Ball of vinegared rice topped with raw fish / SUN 8-23-20 / Basketball player in old slang / Party symbol since 1870 / Lyre player of myth / Non-US MLB team on sports tickers

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Constructor: Barbara Lin

Relative difficulty: Easy (7:57)


THEME: "Musical Interlude" — wacky answers are created by adding the notes of the scale (DO, RE, MI, FA, SOL, LA, TI) to familiar phrases:

Theme answers:
  • AMAZING DOG RACE (23A: Iditarod, for one?) ("Amazing Grace")
  • FORESTER PARENT (31A: One driving kids around in a Subaru?) (foster parent)
  • ORGAN DOMINATION (47A: Letting out all the stops to drown out the other instruments?) (organ donation)
  • SCARFACE RESOURCES (62A: Cocaine and guns, in a Pacino movie?) (scarce resources)
  • PARASOL MILITARY (81A: Troops who are worried about sun protection?) (paramilitary)
  • GLARE AT GRANDMA (93A: Give mom's mom the stink eye?) (great grandma)
  • THE PITIED PIPER (109A: "Twelve Days of Christmas" musician who invites sympathy?) (the Pied Piper)
Word of the Day: UAR (77D: Former Mideast grp.) —

The United Arab Republic (UARArabicالجمهورية العربية المتحدة‎ al-Jumhūrīyah al-'Arabīyah al-Muttaḥidah) was a sovereign state in the Middle East from 1958 to 1971. It was initially a political union between Egypt (including the occupied Gaza Strip) and Syria from 1958 until Syria seceded from the union after the 1961 Syrian coup d'état -- leaving a rump state. Egypt continued to be known officially as the United Arab Republic until 1971.

The republic was led by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. The UAR was a member of the United Arab States, a loose confederation with the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen, which was dissolved in 1961. (wikipedia)

• • •

A very normal 20th-century effort. The wacky add-some-letters stuff and the musical scale stuff, absolutely basic theme material for years and years. Doesn't mean it's inherently bad, just that you better put it to good (novel, fun) use, or else it's going to feel like an exercise in nostalgia. The Way Puzzles Were. And this one just didn't feel snappy or contemporary enough, or wacky enough, for that matter. It was a perfectly serviceable but ultimately tepid effort. And it's a good thing that it went by so fast (i.e. was so easy) because it is not a grid you want to look at too closely. There's a lot, and I mean a lot, of substandard fill here. Or, rather, it's pretty standard, and pretty tired, and pretty wince-inducing. Very short list I've scrawled out quickly here on my printed-out puzzle: MATIC EROO ENTO NUTRI (so ... just prefixes and suffixes) ATPAR ATNINE ACERB ARMEE RICAN MRE UAR (those last two *right next to each other*) ENORM and something called EDATE??? What the hell? Meanwhile over in the Plus column, all I have is SPOTIFY NIGIRI GNOCCHI and KALE SALAD (which sounds like a fun night in during quarantine). WIRETAP and MAHALIA are OK too. But overall, the theme just doesn't produce the fireworks it needs to in order to be successful, and the fill is too often gratingly non-wordy and overfamiliar. I'd give GLARE AT GRANDMA a thumbs-up, and maaaaybe SCARFACE RESOURCES too. Everything else just kinda lies there. 


I had a clunky start to this one, in that I thought there was going to be some reference to the TV show "The Amazing Race" (the existence of this show makes the ultimate answer, AMAZING DOG RACE, very very anticlimactic ... like, you're just adding the word "dog" to a pre-existing TV show title). Then I realized that the base phrase was "Amazing Grace," w/ a "G," which has me wondering now if "The Amazing Race" was *always* a pun on "Amazing Grace" ... somehow? I guess it's pretty typical to start (comparatively) slow, since the start is always when you have the least amount of info to go on, by definition. Picking up speed is probably a pretty normal phenomenon. Still, looking bad, I sputtered up there compared to how blazingly fast I was afterward. Once I cleared the alleged Beatles song ("YES IT IS"!?!?!) (in my head it goes, "Speaking words of wisdom / YES IT IS!") (33A: B-side to the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride"), it was off to the races. This was one of those solves where I could feel, about halfway through, that I was going to be close to record pace. Sometimes you can just feel it. But then I typo'd EDGING (90D: Trim) as EEGING and that completely screwed up the tail end of the GRANDMA themer (-GRANEMA), which meant that the whole SE corner all of a sudden got much much harder. It felt big and empty compared to the areas I'd just been slicing through. So I had to plunk the "LA" in there in the circled squares (so knowing the theme actually helped!) and muscle my way through to the end. Not sure how I never actually saw the ROSIE clue, since that would've been a gimme (dang it!) (96D: Perez of "Do the Right Thing"), but anyway, I still got to the end in under 8, which is very fast for me. I think my record on a Sunday NYTXW is in the 7:40s. The high of nearly breaking my record kept me from having too many bad feelings about this puzzle, but as the high wore off and I reviewed the grid ... things soured quickly. But as I say, it's a very solid late-'90s kind of effort. B+ if it were actually the late-'90s. But for today, a C at best.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

142 comments:

Harryp 12:05 AM  

I can see where the group that could care less about cars might have trouble with the FORESTER, but otherwise a pretty easy Sunday.

jae 12:07 AM  

Easy-medium. The only place I really got hung up was FORESTER mother>father before PARENT. As Jeff at Xwordinfo points out, this has been done more than once before. I recently did an archive puzzle with the same theme although this one was better. Like Jeff I found the theme answers amusing, liked it.

astrotrav 12:19 AM  

EDATE, ENORM and ECIGS...estop it, eplease.

Joaquin 12:24 AM  

I don't get it. I've been doing the NYT crossword since before @Rex was born (really!). Yet he finds so many puzzles "nostalgic" (or worse) when I find them mostly fun and informative. I thought today's puzzle was a kick and he thinks it's "wince-inducing".

I do enjoy his blog. But sometimes I just don't get "him".

Z 12:28 AM  

I figured out the musical scale part quickly (cue the diatribes over SOL) but thought the base phrases would all be songs like AMAZING GRACE. As.a result, FOSTER PARENT/FORESTER PARENT took a while to see and was a bit of a letdown. Wackifying song titles would have made this a better theme. Of the actual themers, PARASOL MILITARY made me smile. That one has a Monty Python wacky quality to it.

I get that Rex is referring to the theme type, but Carly RAE Jensen, ECIG, and KALE SALAD all see firmly rooted in this decade. The only answer that really felt dated was MAEVE Binchy. I know she was pretty popular for a moment and she is certainly crossworthy, but she won her lifetime achievement award 21 years ago. Dare I say she is to Irish novelists what Paul Erdos is to mathematicians? But that’s the only answer that really stood out to me. In short, maybe Rex is right about the theme type, but I didn’t feel like the puzzle was dated as I solved.

