Old-fashioned weapon for hand to hand combat / WED 8-26-20 / Strategic objective soon after D-Day invasion / Dinner preceder on dinner invitation

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Constructor: Carl Larson

Relative difficulty: Challenging (just for me, because I misread a clue and then just stared at a single blank square for what felt like eternity; puzzle is actually probably more Medium)

THEME: WORK PORTFOLIO (34A: Collection that demonstrates job skills ... as suggested by 17-, 24-, 48- and 55-Across) — familiar phrases are all clued as if they are "investments" for various occupations... the latter part of each phrase being something one can invest in:

Theme answers:
  • COMEDY GOLD (17A: Investment for a humorist?)
  • BEEF STOCK (24A: Investment for a butcher?)
  • IONIC BOND (48A: Investment for a physicist?)
  • MENU OPTION (55A: Investment for a restaurateur?)
Word of the Day: Ken OLIN (16A: "Thirtysomething" actor Ken) —
Kenneth Edward Olin (born July 30, 1954) is an American actor, television director and producer. He is known for his role as Michael Steadman in the ABC drama series Thirtysomething (1987-1991), for which he received Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama nomination in 1990. Olin later began working as television director and producer; his producer credits include Alias (2001-2006), Brothers & Sisters (2006–2011), and This Is Us (2016-present). Olin is married to actress Patricia Wettig. (wikipedia)
• • •

Wow ... investments. Portfolios. Were y'all out of golf- and chess-themed puzzles to torment me with? The very topic is so dull, and the execution here is so weird and tenuous—reliant entirely on clue phrasing for the revealer to make any sense, which it barely does. The choice of professions in the theme clues is so weird. A humorist, a butcher, a physicist (?), and a restaurateur (??). Why physicist? Aren't IONIC BONDs from chemistry? Why not a chemist? And stocks and bonds I get, great, that works, but after that, it gets real arbitrary-feeling. OPTION made some sense to me, but GOLD!?! The other three are generic terms, but GOLD is quite specific. I was looking for a type of thing, but what I got was just ... thing. That answer was totally horrible for me, both because it's just bad (inconsistent) theme-wise, and because I misread the AIG clue as [Big inits. in France] (as opp. to [Big inits. in finance]). Maybe I scanned the clue once and didn't reread it, I don't know? But I clearly expected that I'd eventually infer the themer ... but no. I had COMEDY -OLD and zero idea what letter went there. At the very end. Even when I had the theme in place. What investment thingie is -OLD? What common phrase is COMEDY -OLD? I mean, it's my fault for misreading the AIG clue, but a. AIG is bad fill b. GOLD is a horrid outlier among the "investment" words, c. the whole concept of the theme feels wobbly, and most importantly d. I just don't care about this topic at all. At all at all. 

Don't put NRA in your puzzle. At all at all. Because now it's just so obvious that you're trying awkwardly to steer around the white supremacist terrorist organization and so we get really dated weird clues like New Deal alphabet soup orgs. (56D: New Deal program with the slogan "We Do Our Part," in brief). A half-experienced constructor could pull NRA and replace it with something as good or better within minutes. The fill on this one is weak all over. The longer stuff works OK, but things get awfully rough / old-fashioned in the short fill: STLO ANE TELS ATT DIRK RANDR ROO etc. Really hate the [Blowout] clue for ROMP because while accurate, it forces you into that "ugh which one is it?" position when you get the RO- (I guessed ROUT, of course). I still can't really make much sense of the COCKTAILS clue. I love COCKTAILS. I would've thought it impossible to make me dislike a COCKTAILS clue. And yet the clue here ... it's so weird and dated and awkward that it just ruins all the joy of the answer. What even is a "dinner invitation"? What kind of formal dinner is this? ["Dinner" preceder ...] is such convoluted nonsense. Is "Dinner" a quote, is it ironic, is the "preceder" part of a phrase? But, no,  a "COCKTAILS Dinner" is not a thing, so I guess somehow the "invitation" says "COCKTAILS, Dinner" on it? COCKTAILS followed by "Dinner" quote unquote? Truly I am not familiar with whatever genre of thing this invitation is. I don't understand the clue-writing / editing on this thing at all. The clue on SPEND too, what the heck? (4D: Lighten one's wallet, so to speak) Why would you actually introduce a "one's" into your clue when you don't need to. Awkward. No idea what that clue was going for. I wrote in STEAL. Goodbye to you, puzzle.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Robin 12:08 AM  

As silly/stupid as it was, I liked this theme a lot more than most in the NTXW in the last year or two.

That said, I expect the AIG/AIOLI cross is going to draw more than a few Natick complaints.

jae 12:15 AM  

Easy-medium. Cute theme with some nice long downs. Liked it. ...and GOLD is definitely a part of many investment portfolios.

GHarris 12:23 AM  

Rex, invite might likely say, cocktails at 6, dinner at 8. Enjoyed this puzzle, found it somewhat challenging but satisfyingly doable.

Dan Sachs 12:26 AM  

You can invest in gold, and comedy gold is a pretty common phrase so I don't get the hate for that theme. And a formal invitation will say something like "Cocktails 6:30, Dinner at 8". And it's a crossword, so it's not a fault if you have to switch to the other direction to distinguish between two RO-- possibilities.

mathgent 12:36 AM  

Only three red plus signs, below average for a Wednesday. And they were negated by three pieces of junk. That makes it a zero.

Anonymous 12:41 AM  

It's awfully disingenuous to refer to the Astros as "Dodger beater in the 2017 World Series" without mentioning the fact that they cheated during it. There are plenty of ways you could clue that without mentioning the 2017 World Series, but if you do decide to refer to it specifically, you'd better include that information.

Kevin C. 12:53 AM  

Sadly, Galavant is leaving Netflix in the next couple weeks. "Comedy Gold" was one of its many many fantastic songs.

JD 12:54 AM  

A humorist, a butcher, a physicist, and a restaurateur walk into a bar. Bartender says there's never a priest, rabbi, or minister around when ya need one.

DNF on a misspelling ... Week Tea ... which led to a pitcher named Estro beating the Dodgers in 2017.

Struggled and lost on that misplaced E. What's done is done. Little known fact, Shakespeare also coined, "It is what it is."

I like FDR's NRA and St. Lo because it makes me think of a time when Americans didn't think patriotism meant abusing people while you waved a flag around.

Also, love ya big guy, but hate cultural appropriation, especially white Northerners saying y'all to sound either friendly, ironic, or cool. Leave y'all alone. It's being ruined.

Pamela 12:55 AM  

I guess I get it, but it’s no fun at all, especially after yesterday’s delight. I wanted Stake or Steak after BEEF, but STOCK was good- probably one of the better ones. I liked MENUOPTION too, because it has sort of a double meaning. But I have to agree about COMEDYGOLD, which I’ve never seen as a phrase and just looks like any two words randomly stuck together. Same with IONICFUNDS. Is there such a thing?

@ROO showed up today- how nice!

