Eeyore-ish sentiment / SUN 7-5-20 / Czech reformer Jan / First of metalloids / What Franklin famously asked for / Org that kicked off again in 2020 after a 19-year hiatus / Ka southernmost point on Hawaii

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Constructor: Laura Taylor Kinnel

Relative difficulty: Easy? Medium? (I was slow 'cause I had a drink)

THEME: "To-Do List" — you have to TICK ALL THE BOXES (43D: Be fully qualified ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme); that is, there are squares that have "BOX" in them (rebus-style) in the Acrosses, but you have to put (or imagine) "TICK" in that same space in order to make sense of the Down crosses:

Theme answers:
  • SOAPBOX (18A: Orator's platform) / STICKY SITUATIONS (7D: Imbroglios)
  • TOOLBOX (55A: Set of skills, metaphorically) / TICKLE THE IVORIES (56D: Play piano, informally)
  • INBOX (53A: Email holder) / PUTS LIPSTICK ON A PIG (3D: Tries to make the unappealing attractive)
  • TOYBOX (75A: Playroom chest) / THAT'S THE TICKET (29D: "You nailed it!")
  • BLACK BOX (107A: Flight recorder) / CARROT AND STICK (48D: Combination meant to change behavior)
Word of the Day: Ka LAE (southernmost point on Hawaii) (83A) —
Ka Lae (Hawaiianthe point), also known as South Point, is the southernmost point of the Big Island of Hawaii and of the 50 United States. The Ka Lae area is registered as a National Historic Landmark District under the name South Point Complex. The area is also known for its strong ocean currents and winds and is the home of a wind farm. // The name for the southern tip of the island of Hawaiʻi comes from Ka Lae in the Hawaiian language which means "the point". It is often spelled as one word, Kalae, or called South Point or South Cape. A confluence of ocean currents just offshore makes this spot one of Hawaii's most popular fishing spots. Both red snapper and ulua are plentiful here. Locals fish from the cliffs, some dangling perilously over the edge of steep lava ledges. Swimming here, however, is not recommended, due to the current. In fact, it is called the "Halaea Current", named after a chief who was carried off to his death. (wikipedia)
• • •

I just find Sundays grinding, and this certainly wasn't any different. They're just so big that if you have a one-note theme ... by the end, it just feels like being bludgeoned. The concept here is actually fine, I guess. TICK (as in "put 'tick' in") ALL THE BOXES (as in "all the squares that contain the word 'box'"), and there you go. And go and go and go. There was some annoying ambiguity, in that technically They're All Boxes, i.e. I'm solving a crossword, so yeah, boxes everywhere! Also, I had TOOLS and TOYS early on and those seemed just fine as answers for their respective clues, so seeing the whole "BOX" rebus thing was actually weirdly hard for me. Had to get the revealer before I had any idea what was going on. Did I mention I'd had a drink? I'm sure it played a role in my slow-on-the-uptake-ness, but still, wow, it did not gel for me for a long time. Also, I had S-A-- at 18A: Orator's platform and happily wrote in STAGE. Whoops. Ugh, that section, with "POOR ME" as a "sentiment," yikes. Rough (4D: Eeyore-ish sentiment). Anyway, I can't say this was any worse than your average Sunday puzzle, because conceptually, it was not, but Sundays have to be *so* good not to be grating, both theme-wise and fill-wise, by the end. There's just not enough interesting variation in the theme or enough sparkle in the grid to make this solve an enjoyable experience today.

The fill was (on occasion) not doing the puzzle any favors. REIMAGE!? You *definitely* mean "reimagine" (92D: Form a new mental picture of). Def in it ely. And wow I have such profanity written in the margins with an arrow pointing to NO RELATION (91A: Elizabeth Warren vis-à-vis former chief justice Earl Warren). HUS idea was that clue!? Bah. It's an OUTCROPping (ping!), so again maybe try reimagining (!) that answer (90D: Protruding bit of bedrock). OSAY, can you ALEE by the ERGS IDLY LAE... Sigh. PUTS LIPSTICK ON A PIG is a colorful answer, as is HERDED CATS (69A: Managed an unmanageable group, figuratively). HOT HAND I like fine (38A: Sustained period of luck, as with dice). There's just not enough to sustain my interest over the whole 21x21 area. Sundays are hard hard hard to do well. If I see one I like, I'll let you know and praise it accordingly. Until then... this was pretty typical, and typical just hasn't been cutting it with me for a while.

Hey, there's a massive new collection of crosswords out now, made by an all-star roster of constructors, all to benefit COVID *and* Black Lives Matter / racial justice charities (it started out focused on the former and then, understandably, expanded to include the latter). It's called "Grids For Good." All you gotta do is provide proof you gave just $10 (you can do better than that) to the org of your choice and you get the puzzles. There's also a metapuzzle contest going on through July 18, so you can get in on that too. I haven't done the puzzles yet but (scans list of names) yeah, I know these people. You know them too (Agard, Berry, Burnikel, Weintraub, etc.). They do good work. So go give (or regive) some money away, and then get your puzzles!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:03 AM  

Somebody here called it yesterday. I don't remember who it was, but if it was your juju that made this happen - I thank you.

This took me a little while to find a groove, but sooner rather than later, I was on the right wavelength and zip-a-dee-doo-dah!
It was all over but getting the stupid NYT website to accept my rebus entries. I never know how to enter 2 words so they are accepted. Together? One space apart? Dash?Virgule?? Nothing worked until I just filled all the shaded squares with TICK.
Hmmm....Now I'm wondering if the BOX part of the rebi was supposed to be implied and inferred, rather than actually entered....
That's probably it...
Never mind.

But, speaking of shaded squares...why? Why exactly are they necessary? Oh, wait - they aren't. It's just silly. And annoying.

I'm ready to take the Nancy train to NoCirclesOrShadingville. A much-needed vacay from this crossword pollution - THATSTHETICKET.

If not for the insulting hand-holding, this puzzle was a lot of fun for me. With entries like:
NORELATION (and the clue!)
And my fave: HERDEDCATS

The TICKALLTHEBOXES revealer was not exactly a surprise, but it entertained and that's what counts with me.

On a side note...I know others here have voiced being perplexed when one of their believed to be innocuous comments has been deleted. It's happened to me a couple of times for reasons way beyond my understanding and again yesterday. Granted, it wasn't me per se because I used an alias, but the comment was harmless - especially when compared to some of the personal attacks some anonymice get away with on a consistent basis. Comments that are not xword-related and that are just plain nasty get on here all the time and this one was at least xword-adjacent with a further addition to an ongoing discussion. So, what gives?

Then again, I guess I should be grateful that some of the dreck I come up with on here gets published at there's that.

End of oh, who cares?


Harryp 12:05 AM  

Nice Puzzle, easy when you figure out the Rebus. @Hungry Mother 7:27 yesterday. How did you predict the Sunday Rebus? Am I missing something?

Joaquin 12:08 AM  

Unlike Rex, I loved the clue for 91A - Warren/Warren NO RELATION. Maybe it's because it reminds me of this family story:

My father was a student at UC Berkeley in the 1930s and was also chairman of a fundraiser fair sponsored by the Cal lettermen society. One of the booths was a “Wheel of Fortune” type where you’d pay a nickel and try to land on a spot that would result in winning a Thanksgiving turkey.