Ann Howell 3:14 AM  

Agree with Z above - was rather disappointed that AMAZING GRACE was the only musical themer. Didn't whiz through this as quickly as Rex, and especially slowed down at the SE corner. I showed my age when the first answer that came to mind at 35D ("Big name in music streaming") was NAPSTER, but my brain quickly came up with the correct 21st century response. Overall, kind of blah, but reasonably solid.

kaoconno 3:22 AM  

Yes, exactly! I also thought they would all be wackified song titles and was confused and then disappointed when this wasn’t the case.

Anonymous 4:26 AM  

Joaquin,

You don’t get it, I don’t get it, so many other really intelligent people that used to frequent this blog didn’t get it and moved on...

It’s a freaking crossword that among other things must jive with the political ideologies of “OFL” and so many others that comment here everyday. Aside from that there is sometimes a complete absence of logic...

It can be so depressing at times.

Many grow tired and leave...sad really. I’m not talking about just conservatives but many fun, articulate democrats as well. I have had my comments censored/removed for no other reason than Rex didn’t agree...no one is the wiser... hypocrisy.

It is probably time for you to move on just like so many others...

It will never change. Rex is certainly smart enough to replace Shortz but has sabotaged any possibility of doing so because he fails to understand what it really takes.

Whatever, I’ll see you back here tomorrow...

Marcus Chance 4:44 AM  

Moved at a measured pace through this, nothing like your speedy solve, Rex :)

In addition to GLARE AT GRANDMA, I liked PARASOL MILITARY.

My one italian bright spot was GNOCCHI, though I once excruciating food poisoning after eating some in Rome, so I rarely order them anymore. Well that and 67D clued as Michelangelo's.

I could also do without ATPAR, ATNINE, AND MATIC. And EDATE is just yuck.

Trish 6:26 AM  

I was hung up for a very long time on a very short word: SAY for clue “Opinion.” Shouldn’t the clue be “Opine”? Even then it’s still weak. I took forever to put SAY, thinking I must be missing something.

Anonymous 6:27 AM  

Filled in the scale from the "d". Easy pleasant solve.

Another female constructor trashed - take note how many times.

Lewis 6:33 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:43 AM  

After an enjoyable solve, a flight of fancy:

Once the Emporer NERO
(And oops I made a TYPO)
Under the gaze of ERATO
Got the hang of EMO
And sang in a heart-rending LENTO
“How I miss my pimiENTO
I lost it at the DEPOT
And now I’m feeling SOSO
And sadsad at a level MACRO!”
So off he went to RIO

Lobster11 6:44 AM  

Am I the only one who thought it was unfair to cross a Japanese word with a German word -- and at a vowel to boot?

ChuckD 6:57 AM  

I’ll pass on this one - a third of the way thru it became evident I was in for a slog. Nonsense theme + cheater circles + endless 4 and 5 letter glue = unenjoyable Sunday. Only entry I liked was the SEAGRAM Building - love the plaza and used to love the Four Seasons.

I’m going surfing.

Colin 7:30 AM  

Thought this was a pleasant Sunday with a fun, not-overly-challenging theme. Turns out, I was a FORESTERPARENT. And my flute skills are so pathetic, I could well be THEPITIEDPIPER. Fortunately, my in-laws and I get along very well, so I never GLAREATGRANDMA.

Would the PARASOLMILITARY be an army of Penguins vs an army of Batmans and Robins?

Got stuck in the NW corner because I assumed "Meals" ended with an "s". I also got stuck because I missed UAR and originally had TOASTER for the "Bar freebie" (as in, "toasts all around, compliments of the house!" - yeah, as if that happens!). Maybe if I didn't start late at night (my Sunday puzzle / NYT Mag arrives on Saturday so I typically take to it late in the day), my brain would be fresher.

I appreciate you all, while gauging OFL's curmudgeonliness with some bemusement.

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

Filled in the scale from the "d" in DO. Easy pleasant solve.

Another female constructor trashed by OFL - note how many times that happens!

albatross shell 8:04 AM  

@Trish626am
I am glad you had your SAY about SAY,

And I immediately apologize for an occasional inability to resist the obvious and unnecessary gratuitous remark. Sorry.

mmorgan 8:06 AM  

I'll gladly take what Rex calls "pretty standard, and pretty tired, and pretty wince-inducing" fill for a nice The Way Puzzles Were Sunday like this. The Way Puzzles Were meant they were full of great themers like this, and the rest of the puzzle doesn't really matter -- a smile here, a groan there, a furrowed brow elsewhere. Doesn't matter. You came for the themers. And if they were good, as these are, then you leave with a smile.

Frantic Sloth 8:07 AM  

I had fun, but it was just the one SCAD of it.


🧠🧠🧠 (another wavelength thing)
🎉🎉 (equals 1 SCAD)



***Breakfast Test Warning***



Brought to you by Text-Lax. Text-Lax, the nobody-gives-a-shit of blogospheres everywhere. Even if that seems redundant.

@JD and anyone else not using today's sponsor, so...you know...@JD Since the (albeit uncelebrated) arrival of the SOC SCAD, and your subsequent definition dredge, I wondered about using SCADS instead of party favors for the fun scale. There are fish emojis, but I doubt any of them is the offishal SCAD....so I guess maybe not. [E.L.'s voice] never mind.

barbara 8:15 AM  

If I have my SAY, I offer my opinion. Can be a noun, although less common for sure.

Spatenau 8:34 AM  

@Trish, SAY works because it is a noun meaning "opinion" in such phrases as "have some say in the matter.

Pamela 8:40 AM  

I enjoyed today. I started last night and got the musical scale quickly. This must have elevated my confidence to unreasonable heights, because I threw in a whole slew of wrong answers. This morning It took a more than one sec (for HOLDIT) to UNmesh (for UNLACE) the mess I made. Thankfully, as I slogged my way through EDATE (yuck) and those AKIN to it, I was entertained by GLAREATGRANDMA, PITIEDPIPER and the like.

Not so easy for me, but entertaining nonetheless.

Frayed Knot 8:46 AM  

This played like a pleasant Sunday stroll. I paused to smell the roses.

I noticed the constructor's name and the large number of female answers.
Before coming here I thought that if Rex carved this up then there truly is no pleasing him.

Coniuratos 8:47 AM  

@Lobster11, both words are pretty commonplace in English, I'd say it's fair.

I'd call this one fine. Not great, but perfectly adequate. INAPT, maybe it just sounds weird to me, but I wanted "inept" so much that I had myself thinking there must be a (fruit) apple variety called an "imec".

albatross shell 8:52 AM  

PARASOLMILITARY made it enjoyable. Being on the easy side made it relatively slogless. Although the extreme SW corner was a tangled mess for me that I had to rework one square at a time.

I know a lot of folks are going to think Rex trashed the puzzle with his forceful statements about what a 21st century puzzle should be, but Bplus rating for it just two to three decades ago is quite a high grade. And a C grade on a Sunday for a new puzzle is also on the high side considering his general complaints about Sunday's. See now you can complain he was just being nice yo a female, and you have your cake and eat it too.