I wanted TOOKoath before AVOW, pumpUP before TONE, coNDo before RANDR. Unlike Rex, I liked the COCKTAIL clue. but my faves today were Hamlet’s demise at 31D, and 46A, the clue for AARP. Speaking of which, when that magazine started showing up in my mailbox, I was horrified (like most!) and got rid of them ASAP, before anyone I knew could see them lying around.

And the sports are back. I’m not complaining, but the hiatus has been lovely. It could have been worse, though- at least I could get them with the crosses, even at that nasty junction of ASTRO/ARI.

manitou 1:55 AM  

There was a typo on 22D: the clue should have been "Dodger cheater" not "Dodger beater"

chefwen 2:35 AM  

Filled in NRA and thought, Aww geez here we go again. Pretend you didn’t see it Rex.

Messed up I. The NE with rAtS in for 10A, fortunately COCKTAILS before dinner came to the rescue.

Thought for a couple of minutes I was going to have to cheat on a Wednesday, horrors, but I managed to get to the finish line cleanly.

Always Check Your Grid 3:46 AM  

@Pamala - COMEDY GOLD is a thing and ICONIC fuNDS isn’t, however, ICONIC BONDS is a thing.

Lewis 6:15 AM  

I see that Carl made a liquid investment of his own with the confluence of WEAK TEA, COCKTAILS, and BEEFSTOCK.

Happy to see the appearance of James' little-known brother IONIC.

And man, doesn't IMMUNE TO sound sweet at the moment?

But what I liked best was that ay, there was rub in a few areas, helped by the fact that, for me, most of the theme answers needed a fair amount filled in before I got them. And I live for puzzle rub!

Thank you for coming up with this enjoyable commodity, Carl!

Anonymous 7:02 AM  

@Pamela - there is probably no such thing as Ionic Funds, but there is such a thing as an Ionic Bond. It is Toned Up, not Tuned Up and Bombs not Fombs (?). I guess you did not finish.

amyyanni 7:04 AM  

Appreciate a Wednesday with some pushback.

Beaglelover 7:05 AM  

Definitely agree with @anonymous. Don't dare refer to the Astros as winners unless the cheater reference is there as well. What world does Shortz live in?

kitshef 7:06 AM  

Pretty neat theme, but gosh what an awful revealer.

I’ve always been an ASTRO fan in the days of Jimmy Wynn, to JR Richard and Cesar Cedeno, on through Bagwell and Biggio and up through Springer and Altuve. What they did in 2017 was unforgivable. Clue should read “Dodger cheater of the 2017 World Series”.

Hungry Mother 7:06 AM  

A bit quicker than usual this morning. The theme helped a bit, as did the kind comments from yesterday. Thank you.

ChuckD 7:09 AM  

Wasn’t as keen on this one as yesterday’s - just didn’t like the revealer much and not a lot of spark to the themers. Both chemists and physicists study IONIC BONDs - but agree that chemists would be more commonplace for the average solver. Liked COCKTAILS crossing WEAK TEA and TOOK A VOW but most of the fill felt gluey and off. R AND R should have been edited out and the short center acrosses were just ugly - MOTT, ATT, ARI and ANE, AVA, ST LO.

Hopefully a nice rebus tomorrow?

Anonymous 7:12 AM  

"Challenging"---what was your solve time, "Rex?" You didn't say, so I'm guessing 20 minutes.

Lolcat Lisa 7:19 AM  


Anonymous 7:48 AM  

I've been doing the LA Times crossword this week. Very enjoyable. Just anecdotally, today's NYT had 14 3's. LAT had 6. The 2 puzzles shared OTIS.

Kakapo 7:51 AM  

“Olive oil” is surprisingly difficult to come up with when you only have “I EOI”.

Anonymous 7:53 AM  

Can someone please explain the answer to “What makes car care?” Ane? Google didn’t help.

Pamela 7:54 AM  

@always check- Thanks for the corrections. But what about IONIC-not iconic- BONDS?

I see my question has been answered-
@ChuckD- thanks!

**********SB SPOILER ALERT******

Yesterday’s TELNET was not in my wheelhouse. Today I’m only missing 2 words, and I haven’t even had breakfast. Wonder if I’ll find them...

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

“Tels” for phone no’s ? Ugh !

Todd 8:28 AM  

Anonymous, An E makes the wor car into the word care. From a proud life member of the NRA.

Spatenau 8:28 AM  

@ananymous, add an "e" to "car" and you get "care."

$&- 8:32 AM  

It’s cute how he only posts his time when he is happy with it.

Clarke Canedy 8:35 AM  

Adding a letter e to “car”...an e

TJS 8:36 AM  

This puzzle sucked. Thank God it was over quickly because I hated every minute of it. Ironically, not for any of the reasons Rex did. Love it when Rex does his speed solve thing and fills in words without reading the clue, and then bitches about the puzzle for it.

Areawoman 8:37 AM  

@Kevin C. Hear hear for Galavsnt being one of the best shows ever made that no one watched. Thanks for letting us know it's time in Netflix is short lived. Will binge it anon.

Z 8:42 AM  

EL TRAIN? The puzzle was having a hard time getting me to like it already and that answered derailed any chance it might have had. The El. ELevated TRAIN. But never EL TRAIN. I am pretty sure I did the fingernails on chalkboard shudder.

Is WEAK TEA the actual revealer? Because that’s what this theme was to me.

Unlike Rex, I do see how GOLD works. Still, the other three are stock market related, so it’s still an outlier, just not quite as out a liar as Rex thinks.

Car care in case nobody has answered you, add AN E to “car” to get “care.”

@anon8:13 - “Ugh” strikes me as an understatement. How are TELS “phone nos.” Somebody got tired of “business card abbr.” and didn’t stop to make sure their new clue actually makes sense.

I am sorry, but the deep irony is that the cheating didn’t actually matter. The Dodgers lost because the ASTROS were a better team and all that convoluted cheating did was sully the ASTROS’ reputation. All the “they’re cheaters and don’t you let anyone forget it” screeds fall on deaf ears, here.

lukiegrifpa 8:47 AM  

Take the word car and add “an e” to make care.

Casimir 8:48 AM  

If you add an "e" to the word car, it becomes the word "care.". So, the answer parses as "an e."

Other than cross reference clues, perhaps my least favorite thing in crosswords!

Joaquin 8:49 AM  

The Astros are the 2017 champs. They beat the Dodgers - didn't beat 'em "fair and square" but they did get credit for the win. And unless and until the Astros are stripped of that title, the clue is correct as it stands (much as we may dislike it).

Lewis 9:05 AM  

In case anyone was wondering, it's Will Shortz's birthday today.

Nancy 9:09 AM  

COMEDY GOLD is not a phrase that seems all that familiar to me, though it may to others. And that set me up for thinking that this was quite a Green Paintyish theme. I mean the phrases are all things, I suppose, but they're not terribly strong phrases. And then the revealer is off. The themers aren't about "job skills"; they're about liquid and non-liquid wealth. So it's as though you have two separate themes in the puzzle.

I found it easy. The only dilemmas for me were would it be HIGH RES or HIGH DEF; whether the "working stiff" would be PLEBE or PROLE; and whether the "devilishly clever insults" were BURRS, BURNS or BURPS. But UNC is a school and I don't think that UPC or URC are.