In previous years, this booth had been closed down due to blue-nosed Berkeleyites complaining that gambling was occurring on campus. Dad went to the County District Attorney to ask for special permission to include this VERY popular booth. The DA said he couldn’t give permission but if any complaints were filed he’d promise to send out the cops “first thing Monday”. The event ran only on the weekend, so the DA basically gave Dad the “wink,wink go-ahead”.

That County DA was Earl Warren. The same Earl Warren who went on to become the Chief Justice of the US.

Lige 12:18 AM  

My first time posting!

I was confused about the rebus dilemma as well. I skipped the shaded squares until the end and typed "box" in all of the blanks and the jaunty NYT fanfare came out of my speakers! Huzzah! I reviewed the grid and saw that all my "box"es had turned into "tick"s! Cool!

Be safe!

Pete 12:27 AM  

Well, at least this puzzle answered one question that's been perplexing me: When did I stop learning new things? Turns out that's when the phrase "tick[ing] the box" came into existence. I don't know how "checking the box" was in anyway lacking, why one would tick a checkbox, but there it is. Mid 1980s, and one started ticking their boxes. This was news to me today.

Joe Dipinto 12:48 AM  

Woe is me. (The writer of this song is no relation to Elizabeth or Earl. Or Beatty.)

I slotted in all the proper names first: EDIE, COUSTEAU, RENEE, STELLA, RAMI, DYLAN, ATTICUS...I had the same dilemma as Rex with TOY and TOOL in that I didn't get at first that BOX was actually supposed to be part of the across answers. So it seemed both easy and annoying for awhile. Once I got it, it settled into the usual Sunday drabness. I did really like the clue for HONEY though.

A Linda double-play today.

egsforbreakfast 12:48 AM  

I liked this puzzle other than the fact that, as Rex points out, once you’ve got one rebus square, you get em all. At one point I was very hopeful, almost praying, that this wasn’t the case. For 60 D - “Something frequently made with the eyes shut”, I had the initial W, and thought that there simply must be a rebus square to enable Whoopee. No such luck.

I thought the Elizabeth/Earl entry was great. I also wonder about Rex saying that he thought TOYs “seemed just fine” as an answer for 75A - “Playroom chest”. In what universe could this answer seem fine?

I was almost shocked to see SENIORPROM turn directly into MOTELS (66A ending at 68D). Then, when I saw it intercoursing, er, I mean, intersecting 96A UNDRESS, well, naturally I was scandalized!!! How can Shortz allow such smut in the presence of the grey lady?

I almost quit then and there, but was relieved by the cross of ICING and BACARDI (24A & 13D).

Thumbs up to LTK for an enjoyable Sunday.

jae 12:50 AM  

Tough then easy once I caught on. This was fun with some fine theme entries. Jeff gave it POW. Liked it a bunch!

Dan Sachs 12:55 AM  

And I put "tickbox" in all the rebus squares and couldn't figure out why I wasn't get the "solved" response until I came here.

Mike in Mountain View 1:04 AM  

Welcome @Lige.

Enjoyed this for the solid themers and the NORELATION and the HERDEDCATS. One of my faster Sunday solves. The theme was very easy to figure out from 3D. The answer was a gimme, and the shaded box on the NYT app made it clear where the rebus went, and it didn't take long to figure out that 53A was not INtick, so the next four themers (and the crosses on the rebuses) were very easy.

Dave S 2:21 AM  

Got the whole NW corner right off the bat, which meant that 3 down was pretty clear, which then gave away the whole concept, and so much of the puzzle right away, which sadly also made it a bit of a slog for me. Add me to those who really liked the "no relation" answer, and I also enjoyed the Franklin clue. Besides the Liberty Bell clue, "senior prom" was timely,as so many of my neighbors are wringing their hands over their kids missing out on this rite of passage. Doubt the kids are quite as vexed- I never went to mine and can't say I've missed it for a moment-well, maybe when my own kids attended one and I realized I had to get a clue as to what all was involved. "Small suits" was nice too. A while for me since StLo popped up-do lsts still get to share their wartime glory as well?

chefwen 2:45 AM  

@Harryp I think Hungry Mother was just hoping for a rebus.
@Pete, TICK the box is more Brit speak where check the box would be American speak.

I had so much more fun with this than that brain cruncher yesterday. Got the BOX dealio early with IN box and TOY box, the TICK took a little more time. Laughed out loud at HEARD CATS, that’s Robbie the Rascal’s favorite pastime with Rice the kitty. They’ve had words.

Stretched this one out over several hours just nibbling on it bit by bit. Really enjoyed it, thank you Laura Kinney.

will hunt 2:50 AM  

I thought this puzzle was ok, not amazing, but not terrible either. The theme felt like...well, TICKing off BOXes. Crossing off a TO DO LIST. I thought PAW print was cute and love to see unique words like LASSO or OUTCROP.

In general, cluing was kind of flat. STOP, RETRO, WEDGE, HUNKS all could have handled a bit more pizzazz. But none of the sections of this puzzle dragged, and it was easy to glide through, so the pacing was good. Solid B?

John 3:51 AM  


Ann Howell 4:41 AM  

Found very little resistance with this one, once I figured out the rebus. Also a fan of 91A, as I first tentatively typed in "GRANDNIECE", then "GRAND CHILD" and finally ended up filling it in with the downs. Easy, breezy Sunday puzzle.

Colin 6:01 AM  

Woohoo! My best time ever. Getting the theme pretty early helped a lot, of course. Combine an enjoyable puzzle with a reference to L&O: SVU (98A), and Laura Taylor Kinnel makes my day.

Side note: For those of you who are familiar with the Philly area... Our constructor lives in Newtown, PA, which folks always mixed up with Newtown Square, PA, where I grew up. (The former is to the north, the latter to the west, of Philadelphia.)

Dave 6:02 AM  

I've never heard of tick all the boxes. I've heard of CHECK all the boxes.

So didn't really work for me.

smalltowndoc 6:13 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. I like a clever theme that actually helps me solve a puzzle. By which I mean after figuring out the theme early on, with the lipsticked pig crossing INBOX, I could confidently fill in the other shaded squares. And Rex, they are "squares", not the same thing as "BOXes". 2D vs 3D. Of course, that would not have been the case if the themed squares were not shaded, which made the puzzle a little too easy. Come to think of it, I agree with @Frantic Sloth that the shading was unnecessary (also atypical for a NYTXW, no?) Nevertheless, a lot of fun.

Unlike Rex, I liked NORELATION and its clue. Unfortunately, we’ve all seen that phrase in the news over the last month due to the stomach-turning video of racist dog owner, Amy Cooper, calling the police on Black birdwatcher, Christian Cooper (no relation).

My last comment is going to seem over sensitive to other posters, but I cringe every time Rex makes a comment about his solving times being negatively affected because he "had a drink". I am a recovering addict with 19 years of sobriety and I have had many patients and friends who haven’t been as lucky as I. For us, hearing or reading someone repeatedly commenting, nonchalantly, about how alcohol-related impairment negatively affected his performance is unsettling and feels insensitive. I mean, replace “had a drink" with "smoked a joint" or "popped a Vicodin". That’s how my brain works. Anyway, like I said, I’m over sensitive about the phrase. But, if I’ve learned anything about Rex after following his blog for years, if he knew he had recovering addicts among his readers, he wouldn’t repeatedly refer to his drinking.

Lewis 6:19 AM  

Place me on team "liked the Elizabeth/Earl entry".

Two major and two minor things I loved.

