Wisecracking bear of film / WED 7-29-20 / Animal known scientifically as alces alces / Mobile device that debuted in 2016

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Constructor: Amanda Chung and Karl Ni

Relative difficulty: Challenging (5 minutes-ish)

THEME: STRONG PASSWORD (49A: It may require letters, a number and a special character—as seen in 20-, 33- and 39-Across) — well, you don't actually "see" the numbers and letters as such, but you do see the words that represent them:

Theme answers:
  • TWO PERCENT MILK (2% milk) (20A: Reduced-fat option)
  • IPHONE SEVEN PLUS (iPhone 7+) (33A: Mobile device that debuted in 2016)
  • ONE MICHELIN STAR (1 Michelin *) (?!) (39A: Highly sought-after restaurant rating)
Word of the Day: "TED" (6A: Wisecracking bear of film) —
Ted is a 2012 American comedy film directed by Seth MacFarlane and written by MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, and Wellesley Wild. The film stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, with Joel McHale and Giovanni Ribisi in supporting roles, with MacFarlane providing the voice and motion capture of the title character. The film tells the story of John Bennett, a Boston native whose childhood wish brings his teddy bear friend Ted to life. However, in adulthood, Ted prevents John and his love interest Lori Collins from moving on with their lives. // The film is MacFarlane's feature-length directorial debut, produced by Media Rights Capital and distributed by Universal Pictures. It was the 12th highest-grossing film of 2012 and received an Oscar nomination for Best Original SongTed received mixed to positive reviews with critics praising the humor and premise while criticizing the plot and inconsistent script.(wikipedia)
• • •

This had a lot of things working against it. I have to admire the ambition here—it's a weird concept, and it can't have been easy to find themers that worked. I just did not like how it came out. TWO PERCENT MILK is fine, that's very much a thing, but IPHONE SEVEN PLUS is several flavors of yuck. First, like the puzzle doesn't shill Apple products enough—the weirdly specific product name just reeks of niche tech crud. How long ago was the IPHONE SEVEN PLUS anyway? Are we honestly expected to remember the different releases of iPhone and their variants going back ... I mean, this must be at least four generations now. I've had my iPhone 8 for 3 or 4 years now. Anyway, that really killed it for me, and then ONE MICHELIN STAR felt like very contrived phrasing. What's "highly sought-after" is *a* Michelin Star. Since there are ... more stars to be had, it seems so odd to say the "highly sought-after restaurant rating" is ONE as opposed to two or three MICHELIN STARs. Surely those ratings are even more highly sought-after. Something about ONE MICHELIN STAR just doesn't feel right as a stand-alone answer. I think it's that the other two themers, when you write them out the way you would normally, the way they appear in the wild, they actually contain a number and a symbol (see "Theme Answers," above), whereas you would never write out "1 Michelin *." Just bizarre. Also, the revealer, isn't exactly strong. When I am asked to choose passwords nowadays I am given strongness ratings that go well beyond merely "strong." This one just clunked in too many places. Plus there's some regrettable fill (e.g. IBANKER CONG OWOW), *and* the cluing felt harder than normal. Just hard to see the joy here.

I don't think I've had a worse start to a solve ... ever. At least not with a relatively easy puzzle. I had four wrong answers (at various points) *in the NW corner alone*. LEGOS not ATOMS (1A: Small building blocks). SIM not ATM (1D: ___ card). BEEP not TOOT (2D: Friendly honk). OUCH not OWOW (3D: "I'm in pain! I'm in pain!") (!?). No idea about sci. name of MOOSE (17A: Animal known scientifically as Alces alces). Don't think of MISO as a "seasoning" 94D: Traditional Japanese seasoning) That whole corner was just brutal for a Wednesday. And the NE corner wasn't much better. Had both DEALS and SALES before PACTS (which are far less handshake-specific, imho) (9A: Things finished with handshakes). Then had STICK ON before PASTE ON (awk) (9D: Affix with adhesive). Needed many crosses to get stuff like POTPIE (25A: Entree baked in a tin) and MOTELS (46A: Things often found near cloverleafs), which had really vague clues. Never got a rhythm (or, if I got one, it quickly ceased). Bottom half was definitely easier. but the general grind of solving was never alleviated by thematic pleasures or sparkly fill. It just missed me, this puzzle, at every level. I'm surprised, as I usually like work by this pair—as I'm sure I will again.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Harryp 12:08 AM  

I had deals for PACTS and lime for TEAL, so that took a little time straightening out the NE. 30A was my first look at an EMU not clued as a bird. Lots of fun, and a Medium solve time. By the way, I still have my iPhone 7, because it's cheaper than the latest models and does what I need.

jae 12:11 AM  

Tough. This was a bit of a struggle. It didn’t help that I immediately put in @Rex legoS for 1a and dealS for 9a (at least I got TED right). It didn’t get a whole lot better...MSU for EMU, stREW before THREW, kENO before RENO...hence, a struggle.

Fun theme with a reasonably smooth grid and some fine long downs, liked it quite a bit more than @Rex did.

Joaquin 12:19 AM  

I came here to lambaste Rex for some of his nit-picking and as I started to type it hit me: In the past couple of days, our *president* pettily scorned a major civil rights icon who died; our *president* promoted a bogus cure for COVID-19; our *president* publicly whined about not being as popular as Dr. Fauci; our *president* ..., well, you get the idea.

And I decided in the grand scheme of things, at least for tonight, I don't care what nits Rex picks.

I just enjoyed solving a slightly harder than usual Wednesday puzzle, and I enjoyed having a few minutes off from the news ... and I'll leave it at that.

GHarris 12:19 AM  

Only trouble spot was the NW, especially since I put in SIM card and ouch and only knew miso as a soup, not a spice. Otherwise found it relatively easy and enjoyable. I finally got hooked on SB. How does one learn how well he has done relative to other players?

Anonymous 12:40 AM  

I agree with Rex. Nice concept, but ONE Michelin star should have been clued as "a good restaurant rating" or something like that. I kept trying to figure out if "three Michelin stars" was going to have the number written in Roman numerals or something to fit into the answer space.

And I also agree that IPHONESEVENPLUS seems a bit random. The first Plus was the iPhone 6, so that was somewhat noteworthy. But the iPhone 7 Plus was just another model, and one that happened to fit into the space needed.

Ed 12:43 AM  

IBANKER is one of those infuriating NYT crosswordese things that just makes you want to spit and say “Nobody on this planet has ever called it that, ever.”

Pamela 12:52 AM  

I liked it better than Rex did, but it sure didn’t fill me with joy last last Wednesday! I figured TOOT sounded friendlier than beep or honk, which helped me see that Ouch was wrong pretty quickly. For 8A I started with deals, but knowing Amy ADAMS got that erased. Then PASTE and PACTS confirmed each other' and that corner was mostly solved. I didn’t get the trick, though, until I had IPHONE and PLUS, guessed numbers (I have an iPhone 7, not plus) and added TWOPERCENT to MILK. The rest of the theme became clear at the revealer, and I got my AHA. Not exciting, but not a slog, either. Just fine.

Nits: Raised an eyebrow at IBANKER. And why is CSI forensic? I thought DNA, then let the crosses have their way.


Because this is such an early post, I’ll be circumspect.
Finally gave up, missing 4 words. Two I really should have gotten, an N and a D. The other 2 were not gettable by me, not ever. Oh how I hate that! I don’t know which is worse- kicking myself for not getting a word I should know, or the editor for picking cockamamie ones.

JD 1:02 AM  

This was a perfect Wednesday. To Wit, puzzling and sussable, sizzling and possible.

It felt fresh right from the beginning. Started in NW by plunking in Legos for Tiny Building Blocks (yawn) but nothing around it fit. Suddenly saw ATM, and thought Atom? You want THOSE tiny building blocks? Sure! Let's see what else we have here.

O frabjous day it did not disappoint.

Joyful rummaging through the toybox ... Moose and Emu and Ted, EEK. A Dare Devil and an IBanker walk into a bar. Amy Adams (an actress not dead, in fact still too young to have even had a face lift) near a Tiara and some 2% Milk. Want some Potpie Amy? No Sweat.

And then there was the theme. A clever, well-executed, untortured theme about something that millions of people face every day ... the Bane of coming up with a @#^(!6 password.

