Woods who voiced Cinderella / SUN 7-12-20 / Onscreen twins often / Children's author Richard / Tale of Puddle-Duck Beatrix Potter book / mess traditional English dessert / Fool in canadian slang /

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson

Relative difficulty: Easy (9:01) (usually gotta be under 9 for "Easy" but since I've had a DRINK and it's HOT I'm gonna adjust the scale a little)

THEME: "Chores Galore" — chores, clued as if they refer to something wacky (based on an alternate interpretation of a word in the chore phrase):

Theme answers:
  • TAKE OUT THE TRASH (23A: Chore for a censor?)
  • DO THE DISHES (28A: Chore for a TV technician?)
  • SWEEP THE FLOOR (42A: Chore for a security guard?)
  • GO TO THE BANK (67A: Chore for a rower?)
  • SORT THE MAIL (73A: Chore for a knight?)
  • PICK UP THE TOYS (97A: Chore for a dog-walker?)
  • PAY THE BILLS (114A: Chore for an N.F.L. owner?)
  • CLEAN THE GUTTERS (121A: Chore for a bowling alley employee?)
Word of the Day: ILENE Woods (107D: Woods who voiced Cinderella) —
Jacqueline Ruth "Ilene" Woods (May 5, 1929 – July 1, 2010) was an American actress and singer. Woods was the original voice of the title character of the Walt Disney animated feature Cinderella, for which she was named a Disney Legend in 2003. (wikipedia)
• • •

Speaking of chores... This is really grim. I truly don't understand who(m) this puzzle is amusing. It's dad-pun stuff, but not even groaners, just boring stuff. Truly, indescribably boring, all of the alleged humor here. Sometimes the jokes don't even make good jokey sense. Like, in what way do "censors" TAKE OUT THE TRASH? Would you, or anyone, really, ever, refer to profanity or nudity or whatever might get censored by a censor as "trash"? What year is it? Did a suburban mom in 1957 write this?  I also just don't get GO TO THE BANK—what does that have to do with a challenge to a rower? Is it a "challenge" to "row" to the "bank" ... of a river? That doesn't sound like a chore. I mean, you rowed away from the bank, presumably, how is rowing to it a "chore"? I feel like ... there's this lowest common denominator, looks-and-feels-like-stuff-we've-seen-a-million-times, written-by-a-million-white-guys-type theme that is just allowed to continue to play out over and over and over, particularly in Sunday puzzles. It's tepid, weak, anodyne, and absolutely soul-sucking. This editor brags routinely about the six thousand or whatever submissions he gets each year, basically as a way of saying "f- you, I never have to change 'cause if you stop submitting there are a thousand who will take your place." But the typical submission must be hilariously terrible if what we're seeing on a regular basis is truly the cream of the crop. I think he just publishes stuff that feels familiar, like stuff he's done every week since the mid-'90s, by loyalists who just churn it out. Competent bland work, over and over and over. There's no reason puzzles have to be like this. We've just been trained to think that this is how they *are*. "It's the NYTXW, so it must be the best." Well, no.

The fill made me wince repeatedly. There's not a damn thing worth highlighting. AT THE OPERA? Like ... what? That's a partial. Get the whole title in your grid, and I'll applaud, but just AT THE OPERA!? My god, what the hell? Never heard of a RODEWAY INN (are these regional?), and yet somehow I want to say that that's the best answer in the grid, because it's one of the only non-theme answers longer than seven letters and the only one besides "HERE'S HOW!" that's kinda lively. UDO MIDI WIIU ELIM SRO AHH TSU (!?), etc etc. When there's not a lot of interesting fill, that short stuff starts to grate, badly. I guess they're gonna bring back the duck clue for JEMIMA now that the racist caricature of a syrup mascot has been thrown overboard in the wake of BLM protests this summer. I think you're probably better off just Deleting JEMIMA from your word list entirely. You can do without it. I know you can. I have no idea what TATES is (are?). [Crispy cookie brand]!? I'm staring at a bag of them and can confidently say I've never seen these things in my whole damn half century of life.
The family on "Soap," they were the TATES, right? And "the STEEPS?" I am making the yuckiest face at that answer. I used to ski in California in the '80s and I don't remember such cutesiness. I don't know why this puzzle couldn't just focus on being ... better. More interesting conceptually. Better fill. Getting cute with the clues on short fill isn't gonna move the needle, although it can augment irksomeness. With apologies to fans of Disney princesses (and "Mr. Belvedere"), there are no famous ILENEs. I have spoken. End the Sunday madness / badness. It's maddening / baddening.

Hey, you want to have some weird throwback crossword fun? Yeah, you do. Speed-solving legend Dan Feyer has a couple of puzzle sets from the '80s/'90s available for free on his blog. First, there's a trove of Something Different puzzles (my favorite puzzle type—absolute wacky madness). You can read what they are and download them in .puz format here. Then there's a bunch of diagramless, themed, and themeless puzzles, also from the '80s/90s, which he just made available here. All puzzles were originally published in Stanley Newman's "Crossworder's OWN Newsletter" (later renamed "Tough Puzzles"). The constructors are all All-Stars from 30+ years ago (including the great Merl Reagle). It's such a treat to have these available. Keep in mind that they are somewhat dated and also generally very hard. There's some ... uh ... mild cringeworthy / culturally insensitive stuff in the fill. cluing, on occasion. But overall, the craftsmanship and wit on display here is Remarkable. So enjoy.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:09 AM  

I dunno. I really wanted to like this theme because as a concept it was decent, if a tad stale; however, moving right along that stale scale continuum, I found there were no brakes so I just slammed right into the end terminal Wall of Meh.
It's too bad, because I found the fill challenging and (necessarily, as it turns out) quite invigorating. What we have here is a semi-persuasive argument in favor of themeless puzzles, which makes me sad. 😭 I like themes. Just not this one.

The chores themselves are lackluster enough, but the coupling with their supposedly relevant professions kept hitting a sour note for me. I was just starved for the mercy of completion, which fortunately (paradoxically) was delayed by the superior fill. 

Overall, I'll have to go with a 👍 because of the fill. I didn't fly through this, which is its saving grace.

Now for some particular nits/questions:

Why do I think you'd have to be either a death-wish maniac or a fish to wanna CANOE in the ocean?? Seems like a boneheaded idea to me.

Here's something you rarely hear: "There's a problem in the Middle East." And that's where I had my sloggiest slog of a slog of sloggy slogs. (I'm looking at you, META.)

But wait! There's more!

Never heard of SILO used that way. Of course, "business speak" might as well be Sanskrit to me.

Not terribly knowledgeable about English traditional desserts, either. English cuisine is an oxymoron, and I'm all outta oxy.

When I move to Wisconsin, I'll make it a point to learn the names of my Senators and Representatives. Until then, just shut up with this type of clue.

RODEWAYINN? As far as motel names go, could that be any more obscure or off-putting? Is its parent company the Roach Motel? Is it just an answer to the question "how far did you take that tram into the mine?" "Oh, I RODEWAYINN. Seemed to get sidetracked on some kinda stale scale and that was all she wrote."

Yeah, I know – thankfully.





Roberto 12:16 AM  

So I have a question for Rex... If the puzzles in Sunday continue to be so poor why don't you stop doing them or blogging them until they get better??

egsforbreakfast 12:36 AM  

Unusually for me, I pretty much agree with Rex on this one. I think he slightly understated the relationship between chore and chore-performer. The last word of each chore provides at least a weak link to the performer:

Trash - Censor
Dishes - TV Tech
Floor - Security Guard (this one is uber weak)
Bank - Rower
Mail - Knight
Toys - Dog Walker (pretty weak)
Bills - NFL Owner ( applies to only one person in the universe, but o....k....)
Gutters - Bowling alley Employee

There is at least a tenuous connection in each case, but it’s not interesting, nor consistent, nor insightful. It’s just there.

Also,, in addition to seconding the fill comments o’ Rex, I would note that the title, Chores Galore, is awful given that chore is in every themer clue! The title is supposed to provide a twisted clue that just might inspire a helpful thought in those who pay attention to it. This one adds zilch to the solving experience. I’m not sure there would be a good title for this puzzle, but it should have been something more like “Relating to the Job”.