This didn't really work for me, though the solve was not unpleasant.

Clueless 9:14 AM  

Read Rex to my husband, who quipped

Comedy Commodities

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

EL TRAIN? Said nobody in Chicago, ever. We just call it The El.

Petsounds 9:26 AM  

A tough slog for me. The constructor and I are on totally different wavelengths, and I found most of the attempts at cute fill (NRA, TELS, AARP) annoying.

Count me among those who easily filled in ASTRO but agree that "Dodger cheater" would have been more appropriate. Agree with Rex on IONICBONDS: How does that relate to a physicist, rather than a chemist?

But the icing on the cake--and it's a sticky, cloying, unpleasant icing--is the clue for 39A. ANE, actually AN E. Do crossword constructors think they're being clever and adorable with clues like this? Here's a clue for you: You're not.

I did like ITSALIVE and TRAGICEND but my overall experience was less the former, more the latter.

RooMonster 9:29 AM  

Hey All !
Apparently, Carl is not a friend of Rex. His screed about the theme is laughable. GOLD is definitely an investment. C'mon man. And his COCKTAILS rant was plain silly. And there he goes again about "why these professions? Why not an auto mechanic, an arborist, or a taxidermist?" Because, it's s puz with a theme, Rex. I know it's not OK to disparage Rex on his blog, but jeez, relax and enjoy a puz from someone who is a friend once in a while. Maybe Carl needs to send a friendly email to Rex. 😋

As you can tell, I liked this puz. The themers were fun and worked as s group. GOLD worked. Nice long Downs. Nice open corners, a nit, though, about that one block in NW/SE. There's dreck in every puz, I say it all the time, but this one not too bad.

**SB thingies**
Forgot to say two days ago you could've made CHEWBACCA. Har. And why isn't WELCH acceptable? Down off my pangram high by missing YesterBees. Oof.
**SB over**

Three F's
One ROO!

David 9:30 AM  

Astro is the Jetson's dog. He slobbers on the guests they have come over for cocktails and dinner on July 14th as they celebrate Bastille Day with the Grand Aioli. There are no menu options on this day. Judy's wearing a tiara and playing Otis Redding on her futuristic record player.

I watched that Thirtysomething show once. Was disgusted by the premise that "becoming an adult" meant tossing one's values to make money and consume. It was immensely popular. And here we are today.

Cam 9:32 AM  

I can't believe it, but I completely misread the AIG clue in exactly the same way. I didn't even realize it until I read your post since I got it with the acrosses and never went back to it. Bizarre.

Keith D 9:39 AM  

Never does, if it’s bad. I think he feels there’s shame in it. Also will predictably nitpick every negative thing about the puzzle when he doesn’t do well, and ignore those same bits if he aces it. It’s a consistent pattern here.

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

No. The stock market and bond market are two very different things. Obviously they're related, though I take it from your post you don't understand how.
Gold of course is one of the most commonly traded commodities which are traded via options. so that answer is not only not an outlier, it's squarely within the theme.

Nice try on pissing an moaning about how tiresome Finance is. But it's grating to hear you cavil when you're an enormous beneficiary of financial markets. As an instructor in the SUNY system you are obliged to be part of its retirement system--almost certainly TRS ( though possibly ERS). In any event NY state's pension plan is among the very best in the nation. That's not my assessment. That's everyone's assessment from The WSJ to Institutional Investor.Your reaping the benefits of the oh so bourgeois theme. That you have the temerity to complain isn't just ungracious, its galling.

Sixthstone 9:53 AM  

Theme was fine. Gold is probably the oldest investment around, so it's fine. Rex is just mad at himself for misreading the AIG clue. His problem, not the puzzle's.

The cocktails clue could certainly be better and more up-to-date, but not worth the complaint's Rex makes.

Fill was pretty lame though, lot of articles and prepositions: tookAvow, immuneTO, AlotOF, ANe, toneUP, gotAT.

For someone who solves and blogs about the NYTX everday, Rex sure hates most of them!

Xcentric 10:02 AM  

Gotta love it when Rex finds a puzzle challenging and I had no real pushback.
Makes up for all the times he finds it easy and I struggle.
Does he go by how long it took him to solve? Whether he likes the theme? Or does he just toss a die?
Found the theme OK, but no aha moments.

Outside The Box 10:02 AM  

Rex, good is not an outlier regarding the investment answers in the puzzle. It’s just another choice investors have: stocks, bonds, options, gold, oil etc.

Outside The Box 10:04 AM  

Good one!!

Whatsername 10:06 AM  

I liked this just fine. It had a bit of trickery for a Wednesday, not too much but just enough to make it a little challenging which I appreciated. The clue for AN E (car care) was devilishly clever, a real BURN.

Sorry to disagree Rex, but COCKTAILS on a dinner invitation is definitely a thing. Maybe you need to get out more. TV ADS are always muted at my house. (Note to advertisers: if you want me to listen, don’t make them so darn loud!)

You’d think after all the tequila I have consumed in my life I would know the answer to 50A was not MEZCAL. For some reason, my younger self was able to drink straight shots of it all night without ever suffering any after effects the next day. Fellow partiers would be passed out on the floor while I was still going strong. Good times. It’s really a miracle that I ever made it to my AARP years.

@Nancy: Looking forward to tomorrow.

Carola 10:15 AM  

I'm with @jae on "easy-medium" and enjoying the theme, and I thought the reveal was right on the money. The theme answers were a mix for me: COMEDY GOLD unknown, BEEF STOCK fairly easy to put together, IONIC BOND a solver's delight (got it from one cross), and MENU OPTION the one real puzzler. Fun to write in: WEAK TEA, HOT ONE, IT'S ALIVE!
It was sad to see Hamlet come to a TRAGIC END when he was having such a good day yesterday. Grid-wise, also too bad he died by poisoned sword instead of a DIRK.

Richardf8 10:15 AM  

Aw man, Rex, I looked at that clue fo NRA and thought “That is some serious Rex Parker fan service right there.” Now he constructor Haz A Sadz.

(That’s OK, I gave yesterday’s constructor a Sadz.)

TundraDad 10:15 AM  

Dumb question for Rex or the group: what determines the headline/lead-in (i.e., the text above the date) of the daily column in this blog; are these the most notable clues from Rex's standpoint? Don't get it. Thx

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

apparently, OFL has no memory of the Hunt Bros. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Thursday) trying to control silver. or of the ages long existence of Gold Bugs (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_bug). so, of course GOLD is an 'investment' option. a particularly unproductive one, at that. just like paintings and wine. well, at least you can drink some of them. from what I gather, most old (expensive) wines are usually just vinegar if uncorked.

Marcus Chance 10:32 AM  

As a quasi-finance person, I enjoyed the theme. And I'm ok with GOLD being in there since people do add it to their Portfolios (though I'm not a fan of that strategy).

What I didn't like was RANDR. Ever since losing tens of minutes of time a few weeks ago because I wrote SANDP (S&P) instead of SANDL (S&L) I'm not completely against and xANDx answers.

@Robin - I hear you on the AIOLI/AIG cross. On the other hand, I've now added AIOLI to my list of sauces for crossword answers, if not for actually cooking - though maybe I'll change that.

