Kingdom of horsemen in Lord of the Rings / WED 7-22-20 / Compound containing an NH2 group informally / Onetime Nissan SUV / Greek peak southeast of Olympus

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Easy (3:42)

THEME: periodic table stuff — themers are phrases where the first word contains a chemical symbol for an element and the last word contains the element itself:

Theme answers:
  • PAUGOLDSCHMIDT (17A: Six-time All-Star for the Arizona Diamondbacks (2013-18))
  • MILITARY JARGON (27A: "Moonbeam," for a flashlight, e.g.)
  • "ISN'T IT EXCITING?" (43A: "Are you as jazzed as I am?")
  • SAFE ENVIRONMENT (57A: People are protected when they're in it)
Word of the Day: Taraji P. HENSON (23A: Taraji P. ___, star of "Hidden Figures") —
Taraji Penda Henson (/təˈrɑːi/ tə-RAH-jee; born September 11, 1970) is an American actress and author. She studied acting at Howard University and began her Hollywood career in guest roles on several television shows before making her breakthrough in Baby Boy (2001). She received praise for her performances as a prostitute in Hustle & Flow (2005), for which she received a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture nomination; and as a single mother of a disabled child in David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button(2008), for which she received Academy AwardSAG Award and Critics Choice Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress. In 2010 she appeared in the action comedy Date Night, and co-starred in the remake of The Karate Kid. (wikipedia)
• • •

This just feels so old and tired. I mean, it does what it does ... there it is. But periodic table "humor" is just about the oldest puzzle gimmick there is. This one has certain restrictions that make it, perhaps, harder to execute, but a slightly elegant feature in a dull theme doesn't really drag it out of dullsville. I enjoyed seeing PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT, who is criminally under-famous (outside of baseball fandom) given how good he has been (he's on the Cardinals now), but as for the puzzle overall ... "ISN'T IT EXCITING?" No, it is not. I think this is a familiar theme type with (over-) familiar fill, but as for why it's being run now, when there are (allegedly) thousands and thousands of submissions to choose from, I am AT A LOSS. Feels very Boys Clubbish. Competent (male) constructor, has a ton of bylines, very familiar, very snug, very over-the-plate. When I see stale-ish puzzles from familiar (male) names, I get a little (lot) annoyed. Like, this can't be *it*. Periodic Table shenanigans Part The Forty-Seventh can't be it. And when BUM LEG (which is ... kind of a downer) is your most original non-theme fill, something's wrong. You're not trying hard enough. Also when you have "NO" in two answers and (much worse) "INTO" (!?) in two answers, in the same grid, you are definitely not trying hard enough. Or not paying attention.

When I know that older white guys are the ones making the puzzle, seeing POPO in there makes me cringe. And ... that whole corner ... it's so tear-it-all-out-able. ENL? OMANI?? What are you trying to accomplish up there? And then coming out of there is DIG INTO, which is fine on its own, but which today blatantly and jarringly dupes the INTO in RIP INTO. Then OSSA. Then ISL, LCD, ELSA, EINS LPNS IMPEI AMINO ... it's just brutal, the subpar fill. OMANI AMINO! Hey, anagrams. (Finding anagrams of crosswordese is the only way I'm having fun right now). OOP STET ... I'll stop, but you see, right? This isn't just "ho hum" (solid "ho hum" is fine if the theme rules and there are a few good non-themers); it's below ho-hum. Belo-hum. Please, no-hum. RHOS ASST? It's like no one actually cared to polish this thing. Just autofill it and send it in! Not a lot more to say about this one. Except good night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:04 AM  

Even though I barely passed high school chemistry, this was wheelhouse city for me. In honor of my alma mater, my car has the license plate "AUNBRS" so I see the gold every day. And the rest simply fell into place for me. Felt Tuesdayish.

Harryp 12:22 AM  

I am just an average crossword puzzle solver and don't really see why today's puzzle was so thoroughly trashed. I used to use the term bilious to describe Bilious O'Reilly of
fox'n F*X fame, but OFL can fill the Bill today.

JD 12:31 AM  

Amazed that I finished this. Never heard of Goldshmidt, Henson, the Rohan, or that exact Nemo. Feel that “Stole” in this usage needs an adverb or a preposition. I think you can’t just say, “I didn’t hear you come in,” and get the answer, “I stole.” Don’t think of Pallor as a shade, though guess it might be. And it’s Tongue Tied, no? How would you use Tongue Tie in a sentence?

BUT, I did have a large periodic table on the wall facing my desk for two years at a law firm I was working for (just to annoy the lawyers) and got the right combo of letters for Gold and Iron and Tin to crack the code early and fill this puppy in on crosses. And of course there was old AU H2O 1964 (in your heart, who would you rather have for president now?)

Overall, fun was had.

mathgent 12:41 AM  

Very pleasant. Nice theme with a little sparkle.

I would have preferred a different clue for LCD. “12 for 1/3 and 3/4.”

Great clue for ION, “B+, e.g.”

When PAULGOLDSCHMIDT was with the DBacks, he would aways kill our Giants. Lovely swing.

DUCTTAPE reminded me of the classic line explaining why you only need two things in your repair kit. DUCTTAPE and WD-40.


Pamela 12:44 AM  

Meh. Lots of sports and boy stuff, but somehow not that hard to figure out even though I’ve always struggled with that kind of puzzle. Misread shirts for skirts so had TOgS until I thought I was finished but didn’t get the happy music. The cross, DUCTTAgE, didn’t make much sense, but in a boy puzzle I do so much guessing it didn’t bother me. DUCTTAPE is, however quite familiar.
Man of the cloth for DIOR cracked me up. Great clue.
What is POPO?

Who hoo hoo - I got all 49 words for QB yesterday! The last 3 popped into my head so late, I posted even though I thought no one would see it. So I stayed up a little longer to do today’s puzzle and gloat ;).
A zillion words, but at least they were all real words, unlike on some other days.

The day before was awful. I actually had TACTUAL and a couple of other weird ones, but the last one was not to be had by me, not ever.

egsforbreakfast 1:23 AM  

I’ll have to give this a RIR (Rex is right). Little fun. Not interesting. Ho Hum. By far my favorite nanoseconds of the solve were when I thought BUllet was the answer to 10D - Cause of a limp, maybe. You better believe that a slug from a .45 will cause a limp.

On xwordinfo, Jim Horne advises us to stay out of the DUCT TAPE vs. Duck Tape debate. Accordingly, I ducked tape.

Joe D̶i̶g̶i̶n̶t̶o̶ R̶i̶p̶i̶n̶t̶o̶ ̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶ 2:37 AM  

Geez, they couldn't spell my name right?

jae 2:41 AM  

Medium. Sciency theme, some nice long downs, liked it a bit more than @Rex did.

****SB Stuff - no spoilers****
I was 3 shy yesterday but I’m going to give it one last shot Wed. morning, although without much optimism given that yesterday no one admitted to QB.

