Commercial district in Tokyo known as fashion center / WED 7-15-20 / Video game character with L on his hat / Division of Danish krone / Sometime adversary of Godzilla

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Constructor: Lee Hibgie and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Mediumish, maybe slightly harder (4:31)


THEME: a volcano — I think the black squares toward the bottom/middle of the grid are supposed to evoke a MOUNTain and then the circled squares contain the ASH and LAVA that the volcano has spewed out. I don't see any actual theme answers besides MOUNT (5A: Start of many volcano names)

Word of the Day: SHIBUYA (37A: Commercial district in Tokyo known as a fashion center) —
Shibuya (渋谷 Shibuya-ku) is a special ward in TokyoJapan. A major commercial and business centre, it houses the two busiest railway stations in the world, Shinjuku Station (southern half) and Shibuya Station.
As of May 1, 2016, it has an estimated population of 221,801 and a population density of 14,679.09 people per km2 (38,018.7/sq mi). The total area is 15.11 km2 (5.83 sq mi).
The name "Shibuya" is also used to refer to the shopping district which surrounds Shibuya Station. This area is known as one of the fashion centers of Japan, particularly for young people, and as a major nightlife area. (wikipedia)
• • •

Very ... interesting to have a theme with practically no theme answers. Just ... MOUNT. After I was done, I thought "Is this some kind of Mt. St. Helens 'tribute' puzzle!?" (this year marks the 40th anniversary of that eruption). But no, I'm guessing no. That anniversary was back in May. So this is just any MOUNT. MOUNT Whatever. Trying hard to see it and not really succeeding. Looks like a giant black "T" atop some kind of Jell-O mold. Is the "T" part of the ash and lava. Is it ejecta of some sort? If it is, then isn't it redundant, what with all the "ASH" and "LAVA" already in the grid? Visually, this doesn't evoke a volcano At All. If you took the "ASH" and "LAVA" away, you would never in a million years guess that there was a volcano depicted in this grid. I do like that the LAVA bits are split in half and kind of ooze down the grid, whereas the ASH just floats straight down. That's a nice little visual distinction. But the overall picture just doesn't come together very effectively at all.


Because of the lack of real themers, it was somewhat harder than usual to put it all together. You get all the *constraints* of a themed grid, but none of the meaningful thematic patterning usually provided by a theme. That's not to say the ASH and LAVA weren't helpful. At the very end, LAVA definitely helped me find my grid error: OKRO! (I'd written in BRAVO and forgotten to check the cross—53A: Food also known as ladies' fingers (OKRA)). But otherwise this is just a themeless that's not as fun and wide-open as a regular themeless (because of the constraints put on the grid by the ASH and LAVA letter strings). I will say that the grid shape does allow for more long and interesting answers than a typical themed puzzle usually provides. Lots of long Downs that are at least unusual: MEDIA SHY, TRASH ART, CAMPER VAN, DIAPER BAG, TEXAS HOLD 'EM ... taken as a low-key themeless, it's fine. The solve itself was not a miserable one. It's just weird to have an OK time solving a puzzle and then have to go back and account for a theme that is so awkwardly put together. Its as(h)pirations are admirable, but on the page it just doesn't work.


Biggest trouble spot for me was SHIBUYA, which I've probably seen before but totally forgot. I also blanked on LIMEY (44A: British sailor, in slang), which ... I don't have a good excuse for. Sometimes your brain just sputters. I got annoyingly hung up at ISA / INDEEDY because I thought the [Middle of many metaphors] was AS A ... I know, I know, that's a simile, not technically a metaphor, but it really felt right. IS A ... doesn't really strike me as quintessentially metaphorical. So with the "A" instead of the "I" in the first position, INDEEDY was very hard to pick up (probably would've been hard even with the "I" securely in place) (57A: Informal "yes"). Not really hearing INDEEDY on its own. Seems like it wants to follow "Yes," not just stand in for it. Anyway, that's it for real trouble. Oh, there was a very brief moment where I had ETA instead of ETD and SHABUYA instead of SHIBUYA and thus had AAA at the front of 31D: Accessory that's good for changing times? (DIAPER BAG); that AAA opening actually caused me to misread the clue as [Accessory that's good for changing *tires*]. Again, sometimes the brain just sputters ...

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

116 comments:

Joaquin 12:00 AM  

I’m trying to channel my inner @Lewis and say something nice about this puzzle, but the best I have is this: My love for this puzzle is less than my love for any other crossword I have ever done.

Harryp 12:03 AM  

Easy puzzle, liked clue for DAIPERBAG. I am pretty sure Captain Cook was the first to use limes for the prevention of scurvy on British ships, whence the term LIMEY comes from.

jae 12:07 AM  

Tough. I got hung up in the SW and NE. teton before BASIN, spelled MIKADO with a c, INDEEDY looked weird especially because I had ROnAN before RODAN and @Rex had aSA at first, SHIBUYA was a WOE, had @Rex ETa before D...so, tough, but I did get it sorted out.

Pretty smooth given the constraints, liked it.

***SB***
Google was one of my last entries yesterday because I remembered trying it in previous SBs and not having it accepted. I tried it again out of desperation. I’m I remembering wrong?

Pete 12:14 AM  

They should have taken one more rewrite to get rid of the terminal LA in 23D Do we have a LALAVA flow there or what?

William of Ockham 1:01 AM  

Sure MEH-dium, that's it. POP added another vowel for this one.

Without the gimme LAVA and ASH it would have taken even longer, but not terribly satisfying today.

Awaiting Friday

egsforbreakfast 1:31 AM  

Speakin’ of birds the last few days, I really appreciate a puzzle that can work in my favorite owls, the PEAS HOOTERS. After seeing that, I just sat down and SIT SPAT (on account of my SLOP ITCH) , knowing I would ERR OR produce some fine STEW ART.!

The puzzle was probably as well done as possible if your goal is to produce an image of an active volcano in 225 dots of black and white pointillism. So, I’m not slamming Lee and Jeff, but the whole thing was kinda nerdy/dull, and I don’t get why two of the ash columns are falling back inside the mountain. I know they aren’t rising from vents, or the letters would be reversed. I was considering doing my Christmas Card as a 15x15 crossword of the 12 days of Christmas, but this is seriously making me wonder if I shouldn’t step up to 21 x 21.

Thanks for an enjoyable work of art, guys.

Thomas 1:40 AM  

Similes use the words like or as to compare things—“Life is like a box of chocolates.” In contrast, metaphors directly state a comparison—“Love is a battlefield.”

Brenton 2:27 AM  

Had similar issues as Rex: ETA, so staring at A_A to start the down answer, and really searching for ways to work AAA into it.