MAJOR. First, all the theme entries were lively, my two favorite being STICKY SITUATIONS and PUT LIPSTICK ON A PIG. And second, it's clear that Laura took care with every clue. That's hard enough to do on a 15 x 15, but it's brutal on a 21 x 21. And yet, spread throughout, are clues marked by cleverness and originality, my two favorites being those for HONEY [About which you might always say "Bee prepared!], and TOPHATS [They're worn on heads with tails].

MINOR. I liked HONEY catty-corner to SYRUP, and two fabuouls NYT debuts HERDED CATS and HOT HAND.

With such care and nice touches in this puzzle's making, it not only was a grid to crack, but also emitted a patina of beauty, and I ATE IT UP. Thank you, Laura!

amyyanni 6:50 AM  

Better than most Sundays. Lively clues and colorful entries. Didn't have to look up anything, so names, things I didn't know were all gettable by the opposing clues. Actually enjoyed the rebuses.

Unknown 7:08 AM  

EDS had a commercial showing cowboys on the plains HERDING CATS. Cowboys were interviewed, showed their wounds, spoke with pride about their jobs. You can google it. A must see.

There was a cartoon years ago entitled "why cats don't compete in the Iditarod." The guy stood on his sled in full Arctic clothing, while in front of the sled the team of cats were lying in the snow or grooming themselves or stretching.

Loren Muse Smith 7:12 AM  

I caught on to the trick pretty fast; I guess there’s an advantage to being able to see the entire grid on paper and kinda scan the entries with circles to see what’s what? Very early on, I got BLACK BOX, and when I looked at 48D (“Combination meant to change behavior”) I went straight to BF Skinner. Black box, behavior. . . I finally saw the TICK element with THAT’S THE TICKET.

“Never meet your IDOLS” – is this ‘cause the real person isn’t the amazing guy you’ve pictured all these years? And you’ll be disappointed? I met the real Rudy once at a fund-raiser, and he was kinda snippy. Had a suntan that would rival George Hamilton.

@Lige – welcome and congrats for doing it Right! Get a blue name so we can recognize you and get to know you. I’m of a completely different mindset from @Gill: Sure some anons have interesting things to say, no doubt, but so many hide behind their anonymity to be spineless trolls that I will skip any anonymous comments, especially when I’m pressed for time. I wish this place were more like Wordplay in that you’re not allowed to be just “anonymous” over there.

I’m totally with @Joaquin and @egsforbreakfast, and @smalltowndoc on NO RELATION’s clue. Loved it.

The clue for TOP HATS was ambiguous, too, and I kept picturing someone’s head with a tail coming out of it.

Nice having MARTYR complex sharing the grid with POOR ME. I’m pretty good at martyr complexing. There’s an art there if you really want people’s pity, a fine line between eliciting their disgust at your blatant play or eliciting their sympathy at your deft and understated performance.

@Dave - I say “checks” all the boxes, too, but TICK is common enough in my world. I get a kick out of listening to women talking about how some guy ticks all the boxes: rich, funny, nice to his mom, has his own house, leaves the seat down, chews with his mouth closed, likes cats. . . I had a lot of boxes to tick, too, but as my 30th birthday was getting closer and closer, the list became basically – has all his teeth. (You people who think I disparage West Virginians, calm down. This was in Chapel Hill, NC.)

This last part is sad. Just a heads-up. It’s just weighing so heavily on me, and I haven’t talked about it yet. . .
“Improv class exercises” – ambiguous, that. I saw at first exercises that you do in class that are improvised. Like once I had students stand up and practice moving like a lemur up and down the rows of desks. I can’t remember how this came to be, only that it sure breathed some life back into everyone. Funny that the two grumpiest, “coolest” guys got into it more than anyone else. I actually tried to get the class to hop down the hall to the library that way. I mean, what a spectacle. It was our plan that if we passed anyone, we’d be like, What. We’re being lemurs, ok? But once in the hall, only the two grumps and I did the hop. Good times. One of these guys left this world one week ago. Of his own volition, by his own hand. RIP, Quentin. And if he can see what I’m writing, he would totally agree that he was a grump. It was his shtick, and he was proud of it. I already miss him.

Yo. @Unknown. On a lighter note. . .

Renee Arnold 7:15 AM  

I loved, loved, loved this puzzle, especially because I didn't have to cheat at all! For me, it was pretty easy. At first the NW corner baffled me, so I moved on to other areas, which usually works to get my confidence up, then go back. I think soapbox got me on the right track. Wasn't crazy about the "Warren" clue; I kept wanting them to be cousins or something. Is Laura British? Yes, in the good ole USA we check boxes, rather than ticking them, but I've heard this Britishism frequently enough that I got it about halfway through. Kudos to Laura!

GILL I. 7:29 AM  

Oooh...Remember when Obama said "You can PUT LIPSTICK ON A PIG, but it's still a pig," and everyone thought he was referring to Sarah Palin? Fun times. I can TICKLE THE IVORIES with the best of them.
How could you not enjoy this little gem? Takes me back when I stood on a wooden crate originally used for shipment of a SOAP BOX and yelled I HERDED CATS....
A lot of thought and hard work went into this fun Sunday and I liked NO RELATION. I liked it all.
I remember when I found out that the male SEA HORSE was the one carrying all the load and I thought that was cool beans. Imagine Rush Limbaugh going to full term....A RE IMAGE of a SPEEDO in its UNDRESS stage.
I only wish R E S P C T had been clued with Aretha.
Sunday begins with mimosas.

The Sane Asylum 7:46 AM  

Nice! Your review, Lewis, put a smile on my face, as did this puzzle. Good work, Laura ✍ I also agree with @smalltowndoc about the drinking comments and the generous opinion that Rex would see (and raise) that point. This refreshingly smart and clever community has helped me learn while I lurk. I’m coming out from under the covers (whence I solve) to thank you all!

OffTheGrid 8:09 AM  

@smalltowndoc. Rex's mentioning his drinks bothers me, too, but not for the same reason, though it's a good reason. I'm not sure what bothers me. It's kind of pathetic and kind of "I don't care and don't need to know that".

The puzzle was pretty easy for Sunday and I saw the theme early. I just left the gray squares empty and hit "check(TICK) puzzle" when I was done to see if I had any errors. It wasn't worth it to me to actually fill the rebus squares.

Unknown 8:24 AM  

As a geologist, I assure you its an outcrop!

Hungry Mother 8:27 AM  

Lucky wag on the Natick in the NW. I guessed APU due to the Simpsons, but have no idea or interest in either the across or the down. Just a lousy crossing which ruined the puzzle. Otherwise, I liked the double rebus.

more french than american 8:34 AM  

I loved "herded cats". With two of them it's almost possible, but only at meal time.

In the print version of the puzzle, which I always do, the boxes are real boxes within the squares so it's possible to put a real tick in them (I'd go for "check" too).

@Loren Muse Smith - what's a blue name? And your comments are always wonderful - thanks.

ChuckD 8:40 AM  

I thought the theme and construction was elegant and smart - the problem here is there’s just too much short fill that became a slog fest to finish. Once the TICK box was established the overall solve went in quickly. Liked the themers STICKY SITUATIONS and TICKLE THE IVORIES and especially liked SENIOR PROM - which so many young people were sadly denied this year. Too much short gluey stuff to make it really pop - but I enjoyed it for a Sunday.

@LMS - Having dealt with it also years ago I’ll never quite understand why - especially a young person would go that route. It always tears me up to hear the stories - I’m sorry for your loss.

