Adjective for Caroline / TUE 8-25-20 / Unexciting Yahtzee roll / Las Vegas player

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Constructor: Dave Bardolph

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Shakespearean cookout — famous phrases from Shakespeare, clued as if they referred to a "cookout":

Theme answers:
  • THE POUND OF FLESH (17A: 16-ounce sirloin that Shylock brought to the cookout?)
  • LEND ME YOUR EARS (27A: Mark Antony's request to the farmer when he realized he didn't have enough corn for the cookout?)
  • AY, THERE'S THE RUB (48A: Cry from Hamlet when he spotted his favorite spice mix at the cookout?)
  • WHAT'S DONE IS DONE (64A: Lady Macbeth's declaration upon checking the steaks at the cookout?)
Word of the Day: Las Vegas RAIDERs (51D: Las Vegas player) —

The Las Vegas Raiders are a professional American football team based in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The Raiders compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) West division. In 2020, the Raiders will play their home games at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada.

Founded on January 30, 1960, and originally based in Oakland, California, they played their first regular season game on September 11, 1960, as a charter member of the American Football League (AFL). They moved to the NFL with the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. The team departed Oakland to play in Los Angeles from the 1982 season through the 1994 season before returning to Oakland at the start of the 1995 season. On March 27, 2017, NFL team owners voted nearly unanimously to approve the Raiders' application to relocate to Las Vegas. Nearly three years later, on January 22, 2020, the Raiders officially moved to Las Vegas. (wikipedia)

• • •

These are the kinds of corny (!) puns that I expect from the NYTXW on a Tuesday. Dadpuzz, for sure. I appreciate the timely late-summer vibe of the "cookout" premise. The only real objection I have comes from my ears, who do not like the THE in THE POUND OF FLESH. Unlike the other themers, that one exists as a pretty common metaphor in English, and in the context it's "A" pound of flesh, not THE. I'm sure the quotation is accurate, though I don't remember it precisely, hang on ... OK, wait *hang on*!!! Portia literally says, at one point, citing the contract, "The words expressly are 'a pound of flesh'" ... Like ... the play itself is literally telling you exactly how the quote should go. Yes, the phrase "pound of flesh" gets repeated a lot in the play, but I feel like Portia's words are basically the play rendering its ruling on what the proper wording of this phrase should be. I find for the "A," against the "THE," the theme is rendered invalid. Man, you have no idea how happy I am that my ears recoiled *justly*, and not just idiosyncratically or unfairly, as maybe perhaps sometimes occasionally happens. Vindication for my ears! Huzzah! But yeah, The THE is bad, and now that it's been disproved by the text, ruinous.

Puzzle felt easy overall, but my time was actually slightly *above* average. I really do solve more slowly in the early morning, for whatever reason. I feel alert and clear-headed enough, but things ... like, all the things ... just aren't up to full speed yet. My entire body just wants to cchhiillll in the early morning—it's such a glorious, slow time of day—so I think I'm unapt to break any speed records when I do an early-morning solve, and I have to adjust my difficulty rating accordingly. Looking the puzzle over, I actually made a bunch of mistakes, or just blanked out initially at a bunch of answers. I truly could not process RANT (6D: Chew someone out, maybe), since you REAM someone out, not RANT them out, but I get that RANT here doesn't require the object, it's an intransitive verb, yadda yadda. Oh, and I also don't play Yahtzee at all so PAIR was weird to me—sounds like cards, not dice (15A: Unexciting Yahtzee roll), which I guess is sorta the point of Yahtzee, but whatever. PAIR is not a word I know from that game.
Then I got really stuck at RAIDER, as my brain had apparently not processed, or cared in any way, that the Oakland Raiders moved (again). I know that Las Vegas has hockey now (!?), but that's as far as I got, or am apparently willing to go, on my Las Vegas sports knowledge. My brain really only has enough room for UNLV (4), to be honest. Life was better when that city had no major pro sports teams. Slightly stunned that Serbia has the DINAR as its unit of currency, but yes, it's one of two European countries using that denomination (the other being North Macedonia, which I sincerely did not know was a country). Here are the rest:


Not sure how to spell the LEA in LEA & Perrins, so that hurt with RAIDER as well. I sincerely assumed a "Las Vegas player" was a ROLLER for a little bit there. Had STAR before SEAL (59D: Member of an elite team) and, without the Neil Diamond context, or any musical context at all, had no idea what 70A: Adjective for Caroline could possibly want (SWEET). Still came in well under 4. That's all for today. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. this blog got a nice mention in the NYT yesterday (8/24), in a very unexpected place: Wesley Morris's reflections on the 2004 (!) movie season. Specifically, in a discussion of M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village." 

Showing up in an article about crosswords: expected. Showing up in an article about movies?: priceless.

P.P.S. my wife points out that LEND ME YOUR EARS would make no sense for a cookout, since presumably you are not going to be returning ... the ears

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:27 AM  

Ay, what a pleasure this was!

* A Tuesday that was involving, not solved on auto, with a fair number of answers that couldn't just be slapped down.
* A theme in the spirit of fun and fun to imagine.
* A double-E fest for the ages -- 11!
* A quintet of 4-letter semordnilaps -- TOOL, ETNA, REED, NOTE, ELBA. And if you wish, you can throw in AJAR.

IMO, anyone nitting over this charming puzzle doth protest too much.

Bravo, Dave, and encore please!

