Cousin of apple cobbler / WED 8-12-20 / Chart-topping R&B funk band / Weasellike animal with dark fur / Iconic 1971 blaxploitation film / Jazz great with Egyptian sounding name

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Constructor: Adesina Koiki

Relative difficulty: Easy (very: faster than yesterday, almost as fast as Monday) (3:11)

THEME: OHIO PLAYERS (60A: Chart-topping 1970s R&B/funk band suggested by the starts of 17-, 26-, 39- and 50-Across) — first word of each themer is also the name of an individual PLAYER on a sports team based in OHIO:

Theme answers:
  • BENGAL TIGER (17A: Animal accompanying Pi in "Life of Pi") (Cincinnati Bengals) (NFL
  • BROWN BETTY (26A: Cousin of an apple cobbler) (Cleveland Browns) (NFL)
  • RED WHITE AND BLUE (39A: U.S. flag, with "the") (Cincinnati Reds) (MLB)
  • INDIAN FOOD (50A: Biryani or vindaloo) (Cleveland Baseball Team) (MLB)
Word of the Day: Dr. KILDARE (48A: "Dr." of 1960s TV) —

Dr. Kildare is an NBC medical drama television series which originally ran from September 28, 1961, until August 30, 1966 for a total of 191 episodes over five seasons Produced by MGM Television, it was based on fictional doctor characters originally created by author Max Brand in the 1930s and previously used by MGM in a popular film series and radio drama. The TV series quickly achieved success and made a star of Richard Chamberlain, who played the title role. Dr. Kildare(along with an ABC medical drama, Ben Casey, which premiered at the same time) inspired or influenced many later TV shows dealing with the medical field.

Dr. Kildare aired on NBC affiliate stations on Thursday nights at 8:30-9:30 PM from September 28, 1961 until September 1965, when the timeslot was changed to Monday and Tuesday nights at 8:30-9:00 PM until the end of the show's run on August 30, 1966. (wikipedia)

• • •

Ha ha ha, yesssss! I opened the puzzle, saw my friend's name, had a brief feeling of elation, then immediately thought, "Oh, c'mon, please be good...." And it was! There was a bit of creaky fill along the way, but that revealer really sealed the day. Rollercoaster! 

This puzzle also had SUN RA (37D: Jazz great with an Egyptian-sounding name) and SHAFT (11D: Iconic blaxploitation film), so I was very much digging the vibe from start to finish. Seeing Addy's name was just such a nice surprise, and I need all the nice surprises I can get right now, to be honest. I've known Addy for something like a decade. I must've met him at an ACPT a while back but he's definitely been a regular at Lollapuzzoola in NYC every August*, and that's where I see him most often. Here we are at Yankee Stadium in 2013:

It's just nice to see a familiar face pop up in the constructor byline totally unexpectedly. It's also nice (very nice) to absolutely crush a Wednesday puzzle like it was Monday. I honestly thought I was gonna break three minutes. I don't remember hitting any real snags or slowdowns. All the proper nouns were in my wheelhouse and none of the fill was that weird or jarring or difficultly clued. I misspelled AHH, LOL. There really should be some kind of standard for the two-A and the two-H varieties! I also briefly thought WHOA was "WHAA...?" (27D: "What just happened where ... ?!"). I resented having to stop to figure out a dad joke, but it is *such* a dad joke that I actually laughed (51D: "What do you call cheese that isn't yours? ___ cheese!" (dad joke)). I've written down SHA ITE ADES AHH AMAIN OSOLE and INGE as Fill I Could Do Without, but honestly that is a pretty short list. Anyway, this puzzle is all about the theme, and specifically the Perfection of the revealer. Fiiie-uh!

So, yes, full disclosure, grain of salt, the constructor is my friend, I like him, I'm happy he has his debut today. I also genuinely enjoyed the solve. Have a nice day!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

*Lollapuzzoola is all-online this year, and it's This Saturday. I've told you this many times, but I'm telling you again, just in case you missed it. More info here!

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:38 AM  

Easy. I gotta like a puzzle that features my home state. It was always a big treat to go baseball and football games in Cleveland as a kid....Otto Graham, Jim Brown, Lou Groza, Larry Doby, Bob Feller, Al Rosen...good times. A fine debut!

pyroclasts 12:41 AM  

One of my least favorite of the last month or two. Too many old proper nouns/pop culture references. I do wonder if in 40 years when I’m a crotchety 62 y.o., am I still gonna be expected to know tv characters from 30 years prior to my birth?

Marcus Chance 12:43 AM  

Agree that this was a delightful puzzle that played like a Mon/Tue. Was also faster for me than yesterday.

Got nervous when I backed into 55A from LAWSUIT and SABOT and had ---TB. Glad they were right.

I'm solving this at 6am from the delightful lakeside resort town of Ohrid in North Macedonia. Filling up my instagram feed with beautiful photos.

Thanks for all the right-ups, Rex! The's a postcard on the way to you.

Fiona 12:55 AM  

For someone who seems to normally hate the puzzles, I'm confused how *this* is the puzzle that did it for you. I think the theme was extremely dated, and I knew none of these Ohio based sports teams just from their names. It didn't click at all for me until reading this.

Also, there were several Nattick crosses that were impossible for me. I've never heard of either Dr. Kildare or Ted Koppel or Elgin Baylor or William Inge. It's fine to have specific people some of us will not know of, it's less fine when they cross other names.

Seems like you're excited to have a fast solve and support your friend, not judging the merits of the puzzle with the metrics you generally use. I only know to criticize crossword answers for being dated or point out Nattick crosses because of you Rex, and yet that commentary is missing here.

okanaganer 1:13 AM  

An Ohio sports team theme! Ohhh, brother... the opposite of Yay, which I guess is Nay. Very narrow niche theme that leaves me way out in the cold. Sports!... bah. Ohio!...double bah. (I've actually been there, I don't remember a single thing about it, and I'm sure the people are great, but...) But I guess if I was into that little niche (visualizing the Venn diagram of Ohio intersecting Sports), this would have been a good theme. And nice revealer, again if you're into the theme.

Frantic Sloth 1:32 AM  

I found this ridiculously easy for a Wednesdee.

Isn't NADIR just a low point? Do we have to get all emotional about it??

If @Rex doesn't call this puzzle out for skewing old, I will never understand another thing in my life.

At least the theme was inoffensive ....oops! Hang on there, folks. Here comes the "Native Americans As Team Names" debacle/nightmare/outrage a-knockin'. *sigh*
Nice attempt at using Asian Indian as camouflage, but no. Not really feeling it.

As for skewing old...for me, this is good news and bad:

Call me loopy, but there aren't many movies with an intro I love more than SHAFT. The music, the pre-Disneyfied Times Square, and just the overall funky, grimy, smelly filth of NYC.

Ah - those were the days: lunch at Horn & Hardart, the stench of leaded gasoline bus exhaust, and the resultant smog-dyed classic architecture. Heaven!!

WHOA, Nelly! Slow down there with that futuristic "advanced photocopier" COLLATE-ing technology! At least give me a chance to wash the mimeograph's purple ink from my hands before you start getting all light-years ahead of me and stuff!

And "Mr." of 1960s TV?? 🖖 SPOCK 🖖 Nope. Haven't seen him since then. Distant memory. Cobwebs.

Calling the NACHO cheese clue a "dad joke" is being kind. Even dads ain't puking up that old chestnut. Please.

And LGBT is so five minutes and thirty letters ago!

I'm sure there are other examples I've missed, but apathy has won out.

Signing off with the latest dance craze that is the Electric SLIDE!

🎉🎉🎉🎉 (because nostalgia)

Frantic Sloth 1:42 AM  

Okay. So friendship overrides everything I thought I've learned about OFL these past months.

I'm happy Rex had fun with this - at least we had that in common even if for entirely different reasons.

Is egg good for one's complexion, one hopes?

Mr. Alarm 1:56 AM  

So nice to see a cheerful review. Does knowing the constructor present a “conflict of interest”, or a potential conflict? Being from the Buckeye State, I nonetheless completely needed your s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g all those Ohio names out for me that I never would have figured out the connection on my own (Red for Cincinnati Reds? Indian food for Cleveland Indians? Okay.)

amyyanni 2:03 AM  

Doh, didn't get the thene until I came here. Really clever! Native Detroiter, appreciate Ohio pride. Fun. Feeling more hopeful and optimistic than I have for a while.

chefwen 2:13 AM  

Very easy Wednesday, more Monday/Tuesdayish but I did enjoy it. When I got BENGAL TIGER I thought, Oh Goodie, kitties. Sadly BROWN BETTY nixed that idea. Maybe someday.