@TTrimble - SB is definitely addictive, but it’s not a bad way to burn nanoseconds during a pandemic.

chefwen 3:31 AM  

I wouldn’t know an All Star Arizona Diamondback if he sat on my lap, so I traveled south and worked my way up. Got the FE IRON thingy right away and was off to the races. Knew the AU was gold, but the SCHMIDT was downs only. Peg LEG at 10D, thinking about Captain Hook in Peter Pan didn’t help the cause, but gave me a good laugh.

Puzzle partner was highlighted at 29D, he enjoyed that.

Ernonymous 3:48 AM  

Not Periodic Table Shenanigans again! I've only been puzzling 6 months and I've seen this already a few times. I can't imagine you Lifers find it interesting. Plus, I don't know my periodic table so I don't find it helpful.
OSSA crossing the last name Goldschmidt crossing ISL crossing another last name (Henson) was hard. Yes, I figured it out, but it sucked if you don't know both last names and your Greek mountain top dieties.

GILL I. 4:28 AM  

Ooh...I knew where this was going to go. Now, speaking only as a wannabe femme fatale, I found this one filled with a little bit of extra male testosterone. Not that that's bad or anything but who the hell is PAULGOLDSCHMIDT? And boy am I thrilled beyond thrilled that Bob Feller whatshisname pitched a ONE HITTER along with (at least I know him) Nolan Ryan. I felt like an ASSt. Couldn't you've at least clued DIOR with a Miss in front of it? Or maybe a little Joy? No? You give it a man of the cloth?
STOLE is crept quietly? I thought it was a (ahem)a women's scarf...or, you know, something you pickpocketed.
I like MILITARY JARGON and I want to see a constructor use "Bitchin Betty."
Over and out.
PS...I bet all you chemistry types are singing alleluia.

Frantic Sloth 4:58 AM  

It seems the "I really can't be bothered" bug is contagious. And I've got it.


Coniuratos 4:58 AM  

Maybe I'm a little more forgiving of periodic table themes, but I did smile when I figured it out.

Also, my favorite piece of MILITARY JARGON - on (U.S.) submarines, the term for a cupholder is a "zarf".

Preferred Customer 6:07 AM  

Being from the technical side of things I don't mind periodic table themes, but having three metals and a noble gas makes it weak, weak, weak, lame.

Paul G. right across the top is super annoying to someone who is both bad with names (fan of Taraji Henson, couldn't remember her name, then didn't know if it was an 'o' or 'e' Henson) and has zero interest in professional sports. The first result for a search on his name is "we found Paul Goldschmidt", how not famous of him.

But, I liked a fair amount of it, and I accept that crosswords are gonna have crosswordese. That's why I do them regularly, to learn the jargon.


goldbug 6:10 AM  

Today's Americana frustrations for this international puzzler: PAULGOLDSCHMIDT, ACLU, HENSON, LPNS, NEMO, TRIPLEA, TAS, RHOS, POPO, ENDS, ONEHITTERS, XTERRA, AVIA. Of these, the ACLU, POPO and TAS were the only ones I might reasonably have been expected to guess.

I get that this is the New York Times and all, but given the NYT's current strategy is to internationalise, it would be nice to have a crossword that wasn't 10%+ compromised of US-only brands, abbreviations, proper nouns and sports references.

Preferred Customer 6:12 AM  

Hi mathgent,

I would add seal tape into my kit. Duct tape is the foundation of modern society. PC

Anonymous 6:16 AM  

What is PoPo?

Lewis 6:20 AM  

Some people want to be wowed with every puzzle. I love to be wowed, but I equally love the solid, good quality solves with cool-but-not-OMG themes and resistance appropriate for the day of the week -- the bread and butter puzzles, of which I consider today's. These puzzles make the wow puzzles even wowier. They keep the solving muscles toned and provide a comforting baseline from which excitement can spring.

Put more metaphorically, regarding what I want in my life, let its main fabric be the ordinary days, please, filled with those little things that give me the ground to stand on, and then occasionally throw in some spice -- an incredible vacation or celebration or performance, say -- to balance it off with some zing.

That's my perfect world, and thank you, PAC, for this solid offering, a well-done beaut in my eyes. A-1.

Anonymous 6:22 AM  

Re 37A, SWINE, or what Circe turned Odysseus's men into. Interesting 16th-century dialogue in Italian, by Giovanni Battista Gelli, entitled *Circe*. In this version, Circe has turned Odysseus's men into all sorts of different animals, from the lowest, an oyster, into the highest, an elephant. Odysseus demands of Circe that she turn them back into Greeks. Circe is willing to compromise. She has given each of Odysseus's former men the power of speech, and any that want to become Greeks again will be allowed to do so. Elated, Odysseus goes to each of the animals in triumph, telling them they can become Greeks again. (Each book of the dialogue is essentially a dialogue between Odysseus and an animal.) Now of course we know what is going to happen: none of the animals wants to become a Greek again. Each provides a litany of the woes of the human condition--economic peril, backstabbing fellow citizens, etc. The oyster, for instance, explains that all he has to do sit back and wait for a little food to drift by--he grabs it, and he is happy. Human life was filled with woe.

The theme is Neoplatonic--human life is difficult, and the temptation of sitting back, like an animal, and simply enjoying oneself can be irresistible. Variations on the theme show up everywhere in the 16th century (e.g. the much more widely known *Praise of Folly* of Erasmus). The Neoplatonic motif dates to the Platonism of the Florentine Marsilio Ficino (died 1499). In Gelli's version, Odysseus finally convinces the highest of the animals, the elephant, of the dignity of the human condition, and this elephant becomes again a Greek.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

smalltowndoc 6:27 AM  

In addition to some of the stuff Rex mentioned, I have two major nits to pick:
58D: An attempt to be cute with a clue fails miserably. B (boron) has a number of oxidation states (B+3 the most common), but B+ ain’t one of them.
64A: The city is spelled Sana’a in English with two "a"s. If you’re try to slip SANA in your puzzle, at least use the (var.) cop out.

amyyanni 6:41 AM  

@Lewis, one of my favorite writers, Charles Baxter, wrote a novel in which one character explains to another that "most of us are living deep down inside the ordinary." Love that. And it's true, when we are struck with bad luck, one of life's challenges, we long for the same old, same old days of 'normalcy.' But you're right, this one did not spark joy. Hump day, for anyone caring.

Hungry Mother 6:43 AM  

I loved my XTERRA and called it GEARCAR on my license for the bikes and kayaks that it carried. Very nice them today for me since I was a Chemistry major for a semester and a half. Haven’t seen OOP for a while.

ChuckD 6:59 AM  

Pretty much agree with Rex on this one. Well constructed and technically sound but just a flat, boring solve. I like the periodic table theme - but it seems as if we see them quite a bit. The long themers were just ok - nothing popped. Rest of the fill went in pretty quickly. Liked the ROHAN/RIP INTO cross and the TRIPLE A clue. Off into another hot, humid day.

FWIW Rex - if you’re going to get on today’s constructor about the double dupe - do the same for yesterday’s triple dupe. Consistency will help your narrative.