Mordechai 6:29 AM  

I found the Shylock clue distasteful. It is a classic antisemitic trope. And, on top of it, the pound of flesh, which anyone who’s read the Merchant of Venice knows, refers to human flesh. So now Shylock is bringing that to a barbecue.

David Fabish 6:43 AM  

So was I the only one who noticed that a WAVE crossed the LEVEE? 😆

Overall a fun puzzle, although I agree with both Rex about THE pound vs. A pound, and @Mordechai about the distastefulness of the Shylock quote.

SouthsideJohnny 6:55 AM  

When I read Rex’s comments this morning, I sensed that he was being critical without being nasty and spiteful - so obviously I was wondering what was up - then at the end I learned that he is in a good mood because his blog got some NYT ink-time (is ink-time a thing?). That is pretty cool though. Probably just a one day reprieve and tomorrow we will be subjected to another tirade and lecture about gender-bias, real or perceived slights, yada yada yada . . .

kitshef 7:09 AM  

Really good idea for a puzzle. Love the Shakspur/picnic angle. Not so fond of “THE POUND OF FLESH”. Yes, you can find those words in the play, but it is not iconic the way the others are.

My doctor keeps sending me emails about “virtual” physicals. Is an EPEE part of that?

Even I noticed the swarm of double Es and knew Lewis would appreciate it.

The Bard 7:17 AM  

Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh
Merchant of Venice: IV, i

The pound of flesh, which I demand of him,
Merchant of Venice: IV, i

That I shall hardly spare a pound of flesh
Merchant of Venice: III, iii

But just a pound of flesh: if thou cut'st more
Merchant of Venice: IV, i

A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
Merchant of Venice: IV, i

The words expressly are 'a pound of flesh:'
Merchant of Venice: IV, i

JD 7:29 AM  

Oh Lewis, what a pleasure your post was! Googled semordnilaps and found a great article on it. Thank you.

I guess this was a barbecue for a bunch of Shakespearean cannibals with that particular Pound Of Flesh and those Ears but I loved the other themers.

Wish someone would clue Semi-Opened Peanut Butter Container for an Ajar Jar.

Angry woman yells at banker,"Lend Me You Rears!" after being turned down for a loan. Banker says, "Forget it lady. What's Done Is Done!"

ChuckD 7:32 AM  

I’m with @Lewis on this one - enjoyable Tuesday. Chuckled a few times with the theme picturing the Shakespearean characters on the patio for bbq. I’m sure others will research but “pound of flesh” shows up multiple times in the play - so although “a pound” is more common I have no problem with THE POUND. The remaining fill was a little musty but tight and needed little glue. Love the snowy EGRET adjacent to LEARY. Thought the Donna REED cross with ANNE was pretty cool too.

Nice way to start off a hot and humid Tuesday - I’ll be catching a WAVE after a work.

albatross shell 7:33 AM  

I read the clue for 17A and immediately thought that's 2 Fs for ROO.
I filled in 56D and yelled No NO it's the SURF that destroys the castle.

I gotta get out of this blog if ... .

I thought uhho: The breakfast test crowd will be out. Good thing most plays are in the evening. The antisemitic stuff did not occur to me.

Fun Tuesday here. Easy theme answers sped things up. I guess the "the" did sound off to me but it did not bother me at all. Certainly did not invalidate the theme for me.

pabloinnh 8:10 AM  

Answer my weary query
Timothy Leary...

Great, now I've got that in my head all day, along with a bunch of Shakespeare quotes. I'm with OFL in forgetting the Raiders had moved, and that one took too long. Kept pronouncing the AY in quote to rhyme with "say", which didn't help, and when I finally got it could only say ay ay ay to myself.

Pretty nice Tuesdecito for us English majors. Made me think of my Shakespeare prof Rutherford B. Delmage, who once ended his remarks on my essay question by noting that I had excellent attendance, a bit of a non sequitur, but nice enough.

Thanks for the fun, DB. Good stuff.

Z 8:20 AM  


Definitely a bug: III and AEIOU

@kitshef - TeeHee. You send it to the lab via the E-EL.

The movie article is also in today’s Arts section.

Anyone else have a moment of falwellschadenfreude at AFFAIRS? Yes, keep them in order and maybe not include your 20 year-old pool boy.

I also couldn’t help but notice, given the attendees at the BBQ, that an armed ESCORT was aptly clued and a good idea.

Fun Tuesday.

Whatsername 8:20 AM  

I’m glad I don’t write a Crossword blog because I would have a hard time summarizing this one. No complaints really, but nothing in particular really jumped out at me as a strength or weakness. RAIDERS tripped me up too, partly by my own doing because I have always – always – thought it was called LEE & Perrins so 51D was REIDERS. Just no end to the things I learn from crosswords.

LARD is something people don’t use much anymore, but it makes the flakiest pie crusts, which people also don’t do much of any more. Donna REED and June Cleaver used to whip them up in their pearls and shirtwaist dresses with never so much as a speck of flour on their pretty aprons. My baking projects usually involve dusting the entire kitchen and an occasional cat, but I almost never roll my own any more since Pillsbury came out with their refrigerated version. No muss no fuss, and easy as you know what.

Two passenger vehicles in the puzzle today, ACURA and another one built by Ford. Too soon for another car war?

That’s it for now. I started a great new book yesterday so I think I’ll go show some literacy for a while.

Flinque 8:31 AM  

I agree completely with the bad “The.” “The” in that context was off putting.

Hungry Mother 8:34 AM  

lots of memories of my late son in this one. We visited the Isle of SKYE together. His rugby nickname was TINY. He lived in Vegas and would’ve been a fan of the RAIDERs. He’s been dead a month now, I like being able to keep him in my thoughts.

