Viking who was first ruler of Normandy / TUE 8-11-20 / Pocketbook portmanteau / Popular shooter in old west / Collaborative online reference

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Constructor: Amanda Rafkin and Ross Trudeau

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (3:30)

THEME: EIEIO (37A: Refrain in a children's song ... or a literal feature of 17-, 25-, 42- and 55-Across)EIEIO => the vowels (in order of appearance) in each of the themers:

Theme answers:
  • DERRINGER PISTOL (17A: Popular shooter in the Old West)
  • REWRITES HISTORY (25A: Puts one's own slant on the past)
  • PRESIDENT WILSON (42A: W.W. I leader)
  • VERMICELLI BOWLS (55A: Vietnamese noodle salads)
Word of the Day: ROLLO (31D: Viking who was the first ruler of Normandy) —

Rollo (NormanRouOld NorseHrรณlfrFrenchRollonc. 860 – c. 930 AD) was a Viking who became the first ruler of Normandy, a region in northern France. He emerged as the outstanding warrior among the Norsemen who had secured a permanent foothold on Frankish soil in the valley of the lower Seine. After the Siege of Chartres in 911, Charles the Simple, the king of West Francia, ceded them lands between the mouth of the Seine and what is now Rouen in exchange for Rollo agreeing to end his brigandage, and provide the Franks with protection against future Viking raids.

Rollo is first recorded as the leader of these Viking settlers in a charter of 918, and he continued to reign over the region of Normandy until at least 928. He was succeeded by his son William Longsword in the Duchy of Normandy that he had founded. The offspring of Rollo and his followers became known as the Normans. After the Norman conquest of England and their conquest of southern Italy and Sicily over the following two centuries, their descendants came to rule Norman England (the House of Normandy), much of the island of Ireland, the Kingdom of Sicily(the Kings of Sicily) as well as the Principality of Antioch from the 10th to 12th century, leaving behind an enduring legacy in the histories of Europe and the Near East. (wikipedia)

• • •

I can't say I find this quirk that interesting. Nice that they're all 15; that adds at least a little bit of architectural elegance to the thing. But the answers themselves aren't that interesting in their own right, and the fill is pretty tepid, with one of the longer Downs absolutely wasted on the bizarre legalese / partial WHEREFORES. Makes BATH TOWELS almost seem sparkly by comparison. Almost. Just seems like a "huh, interesting" kind of concept, without any grid oomph to make the whole experience more, I don't know, energizing and engaging. I actually do like VERMICELLI BOWLS as a stand-alone answer, but it's offset by DERRINGER PISTOL, which ... those are just called "derringers." It's not that DERRINGER PISTOL is wrong, it just feels oddly formal and slightly redundant. Thankfully, I never saw the clue and didn't have to think about it too much; I had drilled so many of the Down crosses into place that most of DERRINGER PISTOL was in place before I ever even looked at it. 

Felt pretty easy overall, though ROLLO really slowed me down. Despite being very aware of the Normans and the Norman Invasion and the post-Invasion effects on England, I never learned the story of Normandy's origins well enough to keep ROLLO in cold storage for when I needed him. Reading about him, I realize that I have indeed read about him before, but it just didn't stick. His name, specifically, didn't stick. There is only one ROLLO for me, and he lives in the "Nancy" universe:

I had DOLT for TWIT (52D: Nincompoop), but no other missteps, though the SW corner was awkward and sloggy in a way that made me doubt I had it all in order. AYS!?! (61A: Captains' cries). I don't think I get it. The only nautical cry I know is AYE with an "E"—what is this "E"-less AY? That whole corner could use redoing, though honestly it's only AYS that's beyond the pale. I'm actually stunned at how often this answer has appeared in the NYTXW. OK, not often, about once a year. No, on second thought, that *is* too often. None of the really good constructors will touch it. Delete delete delete. Thank you.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:02 AM  

If you never saw the revealer clue because you filled it in with crosses, you can spend (read: waste) a lot of time trying to figure out the theme of this puzzle. Don’t ask me how I know.

jae 12:17 AM  

On the tough side for a Tues. plus I doubt I would have figured out the theme without the revealer. Not that sure about the @Rex AYS answer, Jeff at Xwordinfo went with ARs at first. That was the toughest area for me.