OKRA also took me forever, but mostly because I'd never heard of THEMIKADO and I read ladies' fingers as lady fingers, the cookies, and was looking for maybe an Italian word for them (ORRA? ORTA?).

Oh, and TSLOT was not good. But then there's the big black T-slot on top of the MOUNT, so... ?

I liked the simple theme.

chefwen 3:17 AM  

My text thanks is TKS, have I been wrong all this time? I ended up with MEDIA SkY which I thought may be a thing, whaddya I know?

A tad bit more difficult than your average Wednesday. SHIBUYA was a big woe, a definite fill with crosses only. Liked it a lot, but it took a while after finishing to grasp the theme which is unfortunate, I think the theme should play a part in the solving experience. Just my take.

Chuckled at INDEEDY thinking of Ned Flanders saying “Indeedy do neighbor”.

Frantic Sloth 3:18 AM  

So...that MOUNT at the top represents a volcano? And the little circles with ASH and LA and VA are its spewings of ASH and LAVA? And they "flow" downward through the puzzle as they might do down the sides of the volcano?

And we are what now? 4-year-olds? "The floor is LAVA! The floor is LLLAAAAVVAAA!"

If this is supposed to be some Serlingesque version of home schooling, I want no part of it. Leave me stupid, please.

And (much to my chagrin...my endless chagrin) here is yet another argument in favor of themeless puzzles.
And here is my reaction.

The fill was the star of this grid, IMHO. In fact, I didn't think we'd be seeing a theme executed as badly as yesterday's for a while. That hope still lives on because this is very much worse. It's really an extraordinary accomplishment in its way when you think about it. So there's that.

Treated like a themeless, it had a bit of heft and provided the appropriate Wednesdee-level difficulty.

But, having a theme - and specifically this theme? That's a big, fat screaming Acela careening toward Nopeville.


🧠🧠.5
🎉🎉

ChuckD 6:13 AM  

The grid work is impressive here - I’m sure the time was put in. Lots of long downs - some nice (THE MIKADO, CAMPER VAN) and some flat (DIAPER BAG, DRESS CODE). The rest of the fill was fine I thought - liked MEDIA SHY , SIERRAS and RODAN but could definitely do without INDEEDY and TSLOT.

Wonder if CARMELA Soprano read the adjacent WILLA Cather - we’d see a retitled “The Archbishop Gets Whacked”.

mathgent 6:22 AM  

Jeff has earned a lot of slack based on his record of wonderful creations. And I know that grid art is one of his things. So I’ll indulge him this one.

PHALANX is nice to see. And happy to be reminded of the flamboyant Andre Agassi and his Golden Slam. I remember being at The San Francisco Tennis Club one morning when he and his wife, Steffi Graf, came down for a workout. They were living just across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin county at the time.. The sound of their forehands shook the walls.

amyyanni 6:23 AM  

Thought all the long downs were intriguing and enjoyed the change. Willa Cather is a favorite, though haven't read her in a while. Anyone still have a CD tower?

Anonymous 6:25 AM  

Are the PC police sleeping or am I posting too early? I've heard objections to *The Mikado,* although my passing acquaintance with this suggests more a certain corniness than offensiveness. The Rudyard Kipling poem, *Lest We Forget* may indeed be genuinely offensive, depending on how one interprets the memorable line in it about the "lesser breeds before the law." I must confess I have heard the argument that the "lesser breeds" referred to were not Asians or Africans and might even be referring to Germans. My recollection of the poem was from the South of a half-century ago, where the poem was evoked by Southern racists who worried that that we might "forget" our heritage--although a least superficially patriotism was emphasized more than race.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Hungry Mother 6:29 AM  

I was stalled in the NW until I finally broke through. I didn’t get the theme, but used it, if that makes sense. This was like Wednesdays when I first started: on the edge of my ability. I’ll take the W.

Z 6:29 AM  

I liked the DIAPER BAG clue.

Lewis 6:36 AM  

When I looked at the grid before solving, it looked like a face with a Fu Manchu mustache.

As it turns out, this is an out-of-the-cone puzzle that made me think visually as well as the usual semantically. The answers helped my visualizing. I saw a volcano that SITS PAT, then suddenly spews debris and MOUSSE in great ARCS, causing much ADO, as the LAVA flows down in CANALS.

Aside from shifting me into visual mode, there were answers with spark: PHALANX, MOUSSE, INDEEDY, MEDIA SHY, and even PEASHOOTERS (the last two being NYT debuts). Overall, this atypical puzzle brought me much joy, and thank you, Lee and Jeff.

The theme evoked a couple of crossword stalwarts -- ETNA and MAUNA LOA. I'm still awaiting the appearance in a puzzle of Iceland's EYJAFJALLAJÖKULL.

Anonymous 6:55 AM  

59A, even though it didn't give me any trouble, is just terrible: thats not VOL generally, it's VOL of a few very specific solids. (This would be less annoying if the puzzle didn't consistently include the formula for a triangle in particular when cluing AREA.) And even without that, L x w x h would equal V, not VOL.

And what's the ? doing on 34D? I kept rooting around for something to do with Alabama.

Finally, "It might send you to the moon" (19A) is not an apt description of NASA, not just because I'm not among the candidates for any space mission, but since it hasn't sent anyone to the moon since 1972.

Anonymous 7:22 AM  

So LIMEY just sails by without even a comment?

kitshef 7:29 AM  

Fortunately, all the crosses were rock solid, but SHIBUYA????

And to a lesser extent … CARMELA?? That one at least is a bit inferrable based on letter patterning.

Not a fan of grid art in general, but we do get a plethora of nice long downs today.

pabloinnh 7:37 AM  

Hand up for wanting some kind of a dessert connected to lady fingers, and OKRA just wasn't doing it. Guessed wrong on ETA vs. ETD, and when I fixed that it finally led to DIAPERBAG, which had a great clue.

LIMEY was a gimme as residents of this little town often refer to themselves this way, which makes my wife, who grew up here, a little crazy, as the usage is invariably practiced by newcomers. Of course "newcomers" in NH are people who don't go back at least six or seven generations. See also, "flatlanders".

My favorite answer was CAMPERVAN, as our now eight-year old granddaughter has been obsessed with them forever, and has built many in our living room out of coffee tables, sofa cushions, cardboard boxes, blankets, and whatever else presented itself. Her parents finally rented one and took her off for an adventure in England, where they're living. Paradise found.

The ASH and LAVA thing finally became apparent and added to what I thought was a pretty fun puzzle. Also I learned SHIBUYA. Thanks guys, this was OK by me.

kitshef 7:38 AM  

@Harryp 12:03 – not James Cook, but Peter Rainier, he of the MOUNT in Washington. Interestingly, the scurvy cure was known centuries earlier, but not publicized.