Irene 7:17 AM  

Way way too many proper names and sports references. I got the periodic table thing right away, but this was a slog. I have never heard POPO for policeman: am I not sufficiently woke?

mmorgan 7:19 AM  

Even when I feel disinclined towards a certain puzzle, such as this one, comments from @Lewis such as those above, make me feel warmer, softer, less brittle towards it. Of all themes in the world, there is probably none of less interest to me than the periodic table. I enjoy Rex’s rants, and I agree with him about this puzzle, but put side-by-side with Lewis’s comment, Rex’s comes off as a Trumpish rage-storm. We could all use a little more Lewis right now.

kitshef 7:21 AM  

Extraordinarily, extravagantly, magnificently, majestically average.

For every bit of nice fill, there is an OLIO or STET.

Three really solid themers, then MILITARY JARGON.

I’m not saying this was a bad puzzle. I’m saying if you ranked a year’s worth of puzzles, this would come in at #183.

OffTheGrid 7:50 AM  

@Rex. There is also an anagram of INTO adjacent to RIPINTO.

I say NO NO to the POPO. Glad I don't really hear this in real life.

TRIP LEA. She deserves it.

O MAN I struggled with this initially.

What was the favorite mathematical constant? I don't know but PI LED.

Med. school specializing in BUMLEGs, ACL U

A little bit of "which one is it?" today. 13D-drat? darn? Oh, __TS. nuTS. Doh!!!
TSAR or czAR?

Solid Wednesday. Leaning way towards @Lewis on this one.

The Popuplady 7:57 AM  

What about Velcro?

TTrimble 8:02 AM  

I love Lewis's reviews. They're a nice positive way to start the day. Too bad he hasn't reached "Acceptance". I kid, I kid.

Wow, did the middle south (think "Texas") burn time for me. For B+ I first thought "average" (avg or gpa) or "blood type" (???) and I was stuck in thinking that "man of the cloth" had something to do with dyeing. "Dyer"? Didn't fit at all. So eventually I got it: tricky, tricky, tricky. Then had to track down another mistake (had NO MeN instead of NO MAN -- my original there was "no one", which had also messed me up). All making my time a little worse than average.

That and the fact that TIN, as the unique three-letter element name (right?), did not come to me for some time. I took Latin in middle/high school but don't remember what SN abbreviates. I mean, I assume it's Latin. Better look it up ah, "stannum", as in "stannous fluoride". Cool, cool. Interesting how AU, SN, FE are all non-English abbreviations, making AR the oddball.

Having dropped out of high school after the 10th grade, I never took chemistry and thus didn't immediately know that the clue with NH_2 was going to be AMINO. Although, I knew that NH_3 is ammonia so that the "am" felt right, making AMINO a strong contender.

Looking it over, I can't say that Rex's assessment of "easy" is wrong, but definitely I found the middle south and middle east resistant, and thus "medium" better matches my own experience. I didn't find it significantly more ho-hum than yesterday's.

I do note Rex's yammering about gender a bit much. TIL: aging white guys shouldn't use POPO. Guess I better stop then.

---[SB Alert]---


Congratulations to Pamela for getting the crown! The one that eluded me was (encoded in ROT-13) "pnaan". (Huh, that looks like a betel leaf and bread amalgam.) I just didn't know the word. I do now!

Pamela, don't you find some of those words gorgeous? CALCULI, GANACHE, ECHINACEA? Just to name a few. They can be pretty satisfying to get.

Sarah Prineas 8:02 AM  

Funny: As I was doing the puzzle this morning, I thought, "Rex Parker is going to haaaaate this one." Came over here to check, and sure enough, you did!

(I thought it was lousy)

Ciclista21 8:05 AM  

1D (Cops, in slang) + 20A ("Shut ... UP!," in a text) contributed to a near-Natick crossing for me.

I’ve never heard of POPO for the police. In what era was that ever uttered, and by whom? Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail?

OMG I’ve heard of, but how does it relate to the clue? Is it a synonym for “Shut ... UP!”, or do texters drop it in at the ellipsis? You can tell I’m old. If you’ve got a phone in your hand, why type? Just call me!

Z 8:06 AM  

I waited all the while knowing the only right answer is DUCk TAPE. 🦆

Somebody is missing baseball. PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT, ONE HITTERS, TRIPLE A. Reminds me of George Carlin.

Any other LOTR nerds catch the ROHAN/NO MAN crossing? Éowyn references for the win.

After Circe changed them into SWINE did Odysseus’ men fight in the BOER war?

Thank you. Thank you. I’ll see myself out.

Fred 8:07 AM  

Surely 25D should have been “NYT,” or the clue should have been “WSJournal” for some kind of consistency in the abbreviations?

True, that seems like the least of this puzzle’s problems, but it irked me nonetheless.

pabloinnh 8:09 AM  

So PILED went right in at 1A, and I looked at 1D-"Cops, in slang", and I thought, a three-letter word for cops (the s as a plural made four), beginning with a P? Really? We're going to use THAT word in the NYT for cops? Wow. Fortunately I was mistaken, but then SWINE showed up later. Strange days indeed.

Old, stale, tired, etc. OFL's needle is stuck.

This one had enough baseball and a LOTR reference to make me happy. Spelling GOLDSCHMIDT was a bit of a challenge but at least I knew how many letters to look for.

Best Wednesday ever? No. Presentable. OK with me, PAC.

Joe R. 8:28 AM  

I find myself wondering if the Deplorables get as upset from seeing ACLU in a puzzle as Rex (and I, and others, I’m sure) get from seeing the terrorist organization NRA in a puzzle. But then I have trouble imagining most of them even looking at anything published by the NYT, much less doing their crossword puzzle, so I would guess not.

Geezer 8:31 AM  

It is absolutely and correctly DUCT TAPE. It is used for many things but mainly used in the installation of HVAC ducts, hence the name. DUCk TAPE is an aberration arising from the fact that the T's get blended in the pronunciation, with the T of DUCT getting dropped. Duck tape, unfortunately, is also a brand name of DUCT TAPE. I know, who cares? right? But hey, I gotta be passionate about something.

KnittyContessa 8:34 AM  

Never heard of POPO either, or ROHAN or GOLDSCHMIDT or little NEMO.

The theme was too easy. Was it necessary to have all the circles? Never fond of a theme that lets you fill in the blanks. Two circles for the chemical symbol would have been more than sufficient.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

Why is OMG saying “shut up”?

OffTheGrid 8:35 AM  

Please enjoy THIS

bauskern 8:37 AM  

Without even reading Rex's comments, I'm going to guess that he hated it for skewing male, w/ all the baseball themes, military jargon, etc. Personally I thought the theme was great, well constructed, and tougher than your typical Wednesday. Skipping his daily negativity has been nice . . . . . But who knows, maybe I'm wrong and he just raved about this one! LOL

EdFromHackensack 8:53 AM  

I have to tell you this story. This is the only time I heard the word POPO.
We were at a Fourth of July party years ago where the host was over-served and started shooting off illegal fireworks in his driveway. The cops were called and issued him a ticket. We arrived shortly after this happened but could tell something was going on. I saw my brother in law, Ken on the front lawn and asked what was happening. Ken was from Georgia and said "The POPO were just her and gave Tom a ticket for fireworks". I've never heard POPO before or since. As it happens, Ken passed away a few days ago and his funeral is today.

Lewis 8:54 AM  

@Z -- Regarding the baseball mini-theme, there is even a backward METS.