Reasonably smooth with some fun themes answers, liked it.

WhoisMark 12:20 AM  

1D: I thought Disneyland only allows the term ATTRACTIONS.

Tom R 12:30 AM  

Funny - I wouldn't call this easyish for a Tuesday. Maybe an easy Wed, but harder Tuesday. Still, I worked through this thing without a misstep but got hung on the SW corner. I do not know rap music at all, so did not know eve ever with the e_e in because "ays" made no sense. Ay needs an e! But bevy made some sense so threw it in an got the happy pencil. It was easy in that I did not get stuck until the end, but it was more of a slog than a race for me.

mathgent 12:40 AM  

I liked it. Lively, smart cluing, nice layout of the four grid spanners with the five vowels well spaced.

Nostalgic to see My Funny Valentine mentioned. The bar we hung out at in college had it on the juke box for years. By the Mary Kaye Trio. After a few bourbon and sodas, we would all sing along. It was written by Rogers and Hart in 1937 for a Broadway musical and has been sung by hundreds of singers since. It’s on The latest Michael Buble CD. “Is your figure less than Greek?/Is your mouth a little weak?/ .../And yet you’re my perfect work of art.”

I had forgotten the BATHTOWEL gag. Cute.

Anonymous 1:06 AM  

My complaint is about BEVY. It's just a large group - why the qualification of "like things?" That, along with the goofy AYS and the rapper I didn't know, slowed me down in the SW.

Pamela 1:09 AM  

Cute. I liked it more than Rex did. Like him, though, ROLLO was not in my wheelhouse so I needed all the crosses. I thought I knew something about those early guys, but obviously there’s a gap where he belongs.

I got EIEIO from just a couple of I’s, and my first thought went straight to the barnyard. Then I read the clue again, and realized what to look for. Since I already had the first themer at 17A I checked the vowels just to be sure.

That helped me later with VERMICELLI, which started out as something else because of a hasty answer -Iris for UVEA- and a bunch of unknowns. I couldn’t believe AYS was right, and agree that it shouldn’t be. I had no idea who the rapper was, and BEVY, CUD, ALES needed a cross or few. Funny, though, as soon as I guessed the noodle, everything filled right in.

But what, pray tell, is a MURSE? Is it a thing?

Unknown 1:10 AM  

Yeah I agree with Rex on Derringer. Nobody says "I'm gonna cap that sucka with my glock pistol" or maybe Dirty Harry saying "So, do you feel lucky against my 457 Magnum pistol? Do ya, punk?" Overall fairly challenging for a Tuesday in my view especially the SW corner.

Kevin C. 2:29 AM  

Thank you Gilbert and Sullivan for getting me that Wherefores.

Anonymous 2:46 AM  

Agree with Rex on derringer. Nobody says "I'm gonna cap that sucka with my Glock nine pistol" or perhaps Dirty Harry "So punk you feelin' lucky against my 457 Magnum pistol" and such. Overall found it a tad challenging for a Tuesday, especially in the SW with obscure anatomy, an obscure rapper, and a sailor clue which could have been worded differently, as mates typically say this, not the ship's captain. Also 10d is a bit forced, as it's way down the list of synonyms and is neither conversational or literary. Okay maybe Dorothy Parker.

chefwen 3:28 AM  

Easy enough Tuesday puzzle except for the far SW corner where I plopped down iris for 47D and in the far SE corner, like Rex, had dolt before TWIT. It took UBOAT and TSA to fix both corners, but that came with a lot of staring

The EIEIO didn’t help with the solve but it was a fun addition after the fact.

Conrad 5:34 AM  

Needed my good friends Sergey and Larry* for EVE at 58A because as @anon1:06 pointed out, BEVY doesn't really fit the clue. Easy-Medium except for the SW.

