Devil may care attitude in modern parlance / WED 7-8-20 / Shoe company with fish name / Tometi activist who co-founded Black Lives Matter

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Constructor: Chase Dittrich

Relative difficulty: Easyish (3:20)

THEME: typography commands — familiar phrases with typography commands in theme have clues that make punny visual use of that typography

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Having a meal! (STRESS EATING)
  • 35A: M i l i t a r y t r a i n e e s (SPACE CADETS)
  • 42A: Downward dog (STRIKE A POSE)
  • 56A: "Will you marry me?" (BOLD PROPOSAL) (sorry, I always put theme clues/answers in bold, so the visual doesn't really come across here, just imagine the clue, uh, bolder)
Word of the Day: OPAL Tometi, activist who co-founded Black Lives Matter (38A) —
Opal Tometi (born August 15, 1984) is a Nigerian-American human rights activist, writer, strategist, and community organizer. She is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter. She is the former Executive Director of the United States’ first national immigrant rights organization for people of African descent – the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI).
Tometi brought attention to the racial inequities faced by Black people. Before that, Tometi was an active community organizer in her hometown advocating for human rights issues. She has campaigned for advancing human rights, migrant rights, and racial justice worldwide. (wikipedia)
• • •

This puzzle started out in a hole with me because my software was like "You need to read these notes" and was like "Nah, I hate notes, not doing it." Turns out I didn't really need them—I figured out what I was *supposed* to be seeing in the theme clues, even though my software didn't display them correctly. Sometimes I wish my software was more versatile, but 99% of the time there are no problems and I like the interface a lot, so I'm not changing. Anyway, the theme ... not for me. It's not unclever, but it's more ... I don't know, it's cute but not funny. I see what it's doing, the way I see what a canned joke with a punchline is doing. I never laugh at man walks into a bar-type jokes. "Get it!?" "Yes ... amusing." Just not my style of humor. And this theme was not my style of theme. I acknowledge that it is doing what it sets out to do. That's as far as I can go. The fill is below average and slightly crusty-feeling. They put a current clue on OPAL, but all that did was highlight how uncurrent and uninteresting the rest of the fill is here. It is a grid that has been designed to maximize boring fill. It looks like an empty grid you'd get off the internet somewhere. Prefab. Four themers, nine sections, meat and two veg, suit two pair of pants. Seriously, just stare at the grid for a while and watch your mind disappear into the blandness. All 3s, 4s, 5s. Yawn.

I thought I was slow at first because I couldn't get BASS at first pass (1A: Shoe company with a fish name) and then couldn't back into that NW section via STRESS EATING (yet) and so took this weird path from the upper middle to the middle and then sort of radiating out from there, with the NW coming very late (if I'd seen the SINEAD clue earlier I might've made quicker headway up there) (4D: Singer O'Connor). My slowness was very boring today. Misread the Spanish clue as a singular, not a plural (36D: Those, to José), which seems impossible—how do you misread "Those" as singular?? But still I wanted ESTO there. Weird. Also, slow on ESTAB because yuck and also the only abbr. of that word I can accept is ESTD. There's just not a lot to like here. Very old-fashioned feeling in the fill. Feel the DRY GOODS! (10D: Textiles and sundries). Is ROLO over YOLO cute? Maybe. But it's not nearly enough.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:04 AM  

Greetings from Wheelhouse City. Having set a lot of type in my day, the theme was right down my alley, as was the rest of the fill. An easy - but fun - Wednesday.

I recall there was some discussion a few weeks ago when the online version of the puzzle appeared funky and the left edge with the numbers would not print, causing paper solvers issues. We have one of those today. Here’s the solution:

Download the puzzle to your desktop and print from there. I’m on a Mac and it works for me. Your mileage may vary (but I hope it works for you, too).

jae 12:08 AM  

Easy. This falls in the category of “ignore the note and figure it out later.”

Cute, liked it. Nice debut!

At Xwordinfo Chase mentioned that his mother was a shoe designer for BASS, hence the clue for 1a. My work shoes for my entire career were BASS Weejuns. I still have a pair I bought in the ‘70s. Great shoes!

Tom R 1:08 AM  

And once again a crossword that looks different in print than it does in acrosslite. Why do they do this? I have to believe that most solvers use acrosslite so, IMO, the Times should not publish puzzles that require that note. And I don't care whether the gimmick is easy to suss out or not - its not fair.

chefwen 2:34 AM  

Printed this out in Across Lite, got the exclamation point at 20A and the extra spaces at 35A, but no strike out at STRIKE A POSE or BOLD letters at BOLD PROPOSAL. I would print it out in the newspaper format, but that cuts off the left side numbers. Anyway, got the thing done and enjoyed it regardless of the shortcomings.

Across Lite, get with the program.

Ann Howell 2:38 AM  

It was a relatively quick fill (not as quick as Rex, but I don't try to race through it - there is some pleasure in making it last), but I got a kick out of the theme. Had to go back to correct the LLOSA / NALA cross, as I've never seen The Lion King (or maybe just once way back when?) and can never remember the names (wanted NYLA). Nice mid-week dalliance over breakfast.

Cristi 2:44 AM  

Equaled my best Wednesday, even though I took a moment to register puzzlement/disgust at the tone deafness of 6-down NOLE, as in Seminole, as in victim of genocide caricatured on a football helmet. What OPAL giveth NOLE taketh away. I suppose there may have been an imperative to get it in before the unannounced-but-surely-forthcoming mascot change?

Brenton 2:55 AM  

Why do you always need puzzles to be current? Maybe just give puzzles a current letter grade and move on.

A fun, easy theme to go with a fun, easy puzzle.


goldbug 4:03 AM  

For what it's worth, it all worked fine in the NYT Crossword app.

Ben 4:30 AM  

I believe "esto" is "this," not "that," so even if the clue had been singular, that would be incorrect.

Lewis 5:55 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 5:58 AM  

Congratulations on the debut, Chase, and enjoy this day!

Cluing felt Tuesdayish but the theme got me thinking about word picture puzzles, so my brain got its fix, as right after the solve it threw me the following three. They don't exactly fit the theme of today's puzzle, but my brain didn't care:




(Capital crime, double date, advice column.)