Spelled KOPPEL with a C first but my youthful heartthrob Dr Kildare set me straight. My only write over.

I really liked SALTY for full of curses.

Thank you Adesina O. Koiki, great debut.

Ron 2:14 AM  

This puzzle felt like it had a ton of really old proper nouns. Nothing really slowed me down, but in my mind the constructor was much, much older. That culminated with the Medicare form question.. is that something any American would know? I was thankful for gentle crosses.

Didn't personally like the theme, because I hadn't heard of either the band nor any of the themes, it hit the perfect cross section of stuff I don't know, but they can't all appeal to everyone!

Even in spite of totally missing my wheelhouse, I found it super easy.

CrosswordSlurred 2:43 AM  

Rex every other day: This puzzle was atrocious!

Rex when his friend is the constructor: This puzzle was amazing!

Anonymous 3:11 AM  


Ann Howell 3:32 AM  

The only thing that slowed me down with this one was never having heard of the Ohio Players (they look pretty groovy, so will now check them out!) and misspelling KYRA with an I. But overall, very quick for a Wednesday and fairly fun!

Anonymous 3:33 AM  

Congratulations Adesina on your debut. You did a great job! ...but it was simply brutal for me. I really hope others have more success.

I don't think Rex would enjoy this puzzle if he didn't know the proper nouns, like I didn't. My normal Wed time is ~4:30, but this came in at 10.

Being 33, this felt like something my grandfather might appreciate. Literally 3 out of 4 across answers stacked on the bottom list 60's or 70's as their reference, and they're ALL being crossed by an 80-year old who stopped hosting 15 years ago.

Have never heard of many things in this puzzle - Brown Betty, Elgin Baylor, Sabots, Sunra (as the musician), Dr. Kildare, Part B (in relation to medicare), or the revealer Ohio Players. Sucks to not know the revealer (And I'm usually the music guy for our trivia group!). Some of those I'm sure are on me, but this feels really weighted with antiquated stuff.

Unknown 3:39 AM  

Sorry, Rex. While I, too, enjoyed the fill, I’ve gotta call ‘Natick’ at the 4D-20 A point. Had me for a good bit. Thanks!

Diver 4:38 AM  

Easy puzzle, under 3-1/2 minutes even though I'm not a sports fan, so for me it was pretty much a themeless.

CDilly52 5:08 AM  

@Jae 12:38AM. Fellow Buckeye!! Loved seeing all the “Ohioness” too. And the sports references. We are clearly contemporaries as well. Brrrr!! I’m not sure I have ever been colder than at a blustery grey late 1950s November day at a Browns game up in Cleveland. But what fun!!

Joaquin 5:11 AM  

My knowledge of 1970s R&B/funk bands is exceeded only by my knowledge of, well, everything else. I do, however, follow pro sports, and now I do know one 1970s R&B/funk band.

Coniuratos 5:50 AM  

I did not grok the theme at all, which admittedly is all on me since I'm from near Cleveland and a devout Indians and Browns fan. The Ohio Players, are completely new to me, though. As others have said, there was a lot on here that I'd just never heard of, and a couple Naticks in INGE/ELGIN and KOPPEL/KILDARE. Good debut though; certainly a lot better than I can do.

RJ 5:51 AM  

My first recollection of hearing about sabots was in the 1991 Star Trek movie "The Undiscovered Country" in which Kim Cattral (Vulcan Lt. Valeris) explains to Mr. Spock the origin of the word sabotage - someone somewhere throwing wooden shoes into the gears of a machine to make it break down. So yeah, at 60+ I do remember Mr. Spock and Dr. Kildare (sigh) and Shaft.

ChuckD 6:18 AM  

Ridiculously easy Wednesday - although I can understand the critics. If you don’t know sports - and further the OHIO PLAYERS this could have been a slog. Always loved the album covers and the sex just dripped from their music. We never took them that seriously - much like all the other disco bands but they did have a run for a few years there. ELGIN Baylor is an NBA legend most sports fans should know and INGE is crosswardese so not a tough cross for me. Having NADIR and DREAD in a puzzle trends a little downward - but the rest of the fill was fine - a little stale and gluey.

Overall a quick solve - but not a great puzzle.

Lewis 6:25 AM  

Not Adesina's fault, but this is a Tuesday puzzle, and as such, its clever and snappy theme, junk-lite grid, and direct cluing are all ACE. BENGAL TIGER is a lovely lively answer (and a NYT debut), and I liked HEEL / EEL / STEEL, plus the other sports teams, TIGERs and SAINTs. The Cavs almost made it in with CABS. And (sigh), I can't unsee that so-accurate cross of DON and NADIR.

I'm guessing this puzzle -- a paean by a sports fan -- will bring cheer to the other fans out there. Thank you for the four years of effort you put into this, Adesina, and congratulations on the debut -- it's a W!

C. Elliot 6:29 AM  

So easy to lose track of the days during the time of Covid-19. I could have sworn today was Wednesday, but here it is only Monday.

Hungry Mother 6:42 AM  

Not a PR, but half my average Wednesday time. I didn’t catch the theme until after the solve when it just came to me. I was in Cincinnati at a math conference just before the Super Bowl featuring the Bengals vs the Niners and brought tiger-striped ball caps back to my kids. The Niners, whose games I used to attend as a kid growing up in the Bay Area, won.

Natick Me Not! 6:48 AM  

I got Koppel... Kildare I worked out by crosses.

But the INGE - ELGIN cross is just inexcusable.

I finished the puzzle except for that last letter “E” where they cross, then just decided to plug in vowels until the app told me I had it completed.

Pamela 6:49 AM  

Easiest puzzle so far this week. I don’t get the theme, and Rex hasn’t posted yet. I’m going to sleep soon so I’m writing this in my notes.

My mother made Apple BROWN BETTY a lot when we were kids because we all loved it so much. My tastes have changed, but seeing it today felt lovely.

I remember Dr KILDARE- had a huge crush on him even though the other TV doctor, Ben something, was more popular. Never heard of the OHIOPLAYERS.

Just checked Rex again, Wednesday puzzle still not up. G’nite!😴
Good morning-

So the theme is not only sports related, but obscure- teams I’ve never heard of from a single state. Meaningless to me, but OK, we haven’t had so much of that lately. And I’m glad Rex is so happy to see his friend. Happy day, everyone!

OffTheGrid 7:09 AM  

The solve started easily but I hit speed bumps as I worked through the puzzle. I was actually glad to encounter some resistance. I knew most of the names but I stumbled with wooden shoes,, PARTB and spine clue. The theme took some thought as I didn't know OHIOPLAYERS. When all became clear it was very satisfying.

I agree with Rex's review and believe it was genuine, even if he was predisposed to like it, "Oh, c'mon, please be good..." I thought writing "Cleveland Baseball Team" instead of Cleveland Indians was just a little too woke, though.

mathgent 7:17 AM  

I hadn’t heard of the band, but I liked how it reminded me that those four teams are all in Ohio. Cincinnati and Cleveland, The rest of it didn’t do much for me. Too many Terrible Threes (23). Except for the themers, almost all short entries. Below average sparkle.

As an old basketball fan, it is my duty to tell you youngsters here about ELGIN Baylor. He played for Seattle University during the 1957-58 season. I saw him beat my alma mater University of San Francisco here in the Cow Palace in the NCAA Western Regionals at the end of that season. They got to the finals. He left early for the NBA, playing for Minnesota and LA Lakers. He was all-NBA first team ten years. He was an undersized forward at 6’4” but he was an excellent rebounder. His jumper was deadly accurate. He would launch it while hanging in the air for Jordanesque lengths of time.

kitshef 7:30 AM  

I had BENGAL TIGER and INDIAN FOOD in place and thought the theme was going to be "Indian", and then I had RED__I__________ as the start of 39A and thought for a minute they were going to have REDSKIN in the puzzle. REDSkIN potatoes, or something like that.

