Comedian Sherman creator of TV's I've Got a Secret / WED 7-1-20 / Primary ingredient in snack Muddy Buddies / Indian tourist destination / Short-beaked bird / Retweets photo of US gold repository / Uploads photo of government security / Joins Federal Reserve Facebook group

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Constructor: Amanda Rafkin and Ross Trudeau

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (a bleary-eyed 4 minutes, first thing in the a.m.)


THEME: SOCIAL CAPITAL (54A: Network of personal relationships ... or a punny hint to 3-, 7- and 11-Down) — themers are all phrases where first part (verb) is an action one might perform on "social" media and second part (noun) is a form of $$$ (or "capital"):

Theme answers:
  • FOLLOWS THE MONEY (3D: Joins a Federal Reserve Facebook group?)
  • POSTS BOND (7D: Uploads a photo of a government security?)
  • SHARES THE WEALTH (11D: Retweets a photo of the U.S. gold repository?)
Word of the Day: Michael NOURI (39D: "Flashdance" actor Michael) —
Michael Nouri (born December 9, 1945) is an American television and film actor. His father, Edmond Nouri was born in Iraq.
He may be best known for his role as Nick Hurley in the 1983 film Flashdance.[1] He has had recurring roles in numerous television series, including NCIS as Eli David, the father of Mossad officer (later Special Agent) Ziva DavidThe O.C. as Dr. Neil Roberts, and Damages as Phil Grey. He also appeared as Congressman Stewart with Queen Latifah in the 2006 comedy movie Last Holiday and LAPD Detective Thomas Beck in the science fiction action film The Hidden. He also starred opposite Julie Andrews as King Marchand in the 1995 Broadway adaptation of Victor/Victoria. (wikipedia)
• • •

Good morning and happy July. I am solving / writing early in the morning for the first time in a long time. Once we got the kitten (mid-May), going to sleep early became nearly impossible, as his nighttime routine involved being a terrorist until well after 10pm (and then sleeping very peacefully in a very large dog crate next to our bed for the whole night). In short, I could not just crash out in bed when tired because he is still very much a kitten and will attack all of your parts relentlessly if he is awake and not properly distracted. Sooooooo ... I've been writing at night while P puts the cat through his go-to-bed routine, and then sleeping "in" (which, for me, is ~7am). But last night I finally cracked; just couldn't make it to puzzle time, couldn't imagine being clear-headed enough to write. So I passed out on the couch, then went to bed after cat and wife were zonked, THEN woke up at 4am anticipating my alarm going off (man, that dawn chorus of birds starts Early), then lay there half awake until 5ish. It's now 5:34. You actually didn't need to know any of this. The main point is that I adore my kitty but also am kinda looking forward to the day when he is a giant slug of a cat who will let me just fall asleep at night (if he wants to wake me at 5am for food, that's fine, it's the Getting to sleep that's the issue). He may end up sleeping in his own room very soon. My sister keeps her kitty downstairs in her own room. But OK, right, this is a puzzle blog. Puzzle!


I like the unusualness of this one. The grid shape was weird in a cool way, and despite the choppy grid with lots of short stuff, it often felt (in a good way) like a themeless. The upper middle was by far my favorite part, with WIPER BLADES (29A: They go back and forth in bad weather) crossing ARENA ROCK (6D: Style of music for Pat Benatar or Bon Jovi) and ON THE LINE (8D: At risk). As for the theme, it definitely works, even if it isn't a theme that's going to delight *me* in particular. Financial stuff just leaves me cold, and also the whole revealer didn't land right. Didn't aha me. I had to think about it and then rule in its favor, which is a whole different mental process and feeling. The revealer should be les mots justes, bam, nailed it. This one ... I didn't really like the clue on the revealer, since your "network" of "personal relationships" is, of course, your "social network" (a very snappy phrase—also the title of a movie ... a movie about social media, it turns out). SOCIAL CAPITAL is a fine phrase, but I don't think of it as your network per se. It's something bigger and more ineffable. It's clout, not the contents of your rolodex (omg I wish rolodexes were still a thing, the way I wish pay phones were still a thing ... I watch a lot of old movies). I think it's the uncountable noun "capital" that's throwing me. Anyway, it's all technically defensible. I told you financial stuff just leaves me cold.


There's some junk in the grid but not much, and I didn't get too hung up on it, which is really key if you need to put junk in your grid (and sometimes you do). EAPOE, for instance—an abbr. I despise, but it was easy (53A: "The Pit and the Pendulum" author, in brief). Slammed right through it, no time to brood on its regrettability or make a sad WAH WAH sound in its honor. It helped to know your crosswordese names like EVEL TAYE GOA OCHOA not to mention OTTO and RHEA. And then stalwarts like OKAPI LOOIE SRO ERE OXEYE EASYA IOTA RAE STYE ... it is to the puzzle's credit that these answers are all rendered fairly unobtrusive, so that the longer answers can shine. Only trouble for me today was right out of the gate, with GIFS for PDFS (1A: JPEG alternatives), and then a bizarre struggle just to see LOOT (14A: What might be taken away in a getaway). Sometimes I struggle for what, in retrospect, is no good reason at all. After that, the puzzle actually felt Very easy except for the NOURI / MARTA crossing, which is *kinda* harrowing. I will never remember MARTA (51A: Atlanta's public transport system). Thank goodness NOURI's name has somehow sorta stuck. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

117 comments:

Hungry Mother 6:08 AM  

A quick one for my 80th Bday.

Coniuratos 6:20 AM  

Got stuck with OCHOu/RuSH - golfers aren't exactly my specialty, and "rush" seemed close enough to "hasty" to count. And then OAK DESK seems a touch Green Paint-y. Overall though, pretty good Wednesday.

Mike AM 6:36 AM  

A PDF is an alternative to a GIF like a banana is an alternative to an eggplant

MissScarlet 6:46 AM  

It’s my understanding that like the rug and drapes, presidents can select which desk they want to use. Surely not everyone picks oak.

Mark Nelson 6:51 AM  

Right out of the gate, 1A is horribly clued. JPEG alternatives are either GIFS or PNGS. PDFS should be clued as DOCX/DOC alternative.

Frantic Sloth 6:54 AM  

I thought about posting the link to ALLAN Sherman's Camp Grenada song, but figured it would be done by a jazillion others (maybe Rex, too), and there's little I dislike more than being unoriginal.
I remember playing that record incessantly as a kid until my mother came this 🤏close to cracking it over my head...while still on the record player.

Didn't know GOA or SUVA because I'm what you might call geographically anti-savant, meaning my depth of ignorance is astounding and bottomless. But, the crosses were fair so the demise of my streak was easily avoided.

Overall I guess that means that the Wednesdeeing of this Wednesdee puzzle was adequately Wednesdee-y for me with solid fill and nothing egregiously offensive.