OffTheGrid 9:01 AM  

@Knitty. I had a similar thought. I think it would work without the circles if there were a revealer of some sort. But I'm not clever enough to think of one.

Joe Welling 9:06 AM  

With Taraji P. Henson in the grid, and references to a host of numbers, there must be some sort of mathematical cipher going on. For each element, there's an atomic number and a clue number. For three out of four of them, there's a corresponding wedding anniversary number...

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

I was hoping that the obscure comic reference had steeped in enough that the themers would be the Metal Men (which included Tina, the Platinum Girl because the 1960's). Disappointed when it wasn't.

Pamela 9:09 AM  


@TTrimble- I followed your link to figure out pnaan- clever. I knew the word from years of intensive gardening. ECHINACEA from the same and from cold remedies, and GANACHE from my daughter’s years of superb baking. Amazing how much all that helps!
OTOH today is another tough one. Not so many words to try for, but a very incompatible group of letters. Or do I feel that way because I’m only halfway to the prize?

Diver 9:11 AM  

Oh, there was a theme? I hadn't noticed.

Nancy 9:28 AM  

It could have been a DNF. But at the last moment, from out of the far, foggy reaches of some long-forgotten crossword puzzle, I remembered that POPO can be a hideous slang term for the police. Whew! Because I certainly have no idea what the text-speak abbreviation ONG stands for. Not a clue.

My contribution to the world of the crossword today? Since one is only allowed to apply the term "Natick" to two crossing and obscure proper names, I want to propose a term that can be used for two crossing and obscure abbreviations. Are you ready?


You're welcome.

As for today's theme? Invisible and irrelevant to me until after the puzzle was fully completed. And if I as a sports fan didn't know PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT, heaven help everyone else.

MarthaCatherine 9:35 AM  

In our family, we use the term POPO to refer to what our grandchildren leave in their diapers. It sounds just the teeeeeeensiest bit less crude than "poop." "Junior did a popo. Your turn--I changed him the last time."

I would never, ever call a policeman POPO.

JD 9:36 AM  

@goldbug, Even us 'muricans don't know a lot of the 10%+ US-only brands. The sport is to come here and be righteously indignant about it. So, welcome.

@mathgent, My MVP are a Phillips screwdriver and needle nose pliers. But then my ductwork has never failed.

Psst, @Bausk, he raved AT it.

@Offthegrid, Did enjoy it! Dino-so-ah rhyming with Foh-ah? That one will come back to me all day.

@Geezer, standing O. Your passion is contagious. That's how I feel about the case of PDF v. jpeg.

@Anon 6:22, Wow thanks.

Spun the wheel today and the pangram spelled itself clockwise. That was new.

Whatsername 9:49 AM  

After starting the week with such a dishy Monday and exceptional Tuesday, this felt like a bit of a letdown. I don’t follow baseball unless the Royals or the Cards are in the playoffs, so I guess if I had my own crossword blog I would be tearing this one apart because it’s not in my particular field of interest. However, I admit to having no idea on PAULGOLDSMITH or the Albuquerque team classification, although TRIPLEA is pretty commonly known. That first one I feel badly about since apparently he plays for STL now. Anyway I ignored the circles, figured them out after the fact and thought well, normally those little circled answers are somehow connected to something else in the puzzle but today they’re just . . . little circled answers. Alrighty then.

Speaking of baseball, ISNTITEXCITING that the Washington Nationals invited Dr. Fauci to throw out the first pitch at their opening game tomorrow? In their words, “a true champion for our country” and a fitting image for the team defending the World Series Championship title.

POPO?? This is not a term I’ve ever heard for anything other than possibly what a baby did in its diaper. And please don’t call me a snowflake but in these times of unprecedented conflict when our front-line responders are under siege from every direction, it kind of bothered me to see a slang term thrown in there so casually. Actually two slang terms with “cops” in the clue.

How odd that the bio sketch Rex provided for Taraji P. HENSON does not even mention her notable 2016 role as Katherine Johnson, a mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics were critical to the success of U.S. crewed spaceflights. Henson was absolutely dazzling IMO and - like her real-life counterpart - did not receive nearly the recognition she deserved. Great movie if you’ve never seen it.

Z 9:56 AM  

@EdFromHackensack - I am sorry for your loss.

@Geezer - DUCkTAPE was first. William Safire provided evidence (newspaper ads) of DUCkTAPE from the 1940's. Check this discussion of the topic. You can find lots of disagreement on the interwebs but the cited evidence in defense of DUCkTAPE is solid.

RooMonster 9:59 AM  

Hey All !
Knew POPO would get several "I've never heard that before" comments. Every time it's in a puz, people say that. It hasn't been that long since we've last seen it in the NYTIMES puz. Remember it, everyone. It will be back. And watch more movies. I've heard it several times in movies and IRL.

OK, that chastising aside, ☺️ I did like the theme, however the fill did seem -ese-y. And trying to figure out ISL. Internet Service Language? Or something like that?

Yes, DUCT TAPE is for A/C DUCTs. Duck Tape is a brand of DUCT TAPE, like QTIP is a brand name for Cotton Swabs. Or Band-Aid is s brand name for Adhesive Bandages. Some namess morph into what a product is know as. When you get cut, you don't ask for an Adhesive Bandage, you ask for a Band-Aid.

I'm feeling a tad strange today, so if my inane ramblings make no sense, (at least more than usual!) now you know why.

For whoever asked about OMG for "Shut... UP!" (If I go back to look, I'll probably lose my post), the Shut UP is said like "Are you serious?!" So, "Wow"=OMG.

RHOS close enough to ROOS. 😋

One F (in themer)

Anonymous 10:03 AM  


Sooooooo much street cred, this puzzle is awesome

jberg 10:05 AM  

Chemistry, obscure names, and non chemical isotopes! What’s not to like?

Actually, I enjoyed the experience of puzzling out the themes. Very proud of myself (for about 15 seconds) for guessing neON from the ON.

I’ll be back after I walk the dog and read the comments.

burtonkd 10:08 AM  

I finally learned that it isn't actually duct tape, it's duck tape and the one thing it is bad at is wrapping around ducts because they don't do well with heat. Not great for water usages either. When I was in Canada, I saw a commercial featuring someone quick-fixing a faucet using hockey tape. This was meant to demonstrate what not to do, but I learned it is a superior tape for many usages - designed to get wet, stay sticky in the cold and be grippy. It is now my jerry-rigging go to.

POPO is just what it says, jargon for the cops. No citation derivation: PO-lice, PO-lice. It was popularized in The Wire on HBO (Hi, Nancy).

For Shut...UP, think of Reece Witherspoon in Legally Blonde. Shut up! Oh My God, You Guys(song title in musical version).

Lewis, you should publish daily aphorisms. Oh wait you do (here). I used to read your and LMS' comments as the proper balance for my outlook on puzzles and life after a Rex review. Today, and frequently, you're holding down the fort on your own while she seems to be on hiatus:)

TTrimble 10:18 AM  

It should be OMG ("Oh my god!")

Possibly POPO does come out of the South, but I never heard it growing up.