Thank you Amanda Chung and Karl Ni. Nice work!

okanaganer 1:09 AM  

Yeah strange theme, but novel. I too had many false starts; "Imitates" just had to be APES. I mean, it just had to. 5 down "Intercedes" was BUTTS IN. I backed into 20 across from the right, saw ---PERCENTMILK and thought it must be ONE.

Years ago I came up with a foolproof password system, which involved a core phrase with numerals replacing words, to which I would add the name of the site involved. So this worked great until recently when many sites went to the "must contain 2 non-alphanumeric symbols, plus at least 4 capital letters, plus 3 or more digits, and be at least 27 characters long" requirement. Yeesh.

A very nerdy guy I worked with had a program he wrote for this, which basically generated a really long sentence, something like "You'll never guess this password, Sheila, cuz it's absurdly long and contains hyphens, 153 digits, also %$@&*$ YOU!!!!!" which he would save in an encrypted file somewhere. He also rode a unicycle to work.

chefwen 2:43 AM  

Made all the classic mistakes right away, Legos, apes before DOES, deals before PACTS. So, off to a poor start.

Got STRONG PASSWORD early on and was hoping for a rebus with little pictures instead of words and was slightly disappointed, but finished with a flourish.

If you’re going for a MICHELIN STAR, why settle for one, go for the gold.

NB 2:47 AM  

Thought this was a really solid crossword! Saying "one Michelin star" is definitely a thing - you would always specify how many, so the clue and answer work fine to me.

Frantic Sloth 3:37 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pablo 4:48 AM  

I'm a bit shocked Rex found this tough tbh, because came pretty fast save for a few tricks at the end. I had trouble with TIRE for "poop" and PITON (I had tIeON for quite a while). I also had onliNePASSWORD, which seemed kinda meh but was too fitting to think it was wrong. Oh well, got there eventually. Really didn't like clues for OWOW or TRACK, but overall this felt like a solid entry from a puzzle perspective, but lackluster on the theme.

Still my favorite day of the week (unless I have time to actually enjoy the Thursday, which I basically never do anymore...).

Z 6:01 AM  

Deals get handshakes, PACTS get signatures.

Since I drink skim, TWO PERCENT MILK is hardly a “reduced fat option” here.

I am as Apple-centric as they come, from my Performa 600 with its massive 160 MB of memory, all the way to my pocket supercomputer, but I agree with Rex. Stop already with the daily Apple product placement. Or at least charge them a reasonable fee for the advertising and raise constructor pay.

Interesting game show screen shot. On a somewhat related note, Elvis is right about Ypsilanti.

@jae - Right state, right school colors, but the folks in East Lansing might burn a couch on your lawn if you make that mistake again.

@Frantic Sloth - I’m in North Carolina and Eastern Michigan University was automatic. 😎 That EMU helped me maintain my required certifications may have had something to do with that. Or that Ann Arbor Ultimate used the EMU bubble for winter league for several years. Or that a college buddy had a craft brewery there (now sold to some big brewing outfit). Or that I always wonder about the sense of humor of whoever designed the Ypsilanti water tower (Dr Freud would like a word). Anyway, I think this is the second time we have seen the Eagles used to clue EMU, so be prepared to see it again.

Lewis 6:05 AM  

This was a clever theme idea, using concept-with-examples rather than the usual wordplay, which gave the puzzle a fresh feel. Plus, there was some fine resistance, coming from a couple of answers that have never crossed my life, and from some tough-to-get clues, like [Poop] for TIRE, [Imitates] for DOES, and [Small building blocks] for ATOMS.

The grid is sparklingly clean, and I love the theme echo answer KEY, as a password is like a key that opens the door and lets you in.

Freshness, overcome-able resistance, and junk free. That's a formula for a terrific solving experience, which is what this puzzle was for me. Thank you, Amanda and Karl!

ChuckD 6:15 AM  

Rough week of puzzles so far. The concept here is fresh - maybe not that exciting - who really likes to see the pop up to change your password? but it is current and don’t think I’ve ever seen it done before. Main issue here is that you just can’t use a product name as a themer spanning across the center of your grid. I have to agree with Rex - it ruins the entire experience because it’s so prominent. Ditto with LEGOs initially for 1a. Haven’t had a glass of milk in 30 years but I guess that themer works well. PACTS (on a two day run) are signed - deals are shook on. I think restaurants are referred to as one star, two star etc. so maybe the MICHELIN is slightly redundant. The grid and fill here wasn’t bad - I like to OPINE on POTPIE and to see SCHLEPPED in a puzzle is cool. Big misses were the OWOW/TO WIT cross and IBANKER and all the useless pop/brand garbage.

Overall better than the last two days - but still lacking.

QuasiMojo 6:20 AM  

Dreadful. Most passwords require a capital letter, don't they?

Tortured clues, tone deaf idioms. Iffy junk fill. Ow ow?? Awful.

Plus I had no idea who Churchlady is. And Amy Adams? Six nominations and yet I've never heard of her. I need to get out more. Never heard of I Banker either. I, Claudius, yes.

Hungry Mother 6:55 AM  

No challenge here this morning. I did have to switch between acrosses and downs often.

amyyanni 7:02 AM  

Since many passwords require 8 characters, Two%Milk would work nicely....hmm...(have to change several passwords regularly at work). Something useful, perhaps. Did it last night after a cocktail so it went down smoothly. And now it's (Groundhog) hump day.

kitshef 7:10 AM  

Nice theme and very creative. I so wish something better than IPHONE SEVEN PLUS could have been found, as that seems so arbitrary. Plus I’m sick of the free Apple advertising in the puzzle.

OWOW? No No.

The subspecies of MOOSE in Sweden is Alces alces alces, which ranks just behind the western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) among my favorite scientific names.

Spatenau 7:12 AM  

I think it actually is a pretty big deal to have ONE MICHELIN STAR. Most restaurants will never be inside the Michelin guide. Furthermore, there are two categories below one star, so you could say it's actually like being three on a scale of one to five.

JHC 7:31 AM  

Also, this theme is out of date. The biggest risk to passwords is computers guessing randomly, not humans trying to figure it out. Length is stronger than randomness, because each additional character increases the number of possible combinations exponentially. These days, a strong password is a memorable three- or four-word phrase, with no alphanumeric substitutions. Easy for you to remember, hard for a computer to guess. https://xkcd.com/936/

TokyoRacer 7:39 AM  

No, miso is not a seasoning. Just as tomato paste is not a seasoning.

George 8:17 AM  

As an employee of the financial industry, I'm offended that CITI crosses SATAN. However Rex gets a standing ovation for the photo he chose for 'Password'

Nancy 8:18 AM  

Let's talk about a STRONG PASSWORD. The problem is I can never remember it. And I don't want to ask the website to remember it for me, because that spoils the whole idea, right?

But here's the thing: I can't remember a WEAK PASSWORD either.

My solution? I write passwords down in my analog address book under the appropriate letter. But that can really, really backfire. My handyman, in setting up Netflix for me, asked me what the password was for my [fairly] new Samsung TV. I didn't remember that I even had a password for the TV, but I looked it up under "S" for Samsung. It wasn't there. Turns out it was under "T" for TV.

A month earlier, my handyman was trying to set up a Kindle for me* and needed to know the "Wifi name" and password for my RCN-provided Wifi. I looked it up under "R" for RCN. Nothing there. When I couldn't reach a live person at RCN on the phone, my handyman managed to set up an internet "chat" with one who managed to track down that info. Turns out it was in my book -- under "W" for Wifi". I don't even want to tell you what that little oversight cost me in tipping my handyman -- who was here for, like, forever. The Kindle could not be set up without that information. Who knew?

*And after all that, I returned the Kindle to Amazon when I discovered that the Paperwhite, for $150 bleeping dollars, yet, does not allow you to order ebooks from the public library!! I was only getting a Kindle in order to avoid visiting the library during the pandemic. If I want to order books from Amazon and have to pay for them, I'll order real books, not ebooks. And save the $150.

It's probably just as well. I hadn't yet decided whether to write my Kindle password under "K" for Kindle or "A" for Amazon.

Birchbark 8:31 AM  

ONE MICHELIN STAR is rare accomplishment -- enough to set the restaurant beyond what we'd usually consider the best. Even a POT PIE with a glass of TWO PERCENT MILK would blow your mind.

Z 8:32 AM  

@Tokyo Racer - The clue is straight from Wikipedia.

JD 8:38 AM  

I think a few comments at this early point might validate my feelings on why I loved this puzzle.