Oh, right - there was a theme! I remember now. It just Mr. Cellophaned me for a moment - probably because meh.
In the world of thrill-seeking adrenaline junkies, I imagine there's this sort of hierarchy: wingsuit base-jumping, running with the bulls, and then SOCIALCAPITALizing.
So, it's unclear why the rush was missing for me. 🤷‍♀️


🧠🧠.5
🎉🎉.5

Loren Muse Smith 7:09 AM  

Rex – I love hearing about any person whose life is kinda reordered and rescheduled because of a new furry family member. To quasi-quote someone (Gandhi? Humphrey?) – the measure of a society is how it treats its weakest members.

I liked this idea, too. Elegant that all the themers are in third person singular, so each verb has that S.

@MissScarlet - I went with “oaf” desk before OAK DESK.

SHARES THE WEALTH. Ouch. Just last night we were talking about how the top one percent in our country have more wealth than the bottom fifty percent or some such. Bastille, anyone?

I loved being tricked by the word “refuse.” JUNK. Oh, ok. REFF yoos. Then I thought of JUNK drawer. An artist who does male nudes.

So do you pronounce IRONY as

AYE ur nee

or

AYE ruh nee

Asking for a friend. . .

bulgie 7:10 AM  

Ugh, one letter DNF at NOURI / MARTA Never heard of either, guessed "n" since MAnTA rhymes with Atlanta... Failing on a Wednesday bummed me out for a few milliseconds, but I got over it

Yes @Coniuratos, the OAKDESK is painted green. Had __KDESK, went with JFKDESK for a while until the unimpressive OAK popped up.

Still, not bad, tolerably entertaining.

Anonymoose 7:13 AM  

A little naticky in the SE and SW but otherwise a good Wed.

kitshef 7:14 AM  

When I was 22, I went with some friends to see The Terminator on Halloween. The theatre had a costume contest. We all went as zombies, and mostly looked about the same. But my friend Marty found some cooked onions in a dumpster and slathered them over himself. This apparently made all the difference, as he won. First prize was a six-month unlimited pass for two people to any AMC Theatre. So it is that I wound up seeing Flashdance probably 15 times over the course of a month. And that is why NOURI was a gimme for me. Otherwise … that NOURI/MARTA cross looks rough.

Two answers were warts in an otherwise enjoyable solve.

OAK DESK feels like awful green paint. Yes, there is a desk. Yes, it is of oak. But its name is the Resolute Desk.

And SOCIAL CAPITAL is unknown/meaningless to me. Given that it is the revealer, that’s a major downer.

Mikey from El Prado 7:20 AM  

A crossword blog turned cat blog...
Well, sadly yesterday, we had to put down our sixteen year old gray tabby, Zuni, who had lived a most incredible, albeit short, life. My wife rescued her as a feral and very ill kitten from the streets of Granada, Spain. She almost didn’t make it if it weren’t for Natalie, who when moving back to the US had to get her a passport - and went through quite an ordeal traveling back (with Zuni in her purse). Up until three months ago she was still as active and entertaining as a two-year old, but then kidney failure struck. Her health went down much faster than expected, so this one was very hard to take. RIP Zuni.

Michael, who still has his Christmas stockings up, may you continue to love and enjoy your little kitten for a very long time. They bring such joy (as do dogs and all our furry friends).

As for the puzzle. Almost got Naticked twice: RHEA/GOA (went with the A as RHEA is a a goddess, thus celestial body) and MARTA/NOURI just seemed right, although a guess.

Peace to all and stay safe.

Kavalier 7:22 AM  

Clever theme, but this puzzle must be nearing the ne plus ultra of crap crosswordese

kitshef 7:22 AM  

@LMS:
Irony = AYE-ruh-nee. I think of it as 'Ira knee'.
Conversely, iron = AYE-urn. Or 'I earn'.

Anonymous 7:35 AM  

In answer to @LMS -

It depends on whether you’re describing the taste of hard water or literature/commentary.

— Jim C. in Maine

Anonymous 7:42 AM  

No! The Resolute Desk is a famous as it was a gift from the Queen-- as far as I know every president has used it since it was received.

Geezer 8:00 AM  

@LMS. Why does it matter how you pronounce IRONY if your meaning is understood? Is anything lost if you say it one way or the other?

Mike G 8:02 AM  

Didn't like this one.

Isn't the purpose of a revealer to ... I dunno, reveal something? This was just anticlimactic. And Nouri?

I had no issue with MARTA, but look: I'm sure Mr. Nouri is a very nice man, but does anyone really remember him from Flashdance? I think I've seen the movie twice and the only thing I remember is several minutes of dance montage from the Maniac video. Ugh.

Debra 8:15 AM  

Two icky spots: suva/taye and Marta/nouri. Whole thing felt like it needed more work.

Happy birthday Hungry Mom!

Z 8:20 AM  

SOCIAL CAPITAL is one of those topics you study when you study leadership, so a nice revealer here. Got a “nicely done” from me. The short fill did not strike me as egregious, although E.A.POE always gets the arched eyebrow. I’ve ridden on MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), so that was easy here. If I lived in Atlanta I’d be a regular user. The highway system there is a mess. I’ve been caught in traffic jams there in the middle of the night. I have to imagine that commuting stress shortens life expectancy there.

ALLAN Sherman was a gimme. I spent much of 1977 through 1979 cruising around in a 1962 Chrysler Newport that my best friend affectionately named Zelda.

@MissScarlett - I think Presidents can choose their desk, but only in a limited way.

Anyone else see “muddy” in the clue and pop in oreo? That and grASP to CLASP were my only writeovers.

@LMS - The sentiment goes way back with all kinds of people saying something close. My personal favorite expression of it is What we do for the poorest, the weakest, the neediest explains our society more than any great deed.

BART 8:23 AM  

How can anyone complain about the Nouri / MARTA crossing? I new neither, but any subway system is called _[something]A[rea]R[apid]T[ransit]_[something or nothing]. Except for really old ones.

Speedweeder 8:23 AM  

Mark Nelson 6:51 - When I supply a receipt for my Health Savings Account, I have the option to upload it as a JPEG or PDF. So in that sense, at least, a PDF is an alternative to a JPEG.

Rug Crazy 8:24 AM  

Guessed my way through the proper nouns. Never heard of Arena Rock

mmorgan 8:28 AM  

Rex, you should read Putnam’s “Bowling Alone” to understand social capital. It’s not about “clout,” at least in the way it’s used in social science. Nice puzzle but I Naticked on NOURI/MARTA.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

And RHEA/GOA for me. It felt heavy with odd proper nouns toward the bottom imo. All in all, a fun on though.

pabloinnh 8:36 AM  

A very Wednesday Wednesday, and fine with me. Most fun was having the __AH part of the musical clue and instantly writing in OOMPAH, clever solver that I am. Oops. At least WAHWAH reminded me of the raucous George Harrison song of the same name, which should always be played at 11, unless you have a 12.

As @Z pointed out, R from "rapid transit", thank goodness, because NOURI who?

@LMS-I say AYE-run-ee, but I also say REE-al-tor, as the REE-la-tor version is fingernails on a blackboard to me.

Nice job and thanks for the fun, AR and RT, even if the only FOLLOWing, POSTing, and SHARing I do is on this particular blog.