RooMonster 8:45 AM  

Hey All !
Caught on to the TICK part at TICKLETHEIVORIES, then immediately went back to 3D and put in my originally wanting LIPSTICKONAPIG. Took a minute or two to see that BOX was needed in the Acrosses for their clues to make sense. I was like, "What's an IN-TICK?" Har. Figured it out at BLACK BOX.

The NW was last to fall, as both APU and TARDIS (never watched "Doctor Who", nott sure why, as it seems like something id enjoy) were toughies. Really wanted yoU for APU. Odd clue, that. Flirting with cuP for TSP for a bit.

I thought there'd be complaints about TICK ALL THE BOXES as opposed to CHECK ALL THE BOXES. I hadn't heard the former. According to @chefwen 2:45, it's British English. Those crazy Brits, with their TICKs, and BOOTS for car trunks and Bangers & Mash!

I enjoyed this puz. I'm sure there are a lot of First-time words debuted here. Fill didn't seem all that terrible. If you look for it and group it together like Rex, well, it seems like lots. But spread out it's not so terrible.

Is this a debut? Don't recognize constructors name. Of course, with my memory, I could've saw her name yesterday, and forgot it today. 😄

Four F's

Renee Arnold 8:56 AM  

Also loved the shout-out to grids for good. Had already $40 donated to CDC foundation after the Covid telethon, so get double the pleasure form that!

Snoble 8:58 AM  

I loved this--most enjoyable Sunday in a long time. Clever clues, enough to chew on. Loved the Warren clue--got an out loud "Hah!" From me.
The discussion of Rex's drinking comments...I always clinch a little. But then it reminds me of doing paper version of the puzzle many years ago and not being able to read what I wrote the next day. Grateful! And amazed that one drink has that kind of effect on Rex!!

@LMS--your avatar this morning is superb.

Wouldn't it be nice if the electronic versions had a difficulty level adjustment? This would have been even more fun without the shaded boxes but that would have been brutal for me when I started doing puzzles.

Lewis 9:09 AM  

@lms -- Priceless avatar.

Carola 9:21 AM  

Creative and charming all the way - a rare Sunday treat. Solving in the mag, I enjoyed putting my TICKs in ALL THE BOXES. An extra smile for the cross of TICKLE THE IVORIES and HERDED CATS, which reminded me of "Kitten on the Keys.".

Petsounds 9:26 AM  

When I think of the Sunday NYT crossword, this puzzle is exactly what I think of--a theme that is tricky to get at first but once you have it helps you fill in a lot of blanks; fill that generally doesn't make you roll your eyes (no OREO!); and some very clever answers. I enjoyed it thoroughly!

Loved the clues for SENIORPROM and TOPHATS (started off trying to think of animals that had some kind of hat-like body part) and RETRO. Just yesterday I said to someone that working with a group of volunteers was like herding cats, so that was an instant fill. And I'll gladly play second base on Team Loved the Warren Clue! My first thought was that I didn't know they were related, and then I tried to work in "cousin" and "niece" before I got it. Excellent!

"Tick all the boxes" has become a common phrase, and in the same way that the British "as well" has eclipsed "too" in American English, it will probably knock "check all the boxes" out of the ring before too long.

@egsforbreakfast: Enjoyed your faux outrage at the sexiness of the prom/motels/undress clues.

Rex seems to be drinking more often these days. Pandemic side effect, I guess.

mmac 9:39 AM  

Solving on the app - still can’t figure out what to put in the five rebus squares. Have tried all combinations of BOX, TICK but no triumphant tune. How is it done?

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

I liked this Sunday puzzle because I could do most of it with no help. That is always a good thing in my book. How long has it been since Rex liked a Sunday puzzle? He seems to drink too much, maybe that is part of the problem. At lease wait until after doing the puzzle if he must.

Nancy 10:07 AM  

My favorite rebuses are often the ones where different things are happening in the Acrosses and the Downs. So this one TICKED ALL [my] BOXES. I found it quite easy though, once I had the gimmick -- which I figured out long before getting to the revealer. And, of course, I knew exactly what the revealer would be before getting there. But the fact that it was easy didn't make it any less enjoyable. I found it a very entertaining puzzle.

The cluing was also first-rate. Look the clues over and you'll see that it's possible to be both clever and fair. A preponderance of the clues required thinking, but not a single one was unfair. A nice change from some recent puzzles. Good job all around.

Todd 10:18 AM  

Unlike Rex I really look forward to Sundays. This was pretty easy except for not being sure the correct rebus to get the puzzle to solve. I needed the previous comments to change tickbox to tick.

Xcentric 10:27 AM  

Fun puzzle! Only holdup was figuring out if the app wanted box or tick or both in the rebus. Got the concept, just couldn’t figure out what or how to fill in the rebus. This is a consistent failing of the app whenever a rebus with two alternative words is used.
Loved the clues for no relation, herded cats, sticky situation, senior prom and top hat.

Nancy 10:39 AM  

Thanks for pointing out @Loren's avatar, @Lewis. Unobservant me had missed it, as per usual. It's so funny and so apt for today's puzzle. Wondering if she finds 'em or if she designs 'em?

Another hand up for liking NO RELATION. Cute, original, amusing -- what's not to like?

@GILL -- So now I find out you can TICKLE THE IVORIES. I already know that you paint. How ARTISTIC is one person allowed to be, anyway?

@Small town doc -- When Rex talks about his drinking, what he's really talking about is his solving time and why it was worse than usual that day. Just as I and most other people here don't care about Rex's solving time, you should try not to care about his drinking. He most likely exaggerates it, anyway.

Mohair Sam 10:47 AM  

Pandora's BOX(es)! Anybody else? Filled in the five easy BOX clues first, saw BOX didn't work going down and had an aha! moment when I realized it was Pandora's Box. Spent a ton of time trying to work greed, hate, death, pain, war or one of their buddies into the five boxes (one each). Rats.

Think the Pandora thing might have been more fun than "tick" though.

Still, liked the puzz and the conceit. Don't get many rebi Sundays anymore. Fun stuff.

Elizabeth Warren - the only Democrat who would seriously tax the rich. Love how "liberal" Bill Gates did not rule out voting for Trump if Warren (with her Wealth Tax to pay for ambitious and sensible social programs) were nominated. The billionaire left essentially killed her campaign. Like any good Democrat, I'd have voted for her two or three times if she'd been nominated.

Frantic Sloth 11:04 AM  

@LMS I would love your avatar, if it weren't for the insult to pigs.

William of Ockham 11:07 AM  

Hardest part was figuring out how to enter the rebus to keep 90ish day streak alive on NYT site

COMESOF and CLOSETO vertically adjacent not attractive

Insert here ____________
[... usual Sunday (21X21) grumbles ...]

Birchbark 11:14 AM  

TICKING BOXES. The Looney Tunes version of this puzzle would have a center square with a BOOM rebus, tying it all together. Maybe clue the center as "Bygone portable stereo."

I picked my wife up at the airport last night, back from visiting her mom in Florida. It was around 9:30, just at the end of a perfect twilight. The early part of the long drive home winds along the Minnesota and Mississippi River bluffs -- long vistas aplenty and, last night, fireworks. So many private, uncoordinated fireworks up and down the landscape, over neighborhoods, even some right over our highway. It was beautiful, all over the place for miles, one after another, then several all at once. It was like someone had taken finale of a fireworks display, shuffled it at random, then spread it out over time and a vast distance Listening to July 4 music on the classical radio station, we could see it all -- beautiful on an unexpected scale, made me happy in an unexpected way.