Swagomatic 1:38 AM  

This puzzle was not what I was hoping for. It's not as bad as a quote puzzle, but pretty bad.

chefwen 2:36 AM  

Didn’t hate it nearly as much as Rex, but I do have to agree with boring and somewhat trite. Chore for a knight, SORT THE MAIL and Chore for a NFL owner, PAY BILLS were O.K., but the rest were real groaners. Who didn’t want a PICK UP crap for the dog walker?

What’s with ROAST HAM for Christmas first of all it’s BAKED HAM and that’s Easter. Standing Rib Roast and Yorkshire Pud, now THAT screams Christmas.

Oh well, off to a new week.

MommaJ 3:00 AM  

Tates cookies are delicious! The brand began in a small bakery on Long Island, grew to be sold in gourmet shops and independent grocers in the Northeast, and now can be found in just about every majot supermarket chain. Sorry you've missed out on them, Rex. This was also the most original and modern element in this tired and irritating puzzle, and should be highlighted for that.

Pablo 4:22 AM  

If you need any proof this is an aged puzzle look no further than the clue for DANK. So much potential there. DANK memes. DANK weed. Speaking of, has anyone under 40 used POT to describe weed since the 00s? Strange choices here. A very doable but somewhat disappointing Sunday. My only true hangup was RedroofINN instead of RODEWAYINN and IdEalGAS instead of INERTGAS. Didn't hate it as much as Rex but I rarely do anyway.

ZenMonkey 4:58 AM  

I used to hate my middle name because it was so weird-looking. In my 20s I realized I loved it for that reason. So I, for one (and maybe only one), advocate the continued usage of ILENE in puzzles.

I feel like we *just* saw both HOSER and SODAPOP (“quaint,” I think it was) recently? But it’s 2am and I’m ON POT and can’t be bothered to check. I live in a legal state and yeah, people say “pot” as in “going to the pot shop,” but nobody except maybe cops says “ON POT.” Stoned, high, blazed, mellow (for the CBD users), etc. Otherwise known as a nice state in which to enjoy some mood music and mood lighting while doing the day’s puzzle.

Otto 5:51 AM  

I get that you may not have heard of it, but Rodeway Inn (note the spelling) is not regional in the slightest. There are Rodeway Inn's in every state and in Canada. They are cheap roadside places, usually near highway intersections. On the same level as Motel 6. Maybe $60 a night, type of cost.

It's simply a brand name used by the more general Choice Hotels chain, but it is not an uncommon sight in the slightest if you are driving the freeways anywhere in the US. Canada, maybe less so, but there's a few there. Anybody who has taken a road trip in the last 20 years has seen a sign for one.

Anonymous 6:19 AM  

This used to be a fun blog. Rex you’re becoming very tiresome. Notice how many awesome commenters have left.

Also Michael, you’re a privileged 50 year old white man.

Colin 6:30 AM  

Theme was fine. But I can't quite put my finger on why I didn't like the fill as much as usual. Rex and others pointed out some of the reasons, but there was just something that wasn't firing on all cylinders. I think part of it was all the names from pop culture: GARTH, WIIG, SIA, SURI, INIGO, WIIU, YEOH, URICH - yikes!

I have heard of the RODEWAYINN (even though it's not like I'm on the road ["rode?"] a lot), and an ocean CANOE is a real thing. And contrary to Rex, I liked "ATTHEOPERA" - not sure what the beef is, since it is "where Groucho, Chico and Harpo spent a night."

The constructor's name took me back to when I used to watch Sam Donaldson anchoring the ABC News.

mmorgan 6:45 AM  

Didn’t care for it very much, but it was super-easy — except for a personal Natick on the YEO_/_OSER cross. Could have been several letters there, and I guessed wrong.

Lewis 6:48 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:50 AM  

There are sophisticated several-level-deep misdirect clues, such as last year's ORCA-winning [Moves in for a short time] for DANCE CRAZE (Paolo Pasco and Erik Agard), and there are the simple one-level misdirects, of which there are many in today's puzzle -- and both kinds make my brain smile. (The ORCAs are annual crossword awards, actually chosen and reported on by today's constructor. You can Google "The 2019 ORCA Awards", it's terrific.)

Some of today's one-level beauties: [Current location] for SEA, [Math degree] for NTH, [It's south of Hollywood] for MIAMI, [Noble thing] for GAS, and [Air Force 1 maker] for NIKE. Not to mention every theme answer. Thank you Sam!

RoccoChaz 6:52 AM  

I’d very much prefer a Sunday theme that doesn’t remind me of all the things I should be doing instead of the crossword.

Melissa 6:52 AM  

Guess you’re not the designated grocery shopper in your household. You should try Tate’s.

Diver 7:28 AM  

Wow, another world class rant. But thanks for the link to Amy Reynaldo's blog. It saves me typing a few keystrokes.

GILL I. 7:41 AM  

This puzzle reminds me of my days as a greenhorn puzzle solver. I'd buy the NYT, stop at a deli, buy a sandwich and some SODA POP and find a shady tree in Central Park. I'd stay all day long. I'm betting most of those Sunday puzzles were from Sam...They used to give me the AGUE. Today, much older and wiser and with a better sense of humor and no sandwich, I filled in the blanks and then poured myself a stiff one.
Yes, Sam seems old school. Not in a bad way, more like for the older first timers. Gad, that sounds awful....
So I'm older and I rather enjoyed the memories.
@Rex..do you have Sprouts in your neck of the woods? If so, do yourself a favor and go buy some TATE'S. The chocolate are my favorite.
OK so my first entry is IGLESIAS. Waaah. I wanted "Oye Como Va" Tito Puente. HIs papacito, Julio, had to come to the USofA to earn his pesetas because not one single Spaniard would ever listen to him. Jr. seemed to have done ok here. He's cute and I guess became NUMER UNO with the screamy mimi teens.
Jeepers Creepers where'd you get those PEEPERS kinda says it for me on this very hot Sunday morning.

pabloinnh 7:43 AM  

Pro tip:

Back when we used to go places on airplanes, and leave from Logan Airport in Boston, we often stayed at the Rodeway Inn in Revere MA. Inexpensive and they have a free shuttle to the airport which leaves early. Also they let you leave your car there with, if I remember correctly, no charge. All this may have changed, since we never go anywhere any more.

We live in ski country and used to go skiing fairly often when people did such things and I have never, ever heard anyone say something like "Let's go ski the STEEPS.". Just no.

Also no on TATES, but we don't buy many cookies from stores.

Do folks really find crosswords to be "boring"? Not a word I'd use--"too easy", maybe, "over too soon", sometimes, but not boring.

Solid Sunday, Mr. D. Serviceable.

ArtO 7:44 AM  

I get the Times delivered even day and the Sunday magazine section comes on Saturday with several other sections. Found myself working on the puzzle over lunch yesterday and precisely when I am munching on one those delicious Tates cookies I come across 18D.

Sorry for Rex he's never had the pleasure of or even heard of Tates. Doesn't know what he's been missing.

ChuckD 7:49 AM  

The virtue signalling is thick with Rex today - it must be quite the burden as a middle aged white guy to blindly rail on middle aged white guy constructors and give a pass to all others. Don’t get me wrong - this puzzle was rough and totally unenjoyable - but critique the puzzle not the constructor’s gender or race.

I’m on Rex’s side of this issue - but his irrational whiny rants do nothing for the cause.

Joaquin 7:55 AM  

@Rex says he has never heard of ROADWAY (Sic) INNs. Either he doesn't get out much or all his travel is on the back roads. Rodeway Inns are ubiquitous on main highways. They're fairly basic so to enhance your stay at one, bring a bag of TATES to have in the room.

pmdm 8:05 AM  

Having little interest in speed solving, I methodically go through all the clues ito start my solve. It's rare, but on some days I get through the clues and don't feel like continuing. Usually, it's because the number of PPP clues puts me off. That happened to me yesterday with this puzzle. Usually I do continue, as I did with this puzzle. I warmed to this puzzle because I actually enjoyed solving the theme clues. But over all, the fill turned me off a bit too much. I certainly think the puzzle does not deserve a nagative rant, and I do think it deserves a bit of a grumble.