@WhoisMark, I think in Disney terminology a "ride" is something where the motion is the whole appeal, like the flying Dumbos. An "attraction" is when you're seeing or doing things, like It's a Small World. So in 1D terms, Splash Mountain is a ride, while the Haunted Mansion is an attraction.

* Brin and Page, founders of Google

Anonymous 6:05 AM  

Hi! Barbara here. Anyone else plunk in CATSTONGUE for 11d? There are four shared letters!

ChuckD 6:15 AM  

Solved it as a themeless - the long themers really don’t grab your attention. The redundancy of DERRINGER PISTOLS is rough as is the sometimes Y in REWRITES HISTORY that waters down the EIEIO. What’s left is a lot of short CUD. Not a pleasurable solve for me.

@mathgent - it was one of my father’s standard go to songs when hummed or sung around the house and as you say has been covered by many. Elvis Costello’s version isn’t bad even with his pop swarm and I’ve always liked the Miles Davis take on it.

Anonymous 6:17 AM  

Rollo was a gimme after my history channel "Vikings" addiction.

Lewis 6:38 AM  

Very tight theme wraps this puzzle up in a neat bow. Oh, there are other possible answers -- GETS DIRECTIONS, CELINE DION, PREDILECTION, and NIXON or CLINTON to go with WILSON preceded by PRESIDENT -- (and thanks to Jeff Chen's Clue and Answer Finder for helping me find these), but to come up with all 15-letter theme answers here? That's a tight tight theme. Thumbs up.

There was also a mini-theme of double-Ls (5), and even at this early hour, my mouth started watering at VERMICELLI BOWL.

Sweet and neat, nicely upbeat, a Tuesday treat. Thank you, you two!

TTrimble 6:38 AM  

At first had "mooch" instead of LEECH, and I second-guessed myself with "iris" before remembering UVEA. Am not aware of EVE the rapper. Nor of MURSE, and was vaguely thinking "wad" (as of gum) before CUD. Got RICO only through the crosses (P.R. stands for... public relations? personal record?) In short, it was something of a SLOG for me, although I didn't really mind it. Still improved on my historical Tuesday average.

What do other people think of having ZERO and NIHIL in the same puzzle? Something about that feels unclean.

Oh, before I forget, when people here describe an answer as a WOE, what do they mean?

On to SB. It will be interesting to see whether Mr. S., the partner of Barbara, accurately predicts what this one will be like.

Beaglelover 7:00 AM  

@Pamela, a murse is a cross between a messenger bag and a purse. I had to look it up, had no idea!

JD 7:04 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
kitshef 7:22 AM  

Never saw the clue for EIEIO, so thought we had a themeless Tuesday. Did not realize otherwise until I read Rex.

Not a lot of names today, but man are they out of my wheelhouse. ETHAN who? CHET what? EVE?

Okay, I knew WILSON and HALS.

Also unfamiliar with VERMICELLI BOWLS, so an unusual amount of WoEs for a Tuesday.

AYS was a completely self-inflicted wound. Could have gone with BERT/ERE/ATS, for example.

cap10david 7:45 AM  

Man-purse. It is indeed a thing, if you need to carry along more than fits in your pockets grab your murse!

E. Bolling-Galt 7:54 AM  

Occasionally Rex surprises:

-No rant about President Wilson.

-No wholesale trashing of Ross Trudeau.

SouthsideJohnny 8:04 AM  

I wonder if they “dumb up” the puzzle intentionally - wow, there is some real Gooberheadedness going on today. CHOI crossing NIHIL (definitely gets 10 Goober points), ROLLE crossing WALLE (another 10 points) and just the presence of MURSE is awarded 10 Goober points all by itself. Must be some type of an inside joke - take a nice, normal finished puzzle and intentionally modify it to ensure that it has at least a handful of really, really foolish, nonsensical and/or esoteric answers. Fine if that’s how they get their jollys, however it wouldbe a lot more fun if they only Gooberized their Friday and Saturday puzzles for all of you hardcore solvers.

mmorgan 8:06 AM  

It took me a long time to go ahead and put that Y in AYS. Yeah, what else could it have been? But yeah, blecch.