Z 8:37 AM  

@anon7:42 - That wikipedia link I shared on Oval Office Desks might interest you. This article might be of interest, too.

webwinger 8:39 AM  

One of my least favorite “clever” clue types is Capital of X for whatever currency name applies in country X. This puzzle’s theme is sort of that writ large, not good. And any reference to social media tends to be a turnoff for me, not good again. So I found no theme-related pleasure in solving today. Fill was OK, nothing special for the most part. Clueing overall lacked zip.

I was happy to see CHEX referenced by my new favorite mini-mart junk food, Muddy Buddies. Just returned from a very long road trip on which I consumed an embarrassing quantity of them, sampling all four flavors. (Mint is the best.) I got this wrong on the first pass, filling in Corn, because they start from Corn CHEX, ya know. But then again, corn is probably not the primary ingredient in the cereal…

Saddened by the news yesterday that Carl Reiner had died at age 98. He’s probably not known to most people under 60, but he made many important and unique contributions to American comedy in the mid-twentieth century. If you remember him fondly, you must stream the little seen 2017 documentary film that featured him (among others including Mel Brooks and Dick Van Dyke) waxing philosophical about old age and dying: If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast.

Just peeked at @Rex’s write-up: OMG, I was sure he would slam this one, and then he turns out to be as mellow as I’ve ever seen him, after recounting recent sleep deprivation befitting the parent of a newborn baby. Oh, well—glad he’s feeling copasetic anyhow.

ChuckD 8:43 AM  

Nondescript solve for me - liked the look and symmetry of the grid but the social media theme is just flat and provides no interest to the solve. The partioned corners gave us some short JUNK. At first had our friend oreo in place of CHEX - I don’t like chocolate either way so that clue is lost on me. No issue with EAPOE or PDF. Overall - bland and pretty easy for a Wednesday.

@ Hungry Mother - enjoy the day!

WillR 8:44 AM  

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! What a great milestone in these crazy times. Can’t wait to see how you do at 90!

Jstarrracewalker 8:45 AM  

Happy birthday ��

Jstarrracewalker 8:52 AM  

Well of course, Bay, how could I have not seen that immediately! Duh!

Hartley70 8:53 AM  

Happy 80th,@HungryMother!

Rex’s Christmas stocking is weirding me out. Is it possible he and the kitten watch Christmas in July movies on the Hallmark Channel at night? He’s oozing that kind of sweetness when he kitten-talks.

The puzzle gets an easy. I sorta get the theme but SOCIALCAPITAL as the revealer left me cold. It needs a little humor for my taste. I couldn’t have guessed CHEX without the crosses. I thought I had tasted every snack/dessert combo on the market by this age but I missed Muddy Buddies. I presume chocolate is involve so that’s a good thing. SUVA was the only other difficult answer since I haven’t gotten to Figi yet either, but again, crosses. I had him off the N, but Michael NOURI can dance? That was the most interesting surprise for me today.

TTrimble 9:00 AM  

@Hungry Mother
Happy birthday, fellow Cancer! My b-day wish in a few days' time is to have your mental alertness at age 80.

My solve did not go as swimmingly as it did for others. (Bleary-eyed, yes.) "Spin" before STIR, "wart" before CYST, "in re" before AS TO, "clamp" before CLASP. It all seemed reasonable in the end; I just repeatedly guessed wrong.

ARENA ROCK, huh. My naive mind would think that'd be an awfully broad descriptor [wouldn't The Rolling Stones or AC/DC or any arena-filling act qualify?], so I had to look it up -- Wikipedia to the rescue. I come away thinking that it's actually a very handy phrase in the rock music critic lexicon, whenever a need is felt to pay a sniffy left-handed compliment. Pat Benatar: she still packing stadiums/stadia?

@Roo Monster
I was somewhat disarmed by your question last night, but do agree it's deserving of serious and sober consideration. Of more pressing concern to me is what the collective noun should be. A GAM of ambulances? Nah. A scream of ambulances?

GILL I. 9:05 AM  

Animal stories to start my early day are always welcome. I' beginning to believe that all animals should rule our falling apart country. I think we'd be in a happier place.
@Z...Yep. I figured anything with a name like Muddy Buddies deserved an OREO. We had some of our old friends here like LSD so why not? I'm assuming CHEX is a cereal? My favorite snack food is a small empanada stuffed with cheese.
I liked how TENOR was clued. I always had the HOTS FOR Placido Domingo, but musicologist brother told me that Pavarotti had the purest TENOR voice on this earth. I also drooled over Bocelli; he's not really opera material but I love his pop music.
I thought this was cool beans. I'm not really into MONEY business. I do know a JUNK BOND when I see one, though. I did a WAH WAH when our IRA took a nose dive during the Great Recession and just bit the old preverbal tongue. Such is life.
I will always remember MARTA because I've taken it and it's the name of my sister. Isn't it fun to see EVEL crossing CACKLE? I don't understand why ETS is the answer for 46A...Why are they connections on Air France? Never mind.
On to another day of gloom and doom. California is sinking. I wouldn't be surprised if we get the big and expected earthquake any day now. Even New York won't let us fly in. I wish I could catch a flight to Spain and sit on a beach somewhere. Maybe next year?

Petsounds 9:11 AM  

So many answers to leave!
@Hungry Mother: Happy 80th and congratulations!
@Mike AM: Banana:Eggplant as JPEG (I think that's what you meant):PDF is exactly right. And @Mark Nelson finished it up perfectly: PDFs go with documents; JPEGs go with images.
@LMS: EYE-ruh-nee
@Mikey from El Prado: Condolences on the loss of your clearly beloved cat. They always leave too soon.
@Everyone who quoted Gandhi: Thank you. We can't have too much of that kind of thing these days.
Rex: The Christmas stocking made me smile. You seemed awfully sweet today, which was nice.

Oh yeah. The puzzle. Social media plays a minute part in my life and wouldn't be part of my life at all if I didn't have to serve as FB page admin for a charity I volunteer for. Finance bores the hell out of me. So nothing about this one was fun or interesting. And right off I'm not happy because I entered GIFS for 1A, of course. Then there was the golfer name; I know nothing about golf (although I did know SNEAD) and don't care to. Would have Naticked on GOA/RHEA but just stick in the A because...why not? So I did not like this puzzle in any way. But except for 1A, that's probably on me. You can't love everything.

Finally, I Googled muddy buddies after I finished. Never heard of them. Here's how Wikipedia defines them, under the heading PUPPY CHOW:
Puppy chow, also typically known as monkey munch, muddy buddies, muddy munch, or reindeer chow, is the name for a homemade snack made in the United States. The recipe's name and ingredients can differ depending on the version, but most recipes will typically include cereal, melted chocolate, peanut butter, and powdered sugar. The snack's origins are unknown.

Gross. I'll bet someone has posted a PDF of them on Instagram.....

Lewis 9:12 AM  

Happy birthday, @hungry mother!