Put me in the "you shouldn't cross PART B with SABOTS" camp. The latter is fairly obscure, and the last letter of the former could literally be any letter.

Anonymous 7:34 AM  


GILL I. 7:35 AM  

Well I didn't want to act like some crossword snob or sound all woke or anything, but this here crossword belonged in the Monday slot for those over 60. Boy am I laughing at the under 30 crowd. If you throw me words like draking, respek, adulting ,and keep it 100, then I might forgive you for not knowing KILDARE or KOPPEL or even the BROWN BETTY that no one ever makes today.......
Speaking of KILDARE. @chefwen....I also had a huge teen angst crush on him. I also loved hearing him sing. Then I find out he's of the LGBT crowd and I was crushed. The story of my male failures. It seemed like EVERY SINGLE handsome, interesting, intelligent and very funny man that I was attracted to and wanted to marry, turned out to be gay. I got to a point where I expected the "By the way, I'm gay" shoe to drop.
Speaking of....@Frantic. Your "and LGBT is so five minutes and thirty letters ago!" had me cackling like an old hag. least add the Q.
I'm happy for Adesina and that he got his debut. I want to be a good friend of @Rex when - and if I ever - make a puzzle. Kudos.

Anonymous 7:39 AM  

Completely missed the aha point but was so happy to see a reference to the Life of Pi it kept me going, though I did try to fit Richard Parker in that hole. Being 80+ I suppose yes, all the old references were shoo-ins, but that's the way it goes sometimes. Enjoyed the puzzle very much, almost no corrections as I went along, smooooth.

rjkennedy98 7:49 AM  

First didn't we have Red White and Blue as a theme answer within this last week or two? I recall it being one of the answers for the Othello puzzle (where White was in the rebus). That seems a violation of sorts.

Anyways, I didn't see the theme mostly because Ohio Sports teams have the worst possible names. The Reds and Browss are certainly not exciting team names nor are they relevant at all in their respective sports. Still I did like the theme even without knowning or caring who the OHIO PLAYERS are.

Still completely missing the theme, I still thought this was really easy for a Wednesday, especially the top half which played like a Monday. It made me angry to see two clues about 60s TV KIDLARE (Dr. or 60s TV) and SPOCK (Mr. of 50s TV). I didn't find most of the cluing interesting or exciting, but it made me feel good to crush a Wednesday.

John H 7:58 AM  

This was ok, and I agree, Rex would've been tougher on a non-friend. Not into sports, enjoy flying over Ohio (I admit that I have been to some very nice places there...Cincinnati is a beautiful city.) I entered 39A (The...US Flag) before putting down any crosses and got it wrong, because, I now realize, that "Stars and Stripes" has the same number of letters as "Red White and Blue."

TTrimble 8:05 AM  

This played as a very easy Wednesday for me: set a P.R. with a time better than many a Monday's.

I wish Rex would blind himself to the name of the constructor as he writes his reviews. The puzzle was boring! Really nothing fresh about it at all ("nothing pops" as Rex might ordinarily say). Although I agree that there's little weirdness in the fill, so at least it was a smooth solve.

Oh, that's right, silly me, I forgot: the puzzle enabled Rex to have an amazing solving time, the necessary and perhaps sufficient condition for him to give a high rating.

Favorite word from the puzzle: SABOTS.

Funny how many commenters say they don't know the OHIO PLAYERS. Fire! Uh! Huh!. If you've ever seen the opening of Fox's Hell's Kitchen, then you'll know it.

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

Well, Mr. S. (Barbara's hubby) was off by just a day. Or maybe it's just me having trouble? I'm 56 words in and only at "amazing". I think I'm gonna need a bigger brain.

Okay, so yesterday I missed TOMMYROT. Pfft, this puzzle is TOMMYROT. I don't know about you, but to me that definitely feels more obscure to me than say "torr".

Belinda 8:13 AM  

I get that he grades on a curve for friends, women, and POC but this was ridiculous. If D Kahn or B Haight had constructed this Sharp would’ve eviscerated it.

57stratocaster 8:30 AM  

Monday easy. I started typing Village People because I hadn't figured out the theme. Last letter was the B in Part B. Love the Sabotage explanation.

Wayne 8:33 AM  

+1. The tone of any particular Rex post is less a function of the puzzle and more a function of whether he knows the constructor, and maybe the quality of his morning coffee.

CS 8:37 AM  

I'm usually pretty positive about puzzles in general but the Ohio theme just did not do it for me. And I *completely* agree with others that Rex only says he liked it because his friend constructed it.

I managed to finish it pretty easily -- spock and kildare were gimmes for me -- but it wasn't that fun.

Looking forward to Thursday!

-- CS

LEO II 8:37 AM  

I’m old (mid fifties) and this played old, not that there’s anything wrong with that. The freshest pop culture reference as far as I can tell is Kyra Sedgwick and she made her screen debut thirty five years ago. Dr. Kildare, Mr. Spock, Ohio Players, Elgin Baylor, Sha Na Na, Sun Ra. Wait, Do The Right Thing was 1989 I guess that is more current.

bauskern 8:45 AM  

I must be getting far too jaded. A picture of rex with his black friend (which kind of made me cringe, but perhaps I'm the only one who picked up the "some of my best friends" vibe); his bragging about his fast score (which, because he was proud of it, he provides to the second); and with a fast score there's none of the usual grumbling about how "bro" this puzzle skews . . . And no comment about the racial implications of the Cleveland Indians. . . On the other hand, I stumbled across the NYT Wordplay column and got to read the creator's story which was really sweet & touching, and definitely worth the read. I know, I'm way too cynical when it comes to this blog.

pmdm 8:46 AM  

Very perplex when solving because the flag of India has different colors than 39A. Never got the theme, which demotes the puzzle quite a bit.

Is Sharp influenced by who the constructor is? Some write-ups suggest no. Perhaps today's write up suggests - well I'll let others debate that.

Three theme answers and a revealer (at least, that's how I count them). The theme answers were all solvable without regard to what they actually refer to. So, for me, this was a themeless. A bit too dependent of PPP for my tastes. But easier than a typical Wednesday.

The first NYT crossword published that is by this constructor. As I've commented before, it seems like new constructors try to cram in a lot of their own interests in their early puzzles. I'd say this puzzle is no exception to that rule. I'll be interested to compate this puzzle with one that would be numbered in the teens.

JD 8:48 AM  

The man is absolutely giddy with joy. I've never seen the likes. Have lo-these-many-years just been one long bad dream? Who's president? Who shot J.R. and is he really dead? What was that part about my clothes having shoulder pads? Was Ohio the theme of a puzzle? Am I unemployed?

My combined time for Mon./Tues./Wed. is under 30 minutes. I might have to go back to doing the SB.

@Gill. @Frantic, I actually laughed so hard my eyes got all watery. Woo, fun day.

Twangster 8:48 AM  

I knew Brown Betty because King of the Hill did a whole episode on it. I'm guessing it's big in Texas.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

@Leo 8:37- you forgot Shaft

LeaveItToYourGoat 9:02 AM  

A few decades from now, some teenager is going to come across this puzzle in the archives and have no idea how 50-Across fits with the rest of the themers. He will ask his father about it, who will have a brief nostalgic chuckle to himself before explaining, "You see, it all started when Dan Snyder told a sports writer, 'We're never going to change the name Redskins. NEVER. You can use CAPS.' Then, just a few years later, 2020 happened..."

Z 9:13 AM  

I liked this less than Rex, but the complaints so far just aren’t supported. The PPP comes in at an NYTX standard of 24/78 or 31%. Highish but still not above the 33% excessive line. And the cluing is a little dated but SHAFT, SPOCK, Life of Pi, the Sedarises, KETEL One, ACURA, and KYRA Sedgwick are all from THIS DECADE. This puzzle is actually far more current than NYTX standard, where “this decade” is usually the 1990s. I thought Rex was a little over the top, but reading all the complaints about Rex’s reaction makes me think he was righter than I originally thought.

Regarding INGE/ELGIN - Crossing two proper names at a vowel is always suboptimal, but INGE, along with Agee, are the Shakespeares of Crossworld. If you’ve been doing crosswords more than a month you are certain to have run into these theatrical luminaries, so it’s hard to call this a true natick. Unfair to new solvers, sure, but not a natick. INGE will be putting on a play in crossword near you again soon.