Anonymous 6:04 AM  

For a moment, the druids brought comic relief to Star Wars. Those crazy kids!

amyyanni 6:12 AM  

And BAM! Lewis is onto a new puzzle! Wish my mind was that nimble. This was delightful. Also a fan of Bass shoes and moms who get you started on xwords. Happy Hump Day, to anyone still keeping track.

Anonymous 6:19 AM  

I don’t get “strike a pose” answer. Help please.

Hungry Mother 6:37 AM  

PR today! I wasn’t really rushing, but the solve just flowed without ebb.

pabloinnh 6:40 AM  

I've had trouble with the left side cutoff before and someone here helpfully mentioned downloading the puzzle and printing the download so when today's version looked suspicious I tried the download idea and it worked like a charm. So thanks to whoever suggested that and I recommend it for any other paper solvers.

Bass Weejuns/penny loafers are the footwear of choice for my do-wop group, along with jeans and our group t-shirt. Strangely the ones I was wearing thirty years ago when we started no longer fit. At least my t-shirt does.

Didn't see any notes about this one but the gimmick was easy enough to see and I enjoyed it. A little on the easy side for a Wed., nothing remarkable but overall solid.

Congrats on the debut CD, keep 'em coming.

Hungry Mother 6:46 AM  


(Lawyer up)

QuasiMojo 6:47 AM  

Loved it!

Lewis, I thought of one but can't figure out how to write it here. Visually it would have X's or a line through "Male Offspring." STET SON.

Another one would be invisible, a non-answer. CUT TO THE CHASE.

GILL I. 6:59 AM  

I just love meeting up. with a coincidence....Just yesterday while doing my little power walk - earbuds correctly installed - I was listening to my man, ISAAC Hayes and belting out at the top of my lungs, "Never Can Say Goodbye.".....TELL ME WHY....IS IT SO.
Cmon...this was fun. No note for me. When someone slips you a note, it's always bad news.
Let's see.....Got me the STRESS EATING right away and the mind starts to wander. I can't imagine being a stress eater. I love food; I love to eat, I love the word love and use it a lot. I have a very good friend who couldn't care less about food. We'll go to a restaurant and I devour the menu. She just orders a ham and cheese sandwich with plain white bread - no mayo or anything - just a little bit of vegan butter. I order the fresh oysters, followed by a quiche with gruyere, a small baguette with French butter and a glass of pinot. I'm not a cheap date.
When I got to BOLD PROPOSAL, I let out another smile. I remember when #1 husband did that thing. We'd been together for over a year and I just assumed we'd get around to doing it. No hurry...just enjoy this delicious relationship - don't ruin it. Anyway, both of us travelled a lot and we'd relish the meeting up when we could. He surprised me one day by coming to San Francisco and asking me out for lunch. We went to this dive Irish pub on Union Square; ordered fish and chips and when his beer came he, he wiped his mouth and gave me this greasy package and told me to open it. It was a diamond. He's some cool dude....Been together for over 34 years.
This was a nice Wed., Chase. Anything that brings on a smile is good by me.

Another Anon 7:02 AM  

@Anonymous 6:19. Try googling "downward dog".

Z 7:03 AM  

@Anon6:19 - Downward Dog is a yoga POSE.

Tombstone came out 27 years ago and half the co-stars are dead. I guess Shortz thought we needed the extra help, but that one caught my “don’t skew ‘dead’” arched eyebrow.

Favorite clue of the last 24 hours came from a different puzzle, “Korn/Bread mix, say.” The image of David Gates in dreadlocks singing Nu Metal (or is it Nü Metal?) has been cracking me up since yesterday. That’s the kind of chortle I’d like to see more of in the NYTX. NALA going to Mardi Gras in NOLA while eating a ROLO and yellingYOLO doesn’t quite do it for me (is chocolate bad for lions or is that just a dog thing?)

Irene 7:08 AM  

My first encounter with the word TARE. A cool word for something I didn't know had a name. Thanks, Chase.

ChuckD 7:18 AM  

Cute and easy enough but on the whole pretty flat. The theme dropped quickly - the grid left a lot of short, blah fill. I guess ISAAC Hayes is nice to see - and always love a Little Rascals reference but the rest of it did nothing for me. NOLE, NALA and NOLA together?? Time for a run.

kitshef 7:27 AM  

Back-to-back great, Thursday-worthy themes. You make your themes this interesting, and you can do (almost) anything you want with the fill and still get my thumb up.

SPACE CADETS felt like a minor cheat as the other three are type styles while that one is ... something else. Once you stray outside the type styles you allow all kinds of things like ecnalg for 'backwards glance' or midmandle for 'man in the middle'.

kitshef 7:29 AM  

@Anon 6:19 - the printing type where all the letters are crossed out is called 'strike-through'. Technically maybe the answer should be 'strikethroughapose', but STRIKE seems like an acceptable shorthand.

KnittyContessa 7:36 AM  

I solved this in the app and didn't see any notes. Easy to figure out, though. Fun and easy solve except for one little square. I never heard of the author LLOSA and have no idea how Jose says "those."

Been a long time since DARLA showed up in a puzzle!

@Lewis, @Hungrymother good ones!

SouthsideJohnny 7:41 AM  

A lot of it was Tuesday-ish easy, although I couldn’t close out the center. I don’t know of Mr. LLOSA, nor do I know the fictional character NALA and I don’t speak Spanish, so ESOS was out of reach as well. I have a recurring beef with this type of constructing and editing - I have been doing the puzzles on a daily basis for 5+ years now, and it is my contention that a reasonably experienced solver should have at least a fighting chance at solving the puzzle without being a Trivia Buff. So I basically got triple-naticked on a Weds. Enjoyed the wordplay parts. I’ve hated the “memorize and regurgitate” type tests since High School.

TJS 8:09 AM  

So this is what we are supposed to accept as a Wednesday challenge these days.Read the clue, fill in the answer, next ! Very versatile because you can fill this one just using the across clues or just using the downs. I'm thinking all the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday submissions are all in the same box these days, just reach in and pick one out. So if you have been doing puzzles for more than a few years, as I have, we are actually paying for 3 days per week of, hopefully, something more than a waste of time. Oh, and the archive, thank god.