RooMonster 7:57 AM  

Hey All !
Loopholed past my one-letter DNF by leaving it for last, and trying different letters until the Happy Music. It was at the S of ESP/SHIBUYA. Should've figured out ESP, but the ole brain decided to read "country" in the clue as "county", and I said, "How in blazes am I supposed to know Madrid's County?" I really said that. Tried a C first, then T, then the S, Happy Music.

I figured there would be more theme there, but just the four ASHes and two LAVAs. After figuring out the left half LAVA and ASH, figured out the lower-middle black squares were a volcano, and saw that the upper-middle blocks was the LAVA actually spewing out before it started rolling down the MOUNTain. And why throw in MOUNT? Is it a "themer", or did it just happen to fit? And is the very bottom center square there because that's the magma waiting to get spewed? Would've been awesome if that was a Rebussed MAGMA.

Anyway, visually pretty neat, but underwhelming. Chen just gets his puzs in, I suspect collusion. 😋 Poor @Nancy won't see a volcano. But it's there, @Nancy!

Always thought LIMEY was an insult. Is it? Or is it just a Brit Sailor (nick)name?

Had BRAVo first, and also had LOGIC, so my ladies' fingers clue had me wanting OreO. "Who the heck calls OREOS ladies' fingers?" I said aloud. Pay no attention that no one else is here to hear me.

No F's (two days in a row)
THX SPANX
RooMonster
DarrinV

GILL I. 8:01 AM  

Cool beans, yes INDEEDY. Happy feet did the happy dance when I finished. Who doesn't love a hot volcano spewing ASH and LAVA all over the place? I suppose the people who didn't listen to the officials that said Mt. St. Helens was going to erupt with the force of a hydrogen bomb. The "let's go up and take a look-see" didn't make it. Of course, the supposed safe zones weren't actually safe. Such is life.
I liked the visual. I liked lots of the words here. PHALANX and an image of masses of spears and shields of men marching to Alexander the Greats' orders. PLUNK, PLUNK, PLUNK. You had to find another word that ended in X so you choose the tummy-taming torture chamber, "why would any women wear one"... SPANX.
Also like LIMEY...Blimey, I do.
You pair up the pretty ladies' fingers with slime OKRA? Can you buy a PEARL in the SHIBUYA district while watching THE MIKADO? THX for the image.
There is only one way to eat MOUSSE. If it's not chocolaty, don't bother.

Mickey Bell 8:04 AM  

This puzzle IS A twisted pretzel.

BarbieBarbie 8:09 AM  

Anon@625, The Mikado satirized the fascination English people had at the time for all things Asian, without the least understanding. Walks a very fine PC line and, being British, often topples off it. But the intent was satire. Ironically, now people worship G&S and don’t understand a lot of the satire. So, put it in the bucket with all the other things that would have historical value if we had an educational system that taught history well, but from a non historical perspective are now borderline or outright offensive. Pity.

I might be in the minority today, but I had a lot of fun with this puzzle and I adore grid art. I can even almost forgive the LALAVA, because lava streams cool and crisscross. But for that to be a good excuse would have required a rebus in the middle LA.

Overall thumbs up for a fun puzzle with great long answers and some good humor in the clues!

TTrimble 8:31 AM  

I think my experience of this puzzle was different from many of yall's: for me it was a fairly smooth solve and the answers included a lot of pleasing and interesting choices, including THE MIKADO, DIAPER BAG, SHIBUYA, MOUSSE, AGASSI, PHALANX, TEXAS HOLD 'EM, INDEEDY ("Okily dokily!"). BRAVA instead of BRAVo is a nice change of pace. The theme barely registered and seemed sort of plain, but in the scheme of things I find that forgivable.

So, I think I'm on team Lewis for this one.

I don't think I'll be able to understand the cluing for OKRA unassisted, but it does remind me of my first introduction to the vegetable. I was spending the night with a friend, and for supper I think it was a gumbo and the parents asked me if I'd ever had okra. "No". The father enthusiastically enjoined me to try it, declaring it was "O-K-RA!". Uuck! Laughter all around as I made myself get it down my gullet, probably with tears in my eyes.

---[SB Alert]---

Referring now to yesterday's; I haven't started today's. My last entry turned out to be HELLHOLE, which just sort of came to me -- I can imagine that one might have eluded me if I hadn't gotten lucky. Satisfying because I knew it had to be 8 letters, and what the HELL could it be? This came not long after a trio of sixes GOOGOL, GOOGLE, GOGGLE which came in rapid succession and were nice point-rackers. So that was a pleasant experience, in contradistinction to the day before, with those crazy answers like WHAMMO, WOOHOO, MAHATMA, etc.

CLOCHE and GELEE were also nice to see.

Probably many of you know this, but in case not, GOOGOL is a name for the number 10^100, or 1 followed by a hundred zeroes, and was invented by a little boy at the behest of his mathematician father or uncle. And then there's "googolplex" which is 1 followed by a googol of zeroes (so in exponential notation, 10^(10^100)). Those are fun coinages, and I thought I read somewhere that GOOGLE is derived from that.

Nancy 8:35 AM  

What. A. Mess. Ridiculous "theme". Also hated having to know about the Twilight Saga series, the Sopranos role and the Godzilla foe. Jeff Chen just loves grid "art", which bores me silly. I'd call this one today TRASH ART. An unpleasant solve that I came perilously close to not solving at all.

P.S. The godawful OKRA is known as "ladies' fingers" -- a lovely dessert????

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

Your second paragraph suggests a great puzzle theme.

pmdm 8:51 AM  

I think I liked the puzzle more than most here, even though I did not bother to complete the solve.

The puzzle began as a tribute puzzle. Visit XWordInfo.com for an explanation. I have to admit the tribute would have flew right by me.

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

Puzzled it all out, so I liked it! Ignored the theme, so maybe that helped but I can see it so, yeah. - newbie

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

would anyone care to 'defend' LIMEY as a pejorative??? always found it used as, if anything, a grudgingly positive epithet for Brit sailors that didn't get scurvy. about the level of venom as Yankee; unless your a Saux fan.

JD 9:03 AM  

Phalanx made the puzzle worth the price of admission, thinking about the Roman's formation v. the Greek's, how the Roman's tortoise formation was almost a human tank.

Liked the volcano theme, ash spewing into the air, lava running down the side. That brings to mind Pompei. So we're back to ancient Rome. There's a theme for ya. Woo.

@BarbiBarbi, The bucket ... yep. Thanks.