And at the risk of seeming fixated on @Lewis: If you think this puzzle was a lemon, he certainly knows how to make yummy lemonade.

Unknown 9:04 AM  

The PIEDPIPER has nothing to do with the 12 days of Christmas. It's 12 Pipers Piping... that clue is really rotten.

I enjoyed the other scale puns though!

RooMonster 9:05 AM  

Hey All !
@Lobster11 6:44
No! That was my one-letter DNF spot. Had an E. Argh! And Welcome Back! Don't stay away so long.

Enjoyed the puz. Once I got DO and RE, filled in the rest of the circles, which helped me out. I do have nits (but it'd be un-American if I didn't 😉), lots of threes, lots of abbrs., lots of INs, ATs, etc.

Thought most themers funny. Only hung up in a few spots, but overall relatively easy. 28 minutes on a SunPuz for me is quite quick. And I don't go for speed. Didn't even have to Goog anything today! Longest answer that took today was MATIC, had MATed, then MATon.

Got a rare ROO crossing, ROOT/EROO, so that's fun! Har.Liked the SE last two, SAVE TREE. Eco-message.

Five F's
AVOID the NO DEAR
RooMonster
DarrinV

Teedmn 9:11 AM  

I wish I could say it was a TYPO but no, I actually had NUTRa and NaGIRI because the former is how I say NUTRI-Grain, and the latter looked okay because it's been so long since I went out for sushi (FROWNy emoticon here).

This filled in about twelve minutes faster than my usual random-solved Sunday so it must have been super-easy or in my wheelhouse. The theme was easy to guess based on the circles and title but I really liked the theme phrases Ms. Lin came up with. AMAZING DOG RACE and ORGAN DOMINATION are my favorites.

There aren't a lot of fun clues but 71A's "Whine connoisseurs" and 29A's "Bronze that's not winning any awards" are pretty good.

Thanks, Barbara Lin, for an entertaining Sunday puzzle.

And @Lewis, thanks for the whimsy!

TTrimble 9:14 AM  

@Trish
SAY here is a noun as in, "you've had your SAY, now let me have mine!"

(Everybody just relax. I was only giving an example.)

(By the way, thanks to @Frantic Sloth, @Whatsername, @Z, @JC66 for the nice shout-outs yesterday. Was gone most of the day seeing my son off to college. Wonder how long it'll last this semester?)

I agree with Rex that much of the fill was meh. And agree the puzzle wasn't intrinsically difficult. But for some reason my time was off. Had "largo" before LENTO, and "UAe" before UAR, and was thrown a little off by CHEAPOS for "penny pinchers". I thought a cheapo was something a penny pincher might buy, making it more like a penny pinchee?

I wondered too whether "amazing race" was riffing on "amazing grace", and what this Yes It Is song is. (Looked it up, had a listen, never heard it before. Nice harmonies though.)

Otherwise, I liked the puzzle okay -- a pleasant enough diversion.


---[SB Alert]---
-->> spoilers from yesterday's <<--










Rats, after a quickish start, hit a wall, missing BOOTEE, COYOTE, and OOCYTE. I reckon I'm not alone, as I didn't see much from the other SB-ers.

Petsounds 9:15 AM  

If the puzzle title is "Musical Interlude," and the first theme answer is, basically, "Amazing Grace," you might think that all the theme answers would be songs. That's what I thought, so along with other commenters, I was disappointed and somewhat confused when that wasn't the case.

109A--What does THE PI(TI)EDPIPER have to do with "The Twelve Days of Christmas?" That one hung me up for a long time, even though I had most of the letters. There was the Pied Piper of Hamlin, who removed all the rats--and children--from the town in a typically horrifying German folk tale, and there are "11 pipers piping" in the Christmas song, and there is no connection between them.

Aside from that, I enjoyed the solve. 29A cracked me up.

kitshef 9:18 AM  

I know that I, for one, am desperate for the days when COVID restrictions are lifted so that I can go back to bars and get me some coasters.

NIGIRI/NUTRI cross is just awful. The former is complete gibberish, and the latter could end in -a or -o very reasonably.

Penny pinchers in the crossword and penny pincher in the cryptic.

JD 9:21 AM  

*TextLax warning*

Dear @Frantic, I wasn't going to comment today because wacky phrases are to me what circles are to many others here. They infuriate me on a tiny level.

But for inexplicable reasons, it cracks me up every single time you use the phrase Party Favors. So I agree, no Scad rating. Even though the contrast between its lofty definition and its puny name also cracks me up.

(And Text-Lax enters the lexicon)

Unknown 9:26 AM  

I'd never have got "forester" except that I now live in the Hudson Valley where four of every five cars is a Subaru.

If anyone is interested in following up on 106A, I've written an in-depth article that gives a different perspective on Watergate and the wiretaps. It's called "Watergate, Wiretaps and the White Panther Party." It's on my website necessarystorms.com. Comments and criticisms welcome, my email address is sf27shirley@gmail.com.

Brian 9:29 AM  

👍

Trish 9:33 AM  

Oof. You’re right, Barbara. But I still don’t care for it!

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

I liked it, figured out the theme pretty early when ti was in the circles of The pitied piper. (I did the southeast corner 1st). Only thing I missed and guessed wrong on was the 2nd letter of 28 across (German Please) and the 4 letter of the rice sushi thing going down. Did not know either and guessed A instead of the correct letter I. So close

Hungry Mother 9:42 AM  

Agree with easy, but NUTRa/NUTRI had me hunting for my error for a long time. I’ve eaten them many times; I guess I can’t read.

nyc_lo 9:49 AM  

Agreed with those above crying foul on THEPI(TI)EDPIPER clue. How does an editor miss that??

Rube 9:52 AM  

Awful. As @z said and others AMAZINGDOGRACE was tantalizing because of the song and the TV show and the race but no other good ones liked that could gave been with a more complex theme.

And where I come from it's the SEAGRAM'S building and Sondheim (Company) would agree.

Tom R 9:56 AM  

Very easy Sunday - and I own a Forester. But I was struck by 111A. It may have aired at nine on the coasts, but it would have been 8 in the middle of the country. Yeah I know its the NY Times, but the clue could have been worded to be less egocentric.

William of Ockham 9:58 AM  

Gee, a 21x21 Sunday I liked the themers a lot.

Sign of the Apocalypse?

Birchbark 10:00 AM  

In the PARASOL MILITARY, the PITIED PIPERs play KAZOOs. If their war hounds fall in battle, the KAZOO corps stands at attention, hum/buzzing a plaintive AMAZING DOG RACE to usher the fallen to that great bone-yard in the sky. It is dignified and moving in its way.

