First man in Maori mythology / SUN 7-19-20 / Ancestor of modern lemon lime / Club setting for scenes in GoodFellas Raging Bull / Worried exclamation from Astro on Jetsons / Palate cleansers between courses / Beat poem allegedly inspired by peyote vision / Pyle's portrayer

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Constructor: Wyna Liu

Relative difficulty: Medium (Medium-Challenging if, like me, you've a had a drink) (10:50)

THEME: "DOUBLES PLAY" — familiar phrases where double letters have replaced parts of words—the letters are meant to be uttered as letters. Thus:

Theme answers:
  • TRAPPARTISTS ("-peze") (22A: *Performers who set the bar high?)
  • CC THE DAY ("seize") (24A: *Go-getter's maxim)
  • DIZZCONTROL ("-sease") (39A: *Public health agency's mission)
  • STRIPTT ("tease") (48A: *Feature of a Chippendales show)
  • AMUUMENTPARKS ("-use") (67A: *Places for coasters)
  • CLOCKYY ("-wise") (84A: *How to screw in a light bulb)
  • OLDDSTATION ("-dies") (91A: *What keeps up standards in the radio business?)
  • GGLOUISE ("jeez") (110A: *"Holy moly!")
  • SURPRIIPARTY ("-ise") (114A: *Occasion for hiding in the dark)
Word of the Day: ELAINE Welteroth (103A: Author/magazine editor Welteroth) —
Elaine Marie Welteroth (born December 10, 1986) is an American journalist, editor[2]and New York Times best-selling author. In April 2016, Welteroth was named editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, making her the second person of African-American heritage in Condé Nast's 107-year history to hold such a title. Her promotion to editor at age 29 makes her the second youngest editor in Condé Nast history, behind current Teen Vogue EIC Lindsay Peoples Wagner who was 28 when she started in the role in Condé Nast. When she became beauty director of Teen Vogue in 2012, Welteroth was the first person of African-American heritage to serve in the role. She is credited for the notable increase of Teen Vogue coverage of politics and social justice, encouraging readers to become civically engaged, specifically during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Under Welteroth's leadership of Teen Vogue's shifting format, the magazine developed its first YouTube channel, featuring content on diverse subjects from campus style to cultural appropriation. The final print edition of Teen Vogue was December 2017.
On January 11, 2018, Welteroth resigned from Teen Vogue and moved to California and signed with CAA. In June 2019 her memoir, More Than Enough: Claiming space for who you are (no matter what they say), was published by Viking. (wikipedia)
• • •

Got TRAPPARTISTS and didn't stop to think about it much. My main thought was "OK, the "eze" part went somewhere ... didn't turn the corner or go anywhere visible, so ... I dunno ... 'P' seems to be standing in for 'eze' ... just keep going, I'm sure it'll become clear. Then I got DIZZ- and had no idea what I could be looking at there. Then finally got into a mess in the NE corner and just *knew* it was "seize the day," and I had the one "C" so ... boom, two "C"s, "Cs The Day," nailed it. Then DI(Zs) CONTROL became obvious and none of the themers were very hard from then on out (though I wanted to write in SURPRISE PARTT at first; gotta read the clues carefully!). And I don't know, I kinda liked this theme. Actually, I think it was just fine. It's a simple and cute gimmick, nothing flashy, but there are different double letters every time, and discovering those letters was kinda fun. I think my bar for Sundays is just Don't Face Plant / Don't Exhaust Me, and this puzzle managed to clear that bar / those bars. The fill struck me as at or above average, so for the first time in a while, I mostly enjoyed a Sunday puzzle.

Today may be the only time I've ever thought "hey, why aren't these two answers cross-referenced?" I'm talking about OSSIE Davis (8D: National Medal of Arts winner Davis) and Ruby DEE (46A: Actress and civil rights activist Ruby ___) both being in the puzzle, so close they're almost touching, but with no indication in either clue that they were married. For *57* years! Iconic couple! I'm not mad that their clues weren't linked, but if ever there was a time to link clues in a way that didn't seem annoying or forced, this was it! The NE was important because that's where I first grokked the theme, but it was also a tumultuous and tough corner. I've heard of pressing the panic *button*, but PANICBAR, less so (11A: Something pressed in an emergency). ARCSEC ... yeesh, trig abbrs. are always guesswork for me, and that one I haven't seen in forever. In fact, this is the first time it's ever appeared in a NYTXW. Ever. Ever ever. Speaking of repeated-word phrases: LIKE LIKE! It's very apt, and I one-like like it, but man it was hard for me to get. The whole interconnected set from LIKELIKE through ELAINE (never heard of her) down CITRON (barely heard of it) into INO (thought it was -ITO), really took some effort. Ooh, and ROS is down there too, ick. ROS and NERTS are probably the only moments where I winced—very crosswordesey. But I didn't recoil in horror anywhere else, so that's pretty good, esp. for a Sunday-sized puzzle.

My Kiwi wife and I both botched the Maori mythology clue. We both (it turns out, I just learned) wrote in MAUI, who is really important in Maori mythology ... just not the "first man," I guess. Neither of us had any idea that a TIKI was anything other than a totem or figure. I made things especially difficult on myself by abandoning that part of the puzzle to solve other parts, and then, on coming back, not relooking at the clues and completely misremembering which was the Maori answer. So ... when I came back, my brain had the Maori mythology clue in mind, but kept trying to make it work for 53-Down! I had HO-RU and that terminal "U" seemed plausibly Maori, and then when I got HOWRU I thought "that can't be right, there'd never be a 'W' there in Maori, and who the hell is supposed to know that anyway. HOWRU!? Who the hell was HOWRU!?" And then a few seconds later I learned about TIKI and realized that HOWRU was HOW space R space U (the answer to the textspeak clue). HOWRU is now one of my personal gods. Not a big fan of that answer as "textspeak" but I now believe in the divine, destructive power of the god HOWRU, hallowed be Its name.

Hey, you should know that JASA (Jewish Association for Services for the Aged) is having an online crossword fundraising event, Wednesday, July 29, from 7-8:30pm EDT. You may know JASA from their crossword classes, which regularly construct puzzles that appear in the NYTXW. You've solved them, I'm sure of it! They've had puzzles published nineteen times! Anyway, this virtual event will be an "up-close look at crosswords with the puzzlemasters themselves, featuring the Times's Will Shortz." For more information and to purchase tickets, please go here. And have a happy Sunday, everyone.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Harryp 12:07 AM  

This one took a little while longer than a usual Sunday, even though I saw the double letter deal early. PANIC BAR didn't seem like a thing to me, I didn't know the trivial trivia 64D, among other slowdowns, but it finally fell.

Pamela 12:13 AM  


I loved it so much that I started writing about it before I even finished:

I’m writing this early Sunday evening, and I’m about 2/3 through the puzzle. It took me forever to get the trick, but now that I have, I LOVE this puzzle!The first one I came close to solving was AMUUMENTPARKS, and what I mess I made on my paper! I just couldn’t figure it out, not enough space for the right letters, couldn’t find a way that a rebus anywhere fit with the crosses I had- disaster. So I left it and moved on.

I kept looking at the title, DOUBLES PLAY, but nothing made any sense. The penny finally dropped on OLDDSTATION. Then 67A and 114A filled right in, and now I know how to do it. GGLOUISE, what a hoot!

The trick is the same throughout, of course, but it looks different every time. Each one is an Aha and at least a chuckle. I still have lots of holes left, many of which cross themers, and every time I glance again at a solved theme I have to laugh again- they all look so silly on the page! Very clever, Wynn Liu. Keep ‘em coming, please!

PS: I did finish, even though there were a couple of near-Naticks. But the puzzle was so much fun, I didn’t care.

Joaquin 12:16 AM  

Even though (or maybe *because*) I spotted the trick early, I enjoyed this puzzle a lot more than most SundAA.

jae 12:19 AM  

Medium. This was tricky and fun, liked it a bunch!

I just got around to doing the Nancy and Will Fri. LAT puzzle (yesterday, instead of solving puzzles I got into a long video chat with my sister and her husband who currently reside in NYC just off Central Park). It too was fun and very clever. Thanks for the treat.

Joe Dipinto 12:34 AM  

EASE should not be an answer in this puzzle.

Swagomatic 12:44 AM  

I liked it quite a bit. I finally tumbled to the gimmick about 2/3 through - two pencils up.