Tight money -- theme in which I can't think of another good answer.
Easy money -- Hardly a hitch in the solve.
Hard money -- A bit tougher cluing would have made the solve more complete, IMO.
Dirty money -- JUNK, and I'll stop there.
Found money -- French cross of ETS and a backward A TOI.
New money -- Learned SUVA and NOURI.
Hush money -- WAHWAH (Hush little baby, don't you cry...).
Soft money -- TAPON.
Smart money -- Clever theme and construction.
Funny money -- Carl Reiner.

Quick and fun, you can take that to the bank, and thank you, Amanda and Ross.

RooMonster 9:16 AM  

Hey All !
@Hungry Mother
Happy Birthday!! 🎂 May you enjoy another 80 years! (Well... Maybe not 😋)

I know people hate hearing this, but... would've been better as a TuesPuz. *Ducks flung rocks*
Nice puz overall, when you have a theme with unsymmetric word lengths, you have to do the L/R symmetry thing. Today's themers (including Revealer) are 9, 13, 15, 15. So that pesky 9 made this happen. Wonder how long Amanda and Ross worked to try to get that 9 into a 13.

Not HOT FOR this puz, but it wasn't WAH WAH either. A good WedsPuz place holder. Sorta kinda JUNKy fill, but that's pretty much in every puz.

Oreo for CHEX first. LOOey-LOOIE, that one always gets me.

Two F's
STIR CACKLE PLOP
RooMonster
DarrinV

Lorelei Lee 9:39 AM  

Some great stuff here, solid theme. Two constructors whose work I enjoy very much. Some pandering to the NYT's desire to pander to Boomers. There I said it.

I forgot who Michael Nouri was on my way out of the theater. Couldn't wait to get into the mall to buy some leg warmers and then get home to cut up some sweatshirts. It's been three decades ago and change. Cross him with Marta and I died there.

Allan Sherman? The last time I watched I've Got a Secret we still had a black and white TV. The TV had legs. And I'm sure I wasn't reading the credits (if there was anything beyond the guy with the voice saying, "This has been a Mark Goodson, Bill Todman production"). Fifty years and change.

At least I was able to drive myself to the mall for Jim Croci's first album (if I came straight home). Very nearly five decades ago.

And thanks @Mike. Just try swapping out a PDF for a JPEG in your design. Portable Document Format v. Image. Cat picture v. your resume. We've been through this before.

KnittyContessa 9:45 AM  

@Hungry Mother Happy 80th!

@LMS AYE ur nee

@Z Oreo without hesitation.

32a Never thought of a CYST is a skin abnormality.

Carola 9:48 AM  

As I don't FOLLOW, POST, or SHARE anything on so-called SOCIAL MEDIA (they seem to me to be as much anti-social as social), I had some trouble grasping the theme. Once I had the reveal, I appreciated the clever repurposing of CAPITAL and the other three theme phrases - great eye to see that FOLLOW THE MONEY and SHARE THE WEALTH are perfect (for the grid) 15s.

Help from previous puzzles: TAYE, OCHOA, ARENA ROCK. No idea: NOURI. Balked at: PDFS, but then @Speedweeder 8:23 reminded me that when I do a scan from my iPad, my choices for saving the document are JPEG or PDF.

@Hungry Mother - Happy 80th!

Joe Dipinto 9:49 AM  

That photo looks like Alfie is staring down at the blog in disgust and saying "This?? This is what you spend your time doing when you should be playing with me? I'm gonna cough up a hairball on it."

Since I never heard of "social capital" this puzzle was a big shrug to me. The theme answers are bland in their own right, and I can't see where grouping them with that revealer makes them any more fun. OAK DESK gives green paint a run for its money/bond/wealth. But it's nice to see that Baltimore-area Native American tribe the EAPOE make one of its rare appearances.

I did actually remember Michael NOURI so no crossing problem there. Here's a song concerning public transportation from "Company", sung in the show by a character named...Marta!

pabloinnh 9:51 AM  

@Hungry Mother-Forgot to say Happy Birthday earlier, so, Happy Birthday! You're an inspiration to all of us senior runners.

Keep on truckin'.

Unknown 9:57 AM  

Yes disturbed me as well.

Ted 9:59 AM  

Years ago, I read a mystery short story in which Ellery Queen proved 2 valuable documents were phonies because they were signed "Abraham Lincoln" and "Edgar Allan Poe." Ellery noted that they always signed "A. Lincoln" and "E. A. Poe." Don't know if this is true, but maybe the EAPOE answer is not so bad.

Nancy 10:04 AM  

Liked the theme. Found the puzzle quite hard in spots because...

I can -- and have -- seen it 100 times in xwords and I still never remember TAYE Diggs' name. I thought it was TY-- and thus had SUVy at first for Fiji's largest city -- which I didn't know either.

Also hesitated at the NOURI/MARTA cross. When you haven't ever been to Atlanta... But I guessed right on the R because I figured RT stands for Rapid Transit. Now, after the fact, I'm guessing that it's Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. Right?

Two golfers today. So that's the sports fan's TIT-for-tat riposte to all those endless pop/rock/rap music clues. Oh, wait. Today we had KANYE and ARENA ROCK. Never mind.

Some nice cluing for WIPER BLADES; LOOT; POLES; ETS; LSD; YEAR and EASY A. Liked this.

Nancy 10:26 AM  

@LMS -- I say "AYE-ur-nee". But that doesn't mean it's correct.

OTOH, I also say "Aye-RON-ic". Go figure. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, right?

This reminds me of when, in the midst of some childhood illness, I pronounced at the dinner table: "I am so filled with luh-THAR-jee." My horrified mother practically catapulted out of her chair. "WHAT WAS THAT AGAIN???!!!" YOU ARE SO FILLED WITH WHAT???

I had only read the word. I'd never heard it spoken. The word I had heard spoken was "luh-THAR-jick". And I came to the obvious, logical conclusion. Which was wrong. Isn't the English language fun?

mathgent 10:28 AM  

A little light, even for a Wednesday. Over 60% of the entries were four- or five- letters. But otherwise okay.

Liked WIPERBLADES. Also liked seeing SOCIALCAPITAL. I take that to mean your group will cut you some slack.

I pronounce IRONY like the taste of hard water. I guess that’s wrong.

Happy 80th. I’ve been there.

Newboy 10:44 AM  

@hungry mother enjoy an extra glass on this special days sunset & many happy etc

Liked puzzle theme, but frustrated by several names: played miniature golf with LeRoy & Snead, but shanked the windmill approach with MARTA & NOURI. EAPOE, TAYE, EVEL, OTTO & RHEA we’re in KANYE’s fivesome. Sorta a meh day as midweek grids often seem; let’s get to Thursday & manic cuteness ala @Lewis! Top dollar effort today that compensates for the puzzle’s green paint.

Ernonymous 10:45 AM  

Take MARTA it's SMARTA!

