Emulate Ferris Bueller / THU 7-2-20 / Small photo processing center / Radio journalist Stamberg / Hello in world's most common first language / Rug maker's supply

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Constructor: Yacob Yonas and Chad Horner

Relative difficulty: Easy (5:34) (16x15 grid)

THEME: SKIP SCHOOL (65A: Emulate Ferris Bueller ... or a hint to understanding the answers to the starred clues) — answers literally SKIP SCHOOL, in that there is a school name right in the middle of the answer, so the answer sort of "skips" over it ... creating a new word/phrase that is unclued:

Theme answers:
  • COMMITMENT (17A: *Express one's view) ("comment" skips MIT)
  • STAY ALERT (26A: *Kick off) ("start" skips YALE)
  • SUNCHIPS (40A: *Sends) ("ships" skips UNC)
  • GAS PRICES (57A: *Reacts to an amazing magic trick say) ("gasps" skips RICE)
Word of the Day: Harold ROSS (21A: Harold who co-founded the New Yorker magazine) —
Harold Wallace Ross (November 6, 1892 – December 6, 1951) was an American journalist who co-founded The New Yorker magazine in 1925 and served as its editor-in-chief from its inception until his death.
Ross was one of the original members of the Algonquin Round Table. He used his contacts in "The Vicious Circle" to help get The New Yorker started.
Ross, said by Woollcott to resemble "a dishonest Abe Lincoln," attracted talent to his new publishing venture, featuring writers such as James ThurberE. B. WhiteJohn McNultyJoseph MitchellKatharine S. WhiteS. J. PerelmanJanet Flanner ("Genet"), Wolcott GibbsAlexander WoollcottSt. Clair McKelwayJohn O'HaraRobert BenchleyDorothy ParkerVladimir Nabokov, and J.D. Salinger. (wikipedia)
• • •

There's something kinda sweet about this puzzle. Its gimmick is pretty simple, and it's executed nicely. Nothing showy, nothing stunty, nothing where you have to squint at the end to see whatever image you're supposed to see, or where you have to connect the dots to find the treasure map, or where you're asked nay begged to titter at a math pun. None of that. Honestly, it feels like a good, somewhat swole Tuesday puzzle. (Swole in that it's literally bigger than normal and also swole in that it's flexing in a way a Tuesday puzzle usually doesn't) The fill could've been livelier perhaps, but all in all I thought it was a clean and largely irritation-free solve. The only irritation I felt was the whole "Is It LOA or Is It KEA" thing, uggggggggh, just clue KEA as a parrot, please, they're super common in NZ and I hate hate hate having to wait on KEA v. LOA it's not like there's cleverness in [Mauna ___], or difficulty, it's just ugh waiting and checking. Of course I guessed wrong at first pass and then didn't clean it up properly and had LEA for a bit, sigh :( Also slightly irritated by TECH being in the grid when "MIT" is also in the grid; I know MIT doesn't "end" in TECH the way Virginia TECH or Georgia TECH does, but TECH is short of "Technology," which the "T" in MIT definitely stands for, so boo. Very easy to boot TECH from your grid. Bootable. Boot it.

Besides my LOA for KEA mistake, I also misspelled NIHAO (as NIHAU, which is a Hawaiian island (well, NIIHAU is), which I feel like I *just* learned last week ...). Never heard of a MINILAB, though it was ultimately pretty inferrable (10D: Small photo processing center). Those big NE / SW corners were probably the toughest parts of the puzzle to tame. ACCREDIT is an odd verb and didn't come to me quickly (11D: Sanction), and "Sanction" is also an odd verb in that it has possible meanings that are opposites of one another. I forgot Harold ROSS and SUSAN Stamberg (59D: Radio journalist Stamberg), but crosses were so easy I hardly felt those bumps. AGE ONE is weak (55D: Time to take first steps, maybe). As is AGE TWO, if that ever shows up. But I liked SYRUPY and SALSA BAR and SO CUTE and as I say, the theme just works. It's a nice, light, mercifully unobnoxious Thursday puzzle. Cool.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:04 AM  

Easy. Finished without grokking the theme, and needed several nanoseconds of staring to finally get it. Cute, liked it.

*****SB ALERT****

@TTrimble from yesterday. This site provides info on each day’s SB including what words are not on the list and why.

Joaquin 12:04 AM  

Another one of those “more fun for the constructor than the solver” puzzles. Yes, it was quite clever. And no, I did not have an “aha moment”. Entering the revealer gave me a moment somewhere between “huh” and “WTF”. A trip to the constructors’ notes finally cleared it up for me.

Frantic Sloth 12:05 AM  

Well, that was unnecessarily difficult. I'd like my honorary degree now, please.

Is UNPEG a word? Maybe. Does anybody say it? No.

Should I know Ilhan OMAR? Maybe. Do I? No.

Everybody knows that the very first Zebra feature that comes to mind is "Stripe", which doesn't fit. So, of course, there must be a rebus in here somewhere, right? No.

And I really never liked the look of ODED. Seems like something Keats or Pindar would have done.
"See that urn? Yeah - l ODED that."

Once I stared at the completed grid (the "how" of which is a mystery) for what seemed like forever, the theme slowly revealed itself. "Skipping school" is sort of a cute theme, but those themers? How green painty/πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ˜΄ can you get?
GASPRICES? Double ick.

A veritable rollercoaster of level straightaways. However, I do respect the crunch of some of the fill. But, was it actually crunch or just wavelengths passing like 2 ships in the dark and stormy night?
It's anyone's guess.


William of Ockham 12:43 AM  

Entries felt really kinda old

very simple

okanaganer 12:43 AM  

From the clue I was so certain the revealer would be TAKES A DAY OFF that I didn't know what to do when it didn't fit. The name of the film is not FERRIS BUELLER SKIPS SCHOOL!!, for pity's sake. But anyway,

I really hate college/univ. initials as answers. So I was ready to hate the gimmick, but the YALE in STAY ALERT softened my ire. Then MIT was... not great, but at least it's world famous. Then UNC blundered its way into the theme and I was a hater again. That is such a truly lame notorious bad crossword fill 3 letter cluster, especially as the central theme gimmick in the dead middle of the grid.

If only they could have worked in CORNELL, MCGILL, or even ETON (more crosswordese, but not initials!)

Happy Canada day, at least for another 2.5 hours of Pacific Dayllight time! So odd not to have any civic celebrations to go to. Plus it's unusually cold and rainy here today. Oh well, there's always next year... I hope.

[SB alert: I got QB again; 3 days out of 4 running. Was undone by DUGONG yesterday... I mean really, DUGONG?]

Harryp 12:55 AM  

I didn't try to figure out the theme, since the Down answers were clear enough, and by the time I read the reveal, the *'d clues made sense. Easy Thursday.

Runs with Scissors 1:06 AM  

SERA right off the bat. A COVID-19 cure, or an Eye-talian soiree?

I still have no effing idea how SUNCHIPS equates to *Sends. Don't care enough to look it up, either. Satisfied that I got the answer. I think.

GASPRICES on the way up again. Much more rapidly than they descended. Isn't it always that way? Here in the CA we pay a ridiculous price per gallon, currently $2.75 at the cheapest brand in Orange County. Most of that is taxes, and the gas tax just went up. Again. TOETAP while waiting for sanity to make an appearance. EMOPOP will happen first.

It's SOCUTE that NEUTRINOs made it into the grid. Neutral, by definition. No one really knows the mass of such.

ROADIES are fun. You can use them, abuse them, then discard them.