So yes, this puzzle struck a kind of chord with me, and I must go and think upon it.

albatross shell 10:07 AM  

Please. Understand the theme.
The clues are for the wacky phrase with the letters of the scale. The common phrase with the scale letters removed is not clued at all. It works the same for all of them. How can you get hung up on understanding one (the pied piper) when they all work the same way? You could not get any of them. Fine. They could be explained. But just one?

Nancy 10:09 AM  

ORGAN DOMINATION alone was worth the price of admission. But they were all quite lovely and imaginative.

Look, I haven't read the blog yet, but I know that there are some of y'all out there who hate puns. That's just who you are and you can't help it. But take it from me (who seldom met a pun I didn't like) -- these are really nifty puns. Congrats, Barbara.

I also liked the fact that, unlike most tiny little circles, these were actually quite helpful and I used them to assist in solving. The fact that they were in the order of the scale helped immeasurably.

The NE took me as much time as the entire rest of the puzzle. That blasted 22A was ONE SEC at first (leading to SCOPE for the medical tube); then it morphed into HOLD ON, leading to a big "Huh?" for the medical tube; and only belatedly became HOLD IT, finally giving me STENT.

The clue/answer for FAKE TAN is inspired.

Two puzzlements: Why is the clue at 84A a META? And who covers an ANTLER in velvet?

Think this puzzle is lots of fun and very well executed. Liked it a lot.

albatross shell 10:20 AM  

@Nancy
God covers ANTLERs in velvet. Or a natural process if you prefer. They grow with a velvety covering.

Meta- is used to mean "refers to itself". The clue is self-referential, and thus META.

Cherish the Puzzle 10:21 AM  

Sorry, guy races through a Sunday NYT crossword in under 8 minutes and then complains about the aesthetics of the grid. Not buying it.

Z 10:22 AM  

Regarding the confusion around PIED PIPER - The clues for all the themers are for the new wackified phrases. For example, AMAZING GRACE has nothing to do with the Iditarod but the Iditarod is an AMAZING DOG RACE. Base phrase gets a “musical interlude,” newly created wacky phrase gets clued wackily. Likewise, the clue is about PI(TI)IED PIPER, not about the PIED PIPER.
(@albatross shell - I just refreshed and see your explanation. I’m leaving mine only because you don’t make explicit what you’re referring to)

@Trish - Now that it’s been explained eleventy times, let me just add that we’ve all been there.

YES IT IS
Recognized it immediately once I heard it but would never have been able to tell you the title.

Sigh. The usual anonymob with the “OMG Rex didn’t rave about a puzzle made by a woman😱😱😱😱😱 He is such a sexist.” I guess they are just incapable of understanding, or maybe unwilling, how their comment is the sexist one. Here’s an example that I doubt will help. More women should be in government. Betsy DeVos should be in jail, not government.

Jim SPies 10:40 AM  

Just me, perhaps, but I didn't like the NY-centricity of some of this puzzle. SEAGRAM building is iconic? I can name the Flatiron, Empire State, Chrysler, Freedom, and Tr*mp Tower. Not the Seagram. "Cheers" was on at 8 where I grew up and now live. 9 was for dramas.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Ladies and gentleman I give you Z.
He would imprison his political enemy without charge, trial or conviction.
That my friend is what everyone but he and Rex call cancel culture.

Ken Freeland 10:46 AM  

ditto, still scratching my head on that clueing... creator could easily have substituted "musician from Hamlin town" for the misdirection... why she didn't is hard to figure

egsforbreakfast 10:46 AM  

@Nancy 10:09 As a fellow pun-lover, I thought I should help you out. 84A is a META clue because it is about itself. Sort of one level above the usual playing field. ANTLERs are covered in velvet-like fuzz when they first form on the deer. They later lose this fuzz and become the hard, bony antlers with which you are familiar.

Good puzzle, good puns, pretty easy. I liked it.

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

I'm going to be CRAB and whine about 71A. If you use a homophone (whine for wine) you do not also need a "?". C'mon Shortz. That's so stupid!! We get it. There's a trick.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

Z Said “Sigh. The usual anonymob with the “OMG Rex didn’t rave about a puzzle made by a woman.” Uh to what mob are you referring? There is possibly one comment (8:46) that can be construed this way and even that’s a stretch. This is a classic straw man argument by a poor debater.

Mr. Cheese 10:57 AM  

@Z - your comment about Betsy D. Is right on.
If Rex stopped timing himself he might have time to smell the coffee and appreciate most constructors’ accomplishments

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

I don't get the cavil about PITIED PIPER. To my read, none of the coupled answers are connected, In The Real World, now are they? After all, the key to the clue is 'invites sympathy'. That's pity, is it not? One of the PIPERs is sad, so sad. I mean, can you imagine GI's carrying umbrellas into battle, unfurled to protect from the sun? And so on.

The sole, truly iconic, building in NYC is the Flatiron Building. Note 'building' is part and parcel of the name. It's also been around for over 100 years.
"The building, which has been called "one of the world's most iconic skyscrapers and a quintessential symbol of New York City",[8]"
the wiki, and you can go look up the link

Seagram, OTOH, is just another brutalist box.

barryevans 11:01 AM  

Too easy, grumble grumble. All over too fast.

ow a paper cut 11:02 AM  

This was good fun. I had fewer incorrect guesses than usual (I can fill a puzzle with incorrect guesses). I liked the theme type.

Frantic Sloth 11:11 AM  


@kitshef 918am LOL! Try 'em with a little Sriracha. It'll make them taste like Sriracha.

@JD 921am "They infuriate me on a tiny level" is my new mantra.

@Birchbark 1000am The imagery. The pathos. The side-eye. Classic. Thank you!

@Z 1022am I see some NEDFLANDERS-variety PTSD in your future...

bigsteve46 11:12 AM  

re."Cherish the Puzzle" comment: I'm with you, bro/sis!" Especially recently Rex (and a lot of commenters, too) seem obsessed with their completion time - much more than the quality of the puzzle - or the enjoyment of the solving. If you have to weigh a couple of possibilities for an answer or maybe end up with a fill that doesn't totally jibe with the clue - why, this is bad because it slows you down and adds seconds to your completion time. This just seems a sad perversion of the simple pleasure that something inconsequential like a crossword puzzle can provide. Just my two cents ...

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Anon10:59,
Not sure you’ve ever seen a picture of New York. There s a little building on 34th just off Fifth, that a lot of people seem to associate with The Big Apple. And because you seem truly confused, I’lll leave out the Chrysler buildings address.And the Guggenheim. And st. Patrick’s and the UN and... well, we’ll lave it at mid town. When you want to get schooled on other neighborhoods, just post again.
You needn’t be a fan of Mies van der Rohe or Philip Johnson to know that the Seagram building is a big deal.

Carola 11:23 AM  

I'm with the commenters above with "easy" and "pleasant." After getting the DO-GRACE, I filled in the remaining notes of the scale and enjoyed trying to get the rest of the theme answers with as few crosses as possible. The PARASOL MILITARY was most successful at disguising itself.