Bubbabythebay 8:20 AM  

@LMS I thought the second one was MAYDAY MAYDAY

Nancy 8:29 AM  

The theme was an IT'S SIMPLE one, but quite likable, with STRIKE A POSE being my favorite. But I thought the rest of the fill was pedestrian -- with ROLO, YOLO, ROO, GOO being one of the worst corners of any puzzles I've ever seen. Alas, the other corners weren't all that great either. A good idea that's not very well executed.

Petsounds 8:36 AM  

Love fonts and all things typographic, so this puzzle was most enjoyable. (So were the examples from @Lewis.) The fill wasn't the star, for sure; basic, but not eyeroll-worthy. Liked the clues for ROE and OPAL. But it was the theme that made this one. And yo, Rex: What's wrong with DRYGOODS as a term? It's perfectly legitimate. Does everything have to be something that appeared in print for the first time within the last week? Geez.

When I was in junior high, if you didn't wear Bass Weejuns and wheat jeans, it was clear you were out of it and not going to have a successful life. Then the Beatles and Mary Quant and Carnaby Street came along, and Bass Weejuns seemed so quaint and old-fashioned. I put my pair away and never looked back.

Today is the first time I've ever heard of Across Lite. Is it really better than just doing the puzzle online, on the Times puzzle page? It seems people using that software had trouble today, but everything was clear on the Times page.

Anonymous 8:47 AM  

In printing, drawing a line through a word or words is called “striking” and “downward dog” is a yoga pose.

Nancy 8:48 AM  

Great additions, Lewis! I couldn't figure out any of them.

Z 8:51 AM  

@Petsounds - AcrossLite has been around a long time. I don't think that is the software Rex uses (I think it is Black Ink - see question #1 on the FAQ page). Crossword is another popular app, it's what I use for BEQ and the Saturday Stumper because they download automatically. Several outlets use a web app that's okay (but I usually just print out the puzzles). The best at replicating what appears in the paper is PuzzAzz, but it is only available for Apple mobile devices. The NYT app has improved, but still sometimes can't manage to faithfully replicate what appears in the print version. Shortz is still the most likely to accept and publish a puzzle that confounds software, which makes the proprietary app's failures a little ironic.

mathgent 8:54 AM  

The theme is a little sloppy. I like BOLDPROPOSAL and STRIKEAPOSE, but the other two aren’t in the same groove. They would have to be STRESS-ED EATING and SPACE-ED CADETS.

I also didn’t like the clue for PREOP, “About to go under the knife ...” You can’t naturally substitute one for the other. We don’t say “He’s preop,” we say “He’s in preop.”

Almost all mid-sized entries. Only eight threes (good), only 14 six-or-mores (bad).

I have some Martini & ROSSI sweet vermouth almost every night. I pour a jigger of VO whiskey into a glass and add three-quarters of a jigger of vermouth. I call It a Manhattan, but a real Manhattan is made of rye, is at least two-to-one (often three-to-one), and iced.

Is there anything about the puzzle that you liked? Yes. STOOPTO, CASTDOUBT, and learning that SAFARI is a word in Swahili.

JD 9:01 AM  

Fun and clever! Started with the acrosses and wasn't getting the theme. At Downward Dog, thought, "No Asana? Huh?" Reached Bold Proposal and ding! Ran back, filled it in, and done.

I'd like to take this opportunity though to say how much I dislike italics. All caps, bold, that'll get the message across. Italics? Can't even stand up straight and say what it's thinking.

True @TJS, if you're working your way through the archive, the difference in Wednesdays is dramatic. But I stubbornly hung onto The New Yorker for a few more years just for the archives ... post WW II fiction was incredible ... and that access made the price well worth it.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

Way too easy for a Wednesday.

RooMonster 9:36 AM  

Hey All !
NYT site had the correct clue appearances. It's no fun when you don't get the clues the way they are meant. It ruins the puz for me. Sure, you can complete it, but if you don't get the theme, what's the point?
This puz would've been that way sans proper clues, just having the note.

Anyway, haven't seen anyone complain about the "theme in the clues". I know a few here don't like that. I think it's fine. Fun, even.

Rex's unmodern? What about SPACE CADETS? The Space Force is quite new. Just sayin'.

I liked this puz. It's got a ROO, so what's not to like? 😋 That corner with the ROLO over YOLO is odd, but did get that ROO in.

AEIOU over VOCAB is iffy, too, but defensible with the Downs.

So liked, some nits, a nice debut. (How's that for decisive?)

Two F's
One ROO (twice in a row!)

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

About half the stars in Tombstone are dead?!! Huh? Powers Boothe, Bill Paxton and Carlton Heston are toes up, everybody else is alive and kicking. And that’s being generous. The stars of Tombstone are Delaney, Kilmer and Russel.

pyroclasts 9:53 AM  

Would’ve preferred STRUCK a pose since that fits the tense better

As a 22 yo though, clues like DARLA and DRYGOODS are brutal. I’ve literally never heard of the term “DRY GOODS”

Overall, I agree with Rex (which, generally, I don’t!) Whole puzzle felt dated, like it’s straight out of the 1930s

Petsounds 9:55 AM  

@Z: Thanks for the tutorial! I'm gonna take a look at AcrossLite, just for fun. I've never had any issues with the Times puzzle page, but it would be interesting to see what else is available.

pmdm 9:56 AM  

My subscription includes access to the Replica Edition. I imagine it costs more than just a subscription to the puzzle, but if I needed to, I could print the puzzle exactly as it appears in the print edition. I would certainly be unhappy if I paid for something that is deficient. But I would either wind up paying a bit more or stop complaining, because I would have the ability to solve the probem if I realy wanted.