NYET, PIDAY is in the past. SKIPSCHOOL and you'll never get the joke. Nor a MENSA member be.

EMOPOP is right up there with other non-music. I have, and will, never "get" it. Whatevs.

I can't believe that the glaring LATINO entry didn't get the ol' stinkeye. I've never been able to figure out what it is, myself.

RAMSES - let my people go!

I have run my course. STAYALERT, wear your mask, wash your hands, and don't touch your freakin' face!!!!

Wishing for short-lived idiots

Anonymous 1:11 AM  

First today!

mathgent 4:11 AM  

I got the gimmick at RICE and then had fun finding the other universities.

What does “most common first language” mean?

MONALISA is actually a small attraction at the Louvre.

My brothers and I always called our beloved Uncle Ralph UNC.

G. 5:04 AM  

This was fun, even if the untricked-out themers made little sense.

Hey Rex, very generous of you today.
Tell me, have you ever loved a Shortz puzzle without qualification?

Loren Muse Smith 6:01 AM  

Loved this! I got all the themers without letting myself look at the reveal and was flummoxed. So the aha moment was really satisfying. I’m grateful to the powers that be that they didn’t use circles. It is Thursday, after all.

PINE trees in Maine. In a normal year, right now I’d probably be in Sebasco Estates in Maine. I love Maine. I love the people in Maine. They’re honest, friendly, eco-conscious, humble. And they’re that way ‘cause they’re that way, not ‘cause they’re putting on a show just to look that way. Know what I mean?

RAMSES. One letter away from UNC’s mascot, Rameses. Hah.

From yesterday – thanks for your pronunciation feedback. I was using the data in a little dust-up I’m having about the pronunciation of nuclear and flipping sounds.

@Frantic Sloth - love the idea of a poet saying he already ODED something. That urn? Nah. I oded that a few years ago. I’ma ode a Rice Krispy treat this time.


ChuckD 6:17 AM  

I’m looking for a little more trickery and toughness on Thursday - but overall thought this was fine. The grid has that funny shape with the long, talls in the corners which I like. Easily plays as a themeless given the common theme answers. Never liked Ferris Bueller so that didn’t help. Pluses here were the SALSA BAR/LATINO and DO GOOD/STOOGE crossings. I also liked to see PLESSY in there given all of the big SCOTUS cases lately. You can keep ODED, OATEN, AGEONE, EMOPOP and so many more of the short things out - to me they really bring what could be a good puzzle down to the ok level.

Lewis 6:32 AM  

This played out as my kind of theme, where first you have to crack it, and then it helps you solve, as this did for three answers.

There was also enough vagueness and out-of-wheelhouse answers to get my brain cranking.

Then there were a couple of other schools hiding out in the puzzle -- USM (University of Southern Mississippi or University of Southern Maine) in USMINT, and NEU (Notheastern University) in NEUTRINO. In addition, it was satisfying to see that UPTOP indeed is.

Add a junk-lite grid to the lovely theme, cranking brain, and miscellaneous extras, and it's a recipe for a Thumbs-up Thursday. Thank you, guys, for making this!

Dave 6:37 AM  

Solved it, but had to have Rex explain it to me!

Hungry Mother 6:38 AM  

Just rewatched the movie the other night, but I was determined to solve this without figuring out the theme. I succeeded in a quick solve.

amyyanni 6:54 AM  

@Lewis, if you ever construct a puzzle and clue Northeastern, don't go with NEU. It's simply NU. Graduate of NU Law, or NULS, as we call it.
Puzzle was ok. Easy for Thursday and had to finish it before getting the theme. Enjoyed
Susan Stamberg and Harold Ross (bit of a New Yorker geek). No real complaints. And tomorrow is a "day off" so it won't be skipping when I eschew the home office for the living room.

Lobster11 6:58 AM  

Solved this as a themeless with several apparently meaningless answers, then came here to find out what the trick was because once I was done I didn't care enough to figure it out myself. Read the explanation and... "Oh, I see." I'm sure this was much more fun for those who figured out the theme early and were able to use it while solving.

GILL I. 6:59 AM  

And all this time I thought OMAR was her first name. I also thought Julian and Joaquin might've been Fidel's long lost sons. I've been to a million authentic taquerias and yet I've never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. SALSA BAR. NIHAO...What happened to ALOHA? Do you leave potatoes out in the sun and make them SUN CHIPS?
I'm glad SEPTIC is not sterilized and that a zebra is the only animal in the kingdom with a MANE. You didn't clue STOOGE with Moe and SUSAN wasn't a B Anthony. Oh look....MENSA is right below SKIPS SCHOOL. Was that planned? I also noticed DOG OOD crossing that BONE. What else? Did I like this? NYET.
I missed PIDAY because I used to SKIP SCHOOL when I lived in the Palisades. I went to the beach because I hated math and I didn't want to take the TRIG test. I managed to get a D so that was good.
MIT YALE UNC and RICE. All MENSA's I'm sure. Also, I've been to several concerts and never once bought a T SHIRT. I am woman, here me ROAR.

BarbieBarbie 7:09 AM  

@LMS, how about Brett Favre? Wednesday?

I’m surprised nobody has ragged on Shortz or the constructors for GASPRICES, which contains RICE, sure, but completely in the second word of the phrase. Though OFL would really hate that, but nope- he thinks it’s cute. For me, it’s a jarring Edit Fail.

Snoble 7:13 AM  

Like @LMS I was grateful for no circles. On the electronic version every answer also highlighted the revealer--I resisted looking until the end. I would have preferred a slower realization than the connection being made for me.
Liked the MENSA clue--felt fresh to me. I always wince at ODED--I know too many people who have died from opioid addiction to make a cute joke about it.

kitshef 7:16 AM  

The theme played no part in my solve, and often that’s a big drawback. On some days, though, the theme is clever enough or novel enough that the post-solve aha! moment carries the day. This is one of those days.

Big fan of SUN CHIPS. I mean, they’re not Cheetos, but they are still pretty delish. Top three “foods”:
3) Gyros
2) Cheetos
1) Roy Rogers fries dipped in a mixture of Roy's BBQ sauce and mayo.

Not completely sold on SALSA BAR as an answer. Not something I have seen or can picture. I'm willing to believe they exist, but just barely.

Conrad 7:17 AM  

Got 17A, COMMITMENT, first, then got the revealer and figured out what was going on. Realized that COMMENT was the clued word and that there must be a skipped school in there somewhere. Looked back at 17A, saw commITMent and wondered "What kind of school is ITM?"

OffTheGrid 7:29 AM  

I really loved this puzzle but I feel I must comment on 27D, "End of many university names"/TECH. It should have had "abbr" but that's the least of it. Someone please tell me of even one (let alone many) school named "Such and Such University Tech". The term university is not generic. If the clue had used "school" it would have been fine.

pabloinnh 7:37 AM  

This is one of those puzzles where I filled in the revealer about half way through, finished the rest of the puzzle without using the revealer as help, and then had to stare at the answers for way too long before that aha! moment, so that was enough fun for me for a Thursday. Good fun.

@Lewis-Pretty sure Northeastern abbreviates itself as NU. They're the Huskies, but my favorite school with that mascot is UConn, which for some reason took me forever to make the connection between Uconn and Huskies. Wish there was a D1 school called The Otters.

Nice job, YY and CH. Medium crunch and minimal junk.

Anonymoose 7:46 AM  


mmorgan 7:52 AM  

I’m among those who finished this without getting the theme. Finally, after some staring, I saw MIT and so, okay, I get it. But figuring out the theme post-solve is less fun for me than having the theme be of use while I’m solving. Not sure if that’s the fault of this puzzle or my inability to grok the theme while solving.

