Sam Shepard play about warring brothers / FRI 7-10-20 / Subject of a 23-foot bronze statue in San Diego's Balboa Park / Brooklyn Nine Nine actor who played in NFL / Mission name in Martian / Ubernerd of 90s TV / 1197 film with tagline one wrong flight can ruin your whole day

Friday, July 10, 2020

Constructor: John Lieb

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (5:18)


THEME: none

Word of the Day: "TRUE WEST" (27A: Sam Shepard play about warring brothers) —
True West,  drama in two acts by Sam Shepard, produced in 1980 and published in 1981. The play concerns the struggle for power between two brothers—Lee, a drifter and petty thief, and Austin, a successful screenwriter—while they collaborate on a screenplay in their mother’s southern California home. Lee, who claims that he can write a “truer” western than Austin because he has actually lived the western life, convinces Austin’s producer that he is the right man for the project, and the role reversals begin: soon Austin is behaving like a thief, and Lee is the coddled Hollywood writer. This savage and blackly humorous version of the Cain and Abel story also satirizes the modern West’s exploitation of the romanticized cowboys-and-Indians West of American mythology. (Britannica.com)
• • •

I've never heard of "TRUE WEST" and I don't watch "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," so that meant two giant answers that were just mysteries to me. Actually, I take that back. I have heard of TERRY CREWS, and that ultimately helped, but I honestly wasn't really sure about the first name, and with -RRY in place I was very ready to entertain HARRY, or, in an emergency, LARRY (28D: "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" actor who played in the N.F.L.). Need ELCID to come along and rescue me by providing the "E" which made TERRY the only option (33A: Subject of a 23-foot bronze statue in San Diego's Balboa Park). Speaking of that "T"—"TRUE WEST"! Yes, my long unknown proper name problem areas *cross*. Fun. But other proper names helped me out, so I can't complain too much. It's just that having the primary difficulty in a puzzle be the piecing together of names that don't really mean anything to you... it's not the Greatest feeling. Of course there are things I don't know in virtually every puzzle I solve, so that's not the problem. I think the problem is how disproportionate the difficulty was—it felt like All the actual work I had to do was concentrated in these answers. The rest was fine, but I blew through it. So I'm left with only really remembering the "TRUE WEST" / TERRY CREWS experience, and not the other parts of the grid. The grid overall looks ... fine. "THE CHRONIC" and MILHOUSE were right up my alley, and MOVEMBER over SLOW CLAP is pretty nifty. I remember LITE BRITE, so I enjoyed that answer as well. There's very little gunk in here today, though I do kinda consider Paula DEEN gunk (notorious racist).


ALBS was a throwback, for sure—in the sense that it's classic crosswordese and you don't see it so much these days (for example: ALBS made five appearances in 1995, but then made none for over six years during a stretch from 2012 to 2018)  (25A: Garb for the masses?). I'm never gonna remember SEGNO, which shows up like once a year just to mess with me (45D: Musical "repeat" mark). We have the always-horrid ASDOI / ASAMI dilemma at 37A: "Same here" (ASAMI). A few more stray short crosswordese answers, but really very minimal. Aside from the aforementioned long proper names, there were a few other answers that stalled me a bit. SHINY, for instance, weirdly threw me (1D: Well-polished). Built it entirely from crosses. Also AUNTIE—the reunion I had in mind was scholastic, not familial (21A: Reunion attendee, informally). I never saw "The Martian," so ARES was all crosses (21D: Mission name in "The Martian"). And I thought the [Startling sound] at 47A was POW, and very nearly left that corner with POW in place. Luckily, my eye caught sight of WERPS and knew something had to be wrong (49D: Suspects, informally = PERPS). Overall, far more good than bad (or even mediocre) here. See you tomorrow.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    P.S. I got SEGNO (45D) eventually, but this criticism seems ... valid



    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

    160 comments:

    Joaquin 12:02 AM  

    My grandfather settled in Berkeley in 1910. My father was born in Berkeley. I was born in Berkeley. Some of my immediate family still lives in Berkeley.

    Therefore, regarding 47D (San ___, City near Berkeley), I can say with some authority that San PABLO qualifies as “The Natick of the West”.

    jae 12:03 AM  

    Mostly easy with the East side slightly tougher than the West. A lot of the PPP was in my wheelhouse. That said, LITEBRIGHT, @Rex TRUEWEST, and MOVEMBER were WOEs. SEGNO would have been WOE but I’ve run across it before and for some reason it stuck. Quite a bit of sparkle, liked it.

    Never got into Brooklyn 99, but I remembered TERRY CREWS from “Everybody Hates Chris”, a sitcom loosely based on Chris Rock’s early teenage years. It is currently streaming on Hulu and CBS All Access and is worth a look.

    daveyhead 12:17 AM  

    MOVEMBER crossing PABLO. Never heard of the former and a B in that spot seemed counterintuitive.

    My only mistake. Enjoyed the rest of it. TERRY CREWS played President Camacho in the gotta-see-it-classic Idiocracy and I’d vote for him if Biden dropped out.

    Roberto 12:19 AM  

    I was able to get all of the proper nouns from the crosses but the sheer number of such proper nouns makes the solving process not much fun. I have had problems with many of the rap and hip hop references in the puzzles over the last few months as they have become more prevalent. Usually they can be guessed at but for the older crowd they are roadblocks.

    Pete 12:25 AM  

    An AUNTIE is a very specific type, and I hate its current meaningless usage. If you don't know enough black folk to really understand the vernacular, don't go adopting it. I never understood the idolatry of Sam Shepard. CONAIR?????? You're making me think about Mic Cage at midnight? I'll never get to sleep.

    This was so not up my alley it's probably two towns over.

    Lee Coller 1:04 AM  

    My big problem with this puzzle is 56D. It's not even a "random roman numeral" - you might as well just say "I can't figure out a real clue for this so just put this here." What I realized is even worse, the answer is the name of of a no-longer existing telecom - a much better clue.

    Harryp 1:07 AM  

    More challenging to me than easy-medium, since I couldn't get ex-nlfer in a sitcom, Conair and two brothers fighting each other. I was surprised when I got THECHRONIC. But the challenge is why I do crossword puzzles, I just should have plugged away more, and just maybe got a solve.

    Anonymous 1:29 AM  

    This was one of my slowest Fridays in recent memory, and I was looking forward to Rex trashing it, because I assumed it would be hard for Rex as well, and Rex is only happy when he crushes Friday. Jeff Chen's review is much more critical, and specifically with regard to one of Rex's favorite talking points: the puzzle's androcentrism! The SE was brutal for me. I am not familiar with MOVEMBER, despite being a hip late-twentysomething. I am perhaps too young to know what THE DOLE refers to, and too unpatriotic to care what DAR stands for, but 47D 48D and 49D were especially brutal. San PABLO is smaller in population than the city of Natick, and has only been clued as such once in NYTXW history. I don't understand the clue on OCEAN. And I refused to fill in PERPS, because isn't a perpetrator decidedly much more than a mere suspect, who is merely suspected of perpetrating?

    manitou 1:36 AM  

    A couple of weeks ago Rex complained about a puzzle that was too male-heavy but objectively wasn't.

    This one absolutely is...

    Stuntman
    Hirohito
    Nascar Dad
    Graybeard
    Movember
    El Cid
    Milhouse
    Urkel
    Terry Crews
    Ares
    YSL

    plus...

    Pablo
    Dr. Dre
    Sam Shepard
    Albs (I think are only worn by men)
    Sessions (Jeff)
    Garnet (Kevin)
    Hosers (are mostly men, I think)
    Pop
    Ace
    Con Air

    Compared to Auntie, Anita, Deen, DAR, and Leia

    Total dudefest!

    chefwen 2:10 AM  

    On the no idea chart was CONAIR, TRUE WEST, and MOVEMBER. That put quite a kink in my solving tonight. I remembered SLOW CLAP from a little while back, so that helped a tad bit. Limped to the finish line with a little help from my faithful uncle Goog.

    Medium challenging for moi.

    Greg Charles 2:47 AM  

    I don’t watch Brooklyn 99 either, but I’m a fan of Terry Crews from Idiocracy, where he played Trump before Trump, though not, as it turns out, as over-the-top as the real thing turned out to be. I live in San Diego, and I’ve walked up to that statue to see who it was. Dumb luck there. Also, Ares = Mars. That’s how I got that one.

    Diver 4:53 AM  

    Some obscure answers in there but it's nice to have a good old no nonsense no gimmick puzzle for a change.

    Frantic Sloth 5:33 AM  

    Love SLOWCLAP

    Never heard of SEGNO.

    DOOK: REEDIT and weep.

    When I had PAoLO instead of PABLO, MOVEMoER just stared back at me, daring me to say "oh, yeah - that's a word I've heard" instead of "WTF is a MOVEMoER??"
    MOVEMBER obviously makes more sense, but I never heard of that either.

    And why can't "same here" just be DITTO?? Who really says ASAMI, besides people with butlers or Italian deli orders. "That's The Godfather Special (pruzitini, gobb-ah-gool, provolone and ASAMI) to go, please."

    Lots of fun fill and a little less challenging than a Fridee-ought, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

    🧠🧠
    πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

    GILL I. 5:53 AM  

    Good gravy...Do you have to be old, middle aged or young to do this? Ha Ha...I have something for everyone?
    HOSERS HOISTS HEISTS me dead. Do you know how many SAN's there are in the Bay Area?
    Well, I started out OK in the old category. You know....HIROHITO and INKWELL and all that. Is Dr Dre middle age? Probably, but I wouldn't know THE CHRONIC if it bit me in the arse. NASCAR DAD? Where does that one fit in. GRAY BEARD...well we know where that one goes. TERRY who crossing MOVEMBER? Yikes and some more.
    @chefwen and I had CHA together with AUNTIE Google. How do you spell CHECHNYA? I wanted Fidel's Death for 36D...no, it's the useless CENTAVOS.
    Let's see...was there something that made me smile? Let me see...My grandmother was a DAR member. I'm wearing a GARNET ring as we speak and EL CID is always cool beans. CON AIR was pretty good. Remember Cyrus The Virus? That ones old, too. And so my Friday goes.

    amyyanni 6:24 AM  

    It was a "dudefest," spoton @manitou. Forgave it b/c I'm predisposed to like Fridays. Pretty sunrise this morning.