What? 11:17 AM  

What a relief from today’s headlines - “I don’t need his advice anymore”, Texas Lt. Gov., referring to Anthony Fauci as COVid inundates Texas.
Took a while to get to the reveal, but not too long and turns out I didn’t need it but only to validate my fills. Pretty clever and lots of aha moments even as they were telegraphed. As I said, a pleasant way for covidonald respite.

JC66 11:24 AM  

@Harry P & Chefwen

I get The NY Times via home delivery, and the Magazine section (which contains the Sunday puzzle) is delivered with the Saturday paper early Saturday AM. @Hungry Mother probably subscribes as well.


I started your post today with a hearty LOL - your avatar, but ended sadly with your "grump" story.

@more french than american

if you go to and create an account, your name will appear in blue on the blog (and you won't have to prove "you're not a robot.").

Aphid Larue 11:40 AM  

I liked the clue, the answer, and your story. But I thought Warren started as a law and order guy and became liberal while on the bench.

Amy 11:44 AM  

I loved this. Actually found the TICK rebus first and was disappointed they were all going to be the same, but then when I realized the Acrosses were BOX rebuses I had a fun aha moment. Thought fill was fun for the most part. I had a blast, unlike Rex (as usual) and wanted the constructor to know. Thanks!

Sandy McCroskey 11:47 AM  

I printed out the newspaper version, which has the boxes (inside certain boxes) already drawn in. So the first thing I did was write in all those Across answers. When I got my first box-related Down answer ([TICK]LE THE IVORIES, I briefly hoped that these wouldn't be solved with "tick" every damn time (what else is there, though, besides "check"?). So this was rather too easy. The answers required hardly any deliberation. I had the same reaction as Rex to REIMAGE, where the setter had obviously painted herself into a corner.

sixtyni yogini 11:56 AM  

I’m all for clever themes like this one. 👍🏽🧩👍🏽

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

I think your point about drinking is well-taken.

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

Agreed! I thought this puzzle was fun. I liked the theme, the clues and answers were consistent. Excepting reimage I liked the fill. I loved top hats, herded cats (find it hard to believe this was a 1st!) + paw prints. Dr. Who and Harry Potter + Dylan and TKAM = cross-generational cultural references. Once again so glad I solve in my 3D, printed NYT magazine so I don't have to face these constant issues digital solvers face.

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

exactly the same!

Debby Downer 12:10 PM  

@Birchbark. The beautiful fireworks keep people awake into the night, distress veterans with PTSD, and frighten the bejesus out of countless animals. There also numerous injuries every year, some quite serious. It's time to find a more civilized way to celebrate.

burtonkd 12:18 PM  

Of course as a pianist, it took me longer than it should to get TICKLETHEIVORIES.

I agree with @Nancy regarding the drinking/solving time comment. It will be interesting to see if someone so seemingly oversensitive about other things will take your concern to heart.

Loved NORELATION clue - how else would you clue it for that matter? By their age and stature, it certainly seems plausible that they would be related.

Not too much more to say, just TICKing to see if my name is blue

Mary McCarty 12:18 PM  

@lms: today’s avatar is a keeper (but only til November!) I’m hoping I’ve managed to get a “blue name” ala your advice to @Lige.
I was really hoping your video link would be to lemurs, but cat-herding is a winner, too! I used to be a h.s.teacher, too, so I feel your pain.

As I read 91A I literally thought, “hmm, I didn’t know they were RELAT-....never mind.”

I got all the BOXes filled in the acrosses, was puzzled about how the Downs worked (I don’t read Titles) til I found the revealer. I thought there’d be some discussion about how all the BOXes are real boxes, but the TICKs were just sorta random parts of their answers: sTICKy..., lipsTICK, that’s the TICKet, etc.; it’s not that I demand all rebuses be actual full words, per se, just thought it was interesting.

@GILL I. RESPECT was clued with Aretha. I bet you were thinking Ben FRANKLIN, like I was, this holiday weekend...”somebody get me more kite string” didn’t fit. Loved seeing a clip her on A Capitol Fourth last night.

Crimson Devil 12:31 PM  

Agree with “No Anons” suggestion.
Enjoyed Warrens clue, thought Nah, we would’ve heard of any relation by now.
Liked State pair, and small suit, and learning about seahorsemen!

Photomatte 12:38 PM  

Leaves weaponless is DISarms (99 Down), not UNarms. You can tell when a constructor and a puzzle editor are stuck: one makes up a word and the other lets it slide. And yes, it's reimagINe, not reimage. Both those words (unarms and reimage) have the little red underline here as I type them, showing they're misspelled. Contractions? Sure. Jargon? Okay. But to include two misspelled words simply because the constructor couldn't think of better ones is not acceptable for the NYTXW.
The rebus thing came pretty easy for me. The misuse of the rebus thing (changing the word from BOX to TICK) did not. Might as well just REIMAGE every Down square at this point. POORME....

Banya 12:40 PM  

Took me an extra ten minutes to realize I didn't need the word BOX in there...just the TICK. UGH.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

I hesitate before commenting on OFL's imbibing.... been sober 11 years. Some days I miss it terribly, some days I don't. Pretty sure I'd be dead if I hadn't stopped, and very confident I wouldn't have the intellect to tackle the puzzle. Have one for me anyone who can... Sobriety in a pandemic who would have thought?

Pamela 12:41 PM  

My earlier comment didn’t make the cut. My error? Possible... I’ll try again.

I had a good time with this one, even though it took me forever. Cat herding! Pig lipsticking! Then to come here and find Lemur dancing! What fun!

@LMS I’m sorry your delightful story is tied to such sad news. The thought of a grump bounding down the hallway- he must have been having such a wonderful time, in spite of himself.

I got the BOX part of the theme reasonably quickly, but the long downs today were stubbornly resistant. Dr Who’s vehicle was a mystery, and small suit was worse- maybe the clue of the day. Law? Cards? APU didn’t help either. TSP could have been cup - obviously I didn’t do the math. Elsewhere, no particular issue, but fill very spotty. I got the revealer but still couldn’t reconcile the 2-way themers. Hand raised for liking the Warren(s) clue. Loved so many others that were obscure until they weren’t. Not until I finally discovered LIPSTICK did the NW magically fill in. Speaking of which- @LMS Your avatar is ingenious!

@mmac- I finished the puzzle late last night, but didn’t get the happy music. I did what you did- tried all the possible variations, but no joy. This morning I looked again, and aTLO/REOa glared out at me. Problem solved.


I made it to QB for the first time! What a day! Fun puzzle AND QB, all before breakfast!

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

was tempted to just rite in GRAND NIECE, just cause it fit. glad I restrained myself. haven't had a drink, either.

had heard that GOLF is returning to Olympics, but SURFing???? that's sick.

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

Thanks to Lyme (and a variety of other strains),
I was a bit uneasy completing today's tick-ridden
puzzle. Don't we have enough pandemics to think
about already?


WeesaSuzi 12:51 PM  

Very close to a personal best for me today, on a puzzle that I thoroughly enjoyed! Lots of sparkle and lighthearted fun on a quiet Sunday morning.

I think the NYTXW gods must be smiling on me today 'cause I also got Queen Bee on the SB. It's not often that I get that combination! :)

GILL I. 12:54 PM  

@smalltowndoc...I'm going to agree with @Nancy. Nobody should care about his drinking. I congratulate you on your 19 years of sobriety. Many people drink responsibly and of course, there are those addicts that don't and suffer. Rex mentions how it ties in with his timing - it's just his reference.