ORGAN DOMINATION - I'm all for it! One of my favorite things to do when traveling (sigh!) is to check for organ concerts in churches or cathedrals. My favorite is the lovely Gothic cathedral in Freiburg im Breisgau, in southwest Germany: it has 4 organs, distributed at various spots around the nave, choir, and transepts and has a central console from which all four can be controlled, to play individually or all together. So you get not only the normal reverberation but a total-body surround-sound take-over. If you have two-and-a-half minutes, this will give you an idea.

Z 11:24 AM  

@Anon10:57 - I count 2, but you’re right. Usually when I use hyperbole it’s intentional. This time it was purely a “here we go again” over-reaction.

@Frantic Sloth - Everything I know about Ned Flanders I learned from crosswords so your warning flew right over my head. Besides, I spent 18 years as a public school administrator, where everyone thinks they know your job better than you and are more than willing to tell you and your boss and their boss and the Board and the newspaper about it. If that didn’t give me PTSD nothing here will.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Can someone explain the Angels/Brats clue (10D)? Struggled with that one. Overall thought it was a decent puzzle, quicker than a typical Sunday.

thefogman 11:36 AM  

This one struck a chord with me. On a scale of A to G, I give this one a B (or a Ti in solfège).

Z 11:37 AM  

@anon11:31 - Think grade schoolers.

Nancy 11:39 AM  

Agree w/ Unknown and Ken. As a pre K teacher , I taught that song every Xmas and it def. is not Pied Piper!!

Whatsername 11:41 AM  

@TTrimble: RE “Wonder how long it'll last this semester?” My nephew reported to UNC Raleigh three weeks ago for his freshman year. They’re bringing him back home today. Classes are still in session but on campus housing is shut down.

thefogman 11:48 AM  

Just one more thing...It could have been a B# if it wasn’t for 109A.

Teedmn 11:57 AM  

I just noticed how Rex's URL reads today, har: ball-of-vinegared-rice-topped-with-raw.html

I'm guessing @Frantic's suggestion of sriracha would work on raw html as well as on coasters.

Frantic Sloth 11:59 AM  

***TextLaxAlert***

@Z 1124am Don't know if I'm disappointed or relieved that you've successfully erased any memory of the incident. The details elude me now, but there was a question about the clue/answer correlation being all messed up and NEDFLANDERS was the answer at the heart of it. The "discussion" went on - excruciatingly - forever, but me being me, I just couldn't fathom what (mostly) you and @Joe D were saying.
@Joe D eventually peeled off and went the way of sanity. You persisted - inexplicably, with more patience than warranted. And I went away, dazed and confused, but hopeful that a new day would deliver some wisdom. I awoke the next morning, bolting upright from a sound sleep - I might even have yelled "Eureka!" - and finally got it...whatever "it" was.
Aren't you glad you didn't ask?

ChuckD 12:07 PM  

@anon 10:59 - I’m assuming you’re not a NYer based on the “sole, truly iconic” statement. Spend some time in the plaza off Park maybe it will open your senses. Far from a brutalist box - but if it is as you seem to believe - it is the first one and spurned a generation of others.

Newboy 12:10 PM  

Glad I’m a grandpa who can smile at the bad pun clues and forgive the unnecessary circles that self filled from AMAZINGDO(h)GRACE. Otherwise, I might have been a 71A! Obviously I have to agree to Rex’s “tepid” assessment, but I’m still last century enough to actually enjoy that BIRD on the wire, etc. Just checked xwordinfo for constructor notes and saw that Jeff agreed on the circles & that Barbara makes great cupcakes as well as crossword grids. Thanks for sharing Ms Lin.

What? 12:12 PM  

Antlers have a kind of velvety covering. Many, especially New Yorkers, have probably not felt it. (Felt?).

What? 12:15 PM  

I liked it, as if anyone cares. It was easy but each theme fill produced a smile - what else should I ask for? I’m going to the cryptic crossword right now which I never get but at least it’ll stop my thinking about things.

Pamela 12:19 PM  

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

@TTrimble- I missed the exact same three. Sorta felt like I should have gotten 2 of them, but OOCYTE was never going to happen from me. Today I’m again at the slog point. Oof.

CDilly52 12:20 PM  

@Z 12:28 AM. Agree completely that I thought (nay hoped!) that all the themers would be songs, which in this one person’s opinion, would have been a pretty right and fun Sunday theme, albeit “dated” or “done before.” But, isn’t that the mark of a good theme; one we like to see again when done well? It is for me. Too bad, Ms. Lin couldn’t find more songs. Still, didn’t hate it.

CDilly52 12:23 PM  

As always, @Lewis, 6:43 AM, what more is there to say?! So many days, your upbeat comments make me smile, as did this one. And I certainly need it!

JC66 12:26 PM  

When an ANTLER has a velvety covering, is it called an opinion or a SAY?











And does the PIED PIPER play it?

Michael Page 12:32 PM  

And unrelatedly, why is the fifth note of the scale SOL instead of SO? Never understood that one.

daveyhead 12:34 PM  

“Yes it Is” is one of the many great songs by the Beatles that didn’t make the radio. I’m sure many of your commenters have not only heard of it but love it.

Joaquin 12:34 PM  

Per Wikipedia: "On completion in 1958, the Seagram Building's $41 million construction cost made it the world's most expensive skyscraper at the time." Or, just a bit less than it costs today for a fixer-upper in California.

Dave S 12:34 PM  

Hurray for me I actually caught on to the theme while it could still do me some good in helping me solve the puzzle. Last few times I filled everything in and looked back on the seeming mess afterward before I finally could say "oh" , which is not nearly as much fun. agree the fill is a little weak, but I liked the long answers, particularly "Glare at Grandma," and I have zero problem with "Pitied Piper." Liked "show stoppers" as a clue. Zipped on through it until the bottom where I had confidently plugged in "vapes" for "Juuls and such" and then had to undo the mess it had created. So, generally easy, but a good solve.

OffTheGrid 12:43 PM  

As I worked through this puzzle I thought, "I haven't had this much fun since I did the printed puzzle years ago" (which was a week delayed in my local paper).




Anonymous 12:46 PM  

Thought this one was easy and mostly fun, but got stuck in the northwest corner and still don't get the connection between "meals" and "board." Could someone please help me out?

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

Are you OK?

David 12:46 PM  

There are many iconic buildings in NYC: Empire State, Chrysler, Flatiron, Woolworth, Williamsburgh Bank, the Whitney, the Guggenheim, and more. The Seagram Building was designed by two very famous firms, but I'm not sure I've ever met a New Yorker who considers it "iconic" to the city. It's a fine example of the Modernist and International styles; it ain't close to Brutalist Anon.

I had fun with the puzzle pretty much, and as a life long musician didn't even see the scale thing, I rarely bother with themes. All my nits with this one are in the cluing, not the puzzle itself.

albatross shell 1:07 PM  

@anon1246pm
Room and board. Board means meals. See also boarding house.