Petsounds 7:57 AM  

Who are you and what have you done with Rex????

D. Ho 7:59 AM  

Agree on Moana. Every time I see it, my whole body reacts. Look, we all know it's either KEA or LOA. There is no mystery here. So why reduce it to a guessing game with a 50-50 chance? That's just annoying. At least with most clues that could be a common either/or, there is some added bit of info that tips it one way or the other (eg, OTT v ORR adds something like sport, era, city, honors, etc. that makes it more than just a mindless guessing game).

Unless, of course, the clue is referring to my dearly departed great-aunt Moana - who left me NOTHING in her will. That would be different.

TTrimble 8:12 AM  

Set a personal best for a Thursday. Fairly smooth and pleasant solve. Nice to see another physics term (NEUTRINO).

Got the point of the theme pretty late into the solve. Seems to me Rex had a typo in his explanation: in "creating a new word/phrase that is unclued" the last should be "[the one] clued", shouldn't it?

@Frantic Sloth: Ilhan Omar is one of "the Squad", comprising four Dem Congresswomen in the progressive wing who have been much in the news (the others are Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib).


[SB Alert]

Thanks! Much obliged. I'll be consulting that often.

Yes, I missed Dugong the other day (along with Nunhood, which is annoying). What the heck is "Dugong"?! IMO that should have been in the obscure list.

Today's seems a little weird (same middle letter as yesterday, and two or three other repetitions from yesterday).

Z 8:17 AM  

Donate to a COVID charity or a Social Justice Charity and get 42 puzzles. You will recognize the constructors.

“Sanction” got me. Not a writeover but it definitely autoantonymed me. I tried be GOOD before DO GOOD. How’s that for the encapsulated philosophical debate, do you have to be GOOD to DO GOOD? Bill Cosby and Michael Jackson spring to mind.

GAS PRICES? I have a plug-in hybrid. I’ve purchased GAS exactly once in the past three and a half months, and only because my reward points were about to expire. At the moment I’m at ¾ of a tank.

EMO POP was pretty easy. The youngest was really into EMO POP in high school. I’m pretty sure the two bands mentioned would have elicited a fair amount of snark, though (have the geneticists identified the snark gene, yet?). Here, you decide. Personally, the oldest’s tastes are closer to mine.

@mathgent - Your first language is what you learned at home as a toddler. I’m not sure why the clue writer went with “most common first language” instead of “most common language.”

Wm. C. 8:19 AM  

@jae12:04am --

Where can I find the SB in today's NYT???

David in Brevard 8:20 AM  

Came here and discovered the theme….. wow… no way was I going to work that out!

Finished in just a few minutes under my stated average which I regard as average or slower as my curve is definitely downward.

The whole KEA/LOA was my stumble today as I started out with LOA which unconsciously morphed to LEA as MENSA occurred to me and that made SLIPS SCHOOL which in a language where we call out sick (rather than call in sick) and table a matter to remove it from the agenda rather than add it…. who knows SLIP SCHOOL could be a thing, right? I could care less!

No one is commenting on NI HAO? My best second language is Mandarin or Putonghua (no really - doesn’t mean I’m any good at it) so I was astonished at this clue/answer.

Nice Thursday with a totally inaccessible theme (for me).

David in Brevard

Mikey from El Prado 8:21 AM  

Agree with @Jae... quick makings, but I still didn’t get the the theme. I was thinking that one needed to add the school for the answer to make sense, as in skip meant left out, but that would have meant ‘skipped school.’

North central was only slowdown. ROSS and PLESSY not in my wheelhouse.

To all the bloggers yesterday... thank you for the kind words regarding our cat, Zuni. That brought us comfort. And @Z you are so right. Must be some correlation between loving crosswords and pets/animals. I like to think it has to do with appreciating things at a higher level, both intellectually and spiritually.

RexNotRex 8:26 AM  

It’s Rex’s blog, and he can say what he wants...but seems like he likes these constructors (or at least got out of the right side of the bed for once). Normal Rex nits: “Why these four random schools, there’s no connection“; “Two schools are abbreviated and two are not. Consistency! Boo! Hiss!”; “Please take you ‘oaten’ and bury it where the sun don’t shine”; “CPU, TMS, NYET, ODED, NOMS, EIN, TIO...do better!”

Twangster 8:28 AM  

On the KEA/LOA thing, it seems like there are quite a few of these 3-letter answers where you have a clue and it could be any of 2 or even 3 possible answers. (I'm blanking on thinking of any but it happens just about every day.) So you have to get some other letters first and then it falls into place.

RooMonster 8:40 AM  

Hey All !
Y'all are smarter than me. The theme *whoosed* right over my head. Ah, lost brain cells from my youth.

Wanted to insert SCHOOL somewhere in the themers. Wasn't working out well. Stopped trying to grok the theme, and finished to come here to be led by the hand to learn the theme.

Tough mid-section with PPP crossings. ROSS/PLESSY, SUNCHIPS (odd choice for a themer, isn't that just a snack item?), with CUESIN odd, too, wanting CLUESIN, plus SYRUPY as SugarY first, and Dang, what a mess.

Got my one-letter DNF today (of course), stupidly, because I originally had veDAY for PIDAY, but when SEvTIC didn't make sense, changed the V to the P, but left the E in TeO, knowing full well that TIO is uncle in Spanish, but thinking maybe Uruguay was Portuguese and an E. Ugh.

So a good puz in hindsight, but the ole brain not cooperating with me today. Stupid brain.

No F's (An ERR)

Mark 8:40 AM  

I got the first answer, but didn't closely enough at the extra letters and thought maybe the theme was going to be "it me" in the middle, which would have been unusually au courant for the NYTXW.

Hartley70 8:42 AM  

I had the revealer early with the Ferris clue and I had great anticipation for some silly fun, but as I solved I had no flipping idea what the theme was. It didn’t matter to my time because the crosses gave the themers away with just a few letters. It was quick and easy but ultimately unsatisfying. I’m demanding on a Thursday and I want some surprise and delight. It’s not a bad puzzle. It just needed to run earlier in the week.

I Dunno 8:46 AM  

@Z - (barely) More people speak English than Mandarin Chinese, but Mandarin Chinese is the native language of about 3 times as many people as is English. Why "native" had to be replaced by a complete narrative is beyond me.

KnittyContessa 8:52 AM  

37D TRIG is an abbreviation. Why isn't there any indication in the clue? When did that stop?

Flinque 8:55 AM  

Finished. Felt like a typical Wednesday. never got the theme until I visited Rex. Is that a flaw of the puzzle or of my brain ?

Nancy 9:03 AM  

As I was galloping through the ridiculously easy and, frankly, dull clues for all the non-theme answers, I was wondering why on earth this was running on a Thursday. I sort of noticed that I had no idea what was going on in the starred clue/answers. There were real answers that had nothing to do with their respective clues, but I didn't need to know, so I didn't worry my pretty little head about it.

It might have helped if I'd known what Ferris Bueller did/does, but I had no idea.

I found out after finally getting SKIPS SCHOOL (slowed down by having had MALI instead of MAUI, leading to SLOAN instead of SUSAN, along with YELPED instead of YELLED, giving me SKIPOCHOOP!) But once I'd straightened it out, once I'd finished that section, I looked back at the theme answers and finally, belatedly, said "Aha!"

In my case it was just a little too belatedly. Just wondering: how many people knew what was going on while they were solving and not only after the fact?