RTWhite 8:41 AM  

Too bad the clue for 17A couldn't have referenced Titus Andronicus!

Unknown 8:45 AM  

@ SouthsideJohnny 6:55 Yes, this was one of the fairer critiques I've seen from rex in a long time. No ranting about the ratio of female to male constructors; no whining about Will Shortz; no complaining about how his alcohol consumption affected his time on the puz . . . . Maybe he needs a mention in the NYT every day to keep him in such a jolly mood.

Petsounds 8:48 AM  

@Lewis: Thank you for the introduction to semordnilaps! Didn't know such a thing existed, and now I'll be looking for them all over.

A good Tuesday puzzle. When I started, the first three Acrosses eluded me ("cracked" was good for AJAR but it didn't hit me right off) and I wondered why this Tuesday was so hard. Switched fast to the Downs and got moving. I enjoyed the theme for the chuckles, and once I got 17A, the rest were gimmes.

I can't get my head around the "Las Vegas Raiders." Another goofy city-team name combo--like the LA Lakers and the absolutely hilarious Utah Jazz--that happens when a team's owner moves it but keeps the original name. Never understood that. Tried ROLLER too but needed the Acrosses to get RAIDER.

@Whatsername: I made a rustic tomato tart for dinner last night with heirloom tomatoes, grated aged Gouda, and Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts. They're made with lard, which explains why they're so good!

MarthaCatherine 8:49 AM  

@Wahtsername: please tell what book? Always looking for a good read!

Nancy 8:50 AM  

Lewis, first in the comments section today, beat me to the punch. What a terrific and sparkling puzzle -- one that would be very, very welcome any day of the week. That it appears on a Tuesday is like receiving an exquisite and unexpected gift delivered to your doorstep.

It's highly literate, but without being in any way arcane or esoteric. All these Shakespearean lines should be familiar to anyone who hasn't been living under a mushroom. And all the clues require some thinking; nothing slam-dunk here. Excellent clues for AJAR; AFFAIRS; PICKS and TELL.

What's in a name? I don't know, but Dave Bardolph's is one I'm going to remember. A beautifully conceived and executed theme. A pleasure to solve. Well done.

Music Man 8:51 AM  

Thank you for the clarification

MRGold 8:53 AM  

Would have loved it more if 36A sneak could have been steak. A little tweaking maybe. And all those ee’s-Lees, levee, sweet, Reed,EEG, and evening the sound-Reid, sneak,Lea, real, there a second theme going on?

Carola 9:05 AM  

Worth it for "AY, THERE'S THE RUB!" alone - a genius example of word repurposing. I really enjoyed envisioning Hamlet's delight - he's often so dour. Lady Macbeth caused my only slowdown - I'd gotten in my mind that she might have had an unfortunate incident getting barbecue sauce on her gown ("Out damned spot!") - but that wouldn't have involved the wordplay that makes the theme so delightful (though I agree that FLESH is skating close to the edge). I liked EARS x LENT: apparently Mark Antony's request was successful.

Tony in Danang 9:07 AM  

Actually in the original script it's "THY pound of flesh", which is confusing.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

I wooda tought by now someone wooda shooted HOMOPHONES!!! they're all over the place.

Nancy 9:14 AM  

I'm extremely concerned about @GILL. She wasn't on the blog yesterday -- and I'm not sure she's even missed one day since I came to the blog in 2014. Nor has she answered my email, sent yesterday, asking if she was okay. That's unusual too -- she's always been a very, very prompt responder to emails. And Sacramento is SO close to the worst fires; the air quality there is unbreathable, I gather; and I think there have been evacuations in the city proper over the last two days. I'm wondering if she's evacuated -- either voluntarily or involuntarily. Or if she can't blog and use email because her power is down. I know she's on Facebook, but I'm not. Does anybody know where she is and how she's doing?

Paul Welch 9:21 AM  

Lees and Lea along with Reed and Reid?!

RooMonster 9:23 AM  

Hey All !
Don't disparage my fair town of Las Vegas, Rex! (Har, well, the town is actually pretty fair outside of The Strip, but then everyone who doesn't live here only knows The Strip.) Everyone here was stoked at the new Allegiant Stadium and going to a brand new (and I hear quite impressive) stadium for football. But... COVID, wah wah.

@Hungry mother
Sorry to hear of your son. Condolences.

Liked this puz. AY THERES THE RUB for me is funniest. Like finding it in an obvious place when you think you lost it. That THE was a little off to my ears, also, but as we all know, it's close enough in Crossworld. Besides, someone posted quotes earlier from Shakespeare, and it was in there as a THE. Fair enough.

Beside @Lewis's double E's, lots of doubles in general. Even an "L" of F's in NE! Nice. @Lewis, is this an unusually high double letter count?

Hate to do it, but
**SB stuff**
Laughed when I saw one of the two I missed YesterBee (closest I've been to Q in a while) in the puz today. Weird coincidences seem to crop up quite regularly.
**SB stop**

Lots of homophones today, (homophones, right? Not homonyms, homographs, homalgamations 😋) as others have pointed out. But, I'll cut the puz some SLACK. Don't recognize constructors name. New guy?

Three F's

Wm. C. 9:33 AM  

Neil Diamond's 1969 hit "Sweet Caroline" was inspired by a photo of young Caroline Kennedy standing beside her pony, dressed in riding clothes. It got started as a standard in Boston's Fenway Park in 1997, when the woman in charge of the Park's sound system played it late in a game, because a friend just had a baby that she named Caroline. The crowd joyfully joined in, singing loudly, probably in part because the. Sox were well ahead.