Born and raised Michigander so OHIO is mostly just a flat desolate wasteland to me. Still, Cincinnati and Cleveland are the two parts of OHIO that I enjoy, and I (along with a few thousand others over the years) have spent more time in Versailles than really makes sense. So OHIO isn’t completely terrible. The OHIO PLAYERS are part of the soundtrack of my teen years, and I like sports, so this was mostly right in my wheelhouse. Dr. KILDARE crossing Ted KOPPEL seems pretty naticky for the under 50 crowd and Shortz went with dated clues rather than acknowledge the reboots/remakes. Would adding “or it’s 2019 reboot” to a clue really be that difficult? It’s almost as if Shortz acknowledging that pop culture continued after the calendar flipped to the new millennium is impossible. Also part of my teen years was spent yelling “if you ain’t dutch you ain’t much” after victories, so SABOTS got the wry grin, here. The Wooden Shoe Factory sold postcards, one of which was of my brother-in-law’s father. Given how big Tulip Time has been that postcard might be tucked away in your family memorabilia. So, if you’re rummaging through old stuff and see a postcard from Holland, MI of an older gentleman making SABOTS in 1830’s Dutch fashions, you can say “Hey, that’s old man Vander Veen” and be 100% correct.

Anyway, solid debut in my opinion.

Whatsername 9:18 AM  

This was a really good Crossword and I enjoyed it but felt like I was doing a Monday puzzle. Rex loved it because it was his friend, and I loved it because I’m a sports fan so each theme answer was a gimme. However even aside from that, it seemed too easy for Wednesday. But that’s no reflection on the constructor or the construction of a very nice debut effort. Thanks Mr. Koiki and congratulations.

It would’ve been nice to see the OHIO State Buckeyes represented as well, such an icon of college sports. I’m sad there will be no football games for them this year because the Big Ten conference is always exciting to watch. But the safety of the players is paramount, and I will be very surprised if other conferences don’t follow suit.

@Frantic (1:32) I think I might still have some permanent stains from that purple ink. I can still smell the intoxicating aroma and hear the sound of the roller turning. No collator option on that old clunker but it got the job done.

Birchbark 9:20 AM  

Dr. KILDARE -- In the excellent old radio version (on satellite station "Radio Classics"), Lew Ayers plays Jimmy KILDARE -- intelligent, reassuring, optimistic, realistic, and above all the doctor you'd want when things get tough. The great Lionel Barrymore plays his friend and mentor, Dr. Gillespie, a grouch with a heart of gold, who growls things like "By the great horned spoon, Jimmy, you did it!"

Ann Hedonia 9:28 AM  

Clearly, you are biased. This was terrible. I'm a crotchety 63 year old and even I hated all the outdated cultural references. I did like Sun Ra, though.

INDIAN FOOD is supposed to make me think of the Cleveland Indians? Ugh.

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

Sorry Z Shaft is from 1971. Spock is from the sixties. Knew of Kyra Sedgwick and David (not sure about Amy ) since the 80s. Acura launched in the US in 1986. Kettle One was introduced in 1691. I’ll give you Life of Pi. The novel was published in 2001, only nineteen years ago. So relatively fresh. By your logic, Uriah Heep is current because there’s a new David Copperfield movie out. It’s cute how you try to defend your buddy I must admit.

Z 9:40 AM  

@bauskern - Did you notice Rex’s list of theme answers? INDIAN FOOD (50A: Biryani or vindaloo) (Cleveland Baseball Team) (MLB) He doesn’t always bash us over the head with his views, sometimes he is subtle about it.

@Frantic Sloth - Do we have to get all emotional about it?? and And LGBT is so five minutes and thirty letters ago! both made me laugh.

@pmdm - I think all constructor’s include their own interests, though maybe not to the same degree as they might at first. Things you find interesting seems like a natural source of theme material.

Nancy 9:40 AM  

On a Monday this would have been a crashing bore. On a Wednesday it's a disgrace. No spark or imagination in the clues. A bunch of pedestrian 3-letter words in the fill. Certainly no thinking required on my part. If there's ever been a duller Wednesday, I haven't seen it.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

while the *amount* of PPP is about average, if it's in your memory bank, then this is a Monday on the wrong day. such it was for me.

Knitwit 9:54 AM  

Really enjoyed this one and, full disclosure, I know Ade from Lollapuzzoola-a great guy!!! It made my day to see his name this morning! Ironic, that the only answer that I paused on was 55A-considering my Medicare card came in the mail this month:(

Mary 10:05 AM  

Would have liked more of a challenge but still give thumbs up. Def skewed way old but I don’t get why that bothers people.

Carola 10:14 AM  

Being well into the Medicare PART B years, I found the puzzle easy, and the combination of the BENGAL TIGER and BROWN BETTY put me in such a good mood that I didn't notice the pile-up of names or mind the blandness of this particular example of INDIAN FOOD. Only the reveal was a mystery: I needed some crosses to see that we were talking about PLAYERS on four OHIO teams, the band being unknown to me (also age dependent: I see that its heyday coincided with years of infant care + a crawl to finishing school = oblivious to all else). Help from previous puzzles: INGE. No idea: SLIDE.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

I appreciated seeing a puzzle by a Black constructor with a number of nods to Black folks or culture--ELGIN BAYLOR, OHIO PLAYERS, SHAFT, SUN RA--as well as a shout-out to INDIAN FOOD. Just because it isn't in my wheelhouse doesn't mean I can't appreciate how nice it is to see that representation in the NYT.

G. Weissman 10:34 AM  

This puzzle was no better or worse than those Rex regularly skewers. I live in Ohio, and have zero interest in recognizing (singular) names of (plural) Ohio sports teams. Zero.

RooMonster 10:43 AM  

Hey All !
Gonna do something that might offend some, but it's just too juicy to pass up. So...
Same puzzle by Bruce Haight.
Oh no! I opened this puzzle and saw Bruce's name, had a brief feeling of dread, then immediately thought, "Oh, c'mon, please be good..." But it wasn't! There was a lot of creaky fill, and that revealer is so 1970's. NADIR!

How do you justify SUN RA in your grid? Talk about old. Less famous than AMEN RA, for sure. This whole puzzle felt like SUN RA in the fact it was musty. Was this puzzle buried for years? And constructed by another man. Where are the women?

This puzzle was super easy. Just over three minutes on a Wednesday is ridiculous. Easier than the Monday puzzle. And that NACHO clue. I resented having to figure out a dad joke, and it's *such* an old joke it's not even said anymore. I've written down SHA ITE ADES AHH AMAIN OSOLE and INGE as stale crosswordese I could do without.

And why aren't these New York teams? It is The New York Times. Who cares about OHIO teams? Puzzle skews so male, it's crazy. KILDARE! SPOCK! NADIR! (though clued differently) SHAFT! ROGET! SUNRA! KOPPEL! URIAH! And the sports teams are all male. KYRA Sedgwick THE LONE FEMALE. Best answer was LGBT. Just those two answers I liked.

C'mon NYTimes, let's get your act together and publish more women constructors. At least less puzzles that skew so male-centric.

That's it. Goodnight.

Or something like that. :-)

OK, berating Rex aside (just a fun poke, don't read into it)(beside, it's my Birthday today, so I should be able to be cut some slack!), I thought this a good puz, but did seem a bit easy for a WedsPuz. Has starsandstripes for 39A. It fit! Either one works as clued. The Stars and Stripes, The RED WHITE AND BLUE. Fill did seem pretty decent, worst was the ones Rex listed. My gripe, all the teams are singular. Shouldn't it be BENGALS, BROWNS, REDS INDIANS?

How do you write on the blog when there's nothing up yet? I'm not computer savvy, so I can only wait until Rex posts before I can get the box to type my ridiculous screeds.

@Anoa Bob
Is this a Reverse POC theme? Take away the S so the themers fit. Is there a name for that? :-)

Congrats on your debut, I'm always curious how many submissions debut solvers have before a yes. I really hope it's not their first ever. That would really break me down. Har.