And speaking of complaining. If a person uniformly dislikes things like notes that accompany crossword puzzles, what the person says about any notes will most likely be redundant. I did not have to read the write up to know what it would say about the notes. I guess it is useful to those who are new to this site. But for me, repetitive grumbling in not exactly compelling to me. So I'll not follow my own suggestion and complain that I disliked the PPP in the grid today which defeated me. Not that it was excessive or even that difficult for most. But alas, it defeated me. Even when I can figure out the correct answer from the crosses, for whatever reason my solving experience will suffer.

On a more positive note, I am very happy to greet new constructors to the NYT community. And I am quite delighted by both today and yesterday's theme.

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

in the paper, 20A was going to be 'ITALICIZED...', 35A wasn't obviously different, too much; and 42A looked as much like a printing smear (in any case, 'trainees' aren't cadets, who are (traditionally) students of the various military academies), just bootcamp-ers. 56A hit the spot.

odd coincidence: AEIOU 62A appears in the obit for a 'New Yorker' cartoonist today; in one of his drawings 'Writer's Block'.

JC66 10:01 AM  

Why do I get the feeling that @Rex's review would have been quite different if he'd gotten BASS (1A) right out of the gate?

jberg 10:06 AM  

I could see that it was STRESS EATING, but hadn’t noticed the italics; then I got to SPACE CADETS, took another clue, and bingo! I liked it.

@z, I think those superfluous details are distraction, Not extra help. Same with the clue for IKEA.

I don’t accept the idea that a theme has to make you laugh. It can, but it just needs to be, uh, puzzling.

bauskern 10:10 AM  

@ JC66 10:01 Because that is how the world works.

But for the LLOSA / NALA cross (I've never seen Lion King, so shame on me), this was a fine puzzle, maybe a tad easy for a Wednesday, but seriously folks, with virus cases spiking across the rest of the country, and with absolutely no coordinated federal response, do we really need to be nitpicking over some clues that strike some as a little stale? If so, we're doomed.

Carola 10:14 AM  

Very cute. I think I recall seeing a similar typographic trick, but I thought this one stood out for the lively theme phrases (my favorite, too, was the the inspired STRIKE A POSE) - plus we get DRY GOODS, CAST DOUBT, and thankfully only one LIMA BEAN, which is about my limit.

Random typographical tidbit: in German publishing, the convention for putting STRESS on a word is to SPACE the letters apart, rather than italicizing them, the term for which is Sperrdruck.

@mathgent 8:54 - I think they all work if you read them as instructions, with STRESS, SPACE, STRIKE, and BOLD as imperative verb forms.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

Charlton Heston

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

according to the wiki, there have been 16 teeVee/film versions about the Gunfight. seems like a lot for a 30 second lead orgy.

"The six or seven men with guns fired about 30 shots in around 30 seconds."
the wiki

'Hour of the Gun', James Garner, may be more interesting. most of it deals with the less well documented revenge posse that the Earps undertook after the Gunfight.

Newboy 10:39 AM  

“Cute,” he says & I agree. I was thinking how perfectly balanced this puzzle was for a Wednesday morning: cute, but easily doable with a typographical theme that affirms that YOLO so fill in the DAMN grid and get outta bed! I can see Rex’s reservations for the training wheels fill that keeps this puppy upright — but it is just Wednesday. And there are some wonderful gender/ethnicity vibrations raised by those short entries; strong women surround Senor LLOSA with SINEAD, OPAL, LOREN and ROE. The more I look, the more I like what these evocative entries recall to mind.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

It’s simple as green pain.

mathgent 10:54 AM  

@Carola (10:14). I agree, thinking of the first words as commands works. But BOLD isn’t used as a verb commonly. People don’t say “Bold that word.” They say “Boldface that word.”

Nancy 11:04 AM  

I agree! Old skewing puzzles are easy for me- I’m old!!!! Loved this as I expect th puzzles to get tougher starting on wed. This was a pleasure!!

Bax'N'Nex 11:05 AM  

So a puzzle now has to be "funny" not just "cute" for Mike to approve. Jeesh!

Can't believe no comment on "KAYO". I am a rube to the intricacies of puzzledom...just love doing them. But even I hate "Kayo". But the puzzle was fun (if not "funny"). Thank you, Chase.

Pyroclasts @9:53 That's one of the great things about X-words.. I am 60 and STILL learn stuff really often by doing these here puzzles. And the stuff you will be able to answer on Jeopardy expands exponentially. (Hopefully Jeopardy, and especially Alex, come back soon!)

Peace and Love, peace and love!

Carola 11:17 AM  

@mathgent 10:54 - Yes, I agree that BOLD as a stand-alone verb is iffy. I've heard it used in copyediting conversations, but in looking for support in online dictionaries before I posted above, I came up empty.

Crimson Devil 11:28 AM  

Took my own S.A.T. , thank you, ‘bout same time as Joe (nom de plume for L’Orange) , sporting my BASS Weejuns as I recall.
Good to see DARLA.

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

Hopefully Jeopardy, and especially Alex, come back soon!

soon after Covid was recognized, there were reports that Jeopardy! was taping without audience, but I never saw such episodes. a few weeks with 'taped in Feb. 2020' (or such) at the beginning of the show, with normal audience, then one of the tournaments from then (apparently broadcast way before normal schedule) and then into re-runs.

jberg 11:34 AM  

Back from the dog walk, can say a bit more.

Personally, I loved seeing DRY GOODS. I loved "sundries" in the clue even more. Great terms from old-timey retail, when it was pretty common to hear that someone ran a dry goods store. From some of the comments, I guess it's generational.

@Gill-- I laughed out loud at the image of you devouring the menu while your friend had a cheese sandwich; but then I read on and realized that you were speaking figuratively. Your actual meal sounds wonderful! On the other hand, was that Lefty O'Doul's where your husband proposed? Great atmosphere and sense of history, but the one time I went there the food was a big disappointment.