Had Ochoa on my xwordese list but I haven't been studying it so I couldn't remember exactly. Same with OKAPI. Rhea and Noa is a bad cross, both things people might only know from puzzles. I didnt know either.
What really screwed me up is I had CLAMP for CLASP. Had course you slide thru as EAMYA or AEMYE so I had a helluva time. All the crossings seemed right. I'm glad I didn't give up and check the answer key. Doh!
I knew the desk was called something, I must have been thinking of the resolute desk, I knew it was a very specific name, like Res Desk, and so OAK took awhile with Nuori. I felt really stuck there like it was 2 proper names.

Tale Told By An Idiot 10:49 AM  

Hungry Mother @6:08, happy birthday! I hope your new year brings peace and joy.
Mikey from El Prado @7:20, Condolences on the death of Zuni. She was a very lucky cat to have been found by your wife and to have lived with people who were able to do right by her at the end.

Bax'N'Nex 10:53 AM  

Geezer @8:00 Relax. You obviously don't get LMS...

Although Jimi was the master of Wah (or Wah wah pedal) here's a more clear example...

wah wah pedal starting about 1:22 mark

Whatsername 10:54 AM  

Mixed feelings but basically a win. Loved the fresh feel and different as in unusual answers, especially the three themers. The play on words with synonyms for capital is a clever idea but somehow the revealer kind of fell flat. Possibly because I was just pondering the phrase SOCIALCAPITAL and what it means, like perhaps someone with a large following? I don’t think I have heard it before but I’ll take it. ARENAROCK was another new one for me but apparently not new to crosswords according to Google.

I love CHEX mix with the nuts and pretzels and little rye crispies and make tons of it every Christmas. I’ve never even heard of a Muddy Buddy, but the idea of mixing chocolate and peanut butter with cereal just sounds disgusting.

Hungry Mother: A very happy birthday to you and many more.

@ Frantic (6:54) No need to post a link; the power of suggestion is sufficient. I will now be humming that tune all day - quite possibly all week. Hello muddah, hello faddah. Here I am at . . . . . . . . . lalalalalalalalalala [hands over ears] 😁

@Mikey (7:20) so sorry about your baby Zuni. It’s never easy even when they’re old and sick. Be comforted by the knowledge that you gave her a wonderful life while she was here. God bless.


albatross shell 10:55 AM  

I thought the too obvious go to video today would be HOT FOR Teacher. Is that ARENAROCK?

SUVA: Hand up for slow to get the crossing JUNK joke. And the crossing A was just a guess of the most likely vowel.
Got GOA cause I knew RHEA.
Got O in a OKAPI by most likely vowel choice. But did look it up after and seeing the picture of it remembered looking it recently. Next time I got it. Hah.
Got the R in NOURI cause I looked it up. Oh why didn't I think of Rapld Treansit? Hate cheats for Wednesdays.

Looked up social capital after solve. A little more complicated than using friends for favors. But that is the basic concept. Works well for the rich and connected. Works well as a revealer or maybe a unifier.
Don't get TESTY. Reminded me of Vonnegut's river of money from the Rosewater book.

The opposite of social capital is SWAPPED ATTACKS.

Hope you Iron Man competitors appreciate life's iron knees.

Frantic Sloth 10:58 AM  

Just read Rex. I don't agree at all - I actually did "need to know any of this." And perfectly happy and enchanted to know it, too. That Alfie. A fur fiend after my own ❤️. 🥰 (who also happens to look like he's worried he might have left the iron on)

Hand up for the JPEG/PDF whatsis. As others have stated, the only defensible exception I can muster is that option to save a scan as one or the other. Pffft.

Happy Birthday @Hungry Mother! 🎉🎂🧯80 years old and didn't I once read a post from you about running a marathon or 10k or the like?! Dude!!

@LMS Tell your friend that, for me, it's both. The first way, followed immediately by the second. It's the same route I took for JU luh ree/Ju wul ree until it finally took. And I often daydream about the Bastille. 😕

@Mikey from El Prado I am so sorry to read about your Zuni. She sounds like she was impossibly hardy after such a rough beginning. No doubt a real trooper, largely due to your loving care. R.I.P.❤️

@Z 820am 🖐⬆️ 4️⃣ Oreo.

And Blogger just broke, so who knows when/if I'll finish reading all y'all and post this nonsense.
Huh. I reported the problem and as if by magic...

To those of you weirded out by Rex's Christmas stocking: I'm a little disturbed and more than a little jealous that I never noticed!

@Lorelei Lee 939 am Your TV might have had legs, but it's too bad the same can't be said for A.S.

mathgent 11:00 AM  

Light, even for a Wednesday. Over 60% of the entries are four- or five- letters. But otherwise okay.

Like WIPERBLADES. Also learning that SOCIALCAPITAL is a phrase.

I pronounce IRONY like the taste of hard water. I guess that’s wrong.

Happy 80th, Hungry Mother. Ah, yes, I remember it well.

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

If it weren’t for television and booze, a revolution should have already taken place, especially with the one in charge now.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

Because it’s not a word, just a made up crossword term.

Masked and Anonymous 11:22 AM  

yo, @Hungry Mother -- Happy B-Day. All the best to U. Eat lots of cake & ice cream and fave potent beverage … and stay un-hungry all day long, if U like.

@RP: Sounds like the kitty's plans to train y'all are goin pretty well on schedule.

M&A made the mistake of solvin this WedPuz in the usual top-stuff-first way. Therefore the theme was of little help in the solvequest, since the themers mostly plunged down into the cellar. Undoubtedly lost precious nanoseconds. Admire its E-W puzgrid symmetry, and its bein different, tho.

M&A don't know squat about social meeds, so ultimately the theme left m&e a bit on the cold side. But that's ok, cuz I know a lotta younger folks are all in, on that stuff. Plus Prez Orang McBonespurs is too, of course.

staff weeject pick: GO-A. M&A is kinda more of a GO-U dude, tho.
Hi-lites enroute: WAHWAH over EAPOE. SUVA/TAYE. MARTA/NOURI. JUNK/CACKLE.
Noteworthy WIPERBLADES clue helped spice things up, a smidge.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Amanda Rafkin & Ross Trudeau. Primo mask, Ross [see his pic].

Masked & AnonymoUUs


**gruntz**

JC66 11:22 AM  

@hungry Mother

Happy Birthday! Welcome to the club.

@Frantic Sloth

Just for you.

egsforbreakfast 11:25 AM  

I spent a few decades in the Public Finance Department of a large investment bank. The purpose of said department was to finance municipally-owned infrastructure such as roads, airports, city halls,etc (it also included various other government purpose endeavors such as housing finance and student loan finance, but that’s too much detail already). Two reasons that I bring this up:

1. We financed much of the MARTA system
2. Once a year the American Public Power Association, which was a trade organization for all of the municipally-owned electric utilities in the country, hosted a convention. The investment banks with large public finance departments, would attend these conventions in order to wine and dine the public officials, the majority of whom were ruralites. Since the infrastructure these people financed often ran into the billions of dollars (think nuclear power plants), we spent lavishly to get and keep their business. One year, probably 1988 or so, the APPA convention was in LA, so we did a Hollywood-themed party at a rentable mansion built originally by Buster Keaton. Our party planner was able to roust out a group of “stars” for our clients to rub elbows with. The only ones I remember distinctly are George Hamilton’s mother (which was how she actually introduced herself), Donnie Osmond and ............ Carl Reiner!!!