Loved that AIOLI was joined by OLIVEOIL. Just had my morning croissant and cappuccino and now I'm looking forward to a tasty Mediterranean lunch.

egsforbreakfast 10:34 AM  

Surprised that no one has pointed out that AIG is an insurance company, not a finance company. (6D - Big inits. In finance). Sure, they went broke on I’ll-conceived mortgage derivatives until we bailed them out, but it was just poor investing of insurance premiums. BTW, they accumulate a lot of those premiums because their business model is to just never pay claims unless forced by a court, or that’s how they used to do it.

Notice a near progression of AVE,ATT,ARI, ANE, AVA (Ti)ARA, (AG)AVE, ANON, AVIA.

Also, I like the Car to Care type of clue. It’s a short and clever misdirect to result in a tiny aha moment.

Richardf8 10:40 AM  

Actually, we say y’all because we want a second person plural. And unless I’m mistaken, that’s not how its used in the south.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

It's toneup not tuneup or toned up.

Z 10:47 AM  

@TundraDad - Huh - this was just asked a week or two ago. From the FAQ page:
14. Why are there tiny little clues in parentheses above the title of each post?

These are clues I've chosen to highlight for one or both of the following two reasons:

a. They seem likely to move people to Google.
b. They are strange, challenging, colorful, or otherwise noteworthy.

Brian 10:48 AM  

The black squares in the center of the grid are suggestive of the % sign — pervasive in investments.

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

No. AIG did not go broke. Yes, their position in credit default swaps was poor. But it is immensely more complicated than that. Robert McDonald from the Kellogg School of Management and Anna Paulson from the Chicago Fed, authored the definitive paper on the AIG fiasco. It's easy to find. I'm pretty sure Kellogg has it free online. Worth the read.

As for your spurious claim about AIG only paying claims at the barrel of a gun, well, that's the kind of hyperpole that derails, not advances, assertions.

Elaine 10:56 AM  

What is a prole?

William of Ockham 11:07 AM  

Awkward cluing, the mark was missed, otherwise no real complaints about the puzzle.

EdFromHackensack 11:08 AM  

NRA is fair game for a crossword puzzle, Rex. Just because you, or anyone, do not support it does not mean it should be verboten. Geeez, thin skinned are we? BTW I am NOT an NRA supporter

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

Anon 10:26
Yeah, I know. I won the bet with (Paul) Ehrlich. Of course the price of commodities falls over time. Environmentalists. Lol.

Julian Simon

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

age old mantra in the 'finance' biz: if you need a little money, you go to a bank; if you need a lot of money, you go to an insurance company. if you live in a city with high rise construction cranes procreating all over (some times called the national bird of China), go look at the placard at the sites. odds are, you'll see that the financing comes, first and foremost, from an insurance syndicate.

dadnoa 11:18 AM  

+1 for cheating mention. Needs to be in the clue!

Newboy 11:31 AM  

First response before Rex & above. Dad joke cluing for a second day is bound to vex. 46D sorta says it all? And having 39A follow on the heels of 23A seems almost cruel to this Granddad’s ear. I enjoyed Carl’s financial wizardry, and any grid with OTIS and the Bard gets an automatic TIARA. I do suspect some COMEDY GOLD from OFL’s eviscerating critique —giving 9 to 4 odds he hated it....now off to check out that expectation.

Moxer 11:32 AM  

I got momentarily sidetracked by thinking that it was “Saint Lawrence” College instead of “Sarah Lawrence.” That said, I found this one to be doable if not very enjoyable. I was glad to see Lucretia Mott making a timely appearance. One question: Has Rex ever had one of his puzzles in The New York Times? If so, I would love to see it.

W. Buffett 11:36 AM  

@Rex is Wrong about Gold Folks: Stocks is a class of things people invest in, as are bonds, options, and commodities. I may invest in Stocks rather than bonds or options, but when I invest in Stocks I buy individual stocks - 100 shares of this, 100 shares of that. When you buy gold, you are buying a commodity, you are investing in commodities. Commodities is the corollary to Stocks, gold is the corollary to shares of the Acme Corp.

McKay Hinckley 11:42 AM  

Goodness. Astros won. They cheated, but they won. The clue works. Doesn’t need the cheating part to make it work.

jberg 11:44 AM  

@Nancy, I think PORTFOLIO is one of these cases where an answer is clued as a word with one meaning, but changes its meaning as part of the theme. Here, WORK PORTFOLIO is clued as a set of job skills, but as the revealer it means a portfolio of investments that are jokingly appropriate for people in different lines of work. I like themes like that, but am coming to understand that there is an opposing opinion.

That's why I didn't like COMEDY GOLD. I am familiar with the phrase, but the GOLD in it is simply metaphorical gold. In BEEF STOCK, on the other hand, the meaning of stock changes, as does the meaning of bond. OPTION means choice in both meanings, but they are completely different contexts -- but gold is just the difference between literal gold and metaphorical gold, which strikes me as WEAK TEA. I'm also dubious about a butcher wanting to buy BEEF STOCK. A butcher might make beef stock, but why buy it?

I don't think anyone would ever say GOT AT in the sense clued. I might say "I wasn't sure what you were getting at," but not "I couldn't tell what you got at." I'd have gone with GO TAT, getting your arm decorated while you are on the move.

Cassandra 11:47 AM  

RE: 44 Down --

"Carolers"? Sing in "UNISON"? Who are they kidding?

In the COVID/post-COVID "new normal," participating in a choir or a chorus is one of the most lethal "super-spreader" activities people can engage in. Singing together is a thing of the past.

We are facing a future of masked, isolated people shunning one another like the plague (literally); empty stadiums, concert halls, auditoriums, and nightclbs; no more close fellowship in the few public gatherings still allowed (e.g., churches); no more arts taught in schools (you can’t put on a play, sing in a choir, or play in an orchestra or a band while wearing a mask and “distancing” yourself from others); for that matter, little if any actual socializing in schools at all, and very little arts or performance presented for actual audiences in public.

TTrimble 11:47 AM  

Y'all is such a convenient contraction that it shouldn't be off-limits to those from the Northeast. (I'm from the South myself, so I feel quite at my ease using it whenever I feel like it.) So I'd say cut Rex a break on that one.

Now if he peppered his writing with something like "prolly" (which is how a lot of today's "cool kids" say "probably"), in an affectation of being one with the peeps, then I'd certainly cry foul. See, I feel like a horse's ass just writing "peeps" -- that illustrates the point I'm making here. In other words, just don't get too cute, Rex. :-) But "y'all" is okay with me.

On IONIC BOND: I'd say it's permissible to think of that as being within the purview of physics. Chemistry at such a basic level is explicable in terms of quantum physics. In other words, there is no hard line separating physics and chemistry, although the mode of thinking may shift from one to the other as one scales up or down in complexity.

I definitely got mired down in the SE, starting with "let on" before I got to GOT AT. I was momentarily unsure about AGAVE because "agave syrup" kept standing in my way. For some reason I had trouble coughing up ST LO although it's thoroughly standard crosswordese. The cluing for AARP was tricky for me. And the Minecraft? My teenage kids still enjoy Minecraft, but nevertheless it took me a while to cough up ORE.