Z 12:51 AM  

I got the conceit in the NW corner. Just kind of a slogfest after that. Having so many dead people sure didn’t help with the freshness quotient. James AGEE (dead for 65 years), Ruby DEE (6), MAN O’WAR (73), MILT Jackson (21), LENA Horne (10), GUS Grissom (53), OSSIE Davis (15), Jim NABORS (3), and Alvin AILEY (31). I’m just hoping Issa RAE and MERYL Streep are okay. I’ve said it before, but skewing old is bad enough, skewing dead is excessive. I did note that ALI was clued by an actual living person who is not a boxer. Props.

As for the conceit, just not my cuppa. A couple were hard to see, but finally sussing out DIZZ CONTROL, for instance, did not really generate any sparkle or excitement here. CLOCK YY is my favorite but it’s sort of like calling it my favorite pilsner, damning with faint praise.

I had one moment of mouth agape shock when I briefly thought GG LOUISE might be GGus Christ. Not that that would have personally offended me, but I definitely know people who would have felt that was beyond offensive. I quickly realized that there were not enough letters. Whew!

CS 1:15 AM  

I "know" Elaine Welteroth from Project Runway (pop culture sometimes comes in handy .... although Ms. Welteroth is obviously quite accomplished).

Fun Sunday (or, well a fun Saturday solve :-)

- CS

Unknown 1:40 AM  

Would have been even more impressive if no other answers held double letters.

Anonymous 1:44 AM  

Rex, you left out "STRIPTEASE" (striptt) as one of the theme answers.

Anonymous 1:46 AM  

This was a gimmick in search of a lot of fill around it. Too many proper names, too many Naticks, IMO. Not fun, just a slog.

egsforbreakfast 1:53 AM  

I’ve said before that the big turn-on for me is marveling at an original theme and wondering if there is any combination of stimuli that would have inspired me to invent that. In this case, I’m just gobsmacked!!! I found myself wanting to propose to Wyna Lou, but then I remembered:
1. I’m already married.
2. I’m 67 years old.
3. I don’t have much money
4. I was diagnosed last week with a heart condition.

So....the proposal is likely moot, but godawmighty I loved this puzzle. I got the conceit on the third themer, but even then each additional one took thought and finesse. I don’t even know what I thought of the fill because I was so enamored of the themers.

Thanks, Wyna, for a superb Sunday!

Seabee Pete 2:25 AM  

Surprised OFL didn't know the term "Panic Bar". A "Panic Bar" is definitely a thing . . . it's the bar you push to open a fire door or emergency exit door when there's . . (wait for it) . . . an emergency . . . so you don't have to fumble around in the dark or the smoke trying to find a door knob.

chefwen 2:28 AM  

Oddly enough I got it at GG LOUISE and filled this pup in from the bottom up, not my usual route. Absolutely loved this one, had a big ‘ol smile on my face from start to finish.

PANIC BAR was a new one, is that where you go for a couple of shots before you lose it?

STRIP TT, my favorite.

More please, Wynn Lou.

Jtull 5:50 AM  

Arcsec is not an inverse trig function.

Lewis 6:15 AM  

As your resident alphadoppeltotter (and try pronouncing that using the conceit of the theme!), this puzzle (or should I say puzeezle) felt like a gift tied up with a fancy bow, and I was quite aquiver.

I must say that this creation would be more elegant if there were no doubles outside the theme answers (Hi, @Unknown 1:40!)), and here there were 13. But I say elegance shmelegance, bring on the doubles!

Seriously, this was quality construction with many interesting answers, a fun and delectable theme, and some lovely resistance. It left my heart smiling. Many thankQQ for this, Wyna!

Wyna has just joined the New Yorker's team of constructors and is one to watch. And based on what she's produced so far, one to experience. More please!

Diver 6:19 AM  

Liked this puzzle, had fun doing it BUT was kind of bugged that there were so many double letters that were not part of the theme. 9 theme vs 12 non-theme.

Lance 6:47 AM  

Really enjoyed this one! Might just be how I pronounce things, but I wanted trapee instead of trapp for the trapeze artists.

sf27shirley 6:51 AM  

Isn't Arizona State in Tempe, not Phoenix? And isn't biology class usually abbreviated to biol not BIO?

ChuckD 6:54 AM  

Not a huge fan here. The theme is cute and went quickly but the majority of the fill is brutal - all those random black squares resulted in a slog of 4 and 5 letter words. Would have been better off in a smaller format - midweek or something. Here’s an idea also - if you’re going to insert so many people in your puzzle - make them interesting, relevant maybe even alive. ARCSEC X is the angle who’s sec is X so it is indeed the inverse function of sec - not that it belongs in a puzzle but it is correct.

I liked MAN O WAR. Other than that - this was a D LISTER of a puzzle.

Colin 7:05 AM  

I really liked this puzzle - congratulations, Wyna! First, I *totally* appreciate Wyna's name, especially with the "W" thing - growing up in Philadelphia, I knew that KYW is the only radio station with a "K" callsign east of the Mississippi. So, a clever name, but not a let's-make-fun-of-you-in-school name (at least, I hope not!).

The NE corner held me up a bit. (BTW, why isn't arcsec an inverse trig function? According to Wolfram Math World, arcsecant is defined as inverse secant.) I found GRE ("Sr.'s hurdle") to be a refreshing alternative to the SAT. Liked the fill a lot overall, but kinda was hoping for more "standards" and "oldies", which I love to hear on the radio. WYNA brought me back to my college days, when I was a jazz DJ at the college station, always ending my shows with a bunch of Sinatra, Ella, Mel, and other swinging favorites.

amyyanni 7:31 AM  

Just right for a Sunday. Caught Ruby Dee & Ossie Smith and also wondered why not cross referenced. Admittedly, felt annoyed until I figured out the theme, but then was fine, sign of a good Sunday solve for me. No look-ups needed. Good Sundays, all.

Loren Muse Smith 7:34 AM  

I’m with @Pamela – loved this. My first themer was STRIP TT, and I was delighted. Big problem though – I assumed that the language at 73A would end in ese, so (not noticing that its clue had no asterisk) I filled in _ APAN EE for the Easter Island language and was flummoxed. Hey, but I was happy to learn that there’s a language out there called RAPA NUI.

Head of “state” before head of STEAM. Hmm. Yeah. I guess honestly there is no head of state right now. Just a head of steam. Sad.

Speaking of. . . I’ve been spending a ton of time with a textbook example of his base, and this person insisted among other things that Obama had never even attended Harvard. Said that “no one ever saw him there.” This person was adamant about that. So I looked up GROUP THINK as it was new to me. “…phenomenon that occurs when a group of individuals reaches a consensus without critical reasoning…” And here we are.

I liked NOT A TOY. It’s a cousin to the admonishment Do Not Eat on the little packet of whatever that comes in a shoebox. Like the first thing you’d do upon finding an envelope of some mystery substance in a shoebox is to ingest it. But there again, someone at some point had to be the first guy to lay eyes on a loogie-like raw oyster and decide it’d make for some eatin’.

GAS NUMBER. This will not pass your breakfast test. And it cements my low-brow TRASHY adolescent status here.

Wyna – thanks for the Sunday romp. Congrats on coming up with an idea that pleased OFL!

Yo, Patrick Merrell – My avatar is for you, the only orange man I like.

Anonymous 7:35 AM  

I found the southeast to be a bit much.

ELAINE (first guessed Eloise)
DLISTER (ugh, does it go below C?)
ASAHI (guessed Osaka at first)
MERYL (OK, she's famous, but still more PPP on top of all the rest)
INO (could have been ina, ita, etc.)
HOWL is famous, but not so easy when you have Osaka

Has anyone ever said that their chamber music group is a NONET, even if that is a real word?

Did the Jetson's dog really bark differently for its second syllable than its first? (RUHROH)

I found having both HEALSUP (does anyone say that?) and SIZEUP a bit awkward.

I did think that sticking in OSSIE and DEE with zero fanfare was a clever touch.

I did learn that polkas were Czech - I somehow thought they were named after the Polish word for Polish (which I see is actually Polski).