I've done a lot of traveling by car between NYC and Chicago or San Diego and don't remember seeing a Rodeway Inn. Perhaps they are overwhelmed by the numbers of Best Westerns, Holiday Inns, and so forth. Perhaps they need a higher profile in the advertising world. Don't know.

albatross shell 8:25 AM  

Never heard of TATES, but I live with a cookie nut, so I'll check the shelves of the 3 major chains near me.

I, like the puzzle, skew old. Maybe that is why I enjoyed trying to get the chores with as few crosses as possible. Could it be a chore for a rower to go to the bank? Maybe the bank is muddy or rocky. Maybe she forgot her water bottle. Chores are not difficult. Just something you have to do. Maybe the chore was driving to the bank to do your rowing. Rex is swatting at miniscule gnats with a sledge hammer of anger. I liked that the NFL clue applied to one owner only as a pun, but all owners as a fact. I appreciated that all answers were household chores and in the same tense and had a "the".

Not a great or snazzy puzzle. Not new and flashy. But I agree with Lewis that the clues had a bit-o-snark to them. Faves were NUMEROUNO HERESHOW.

Rex does, as do many here, too much of Ineverheardofitsoitsbad. But the crosses were good here. MIRO JEMIMA, YEOH HOSER are about as close as you can find to Natick territory. Maybe that's why HOSER has been around: good editing to avoid naitcks for everyday solvers. Hmm. Have to notice how often the repeating answers serve that function.

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

When it comes to the themers, SWEEP the floors is an outlier because it is the verb that has the double meaning, whereas in every other themer it is the noun.

As for pick up the TOYS, the noun has the double meaning, but it is an ultra-weak double meaning, far more so than BANK. A rower might refer to rowing to the far bank, but when has a dog walker ever talked about picking up the toy[terrier or poodle]s?

Pamela 8:39 AM  

The best thing about this puzzle was Tate’s cookies. Kathleen King started baking chocolate chip cookies for her father’s farm in Southampton at age 12, Kathleen’s Cookies, and they’re the best I’ve ever had- crisp on the outside, yummy soft on the inside, not to sweet or doughy. At some point she lost the original name to a big time distributor that wanted to change the ingredients. Her father helped her through all the legal stuff, and in gratitude she called the brand Tate’s, his nickname from when it was a potato farm. Once, in line somewhere, I heard it pronounced Tat-Ay’s. I can’t keep them in the house, because I can’t stop eating them until they’re gone.

Great theme idea today, too bad it wasn’t more fun. It fell kind of flat for me after the TRASH and the DISHES. The others didn’t click so well. More Oh, I guess so. Sorta.
I remember the Noble gas lesson from earlier this week- amazing how much there is to be learned from puzzling! Never heard of the STEEPS in my skiing days- just how old it this term?! I started with moguls. Lots of misdirection kept thing moving slowly, but move they did.

Now off to read the rest of you, then SB.

Hungry Mother 8:41 AM  

BEaTS, BElTs, BESTS took me a while. Started OK and then it just became a slogfest with way too many names to sort through. A good challenge for constructors: how about some puzzles with zero proper names? Too hard for you?

William of Ockham 8:42 AM  

Sunday Chores, Indeed

Joaquin 8:50 AM  

@ChuckD (7:49) said, "I’m on Rex’s side of this issue - but his irrational whiny rants do nothing for the cause."

One of my favorite quotes is from violinist Jascha Heifetz: "No matter what side of an argument you're on, you always find some people on your side that you wish were on the other side.”

TTrimble 8:51 AM  

I agree that the puzzle was mostly meh and easy, although I got somewhat stuck not knowing some PPP like RODEWAY INN (gah! hate that spelling!) and NIKE and SCARRY. [Had NIBBLESat before NIBBLES ON and in conjunction with "Nasa" instead of NIKE, I really screwed myself up for a goodly while.] I still for the life of me don't get the cluing for PICK UP THE TOYS. Is 'toys' supposed to be cutesy for poopies? How weird would that be? (Calls to mind the SNL skit Litter Critters.)

Today I learned that an ocean CANOE is a thing. Who knew? (besides Colin -- thanks!)

ROAST HAM: might that be more a British expression for what we in the US usually called baked ham? Googling shows anyway that it's attested usage.

Responses to Rex's splenetic spluttering: I'll join the chorus and say that Tate's cookies are pretty delightful. Rex, you'll easily find them in the cookie aisle of your local supermarket. Try it!

I can't see what is so terrible about AT THE OPERA. The cluing seems to be utterly standard fare, and fair.

TAKE OUT THE TRASH -- eh, I'll grant it's a bit clunky, but if trash is what issues from a trash mouth... it's passable I think.

Oh, and relax Rex about JEMIMA. It's not like the name has gone the way of "Adolf". For example, Jemima Kirke is a (white) actress. In Hebrew, "Jemima" means "dove".

Spatenau 8:51 AM  

What might cut down on the rampant Ineverheardofitsoit'sbadism here is a little thing called Google. I just typed in "ski the steeps" into the search box and lo and behold IT IS INDEED A THING. Who woulda thunk?

CarmelKevin 8:53 AM  

Rex, you’ve lost sight of what these are. They are puzzles, they’re games. They are designed to appeal to a very wide audience as a way to give them a light hearted challenge. They are not published for professional solvers.

To the other commenters, thank you for your write-ups. It’s much more enjoyable to read about an average JOE’s solving experience.

Average Joe 9:02 AM  

Jemima is a perfectly lovely name.
Reviews that are whiny or snarky can be entertaining but the racist remarks aimed at white people are just as offensive as denigrating other races.

John 9:02 AM  

This puzzle sucked as much as crispy cookies. The best cookies are chewy. I will die on this hill.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Everything seems to be bad if Rex has not heard of it. Also, maybe he would like the puzzles better if he drank after solving. Just a thought.

turboted 9:07 AM  

Hey Rex...
You may be a word master, but when it comes to grammar, it's back to elementary school for you. Hopefully, with some care, you'll be able to spot the glaring error in your sentence: "But overall, the craftsmanship and wit on display here is Remarkable." (Hint... it's not the upper case R, which I assume is on purpose.)

TJS 9:14 AM  

Here we go again: "dad-pun stuff", "suburban mom","white-guys type", apparently are terms associated with "tepid,weak,anodyne and absolutely soul-sucking". Those f-ing suburban moms of 1957 ! Who knew?

Thank God the recent protests eliminated "Jemima" references. Where did this occur, Rex. On your campus?

Puzzle sucked, but Sundays almost always do.

RooMonster 9:19 AM  

Hey All !
Guess what I had today? *Holds trophy up high* Yep, my one-letter DNF. Argh! Happened at ADS/HIDEF. Started as HI-rEs, but once I finally figured out FLOOR of 42A, HI-rEF didn't register as wrong to the ole brain, and ArS was acceptable as an answer for ADS. Wanted Art there first. Dang.

But thought puz was fun. Sorta kinda puns. Real things clued with real jobs, by turns out wackily.

WIIU crossing WIIG. And Robert URICH. Man, name from the past. Very famous at one point, but now he's a "who?" It was a good TV show.

NO TAX - e-Bay started charging TAX. Bastards. You go there to get cheap-ish stuff. (Well, sometimes) Now you have to pay tax. I blame the government. They're the ones who get it. ADMIT IT government! Har.

38 minutes, pretty good. RUNS AMOK, one might say. Not POOR AT this puz. (Well, except that one-letter DNF) Out I GO, as opposed to IN-I-GO.

One F (in a themer)(only one in a SunPuzGrid, ouch)

kitshef 9:20 AM  

Must say that TATES are delicious.

For no good reason I think of the “puzzle week” as being Monday-Sunday. This has been a very good week, but I did not enjoy the finale. Too much SURI and ILENE and ELIM and SCARRY an UDO and NOE and WIIU and STEEPS for the decent theme to overcome.

In particular, why would you ever use that clue for STEEPS? Slang no one uses, when there is a perfectly acceptable definition that people do use?

And then there is UNC next to TSU. One of those can be forgiven if you are desperate. Both, and side-by-side? Never.

And now I need to go and sort the mail, so I won’t be able to check back for a while.

Nancy 9:31 AM  

("Oh, please, please don't be JEMIMA," I thought, as it was coming in. "That's all anyone on two different blogs are going to talk about. And what a bore that will be!")