For the many commenters: I first heard it on the HBO series "Girls" when Adam said incredulously, "You called the popo on me?" I've heard it rather a bit since then, but I suspect Rex is right in that it skews young. As a usage note (@MaryCatherine), it's always used either as a plural or as a collective or generalized noun. One would never say, "Ask that popo to come over here!"

When driving with my son and scanning the road for speed traps, I might ask, "is that the popo up there?" I would say it's an exact equivalent of "[the] fuzz".

---[SB stuff]---

Yeah, today's definitely feels weird. I still find it scandalous that "bobby" and "telly" and "lolly" are all unacceptable. "Poopy" too. I forget who the other day called into question the propriety of DILDO, and I have to agree that that's just a bit more eyebrow-raising than say "poopy", which grandparents use around their grandchildren without embarrassment.

(Numerically I'm close, but practically I could be far.)

David 10:26 AM  

The only thing more tiring than another Periodic Table-based theme is a self loathing woke white liberal.

William of Ockham 10:28 AM  

Two search Engines Results on THE most important topic O'Day - what to call THAT tape

BinG: 26.9M v. 26.9M DUCK v. DUCT
Goooooooooooooooooooooooooogle: 85.4M v. 172M DUCK v. DUCT

57stratocaster 10:28 AM  

I agree with @Lewis. I don't need to be awed and aha'd every day. I didn't even notice the theme until I was done, so whatever it was, I didn't need it for the solve. It was interesting enough though, and I can absolutely appreciate the art and difficulty of constructing it. Good should not be the enemy of least in a crossword puzzle.

Rex is sounding like a stand-up comic who starts every joke with "Ya know what I hate?..." But don't stop...I can't look away.

Ethan Taliesin 10:30 AM  

PIGS yes, POPO never.

JC66 10:35 AM  

Surprised, with all the nit picking, no one's mention ENDS (12D), rushers in football. Ends catch and block, they don't rush.

Is DAN Japanese for DUCT or DUCk?

Evan 10:36 AM  

Surprised so few people are familiar with PO-PO. I feel like it was in maybe one or two rap songs, but after that it only seemed to be used by whites in cringey attempts to "sound black."

Used by Ke$ha in her song Tik-Tok, which yes was spelled like that in a song title long before it was the name of an app.

But more recently it has been used by people in Hong Kong as slang for the police. A South China Morning Post article covers this and points out that there has been a popular song there titled F*CKTHEPOPO.

Nancy 10:43 AM  

@TTrimble -- Yes, I miswrote IMAM as IMAN by mistake. Thanks. I can be extremely careless about checking my grid. Even so, the OMG makes no sense as clued. Why, if you want someone to shut up, would you say "Oh my God"? I would clue OMG as something along the lines of "Good grief!" of "That's awful!" or "We're in trouble!". A terrible clue.

Kathy 10:44 AM  

I thought it seemed young, not old. A lot of lucky guesses. Never heard the term POPO.
Not crazy about the puzzle, but not for the reasons Rex is ranting about. Again.

Nothing much to smile about except...just change one letter in two of the downs and it’s one of our musical Rex bloggers who hails from NY!

Well, I see you gotta get up pretty early in the morning, @Joe already found it while I was still sleeping!

Unknown 10:46 AM  

Joaquin, can't figure out your alma mater from here in the Midwest. Golden State? If so, what is BRS?

Unknown 10:51 AM  

Golden Bears. So, UCLA?

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

UC Berkeley

egsforbreakfast 10:52 AM  

JC 66. Rushing the passer is the primary job of Defensive Ends.

I’ve noticed that my kid’s’ generation and the next younger one use double syllables as slang a lot, like PoPo for police. Living in a ski area, we’d here a lot about the fresh PowPow from the younguns.

JC66 11:02 AM  


Thanks, never considered that, offensive guy that I am. ;-)

Rob 11:04 AM  

Actually a bit of folk entomology; the original name was duck tape because it was made with cotton duck, a light canvas.

TTrimble 11:09 AM  

The way I make sense of it is sort of like Rex's explanation of DUDE from yesterday: it's mostly in the intonation. I think OMG is pretty versatile and can also mean "I don't believe it!" So if you say it like "Shut UP!" or Elaine Benes's "Get Out!", then it seems OMG could be a plausible substitution.

To others: I hope this is the last time I comment on POPO, but if I'm not mistaken, it's also the equivalent of "fuzz" on a tonal level as well: the connotation may be mildly adversarial, in the sense that in such-and-such a situation you'd rather avoid the police, but it doesn't carry the level of hatred that you'd find in say "pigs". I don't think it's really anything to get upset about.

Carola 11:14 AM  

Okay, maybe I've become inured to un-EXCITING themes, but when I saw that AU was followed by GOLD, my reaction was, "Oh, boy, neat!". There's just something so satisfying about the periodic table....perhaps....facts? Plus, where else these days can I shine by knowing that SN = TIN?
I'd also like to defend DIG INTO + RIP INTO, in their parallel slots: both imply a certain degree of gusto, but with quite different targets of demolishment.

@Poggius 6:22, thank you for the information about Gelli's La Circe. I took a look at an online excerpt and found that it's within my Italian reading capacity, so will try to order a copy. My husband and I are trying to keep up our Italian in these no-travel, self-isolation days through reading; our current book also happens to center on those washed up on an island, in our own times - Davide Enia's Appunti su un naufragio [Notes on a shipwreck] - the island being Lampedusa, a landing place for desperate refugees and migrants. A very affecting account.

Joaquin 11:20 AM  

@Unknown and @Anon
UC Berkeley - California Golden Bears.

Sir Hillary 11:21 AM  

Aside from his predictable rant on the age, race and gender of the constructor, @Rex's view on this puzzle squares with mine. It was clever to find these ATNO/element combinations, but the payoff isn't there. Those theme answers are dull, and the fill is just awful. ISL, ENL, LPNS, OSSA, TAS, EINS, MON, RHOS, OOP, SANA and ASST are just too much all in the same grid.

I learned the Rockies's TRIPLEA affiliate are the Isotopes (near Los Alamos, yuk yuk), so there's that.

Best thing I can say about the puzzle is that it elicited the 2:37am comment from "Diginto/Ripinto" -- hilarious. Hopefully, Joe will be here soon.

Swagomatic 11:22 AM  

Any puzzle that has Paul Goldschmidt in it is okay with me. I was sorry to see him leave the Snakes, but I wish him a long & productive career.

Masked and Anonymous 11:29 AM  

@RP: har. Well, good mornin, Sunshine. This WedPuz probably had U at The Circles. But maybe take some comfort, from the featured crossin entries in the puzgrid center today: NYTIMES/SWINE.

PAUL who? Taraji who? Lost precious nanoseconds in the upper halfgrid. Also up there -- I had BU?LE? for {Cause of a limp, maybe} and went immediately with BULLET. … big Nope.
In the lower halfgrid, had fewer name problems, but did have STANZA before XTERRA. Knew NEMO, OOP, SANA, IMPEI.

Admirin the symmetric DIGINTO & RIPINTO pair, for fave fillins. Along with DUCTTAPE, of course. A lot of the longball downs had a plural -S tail, which always seems to make them kinda less impressive entries.

staff weeject picks: ENL & ISL. They are poor, ARGED/AND -deprived pups. Donate, today.