Meanwhile, I've been wondering all morning whether it could possibly be true that more people use AcrossLite than solve in the paper. Certainly more people who come here use AcrossLite, but this is a community of serious solvers. There must be an awful lot of people who buy the paper and solve the puzzle casually, and would never dream of paying extra for solving online. That's just my personal take on it, though -- if anyone has statistics, I'd love to hear them.

jberg 11:38 AM  

@RPVC Cameroon, from yesterday -- thanks for the iced tea link! I'd seen that article, but couldn't get myself to believe that steeping tea at room temperature would bring out all the flavors. I guess I should try it; but also, I've made iced tea from hot tea several times, and it does not always get cloudy -- so I am hoping to figure out what the other variable is.

egsforbreakfast 11:44 AM  

To me, the three aspects of a themed puzzle that affect its “enjoyability quotient”, in order of importance are :

1. The insight that made the constructor notice how some, generally mundane or obvious, phenomenon might be linked to words in non-obvious ways as a theme.
2. The extent of “clue cleverness”. Some words, like apse or aloe, are so specific that it’s hard to work much cleverness into the clue. If you look at their history, apse has been used 615 times in the Shortz era, and the clues are all basically “part of a church”. Similarly, aloe, with 1125 occurrences, is always clued more or less like “medicinal plant”. These words are often the best possible to fit a given constructing need, but aren’t cleverly cluable. But, to the extent that clever clues do appear, the more there are, the greater my enjoyment, particularly if the answer if an often-used one but is clued in a novel and clever way.
3. The actual fill words. This is where I disagree with Rex. It doesn’t decrease my enjoyment to see DRYGOODS, even though it is not a current term. If it is clued well, then it’s a plus, if not, it’s still a neutral. Only real crosswordese, like ETUI” and obscure PPP rate a negative in this category.

I think, and I’m just formulating all of this right now, that I would weight the three categories on a scale of 1 - 5, and weight them as
1. Theme score x 3
2. Clue cleverness x2
3. Fill quality x 1

Then adding them gives me the LOVE (Likeability OVerall for Egs) score.

Today’s puz gets:
4 x3 = 12 Theme + 2 x 2 = 4 CC + 2 x 1 = 2 Fill = 18 LOVE.

This being the first application, I don’t know for sure how 18 out of a possible 30, which is pretty much in line with my feeling after solving. Good, but not special. I’ll keep track of LOVE ( ❤️ ) scores for a while and report.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

I am within shouting distance of Orange Julius' age, and getting a ringer into either PSAT or SAT would have taken some doing. Both were administered at my city high school, so getting a ringer would have been difficult, since everyone knew everyone. In Queens, I suspect that it went the same way. Where I lived, nearby small town kids had to come to my high school for both tests; easier to pull off. Moreover, I haven't the book, but some who have and talk on the teeVee, disagree on what happened:
1 - Joe took the SAT so Orange could 'get into' Wharton
2 - Joe took the SAT so Orange could 'transfer' to Wharton

Neither makes any sense.
1 - Orange didn't get accepted to Wharton (BBA program) so Orange ended up at that commuter school called Fordham, so Joe musn't have been all that good a test taker. Either that, or Orange is even dumber with worse grades than we thought so Joe's 1,600 wasn't enough.
2 - Orange did get 'help' to transfer into Wharton as a junior, but I've never heard of taking another SAT for that purpose.

JD 12:02 PM  

@Crimson, good one.

OffTheGrid 12:13 PM  

Apropos of LMS's avatar the other day, Trump's stooges are on TV right now (noon) putting lipstick on the pig of the goverment non-response to COVID. (For those who missed it the avatar was a Trump face with bright red lipstick)

Mary McCarty 12:29 PM  

Did no one else notice that BASS was 1A on both this puzzle and the mini? (Differently clued, tho.) There’s been a lot of that duplication going on. Are Fagliano and Shortz in cahoots?

Aelurus 12:31 PM  

As an editor who early on did a fair amount of marking up the resulting galleys and pages (anyone remember when there were galleys and then pages?), I did think this was cute—but in a good way. I gave the shoe company with a fish name 15 seconds to appear and when it didn’t I helped it out with the answers to 2 and 3 Down. Favorite clue, and also when I got the theme: stress eating. Who hasn’t been doing some of that? Yesterday I ate half a tube of Pringle’s after bouncing around to several stores in mask and gloves and along the way acquiring four of those items. Apparently it’s my stress eating du jour and quite appalling.
I started reading sci-fi in grade school and Robert Heinlein is still one of my favorite authors; had no idea he wrote a book called Space Cadets and wonder if he’s the source for the phrase. The Door into Summer is my favorite of those I’ve read. Give me time travel in my novels anytime. And Heinlein was ahead of his time in allowing that women had brains and could use them.
An easy, fun Wednesday puzzle—thanks, Chase!
It’s three hours earlier than New York here so still morning, and now off to my won’t-get-done-by-itself work project. I always say there are no editing emergencies, but there are deadlines and there are always those projects, editing or not, that end up taking way, way more time than originally thought. Have missed reading everyone's comments; always learn something, always get a fun laugh. Am glad the "commentunity" (@Loren's coinage) is still out there. Just before sending this I noticed that Blogger says you can use some HTML tags, so I'm trying to see if I remember the coding to make those Heinlein titles italic...

Masked and Anonymous 12:38 PM  

@RP: Didn't quite see the prefab blandness part. This puppy was pretty wide open, with only 74 words and 36 black squares. Did have them (nice) weeject lairs in the NE & SW, I'd grant. And very little scrabble-twerkin, beyond KAYO.

Sparkly stuff: IDSAYSO. STOOPTO (Always hard to clue them "to" phrases, tho). CASTDOUBT. BOOTHS. SAFARI. Maybe DRYGOODS, not so much LIMABEAN. SINEAD. SELMA. VOCAB.

staff weeject pick (of only 8 choices): GOO. Gotta like a weeject that'll stick to yer ribs.

Pretty smooth(ish) solve, overall. Biggest nano-second buster at our house: That dern LLOSA/NALA/ESOS area, smack dab in the midgrid. Didn't help that the nearby POSE part of STRIKEAPOSE was tough for m&e to get, based on not knowin what the yo-gah a downward dog meant. ["Saggy junk?", wondered M&A.] The Official M&A Help Desk Dictionary had no idea, either, btw. Nor did the neighbor's dog.

Thanx much for the capital FUN, and congratz on yer debut, Mr. Dittrich. Kinda rubbed it in, tho: the only token U in the puz was in AEIOU. Still -- good job and c'mon back. [@RP was really just cranky cuz there was only one U, I'm pretty sure.]