    Snoble 6:32 AM  

    I started this before bed, put it down thinking it was going to be a real drudgery. . Picked it up this morning and suddenly it's done. I'm not at all familiar with most of the PPP, but somehow it all got filled in fairly quickly. Put in NFL for 52A, thinking it was a really clever clue. And tied myself in a knot at 42a--"oh, he wants me to think it's a misdirect, so it probably really IS Georgia the state." Too smart for my own britches.

    Lewis 6:41 AM  

    If there was a day between Saturday and Sunday, that's what this puzzle felt like to me, so off my wavelength it was. Thus, it was a gift.

    There are some supposedly tough puzzles where I'm right on the constructor's wavelength, and pop pop pop the answers fly in, and I'm done and exhilarated. Today was the opposite, with huh? after huh? after huh? Things I didn't know. Clues I couldn't grok. It was like meeting someone from a foreign culture and trying with everything you got to find a point of connection. But then, when you finally do, you've experienced something new and true, and you become enriched.

    That's how I felt as I filled in the last square today, and I'm grateful for it. Thank you, John.

    There were many answers I loved -- LATE RISER, SLOW CLAP, GRAYBEARD, INKWELLS, THE DOLE, NASCAR DAD AND BASILICAS (the last two are NYT debuts). And it was cool to have HEISTS and HOISTS in the same grid.

    For some reason, this felt so off my wavelength the journey seemed more like an exploration than a trudge and I was motivated from start to end. A stellar experience.

    Marc 6:45 AM  

    Re 9 across. If Radon, a noble gas, is "stable," why do so many people spend money for Radon detectors? It is about as "stable" as Radium or Plutonium.

    Hungry Mother 6:51 AM  

    Very sloggy here while it’s soggy outside with Fay heading toward us on the Delaware shore. It all seemed a bit random.

    QuasiMojo 6:56 AM  

    LEIA was a General? I never got that far, I guess. I did see "True West" and loved it. I'm surprised Rex has never heard of it, being a lecturer in literature and all that.

    This was a semi-classic Friday for me. Crunchy and clever at times. I liked it more than most of the stuff this week.

    I don't get the CHOLER expressed by so many here (and on that dreadful official blog) for certain words or names (except my pet peeve WINO, having been one once long ago) but I do cringe at unnecessary product names. What on earth is Lite Brite? Sounds like a dietetic toothpaste.

    Dumb question alert. Does anyone know if one can access older Spelling Bee puzzles online? I only seem to be able to see each day's offerings.

    Hungry Mother 6:57 AM  

    I was raised in San Mateo back in the 40s and struggled to get San PABLO. Place near Berkeley always equaled Oakland for me.

    Steve 7:01 AM  

    Saw that movie about 15 years ago and thought, "Wow! I don't think things will ever get *that* bad!". πŸ™„

    kitshef 7:09 AM  

    Very much in my wheelhouse, even when it wasn’t.

    For example, there is no way in the world I should have known THE CHRONIC. I could not name a song by DR DRE or tell you anything else about his music, but somehow THE CHRONIC came in off just the first “H”.

    Similarly, I must have at some time heard of MOVEMBER, but I don’t know why and I for sure did not know it had anything to do with men’s health. That went in off the "V".

    Hardest thing in the puzzle was what I assume is an Italian word crossing either ADD ONS or ADD ins. Guessed right on that, thinking SEGNi would be a plural.

    MarineO6 7:22 AM  

    Radon is radioactive, but chemically stable since its outer shell has 8 electrons and does not need to combine with anything to complete the octet. The clue is solid.
    Rex is so tiresome with his virtue signaling.

    Anonymous 7:29 AM  

    I saw "True West" Off-Broadway in the 80's. It starred John Malkovitch and Gary Sinise.
    It was brilliant.

    Anonymous 7:42 AM  

    @Manitou. You are trying too hard.

    Sessions (Jeff) NOT CLUED AS NAME
    Garnet (Kevin) NOT CLUED AS NAME
    Hosers (are mostly men, I think) YOU DON'T KNOW
    Pop CLUED AS A SOUND
    Ace??????
    Con Air?????

    And who cares anyway?! Why is this so often an issue? Gender bias in crosswords? Seriously?

    DeeJay 7:54 AM  

    I saw that cast as well. At The Cherry Lane Theatre, around the corner from our apt on Grove St.

    My wife saw True West with Dennis and Randy Quaid!

    JD 7:55 AM  

    There's a lot of random fascinating stuff in this puzzle. I like this guy's brain.

    Totally got the NW corner. Totally tanked in the NW thanks to Schuss/Auntie. Both are words that at some point went in one ear, said hi, and went out the other. I know 'em but I don't.

    Love Hoser. Learned it from an hilarious Canadian engineer I worked with 30 years ago and then never heard it again but it stuck around. Why are Canadians so funny? I'm pretty sure the bacon thing is a joke and anytime they hear an American say it they snicker, "They think we really think ham is bacon? Whatta bunch hosers, eh?"

    Yes @manitou, a dudefest ... but a really good dudefest.

    @Frantic from yesterday. You've made a major breakthrough in typography. The Sarcasm Font. Took lemons and made lemonade (lemonade in italics). Again, I curtsy to your genius (no italics).

    @Joaquin, yes.

    Conrad 7:57 AM  


    DNF'd because of SEGNO, which was a WOE for me. If I'd seen it before it didn't stick. Had SEGNi and ADD iNS looks fine to me.

    @Lee Coller: Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane with MCI, a defunct telecom of which I was not only a customer but (briefly) an employee.

    @Marc: I think the radon that's detected in our basements is a radioactive isotope of the inert gas.

    John H 8:13 AM  

    Nee is not something you go by, which implies it's your choice, it's what you are born with. 45D is not a mark it is a word that refers to a mark, a sign, The direction is "go back to the sign (sego). Deen is awful. So was her food. Cheeseburger on a glazed donut. Chechnya is much worse. They are actively rounding up LGBT people, torturing and killing them, with the explicit approval and assistance of Putin. That word should NEVER appear in a thing that one is supposed to enjoy. That one word throws this thing into the toilet. Shortz and Lieb should be ashamed of themselves. If they had to include it the clue should have been "oppressive, genocidal former SSR."

    ChuckD 8:18 AM  

    This was tough - and definitely leaned male but I enjoyed the solve. I liked SCHUSS crossing CONAIR and actually the entire NE corner was solid. Not sure about the shade for Shepard - Pulitzer winner and also Oscar nominated.

    Radon - and all inert gases are considered stable because they have 8 valence electrons in their outer energy shell and rarely react with other elements.

    Trockmn 8:19 AM  

    Anybody else having issues with the NYT app not functioning?

    William of Ockham 8:19 AM  

    45D tweet - that comment seems peculiar. Hardly the Natick

    Anonymous 8:43 AM  

    @Trockmn App crashing for me too. Reinstalling didn't fix it.

    suemac 8:47 AM  

    Just wondering if anyone is experiencing problems opening the crossword app on an iPad, Tried to open this morning and the app just flashes and closes. I deleted and reloaded but no luck. Am running latest versions of app and iOS. Any suggestions?

    Nancy 8:55 AM  

    Always put a word like ENGROSSES in your puzzle because -- who knows? -- one or more solvers may use it to praise your puzzle. Which I'll do now: This is a puzzle that ENGROSSES.

    An interesting combination of easy and hard. But very well crossed. All of the stuff I didn't know, and there was plenty -- URKEL; THE CHRONIC; CHA; MILHOUSE; TERRY CREWS; MOVEMBER; LITEBRITE -- was gettable from the surrounding fill.

    Love the clues for STUNTMAN; ALBS; TINES (though easy); and ATLASES. Was relieved when, having only the final "T", "cut again" turned out to be RE-EDIT and not RE-SLIT.

    I knew SLOW CLAP from the incomparably mischievous Nancy Pelosi.

    And I prided myself on getting the unknown to me LITEBRITE off just LITEB----. "Don't overthink it," I said to myself. "What would you call a toy?"

    A lively puzzle. Lots of fun.

    Anonymous 9:04 AM  

    Yup. Me too. Dead in the water.

    Joe R. 9:07 AM  

    If you don’t watch Brooklyn 99, you should. It’s the funniest thing on TV since Arrested Development.

    I’m surprised Rex wasn’t bothered by THE DOLE like I was, with it’s pejorative connotations for people who rely on government assistance.

    I saw TRUE WEST on Broadway two years ago, and still didn’t remember it until I read the description in Rex’s highlight. That sounded familiar enough that I looked it up, and then recognized it. This says something about the quality of that play.

    RooMonster 9:09 AM  

    Hey All !
    Tough one for me today. Sometimes the ole brain just doesn't fire on all cylinders. Had to use Check Puzzle feature to ferret out the wrongness. Eventually got it all, but not a happy finish feeling. Not the puzs fault.

    SE corner, with the unknown San PABLO, next to the sneakily clued OCEAN (which in retrospect is a great clue) made that a toughie.

    Only reason no one-letter DNF at ADDiNS/SEGNi is because of aforementioned Check usage. Paula DEaN messing me up a bit also.

    Had SCHUSS and TOON in NE, but took both out when I couldn't get crossers to work. Turned out both were correct. Weird when that happens.

    Wrote in ET of ETCETC, waited on crosses, as it could be that, or ETALIA or ETALII.