In sum, all this led to a time which was only slightly better than my historical Wednesday average. So, oh well.

---[SB Alert]---

I won't leave spoiler space for discussion of yesterday because the cat's already out of the bag (I suppose the smart people here know the dark origin of that phrase), so I'll just comment that, yeah, TELNET and TELETYPE(D) definitely seem obsolescent. So (@Pamela) the annoyance is quite understandable. When's the last time you had traffic with an FTP file? That's so 1990's.

And boy, today's a weird one. I'm at Amazing mostly on the back of a whole bunch of 4-letter words. Guess I'll give it another crack, although today is the first day of the semester and I ought to be doing something else right now. (Online teaching is so much more work than ordinary teaching.)

Pamela 11:53 AM  

Anon7:02- I had Funds for a while, but switched to BONDS when, as you say, the crosses didn’t work. When I posted my question, I remembered the error, not the correction, as both terms seemed odd. The Iconic thing, however- that was someone else’s oops.

@Chuck D- Yes! I hope so too! Since yesterday wasn’t Jeff Chen’s POW, we have something to look forward to, so I have my fingers crossed.

Today’s lesson for me is to remember to read the constructor’s notes after solving. He says very clearly that he had Atomic BONDS first, then had to change the grid when he discovered that the correct term is IONIC. Seeing that clicked everything into place for me.

jb129 11:57 AM  

An okay puzzle but not much fun which a puzzle should be (or at least informative).

Of all things, I got stuck on 60 across - "BURNS" (don't know sports)

bigsteve46 12:08 PM  

It's repetitive but just has to be said from time to time: ITS ONLY A CROSSWORD PUZZLE!!! Its not the editorial page, its not the 95 theses nailed to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral - its just a puzzle: a little diversion from the dreck that fills up the rest of the paper. You guess the right letter that the constructor has decided goes into each little square and that's that. Obvious obscenities should be avoided as a matter of good manners - but - its just a little lagniappe that the NYT throws in for the price of the paper. Leave the mole hills as mole hills and find the mountains on the editorial page.

MarthaCatherine 12:28 PM  

Hungry mother: May I add to the virtual hugs and send my sincerest sympathies.

MetroGnome 12:35 PM  

I don't like the NRA or what it stands for any more than Rex does. But it exists in the real world, it's in the news almost every day, and so it's perfectly acceptable fodder for a crossword puzzle -- which, after all, is supposed to be a word game, not a friggin' ideological pamphlet.

Some religious people loathe "COCKTAILS" (includng tequila) every bit as much as Rex (and I) loathe the NRA. Should they come here whining and moaning until the nefarious "evil booze" references are excised forever? A vegan would be "offended" by "BEEF STOCK," as well as the multiple other references to meat-eating that occur in these puzzles on a regular basis (to say nothing of words like SUEDE, IVORY. et al.); "CAD" is often used to describe a sexually promiscuous man who cheats on women -- MICRO-AGRESSION ALERT!!! And PROLE is a disparaging, classist term for "proletarian."

And on, and on, and on . . .

Always check your grid 12:35 PM  

@Pamala - Oops, sorry! I should have checked my post.

Anonymous 12:47 PM  

Yeah, I know. I won the bet with (Paul) Ehrlich. Of course the price of commodities falls over time. Environmentalists. Lol.

well... the Green Revolution, postulated to refute Ehrlich, didn't happen organically (he he), but by the indiscriminate use of hydrocarbon derived fertilizers. not a long term strategy. "Do you wanna eat the oil, or burn it?"

jazzmanchgo 12:49 PM  

RE: "Y'All --

For some time, I've been on a one-man campaign to bring back "Ye" as a plural "You." Not sure how it disappeared from the language, because it was a pretty nifty solution to a thorny semantic problem. Today we're stuck with the gendered "you guys" or the micro-aggressive "you people," or maybe a clumsy compromise such as "all of you," "most of you," "everyone within earshot," or something else equally awkward. if I knew how to start a "Ye" meme, I would.


RooMonster 12:52 PM  

@Cassandra 11:47
And @Everyone else
This pandemic will not last forever. We won't be "wearing masks for all eternity". Seriously. If that was the case, the Pandemic of 1918 on all through history, masks would have been worn. It's been roughly seven months of this, it won't last forever. Either everyone will get it, get immune to it, or a vaccine will be released (which they probably already have.)

And I might start skipping Rex from now on. Just too depressing.

RooMonster Might Be Back, I Think I'm Forgetting Something Guy

jazzmanchgo 12:54 PM  

. . . and then, after all his virtue signalling about the NRA, Rex posts a picture of Ken Olin brandishing a HANDGUN? What's up with THAT???!!

Anonymous 12:56 PM  

The National Recovery Act was a very important piece of legislation, as was (if I remember correctly) its overturning by the Supreme Court.

It is totally unreasonable to ban NRA from crossword puzzles just because of its current unsavory meaning.

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

That Rex has never seen an invitation which has cocktails preceding dinner is terribly sad to me. I felt quite grown up when i received my first such.
Of course, Rex also goes out in public wearing baseball caps and t-shirts with graphics, slogans and the like. I believe he is in many ways still quite immature. It would surely explain his rage at certain things. It's the classic children's approach: Stop liking things I don't like. Or It's not important if I don't know it.
In any event Mr. Larson, Thanks for the fine puzzle.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

So let me get this straight. They shouldn’t use NRA, even if it’s for a legitimate New Deal agency (National Recovery Administration) because it “reminds” you of another organization that you disagree with, but has nothing to do with the clue or answer? How silly.

pabloinnh 1:11 PM  

I thought this was fine, even though you could put everything I know about investing into a thimble and have room left over for everything I know about advanced math. And COCKTAILS too, come to think of it.

If you're not familiar with COMEDEYGOLD, watch the late night comics' takes on the RNC.

@Moxer-Lots of people in NYS confuse Saint Lawrence and Sarah Lawrence. You can believe me, as I've had to set many of them straight.

Any Wednesday that starts off with OTIS is OK with me.

Whatsername 1:12 PM  

@Pamela (12:55) I agree with you re the AARP mags. They’d get a lot more people signing up if they would give people a few years to get used to the idea before they started sending that stuff out. By the time you’re staring down 60, those senior discounts are starting to look pretty good, but to be bombarded with it at age 50 is just an appalling affront to your dignity.

@Elaine (10:56) PROLE is short for proletarian or proletariat, the working class.

Teedmn 1:15 PM  

The longer downs were nice but I must confess the theme left me wanting better cluing, especially for the revealer. No COMEDY GOLD for me, though the grid did offer a challenge on a Wednesday which is appreciated.

Congrats, Carl Larson, on NYT puzzle #2.

Anonymous 1:22 PM  


the 1918 flu critter hasn't gone away. it's official name is H1N1, and showed up again in 1976, causing much misery, and a failed vaccine (at least one). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1976_swine_flu_outbreak

showed up, again, for the 2009 pandemic (and many times, as one can see), too. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Influenza_A_virus_subtype_H1N1

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

Anon 12:47.
Um. Thanks for the non sequitur. The adults were talking about an economic principle. Specifically, that commodities, owing to man's ingenuity, fall in price over time.
The Green revolution doesn't enter into the conversation.