Anonymous 7:36 AM  

@seabee Pete. But that’s just it. You push the panic bar to open an emergency door. You don’t HIT it, in a state of panic. That’s what you do to the panic button. The panic button, at least in metaphor, alerts everyone that there is a panic or at least that you think there is. A panic bar doesn’t do that, except I suppose sometimes if you push one it sounds an alarm. Anyway, it’s at best a misleading clue.

David Fabish 7:46 AM  

My first Sunday DNF in a LONG time. The east just kicked my butt. Specifically, the PETTY AILEY MILT WIRETAP. Guess I'm just not well-versed enough in choreographers and jazz musicians.

Despite the DNF, though, I enjoyed this one!

David Fabish 7:49 AM  

@sf27shirley, ASU is in Tempe, but I've always seen biology abbreviated as "bio". Maybe it's a regional thing... :)

Anonymous 7:57 AM  


Anonymoose 8:04 AM  

@Jtull 5:50.

arcsec - the INVERSE function of the secant; the angle that has a secant equal to a given number.

pabloinnh 8:07 AM  

I read the title so suspected there might be something going on with double letters. (Note to beginners--I really recommend this approach.) After a pretty bumpy start, I caught on with the TRAPPARTISTS and had a good time sussing out the similar answers.

On the other hand, I can't remember this many erasures on a Sunday in a long time. TORMENT instead of WIRETAP for "bug" was probably the worst as it messed up the whole east coast for the longest old time. Some more problems with confusing the tiny numbers--where's my large print edition?--didn't help, and the mysterious ELAINE ASAHI crossing put the cherry on this one.

I seem to remember a similar theme in a daily puzzle a while back using not double but repeated letters to which my reaction was ZZZZZZZ. This one was miles better.

Thanks for all the fun, WL. Sundazo!!

AdamW 8:14 AM  

ASU has a Phoenix campus FWIW.

And the Jetson's dog doesn't talk, he barks. RuhRoh is how uh-oh sounds to Astro (nee Rastro)

Geezer 8:14 AM  

@Z. Why is the trick called a conceit by you and others?

Debra 8:15 AM  

Terrific puzzle, great fun!

pmdm 8:32 AM  

Very confused with the theme until CLOCKYY and then it all fell in place (as it seems to have done for some other solvers). I could complain about some of the names but since it seemed like an average Sunday puzzle, why bother.

Today's write up presents perhaps one good reason how speed solving can detract from the solving experience. Life is too short to always rush through. Or maybe it's better rushing because then you get to do more things. A conundrum.

The constructor elsewhere mentions a number of other good theme answers. Seems like this theme could return in the future. That would be fine with me if the theme answers were all of high quality.

Hungry Mother 8:35 AM  

Fun theme, but puzzle ruined by obscure names. No proper nouns please. My late mother-in-law’s middle name? Anyone? Bueller?

Hartley70 8:45 AM  

I had this at STRIPTT and loved this theme. This was a merry solve and only a decision between H or N in RAPANUI delayed my time. I’m not sure I’ve ever said GGLOUISE and I wonder who she is. There aren’t many LOUISEs around today in my neck of the woods.
I appreciate where @LMS went with GROUPTHINK. It seems to be the raison d’etre of Facebook. That’s a frightening thought when I consider a post yesterday that read that nurses are giving the virus to people through the testing nose swabs. The sheep have gone mad.

Alex M 8:49 AM  

If you're sprinting through the hospital full-tilt with a guerney to get your coding patient to the OR I can assure you the PANIC BAR is getting HIT and those doors are FLYING open! (It's like y'all have never even WATCHED Grey's Anatomy... :P)

Z 8:53 AM  

@Geezer - I can’t speak for others, but I tend to use conceit when there a trick at work, but no real unifying theme. To be a theme I think there needs to be an answer to the question, “why this set of answers and not that set of answers?” If the only answer is “they fit symmetrically” it is just a conceit. A conceit might lead to a theme, but in today’s puzzle doesn’t.

Birchbark 8:54 AM  

If you are eating taffy, you say AMUUMENT PARKS as it's spelled.

Some LOCHs are bays. But most LOCHs, including Ness, are not.

"RISING TIDE" is a fine book about the great Mississippi River flood of 1927. Everything you'd ever want to know about rivers, dams, bridges, levees, Corps of Engineers (the magnitude and force of water is boggling). And how a major flood brought social, political and racial problems into high contrast. I've read it twice and recommend it.

Shootie 8:56 AM  

Inverse secant. In a right triangle, the secant of an angle is the length of the hypotenuse divided by the length of the adjacent side.

ArtO 8:57 AM  

Loved the theme, impressed with the number of themes, hated the many naticks. NE totally did me in.

Anonymous 9:02 AM  

Ugh. And ggz! - newbie

RooMonster 9:04 AM  

Hey All !
Actually thought Rex would like this, and he did! Amazing.

Once I grokked the theme, it was a fun puz for me. Up until I grokked it, it was a nightmare! Having the _MUUM___ for 67A, said, "that can't be right", so erased CURDS and waited. Got down to 110A's GG, scratched my head again, wanted to replace the second G with an E, but looked at Title, and said, "ah, double letters". However, had ABAtES for ABASES, making GGLOUItE, and didn't know what the hell that was. Finally figured it out at SURPRIIPARTY when I ended up with the double I's. Looked back at 92D, reread clue, and saw if should be ABASES, then the "Aha" I was looking for when I finally saw GG LOUISE.

Had SAvOR for SSPOR messing up my TRAPPARTIST for a bit. After getting theme, swapped out the V for the P. Trio of UPs, but spread apart far enough no one has seemed to notice. (HEALSUP, UPACREEK, SIZEUP) Light dreck for a SunPuz, which is awesome (and tough to do.)


Not sure if it's Auto-Corrupt, but so far everyone has written constructors name @Wyna Lou. It's @Liu. Just sayin'.

A very neat and fun SunPuz. SW corner fun with UPACREEK and SAWHORSE.

One F

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

82-A PALETTE cleansers in the print edition. (ouch!)

RooMonster 9:09 AM  

Oh, forgot something...

**SB stuff**
For those who got QB YesterBee, I'm impressed. There were some toughies in there! And (I'm not a prude, but) how in the blazes does DILDO pass muster? Seriously?

**SB over**

Could HOWL be clued any more obscurely? Those of us uncultured types ain't never heard no poem titled that. 😋🤣

RooMonster Moi Cultured? Guy

TTrimble 9:11 AM  

It was a good stiff puzzle, for me. I spent the longest time tracking down a mistake that was tucked away in the bottom right (had ASAHa instead of ASAHI). And it took the longest time before I cracked the theme; it was GGLOUISE that did it. That helped a whoooole bunch. Anyway, liked the theme (or the "conceit" -- perfectly acceptable word for it -- look it up), and surprised it's not come up before.

Trouble getting sorted out around the TIKI and RAPANUI area (hardest time with RAPA?UI because I couldn't remember, and ANS as short for "answer" only dawned on me after a long while).

OCTANES didn't make me smile. And does anyone else mind NITES? No? Just me?

(Aside: I only learned yesterday that the voice actor for Astro was the same as for Scooby-Doo. Because for some reason Astro came up on TV and I spontaneously went "Rastro!" and then wondered, wait, is that right, or am I thinking Scooby-Doo? A fun bit of WP and reading up on the Jetsons ensued. Those were some golden years for cartoons -- remember the theme music for the Jetsons? Incredible!)

Kind of weird to see TTOP and PHOTOOP mixed in with the rest.

The acrostic: fastest time in a while. Okay, I'm no speed demon, so for me 20 minutes is pretty fast. My record is 13 minutes something.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

Like a lot of people apparently, I had a lot of trouble figuring this out. Lots of write overs and empty spaces. The aha moment for me was 110 across where LOUISE was sitting there and I knew it had to be geez and then I tried GG and voila, the rest of puzzle fit together and started to make sense. Liked this alot. Glad that Rex found one to like as well.

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

Amyyanni, It’s Ruby Dee and Ossis Davis not Smith

WestBay 9:25 AM  

Lightweight and a bit corny but fun. Amazed Rez liked it. Did anyone else cringe that Wyna’s been doing puzzles for only 10 years? My own count is closing in on 50. GG.

Nancy 9:28 AM  

Wordplay! Much thinking required! Clever themers! Challenging surrounding fill! What's not to love? And I wanted to love this extremely absorbing puzzle unreservedly.