    So a hopefully-tough-enough puz for those who enjoy such things. But, how is LEIA a General? Maybe I didn't get that far watching into Star Wars. Only seen the "middle three" ala IV, V, VI.

    No F's (wah wah wah)
    GRAYBEARDed NASCAR DAD - *SLOWCLAP*
    RooMonster
    DarrinV

    Anonymous 9:12 AM  

    Pete,
    If you’re unfamiliar with Broadway or Hollywood, don’t go criticizing things you are unaware of.
    Signed,
    Auntie Mame

    CDilly52 9:27 AM  

    Anyone having trouble opening the puzzle either on NYT.com or the app? Neither the news nor the NYTXW app would load up today. Reloaded both and the newspaper and the XW apps. Now the paper opens but it will not go to NYT.com/crossword and the app starts and then shuts down. Anyone?

    57stratocaster 9:29 AM  

    Loved this puzzle. the last letter I dropped in was the G in sengo/adages. I never heard of "saw" as an adage, and never heard of sengo (I'm one of those musicians that doesn't read music)...so as I typed the G, I fully expected to get the "close but no cigar" message, and then have to run the alphabet...but to my delight, and a fastest ever Friday time, it was correct! That's three personal bests this week so far. Shout out to hosers Bob and Doug Mackenzie! GOOD DAY, EH?

    Linda 9:31 AM  

    Thought same. Expected Rex to mention that.

    kitshef 9:36 AM  

    @Conrad - all isotopes of Radon are radioactively unstable. However as others have pointed out, Radon (and the other nobles) are chemically not very reactive, which is also used as a sense of "stable".

    TTrimble 9:41 AM  

    I'm surprised so many people found this enjoyable -- for me it was kind of a stinker. It was weird because the NW seemed to fall easily. The time spent wound up being rather worse than average.

    Never heard of MOVEMBER (I only hear about "no ---- November", like "no shave November"). Still don't understand OCEAN. Couldn't produce the Rita Moreno character for some time, and the fact that it wasn't my hypothetical bOoSTS but HOISTS didn't help. Well before ENGROSSES I had "possesses", then at some point had --G--SSES, and was going "one car dad?", "two car dad?", "gas car dad?*", before finally "oh, NASCAR DAD". I feel like I should have known THE CHRONIC, but I didn't, and I was getting screwed up with not seeing the consonant combination C-H-R. CHECHNYA took a while to cough up, as did SCHUSS -- as with CHRONIC, I think it was the slightly unusual letter combinations which hurt me. Wasn't familiar with LEIA qua general. TRUE WEST not in my wheelhouse, nor really CONAIR. I have a little bit of musical training but didn't know SEGNO.

    Oh, I'm such a Philistine.

    (*: yes, "gas car dad" sounds stupid. I temporarily went with the double g because that's a typical formation in words coming from Latin.)

    MILHOUSE and BASILICAS and LITE BRITE were enjoyable -- the latter brought me back to childhood in the 60's and 70's and the recent Spirograph discussion. As I did GRAYBEARD.

    I don't understand the aversion to having e.g. DEEN and CHECHNYA as answers. Yes, I understand the aversion to the referents. But that shouldn't spoil their use in crosswords. I mean, these things exist: get used to it. They're fair game.

    Anonymous 9:43 AM  

    Rex - If you never saw "The Martian" I highly recommend it - great flick!

    Whatsername 9:54 AM  

    Very tough going with so many Propers so I joined @ chefwen and @GILL in visiting Auntie Google for a help SESSION. Quite a few new-to-me answers: HOSERS, MARINE Blue, MOVEMBER and TRUEWEST which sounds like a great play. Loved NASCARDAD next to GRAYBEARD since one sitting next to the other would also be a very common scenario at a stock car race. Haven’t heard much about Steve URKEL in years but he was a very funny guy. “Did I do that?“

    @Pete (12:25) I’m sure I’m not up on what you refer to as the current usage of AUNTIE, but I know the term has been around for centuries and not necessarily restricted to African American folklore. As a child growing up in a middle class white 1950s family, that’s all we ever called my dad’s sister. I was a teenager before I realized her name was actually Elizabeth. In general usage it is considered a term of respect and affection.

    Lee (1:04) MCI is also the identifier for the Kansas City international airport.

    Birchbark 9:57 AM  

    GRAY BEARD: Sometimes it takes a while to see the wisdom of the elders, mistaking sagacity for bats in the belfry:

    He holds him with his skinny hand,
    "There was a ship," quoth he.
    "Hold off! unhand me, GREY-BEARD loon!"
    Eftsoons his hand dropt he.

    -- Coleridge, "Rime of the Ancient Mariner"

    TJS 9:58 AM  

    "Paula Deen" = "notorious racist"; "The Chronic (Dr. Dre)" = "right up my alley". Maybe Dre could clarify why "Auntie" is now reserved for "black folks". Or maybe Rex' tweeter friend could explain? Seems like an intelligent guy.

    Best Friday in a while, IMO, but I'm old and Male, so unfairly advantaged for this one.

    Is there someone out there that says "I'm the guy that thought up 'Movember' " ?

    Z 10:00 AM  

    All the difficulty came from PPP so definitely not my cuppa.

    Hand up for thinking this puzzle had so much testosterone that it qualifies as one of those supplements advertised on late night TV.

    Hey, it is Brooklyn Nine-Nine not Brooklyn 99.

    San PABLO rather than Picasso, Neruda, or Escobar struck me as odd. If you really wanted a California clue Kung Fu Panda would have been fun (except for us Tiger fans).

    @Anonymous9:12 - Wow. White much? Do you know what the clue references because it is not a reference to Rosalind Russell.

    Tom R 10:01 AM  

    Weird how different people find the same puzzle easy or hard. This one was too easy for a Friday - played closer to an easy Wed or even hard Tue. [shrug]

    Taffy-Kun 10:03 AM  

    No problems with NYT app on old IPad with IOS 9

    Anonymous 10:06 AM  

    Z
    Duh. But Auntie is broader than the clue. Pete’s complaint was off base because it circumscribed the word needlessly.
    As for his silly attempt to direct others actions, well, that’s even sill
    Over than how plaint. Or yours.

    Z 10:16 AM  

    @TJS and @Whatsername - Not “reserved for,” but using family reunions for the clue definitely evokes a very specific usage (and pronunciation) among African-Americans. There are ways to clue it that are not so specific to African-American culture, but that’s not what we got today.

    @Tom R 10:01 - That’s a function of the PPP, if you know stuff like THE CHRONIC and TERRY CREWS and HIROHITO and TRUE WEST this will play very easy. But if you don’t you are screwed. (PPP is Pop Culture, Product Names, and Other Proper Nouns).

    For those wondering, 23/70 so right at the 33% mark, but with so many of the long answers being PPP it plays more like a 40% PPP puzzle.

    pabloinnh 10:27 AM  

    I could produce a long list of the PPP in this that was unfamiliar to me, and made it feel like I had somehow stumbled onto the Saturday Stumper by mistake, but I chose to do it so that makes it fair.


    I will just say that I wish any puzzle that finally included PABLO had been a lot more fun.

    mathgent 10:28 AM  

    Great puzzle. Mr. Lieb seems to be a pro and it shows.

    Crunch, sparkle, long entries. All the essential ingredients.

    Jeff Chen didn’t trash it. He said that women “might be” alienated by all the male references. I’ll bet my blogbuddy Nancy isn’t.

    I live in the Bay Area and I don’t know where San PABLO is. As Anon (1:29) points out, it’s smaller than Natick. 31,000 to 33,000. I had to go through the alphabet to see it. San Pablo is a street in Oakland that I remember because The 30th and San Pablo Furniture Warehouse used to advertise heavily on the radio. We used to say, “Where’s that furniture store located?”

    Anon (7:29). I believe that Malkovich and Sinise were founding members of Steppenwolf, the celebrated Chicago theater group. They made a movie Of Mice and Men. Very good production but not successful at the box office.

    There were seven mystery entries for me, only 10%. I can correctly guess my way through that many. Last Saturday’s defeated me because it had 20%.

    I was reminded of this cute line yesterday. I first saw it on a sweatshirt in Berkeley many years ago. “There are only 10 kinds of people in the world, those who know binary and those who don’t.”





    Xcentric 10:30 AM  

    I really enjoy learning a new actual word, or a clever clue, or a nice misdirect that gives you that aha moment.
    I love seeing a theme come together, a rebus that uses clever word play, a new twist on a common fill word.
    These make crosswords a joy.
    But I just don’t get how Natick people, Natick events, Naticks period are supposed to add any value to a crossword.
    Then you have the perennial multiple choice type answers where you have to guess which variant of a phrase is being used, asdoi,soami and all of its relatives. Why?
    OK, once in a while, but as a constant diet? C’mon NYT, let’s see some really good puzzles again. The past few weeks have just been a disappointment.

    Pete 10:34 AM  

    Jesus people, pay attention to the world around you. Of course AUNTIE is an endearing form of aunt, and has been for centuries. I wasn't addressing that.

    What I was referring to is that for about the last year, seemingly everyone has been talking about their AUNTIES, gathering their AUNTIES, the importance of their AUNTIES in their life. This, as a direct result of a black woman referring to Maxine Walters as an AUNTIE after she did a take-down of Trump. In AAV, an AUNTIE, as opposed to just an aunt, is someone who loves you 100% unconditionally, openly & vocally, has your back 100% no matter what, will 100% step in between you and anyone getting in your face, then turn around and go upside your head for getting yourself into the situation in the first place, will tell you the things you need to know rather than the things people want you to know. She's not just some sweet old lady feeding you milk and cookies. This is the AUNTIEs currently in fad (and inappropriate because they don't understand how it was being used in the first place) usage that annoys me.

    You may not be aware of this, but it's a fact nonetheless.

