM  

Yay....@Snoble got an avatar....Have I met your bunny?
@Nancy....I know damn well my weight had nothing to do with it. I just didn't fit in. The woman who interviewed me was drop dead gorgeous.Her nose, her hair, her lipstick...all perfect. And then there was the room full of other "drop dead's." I think my only asset was my hair. I had lots of it and it was long. My mouth was too big and I used it to my detriment.
@Whatsername 11:30...Thanks for the ad reminders. I did end up in the airline industry and I was able to use my yakkity mouth.
@Babarbara S...I love stories, and your father-in-law POLICE HORSE Coronation was cool beans. Did the horse survive?
It's going to be 103 today so I think I'll make some more bread.....

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Crimson,
Cannot vouch for that Augusta Mational story but it sure sounds true.
I can vouch for this:they paint a lot of the dirt that will be seen on TV green. Yes, they paint dirt. You can’t tell on wide shots and they never, ever show it in CU. Hootie made sure. Maybe he’s still running things.

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

@anon/12:45

ah those Southern boys, always cheating to get ahead. :) yes, I recall hearing that story years ago.

Masked and Anonymous 12:50 PM  

@RP: First three synonyms for "limb" in the Official M&A Help Desk Dictionary: ARM. LEG. WING.
QED. And primo Bugs Bunny "limb" comic cover, btw. Surely there are some comic book critters that have arms, legs, *and* wings, too boot?

Liked this (78-word) puz just fine. Put up a bit of a fight, at our house. Actually, kinda liked the theme part more than the fillins part, altho WHOOPED was pretty good stuff. Might wanta dump POLICEHORSE into the DONATIONBIN, tho.

staff weeject pick: LEG. Wanted TOT at first, for some bad M&A Breath reason. Eventually gettin LEG right gave m&e my ahar moment, on this puppy.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Amanda darlin & Karl dude.
Glad to have U back, @Muse darlin, now that U got that longer extension cord.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


**gruntz**

Z 12:52 PM  

@JC66 - ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ

@Birchbark - RRNs appear far less frequently than they once did. I really wish I could link to Gordon’s World’s Worst Crossword, which takes the notion of Roman Numerals to their absurdist extreme. The entire puzzle is just Roman Numerals. Do that puzzle and then let’s talk about whether “order” is actually the opposite of “random.” Oh no... I feel a fractal/chaos theory discussion in the offing.

@Lorelei Lee - As with PPP, the origin of certain other terms are lost as new people appear here. Never hurts to explain. I haven’t seen anyone use “malapop” in forever (that’s when a wrong answer early in your solve appears as a correct answer later on).

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

Anon 12:50
Not a story. We used to do the Masters film every year. I assume PGA productions does it now.

Teedmn 1:07 PM  

Two of the best clues in recent memory - ATTIC = "Scary story?" and PLAYMAT = "Crawl space?" ODES = "They take dedication to write" was pretty good too.

The theme was easy to get and the revealer went in right away but the fill felt sticky today so it wasn't a breeze, especially with a SPIkY hedgehog and wanting to rename MACY Gray MAzY for a while.

Thanks, Amanda and Karl, for another great puzzle!

Petsounds 1:09 PM  

@GILL I 6:43: Your stew application story was so well told. Those were the days when your main purpose as a stewardess was to be pretty, rather than capable. You were 5'7" and weighed 132 and were considered too fat. I'm 5'9" and weigh what I weighed in high school: 140. And people are always telling me I need to gain some weight. A good reminder that even though we still have a long way to go, we've made some important strides since then.

@Nancy and Mathgent: It's hard to believe that anyone would find Mary Carillo to be more mouthy and egotistical than John McEnroe. I guess we still allow males to be more mouthy and egotistical than women. Mary has won numerous journalism and broadcasting awards. I like her.

Anonymous 1:18 PM  

Petsounds,
Capable of what? Handing out drinks amp pretzels?
I want pilots to be capable. I want stewardesses to be pretty.