Thanx for the elementary fun, Collins dude. U had m&e, at no PEWITs.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

p.s. Am wonderin what @muse darlin's avatar woulda been today? "zoNE or oNE ON one", maybe?


pyroclasts 11:34 AM  

As a mathematician, I’m offended SB isn’t accepting “polytope” today

Mega impressed that some of you can get QB on a semi-regular basis. Do you just try out various permutations of the letters that sound wordy or do you really know all of them?

Malsdemare 11:39 AM  

@poggius. Thanks! That was awesome!

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

Your age is showing. Defensive ends do indeed rush the passer, but calling it their primary job is a gross oversimplification.
I’ll grant that edge rushers are today the players with the highest sack totals. But almost all of them are, rightly, called Linebackers. Last seasons sack leaders, look like this.
LBs: 1. Shaquille Bennett, 2. Chandler Jones, 3.Cameron Jordan and 4.Danielle Hunter are the exceptions. Because after the most comes 5.TJ Watt (LB) 6. za’Darius Smith (LB), 7. Aaron Donald (D tackle not an end) 8. Preston Smith ( backer) 9.Robert Quinn ( backer ) 10. Bud Dupree(linebacker). It’s only when you get between #s 11 to 20 where you see Defensive ends in significant numbers.
Much of this is owing to the 3 technique so many defenses use.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

I wish Mr.Goldschmidt well too. But I fear he may be past it. He hasn’t hit for .300 since 2015, and last season was a disaster when he hit a paltry .260. He’s 32 now. Young by today’s standards. But historically, 30 is often when decline sets in. And it almost always progresses faster and faster.

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

there's nothing wrong with older white guys.

Barbara S. 12:04 PM  

@OffTheGrid 8:35
Thanks so much for posting. If you hadn't, I would have. I was a little kid during the heyday of that song and it always dissolved me into uncontrollable laughter. Not just the words but the delivery, too -- the whole package. Didn't quite roll on the floor this morning, but it was a near thing. It strikes me that a lot of the language is a send-up of so-called "beatniks." The past is a foreign country.

Loved the prominent position of SWINE -- and @Poggius's exegesis (6:22). (I love the word "exegesis." It occurs to me that what OFL does is "rexegesis."

The Albuquerque Isotopes -- tee hee!

@Nancy, please help me out. I think ISN'T IT EXCITING? is in the lyric of a song from a musical, but I can't think which one and I couldn't find it in a cursory search. Any idea? Or have I made it up?

I haven't started today's, but the 3 words I missed yesterday were real head-bangers: enhance, ing, and the chocolatey goodness of ganache. Sigh. Kudos to @Pamela. That was one steep hill to climb.

Loren Muse Smith 12:05 PM  


For you.

(I liked the theme today. Period.)

jberg 12:13 PM  

The periodical table is really not the theme -- it's just about the chemical symbols for elements. What made it neat for me was not knowing anything about PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT, but noticing the circles -- so once I had AU I saw GOLD start to emerge later in the answer, and I was off an running.

@smalltowndoc -- you don't have to be oxidized to be an ION, and neither does boron -- you just have to have one electron knocked off.

@Z good catch on Eowyn.

@pabloinnh -- exactly my experience. I had the P, though Pigs, but held off because I didn't believe the NYTIMES would go there. So I checked the crosses, found the 1,319th use of the "Muscat resident" clue, and there it was. Fortunately, I did know POPO once I thought of it.

@Nancy, it's all in the pronunciation. The clue is trying to do that with the ellipsis (oddly, I actually rememberd the clue as "Shut...UP!" until I checked it right now.) Anyway, you have to draw out the shut and say the up with a rising intonation. It means "stop telling me that because it's too amazing to be true," which is close enough to "Oh my God!" for crosswords. I had your reaction initially, though, it took me some time to figure out how the clue could be correct.

@Poggius--Nice story, thanks for that! Of course, if they turned back into Greeks I suppose they would have had to row the ship for Odysseus, probably not the most pleasant life.

CT2Napa 12:29 PM  

In usage "duct tape" wins by a large margin.


Nancy 12:36 PM  

@Barbara S (12:04) -- I don't think there's a song called ISN'T IT EXCITING. You may be thinking of the great Rodgers and Hart song, "Isn't It Romantic". It's a CLASSIC of the American Songbook.

@jberg (12:13) -- I see what you're saying, sort of. Is it any relation to the way Elaine says "Get OUT!!!!" when she shoves Jerry in the chest?

lukiegrifpa 12:51 PM  

No-no to popo, but apparently it originated in 80s California where police on bicycles had PO on their backs and since they rode in twos - PO PO. Another item on a word list somewhere that is used by nobody in conversation ever. Unless I’m hanging with the wrong coco (company).

Smith 12:53 PM  

@pablo 8:09

Hand up for huh? at cop word starting with P, and fortunately not putting it in, tho' never heard POPO [my latinx kiddos refer to a singleton as "a police" so kinda easy to see the reduplication], *and* a brief startle at SWINE, same reason.

@Joe DiP

Laughed out loud!

QuasiMojo 12:55 PM  

SB alert: @TTrimble -- as I pointed out the other day a dildo is also a type of cactus. As for the words you mention for today, I suspect they don't make the cut because they are British. I was surprised by one occupational word today that was accepted. But "barback" from the other day wasn't.

TTrimble 12:58 PM  

Cool! What area do you work in specifically?

Yes, "polytope" would be glorious, but it wouldn't be on the list because it would be considered too obscure. ("Obscure" and "offensive" are out.) That's not to say that some of the acceptable answers aren't bizarre choices -- some seem pretty obscure to me. And a few comments back I was complaining about some of the very ordinary nonoffensive words that didn't make the cut.

This website can be useful: each day it gives the words that are accepted and the words that aren't, or at least those found in the Official Scrabble Player's Word List. I'm still working on today's so I haven't checked the lists, but I'd be interested in whether "polytope" appears on the unaccepted list, or indeed which dictionaries carry it period. I have the compact OED and I guess I'll haul it out to check, though I find it a pain to use.

As you know, so many mathematical terms are simply not known outside of mathematics and won't be found in ordinary dictionaries. I'm not just talking about "noetherian" or the like that honors a mathematician. I mean words like "quandle" or "matroid" or hundreds of others. (I imagine chemistry is much worse: the nomenclature is truly vast.)

You asked whether the QB-ers know all the words. In my case, I sometimes do in the sense that I could define all of them reasonably well, or sometimes in the sense that I'd know that something plays in Scrabble but am pretty shaky on the meaning -- and sometimes not and I was just getting desperate and annoyed. In more recent days I'm doing random punching less, simply because SB is beginning to take more of my time than I want it to.

Smith 12:59 PM  

@burtonkd 10:08

On advice of my dear old Dad I have black electrical tape and duck/t/tape. Electical tape is amazing!