Lewis 9:05 AM  

@amyyanni and @pabloinnh -- Wikipedia said that Northeastern University could be either NU or NEU, so I went with it, but Amy, I'll take your word for NU since you went there, and now I know!

Geezer 9:17 AM  

This and that:

Located in Big Rapids, MI is Ferris State University.

Our takes on puzzles are anything but homogeneous. Today, some got the theme just staring at the empty grid. Some did not see it at all. And lots of experiences in between. Some found it hard. Some found it easy. Some liked it. Some didn't. All to say; It will ever be thus and nobody is wrong.

The bread I used to make toast today was WHEATEN.

@Wm.C. In the e-edition NYT, the SB is with all the other games.

pmdm 9:17 AM  

g.: A while back Shortz published a few of Mike Sharp's puzzles. I would guess he was OK with them.

Rexnotrex (and all the others who claim he can say whatever he wants: No he can't. He can't encourage someone to murder someone. The are, and should be limits, to what the powers that be in social media allow. see what the honcho at Reddit said. Even the 1st Amendment doesn't allow a person to shout 'Fire" in a crowded movie theater. Anarchy is not a good thing. Neither are views encouraging anarchy.

A debut constructor today. Who says he likes trivia. Those who don't may not like today's puzzle. Anecdotally, it seems to me a lot of new constructors jam a lot of their ego into their first efforts. Then they settle down and create great puzzles for the ages. I am encouraged by the number of new constructors. It may be the reason why the NYT puzzle will continue to attract so many subscriptions. Despite the (valid) complaints of long-time solvers.

Lorelei Lee 9:30 AM  

A solving experience involving instinct, and random knowing from everyday life and my dilettante ways. Read Adorbs and heard myself answering So Cute! Someone raises a hand, and I hear one of us saying Up Top. Then the random stuff ... Sera, Plessy, Polio, Neutrino, Pi Day, etc. So it went.

Downs filled the acrosses letting me suss out the themes without knowing what it all meant. A friendly puzzle ... g'wan, solve me.

Sadly, it would've been the fastest, unaided finish of a Thursday ever (under 25 minutes vs. hour +) if it hadn't been for Tom/Mice. I seriously stuck with Top Cat and assumed Pice was a word I'd never heard for timid people. Yeah. Wouldn't think of a pack of rodents to describe a group of timid people because I've never encountered such en masse.

Although there was that time I jumped into raging melting-snow-fed-stream (geologically a young river) approaching a small waterfall just to make the HS football team guys feel like a bunch of wusses. Fond memories of the one who jumped in and fished me out after I went over the falls.

@Gill, If you're anywhere near one of the "Berto" eateries in So or NoCal, (Adalbertos, Filibertos, etc.), you'll find a Salsa Bar. Food decent.

Nancy 9:30 AM  

So, after reading the blog so far, I have my answer. There are a handful of people who understood the trick while solving (@Lewis, @mathgent) and many, many more who didn't. And, natch, the people who understood it while solving tended to like it a lot more than those who didn't. (@kitshef and @Loren are exceptions.) And that's the weakness of this puzzle: a very clever trick, but extraneous to the solve.

William of Ockham 9:45 AM  

Surprised at some comments complaining about the non-literality of SKIPS SCHOOL v takes a day off (var)

He specifically cuts a day, skips school
any peon can take a day off, so it is more correct

answers were so easy to get as was the revealer, the theme answers while complete thoughts when skipping the school monogram made a second answer, so it was very straightforward and tight ...

and as someone said "More fun for the Constructor than the Solver".

and @anon 1:11, I put in after 12:00 and thought "Maybe?. No"
Methinks there must be a race to be first

RexNotRex 9:45 AM  

@pmdm 9:17, sorry if you took me 100% literally. I often disagree with Rex, but he can say whatever he wants to say within the law, as it is his blog. Better?

Anonymous 9:54 AM  


well... there are Beavers, so much more fun to say. though found a musk rat (ground hog) digging in my tomatoes yesterday. the days you leave your house without your gun.

yes, NU and BU are down the street from one another, and if your from MA, that's what you call them. Calhoun coached NU before UConn, and graduated from the same college as I did, though well before my time.

I know the names of the bands, sort of. I know of hiphOP and EMO. I know DHL (the caps are in the name). but never EMOPOP. too old to have ever heard anyone say, "adorbs!" so that corner was crunchy.

David 9:56 AM  

I guess salsa bars must be a thing in some chain "Mexican" restaurants out there in Whitelandia. I've never been to a taqueria that had such a thing. Salsa dip? Sure thing. So that's what I put in. Come to think of it, even El El Frijoles, in Sargentville, ME, doesn't have a salsa bar. If you get down east this year, stop by. If you get the bad pun of a name, have a chuckle.

Kind of easy puzzle and, as usual, I had to come here to find out what the schtick was. I saw "skip school" immediately and had no idea what was going on with the starred clues. Now I say, "Oh. Okay."

Favorite clue for me today was Sounds, e.g.

OffTheGrid 9:57 AM  

@Nancy, The "trick" is extraneous in the sense that you can have the correct letter in each square and be done. But in my mind a solve includes getting the theme. In this case, figuring out why the clues and answers don't make sense for the starred entries. i.e. "What's going on here?". I think you are correct that satisfaction depends on when one has their "AHA".

pmdm 10:02 AM  

Rexnotrex: Better. Alas, I've read you you wrote composed by people who were very, very serious. And sadly bullying is too often used legally, which I oppose. But sorry to have misunderstood you.

Carola 10:03 AM  

Medium here: an "easy" on the theme mixed with some "challenging" elsewhere. Mid-grid, the UNC popped out at me from SUNCHIPS, leading my eye back to COMMITMENT and its MIT....which then allowed me to finish the dangling STA...with YALE + RT. Oh, I guess I have to take back the "easy" for the last one: I'd assumed it would be GApeS +???, so it took a while to mentally regroup to GASPS + RICE. As a "challenging" example...my last entry was ACCREDIT, which got a smile for its SCHOOL connection and for my not seeing it for so long - I once was involved in an accreditation "exercise" (which actually surprised me with its "this is no rubber stamp" rigor).

Help from previous puzzles: EMOPOP. No idea: NIHAO. Do-over: BagS before BINS.

TTrimble 10:13 AM  

@Runs With Scissors
Perhaps you figured it out by now, but for SUN CHIPS, if you thematically skip school (i.e., remove the letters UNC for the University of North Carolina), you are left with the synonym "Ships" for *Sends.

jberg 10:23 AM  

@Joaquin, congrats on being in the clues!

I liked this one a lot. Fun figuring out the theme, and a lovely revealer. Fortunately, my son’s family had a cat named NI HAO, which made me confident enough to fill in NICER.

Over 100 comments already, so I assume there’s no need for me to tell Rex what day of the week this is.


Anonymous 10:24 AM  

LOL! Rex hates obscure trivia and he suggests kea to be clued in relationship toNew Zealand. Really?! An endemic species from one of the world’s far outposts. Ok Rex. Whatever you say.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

*sends = ships (if you take the UNC out of SUNCHIPS)

tkincher 10:27 AM  

Timely puzzle, as Josh Gad just did a "Together Apart" reunion with the Ferris Bueller crew (sans John Hughes, of course). Good watch.

Gentleman Farmer 10:48 AM  

A puzzle that begins with the reprehensible, anti-Semitic, incestuous Omar and ends with garbage like “oaten” and “oded” can be called many things, but “mercifully unobnoxious” isn’t among them. Yuck...