Then I hit the MILT/ELAINE/AILEY/NABORS/HOWRU section and was ready to hit the PANIC Button. Only there wasn't one. There was only a PANIC BAR. Now what in heaven's name is a PANIC BAR? Where do you find one? Never heard of it.

AILEY was my key to finishing the thing. You see, I had an "LY" ending for "how to screw in a lightbulb." (TightLY? CarefulLY? I had no idea. I just place the small end in the socket, and twist.) And that pesky, incorrect L, rather than the Y of CLOCKYY gave me a choreographer named ?I?EL. I couldn't think of one. Bet you can't either.

Once I managed to finish the thing, I promptly forgave it all the aforementioned proper names. I also forgave it RUHROH (What?????!!!!!) and LIKE LIKE. People go around saying "I LIKE LIKE him"? Really?

An excellent puzzle with some stuff I do wish could have been changed. But mostly great fun.

Scott C. Lucas 9:33 AM  

I thought the same thing - surprised Rex didn’t call out PHOTOOP, since by the puzzle’s own logic, it should br parsed as PhotOSop

Another Anon 9:39 AM  

It's Ossie, not Ossis.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

So happy to have you back, @Loren. Please try to fit us in more often with whatever is going on in your non-crossword life.

Kinsey 9:46 AM  

@Roo. My guess is that dildo is allowed in SB because, while sexual, it is not a "dirty" word. Also, it's slang for someone that's a douche.

Mr. Cheese 9:50 AM  

Each theme answer made me smile.
I marvel at how someone comes up with a theme and then executes! Wow!
I’m totally in awe of all you puzzle makers!

Teedmn 9:54 AM  

GGLOUISE, what is it about RAPA NUI that I can never remember it? I've absorbed scores of obscure facts over the years while doing crosswords but RAPA NUI, not especially obscure, just won't go in. And because I couldn't suss out the ANS. to 69D, I had a DNF there. Ah well, I see Jeff Chen singled that area out as the tough spot so I don't feel quite as anguished :-).

Meanwhile, I really liked this theme, which I finally got at CLOCKYY. Every single one was fun and except for 39A, the cluing was tricky also.

Wyna Lui, great job, thanks!

Teedmn 9:55 AM  

Wyna Liu, sorry.

GHarris 10:00 AM  

A brilliant puzzle and I felt brilliant for solving it with relative ease and not a single cheat. Loved, loved.

egsforbreakfast 10:12 AM  

@RooMonster 9:04. Thanks for pointing out the misspelling of Liu. I can hardly expect my marriage proposal to be taken seriously if I can’t spell her name,

Anyway, some advice to new puzzle solvers:

Do not CEASEANDDDIST. Rather, CCTHEDAY, and you’ll FINISHWITHEE, realizing that this puzzle was just THEBBKNEE.

Melissa 10:14 AM  

He liked it! He really liked it!! And gave a shout out to JASA for their puzzles and upcoming event 👍🏻 (I was almost looking forward to a whole lot of ranting about TIKI and the obscure language. Oh well)

pabloinnh 10:30 AM  

@Hartley 70-Not exactly sure who she was either, but they all said LOUISE was not half bad (it was written on the walls and window shades).

FWIW, my favorite version of this is by Leo Kotke.

Joe Welling 10:35 AM  

Anonymous said: "You push the panic bar to open an emergency door. You don’t HIT it, in a state of panic."

But the clue wasn't "hit." It was "press"--slightly misleading, but not unfair, I think.

Norm 10:40 AM  

The title should have been "Let's Play Two" IMO.

Unknown 10:45 AM  

Struggled for a long time to get the theme, but once I did the rest fell into place pretty easily. And I think "Doublespeak" would have been a better title.

Barbara S. 10:57 AM  

Yesterday's Bee was very hard -- to the point where I gave in, looked up the 5 answers I was missing, and decided to write a story. I wasn't going to post it (too long, too sappy, too potentially annoying for non-SBers), but my husband urged me to put it on the blame him! It includes all 41 words plus another 15 words or names that could be crafted from the given letters but weren't accepted in the puzzle (too short, foreign, hyphenated, proper nouns, minus the center letter, etc.).

Phil and Don lived to play. They had a ton of stuffed animals: a dino, a dodo, a dolphin, a hippo, a lion, a loon – oh and a chicken, which their nonno – grandfather – always called a “pollo.” They even had a superhero doll, which they loved to take in the pool, along with a big plastic hoop for him to swim through. Those boys were never still. They’d plop into the water, then loll on the grass; they’d play polo on their bikes, or try to double-ride with Don as pillion. They’d do a huge loop around the hood, go up the hill, be back by noon and never poop out. And the fights! First Don would get Phil in a hold, then Phil would pinion Don’s arms. Their mom said roughhousing was a no-no, so they often hid. Their favorite times were those they spent with their idol, their nonno. He was old, he’d had polio, and he’d plod down the street or sometimes lollop if he was trying to go fast. He used to mutter about his lipoid count and the boys often saw him take a pill (sometimes an opioid for pain in his hip), but he never complained. He used to run an inn, and he was a good cook, always chopping an onion into oil for the pork loin olio. He always got them to pod the peas and, as a reward, he’d give them each a big dollop of ice cream for dessert. Or maybe a lollipop. He’d take the boys to the pond and would often conduct a poll, asking their opinion on a variety of important topics: did they like Hip Hop, and what did they think of Pooh Bear. He could do hoodoo and often seemed like a magician. They loved their mom, too. She worked hard on her diploid cell research and she sometimes had strange conversations with her girlfriends about stuff the boys couldn’t understand: “What is lipo?” they’d say to each other, “And dildo is a funny word!” They liked to help her sew and they’d hold the poplin so she could pin it. Their mom played records on an old phono and they’d all dance around, even nonno. “We love you times a million,” the boys would say to them. And mom and nonno always answered, “We love you times a nonillion!”

ghkozen 11:19 AM  

How can we not comment on someone named MILT Jackson (never heard of him) crossing some AILEY? Just offensively poor editing by Shortz. The man’s become an embarrassment, and cannot retire quickly enough!

bookmark 11:20 AM  

Wyna Liu's jewelry website has as excellent sample crossword.

Carola 11:24 AM  

I thought this was an unusually good Sunday puzzle, with each theme answer containing its own SURPRII, and with the surrounding territory replete with unpredictable entries. My main moment of delight was encountering GGLOUISE, which regularly gets exclaimed around here. And it's what I have to say about my ending with a DNF: I'd backed into 22A from APSE and PUTTED and assumed we were talking about some sort of "acTS," you know, like TRAPP ART acTS. I won't subject you to the twisted "reasoning" that made the crosses work.

@Wyna Liu, I look forward to more!

Teedmn 11:25 AM  

@Barbara S, thanks for the heartwarming "Tale of SB" which made me giggle. I hope you make it a series. 5 lollipops!

Maybe . . . 11:32 AM  

Are you ******' kidding me? I am shocked everyone liked this puzzle. I thought it was ridiculous and indecipherable. I got over half the double letters entered and still had no clue and finally gave up. These are not English language words, or phrases, or anything else. I feel unfairly tricked.

Lewis 11:42 AM  

The more you look, the more you see. I just realized that AMUUMENTPARKS has a W.

MarthaCatherine 11:43 AM  

I thought it was Scoobie Doo who said RUHROH...

BZZZZZ 11:44 AM  

How about 5 lollipops in the shape of dildos? Har!

Norm 11:53 AM  

Never heard of MILT Jackson either, but Alvin AILEY was a famous Black dancer and choreographer. If you don't know him, that's on you -- not Shortz.

burtonkd 11:54 AM  

Joining in the celebrity sightings, not sure if this counts, but I was part of a revue type Broadway short run that also included Ruby Dee & Ossie Davis. Both so genuine, gracious and magnetic.

@ LMS, welcome back! - The mansplanation nobody asked for: my understanding is an early use of silica gels of do-not-eat fame were a demoisturizer for medications and were similar enough in size and shape to confuse elderly users. The labels stuck and now remind you not to eat whatever you might find in a box of new NIKES or MOCS.

I was thinking RUHROH was a Scooberism. I can definitely remember that sound.
Just saw TTrimble noting they had the same voice actor, so I'm not totally crazy!

anon 7:35, if you are really wondering, wikipedia has everything you ever needed to know about NONETS. Not as common as quartets, quintets, trios or octets, but are real in Classical music.