Crimson Devil 1:07 PM  

Very enjoyable puz, chock full of good cluing, and memory joggers. Paul Goldschmidt an excellent ballplayer, SHUT UP! illustrated value of italicization: answer went right in, Taraji = Kathleen Johnson, most impressive NASA mathematician/calculator—and they used slide rules to retrieve Apollo 13 !!, Alley Oop great song, never heard of AAA Isotopes, rivals AA Biscuits, Popo = Fuzz no slight, duct tape for moi, baseball galore here on eve of 2020 season, Mets backwards, Bob and Nolan, he of 7 (sic) no-hitters. Play ball !

sara 1:10 PM  

Yes,the question with SB is how much of my time i want to give to it each day, it voraciously bids for more and more... but the other question is, how much frustration do I want to accept.. because the time always comes where, even if near the QB goal, I am Just Not Seeing It. I tend to pack it in at that point, after all, this is supposed to be for Enjoyment, right?
...and for some reason yesterday I made NO headway whatsoever, quit even before Amazing, which has never happened. Go figure. Well the SB does seem endlessly engaging one way or the other.
I appreciate the comments here SB, but hope folks will watch it, give NO clues for today's.. even on "unaccepted" words etc...

TTrimble 1:13 PM  

@Nancy 12:36
Was my explanation of 11:09 in some way unclear? @jberg's explanation is pretty close to mine.

Teedmn 1:22 PM  

Okay, so I didn't say OMG after solving this but I did enjoy finding the elements. M&A often gives us a periodic table runt clue so these were all easy and I got the FE IRON from the E in NO PETS.

Somehow, that didn't translate into an easy puzzle for me, not sure what the hold-up was.

I really enjoy Taraji Henson's movies but I have a hard time remembering exactly how to spell her name. Never heard of Paul Goldschmidt. NO MAN crossing NEMO. STIPENDS, DUCT TAPE (my preferred description, not DUCk), TRIPLE A (lot's of baseball here).

I can DIG your theme, Peter, so thanks for the Wednesday.

old timer 1:31 PM  

I hoped OFL would RIP INTO this one, and I was disappointed his criticisms were so mild and technical. The elements theme was ridiculous and boring, as he said. But the long Acrosses? MILITARY JARGON was cool and new info for me. But the others? Green Paint barely begins to describe them. NEON green paint! The ENVIRONMENT Collins provided was ugly, and the solve was the opposite of EXCITING.

I see I forgot GOLDSCHMIDT. I wonder if Peter Collins lived in Arizona. Or the SF Bay Area? Because every S.F. Giants fan respected the hell out of PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT. The Giants had to play the D-Backs a lot. And no pitcher was safe when he came up to bat, not even in those glory years when we won three World Series. I guess he did not loom as large in the imaginations of fans back East. Plus Paul was a better first baseman than our Brandon Belt, and that is saying something!

POPO was I suppose invented by Black kids, but it quickly passed into use among white and Latino kids. Hands up for thinking it might have been the SWINE term. But you know, in San Francisco the cops defused that term pretty early on, by staging a football game against the firefighters and calling it the Pig Bowl. The idea caught on, and the one in Sacramento seems to be famous.

I don's quite think of OMG meaning "shut...up". The letters for that are TMI. You might easily react with an OMG to some shocking or surprising event that you actually would like to know a little more about. Or is what is meant something closer to the Southern "Well shut mah mouth!?

Richardf8 1:36 PM  

Just autofill it and send it in!

Yeah. I recognized some of these clues from previous puzzles. Word. For. Word.

burtonkd 1:54 PM  

@Nancy 12:36, echoing TTrimble 1:13, was my explanation 10:08 also unclear? I even used a Broadway musical as a reference thinking of you:)

@Smith - Electric tape definitely in my toolbox. Stretching it is as fun as popping bubble wrap. Also silicon tape for faucets when the hockey tape fix fails. The gorilla tape at Home Depot has also caught my eye enticingly.

I know Simpsons clues are divisive, but wasn't their team also the Springfield Isotopes?

Nancy 2:33 PM  

I missed both comments, @TTrimble and @Burtonkd. Sometimes my checking of the blog is not much better than my checking of my filled-in grid (IMAM/IMAn). I usually use the F3 function to locate my name so I don't miss comments directed at me, but maybe I substituted someone else on my F3 function around the time you both posted. I have no idea why I missed either comment.* (Oh wait, I see @TTrimble used my name, whereas you, @Burton didn't. So missing yours, @Burton, buried in a long comment that covered a lot of other bases, makes more sense.)

Anyway, TTrimble, I see that you also saw the Elaine "Get OUT!" parallel. Great minds and all that.

Actually, I do. I was conscripted by a tennis friend this morning into making phone calls and writing emails protesting the non-opening of the Central Park tennis courts when all other tennis facilities were opened weeks ago. Therefore, my attention to the blog today was spotty at best. Sorry.

Mary McCarty 3:04 PM  

@Joaquin @Unknown and @Anon:
CAL BEARS, UCLA BRUINS. it’s a whole lotta ursine action when they play each other...
Regarding the puzzle : ISNT IT EXCITING?

Barbara S. 3:13 PM  

@Nancy 12:36
Thanks for responding, and also for the gorgeous Ella link. I tried to find a clip of the dancing scene from "Sabrina" which used the song, but I could find only compilations from the whole film. Yeah, I must be thinking of "Isn't it Romantic?" and the ole brain (hi @Roo) misfired when it saw ISN'T IT EXCITING.

GaryMac 3:25 PM  


Well damn and woo hoo. Finally got back to getting QB today after a four day dry spell. Overall, today was not all that difficult but it seemed like I stared at the screen for way way too long before finally coming up with my last word, which was not anything at all obscure. I just could not see it and was about to give up when bam there it was. I can't really say any more without inadvertently providing a clue for those still working on it.

Pamela 3:34 PM  


YAY again, QB! The last word was so simple it should have been among the first. Funny how you can wander all over the place mentally to search out the most obscure or even outlandish possibilities, and miss something so easily gettable.

@JD 9:36-Lucky you!

@quasimojo- Are you serious? A cactus? I don’t even want to think about it!

@TTrimble-I’m with you on the semi-random letter choices when I get frustrated and have a few minutes to spare. Also that SB has become more obsessive!

tea73 3:34 PM  

When my younger son was in high school his friends called the police the popo, a term I've never heard before or since. He found they treated him completely differently if he was hanging out with his white friends as opposed to his black and brown friends. He's in the Navy now and has been known to use MILITARY JARGON on us.

I didn't hate the puzzle, but it was a little dull My closed in the middle of it so my time sucked...

Don ross 3:40 PM  

Check out a popular song from 1952: Feet up, pat him on the po-po. It’s about patting a baby on his ass.

bauskern 5:00 PM  

Re: the vast number of folks who apparently never heard of POPO. Watch The Wire, from HBO. One of the best tv series in a long time, and you'll learn a new XW term.

pyroclasts 5:11 PM  

@TTrimble I’m a statistician in industry, albeit a new one (just graduated in May)

I may just have a bachelor’s, but I’ve been interested in math/stats/physics long enough that I’ve consumed plenty of content online (reddit/YouTube/articles/etc.) that I have a pretty good (surface-level!) understanding of most area of math. A mantra of mine is that I should be able to have a 5-minute conversation with a professor in almost every field, from group theory to science to the humanities!