Ernonymous 10:58 AM  

@lorelei lee the situation you had with MICE/Pice happens to me lot, and I tell myself it's a word I never heard of. But now when I get the warning that the puzzle contains an error, I go back to these strange words that I convinced myself that I just never heard of, and that is always the error.
So many times when this happens, it turns out it IS a word I've heard of, and usually us a very common word.
Yesterday I was sure I had all the crosses right and that maybe EAPYE was something I just didnt know. But it was EASYA as in Easy A. I realized it was CLASP not CLAMP. CLAMP also means to hold tightly.
I finished this one in 33 minutes so I still basically suck but I'm getting better at finding my mistakes, especially all the made up words I convince myself are real.

Z 10:58 AM  

@I Dunno - Makes sense. As to “first language,” it is a pretty common term in linguistics and language instruction. I don't know why “native language” isn’t used, but we offer “English as a Second Language” classes, not “English as a non-native Language” classes, so maybe it’s related to that.

@David 9:56 and others regarding SALSA BARS - I never saw one while living in West Michigan with lots of places owned and operated by Mexican-Americans. I never saw one in metro Detroit with its famous Mexican Town area of restaurants. But here in WNC all of the Mexican restaurants have SALSA BARS. It seems to be something that started in California. Until 2009 or so, though, it would have gotten the arched eyebrow here.

I’m having a hard time understanding why people had a hard time. SKIP SCHOOL seems almost too direct. We have answers that don’t fit their clues and a direction to SKIP (the) SCHOOL (in the answer). SKIP (the) SCHOOL and the answer now fits the clue. Were all of you who didn’t grok what was going on over-thinking it?

Anyone buy the Grids for Good? Serious serendipity with 1A of the first puzzle. @Evan has been working on this project for awhile, so pure coincidence, but it made me chuckle.

Frantic Sloth 11:04 AM  

@LMS Oh, no you did not with that link! That's a whole day gone right there. As I occasionally screech with a dismissive get-away-from-me slap flap while fleeing the scene of an enticing distraction from my pressing duties: "I got stuff!"

@Roo Move over and make a seat for me on that dolt bench. Each time I read another comment about how "easy" this puzzle was, I want to hang my head even further. (It's halfway to "cartoon China" by now) I'm just gonna go with the wavelength theorem because we're not that dense...are we??

@Geezer 917am Thank you for the reminder. That is definitely another graspable straw for the likes of me!

@Z Gonna do that right now. What a wonderful idea! Thanks for bringing it here. Now I can make it all the way to "China" 😜

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Gentleman farmer,
Careful. The folks here will call you a shyster for trying to foist false and inflammatory hate speech on them by besmirching who they believe are the chosen people: woke Democrats.

Until Jan of this year your plug in was getting its power from coal.Nice jobπŸ™„

JD 11:12 AM  

I wonder why Rex doesn't show equal disdain for public figures like Omar as he does for anything Trump? She makes a lot of us sick as well.

RooMonster 11:15 AM  

Is it a White animal with Black stripes, or a Black animal with White stripes?

**SB Ramblings**
Too all QBers yesterday, congrats! I missed one YesterBee. Argh! The one I missed I hadn't heard it before, hint: Nelson.
But, I did get QB today! YAY ME! One word I only knew from past Bees.

**SB over**

Re:OREOs discussion from yesterday. They once came out with one called "The Most Stuff", and holy cow, if you liked OREOs filling, it was The Bomb! It was like quadruple stuff. Awesome.

RooMonster Rambling Guy

egsforbreakfast 11:20 AM  

When I saw the highlighted cross-reference to the revealer, the likely premise became certain in my mind, and it worked out as such, making this a very easy but also very fun and appreciated Thursday. As someone already pointed out, Rex appears to miss half the gimmick, but from the way he lays it out I’d bet that his “is included” is a typo for “is the one clued”.

To further degrade Lewis’ list of additional IHEs in the puzzle, note:

UPS - University of Puget Sound
UE - University of Evansville
CU - University of Colorado
UI - University of Illinois
CPU - Central Pacific University (located in Honolulu, but reportedly considering expanding to either MAUNA LOA or MAUNA KEA depending on what they come across).

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

Easy. Zebras have black skin. Their hides have black and white strip3s.

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Where is Whitelandia?

Banya 11:35 AM  

Classic case of me over-thinking. I wanted it to be TAKEADAYOFF which didn't fit, but I was still convinced it had something to do with the word Day either outside the puzzle of some kind of rebus - or a phrase that has DAY in it that you have to take out...or something. I couldn't get it out of my head. I had LEA (A cross between Loa and KEA) - and then had SLIP______. Slip? Slip what? What is Ferris trying to slip? What I was lacking, of course, was my brain.

Gina Devito 11:35 AM  

@Giovanni, Thank you! Good advice that I need to stay mindful of and not only in crossword. It was soo obvious.

@Z, Done. Wanted to spite the Yam and give to the WHO but didn't see it listed.

Whatsername 11:46 AM  

I can see that I am in the minority with my dislike for this and was surprised so many people are singing its praises, but to each his own. No trouble with the fill, but I never had the slightest idea what was going on with the theme. Stared at it and the only possibility I could see was RICE which really wasn’t that obvious. I did not feel like devoting the time to study it further so I just came to the blog to find out what was going on which ultimately resulted in more of a meh shrug than an aha moment.

The concept is solid but I found the inconsistency irksome. Two of the schools are words/names and two of them are letters. Two of the schools are in the middle of the answer, one is at the beginning, and one is at the end. As with most themes, I suppose if I had seen it I would’ve liked it more. Perhaps that’s a failing on my part, so I’m going to assume it is and give credit to the constructors for the idea and effort.

Old Actor 11:53 AM  

@Rex: Beware of your kitty! When about half of my puzzle was empty squares, my cat decided I'd spent enough time ignoring her and sat on my keyboard. The "keep trying" sign appeared meaning it was filled. I looked and saw all the empty squares were filled with "5"s. It took a while to erase them all. Then she returned and refilled them all with "9"s. That will seriously affect your timing.

Anonymous 11:55 AM  

Because he likes what Omar says and stands for. He’s deranged. He has repeatedly called anyone who voted for aTrump a racist. Imagine. 60 plus million people reduces to a single slur with a few keystrokes.

Birchbark 12:00 PM  

I'm looking at investing in a MINILAB franchise -- you drop off your film, browse around the mall for a while, and in less than an hour your pictures are ready. Customers pay extra for the convenience, so your margins make it a win-win right out of the gate. They spell it "Foto" in italics -- the younger demographic eats that stuff up. The seller had a firm handshake and looked me right in the eye. I also think that counts for something.

@Gill I. (6:59) -- The rhythm and sum of your post today exceeds its parts. Enjoyed it.

Mr. Benson 12:02 PM  

Is TECH really so easy to boot from the puzzle? It crosses two theme answers. You need T__H. I guess you can change it to TACH, change DYE to MYA, change DENY to MANY, and change MICE to MICA. But that would be some rather weak fill. I guess the existing fill isn't much stronger.

Agreed with the above comment that few universities known as "TECH" actually end with that word. (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Georgia Institute of Technology; Texas Tech University, etc.) I thought about that while solving. "Familiarly" would have helped.

Danny and Rachel 12:21 PM  

...dang it. I scrolled down too far and left a comment intended for this puzzle on a different puzzle. I'll just wait and re-post with copy/paste.

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) has a history of racism going back to the 70s. His most recent blatherings only re-inforce his racism. Those who cleave to him, currently ~30% of voters, are unrepentant white supremacists; "good people". Statues of traitorous, and losing, Confederates are part of our "heritage". In sum, birds of a feather, flock together.