Jackie 1:19 PM  

Wow. I had MERV for 1A, which gave me MAP (traveller’s item) and PANEL (a chair might hold one). D’oh!

Whatsername 1:20 PM  

@Petsounds: take a look at the link I posted at 11:31. They just came right out and said it.

Anonymous 1:30 PM  

@Jackie:

I wasn't going to admit the same, but yes. for myself, I don't consider any of it 'in error' since all the answers fit the clues.

Joe Dipinto 1:43 PM  

@jberg → ...you have to change the meaning of GO OUT to 'exit;' maybe the ON isn't quite right...

Exactly, it doesn't really work. :-)

@Nancy – didn't look at the Cryptogram yet, will try after lunch.

Barbara S. 2:04 PM  

@Gill I. 12:42
The horse was fine (thanks for asking!). Those horses were experienced "fallers" -- it happened not infrequently and unless something really bad occured, they knew how to roll back up to a standing position. Woe betide any human LEG or other limb that got in the way. Alec always said that he knew what was coming and simply couldn't get his boot out of the stirrup fast enough (or his foot out of the boot).

Pete s 2:31 PM  

@ Jackie 1:19 and anonymous 1:30
Me too had the same NW. after I fixed that I got the happy pencil but I really wasn’t correctly done. I had totally blonde for the movie, which was a 2001 movie although it didn’t star Reese Witherspoon. Couldn’t figure out what kind of animal has a tot for a limb.

Frantic Sloth 2:46 PM  

@Whatsername 1131am Those ads. ๐Ÿ™„ No wonder nobody is smiling in that group photo.

@Z Who are the doggies? Apologies if I've asked before – the memory, you know.

@LMS – Yay! You're back! I can't seem to make out who that is in your avatar…anyone?

@Masked and 1250pm Foghorn Leghorn

@Z Who are the doggies? Apologies if I've asked before – the memory, you know.

PSA:
Just an unsolicited reminder to not feed the trolls.

Joe Dipinto 2:47 PM  

@Nancy – I did the Cryptogram, it looks harder at first glance than it actually is. Pay attention to the punctuation, which should help you figure out the next-to-last word. I started there and moved though it pretty quickly. Also: notice where there are repeated letter sequences. (Hope this isn't too much information.)

Lindsay 2:53 PM  

@Jackie and @anonymous 1:30 pm - me, too! And prior to learning I was mistaken, I was annoyed that a talk show was clued as a sitcom.

This puzzle seems like it took me all day to finish (DNF), yet OFL did it in less than 5 minutes?! I don't think I could even type the answers in in less than 5 minutes if someone handed them to me... I'm feeling pretty underwhelmed with my puzzling work today.

Masked and Anonymous 3:18 PM  

@Frantic Sloth: Foghorn Leghorn sounds feasible. Good one. Only ones I could think of were the Wizard of Oz winged monkeys.

Thanx,

M&A Flight Desk

Z 3:22 PM  

@Frantic Slo - Peter Gabriel has a theme song for you. The old lady there is Lulu, the puppy is JoJo. The middle one (not pictured) is a Lab/shepherd/chow mix. They make a fine pack.

Unknown 4:19 PM  

I had three wrong but plausible answers in the NW corner that completely derailed me. It looked like it was going to be MERV, ATTIC and PANEL, giving me MAP for 1 down, and the only thing that didn't fit was RTN instead of ATV. BEAV? Really?

Frantic Sloth 4:55 PM  

@Z 322pm Hahaha! It's amazing to me how well his video captures the inner workings of my mind. Thanks! I love Lulu and Jojo just from their pic – probably would love the Lab/shep/chow who-shall-not-be-named also. ๐Ÿ˜‰
But your dogs are not alone in my heart – everybody's dog pics make me smile every time I look at them.
I need to get a pet. Or maybe a life. ๐Ÿ˜‚

And thank you to Bill, who explained via email that LMS's avatar is Alan Dershowitz.
(Luckily, I just happened to be in there to see it! Gmail is my red-headed stepchild email, so neglect is its constant companion.)