I got held up by having REWRITEtheSTORY for a long time.

More of a construction feat than a solving delight, but having those EIEIO sequences scanning the grid was kinda cool and there was more than enough here to give me some fun.

Hungry Mother 8:07 AM  

Very fast. Nice theme and quite helpful. A little hesitation at the NIHIL/CHOI corner. I shoulda thought of NIHILism.

JD 8:11 AM  

Oops wrong corner in my original post.

Anyway, another fill-in-the-squares exercise til I hit the the SW corner and wanted Iris, which gave me IBoat. Never heard of that but ok maybe. Had the B for a head-scratching start to large group/like thing, but was thinking about some sort of taxonomy. Had _ _ _ticellibowls dish (further hampered by whereforth) but a Vietnamese dish? Ramencelli? Didn't know the rapper. Don't recall ever seeing Ay(s). All this misery in that tiny little corner.

Finally, from some depth arose Uvea, then Wherefores. The dam broke.

@Anon 2:46, Dorothy Parker (my spirit animal). A sour skinny brunette and the big blonde in a cafe drinking coffee:

"Well all I can say is he eats like a pig."

"Oh I don't, he's not so bad. Maybe just a little Swinish."


rjkennedy98 8:30 AM  

Did not enjoy this puzzle. Short answer after short answer after short answer. Mostly uninspiring clues with very common fill, if not crosswordese. The long themers were joyless. The only mild interest was that REWRITES HISTORY is over PRESIDENT WILSON right after he gets him name taken off of a Princeton program.

I thought it solved pretty easily except that awful SW corner. EVE, AYS, crossing BEVY and WHEREFORES (which I didn't know as a millenial).

Ernonymous 8:46 AM  

I had TWAT before TWIT. I thought maybe they are thinking of the British use where everyone is a twat. But I was still surprised they would go there.

LeaveItToYourGoat 8:57 AM  

I might just be a SWINISH IDIOT, but I've never heard of VERMICELLI, so the SW corner was brutal for me. The only 4-letter eye part I know is IRIS (which is often clued with "pigmented") so the WWII nerd in me began to question its sanity. Did the Kriegsmarine deploy something called I-BOATS? Was this a corporate partnership promotion with a trademarked LOWER CASE I?

Some of the cluing felt positively Thursday-ish.

Do circles really not have EDGES? I think of "edge" as a border or boundary or perimeter or a phase I went through in 10th grade. So I guess a perfect circle would technically have only ONE "edge" but I really don't like that clue.

Had A_ES for "Things sold by the yard?" and confidently put down a D, thinking "yeah, sure lemonade stands are usually set up in someone's front yard."

Cute clue for BATH TOWELS.

albatross shell 8:58 AM  

I think MURSE is a man-purse.

Slow for a Tuesday, but I was watching the Laker game as I solved. ROLLO HALS NIHIL CHOI all slowed me down. CHOI clue seems a bit desperate. HALS I haven't checked out. Enjoyed the other two. Also smiled at WHEREFORES BATHTOWELS HEIST CHET. The last partly because I just read the new Chet and Ernie mystery.

Thumbs up for the barnyard theme, except for PISTOL. WILSON also, except for his racism.

Headline for a Trump re-election:
or does that fail the beloved breakfast test?

Birchbark 9:01 AM  

ROLLO was known to the Vikings as Rolf.

If you forget your mask, try it as a conversational gambit: "I HEAR that ROLLO was known to the Vikings as Rolf." It has a natural social-distancing effect. Even the speaker doesn't know what to say next.

Harry 9:17 AM  

No idea what BCC is.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

Anon 2:46 AM

Get some sleep!! A 457 is a tax advantaged deferred compensation program, usually for govt. employees.

The slug you're thinking of is .357. It is indeed a formidable thing. It was introduced to compete with Colt's .38 Super Auto(matic). That charmer was the first bullet that could pierce cars. Handy in the heyday of gangland wars.
Wait, wait. how is a .38 comparable to a .357 you ask.
Fun fact: They have identical chamberings.