Diamond came to Fenway to play the song in 2013 after the Boston Marathon bombings, and many MLB teams quickly followed suit with recordings, as a sign of empathy for Boston.

It turns out that many different sports teams around the entire world now play it at their games.

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

Rex is quite the (a) egomaniac, isn’t he?

RooMonster 9:53 AM  

Speaking of "Sweet Caroline", it was in an awesome, very underrated movie from 1996 called "Beautiful Girls". Sung at a scene where some friends were gathered. Movie starred a young (14-ish) Natalie Portman, Lauren Holly, Annabeth Gish, Martha Plimpton, Uma Thurman, Mira Sorvino, Rosie O'Donnell, Timothy Hutton, Matt Dillon, Michael Rapaport, Noah Emmerich, David Arquette, Sam Robards, and some others.

Search it out if you'd like. Very underrated, kinda squeaked though the cracks. I thought a terrific movie. MO, of course.

RooMonster Movie Reviewer As A Second Job Guy

Ernonymous 10:14 AM  

@Nancy I noticed Gill didn't post yesterday either. I enjoy her posts the most. I hope all is well. It's strange she didn't write back, maybe they are traveling to better place.

Marcus Chance 10:20 AM  

Tried just tabbing through the accrosses - throwing in anything reasonable. Got me about 1/2 of them.

I guessed at DeNAR before DINAR because I was just on vacation in North Macedonia. I can't wait to visit again.

Put in SWEET for caroline mainly because the song has been banned from Irish pubs due to the pandemic.

"Hands, touching hands," - let's just elbow-bump
"Reaching out," - um, keep your distance
"touching me," - not gonna happen
"touching you" - oh FFS don't you dare

egsforbreakfast 10:21 AM  

I wrote this before Rex published and before comments appeared. As one who values clever themes above all else, I’ve got to offer a hearty thanks and congrats to Dave Bardolph. I very seldom smile, much less chuckle, at a crossword, but I did several times while solving this. Very impressive debut, Mr. Bardolph. I hope to see many more.

jberg 10:34 AM  

The quote I resisted was L Macbeth’s—. My mind was confusing it with ‘If ‘teas done when’ or whatever, so I wanted ‘tIS, but the crosses forced me to drop the t.

I’d never heard of that actress, so I thought it was the woman who accused Biden of rape. I guess it’s a common mistake, YouTube has a site devoted to correcting it.

I got thinking about “slangily” in the clue got TOOL. Isn’t “jerk” already slang? So what, I guess.

Linda 10:42 AM  

Excuses, excuses. Pick, pick, pick. The puzzle was a lots of fun Tuesday puzzle.

Newboy 10:42 AM  

Classic lines & Dad jokes. What’s not to like there? And inspired commentariat! A trifecta in Crossworld worthy of LasVegas from @Lewis on down. Thanks for the (an) outstanding grid Dave. Exit backstage left.

Unknown 10:44 AM  

Agree. That clue bothered me as well.

TTrimble 10:47 AM  

A very amusing puzzle. Let me just subscribe to what Lewis wrote, who wrote it much better than I could (and he taught me a word I didn't know -- semordnilap -- in itself amusing -- so that's pluralized with an 's', eh?).

---[SB alert]---
-->> spoilers from yesterday <<--

My own last word was HALAL. I'll admit I tried one of its anagrams, "Allah", even though I was sure it wouldn't play.

However, yesterday's did seem to be heavy on the exclamations: BLAH, BLECH, WHEE, WHEW. And then there's HEEHAW, one of those echoic nouns where you'd almost have to wonder: is that going to play? Is that hyphenated or not?

QB again today! I seem to be getting lucky recently. On the premise that if I can do it, then so can the rest of you SB-ers (actually how I should have put it yesterday, and what I meant), let me encourage you to give it a go.

mathgent 10:57 AM  

When I finish a puzzle, I go over all the entries and write a red plus sign in the margin for a clue or an entry that tickled me. Today’s had five: three of the quotes (not pound of flesh — ugh!), the clue for AJAR, and that sweet-sounding word, GROTTO. I’ve been tabulating the numbers for the last six months and these are the averages by day of the week.

Monday (4.5), Tuesday (5.7), Wednesday (7.5), Thursday (10.0), Friday (10.9), Saturday (12.2). I don’t always do the Sunday.

So, not only do the puzzles get harder as we go through the week, they’re also more fun (for me).

KnittyContessa 10:59 AM  

@Hungry Mother My deepest condolences.

@Mordechai I, too, thought it distasteful. I loved everything else, though. What a fun puzzle! I didn't even mind lending ears. I thought people borrow a cup of sugar so why not a a few ears of corn?

jae 11:12 AM  

Easy and faster for me than yesterday’s. Gotta like Shakespeare at the barbie. Smooth and amusing. A fine debut.

Z 11:17 AM  

@jberg - Agreed, the “slangily” got me pondering. Is there a synonym that isn’t slang?

Tom R 11:34 AM  

Rex (and everyone) - you have to try Lea and Perrins Worchestershire sauce (pronounce it Woostersure). Of all those on the market it is absolutely the best.

Crimson Devil 11:36 AM  

Wm C and Marcus
Many thanks for explanation of Diamond’s great song’s becoming theme for Sox, which I have heretofore puzzled about.
Sox need more this year. Betts ? New curse?