@Nancy, Yeah. A pointy, green, wrinkled thing reminded someone of ladies' fingers? Somewhere there's a group of women who need serious help with their fingers.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:05 AM  

I personally never even considered thinking about THE MIKADO as Japanese. Possibly G and S were satirizing a picture that existed at the time, but that picture of the Japanese is long gone. It's funny!

Harryp 9:10 AM  

@kitshef 7:38am, Thanks for the correction; I see now that this is a smaller part of the puzzles theme. I really don't take the word Limey as a pejorative, but some might think so.

Ernonymous 9:28 AM  

I really dislike Kristen Stewart. I cannot watch anything she is in. I think it's that no matter what character she is playing, there is this underlying "aren't I the greatest thing since cream cheese" aura that comes through.
@Nancy I hear you!
My grandmother, who was born in Scotland, used to make Trifle, with ladyfingers. That was so damn delicious.

CS 9:46 AM  

Oy this was annoying and hard for a Wednesday. I also choked with "as a" rather than "is a" and just couldn't see "Indeedy"
Not very satisfying although I did appreciate that there were a number of unusual answers not seen before.

-- CS

Petsounds 9:49 AM  

I never pay attention to any potential "art" involved in a grid, and I don't like circled letters unless they add up to something clued, so those parts of this puzzle were lost on me. I'm here for the wordplay--and this puzzle had plenty of that.

The long answers were great--THEMIKADO, DIAPERBAG, MEDIASHY, PEASHOOTERS (Do kids still play with them?), and TEXASHOLDEM. But as Rex says, sometimes your brain just sputters, and mine did in the top middle, where I had "Charlie HORSE" early and got totally stuck because of that. I found the fill particularly nice too.

Quibbles: Is OKRA really called ladies fingers somewhere in the world? And don't you STAND pat, rather than SIT pat?

@kitshef: SHIBUYA is as big a deal in Japan as Times Square and the West End and the Ku'Damm are in the West.

Nice job, Lee and Jeff! Enjoyed it!

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

Barbie,
The Mikado is English. Not British.
Anyone who hasn’t seen the movie The Limey should stop what he’s doing and view it now. Superb is an understatement.

Banya 9:51 AM  

Definitely easier than yesterday's puzzle by a lot.
I love the puzzles that evoke pictures with their limitations. It shows creativity, Rex always hates them. I don't know if it's his lack of imagination or what - but as soon as I realized what was happening, I thought "Rex is going to hate this".

jberg 10:00 AM  

So I’m feeling smug because I just put in BRAV_ and waited to get a gender reveal from the crosses. OTOH, I had DIAPER pin at first, showing my age. Today I think even cloth diapers don’t require pins.

I don’t get the “no theme answers “ complaint—isn’t “downs containing ash” a theme? And the ASH straddles two words in 3 of the 4.

I’ve been in SHIBUYA quite a few times, but didn’t think of it as a fashion district. Mainly, it’s the place where you can see five thousand people cross the street when the light changes. There are fancy shopping areas nearby, but they have more specific names. The answer is accurate enough, I just overthought it.

I generally stand PAT, even if I’m SITting at the time.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Fancy balls.....Tee Hee....

Canon Chasuble 10:02 AM  

Anonymous is right that “Lesser breeds without the law” is almost universally interpreted as meaning the Germans. As to “The Mikado” it is not a satire or negative commentary on Japan, but actually a satire and biting commentary on the English obsession with all things Japanese, a raging fad that overtook The England of the time of G & S. Like most of their operas, their criticisms were directed at their OWN society, and not anyone else’s. That said, this puzzle was not worth the doing of it.

Unknown 10:03 AM  

I wish the tennis player had been Arthur Ashe instead of Agassi. Nice way to circle back.

Whatsername 10:27 AM  

It’s not a great day when I have to go to google on a Wednesday. Maybe if I had paid attention to the circles it might’ve helped but I even if I had, I would’ve still been completely in the dark as to what the theme was supposed to be. I could see that ASH and LAVA indicated something to do with a volcano but without any revealer or theme answers, it remained a mystery. Having the odd LA connected to the LAVA flow in the SE didn’t help any. LALAVA? The fill is great with the long downs, and I like DIAPERBAG, DRESSCODE, MEDIASHY; but the grid art IMO just doesn’t work without something - anything - to give me a hint. Probably one of those puzzles that was fun for the constructors. As Rex said, it wasn’t really unpleasant, just weird.

I dislike SUDOKU because it gives me a migraine. I’m a word person and don’t do number puzzles unless you count balancing my checkbook. Love the term TRASHART. I admire people clever enough to repurpose old things. My specialty is letting them gather dust in the attic. I’ve eaten lots of OKRA but never heard it referred to as ladies’ fingers. Had a friend who bought one of those CAMPERVANs against the advice of someone who tried to save him the hassle of having to resell it and buy something bigger when he realized it was too small to be livable. After a couple of extended outings, he sold it and bought something bigger and more livable. If only he had listened to his much smarter crossword-solving friend. I don’t do this just for the entertainment you know.

@egs (1:31) You cracked me up this morning. Thanks! I needed a laugh.

@Giovanni (9:28) I never cared much for Kristen STEWART either, but I think perhaps because of the roles she’s played more so than the actress herself. I must admit she was pretty darn good in Still Alice as the self-centered oddball daughter.

What? 10:30 AM  

Stupid theme but I got 100 so - what?
Anything to divert from what’s going on.

FPBear 10:35 AM  

Absolutely loved this puzzle. Solved it as a themeless. Didn't notice lava and ash. Great long downs. I had a Japanese girlfriend who live in Shibuyaku. There really are a lot of PC aholes on this blog. Why can't you just enjoy the solve?

Reno retired 10:38 AM  

Risking being deleted. Another way to parse pea shooter to peas hooter is to imagine small breasts 😳

Elaine 10:40 AM  

Brava? Really?

Nancy 10:42 AM  

Re: "Lesser breeds without the Law." Right now, you can knock me over with a feather. So, I was on my way over here to *correct* both @Poggius and @Canon Chasuble -- coming here to say that of course "lesser breeds" refers to the Indian people who Kipling spent so much of his time writing about and who would ever think he was writing about...the Germans???!!! Then I thought: "Maybe you should take a look first, before putting in your two cents?" And there is is, all over Google: Kipling was NOT referring to non-white people but to the Russians and the Germans. You could have fooled me. I have misinterpreted that phrase my entire life.

But what a relief! My lifelong deep love of "Recessional" no longer needs to be a source of either embarrassment or guilt. You see, I have always overlooked Kipling's colonialist myopia, condescension and paternalism because KIPLING HAS PERHAPS THE GREATEST EAR OF ANY POET IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE OTHER THAN TENNYSON. And when someone has that wonderful an ear, writes verse that's that gorgeous and sonorous, absolutely everything else is forgiven. Which is perhaps a terrible character flaw on my part, but it's how I feel and I can't change how I feel. I adore Kipling. And now, I no longer have to apologize. YAY! Thank you, Poggius and Canon!