Masked & Anonymo1U

JC66 12:42 PM  


Email me (click on my avatar for address) and I'll send you an Embedding Cheat Sheet.

pmdm 12:51 PM  

A comment about Jeopardy relating to previous comments. A little while back they rebroadcast the 9 day faceoff between Ken, James and Brad. After those 2 weeks (the slot was pre-empted once), they aired two weeks of new live broadcasts shot apparently after social distancing began. It was obvious, since the video did not include any shots of the audience and Alex did not shake the winner's hand at the end of the game. After one of the games, there was a humorous reference to bumping elbows. Those shows were followed by the 15 shows that highlighted the 15 people who make it to the most recent tournament of champions which is currently being rebroadcast. And very soon the 6-week hiatus when repeats of the show are normally aired will be upon up. So I do not anticipate new programs until the new season begins, which is usually 2 weeks after labor day.

Teedmn 1:07 PM  

Cute theme, easy, a couple of good non-theme entries and lots of old crossword friends, so I liked it. They could have clued SCARF as "What you'll do when you're 20A".

My favorite theme was SPACE CADETS, just because.

Chase Dittrich, congratulations on your debut.

And Anon 6:04, thanks for the laugh. The Jedi seem vaguely druidic but they certainly didn't provide comic relief. (Yes, I know they're Jedi "knights".)

Ferguson 1:09 PM  

I agree on the speed issue. Half the fun is taking time to work thru the solution. It can’t be fun just entering words as fast as possible. I like to savor the solve if you will especially T F SA and I’ve taken up to 45 minutes to finish Sunday and still had fun!

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

I’m sure the accusations in the book are false. But what is BBA program? I don’t have any idea what Wharton was offering the 60s but for many years now, their undergrad degrees have been plain old Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science.

Frantic Sloth 1:26 PM  


Easy for a Wednesdee, but I liked it okay. Otherwise, I can't even be bothered to stand up straight and say what I'm thinking.


Anonymous 1:33 PM  

BBA - Bachelor of Bus. Admin.

not to be confused with a Wharton MBA - Masters etc., for which Wharton generally ranks up with Harvard, Stanford, etc. the BBA isn't, and wasn't, much. anywhere.

his academic accomplishments, sans scores, are a fact. where he went and how he got there are on the record. in due time Joe will show up, sans dead. Orange and Moscow Mitch are a couple of reptiles, proud of accomplishing 3,000,000 cases and, so far, 131,000+ deaths. both world records by a mile.

Anonymous 1:49 PM  

Thanks anon. No need to explain Wharton’s bona rides. And I assure you I hadn’t confused an MBA with an undergraduate degree.
In the mid 80s, more than a few freshman in The College were desperate to transfer to Wharton. I don’t recall any from Engineering or Nursing with such a desire.

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

Anon 1:33
I don’t think so. Trump was graduated with Bachelors of Science in Economics. The schools name at the time was The Wharton School of Finance and Commerce. It’s one of several schools within the University of Pennsylvania.
In 72 they dropped the finance and commerce for the more familiar Wharton.
Hurrah for The Red and The Blue.

TTrimble 2:17 PM  

Yeah, I thought the puzzle was cute. LOCI was quite nice. Nothing at all wrong with DRY GOODS; such sundries are what you put in your pantries. (Huh, the sound of that sentence came out a little weird. But never mind.) I'm sorry that Rex doesn't approve of ESTAB., but it's attested and I think fair game. Also fair game is KAY O by the way for KO. (If it were "kayoh", then a complaint would be in order, but KAY O is how you correctly spell those letters.) I guess I've seen YOLO before, but I seem to have poor retention for initialisms.

Mini-rant: the curmudgeon in me wish people wouldn't fall back on initialisms so readily: the few seconds of time-saving for whoever habitually resorts to them results in time-wasting for a hundred others, either spent on looking them up or asking for help like some dum-dum. I guess any well-defined field is full of them, and they're okay if the intended audience is supposed to know them, but in casual speech or writing, an accumulation of them is an annoyance. There, I feel better now. Guess you caught me channeling Rex there for a moment.

Did anyone see the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where instead of laughing at a joke, the woman habitually goes "L-O-L"?

--[SB Alert]--

Good one on HOI POLLOI yesterday. Standing in the way of my QB status for that one were ORLOP and LOLLOP. Count me among the hoi polloi, but never heard of either; had to look them up. IMHO, those SB editors make some weird choices. (Go ahead, call me a hypocrite for my initialisms if you want.)

Why for example should FAIN be unacceptable for today's?

TTrimble 2:20 PM  

Speaking of initialisms, should we call getting a B.A. in B.A. a BABA? Inquiring minds want to know.

JC66 2:42 PM  


What about ANIL?

Z 3:15 PM  

@jberg - I guess the movie is what’s needed and the star was the superfluous part. When I wrote that I was thinking the opposite. Either way, knowing we won’t get rid of EARP anytime soon I’d still prefer clues that skewed less dead. Maybe with a Wynonna _____ clue.

Also, I don’t know know if the theme laughter clue was in reply to my comment, but I agree. Themes don’t necessarily have to make one laugh to be good. A nice “Aha” moment does not require a chuckle. But, with cluing in general, I prefer clues that evoke a smile or chuckle to straightforward trivia. Picking on a different puzzle, figuring out the 2014 Japanese World Cup team mascot was interesting for exactly three nanoseconds, whereas the Korn Bread clue still makes me smile.

What do Trump’s SAT scores have to do with the puzzle? I mean, I get how we sometimes start at the puzzle and spin willy nilly into current events, but today’s comments don’t even make a small effort to talk about the puzzle, let alone tie the discussion into the puzzle.

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

If you work in publishing, people DO say "Bold that word."

Anonymous 3:34 PM  

Crimson Devil brought up SATs for some reason then connected that to the claim that Trump had someone take them for him.
So, ask that red demon.
I only jumped in to clear up what degrees Wharton confers. I should let it drop, but errors regarding Penn stick in my craw.