Solvers are having false starts with certain words because the NYT has run in the same rut for a while now and we expect certain answers to certain clues. This puzzle broke those patterns a few times. Finally.

Other thoughts.

Apple. Millenials are attached to their Apple products. Nothing in previous generations compares with their umbilical cord to the zeitgeist. Expect more of same as they continue taking over. It's an enormous part of their common experience.

Michelin stars. Even one is a big deal.

Pact. It will get flak but people make informal pacts all the time (e.g., two guys make a pact that they'll buy lottery tickets and if one wins, they'll split it ... they shake on it).

Finally, most answers that slap I, Eco, or E in front of a word turn out to be subpar, except for ebook.

Carola 8:40 AM  

Props to the constructors for a clever theme: those PASSWORD examples kept me vainly searching for their commonality all the way to the reveal, Nice job! Still, I have to admit to a fair amount of internal whining along the way about the clues: "Too hard for a Wednesday!" and to moments of relief at encountering moth-eaten entries that I'd usually scorn (PSST, EPEE, AGEE, EBOOK) when they gave me much-needed traction. Liked DAREDEVIL facing off against SCHLEPPED.

Do-over: kENO (hi @jae); I'd resisted legos and deals since I couldn't think of any crosses. Help from previous puzzles: ROSS.

rushscott 8:48 AM  

Getting better at these. One star is a great thing for a restaurant, and is certainly highly sought after. Didn't say the best, so that clue passes muster to me. I started with LEGOS for my first answer and fought it till near the end, as that corner was a complete debacle for me as well. I liked the theme. Doesn't matter to me when the 7 came out, as the overall answer was fair IMHO.

GILL I. 9:05 AM  

When I saw who the constructors were, I just knew I was in for a treat. I was giddy with anticipation. In the end, though, I was a tad disappointed. This felt like I had finally scored a nice little table at my favorite bistro only to get that ONE MICHELIN STAR restaurants over cooked omelette. It arrived cold and it was over salted. The pomme frits were a bit soggy and they were out of their famous baguettes. A major let down.
I really thought the idea was cool beans but the ATOMS, PACTS, EMU, I BANKER and even the STOP at the station fell more in the rotten tomatoes category. I'm pretty sure it was the cluing. It needed more chervil.
Maybe I'm just hungry and grumpy. I wanted this to shine but it felt like it needed a bit more polish. Now I will read the rest of you and hope I'm not the only Debbie downer.

RooMonster 9:07 AM  

Hey All !
Is this an evil puz? It has SATAN and DEVIL. Asking for a friend. 😉

Your posts are always funny! Love reading you. Today's "favorite member of Menudo" would've caused a coffee spit-take had I been drinking while reading. (Which there should be a law against!) And thanks for the kind words Yesterday!

Kept wanting tenMICHELINSTAR, cause why shoot for ONE? Seems a low bar. But I guess if OSHA finds mouse droppings or whatnot, even being considered for a MICHELIN STAR would be heady. Maybe try for a Goodyear STAR? 😋

I did like this puz. I like most puzs, if I don't wake up ornery. Does that happen to anyone else? It's not the "wrong side of the bed" since I wake up on the same side every day. Har.

A bit wobbly on the third themer, ad Rex mentions, you could write out 2% MILK, iPhone 7 +, but 1 MICHELIN * is a stretch. Just sayin'.

SCHLEPPED is fun to see. MOOSE was my nickname from my sister growing up. Mine for her was Meese. I have a soft spot for MOOSE. Maybe rename myself MooseMonster? 😁

So a good WedsPuz. Nice one Amanda Chung and Karl who says "Ni!"

But... No F's! (One demerit)

Sir Hillary 9:12 AM  

I didn't enjoy this very much.

Theme-wise, 2% milk and iPhone7+ are fine, but 1 Michelin * has never seen the light of day. It's either one Michelin star (as one might read in a restaurant review) or simply * (as one might read in the Michelin Guide itself).

The fill is surprisingly decent overall, with SCHLEPPED, TOWIT and BOCCE being highlights for me. But OWOW is dreadful, and CONG is in the running for worst entry ever.

I like the vague cluing, but some of it didn't feel right for a Wednesday.

I see that IBANKER yet again brings assertions of "said no one ever" but it definitely a thing. In the go-go 80s, Wall Streeters referred to themselves this way all the time. These days it feels more pejorative, something that someone else would use as a putdown (like, say, SJW).

RENO/kENO (which I initially got wrong) clued this way has great Schrodinger potential.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

What he said. Plus ugh, just ugh. Never got into it. More like late-week to me.
- newbie

StevieO 9:25 AM  

Just take a step back and take it a little less seriously. This puzzle is funny! It has jokes in it - like iPhone Seven Plus. Of course nobody remembers it exactly or its launch date, but it's a funny construction for the purpose of this puzzle. Same with the other two. Yes, I head Lego before Atom too, but so what??? It's a valid clue in a light-hearted puzzle. I enjoyed it.

Bree140 9:37 AM  

@Nancy, forget Kindle (as you already have) — you can order
ebooks (and audio books) from the NYPL with their free app,
SimplyE. It has been a godsend for me during the pandemic.
As far as I can tell, they don’t have every single book of
which the NYPL owns a print copy, but they have a pretty
large selection (more than 300,000 ebooks and audio books).

pyroclasts 9:38 AM  

Only took me 25 minutes (Wed. avg is 30) so I’ll join the chorus of wondering what Rex found so difficult about it.

DEALS instead of PACTS was definitely a major trip up for me, as was PITON (never heard of it) and THREW (could only think of “cast” as in the company of a play or movie). TO WIT came from the crosses, too.

Loved the misdirection on MOTELS, that was a delight

Michiganman 9:43 AM  

I liked the EMU cluing. Both my parents and one niece graduated from Eastern Michigan University. Ypsilanti is off I-94 east of Ann Arbor and is near where the Willow Run Ford bomber plant produced the very crucial B-24 bomber during WWII. At the height of production, they assembled one per hour. This centralized production worked much better than having each state come up with its own bomber plan. HAR! After the war the plant was used by GM for transmission manufacturing. Ford had built the plant but sold it to the US Gov. for the bomber production.

TTrimble 9:52 AM  

I think Rex captured my feelings about this puzzle pretty well. I got badly hung up in the area around IPHONE and overall the puzzle felt hard for a Wednesday. Worse than average time for me. It's a little odd because looking it over some hours after the fact, it doesn't look at all outrageous.

I can't remember a time when I've seen SCHLEPPED or DAREDEVIL as answers in the NYTXW, so I thought those were cool.

I kind of nodded my head when I read Rex saying that MISO is not a seasoning (and was thinking "flavoring" might be a good substitute), but he and I are wrong, according to Wikipedia. Is says it right in the first line: Japanese seasoning. I do encourage Rex to do a modicum of research before writing on things where he doesn't quite know what he's talking about, because he should know by now that people are going to check up on this stuff.

Oh, here by the way is the YouTube clip where Elizabeth Montgomery (Sabrina of Bewitched) and Jim Backus (Thurston Howell III of Gilligan's Island) have to convey the password "vibrator" to their partners. They both do a pretty good job; team Montgomery had the decisive advantage of going second.

---[SB Alert]---

-->> Spoilers Ahead <<--

Speaking of slightly eyebrow-raising words, there was yesterday's DONG which I guess is echoic for a church bell or something, but that's not how I usually read it. Mind in the gutter, obviously. Anyway, I'm reporting back that I didn't make QB; the two words I missed were DUGONG and DOGGO. Now, DUGONG I've seen before, I'm not sure where -- maybe it was SB? But it was not well known enough for me to have a decent chance of reproducing it. But if it *were* SB where I had seen it, then shame on me because then DOGGO would have to have appeared in the list as well, unless a recent change were made, and I should have made a note of it. Alas, I must admit that DOGGO isn't really known to me; I had to look it up. Continuing the story from last night, I'm reasonably sure that was the word my son (who is still sleeping) meant when he told me he knew the word but didn't think I would. And I must admit that that that got my back up, because how on earth could have access to my vocabulary?! The noive! Not sure I feel like admitting all this to him when he gets up. Maybe I'll pull a @GILL I. and tell a white lie, knowing that even if I get caught, it won't mean I have to wear white gloves later (that really was a hilarious story, in case she's reading -- and hope I'm remembering correctly that it was she telling the story).

I'm 4 words away right now on today's. But it might have to wait until much later, as I have work to do!