Havana Man 9:21 AM  

Aye-aye to "ay," rex. never seen it w/out an e.

GILL I. 9:27 AM  

Ah, yes...It's Tuesday trash day. SIFT through the bits - separate the junk from the recyclables. The junk was small today; just a BEVY of AYS and wishing CHET had been clued as Huntley with his partner Brinkley.
I suppose we can start with Old Macdonald and his farm. Why are children mesmerized by that song? And on his farm he had a DERRINGER PISTOL...EIEIO. Oink.
I'm not up on my Korean surnames and Nero and I never saw eye to eye so I had a CHOO/NIHOL crossing. It looked bad. I left it alone. I had a DNF. So that's my SAGA ODE for the day.
Oh...and if Anthony Bourdain were still alive, he'd never call it VERMICELLI BOWLS. Oh no he wouldn't. He'd call it the best rice noodle dish he's ever eaten......RIP.

Nancy 9:34 AM  

I quite liked the four grid-spanners of this puzzle but had no idea what the theme was. When I reached the revealer, I thought: "Nice!" Then I thought: "Very well-executed." And then I took off my solver's hat and popped on my theme-constructor's hat. I wondered if there is possibly some sort of puzzle construction app or website to help you with this? Because otherwise how would you ever come up with such diverse theme answers out of thin air? I could never have created this puzzle -- of that I'm quite sure.

I know what it is to toss in bed in the middle of the night trying to dream up theme answers. My sleep is sometimes disrupted for days. But not for weeks. And certainly not for months. Which is how long my sleep would have been disrupted. Because what would possess someone to think up DERRINGER PISTOL...or REWRITE HISTORY...or VERMICELLI BOWLS? My brain couldn't do it. It would balk.

Putting my solver's hat back on, I think this was a grown-up Tuesday that respects the solver's intelligence. Liked the clues for RECAP; LEAPS and EDGES. Absolutely love the clue for BATH TOWELS. Very nice job.

Mr. Cheese 9:37 AM  

@birchbark - your
Your post will make me smile the rest of the day... thanks

RooMonster 9:38 AM  

Hey All !
A MURSE is well known in male-dom because it evokes less-manliness snickers from fellow males. Same as a Fanny Pack.

I liked this EIEIO puz. Nice the themers contain no other vowels. @ChuckD 6:15, the "sometimes Y" in 25A affects me not at all. ๐Ÿ˜Š Rex's gripes today are a stretch, just for him to gripe about something, because a day without a Rex gripe, is like a day without the Sun. (It does happen occasionally. Read:rainy day)

@TTrimble (sorry about the misspell of your name the other day, and about maybe pissing you off, as it seemed your response was "Yeah, dumb ass, I know" ๐Ÿ˜€ Wasn't trying to goad you)
WOE stands for What On Earth, a milder oath than WTF. Forget who started that.

Quite clean fill in this one. Tough to do, as the 15s, especially the middle two, are close to each other, and in the center, the two 15s plus the Revealer, that fill is awesome. Props. (Pounds chest twice) Har

Agree with the SW wackiness. Liked RIFT crossing SIFT. SWINISH is odd looking. But SWINEISH not better.

Two F's

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

Fyi:man + purse = murse. I know, yuck, right? Ays is bad, too. A few others. The worst, for me, although I got it pretty easily, was "derringer pistol." Having watched countless Westerns as a kid with my dad and brothers, the Colt 45 is "the gun that won the West!" There was even a TV show by that name, as I recal!. The derringer was the tiny pistol pulled by the dance-hall girl from her purse (not murse)! Korean vermicelli bowl is a thing? And a salad at that? Again, I got it, but fought it all the way!

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

"A lightning bolt when he drew that Colt (pause) 45, Colt 45." From a theme song from my misspent youth. Yes, that was me earlier. - newbie

Mr. Cheese 9:59 AM  


BCC = Blind Carbon Copy

Frantic Sloth 9:59 AM  

Ugh! This shilling for Apple has got to stop. iBOATS?? Really??

Yeah, that SW corner was a little pesky. Also agree with others about AYS (ay!ay!ay!) and DERRINGER PISTOL.