Four F's (respect the F count, Adesina!)

egsforbreakfast 10:47 AM  

Well, this is a nice puzzle that maybe should have run on Monday, but it’s clean enough and consistent enough that I can understand how the NYT accepted it. However, there is an inconsistency amongst the themers that is usually nailed viciously by Rex and pleasantly by Jeff Chen, neither of whom seemed to notice it in today’s puz. That is that BENGAL TIGERS actually is the full version of that for which the Cincinnati Bengals are named. OTOH, Browns are not named for the BROWN BETTY’s, nor are the other two named for their corresponding answers. Although I can imagine a desperation move by Cleveland to claim that they really always have considered their name to be merely shorthand for the Cleveland Indian Foods.

Anyway, I liked the puzzle and am AOK with AOK’s NYTXW debut.

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

Any puzzle with Amy Sedaris and Sun Ra is a home run for me.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

Wow. 65 and definitely not crotchety. That said, easy Wednesday.

TJS 10:54 AM  

Not sure where that "4 year" reference comes from, but if I spent 4 years working on something that took Rex 3:09 to do, I'd be pissed at one of us.

"Crush a Wednesday puzzle like it was Monday". Yes, because it IS a Monday puzzle ! But it OFL's blog and if he likes to alter his standards based on personal bias that is his right. At least he was obvious about it. Pretty amusing to see how far @Z had to contort hhimself in the defense of this one, though.Especially for someone who loves to describe things from like 1998 as "last century".

Does a nadir have to be emotional ? " What event will we look back upon as the nadir of Trumps' presidency ?"

Perry 10:58 AM  

I hate themes. Thankfully this was a puzzle that could be easily solved without having to think about or even realize that there was a theme.

SBpianist 11:08 AM  

Frankly I was more crochety when I was your age.

JC66 11:10 AM  

Hey @Roo


****SB ALERT****


I got TOMMYROT & TORI, but missed TORII & TOROID.

What? 11:15 AM  

Like Nancy said and double. Shortz is scraping the barrel.

Malsdemare 11:20 AM  

I’m enjoying the comments this morning. “LGBT and thirty letters ago” Priceless! I thought the puzzle was clunky but I have teenage grandkids in the house, they are asleep (of course) and it’s quiet, all of which disposes me to be kind to the puzzle. I loved seeing the origins of “sabotage;” perfect nugget of information for a later time, if I remember it. I’m another Cincinnati native but I totally missed the whole Ohio teams thing, maybe because I’ve never heard of the Ohio Players. Cincinnati got its boring REDS name when they presciently dropped the “legs” part back in the 50s or so. Smart people. That may have been when cousin-in-law Margie Schott owned the team (or perhaps her husband). I could look it up but won’t because I’m enjoying the lull before the teenage storm. Seems to me the Browns were named for their first owner but don’t quote me on that. Again, I could look but . . . Nah . . .

I did notice Rex’s subtle dig at the Cleveland team. But I think that was a consequence of the constructor being a friend. Anyone else and we would have gotten a full-throated harangue.

Time to wake the sleeping tigers.

Petey G 11:23 AM  

So difficult for a mid-20 Y.O. solver... Flashback to the past...

Malsdemare 11:29 AM  

Well, I did check. Reds started life as the Red Stockings, went to Redlegs in 1953 and then without an fanfare became known as the Reds around 1958. Marge was 1984. It’s quite noticeable that she isn’t mentioned in the Wiki article nor does she have a wiki page. I have no idea why; she was a very colorful, controversial figure.

JD 11:34 AM  

@Roo, You forgot to say one word over and over and then say No a bunch of times and insult Will Shortz, but otherwise A+ on the mimicry and have a happy!

Whitey 11:35 AM  

Okay rex and I are on opposite wavelengths today. He loved this puzzle and crushed it in monday time. I hated this puzzle and could not finish it without cheating TWICE. A combination of sports teams (which are a huge crossword weakness of mine) and 1950s-60s-70s music/celebrities (which I don't feel as guilty not knowing but are also crossword weaknesses) made this a true grind.
Low points:
- also OSOLE being right next to KOPPEL
- KYRA sedgwick
- SABOTS crossing medicare PART ????
- INGE crossing ELGIN

Also had STARSANDSTRIPES instead of REDWHITEANDBLUE. Feel like the "The" is much more common with the former than the latter

Malsdemare 11:35 AM  

Okay, she has a page. I'm 0 for 3. I shall go sit in my corners and contemplate my misspent life.

beverley 11:42 AM  

Agree completely with Fiona (one of the first comments).

—Usually you DON’T like all the old times clues, yet today you said nothing about them.

—You didn’t comment on the use of “Indian” in the name of a sports team, *even though* you chose NOT to explain the actual team name in your write up: “Cleveland baseball team”. What? You ALWAYS point out inappropriate uses of language.

—You didn’t comment on crosses of obscure names. SO MANY references to very dated TV and people... and who except for 65 year olds knows anything about Medicare? (I am almost that old, and I still find it obscure. I guess I don’t hang out with people who only talk about their health problems??)

—Also, it was very very simple for a Wednesday.

It really is wonderful to support a friend, but this review felt like you weren’t really being Rex...

Masked and Anonymous 11:43 AM  

MUDHENs, anyone? They did at least have a guest player or two (from Michigan and Missouri) in them themers.

staff weeject pick: ITE. Plus, weeject stacks in all four corners! Primo.

fave stuff:
KILDARE & SPOCK. Check out their clues: {"Dr." of 1960s TV} & {"Mr." of 1960s TV}. Sooo … those two were KOPPEL-ed together nicely, in multiple ways.

SAINT. Ahar! More bonus players!

Like for most of the Comment Gallery, this pup played an easy game, at our house. Needed a couple of them there ?-clues in the mix, to take our nanoseconds into O.T.

Thanx for the fun and congratz on yer debut, Mr. Koiki. U got game.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


GILL I. 11:47 AM  

And the "straight to the point....let's not mince words" award goes to none other than....@Nancy! Yay, clap, clap....

Lewis 11:52 AM  

@roo, @roo, Happy birthday to you!

Birchbark 11:57 AM  

@Roo Monster (10:43): Very cleverly done. And many happy returns of the day -

relicofthe60s 12:02 PM  

An obscure band is a great revealer? I guess friendship trumps judgment here. (Is I it okay to use trump as a verb, Rex? I know you’re easily offended.) This seemed like a fine and pretty easy puzzle, but no better than many that Rex has savaged here. I did it in the same time as Tuesday’s and was slowed down by putting in STARSANDSTRIPES instead of REDWHITEANDBLUE.

brendal 12:02 PM  

Was looking forward to a challenging puzzle after a long drought.

Not That Young 12:10 PM  

At what age will I stop seeing crosswords with 5+ proper noun “pop culture” answers that I’ve never heard of? I’m 40. Can we stop catering only to people born well before 1970?

Z 12:14 PM  

The comments today make me wonder if I should adjust my 33% standard down to 30% for excessive PPP. My issue with PPP is that it isn’t really word play, it’s just trivia. If you know it, easy. If you don’t then it’s often impossible to suss out. “Monday easy” combined with “natick” comments really suggests that this puzzle has excessive PPP despite not crossing the 33% threshold. Keep in mind that 25-33% is pretty much the NYTX standard. Also a reminder, the PPP origin story was a Saturday puzzle in my wheelhouse that I asserted was really low on PPP when it was actually high. I started counting it daily and that’s where the 33% standard came from, the level where the wheelhouse/outhouse reactions overtook the comments. So 33% is a little bit arbitrary as a cut-off.

@TJS - Well, lets look again at this “dated” claim again:
The StarTrek reboot has three films with a fourth in the works (allegedly). The oldest is from 2009.
Amy Sedaris had three major TV shows this year. (Okay, 2020 major - not 1990 major)
David Sedaris had a collection published in 2018 and another slated for next year. I think it is @LMS who loves him (but maybe it’s someone else she loves)
Life of Pi won four 2012 Academy Awards.
KETEL One is more popular now than ever before in the US. I don’t know about you, but I never even heard of it before the ad onslaught of this decade.
KYRA Sedgwick won many awards early this decade and is still very active.
SHAFT was a 2019 box office disappointment but did great business in the “think piece” department. I think I read two, but it seemed like there was dozens.
ACURA, a luxury name plate, sells over 150,000 cars a year in the US.