Nancy 9:53 AM  

@Bree 140 (9:37)-- But if I don't have a gadget of some sort, what do I play the library's free app, Simply E, on???

GHarris 9:54 AM  

It’s obvious that you have a tendency to file by function rather than brand. So if you had kept the Kindle it’s password would have been entered under ebook reader. If I’m right, you shouldn’t have a problem in the future looking up passwords.

mathgent 9:57 AM  

Whether or not people say “One Michelin star” seems irrelevant. We’re talking about a string of symbols making up a strong password. 1Michelinstar.

We all have different definitions of junk, but I respectfully disagree with Lewis when he says that today’s is junk-free. OWOW, EEK, IBANKER.

I liked it. Sharp cluing. But like yesterday, extremely lightweight. Almost 70% of the entries were were either fours or fives.

Offbeat clue for EMU, not “Aussie hopper.” Eastern Michigan University. I have an advanced degree from CMU in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Courtesy of the summer institutes the government set up for mathematics teachers post-Sputnik.

Amy Adams. Absolutely love her work. She adds class to everything she’s in without being flashy. She wasn’t in anything last year or so far this year. She’s 45 now, not a great age for an actress.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  


Amen!!! Willow Run may have saved the world. And there's no doubt Charles Sorensen was as important as Ike in liberating Europe.

TTrimble 9:59 AM  

*** SB

(Argh, stupid logical lapse in my last comment where I said the presence of a certain word in an SB would logically entail the presence of another. Not if the central letter were a U or N! Duh!!)

Petsounds 10:03 AM  

About EMU. That was easy for me, since I live in Ypsilanti. Some years back, the university made the decision to change the name of the athletic teams from the Hurons (the indigenous people who once occupied this area and for whom our river is named, as well as a confusing array of streets) to the Eagles. Why eagles? Who knows? I've never seen an eagle here, although there are a lot of hawks and buzzards. I thought the powers that be might have taken the approach of the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs and named the EMU teams for another big bird. Alas, not much self-deprecating humor in college athletics. But I felt bad for everyone who doesn't live in Michigan--that clue could have been NMU, WMU, or CMU.

@Z: Yes. The water tower. It's hilarious!

I got the theme answers fairly quickly, but the fill was terrible. I felt as if the constructors and I had entirely different dictionaries on our shelves. All the quibbles I had have already been mentioned, but I'll just pile on on IBANKER.

Petsounds 10:05 AM  

@kitshef: My favorite scientific name is Rattus rattus, the name of the black rat. The brown rat is Rattus norvegicus. Go figure!

Schuly 10:18 AM  

Not the case. It's quite common parlance especially among aspiring Wall Streeters.

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

I'm not sure what you mena by claiming that Trump is peddling some bogus Covid cure.

The real question, or more plainly, the real gripe is that a perfectly wonderful therapeutic has been politicized. No need to trust me. Read what the head of Yale's Molecular Cancer epidemiology Lab has written. Harvey Risch is no quack. He's and M.D, PHd. He heads one of the most prestigious labs at one of the most prestigious medical complexes in the country. His work on this subject has appeared in peer reviewed journals. Including the AJE.
Read about it in Newsweek which is no fan of Trump.
It's incredible that the science has been overwhelmed by partisanship.

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

the black rat is a good one. So are true thrushes. The most common example in the US is the robin: Turdus migratorius.

Whatsername 10:27 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
William of Ockham 10:32 AM  

iPHONE ... was a gimme, just needed a cross or two on back half

NYT + APPLE iANYTHING and you are one cool dude

Puzzle challenging but as most have said, not much fun.

Whatsername 11:18 AM  

Apparently my previous post didn’t pass muster with the moderators so I’ll try again.

I had a tough time of it and got off to a very bad start with MACE at 4D and ONEPERCENT at 20A. Interesting theme but really it did nothing to help me with the solve since I didn’t see it until I was finished plus the revealer was pretty easy to get without the theme answers. I had question marks next to several clues: imitates for DOES, poop for TIRE, clientele for USERS. I didn’t much like seasoning for MISO either but after looking up the definition, I’ll concede that it’s passable. It was challenging and I didn’t hate it but it just kind of missed the mark for me.

@Joaquin (12:19) I like your philosophy. Some days I just have to turn off the news all together. Another thing to add to your list of 45’s “accomplishments” is declining to toss the first pitch you weren’t even invited to throw.

@Z(6:01) That is one ugly water tower.

@Nancy (8:18) I tend to do the same thing as you do when recording my PASSWORDs. The struggle is real. If you ever need to find the one for your Wi-Fi system again, try looking on the bottom of your router. I don’t know if every company does this, but on mine (AT&T) there’s a label containing the impossible to remember password which has saved me more than once. Also I use the HOOPLA app to read ebooks on my iPad. It was the one recommended by my local library as the most user friendly.

bauskern 11:20 AM  

Rex defines difficulty as "the grind of solving." And therein lies the problem. And explains his typical negativity.

@Z On the other hand, I absolutely agree with Z on two points,
Deals get handshakes, PACTS get signatures. I too wrote in DEALS since that seemed obvious. And as I too only drink skim, TWO PERCENT MILK is not a “reduced fat option” in my book. But I don't quibble with the clue; it's fine.
Great theme, fun puzzle.

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

You mighta figured out the mystery of rattus norvegicus if you thought about its more common name: the Norway rat. Norveg is Norse for Norway.

Interestingly, the rat population in NYC has two distinct populations, genetically differentiated. And they don't, by and large, intermingle.\

Petsounds 11:34 AM  

@Anonymous 10:26. I won't ever be able to look at the robins in my yard in the same way again! Fun with Latin!

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

I do not recall where I saw it, could be a '60 Minutes' segment or one of the myriad Cooking Shows, but the piece discussed the process of Michelin rating. These are nearly just minimum wages guys (yes, no girls) who have to drive across Europe (at their own expense, IIRC) and dine almost every night. Seems like a great gig, except that the pace is warp-speed and the pay dismal.

In the last few years, you can look up the details, some restaurants have renounced their star(s). Just not worth the hassle.

Anonymous 11:40 AM  


REALLY??? did you check out the wingnut he's citing??? a snake oil saleslady of the highest order. alien DNA and demon sperm. worse than inhaling bleach.

Linda R 11:42 AM  

@Frantic Sloth 3:37 AM:`
While I'm sure no dogs were offended by your "hairlip" joke, a couple of things to know about the term:
The word is "harelip," describing the normal cleft lip of a hare.
When used to describe the cleft lip of a person born with this defect, the term "harelip" is considered insulting.

Malsdemare 11:45 AM  

@Nancy, get a fire 7, $50 at Amazon.

Bree140 11:47 AM  

@Nancy — oh dear, I seem to have assumed that, because I
Have an iPad, and because we usually agree on everything,
you must have an iPad too. Sorry for raising false hopes.

What? 11:52 AM  

Re who knows EMU outside of Michigan. Exactly and why both my grandkids attended MSU. One went to California and got a decent job (“MSU. Didn’t Nick Saban used to coach there? Love those MSU, UM Games.”) I’m sure EMU is a fine school but name recognition is important if you’re looking for a job outside of Michigan (and who isn’t).
A sad state, you may say, as we rely on college football to climb the ladder. So what else is new. What a country!

What? 11:54 AM  

Puzzle easy for me. Just zipped through it with no mistakes or lookups. Ergo, a fine puzzle.

Nancy 12:06 PM  

A first for me on this blog. An anonymous poster (Anon 10:23) has come up with information that has made me do a complete one-eighty on a deeply-held negative opinion -- in this case, the hydroxychloroquine promoted (and promoted and promoted) by a president I thoroughly despise and whom I trust to tell the truth about absolutely nothing.

And yet, this article and the bona fides of the doctor writing it are so convincing that, were I to be hospitalized for Covid tomorrow, my first words would be: "I want that drug!! I want it today!! I want it right now!! For God's sake, don't wait until I'm already half dead to give it to me when it won't do any good."

What could possibly cause such a complete turnaround in my thinking? What could make me think that this atrocious president who is wrong about just about everything actually might be right about this? Here's the article. See what you think.

And thank you, Anon 10:23! (Sometimes we liberals can be close-minded and pig-headed, too.)

Unknown 12:13 PM  

Would like to have seen 'five star recruit' instead of onemichelinstar, could have been a better themer and could have been clued 'highly sought after athlete'

JC66 12:14 PM  


Did you also check out Anon 10:40's comment?