(fan of) Julian Simon (Economist)

JC66 1:36 PM  


The picture @Rex used is Roger Moore portraying James BOND, not Ken OLIN.

egsforbreakfast 1:38 PM  

@Anonymous 10:51 am. AIG went broke in the sense that they couldn’t continue to meet their obligations. They were saved from actually defaulting through the generosity of we the people, who ensured that executive bonuses would continue to be paid to those who had broken the company.

If you don’t think AIG made a business practice of paying only at the point of a gun barrel, talk to the many people who lost their AIG-insured homes in the Oakland Hills fire of 1991.

kitshef 1:39 PM  

@Jassmanchgo - Oh my knees and socks! Is it really possible that people don't know Roger Moore as James Bond!? Now I feel REALLY old.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

Rex and his anti gun bias! Of the huge number of first time gun buyers, a big chunk are black folk who now need to defend themselves and their businesses from white lesbian BLM terrorists. The NRA is now one of the most diverse civil rights organizations in America. When I go to the range right now, white folk are definitely in the minority because they are on the looter side.

Anonymous 1:47 PM  


lo those many decades ago when I was there, Saint Lawrence and Clarkson had hockey (mostly imported Canadians, of course) and Potsdam State had the girls. Canton was just a hitch away.

RooMonster 1:49 PM  

@Anon 1:22
Thanks for that. (Seriously, I'm not being sarcastic, like how it sounds.) I did read that viruses have been around basically since the dawn of time. And there's always new strains. However, the point I was (badly) trying to make, is eventually things will get back to normal (i.e. No masks, gathering of people again unrestricted). 2020 is shot, but there is hope for the future.


Anonymous 1:53 PM  


I've been thinking about your wonderful lecture late yesterday explaining how I don't understand, as you call him, Billy S.

i'm guessing that thanks to your access to the keen mind of Mr. Taylor, you can explain the likeness in meter, meaning, and universality used in The opening lines of The Merchant of Venice compared to the opening stanza of WAP.

Even a dullard like me, recognizes the iambic pentameter in Act I Scene i of The Merchant of Venice. I also divine something of the elusive nature of self knowledge and hence ineffable sadness it brings.

In sooth, I know not why I am so sad:
It wearies me; you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.

WAP (stanza 1)
Whores in this house
There's some whores in this house
There's some whores in this house
There's some whores in this house (Hol' up)
I said certified freak, seven days a week
Wet-ass p***y, make that pullout game weak, woo (Ah)

I'm not sure I can follow the rhythmic pattern of WAP. I certainly don't understand the universality of the sentiment. And I confess, I'm not sure what point the lyricist is making at all. Yours, as you've noted many times here, is a keener mind than mine. Please. Help a poor soul to see the error of his ways and past his profound ignorance. Thanks

What? 1:55 PM  

Got the fills but the theme is? What does the money stuff have to do with the job skills except in a oblique way?

jazzmanchgo 2:06 PM  

@JC66, kitshef -- Okay, I shamefacedly admit my PPP-illiterate mistake. I apologize. But my main point still stands.

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

The Green revolution doesn't enter into the conversation.

no? I guess you didn't read the whole thread. Paul Ehrlich wrote "The Population Bomb", and many claim to have bet Ehrlich that the bomb wouldn't explode when he predicted. commodities, if one means natural resources, and near-natural resources (food, for example), become ever more scarce, per capita, as we screw ourselves to oblivion. like most oblivions, the danger won't be widely recognized (certainly not by politicians of a certain persuasion) until it's too late. kind of like the dinosaurs and the Chicxulub asteroid. or being asleep at the wheel as a pandemic took hold.

Carl Larson 2:06 PM  

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to solve and comment on my puzzle! I thoroughly enjoy reading all the comments and feedback, both positive and negative. This blog and comments section is one of the best sources to better understand what works and doesn't work in crossword puzzles.


Anonymous 2:16 PM  

Gonna neeed some kind of soemthing for your Oakland Hills fire claims Claim (har!) I know Allstate and State Farm were both fined by the Cali. Insurance communion. I don't recall similar sanctions against AIG.

As for the `08 business. Yes CDO's were a problem, but almost as big was AIG's securities lending business. All of this mess, thanks to the boys in London: AIGFP ( Financial Products)
I'm not going to defend AIG exec's. They were thieves then; they're thieves now. But it was the US govt. that decided AIG was too critical to the markets to fail. not that pricks in Greenwich and Darien.
The only good news is that we, the taxpayers got all the money back plus about $22 billion. Not much. But not nothing.
Read McDonald and Paulson. It's good stuff.

Anonymous 2:22 PM  

You are tiresome Anon 2:06. The bet was the bet. Simon won because he understands economics. Ehrlich lost, because he doesn't understand economics.
I don't know how old you are, but forty years ago, and thirty and twenty etc, you couldn't read a paper, turn on the radio or TV without some pundit assuring us all that oil was running out. Maybe a couple of years. Certainly within a generatio they all said. they all guaranteed.
That of course was nonsense. There is plenty of oil. And thanks to ever improving technology, it's easier and cheaper than ever to get. The world has been hearing from the wrong-headed like Ehrlich since before Malthus. They are wrong. There are plenty of resources. That's why Simon made, and won, the bet.

JD 2:35 PM  

@TTrimble, See there, I'm OK with peeps. But years ago when the "kids" were in high school they told me that slang was over when it ended up on the Disney channel. I'd add, and when your parents use it.

JC66 2:37 PM  


What does a picture of a fictitious law enforcement official who's "licensed to kill" shown holding a gun have to do with the NRA?

Kevin C. 2:41 PM  

AKA Proletarian: Working class person

Z 2:56 PM  

@Anon - Well, of course my mind is keener than yours. That’s what happens when you read and read and read and read. It’s almost as if reading helps hone your thinking and allows you to go beyond shallow understandings.🧐
Seriously, I realize you find it hard to believe, but my observation wasn’t unique or even original. I found 4 articles more or less on point without even trying hard (and knew I would because there’s an entire genre of Shakespeare/modern music think pieces out there). Did you realize that there is a whole company dedicated to comparing Hip Hop to Shakespeare?

Whatsername 3:04 PM  

@Carl Larson (2:06) It’s always a pleasant surprise to have a constructor drop in and leave a note, and today is no exception. As a solver/commentor, I am very pleased to know that what you read here may in some way be helpful to you. I enjoyed this one today and look forward to more of your creations.

Anonymous 3:11 PM  

None of the articles answerable of my questions. Only one even begins to make the dubious Shakespeare connection. For God's sake, one is about the triumph of sexual health. Whatever that grotesque idea is.
As for the final link to the poor souls trying to elevate hip Hop to Shakespeare's level. Yeah... God Bess em.