Jeff 1:08 PM  

I agree. I enjoyed the experience. Unfortunately, I find the host and many of his followers nasty. Kudos to anyone who can create a crossword puzzle. Bye!

Colin 1:10 PM  

@Anonymous, 12:46: As an example, "Room and board" at college is your dorm room plus a meal plan.

Banya 1:11 PM  

Loved this puzzle. It was easyish and fun and the themers made me laugh. I would like to see this AMAZING DOG RACE. And GLARE AT GRANDMA also made laugh.

H. Mann 1:11 PM  

What if it were submitted in the early 90's but has been waiting around to be published until today? What grade then?

Masked and Anonymous 1:14 PM  

IGUE'S SNOT. Makes this SunPuz an instant winner.

staff weeject pick: SOL. And RAE.

Wouldn'ta circled them notes, if it was my puz. I'da made U nice folks work for it, just a tad harder.
Unless maybe they went ahead and hid the extra DO? That'd be way cool. I'm eyin U hard, @DONKEY…
nah … IGUE'S SNOT.

Thanx for the fun, Ms. Lin darlin. Note-worthy work. AMSTEL lookin for that easter-egg DO ...

Masked & Anonymo4Us


**gruntz**

old timer 1:31 PM  

"Oh goody!" I grumbled when I saw those circles in my Magazine. But for once, they were helpful to the solve. From the title, I knew something musical was afoot, and AMZING (DO) GRACE told me immediately that the next circled letters would be RE, then MI, etc. The result was steady progress, top to bottom, through a puzzle that otherwise would be just a Sunday slog.

When I got to the SEAGRAM Building, my immediate thought was, I was first in New York before it was complete. In any case, September 1958, and while my mother took me to St Pat's, to the Plaza for my first "I'm a 13 year old grownup!" dinner, for a ferry ride to Staten Island,to the UN, and most memorably to the Stock Exchange, we knew nothing about the SEAGRAM building. I think I never went to New York until the spring of 1963, when I took the Greyhound across the country, and my art-major companion insisted that we see it, on a day trip from Philly where we were staying with a classmate.

And to tell you the truth, though I have returned to New York many times since, I never thought about the SEAGRAM building again. On the other hand, my mother and I went to Grand Central to travel to Boston, and that is a building I never fail to visit, even if I have no train to catch (OK, I am in love with the Oyster Bar).

old timer 1:33 PM  

Now even before the FORESTER, I knew a lot about Subarus. My wife is from Vermont, and they might as well have made the Subaru the official state car of Vermont, in those days. Everybody had them because they drove so well in the snow.

Unknown 1:34 PM  

@Michael Page
Because it is! That's how it's actually spelled: SOL. IIRC, the syllables go back to medieval times.

@Anonymous 12:46PM
As in "room and board".

---[SB Alert]---










@Pamela
Do you ever have a funny feeling that when you refresh the letters, it's as if the software wants to nudge you in the right direction? The last time I refreshed yesterday's, there was COYOTE almost in plain sight. Also, it was a little ironic that I was casually looking for -CYTE words. I might never have gotten OOCYTE however (anagram of COYOTE).

Yeah, today's is weird. At the moment I'm sitting at Great with the pangram. Going to go in for another bout.

TTrimble 1:34 PM  

Egad. Last comment was mine -- forgot to sign.

pmdm 1:53 PM  

Like Z, I read the title and figured out the theme quite easily. In fact, I filled in all the circled squares before reading any of the clues.

I had to sub as organist today, and because I got but later than I wanted, could not comment before I went to church. The homily started off with a joke, and I actually had to smile three times. Then I came home and read the write-up, which would cause me to sigh more than grin. At least Z left a comment that made me smile broadly. Just think of his sanity had he had to administer a school in NYC.

jb129 1:53 PM  

1Two fun Sunday puzzles in a row - what a gift! Thank you

JC66 2:00 PM  

@TTrimble

Why not go blue?

thefogman 2:03 PM  

Can somebody please explain the secret code used when one discusses SB? Thanks!

Joe Dipinto 2:14 PM  

The summer I was 16 a few of my high school buddies and I worked at a company called National Messenger Service, whose office was on the lower level in Grand Central Station. We traveled everywhere on foot or by subway – there were no bike messengers in NYC yet. The company's sign read:

NATIONAL MESSENGER SERVICE!
Offices Thru-out the City!


The "offices throughout the city" consisted of a dedicated telephone line in the Seagram Building. If your last assignment finished in that vicinity, you were supposed to go to the basement of Seagram's (as they called it), to a solitary phone next to a waiting-room chair, and contact headquarters to receive your next pick-up location. It was very "Get Smart"-ish.

William's son Jeremy.

CDilly52 2:44 PM  

Count me among those who thoroughly enjoyed this oh-so-Sunday offering. Yes, it has been done, and I do not really mind that it may have been done more cleverly, cohesively, with fewer crosswordese entries before. Since I don’t solve for speed or to count/comment on “un-PC,” or politically offensive (to me) entries, but simply to enjoy solving a puzzle, possibly learning a new word and getting a chuckle or two, this was right up my Sunday alley.

Sure, I was disappointed that all the theme answers did not reference songs or music, especially since the theme (and even the title) seemed to foreshadow. . . well. . . a full “musical interlude” rather than just a tidbit which was immediately obvious upon solving the AMAZING DOG RACE.

And I freely admit it right here in print. Several spots, the crosswordese enabled me not to get stuck. I had particular trouble with the second block down on the W side. Had it not been for DIM and MATIC, I might have been well and truly stuck because my brain just would not clear the fog for TAUTEST, and I always have trouble remembering whether Shrek’s author is STEIG or STieG. Thank you MATIC.

So, without the “standard” fill (I prefer that to the more pejorative “crosswordese”, truth to be told) I would probably still be about halfway through.

My favorite part, though, actually occurred because Ms. Lin chose not to include all songs or musical works in her theme answers. Had she done so, I would have missed two really good chuckles, actually one good guffaw and a LOL. Guffawed at GLARE AT AT GRANDMA, but laughed out loud at PARASOL MILITARY. Maybe that’s the group guarding Mary Poppins, Bert the chimney sweep and the Banks children when they jump through the chalk pavement picture and become characters in the delightful cartoon romp. I spent considerable minutes conjuring up different scenarios for a PARASOL MILITARY, including the corps de ballet of perhaps the Bolshoi in uniform with little pink lace umbrellas along with the ballerina hippo from the original Disney “Fantasia” together on stage.

There you have it. Doesn’t take much to entertain me some days and I thank Barbara Lin for her completely enjoyable offering.

GaryMac 2:54 PM  

*** SB Alert ***

Includes spoilers from yesterday










Hey all you SBers. Stay with it, today's is very doable. I got QB for the first time in 12 days after being very close on most of the previous 11. I had all of them yesterday except for OOCYTE, along with everybody else. The day before was GOBY and GOOEY.

teevoz 3:10 PM  

"Alleged Beatles song"" omg Rex you're not that young. I bet you think it's a McCartney song. It's one of Lennon's best in fact.