    Carola 10:35 AM  

    Medium for me, with a mix of...
    - happened to know: TRUE WEST, HIROHITO, EL CID;
    - help from previous puzzles: CONAIR, SLOW CLAP, HOSERS; and
    - no idea: URKEL, THE CHRONIC, MILHOUSE, TERRY CREWS, MOVEMEBER, SEGNO,
    the preponderance of the latter offset by the nice long entries that provided the needed crosses.

    Speaking of crosses, I liked ALBS x BASILICAS, also the pandemic-apt exhortation "TRIM GRAY BEARD!". Looking at LATERISER post-solve, I thought, "Procrastinator in Britain?"

    Hartley70 10:38 AM  

    The upper left was so easy I had to check my day because I never seems to know what day it is anymore. Then it got harder. I don’t know THECHRONIC, never watched Brooklyn 99, and SEGNO was a big huh because I can’t read music. I do love it though and last night I was so entranced by a documentary called “The Violin’s Voice” that I watched it at 9pm and enjoyed it again at 11pm. It’s available on All Arts on cable, app or website allarts.org

    I did know TRUEWEST and LITEBRITE immediately, however. Man those little pegs were annoying. I dithered over EtAIL/EMAIL. NEE means nothing to me and MOVEMBER was a laugh. Nicely done.

    David 10:49 AM  

    The instruction is "al segno" and the clue is quite literal; segno is Italian for sign and the sign in this case is a mark.

    I'm surprised Rex doesn't know True West.

    I never heard of movember or nascar dad or Terry Crews, and thanks for ruining one of my favorite cartoon characters by telling me he's named after the war criminal crook.

    Con Air is one of the best horrible movies Nick Cage made.

    DAR is more jingoistic than patriotic, give them a slow clap. The Dole is more of a Brit thing, isn't it? And our very white niece from NH calls my wife auntie; I guess she didn't get the memo.

    Overall a pretty nifty puzzle, my only groans came a "asami" and "etcetc." Also the archaic clue for "ire" slowed me down for a second.

    egsforbreakfast 10:51 AM  

    @TTrimble 9:41. The Drink = The Briny = The Sea = The OCEAN.

    I liked this puzzle a lot, but then, I know San Pablo (as a town, not a saint). A word I like a lot is SCHUSS. it never would stump even a novice puzzler for long, but it is never actually used by skiers or skiing commentators, and hasn’t been for decades.

    In addition to the Pulitzer and Oscar connections of True West that have already been mentioned, I’ll point out that there was a version on Broadway with Bruce Willis, that was shown on TV in prime time as a recording of an actual live performance. I saw this production in the theater and Bruce was quite good, as was the play itself.

    Does a puzzle skewing male affect people’s enjoyment as they solve? Or is it something noticed upon inspecting the completed grid? No reason for asking, other than noting that I don’t think I notice that sort of thing in the throes of the struggle.

    Anonymous 10:53 AM  

    If he finds Paula Deen objectionable wait until he hears about Richard Milhous Nixon’s Southern Strategy.

    Newboy 10:55 AM  

    “ answers that were just mysteries to me,” said Rex. And that was the only line I needed for my solve today. Maybe add the first blog comment of “SAN PABLO the Natick of the west” as the B was the final square to fill. Definitely a Sunday slog feel—just hard struggling without any real joy. Thanks Mr Lieb for a lesson in humility 🀒; your wheelhouse seems to be my outhouse. Did enjoy the ALBS/SEDER celebration & LEIA’s rank cluing, so maybe a little more joy than i first whined about above. Now to see commentariat following that first showstopper comment.

    Anonymous 11:01 AM  

    @LeeColler:

    even better: MCI was/is the major maker of inter-city buses.

    oh yeah: THE DOLE is specifically Brit-speak. from the 60s and 70s, no less

    MattR603 11:14 AM  

    Found this one to be strikingly easy, as None of the Propers hung me up.

    But, seriously, Y’all: investigate “True West”. It’s really, REALLY good. If you can find a copy of it, Gary Sinise directed himself and John Malkovich in a production for The Steppenwolf Theater, back in the ‘80’s.

    It’s worth your time

    Geezer 11:18 AM  

    Another faux offense. I mean Auntie. The clue is benign, "reunion attendee, informally". Caucasians don't have family reunions? Caucasians can't use AUNTIE? We called my great aunt AUNTIE 60 years ago. (I still have a small ceramic non-opening piggy bank that she gave me and it is still full of coins. I can't bring myself to break it open even though I'm sure there are many rare, valuable coins inside.) The term AUNTIE may mean something other than aunt to some people. Okay, but what exactly are @Z and @Pete trying to say?

    TJS 11:20 AM  

    @Z. Yeah, I "White much". I White pretty much all the time. What do you "do" ? And I know what the clue was "referencing" too. It was asking for an informal title for a family member. That's it. Plain and simple. This is a crossword puzzle, not an opinion piece or letter to the editor. No one group "owns" a particular word and how it must be used simply because there has been a popular recent usage of it. And to start objecting that someone else dares to use it differently is an absurdity, to put it kindly.

    Bax'N'Nex 11:22 AM  

    Alright Rex (King? uh, no). Mike, it's time to call you out, although this probably won't see the screen, but I know you read these posts, so...

    Your reference to Paula DEEN (Notorious Racist) was noted and, from recorded instances, probably accurate.

    But your June 4, 2020 L.A.Times puzzle had the clue
    "We___ Soldiers": 2002 Mel Gibson film" Answer: WERE.

    How can you possibly even start to justify a clue for WERE...WERE!, not "Gibson" nor "Mel" by using a "notorious" and well-documented anti-semite mysoginist as the clue that could have been arrived at 1000 other ways? And yet you rant about other constructor's puzzles with a smug self-righteousness?

    Your soapbox is often tiring, but would hold more weight if you didn't have selective disgust.

    Can you give a good clue for "HYPOCRITE"?

    Anonymous 11:25 AM  


    Search Results
    Web results

    Auntie - Urban Dictionary
    Top definition. Auntie. An older gay gentleman who prefers the company of younger men.

    Go figure!

    Anonymous 11:32 AM  

    My Canadian-born sister-in-law has her children call me Auntie. We're all White, and I see no problem here.

    bauskern 11:34 AM  

    Like many of you, I thought the NW was super easy, and THECHRONIC was right in my wheelhouse (but guessing not for most of those 60 or older), but I've been involved with music since 4th grade, and never heard of SEGNO, so that seemed a little unfair.
    Re: the whole male-tilt to the puzzle, that didn't bother me, but have never heard of MOVEMBER before. Has anyone? When did that become a thing?

    Anonymous 11:37 AM  

    my sentiments exactly ! could even add 'late riser' to the list if differently clued with a viagra reference.
    surprised rex didnt go off?!

    Anonymous 11:39 AM  

    Anon 11:25
    I think that’s Ozzie slang.

    Shop picking on z. He’s in the middle of his thrice weekly virtue signaling.

    Lindsay 11:50 AM  

    A house we sold in October in SAN PABLO just went back on the market yesterday after a rehab - we had operated it as a rental for the last thirty years. We live in Kansas City now, and whenever someone asks where we lived prior to KC we respond 'San PABLO, about 10 miles north of Berkeley. Those were the days, my friends.

    Masked and Anonymous 11:52 AM  

    Had enough unknown names to slow the solvequest down more than yer average FriPuz, at our house.
    Those that required many precious nanoseconds to chisel out: THECHRONIC. TRUEWEST. TERRYCREWS. ANITA. SEGNO. Fortunately, did vaguely recall: CONAIR. MILHOUSE. CHECHNYA. HIROHITO. General LEIA. San PABLO.

    Luved that ATLASES clue. A true puz hi-lite.
    Also admired the sparkliness of: CHECHNYA. MILHOUSE. MOVEMBER. BASILICAS. LATERISER. SCHUSS.
    Overall puz rating: SLOWCLAP. [The SLOW part was mostly on m&e.]

    staff weeject pick: MCI. har. About time, that the desperate Romans finally re-emerged. Caesar the moment.

    Unusual moo-cow eazy-E FriPuz ?-mark clue: {Farm animal that sounds like you?} = EWE. Woulda also accepted a hardy MAA [As in: M A(nd) A.]

    Thanx for the feisty fun, Mr. Lieb.

    Masked & Anonymo3Us


    **gruntz**


    pyroclasts 11:54 AM  

    I’m an uber liberal northeastern college student, but man, even I can’t imagine getting this offended by CHECHNYA or AUNTIE or DEEN or the like as some of y’all.

    It’s like the conservative caricature of liberal college campuses, where anything that could cause the slightest bit of offense gets damnatio memoriae’d. We can still talk about Paula Deen’s racism or Chechnya’s horrendous human rights records without saying we should never have to see their names in print.

    I just graduated from a college a bit notorious for safe space culture (in Trump’s America, no less). And even they wouldn’t be this persnickety

    TTrimble 11:55 AM  

    @egs

    I still didn't recognize it even after your explanation, so I had to look up "the drink". Of course it's as you say, but a usage note says it's old-fashioned. (And if you ask me, it sounds a little stupid, even as whimsy. It's well known that you don't drink seawater without making yourself very sick.) Pursuing this a little further, it seems that it could refer to any body of water, and it's almost always used in the context of entering said body, as in "Did you hear about Bob? Last night he accidentally drove his car into the drink." And not, say, "Yesterday we took the old sailboat out on the drink." (??)

    Learn something new, I guess.

    "SCHUSS. it never would stump even a novice puzzler for long" -- gee, thanks. (FWIW, I don't consider myself a novice; have done crosswords on and off for decades.) I do know the term. Guess the neurons weren't firing well for me today. I'll blame the math conference I virtually attended, which ended last night.

    webwinger 12:05 PM  

    Crashed and burned in the SE. MOVEMBER a colossal WOE. CENTAVOS and PABLO (definite Natick city) total unknowns. PERPS seemed clued inaccurately—filled in and removed repeatedly. Very sneaky clue for OCEAN. Never heard the term SLOW CLAP, though I did enter that (and SESSIONS) correctly before giving up. Other than that, not a bad puzzle…

    burtonkd 12:05 PM  

    Lots of great clues and variety of topics. I may like it bc of wheelhouse proximity.