@Nancy....More like butcher the IVORIES. We always had a piano in the house somewhere because my brother was a pianist. Being the typical jealous sister, I wanted to be just like him and possibly better. I begged my mom for piano lesson. She gave in. My piano teacher was an American who believed in just the classics. She told me I would have to do a solo and she chose, of all things, The Yellow Rose of Texas. I stank. Texans would've strung me up by the boots. I'd rather sit on top of the piano now and belt a few out.

@Birchbark....Loved your fireworks story. It sounded so romantic. Don't listen to @Debby Downer. There is always something to dislike.

@Mary McCarty. Yikes...Yes, I was thinking Ben and wondering why he needed RESPECT.

TTrimble 12:56 PM  

Was confused by the check/tick thing for a while; I don't recall whether I had to get 43D before all became clear. Yes, "tick" definitely seems to be British (Commonwealth) English. Which is fine; I'm used to it.

Came in well under the average Sunday time for me.

I don't know why NO RELATION makes Rex so cross. I thought maybe Elizabeth Warren clerked under Earl Warren or something, the last-name coincidence not really registering at first. So I found the answer sort of delightful. Rex, you really need to calm down a little.

(I feel a bit sorry for Rex: another case where he couldn't bring himself to admit his solve time, and uses drink as his excuse. Yes, Rex, that is a little tiresome, even aside from seeming insensitive to those suffering from alcoholism. You want us to give you an extra minute or two even when you do post a time you are comfortable posting. All this excuse-making, it just sounds a little -- how should one say -- insecure. I'd drop that.)

Re rebus: I solve the puzzle online, and I never bother with the Rebus functionality. For example, today, I just put in a 'B' (for BOX) in the gray squares, and still got the happy music: on completion, the software entered in TICK for me in all the gray boxes, automatically.

All in all, the puzzle didn't excite me greatly, but it did put up a level of resistance that was moderately satisfying to work through. The acrostic put up about the same resistance. (I didn't know --- -----, the famous crossword singer, was Peruvian!) As usual, super-easy monthly bonus puzzle.
A good start for the day before my morning weight-lifting session with my trainer, the first in months (how my muscles have atrophied).

[SB Alert]

First QB in about three days. Yesterday's "YEAN" -- yeesh! Or, YECCH! (I'll bear in mind that alternate spelling.) The standout for me today, which I found slightly amusing, is that the given letter arrangement irresistibly suggests "clit", which apparently the New York Times considers a four-letter word not fit to print. ("Hey fellas, keep it clean -- there are girls here!") To me it's completely inoffensive, and I'd be proud to play it in Scrabble if that were the strategic thing to do.

Whatsername 12:56 PM  

I seldom do a Sunday because I just don’t feel like investing so much time, but this one looked interesting so I decided to give it a shot. Quite a workout. Glad it’s over.

Nancy from Chicago 1:02 PM  

I actually put "tick" in some boxes and "box" in others, depending on whether I figured out the across or down entry first. The NYTimes app accepted that as correct, but changed all my "box" entries to "tick" entries.

I agree this would have been more fun without the shaded boxes. The constructor says in her notes on Wordplay that she didn't intend them to be shaded.

@LMS, I echo everyone's love for your avatar today! Your story about Quentin was heartbreaking. I do love the visual of everyone "lemuring" down the hall.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

Why are all you people babbling about BOX being a rebus? TICK was the rebus. The box was the square you put the TICK in. Às is often the case, this was more obvious in the paper edition, which has printed boxes.

Masked and Anonymous 1:42 PM  

Really admired the fillins in this SunPuz. Extra-Fun Jekyll/Hyde rebus, where the rebus value depends on yer direction (yo, @Nancy) … only thing was that they kinda telegraphed where the rebusae were all located, with them tick-box images. Maybe they thought the theme mcguffin woulda been too hard, otherwise? Or they really dug that title-related check-box graphic, I reckon.

I hesitate to cite sparkly fillins, as there were sooo many good ones that I might leave some out, but here goes nuthin: SEAHORSE. HOTHAND. SQUAREFOOT. ATTICUS. SENIORPROM. HERDEDCATS [yo, @Muse … Primo avatar (did U makeup that? Do U cut hair?) & Primo attempt, to herd lemurs … and yep, RIP, Mr. Quentin]. SYRUP. MARTYR. PUP.

Cluin was not what M&A would call extra-frisky. I spotted 2 ?-mark clues, outta 140. Did like the non-?-mark clues for DESSERT, PUP, EAR, TOPHATS, ASH, STOP, tho … and that's just the Acrossers.

staff weeject pick: RSS. Wowch what a tough clue. Easier one: {What natshkazaK once was??}. Honrable mention to: PUP.

Thanx for the Sunday fun, Ms. Kinnel darlin. Excellent job.
@RP: Good blog job, considerin U were all liquored up and evidently in no mood for ERGS.

Masked & Anonymo12Us

Nancy 1:58 PM  

@GILL: "I'd rather sit on top of the piano and belt out a few."

Like HER, Gill???

TTrimble 1:59 PM  

@Anonymous (1:33PM)
It's BOX/TICK. BOX for completing the across answers, TICK for the down. I thought that was completely clear ("toytick" for example not being a thing). Nothing to get upset about. If you prefer thinking of the box as a substitute for the letter string BOX, that's your prerogative.

Ellen S 2:08 PM  

Over on Xwordinfo, the Notepad says, “Notepad: In the print version of this puzzle, the five circles in the grid are instead square-shaped.” And, what, the Times’s own app doesn’t support its own puzzles? At the risk of sounding like a paid promoter, In Puzzazz, the rebus squares had a little box inside, a square inside the square, representing the word “box” for the across answers; you put the word ‘TICK’ inside the box for the down answers. Or a check mark if you’re feeling pictorial and you can find it on your keyboard somewhere.

But i guess Puzzazz is only available on iOS devices. That’s too bad.

I gotta say in closing, I found it kind of disconcerting to have to read “BOX” in one direction and “TICK” in the other. I kept having to stop and say, which direction is which?

My dogs survived last night by the way, without having any huge panic attacks. I’ve had them for about 3 years, and usually the bigger one tries to crawl on my lap, and I have a lot of panting and trembling from both of them. There were certainly enough explosions, but for some reason they only partially freaked out. I’m happy with that and wish all dogs could have the same experience.

MarthaCatherine 2:33 PM  

A couple of observations/kvetches: Apparently I'm the only one who nearly naticked at 34D and 50A. A Spanish word crossing an obscure abbreviation? I had __SS and AHO__A and ran the alphabet but not one letter seemed any more likely than another for either clue. I threw in the R just by sheer, dumb luck. I figured Rex would spend most of the column complaining about that. Shows what I know. But then, yesterday, I knew DECKLE without a single thought (but ended with a DNF. Puzzle was brutal!)

I'm always so surprised when Rex mentions how a drink or two messes up his time. He gets SO offended by entries like SOT or LUSH or other alcohol-related words and slang, I'd think he'd never use alcohol as an excuse for anything.

@JC66 at 11:24--I've always wondered how to get a "blue" name, but "if you go to and create an account, your name will appear in blue on the blog," as you suggest, needs a bit more detail for those of us (i.e., ME) who are technological noobs and cretins.

RIP for Quentin, @LMS. Such a sad ending to a charming story.

Loralie Lee 2:41 PM  

@Joaquin, Great story about Warren. You and you're family have quite a history.