Crimson Devil 11:44 AM  

Air France connections one of best clues in memory.
Good to see pic of growin Alfie.
Figured we’d get prurient comment re JUNK. Attagal LMS. Also enjoyed Oaf desk, reminds of anon comment y’day re Mr.Ed as stable genius.
I’ve always heard POKE SALLAT, but understand variations.
Good to see misdirect from Ms Bobbitt, and Bad Bad Leroy !

Swagomatic 11:47 AM  

I came in under my average, barely. I had a pesky typo that took me 4-5 minutes to track down. I enjoyed it - two pencils up.

Malsdemare 11:50 AM  

Happy birthday, Hungry Mother! I am so jealous of your ability to still run. If only . . .

AYE run ey, RE ul ter. And Aye ern.

@Frantic Sloth, I didn't see the stocking either, but then I usually skip over everything—constructor name, videos, photos,—and just read, quickly, because I don't want my day ruined by some virulent disquisition on god knows what. Plus, I'm notoriously unobservant, visually speaking. (Like lots of moms, I'm very tuned in to sound.)

OAKDESK bugged me too. But I liked the puzzle over all.

Mike, so sorry about Zuni. I find myself wishing that pets lived as long as we do, but that would mean we leave them behind and that is an unimaginable sorrow.

Waiting for Pritzger to slow our opening; cases are rising a bit here in Illinois.

Tom R 11:51 AM  

I liked this a lot - lots of fun. Pretty much endorse Rex's writeup.

Joe Dipinto 12:00 PM  

I always thought the wife came out ahead in "The Gift Of The Magi" because once her hair grew back she would be able to wear the combs. She was shrewd to make a sacrifice that would only be temporary. Whereas poor dumb schmuck hubby's watch was gone for good.

No one ever points that out.

p.s. – Happy birthday, @Hungry Mother. And condolences on Zuni's passing, @Mikey from El Prado.

GILL I. 12:05 PM  

@Hungry Mother....Oh HAPPY HAPPY day to you. I think it's wonderful that you still run marathons at the young age of 80. I'm hoping I'll still be able to ski when I reach that age.....We were going to go to Heavenly this March to see if my legs and knees could take the bashing, unfortunately, we got side-tracked.
I raise a glass of Talisker to ye tonight.....

@JC66. Gee....thanks a lot. Couldn't you at least found some Bocelli? Even 100 bottle of beer on the wall would've been better.

dadnoa 12:07 PM  

+1....they are both computer document file types.....and that is ALL they have in common :)

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

I always felt “Camp Granada” paled in comparison some of Allan Sherman’s other songs, like the story of clothier Harry Lewis, who worked for Irving Roth (“Glory, glory, Harry Lewis”). The second verse:

“Now Harry Lewis perished in the service of his lord,
He was trampling through the warehouse where the drapes of Roth are stored...”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_-qOVd1G70

Lorelei 12:17 PM  

@FranticS, Ok, I have to admit he was a comic genius! Thank you for that.

@Z, I first heard of the Resolute Desk just days ago, reading Bolton's book. Painful. Trying to figure out if there's a way to count up how many times he uses the word "I" in the book.

@LMS, Do I recall you live in WV? Grew up right on the other side of the Mason Dixon in PA where they'd say AR-O-nee. The AR would sound like Larry.

@Speedweeder, You could use a JPEG in place of PDF in the same way you'd use a shoe for a hammer. They're assuming you don't have the PDF creator and can just take a picture of it. But you absolutely cannot use a PDF in place of a JPEG. I can't think of software that would accept it.

Capital puzzle! 12:22 PM  

@Rex, I think you are thinking of “political capital” when it comes to “clout”. Sometimes in my job (not political), I think to myself...do I want to use up my political capital to defend this position?
Anyway, I really enjoyed this Wednesday offering!

mathgent 12:25 PM  

Test

Crimson Devil 12:29 PM  

Speakin of Christmas decorations, behind Alfie, reminds of thought I had recently: many pled lack of time as reason for not getting organized, cleaning out (taking down Chistmas decor), only to now discover that wasn’t the reason.

jberg 12:29 PM  

Personally, I thought the revealer was brilliant, as SOCIAL is used with a completely different meaning; as is CAPITAL, in that social capital has nothing to do with money. The clue was a little convoluted; could have been done with a reference to R. Putnam, or to his book Bowling Alone, but maybe those aren't well enough known.

But I had the most fun in in NE, where I read "kind of daisy," expected trickery, and so put in "oopsa_" leaving a blank while I waited for an A or Y from crosses--and filling in 10A since I now knew it wasn't "in re." I should have mentioned that I already had the brilliantly clued 'oreo' at 16A. It was only when LEROY gave me the Y, but in the wrong square, that I reconsidered. So figuring that out was a lot of fun, although maybe unfair because I'm not sure CHEX can really stand alone without wheat, rice, or corn.

Also brilliantly clued: EEL from the fish in the eponymous river. Not so brilliant: OTTO. And Ernie Els must be wondering why he was left out of this golffest.

@Loren, I grew up saying ayeornee, but have somehow evolved to eyeronee. But I still say ayorn (except when I'm reciting Marvell's poem "To his Coy Mistress").

I didn't notice the stockings until I got to the comments; lots of folks in my neighborhood never take down their outdoor Christmas lights, possibly out of an adversion to ladders.

The other fun part was putting in tUVA, I think because the book about Richard Feynman was bubbling around deep in my brain, with maybe some help from tUVAlu. I finally got the S from SOCIAL CAPITAL.

How can it be that so many don't remember the armed invasion of GOA by India in 1961. It wasn't quite a war, ad Portugal just gave up, but still memorable.

@Hungrymother, Happy Birthday!

jberg 12:32 PM  

@Nancy and @frantic sloth from yesterday--I don't have personal experience, as I've never been to Flatbush -- but a guy I knew who liked to brag about how he grew up there insisted that it was pronounced "flappish."

mathgent 12:33 PM  

Hungry Mother, here’s a birthday present.

An infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar and give their orders. “I’ll have a glass of beer,” said the first. “I’ll have half a glass,” said the second. “I’ll have a quarter of a glass,” said the third. And so forth. The bartender put two glasses of beer in front of them and walked away. “I know your limit,” he said.

Nancy 12:37 PM  

I have no idea why, but I was unable to get to the comments section for several hours, and therefore haven't had a chance to wish @Hungry Mother a Happy 80th (absolutely amazing your athletic prowess at that age; I never would have guessed it in a million years) and to express condolences to @Mikey on the death of Zuni. But she must have had a very special life, being perhaps the only cat in cat history to have had a passport :)

@Malsdemare (11:50) -- You describe yourself as "notoriously unobservant, visually speaking, but very tuned into sound." That also describes me to a T. Why I could tell you non-observation stories that would have you in stitches. They all take too long to type up, but if we ever do meet, I'll tell you some of them. We can compare notes.