    Loved Terry Crews in Idiocracy and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Even someone of his physique and stature was a victim of sexual harassment and groping.

    SODOI, ASAMI, ASDOI, METOO - this is one of those you have to keep all possibilities floating in your head and await further information. Grey or Gray, ENE or NNE, EVADE or ELUDE, ETCETC.

    Thanks Rex for reminding me again of why I don't need twitter. Mr. Dekrey, if you have it down to "o" or "i", you could at least infer that is the "o" since the answer doesn't ask for a plural. Or be glad that you learned something. F-bombing a xword clue - really impressive.

    The hypocrisy and inconsistency of what is given a pass is no longer surprising, but frustrating that it takes up so much space here.

    Since it was singled out for praise, google "Dr. Dre misogyny The Chronic" and check the lyrics on that album and his actual history of beating women. He has apologized and seems to be sincere about learning to go forward, but nonetheless, this is what still goes on in the world while people are counting male vs female references in the NYTXword.

    Frantic Sloth 12:05 PM  

    For those having issues with the NYT app:

    Just in case 48 other people haven't already addressed it: The NYT app had an update on July 3rd for iPad. (I haven't done this yet - grateful for being slothful on updates.) "For any other question, feed back, or concern please reach out to ios@nytimes.com"

    JD 12:09 PM  

    @egsforbreakfast, Been solving the NYT for decades but Schuss was ungettable to me. Reunion as a clue took me nowhere near Auntie, no one referred to Linus and Lucy as Toons back in the day, knew Anita but wanted Robe for Albs, and a better clue for Conair would've be Hair product maker. The stars just didn't align right there.

    Regarding whether a puzzle skewing male would affect a solver's enjoyment would depend on the solver I guess. For me, it usually doesn't because I've rarely seen it until I came here. I loved this puzzle and @Nancy wrote a beautiful opinion.

    puzzlehoarder 12:10 PM  

    Top half easy bottom half tough. I had a more detailed comment but I lost in the commenting process.

    I had to overcome three complete unknowns in THECHRONIC, TERRYCREWS and MOVEMBER. SEGNO is one of those words I've had to rediscover multiple times and today was no exception.
    A good puzzle as I had to work to get a clean grid.

    Anonymous 12:11 PM  

    @David shouldn’t be surprised that Rex didn’t know TRUE WEST: not the first time that this professor of English has demonstrated his ignorance (but at least he’s willing to admit it).

    Anonymous 12:13 PM  

    @Bax:

    well... coverage matters, one might think. anti-Semitic (as conventionally) used, refers to those of the Jewish faith, even the non-practising or apostate (Arabs are, according to ethnographers, also Semites, for instance). that's at least an order of magnitude fewer folks than those who practice Racism, since racists have so many more target ethnic/religious/regional etc. groups. I'd wager, and welcome documentation either way, that Mel has/had fewer outbursts than Paula. but that's just a guess, since I have little use for either based only on their primary competence. no Mel didn't deserve that Gold Guy. Mel's Pappie, OTOH, is the Real Deal.

    Masked and Anonymous 12:17 PM  

    p.s.
    After another scan of the puzgrid and the Comments Gallery, M&A can ADD these ONS:

    * Didn't know: LITEBRITE.
    * Just barely recalled: URKEL.

    Man, that was one challengin puz, at our house.

    And remember the 2020 Trump campaign slogan: MALPA!*

    M&Also

    * Make America Less Populous Again.

    Whatsername 12:20 PM  

    @Z (10:16) I don't see the clue "Reunion Attendee" as evoking any particular ethnicity and never inferred that from it. IMO it simply implies a gathering and could just as easily be used to clue uncle, cousin, niece, nephew, etc. or even for that matter - ALUMNUS.

    @Pete (10:34) No, I was not aware of the story about Maxine Waters, so thank you for that background. Also I love your definition of "someone who will step in between you and anyone getting in your face, then turn around and go upside your head for getting yourself into the situation in the first place, tell you the things you need to know rather than the things people want you to know." That has always been exactly how I've tried to relate to my nieces and nephews.

    Interesting the little things that trigger commentary in any particular puzzle. Always entertaining and usually informative.

    Crimson Devil 12:25 PM  

    All the PPP did me in.
    Fun cluing for STUNTMAN, NEE, REEDIT, SLOWCLAP (goit Nancy !), TINES, OCEAN and shout-out to Devils.

    old timer 12:27 PM  

    OFL missed the boat by thinking AUNTIEs are as Black as the late AUNT Jemima. My mother and her sister were both AUNTIEs. The rule in her family was that if the name began with a K sound, the relative was an AUNTIE, while the others were just AUNTs. Don't know why, and the rule has not held, so far, in my grandchildren's generation -- I am father to three girls all called AUNT [firstname], though my youngest daughter/AUNT has a name beginning with a hard C. (She very much enjoys being AUNTillary, I must say).

    San PABLO is actually a name anyone in the East Bay knows, not because of the town itself, which is indeed smaller than Natick, but because of San PABLO Avenue, a major thoroughfare running from Downtown Oakland to San PABLO and beyond, almost all the way to the Carquinez Bridge. It was part of U.S. 40 back before there were freeways, and was therefore the main road to Sacramento.

    I loved the puzzle. Friday tough, but gettable in the end.

    jberg 12:39 PM  

    Apparently, there are many different contexts for AUNTIE. Three decades ago,for a white person to call a black person auntie or uncle was patronizing and an insult; of course, that's not the only word that changes its meaning depending on who's using it. I get the point that some uses are more in-the-moment than others; but lots of us solvers are not in the moment, so that shouldn't be a criterion for answers.

    Turning to music: The repeat sign is actually :׀, except that the vertical line is longer. The segno is where you end the repeated passage. but close enough, once I remembered it.

    Why San PABLO isn't a Natick:

    1. You know it's a saint's name
    2. It has five letters
    3. It's fairly crossed -- in particular, is ends in O. Barring any saints who are too obscure for puzzles, it's either Diego (already in a clue), Mateo (on the wrong side of the bay, but I didn't know that either), of PABLO. I went with that, but SLOW CLAP would have done the trick anyway. (Oh wait, I guess St. Peter isn't obscure -- but he didn't get a whole California city, all the same.)

    Important question: is an ACE in volleyball the same as in tennis -- the initial serve is not returned? As one who has played only casually, and decades ago, that seems unlikely, but what do I know?

    Teedmn 12:44 PM  

    SLOW CLAP for my DNF today at MOVE MoER which looked better than MOVE MuER for my San PAoLO vs San PAuLO. PABLO, of course. So REED IT (50A) and weep.

    I way overthought 10D which I was sure would be "name" and then "nOun". Ah, not a misdirection as I suspected.

    On the other hand, Georgia (42A) didn't give me pause at all since _ERR_ at 28D was leading me to TERRY. That Y was all it took for CHECHNYA to appear.

    John Lieb, thanks for the easy/hard solve.

    Toto 12:46 PM  

    Don't forget Auntie Em!

    Whatsername 12:48 PM  

    @old tImer (12:27) OFL a/k/a Rex Parker did not mention the clue for AUNTIE except to say “the reunion I had in mind was scholastic, not familial.” The ensuing discussion regarding the application of the word came about here in the commentary.

    sara 12:48 PM  

    another hands-up for weird to call San Pablo "near Berkeley." Yes it's ten miles north, but SO not-near culturally/socioeconomically -- another world! and i lived in berkeley and oakland for years!

    also add my voice to "the dole" being pejorative...

    SEGNO was weird but fortunately i never considered ADD-INS so was OK. all in all the whole puz was surprisingly easy for me today (smile)

    Al Rodbell 12:53 PM  

    How true. Can the cell phone be incorporated into our wetware? A JUMP on the AI. That is near.

    Al Rodbell 12:57 PM  

    Good point on perp
    Generally unsatisfying. From other extreme of age group.

    kitshef 1:36 PM  

    My MCI tale. In the late '90s and earlly '00s I worked for a telecommunications rival of MCI. In those days, "benchmarking" was all the rage, and all the other companies were benchmarking against MCI: employees per dollar of revenue, HR costs as a percentage of total costs, things like that.

    Based on how far behind we were MCI on the benchmarks, management made a series of sweeping changes based on little more than "we have to match MCI's number". Massive staff cuts, questionable deals to raise revenue without considering the costs, etc.

    This went on right up until it was revealed that MCI (then called WorldCom) were cooking their books and had to declare bankruptcy. We were benchmarking against an illusion. But by then, the damage had been done and we eventually followed them into bankruptcy.

    sixtyni yogini 1:43 PM  

    Constructor couldn’t be much farther from where YT is at:
    nascar
    Milhouse (Nixon)
    on the dole. (For govt assistance?!)
    Marine
    Inkwells (Come on when did anyone under 70 see an inkwell on a desk?)
    ConAir
    November
    and
    Sessions (Jeff?)
    And WHO is TerryCrews?
    Haha it’s infiltration, methinks...ok, just joking
    πŸ˜œπŸ˜‚πŸ˜œ

    old timer 1:46 PM  

    OOPS! I think today was one of those days when I barely read what @Rex had to say, went right on to the comments, and confused early comments with what he actually wrote.

    That's OK. I had wanted to say something about DOLE. I don't know if I have seen it often in connection with welfare or unemployment benefits. It certainly was not used by the benefit recipients I worked with as a very young lawyer or student. But it was the universal term in England, where being on the DOLE was practically a way of life for some. Maggie Thatcher was agin' the DOLE.