Kathy 2:49 PM  

I Naticked at TARDIS/APU—an unfortunate way to kick off at 1A...again. Despite this truly awful start (and finish) I was proud to have hacked my way through this thicket with only that error.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who sussed out the theme but couldn’t figure out whether to enter TICK or BOX. I decided that the theme was telling me to TICK THE BOXes so I took it literally.

All in all, this was a REALLY DELIGHTFUL puzzle! I’m a sucker for rebusses so that balances out the preponderance of PPP and difficult crosses. I was in no hurry; this was one to savor. HERDED-CATS...wheee! And another yea vote for NO RELATION!

To me this was just the way a Sunday puzzle should play. It crackled like last night’s fireworks!

@Lige, welcome to the blog! And how cool to find out what happened if you filled in BOX instead!

@Eggsforbreakfast, you are hilarious!

@LMS, your avatar is boffo! Thank you for sharing your fond remembrances of a special student, I’m sure everyone who read it “took a moment.”

JC66 2:58 PM  


If you go to , you should be able to find an option to "create an account."

Once you do that, you can check the Google Account option when choosing an identity (under the Leave your comment box).

You then just have to hit the "Publish Your Comment" box to longer necessary to prove you're not a robot.

Good luck.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 3:06 PM  

My ORion (see avatar) was happy to be in the Sunday puzzle, but disgruntled about the clue. Some movie studio that went bankrupt in 1992. He's the mighty hunter up in the sky. Sheesh.
We meant to watch the penumbral eclipse together last night, by the way, but the sky was completely clear until an hour or so before it started and then became completely overcast. Or maybe it was all the dust from the fireworks.
Didn't much like UNARMS for 99D Leaves weaponless. I think it might be something that was done to the Venus de Milo?

Anonymous 3:10 PM  

I laughed out loud at the "no relation" answer, thought it was a fun twist. Enjoyed the puzzle as a whole, too.

Harryp 3:11 PM  

Thank You @JC66 11:24am for your input. The odds of a Rebus on any given Sunday while not astronomical, are still huge. The constructor could have been his niece giving him a heads up; or myriad other reasons. Your solution fits best.

jberg 3:14 PM  

Drive-by commenting, as it's late in the day. Unusually (it involves sharing two newspapers with my wife) I solved the BEQ puzzle in the Sunday Boston Globe before picking up this one. The BEQ was tougher, but they were both fun. However, what I really noticed was the large overlap in the words they used. No spoilers, so I won't give examples -- but on several occasions while solving the NYT, I stopped short at an answer because I thought I'd put it in elsewhere -- I had, but not in this puzzle.

SOAPBOX was the first rebus square I came upon, so that made it obvious as far as the acrosses were concerned. At first I thought the downs might vary -- tick, check, x, etc., but once i got a second one, that was it.

@Loren, how sad. Thinking of you, and of his family to the extent I can without knowing them.

Me too for wondering why Ben F. was demanding RESPECT!

@Nancy, thanks for that link. It was one of my mother's favorite songs -- possibly because my father was named Bill.

MarthaCatherine 3:21 PM  


MarthaCatherine 3:23 PM  

@JC66: Thanks! See my blue name?!

JC66 3:29 PM  


Mazel Tov!

GILL I. 3:37 PM  

@Nancy....Hahahahahahahahahah..well no. First I will say I love Show Boat, though. Second, Helen Morgan's sweet little quivering voice is way too much Betty Boop to fit my vocal chords. And lastly, I wouldn't
t wear the outfit she had on. I would choose some lime green gauchos so that @Loren and I could sit down and have a frank conversation. ;-)

Mary McCarty 3:54 PM  

Aaarrrrgggg, I managed to get a blue name but messed up the link. Trying again.
And I’d appreciate if one of you “blue name regulars” could take me through the ropes of managing such a presence.

Anonymous 3:56 PM  

As always, most of Rex's complaints are either nit picks or just flat wrong.

OUTCROP is perfectly correct and arguably superior to OUTCROPping. The Wikipedia page is listed under outcrop, and if you put in outcropping it redirects you. If he had bothered to Google the word before complaining, he would have found that outcrop is the more common term. But no, Rex is always sure that he is right and so he doesn't bother to double check what he thinks before criticizing.

I agree REIMAGE is clunky the way it was clued, but you can find uses of the word in that context in the wild. My guess is the constructor originally planned to clue it in the computing context, but the editors thought that context would be obscure for the general NYT readership so it got changed. In any event I didn't think this was a big deal.

Unknown 4:07 PM  


Anoa Bob 4:38 PM  

Wish I could say that solving this puzzle made me happier than a TICK in a coon dog's ear, but since I've never seen nor heard TICK used as a synonym for "check", 'twas not the case. Also found it a bit inelegant that for the across entry BOX is a BOX but for the down side TICK is not a TICK but rather part of a larger word, STICKY, TICKLE, LIPSTICK, TICKET and STICK, each with a different meaning from the Brit's use of TICK. Maybe tomorrow's puzzle will bring an upTICK in my solving enjoyment.

The link to Tracy Chapman did put a big smile on my face. If you are unfamiliar with her music, I urge you to TICK it out. She has a powerful yet lyrical voice that totally captivates me. Reminds me of one of my all-time favorite singers, Odetta. Here's a clip of Tracy live at the Oakland Coliseum singing Fast Car.

Hungry Mother 4:45 PM  

I always solve the NYT puzzle during breakfast. This morning I ran a 5K virtual race in my neighborhood, then iced my legs, then took a shower, sat down to breakfast, and started solving on the NYT puzzle app and discovered that my wish had been granted. I always comment on the blog right after I solve or fail the puzzle and before I read Rex or any comments. I read all of my newspapers on my iPad. I use the Naples Daily News app to print the LAT puzzle, which I solve or fail while I’m enjoying a latte from my Nespresso machine. I always comment on the Crossword Corner after the solve or fail. This is a seven day a week routine. It’s boring, as my wife would be first to agree. I actually do the mini, trying for sub sixty seconds, before the main one. My wife invariably tries to talk to me while I’m working on the mini and I ignore her. After 54 years of marriage, I’m allowed that transgression. I’ve been sober for 31 years and wonder why I ever drank because never being impaired is a wonderful way to live.

JC66 5:12 PM  

@Hungry Mother

It appears that you don't get The NY Times delivered and that your "rebus" guess yesterday was a good one.

Harryp 5:32 PM  

I accept that it was a guess also. Things like that do happen. MY apologies to Hungry Mother.

ChuckD 5:43 PM  

@ Hungry Mother - keep on kicking ass brother. You have me by almost 20 years and my days of 15k or 10mi runs are over - I did 5 mi early today to beat the heat but not sure that will last till I’m your age. I do however follow my late father’s lead in having a drink (just one) every day around 5:00p. He was strong to 97 and I celebrate him everyday with a Bombay on the rocks with a twist.

JC66 5:53 PM  

@Chuck D

I hope you do the puzzle before you have your drink. ;-)

ChuckD 6:16 PM  

@ JC66 - lol I normally look at the puzzle early and may start or even finish (early week) before I go out for a run. My responsibilities are over by late afternoon and that’s when the gin is poured.

Chunga 6:19 PM  

I see the word OUTCROP at least as often as OUTCROPPING.

pabloinnh 6:20 PM  

Late to the party, because, because....

To start at the beginning, when we were newlyweds, by wife and I decided to use some fancy floral wallpaper and redo the small kitchen of the apartment we were renting (for $60 a month!). We overlooked the fact that we didn't know what we were doing and that the room had two windows and five doors, plus cabinets and appliances. By the time we finished, using what scraps we could find to do the space behind the refrigerator, we were doing our best to stay far apart and had long since stopped speaking to each other.