Yes, Nancy, people have said "Do you like him or do you like-like(with arched eyebrows) him" for quite a while now. Again, congrats on your puzzle: loved the focus on wordplay - I'm guessing you didn't write the "Barry" network clue?

OffTheGrid 12:02 PM  

A couple of answers are theme-ish. Ish because the crosses wouldn't work.

59A is just EE

27D is SIIUP

1A is ETT


DavidP 12:09 PM  

It was great to see so many people of color in the grid: Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Milt Jackson, Ali Wong, Alvin Ailey, Sade, Lena Horne...

EdFromHackenasack 12:12 PM  

Kind of easy though I had an error. I do hard copy so there is no Happy Pencil . I had CITROs crossing IsO. Caught on at GGLOUISE. For the life of me I tried to fit in TRAPeeARTIST... took forever to realize it was the P that needed to be doubled, not the E. AILEY was the only name that came to mind for the dancing clue. If it wasn't that I'd have a hole there for awhile . MILT Jackson is a name I know though I could not even name the instrument he plays. I also had Eloise before ELAINE. Fun puzzle

Joaquin 12:15 PM  

@ghkozen said...
Including MILT Jackson and Alvin AILEY indicate poor editing by Shortz.

I disagree. Both these men were giants in their fields (jazz music and dance). You should familiarize yourself with their work instead of blasting Shortz.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

Re. the use of “conceit”: I’m guessing that there is some “auto-correcting” going on in the Blogger app, changing “concept” - c o n c e p t - to “conceit”. I’ve seen this many times in the past and thought it might be happening only on my end since no one else had commented on it until now.

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

James Agee and Gus Grissom dismissed as simply dead people? 🙄 says all we need to know about Z.
Except for his rather strange flight of fancy wher he imagines what people might say about an answer which doesn’t exiist, and as he notes. Couldn’t given the space avail label. If that’s not the definition of projection, nothing is.

JC66 12:26 PM  

Great Sunday puzzle. Glad @Rex liked it, too.

Agree it would have been more elegant without the non-theme double letters, but probably impossible to pull off.


The acrostic was my fastest ever...been doing them since before computers. 😂

jazzmanchgo 12:30 PM  

Milt Jackson was one of the premier vibraphonists (i.e., "vibes players") of the 20tn Century -- co-leader (with John Lewis) of the Modern Jazz Quartet, one of the music's most iconic ensembles (over 40 years of musical mastery and international renown) -- also a masterful bebop and soul-jazz player (he and Ray Charles virtually invented the term "Soul Brothers" as a signifier of joyfully earnest Black solidarity with their mow-legendary 1958 album of that name) . . . He was also an esteemed solo artist and band leader. If you never heard of him, that's fine; there's no law that says everyone has to be well-versed in the same music as everyone else. But don't call him "obscure." He's a hell of a lot more widely known (and infinitely more influential) than Liz Phair.

ow a paper cut 12:30 PM  

This was great Sunday fun

Tale Told By An Idiot 12:34 PM  

Barbara S at 10:57 - good one! Thanks.

Nancy 12:39 PM  

Oh, you are SO right, @burtonkd (11:54)! I'm thinking what "Barry clue" is he talking about and who on earth is Barry? And what word are we cluing anyway? (If you think I remember either the fill or any non-theme clues from a puzzle I clued on 6/30/19 (!), you're confusing me with someone else. I'm the one with no memory.)

But there was a mystery to clear up. So first I went to the LAT puzzle site and looked up the clues for the puzzle. The Barry clue was for "HBO". Then I went to my desk drawer and pulled out my original [handwritten] clue suggestions that were later typed up and sent to my collaborator. My suggested clue was "Oldest pay-TV channel in the U.S." -- something I had learned by Googling Wikipedia. You better believe I wouldn't have clued HBO with this mysterious Barry person! Thanks for noticing, @@burtonkd.

All puzzle editors, no matter what their publication, alter clues whenever it pleases them. They don't seem to feel under the slightest obligation to let you know, much less seek your approval.

JD 12:50 PM  

Was going to read but not comment because I gave up after the first pass of As and Ds. But that's just my Sunday short attention span and if this theme had been earlier in the week, would've hung in there.

Used to love the Sunday when I did it on paper, had the day off, and just wandered back to it throughout the day. Maybe I'll starting printing it out.

However, I'm commenting because I had to say @Kinsey, that was some wicked hilarity.

Anonymous 1:04 PM  

Editors aren’t obligated to do either. At all. But the charge that they alter clues wherever it pleases them has more than a whiff of arrogance.
Most editors would love a puzzle good enough to accept as is. Unfortunately most constructors aren’t disciplined enough to see the weaknesses in their puzzle. That’s why editors edit, to improve the puzzle. Not to Rex muscle.

Ernonymous 1:17 PM  

Do you ever start a puzzle and get pissed because after 10 minutes or more you have absolutely nothing? This started so hard I thought I'd not be able to finish. I was actually begging for a PPP of something I definitely knew, to get a foothold. It seemed like many of the clues in the upper half were just so vague, they could have been anything.
I did finish in my average time and I did very much enjoy the theme.
I got the trick, but thought at first it was a type of rebus with EASE sound because I got TrapEZE and StriptEASE and DisEASE first.

QuasiMojo 1:27 PM  

@Barbara, wonderful SB story. Well done! I did want to point out to anyone wondering why the Bee accepts "dildo" but not other potentially risque words, it's because it's also a type of cactus.

Defender 1:32 PM  

I actually got the theme on the first one which was the trapeze artists. The title and the no other explanation for the double letter matched.
I note that as a rather poor puzzle doer I almost never get the theme. I look forward to Rex so I can find out what it was all about!
It does seem from regularly reading the comments that Rex and the followers make that people enjoy and find fair the themes and answers they know and vice versa.
Following that observation I really like liked this one!

Joe Dipinto 1:33 PM  

Milt Jackson is certainly crossworthy but he'd be better served by a less lazy clue. He won't be familiar to non-jazz aficionados, so at least include his instrument ("Jazz vibraphonist Jackson"), as another detail for future reference. I suspect most solvers never learn, or retain, anything from a clue like "Jazz's Jackson".

What? is going on with this site today. It keeps conking out on my phone.

Nancy 1:35 PM  

Well, let's see, gutless anonymous 1:04. This is the 4th puzzle of mine to appear in print, all have had clues changed, and mostly the clues are made better. And I'm usually appreciative. At the very least I don't complain.

But to have an answer clued with some fictional pop culture TV name I never heard of -- especially when this is exactly the sort of thing I so object to in other people's puzzles -- well it reflects on me. Who else would it reflect on? Bet you can't even name the LAT Puzzle Editor, Anonymous 1:04.

If I'd been asked about this change, I would have said: "Okay, if you absolutely must clue this with some pop culture name from an HBO program, please at least choose one that I'm familiar with and that, with any luck, at least some of the people I know are also familiar with." It's not that I expect this, knowing how the puzzle world works, but it's hardly "arrogance" to want your puzzle clued in a way that you won't later be teased about. (@burtonkd was kind enough not to tease me). Also in a way that won't make your Rexblog friends unhappy or grumpy. My motivation when cluing a puzzle is to always try to make my Rexblog friends as happy as I can. When you have your own puzzle published, Anonymous 1:04, you are welcome to react to -- or not react to -- the changes that are made any way you deem appropriate.

Defender 1:46 PM  

I got the theme with the first one with trapeze artists. No other explanation for the missing letters and the double p matched the theme.
As a rather poor puzzle doer I rarely get the theme. I look forward to reading Rex to find out what it was all about!
I observe that Rex and the commentators like the themes and clues that they know and tend to criticize what is not within their basic knowledge and experience.
Consistent with this point I really like-liked this one!


jberg 2:06 PM  

I'm so embarrassed. I've listened to MJQ records many times, I know who Milt Jackson is, I even know he was called "Bags." But somehow I got there and put in MItT. And I knew I'd actually seen a live performance of "Revelations," and should have known the choreographer -- but there I was looking at _ITEY, which didn't fit with Mercy Cunningham, Bill T. Jones, or anyone else I could think of. I had to look it up. That much I knew before coming here -- but then I realized that I had another error, as well. This was embarrassing too -- I used to go to conferences about small islands, and one regular attendee was I guy who studied Rapa Nui, and always wore a T shirt with a picture that somehow was a treaty they had made to get control of their island. Nevertheless, I couldn't remember if it was RAPA NUI or NUa, and went with the latter. No idea about the first man, so TIKa looked good there.