I thought this was a cute puzzle -- very easy until it wasn't. I always say SUMA when I should say SUMO, meaning I had aN-NESS crossing ROD-WAY INN, meaning I had no idea what the crossing letter was. I guessed RODEWAY INN (I've only heard of the RAMADA INN), but that still left me with that Great Zen Principle aNENESS!

Other mistakes did get corrected. IrENE before ILENE left me with PAY THE -IRLS and I was wondering whether the GIRLS who were being paid by the NFL owner (114A) were cheerleaders.

Also had NIBBLES AT before NIBBLES ON, meaning that because of the lead-off "T" at 81D, I wanted TAPS before NEWS for the 6:00 broadcast. Problem was: the 6:00 a.m. broadcast is called REVEILLE (sp?).

And then there was WIII before WIIU at 43D (I won't take the blame for this, I blame the absurd WIIU instead!) giving me NIMEROUNO for the person to watch out for. Who on earth was he???

I feel as though I had more problems today than most of the rest of you had:)

JD 9:36 AM  

Sundays I go A and D on a puzzle twice and by then know if I'll want to keep going. Here, I didn't. But that's more on me than the puzzle.

Got the theme almost immediately but after the second pass, didn't want to work for the things I didn't know. Can't describe what it is about a Sunday grid that eggs me on but this didn't have it.

Looking back, see a lot of good in the themers and fill. But Clean The Gutters? They actually have to do that at a bowling alley. I mean, you wouldn't dust the floors and skip the gutters.

PS, Keebler eleves must've been in the tree sobbing when Tates came out. They're for-real chocolate chip cookies.

Phaedrus 9:45 AM  

@ John. I’m with you..crispy cookies suck.

Replace “white” in Rex’s childish rant of “written-by-a-million-white-guys” with black, indian, muslim, etc and good ol’ Rex would melt down due to the racism. It must suck to hate yourself so much.

sf27shirley 9:51 AM  

Second that!

Sgreennyc 9:52 AM  

Rex’s blog is like Trump’s tweets. Will Shortz is his Obama. Face it Rex, you will never be the NYT puzzle editor.

Nancy 9:56 AM  

You have to (if you live on the East Coast) stay up all night to beat @Frantic Sloth in getting to the blog. How often is she the first one there? But Great Minds think alike. When I saw the OCEAN/CANOE thing, I had the same reaction she did: What complete idiot is going to take a canoe out on the ocean???!!!"

Except I neglected to put it in my comment. I was too busy cataloging all the mistakes I made and almost made today. Now I see from other commenters that an ocean canoe is actually a Thing. Well, it may be your thing, but it's surely not mine. @Frantic and I plan to stay safely on shore while others risk life and limb.

glennkenny 9:57 AM  

Breezes through this despite the grimness and I did think rather often: “Rex is going to hate this, and I can see why.”

Matilda 10:02 AM  

I liked this puzzle. Good not great, but Rex’s racist attitude is wearisome.

Hartley70 10:14 AM  

Since RODEWAYINN must be a brand name, I get it, but since I’ve never come across one, the RODE looked wrong and annoying. Otherwise it was easy, but the number of short answers kept my time average. I thought the themers and their clues were cute. Enjoyable Sunday puzzle for the beach goers. I wish I was one of them, on a deserted beach of course.

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

Like many, I’ve had a lot more time on my hands for the past few months than usual. Solving the NYTXW and reading this blog are among the ways I’ve been able to fill the days. What I enjoy is the feeling of being part of a community who shares my passion for puzzles. It’s cool to find out that others have struggled with the same things as I have. I also appreciate the “ah ha” moments when I finally figure out something that has stumped me (like 97A “toys” meaning those tiny dogs and not dog toys, which was making me feel like “Am I supposed to be giving my Dog Walker toys for my dog, too?”). It makes me sad when people complain about Rex’s rants. With so many bigger things going on right now, why can’t we all just respect each other’s right to an opinion? We all know how Rex feels and what he’s likely to say. If you don’t like it then don’t read the blog. Why give yourselves another reason to be frustrated and angry right now?

PS - Thanks to all the Tates lovers today. I’d never heard of them, but looks like I can buy a bag on Amazon (tax free ��) to give them a try.

OxfordBleu 10:20 AM  

Someone should start a blog about how tedious, stale, repetitive and just plain inane Rex’s rants have become. Reductio ad absurdum.

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

Ladies and gentleman this is the epitome of an FOR-Friend of Rex-review. He doesn’t like the constructor so he trashes it. Then tags his screed with. Plug for his pals, dismissing the mildly cringe-worthy answers that would get a. On friend crucified. You do Rex.

Sluggo 10:23 AM  

Man, I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels the way I do about Rex's blogs. I come here less and less (not that I was a big poster anyway), and when I do, it's to read the masses comments more than Rex's. And I usually come here when I see an answer that doesn't seem quite right to me and look if others saw the same.

Anyhow... aren't all tournaments ELIMination? Otherwise if no one was eliminated, everyone would still be left at the end. There's single-elimination and double-elimination formats, but I don't see ELIMination as a "tourney format."

Teedmn 10:29 AM  

Great Sunday theme - every one rang true for me. My least favorite was PAY THE BILLS because it was specific to the one team, but the rest were great. GO TO THE BANK took a bit of thinking for me to see the BANK of oars, nice!

Thanks, Mr. Donaldson.

Hungry Mother 10:51 AM  

@Nancy: I ran another virtual race this morning, a 5K. A virtual race is one that has a specified distance and a specified span of time to be completed, but not a specific course. I usually run my virtual races in my neighborhood. The particular race that I ran had to be completed between 12am Saturday and 12am Monday. Participants have to use a GPS device to record their distance and time. They can take a photo of the GPS or enter it into the Strava app and submit it from there. It try to start running virtual races at 5:30am in order to avoid any other pedestrians. I carry a mask, but don’t wear it unless close to others. I the group I run with at the Delaware shore, we submit our statistics to the race director, who figures out the age group and overall winners. We also have a Zoom awards ceremony at which submitted selfies are used in a collage video. It’s not the same as live races, but fun anyway.

CBCD 10:52 AM  

Sluggo - In round robin tournaments, every contestant plays every other contestant in the same flight. Then the winners of each flight play each other.

Retired Cop 10:59 AM  

King of CrossWorld,
Re your blog on NYT Friday puzzle, 6-5-20, (we get the daily puzzles weeks later, Sunday 2 weeks later);let me quote you from that blog:
"a morally rotten and sadistic police culture is currently gleefully bludgeoning unarmed people all over the country".
Sounds horrific. Thankfully that isn't happening. You don't know what you are talking about. You started the blog with:
"Having trouble concentrating on the details of the puzzle tonight . . . but I'll see what I can do.
Yes, please soldier on with your puzzle duties. These are troubling times. Maybe you can do something positive - have a drink, do a puzzle and complain. From the comfort of your home.
I worked 30 years in a large city within the DFW metroplex. I'm a female, white, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant. My department is multi-racial. My city is multi-racial, multi-cultural, and includes the poorest up to and including the richest. Honestly, the rich white people were the only ones whose heads I ever wanted to bludgeon.
I don't know why you invoke politics into a puzzle blog. But it is your blog. I've winced at many of your comments, but this tore it. We'll see if you allow this to go through. You make political comments, you open the door.
My husband is retired police, our sons each served in the military. Our fathers served. Our grandfathers served. We are a patriotic family.
Your inflammatory words hit me like I was kicked in the stomach. And I do know how that feels.
Now, sadly, we've lost two more officers killed in an ambush in McAllen, Texas. And another idiot up north lost his life after shooting at the police.
You need to do a ride-a-long with a patrol officer in your town. Go on evenings or deep nights. More action.
You beat everything, you know that?

Nancy 11:02 AM  

@Sluggo -- Why stop coming to the blog if you enjoy it? Why cut off your nose to spite your face? Just don't read Rex. There's no Blog Entrance Quiz on what he said that day in order to get on the blog. No one ever need know. It's a mystery to me why so many people who are made so angry and/or unhappy by his comments continue to read him every single day. But you should know that a good number of us don't. Never do, in fact.