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

Nancy, good for you. If you want to read his paper in The American Journal of Epidemiology, it's easily accessed with a quick google. (It's a PDF and almost certainly within everyone's, by and large, grasp)

RAD2626 12:17 PM  

The pandemic has had two noticeable impacts on this blog: first, the long observed three post limit has gone the way of the handshake agreement. Second, and perhaps understandably, posters have gotten generally crankier about the puzzles. Everyone should take a nice walk, masked of course, before they post. Or perhaps people just want to emulate OFL more.

This was a fine puzzle with three cute themers. I thought a perfect mid week puzzle. There is nothing wrong with commonplace brand names in the puzzle no matter how long. MICHELIN and APPLE are just fine. Imagine if constructors could not use Oreo. There would be no more puzzles. The diversionary clues/ entries like Lego (oops, another proper name), deal, and emu gave the puzzle some punch. Interesting that PACT appeared in the top row two days in a row.

jb129 12:19 PM  

Lately I've been having problems "starting" - I'm confused at the start.

But I liked this one a lot.

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

At the rsik of picking a fight after your gracious thanks, Nancy, The problem is the politicization of journalism. The papers that count--The Times, The Wapo, the newsrooms of ABC< CBS< NBC are so liberal and so devoted to ridding the country of Trump, they've become advocates instead of observers.
Maybe Trump is the worst thing ever. But i trust the electorate to do its job. I wish the Times would go back to doing theirs and refrain from their current, and ultimately, dangerous trajectory.

Anyway, keep wearing a mask, washing your hands, staying out of restaurants and bars. In other words, stay safe. No need for you put any drug to the Covid test.

Frantic Sloth 12:23 PM  

I can die now.

My life is suddenly complete, as if by magic, by the divine appearance of a crossword puzzle about PASSWORDS.
Who doesn't love that? I don't know about you guys, but nothing blows my dress up like doing the password polka whenever my security is of the "utmost concern" to company XYZ and that's why I have to update my password every 3 months without reusing any of the same characters, set up 27-step verification, special password-retrieval security questions that always seem to ask what my "favorite" food/movie/color/member of Menudo is because sure, my life and opinions are that cut-and-dried and don't forget to click on the link sent to you by email! Y'all come back now, y'hear?
How thrilled I was to see the excitement doesn't end there. Now I can be reminded of same while doing something I enjoy and usually find relaxing. Sure. That works.

*sigh* Never getting to sleep now.

I believe I have some other nits as well:

- Imitates for DOES is a stretch. You can "do" without imitating, but can't "imitate" without doing. That's just science.
- Not to pile on with criticizing the yesteryear tone, but the Church Lady? The last regular appearance of that SNL character was in 1990. Has SATAN not been around since then? I've got a White House that proves otherwise.
- And that ol' fan favorite *university initials* rears its ugly head again with, of all things, EMU. Is Eastern Michigan University on the tip of anyone's tongue outside of Michigan?
- OWOW. "I'm in pain! I'm in pain!" Yes. Yes, I am with that "word".
- IBANKER? Should I know or have heard of this?? Because no. And I can't stop picturing Tarzan in an Armani suit: "IBANKER. YOUJANE. Also, ICHEETAH, but no jail for me!"

I liked MOOSE, SCHLEPPED, and ADIEU as clued. Were it not for the theme...nope, never mind - it ain't just the theme.


jazzmanchgo 12:25 PM  

Joaquin -- Yeah. And our "president" also told the world that he "needs" a COVID vaccine in order to get re-elected -- just the kind of self-serving bullschitt we need to make people even more suspcicous of the vaccine R&D process, and even more likely to resist getting vaxx'd when/if one becomes avaiable. Without that fool in office, it's actually possible that we could see a viable vaccine sometime in 2021 and begin the process of getting ourselves back to "normal." But as long as he's in there, he'll find a way to sully and pollute everything he touches, and we'll all still be mired in this misery. He needs to "social distance" his a$$ out of Washington DC, out of the country, and off the planet.

Frantic Sloth 12:27 PM  

@Z 601am Well, congratulations and smell you on all things Michigan! 😘 Consider my loins girded in preparation for future EMU appearances. And I'll see your water tower and raise you ‪The Little Mermaid.

‪@Roo You're too kind, which I kinda already knew! 😉‬

‪@Linda R 1142 am I stand corrected, am duly chastised, and should have known better. Thank you for the edification. My heartfelt apologies to anyone who is (or even isn't) offended. I have deleted/reposted with appropriate edits. ‬
‪Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure some dogs wouldn't be too happy about it either. ‬

‪Village is calling. Byeeee!‬

rjkennedy98 12:29 PM  

I liked the puzzle overall. The top left hand corner killed me though. Like Rex I put in LEGOS and cold not make that work. Gueseds the wrong card for __cart (red). Needed MOOSE to unlock that corner. When I put OWOW in I felt pretty icky.

I also agree the whole guess a number thing was pretty annoying. Is it one or two percent milk? Which IPHONE is it and how many Michelin stars? It would be nicer to have theme answers that had set numbers, but can't complain since I did enjoy this puzzle.

Masked and Anonymous 12:35 PM  

3$BILL? Actually, I kinda liked the theme mcguffin and themers. Different idea for a puz. Like.

Like some others, had KENO for my initial casino rhymer. Wrong again, M&A breath. Lost precious nanoseconds. EMU & MOOSE were real raised-by-wolves clues that also contributed to the nanosecond losses. Nice, sneaky ADIEU clue, btw.
Tough WedPuz, overall, at our house.

CONG? har. That'll happen, when U only got 74-word puzgrids.

staff weeject pick: EMU. They are known as the E. Michigan Univ. Eagles, ironically.
Primo weeject stacks, top & bottom center, btw.

Thanx for gangin up on us again, Amanda darlin & Karl dude.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Crimson Devil 12:35 PM  

SCHLEPPED is great word, onomatopoeic.
My being required to adopt a PASSWORD is sure-fire way of insuring I’ll never see material again.

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

IBANKER *and* EBOOK? Blech

Newboy 12:44 PM  

Legos, deals and sims at the start were not great starting gambits. Since I could care less for speed, I thought that clearly laid 🕷 web of deceit was brilliant. Were Chung & Ni trolling for a Rex Rant?

TED & TIARA became the PITON securing the climb outta that deep crevasse and from there I need a new metaphor. Thanks for sharing your brilliant conceit Karl & Amanda. Now back to see how commentariat engagements proceeded.

Nancy 12:45 PM  

@JC66 -- That's NOT the "doctor" being cited here! Read the article and see Dr. Risch's credentials for yourself. The fact that a quack also promotes the drug has nothing to do with this doctor or these scientific observations.

J. Beard 12:53 PM  

Because it is One Star that enters you into a rarified world - your entry to food-dom's most elite club. The 99.9% with no stars - from the most highly rated gourmet restaurant without a star to your corner pizzeria - are just everybody else.

Unknown 12:54 PM  

Can anyone explain what CONG is even an initialism for? I literally cannot figure it out.

GILL I. 12:57 PM  

@Nancy... I think everyone in the medical field wants to be the first to find the Covid magic bullet cure. I'm the skeptic of skepticism when too many are saying hydroxychloroquine (phew) is quite possibly a death sentence. To quote Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of Scripps Research translation Institute. "If there was ever hope for this drug, this is the death of it." This from a recent article in The Washington Post. There is no control study and they found the drug increases the risk of serious heart arrhythmias. So, no thanks. I'll keep on being very careful and when a drug is proven safe (and it will), I will gladly take it.
Stay safe.

jberg 1:03 PM  

My cousin is a great mimic. You should see the way he DOES Brad Pitt...

I liked this fine; but then my iPhone is a 6S, so this didn't feel dated at all.

I missed several of the traps. Fortunately, I know that the plural of Lego is...Lego. Now, the NYT does not know that, so I thought that I would probably wind up there -- but I refused to write it in before the crosses, as my form of passive aggression. That left me open to see ATM, and therefore ATOMS. I don't know why I didn't put dealS in, it just didn't seem certain -- so when PASTE ON was confirmed by ADIEU, the space was open for PACTS.

As for the cloverleaf clue-- well, you find restaurants, gas stations, and motels, right? Only one has six letters. I was pretty sure of BOLT (and was glad to see it clued neither as U-BOLT nor as U(sain) BOLT. But I just refused IBANKER until it was absolutely forced on me. What does it mean, anyway? International or Internet?