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

@Hungry Mother ... I hear you, sister. It does help, doesn't it?

Masked and Anonymous 11:39 AM  

Et tu, Brats!

M&A is pretty day-um weak on Shakespearean knowledge. But most of these quotes were still fairly easy to suss out. Fortunately for m&e, "THE" vs "A" for that there "FLESH" answer didn't really matter, since I've never read/seen "The/A Merchant of Venice".

staff weeject pick: III. Kinda neat to have III in the same puz with AEIOU. Weeject controversy: Is it ok to have SHY in the same puz with "Shylock"? Could go with SHE, I reckon.

fave sparkly bits: RAIDER [learned somethin new -- that they've moved]. AWW/AWLS. RANDB. Not much in the way of longballs in this puppy … just two 7's … but they [AFFAIRS, DEEPSET] were ok.

Thanx for a/the fun with a/the Bard, Mr. BARDolph. And congratz on yer debut.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Mike in Mountain View 11:43 AM  

@Hungry Mother: I’m sorry for your loss. I’m glad that the puzzle evoked good memories.

KnittyContessa 11:50 AM  

@RooMonster Guess what's on one of the HBOs at noon...Beautiful Girls! It's on HBOSH. I'm going to take your recommendation and record it for later.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

THE POUND OF FLESH right underneath FETUS? Eww.

Also, two football references is two too many.

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Sox need more this year. Betts ? New curse?

Just proves that not everyone in Blue States are soft-hearted Snowflakes. Greed is good.

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

He will always be with you. So sorry.

What? 12:12 PM  

The puzzle is ruined because of THE? What a dope.

fiddleneck 12:12 PM  

I thought Sweet Caroline was a folk song from a very early time. I don’t know anything about Diamond. I need to listen to his to see if they are the same. Am I dreaming?

Rug Crazy 12:20 PM  

I reprised it to : LEND ME YOU REARS, but need help with the cluing. Any suggestions?

What? 12:20 PM  

The Lying Life of Adults a book just coming out by Ellene Ferrente, the author of My Brilliant Friend. looking forward to it.

Will Shakespeare 12:23 PM  

Shylock: The pound of flesh which I demand of him, is dearly bought, ‘it’s mine, and I will have it.

jae 12:38 PM  

@Roo - Got to second your recommendation of Beautiful Girls - it’s a terrific movie!

Richardf8 12:43 PM  

SB - That was the one word I missed, even though I was scraping my brain for Hebrew and Arabic loan words. Mnemonic: A nice parve CHALLAH is always HALAL.

Malsdemare 12:43 PM  

@hungrymother. I can only imagine your pain. I'm glad the puzzle eased your sorrow a little.

I'm not here every day any more so missed that GILL was MIA. I have a former student who is in the middle of the fires. She's loaded the car, amassed the necessary supplies and waiting for the evacuate order. Two dogs and a toddler; it sounds absolutely horrifying. I hope GILL is okay.

I really enjoyed the puzzle. I'm not nearly as picky as Rex so the THE didn't bother me. But the FETUS over THEPOUNDOFFLESH made me wince.

RooMonster 12:49 PM  

@Rug Crazy
Add a comma - LEND ME, YOU REARS - and maybe "Give me that loan, ass-hats, sad more politely"
Yes? No?


Wanderlust 12:50 PM  

I’m even more annoyed at THE POUND OF FLESH than Rex and most commenters because it seriously messed me up in the NW. i got the joke right away on reading the clue, but A POIND OF FLESH didn’t fit so I figured there was some trick involved. But the other thrmers were straightforward quotes, so I thought it must be ONE POUND OF FLESH. The E in ONE gave me AGED, so it seemed right. But I couldn’t figure out 1 and 2 down. Tried a bunch of things there (such as JONI for the Legend of pop, before I finally realized it was THE not ONE. What would have been a great time wound up being average. Liked all the other themers though.

Joe Dipinto 12:57 PM  

"A/the/thy pound of flesh" is not a complete sentence like the others; plus, Shylock doesn't receive it so shouldn't it be Antonio who brings it to the barbecue? (Yes I know the phrase is mostly associated with Shylock).

TODAY IN CHART HISTORY – The Top 5 songs of August 25, 1969 on 77-WABC in New York!
1. Honky Tonk Women - The Rolling Stones
2. Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond
3. In the Year 2525 - Zager & Evans
4. Crystal Blue Persuasion - Tommy James & The Shondells
5. A Boy Named Sue - Johnny Cash

Teedmn 1:06 PM  

@Hungry Mother, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss.

This puzzle immediately brought to mind the joke which you can find in several variations on the internet, whose punchline is: "The koala tea of Mercy is not strained."

And yes, for all the reasons others have mentioned, Hamlet's finding the "rub" is my favorite theme answer.

Congratulations, Dave Bardolph, on your NYT debut and thanks for a fun Tuesday puzzle.

mathgent 1:06 PM  

Hungry Mother. Such a terrible thing. It made me think about beloved people I have lost who were younger. My brother, my sister-in-law. Nothing people said to me helped. The pain is the price we pay for having had them in our lives.

Frantic Sloth 1:08 PM  

Once upon a time, several decades ago, I looked at a bottle of LEA & Perrins Worchestershire sauce and thought to myself "Hmm. So they spell it like that."
Still, I dropped in LEe.
If not for long-term memory, I'd have none. The shallow end of my subconscious kept gnawing at me until I recalled that incident and in LEA went.