Ali 11:03 AM  

I thought it was boring and stuffy and was pretty sure I knew what I was in for reading the head note - so from here on in no longer reading the bio — though it should have clues me in that the answer to “baked” would be “on pot”. Though I did learn that Ague also means bad fit, I thought it was a symptom of the flu- achy etc.

Tate’s are delicious and I’m glad they are getting some recognition .

pabloinnh 11:05 AM  

@John, @Phaedrus-Of course you're both right about crispy cookies. All cookies should be chewy, even ginger snaps.

He dicho.

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

Meh. His blog. If he wants to be a petulant virtue signaler I say have at it. No one is forced to read it. Love Tate’s chocolate chip cookies.

kitshef 11:08 AM  

@Frantic SLoth and @Nancy - you ever see those montage shots of Hawaii with people paddling those big boats with the oversized paddles? Those are ocean canoes. Incredibly, the Polynesians reached everywhere from Hawaii to New Zealand to Easter island in those things.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

please let me print the NYTimes 7-12-2020 Sunday crossword puzzle by Rex Parker so that my wife can complete the NYTimes puzzle for 7-12-2020 Petertimber@msn.com

Ken Freeland 11:21 AM  

You go, guy! PPP and naticks galore. Super-slog.

Old white guy in Idaho 11:25 AM  

Couple of Tate’s endcaps at my local Albertsons... May have to try them... later. The Pepperidge Farms are still on sale. 4/$10.
I actually enjoyed the puzzle today.

CBCD 11:28 AM  

In round robin tournaments all contestants in a given flight play all the other contestants in that flight. Then the winners of each flight play each other.

Lindsay 11:51 AM  

I'm going to channel @Lewis to note that this is a good puzzle for a newer Sunday solver. And then again to note my delight to see one of my favorite actors, Kristen WIIG not only in the puzzle, but right below IGLESIAS, whose wife she pretended to be for a hot minute in the brilliant movie 'Bridesmaids'.

puzzlehoarder 12:00 PM  

Always sad to see someone younger than yourself putting out a dad puzzle. I was tempted to stop solving this puzzle and get to all the chores it was reminding of when "Baked" turned out to be ONPOT. My reward for sticking it out to the end was sorting out the more obscure fill. Most notably I had to change NIBBLESAT to NIBBLESON. Like @Nancy I briefly found myself trying to make TAPS work at 81D

Over all this was still a very poor use of time on a beautiful Sunday morning.

Leslie 12:06 PM  

I normally don't care or notice the male/female skewing of crossword clues and answers, but since recent discussions, I decided to make a list today, just for the heck of it. Look at today's puzzle: I was half-way through when I counted 11 male references and three female, if you count the duck. At the end, this is what we had: 19 male-based clues and answers, from gods to average Joes, poets, actors, famous writers, scientists, senators, the whole gamut. For female we had 8: 6 actress/singers, a duck, and a mythological lover/queen. That does seem a bit skewed to me. But that's the way the world whirls. Stay well.

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

I liked this one. Cute theme. Last answer was the u in Holmes/ Cruise daughter name. Thought it was Siri. So sie me. @Reired Cop: Amen sister. Largely as a result of Michael Sharp and other middle aged white folks sowing discord our cities are burning. Shootings and killings have spiked. Guess who is dying ? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not middle aged white folks. I don’t know how they live with themselves.

thefogman 12:15 PM  

Chores Galore? That about sums up the unpleasant experience of solving this one. Rex is right the legendary NYTXW can and should be better. Pity the current editor does not think so.

Paulus Johannes 12:15 PM  

I started skiing 60 years ago (stopped about two years ago for a variety of reasons), long enough ago that my first boots were leather with laces, similar to hiking boots but much stiffer. The bindings were ‘rat-trap’ style and the skis were all wood. Anyway, to my point…the highlight and challenge of any weekend was doing the steeps, at least amongst the bums I hung around with.

Birchbark 12:21 PM  

These aw-shucks EINSTEIN quotes start to chafe.

I mowed the lawn [chore for a Stooge portraying a horror-movie actor] and filled the bird feeders [chore for a concession-stand owner at an aviary] on this beautiful, warm summer morning. Fortunately, I am better at doing my chores than I am at cluing them.

Melissa 12:32 PM  

I do too. It’s because the puzzles start easy on Monday, and culminate with the Sunday special puzzle.

Masked and Anonymous 12:33 PM  

Liked it. Humorous twist theme was helpful in solvequest, but U still had to "think like them", to solve each themer.

staff weeject pick: UDO. Better clue = {How to make sure to get the job performed the way U want??}.

Cute IOU clue.

Thanx, Mr. Donaldson.

Masked & Anonymo11Us


jae 12:41 PM  

Easy-medium. Liked it a a tad more than @Rex did.

TATE’S - Delicious!

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

Don’t read Huck Finn. Almost no women. Or watch Lawrence of Arabia. Nary a chick. Best to skip Renaissance painters too. So few hang, well, anywhere. Don’t get me started on baroque composers. Cover your ears so you’re not bombarded by lol those male meanies.

JC66 1:01 PM  

@Paulus Johannes

Started skiing around the same time you did...Wooden boots, Leather skis 😂 and also skied the STEEPS with my pals.

KnittyContessa 1:06 PM  

Rex's post and this blog were much more enjoyable than the puzzle.

I'm going back in the archives for a 1994 Sunday.

Pamela 1:08 PM  

Nice to see so many Tate’s lovers here. I remember how proud Tate was at his daughter’s success when she bought the building in Southampton Village. For the crispy cookie lovers, here’s what’s so special: they are chewy. The crispness is at the edge, where the taste almost seems caramelized, but the cookie itself has the most wonderful texture- not brittle at all. And chewy- did I mention chewy?

I read Rex. Lately he’s seemed quite mellow, ever since Archie arrived, I think. Today’s the first real screed I’ve seen for a while. Or at least, that’s what I seem to remember. Anyway, sometimes I agree with him, sometimes I roll my eyes and shake my head, But that doesn’t bother me as much as the daily news, and I move on, But that’s just me. We’re all free to do as we please.

Nancy 1:18 PM  

NomnaJ- I agree with you on the Tates Cookies! My husband is addicted to them. Our kids always get them for him for birthdays , xmas, because it’s a Tuesday... just because he loves them !

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

Skimmed through these comments, and din't note.

GO TO THE BANK is what a slave did in a BC/AD galley: the most common name for such is trireme, three vertical BANKs of oars port and starboard (did the Egyptians and Romans say that?) with a man shackled to each.

TTrimble 1:31 PM  

Many thanks for additional information from commenters. For example, @kitshef for reminding about traveling by boat through Polynesia. And I'm prepared to thank Anonymous 10:19 as well, but I'm still not sure I get it. So if I understand correctly, "toys" is in the sense of e.g. "toy poodles". But isn't walking the (toy) dogs nullified by the act of picking them up? (Sorry if I'm being really dense here. I sometimes wonder if I'm on the spectrum, seeing as how I often interpret things so literally.)

Not to belabor the point, but there are lots of ways of running tournaments. The round robin has already been mentioned. In chess tournaments, it's quite typical to have a number of rounds (say seven) where the pairings are random in the first round, but in subsequent rounds each person is paired against someone who has the same number of points up to that stage (according to 1 = win, 0 = loss, 1/2 = draw).

bauskern 1:40 PM  

TATES cookies are good, but nothing beats homemade, maybe a half hour out of the oven.
Rex, from one white guy to another, give it a rest. Maybe let some of your friends take over for a week or two while you catch up on your rest/sleep, and you'll (hopefully) come back in a better mood.

Unknown 1:47 PM  

Very annoying puzzle. Terrible fill.

Queenoid 1:52 PM  

I would like to put in one little defense. Calling tough terrain “the steeps” is valid.

Frantic Sloth 1:54 PM  

@kitshef 1108am Of course, you're right. Ocean canoes do exist and used properly by practiced masters of that activity should have at it. I might even (in my much younger/thinner/dumber days) have joined them.

But, as for now, @Nancy(with an avatar) and I can sit on the shore, munching on TATES cookies while gleefully watching certain Anonymice acting all Polynesian and stuff with success equal to the appreciation for their comments.