But enough about the puzzle. Nobody seems to be aware of password managers. Not that I use one myself, though I know I ought to. The linked article is a bit commercial, so here's the Wikipedia article. You really should.

@Nancy, if you have a tablet of any kind, or are willing to read books on your computer, checkout the Internet Archive at www.archive.org. They work just like a regular library--you can borrow books free, for a limited period of time, after which they expire. You can also download an app from Apple that will let you use Kindle without having the dedicated device. I've used that from time to time.

I've got nothing to say about hydroxychloroquine, except that I don't think the evidence is clear either way.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

Thank you @ Nancy. FWIW, I just double checked, his AJE paper is a mere 20 pages (and one paragraph )long. It is eminently readable.

Crimson Devil 1:08 PM  

Pols need to stay outta science/medicine and stop belittling CDC like a junior advisory board, imho.

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

As Fauci said again a few minutes ago: no proper, double-blind, PIII size study has found HCQ to be effective but it still has significant bad side effects.

The notion that Lamestream Media does anything more than report what The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) lies and does is false. Don't blame the little kid for saying the emperor is naked. The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) is just a cult of personality, just like Kim and Erdogan and Bosonaro and so on. Not a smart way to run a democracy.

Once Biden is sworn in, the first thing he should do is declassify all the NSA intercepts between Trump and his minions and Putin and his minions. Put an end to the lies.

Teedmn 1:13 PM  

OW OW, this one was tough for a Wednesday! It took but a moment to know my legos were wrong but, replacing it with ATOMS, then OWie was wrong and STE_____ for intercedes stayed blank for a while.

PITON went in from just the P but "Poop" was gossip in my mind and for a time, I wanted dIRt there - what was PIdON going to be? Even after I settled on TIRE, I didn't see the connection until after I finished solving, possibly because I've never used the word poop for being tired even though I'm aware it's a thing.

2D: "Friendly honk". As an avid cyclist, I beg drivers to NOT give "courtesy" TOOTs. Unless I'm doing something that's going to cause my death, I don't need you to honk at me to let me know you're there - it's startling and annoying.

Amanda and Karl, nice job. I like the theme.

Geezer 1:15 PM  

Re: Dr. Risch. The article is tantalizing but lacks credibility. Red flags include lack of citing sources beyond vague references, anecdotal "evidence" from other parts of the world, and claims of "complete success". Who are all these doctors and what hospitals is he talking about? Why haven't we heard of this before? Don't you think that if this were legitimate that physicians would be using it? These studies need to be analyzed by others. It might be true. But remember this. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. It isn't there, at least not in the Newsweek article.

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Come on JC66!!! That's your takeaway? Don't journalists have a duty to investigate?
I say your assertion proves my point. That is, journos are so opposed to Trump They're blind to reality. This blind spot comes at grave expense.theirs is a grotesque dereliction of duty. The Wapo Says Democracy dies in darkness? Pfft. Americans die when they wont report even-handedly.

JC66 1:17 PM  


TTrimble 1:17 PM  

@Nancy, @JC66, et al.

You might consider holding off on making a judgment based on Risch's credentials as an epidemiologist.

It's not as if experts are unaware of Risch's arguments. Here's a counter-argument.

Anonymous 1:18 PM  

read the article. There are no cardiac problems to speak of. They are beyond minuscule. Please, if you cant read The AJE paper, at least take the 6 minutes to read the Newsweek piece.

Anonymous 1:20 PM  

Billions of doses of the drug in question have been administered over the past 65 years. It is quite safe.

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

For everyone rushing to Gorski's article. Understand that Gorski is a surgeon specializing in oncology--breast cancer especially. He has no PhD. He's not a biologist nor an epidemiologist. But by all means, believe the surgeon over the epidemiologist.

What? 1:43 PM  

Don’t be impressed by credentials. Linus Pauling, Nobel Laureate, the “father of modern chemistry”, believed until he died that cancer could be cured with large doses of vitamin C.
The consensus, based on large randomized studies, is that hydroxychloroquine is ineffective as a treatment for COVid infection. Studies to the contrary are based chiefly on anecdotal, not well controlled, evidence.
Risch bemoans the politicalization of COVid treatments but then appears on Laura Ingraham’s
Fox tv show. This says something about Risch and it’s not complimentary.

What? 1:45 PM  


JD 1:54 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amelia 1:57 PM  

Hello, there. Stopping by to admit that, at least five times in the recent past, with today being the most recent, I have agreed with Rex wholeheartedly in his assessment.

Either he's getting smarter, I am, or we're both mellowing. There's always the possibility that the pandemic has turned us into different creatures. Or brought us together. We are both in NY State, where good sense rules, pandemic-wise.

Mask on and out.

TTrimble 1:58 PM  

I think my main point is -- and I don't care to get into a long back-and-forth about it here; after all, this is a crossword blog -- is that the argument is not going to be settled by laypeople who have just read a Newsweek piece, and the argument is not going to be settled by laypeople pitting one person's set of degrees and credentials against another's.

The argument can only be settled by many experts who weigh scientific arguments backed by carefully designed studies and protocols. All I'm doing here is suggesting/cautioning that readers not jump to conclusions based on one thing they just read.

Nancy 2:04 PM  

@Geezer, TTrimble, GILL, et al --

So if I can't trust a trusted epidemiologist with an absolutely sterling professional background...

And I can't trust an established, reputable magazine like Newsweek...

Who can I trust? Sigh.

It's so depressing. You look for the "best sources" and it turns out that there aren't any "best sources". Now, it's easy enough when the quacks disagree with the experts. It's not hard to figure out who the quacks are. The problem is when the experts disagree with each other.

I think it's time to bury my total confusion in a glass of wine. And speaking of wine: For years the experts said it would add to my longevity. Until just last week, when a different group of experts said it would subtract from my longevity.

In this case, at least, I know which group of experts I'm choosing to believe :)

M. Felt 2:11 PM  

It’s not just Trump Haters trying to torpedo Hydroxychloroquine. It’s also Big Pharma. So what if a few hundred k die unnecessarily. Follow the $.

Anonymous 2:13 PM  

True enough. A poor girl is dead thanks to parents administering an unprescribed drug in who knows what dosage without the accompanying antibiotic. No Azithromycin, no doxycycline. No MD. No chance for that poor girl.
If however, a physician had prescribed hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic, perhaps that little girl would have survived.
It's silly to say hydroxychloroquine--a drug prescribed for 65 years and taken by millions--is a problem per se.

Anonymous 2:21 PM  

nice bait and switch. But pauling wasn't an expert. Not in oncology. He was an expert in Chemistry. As such, I would've believed anything he had to say on the matter. But cancer? The braking system on the Jag D type, my favorite beer? These are all things outside his area, and therefore, he is defacto uncredentialed, and I wouldn't take his thoughts on those subject as particularly important.

That's not the case with Risch. He has an MD and a PhD in molecular biology--t the subject in which he is offering advice.

ow a paper cut 2:23 PM  

I’ll never come close to the solve speed of Rex Parker. I made some of the same initial entries as Rex but it sure took me longer to get it right. What’s nice is that I like to solve puzzles and this was no exception.

GaryMac 2:28 PM  


@TTrimble As far as yesterday, both DUGONG and DOGGO have been in before, although I don't remember if on the same day. I got them both just remembering them as ones I missed before. I finally gave up with one to go - I left GONG out of all things. I was absolutely sure that I had included it but hadn't. Oh well. As for today, I'm at the same point as Pamela, four to go and about ready to give up. I'll give it another look after a break.

old timer 2:28 PM  

I liked the puzzle fine.

I like politics too, but don't want to see this site ruined by political views. OTOH, I learned a lot about science and medicine today. The key here, BTW, is *early* administration of Plaquenil. Wait until someone has been a few days in the hospital, the drug has no substantial effect.

I know from Plaquenil, because my daughter, who turns 40 this year, has been taking it since she was 12 or 13. Lupus. No bad side effects at all, at least in her case. Of course all drugs adversely affect someone. Heart arrythmias is one. But heart arrhythmias also have a drug that works -- I've been taking a drug for A-Fib for many years now. I don't suffer from side effects myself, but of course there are some. And boy am I grateful to not have A-Fib symptoms anymore.