That makes one third of the PPP recognizably current. This is more AVCX than NYTX level current. Given how the puzzle was clued (and Dr. KILDARE), I understand the “dated” contentions. But the contention doesn’t hold up under close inspection, especially in comparison to the typical NYTX. How many times have we seen NYTX with barely one answer from this century? Your 1998 jibe tells me the answer is “too often.” BTW, I don’t want to make you feel too old but 1998 was the last century. The last millennium, even. 😎

@Mighty Masked One - Nice catch on the Dr/Mr thing. Wasn’t Dr. SPOCK also big in the 60’s? Or at least controversial? I missed it with my “why not Quinto instead of Nimoy” musings.

Barbara S. 12:16 PM  

I had what I thought was a hilarious error at 48D "Longtime 'Nightline' anchor Ted." I already had the K, so without properly reading the clue or thinking, I popped in "Knight," for Ted Knight, the actor who played the over-blown, pompous news anchor Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Yet another old reference, but it made me laugh when I realized what I'd done.

Recent references: RW&B flag (Thurs.) and "Life of Pi" (Sat.).

My sister and I divided up the TV doctors such that she swooned over Ben Casey while I had a crush on Dr. Kildare. But looking at the dates the show aired, I was far too young to have a crush on anyone. As a little sister, I must have had a bad case of big-sister-wannabe. (Cure that, Dr. K!)

A nice bunch of letter Ks -- four -- all in the SE.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY too yoo, Roo!

My last two yesterday were TOMMYROT and TOROID. "Tommyrot" I suddenly thought of and put in as a little private joke, thinking --this is far too British a word for the SB. Then later, looking at TORI, I thought -- hmm, adjectival form? And yay! Today, however, yikes! I have made Genius, but I'm not sure how much farther I'll get.

Tim 12:25 PM  

For a less biased review check out Morgan’s here!

Geezer 12:29 PM  

Yes, the team nicknames are singular in the puzzle but taken together they are OHIO PLAYERS. It's the Cleveland INDIAN(S) but a single member of the team is an Indian.

jae 12:35 PM  

Here is what the author had to say about the Cleveland baseball team in his comments at Xwordinfo.

“And if you're wondering, I wholeheartedly believe the Cleveland baseball team should change its name, and there was no way I was going to refer to INDIAN as the misnomer used for indigenous tribes of the Americas. Even in a small way, I hope this continues to a discussion about representation and the uses of identities in sports that are offensive and the need to rectify it.”

Anonymous 12:37 PM  

This is the most dated NYT crossword puzzle I’ve ever done. Loved it ! Keep ‘em coming Will.

TTrimble 12:41 PM  

Yeah, @Frantic Sloth was on a roll today! The quip about LGBT also had me laughing, but the bit about COLLATE killed me. As did the Electric SLIDE.

---[SB Alert]---

Think I shall call it quits today. I'm at Genius, with 6 left to go, but I have other things to do today. Good luck, fellow SB-ers!

And Happy B-day, @Roo!

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

my lower brain stem says Dr. Spock was more 50s. let's go to the videotape... "Spock was an activist in the New Left and anti Vietnam War movements during the 1960s and early 1970s. At the time, his books were criticized for propagating permissiveness and an expectation of instant gratification which allegedly led young people to join these movements—a charge that Spock denied. "
[the wiki]

the seminal book was published 1946. so OK Boomer!!

johnk 12:47 PM  

Boo! As a lifelong fan, I've urged a Cleveland baseball team name change for many years. The team has been called The Tribe for years. There. Done. Easy.

JC66 12:47 PM  

@Anon 12:43

the clue for SPOCK (56A) Is "Mr." of 60's TV.

Greg 12:48 PM  

I'm never thrilled to see two proper names crossing at a vowel, and there were two in this puzzle. INGE/ELGIN and SUNRA/SAL. I suppose you could say they were "intuitable", but I'd still prefer they were avoided in the first place.

old timer 12:52 PM  

Easy, certainly more Tues than Weds, though tougher than a typical Mon. My mother used to make APPLE BROWN BETTY, and five-year-old me just loved it Seventy-five-year-old me used to see SUN RA at the Fillmore. I thought he was full of himself, and much preferred our local SF bands. But I guess Mr. RA was Bill Graham's Black Friend, just as Addy is OFL's.

It's funny, isn't it? I think a lot of us old white guys have pretty much always had a Black Friend. Someone who was in a mostly white profession, and earlier went to a mostly white school, and treated white people as his peers. True wherever you go, North or South, and even true among those who fought against civil rights.

It certainly was an advantage to the Old today. I knew of the good Dr KILDARE though I never watched the program, for instance. What I had no memory of was the OHIO PLAYERS, though I certainly know the names of the sports teams. Didn't they name the BROWNS after their star player?

I know the Cincinatti back story, too, because I am old enough to remember. The Red Stockings were renamed the Reds long ago -- the obvious Red Sox was already taken by the Boston boys. Then in the McCarthy era, the Reds were thought of as the Communist enemy, so they changed the name to Redlegs. After a few years of that nonsense, they went back to being the Reds.

Swagomatic 12:53 PM  

I liked the puzzle a lot. Even though Ohio, and Ohio Players are not in my wheelhouse. Anyway, I came close to a record for Wednesday.

Anonymous 12:55 PM  


not referring to the clue or answer, but to this
Wasn’t Dr. SPOCK also big in the 60’s?

David 1:08 PM  

Completely agree, bottom half of the puzzle especially seemed designed to frustrate anyone born this side of the Cuba missile crisis.

JC66 1:13 PM  

@Anon 12:55

On my computer, it doesn't show that you were referring to @Z's comment (and I sure can't remember everyone's comments), so thanks for clearing that up

Kath320 1:17 PM  

Wait, Ohio has sports teams????

Teedmn 1:27 PM  

Sidetracked by the R&B/Funk band part of the clue, I never put together the sports angle of the theme until I read Jeff Chen. I'm claiming COVID-brain. Hopefully I'll have my act together more on Saturday when I do the online Lollapuzzoola tournament. I'll have to look out for Mr. Koiki's name in the standings; I've seen him in person at Lolla before but never met him. Congrats on the debut, Adesina.

Yes, this skews old, the only advantage having turned 60 gives one, it seems. I wish I were old enough to get PART B Medicare. My current insurance isn't cheap!

COLLATE: I smiled at the clue - we have a big, old Canon copier on which the COLLATE function died about a decade ago. Since our office has gone into cost-cutting mode due to the virus, I just unplugged the thing and we use our printers as copiers.

Happy birthday, @Roo, fellow August baby!

Frantic Sloth 1:33 PM  

@pyroclasts 1241am Yes. So, strap in. 😉

@Fiona 1255am See above.

This raises a question. Those of you who were around for the origins of "Natick" could hopefully clear something up for me.
Does a true "Natick" refer to:

a.) one's personal experience and/or knowledge (à la Rex's write-ups)
b.) arcana based on what is common knowledge among a perceived majority of
c.) something else altogether

I've been operating under the assumption that it's closest to "b", with an occasional detour to "personal Natick" territory on my own.

Another question: What is the age of the constructor? Judging from the picture (which looks fairly recent), I'd guess he's well south of 40 - maybe even 30(and handsome as all GET OUT). Obviously I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Guess what I'm saying is personal ignorance of a thing is no excuse for slamming a puzzle. Were that the case, I'd be doing that all the time.

For instance, SUNRA is nowhere on my radar, but I know he is/was well known and I would not deny the right of music/jazz aficionados (or anyone else) to have their day(s) of wheelhouse.

Need I cite the innumerable times rap artists are featured? Need I?? If I don't know those answers, that is on no one but me.

And ignorance of someone/something that is before your time is absolutely no excuse either.

There's a reason history is taught, well, everywhere. Do a crossword, get some lurnin'.

Now, my soapbox is buckling under the weight of my mighty sanctimony so I bid you good day.

🦥 out

Now to finish reading y'all!

Trader Joe 1:34 PM  

Definitely dated but when life gives you stale bread make stuffing !

jberg 1:40 PM  

I enjoyed figuring out the theme; since the puzzle was pretty easy, I got them in order, and was having a hard time associating BENGAL TIGERS with BROWN BETTY. Then along came the RED WHITE AND BLUE, not just another color but three more of them. Then INDIAN FOOD. Well, Bengal is in India, but how do the other two work? Finally the clue for the revealer, which meant nothing to me. I got OHIO PLA_ERS entirely from crosses, and while I believe there's an Edie Sedgwick, I certainly didn't know KYRA. Still, that made the revealer work. Then it took me a minute or two to realize that the themers all referred to pro sports teams in Ohio. I loved it, if only because it was so hard for me to figure out. I also loved seeing ELGIN Baylor, even though he was a Laker.