Taffy-Kun 10:43 AM  

Absolutely with you on “TheLimey” with Terence Stamp - a gem!

Anonymous 10:44 AM  

Because no one else has mentioned an incorrect answer, I will because the frustration at recognition of something WRONG ruins the mindset for pleasurable solving. 16 across can’t be “APAP” because that anagram is “As Soon As Possible”.
Soon, not immediate. STAT would be the correct answer.

burtonkd 10:48 AM  

Solved it in less than 2 Rexes, so liked it.

I second Joe's recommendation of the Diagramless Puzzle this week, especially if you are inclined to enjoy (non-trashy) puzzle art. Diagramless puzzles don't seem to come up very often, and make me feel like I'm joining in on the construction.

Taffy-Kun 10:48 AM  

Limey is too historical/archaic for us to be offended

GILL I. 10:51 AM  

@Barbie B 8:09. "ironically, now people worship G&S and don't understand a lot of the satire." Permit me to disagree with you. Just about all of their musical pieces poked fun at everything. Their sense of irony was prevalent. To me, it's what made their musicals extraordinary. They provide fodder for comedians. I'm pretty sure just about everyone "gets" the irony. I suppose if you only grew up with "Mary Had a Little Lamb" you might not get it.

So we get to LIMEY. No, it really isn't the least bit offensive. I suppose if you start the conversation with "why you little M F ing SOB Limey" that could raise a hair or two. Whenever we have one of these Britishisms, I ask my husband what he thinks. I think POMMY should be the next one. The Australians have a clever way with words.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

Obviously not an opera fan.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

@Reno:

Dr. Jones said of his wife (before any of us met her), "two eggs fried". sunny side up, I figured.

Pamela 10:55 AM  

@egsforbreakfast- I just love your DOOK story, some piece of STEW ART, I must say! Please do take care of that ITCH- we need you here!

@Frantic Sloth- I’m with you on your reaction to the themeless argument! Boo INDEEDY! While solving this one, I found myself wondering if it was Friday already, then looked all over for a revealer. Eventually I realized that the circles must be something, and kept at it. I didn’t mind this one, actually, even forgot again about looking for a theme until the end. Not too much obscurity, no sports, which is always nice and unlike yesterday, which stuck in all those obscure acronyms instead. Today the only one was easily gettable from the crosses. Finally, after finishing, I went to Wordplay for the explanation and got the little Aha.

I grew up clustered around the piano with my family, singing favorites from Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. Dad was the tenor, but could fake a mean bass. As the oldest I always got the heroine, Mom played and sang along with the littles. We all knew all the words. Lovely memories, and THEMIKADO was a gimme today. I’m very sad about the kerfuffle over its ethnic portrayals. It was meant as a well meaning satire- different time, different sensibilities. But the silliness could be transposed into any cultural milieu without losing the greater point, I think.

In spite of my years in fashion, SHIBUYA was interesting new information- amazing what can be learned from puzzles.

SB ALERT——-
Yesterday I finally got there, pangram and all, just before bedtime. My 3rd QB, I think, and Genius every other day. I just started playing a little over a week ago, so I’m feeling pretty good about it. Today, same old (not so old) story. Genius, with pangram, 4 to go.
END SB———-

Now I’m off to play music for the rest of the day. See you all later!

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

Can anyone explain 3-Down to me? "ATEAT" for "Bugged no end"? I know "Eat at" can be to bug to no end. But "At eat" isn't a phrase. Am I missing something?

I got hung up on this forever, as the cross with LIEU was just weird for me.

Sir Hillary 11:00 AM  

I know LAVA is quite thick, but this theme is pretty thin. That said, @Rex's advice to enjoy this one as a themeless is well-taken. Those long downs are really nice for a Wednesday. The "ASH" themers are cool, although TRASHART falls a little short because ASH doesn't span two words.

Great clue for DIAPERBAG, but not sure I get the "?" in the clue for CAMPERVAN. Isn't that just a type of mobile home?

ALta before ALPS.

Are there any volcanos in the SIERRAS? MOUNT Shasta maybe?

Love the CAMPERVAN Beethoven video link, even though this puzzle wasn't really a cracker.

Masked and Anonymous 11:02 AM  

Kinda neat. A volcano named MOUNT TRASHART. Nice E/W symmetry. I can see the cone, with the ash spewin out and with the la-va flowin down its sides.

But has anybody else noticed that there ginormous "T", hoverin dead center, right above the volcano rim? Is that part of the picture? It's like the gorilla in the sauna room here, for a confused M&A.
Possible Big T interpretations:

1. Plunger. Sorta like on the top of a dynamite detonator.
2. Screw cap. Used to keep yer lava fresh.
3. Advertisin sign to help tourists spot the volcano from a distance. "T" standin for TRASHART, of course.
4. T could stand for "Top", as in "this end up". Handy, when the cone structure is removed for cleanin or refuelin.
5. It's a sorta pedestal, to display the MOUNT "revealer" on. With ERROR & DELTA there as paddin, used to gain extra height. yeah … didn't think so, on that one.
5. Constructioneer desperation. (M&A's fave theory.)

Pretty easy solvequest, at our house. MEDIASHY & TRASHART mighta snorted up a few extra nanoseconds, as they came up early, before I caught on to the "fill in the ASHes" mcguffin.

staff weeject pick: ASH. honorable mention to LA & VA.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Mr's. Higbee & Chenmeister. Congratz to Lee Higbee, on yer debut. Volcanic(al).

Masked & Anonymo4Us


**gruntz**

Newboy 11:02 AM  

Best thing about today’s puzzle experience was reading the background at xwordinfo. Having experienced Mt St. Helens from one state over and downwind, I’m trying to visualize SIXTY times that impact....there was no 😷 controversy that May! Congrats to Lee for his perseverance that lead to a NYT debut—a feat many of the commentariat have aspirations toward but seldom achieved. I hope to someday take the training wheels off 5x5 grids. So BRAVA to Lee & appreciation for Mr. Chen whose support of all things Crossworld is laudable. And Dr. Google confirmed that they didn’t make up T SLOT, so I actually learned a new term for that thingie on the back of my SHINBUYA wall hanging!

JD 11:02 AM  

@Reno, Are they still giving Rorschach tests? Peas Hooter (I'm laughing while I'm typing) would require one hooter to be equal to multiple peas. It makes no sense ... but I'm still laughing and I wish I weren't!

@Elaine, I think if it's a diva up there you go with Brava.

@Unknown, Ashe? Funny! Not funny like Peashooter, but funny.