As for the anti-Rexxers, I have something to say.
Warning: Falling Rant Ahead (not for the overly sensitive or weak-minded or anyone with an aversion to self-righteous snit fits)

If his opinions bother you so much, how about taking a page out of @Nancy's (et.al.) book and don't read him? Your very comments don't decry his writing as much as they echo it. Sure, you can fight fire with fire, but water or, I don't know, not immersing yourself in it would actually work.
As has been said many, many, many times before, it is his blog and he can say whatever the flip he wants. Furthermore, his writing is about his personal solving experience and owes you nothing in the way of a balanced or 100% enjoyable or uncontroversial (let alone purely objective) review.

Rail on if you must, as is your right. As for me, I'm more bothered by these types of comments than anything Rex writes, whether I agree with him or not.* So, from now on, I'm going to take my own advice and skip to my "loo" whenever I get a whiff of this particular odor.

Frantic "Rantsy-Pants" Sloth

*And for the record, I usually don't.

Sartresky 1:59 PM  

Thank you thank you thank you.

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

may be we should convene a Constitutional Convention of the Never Rexer Country? what should be in the first few Articles? say, the first 3.

LorrieJJ 2:08 PM  

Did anyone else put down "pick up the turds" at 97a?

Frantic Sloth 2:10 PM  

Yeah, that second "sentence" of mine makes no sense, but you get the gist. I probably forgot what I was going to say between the time I started it and don't forget the strawberries!

JD 2:30 PM  

@Frantic 1:54, ya scooped me twice today (Rodeway Inn, first). I was going to seriously suggest that a tab be added to the site: (Don't Bother Saying) listing all the anti-rexer rants. You drafted material for the intro paragraph.

Actually, you could number each typical rant and ask people to just cite the rant they'd like to apply as a reference.

jberg 2:36 PM  

Where I disagree with Rex is with his belief that a puzzle should primarily be funny. I'm all for funny, but I want it mainly to be puzzling. If it's hard to figure out, but I finally succeed, it's a great puzzle IMO.

This one wasn't hard -- but it was fun to figure out the theme answers. And to all those bemoaning JEMIMA Puddleduck, I was grateful as she gave me my entry to the puzzle. (@TJS, you really should read Rex before you complain about him; what he actually says is that "the racist caricature of a syrup mascot has been thrown overboard in the wake of BLM protests this summer..." Jemima has not been eliminated from the puzzle, but she has been dropped from the Quaker Oats brand name lineup -- see this story.

If you're not paying the tax on a taxable item you buy online, you're guilty of tax evasion. Almost all online retailers now charge taxes where due.

I've never heard an elimination tournament called that -- only "knockout" tournament.

I guess it's the NYT, so it's OK; city limits signs out here do say ESTD. But in the Midwest, where I grew up, they say POP; and if you get out toward the mountains they start to say ELEV or ALT. One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons ever showed a sign that gave all three figures, they added them up and gave the total.

And just for the record, it wasn't Rex and his friends that caused the worldwide protests; it was that cop who knelt on George Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 44 seconds.

Joe Dipinto 2:53 PM  

I just finished a bag of Tates oatmeal raisin cookies earlier. Must get more.

If you like clues with ick potential, read 31a in the Diagramless.

Unknown 3:06 PM  

Can anyone explain to me why this man is just so over the top nasty and unhappy?

Anonymoose 3:10 PM  

@John 9:02. Chewy cookies are akin to wet cardboard.

Conibral 3:15 PM  

Yes! Yes! Yes! Are we cancelling Beatrix Potter now?

Anonymous 3:21 PM  

I wonder what Rex REALLY thinks about this puzzle.

p.s. Just for the record, 46 D. seemed a little too
relevant for the Sunday puzzle.


Brother Campion Lally 3:23 PM  

I agree Tate’s Cookies are crisp and delicious.

pabloinnh 3:41 PM  

@Paulus @JC66-

You guys had real leather boots? With laces? And real wooden skis? Barrel staves with a strap and galoshes for me. Probably why I never skied the steeps.

Carola 3:43 PM  

Medium for me, the puzzle being made more difficult by 1) my Sunday Solving Rule (work only from the first cross I get (JEMIMA x JOE), no skipping around, no peeking ahead) and 2) some tough cluing.. I enjoyed trying to figure out the various CHORES. My favorite was SORT THE MAIL, which led me to ponder such questions as, why is this a chore for a knight, rather than a page or vassal? Too important to entrust to a possibly careless minion? How many piles? Two? Back to the blacksmith and reuse as is? I also got a smile out of SWEEP THE FLOOR, as it reminded me of my dad's relating to me years ago that he'd happened on a good stock of a drugstore item he always had trouble finding and "swept the shelves." My then kindergarten-age daughter was listening and I could see the ??? popping up over her head ("Grandpa took a broom to the drugstore?).

For those who like TATE'S cookies and also like to bake - I became aware of the brand through this recipe for Tate's-style chocolate chip cookies.

Joe Dipinto 3:44 PM  

The family of one woman who portrayed Aunt Jemima isn't totally happy with Quaker Oats' decision, here.

And the beat goes on...

JC66 3:50 PM  


Because the knight wears armor (MAIL) and the page and vassal don't.

What? 3:52 PM  

Agree with Rex (I read him to get my blood flowing). The theme fills are awful- stretchy and mostly nonsensical. So how did I finish? What’s that, COVid?

Anonymous 3:57 PM  

Referring pejoratively to a class of people based on their race is racist. But I guess it's OK because it's a reference to white people?

old timer 3:59 PM  

Tough, doable, and a slog. Not a lot to delight, though I thought the theme was amusing.

Gotta say, no sane person takes any kind of canoe into the ocean. Ocean *kayaking* is different. Kayaks are designed for ocean travel, and were invented by seagoing native Alaskans. My oldest daughter took a monthslong NOLS course that featured ocean kayaking as well as hiking. It was in Patagonian Chile, and a cousin and I spent a memorable week in that country, finally meeting her in Puerto Montt. She loved the trip. Her expedition clothes were pretty stinky at the end, though they had been hand-washed in fresh cold water once they were on land.

My favorite place, where she had not gone, was the Isla Grande de Chiloe, which you can reach by car ferry from Puerto Montt. Worth the entire voyage just to be there. I think her favorite place was the rather luxe small hotel we stayed at in Santiago. And her favorite restaurant was a place where she could eat fish someone else had cooked.

Birchbark 4:11 PM  

@Carola (3:43) -- I picture the old knight in quarantine, finally getting to the less-used closets, reminiscing, deciding what to keep and what to toss. He probably asks the same question you do. But with the vassals working from home, and himself with the time and inclination to do it himself, it's just how it is (cf. M&A(12:33) interpretation of UDO).

@jberg (2:36) -- On your view of a great puzzle: I just finished one from the Archives (Saturday, July 30, 2005, by Sherry O. Blackard), and immediately thought of your comment. It's a four-quadrant grid that took about twice a normal Saturday's time. The southern half, and especially southeast, were very challenging -- and rewarding when finally done.

Nothing shooting for clever, not a zinger in the house. A couple of modest misdirects and a bunch of straight on fair clues -- solid and clean. And, after the struggle, it felt way better than average to get the "Congratulations" music.

George 4:16 PM  

Rex, do yourself a favor and stop whatever it is you are doing right now, drive to the grocery store and buy yourself two bags of TATES cookies, one for yourself and one to share with your family.

kitshef 4:19 PM  

@M&A - we need some help on today's runt.

Paulus Johannes 4:21 PM  

@pabloinnh You aren’t that guy we hung up by his britches on the low pine tree branch are you?

Rube 4:25 PM  

What Sartresky said....

pabloinnh 5:10 PM  

@Paulus Johannes-Possibly. Do you remember what color barrel staves he had?

Terry 5:15 PM  

It’s so typical of the systemic racism in this country that Aunt Jemima gets fired while Betty Crocker gets promoted.

Frantic Sloth 5:17 PM  

@JD Love the idea of the separate tab for anti-Rex rants. It can even be set up cafeteria-style so those inclined could pick and choose which "Rex Rut-Rohs" they want to cite each time they feel like regurgitating the usual cud comments.

Nah. That's too much work. Your pick-a-number from pre-loaded comments idea is much better.