I'm wondering, Mals, if you would make the same decision I would. I've always said that given the choice to accept a blind date based on watching the guy through a window but not being able to hear him speak or having a 20-minute conversation with him on the phone, I'd choose the phone call in a heartbeat. When a friend once said "But you wouldn't know if he's attractive or not," my answer was: "Oh, yes, I would!"

Every man I've ever gone for has had an absolutely wonderful voice. All very different, but all wonderful.

Speedweeder 1:14 PM  

Lorelei 12:17 - When I scan a document or picture, I have the option to save it as Jpeg or a PDF, among other formats. Many websites that I have uploaded to will accept either format. Therefore they are alternatives in that narrow context. I never said they were equivalent.

Teedmn 1:24 PM  

This puzzle left me a bit TESTY because I had to work for the theme and my ON THE LINE started me out iNTrouble, which really made a mess to clean up. My skin abnormality was a raSh and I mixed up TAYE Diggs briefly with TynE Daly. They're so similar, y'know.

So what are Muddy Buddies? Obviously, they contain CHEX cereal, but I've never heard of them.

This was a fun puzzle, thanks Amanda Rafkin and Ross Trudeau.

And @HungryMother, happy 80th, you're amazing!

Frantic Sloth 1:28 PM  


Haha! @JC66 1122am Thank you? (See @GILL's 1205pm reaction) Great minds. (Or, you know - ours. 😘)

@Malsdemare 1150am I hear ya (no pun) and usually the only time I linger over a photo is when Alfie (or some other animal bedsides Rex) is involved. OTOH, I usually pride myself on my observations - especially those reeking of insignificance.

@mathgent 1225pm Passed. 😉 Also 1233pm Though I never learned "limits", I really enjoyed your joke!

@jberg 1232pm Thanks for the explanation. Can't say I disagree with the guy.

Greg 1:36 PM  

First DNF without Google in many months for me thanks to NOURI/MARTA, SUVA/TAYE, and GOA/RHEA all in the same puzzle! A triple Nattick.

Z 1:38 PM  

@Mikey - Sorry for our loss. As you may have noticed we are a bunch of pet lovers here and understand.

@HungryMother - Happy Birthday. you’ve got 20 years and 11 days on me.

@Ted - It may be defensible, it’s still ugly looking and appears too often in puzzles for my taste.

Speaking of defensible, I am with @speedweeder. I have a number of apps that will allow me to export to various formats, jpegs and PDFS being common alternatives. It’s like saying my beverage alternatives are water, pop, iced tea, beer, or wine.

@TTrimble - Yeah, a term that is a little too all-inclusive and abused at times. I think the one defining unifier is the “power ballad.” If the band’s ballads are akin to Beth or Faithfully they’re probably ARENA ROCK (har! somebody put together a Top 20 Journey Power Ballads list on YouTube). Bob Dylan has played Wembley but he doesn’t play ARENA ROCK. R.E.M played arenas but never did a power ballad (This is infamously not the ballad people think it is). Back when my friends and I were being snarky we called the genre “stomp rock” or “dinosaur rock.” I still prefer those terms even though i plopped the desired answer in with barely a wasted nanosecond.

@Lorelei - A book I will not read. I thought the man contemptible when he was our UN ambassador and everything after has only served to lower my opinion.

How I say IRONY. Har!

puzzlehoarder 1:43 PM  

Happy birthday @ hungrymother.

This puzzle played like a Friday for me. As others have pointed out there were a number of sticky crossings. None were impossible to overcome. TAYE crossing SUVA was as close as it came to difficult. For me it was the geographic entry that sealed it.

**** SB ALERT ****

Today was my first QB since Saturday. It took almost a full hour. I know this as I'm at the hospital waiting for my wife to get out of cataract surgery. I probably wouldn't have had time to comment otherwise.

tea73 1:47 PM  



I enjoy me some themers running down and thought they were cute.

I resisted putting PDFS at 1A even though I knew it was a common wrong answer. So irritating! I feel like most pdfs are a hybrid of images and text.

Saw Flashdance eons ago - NOURI? Looked at his photo and no memory of his face at all.

Luckily I remembered that Atlanta had the metro system that sounded like a girl's name so eventually I remembered it. I was there for a few days a few years ago.

I confidently put in oreos instead of CHEX. There is some disgusting concoction made out of oreos, but I can't remember what it is called.

I'm pretty sure that the last time ARENA ROCK appeared in a puzzle Rex ranted at length that it was not a thing. He is mellow today!

I say "Eye-ruh-nee". Accent on the first syllable.

Happy birthday Hungry Mother!

Frantic Sloth 2:02 PM  

@Z 138pm "Back when my friends and I were being snarky..."
My LOTD* 😘

In related news, back when my friends and I were being spazzy and obnoxious...

*Laugh Of The Day

Lorelei Lee 2:09 PM  

@Z and @Speedweeder, Sorry guys. The clue was alternative to a jpeg. These things are tools. Try inserting a pdf of your family into the holiday newsletter this year as an alternative to a jpeg and see what happens. Then try to save your document as a jpeg and see what happens.

@Z, Stubbornly pushing on because I paid for it and I have time on my hands. He's odious.

bagelboy 2:28 PM  

JFKDESK also for a while. Way better fill than OAK. Also neve heard of SUVA but knew the crosses. Finished up at ACME/CHEX/OXEYE none of which were obvious, but eventually inferred them.

TTrimble 2:43 PM  

@puzzlehoarder
Definitely took me longer than an hour to reach QB today. Annoyed that "marl" was not on the list. There's no excuse for that.

Doc John 3:01 PM  

I also wrote in oom pah, but then again, I'm a tuba player.

Pdxrains 3:29 PM  

You need to encourage healthy play with the cat on your time and really wear him out. Use one of those feather on a stick toys and give him a good 30 minutes before bed...it works!

fogdog 3:33 PM  

I am sorry you had to put your cat down. :(

Smith 3:53 PM  

@jberg

I lived in Ft Greene in the 70s and folks around there def pronounced it like that; it's a dropping of the /t/ and a devoicing of the /b/, which makes sense because it's natural to devoice a consonant that follows a devoiced consonant; even though in this case the /t/ is dropped, it still seems to exert its devoiced-ness. Too many semicolons...

Crimson Devil 4:38 PM  

Almost forgot, today’s Bobby Bo day (former ML ballplayer Bobby Bonilla): he receives from Mets $1M + every July 1...’til 2035 !, and hasn’t swung a bat in ~20 yrs !
3 and out.

Barbara S. 5:22 PM  

Happy Canada Day! (153 years and still at it)

Happy Birthday, @Hungry Mother. My impression is that you're a miracle of fitness. I'm attempting something similar, not by running but through strength training. The miraculous eludes me, but I'm still at it, too.

*****SB ALERT
Hand up for QB today.
@TTrimble. I completely agree about "marl," and I've never been able to figure why they don't accept "dada." I know about the early 20th-century art movement (so it can be a proper noun), but millions of babies don't.

syracusesolver 5:47 PM  

Happy, Happy Birthday, Hungry Mother! What a great milestone to reach and in fine fettle.