ZenMonkey 4:59 PM  

Very fun to see HALO not clued as “Angelic circle” or whatnot for once. And I’m not just saying that because my husband is the gameplay engineering lead for the next one.

pabloinnh 5:09 PM  

Augustaexperts-Speaking of The Masters and shennaningans, I always wonder where the birds (not birdies) are. I have heard sinister rumors--maybe it's better not to know.

TTrimble 5:10 PM  

'Fraid so. They did in fact often refer to the character as 'Beav' in the show, and it fits the time frame better than MERV (which started in 1962 according to Wikipedia).

Nancy 5:17 PM  

@Petsounds (1:09)-- You're completely right that John McEnroe is just as irritating as Mary Carillo -- blabbing away, talking through points -- all too often about things and even players completely extraneous to the match going on. But it wasn't always thus. When he first started covering matches, he was one of my favorite commentators: so knowledgeable about the subtleties of constructing a tennis point, making a given shot, choosing a superior match strategy. Mac has a really keen analytic mind -- possibly the best in the business. The problem is: you sit through four-hour match after four-hour match for years and years and years and you get bored and your mind starts to wander and you need something to keep you awake and talking keeps you awake. Do you know how I know a really exciting and dramatic match is taking place? Mac ONLY talks about the point being played and nothing else and he doesn't talk through it either. He still respects a well-played match, full of suspense, with the outcome in doubt. When the match is less than that, God help the viewer.

Mary, OTOH, talks through everything. She has never, as far as I'm concerned, made a comment that gave me any insight into the intricacies of the game. Perhaps an anecdote about something that happened in the locker room -- more gossip than analysis. And you needn't have been a tennis player to do that.

Martina actually does offer real tennis playing insights. The way Johnny Mac used to. So does Chrissie now and then. Though Chrissie talks through points and Martina doesn't. At any rate, all these people were better when they began than they are now, years into their commentating. Staying involved and, at the same time, staying quiet when quiet is called for, seems to be really, really hard to do.

@Joe D. The punctuation isn't helping me at all. The next to last word isn't helping me at all. In fact nothing is helping me at all!

Z 5:49 PM  

Regarding Augusta - They aren’t alone in the green paint department. Major League teams have been known to do it as well, especially after rock concerts. @pabloinnh - I don’t know what sinister rumors you’ve heard, but the truth seems to be akin to watching a current Premier League match.

Pamela 6:40 PM  

I’m late to this party, and commenting before I read you all.

I didn’t know I loved this puzzle until I was nearly done. After the revealer- quite a while after, actually, I got the drift with ALLY. OH- LEG! And cracked up. Obviously that means I did much better in the south, which still felt like it took forever. Once that happened, though, the rest went quickly. I did spend a few seconds looking for the missing limb, but decided that if it was there it was too well hidden, and figured I’d find out here. Glad I didn’t waste more time on that.

I knew the airport was in Hawaii, but thought Maui at first. Didn’t know the Xbox or the dance. Lots of misdirects and vague clues today so needed a few solid answers before they filled in.

Now I’ll catch up with my reading.

pabloinnh 7:35 PM  

@Z-Interesting link, for which thanks. I liked seeing "ornithological shenaningans", which matched my original point. This could explain why we HEAR a lot of bird song, but I was thinking more of, why don't we SEE any?

The Premier League with fake sound is better than no futbol by quite a lot. La Liga is doing the same thing

Joe Dipinto 7:55 PM  

@Nancy – Hmm. I'm sure you can get the Cryptogram. I'll try to revisit my process, without giving overt spoilers. Don't read if you don't want to know:
*
*
*
*
*
*
After the next-to-last word, I went with the very first word, which is what the obvious choice would seem to be. Now I had a distribution of letters in the longer words. So I was staring at those, and suddenly I saw what the twelve-letter word almost certainly had to be. After that, I more or less "saw" the other longer words and the rest of it all at once – not just from decrypting the code but because the sentence itself made perfect sense.