You can't address the questions I asked because the claimthat WAP is at all worthy of comparison to Shakespeare is ludicrous. Pile on as many off-point articles as you like, the fundamental question remains in what universe is WAP like Shakespeare?

tea73 3:24 PM  

Finance is so not my thing, but I enjoyed the themers. The revealer seemed a bit weird - at least I've never heard of a WORK portfolio.

I got a chuckle out of the AIOLI clue and I'm alwayas up for a Star Trek reference.

I love seeing other definitions for NRA. I think Rex is ALL WET on that one.

Anonymous 3:43 PM  


CDOs weren't the problem. CDSs were. failure of some/many/all CDOs would only impact the holders of those instruments, stupid as they may be. CDSs, on the other hand, made a casino in which any player could bet on the failure of any other players' instruments. think: craps table. AIG took the bets, imagining themselves as The House (with The House's odds advantage). they were wrong. read up the wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credit_default_swap your friendly AIG is prominent.

All of this mess, thanks to the boys in London: AIGFP ( Financial Products)

actually, not one of the boys. her name is Blythe Masters. she made up her last name, of course. never apologized for creating credit default swaps, which were designed to allow any entity (that's in the club, of course) to bet on the failure of anybody's instrument, all without requiring that the bet be matched with an interest in the instrument. a casino, in other words.

anyone interested in the gory details, sans the math bits, should read up Felix Salmon's piece in the wiki (contains links to important stuff); https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Salmon

retired guy 3:54 PM  

Anonymous at 12:56 hit the nail on the head. NRA was a major part of what is called the "First New Deal," and its overturning by the Supreme Court was a major political event. Hard to see why it shouldn't be in a crossword puzzle, unless, of course, one sympathizes with the "economic royalists" who refused even to say Roosevelt's name but would refer to him only as "that man in the White House."

Unknown 4:20 PM  

@Carl Larson

Your puzzle was challenging, but fun. (Not that those should be exclusive, as some bloggers seem to suggest!)

And I'm guessing you knew ahead of time that cluing NRA would elicit the same old tired response from rex, yet you did it anyway! Cheers to you! personally, I'm not a fan of the NRA, I don't think people need to own military-style assault weapons, but I'm not opposed to gun ownership in general, and I certainly don't get upset when I see NRA as answer. (I actually did think that the ASTROS were cheaters when I saw the baseball clue, but I don't think they necessarily need to be clued as such.)

I'm guessing today's puz took rex a whole whopping 6 minutes, since my time is typically 4x that of his. Just an educated guess.

pabloinnh 4:48 PM  

@Anon (1:47)SLU and Clarkson still have D1 hockey,Clarkson built a new arena and SLU's renovation on the beloved Appleton Arena (wooden seats!) will be completed in time for this year's hockey season, if there is one. We had some decent D3 soccer teams, if I do say so myself. In the grass is greener department, I hitched to Potsdam more than once, and then I met a girl, and she had a car, and we drove there for nickel beer nights (!), and then we got married, and that was a long time ago, and Saturday we have a big anniversary coming up.

As for Sarah Lawrence, someone else will have to supply the backstory.

Anonymous 5:28 PM  

No. Read An unbiased account. CDS’s account for about 39 Billion. Their exposure from their securities lending biz is pegged at 21 Billion. Not as big of course, but a massive massive part of the problem.
Do read Paulson and McDonald. It’s much better than the Wiki.
Oh, and you’re being waaaaay too literal with the boys. Anyone in the club is one of the boys, regardless of their sex. It’s a prerequisite for membership. Have you met Masters? I’m guessing not. Else you wouldn’t have misunderstood what the phrase means in the green belt

CDilly52 5:49 PM  

AMEN! @Anon 12:41 AM and @dadnoa 11:18. The cheating was reprehensible and to talk about the ASTROS as a “Dodger beater. . . ?!” Grrrrrrrr!

Ernonymous 5:52 PM  

This was a real slog for me. The bottom half was awful. ANON for "a bit" I don't understand that (forgive me if it was explained above, I started reading all the comments and I'm not in the mood for all the trite bickering today). I had ELLRAILS for ELTRAIN. There has been discussion El or Train but not El train, but maybe El Rail is more like something? Yeeks!
I had FLOP for BOMB. PLEBE for PROLE. I had SPARKLY for STICK ON. I suppose one word that is wrong isn't too bad but I had 5 in the same area.
I eventually got there, but I guess I'm getting like Rex because I felt like very little pay off for all that slogging.

Anonymous 5:54 PM  

Avia shoes are Walmart cheapo shoes. They are not a competitor of adidas or Nike and I’m sick of constructors using this. Don’t they buy shoes? Avians are like $20 pieces of junk.

Woke Millenial 5:58 PM  

@reitred guy 3:54- Wasn’t FDR the guy who interred Japanese Americans ? I hate Trump but he has nothing on that guy.

CDilly52 5:58 PM  

@JD 12:53 AM and @Richardf8 in reply:

In Oklahoma (that cannot decide whether it wants to be Midwest, West or South, a very frequent usage of y’all is when wanting to include everyone saying (in a very elided manner) “All-y’all who are coming for COCKTAILS before DINNER, Let me know.”

Anoa Bob 6:12 PM  

I know little about finance so viewed this theme from AFAR, but does anyone have a BOND or an OPTION in their PORTFOLIO?

What's this, a "y'all" dust up? Sounds fine to this old southerner. English definitely needs a second person, plural pronoun to distinguish it from the second person, singular one, don't yous think?

I use OLIVE OIL on just about everything. With some fresh-squeezed lemon juice and fresh-ground black pepper, it makes a great sea food sauce. Don't bake much but I've made some really nice banana bread using OLIVE OIL instead of butter.

JC66 6:21 PM  

@Anoa Bob

"I know little about finance so viewed this theme from AFAR, but does anyone have a BOND or an OPTION in their PORTFOLIO?"

Yes, I do.

[Or are you complaining about the lack of pluralizing S's (BONDs, OPTIONs)? If so, that's just hilarious.]

Anonymous 6:25 PM  

Sarah Lawrence College is in Bronxville (PO) NY. It’s actually in Yonkers but claims a Bronxville post office address to gain cache. Neighborhood residents pay Yonkers taxes and go to Yonkers public schools, which aren’t as well regarded as Bronxville’s, so many kids go to Fordham Prep, Ursuline Academy, et. al. There are several neighborhoods in Westchester that have similar PO relationships-Harrison/Rye PO, Hartsdale/Scarsdale PO. I grew up on Long Island and as far as I know there are no similar relationships there. I wonder if it’s a Westchester thing or if there are other communities in the country that have similar setups.

Swagomatic 6:26 PM  

Two pencils up. I liked it quite a bit. I was a little bit below my average time for Weds.

Runs with Scissors 7:22 PM  

I'm gonna write the short version: I liked it, it was fun. The commentariat provided COMEDY GOLD today!!!

If you don't have AIOLI cemented into your crosswordese with the garlic, you ain't eatin' right.

I will now take some RANDR with my HUGO. PROLEs STICKON ALOTOF HOTONEs, but not if you use OLIVE OIL.

As an aside, and to clarify for all, "y'all" is 1st person singular. "All y'all" is 2nd person plural.

I'm from Missourah, so I know.