The EIEIO letters theme motif was a little rural-y, but it didn't bother me myself. As I use my finger digits on this typing keyboard, I experience a remembered memory about ROLLO. Same as Rex, it was from the funnies comics strip search.'d that get in there? ร€ la like @Joaquin, don't question ask me how I know.

๐Ÿง ๐Ÿง  (for a day-after-Mondee Tuesdee)

Z 10:08 AM  

Hand up for “Hard for a Tuesday.” I got to the EIEIO revealer and had the wry “that’s so dumb it’s funny” reaction. Put this solidly in the “Best Tuesday Ever” BEVY of puzzles.

Speaking of, it’s always BEVY of some group of like things like a BEVY of quail or BEVY of charming beauties. That’s why the clue is spot on.

I love the phrase GET GO. “We knew how GoT would end right from the GET GO.” Go ahead, just try to explain how the words GET and GO combine to make GET GO sensical.

@birchbark - LOL

MURSE - I’m really surprised at the number of solvers who are just learning this term. It seems to me as that MURSE appears more often in the NYTX than pURSE does, at least in the last few years.

@LeaveItToYourGoat - The next time you’re in the pasta section of your grocer you will find VERMICELLI near your spaghetti, angel hair, and lasagna noodles. The Vietnamese dish slowed me down.

@Harry - “Blind Carbon Copy” - It’s an email option where you copy somebody but the recipient doesn’t see that that person also received the email.

PRESIDENT WILSON was just one in a long line of racist presidents. Jackson, Buchanan, Andrew “this country is for white men” Johnson. Yep, lots got left out of our HS history textbooks.

Nancy 10:09 AM  

What a funny, droll and quirky comment, @Birchbark. I chuckled mightily.

Frantic Sloth 10:22 AM  

@Birchbark 901am LOL! Thank you for that. I actually first thought ROLF, then ROLFF(?) so it would fit. ROLLO happened from a little square dancing and ended with a "huh. Okay, I guess."

With the WOE question being raised, I briefly considered renaming POWTF (a more dastardly POC) as POWOE. But just look at it. No bloody way. Besides, how would one POC or POWTF it? POWOPODES??

POC = Plural Of Convenience (constructor crossword crutch [CCC])
POWTF = Plural Of WTF (ennuis, residua)
POWOE = Plural Of What On Earth (less vulgar version of POWTF)

๐Ÿฆฅ out

Ethan Taliesin 10:27 AM  

I agree, AYS was horrendous. I saw it. I knew that's what it had to be, but I still had reluctance typing it in it was so distasteful.

Thought I wrapped everything up tidily but had mistake by misspelling WALLE as "WALEE" and not remembering ROLLO.

Carola 10:30 AM  

Unusually fun for a Tuesday, with it's smile-inducing employment of a kiddie song to unite four adult-world theme answers. The reveal helped me get PRESIDENT WILSON immediately and VERMICELLI BOWLS (otherwise unknown to me) from the VERM. I liked the nod to the redundant set phrases "leaps and BOUNDS" and "whys and WHEREFORES," but join other ANTiS with regard to the captain at the HELM uttering AYS.
Help from previous puzzles: BCC as clued, MURSE. No idea: CHOI, EVE, ROLLO.

@Birchbark 9:01 - LOL!

@jae - I believe you get the credit for WOE, right?

JD 10:35 AM  

@Z, You forgot George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Slave owning through wife has to count.

What? 10:45 AM  

Applause for the construction, golf clap for the solvation.
Easy and boring. My test is whether Trump/COVid ever leaves my mind. It didn’t.

Whatsername 10:46 AM  

As Tuesdays go, this was a solid one and enjoyable plus an admirable feat of construction to come up with those EIEIO answers. And for the second day in a row, I think a very good example of a puzzle particularly suited to beginners who are learning to hone their skills. As for me, an old hand at Tuesdays, I still learn some interesting new facts.