Malsdemare 2:36 PM  

Reluctantly, I tiptoe in to point out the Gorski is a pretty damn good statistician, which gives him substance in my eyes. A lot of what he says, perhaps most of it, isn't about the mechanism of the drug or the behavior of the disease but about design flaws and ill-founded conclusions. A solid meta-analysis by a world-class researcher would be pretty nice about now. And I think we can bet the farm that there are a gazillion studies going on testing many drug regimens. Meanwhile, let's all just be Good and smart and wash hands, wear masks, yada yada.

Oh and I liked the puzzle though I agree the iPhone answer doesn't work as well as the other two.

I use a password manager and highly recommend it. It’s on my phone, backed up to the cloud, contains my and my partner's passwords. I wish I could remember them all—it'd be more efficient—but that ship sailed when everyone and their cousin started demanding passwords.

Geezer 2:54 PM  

@Nancy. It's never easy. But like you say, wine therapy is a no-brainer

Anon 2:54 PM  

Then there was school athletics (plural) and the answer was track (singular). This puzzle was garbage.

Michiganman 3:03 PM  

@What. Indeed Nick Saban was coach of the MSU Spartans, leaving in late '99. In fact, he waltzed off to LSU without even bothering to finish the season. He was gone before the Spartans played in and won the Citrus Bowl on Jan 1, 2000.

CDilly52 3:21 PM  

Oooooh @ Nancy! With you all the way on hiding one’s passwords from self. I do it all the time, most often the ridiculously complex formula required by the state for my computer PW that must be changed every 30 days- and include none of the same mmmmm, numbers or characters from the previous 6 months! Now, since I can’t remember the one I have for 30 days, why on earth would I be likely to remember the ones from 6 months ago?!?!

Z 3:27 PM  

@Whatsername - Ugly maybe, but at least it’s circumcised.

@Frantic Sloth - Girded loins are best around that water tower.

Re:Newsweek - The first thing to note is that the article is clearly labeled as an opinion piece. Newsweek is presenting a countervailing opinion, but does not label the essay as “fact.” The second thing everyone should do is see what else is out there. Simply put, there is no evidence that meets rigorous standards that this drug works in treating COVID-19. When you see the term “anecdotal” used in these contexts that most often means that the evidence can’t rule out that something else is causing the result. For example, the Henry Ford Hospital study is questioned because it fails to account for some pretty basic factors. In addition, several studies have been halted because of side effects, specifically heart arrhythmia. This doesn’t mean that that Hydroxychloroquine definitely will not become part of treatment plans, only that it is far too soon to tell. In the meantime, stay home as much as possible, maintain at least 6’ of distance from others when you can’t, and wear a mask if you’re going to be close to people or in an enclosed space.

EdFromHackensack 3:37 PM  

Had to look at DOES a few times - I had Doe, a deer, a female deer in my head. Finished no errors and enjoyed it though I have to say IBANKER was horrible. Should they not have let us know the employee was virtual? I had pAgAN before SATAN.

Anonymous 3:42 PM  

That's why I've noted, several times, the peer reviewed paper in The AJE. It's published by Johns Hopkins. that is not an opinion piece. It may prove to be wrong; articles are retracted all the time. why the lancet had to retract one about hydoxychloroquine and side effects...

Citizen Dain 3:57 PM  

I smiled at EMU, as someone living in the next town over from Ypsi. Every once in a while it's nice to get one of those that is a gimme for me but a tough one for the general public. I get so many that are the opposite and it's nice to be on the right side of it this time!

Ypsi has it's infamous water tower, a great history as an important depot town for the Michigan Central Railroad, and the aforementioned history as the site of the Willow Run bomber factory. A great little town with a good school.

Linda R 3:58 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pamela 4:23 PM  


Back at the same point today, 4 to go, but today I blew it completely- I peeked. Aargh! 🤫

Like yesterday, if I hadn’t looked I might have gotten 2 more words, but probably not the other two.

Rug Crazy 4:24 PM  

The real question is, should you be allowed ATOMS and ADAMS in the same grid?

Linda R 4:38 PM  

Frantic Sloth 12:27 PM:
All is forgiven. I greatly appreciated your response. (I would insert a smile emoji here - if I knew how.)

Dr. Fauci 4:40 PM  

* White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said that all the "valid" scientific data shows hydroxychloroquine isn't effective in treating Covid-19.

* Fauci said that the public has "got to follow the science," adding, "if a study that's good comes out and shows efficacy and safety for hydroxychloroquine or any other drug that we do ... you accept the scientific data."

* The comment by Fauci came a day after Trump said he still thinks hydroxychloroquine works against Covid-19

Anonymous 5:07 PM  

@Z. Anecdotal pretty much means nothing more than coincidence.

Anonymous 5:08 PM  

NOSWEAT. The answer is YES.

Barbara S. 5:16 PM  


I'm at 2 left to go, one little one and one big one. It always rankles to be stymied by a 4-letter word. Well, maybe I'll regroup after putting it aside for a while. Sorry it didn't work out for you today.

There was a grand total of 7 -- count 'em, 7 -- words in yesterday's SB that I'd learned from previous puzzles! This game is an education, admittedly for education's sake -- I can't imagine working either doggo or dugong into casual conversation. But I'm hoping at the very least it's helping to keep the synapses firing.

Eniale 5:25 PM  

@Nancy: I got my Paperwhite a couple years ago so may be different - but I order ebooks from public library all the time. I start off on the library site and request book; when it's available they send me an email to go to my holds in library site; I hit Borrow and it sends the ebook to Amazon for me to download. No sweat.

What? 5:28 PM  

I too have a PhD in molecular biology (UC San Francisco). Would you take my advice? Of course not. It depends on the evidence. Exactly my point about Risch. Forget his degrees, look at the studies.

TTrimble 6:28 PM  

Just to correct a misstatement by Anonymous 1:28PM :

Gorski, in addition to being an oncologist, does have a PhD in the area of cellular physiology.

Harry Lime 7:03 PM  

Big Pharma re: hydroxychloroquine h/t Graham Greene- “You know, I never feel comfortable on these sort of things. Victims? Don't be melodramatic. Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax - the only way you can save money nowadays.“

Frantic Sloth 7:19 PM  

@Z 327pm Literally LOL! 🤣🤣🤣

@Linda R 438pm I appreciate your appreciation! Or are we being too Chip 'n' Dale about this??

@ TTrimble - in general. I like the way you operate.

CDilly52 7:29 PM  

Hi everyone! Life with COVID-19 is nothing but chaos and I missed 12 solving days in July in a row due to nothing but work and it’s accompanying sleep deprivation. Finally got back into my daily crossword rhythm last Wednesday. Missed posting but enjoyed daily reading, as always.

I am in the “this was easy” crowd today. The themers were obvious to me and accordingly made most of the rest very easy as well. The place I was slow was in the top. Really slow start despite getting MOOSE, IPA, AIR and ADIEU. Fell into all the rest of the traps up there and that section was the last to fall but the rest was done before I knew it. One of those that when I read all the comments, I commented to self “I didn’t even read that clue.”

And I liked it more than @Rex. Liked POTPIE just because a good one is one of my favorite comfort foods. Most Yiddish words that make it into the vernacular such as SCHLEPPED are just such good words.

I like SCHLEPPED because it is so onomatopoeic, and reminiscent of “life as a drum groupie.” I coined that phrase (drum groupie) upon meeting my hubs to be at Illinois. I’m a singer and flautist; have backpack, will travel - on foot or bicycle as undergraduate needs must. So few folks came to college as undergrads with cars back in the late ‘60s - early ‘70s. Until I met Larry, I knew a sum total of exactly one of my friends and acquaintances that had a car on campus. Jeff S., fellow flautist, was the exception. And he had this magnificent old old old Mercedes Benz 190 and we used to pile about 8-9 of us in that old rattle boat and go on weekend adventures. Back when $5.00 worth of gas could get you from Champaign-Urbana to Chicago for $5.00 “standee” tickets to Orchestra Hall or Chicago Lyric.

Don’t know why flautists seem to date people that play large instruments but we seem to. Percussionists are the most challenging from an instrument transportation standpoint. We almost broke up because I put the Nielsen flute concerto on my senior recital and the percussion score has one of just about everything including the kitchen sink! Actually it is brake drums, and two tympani and on and on. But we SCHLEPPED all of it. Twice, because the dress rehearsal was one day, and the percussion department. Ended some of it back for a concert the next day followed by my recital the day after that. It all fit into the back of his 1973 Mazda RX2 square back! And it made him very happy I talked him into buying the square back instead of the sports car is model he wanted! Served us well for almost 10 years! My recital was incredible because of that piece and he got more compliments than I did - and all was well. Thanks, Mazda! We joked that the story would have made a great Mazda commercial because the packing and unpacking was more dramatic than the proverbial joke about the clown car!