Anonymous 3:38 PM  


I count 5 comments referencing The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave), by various names. I'd wager that your tangent comment stream, on various occasions, has blown past that count. on your own. :)

he's a clown, so let us have some fun at his expense.

pabloinnh 3:42 PM  

****SB ALERT (Complaint Dept.)****

Well I too wanted FAIN, fain did I want it, and also WAIN, I mean what does a wainwright do?
LIANA is maybe obscure, unless you do x-words, but WIFI? I mean really.

GILL I. 3:53 PM  

@jberg.....Oh, my...Yes indeed, it was Lefty O 'Doul's. How did you guess? Lousy food, dirty floors and our hang-out on Union Square. Their Fish and Chips were pretty good, though. They served them on authentic newspaper...... They have been shuttered. Landlord raised their rent to unbelievable rates. My friends tell me they are re-locating somewhere else. Maybe @mathgent or @oldtimer know where. So many favorite places in San Francisco are closing.....I'm beginning to hate technology and the wealth and greed that comes with it. And yes....I was speaking figuratively. Pat will order a hamburger with nothing on it.

Anoa Bob 4:15 PM  

I winced when I got to the NE corner. The YOLO/ROLO/ROO/GOO group is almost ALL of that area and it was a bit of a DRAG on my enthusiasm.

Then I learned from some yous commenters that this was a debut puzzle. And then I remembered what some of my early efforts were like and I winced again. Yeah, I had a few of those corners.

I think the main change for me over the last 12 years (yikes!) of puzzle constructing is a slowing down at each phase (theme, grid design, fill, clueing) and making sure it's the best I can do. In the early days, I was in a hurry and was cranking them out as fast as I could, hoping that one or two would click with some editor. Nowadays I spend way more time on each puzzle. Even when I think it's done, I will let it sit for a few days and then come back and see if there are any more improvements to be made. It's more enjoyable for me that way, too.

I think that all yous folks who have enough interest in crossword puzzles to search out and discover this little corner of the world should try your hand at construction. You could go low tech and draw a grid with pencil and paper or you could get some software. I use Crossword Compiler and it works great. Start out small, say with a 4X4 grid, and work your way up. Take your time and enjoy the process. Even if it's just for your eyes only, it will increase your understanding and appreciation of crossword puzzles.

Anonymous 5:05 PM  

I hope those complaining that the SB doesn't include archaic words are not the same people who complain when Xword clues ARE old.

Anonymous 5:10 PM  

Gill. And Jberg,
You’re both nuts😉. I liked the food at Lefty O’Doul’s. No fuss, no pretense. So unlike so much of that city.
And how the hell could you ever tell if the floor was dirty? That joint was pretty dark.
I was only there a couple of times in truth. But while a lot of the swells were going on and on about what restaurant they had been to the night before, I happily and wisely kept my mouth shut about where I had dined. I believe it’s the last time I declined a beer. The Bud light girls were making the rounds at bars (this was the week preceding SB XL). Not great beer surely. But free suds are nothing to sneeze at.
I hope the rumors about it surviving at another location are true.

CaryinBoulder 5:39 PM  

Spending my mornings on other pursuit, so late to the party these days. Haven’t read every post and maybe @PabloinNH or @GILL I already pointed this out, but to Ben@4:03 am: the answer for “Those to Jose” is correct: ESOS. Unless he’s talking about “those SRAS” and then it’s ESAS.

Rex notwithstanding, I very much enjoyed this easy Wednesday. Liked all the themers, especially S P A C E C A D E T S. My one head scratcher was YOLO. Like many others here, I skew old, so OK, if you say so.

RPCV Cameroon 5:50 PM  

I remember Tom Corbett, Space Cadet books (,_Space_Cadet) that I read in the 1960s.

Regarding tare, I use this almost daily in baking. Growing up, recipes used volumes (1 cup of flour etc). But we now know that 1 cup of flour can give different amounts (weights) depending on how loosely or tightly the flour is packed. So now most recipes use weights instead of volumes for solid ingredients (and even for liquids since it's more accurate). So when you weigh flour you need to tare your scale to account for the weight of the container.
@jberg - might depend on the quality of the tea. Some tea is made up largely of finer particles left over after the better stuff (whole leaves) is taken, so more likely to be cloudy vs whole leaves.

RooMonster 5:53 PM  

@Anoa Bob
Have you had puzs published? NYT or elsewhere? I've submitted (many) puzs to NYT, none accepted so far, and only one or two to others. My want is to have a NYT puz first before anyplace else. I know my puzs have gotten better as I've progressed, but they still aren't making the cut. I too, go back after a day or two and see if I can get rid of iffy fill. Sometimes you need to reset the ole brain to see better fill.

Anyway, because of your POC obsession (is that too strong a word?) I'm more conscious of S endings, so thanks for that. (Sincere thanks, not sarcastic!)

RooMonster Puz Maker Un-strodinar Guy

egsforbreakfast 6:17 PM  

@ Gill I. If you want the rather sensational story of what’s gone on of late with Lefty O’Doul’s and it’s owner, google something like “lefty O’Doul fbi”.

JD 7:05 PM  

@Frantic, Just knowing that at least one person has heard my lamentation about that extreme right leaning font has eased my pain. Thank you!

Barbara S. 7:14 PM  


INLAW, for pete's sake.

pabloinnh 7:26 PM  

****SB ALERT****

One short forever, but just made QB.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

JC66 7:28 PM  

@Barbara S

I had the same thought, but I checked and MW hyphenates it: IN-LAW

Anonymous 7:32 PM  

Surprised to hear nothing from Rex about NOLES, an abbreviation for the offensive nickname SEMINOLES. This is the team whose fans do the ugly "Tomahawk chop," as some kind of misguided pantomime of native American culture.

QuasiMojo 7:36 PM  

@TTrimble, thank you. I think JC66's query re ANIL was meant for you. The odd thing about SB yesterday is that I did not type in LOLLOP but it showed up as one of my correct answers the next day. SMH!

@Pablo, isn't WI-FI hyphenated?

I got the QB today without cheating but was surprised WADI didn't cut it.