    JC66 1:48 PM  

    Didn't TRUE WEST replace AUNTIE Mame on Broadway?

    danindc 1:51 PM  

    NASCAR Dad? NASCARDAD? I still don't understand what that strained clue was even asking and I have even less of an idea how the answer fits. So poorly written.

    CDilly52 1:54 PM  

    Agree with “Dudefest.” And an earlier comment that @Rex seems to like any Frost he can crush. Personally found this half easy and half very hard.

    Sir Hillary 2:01 PM  

    Help! Overnight, I believe I contracted a virus that's been going around: REXID-19. For the first time in my crossword-solving life, I experienced trigger-based tremors:
    -- I had a, um, "reaction" to NASCARDAD + Paula DEEN + DAR + THEDOLE + Richard MILHOUSE Nixon.
    -- This led to me thinking of Jeff SESSIONS, even though it wasn't clued that way.
    -- I was set off by STUNTMAN, HIROHITO, ELCID, NASCARDAD, URKEL, GRAYBEARD, MOVEMBER, AGA, Dre's THECHRONIC, TERRYCREWS, PABLO and the TRUEWEST siblings reinforcing the patriarchy to LEIA, AUNTIE, ANITA, Ms. DEEN and the DAR.

    This has never happened to me before, and what's worse, @Rex himself seems to have been cured of this ailment, at least for today. Hopefully, I can find a vaccine.

    But seriously folks...
    -- The above is actually true.
    -- This was an amazingly easy Friday for me; the PPP was entirely in my wheelhouse.
    -- I almost wrote in Alumni at 21A. Almost.
    -- ADDiNS is just as legit as ADDONS, so I guessed SEGNO because the clue was in the singular while SEGNi felt like it would have been a plural.
    -- Anyone else remember that "The Fall Guy" is a late-70s film about a STUNTMAN. I believe it resulted in one of Peter O'Toole's many Oscar nominations.

    LorrieJJ 2:29 PM  

    I'd like a hands up for anyone who was stumped by 34D - sci-fi general. I was wracking my brain for a man's name and when it landed on Leia, I felt pretty dumb. And I'm a female and a feminist!

    JD 2:29 PM  

    Ok final comment. Consider this about Milhouse (full name is Milhouse Mussolini Van Houten, so his first name isn't the worst part).

    His wikipedia page says,"He has ... his father's primary personality features (which include disappointment, insecurity, and generally depressed demeanor). Milhouse is constantly bullied .... to the point that when Bart questions Milhouse by saying "Milhouse! I thought you had a three o'clock wedgie with Nelson" ... Milhouse simply responds "I had to reschedule."

    Will he someday be president of the United States? That makings are all there.

    Hartley70 2:30 PM  

    We have an “Auntie Divine” in our “family”, which was our daughter’s way of pronouncing Yvonne. Of course it stuck.

    Joe Dipinto 2:30 PM  

    When you are on the dole, the government gives you pineapples.

    Slow Clap is almost exclusively a white people's disease. It's when you start to clap along at a concert and inevitably fall behind and off the beat, until you are hopelessly out of sync with the music. It's highly contagious, especially in large arena settings. It can't be reversed once it sets in.

    Nancy 2:36 PM  

    You are too funny, @Sir Hillary (2:01)!! Lovely send-up. Or put-down. Or both.

    And let me underscore @mathgent's (10:28)apt appraisal of my reaction to the puzzle: No, of course I wasn't put off by the supposed abundance of "male references" today. This is not something I would ever notice. This is not something I would ever think is remotely important or worth mentioning. This is not something I would necessarily even think is accurate today. People who count up "male" vs "female" puzzle answers seem -- what's the right word, exactly? -- weird to me. I applaud @burtonkd's 12:05 biting comment on the subject.

    And many thanks for your nice comment, @JD (12:09).

    Sir Hillary 2:38 PM  

    Correction to my 2:01PM post: "The Fall Guy" was the Lee Majors TV series. The O'Toole film was "The STUNTMAN". See, I told you I was ailing! :)

    Hartley70 2:41 PM  

    @GHarris, I saw the heads up for your letter in the NYT today and very sadly have to agree with you.

    Frantic Sloth 2:57 PM  

    Well, hand up for using AUNTIE for 60+ years and thinking absolutely nothing nefarious about "reunion attendee, informally", except maybe it might have been of the collegiate ilk.

    BUT, put me solidly in the @Whatsername 1220pm camp of I-didn't-know-but-now-I-do-and-am-grateful-to-learn-something-that-might-be-innocuous-to-me-while-being-quite-the-opposite-to-others-and-to-be-mindful-of-that-in-future.

    Now there's a hyphenated word I'd like to see in a crossword.

    Oh, and by "mindful", I mean exactly that. People or things or whatever might be intolerable, but the desire to purge those words from our language or pretend they don't exist makes the proverbial ostrich look woke, and a conversation/discussion among various vantage points is not only desirable, but crucial to establishing understanding, empathy, and respect.

    Apologies to @JD, but I do love my italics! πŸ˜‰

    TTrimble 3:05 PM  

    @JD, @Joe Dipinto: thanks; all of those made me laugh! But also, Joe: ouch!

    @dadindc: I mean, all those short-hands for voting blocs are innately stupid. "Soccer mom". We're supposed to form a mental image of the Platonic soccer mom and then deduce what that person is like. But apparently "Nascar dad" is A Thing, as much as any of these labels adhere to things. Here's an article which mentions both. One would guess that a Nascar dad (a) likes Nascar, duh, (b) drinks cheap beer, (c) generally votes Republican. His antithesis is "the limo liberal". Cars say a lot about a person.

    Nancy 3:06 PM  

    @GHarris -- I'm late to getting around to reading the Times today, so just saw your excellent letter. Congratulations. Agree with your conclusions about the real world consequences: I called the SCOTUS decisions in a phone call with my brother the Law Professor "a Pyrrhic victory".

    But I also agree with both the Editorial and the 2nd letter-writer: that in the long term, the decisions will provide the nation with a modicum of protection against an autocratic leader. Not the robust protection that the country so sorely needs right now, but a modicum. It's not everything, but it's not nothing, either.

    burtonkd 3:13 PM  

    @Joe Dipinto, c'mon you know that the white people's rhythm disease is clapping on the 1 and 3 rather than the 2 and 4 in popular music. Falling behind the beat in an arena is a function of distance time lag - (it is very hard to ignore from the stage).

    Here is Harry Connick Jr inserting a 5/4 bar into a performance to trick the audience into clapping on the appropriate 2nd and 4th beats.

    SEGNO explanations all over the place. It is used in classical music and on published pop songs. It is literally the Italian word for "sign" and looks like a capital S with a slash running through it and a dot to the left and right.
    It is not literally a repeat, whose sign is :|| (note the double bar) or ||: to go forward. The most common instruction involving the SEGNO is DS al CODA, or "from the sign, then to the coda at the coda sign, which looks like a rifle scope (not to trigger anyone). If you have already used a sign, you can then add another section by using a double SEGNO.
    Here is a page with the basics if you aren't already tired of this.

    @SirHillary - this happens to me also. BTW thank you for demonstrating my point about o vs i - not sure if you read my previous post.

    Tom Q 3:18 PM  

    It's clear after all this time that the American theatre is a complete black hole in Rex's education, so it's unsurprising he didn't know True West, despite its being a play that has been done MANY times in NY -- first as an unsuccessful Pubic Theatre production starring Tommy Lee Jones & Peter Boyle, rescued by the Steppenwolf production that made Malkovich and Sinise famous (esp. after it was filmed for PBS), later done by John C. Reilly and Philip Seymour Hoffman (who switched roles at alternate performances), and most recently by Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano.

    My Natick was definitely MOVEMBER (never heard of) crossed with PABLO (as someone noted above, "B" seemed real counter-intuitive for that spot). It didn't help that POP and OCEAN weren't obvious answers, making me leave the whole section blank for an hour or so. When I came back, I filled it in pretty quickly, but MOVEMBER was strictly a "sounds like it could be something, but no bells ring for me."

    Anonymous 3:26 PM  

    @TTrimble:
    His antithesis is "the limo liberal".

    well... time to disagree. while considered to be at opposite ends of some spectrum, NASCAR DADs outnumber limo liberals by at least an order of magnitude. mob size matters. most of the South Red States are NASCAR DADs (witness the backlash against NASCAR when it decreed the banishment of the Stars and Bars), irregardless of income level. while liberals are very, very mostly not driven by James in a Rolls Royce. the vast majority is just middle class. Redneck vs.Liberal is mostly along education, not income, lines (yes, the two are correlated). which is why the Right Wingnuts have always condemned colleges for indoctrinating our precious children with Socialism and Communism and such. education has the effect of brains to the element that luck plays in one's destiny. Horatio Alger wrote fiction. John Wayne won all those battles because the script said so; he never served.

    Anonymous 3:36 PM  

    This blog needs a snowflake committee to preview all puzzles and print trigger warnings as needed.

    dadnoa 3:55 PM  

    +1 for Berkeley. Born there.....graduated BHS.....San Pablo is near Berkeley like San Diego is near Los Angeles. Nope.

    egsforbreakfast 3:58 PM  

    I know I’m opening a can, perhaps a barrel, of worms here, but OFL and a goodly number of commenters don’t hesitate to point out, with unmistakably pejorative and hostile Implication, when a puzzle skews “old” or “male”. Although they may also point out when an arguably racially offensive name or term appears in the puzzle, no one ever points out when a puzzle skews “white”, which is around 100% of the time. Why is this? Too obvious? Too repetitive? Or are there deeper and more complex phenomena at play?

    TTrimble 4:01 PM  

    @Anonymous
    Wow, I really admire your earnest refutation! :-)

    Seriously, I think you're making good points. But, I wasn't actually seriously advancing that as the antithesis -- it's just my sense of humor and the joke didn't go over. As might have been clear, I don't put a great deal of stock in these short-hands to begin with. They may be snappy, but they're a little lazy and don't particularly promote clear thinking -- that was more my point. Sorry not to have been clearer about that myself.