Don't give up, I'm sure you'll figure it out. If you're still stuck and want the answer before tomorrow you'll have to email me, since you don't have an email link.

Pamela 8:06 PM  

@LMS- Welcome back! Nice that your mother is with you now. And thanks for the tip. I carry a 10’ charger cord, but sometimes even that isn’t enough. And extra few feet would make a big difference!

@Z. -I liked your ranking, except for the Roman numerals. When I was young, I greatly admired my father’s lofty education. On weekends, he was prone to wandering into the kitchen when my mother and I were there together, still in his nightshirt, and reading aloud from something in Old English or defining words by starting with the Greek and Latin roots. So when Roman numerals came up in school, I was fascinated. I thought that would be my first step toward Latin, and soaked them up as fast as I could. By the time I hit high school and the real thing, Latin studies didn’t stick past the first year. I still know the numbers, though, which come in very handy from time to time.

@anon 5:34- hilarious!

So many funnies and interesting stories today- thanks!

Speedweeder 9:04 PM  

Nancy 11:06 - Just wanted you to know that I share your opinion of Mary Carillo and Bud Collins as tennis announcers. My two all-time least favorites. Maybe you've heard me yelling at them to shut the #### up.

Teedmn 9:09 PM  

@Barbara S, I’m sorry for not answering your WOE question yesterday but it looks like you were answered by a few folks. I definitely prefer WOE to WTF, at least when written :-).

bauskern 9:27 PM  

@ Nancy. Bud Collins was the worst. We used to turn the volume off when we watched in the late 60s/early 70s. But apparently he was a great guy, very gracious to young journalists. But he was impossible to listen to on the tv.

Look up David Foster Wallace -- bet tennis writer ever! (except maybe John McPhee's Levels of the Game.)

Anonymous 10:12 PM  

Z,
Um , Yeah. So did MLS teams, and I’m assuming most other big time sports.
So what? The point was, Augusta National made a point of their landscape. They trumpeted the beauty of their grounds.
Your comment is a non sequitur. Other venues aren’t trumpeting their verdant grounds.
Do you ever refrain from comment about things you don’t a damn thing about?

Dakstak 10:16 PM  

Rex, something’s doing my head in here, and would genuinely love if you could elaborate. Your write-ups frequently describe clues that gave you fits during the solving, and yet you still include what I take to be solve times that seem practically impossible. 4 minutes and 58 seconds on this Thursday, for example, when even if I know every single answer in a Monday puzzle and barrel right on through, I usually top out at 5 minutes. Are you using a chess clock and only letting it run when you’re PHYSICALLY entering the answers? If not, I just don’t see how these solve times are possible, particularly if you get stuck or have errors.

Nancy 10:52 PM  

@Joe D (7:55)-- Got it! Thanks! Your "very first word = obvious word" gave me the courage of my convictions and everything flowed after that. I also guessed the next to last word from your earlier hints about the punctuation -- which indicated a series of some sort. I hesitated on writing in both because I didn't feel there were enough "V"s and "S"s in the puzzle for either to be right. But they both were.

I could have solved the puzzle without your hints if I'd had sufficient courage today (as I mentioned in my post last week, courage in cryptograms is the sine qua non). But until I had your verification, I just wasn't sure enough to write in anything at all.
#############
Delighted you agree with me on tennis announcers, @Speedweeder and @Bauskern.

jberg 1:38 PM  

As for MALL -- I took the 'sheltered walk' bit as alluding to the modern hobby of mall walking, particularly popular for those about my age (though not with me). Most enclosed shopping malls open their doors an hour or so before the stores open, so that people who want to walk for exercise can come in and walk sheltered from the elements. LL Bean used to sell shoes they called "mall walkers," but they seem to have dropped them.

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