@Whatsername 820am Somehow I read your line "My baking projects usually involve dusting the entire kitchen and an occasional cat" as "...[with] an occasional cat" and the imagery....well, you know. 😂

@Nancy check your email.

I enjoyed the puzzle.


Anonymous 1:22 PM  

A fine puzzle.
Language isn't mathematics.
Give the clues some slack.

Lewis 1:40 PM  

@roo -- At 19, it just missed the mark of "unusually high". It's the highest we've had in quite a while, though.
@hungry mother -- My heart is with you.

Photomatte 1:40 PM  

Ahh, those incorrect THE words. Reminds me of all those folks, mostly from California, who say THE 5 or THE 405 when they're talking about freeways. There's no need for the THE there. The name of the interstate is the number (5, 405, 95, etc). Just as you wouldn't say "I'm headed over to The 5th Avenue, then I'll check out The 42nd Street," there's no need to say "take The 5 to The 405." It's simply "take 5 to 405, then exit for Hollywood Blvd."

Lance 1:47 PM  

Lend me your ears also refers to human ears, perhaps you missed the theme

Rug Crazy 1:51 PM  

@RooMonster. Pretty much what I was thinking thanks

Nancy 1:53 PM  

@Hungry mother -- I'm truly sorry for your loss.

Anne H 1:55 PM  

My sincere condolences... I’m sure he will be in your thoughts forever.

JC66 1:57 PM  

@Hungry Mother

So sorry for your terrible loss.

Whatsername 2:00 PM  

@ Nancy: GILL Posted to Facebook yesterday but nothing since then. I shot her an email too. I have not heard anything about Sacramento being evacuated. Hopefully we’ll hear soon.

chefwen 2:05 PM  

@Hungry Mother, deepest sympathy for your loss.

CDilly52 2:26 PM  

AMEN all in response to @Mordechai 6:30 AM!! With such a rich tapestry from which to pull well known threads, why choose the “Merchant” line and use a cookout as the backdrop. Talk about “ick factor!”

CDilly52 2:30 PM  

@Dave Fabish 6:43 AM. You beat me to the punch. I really though the WAVE “breaching” the LEVEE was easily as clever as the theme!

CDilly52 2:34 PM  

And @The Bard 7:17 AM, all the more distasteful for the number of times The (actual) Bard repeated the phrase. In my humble opinion.

CDilly52 2:40 PM  

@Hingry Mother, so sorry for your loss. Parents losing a child/children is just so heart-breaking. He will be present in your heart and thoughts forever. Please take care.

Whatsername 2:43 PM  

@Hungry Mother: It’s not even possible for me to imagine the pain of losing your child. I can only say I’m so sorry, and I hope you are comforted by your many memories of him.

@Lewis (6:27) I love that you know so much about words and I get to benefit from it just by reading your blog posts! You gave me a new one to consider in semordnilaps, and I am grateful.

@Petsounds (8:48) Your tart sounds absolutely delicious! I have fresh tomatoes so may have to give that a try. Making me hungry now for a nice fresh croissant.

@Martha Catherine (8:49) The book I just started is Playing Nice by JP Delaney, about babies who were switched at birth. It’s kind of a psychological thriller which I enjoy occasionally but not a steady diet of them. I just finished The Boys Club by Erica Katz, which I also recommend. It’s about a woman fresh out of law school who goes to work at a big law firm in NYC. It's the author’s debut, and I really liked it. The book and her writing style reminded me of John Grisham.

@Frantic (1:08) I’m laughing at that imagery. I had one cat who was so mellow and laid-back, he probably would have allowed it. Well as long as he got his share of the pie anyway. 😄🥧🐈

CDilly52 2:51 PM  

HAHA @Petsounds! My dear Gran never made a pie without lard, and her crust was perfection. I did not inherit that “touch” and was delighted when someone recommended the Pillsbury-even happier when I read the ingredients and made my first successful Lemon Meringue Pie. Not perfection, but I’ll never forget my dear husband looking askance when gobbling down his second slice. Gave me the quintessential Larry “single raised eyebrow.” He let it go until we were just drifting off to sleep that night and he said, “OK, you can tell me now, nobody else can hear. Who really made that pie?” Yep, that’s how bad my prior attempts had been. I told him my friend Anne Pillsbury helped me with the crust but I made the rest and baked it.” Next morning, honest to God, we are racing through the morning routine trying to get our daughter organized for school and into the care. As we both saddled up and we’re getting into our respective vehicles, he asks, “Have I ever met your friend Anne?” I just smiled and said “I’m sure your paths have crossed many times during your life.”

CDilly52 3:05 PM  

Poor, poor @Rex!! Here we have, as @Lewis summed up beautifully, a perfect, enjoyable and very clever Tuesday offering and half his blog is about how THE ruined his entire solving experience and somehow invalidated the theme (for him).

The second half of his commentary focused on his mistakes and how they lengthened his time and didn’t allow him as fast a Tuesday solve as his “normal” lickety-split supersonic solving speed. I often wonder if he ever enjoys the craft and the actual solving experience of a wonderful puzzle like today’s. I’d bet not, but to each his own.

This was just delightful and you all have said it much better than I could. Stay well everyone.

Unknown 3:06 PM  

Sorry for your loss

Barbara S. 3:14 PM  

@Hungry Mother. A hug.

Irish Miss 3:21 PM  

fiddleneck @ 12:12 ~ I think you may be thinking of Sweet Adeline.

Hungry Mother, my sincere condolences.