    Anoa Bob 5:03 PM  

    Some nice touches in this one but the abundance of proper nouns was the overriding factor in my final impression of this one.

    The commentariat, however, is in top form. Some thoughtful and insightful, others laugh-out-loud funny, and some interesting anecdotes. Thank yous.

    Another abundance that dampened my enthusiasm for the solve was the letter S. I counted 23 of them or about 15% of the open squares. Five of them are of the two-POCs-with-one-S variety. The lower, rightmost square, where you are most likely to see this, is one. Five of those is the most I have ever seen in a grid.

    Each of the five is equivalent to a "helper square" (less charitably a "cheater square"). This is an additional black square that is added that doesn't change the word count, it just makes it easier to fill the grid. Those five could be changed to a black square and the clues tweaked and nothing of value or interest would be lost. In other words, those five Ss bring nothing of value or interest to the puzzle.

    As a paying customer---I subscribe to the NYT puzzle---I'm looking for maximum value and interest in my grid. Too many POCs or too many other crossword warts (abbreviations, initialisms, random Roman numerals, partials, etc.) can be a downer for my solve buzz.

    Anoa Bob 5:40 PM  

    I meant to a say something about the conundrum with 49D OCEAN being clued as "Drink, so to speak". I believe the answer lies in a continuing verse from the above quoted author Mr. Coleridge, "Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink." In those days sailors who were becalmed for extended periods would sometimes go mad (going mad was one of the hazards for mariners of old) with thirst and in their deranged state would drink saltwater. It was, of course, their death sentence. Because of this life-or-death importance, OCEAN and "drink" became closely associated or connected. A sailor who fell overboard was said to have fallen "in the drink".

    Yes, I do have some extra time on my hands. Anyone else?

    Anonymous 5:55 PM  

    @TTrimble:

    Not so much as a 'refutation' of your comment, rather an attempt to dissuade those on this blog who might be, just might be, lacking in goodly amounts of high order thinking, and take it to mean there is an apples-to-apples comparison to be made both on the basis of intent and magnitude of group. They might, just might, see a simplistic comparison, which I, personally, do not impute to your comment. Only that some might. :) We need an IQ certification to vote. :):) Well, we used to, in some states, but for some reason dumb as a sack of hair Rednecks weren't subject to such.

    "whites were generally exempted from the literacy test if they could meet alternate requirements that in practice excluded blacks"
    here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literacy_test#Voting

    Hungry Mother 5:56 PM  

    @mathgent: I prefer hexadecimal, wherein I’m 50.

    Fagin (sic) 6:11 PM  

    Wait. Z found it odd that Pablo was clued for San Pablo rather than, among others, Pablo Escobar ? Meanwhile, his buddy Rex objects to Paula Deen’s inclusion ? QuiΓ©n es mΓ‘s mal, a mass murdering drug kingpin or a purportedly racist cooking show host who presumably hasn’t murdered anyone ? Pretzel Logic.

    Pamela 6:13 PM  

    @Anoa Bob. Your first two paragraphs described my feelings exactly about today’s puzzle and the lively contributions here. Meh...and wonderful!

    @burtinkd- I loved Harry Connick Jr’s trick. And thanks for the link to the very clear, thorough explanation of musical terms involving repeats. Before our recent curtailments, I played a lot of chamber music, and recently resumed a home quartet that had been on hiatus. So I’m very familiar with many, if not most, of the more commonly used ones, including Coda and DC al Fine (which we pronounce feeneh). But SEGNO, although the word was vaguely familiar today, hasn’t come up so often in the classical quartet repertoire I’m used to playing- a lot of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn. Have I just missed it or forgotten having seen it? Does it go back into the Baroque? Forward into more modern compositions? I don’t see so much of that, but now I’m curious.

    Anonymous 6:21 PM  

    Anonymous,
    You’re a paying customer?! I’m not smart like you. What other kinds are there?
    Anon 3:36, Amen

    burtonkd 6:38 PM  

    @Pamela, you've got me wondering now bc another musician also hadn't come across it, whereas it is something I deal with all the time. Perhaps it is largely a vocal music convention: vocal music tends to have intro-verse-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus-coda form in some variation. Rather than print out the full musical score, it is cheaper and has fewer pages to deal with to route you back to the verse section with different words or chorus, then send you along.
    String pieces usually have a different form that doesn't necessitate this, plus with only one staff, paper isn't so much at a premium.

    Anonymous 6:56 PM  

    Fabian,
    Don’t you know?! Z can no wrong here. He has liberal bona fides. And he’s Rex’s proxy. No slight too imagined to rail against.
    This from a slug who sucked on The public teat for decades. But yeah. He’s your betterπŸ™„

    Joe Dipinto 6:56 PM  

    @burtonkd – that is a neat trick by Harry Connick. But that's not really what I was thinking of. The audience in that video may be clapping on the "wrong" beat, but they're consistently on the wrong beat, until Harry fixes it. I'm referring to people starting out correctly but getting slower and slower because they're not paying attention to clapping with the music. They are just clapping, more or less steadily, and if one segment of the audience gradually slows down the whole venue will follow suit. Sometimes you get competing factions because they haven't all slowed down at the same rate.

    It's not because of the time lag in the arena because even with that they should stay in sync with what they're hearing. But they don't. They're not feeling the music and the clapping together, and they don't care. It's just like, "Oh, we're clapping, isn't this fun?"

    I distinctly remember a 1972 benefit concert at MSG for George McGovern (of MILHOUSE relevance here, I guess...) that featured Simon & Garfunkel and Peter, Paul & Mary, among others. How hard could it be to clap in time to Simon & Garfunkel? This audience couldn't manage it.

    Unknown 7:00 PM  

    Star wars isn’t science fiction and if you disagree i hope you end up in a trash compactor.

    Anonymous 7:10 PM  

    Anon 5:55,
    Tell us more about high-order thinking. That hyphen is what we call high-order grammar.

    Anonymous 7:18 PM  

    Yeah Rex. Who could possibly fathom naming a mission to Mars (The Roman god) with its Greek ( Ares) counterpoint?
    Utterly inscrutable. πŸ™„

    Joe Dipinto 7:32 PM  

    @Pamela – If I remember correctly dal segno is used frequently in rondo movements, where you have to keep restating the main theme at different junctures. Definitely used in piano music, and Mozart definitely comes to mind. Trying to find an example...

    Space Is Deep 7:42 PM  

    I raced through the west, thinking this may one of my fastest Friday puzzles ever, but them I got to the SE corner. Big fat DNF. An actor I've never heard of. A city I've never heard of. A men's movement I've never heard of. An abbreviation for manuscripts I've never seen. Ouch.

    Pamela 7:42 PM  

    @burtonkd- Aha! That explains it. Vocal music does look very different from what I’m used to now. My mother, a wonderful pianist, also played organ in church, so of course also accompanied the soloists. Sometimes they would rehearse before the service, when my siblings and I were hanging around waiting for Sunday School to start. The singers were of the small town variety with grand pretensions, and we found their warmup rituals hilarious. We’d hide somewhere out of earshot and mimic them until we were laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe. Sometimes we weren’t far enough away enough not to be heard, and we got into BIG trouble. I’m laughing nearly as hard now as I write this. We really were brats. Not so sure much has changed...

    Pamela 8:25 PM  

    @Joe Dipinto- I play violin. I was exposed to piano from infancy, and had lessons from my mother until Grade 3, when my school started musical instruction. There was a violin in the house which I had become fascinated by, and said I wanted to learn how to play. At that point, piano lessons stopped. Mom said I could only have one instrument. That’s how they did it back then, she said later, but I think she was upset that I didn’t choose the piano. Now they give them everything to try, says my sister, a pro violist, they throw everything at them to broaden their exposure and allow them to change if they want to.. But that was the end of the piano for me. Too bad,

    Vermontah 8:35 PM  

    Hello solvers, I'm a semi-regular on the LA Times crossword corner, and just found this group today, so I guess I'll be a semi-regular here too.

    LAT puzzle runs daily here in the daily paper here in my little Vermont town, so that's the first I do. I try to get the NYT as well, though to be honest sometimes $3 just to do a puzzle seems a little steep. I do read the articles, too. Just like I did with Playboy all those years ago.

    I definitely had to enlist Mr. Google to help with a lot of the clues today, just as I often do on Saturday LAT puzzles. Go ahead, mock me, but I do learn about things like MOVEMBER and CONAIR and ACC. And STABLE gasses.

    I felt pretty stupid when, as a musician, I was stumped by SEGNO. Should really be Dal Segno, actually, that's a bit confusing. And it's technically not a "repeat," it's a road-map indication, instructing the player to return to the "segno" (sign, which looks little like a dollar sign) then to go somewhere else. You see it most of all with instructions like "D.S. al fine." (Go to the sign then play until the word "fine." Pamela @6:13, you see it a whole lot in Broadway and pop charts, also Strauss waltzes, more popular stuff than your Haydn quartets.

    Any fan of The Office remembers their efforts at Movember. Who can forget
    Dwight Jr and Plop trying to grow 'staches?

    I must say, and no disrespect intended, but there seems to be a whole lot of complaining and sniping and political over-sensitivity on this board. A lot about Natick, and "Rex," and taking offense about the word AUNTIE, of all things. Crosswordcorner has strict guidelines about personal attacks and any political commentary, which leaves the group pretty free to talk about the puzzle and not much else. We're just having fun with words here, people, maybe just for a second we could leave the division and politics out of it and just enjoy some word fun?

    TTrimble 8:47 PM  

    @Anonymous 5:55PM
    Thanks; I'll accept that. Can't be too careful around here (as witnessed by the fact that an omission of a hyphen is held up to scrutiny, some of it mean-spirited in intent). I shudder to recall my many lapses, both in thought and grammatical form, while composing off-the-cuff blog comments.