Mary McCarty 3:10 PM  

@Z: MAEVE Binchy won a lifetime achievement award in 2010, (“ pretty popular for a moment“?) her most recent novel was published in 2015, and she keeps showing up in my “suggested books” lists. Though I’ve never read one of her books, she’s very well-know to me and other fiction readers, and is hardly “dated”. Puzzle was pretty easy for a Sunday; either I’m getting better or the puzzles are getting easier—I remember puzzles in the 90’s giving me a whole day’s worth of enjoyable head-scratching (but that’s when I had babies, so...)
Again, forgot to check the title, so circled letters meant nothing to me, but when I read through them at the end, I felt incomplete without the final DO (sigh). ORGANDOMINATION, PARASOLMILITARY definitely the winners!

A Trans Solver 3:12 PM  

I’m surprised not many people have mentioned how not male-centric this puzzle is. To me, the lack of sports trivia and replacing the usual parade male authors/actors/celebrities/academics with more women made this puzzle refreshing! I don’t feel like I have to do an inkubator puzzle as a chaser to clear my palette. 😝

Rgoldfilm 3:24 PM  

Disagree. The PITIED PIPER is from the 12 Days. The PIED PIPER is the common phrase

MommaJ 3:30 PM  

Most enjoyable Sunday puzzle in ages! I had to consult with my son for the bar freebie, since I don’t frequent them. He suggested chex mix, cashews, then had the coaster breakthrough. I knew I was smart to have kids!

Ldswat 4:19 PM  

A Mother's mother is not a Great Grandma.... That would be a mother's mother's mother. And don't say we call our grandma's great... They would abhor the idea of being some 25 years older.

Ldswat 4:21 PM  

Mother's mother is grandma not great grandma.... Granny would hat being thought of as a generation older.

Barbara S. 4:22 PM  

The appearance of "Iditarod" in the clues prompts me to tell you this. Whenever my husband comes upon a dog-walker with a flock of tiny dogs (the smaller the better) he always says jocularly, "Ah, training for the Iditarod?" Unfortunately, the walker almost always laughs, which just encourages him.

****SB ALERT SPOILERS FROM YESTERDAY****
I missed both BOOTEE and OOCYTE, and COYOTE was the last word I got. When I saw OOCYTE, I was reminded of an ancient ad for house paint: "Lucite turns you loose." OOCYTE turns you...oose? And another thing: there's a mineral called "oolite." I looked it up to verify the spelling and found out that it's composed of ooids. Now that's a bunch of words beginning with double-O that's just expanded our vocabulary.

I'm 4 away today (and I'm glad to hear @GaryMac say it's possible). But I can't get the pangram. #$%&*@/ (<= not a spoiler).

Anonymous 4:33 PM  

Not understanding the dislike specifically of THEPITIEDPIPER.

All the themes are of the format in which the answer with the extra letters removed has nothing to do with the original clue or full answer. For example, Amazing Grace has nothing to do with the Iditarod. So why should the Pied Piper have anything to do with the 12 days of Christmas?

Anonymous 4:51 PM  

@Ldswat. As explained earlier by others, the 2 phrases of the theme answers, one with the circled letters and one without, aren't related and the phrase without the circled letters is not related to the clue.

Anonymous 4:57 PM  

You can almost make iditar_d in the SB

Z 4:57 PM  

@Mary McCarthy - Unless there are two MAEVE Binchys... She died in 2012. You’re right about the second lifetime achievement award, so maybe there are two.
Oh, I see some things have been published posthumously. Anyway, Binchy’s moment of greatest fame strikes me as the 1990’s. As with many talented people, when her 15 minutes was up she didn’t just cease to exist, and maybe her best work was actually produced after she was on Oprah (yes, I’ve been reading the Wikipedia entry on her - making sure I was thinking of the right person). But I think for most people today, in 2020, she’s a writer who keeps showing up on suggested reading lists and not much more. (I’m not saying this is right or fair, just that maybe that is how it is) That it took anyone this long to criticize my flippant remark sort of suggests my impression is true. “I’ve never read one of her books” is hardly a ringing endorsement either.
OTOH, I don’t know who the second most crossworthy MAEVE is.

I’ve also looked up pictures of the SEAGRAM Building and, while it might not actually be in the brutalist style, I can see why one would have that reaction. Big glass rectangles are not particularly aesthetically pleasing to my eye.

lovemylibrary 4:57 PM  

Yes, yes and yes.

Anonymous 5:01 PM  

@ldswat: The theme worked. The explanations provided by Rgoldfilm and anon 4:33 apply to your complaint re: grandma.

DeeJay 5:07 PM  

The Daily Spelling Bee at the NYTimes app.

jberg 5:25 PM  

I'd heard there was going to be a great Cryptic, by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, so I went there first -- it lived up to its billing -- and then it was time for a long Sunday walk and lunch out with Martha. I got back home about 4, polished off the cryptic, and then came here. I liked the theme more than Rex did, but could see his point about the fill. But after the cryptic, I'm in no condition to judge.

Just getting a thunderstorm. i hope there's a good amount of rain, we need it -- OTOH, hope the power doesn't go out, we don't need that!

Alan_S. 5:32 PM  

When I sit down with the Sunday Magazine Puzzle (on Saturday mornings) I want to spend some time with it, like more than a half hour, even half a day if necessary. Ten or fifteen minutes doesn’t cut it and that’s what the last three Sundays were like.
WAY TOO EASY! Now it could be I’m just getting better but I don’t think so. I used to run to show my wife how clever or complex the theme and construction was, but lately, like five years lately, I haven’t been running to show squat. Gimme a challenge, not a puzzle that’s easier and less interesting than the one in New York Magazine or worse still, People! Please give me my Saturday morning, rainy day, I’m not going anywhere anyway, brain teasing, 21x21 puzzle back! Thank you!

jberg 5:56 PM  

I knew MAEVE Binchy only because the cottage we rent in Florida for 3 weeks every winter has some of the owners books in it. One is Minding Frankie by MAEVE Binchy. I liked it, but didn't finish it before we left, and kept intermittently trying to get it from the library (well, not very hard, or I would have succeeded.) By last March, when we were back in the cottage, the book was still there but I was in the middle of a couple of other things (I mean, it's Captiva, with a great beach, fun boat rides to take, and a wonderful wildlife sanctuary on the next island); but I still remember her!

Hey, AMAZING GRACE doesn't have any dogs in it. What's that all about?

To expand a little bit on David: brutalist buildings are called that because they're made mainly out of concrete (bruton in French). That allows things like curves and other sorts of asymmetry; they can be boxes, but usually are not. A quick look at a picture of the Seagram Building and you will see that it's nothing of the sort. Here is the iconic Boston City Hall.