On the Medicare clue: it's not that hard, there are only four parts, and C and D are clearly not relevant. Of course, the tricky thing is that if you are in the hospital for surgery, and X-rays will be covered by Part A, but if your'e and outpatient it will be PART B. I knew SABOTS, but even if you didn't SAoTS does not seem likely.

I do agree that Uriah HEEP is so 19th-century.

Masked and Anonymous 1:42 PM  


Happy b-day to @Roo. [That would make an excellent first line song lyric re-wordin, here.]

BTW: In my first message, the Michigan team player = Detroit TIGER. The Missouri player = St. Louis BLUE [altho I'm not sure they'd say that or not].
I also think that the Las Vegas BETtees would make a heckuva team name.

*** SB Alert ***
(not really, but M&A just likes to be in the loop.)


JC66 1:49 PM  


From @Rex's FAQ

NATICK PRINCIPLE — "If you include a proper noun in your grid that you cannot reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to have heard of, you must cross that noun with reasonably common words and phrases or very common names." Go here for the answers that occasioned my coining this phrase.

GHarris 2:01 PM  

There is no nadir to Trump's presidency. It's depravity is bottomless.

Krytykal 2:28 PM  

Wait a minute. Wait. A. Minute.

Crosswordese: Amain. Srs. Via. A go. Ite. O Sole.

And then we're treated to answers only folks collecting PART B payments could love: Uriah. Kildare. Spock. Koppel. Sha na na. Electric Slide. Sal.

Are you kidding me? If a white dude or a non-buddy had cobbled this together, Rex would have torn him a new one. You've virtue-signaled, Rex. You're virtuous. Virtue is yours.

Z 2:30 PM  

@anon12:43 - “OK Boomer” - Ouch. I’m technically a Boomer, but definitely at the tail end. I remembered the “permissiveness ruining children” critique but didn’t realize people blamed Dr. SPOCK for the 60’s. Old people have been complaining about “kids these days” since at least ancient Greece and probably longer, so all such harangues get filed in the OK Boomer section of my brain where I can safely ignore them or mock them.

@Frantic Sloth - I see @JC66 has posted the “official” definition. The wiggly eel in that definition is “reasonably.” INGE/ELGIN’s natickness hinges on whether we can “reasonably” expect more than ¼ of solvers to know either. INGE is crosswordese so I think that’s a fair cross for all but new solvers. Four letter playwright is going to be him or Agee 99% of the time. I think there is a better natick case for KOPPEL/KILDARE. 1960’s TV and a newsman made famous covering a 1980 hostage crisis. That’s got to be a tough crossing for anyone younger than 45.

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

Don’t think James Agee was a playwright. Good to know Inge. Also Nash though there are a lot of ways to clue that one.

Frantic Sloth 2:52 PM  

@CDilly52 508am Very happy you dropped by. Hope you can return soon to regale us with one (or more) of your charming anecdotes!

@JD 848am Your Bobby Ewing-esque fever dream had me snorting.

@Z 913am Allow me to call you out on your claim that SHAFT is of this decade. The clue even says "1971", so the 2019 version doesn't count (even though you mention that later on 😉). I do, however, fully subscribe to your INGE argument and couldn't have said it better myself. Obviously.

@bauskern 845am Following your lead, I read the constructor notes on WordPlay and was touched his charming story. More importantly, it's good to be reminded every so often (and maybe oftener) that things we blindly crank about in these puzzles have already been fully contemplated by the constructor(s). Rarely, if ever, does anyone just blithely throw around racist or other un-woke terminology without some level of soul-searching about the viability of its inclusion. For anyone (such as myself) to call it out is petty at best and bordering on irresponsible at worst.
Which is why I don't read WordPlay before commenting. Blissful ignorance is an addiction, but it's my addiction. This also goes a long way to explaining why I (embarrassingly) had a similar reaction to that picture. Jaded? Maybe. Cynical? Probably. Ignorant? Definitely.

@Whatsername 918am I'm right there with ya! That smell! Why does so much of my personal nostalgia involve not just odors, but downright stink??

@Birchbark 920am Loved your Dr. Kildare quote. What's a "horned spoon" anyway?

@Roo 1043am Well, I found it hilarious, not offensive. Then again, I'm ignorant. 😉 Seems like the perfect present to yourself! Happy Birthday!`🎂🎉🥂

BTW, I guess the opposite of POC would be the SOC? (Singular Of Convenience)

@Malsdemare 1120am I seem to recall a story about the REDS being called that originally, then changed to "RED Stockings" mid-McCarthy era, then changed back again maybe in the 60s or 70s?? Someone out there knows. I'm too lazy to look it up, @JC66 - sorry!😉

Never mind. Further reading the comments (and I'm falling waaaay behind!!) provided the explanation.

Apologies, but I'll probably be back....

Anoa Bob 3:09 PM  

Yeah @Roo, (happy b-day) using one team member to represent a entire team of OHIO PLAYERS struck me as a singular of convenience, a SOC, the less frequently seen cousin of the plural of convenience, the POC. But I guess it was a necessity, since it would be much harder coming up with non-sports phrases that begin with BENGALS, BROWNS, REDS and INDIANS.

Was it a bit cavalier to give us a player from each of two Ohio football teams and a player from each of two Ohio baseball teams, but leave out a player from the 2016 NBA Championship Ohio basketball team, a Cleveland CAVALIER?

Since my name Anoa has three syllables, ah noh ah, I always do a double take when I see 27D WHOA. How do yous pronounce that, with one syllable, WOH, or two, WO AH? Or would that be HOO AH? Seems like an orthographic anomaly, if yous ask me.

Unknown 3:11 PM  

I’ve been to Ohrid. Beautiful town. Loved North Macedonia

sixtyni yogini 3:18 PM  

Total guy puzzle so not a fast solve for YT.
And I can’t find my no happy music yet.

rosebud 3:20 PM  

Totally fun! Love the Dad joke...lots of trivia i know and love! Happy Wednesday!!🍊🌻

Wha 3:20 PM  

Anon 2:48 - Nash wasn’t a playwright either. Shaw maybe ?

Frantic Sloth 3:37 PM  

@Z 1214pm The fact that you even conceived of PPP, let alone keep track of percentages (all that mathiness, etc.!) blows my doors in. If it matters, my vote is for keeping 33% as the watermark.
You're also correct about @LMS being enamored of all things David Sedaris.

@jae 1235pm Exactly! Thanks for bringing in the actual quote. 🙂

@M&Also 142pm LOL! @SB alert!

@JC66 149pm First, let me start by saying "thank you." Second, let me defend myself by explaining that I have read the official definition more than once so, at least I looked it up! 😉 (Interestingly or not, I happened to actually know Natick since I've visited friends who lived there. Yes, they were the ones.) Third, and more to my point which I didn't make clear (my bad), I was kind of looking for more of an anecdotal-evidence-as-application-of-the-terminology kinda vibe. If that makes sense. I'm sure it doesn't. 🙄

@Z 230pm Yes! There is definitely a "wiggly eel" aspect to the whole thing. And I see your well-argued point(s) - to the extent where I'll even drink your Kool-Aid.

@GHarris 201pm 👍👏 🎯

PGregory Springer 4:06 PM  

Too easy. Don't care about sports. Enjoying the current dearth of.

Donna 4:21 PM  

What @Ann said.

Liz 4:31 PM  

A fun day. I liked yesterday’s too.

Z 5:28 PM  

@Anon2:48 - See! I don't actually know any of either person's work. Now I will have to translate those clues to "four letter writer whose work I don't know so it is probably Agee or Inge." @Wha - We don't see Shaw much it seems (plus I think in Crossworld he only wrote Pygmalion - Crossworld only vaguely resembles the real world) and I feel like we are more likely to see Nash cluing LLama or Lama then in the grid himself. It's all about the useful letters and W and H are not as useful as E, N, I, and even G.