I did like the puzzle, despite all that. I, too, noticed the non-theme double letters, but they may have been impossible to eliminate. But I do wonder why it wasn't GGLOUEE. That was a flaw, IMO.

@Colin -- KDKA in Pittsburgh.

@Loren -- you're so much more imaginative than I! All I could think of for "gas number" was ether.

And for you doubters, here's PDQ Bach's No-No Nonette. So he spelled it different, big deal.

sanfranman59 2:06 PM  

Nice Sunday puzz! Did anybody else really want 'oldd but goodd' for OLDD STATION {92A: *What keeps up standards in the radio business?}?

TTrimble 2:10 PM  

Well said, Nancy 1:35. I think generally anyone who publishes stuff can sympathize.

Xcentric 2:20 PM  


Mary McCarty 2:36 PM  

At first I expected a rebus, With EE in 22A, but it didn’t work for 23D. Like many others, I was annoyed that so many “double-lettered” answers were NOT themers, more than the themes themselves. Especially EASE at 59A.
Thank you, @OffTheGrid for your “shoulda beens”: 59A is just EE; 27D is SIIUP; 1A is ETT; 82A is SORBAA
Maybe if they had been clued /starred? to refer to the theme, somehow? Or, as several others said, If the title indicated “double play on the double-speak”.
RR would have been fun.
It got me wondering: how many letters could NOT be doubled to create a word or part of a word? HH? MM? WW? any help here?
Would NNnare be allowed? I-I-I, how many other TRIPLES??!!

Chim cham 2:36 PM  

DNF because of ANS. So ANnoying.

Z 2:41 PM  

@Anon1:04 - Was “not to Rex muscle” intentional? I hope so. But I agree with @Nancy1:35. If my name is going on it I’d like a heads up. It is the editor’s job to edit, but I’m all for a little consultation.

@Anon12:21 - Nope, no auto-corrupt at work.

Regarding MILT Jackson crossing Alvin AILEY at the L: That’s two men that have been dead for 21 and 31 years, who were famous in performing arts that are not particularly mainstream, and with names that aren’t particularly common. The natick complaints seem legitimate here. I only got the L because MILT Wilcox once almost pitched a perfect game for the Detroit Tigers and I’m pretty sure AILEY has been in puzzles before.

Since at least one person missed the point let me add that dead PPP isn’t the issue. It is when the puzzle skews so overwhelming old that it actually skews dead that is the issue to me. Can we get some Janelle Monáe or Octavia Spencer or Lin-Manuel Miranda or American Pharoah or Meshell Ndegeocello in our puzzles, please? I mean, GG LOUISE, we even got dead horses in the puzzle today (Ndegeocello (11) is just screaming to be used people).

Frantic Sloth 2:47 PM  

PANICBAR? Button - yes. BAR? Not so much. Unless of course you're talking about a place to drown your sorrows and still...not so much.

Whatevs. I really enjoyed this puzzle. Took me about as long (and via the same route) as Rex to grok the theme and had pretty much the same reaction from there. Can't say I worship at the WTF altar of HOWRU, but still. We've all been there, no?

Hello. Sorry, but it's Secretariat. Get outta here with that MANOWAR crap -- and didn't Seabiscuit put an end to that hyperbole anyway?? Obvi MANOWAR was a great horse, but come on!

Let's see...what else...
INi before INO Don't know enough Italian to intelligently debate that. Just going by my own eye test.

ROS Asquith? ELAINE Welteroth? MILT Jackson? If you say so. Now I "know" (won't retain of course) and that's a good thing.

RAPANUI Language spoken on Easter Island and in Natick. (Haven't read comments yet, so this has probably already been observed - maybe repeatedly - but it's low-hanging fruit and I'm nothing if not a glutton.)

ARCSEC With apologies (and much admiration) to TTrimble,, just please with the math breevs already. I have enough trouble with just words without numbers (and their terminology) of every ilk being tossed around all willy-nilly.

It's a big puzzle, so I could go on for a while with worthy nits and (personal) peccadillo nits, but there are many more things I liked - and LIKELIKEd.

GROUPTHINK was probably my fave along with the theme and every single themer. Suffice it to say (now suffice it??) the puzzle was way more fun than this stupid review.

I'm already bored with myself.


thefogman 2:48 PM  

Guessed wrong for the N at the ANS and RAPANUI crossing. ARCSEC was also a devious addition. Was another one of those puzzles designed to defeat rather than delight the solver? I hope not. Puzzles should above all else be enjoyable.

old timer 2:56 PM  

Glad to see our @Muse back. But I am afraid it is true Barack Obama did not go to Harvard. He went to Oxy, and transferred to Columbia. Likely no Harvard undergraduate ever saw him, or if they did, assumed he was in grad school, therefore not a real Harvard man.

And he was a grad student of sorts -- admitted to Harvard Law, and ended up President of the Harvard Law Review. The world was his oyster, he could have gone to any of the top law firms in New York or Washington, but chose to become a community organizer in Chicago, and after a few years a member of the Illinois Legislature. The rest was history.

I liked the theme, but ended up stymied by DLISTER and NONSLIP. The second had a too clever clue, as I thought it must be something to do with preventing oil spills. And, if I have ever seen D-lister, I promptly forgot about it. In fact, I have never heard of a C-list either. The kind of people who have an A-list and a B-list for their parties generally just have a bunch of not so famous friends or relations they rely on to complete their guest list.

egsforbreakfast 3:07 PM  

For those who believe that “conceit” is being used wrong by some of us, or that it’s an auto-correct, let me quote Merrimack-Webster.

Conceit: An organizing theme or concept.

JC66 3:08 PM  


You tell 'em!

@Old Timer

I'm confused. If Obama went to Harvard Law School, didn't he attend Harvard? Or does "Harvard" only apply to undergraduate studies?

Colin 3:09 PM  

@jberg 2:06: KDKA - Wow! I never knew! Thanks for the tidbit. I am humbled.

Newboy 3:11 PM  

Yep, Rex nailed how I felt about today’s puzzle. “ It's a simple and cute gimmick, nothing flashy, but there are different double letters every time, and discovering those letters was kinda fun,” sorta says it all. Had to grapple with a couple names where crosses failed, but I knew CITRON from John McPhee’s book Oranges, so that helped in the SE. Thanks Wyna for a non-slog Sunday; hope Will can dredge up more like today’s.

burtonkd 3:21 PM  

@Nancy: for the record, I love the "Barry" clue, having seen every episode. It is current and brought a flash of joy to think about more than a more factual wiki clue. Since you have a theater interest, it is a show you may enjoy (I may be pushing it), being about a war vet hitman who stumbles into acting classes. It parodies all the acting as self-discovery tropes and Hollywood insider culture: all the scene excerpts are from movies, for example.
As with all PPP, your mileage will vary depending on your familiarity. One plus for PPP is that if you are totally stuck on a puzzle, these are clues you can look up to get yourself going again.
I thought I was gently teasing you. Keep 'em coming...

Bridge Player 3:21 PM  

Alvin Ailey is neither trivia nor trivial. Now, 58d ... another story.

TTrimble 3:29 PM  

@Frantic Sloth
Truth be known, I felt bad for those outside of math. Of all the inverse trig functions, the (branches of the) arcsecant and arccosecant take top honors for obscurity. We rarely talk about them, or need to. They're somewhat mild curiosities that belong in a jar of formaldehyde somewhere.

---[SB Alert]---
Anybody reach QB today? I'm one away. Grrr!

With regard to yesterday's QB: if it helps, let me admit that I invited my family to peer over my shoulder yesterday, and I cannot take credit for POPLIN myself. My wife who knows all about fabrics takes credit. And PILLION was a bit of an accident. I was very happy to discover NONILLION myself after a needed nap -- another obscure and virtually useless math term.

Unknown 3:34 PM  

My favorite version is by Willie Deville.

Ernonymous 3:35 PM  

@nancy Very well explained. I'm betting that GutLess Anonymous 1:04 is now seething and will be back to argue his point some more.
I would like to try your puzzle. Is there a software I need to download to do it? I only have the NYT app so far in my short puz career.

johnk 3:53 PM  

EASE is sooo OVERUUD anyway. It could have been avoided here with STRAM (NFL Coach Hank) and RASE (Demolish in Dover). PP to you.