I looked at ERAT and AER and thought wow, seems like a long time since I’ve seen either one of those classic crossword fills. On the other hand, I thought MURSE was completely new only to learn that Seinfeld introduced it to pop-culture years ago in the 1992 Reverse Peephole episode.

I also discovered that Italian VERMICELLI translates to “little worms” which is exactly what it looks like in the prepackaged flavored rice blends that I like. They’re very tasty side dishes and easy to prepare but the sight of those little pasta pieces always gives me pause. Note: This is not to be confused with with the lesser known pasta fusilli, from the 1995 Fusilli Jerry episode.

Finally, the last little known fact my Tuesday research revealed is that the cartoon strip Nancy (featuring ROLLO) is still in circulation, having originated in 1938. Maybe I’m just not on the right wavelength but I never found it appealing and was surprised to learn of its longevity and apparent sustained popularity.

OffTheGrid 10:53 AM  

Anybody else REMEMBER THIS?

Bree140 11:01 AM  

“Wherefore” is “legalese”? Someone is unfamiliar with
Shakespeare, and the Bible.

But wherefore could not I pronounce 'Amen'?
I had most need of blessing, and 'Amen'
Stuck in my throat.
(Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 2)

And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand,
and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of
little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
(Matthew 14:31, King James Version)

TJS 11:01 AM  

Had to wait til the very end for Rex to get his Ross Trudeau insult into the review, re. "ays" : "None of the really good constructors will touch it". Pretty subtle for Rex.

Trying to picture college guys getting drunk in a bar and belting out My Funny Valentine. Bet you guys had your section of the bar all to yourselves after that.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

Jeff Chen has a software link that finds words like PRESIDENT WILSON (and three other presidents!) that match EIEIO. My question is, how much do constructors rely on programming to create their grids?

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

never knew that VERMICELLI was a Vietnamese word. things you learn here in Crossworld. and CHET was a dreadful singer (kinda early Dylan, if you like that sort of sing), somewhat better trumpeter. superb drug user, though.

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Finally, the last little known fact my Tuesday research revealed is that the cartoon strip Nancy (featuring ROLLO) is still in circulation, having originated in 1938. Maybe I’m just not on the right wavelength but I never found it appealing and was surprised to learn of its longevity and apparent sustained popularity.

yet another distinction between City Folk and Swine Sitters. I worked for Jack Anderson for a little while in the twilight of his column. it was the twilight because he refused to change the column's distribution method (late 80s), from the US Mail to electronic. the reason he gave: most of the newspapers that still carried the column were in Swine Sitter Country, so didn't have electronic feeds. some folks just love to live in the past. in most of their ways. one of the more interesting contradictions: during his time trying to take humanity back to about 600 AD, bin Laden carried out his management with satellite phones. spare no expense in forcing regression.

Pamela 11:23 AM  

My WHEREFORE came direct from Gilbert and Sullivan, via

Sorry,, I’ve seen directions for embedding here many times, but now that I need them I can’t find them.

EdFromHackensack 11:27 AM  

tough for a Tuesday because of the SW. EVE? Cmon. BEVY I got but clue was weak. I had soS instead of AYS for a bit there. ugh. and VERMICELLIBOWLS is nothing I've ever heard of and would not think it was Vietnamese.

Masked and Anonymous 11:29 AM  

@Birchbark: M&A was immediately all-consumed with comin up with an apt reply/followup line for yer "I HEAR that ROLLO was known to the Vikings as Rolf" party ice-breaker.
So far, I have a few shaky candidates to offer:
1. "Go Vikes, dude!"
2. "Well … that's getting' close enough to make Rollo ralph, I reckon."
3. "Ay, yes -- and chicken sh*t was known to the Conquistadors as POLLO poop!"
4. "Rollo over, Beethoven! (And give Tchaikovsky that news.)"
5. "And yet neither ROLLO nor ROLF has Patrick Berry Usage Immunity…"

staff weeject pick: AYS. @RP: If AYS would seal the deal on a tough corner in a SunPuz, most constructioneers would go with it in a heartbeat.
In this case, they coulda used BERT or BERM or BEYS instead of BEVY down there, I suppose. