One-named Italian male model / THU 8-27-20 / Obstacle-based competition show informally / Term for naval builder that looks like aquatic insect / Generation cohort born in early 2010s / Drink once advertised as twice as much for nickel / Fritz Lang collaborator von Harbou

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Constructor: Nancy Stark and Will Nediger

Relative difficulty: Medium (6ish)

THEME: CHATTERBOX (58A: Windbag, as seen three times in this puzzle?) — words meaning "chatter" appear inside a "box" in this puzzle three times

Theme answers:
  • TALKING ABOUT (17A: Discussing) / BUGABOO (6D: Cause of dread)
  • "WHADDYA KNOW?!" (33A: "Imagine that!") / KAYAK (26D: White-water rental) 
  • "NINJA WARRIOR" (40A: Obstacle-based competition show, informally) / JAWAS (41D: Scavengers on Luke Skywalker's home planet)
Word of the Day: THEA von Harbou (52D: Fritz Lang collaborator ___ von Harbou) —
Thea Gabriele von Harbou (27 December 1888 – 1 July 1954) was a German screenwriternovelistfilm director, and actress. She is especially known as the screenwriter of the science fiction film classic Metropolis and the story on which it was based. Harbou collaborated as a screenwriter with film director Fritz Lang, her husband, during the period of transition from silent to sound films. (wikipedia)
• • •

First of all, a CHATTERBOX is not a "Windbag." The latter has way more negative connotations, the former ... I've only really heard applied to children. Bad cluing. This has been a hallmark of NYTXW puzzles of late, just tin-eared baloney. That said, the theme is fine, conceptually. Words that mean "chatter," cram in a "box," ta da! It's just ... first, there are only three, which feels thin / weak. Second, TALKING OUT really looks like an OK answer for 17A: Discussing, so there's no "whoa, what?" or real "aha" moment there. Just me looking at BUGOO thinking, "well, that's weird." And then "NINJA WARRIOR"? Some reality show's *informal* name? I will grant you that "JAW" is a tough, tough letter string to stretch across the two words of a two-word phrase, but still, not excited about that answer very much (what is the actual name of the show? ... ah "American NINJA WARRIOR." That's ... quite a truncation. But anyway, WHADDYAKNOW is the only one I really like. Fresh clever snappy nice. So the concept is fine, but only one of the themers seemed really well executed. 

Most of the rest of the grid was either dull or irksome. I gotta believe that CACHINNATE is the least well-known word in the grid by a country mile (11D: Laugh uproariously). I've never seen it in my life. I was sure I had something wrong. Kept expecting it to be something about, I don't know, cackling? Yeesh. I'm not apt to use it again, so it's just a very long obscurity. ATHENS, OHIO was a surprise to me as the only U.S. Athens I ever think of is in Georgia (12D: U.S. city named for a European capital). I have never heard of this so-called "Generation ALPHA," ever (46A: Generation ___ (cohort born in the early 2010s)). Never. Generation names are always dicey, and that one ... wow, who's peddling that. They're not even 10, stop. Because of that stupid clue, I had an error, in that I put in SET AT instead of LET AT at 47D: Unleash upon and figured maybe ASPHA ... I dunno, was part of the theme, somehow? The ASPHALT Generation, I dunno. I mean, I sniffed the problem out eventually, but ALPHA, again, dubious clue *posing* as "fresh." PENNE PASTA is an awful redundancy (29D: Food that's cut diagonally). I was happy to learn a couple of new things. Well, I can't say I'm *happy* to learn that hasenpfeffer is made of HARE, but it's at least a curious fact that I might remember. And I am *definitely* happy to learn about THEA von Harbou, screenwriter of "Metropolis" (!) and not just Fritz Lang's collaborator, but his wife as well. Always happy to learn more about the often unheralded work of women in early cinema. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:02 AM  

Congratulations, Nancy, on another fine puzzle. I enjoyed the solving experience a lot, and I learned a new word - CACHINNATE. But I do have one suggestion: Next time you have a puzzle published in the NYT, do not let them release it online just as some lying, spineless weasel of a hypocrite is YAKking at me through my tv. Hard to enjoy anything with that going on.

Harryp 12:05 AM  

This was a Pretty easy Thursday Rebus, with only 11Down CACHINNATE to worry about. I got it by the crosses and looked it up later. Nice puzzle overall.

Robin 12:13 AM  

Anyone who has watched too much Bugs Bunny knows that hasenpfeffer is made of HARE.

Anonymous 12:18 AM  

cachinnate - mentions peaked in 1880's; imitative origin like cackle
seabees - bee an aquatic insect?

Emtreidy 12:29 AM  

Just wondering when us EMTs will ever be clued as anything other than “CPR Pros.” It’s beyond stale at this point.

Frantic Sloth 12:33 AM  

Oh yay! Oh yay! Oh yay! I always enjoy a Nancy/Will crossword and couldn't wait to dig in!
Yikes! I expected a little resistance, but not the full throttle thrashing I took trying to wrap this puppy up!
The puzzle clueing was just off my wavelength enough to require more actual thought than usual, ending more often than not with "oh, duh!" or oh, doh!"

When it was all over, I self-diagnosed my BFS* and did a quick review of likes and not-so-likes.

I, for one was very happy to see WHADDAYAKNOW and not WHAtDoYouKNOW. Held my breath while entering the letters and think I actually made a little "eep!" of joy when I saw it.

Wasn't a fan of that NE corner while solving, what with CACHINNATE and ATHENSOHIO (kept trying to cram a rebussy Georgia in there - sneaky!), but I learned a new word and a new location to be on the lookout for in future puzzles. That's always a good thing in my book.

A little disappointing that there were only the three themers, but it was nice to see the revealer where it belongs. I'll gladly forego one more of the former if it means the latter.

And not for nothing, but it is especially pleasing to see a rebus working in both directions for a change that used to be the norm!

I'll shut up now and let somebody else talk. Thank you, Nancy & Will for reaffirming my faith in the NYTXW!

*Battered Forehead Syndrome


Will tomorrow make it 3 ROOs in a ROOw?

Anonymous 12:33 AM  

FYI you wrote WHADDYAKNOW, but the answer is WHADDAYAKNOW (an A after the DD). Thanks for your great write ups!

Anonymous 12:35 AM  

I had no thoughts after finishing this one other than an overwhelming, "this was fine." Next.

Abraham Lincoln 12:40 AM  

Cachinnate on Google shows as a "rare" word, a designation I've never seen before. That long down was basically the reveal at the end of the puzzle for me.

Anonymous 12:41 AM  

Yosemite Sam and Bugs Bunny discuss Hasenfeffer

Guackynyt 1:16 AM  

Dreadful. Joyless.

Whaddayaknow is ridiculous. Whadyaknow maybe.

egsforbreakfast 1:39 AM  

First, let me say that I always enjoys Nancy’s comments and puzzles. This puzzle, however, left me feeling like “is that all there is?” Somehow, I felt like three chatter synonyms in boxes wasn’t where it was leading. Particularly after I noticed that YAK in WHADDA(YAK)NOW is also spelled out by going straight up from the Y. Interesting, I says to myself. So I look at TALKIN(GAB)OUT and lo and behold, it almost works the same way, becoming TALKINGUBOUT by going straight up from the G. Not perfect, but perhaps I’m missing something. So I turn my gaze to NIN(JAW)ARRIOR, which again is almost right when you read down from the J, becoming NINJASARRIOR. At this point, I began to CACCHINATE like a CHATTERBOX, and called it a night.

Thanks for a fun one Nancy and Will.

albatross shell 1:57 AM  

Nancy Nancy Nancy
You unleashed CACHINNATE on me. Was I ever that nasty to you?

DOORMAN EAST WASP PEPPA ROO PHLEGM ALPHA (raise eyebrow on that one) I jumped through all your hoops smiling all the way. Finally got NINJA WARRIOR but not actually because somehow I had NINJA with some correct crosses and some not, and put in WARRIOR and completed all the crosses. I did not notice I had to drop the JA. SO I did not notice I needed a rebus. Then I went over to finish the CACHINNATE area. Doing that I gave a bit of a stinkeye to AHA but put it in. Finally saw the rebus at KAYAK and WHADDYAKNOW completed the puzzle but no happy music of course cause I needed to find 2 more rebi. Well I noticed the NINWARRIOR. Oh, JAW of course. Fixes the Star Wars clue. It wasn't something I did not know. And the music played. But no third CHATTERBOX? Its right there? GAB and BUGABOO. But the music played. I can't put it in. NOOOOOO! Damned APP.

Just joking about CACHINNATE. I like learning obscure words. Cannot believe Rex did not know rabbit was in hasenfeffer.

Nice of you to get ROO in. I think he would have preferred hasenfefffffer.

Colin 2:08 AM  

I've definitely heard of Generation Alpha - it's definitely the most common term for that generation, and even the title of the Wikipedia article. And what else are they supposed to call the generation after Gen Z? Why doesn't Rex take some pleasure in learning that generation name, rather than resenting the constructor for using it?

But yeah, I was very confused about TALKINGABOUT versus TALKINGOUT too.

Ann Howell 2:48 AM  

I agree with everything that Rex said about this one! Took me forever to even clock that there was a rebus involved, as TALKING OUT seemed fine on its own. Also slowing me down was that I very confidently entered CALL for 27D and SANDWICHES for 29 down. Luckily I live with a Star Wars nerd, so JAWAS at 41D finally clued me in that we were dealing with multi-letter boxes. Anyway, it was a long slog this morning - not unpleasant, but not exactly delightful either!

manitou 2:55 AM  

I was hoping that this would be one of the YouTube videos in Rex's write-up. One of my favorite moments in TV history. I saw it as child and have never forgotten it.

Carol Burnett and Roddy McDowall. Take 3 minutes to watch it.

chefwen 3:01 AM  

Took me way down to 58A to figure out what was going on. TALKIN gab OUT broke it open. The other two were a little more tough for me, but I finally figured them out after a lot of Wite Out was sacrificed.

Good one Nancy and Will, enjoyed it a lot.

toddh 3:12 AM  

DNF. I sat there with NEW TO for 22D: just starting to learn, trying to figure out how to make WOULDNT YA KNOW work before giving up. Whadda is not a slang or intentional misspelling I would have ever come up with

Anonymous 5:08 AM  

Germans eat horsemeat, too---delicious! Quick solve today: 4:38

ChuckD 6:20 AM  

Tough puzzle for me. Elegant and tight theme - but I agree with @ Frantic the rest of the fill was tough for me to get. Liked the three themers - another would have been nice but I’m sure these were not easy to come up with. Have no problem with CHATTERBOX as the revealer - Rex was reaching in his criticism. Seems like we’ve seen PEPPA Pig a lot recently and agree with Rex on PENNE PASTA. MOTES was tough for me and CACHINNATE was tough for everyone I suppose. SEABEE is a cool word. The OATMEAL/PHLEGM cross is fitting for my wife who sees them as one in the same - it’s a consistency thing with her.

I drove a VW Rabbit in the early 80s and always remember the hasenpfeffer commercials so that came easy.

Thanks for the enjoyable workout @ Nancy!

Anonymous 6:48 AM  

@Frantic. I heartily agree with your 2-way rebus comment. IMO, if the rebus doesn't work both ways the puzzle is s***.

TTrimble 6:48 AM  

This was a rare DNF for me. It truly kicked my butt. I did not know JAWAS and had put in JAS, not knowing where the "rebus" ought to be. [Did the rebus have to be embedded in PPP?] For some reason wanted WERE SO on 33D, and knew that 40A had to be NINJA WARRIOR, but... cartoon question marks popping out of my head. Then there was CACHINNATE... good grief. Never heard of that, and worried that a rebus would be somewhere in fill there. Oh yeah, SEA BEE took me quite a while to sort out as well. (Is there a "sea bot" that looks like an insect? my dull brain wondered.)

This puzzle got me so discombobulated that I actually began to write thus: "Also, TALKIN GAB OUT: is that a phrase? Is GAB a noun or verb there?" Duh --- TALKING ABOUT. Duh again.

Was not familiar with HATH in that other phrase, and ATHENS OHIO took forever (I was not expecting city and state both). I did get WHADDAYA KNOW, but the WHAD took some time. The HARE was what I was expecting (based mainly on an old Bugs Bunny cartoon; my German is not what I wish it were), but due to my manifold other problems, was really unsure in that area of the grid. Generation ALPHA is new to me. (What will they do after Generation Omega: move on to Generation Aleph?) PHLEGM... yeah I guess that's humorous in its way. (I kid. I know the word "phlegmatic" along with the other three.)

(It's interesting how differently we experience puzzles. Some Anonymous at 5:08 in the morning crows how easy this was. Hmmph.)

@Runs with scissors
Yeah, what @JD66 said yesterday. I was (somewhat indirectly) pointing out that "welch" was originally "welsh" and (I believe) is derived from an old English insult about the moral character of their neighbors. Those English seem to think they're better than everyone else, like the Dutch who come in for a fair share of abuse in a whole slew of phrases ("Dutch courage" is another).

@Sami from last night
You might try Crossword Compiler.

---[SB Alert]---

Oy. Had all but one of yesterday's, and the missing word was TIKKA. Groaner. I like Chicken Tikka Masala which is this TIKKA I guess, but I would not have thought of that as a standalone word. Couldn't y'all have picked "kava" or "alkie" instead?

Criminy -- I don't have time for this abuse!

Lewis 6:51 AM  

The clues looked so simple and plain, but soon enough they became a BUGABOO, CACHINNATABLE, and FABIO! That's my favorite kind of cluing.

When I filled in CHATTERBOX, I knew we had a rebus with babbly words, but still there was no slapping in theme answers. Every one had to be separately earned. That's my favorite kind of theme.

The grid was non-junky, with answers from varied areas, answers with spark that kept me alert. That's my favorite type of grid.

This puzzle ticked all the boxes. Three thumbs up for an entertaining, masterful creation, IMO. Thank you, you two for a marvelous experience!

marykathleen 6:54 AM  

A big smile for me... city named for a world capital? Athens, Ohio - my hometown! Athens is the home of Ohio University, the oldest university west of the Allegheny Mountains. Nice surprise for me to find it in the NYT puzzle.

pabloinnh 7:11 AM  

This worked nicely for me for two reasons: I saw CACHINNATE again, after a long separation, and after some thinking saw how the rebus worked after getting CHATTERBOX. So now I'm feeling all smart and self-satisfied, which is a nice way to start the day. The ALPHA generation is new to me, and I still haven't got the time frames straight for the X Y Z people. Maybe I'll still be around to see the BETAS, which will only add to my confusion.

Slightly surprised and relieved that OFL didn't object to BARON for paternal reasons, because, you know, it's not his (BARON'S) fault.

Many thanks to our friend Nancy and her friend Will for a cool Thursday workout. Lots of fun stuff, so definitely passes the otter test for me.

kitshef 7:16 AM  

Almost 36 minutes of sweat and pain. Probably the longest I have taken on any puzzle in five years.

Probably the hardest puzzle since I’ve been solving on any day. There have been puzzles where I gave up with lots of white, or took longer, but those were in my early days of solving. Since I got “good” at puzzles, nothing compares to this.

In descending order of time suck:
- CACHINNATE. Never heard this in my life, so I assumed that part of the theme related to why I could not make sense of CACH_N__TE. Like there was ‘cackle’ in there somehow that I could not figure out.
- KATE/SLUM/BUGOO. Well, “TALKING OUT” seemed fine, so I could not figure out what could __GOO could be. Never heard of KATE DeCamillo, and SLUM had a very, very vague clue.
- JAWAS. Huh?
- WHADDAYAKNOW. Would it be Waddyaknow? Whaddyaknow? Whadyaknow? Wadyaknow? Wasn’t sure what informal spelling was needed.
- KAYAK/EKING. Because EKING never occurred to me, I assumed the KAYAK trick was somewhere in the ‘what do you know’ section.
- HARE/ARI. No idea what is in hassenpfeffer besides pepper, and never heard of ARI Melber.
- CHATTERBOX. Funnily enough, getting the revealer did me no good whatsoever.

CACHINATE, SLUM, EKING, HARE. Those are on me. And JAWAS was probably unavoidable.

But KATE and ARI – those ticked me off. If you already have a hard puzzle, don’t make it harder with incredibly obscure people.

I can say without fear of hyperbole that there are ten million more famous KATEs than this DeCamilio person. Give us one of those. Winslet or Middleton or Hudson or Beckinsale or Kiss Me or Moss or Bush or And Allie or one of the other 999,993 better options.

ARI is tougher, Onassis or a scoreboard clue are probably the only good options there. Maybe Fleischer.

All in all, loved the challenge but hated those two clues.

Dan Ruby 7:31 AM  

Thea van Harbou appears in one of the Bernie Gunther mysteries.

kitshef 7:37 AM  

@Joaquin - turn off the TV.

@Emtreidy - most recently, January: "911 responder, in brief".

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

It helps to know Latin for cacchinate, but even more it helps to read Catullus. He uses the noun cacchinus several times for laughter in poems 13, 31, 56 and 64. That's a Saturday kind of word, not a Thursday in my book. I couldn't believe it was in the puzzle, and not in a good way.

FearlessKim 8:26 AM  

Just a quick word about PENNEPASTA, which is not as redundant as it might seem to English speakers, who commonly referred to that shape of pasta as, simply, penne. Penne is Italian for pen or quill, and if you squint really hard at a piece of PENNEPASTA You may notice the resemblance to the working end of a quill. So, penne for the shape, and pasta for the group of which it is a part. A domani!

lukiegrifpa 8:42 AM  

Yes, it is a mixed blessing. EMT is in the puzzle a couple times a week, but its status as fill puts imaginative clueing at the very bottom of a constructor’s to-do list.

Hungry Mother 8:43 AM  

With all of my years of ocean KAYAKing, it took me forever to fill in my last rebus. I was concentrating on enlarging IDNO, but too stubborn to quit before it all made sense.

Pamela 9:02 AM  

I had most of the problems of those above. CACHINNATE was truly diabolical, top of my list for difficulty. I tried so hard to make that H into. K for cackle something, but had to give in when the HEN wouldn’t cross the road. I got GAB with BUGOO, but didn’t think it made sense in the long phrase: TALK IN, GAB OUT. Finally got it when I read Rex. WHADDAYAKNOW gave me a little thrill.

I was fascinated by Thea von Harbou’s story, and wonder why I’d never heard of her or her films- or her novels, as I’ve always been such a big reader.

Overall, plenty of crunch today, but worth it.

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

I’m KVELLing over yesterday. I had TIKKA, but not that.

Unknown 9:06 AM  

THONG was the first answer that popped into my head when I read the clue for 1A (although I knew it was wrong). I chuckled later on when I dropped it in for 13D.

Nancy 9:15 AM  

So I solved this just now and you'll be happy to know that I "suffered" just as much as y'all did. This is because 1) as you know, I have no memory, 2) I knew about the rebus, natch, but not exactly where each rebus answer was, and 3) so many of the clues actually weren't mine.

First, thank you, thank you, Will Nediger, for taking the blame, er, credit for CACHINNATE in your Constructor Notes. When I read them last week I said to myself: "Oh, yes, I remember that!!!" But up until a nanosecond before, the word had disappeared completely from my mind. And like everyone else here, I have never heard the word in my life. I solved today pretending to ignore it -- just as I ignored the rebus squares until I'd gotten them legitimately through crosses.

Every clue of mine that was changed, btw, was made harder -- so I'm not nearly the sadist that you may think I am. My SCAT was "improvised singing technique". The clue gave me fits just now the way it appears here. ALPHA was "dominant one". THEA was "girl's name that means goddess". HIJAB was "type of headscarf". (Boring, but fair at least). Pretty much every clue where a proper name could be possibly be avoided was avoided by me -- even at the risk of making it a little too easy.

Still, the bottom line is that the puzzle's solvable, even with the harder clues. To those who enjoyed the workout, I'm truly delighted you liked it. To those who "suffered" too much -- I can promise that the next puzzle we have in the NYT queue waiting for publication will be easier.

JD 9:24 AM  

Generally use my debit card but occasionally I'll stop by an ATM and Cachinate.

I like any Thursday I can do and I could almost do this one. Agree with Rex on the the Chatterbox / Blowhard distinction. I think of a Chatterbox as a cute, gabby kid and a Blowhard as someone old enough to be president.

@Runs with Scissors from last night,thank you. Northern white people, leave y'all alone.

Sixthstone 9:30 AM  

Slow and painful for me today. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the themers, and the east was a slog because of cachinnate (unknown) and athensohio (had athens but couldn't figure the rest). Overall the fill is pretty clean and interesting with the exception of NEWAT and ITIS. Also talkingabout is pretty lame for a themer. But overall a nice puzzle.

RooMonster 9:32 AM  

Hey All !
What you TALKIN BOUT, @Nancy? :-)
Apparently I missed that hasenpfeffer episode of Bugs Bunny, or, I probably did see it many moons ago, but the ole brain decided to wipe it out and replace it with something else. The brain only has a finite storage space. (I'm sure I could find something on Google to support that statement!) I know it form the opening song of Laverne & Shirley. So naturally, I threw in BEER.

But could you get a more obscure clue for ROO? Har. Twisting the ole brain now, I see it. And I guess it's been used before, but dang. How about "Regular poster at Rex Parkers blog?" for a clue. That'd be awesome! :-D But, thanks for the inclusion! (Two days in a row!) *Takes a bow*

IDNO was a bit iffy. Seemed lots of names. I, too, found this puz a toughie. Stuff I didn't know, which, unlike Rex, doesn't automatically sour my opinion of the puz, but stuff out there. OATMEAL, for one. Why Scotland? Wanted OXTAILS off the initial O. Coulda dropped the Scotland. Just sayin'. PHLEGM was another. Not read enough to know the Four Humors. Where'd Humors come from? PHLEGM isn't funny. (Har) I had to Goog that, turns out, it can be used for other stuff, too, like the Seasons. Was thinking, Snicker, Chuckle, Laugh, Guffaw. Four Humors. :-)

Got YAK first, thinking all three would be YAK. But then saw JAW, and knew the third one would be GAB, but had a tough time finding it, as others have said, TALKINGOUT seemed perfectly reasonable. Wanted RO(BIN) for 4D for a bit, but BIN isn't CHATTERBOX related.

Not only included me in the puz, got ACME in, too! Don't understand clue for HATE. Anyone explain so I feel stupid?

Wanted ATHENS NY at first, after all, NYTimes. Is there an ATHENS NY?

**SB Stuff**
**YesterBee Spoiler**
Yesterday, like others had said, I meant WELCH, as "on a bet". But, I see it is still considered offensive, so my question answered. Thanks. And how did you get KVELL YesterBee? That was out there like Pluto. I missed that one and the one you missed for 2 short, which lately for me, is awesome!
As I said before, I think my brain capacity doesn't allow for new things until it can flush out things I already know! (Which isn't much! Har)
**SB Over**

Congrats on another puz, @Nancy. Did I mention I'm jealous?

One F

Nancy 9:32 AM  

@Kitshef -- Couldn't agree with you more on KATE. My clue was "Shakespeare's shrew". I had no idea who this Dicamillo person was, either, and had to get the answer from the crosses. I think the clue is completely unfair and I never would have saddled you all with it.

If you want full control of the end product, don't be a crossword constructor.

Ethan Taliesin 9:36 AM  

It had been so long that I thought of the word CACHINNATE that when I filled in the last letter in the grid I expected the close-but-not-quite message. Knowing everything was right, I then had to spell out the word horizontally before I thought Ooohyeah to myself.

I wish there had been more rebuses

Rob Iorillo 9:39 AM  

Cachinnate is not so strange to readers of Catullus who uses the noun cachinnus several times for hearty laughter amongst friends and the sound of rippling waters /waves. An imitative word in sound and sense. Its root lies behind English “cackle”.

BarbieBarbie 9:40 AM  

German for rabbit is Hase, so why all the surprise and cartoon references? (gotta love em though- Had a choir director once tell us to “be very, very quiet” and of COURSE all I could think of was “we’re hunting wabbits!”)
So I had the opposite reaction: must be some other ingredient, that’s way too similar to the clue to be right. Nope- that was it. Large Edit Fail.

Exciting to see Nancy’s name in the byline and I always, always give high points for a rebus, but this one seemed to need a bit more work on the fill and on the editing.

pmdm 9:44 AM  

Do I come here to read that equating chatterbox with windbag is tin-eared baloney? Do I come here to be told since Mike only likes one of the theme entires the others are not well executed?

I solve puzzle to make me smile. Think Lewis, not Mike.

OK, were it not for the rebus boxes I might have found this puzzle irksome. Perhaps "BOX" should have been set inside a rebus box. No matter. The puzzle deserved to be published and I'm hapy to have solved it. But then again, I don't have to blog about it.

mathgent 9:50 AM  

What could be better? A rebus and Nancy’s clever cluing. Plus a lot of crunch.

Z 9:57 AM  

I put in JAWAS thinking “I knew @Nancy was a huge Star Wars fan.”

Right with Rex on TALKING OUT so it wasn’t until I fixed oAr to KAYAK that the penny dropped. Yeah, I knew oAr made no sense.
Also right with Rex on generation ALPHA, a designation that points out the entire insanity of the whole “generation” thing. If you want to talk demographics, cool. But all the “that generation is like this” and “my generation is like that” claptrap is about as accurate and useful as astrology.
I’m only half with Rex on the “windbag” clue. Yes, more negative than CHATTERBOX, but I have heard it used for adults.

ATHENS OHIO, home to Ohio University, home to some fine college ultimate teams, all with a “kitten” reference in their team names. I played with one alum for most of the naughts. Now you know.

IOWANS dealt with the derecho, northern California is burning, and the Louisiana/Texas Gulf Coast got slammed last night. Mother Nature seems a tad unhappy with us lately. Stay safe out there people.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

Out of my wheelhouse rare Thursday dnf. Oh well, not the puzzle’s fault. Found it neither dull or irksome. The blogger on the other hand...

Whatsername 10:09 AM  

It’s a Thursday; its a rebus; it’s CACHINNATE, and my butt HATH been kicked. A lot I did not know so I’m way smarter now than I was when I started. Not counting that word that starts with a C since nobody else knew it either, IDNO, ATHENSOHIO, ALPHA as a generation and PHLEGM as a “humor.” Still, I finally got er done so now I’m going to go BASK in my newfound knowledge. Thank you Nancy and Will for the education and the workout.

Delicious AHA moments with GAB and YAK but I was stumped on the third one. Kept trying to fit it in 12D and put ATHENS in Georgia. Knew it had to be in 40A but I don’t know NINJAS or JAWAS so that one was torture. The fill was satisfying and had some good stuff like DOORMEN and SEABEES which I knew because John Wayne.

Here is your cachinnation for the day: At 50A, with ATMEA filled in, I tried to serve the Scotts RAT MEAT for breakfast. Which makes me wonder if you could substitute ROO for HARE in hasenpfeffer.

@Nancy (9:15) Good job on the clues overall, and I much prefer yours on the ones that were changed. I especially liked HEN and EXES. You have another puzzle waiting in the queue? Outstanding! And yes I’ll take an easier one this time. ;-)

AlsoBrien 10:10 AM  

Minimalism at its best! Chatterbox...

JD 10:13 AM  

@Nancy, Were you channeling @Gil on Peppa Pig? I silently thanked her when I dropped it in.

(And touchΓ© Maestra, but it especially goes for New Yorkers).

kitshef 10:14 AM  

@Z - Ha!

Cc’d 10:18 AM  

Same thing happened to me.

JJ 10:27 AM  

I think Nancy is a treasure.

BHS62 10:34 AM  

Neatest trick in this one? To reference the singer Ben E. King, and have BEN and EKING in the answers. The clue for the latter has no connection to the former.

jberg 10:37 AM  

A lovely struggle. I didn’t have a good feeling when my first entry was SCAT, and there was lots of PPP I didn’t know, but the trick was great and the struggle rewarding.

I looked at 26D and thought maybe ECHO was the revealer and KAYAK bounced off the bottom to come back up. Wrong, but it led me to WHADDA YA KNOW! Now I just had to decide whether I was looking for lots of YAKs, or synonyms.

I don’t entirely agree with Rex about the revealer— but anyway his complaint applies only to the way it is clued, the revealer itself is fine.

@Nancy, CACCHINATE is a great word! You could use it in a song, perhaps for “The Dowager Countess.”

What? 10:41 AM  

I count seven Ps. People. Ugh.

sixtyni yogini 10:45 AM  

If Friday is as good as MTWT, it’s a bingo!! πŸ§©πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ§©

Pamela 10:46 AM  

@JD 🀣🀣🀣

@Roo. Congrats on your 2nd appearance in two days!

About Scottish oatmeal: Scottish porridge is synonymous with the country and has been for many a century. A porridge can be made from a variety of grains which are boiled in water or milk and served as a hot cereal. Scotland's version of porridge is made with oats since that is the country's main crop, which basically makes it an oatmeal.
Since late medieval times, oats have grown in Scotland and were part of the staple diet of farmers (or crofters, as they are called in Scotland).

egsforbreakfast 10:53 AM  

Is CACCHINATE the opposite of Catch-and-Released?

JC66 10:54 AM  

@Nancy & @Will

Thanks for a highly enjoyable struggle.

Nobody says spaghetti pasta or ziti pasta, etc., but I've hear PENNE PASTA a lot.


Two women are window shopping and the first says "I fancy that dress" and the second says "I HATE it."

****SB ALERT****

I wonder if yesterday's SB with it's pangram TALKATIVE was intentionally scheduled to lead into today's crossword.

albatross shell 11:01 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ciclista21 11:06 AM  

The solving experience started out well but ended up meh, mostly for the reasons Rex has stated. The CHATTERBOX theme was unappealing, as were the rebus squares — GAB, YAK (is that one even spelled right?) and JAW.

There were a few small pleasures along the way, though — “fooled you” moments, where you try a word, it’s wrong, but then the word reappears somewhere else.

It started at 1A (Halima Aden became the first Sports Illustrated model to wear one in 2019). I had no idea who Halima Aden was, but SI being SI, I thought THONG was a reasonable guess. Wrong, as the down answers quickly showed. I particularly liked HIJAB crossing IMAN at 2D (Certain religious leader): Two references to a non-dominant culture in this country, crossing right at the start of the puzzle. Nice trick.

Then, making it nicer, the previously wrong THONG had a place in the puzzle after all, at 13D (It doesn't cover much). And the N in THONG proved my first guess at 23A (Nest egg source), IRA, was wrong. It had to be HEN.

But, WHADDAYAKNOW, there’s a place for IRA too, at 42D (Plan with a "Simple" variety).

So a nice little chain of surprises kept me smiling for a while.

Sadly, the smiles ended there. The weight of the “never heard of” (CACHINNATE), bland (PEPSI and OATMEAL), icky (PHLEGM) and questionable (the ALPHA generation?) answers soon turned this into “Just solve it and be done” experience.

But I’m still grateful for the thread of little surprises along the way.

P.S. WHADDAYAKNOW made me think of a wisecracking waitress in 1940s black and white movie. Does that make it fresh, or stale? Regardless, its ability to conjure an image like that was another smile.

Smith 11:10 AM  

Great puzzle! Got KATE right away since I taught elementary school. So not as obscure as you may think. Got the trick at KAYAK. Like others CACCHINNATE was new to me. Thanks for a thuper Thursday.

Newboy 11:14 AM  

Skipping to comment before Rex, et Alia.

Today has me TALKIN GOUT with mouth filled with PHLEGM Nancy! Heard the music and sat stunned looking for the revelation of the reveal. Then I had more coffee and stared again before admitting admiration and defeat. Clicked on Rex and saw the highlights and it all made sense finally—somehow I had known the JAWAS/NiJA WARRIOR cross and white-water KAYAK but still....sigh.

Absolutely brilliant concept that will no doubt be ripped by many due to frustration I suspect. Back to check that assumption

What? 11:22 AM  

Too tough for me. Too many people I never heard of and CACHINNATE? Who puts in the word that nobody knows - what is the point of that? If the editors want to make it harder, OK it’s a Thursday but to put in an obscure word is just ridiculous. Those who say well I learned a new word that’s not the point of a crossword. If I want to learn a new word I’ll read a thesaurus.

Perry 11:23 AM  

Today's crossword was just a gian 'f**k you.' CACHINNATE and ATHENSOHIO wer totally beyond the pale, and PREOP violates the 'plural clue, plural answer' rule. I hate Thursdays. Instead of being truly creative and challenging, they're usually just cute. I hate cute.

Carola 11:24 AM  

Medium here, a sum of "easy" rebus-wise balanced by the I-can't-believe-it's-a-word CACHINNATE and pleasurable steady progress through the rest. I saw what we were TALKING ABOUT early, with BUGABOO. I first thought we'd continue to GAB, but KAYAK soon corrected that, and made JAW an easy one (I had no idea about the NINJAs but JAWAS are right up my Star Wars alley [and @Nancy's, too, of course :) [[hi, @Z}]).
Re: Hasenpfeffer - we not only have the HARE but also the "PEPPA."

@Nancy, I'm glad we have another one to look forward to.

Joe Dipinto 11:25 AM  

@albatross shell – Will N. says it was @Nancy who vetoed cluing BEN and EKING together as the singer. Which I think would have been brilliant. Instead we have "E. King" in a clue and EKING again in the grid with the usual "squeeze" clue. Why???

Swagomatic 11:31 AM  

this was very tough for me. CACHINNATE was unknown to me. I had to quit last night, and start again this morning. It took me about twice as long as the usual Thursday. I did not particularly enjoy it. The cluing was just a little off, I'd say.

Chip Tait 11:34 AM  

New at this stuff, so bear with me. After filling in TALKINGOUT, didn’t think a Rebus was going to occur. While stumbling around 33A, I got to WHADDAY- - - - and turned north. YAK. Then, if you turn southeast, you get NOW. WHADDAYAKNOW.

Then, if you look at the squares north of TALKINGOUT, there’s A B hovering around up there...

And, NNE of NINJA, W A R are in the ether above IOR.

I was trying to make sense of the shape/pattern. Thinking that 58A may have been WEATHERSOX (a stretch, I know!) I thought the other three words may be trying to make the shape of a weather sock.

Like I said, I’m fairly new at this...


GHarris 11:40 AM  

Congratulations Nancy, you never fail to impress me. I found it amusing that you actually had to work to do the puzzle after the fact even though you were a co-constructor. Ah, the benefits of a fading memory. Like laughing uproariously at a joke heard for the nth time.Btw, I wanted rabbit for the stew and somehow had the notion that there is some vague difference between hares and rabbits.

Z 11:45 AM  

@Perry - PRE-OP is adjectival so no foul. PRE-OP tests, not PRE-OPs tests.

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

for those who cleave to ATHENS, Georgia and food teeVee, one of the more amusing, early episodes of "Good Eats" (made in Georgia, of course; but not ATHENS) was about OATs and OATMEAL and the Scots vs. Brits view of same. the Scots won, by Brown's estimation. the show is in near constant rotation on "Cooking Channel", it will come around on the guitar in due time. set your DVR. "Oat Cuisine"

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

CACHINNATE is unforgivable.

Unknown 12:01 PM  

Need more DHS and NA clues

BarbieBarbie 12:01 PM  

My favorite part of this puzzle: the comment by @egsforbreakfast at 10:53. Almost spit my lunch out as I CACHINNATED. Hats off @egs!

gerry w 12:10 PM  

Am I the only one who thinks that HABIB and BOLT are good substitutes for HAJIB and JOLT?

Haters gonna hate 12:13 PM  

Awfully low ratings for this puzzle on Diary of a Crossword Fiend.

MarthaCatherine 12:16 PM  

I was sitting here in my dark green and white OHIO UNIVERSITY Bobcats tee shirt, s l o w l y filling in the puzzle (as is my wont), trying to find the Thursday rebus, when I came upon 12D. When I had the ATH filled in from the crosses, I thought it would be great if this turns out to be Ohio and not Georgia. My son and his wife attended and graduated from OU. Hard by the Hocking River in beautiful, rural Athens, OH.

Sometimes you get a fun fill like that, like your kid's name or an obscure-ish word from your profession. This time it was the town where my kid and my money went.

Marcus Chance 12:17 PM  

Honestly had lost track of the day and thought I was doing a Friday puzzle. So I assumed BUGOO was some variant. Then I saw there was a theme and thought, why theme a Friday?

Finally caught on when oAr didn't work for 26D crossing EKING. That got me KAYAK and the hunt for the other 2 rebuses.

56A PISA satisfied my need for Italian PPP even before 29D

Finished in 3.3 Rexes

jberg 12:18 PM  

@ciclista--'“fooled you” moments, where you try a word, it’s wrong, but then the word reappears somewhere else.'

--That's called a "malapop," a term coined by @ACME years ago. They're always fun.

I've gotta speak up in defense of ATHENS OHIO. Basic crossword technique: you don't have to know the answer, you just have to narrow it down. First, since SCAT and HATH are pretty easy, you know it starts with AT. Second, it's a European capital, so what else is there? Only ATHENS -- oops, leftover squares! How many? Four. So either there's an ATHENSboro somewhere, or it's a state name. If you know about the U. of OHIO, maybe that's enough--otherwise, wait for a cross or two to rule out ATHENS, Utah. Or if you're really cautious, wait until you're sure it's not Georgia with a rebus--maybe org? But my point is, you don't need to know about the actual city at all.

My big trouble was with rubS before PETS; if only I coulda remembered PEPPA Pig I woulda finished a lot sooner.

Malsdemare 12:23 PM  

This was HARD! It took me lots longer than usual even though I caught the rebus early when I was messing around with canoe. I will spare you the machinations I endured. And I DNFd at ItNO. I have no explanation for failing to see that elusive D; I just did.

I, for one, am just fine learning a new word on Thursday, or any day for that matter, though I accept that it’s pretty unfair for newbies to be hit that hard early in the week.

I do not understand complaints that a windbag is not the same as a chatterbox. They're CLUES, y'all, not synonyms. And I'll defend my use of "y'all" to the end. This northern white chickie spent her summers in Kentucky, four years in Atlanta, and y'all is as much me as my Ohio twang. Which reminds me, I loved seeing ATHENSOHIO in the grid. Neat town, nice university.

Kudos to Nancy and Will. I stand with others eagerly awaiting their next brain-teaser.

TTrimble 12:23 PM  

---[SB Alert]---

No explanation, besides the fact that this type of word (KVELL) looks interesting to me, with the (for English) unusual consonant combination, and for me that probably means I'll remember it better. Also, even though I'm not Jewish, I enjoy Yiddishisms (the ones I run across) and they tend to stick in my brain.

Anybody look at today's SB? I'm currently 9 away. It's a lot of words for such apparently unprepossessing letters.

Unknown 12:24 PM  

NRA clues are the best

JD 12:27 PM  

@Z, Having spent way to much time in hospitals with family members over the past several years, heard PreOp used as a noun more often than any other way, (e.g., after the pre-op we'll do this).

Linda 12:47 PM  

Those who can, do. Those who can’t criticize. Why don’t you create a crossword puzzle Rex. Afraid?

Greg 12:50 PM  

Only several semesters of foreign languages saved me today. Knew Hasenpfeffer from German (rabbit pepper) and intuited CACHINNATE from several Italian verbs for laughter that begin with "cach-". PENNEPASTA seems awfully green-painty. I didn't mind the theme.

old timer 12:50 PM  

Oh, I had no trouble with ATHENS, OHIO. Home to Ohio University, and the reason why the state school goes out of its way to call itself THE Ohio State University. Their rival Ohioans are, in their opinion, lower than dirt. I simply DNF'd at CACHINNATE, a word I should know from Johnson's Dictionary, but don't. Plus I just did not see the JAW at all.

Mamcy, glad you are here to defend yourself. If you had been the sole author, it would have been breezier.

Going back to yesterday's Y'ALL thrash, the word makes me cry a bit. My late brother-in-law, a native of Charleston, West Virginia, always used "Y'ALL" when we Northern folks said "you" in the singular sense. The plural "you" was of course "All Y'ALL." He died way too young.

William of Ockham 12:54 PM  

Garbage asked, garbage fill in reply.

Ugly. Fugly. Rotten junk

No opinion

Teedmn 1:20 PM  

WHADDYAKNOW? 22D isn't "NEW to" is one thing I know.

Watching CACHINNATE form itself in the grid was nerve-racking as was my loss of momentum right about when I reached FAB__ at 38D. I had to go to the SE and solve west to get FABIO; the I gave me PEPSI and new life to my solve.

I had a brief snicker at the irony that @Nancy would not have been happy to see JAWAS in a puzzle, but since it was tri-checked (when you include the theme), I guess it's fair.

I'm assuming @Nancy had much to do with the cluing. 1D and 13D, 21A, 23A, 36D, 55D and 59D all stood out to me as clever.

Thanks, Nancy and Will, nice Thursday, and definitely a sting operation (hard) for me!

David 1:30 PM  

Wow, the generations are coming so fast now they overlap! So called "Gen Z" is defined as people born from the mid-late 90s to the early 2010s. They'd already reproduced at such a young age! It's really quite amazing. By the way, it was "Gen X" in the same fashion as Apple's OSX. It used to be generations were separated by some 25-30 years because, you know, one generation used to beget the next. I guess now we get a new "generation" every decade?

Hand up for "talking out" and "bugoo," because why not? I did waste a minute wondering if the "o" in "acorn" was a clever sign of a roundabout, but no. Caught it at Kayak.

It was mentioned above but bears repetition, the double Ben E King is brilliant.

Hate built off a hijab next to an Imam? That took me aback a bit.

I'd guess hare is more traditional than rabbit for hassenpfeffer as it's a game animal. Most of the rabbit one can purchase at any European supermarket is "meat rabbit," larger than domesticated rabbits (just as Peruvian cuy is bred much larger than your typical cute little guinea pig). Rabbit is great braised in a dry white wine stew with lots of sliced onion, finished with chopped fresh tomatoes and saffron, served over rice.

All the foods in all the world cut on a bias and we go with "penne pasta?" Allrighty then.

Impel and Mien; nice words I don't recall seeing often in puzzles

Iotas before motes, but the phle?? fixed that

Overall I found it medium-difficult throughout, no section stands out to me as more or less difficult. Had a good time, thanks.

Z 1:40 PM  

@JD - You are correct, of course. But the clue is asking for an adjective for medical tests, so no need to pluralize the answer.

@Linda - He has had several in the New York Times but no longer submits to them. I think the last one I saw of his was in the LA Times... Yep, June 6th, he co-constructed it.

@gerry w - I’ve only ever heard parents call their children “habibi,” although I just looked and it seems Habib is okay, too. My first thought was “burqa,” which would have made for a different swimsuit issue.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

have you ever wondered why a private college would want to take its state name? neither do I. which was, yet again, prodded by OHIO University.

others (from a list to top privates):
U. Penn
NYU (although, like U. Chicago, may be named for Gotham)
Colorado College
Connecticut College
Ohio Northern (may be won't accept Confederates?)

and, of course, the obverse:
Rutgers - U. of New Jersey
Purdue - U. of Indiana
William & Mary - not quite U. of Virginia
George Mason - not quite U. of Virginia
Clemson - not quite U. of South Carolina
Auburn - not quite U. of Alabama

left out a few, I suppose

Masked and Anonymous 1:44 PM  

Always enjoy a nice ThursPuz rebus fix. Only 3 rebus squares … mighty unchatterboxy.
Primo revealer idea, tho … I'm sure that's what musta made the whole puzconstruction project bloom.

fave fillins: BUGOO [Later to expand into BU-GAB-OO].
staff weeject pick: GAB, for the part it played in the BUGOO bugaboo.
Clever DOORMEN clue, also. Other ?-mark clues, not so much.

Thanx for the feisty fun, and for gangin up on us, @Nancy darlin and Will dude. Way to think inside the BOX. And way to go, leadinGAStray on TALKINGOUT. har. Lookin forward to that hinted-at next tag team effort.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

ninja warrior-esque biter:

Unknown 1:54 PM  

This is one of the few puzzles I really didn't enjoy, sorry to say. CACHINNATE on a Thursday seemed a tad unfair. While I didn't loathe it the way rex did, & I do like a challenge, it sort of fell flat for me. Maybe b/c I was never a Star Wars fan, I always cringe @ those clues, although i appreciate that most people are huge fans of the series. And maybe b/c TALKINGOUT was my initial answer, sussing out the rebus was tough. I would have preferred a better clue for ALPHA. I agree w/ other posters: it seems like there's a new generation every 15 years or so. We have become a nation of breeders I guess! So while i wasn't crazy about the puz, I remain in awe of the skills of the constructors who can fashion such a challenge.

bertoray 1:59 PM  

Good eye.

bertoray 2:02 PM  

Cha ching.

600 2:13 PM  

Thank you for asking, @RooMaster, and thanks for the answer, @JC66. And thank goodness for this blog. I was going crazy trying to figure out why "not at all fancy" was HATE, of all things. Thanks for saving my sanity.

Anonymous 2:21 PM  

Robin 12:13 AM,
It's impossible to watch too much Bugs Bunny.

Anon 1:41,

I'm not quite sure what you are getting at. But since you led off with it, may I invite you reconsider the awful U Penn usage? It's simply Penn.
And, this is probably going too far, but Penn wasn't named after a state. If you want to say Penn was named after the place we call Pennsylvania fair enough. But owing to the date of Penn's founding, Pennsylvania was a colony. There was no United States. And anyway Pennsylvania is a Commonwealth. I know. I know. Hurrah for the Red and the Blue all the same.

albatross shell 2:25 PM  

@Joe D
Yes I checked. You are absolutely right. Did puzzle last night. I read the article this morning. Must have still been asleep.
Thanks for the correction.
I will delete my mistaken post now. T

Rick Walker 2:36 PM  

This clown show if ignorance sold as the great American divide by the drama queen media is getting insane even by human standards. When are idiots going to wrap their heads around the simple fact that humans can be loving, enjoyable, needed, and caring on a tribal level but complete, ignorant, hateful assholes on a wider political level. It's all way too far gone to be defined by implicit bias.

DavidP 2:39 PM  

FYI, in the 30s THEA von Harbou became a Nazi.

CDilly52 2:58 PM  

Well said @Frantic. I am going to borrow BFS. This looked as if it would be simple but no. Quite the tussle, but a very delightful Thursday, one of the best in ages. A true “reads both ways” rebus and a new word! Yippee!!!

CACHINNATE all by itself is worth the price of admission. A Sunday-worthy word in a Thursday gem. The clues, as @Lewis says, looked deceptively easy but my brain just didn’t connect the dots well, and indeed, upon finally cutting through the fog, I shall have bruises from this case of BFS for a couple days.

I owe one of the only easy spots to my Ohio heritage. Thankfully, ATHENS, Ohio (home of Ohio University-not to be confused with The Ohio State University) was easy and long enough to help me through that brutal NE corner!

🎢 Oer the fields we go, cachinnating all the way, ha, ha, ha. . . 🎢

jae 3:37 PM  

Tough. Clever but a tad annoying. @Rex makes some good points, but I liked it more than he did.

Hartley70 3:57 PM  

Oh my word, I tortured myself all day returning again and again to struggle with the NE. I refused to believe that CACHINNATE was a valid entry so I kept trying to rework the corner. Head slap when I just waved the white flag and came to Rex.

The theme was cute as a BUG and I can just imagine @Nancy thinking the word CHATTERBOX and realizing how perfect it would be as a rebus revealer. Kudos, girlfriend! You’ve nailed it again.

sanfranman59 4:22 PM  

@Anon 1:41: I don't know if you're suggesting that Ohio University is a private university, but if so, you're wrong. Similarly, Bowling Green, Miami, Akron, Toledo, Kent State and Cleveland State (among others) are public universities. Ohio State isn't the only publicly funded university in this state.

Nancy 5:40 PM  

@GHarris -- The hasenpfeffer clue for HARE was mine. HARE brought back wonderful memories of the Jaeger House on E 86th Street in the late '50s to mid '60s -- where my family ate often. It was gourmet German fare at bargain basement prices. Their specialty was game. The best entrees were either Hasenpfeffer (hare stew) or Larded Saddle of Hare with Prieselberries. Both dishes were extremely rich and gamy. (I love rich and I love gamy.) The full dinner included a first course (maybe shrimp cocktail, maybe clams, I don't remember, but something really good) and I think dessert, too, but I'm not entirely sure,-- all for the price of (wait for it!) $4.95. Now 1959 and 1962 admittedly weren't 2020 as far as the cost of living was concerned...but still...

Our family considered Jaeger House to have better food than the much better-known and much more expensive Luchow in midtown. When it closed -- by the late '60s I think, we may have all shed a tear or two.

Z 5:54 PM  

@Newer solvers - Let me call your attention to @jberg12:18.

@anon 1:41 - I had the same thought as @sanfranman59. I reread your post and you didn’t actually say that OU is private, but it certainly seems like you strongly implied it.

@sanfranman59 - “in this state?” Does this mean that you are no longer a san fran man? I still miss your daily difficulty updates.

@Mighty Masked One - I tried to rebus pewit into 4D. Dastardly puzzle wouldn’t let me, even though “wit” kinda sorta fits the theme.

Barbara S. 6:01 PM  

This was one tough puz. I started it last night, wrestled with it overnight in my dreams (I'm sure), and then finished it this morning after more jousting. I got the rebus answers without too much trouble (somehow I was sure rebi were involved) after sussing out NINJA WARRIOR and then having my husband confirm that the S.W. scavengers were JAWAS. But I made the most ridiculous mistake right in the middle of the grid in answer to "All will be well." For FEAR NOT I merrily popped in wEAReOk, which resulted in a bunch of supremely goofy crossing downs that it took me a while to grasp and fix. Let's just say that FABIO's a much sexier name than wABIO. Thanks for the enjoyable struggle, @Nancy.

***SB ALERT***
I had to pack it in yesterday without finding KVELL, a word I'd never heard of and which I'm very happy to have learned. I almost missed ALKALI, but got it at the last minute. I liked all the Ks, an unusual choice for the center letter. Today -- yikes! I'm 8 away with few prospects, but I'll give it another go later.

Anonymous 7:07 PM  

There is an Athens in NY, though of course it didn't fit.

Purdue is a state school, but there is also a University of Indiana.

New York University is named after the city.

Pamela 7:16 PM  

*****SB. ALERT *******

I had high hopes when I got the pangram early, but there are still a lot of words missing here. Oh well...

Birchbark 7:19 PM  

The day has run away. My hunger grows upon a HARE, drawn from the game table of an old master's still life and served finely in the heart of Manhattan. Such a stew is this whole puzzle -- well done, @Nancy.

@Teedmn (1:32) described my own real-time experience of the CACCHINNATE revelation. You get to the end of a word like that, and you want to say "gesundheit."

StellaBlue 8:18 PM  

Completely agree. How about next time they clue EMTs as "Super American heroes"?

GHarris 8:58 PM  

Also remember eating at the Jaeger House in Yorkville section, better known to us in the Bronx as Germantown.Father Hill was a powerbroker in that area and a first class blue nose who pressed for obscenity prosecutions involving the book Fanny Hill.
Also dined at some of the Austrian-Hungarian restaurants in the area. Odd you mentioned Luchows; Ihappened to represent the final owner of that establishment.
Once again, enjoyed your construction. Brava.

pabloinnh 9:15 PM  

******SB SIGNOFF********

I quit hours ago after finding 49 words and achieving Genius, after which I was thoroughly sick of all of those letters and any further words they might produce. I've made QB a couple of times, but I think they both involved combinations of letters that just might have been words,which elicits minimal satisfaction. For now when I miss something like KVELL, I just tuck it in the vocabulary part of my brain and am glad I didn't guess it, as it still strikes me as a non-word. For those of you that know it, good for you, and your life has been different than mine. A while back, FALLLINE appeared in the x-word, and it astonished me that some folks had never heard of it. There are SB words I missed that appear on the day after that have the same effect on me. Learn something, and move on. (It is a damn addictive thing though, and great fun to have folks around to discuss it with.)

adicecream 1:27 AM  

Hasenpfeffer was part of the Laverne and Shirley theme song.

Burma Shave 10:42 AM  


SHE would FEAR the INN’s DOORMEN somewhat
when they WERE NOT TALKINGABOUT her sarong,
those CHATTERBOXes had seen her BARON ABUT,


spacecraft 11:58 AM  

I wanted THONG for 1-across, only to retrieve it for 13-down. Like to see DOD KATE Moss in one.

As noted above, the juxtaposition of HATE with HIJAB and IMAM is somewhat off-putting. But then, HATE with anything...OOH! I've got one--but no, I will resist getting political. Om with the puzzle.

Strange that OFC would not infer Generation ALPHA, as a follow-up to Z. Gotta get a new alphabet, might as well do Greek. At the rate we're going, humanity will never make it to Generation Omega, so no worries about subsequent nomenclature. I can remember when generations didn't HAVE titles.

That one did cause me to correct sETAT to LETAT--as in "L'ETAT c'est moi." Oh drat, I SAID I wasn't going to get political. *slapping own mouth*

I liked this one; after all, AMOUR cuts through that funky NW to offset the HATE. That's what I'm TALKINGABOUT.

Dude is an English professor and doesn't know CACHINNATE. WHADDYAKNOW. Hardest part for me was the finish, in the SE. Didn't latch onto the revealer until I found EXES; then the lamp lit, and the finish was speedy. Birdie.

rondo 1:18 PM  

Got the joke at KAYAK. The four corners gets you HATS. HATS off and a yeah baby to KATE DiCamillo, award winner and Twin Cities resident, a favorite in the local newspapers. Pretty good puz, as it WERE.

thefogman 3:31 PM  

Hard but good. Early in the game I got stumped at 6D. I had BUGOO and thought it must be a slang word. So I took a peak and realized there was a gimmick at play. DNF, but fun anyhow.

leftcoaster 3:51 PM  

I like rebuses, but found this one too slippery and troublesome. Didn’t finish, and didn’t much care either. Sorry.

Diana, LIW 5:53 PM  

not a fan of rebus puzzles, especially with no clue as to how many, where, or why they show up.

Diana, LIW

Anonymous 5:58 PM  

Worst Thursday *EVER*

strayling 6:15 PM  

I spent way too long chasing all the CHATs in the top right corner. Nice misdirect and I learned a new word.

Anonymous 9:56 PM  

Almost Saturday hard for me.

Like Rex says who the hell uses CACHINNATE ? Spell Check doesn't even like it.

Wasted too much time on this. Looking hopeful for Friday's puzzle.

wcutler 2:19 AM  

Well, I thought this puzzle demonstrated everything Rex listed when he talked about what makes a puzzle good. I particularly remember the bit about limiting the number of theme answers so that the other clues are not too restricted. There were lots of misdirects that were fun, and hardly any crosswordese. I thought it was way hard, and then, I was done, though with some mistakes. CACHINNATE wasn't one of them, but it was new to me. Not remembering FABIO led to a few wrong answers.

I didn't see anyone else who had pineapple instead of penne pasta. That took me a long time to sort out, since I can never remember if it's MIEN or MeiN.

I also didn't see anyone who knew the hopskotch rhyme
Schlemeel, schlemazl, hasenpfeffer, mcgillicuddy.
I see that in Vagina Monologues, the last word was "incorporated". Maybe it was 65 years ago when I jumped to it too, but mcgillicuddy is what's in my head now. Funny, I saw a blog posting where a user with the handle "McGillicuddy" asked about it with "incorporated" as the final word. Maybe it was a local-to-Philadelphia thing, since we knew the Connie Mack Stadium was named for Cornelius McGillicuddy, so we used that word. Or maybe my brain just mixed that up now. The more I think about it, the more I think we said "incorporated", but I would not have come up with that now on my own.

I knew ATHENS OHIO. That state also has a Peru. Miami has already been mentioned.

@jberg, thanks for the "malapop" info. :)

PurityofEssence 10:40 PM  

This was difficult for a Thursday and I didnt even notice it was a “Nancy” until it was over, thankfully. Too much underly clever clueing and I really dont like the use of a rare word that is never used, despite my desire to see some ive never heard of occasionally. OFL comment for Thea was spot on- i guess that made up for aha and emt. The difference between the rabbit and the hare would indicate most recipes use rabbit, unless of course you hunted down dinner.

Consider this NYT XW fans. The superior WSJ XW experience is the difference between Mike Shenk who creates puzzles, excellent acrostics and other well-done puzzles like Rows Gardens on a regular basis, in addition to editing the WSJ XW as opposed to Shortz who occasionally come up with some lame word “puzzles” for NPR. There is no real comparison between the two other than being editors.

I would like to see what our esteemed group of commenters thinks of NYT vs WSJ XWs. BTW, I print these out and drop them old school on paper so my comments are usually weeks behind.

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