JC66 3:54 PM  


Hre's the link to Nancy & Will's puzzle.

Azzurro 3:56 PM  

I’m thankful for the comments to explain the MILT/AINEY crossing. That seemed pure Natick, though perhaps that’s on me. This one was decent, but it feels lazy. A lot of areas could be cleaned up.

Newboy 4:00 PM  

Welcome back @Loren I’ve been missing those avatars that always add a sparkle to the day.

@Birchbark thanks for your reading recommendation. I’ll look for it when my next library visit occurs. If you haven’t read Faulkner’s Old Man that has the same flood as its backdrop, you might enjoy it since your tastes appear eclectic. Tried to email you directly, but you didn’t have an email address in your profile. Also John McPhee has a relevant treatment of river control hubris in The Control of Nature worth an afternoon under the plum tree.

Barbara S. 4:20 PM  

@Mary McCarty 2:36 How about:

GMMtone = jewel
TMM = river in southern England
NHH Bounty = brand of health supplements (that must work with some accents!)

I've been playing around with lots of these. I think my favorite is

HLL BLL = old-fashioned expletive

Anonymous 4:40 PM  

Nothing about HIE? I can’t find any support for that one.

Liz 4:48 PM  

Kept me interested. I liked it. I hope the creator keeps them coming.

Anonymous 4:53 PM  

Jazz nonets were extremely popular during the 1950s, exemplary of the cool jazz period, and launched by the 9-piece recordings of Miles Davis later released as _Birth of the Cool._ Saxophonist Lee Konitz entitled one of his albums "Yes, Yes, Nonet"

NY Composer 5:00 PM  

Didn’t love it .But no matter: any puzzle that includes Astro’s “ruhroh” gets a hall pass!

old timer 5:15 PM  

@JC66, I went to Stanford undergrad and law school, and had many friends who went to Harvard. I can tell you that undergraduates at those institutions do not ever think of people in graduate schools as people who are in any way part of their college. You may know a few people older than you who do stay on at Harvard or Stanford (or Yale) but if you went for four years as an undergraduate, you would be very unlikely to have seen or met anyone else who was in a graduate program.

There were of course Black students in every class and every dorm (or House, in Harvard-speak). But a person like Obama who had attended other colleges would not have stood out in any way. Not, at least, until he was elected President of the Law Review halfway through his second year. That, of course, appeared in the Crimson, and indeed in national magazines.

Barbara S. 5:16 PM  

@Anonymous 4:40 p.m.

"...Hie hence! Be gone, away!
It is the lark that sings so out of tune..."

WS, Romeo and Juliet, Act 3, Scene 5

Kathy 5:27 PM  

A long long struggle, but I was rewarded with success!
Fun theme, that is, once I figured it out whether we were dealing with hidden letters or a rebus...or what. I did get stuck for a long time on CCTHEDAY but it was so worth it. I delighted in the abundance of themers and how they inspired additional ones from the bloggers.

We sure could use some DIZZ CONTROL. Right now we are UP A CREEK. Stay safe.

Cyrus 5:31 PM  

Loved it. And my wife and I whizzed through it except for that sticky NE corner. The Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Likelike and double "boor" clues all seemed to perfectly match the theme of doubling in the puzzle.
Milt Jackson may be dead, but his vibraphone mastery and leadership of the Modern Jazz Quartet makes him an unsung legend well worth noting. Same with choreographer Alvin Ailey, whose dance company lives on. In fact kudos for name checking a number of great Black artists here. And nonets may not be a thing but Miles Davis assembled a nonet to record his masterful album the "Birth of the Cool."

JC66 5:55 PM  

@Old Timer

Do you really think that the Trumpers that LMS was taking about were making a distinction between Harvard and Harvard Law?

lukiegrifpa 5:58 PM  

So did everybody have Rapa Nui except me? Natick for me with A_S so I just put in an S so I could get on with my day. Okay we’ll I learned something.

lukiegrifpa 6:02 PM  

Ah, me too! Which letter did you decide on for your guess?

Derek M 6:06 PM  

Nice post - love that you included Bill Withers’ UU Me as I love that song

Birchbark 6:06 PM  

@Newboy (4:00) -- "Eclectic" is a kind adjective -- thank you.

I read John McPhee's "The Pine Barrens" a few years ago, about an undeveloped corner of New Jersey and the interesting people who live there (or did in the early '80s, when he wrote it). I will look for his "Control of Nature" and try it out under the wild plum tree in the woods nearby -- but not until the deer flies and mosquitoes are done for the year.

Faulkner's "Old Man" appears in alternating chapters with "The Wild Palms" in a paperback edition on my shelf. I read it so long ago that sadly I remember only a couple of dramatic moments. But now it's back in the rotation for a [re]read, behind two others. Thanks for the suggestion.

Masked and Anonymous 6:08 PM  

I'm real extra-late gettin here, today. Most everything about this fine SunPuz has already been well said, so I will be extra-brief.

fave themer: AMUUMENTPARKS.
staff weeject pick: DEE. Possible themer clue: {* Not those, in Brooklyn}.

Thanx and congratz on yer first SunPuz, Wyna Liu darlin. Good job.

Masked & Anonymo13Us

an ode to mask wearin:

Anonymous 6:22 PM  

Check out the Thursday July 30, 2009 puzzle in the archives for a different take.

Anonymous 6:42 PM  

McPhee’s book is fine, but getting no a little long in the tooth.
I’m not a Piney, what residents of a certain stripe are called, but my wife frequently accuses me of being one.
It’s not a compliment. Anyway, not to toot my own horn too loudly ( I just tried to post something which gently accused someone else here of doing that), I’m as good a guide to the Pines as you’re likely to find.
If you’re truly interested, next week is pretty good for displaying nighthawks. And all summer is good for specialty flora like the pitcher plant, and succulents.
unknown-to-Nancy Stark- crossword constructor

Anonymous 6:57 PM  

High school trig: a triangle has 3 sides. These define 3 simple ratios: the sine, tangent, and secant. Each has a partner known as the cosine, cotangent, and cosecant. All 6 have an inverse, arc-*. But this is only a crossword puzzle. You do not need to know they are defined. You only need to know how to spell them or their common abbreviations.

Z 7:42 PM  

@egs - “Merrimack-Webster” for the auto-corrupt win!

TTrimble 8:06 PM  

(If anyone really cares)

To add to what Anonymous said or left unsaid: the way that trigonometry is conventionally introduced, say at a high school level, is through ratios of lengths of sides of *right* triangles, where "right" means one of the angles is a right angle. You may recall that the "hypotenuse" is the side opposite the right angle. If you then, for the sake of discussion, fix one of the other angles besides the right angle, then the three sides may be referred to by their relationship to this angle: either the hypotenuse, or the side opposite to the angle, or the side adjacent to the angle. As a function of that angle, one can consider various ratios of the side lengths, such as "opp/hyp" which defines the sine of the angle. There are six such possible ratios. Considered as functions of the angle (i.e., quantities that depend on the angle, and uniquely determined by that angle), these six ratios define the six trigonometric functions.

(That's a slightly old-fashioned "low brow" explanation, but let it suffice for this discussion. The trig functions come in pairs, a function and its "co-function", where the co-function is obtained by interchanging the roles of the opposite and adjacent sides. For example, if the sine of an angle is "opp/hyp", then replace "opposite" by "adjacent" to get the cosine of the angle: "adj/hyp". The co-function of the cosine brings us right back to the sine.)

The conventional abbreviations of the trigonometric functions are "sin" (sine = opp/hyp), "cos" (cosine = adj/hyp), "tan" (tangent = opp/adj), "cot" (cotangent = adj/opp), "sec" (secant = hyp/adj), and "csc" (cosecant = hyp/opp).

The rough idea of inverse trig functions is Jeopardy!-like, in that you start with an answer and try to come up with the question. More precisely, you start with a number, conceived as a trigonometric ratio, and produce the angle (or "arc") which gives that ratio by applying the trigonometric function under consideration. For example, the secant of an angle is defined to be "hyp/adj". But if someone asks you to compute the *arcsecant* of say 2, then you would need to find the correct angle such that the ratio hyp/adj for that angle equals 2.