Xcentric 12:29 PM  

Kinda fun puzzle. Saw Yale, then MIT, but had to back out from answers to get UNC and Rice.
Started with lead before sera which slowed me down a bit.
My friends are Cantonese, and say (phonetically) nay ho ma. (How are you) Then I remembered that in Mandarin it sounds more like ni how ma. Then had the issue OFL brought up with hao/hau as a phonetic spelling. What happened to ma (which means you)?
Looking forward to a crunchy Friday.

Ann Hedonia 12:38 PM  

I thought the theme was ridiculous. I didn't even get it until reading this blog. Then I was all like "that's stupid."

OD'ed? I spell it OD'd. I hated seeing that word since many of my friends have OD'd.

Overall a waste of time.

jberg 12:51 PM  

Hey, I know everyone has their own way of solving, and that's fine. I'm just saying that I've found solving a lot more fun once I started to look for the theme as I go along. So 17A made no sense, but eventually I had enough crosses to put in COMMITMENT-- then noticed that I could take out MIT and find COMMENT, which fit the clue. So the theme could have been misspelled baseball equipment, German prepositions...but then I had UNC from crosses in 40A, and went with schools. (It took longer to see SUN CHIPS because I thought the puzzle was inaccurately calling sacharine SugarY.) It was so much fun figuring out the other themers that I didn't notice until the end that all the inclusive answers were real things, as well.

I forget who complained about the mix of whole names and abbreviations -- I think it would have been a fault to have all but one be one way, but the even mix added variety.

On the TECH thing (hi, @offthegrid) -- it's not an abbreviation, it's an informal term. The informality really should have been indicated somehow. More formally, Virginia TECH, for example, is the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; TECH is not only not the last word, but does not appear as a word at all, only as a syllable. OTOH, we all got it, so close enough for crosswords!

@Loren, especially brilliant avatar today. It took me a second take to see that it was a theme answer!

burtonkd 12:59 PM  

@ William of Ockham, I think the complaint is more that the title of the movie is FB's Day Off than any literal interpretation.

@ LMS from yesterday: If you ask me how to pronounce irony, I'll say aye-ron-ee. If you catch me using it in everyday speech, 50% chance I'll say the other. I'm way more likely to use the term "ironic" in regular speech, and can't recall using "irony" in a non-academic setting. Gnu-cue-lar, a la George Bush, still drives me nuts even though I know it is a "regional variant".

@ RexnotRex: With you on the not being able to enjoy a positive Rex review at face value, and reminding myself it is his blog and not an objective review of the puzzle.

@pdmd, have you been following the news regarding facebook, twitter, et al and their recent struggles to decide whether to enforce any standards on their platform? Interesting piece on Radiolab (I think) about the evolution of FB community enforcement of images.

Hands up for coming here to understand theme. I think it is a downside of the blog to adopt the rushed approach and not sit and linger with it until I get it. I applied to UNC, after all.

I took a DAY OFF yesterday, but have a Kanye story (nice contrast to last one about RBG): Had a recording session in upstate NY with a choir to sing on his debut album, "College Dropout". He showed up almost 2 hours late, then immediately left to get McDonald's. By the time we finished the session, I wasn't super into the song and just wanted to get home, so opted not to stay longer to make up and record a piano part. Needless to say, he got huge and I missed my chance to appear on a platinum selling album. Lesson learned not to discount anyone, and say yes to opportunities whenever feasible.

Anonymous 12:59 PM  

Anon 12:26
You sure use cleave a lot. Couple of things. It’s not just confederate generals who are losing statuary. They’re pulling down Columbus, Washington, John Greenleaf Whittier, aQuaker abolitionist for god’s sake. They want to take down The Emancipation statue!!! Paid for by former slaves. How about Saint Louis? Not the city, the saint. Why topple him? Methinks because it’s groupthink, an unthinking Mob run amok.
Not so long ago, this country decried what the Taliban was doing to monument they didn’t like.
You do realize that millions of people who voted for Trump,held their nose when they did so.

RPCV Cameroon 1:03 PM  

In the same week a puzzle devoted time RBG and Plessy v Ferguson. Maybe an entire puzzle devoted to notorious SCOTUS decisions (citizens...)

Masked and Anonymous 1:09 PM  

I think I had about a half an ahar after gettin COMMITMENT. For one thing, wasn't too sure it was COMMITMENT, thanx to PLESSY/NOMS/ROSS/IRANIS & OMAR/RAMSES/EMOPOP. I did tho take a quick peek down at the revealer's clue, and figured "ok, they're playin games with the letters in each themer, somehow". And if U left MIT out, the 17-A answer woulda at least made some sense.

The full ahar emanated after finally gettin STAYALERT, which took many extra precious nanoseconds, thanx to NIHAO & MINILAB & well, STAYALERT not makin much sense, until U yanked YALE outta the way.
Figured at that point that the revealer would be somethin like SKIPSCHOOL, SKIPACLASS, DIDNTLEARN, LEAVECLASS, etc.
Liked this puz just fine, even tho hidden word stuff is a very very (very) frequent theme mcguffin. Besides, it was too soon for a Kavanaugh tribute puz … even if U do like beer. Sooo … ok.

staff weeject pick: TIO. This pup could be easy or hard, dependin on 1) How much Uruguayese U know, and 2) How many NYTPuz rodeos you've been in. Mighty easy pickins, at our house.

fave sparklers (fired off a couple days early): MONALISA. SYRUPY. REPTILE. And ROADIE, clue-wise.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Y & H dudes. And congratz to Chad H., on his debut. Don't skip school no more, tho. UNPEG: har

Masked & Anonym007Us


Teedmn 1:14 PM  

Is a French encyclopedie the same as a telephone book, with NOMS, rather than MOTS is what I was wondering while fixing my mess up top. :-) I guess I was mixing up "encyclopedie" with "dictionnaire". Having mOtS in at 6D got me off to a rough start with the theme and I never recovered, had to come here to get where the schools were skipped. D'oh.

@mathgent, nice one about the MONA LISA. That's what struck me about the painting, that it was so small. But I started to tear up when looking at it because I never thought I would see it in person (if by seeing it you mean catching a glimpse over the shoulders of the people posing in front of it.) That was back in 1998. I wonder where the Louvre has it stashed away now.

Nice job, Yacob and Chad, and congratulations, Chad, on your debut.

Anonymous 1:20 PM  

They put her, temporarily, in the Medici gallery. Her digs are getting a refurb.
It’s a pretty great painting, but maybe not in the top 10 In that museum. Definitely not the top 10 in Paris.

Newboy 1:23 PM  

What Blogger @Joaquin said.....in only the second post where I stopped reading.

Hate it when an “obvious “ gimmick does me in. Fill in the squares, enjoy the music and stare blankly before tearing up my MENSA membership application.

Crimson Devil 1:25 PM  

Fun movie, Ferris.
I looked for Ben Stein throughout....
SANCTION is great multipurpose word.

bauskern 1:27 PM  

Re: @Z's comment: I’m having a hard time understanding why people had a hard time.
OMG, I so totally get why you and Rex get along so well.

I thought this was a clever puzzle. Maybe a hair easy for Thursday, but totally enjoyable. But when "nice, light, mercifully unobnoxious" constitutes high praise, I think someone's been doing this job for too long! LOL

old timer 1:27 PM  

With some effort I finished the puzzle,and simply did not get the theme at all. First I thought the word SCHOOL was being left out. Then I wondered if the SCHOOLs were of fish. As a prep school boy circa 1960, only YALE was on my horizon, second to Harvard and Princeton, though UNC was popular with those who were sick and tired of New England. (Southern boys at our school tended to go to Princeton, or maybe UVA, more than UNC; town boys who could not get into the Ivy League ended up at UNH, and a fair number of pre-med types did go to Cornell).

So the gimmick was less than thrilling for me, though I guess the puzzle was well-crafted.

Speaking of zebras, a friend of mine and I went on safari back in the day. I can tell you that we all agreed Samburu Naional Park was the most beautiful place on Earth, and the incredible Grevy's zebras were the most beautiful equines you will ever see. Plus it was the first place we saw lions, and they simply ignored our vans and Range Rovers if they wanted to mate. We were much amused, too: If the lion did not want to perform, the lioness simply slapped him in the face to teach him who was boss. In short order, a cub may have been created as we looked on.

Seriously, if for some reason you go to Kenya and have to choose between Masai Mara and Samburu, pick Samburu. They have glorious birds, too.

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

Old timer,
I preferred the Mara. Went to Amboseli, Ngorongoro Crater,Lake Manyara, The Serengeti (in Tanzania) but the Mara was hard to beat. My life list grew in every park, though Amboseli wasn’t quite as rich avian wise as the others.
Saw lions at every park. Manyara is the one where they’re famed for sleeping in trees. The Mara was the only place I saw leopards. Though the crater was the only place I saw a rhino. And no, hippos aren’t marine animals and aren’t found in pods. Marine is reserved for salt water.

Lorelei Lee 1:50 PM  

Hm, did that donation in honor of my aunt and now her name auto populated here. Thanks for sharing Google.

Anonymous 2:04 PM  

just so folks don't get blitzed by that other anonimouse: read this, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_monuments_and_memorials_removed_during_the_George_Floyd_protests#United_States

you'll note that all but a handful were removed by their 'owners', and for good reasons. The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) remains a white supremacist.

Marlene M. 2:42 PM  

That was so bad. We stared at the puzzle for like five minutes and never deduced the clue, even after we solved it. Never made the connection between "stay alert" and "kick off" and same with all of the other themers. had to get it entirely from the crosses.

jae 3:00 PM  

*****SB ALERT*****

@Wm.C - to expand on what @Geezer said, SB is a computer game that you need a subscription to the NYT puzzle site to play. There are several games available as you scroll down the page as well as access to the archived Xwords. This explanation may be over kill but I find that saying too much frequently saves me from an extended conversation.

The Joker 3:01 PM  

Hayley Dunphy, "He wants to go to MIT (pronouncing it MITT)"

Alex Dunphy, "That's M-I-T"

Hayley, "Jeez! I know how to spell it!"

CaryinBoulder 3:09 PM  

Finished in a very fast time for a Thursday with not whiff of what the theme was trying to tell me. Now that I know, I think it’s pretty dumb. So instead I’ll rhapsodize about SALSA BAR. A few years ago my musical Tucsonian friends, the Ronstadts, took us to a Funky Mexican restaurant called Frank’s that had a great salsa bar. It was there that I was also introduced to a Sonoran Hot Dog, which Prof. Louie and I split. (This is a dish that should come with a complimentary bottle of Pepto Bismal, something we should have also split.) But the coolest thing was the sign in the parking lot which read, “Frank’s — Fine Dining Elsewhere.” Always impressive to see such unabashed truth in advertising.

chefwen 3:12 PM  

I left a comment last night, it was accepted and now it’s gone. Wonder what I did.
Anyhoo, loved the puzzle. Had nary a clue what was going on until I finished and did some staring and finally figured it out. Oooh, clever!
I can be a little slow on the uptake at times.

EvJones 3:35 PM  

I just read Rex’s pithy review and the comments... so much fun to conduct an exegesis of my daily journey ... and now with a cadre of fellow sojourner! I’ll be a regular from here on in!

JC66 3:49 PM  

@Ev Jones


Anonymous 4:16 PM  

Totally agree KC!!

Anonymous 4:59 PM  

Anon 2:04,
I don’t believe you’ve thought your defense through. Accepting for a moment the dubious exhaustiveness, of the Wiki article — I.e., statues being marred, defaced, vandalized etc aren’t included—who but a hysteric would go to the unbelievable expense, effort and time required to remove a piece of statuary except someone who believed it was under threat? And that’s the point. The mob is unthinking. It doesn’t deliberate. It doesn’t reason. It lashes out. Kind of like your opinion which was full of insult but not much insight.

MR. Cheese 5:05 PM  

This may have been explained already but I missed it.
How dies ADORBS = SO CUTE?

Anonymous 5:18 PM  

who but a hysteric would go to the unbelievable expense, effort and time required to remove a piece of statuary except someone who believed it was under threat? And that’s the point.

'under threat?'
phooey, it just could be that folks have, after 400 years of treating black folks badly, realized that taking down statues of Confederate traitors is just the minimum they could do. and, fact is, many (if not most) of said statues were erected long after the War of Northern Aggression was lost. in fact, during the days of Jim Crow to send yet another message to black folks that they were sub-human.

'under threat?'
hardly. as to Washington and Columbus and such, one was a slave holder and the other was the cause of genocide against the First Peoples. now, the White Supremacy crowd argue, along the lines of, 'well these savages weren't using the land and resources the way we have, driven Europe barren, so we should do the same here'.

if you consider monuments to Confederate traitors part of your heritage, well that says it all.

puzzlehoarder 5:21 PM  

As per usual I solved and then figured out the theme. A very average Thursday.

*"** SB ALERT ****
QB again today. I find myself filling in more and more words I've learned from previous lists. It makes it go faster. TUATARA in the clue for 45D is one of those legitimate words that Mr. Ezersky leaves out. As I've pointed out before it has its own picture in Webster's.

Speedweeder 5:23 PM  

CayinBoulder 3:09 - Your truth in advertising story reminded me of my favorite tavern in Canal Fulton, Ohio. The sign read:


GaryMac 5:24 PM  

**SB Alert**

@okanaganer and TTrimble

DUGONG was one of the first words I entered on Tuesday only because of having missed both it and UDON on a previous SB. As someone else pointed out a week or two ago, remember the ones you miss because they will crop up again.

A nonny mouse 5:29 PM  

They should have breathed in the stink and been aware of what they were doing.

JC66 5:48 PM  

@MR Cheese

ADORBS is cute slang for adorable.

Whatsername 5:56 PM  

@Ev Jones: Welcome to the commentariat. It’s quite a pithy crowd.

@MR Cheese: Adorbs is short for adorable, I.e., cute. Not an expression I would ever use but there you have it.

pmdm 6:12 PM  

burtonkd: You made it difficult to find your comment, since I search for pmdm and not pdmd. The answer is yes. If I were cynical, I would say that things are determined by economics (loss of ad revenue, for example) rather than genuine sympathy. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between. What bothers me is more what people think than what they say. Except when they target someone and proceed to bully the vulnerable.

Lewis 6:22 PM  

@ev jones -- Welcome!