Northwest of Mickey's House

sixtyni yogini 7:30 PM  

Thinking 🤔 M, T, W puzzles were really fun. Maybe bc of cleverish themes? Not too easy or too hard? Dunno, but 👍🏽🧩👍🏽 so far.

CDilly52 8:22 PM  

I think OFL has not been invited to many dinner parties that include a written invitation, or to many, at any rate. Lots of non-profit agencies and performing arts agencies host annual galas, for which the invitation or ticket (as the case may be) says: Gather in the Great Hall at 7:00. COCKTAILS before DINNER. His observation is correct in that he is not familiar with this very common “genre.” And yes, it still exists. I received and attended two last year in what my daughter and son-in-law call “The Before Times.” I can see the COVID-19 based sci-fi novels now. “Mom, tell me the story about the big parade to celebrate unity and togetherness where there were thousands and thousands of people packed together outside in the street celebrating with music and dancing and food . . . in the Before Times”.

Anyway, two more of these events for which I had tickets were cancelled and turned into virtual auctions. Boring. Times are very very hard for non-profits and charities. We have learned that as much as folks often complain about “not another charity event,” it’s an opportunity to visit with friends and colleagues. I miss it. Especially the COCKTAILS. Those are meant to be enjoyed socially. Alas, the Before Times. . .

Enjoyed the puzzle. Clever theme. I mis-read “physicist” as “psychiatrist” more than once at 48A and wanted “ink blot - something so that stayed very blank until I nearly gave up. Even had the B for BOND and kept thinking inkblot, and just could not get rid of it in my addled brain despite seeing clearly that the answer requires more letters. Wasn’t until that’s all that was left and I was scratching my head over the reveal, WORK PORTFOLIO. And just about an hour ago, the fog cleared. Mercifully. Gave me a good chuckle.

As many have observed, a good theme and a Wednesday that didn’t just roll over and play dead. I’m bruised but not bloody. Good day.

RooMonster 8:39 PM  

Dang, @Runs with Scissors 7:22 beat me to it.
I was gonna say:
Everybody knows "y'all" is a few people you're addressing. "All y'all" is for a big audience.
C'mon y'all , all y'all should know this! 😁

Rebel Roo

Ben Bernstein 9:18 PM  

The last clue I filled in was “tragic end”

Felt about right.

Richardf8 9:42 PM  

How do you know you are missing two words. Where do you find the total count?

JC66 10:00 PM  

****SB ALERT****


If you're talking about SB, go here.

TTrimble 10:27 PM  

---[SB Alert]---

"And why isn't WELCH acceptable?"

Probably you mean "Welsh", although a lot of people pronounce it "Welch". Yeah, it's a pretty offensive slur on a fine and proud people (hence would be off the list for that reason). Sort of like "Dutch" in "Dutch uncle" and "Dutch treat" (and others).

Oh, you English are so superior, aren't you?


I'm one away from today's QB, despite concerted staring. What is it??

Runs with Scissors 10:54 PM  

@TTrimble @ 10:27pm

More along the lines of "Welch on a bet." Which is not to Welsh, or be from Wales, on a bet.

It means to renege. Go back on.

JC66 11:31 PM  

****SB ALERT****


I think @TTrimble's right.


Sami 11:33 PM  

It's a bad day when I have to come over here to find my answer to the stumper, and it's the same one word you were stumped on, only a different letter. I was sure AEG was a thing.

Sami 11:37 PM  

My daughter calls phones that plug into walls "Old people phones." I want to find a way to construct a puzzle just so I can use that as a clue for "Landlines," but I need to learn how to construct puzzles. Does anyone have a good resource?

Anonymous 12:26 AM  

Your FASCIST remarks about the NRA will only serve to get Trump re-elected. . . Thank God.

Anonymous 2:40 AM  

Not quite comedy gold, but I found it amusing that Rex was triggered by the NRA, even though the clue (as others have pointed out) was referencing the National Recovery Act.

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

really disliked this from the beginning. i want every minute i wasted on this awful puzzle returned to me, so i can go for a bike ride. weak tea? seriously?

Notformetosay 12:15 PM  

Gil Hodges....he put shoe polish on the ball ....and Derek Jeter by jumping around and holding his foot as if he was in pain, both tricked the umps into ruling the batter was hit by a pitch ....whitey ford and the niekros and lots of other great pitchers doctored the ball... The 51 ny giants were almost surely stealing signs by binoculars....are the Astros reviled because they used high tech...or because there is way too much self righteousness in sports and life in general..??
My guideline...there is no "cheating" in sports where umps and refs rule. Do whatever you can to win as long as you don't risk injury to anyone, or disrespect someone who deserves respect.

Ernonymous 3:08 PM  

@sami there is a facebook group called something like Crossword Constructors Cooperative, but google it. They get you started

thefogman 10:33 AM  

Feel the same as Rex about this one. Time for a new crosswords editor at the NY Times.

spacecraft 10:59 AM  

This may possibly be the worst crossword puzzle I have ever had the displeasure to finish, but I don't score those I DNF. There was everything in here that I can't stand, including an ampersandwich for the SECOND DAY IN A ROW!! No, I will not list them. I have to be somewhere in an hour.

Is COMEDYGOLD a thing? Never heard of it. Actually, it was so bad it was difficult to do. Enough of this. Oh, the score? How about a 13, one worse than Tin Cup's on the Open's 72nd. That oughta do it.

Burma Shave 11:14 AM  


ALOTOF her WORK was done


rondo 12:01 PM  

I didn’t think it was a BOMB. Fairly easy, all common investments and the preceding word explains which profession would be in on it. Not wacky enough? COCKTAILS commonly precede dinner at a party; OFL must not get out much. The 4 corners will gather MOSS. A HOTONE, Mila KUNIS, will gather a yeah baby. I won’t KNOCK it, SAYS I.

leftcoaster 3:56 PM  

Had some problems with the cluing here, which put me into bit of a cranky mood. (Maybe I can blame it on Rex.)

“50 or more letters” is a clever clue for AARP, of which I am a multi-year paid-up member. Despite that, I regularly get the organization’s junk mail solicitations for fee payments anyway. A small thing, but annoying.

Another nit: Isn’t “devilishly clever insults” a bit too strong a clue for the “slangy" BURNS, an answer that sounds like WEAK TEA to me.

A more substantial concern was that I blanked on IONIC BOND, and wanted “flops" instead of BOMBS.

Yeah, a bit cranky today.

rainforest 5:41 PM  

I didn't get to this until an hour ago, and I thought it was pretty nifty. I liked the theme and the revealer, and I liked how somehow "different" the puzzle seemed. I liked Kate MOSS in the corners (hi, @rondo) - my choice for DOD, and I noticed the "ampersandwich" which @Spacecraft, for some reason unknown to me, likely hated.

But, I liked it a lot. I don't know what OFC thought, but I don't care.

thefogman 5:42 PM  

@Lefty, a better clue for BURNS would be Montgomery ________ of The Simpsons fame.

Diana, LIW 8:54 PM  

oops - forgot to post. A day for running around. I agree - AARP's clue was the best.

Lady Di, LIW

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