The abbreviations for the inverse trig functions are obtained by prefixing the abbreviation of the trig function by "arc". Thus the arcsecant function is abbreviated to arcsec. [Well, that's one convention. There's another symbolic convention which I won't go into here. And there's some fine print that I won't go into, about how angles are measured and parametrized, by reference to a circle of unit radius centered at the origin of a coordinate plane. It takes maybe a lecture or two to explain the details.]

egsforbreakfast 8:17 PM  

@Z. Merrimack was Merriam’s now forgotten brother, who went on to a career In
Monitoring ship building

Birchbark 8:23 PM  

@Anon (6:42) -- Interesting. I have no plans to be on the East Coast at least until able to travel again for business (NYC 4-5 times a year is closest). Then I'd certainly add a few days of personal time to see the Pine Barrens in an informed way. Just remember that you were @Anon (7/18/20, 6:42) if I say something here about that when the time comes, and you're free to respond or ignore as you see fit.

We have pitcher plants in the swamp down the hill here (Marine on St. Croix, MN). The only outdoor succulents I've seen this far North are prickly pears, and those in Western Michigan, though I'm not an expert. Is that what you have?

Ernonymous 9:20 PM  

@jc66 Thank you! Much appreciated!

gregg 9:35 PM  

What about KDKA in Pittsburgh?

RooMonster 9:40 PM  

I gather from your mathiness that you were (are?) a Math teacher of some sort. I was way good at math in high school, but if you don't keep at it, you lose it fast (at least I did). Now I'm lucky to not use my fingers when I add or subtract!

RooMonster The Ole Brain Ain't What It Used To Be Guy

TTrimble 10:29 PM  

Indeed, I teach math at a university, and I carry out research.

I don't actually want to talk anyone's ear off about mathematics here, i.e., overextend my welcome in any way. At a basic level, I figure it's okay if the discussion bears tangential relationship to the day's puzzle, and of course any one is free to ignore. But actually I'm testing (in a low-key way) a hunch I have about the people who generally visit here. It's that people who come here are likely to love words and definitions, and have the habit of paying close textual attention to how words are used. And this would free me up to write in a really precise way that my usual clientele (composed of young adults, for the most part, who, being young, may be distracted in various ways) hasn't developed to maturation the means to appreciate. Indeed, some of my very best students have been adults who have developed some inner discipline in just slowing down and taking things in.

Even if some of the highly intelligent and literate people here have an idea that they aren't good at math and figures, etc., I'd like to encourage them with the idea that the mental habits they have developed over decades, which lays emphasis on close reading and thinking things through, slowly and carefully, confers on them enormous advantages in grasping mathematics. Much of mathematics, at the level where people like me operate, involves actually simple concepts, but with a kind of exquisite linguistic control. Contrary to popular opinion, mathematics may be one of the easiest intellectual endeavors, since it is occupied with pure concepts free from messy complications, and one just has to be willing to hold the concepts' feet to the fire, and imagine what they are about. You don't have to know a lot of facts (although it might help). You just have to know a few things, deeply.

The business about trig functions and inverse trig functions that I wrote above, I'd like to think, would be accessible in principle to anyone who can sit down and parse the words that I wrote -- even if they are decades out of practice. If I am deluded about that, then let the blame be on my writerly skills, and not on the intellectual abilities of the people here, which seems generally pretty high.

TTrimble 10:34 PM  

(Regarding the end of my last message, I meant of course writerly skills or the lack thereof.)

burtonkd 10:46 PM  

The Pine Barrens figured prominently in an episode of The Sopranos (an HBO series, Nancy wink-wink) leaving a loose thread (albeit non-consequential) for the rest of the series.

goldbug 2:15 AM  

Really liked this. Thought the theme was really fun and well-executed - lots of variations, just what you want on a Sunday. I also had MAUI for TIKI, and also grew up in NZ so am feeling rather ashamed.

Actually, the whole Eastern side of the puzzle was tricky. Had THROB for THROE (never seen that except as a plural) and struggled to make a word out of WIRBT for far too long. I had to look up Jim NABORS too because what the hell do I know about Gomer Pyle that doesn't involve Vincent D'Onofrio? Nothing is what. Final fill-in for me was the L in MILT and AILEY, impossible to get other than by either guessing or knowing two obscure names.

Otherwise, this was a great puzzle, like cutting through butter with a hot knife.

MassBookworm 11:14 AM  

Nice puzzle. Quite easy while still being fun.

Only quibble: wasn’t it Scooby who always uttered



tim 1:10 PM  

It's nonetheless an inexcusable Natick; if you don't happen to know the choreographer (who may be important in their field but is not a household word like Nijinsky or Fosse) or the jazz musician (ditto, not a Parker or Coltrane) you are simply screwed. If there's an unsolvable Natick the whole puzzle's just a waste as far as I'm concerned.

kitshef 3:52 PM  

Really enjoyed the theme, and the challenge. Alas, waaaaaaaay too much music trivia. Someone should have eliminated two-thirds of that.

J Tull 6:29 PM  

Nope. Inverse of secant is cosine. Don’t mess with a math major.

sf27shirley 7:17 PM  

He is more of a household name than the characters on The Simpsons.

Anonymous 8:37 PM  

Ossie Davis , not Smith

Doxma33 1:08 PM  

Agree with you. Wound up being the last thing I filled in, as I had ee and just couldn't see pp.

Anonymous 10:48 PM  

30D...ASU isn't located in Phoenix, though. It's located in Tempe. ASU does have a satellite campus in Phoenix but no one who knows the area would say ASU is in Phoenix.

Joe 10:44 PM  

Had trouble determining what ‘Double’ meant. Once I figured it out, the puzzle went a lot better for me. Loved the theme answers! Agree with previous post - ASU is in Tempe. That threw me, even though Tempe is fairly close to Phoenix and the Bobby coaches their men’s Basketball team.

spacecraft 11:49 AM  

DNF. In fact, never have I felt so utterly CREAMed by a puzzle as today. Well--that was one of the problems: I had CRush in there. I started in four different places, trying to make some sense, and just couldn't. Never cracked the NE, where if I'd uncovered the Cs I might have gotten the idea. Wyna Liu 1, me 0.

Dan Steele 12:02 PM  

I know it’s too late to reply to this... but Astro definitely barks the dog version of “uh oh.”

Burma Shave 1:45 PM  




rondo 2:02 PM  

Took what seemed like forever to find the trick and by that time had much or most of the rest of this puz filled in. It would really have been a trick if there were no other double-letter answers like YAHOOS UPACREEK.

The corner letters are for LOSERS.

I'll take the four-letter one-named Grammy winner - not Cher nor Enya, but SADE. Yeah baby.

This Sun-puz at least held my interest.

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

@everyone who was naticked by the Easter Island clue:
I actually found that answer a near gimme, but then again, maybe I watch too much PBS, BBC America, and NatGeo. I knew it as the other name for Easter Island, and once I had a few letters knew it was the name for the language too.

Diana, LIW 6:45 PM  

Very AMUUSING. I got most of it - just a lil PPP got me. ouch

Lady Di

Diana, LIW 6:46 PM  

PS - LIKELIKE could have been used as a clue to the doubleness of the letters in the * clues. IMO

Diana, LIW

Anonymous 1:22 AM  

Big slog with all the music and pop culture trivia, not to mention the naticks. But enough sensible fill and a nice theme to figure it all out eventually. And black lives definitely matter in this puzzle.

MrDave 5:01 PM "inverse trig function" vs "inverse of a trig function"? It's just a crossword puzzle, anyway.

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

Amen. I hit this early on and was so annoyed I quit.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

Amen. I hit this early on and was so annoyed I quit.

oconomowoc 4:00 AM  

Regarding the confusion about "inverse trig function":

Yes, the cosine is the MULTIPLICATIVE inverse of the secant. But arcsec is the inverse FUNCTION of the secant.

Regarding the alleged Natick of 74A/64D:

Once you have MI_T for a first name and AI_EY for a last name, what letter would you guess even though you never heard of either person?

Jules 6:38 PM  

The first time I've ever replied to a comment on this blog, and a reply that's many months past the actual post. Alvin Ailey was a great and groundbreaking choreographer. He was also Black. That you only know white choreographers makes it your problem, and I would not dream of denigrating a great like Ailey just because I didn't know of him. Please do your work before you show your ignorance.

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