@Frantic Sloth - First I get OK Boomered and now you pile on with "mathiness." 🥴
I do like some sort of objective touchstone for these frequent discussions, whether it really is me or the puzzle that gets the credit/blame. Even whether or not some clue/answer pairs are actually PPP can get eely, though. 62D today for example. The clue has two proper nouns but is that really relevant to getting ITE?
SHAFT is the weakest on my "current" list. This is iconic. The new movie not so much. Lots of the reviews have an "OK Boomer" feel to them.

kitshef 5:35 PM  

Let me be the first to say happy birfday, Roo.

Wha 6:05 PM  

@Z- not sure you’re right about Pygmalion comment. As per xword info:
Date Grid Clue Author
Fri May 29, 2020 6D Playwright who wrote "All great truths begin as blasphemies" Sam Ezersky
Wed Mar 4, 2020 29D "Major Barbara" playwright (3) Tracy Gray
Thu Feb 6, 2020 14A Title partner of Hobbs in a hit 2019 film Jake Halperin
Thu Oct 25, 2018 57D "Saint Joan" playwright (4) Neville Fogarty
Fri Aug 31, 2018 14D Playwright who wrote "Walk! Not bloody likely. I am going in a taxi" Peter Wentz
Wed Aug 22, 2018 1A Eliza Doolittle's creator John Lampkin
Sun Jul 22, 2018 79D Who wrote "All great truths begin as blasphemies" Patrick Merrell
Sun Apr 15, 2018 40A "Man and Superman" playwright (3) Alex Bajcz
Fri Jul 14, 2017 50A Playwright who wrote "Hell is full of musical amateurs" Patrick Berry
Wed Aug 10, 2016 9D "Arms and the Man" playwright (2) David C. Duncan Dekker
Sun Sep 21, 2014 1D Only Literature Nobelist also to win an Oscar Michael Ashley
Wed Dec 12, 2012 38D Creator of Eliza Doolittle Peter A. Collins
Tue May 1, 2012 10A "Pygmalion" playwright (3) Zoe Wheeler and Aimee Lucido
Tue Mar 13, 2012 70A "Man and Superman" playwright (3) Jeff Chen
Thu Apr 7, 2011 23A Bernard formerly of CNN Henry Hook
Thu Mar 24, 2011 65A The 1999 comedy "She's All That" is based on his work Ian Livengood
Fri Jan 28, 2011 26A 1925 Literature Nobelist Kevin G. Der
Tue Jul 27, 2010 6D Clarinetist Artie (4) Mike Torch
Sat Jul 17, 2010 44A "Fanny's First Play" playwright Mark Diehl
Sun Mar 21, 2010 114D Only man to win both a Nobel Prize and an Oscar Adam Fromm
Thu Feb 18, 2010 21A Who wrote "Hell is full of musical amateurs" Caleb Madison
Wed Oct 7, 2009 1D Henry Higgins's creator Tim Wescott
Thu Jan 22, 2009 37D "Rich Man, Poor Man" novelist, 1970 Gary J. Whitehead
Thu Jul 3, 2008 65A Irwin who wrote "Rich Man, Poor Man" Keith Talon
Thu Dec 20, 2007 11D "Saint Joan" playwright (4) Peter A. Collins
Sat Nov 10, 2007 60A "Saint Joan" playwright (4) Dana Motley
Thu Jun 28, 2007 25D "Major Barbara" playwright (3)

Birchbark 6:44 PM  

@Frantic Sloth (2:52) -- I don't know for sure about horn spoons, but I think that they're spoons with antler handles. I do know from Samuel Johnson's "Journal of a Tour of the Western Isles," which I read a couple of months ago, that they were found in parts of Scotland in the late 1700s. Johnson noted it whenever he saw them, and he ordered a set to be delivered to his home in London. Every time Johnson mentioned it, I heard it in Dr. Gillespie's (Lionel Barrymore's) voice.

I've seen similar handles on pocket knives and the like, so that's my best guess.

Anonymous 7:09 PM  

Re: four letter playwrights- Inge dominates. Shaw is a distant second. There is no third as far as I can tell.

Richardf8 7:25 PM  

Gongurra Chicken and Idli FTW!

Pamela 7:49 PM  


Nope, I have no secret way to post before Rex. I got frustrated last night because really wanted to post while I could remember what I was thinking while I solved. I knew I shouldn’t stay awake, and probably wouldn’t be able to anyway, so I wrote a note on my iPad. This morning I copied and pasted it into the blog along with a brief update.

I’m glad so many people enjoyed the theme, even though it meant absolutely nothing to me. I didn’t know the group, either, or ELGIN, or SUNRA. But the rest of it- Life of Pi, INGE, SPOCK, URIAH, PARTB, even INDIANFOOD made the puzzle Monday easy for me. It went by so fast I barely noticed the Dad joke.

I hope tomorrow is fun!

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

I just got to Genius, with 54 words. The long ones seemed easier than the short ones today. I’ll probably check back again a couple of times in case inspiration strikes, but I’m not going to work too hard at it.

Jill 12:08 AM  

Hard agree. My mom, who is 63, had no idea who the Ohio Players were. I really struggled because too many crosses involved names I had no clue about, although I do know Koppel (saw him speak when I was in grad school). This puzzle seems to have everything Rex would dislike, full of dates names and fill, but since he is buddies with the dude who wrote it and he didn't struggle, fine.

I am so close to cancelling my NYT xword sub and paying for puzzles that I actually enjoy.

Anonymous 12:10 AM  

Is this Wednesday or Monday ?

Anonymous 12:19 AM  

I was in Ohio once. Back in summer of 70 drove through on my way to New York and Canada from California. An Ohio State Trooper wrote me up for speeding. I was going a little over the speed limit on an empty freeway in the middle of the night. I avoided going through the state on my way back. Lost revenue for the Ohio tax eaters.

thefogman 10:11 AM  

Yet another example of why Rex should review blind (without knowing the constructor’s name). I found this one to be blah. And way too easy for a Wednesday- that’s not the constructor’s fault it’s a careless misfile by the editor. Anyhow, the fact that the constructor is Rex’s pal should not tilt how he reviews the puzzle. But he’s only human so it probably does.

Burma Shave 10:47 AM  


his prey FELTBAD AND BORED, yet lewd.
So he made AMAIN course of BROWNBETTY,


Waxy in Montreal 11:13 AM  

So-o-o Mondayish yet I still had a DNF, never having heard of KETEL One or the pizzeria owner at 54A. So I Natticked guessing SAM and KETEM. And who in hADES are the OHIO PLAYERS?

FEELBAD but must agree with many primetimers that OFL's friends often are granted a pass from from his usual acerbic criticism.

spacecraft 11:35 AM  

Well, ignorant me. I looked at the byline name, saw "Adesina," and thought: woman. Sorry about that, dude, because my pump was primed to praise another new female constructor. Still, the praise remains. This was good, if easy.

One of the few themes that I glommed onto after only the second entry: what do BENGAL and BROWN have in common besides the letter B? Bingo! Bulls and Bears get a PASS, but we don't want to crowd things. My main question then shifted from "What is this (WHOA!)?" to "What shape is the revealer going to take?" And Bam! The OHIOPLAYERS--perfect!

Fill was interesting TOO; in particular the WOD, Dr. KILDARE. Brings back memories of my days as a medical USAF corpsman, when I'd often hit the rec room still wearing my whites. The guys took to calling me "Docta Kil-DARE!" Simpler days. Gone forever.

Hm, did I just FEELBAD? You'll have this. DOD is KYRA Sedgwick, and MISTER Koiki gets an eagle.

leftcoaster 2:01 PM  

Easy, but slowed down in the S and SW making for easy-medium.

OHIO PLAYERS as a "funk band" was an early misdirection, so the pro sports teams showed up late for the game.

Didn't know SUNRA, KETEL, or BROWN BETTY, but crosses took care of that.

Got a chuckle out of "NACHO cheese!".

Diana, LIW 5:21 PM  

Agree with all who said easy but enjoyable. As one who was born in OHIO, but left before I could walk, I know little of the state or players. But I know little of players. so...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 8:15 PM  

Understand, kinda, why OHIOPLAYERS might not be known by the younger set. Yet if you listen to radio at all, it's not that hard. But some youngsters say "What's radio?" Happened to me at my favorite record store, the Electric Fetus in Mpls. Check their website, you'll be interested.

OK puz if too easy for Wed.

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