Fast forward to this afternoon, when we were trying to assemble a gas grill in the hot sun, said grill being black with black screws and nuts and bolts and black holes to put them in, which job mostly fell to her because my one good eye can't see such things. More than three hours later the job was done and no physical violence had been perpetrated and we still intend to celebrate our fiftieth later this summer, but for a while there it was touch and go.

Any puzzle with a two-way rebus is aces with me. Liked getting the first one and hunting down the others, although the gray squares on paper were definite training wheels in that department. Turned it to some good fun after a long day, so thanks to LTK. Nice job, and just fine for a Sunday.

puzzlehoarder 6:51 PM  

The only square on today's puzzle that I wasn't 100% sure of was the crossing of TARDIS and APU. I can totally see how a person could Natick on it. I checked xwordinfo after solving and today's clue for APU is a debut. Luckily TARDIS looked familiar and no other letter could really work there.

AHORA crossing RSS was another potentially tricky spot. I have no idea what RSS stands for but common Spanish is fairly well known to me so no problem.

@lms, sorry to hear about your former student.

Eniale 7:26 PM  

I've been following y'all for months but never comment because i don't get to the pub till I've read the paper!
But I do appreciate the stories and info - and occasionally the yes, oh so THAT's what it meant moments.

Occasional Poster 7:38 PM  

Would have far preferred NORELATION if the clue had used Kevin Bacon.

Nancy 8:33 PM  

@Hungry Mother -- You needed to ice your legs after a "virtual" race? Evidently a virtual race isn't some form of virtual reality, even though that's what it sounds like. But what exactly is it?

And if it's a real race, no matter how many "K"s it is, how can you run it before breakfast on an empty stomach? The mind boggles. No wonder you call yourself "Hungry Mother" :)

Love your story, @pabloinnh, and also the back story. It's actually my favorite comment today. I can see why your marriage has survived the kinds of DIY challenges you describe: a good sense of humor covers a multitude of sins and you're a funny guy.

600 8:59 PM  

I'm here awfully late; I hope someone else is still thinking about the puzzle. I liked it, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why (39A) litter critter is PUP. I see that Masked and Anonymous thought it was a great clue and answer, but no explanation why. Please help. I just don't get it.

JC66 9:21 PM  


Dogs give birth to litters which contain PUPpies.

Hope this helps.

600 9:38 PM  

It does, and now I feel really stupid. All I could think of was kitty litter. D'uh. Thank you, JC66.

Anna 10:38 PM  

I had cat first but then my husband of almost 50 years gave me PUP.

JenPo 10:51 PM  

Funny - same theme and rebus repeats from from June 27, 2019! Randomly stumbled on that puzzle today.

Frantic Sloth 11:08 PM  

@LMS I hope I'm right in thinking you read all the comments - even the late ones - because I didn't want to miss the chance to express my condolences. I can only imagine that being the kind of teacher I suspect you are, that losing a student is just slightly less painful than losing your own child. The lemur antics and link were heartwarming and fun, and relating Quentin's story must have been terribly difficult to do, let alone experience. My heart breaks for you, his family, and any loved ones he left behind. Thank you for sharing something so deeply personal. ❤️

I really do love your avatar! 😉

Joe Dipinto 11:28 PM  

@JenPo 10:51pm – Good sleuthing! That was a cleaner, better puzzle. And it used the more typical (in the USA) "check" all the boxes. The one rebus fits both the across and the down answers, so no need to fuss with extra boxes/circles/what-have-you in the grid.

kitshef 7:56 AM  

Lots of short fill leads to a choppy solve which tends to be less enjoyable. Also, Will please stop treating us like idiots. Let us figure out where the TICK/BOX crosses are; don't show us.

Frantic Sloth 12:41 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
CaryinBoulder 5:46 PM  

With apologies and due respect to the non-drinkers here, I would reckon that BACARDI is the only rum that 90+% of Americans have ever heard of. (On a par with Cuervo in the tequila world.) I’m here to say it’s all marketing, folks. I could never drink that stuff. In 2011 I was in Costa Rica and we were sampling various vintages of their fine Centenario. While waiting for my flight home there was a kiosk at the airport serving up samples of Ron Zacapa, a product of Guatemala that is by far the finest rum I’ve ever tasted. At around $40 a bottle it’s pricey but not exorbitantly so. You’re welcome.

I thought the puzzle was just what I needed on a Sunday. Our national SITUATION is so STICKY, the racism and rampant overweening stupidity so depressing that I couldn’t even face the mental gyrations necessary to attempt Saturday’s. Still four months until We the People will have our say and cast the Evil One out of Our House and into the Big House. Ojalá!

Unknown 3:55 PM  

Rex, you've still failed to encounter a single crossword you actually like. An amazing journey.

Burma Shave 1:09 PM  


SHE'll SAY, "STOP right there STUD, UNLESS,
then THE MOTEL'S where we'll UNDRESS."


rondo 1:30 PM  

I haven't yet read OFL's review, but I'll bet it was something like this:
Another one-trick pony of a rebus (albeit a double rebus), once you find the revealer it's just fill in the blanks - another Sunday slog; far too many threes, of which far too many were abbr.s; nothing sparkly in the rest of the fill; when will Sunday puzzles get better; [but then he doesn't dare hate this puz because it was a woman constructor].
Tell me if I'm wrong 'cuz I'm not going to look.

TASE the four corners for a SEAT in the EAST for EATS.

When given a choice I'll defer to the musician, and the ARTISTIC EDIE Brickell fits the yeah baby mold.

BTW, if OFL did *not* say those things above, then I have said them. UnfunSun.

Mike Koenecke 2:48 PM  

Doubtless no one will see this, as I'm a few weeks behind (the Dallas Morning News runs the syndicated puzzle), but in case anyone is notified, a response to Joaquin: when I was in my last year of law school at the University of Texas, I enrolled in a tax finance course that for some reason was three credits for the fall semester but only two for the spring semester, leaving me one credit short of graduation. I inquired about options, and found that my old Contracts professor was doing some banktrupcy law research, and if I worked on that project I could get the extra credit I needed. So I did; therefore, my having had a law degree since 1984 is at least partially attributable to Elizabeth Warren.

Anonymous 3:10 PM  

It's used often enough, here in the states (ticked all the right boxes), but is of British origin.

spacecraft 3:25 PM  

I don't know from "TICK." The saying is: check off all the boxes. Still, TICK one way and BOX the other; yeah yeah. We do get a couple of very colorful phrases out of it, but I'm largely wit OFC on this one. And that Warren clue! That is the very definition of a cheap shot. Turned an aha! moment into an oh, no! moment instantly.

Perhaps @rondo overlooked RENEE Zellweger--or Russo for that matter. DOD. Not wanting to discourage lady constructors, I'll give this one a par.

Texas Momma 4:01 PM  

@Mike Koenecke. I’m another DMN reader and just letting you know some one saw your Elizabeth Warren story. I liked the clue and answer.

My downfall on this one was not reading 98A closely enough and just saw Benson which made me think of the Saints. I’m a New Orleans native. So I was forcing football divisions in. Unsuccessfully, of course.

Unknown 4:34 PM  

RSS = Really Simple Syndication

Phillip Blackerby 4:42 PM  

Agree. Alcoholics are always responsible for their own behaviors, including both drinking and recovering. Blaming alcohol for one's own failings is irresponsible.

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