BTW, I wonder if this easier puzzle had run yesterday (themed Tuesday, why not, the world's gone mad), and a simple letter "I" instead of "O" would've been been more commendable editing.

TTrimble 11:12 AM  

@Whatsername

If SUDOKU used the letters A through I instead of the numbers 1 through 9, would it make a difference migraine-wise, do you think?

It's mostly a logic puzzle, but with some appeal to human vision. The numbers are just incidental tokens. Letters or hieroglyphs would serve just as well.

For those of you who really do enjoy number puzzles, I recommend the puzzle site Calcudoku. It's basically Ken Ken but with greater variety, including some with operators beyond +, -, x, /: exponentiation, bitwise-or (think Nim), mod, ... (They also throw in ordinary Sudoku, but it's deprecated.)

Birchbark 11:23 AM  

TEn card stud --> TEXAS HOLD 'EM. The latter is correct, but the former is (or would be, if it were real) of the intensity one so often associates with spewing volcanoes.

STEWART crossing PEA SHOOTER. James STEWART starred in a radio program called "The SIX SHOOTER," which broadcasts from time to time on satellite radio. He is the friendliest, most soft-spoken, quick-draw gunfighter you'd ever want to ride with.

OffTheGrid 11:29 AM  

Haven't read Rex yet. Did I miss a revealer? Haven't made sense of circled letters yet. I thought the puzzle was tough but not unfair. Liked it.

Nancy 11:35 AM  

@Pamela -- What a childhood! Gathering around the piano singing G&S. I'm so envious! My parents played G&S for me on records and imbued me with a lifelong appreciation of the music, the lyrics and the satiric plots and, yes, Gilbert was an equal opportunity satirist -- mostly poking fun at his own society. To have a whole family who could sing and play piano -- including a father who could sing both tenor and bass -- what a treat that must have been.

Too bad @Oisk so seldom comes to the blog anymore. He's an avid G&S devotee, knows every song from even their most obscure shows -- his knowledge way eclipses mine -- and I bet he'd be even more envious of your childhood than I am. I met him once at a G&S production in NYC -- I think it was "Iolanthe", but I'm not 100% sure. (My awful memory and all that.)

David 11:43 AM  

As usual I ignored the theme, I liked a lot of the fill. Only thing that gave me pause was CD tower. That's so 80s.

Not too sure about "scan in" either, I just scan things.

Overall enjoyable and properly Wednesdayish for me. Only two unknown actors easily filled by crosses, that's a treat.

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

past tense ATE AT

Whatsername 12:05 PM  

@Anonymous (10:58) The answer to 3D is not AT EAT. It’s ATE AT as in past tense of eat at. One of those things it’s a bit tricky to see.

@TTrimble (11:12) that’s a great question and the answer is probably no, it would not make a difference. You made me realize it’s not necessarily the numbers I object to so much as the arrangement and nature of the process. I also hate those “find the word“ puzzles where you have to locate different words going up and down, back-and-forth and diagonally. Basically I have the same reaction to them as I do to SUDOKU. Very interesting observation. Now I realize maybe it’s not the numbers I hate but just the way the puzzle works.

burtonkd 12:18 PM  

@Nancy - Speaking of G&S memory, I conducted Mikado a decade ago (Middle School with small orchestra), but had to look up the songs on Wikipedia to get the tunes going back in my head. I would remember all the tempi and notes with a little refresher the score, but plots are hopeless.

Joe Dipinto 12:19 PM  

@burtonkd – I'm pretty sure the bottom Variety puzzle on Sundays used to follow an 8-week cycle that basically went:

1.Acrostic
2.Cryptic
3.Acrostic
4.Diagramless
5.Acrostic
6.Puns & Anagrams
7.Acrostic
8.Whatever (Split Decisions; Inward/Outward Circles; various types of WS Word Brainteasers; etc.)

The Acrostic stills recurs every other week but I'm not sure about the rest of it. I agree it seems like there's been a longer gap between Diagramlesses lately.

Jesse 12:26 PM  

As a western states alpinist/mountineer, I have one gripe with this puzzle. The western range is the "Sierra", not "Sierras". "Sierra" is Spanish for "range of mountains" and is already plural.

Ed C 12:31 PM  

I guess I have a different reaction to limey than some others here. Surprised anyone is cool with it since this forum so often calls out even potentially offensive language. My very biased Irish father was staunchly pro-Irish, anti-British and always used the term limey as an insult. I don’t know it any other way. It’s derogatory.

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

Those racists and cultural appropriators at TC are airing Auntie Mame tonight. In prime time no less.
Maybe some of the wise people here can pen. Strongly worded letter. Or lead. Protest.
Next thing you know they’ll be showing Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. So much hate in the world

jb129 12:35 PM  

This is the first time I didn't finish a Wednesday in a long time :(

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

@mathgent

His wife, Steffi Graf, is the only owner of a true Golden Slam, having won requisite tournaments in a single year, 1988.

bauskern 12:45 PM  

A tricky Wednesday, and the embedded "picture" of a volcano didn't bother me in the least. I've only had chocolate MOUSSE; what other flavors are there? Well, I see that there is pumpkin mousse, but anyone who enjoys eating pumpkin when it is not in a pie . . . . Hmmm
I've always thought the plural of Sierra is . . . . [drum roll] Sierra.

Teedmn 12:52 PM  

I thought this was kind of cute and had some nice fill. I circled the clue for HOLIER (43D). I tried to come up with some clue where the moth was trying to be HOLIER than thou but it wasn't meshing.

Because Rex is right and the grid art doesn't scream volcano until after the solve (if then), I didn't figure out the theme until the LAVAs showed up. Until then, I thought maybe it was depicting the demise of all of the ASH trees due to the emerald ash borer. My mother always thought ash trees were kind of ugly but I'd bet she'd be sad to see the big one in our front yard get the axe, plus all of those across the street on the golf course. It seems like just when the replacement trees get to maturity, something comes along to kill them. First the elms, now the ashes. Are the ginkgoes doomed?

Congratulations, Lee Higbie, on your NYT debut!

mathgent 1:14 PM  

@Jess (12:26). I’ve heard people say “the Sierras” all my life. Thanks for explaining the error. It’s like people out here referring to the local highway as “the El Camino.”

kitshef 1:20 PM  

@Petsounds - for what it's worth, Ku'Damm would have been even worse than Shibuya. Never heard of either one, but the latter at least follows a fairly predictable vowel-consonant pattern.

old timer 1:53 PM  

The explanation by the constructors, at xwordinfo, is truly astounding. Never heard of that huge explosion before, now I have. I too thought Mt St Helens and felt the date was wrong.