Sorry about stealing your RODEWAY thunder, but you've outright copied me before without so much as a how-do-you-do, so why stop now? 😉

burtonkd 5:25 PM  

@Nancy, you actually stumbled on something. You could look up the owner of the New England Patriots and which GIRL he was paying (not a cheerleader).

Unknown 5:29 PM  

I liked it

GILL I. 5:35 PM  

@pablito from nh....@Jc66 had wooden boots and leather skis....I'm guessing he spent most of his time in the ski lodge with a fine brandy. I've tried leather skis on the "Bola" outside of Madrid....I, too, ended up drinking Fundador.
@Frantic...(sigh)...good luck with trying to get the COSTANT "@Rex get a life" rant folks. I read him every day. He makes me laugh, sigh, shrug my shoulders. The best part is trying to figuring out if he'll love or hate a puzzle. Then I pick out a word that I'm sure he'll say is too "white." Then I pick out another word that he equates with racism. Try it...it can be fun. I think out friend @Joe Dip has him down pat.
@Pamela...Get yourself an avatar. Your stories are so interesting. A little picture so that we can pick you out of the line up. ;-)

Pamela 5:35 PM  

@Frantic- Love your rant. I would have said that but I didn’t have the nerve.

GILL I. 5:44 PM  

@pablitonh...@JC66 said he had wooden boots and leather skis. I'm pretty sure he might've ended up at the ski lodge sipping some fine brandy. I know I did...hugged me a lot of Fundador in my day after skiing down the "Bola" on my fanny.
@Frantic. (sigh)....good luck getting the CONSTANT "@Rex get a life" people to cease and desist. Unlike @Nancy, I always read him. I play a guessing game: He will like this/hate this. He will find a word that is racist. There are not enough women. This reeks of white privilege. I love my cat. Try it...it's fun.

Carola 5:45 PM  

@Birchbark, I love the image, with individual hauberks and coifs recalling memorable quests, dragon encounters...
@JC66, thank you for responding!

GILL I. 6:19 PM  

Well dang...Blogger told me to refresh and try again. I figured I got lost in the nether world. Sorry for two posts..... I need some wheaties.

chefwen 6:21 PM  

@GILL I, you’re stuttering.

Frantic Sloth 6:25 PM  

@GILL I. 535pm & 544pm 😂😂😂 How did I completely miss @JC66's ski-wear??
Yeah, I know I'm whistling in the wind, but every once in a while, when it seems like there is an overabundance of these comments, I can't help myself. Like you, I mostly enjoy Rex and find him really funny much of the time, but we don't usually have the same take on the puzzle. Alfie can stick around as much as he likes as far as I'm concerned. 😊 Was it @JoeD who did a spot-on Review à la Rex recently? I remember it was hilarious, but I don't remember whether he was the author.

Totally agree with you about that @Pamela chick. An avatar definitely helps us in the guard tower with the search light.

@Pamela Thank you and see above. 😊

Anonymous 6:28 PM  

I think Rex was way too harsh here. Not a great puzzle, but not a bad one, either. Just because you’ve never heard of something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Two examples: Tate’s cookies, which are found in every supermarket on Long Island, and Rodeway Inns, which are ubiquitous on I95 south of Virginia.As a retired physician, I’m embarrassed to admit I forgot what ague is, but kudos for a nice clue. Also had no idea what "udo" is; thought it might be related to "udon" but apparently not.

Joe Dipinto 6:33 PM  

@GILL – Lol, I don't think I have any more insight into Rex's triggers than anyone else. By now it's almost too easy to pick out what will offend.

We *could* turn it into a game for the entire commentariat, if we can figure out how to score it. Like, you get 5 points for each of the usual triggers. You get 10 points if you pointed out something that no one else foresaw. You lose points if Rex's reaction was not as splenetic as anticipated. That sort of thing.

JC66 6:39 PM  


Funny you should mention skiing/drinking.

Here's the tru story of my first time on skis.

Three friends and I decided to spend a weekend at Mt. Snow. In order to save money, we left NYC very early Saturday morning and headed north. When we crossed the border into Vermont, one friend suggested we stop at a package store and pick up some liquor cheap (Vt. sales tax was much lower than NY's). After making the purchase, we got a little lost and decided to "sample" some of the booze. By the time we got to the mountain we were all "lit,"

It ended up being a blessing since I was so relaxed I was able to easily master the snow plow and after a few runs on the bunny hill, took the lift to the top of the mountain. My friend and I asked for the easiest way down and were directed to Dear Run. This is the path the snocats used, gentle and curvy. We made our way down by skiing slowly until reaching a turn where we'd fall, getting up, pointing our skis in the right direction and continuing to the next turn where we'd falll again. Rinse and repeat.

I fell in love with the sport that day and have kept at it for 57 Years. I just hope to be able to ski this winter..

JC66 6:47 PM  

I haven't done tomorrow's puzzle yet, but it's by Eric Agard.

Anyone want to guess what @Rex will have to say?

GILL I. 6:48 PM  

@JC...I've told my "Bola" story before. It's the ski run from hell in Navacerrada - outside of Madrid. I refused getting lessons because I knew it all. After a few runs on the bunny slope I was ready to tackle the iciest, meanest, rockiest slope you could imagine. I thank the brandy gods and Fundador at the top ski lodge for allowing me to imbibe before doing the stupidest and most fun thing I ever did at that age. I've lived to tell other stories. I hope by this next winter I can try to be stupid again.

Anoa Bob 6:50 PM  

I always check out the grid before I begin solving and when I saw this one, I thought to myself that it's going to be really tough to fill without a lot of TRASHy stuff to prop it all up. When I finished the puzzle, I was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out. Yeah, it had an old style feeling to it, but older style puzzles can be well-crafted and entertaining, as I think this one is.

I had a CANOE in Tennessee and used it a lot on area lakes, rivers and streams. Here close to the Gulf of Mexico, I have a kayak. I have taken it out on the Gulf several times. I don't think a CANOE would be a sea-worthy ocean-going vessel without some modification, such as adding an outrigger or two. The reason for the ado in the first place is that the two, CANOE/ocean, are anagrams of each other and maybe some leeway was taken as to what kind of vessel a CANOE is in order to make that happen.

The 62D "Bad thing for a bluffer" TELL brought on mixed feelings. Picking up a TELL and correctly calling a bluff is one of the pleasures of poker. The longtime Canadian Poker Pro Daniel Negreanu says that he doesn't play the cards, he plays his opponents. He's one of the all-time top money winners in poker.

The mixed feeling part comes because I can't imagine when we will ever again be able to do this, to play live, face-to-face, poker with several people sitting around a table animatedly talking, laughing, swearing, crying out in anguish, and the like. Anyone else missing the action?

Frantic Sloth 6:57 PM  

@chefwen 621pm I'm so thankful that there was nothing in my mouth when I read your comment to @GILL. That would have been a spit-take to top all spit-takes! 😂😂😂

Masked and Anonymous 6:58 PM  

@kitshef (4:19 PM) -- Not at all surprisin. Go to the runtpuz Down Home screen for an explanation.

M&A Help Desk

pabloinnh 7:10 PM  

@GILL I-Went skiing once during my year in Spain,at Navacerrada, and it did not go well. Had to stand up all the way there on the train, rental skis were awful, rental boots were worse, no place to sit down for lunch, discovered my backpack had been stolen, had to stand up all the way home, rode the bus back to our apartment and found the elevator with a "No funciona" sign on it so walked up seven flights of stairs. I did not attempt skiing in Spain again.

@JoeD-I suppose we could all play the Rex Rant Drinking game--"stale"- drink, "too white"-drink, "skews old"-drink, and so on, but this would make it too easy to get wasted first thing in the morning, or whenever one does the puzzle. Or we could design our own bingo cards with various complaints in the squares and see who wins.

GILL I. 7:11 PM  

@JC....I think we should take Joe D up on the guess work. Let's see, It's Erik....Well I don't think I'll get a 10 but I'm going to shoot for a 6 or 7. Hahahahahah. Let's see who wins.....

Pete 7:23 PM  

Erik is a POC so I’ll wager 👍🏽

Nancy 7:32 PM  

@GILL (5:44) (To me) "Try it, it's fun."