Anoa Bob 8:00 PM  

@Roo, I have a list of published puzzles on my blog under the "Puzzography" category, the early years and the later years. I think just clicking on my avatar or the blue Anoa Bob will take you to the blog.

I never realized how useful the POC (plural of convenience was until I tried constructing. So I wrote the POC post on my blog site.

Anonymous 8:15 PM  

Anon 7:32
Seminoles isn’t a nickname. It’s a tribe. Fla. state adopted the name to invoke the fierceness of those people. Holes is a nickname. And it too is an honorific.

Barbara S. 8:19 PM  

@JC66 **SB**
Good catch. I guess I owe the SB an apology for thinking I knew better. Only a couple of the online dics fail to hyphenate IN-LAW. And there's complete hyphenation consensus among the most reputable sources.

But I'm still grumbly because I'm one lousy 5-letter word away from QB and all my brain cells have been fried in the heat.

Anonymous 8:25 PM  

If memory serves, the white folk ejected the native Seminoles hundreds of years ago. Quite a tribute.

Anonymous 9:11 PM  

Anon 8:25
Ever read the Iliad? Hector, vanquished and on the losing side, is the greatest hero of The seminal work in Western literature.
But yeah, you got me.

TTrimble 9:17 PM  


@Quasimojo, @JC66, @Barbara S. Yes, LIANA should be on the list, and ANIL too (although I didn't see that one before QM brought it up).

Like Barbara, I have one 5-letter to go before QB, but I may have to throw in the towel. Congratulations to @pabloinnh!

Z 9:28 PM  

@Anon3:38 - Guilty. But I always comment on the puzzle, too.

pabloinnh 9:29 PM  

@Barbara S-I tried INLAW too and thought it was probably rejected for no hyphen.

@ Quasi-I suppose WIFI didn't work for the same reason, but it seems to me that I've only ever seen something like "Free wifi". Probably I'm skipping the hyphen for speed and convenience in reading.

JD 9:53 AM  

Got off to a slow start. Brain freeze at Hora and Unite in Defense. Group Dance and Group Effort type thing? Didn’t ring true but wasn't frootful.

Couldn't even get Spy Ring, in spite of an obsession years ago with le Carré's Smiley books and all things Cold War.

Middle fell quickly, but still don't see Effort meaning Doing. After more push back in the south, circled back and the fog lifted with that clever little NW corner.

Lotsa great fill ... Smug, Miffed Gnome? Another dwarf, Touchy. I'm in!

And I love saying Scrum. Legend had it at Penn State that we didn't have a Rugby team in the '70s after they were banned for warming up in front of a visiting team using a skull they'd filched from the anatomy lab.

@Frantic from yesterday, Deep gratitude for acknowledging my lamentation over that extreme right leaning font.

@Z, that conversation started yesterday with a post about Bass.

Anonymous 2:47 PM  

Can someone explain the teen clue to me? Maybe my brain isn't functioning at full capacity today but I can't seem to connect the "ending in four or six" but not "three or five" to the answer. Thank you!

bauskern 4:42 PM  

@ Anonymous 2:47
while your teenager can be 14 or 16, they cannot be "five-teen" or "Three-teen."

Am crossword 8:20 AM  

Anyone else having problems with the app today?

thefogman 9:25 AM  

The pun for 42A was lost in the formatting of my newspaper’s puzzle. There was no strikethrough for the clue Downward dog. I figured as much based on the pattern for the other themers. Formatting issues like this could be eliminated if the editor, or somebody, would review the syndicated version prior to its release.

spacecraft 11:06 AM  

Hand up for no STRIKE line through the 42a clue; also for the lack of BOLDface type for 56a. No harm no foul, though, because the mcguffin was already set. This kind of theme is a little bit different, kinda cute, but not worth half the price paid in hackneyed fill.

The absolute king of desperation is the old vowel string, and it appears here. Then, I'm beginning to think we should ban IKEA, both because it's become a constructor's darling and because it gives rise to the even worse EKE. Now, how about those abbrs.?! I'll have to ESTAB a brand new VOCAB for them!

DOD candidates aplenty? IDSAYSO. OPAL Tometi has to win for her cause.

While I don't wish to CASTDOUBT on your constructing future, Chase, IDSAY:

Don't give up your day job. Bogey.

Burma Shave 1:00 PM  


SO here's A PROPOSAL 'cuz YOLO:
TRYIT, you won't STRESS out,


rondo 2:35 PM  

No STRIKE nor BOLD in the St. Paul Pioneer Press either. However, I just checked the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and they got it right!! I guess they have more than 3 people working there.

Yeah, it doesn't take a GOO ROO to see weak spots here: NALA NOLA NOLE ROLO YOLO KAYO ENYA GOO ROO ROE AEIOU. Although ENYA gets a yeah baby.

IDSAY the VOCAB is lacking.

leftcoaster 4:12 PM  

Liked the typography theme except that "downward dog" clue for STRIKE A POSE didn't help much. Seemed pretty vague and CAST A DOUBT. Not really into yoga poses.

Also liked Sophia LOREN and Our Gang's DARLA making appearances and, along with DRY GOODS, evoked old times. PICO de gallo was outlier of the day.

As an old guy myself, this puzzle is just fine with me.

Diana, LIW 6:11 PM  

I agree with "easyish." I liked the "types" of answers - cute and fun.

Hey @Rondo - thanks! Your day is coming...soon...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Birthdays

Waxy in Montreal 7:59 PM  

To give credit where credit is due, the Montreal Gazette had all the proper clue formatting in place making the theme readily discernible. My problem was not being familiar with Downward Dog as a yoga(?) pose which left thinking that the last 4 letters of STRIKEAPOSE had to be wrong.

Also, though I'm familiar with the concept of TARE weight at the boxcar level, it was not in my wheelhouse in terms of a deli scale. And had STOOLS instead of BOOTHS at 48D encouraging an effort to FIT ARTOO (as in R2-D2) into 52A. DAMN(S) INEPT of me.

Think the NE corner LOCI of ROO/GOO & ROLO/YOLO is gonna provoke me into some STRESSEATING or maybe something a lot more BOLD...

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