Anonymous 3:32 PM  

Hmm. I take it you've never tuned in to 1010 Wins--traffic on the 1's.
It's wonderful. They often save me grief by telling me about woes on The FDR Drive, The Cross Bronx expressway, The Hutch, The Bruckner, even the L.I.E. I never take the Van Wyck-- (because, God bless em, The Times wrote a piece which only further confounded what the proper pronunciation is)
Anyway, none of those roads has The in its title, but they all are referred to that way. Just a pro tip for when you come East to civilization.

Anonymous 3:46 PM  

"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past."

Sure, let's censor and revise Shakespeare. That seems to be the current recipe for dealing with anything "distasteful" nowadays.

Personally I'd rather read the real attitude of the time towards my people from a genius than any sugar pilled version from current politically correct textbooks.

Shakespeare's Shylock in the play is a real person. And you really feel his pain. That's as much as anyone can ask. And even if they be made an anti-Semitic trope out of his words, so what? It only reflects on "them".

As for the joke I agree that it's absolutely distasteful if taken out of context. But here we are dealing not with the literary taste but rather with the one of a barbeque.

Nancy 3:53 PM  

I just got an email from @GILL. She is at the home of a friend in Auburn CA, where a lightning strike eliminated most of the Internet service, but she and her husband are okay. There's smoke in Auburn too, but maybe a bit better than Sacramento.

Thanks to everyone who offered to try and contact her on Facebook. Evidently it's not all that easy to do, and happily it wasn't necessary after all. @Gill finally responded to my email of yesterday and evidently didn't have Internet service yesterday.

Her evacuation was by choice and not mandated and she's with a good friend with a beautiful home, so it could be much worse. Very relieved that it isn't!

JC66 4:13 PM  


Good news. Thanks for the update.

Joe Welling 4:13 PM  

Marcus Chance said:
"Put in SWEET for caroline mainly because the song has been banned from Irish pubs due to the pandemic."

Check out Neil's new version: [dot] com/watch?v=sPLgsV_Ms3Q

pabloinnh 4:16 PM  

@JoeD-Oh oh, I know the words to all those songs. Wonder what that means? And where are my glasses?

@Crimson Devil--All the Sox really need is some starting pitching. Oh, and some relief pitching.

@Hungry Mother-I'm with so many others here on offering condolences. Parents should always outlive their children. Peace.

Whatsername 4:43 PM  

@Nancy: Thanks for the update. Looks like things have gotten significantly worse around the Sacramento area, and apparently there are widespread outages from that lightning strike. Good to know all is well.

Barbara S. 4:53 PM  

***SB ALERT***
Just got QB! Can't think when I last got Queen two days in a row. If I were foolish I'd say my luck's returned, but I suspect it's just passing through. Good fortune, SBers! It's lonely at the top, and @TTrimble and I need lots more company!

Z 5:22 PM  

Did nobody else think Rex was joking with his long “THE” rant? I mean, this whole section: Man, you have no idea how happy I am that my ears recoiled *justly*, and not just idiosyncratically or unfairly, as maybe perhaps sometimes occasionally happens. Vindication for my ears! Huzzah! seems pretty, “wink wink nudge nudge” to me. “(M)aybe perhaps sometimes”?

@Anon3:46 - I saw a lot of people say they found the allusion, especially in this context, unpleasant. I think a few people called the play and character problematic. I didn’t notice anyone suggest that we censor or revise Shakespeare. Funny, though, censoring and revising Shakespeare happens all the time. I think The Taming of the Shrew gets modernized quite often and Much Ado About Nothing... well it is fairly equivalent to WAP but somehow when it’s Shakespeare nobody complains.

@fiddleneck - I had the same thought as @Irish Miss because I’ve confused the two myself before.

@Photomatte - I beg to differ. What Californians are doing is very common in the midwest, we just don’t use the numbers. The Eden Expressway, The Lodge, The Fisher, The Dan Ryan. You can omit the “the” like you suggest, but the definite article is okay to my ear.

When I was in high school Hope College did summer repertory which always included some Shakespeare. I will always recall going to see Twelfth Night. I had done as Mr. Taylor, my English teacher, had suggested and read the play before so I had some sense of what to expect. All through the first act I’m in the back row chortling while the rest of the (mostly adult) audience sat there stoically. It was not until they had Malvolio drop trou before the intermission that anyone laughed out loud. After the intermission the audience was much more in tune to the humor.

Z 5:25 PM  

@Hungry Mother - “Tiny?” I would have never pictured a son of yours with that nickname. I am sorry for your loss.

Pamela 6:27 PM  

Quite fun, after a brief EWW at 17A. No, really? I thought, then hesitated over A vs.THE, too sleepy last night to count the squares, until a couple of crosses went in and showed me the way. Chuckled at ‘EARS’ and laughed out loud at RUB, and Lady M’s last word was right on.


I’m kicking myself for missing CHALLAH. My grandmother brought it every Sunday for dinner, and made sure my siblings and I knew how to say it properly even though we weren’t being brought up to know much more about that part of our cultural background.

Carola 6:34 PM  

@Hungry Mother, I'm so, so sorry.

sara 7:42 PM  

Northern California: Taking e.g. 580, or 80, or 110...

Southern California: The 10, The 110, etc. etc...

Anonymous 8:22 PM  

No, it never occurred to me that Rex was kidding. In my long experience, he always points to his own jokes.
Are you joking? Do you really think Rex was kidding?

Anonymous 8:26 PM  

Did z compare WAP to Shakespeare?
Am I through the looking glass? Will anyone acknowledge how ludicrous that is???