Me: Thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather be tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail.

@pabloinnh (7:10) -- That may be the worst travel story I've ever heard. And it's much, much worse than @Pamela's elevator story from the other day.

Frantic Sloth 7:56 PM  

@pabloinnh 710pm LOL! Who are you - Mr. Bill's stunt double? Aside from that, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

Hand up for the Bad Rex Bingo idea!

GILL I. 8:30 PM  

@Pablito...It's late and I'm about to make my famous pork carnitas tacos for dinner tonight, so maybe no one will see this.... but your Andorra story made me laugh. Sorry. I just hope you had some bodacious tapas the next day?
@Joe D....Let the games begin....
@Frantic. I love to whistle in the wind...
@chefwen. Get out of my brain.... :-)

Joe Dipinto 8:33 PM  

@JC – I can't drink, so you (or GILL) would have to drink my drinks in addition to your own, so you'd get doubly wasted. I like the Bingo idea.

TTrimble 8:55 PM  

--[SB Stuff]--

Sorry to interrupt -- the drinking game sounds like fun, but right now I'm wondering whether anyone got QB for today's SB? I'm at 49/50, and don't know if I'll get there tonight.

JC66 9:01 PM  

@Joe D

Sounds good to me. Maybe we can all it "Green Paint Bingo."


****SB ALERT****

I started late and I'm stuck at 40. I'll keep trying for a little while longer.

Malsdemare 9:02 PM  

All I can say is that the best thing to happen to this blog was a pandemic. The conversations are hilarious! Carry on.

Frantic Sloth 9:22 PM  

Would it be considered cheating if I made use of binders full of complaints? 😉

RooMonster 9:32 PM  

@JC66 6:47
I think he's gonna feint it with damn praise.

RooMonster Agard MonPuz? Guy

Barbara S. 9:34 PM  

@TTrimble and @JC66
It's a toughie today. I'm stuck at 47.

I had to settle for one word short yesterday -- brought down by ABBACY. I like the word, although it probably won't assume a large role in my day-to-day conversation.

JC66 9:45 PM  

Hey @Roo


@Barbara S

You could say it's easy as ABBACY.

egsforbreakfast 9:50 PM  

I’m an old wood and leather guy myself. Still skiing the STEEPS, although I’ve never heard them so referenced. We were in Morocco a few years ago, driving around that incredible country aimlessly, as is our traveling wont. We noticed a ski area near us as we drove through the Atlas Mountains, so we thought we’d stop in and have a look. We parked beneath trees that were full of Barbary macaques and walked over to the edge of the snow, which was several hundred yards from the base of the lift. There on the snow were a couple of dozen pairs of skis with leather boots already strapped into the bear-trap bindings. Patrons would try on boots until they found a fitting pair. Since they were already attached to skis, all that was left was to signal the mule master that they were ready to skijorr over to the lift.

Unknown 9:52 PM  

You have become a horrible little man. So sorry you were bored or insufficiently amused.

Anonymous 10:14 PM  

NO TAX is just plain factually wrong assuming we're in the U.S.: after of South Dakota v. Wayfair in 2018, every state that charges sales tax also charges sales tax on online purchases.

TTrimble 10:15 PM  

--[SB Alert]--

@Barbara S.
Dang! ABBACY. My sympathies. Not so easy as 1-2-3.

I had a number hiding in plain sight when I took a dip in the pool and they came out of hiding. But the pool water has grown too cool to try that again, so I may have to admit defeat. I'm so close!

ow a paper cut 10:16 PM  


Barbara S. 10:23 PM  

Tee Hee! I'm going to try to work that into some sentence tomorrow!

Barbara S. 10:54 PM  

@TTrimble ***SBee***
How very interesting that you were able to access SB words after dunking your body in water. I've long had a theory (that I shared with my husband some time ago) that if I shower when the SB is only partially done and I enter the waterfall with the SB letters in mind, I always come out with a bunch of answers. Coincidence? I (like to) think not.

myrna 11:00 PM  

Michael S-Tate's cookies are delish. They have branched out and gone overboard with too many varieties (gluten-free, etc), but their original chocolate chip cookies and chocolate chip walnut cookies taste like homemade. The crispy cookie clue was the only thing I enjoyed about the puzzle- made it seem modern that they used a brand that has not been around for 50 plus years.

jae 12:37 AM  

****SB Stuff ****

Me too for missing the Sat. QB by one — ABBACY rats!!!!

I’m at 43 for today’s and will continue to slog away.

Brenton 2:29 AM  

People in silos is pretty common when discussing non-profits, political parties, businesses, etc.

Agree with the rest, though. This was a mildly intriguing slog.

Brenton 2:31 AM  

I thought SWEEPTHEFLOOR was one of the better ones! That's what guards in multi-level buildings do.

Jenny Hubbard 3:58 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 6:27 PM  

Figured out Mr. Parker: criticizes in order to elevate the analysis.

Unknown 11:21 AM  

Although I enjoy your commentary, I find it often is just grouchy rather than analytical.
And complaining about a clue or answer because you have never heard of it may be "a you problem" not a clue problem.
Tate's cookies have been available away from the Hamptons (where the bakery started) for several years.

Bob Fingerman 3:49 PM  

This write up is interesting in that it is super harsh, you’re also entirely accurate. This one was a bit of a drag. I suppose it’s a quirk of mine that I’ll put little smiley faces and checks next to clues that I liked – – usually some pop-culture reference I enjoyed or legitimately good pun – – but in this one all I did was write “F- - k You“ next to the constructor’s name. Not a rave.

Joe 6:50 PM  

If a NYT crossword ever has a clue or an answer with ‘Log Cabin’ in it, I am going to start a resistance protest march in my hometown. And I vote.

Anonymous 2:14 PM  

Casting my vote for chewy cookies. I’ve never had the urge to taste wet cardboard. What possessed you to do that?

Burma Shave 12:34 PM  


a SETRATE to HOSER, NOTAX, just cash;


rondo 1:23 PM  

Funny only one other comment about ReDroofINN fitting in where RODEWAY finally found its home. I've stayed at both; RODEWAY seems to be a step or two or three above both Motel 6 and ReDroofINN, at least the one in downtown Philly was, hardly an alternative.

Highlight of the puz of course was RON. And I still miss RON Diego. Next best was the Marx Brothers and their Night ATTHEOPERA. Love those guys.

Doesn't take an EINSTEIN to give Kristen WIIG a yeah baby.

Not a great puz, but I can't find as many reasons as OFL to hate it.

spacecraft 3:10 PM  

DNF. The east was a Mess, and I don't mean ETON. The clue that did me in was 68 down: "Served as" = BEEN??? I can actually come up with it, if I try. "He has serves as senator and president." "He has been senator and president." Yeah but REALLY. You can't do that. I'm assessing a one-stroke penalty for that one. Then, NIKE made a shoe called Air Force One?? If you say so. None of the aircraft companies fit into four squares, so...I guess. Then, I never heard of SILO as clued, just the farm building. For LAW I had sAW, both fit the clue proven postulate, so there's another unfair clue. I couldn't make SENSE, horse or otherwise, out of GOTOTHE_A_K; rowers better not go to the bank till after the whole race is over. That whole area was just impossible.

Hand up for the cheaper but much better known Red Roof Inn. The best themer IMO, PAYTHEBILLS, fixed that. Now I have some, er, chores to do.

Diana, LIW 4:25 PM  

Waaaay too many trivia questions for my liking. I like cross WORDS, with WORDPLAY, as I've mentioned before.

That said, the themers were fun to get.

Missed a bit in the middle, but by then I didn't care as much...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for CrossWORDS

Rosa 4:29 PM  

I agree,CarmelKevin.

Anonymous 12:02 AM  

OFL and the syndicats said it all. Not Sunday fun. Finished it but didn't feel that accomplished-something mood. One more chore to add to the galore.

sutchey 11:50 AM  

Could not agree more. Time for Will Shortz to hang them up. Besides Rex's comments, Shortz does not seem to realize this is an internationally syndicated crossword. HE IS ALLOWING FAR TOO MANY AMERICAN BASED CLUES.

Luke 2:45 AM  

I never thought I would say this but you are being too easy on the author, Rex. This puzzle sucked completely.

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