Xcentric 7:47 PM  

Puzzle was fun, just enough push back, and a nice theme. Liked it.
I thought it was medium, not challenging.
Good Wednesday.

RooMonster 8:17 PM  

We have warnings on here for SB posts, can we please get a warning for ***COVID post*** and ***Political Content*** or somesuch. All politicians lie. All. Believe the facts. Don't take "experts" words just because they said something you want to hear. Regardless of political affiliation.

RooMonster Tired Of It All Guy (Sorry @Frantic, this one isn't that nice!)

Freedom Fighter 9:24 PM  

There are hundreds of millions, nay trillions of dollars to be made from this virus. Hydroxychloroquine (funny the Google algorithms don’t suggest that, obviously no bias) is cheap and effective. Big Pharma rules.

What? 9:29 PM  

One of my all time favorite movies, The Third Man. Thanks for bringing me a happy memory.

TTrimble 11:12 PM  

@Frantic Sloth

Thanks, but warning: it might not last long. What I'd really like to report to everyone tonight is some childlike pleasure of mine at achieving QB. And yet what comes out, pace Roo and other of the fine veterans I see here, with much more sense than me, is this: why do I nevertheless get a vibe that "Freedom Fighter" would be opposed to universal health care?

Not nice of me; sorry about that. Instead I should agree with FF: you're absolutely right, in a sane world, public health should not be a for-profit enterprise.

But Roo reminds me of my father who left this world a few years ago. He had had a lunchtime conversation with an old friend who, against their lunchtime custom, brought up some political talking point. My dad said to him, "Ray, in the thirty years we've known each other, have we ever gotten into a political argument?" "No." "How about we make it another thirty?"

Anonymous 1:10 AM  

@Nancy — I see that someone did finally tell you that of course you can download library books onto your kindle paperwhite. We belong to 4 public library systems and have borrowed hundreds of books to read on our kindles. It still feels like a bit of a miracle to be reading a book review in the NYT or WaPo (yay Ron Charles!), be intrigued by the book mentioned, hop onto our favorite library’s website, check the book out, download it to the kindle and have it to read and enjoy...all in under 2 minutes. We both find it much easier to read books on the Paperwhite than on iPads, and of course there’s no comparison on battery life — kindle so so so much better.


Years ago the NYT Metropolitan Diary has a story about a New Yorker who was visiting her son in Seattle. She had a tote bag that said “schlep “. She left it in the restaurant where she and her son had just had lunch. The waiter came running after her yelling “Mrs Schlep you left this behind”

CDilly52 8:16 AM  

AMEN @Anon1:10 AM. Been a big Kindle fan from the off- and as a former librarian, my interest in all the ways technology has increased accessibility to information and entertainment has surpassed even our wildest ideas during the earliest days of the internet and email (my library school days of the late ‘70s.

DougM66 12:38 PM  

Worst Thursday Ever!

Rick Walker 5:03 PM  

Yeah. M also exhausted from measuring everything against the abject stupidity infecting a nation in complete denial of it.

Anonymous 8:44 PM  

Puzzle started off poorly with that brutal upper left corner. The moon logic clues for TIRE, CONG, and DOES were just the awful cherry on top.

Although now I'm imagining someone using that form of the verb poop for the first time ever and saying something like "I poop so easily in this heat" so the puzzle gave me at least one moment of enjoyment.

thefogman 10:22 AM  

I won’t RANT but this one was not EPIC. TOWIT, I give this puzzle ONEnonMICHELINSTAR

spacecraft 11:06 AM  

Challenging here too, for a Wednesday. Not necessarily a bad thing. The theme was "STRONG," though I didn't get 39a at all. What does a restaurant have to do with TIREs? And just ONE STAR??? I would think, maybe, five. I don't think I'd want a one star rating on ANYTHING.

Hand up for kENO, but all I had to do was draw the curve on top and voila! RENO! However, I did have one genuine writeover at THRoW. "Cast" is one of those words that doesn't change form from present to past tense, like "put." I hate those in crossword clues. As to difficulty with OWOW, not so much. The clue phrase is repeated, so it follows that the answer is too.

Overall a well done puzzle, with Amy ADAMS as a solid DOD. Birdie.

Burma Shave 12:36 PM  


DOES a RESET all bass ackward,
the KEY for USERS like us:


BS2 12:44 PM  


ONE or TWO STOPs today, AISLE bet,
and it's TRUE of those there AISLE SIRE,


fakt chekker 1:13 PM  

While the Michelin brand is well-known for its tires, the Paris-based company is also famous for its annual Michelin Guide. Michelin began publishing the travel guide in Europe in 1900 to encourage new drivers to take road trips to local attractions. Among other things, the guide included anonymous European restaurant reviews that focused on the quality and flavor of food served, as well as mastery of culinary technique and personality of the dishes. In 2005, U.S. restaurants become eligible to earn Michelin stars for the first time.

Michelin stars are now considered a hallmark of fine dining by many of the world’s top chefs — not to mention restaurant patrons. The stars are not easy to obtain and are awarded to the best restaurants in each particular city in the guide.

Anonymous 1:30 PM  

O.K., there were several pissers, but overall a fun and challenging puzzle. Very good!

Diana, LIW 1:42 PM  

At first I wasn't on the constructors' wavelength, but then, after a few false starts, I got it all. Love, love, love when that happens.

And hey - the SyndieCat button is working today - @Rex must be back at the helm of FutureLand.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Diana, LIW 1:45 PM  

PS - My father-in-law, who got the travel bug from his father, used to swear by the Michelin Guides as the only way to go. Consequently, we have a dozen or so for our European - and US! - vacations. And yes - one star is high praise indeed, merely by getting into the guide.

Lady Di

rondo 2:13 PM  

Hand up for a legos mis-start and ATOMS inkfest. Followed by dealS before PACTS. So much for OFL's theory about banging out the top line and going to town.

We have to use STRONGPASSWORDs at work, so no problem with the theme.

As Bob Barker, or the 4 corners would say - it PAYS to SPAY.

Amy ADAMS, yeah baby.

Very serviceable puz.

leftcoaster 3:18 PM  

Surprise (not really), NW was last to go.

On getting there, with TWO PERCENT MILK already in, didn't take long to finish things off. Good theme that did well with the numbers and special characters, all in letters

Mostly smooth-going throughout, including some diverting clues for RENO (first had kENO), hymn as a POEM, EMU (not the big bird), DOES as imitates, and EPEE as something waved (uh, okay) in the Olympics.

[P.S. Sorry, but "I'm in pain! I'm in pain!" has tragic, too-familiar connotations, I'm afraid, and OW! OW! doesn't quite get it.]

rainforest 3:40 PM  

I liked this puzzle a lot. Different sort of theme with good themers and revealer. The clues for ADIEU, TIRE, TO WIT, and some others were clever. In fact, the fill in general was well done.

Just to personalize things a bit, I eschew 2% MILK in favour of whole milk; I've never had any version of an iPHONE; I have eaten at a ONE STAR MICHELIN restaurant (excellent, by the way); some of my PASSWORDs aren't STRONG. The ones that are must be written down which sort of defeats the purpose.

Lotta fun today.

leftcoaster 7:02 PM  

@BS1 and 2 -- I don't know how you come up with all this BS time-after-time-after-time, but overall it's been a lot of pretty entertaining stuff.

BS3 9:27 PM  

I just use the given words.

wcutler 11:44 PM  

The OWOW (double OW) for the 3D double: "I'm in pain! I'm in pain!" was so good!

@okanaganer 1:09 AM, I loved the password story about your friend's sentence, something we can all appreciate.

@amyyanni 7:02 AM, I wonder how many passwords are being changed today (well, six weeks ago for those who do the puzzle in real time) to Two%Milk. I love it, though it turns out that I can't easily type it for some reason, so it won't be my password.

@kitshef 7:10 AM, thanks for those scientific names - they were great.

@JHC 7:31 AM, re: the password strength improving with length rather than all the special characters that computers can guess. I always feel uneasy about having to come up with a password that satisfies developers who really are not up to date and are just giving me a run-around for no legitimate reason.

@mathgent 9:57 AM Re: "1Michelinstar" was, I thought "oneMichelin* ", so it didn't need the awkward "one".

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