Anonymous 7:37 PM  

Anon 5:18,
You haven’t addressed the issue. You’re now attacking Columbus and Washington as worthy targets. That’s why citizens and municipalities have preemptively taken their images down. Your own posts prove they are under threat. You just believ they are worthy of attack.
You’ll note my original post, and this one, doesn’t defend Confederate statuary.
I’ve long been a critic of it. Lee, as an officer in the US Army, took a vow to defend the country. He broke that vow. There is no excuse. I willl never defend him. The Lee family had vast land holdings in VA., including the land which is now Arlington National Cemetary. .The family sued when the gov. overreached and stole their land. Zealots wanted a pound of flesh. Sober people realized the rule of law trumped passion.
It is, of course, n imperfect analogy, but the point is fair I think. Reason, law, justice and proportion are always part of the equation. Maniacs and brats screamimg nonsense and vituperation ought not be countenanced by reasonable people.

pabloinnh 7:44 PM  

@old timer-Guess my two boys qualify as town boys who didn't go to ivy league schools, as they are both UNH alumni, being in-state saved a pile on tuition and they're both doing well, gracias a Dios. Go Wildcats! (no, not those other however many teams there are named Wildcats, which is, to be specific, a lot).

@Lewis-No harm no foul on NEU. I've never seen that itieration. I do see NU a lot in the winter as I'm a pretty big D1 hockey fan. We even did a campus visit but my son was a bit put off by the security precautions, which in our little town don't exist.

@evjones-Well now you're in for it. It's a small and unprepossessing group, but there are those of us who love it. Welcome.

GILL I. 7:58 PM  

I know some don't read the Anony's, but I always do. Why...? because many of them are interesting and well written. Take 4:59 and 5:18. Neither slinging caca at each other - just different points of view..... just like half the people in this country. To those that sling pig manure, it seems like you are the type that secretly watches porn in your basement and then help little old ladies across the street.....Just my observation and nobody gives a rats ass.
Give yourselves a little name - so we know who you are. Be brave. And yes, I know it's HEAR me ROAR... :-)

Anonymous 8:09 PM  

Anon 5:18 I’m not sure I understand the math. The statues of aConfederate generals are 400 Yetas old?

TTrimble 8:19 PM  

[SB Alert]

Painful path to QB today (the last word took a loooong time), but I made it. It makes little sense that NAAN (from e.g. the other day) is accepted but "papadam" not (under any of its spellings). But, you can't fight city hall. (Or can you? Perhaps there are activists for getting some words admitted?)

Thanks for the tip. UDON I knew (a Japanese noodle), and now I know DUGONG.

Runs with Scissors 8:46 PM  

@TTrimble 8:19 PM

I don't know who did it, but annal used to not be accepted. Now it is. Someone must have made a difference.

And yes, I understood the theme after reading about it here, but I still don't care. It suffices (for me, bar is low) that I finished and didn't cheat.


I actually got all the words today without looking at the assist. I'll probably fail miserably tomorrow.


You may now resume milling about smartly.

CDilly52 8:54 PM  

Hi @Frantic Sloth. You and I have been on exactly the same wavelength the last week or so, and absolutely today!! This jus nearly DNF’d me. The SW took me longer than the entire remainder of the puzzle. I didn’t get the theme until I came here. Was so confused I thought I had to have seen the Ferris Bueller movie to get it. Turns out not so much.

Barbara S. 9:02 PM  

***SB ALERT***
You and I are on similar SB wavelengths at the moment. I too had a herculean struggle to get QB (but did!) and also tried like mad to come up with a spelling of "papadum" they'd accept. As for fighting city hall, there is a contact email address that I've never tried but sometimes wondered about using for word advocation. It's


Has anyone ever tried this and if so, with what results?

@GaryMac 5:24
Thanks for listening! I'm always on about remembering past misses if you want to get QB. It's amazing how frequently there are repeats.

Joe 9:55 PM  

I solved the puzzle. I didn’t understand the theme until I read Rex. Not especially fun. Ferris didn’t “skip school”, and certainly not college. He took the day off.

egsforbreakfast 10:03 PM  

I can’t believe some of you dunces can’t get QB status. I mean, If Namath, Favre, Montana, 2 Manning’s and Manziel (forr Christ’s sake) can achieve QB status, what’s with you losers.

Just kidding. See you maΓ±ana.

Frantic Sloth 12:26 AM  

@CDilly52 854pm If misery loves company, what does imbecility love? Come on over and sit on down next to me and Roo on the dolt bench and we'll figure it out together. Har! πŸ˜‰

Anonymous 1:19 AM  

I get the theme, but I don’t get how there’s any relationship between the starred questions and the answers. How does keep off = stay alert? How is a reaction to magic = gas prices? None of them made sense to me so I never felt like I had the right answer even when I did.

Crimson Devil 11:10 AM  

Runs with Scissors
As usual, I’m more than a day late, and much more than a dollar short, but I’ll claim credit, shared with many I’m sure, for railing on SB and Sam re ANNAL for a few months; they finally started accepting.
I get exasperated at intransigence, so now always stop at g.
Happy Fourth.

thefogman 9:26 AM  

Gimmick eluded me. Not so much fun when the themer is unsolvable for many of us.

spacecraft 11:00 AM  

This one seemed to run a wide range of difficulty (or ease!). Chez spacecraft, it was pretty tough. Stalled at the start, I cast my EYE upon that longer-than-usual clue, the revealer. I too wanted take a day off. 2 long. So I began solving in the SE and soon came up with SKIPSCHOOL. Now back up to 17a, and after a few moments' thought, there it was: COM[MIT]MENT. So the clue was for the truncated word, not the whole entry. Fairly high end for a Thursday.

Even with the trick under my belt, though, I had slow going. What are SUNCHIPS? All the other complete themers were real things, so I assume these are as well. Couldn't prove it by me. EMOPOP also unknown, but inferable. There was a COMMENT that the clues were too easy for Thursday; I disagree. Of all the SUSANs, they clue a radio journalist? Is there still radio?? They could've gone with several DOD candidates, like Sarandon or Dey, but no. As far as DOD: let us take today's off the canvas and make her real, MONALISA.

Piles of triumph points, a clever theme, and good clean fill: UPTOP, guys! Eagle! That ISALL.

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

Mostly fair and workable. The "trick" or "theme" stunk.

Burma Shave 12:47 PM  


MONA ROARed, "That's NICE!"
with SALSA on my RICE."


rondo 1:05 PM  

@spacey - SUNCHIPS are a supposedly healthier option instead of your typical Doritos or potato CHIPS. Common in vending machines; I suppose in the snack aisle too.

I got the gimmick in GASPRICES, which helped me see MIT and finish off the others. No write-overs since the pace was slowed by not having the trick figured out for so long.

I'll bet long-time NPR listener @D,LIW knew yeah baby SUSAN Stamberg right off; I did. (BTW, a card is in the mail).


rondo 2:34 PM  

@Frantic Sloth and @Runswithscissors - Wait just a sec while I get off your lawn. And you're probably both younger than me.

leftcoaster 3:27 PM  

Tricky theme and revealer. Took a bit of time to parse them out.

Got the SCHOOLs all right, but to be precise, Ferris and friend skipped high school classes, not the colleges'. No doubt they later skipped those classes, too, if they made the grade.

NE was last to go. Needed crosses to make sure of the downs, especially NIHAO, "'Hello' in the world's most common first language". Who knew?

Enjoyed sorting out this puzzle.

rondo 5:19 PM  

. . . than I.

leftcoaster 6:01 PM  

. . . and what do you think LMS would say about "than me" or "than I"?

Diana, LIW 9:36 PM  

@Rondo and @Lefty - I'd say - OKAT SERA SERA. (sorry)

Lady Di, Late to the game, but did get the puz - and yes, I knew who SUSAN was. Is.

rondo 10:03 PM  

Do not care about LMS' take on the language. Correct is correct.

Unknown 12:08 AM  

Can someone explain socute (or so cute) to me?

Wittgenstein's ruler 6:49 AM  

From now on only ironic references to "IQ tests," and MENSA please. Why does the NYT crossword swoon for elite univer$itie$?

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