LIMEY was always an insult to British sailors, while for some reason "tar" is a kind of compliment, and all British sailors know the hymn addressed to "all our brave tars". What I never knew before today was that in some Irish circles, LIMEY is a pejorative for the English in general. The origin is indeed the LIME juice they were required to have in their grog, to prevent scurvy.

The MIKADO has one of the funniest songs ever written, performed by the Lord High Executioner. His object all sublime, he shall attain in crime: to let the punishment fit the crime, the punishment fit the crime.

I LOVED the puzzle. My one hangup, well explained here by others, was putting in "asa" where I needed ISA. As a father of three, and grandfather now of four, DIAPERBAG was a huge essential for family travel, sometimes to the SIERRAS (and yes, mountaineers are always careful to leave off that final S). In any case, the answer brought back fond (if sometimes stinky) memories.

Anonymous 2:05 PM  

I've heard lots of people say "the Sierras," and no doubt Will Shortz can dig out a dictionary that allows that absurd plural. But that doesn't make it good.

However, it would not have been hard to concoct a proper clue. Since there are also the Sierra Madre, the clue "Certain North American mountain ranges" would have been correct.

Xcentric 3:00 PM  

Liked phalanx, clue for diaper bag, little hang ups were eta before etd, asa before isa, shabuya before Shibuya, plunked (not plonked) down fetes before galas until Luigi sorted me out immediately.
Theme was clearly volcano, but couldn’t quite see the picture in the grid.
British literature is rife with delicious satire. Carroll, Swift, Shaw. G&S right up there, but sadly few “get” them in our country.
Do people actually read anymore? I have never seen a film or tv series that rivals the original books.
All in all, a passable puzzle.

rosebud 3:42 PM  

I solve with what I know first, and I loved having IDA B Wells, WILLA Cather and CARMELA Soprano to get started, and then learning what Shibuya means. I missed the theme, but got a kick out of the delicious answers, too; SPATULA- i’ve been dreaming of a piece of chocolate cake...or maybe MOUSSE. Thanks for the Wednesday smiles.

Anonymoose 3:49 PM  

LIMEY? Blimey!!

Hungry Mother 4:10 PM  

I’m fashioning a CAMPERVAN out of a small cargo van, the NV200. I’ve built bunk beds and installed a porti-potti. I’ve also fashioned a small sink out of two gallon jugs. I’m hoping that we can use it to visit our son and family in Las Vegas and to travel to and from Florida as our snowbird migration.

Crimson Devil 4:23 PM  

Ttrimble and whatsername
Re: sudoku
I read some years ago that sudoku had taken London by storm, and thought it must be because Brits had not been exposed to KenKen yet.
I plan to look for Calcudoku, though if it’s anywhere near calculus, I’m out.

TTrimble 4:42 PM  

@Crimson Devil

Despite the name, a very different skill set from calculus. Good math-y brain workouts though. The puzzles are much richer than Sudoku.

Barbara S. 4:46 PM  

Terribly late today, but -- Hey! – check this out (lyrics from “The Mikado”).

Volcanoes have a splendour that is grim
And earthquakes only terrify the dolts
But to him who’s scientific
There’s nothing that terrific
In the falling of a flight of thunderbolts!

Wonder if our constructors knew about the (admittedly tenuous) volcano/Mikado connection. IDA could have been a G&S reference, too, "Princess Ida."

Mini-naticked on the cross of RODAN and ALITO, but figured it had to be a vowel, so got out of it. Not being American, my knowledge of U.S. Supreme Court Justices is spotty at best.

I’ve only ever read WILLA Cather’s name – never heard it pronounced. Does it rhyme with “bather” (or “father” or “lather”)?

I liked the spewing mountain with its ASH and LAVA – saw it right away. Oddly my first thought at 5A was "mauna" rather than MOUNT. EASE and EARS symmetrically arranged tickled me, also liked the juxtaposition of LIEV and LEST, OKRA and ARCS, IDA and ADO. (Didn't we just have Liev mere days ago? Is he becoming the new Issa Rae?)

****SBEE****
I agree about the crunchy SB yesterday. Especially liked it after I got QB! I'm two words down in today's, but already learned a completely new word after punching in random letters that were accepted. I looked it up and...well, well, well.

The Joker 4:53 PM  

That is so derivative. Har!

Barbara S. 5:18 PM  

I knew I forgot something -- part of Christmas dinner in my household is an absolutely delicious lemon MOUSSE. It's somewhat fiddly to make and I usually palm it off on my sister, who's so much better in the kitchen than I. But we all love it and think it's well worth any trouble. I'm a huge fan of chocolate MOUSSEs, too, but this lemon variation is a bit of an antidote to all the chocolate everyone's already been eating and it's nice and light after turkey et al.

Taffy-Kun 5:39 PM  

I fondly remember my uncle, a huge, almost unschooled coal miner, singing the title role in the local chapel production of “The Mikado”. He also sang the bass solos in Handel’s “Messiah”.

TTrimble 5:50 PM  

---[SB Alert]---

Made QB today! But, for me it was a bit funky. Perhaps not quite to the extent of Monday's, but still.

(I don't believe I'm spoiling anything, but I guess we'll see.)

Pamela 6:01 PM  

——-SB——-

Wooeee!, QB! Oh, the last word was soooo satisfying!

Whew!

Anoa Bob 6:01 PM  

I think "grid art" is close to being an oxymoron so when I solved this last night, I was not impressed. On reexamination today, however, I started to warm to it. Maybe it was the glow of the LAVA. @M&A, I interpreted that giant T as evidence that the MOUNT had just blown its top. Its dimensions fit perfectly as a plug for the volcano. Your suspicion, however, that it was a TOC (tee of convenience) has merit.

The fill hit the sweet spot for me several times. Lived and worked in the Tokyo area in the 80s. A typically venture for us would be a train ride to the downtown area and then a subway ride to one of many districts, such as SHIBUYA, so that was a nice memory-jogger.

Speaking of memory-joggers, Hong Kong was a regular port of call for U.S. Navy ships for some R&R after being deployed in the Tonkin Gulf off the coast of Vietnam for several weeks. This was in the 60s so there usually was a British warship or two there. We would often run into a group of LIMEYs when we were out in town. Never thought of the term as derogatory. We had to sign up for a six-year hitch but the LIMEYs had to sign up for nine. The would say loudly and proudly "Four years for the country and five years for the Queen!" They were a fun loving group and partied like a bunch of drunken sailors. We fit right in.