Like many commenters, I don’t care about social media, so today’s solve was kind of flat. And it’s not the puzzle's fault that it followed such a gem as yesterday’s was.

I started with a jfKDESK in the Oval Office and confidently oompAHed before I WAHWAHed. It’s always reassuring to come here and find my mistakes aren’t unique.

The magnets/barbershops clue at 20A that asks us to find something in common with disparate items is my favorite kind.

I’ve never been to Atlanta proper but have been through the airport several times. Once I was half-asleep waiting for a connecting flight at about 7AM on a Sunday morning when an African-American fellow, dressed to the nines in tails, sat down at a grand piano and played Chopin for a while. This transported me more than any plane!

jae 5:50 PM  

Easy-medium, top half a tad tougher than the bottom. Fun and clever, liked it.

Happy 80th @HungryMother, I’m not that far behind you.

AYE ruh nee.

TTrimble 7:02 PM  

@Barbara S.
Agree about "dada", which I also tried. Of course the meaning parallel to that of "mama" is attested in dictionaries.

I'm new to the puzzles and discussions about them. What do you know about the construction? My question is whether the creator Sam Ezersky uses software to verify his compilation, and if so, which word list he uses. (To me it would be nuts if he weren't, but if he were, it's hard to explain the omission of commonplace words.)

Richardf8 7:23 PM  

I suppose I can’t interest you in some bananaba ganoush then?

pabloinnh 7:28 PM  

@Barbara S-Happy Canada Day indeed. The True North strong and free. I can't believe that 53 years ago, on Canada's 100th anniversary, my college choral group sang in Parliament, and our repertoire included a bilingual tribute. The acoustics were marvelous, we were on CBC, and the reception afterward was my introduction to caviar. I appreciated the gesture, but not the taste.

***SB Grump Dep't.***

Quit at Genius, too many A's, and was only mildly disappointed when they didn't like LALALAND.

JC66 8:01 PM  

Nor, ALAR!

Barbara S. 8:03 PM  

@pabloinnh
Hey! We may well have rubbed shoulders on Parliament Hill on July 1, 1967. I sang in a massed school choir for Queen Elizabeth (no less), a bunch of other dignitaries and the assembled masses. This was outside in the fresh air and blazing sunshine, and I remember it as a whole load of fun. (They didn't offer us schoolkids caviar, probably just as well.)

pmdm 8:12 PM  

Earlier in the day, for whatever reason I could not access these comments. I would have posted this earlier if I could have.

There are various apps that convert from one file format to another. Converting JPEG to PDF is possible. If that is true, it may be that the formats represent quite different things, but the software apps give the user the alternative of storing the information in either format. It may be stupid and/or rare, but the choice does exist. And if the choice does exist, the clue is correct. A clue does not need to be correct 100% of the time to be considered OK. This irritates many people, and sometimes irritates me. But that's the way it is.

You might examine what is on this page to enter the world of the baroque. The URL is ugly. I don't have time to make the link clickable. Sorry. Don't try to type it. Cut and paste instead.

https://www.wikihow.com/Convert-JPG-to-PDF#:~:text=How%20to%20Convert%20JPG%20to%20PDF%201%20Open,which%20you%20want%20to%20add%20to%20your%20PDF.

Bonnie 8:16 PM  

1. Discussion of cute cats and adorable dogs is always welcome, especially in this difficult time. Keep us posted Rex.

2. Puzzle had too much obscure stuff: Suva/Taye; Marta/Nouri (had to Google that one) and Goa/Rhea (got that only because I'm an astronomer)

3. As many have noted, the JPEG alternative should not have gotten past the editor.

Pete 9:00 PM  

Just a minute ago PBS was talking about a pod of Hippos.

Z 9:31 PM  

42 puzzles by some big name constructors for a $10 donation to a COVID or Social Justice charity seems like a pretty good deal.

Z 9:32 PM  

@Pete - 👍🏽👍🏽

Barbara S. 10:06 PM  

@JC66
Alar's a good word. Does it ever appear in the NYTXW?

JC66 10:48 PM  

@Barbar S

According to xordinfo, it's appeared 109 times during the Shortz era and and 507 times in total.

Danny and Rachel 12:18 PM  

Rex, I gotta say man, I find your ire to be unpredictable in an unsatisfying way.

We hated this puzzle, because the un-clued answers resulting from the school names had absolutely zero meaning or connection to the puzzle thematically. SUNCHIPS? It's just a random word that happens to include the letters UNC is succession.

In the past, this sort of thing has sent you off on tirades, which we find both entertaining and vindicating.

And yet...you like this one? We feel betrayed, Rex. You turned your back on us. Bring back the rage.

thefogman 9:40 AM  

I guessed right at the SUVA/TAYE and NOURI/MARTA crossings which were a bit unfair, at least for a Wednesday. But who am I kidding? I only come here for the cute kitten pictures....

spacecraft 11:08 AM  

I knew OFC would like this. It's chock full of techy computer stuff and even has a rapper. Me, I kind of worked through it as if it was my duty. I'll give it this: a triple 9-stack is a nice feat--even though I have never heard the term "ARENAROCK" before.

Tons of things I didn't know, like GOA. That little puppy appeared via crosses, period. Also Muddy Buddies, really? If you say so. I made a RASH entry there, guessing OREO. Hell, there's every other trite crosswordese item in here; why not that? With a floral background, though, I should have known OXEYE right off.

This was not EASY, nor was it an A, in our classroom. Bogey.

Don 11:25 AM  

Actually, every president since Kennedy has used it.

Burma Shave 12:58 PM  

LOOT ONTHELINE

Is it IRONY or ONLY funny, who SHARESTHEWEALTH with geezers?
We'll LETON who FOLLOWSTHEMONEY with men HOTFOR SOCIAL TEASERS.

--- MARTA & RHEA OCHOA

rondo 1:19 PM  

Didn't think much one way or the other of this puz. OAKDESK = green paint. The bottom third was almost exclusively PPP. The four corners are ATOP. As always, Lorena OCHOA, yeah baby. Not feeling it after a STYE a RASH and a CYST.

Anonymous 2:05 PM  

Pretty easy - even for a Wednesday, but had to figure out GOA and SUVA from the crosses without being entirely sure of TAYE. GOA looks gorgeous from the internet photos, although those pics look as though they may have been touched up a little. Decent puzzle IMO.

leftcoaster 2:34 PM  

Relatively easy Wednesday with some light guesswork for MARTA/NOURI and SUVA/TAYE crossings. Also had grASP before CLASP and SpIn before STIR.

Good puzzle with an interesting theme and revealer.

Diana, LIW 5:57 PM  

Part of the South was a giant Natick for me. I'm just the anti-PPP.

Diana, Lady-in-waiting for WordPlay

PurityofEssence 11:32 AM  

This was possibly the least satisfying NYT wxd puzzle I can remember in many months. OFL must have a soft spot for Rafkin/Trudeau because I found too many of the clues lame/wrong. As far as a “theme”, the theme of this puzz was strained references.

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