    @Anoa Bob 5:40PM
    Possibly you're onto something. Here is a spot of investigation into the matter. If it's a case of the black irony of sailors, it's not hard to believe that Coleridge would have been aware of it. But I also enjoy the suggested connection between "drink" and "drown" given by James Waldby.

    Barbara S. 9:00 PM  

    I've arrived too late to comment much on the puzzle, except to say that I was almost defeated by NASCAR DAD, a term utterly unknown to me. But

    ****SB ALERT****
    Is anyone doing the SB today? It's utterly risquΓ©. Ooh-la-la.

    JC66 9:42 PM  

    @Vermontah

    Welcome.

    Anonymous 9:57 PM  

    TTrimble,
    At the risk of offending you. The phrase men spirited in intent is redundant. Spirit, in this use, is intent.
    It is of course a small matter. But when folks don’t get the small things right, many people feel they probably don’t have the bigger things right either.

    Nancy 10:03 PM  

    And to think that I thought a SLOW CLAP was the sarcastic thing that Nancy Pelosi did to Donald Trump. Amazing what I've learned here today from @Joe Dipinto and @Burtonkd! White people can't CLAP in time to the music??!! They always slow down? They clap on the "wrong" beats? Is that any relation to the white men who can't jump?

    @Burtonkd -- I went to your link and, for the life of me, couldn't figure out what Connick was doing to influence the audience or how the audience's clapping was changing. I couldn't tell whether they were clapping on the 1/3 or the 2/4. I wasn't sure when they got slower. Then, ignoring the audience, I tried clapping to the music myself. I have no idea if it was slow or fast, right or wrong. It felt right, though. I felt like a world-class clapper. Most likely, I'm not. Sigh.

    Sometimes the things you learn on this blog are SO interesting! And, no, I'm not being facetious.

    Joe Dipinto 10:16 PM  

    @Pamela – That's funny: I started on violin (which my older sister already played) in second grade, took lessons for two years, and then the nun who taught violin left the school, so I had to switch to piano (which my brother already played). I think I was relieved at the time to put the violin aside, but later I kind of wished I'd continued with it. I listen to violinists all the time now.

    TTrimblr 11:10 PM  

    Hey @Anonymous 9:57PM
    I'm not offended. In the milieu in which I do research, redundancy is often decried, as it is logically unnecessary and dispensable. But as someone who makes a living as a teacher, I often find that redundancy can be useful. We are not perfectly logical beings, and so it often helps to have certain things emphasized, repeated to us, told in different ways, etc. etc.

    Also, in response to your message, I'll say that correcting other people is risky business. For example, I see "men spirited" in your comment. Of course I know you meant "mean-spirited". No big deal to me, but others might delight in pointing this out, and then the circle goes round and round. The point is that we all get small things wrong on occasion even when we are otherwise thinking clearly, and that we should try to be charitable before looking for faults.

    If I come to the point where I put my name in blue for this blog, thus enabling me to come back to edit out my mistakes later, then I probably *would* come back for that purpose, because I too can be obsessive about such little things. But I rather hope I wouldn't, because this blog should generally be more light-hearted, or intellectually enjoyable, and centering on a shared love of words and puzzles and trivia and marginalia, where people are willing to forgive or ignore little lapses and let loose a little, as they would in spontaneous speech.

    I don't know which of the many who sign as 'Anonymous' you are. I do see a lot of acrimony on this blog coming from those signing as an 'Anonymous', and who carry baggage of remembered perceived slights, or who cast ad hominem attacks, or who otherwise snipe behind a screen of anonymity. Some of what I've seen tonight from "anonymi" has been really ugly. A propos of this, my experience as a moderator on a highly active public website suggests to me that people often behave a little better in public when they post under a real name. Now, there may be good reason to post anonymously or pseudonymously, and I don't and won't judge people who go that way, but I think it's something worth considering. To be repetitive: posting under a real name tends to constrain one to observe basic precepts of netiquette just a bit more closely (and to be sure, I'm very far from perfect myself on that score).

    I'm happy to say that much of what I've seen in the comment section of Rex's blog has been good. It's nice to see the long friendships and real fellow feeling in evidence here.

    Taggart Hughes 11:12 PM  

    San Pablo is 10 miles from Berkeley and the name of a major thoroughfare. San Diego is over a hundred miles from LA. San Pablo is a gimme. Plus a casino.

    Anonymous 12:07 AM  

    Yeah, isn’t the term “perp” usually used by tv cops to refer to the “doer” of the crime before they’ve figured out who that “unsub” is? Generally suspects actual names are known and used.

    Greg 1:52 AM  

    Never heard of MOVEMBER, and could only think of either San PaOlo or San PaUlo,

    burtonkd 10:33 AM  

    @Joe - yes, we're talking about two different things. I don't see the non-beat related slow clap so much. Kind of like, "oh, we're dancing - that means move around like crazy, never mind the tempo of the music".

    @Nancy, I'm sure you're fine. The Pelosi-used Slow Clap is the sarcastic non music related one. Joe was describing clapping that is slower than or not related to the tempo of the music and eventually takes on a mind of its own. The Harry Connick Jr. clip I showed featured people clapping consistently in time with the music, just not on the preferred beats of the measure.
    (CAPS=claps) ONE two THREE four. Pop and jazz tend to want one TWO three FOUR. He puts in a measure with 5 beats to get them on the right beat without the audience needing to change anything. It is subtle and I missed it the first time I saw this.

    Anonymous 11:20 AM  

    Very little gunk?

    The puzzle had NEE, CHA, YSL, ALBS, DAR, AGA, LETT, ACC, MSS, MCI, ERS...

    It’s swimming in gunk

    OlyL 2:51 PM  

    Sad to say, the first answer that popped to mind for 39d (Duke’s group) was KKK. What would Rex have said to that!

    spacecraft 11:22 AM  

    Weird. OFC is all over Paula Deen, yet not a syllable against HIROHITO; all he did was engineer the attack on Pearl Harbor. We certainly are selective about our offense-taking, aren't we?

    This puzzle seemed to carry a lot of S's, but when I counted I got 22. It just seemed like more. Nearly a third of them are in but two words: ENGROSSES and SESSIONS. Maybe that's why.

    Blazed out of the gate in the NW (!), then bumped against a rap album title--rap and album titles are two of my weakest areas; put them together and uh-oh! OTOH, ARES gave me no trouble: it's the Greek name for Mars. Duh! No, my near undoing was putting in ditto for "same here." That W/SW area was an absolute bear! 30-d went from medIa to EtAIL and finally to EMAIL. Never heard of NASCARDAD, is that like soccer mom?? And the working-class thing--does that mean that there are no leisure-class NASCAR fans? Have you priced track tickets yet?

    Well, I had to REEDIT 37a, and eventually ended up with the natick (for me) at sq. 20. By that time, though, the rest of it was in, so THE_HRONIC had to be completed with a C. Yikes, was there really a thing called MOVEMBER? That term has more corn than Iowa. I give that one a SLOWCLAP.

    Didn't know TERRYCREWS from the sitcom, but he did a season as emcee of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" He had way too much physical energy for that, so they dropped him and went with the Bachelor guy Harrison. Too far in the other direction. Regis, may he rest in peace, struck just the right note.

    Rita Moreno, WSS' ANITA and one of a very few with all the statuettes, is DOD. I think this is a cut below most Fridays; if you need MSS and MCI in the same section, something's wrong. HOISTS/HEISTS too close for comfort. Bogey.

    Burma Shave 12:59 PM  

    TRUE HOSERS

    NOW, AUNTIE ANITA’s on fire – for THECHRONIC womanizer –
    but THE old STUNTMAN drew her IRE, that GRAYBEARD’s a LATERISER.

    --- PABLO CREWS

    rondo 2:02 PM  

    Nary a write-over today, so I can agree with an easy rating. I did this in INKWELL.

    This fall when you notice the male sportscasters, news anchors, talk-show hosts, ETCETC attempting to grow moustaches and BEARDs you will know it’s MOVEMBER. I think Jimmy Kimmel just kept his BEARD from one year of that (to be a hipster, of course).

    THECHRONIC slackers are on THEDOLE.

    I guess I didn’t know that LEIA ever made it to general. I quit those flicks after the third one where she was still Princess LEIA, in the steel bikini. Yeah baby.

    The corners will get you four of the seven SEAS.

    Fun puz.

    leftcoaster 3:39 PM  

    Today's most elusive answers: URKEL, THE CHRONIC, SEGNO, TERRY CREWS, MOVEMBER, and had Slalom before SCHUSS.

    Also: AS AM I is badly stilted, especially paired with "same here". And THE DOLE has obvious pejorative connotations for the "government assistance" that many unemployed people, through no fault of their own, depend on these days.

    HOISTS and HEISTS were SHINY keepers in the junk heap.

    Anonymous 3:53 PM  

    @Geezer(11:18am) & @TJS(11:20am):
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
    I never thought I would see someone out-whitewoke Rex on this blog, but @Z sure as hell has done it. He is now my new poster child for jumping the shark.

    rondo 4:27 PM  

    @anon - I hadn't seen those comments. I'm with you. Some of my cousins called my 100% Swedish mom AUNTIE all the time.

    Diana, LIW 6:24 PM  

    Not too easy for me - PPP wins again. But I got the word play - the TRUE TEST of a puzzle (sorry, not TRUEWEST).

    Any of you guys looking forward to MOVEMBER???

    Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

    Diana, LIW 6:27 PM  

    More corn than Iowa - good one, @Spacey.

    Lady Di

    SLG 5:23 PM  

    +1 Taggart. You claim to live in Berkeley, but have never heard of San Pablo??? You need to get out of your liberal bubble, in all likelihood.

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