Michael Page 6:26 PM  

To anonymous, re SOL, I know it’s right, I just could never figure out WHY it’s right, as SO before LA would sound exactly the same. Ah well, some things just are what they are.

Anonymous 6:28 PM  

ugh!!!!! The Seagram building is functionalist. It's no where near brutalist.
It's also one of the most important buildings of its time. It's utterly famous. Maybe not out in the hustings. Maybe not with the yokels, but it ushered in the style that is now, and has been, commonplace in architecture and building for two generations. Really, please, if you don't know anything about architecture, its history,or urban planning and design, do your self a favor and read up. Not much. Just a whiff of an article or two would've saved you folks the embarrassment of dissing, and mis-identifying the Seagram building.

Anonymous 6:30 PM  

jberg,
Thank you!!!! Brutalist? My god. It's as if no one has ever read a book, or watched a damn tv show on architecture. It's maddening.

Pamela 6:48 PM  

For the record, I’ve read and enjoyed MAEVE Binchy’s short stories. Not recently, but I don’t think of her as obscure or ancient history.

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

@Barbara S- I’m 6 away, and no pangram. I usually zip through at least 2/3 of the words in the first or second go-round, but today, instead of a gush, it’s been drip... drip... drip...drip... Grrrr...

Pamela 6:54 PM  

****SB!!!*****

Oh, wow! Just got it! Wow!

5 to go, but I think I’m done for today. Waaay too much time spent on this one already.

Anonymous 7:09 PM  

I agree!

Anonymous 7:32 PM  

A coaster isn't a bar freebie. A coaster is a given. You order a drink, you get it served on a coaster. It's just there, as part of the bar experience. You can't eat it and you don't take it home with you. It gets thrown out once you're done with it. I'm sure there are several other clues for coaster that would have been more appropriate. Just saying.

Barbara S. 8:40 PM  

RE: MAEVE Binchy (tangentially)
Don't suffer under the grave misapprehension that death stops authors from publishing books. The horror writer V.C. Andrews died in the 1980s and legions of books have come out since with nothing but the title and her name on the cover. Robert Ludlum of Jason Bourne fame has published a whole series since his original Bourne trilogy. (He died in the early 2000s.) The covers are invariably emblazoned with his name and, okay, if you read the smaller print you might notice the name Eric van Lustbader, but I'm sure Mr. Van L. is simply the conduit and Robert Ludlum dictates from the ethereal realm.

****SB****
@Pamela
I'm consumed with jealousy! I'm only 2 away from QB now but I still haven't discovered that elusive pangram. Aargh.

TTrimble 9:52 PM  

---[SB Alert]---

Yes!! Got to QB!

Thanks to @GaryMac for the encouragement -- he was right. But what a rich collection of words, which makes it all the more satisfying. One of the more pleasurable solves I've had here.

Z 10:28 PM  

@Pamela - I’ve read and enjoyed MAEVE Binchy’s short stories. Not recently, but I don’t think of her as obscure or ancient history. I don’t know about you but lots of things that aren’t ancient history still seem dated to me. The year Binchy appeared on Oprah (which seems a fair milestone to judge an author’s fame) Napster was new, Windows 98 and MacOS 9 were state of the art, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears were topping album sales, Shakespeare in Love was going to win Best Picture... all of that stuff strikes me as “dated” but I wouldn’t necessarily call it “ancient history.” Well, maybe Windows 98.

@Anon6:28 - Uh... Maybe look up the words you’re misusing before telling other people to look things up. Or not. But this is the second time you’ve used this word when it looks like you mean “hinterlands” or “fly over country.”

@anon6:30 - Hmm... @jberg is correct about the concrete but didn’t mention that Mies van der Rohe and Erno Goldfinger both came out of a modernist approach. The SEAGRAM Building is, nay, all of Mies van der Rohe’s skyscrapers, are very close to the brutalist aesthetic. So @anon10:59 might not know all the specifics of what makes brutalist brutalist, but they’re eye isn’t far off.

@anon7:32 - People being people, COASTERS are collectibles. And a very low cost collectible at that until you try to collect rare ones. I’ve only ever known one, but there are more out there. Personally, I like to do the coaster flip (put a stack hanging over the edge, flip it in the air and catch with the same hand). Wait staff will gladly give you a stack to play with since the beer companies give them to bars as freebies - marketing budgets need to be spent, after all. Which, of course, suggests another way the clue works, freebies to customers AND freebies to the establishment. Oh, coaster flip, start with one coaster, and add a coaster after every successful flip. I can get to 11 consistently, 15 is my stretch goal. When I really want to show off I’ll do the no look double (coaster flip using both hands - really not harder but it looks impressive- and makes me look sober)(also a good way to win some money from a novice, not that I would ever gamble on feats of manual dexterity while drinking).

Pamela 10:37 PM  

@Z- I’m dated too, but definitely not ancient history. And I hope not obscure, at least not to people I know.

Anonymous 10:44 PM  

It’s the third time I’ve use the hustings to describe the hinterlands Z.
But try to keep your eye on the ball. Or building. Your description of the Seagram building is as poor as your vocabulary. Your appreciation of its importance is even worse.

Terryk 1:10 AM  

Very cute retort.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

12 drummers drumming
11 pipers piping

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

A good child is an angel, a bad one a brat.

goldbug 11:57 AM  

ACERB is just. . . horrib. ENORMly so.

Burma Shave 11:54 AM  

NO,DEAR [GROAN] MUSTI?

I'll GLAREATGRANDMA ALLIN GRATE REMORSE,
IGUESS she'll HOLDIT for a FIRM examination,
ITTY BITTE or ENORM, she's an INAPT RESOURCE,
YES,ITIS ODD, and AKIN to ORGANDOMINATION.

--- ADAM ANTLER

spacecraft 1:50 PM  

Why do I hear the Von Trapp kids singing in my head? You're welcome for the earworm.

Yeah, I'd have to call this one 88 across. It'll "do." I always cringe at INAPT, that word that people never use because they always say "inept--" even when that word is inapt. Other fill elicits a GROAN as well, but that's a 21x21 for ya. MUSTI enumerate them all? IGUESSNOT.

Perennial DOD's are next door neighbors today: ROSIE Perez and SERENA, but this time we give the sash to golden-voiced MAHALIA Jackson. Hand up for the Neck-NAPE writeover. This puzzle will be rated ATPAR.

Anonymous 7:06 PM  

One nit - ONE SET might not be a quick tennis match. It might end at 60-58 or some ridiculous number of games. Or if there is a tiebreaker the tie breaking game might end at 72-70 or some other crazy number of points. So, quick tennis match, usually.
Nice puzzle but took me about an hour longer than OFL.

Diana, LIW 9:00 PM  

I always think that NODEAR is either sarcastic or, well, something other than "affectionate." Like in the "I got a headache" area.

Speaking of areas, I just wasn't on this constructor's wavelength - even tho I "got" the trick quite early on, there were a lot of answers where I wanted to say NO DEAR.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Monday!!!

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