Pamela 8:37 PM  

@HungryMother- I’m so, so sorry for your loss.

I wrote my earlier post this morning, then got interrupted until just a little while ago, when I saw it hadn’t been sent. You’ve all been having a high old time all day! I love the cat duster. We had one who would have allowed it, long ago when I was young and we blithely played with our pets as if they were toys. We knew how much was enough, though, and if we forgot or tried to push it we were reminded pretty sharply. Ouch!

I also loved Pillsbury back then, when I could eat all that stuff and stay skinny. Not so skinny now, even without pies.

*****SB ALERT*****

Grrrr... missing 1 word again. Kudos to you, @Barbara S, and anyone else who Queens today.

Z 9:03 PM  

@Anon8:22 & 8:26 - Yes and Yes. I’m guessing you’ve never actually understood what’s going on in any of Billy’s comedies if you think the comparison is “ludicrous.” Like I said, Shakespeare is constantly censored, often just by not explaining all the sex jokes and gender fluidity happening. A boy playing a girl pretending to be a man who falls in love with a man who falls in love with him even though he is really a she (but in reality she is being played by a boy in drag)... And then The Bard of Avon sneaks common slang for female genitalia right into the title of a play. Yeah, WAP and all it’s suggestive bisexuality is just ripping off old uncle Billy S.

Anonymous 9:17 PM  

I guess you got me. I’m gonna toss my degree in English from Penn in the trash.
If only I had the benefit of Mr. Taylor.

Frantic Sloth 10:59 PM  

@Hungry Mother Please accept my deepest condolences. I hope you continue to find comfort in these memories discovered in unexpected places. Peace and love to you.

@Nancy That's really great news about @GILL. Thanks for letting us know.

TTrimble 11:32 PM  

I'm still a noob and only just getting to know some of you a little, but let me join the others in expressing sincere condolences to @Hungry Mother.

(The year 2020 has been hard for a lot of people. I'm glad to hear Gill is okay though.)

Teedmn 12:24 AM  

My friend, Linda, is a food scientist who works for General Mills (Pillsbury) and only a few weeks ago told us on Zoom that General Mills has tried many times to get rid of the lard in the pie crusts only to find they can’t get the correct texture without the lard. I was surprised that lard was used in any commonly used item and I'm glad, as a non-meat-eater, that I have continued to make my pie crusts from scratch. Indeed, I have found my olive oil crusts are very flaky and not lacking in texture in the least. Lard, who needs it?! :-)

Mike 2:31 AM  

Shylock says "The pound of flesh, which I demand of him"
It's the only time he speaks anything of "The pound of flesh" so it's correct even though it's definitely more commonly known as a pound of flesh.

DigitalDan 3:46 PM  

Re Ionic bonds: My freshman science course was called "PhysChem", a historically organized treatment of the basic concepts in both physics and chemistry, more or less alternating, indicating the close connection between the two and the impacts each field had on the development of the other. Still one of my favorite memories of college courses, along with the kinematics course and ordinary differential equations. Some well-developed science and math are simply beautiful, as opposed to the messy world at the frontiers.

rondo 10:04 AM  

Yes, Rex, but the clue READs Shylock, not Portia, so THE is correct. Turn your RANT elsewhere when it’s not correctly directed.

A RRN, an ampersandwich, and READ REID REED (two of the three eliciting a yeah baby). Bonus LEES LEA and ASHY SHY crossing on A SHYlock quote. Make of it what you will. Not much of a RANT from ME.

thefogman 10:19 AM  

Easy and fun to solve. Not one erasure.

spacecraft 10:25 AM  

Have to agree with OFC about the THE of 17a. Out, damned spot! Out, I say! (What to yell when the family Dalmatian tries to grab a burger off the cookout grill?) Yeah, the theme is faintly amusing, especially for Bard enthusiasts, but not worth that THE--or the always desperate vowel string, or its ugly ampersandwich neighbor.

I'm amused at OFC's line "I know that Las Vegas has hockey now (?!)..." Yes, like all they did in their debut year was go to the Stanley Cup final [no?, just !]

Despite a great DOD in Tara REID (hon. mention to her homonymic counterpart Donna REED), this one gets no better than a bogey.

Burma Shave 10:44 AM  


AFFAIRS with THE ESCORT were AWL ways fun,
a POUNDOFFLESH I’LL not misspend,
I said, “I’LL TELL you WHAT’S to be DONE,


Anonymous 12:16 PM  

Enjoyed this one. "The" pound of flesh grated a little but the rest of the quotes were fun. DNF due to not knowing who Timothy Leary was so had EKG at 34A and AH at 48A, knew LKARH wasn't right but was just stumped. Might have gotten EEG if I'd tried but wasn't getting AY.

leftcoaster 2:48 PM  

Clever, fun to do, and on the relatively tough side for Tuesday.

Liked the threesome of REED, READ, REID and the double EE-fest. Have only vaguely heard of Capri's Blue GROTTO. Last entries were NOGO/ROPEIN in the usually more wicked NW.

Thought an all-Shakespeare theme was enough. Didn't get to the "cookout" until checking in here, but got an extra kick out of it anyway.

Anonymous 8:50 PM  

OFL - You could lend someone your ears of corn, and be repaid later with other ears of corn, or other products. The loan process does not always involve returning the same item that was lent.

Easy puzzle, but enjoyable.

Diana, LIW 9:42 PM  

I'm late to comment, but the solve was smooth as ice. Nice concept, too.

Diana, LIW

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