The term comes from the British Navy's use of lime juice as an ingredient in the sailor's daily grog to prevent scurvy. I see at wiki that they instituted this policy in 1795. Captain Cook, whose voyages in 1768-71 earned him the title The Great Navigator, pioneered the importance of a good diet in maintaining the crews' health. Long voyages had always been plagued with high rates of crew sickness and death. The good Captain changed that.
At every port Cook would barter with locals for fresh food, especially vegetables and fruits. Because of its excellent nutritional profile, great taste and widespread availability, one of his favorite foods was the venerable OKRA.

BarbieBarbie 6:42 PM  

@GilI: I grew up with Gilbert and Sullivan. The D’oyly Carte Opera Company used to come to San Francisco every so often and my parents took the family to as many as they could fit in or afford, So I got to see the great Martyn Greene in a lot of roles. He was so fantastic in Iolanthe. And, I was educated in why some of the jokes that didn’t seem too funny to us would have tickled an Englishman of the era. It’s those jokes that I think are passing a lot of people by these days. And just as well.

I can’t recall a performance of Mary Had a Little Lamb, but you know best, I guess.

SusanRST 7:16 PM  

Someone up there said STAT was the answer, not ASAP, but happy it was my only misfire today, & special where I have days with so many more.

@ANOA BOB Nice history for LIMEY, I lived in Osaka in 80s and in Tokyo early 90s...loved Shibuya For conveyor belt sushi and superb people watching around that dog statue, the meetup spot for good GABs. But fashion? Harajuku is the place if you are into anime cosplay, Roppongi for the better-heeled & boutiques galore, and Ginza, (¥¥¥¥¥) where you can get a PEARL or two or thirty, and all the fashion one can stand. Everywhere CABS.

Big THX to the constructors with the G&S clue. Such great times at home singing together round the piano. So many...words. My middle brother, a nimble, light tenor, worked up the Nightmare song and pulled it out at parties to raucous acclaim. HOO boy it was fun.

As quickly (for me) as I got though this puzzle, I struggled with the SB. No QB for me.



egsforbreakfast 7:18 PM  

@ Barbara S. 4:46. Lather

Eniale 7:38 PM  

Ate at

Anonymous 7:58 PM  

I wouldn't pronounce Cather to rhyme with bather, father, or lather.

To me (and I could very well be wrong), the Cath part is like bath (pronounced the American way, not bahth). Then the er is pronounced as in any of the above words.

If I'm wrong, my second guess would be to rhyme with lather.

albatross shell 8:35 PM  

@Ed C
Don't teally know, and its dangerous territory, but those Irish that use limey as an insult also use English as an insult?

GILL I. 8:54 PM  

@BarbieB 6:42....I think it's great that you were educated in the Englishman's jokes. I kinda was too. While I didn't grow up with G&S, I'm pretty sure that I've met satire and irony and I can pick them out of a line-up. I suppose your: "People worship G&E and don't understand a lot of the satire" is what gave me the big HUH. Why yes....there are people who do get irony and those that don't. There are people who think LIMEY is pejorative and those that don't....It's just that you made a blanket statement that seemed odd to me.....

As far as Mary and her little lamb goes. Well...he followed her to school one day and broke the teacher's rule. I love absurdity...Do you think a child even believes that one? And no...I don't always know best.

Barbara S. 10:36 PM  

@egs & @Anonymous 7:58
Thanks for input.

old timer 1:31 AM  

'Broke the teacher's rule" is a modern substitution. In the original published version, Mary bringing the lamb to school was "against the rule". In the later song, it was "against the rules".

However, the children would have enjoyed seeing the lamb break the teacher's rule, meaning the ferule or rod used to administer punishment for minor infractions, or to keep order in the class. It was a symbol of the teacher's authority.

Swagomatic 2:35 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
albatross shell 5:51 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 4:57 PM  

Responding on the "Bugged no end" = ATEAT:

It's not AT EAT -- it's ATE AT, the past tense since Bugged is past tense.

What I can't figure out is the clue itself--seems like there's a typo, and it should be "Bugged _to_ no end." Anyone have a better parsing of it? It seems like a weird way to shorten it if the "to" is omitted.

thefogman 9:50 AM  

@anonymous 4:57 PM. Maybe the clue for 3D should be What a suckling piglet seeks.
I finished with no write-overs. Not much to GAB about here. Pretty meh. Next!

Burma Shave 10:10 AM  

GLAM CODE

CANIT be a whole PHALANX
of women DRESS IN SPANX
IN LIEU of EASE,
ORE NOT, to tease?
INDEEDY I'll say THX.

--- LIEV ALITO

spacecraft 10:32 AM  

*rant alert*

Here we go again with SITSPAT. Nobody--I mean NOBODY!--outside of a puzzle grid ever SITSPAT! They STAND, you blockheads! STAND pat, that's the expression! Get off your a$$e$ and GET IT RIGHT!

Okay, now to the rest of this...thing. Yeah, I sorta get the visual, and yeah, yeah, the stupid circles give us all the ejecta--including the lava creeping down the "rocks." But oh my, the fill! This is absolutely dreadful, and even more disappointing because I peeked at the byline. I'm gonna have to officially desert the Chen camp over this one. Too much TRASHART to list here.

And then there's something only knowable by native Japanese, or tourists there, 37a. Luckily none of the crosses produced a natick. I'm done wallowing in this STY. Double bogey.

rondo 10:44 AM  

Seemed like an odd kind of solve. Are there any volcanoes in any of the SIERRAS? I had a coupla write-over squares only because I filled in the answer to 29d in the 29a spaces. Doh! I'd give Kristen STEWART a yeah baby no matter which team she currently bats for. To get to TEXAS you've got to pass OKRA, Homer.

leftcoaster 4:06 PM  

The theme, if that's what it is, doesn't aMOUNT to much with its circled ASHes and LAVAs, presumably shooting up and tumbling down somewhere in the SIERRAs.

Got stuck in the NW with "in SITU" instead of "in LIEU", so the GLAM and the GALAS didn't show up until cheating to get LIEU. All else went well, though SITSPAT and SHIBUYA took extra time to suss out.

Was gad to get what I did, but it wasn't much fun.

Diana, LIW 5:27 PM  

I was about to give up when - boom - it all came together with a DIAPERBAG. Of all things.

Tho I did have MaUNa, and checked it and changed it to MOUNT. So a technical dnf. Still...

In the end it all SITSPAT for me.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 8:14 PM  

@ Rondo - Near Mammoth Lakes to Mono Lake in the Sierras there are many now dormant volcanoes which some day could become active. A lot of hot springs in the area which hints at possible future volcanic activity.

Anonymous 11:34 PM  

I would have thought that the English would take "LIMEY" as a badge of honor. "Yes, you can associate us with drinking lime juice, because we're the people who discovered how to prevent scurvy! If you want to scorn us for that, why don't you avoid Vitamin C and see what happens to your health?"

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