(My Latin minor is much more helpful in solving these crosswords than the math and stats majors, haha!)

Pamela 5:59 PM  

@Barbara S, @Nancy- Wonderful Ella! So nice to see her today, surrounded by DUCKT TAPE, GOLDSCHMIDT, the abbrs and the math and science stuff. Oh yeah, and the POPO, which I vaguely remembered hearing before once it was explained a few times. It’s been a long, long time since I watched The Wire, no wonder I forgot.

@GaryMac- Congrats! I wonder if your last word and mine are the same. We can’t discuss it tomorrow, because someone said earlier that they work on SB for more than one day, and asked that we don’t post spoilers. And by Friday I won’t remember a thing!

Birchbark 6:00 PM  

@Lewis (6:20), @amyyanni (6:41) re the power of the ordinary -- A cousin to your thoughts, for me, comes from reading Sherwood Anderson's short story "Sophistication" in his collection, "Winesburg, Ohio."

@Anon/Poggius (6:22) re Circe variations and "the temptation of sitting back, like an animal, and simply enjoying oneself can be irresistible" -- The animal characters who don't want to go back to human form reminded me of Shakespeare's Falstaff. And the moral of the story (that the animals are wrong to not want to return) conjured up the end of "Henry IV, pt. 2," where Hal (newly crowned Henry V) rebuffs Falstaff and acts like a king at his old pal's expense. It is obviously the right answer, but I always want it to play out differently.

Joe D̶i̶g̶i̶n̶t̶o̶ R̶i̶p̶i̶n̶t̶o̶ 6:02 PM  

@Barbara S – Not "Sabrina", but it will have to do in a pinch.

YOYO 6:05 PM  

Oh c'mon peeps, POPO just gotsta be some Urban thing

Kroobey 6:10 PM  

Drat! RP dissing another perfectly fine puzzle. Please go home and try something for bile. . . Perhaps elsewhere. . .. Did find it easy for a Wednesday and as I’m usually done for as the week rolls by that’s fun. Can you accept that all of us, newbies and geniuses, are doing this for enjoyment? Phooey.

Kate Ruby 6:20 PM  

Here’s RP again, dissing a perfectly fine puzzle which, for all levels of solvers, is about enjoyment. Please go home, stay there, and take something for bile, and perhaps elsewhere. . . I’ve used you for the grid rather than the clue by clue answers, but for now I’m very tired of your dumping. Kroobey

kromiumman 6:26 PM  

An -NH2 group is part of an AMINE, not AMINO.

Pamela 7:08 PM  

@Joe- ——-: Moonstruck will do just fine by me! Thanks!

Barbara S. 7:11 PM  

@Joe Fitinto, I mean Nipinto -- oh, forget it! (6:02)

Sweet, thanks. I'm very fond of that movie.

Now that I've got you here: a question. How do you get little musical notes to appear in your posts when you quote song lyrics?

Matilda 7:48 PM  

Liked it. Easy for me - sub 10 min on a W. I know I’m in the bottom 50% Oh well. Seems most racists in history were Democrats- Andrew Johnson, Robert Byrd, etc. while most anti-racists are Republican- Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln . Food for thought. Cheers everyone stay safe.

Joe Dipinto 7:55 PM  

@Barbara S – I have a Motorola android phone so the ♪ may be particular to the keyboard set up I have. Anyway, it's attached to the bullet-point key • I hold that key down and get options for playing card suit symbols ♣♠♥♥, plus, for some reason, the eighth note ♪ I think I found it by accident.

JC66 8:21 PM  

@Barbara S

You can copy @Joe D's ♪ and email it to yourself. Save the email and whenever you want copy it and paste it into your comment.

Barbara S. 8:28 PM  

Testing, testing...

🎶 Isn't it romantic?
Music in the night, a dream that can be heard.
Isn't it romantic?
Moving shadows write the oldest magic word. 🎶

Barbara S. 9:32 PM  

Thanks @Joe and @JC66

I seem to have discovered my own store of musical notes! Who knew?

JEC 10:43 PM  

“Shut up” is slang for something so incredible that the teller must be lying and so should “shut up”. The clue is not “terrible”-you just didn’t understand it

Joe Dipinto 11:23 PM  

�� Oh cool! I have that one too. And this: �� I'll save those for blues tunes.

Joe Dipinto 12:32 AM  

Oh. They don't work. Never mind.

jaymar 12:44 AM  

Can Someone explain to me what B+ has to do with an ion

jaymar 12:45 AM  

What does B+ have to do with. Ion

Z 4:14 AM  

@jaymar - B+ is the chemical symbol for a positive Boron ION.

Anna 2:45 PM  

'Popo'was absolutely not popularized by The Wire lol.

Anna 2:50 PM  

Pope is actually pretty old! i would hesitate to fall terms you've neverheard products of the younger generation. You just have never heard of it before. A product of your generation but not of the group you are a part of.

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

I agree with the comments raising issues with the description of ionic boron as B+. As best I understand, boron can be B+++ or, less commonly, B++. I'm not a chemist, but I'm not sure B+ is found under ordinary conditions.

Anonymous 12:15 AM  

Slammed in 1A and 1D but things slowed down after that. Didn't do too poorly but I have no idea who Gaul Goldschmidt is and I natick'd at OS_A/HEN_ON and AVI_/S_NA--four proper nouns I've never heard.

thefogman 9:47 AM  

I’m ATALOSS as to how this one made it to print. Solved, but had to guess at the crossing of IMPEI and LPNS - which was a mean one to foist on solvers. The rest of the puzzle was a GONG show that went over like a Pb balloon.

Burma Shave 12:07 PM  


you plan TO on TOP sit?


Anonymous 12:20 PM  

No, I - a charter member of the Deploreables - was not 'triggered' by the ACLU clue. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for Rex and his posse to get through their days when so much of everyday life and conversation grievously offends their woke sensibilities.

Diana, LIW 1:32 PM  

A tiny Natick caught me up in the end. But I managed to get the sports "stuff" with some fine guessing. So there!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Diana, LIW 1:35 PM  

Wow, @Foggy, I'm surprised - PEI and LPNS show up often - very often - in crosswords - as clued!

Lady Di

thefogman 1:45 PM  

To D,LIW. Chalk it up to stuff that’s not in my wheelhouse - yet. I know IMPEI now (thanks to the google) but still don’t get LNPS...

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

Paul G. got me going on this one and with a few hiccups it was doable.

Overall I would rate it as a clunker, but it often pains me to agree with Rex.

rondo 3:47 PM  

LPNS = Licensed Practical NurseS

thefogman 3:59 PM  

@D,LIW Make that LPNS

Foggy, Man in Question

leftcoaster 4:08 PM  

Didn't get with the element symbols until the row where FE/IRON showed up. The rest were elemental (ha), but they made for a clever theme.

Last word in was POPO, slang for cops. Vaguely heard of it before, and was slow to summon (ha) it up.

The obscure ROHAN contributed its own HA (ha).

Just trying to humor myself with some LAUGH LINES.

thefogman 5:09 PM  

PS - Cheers Rondo!

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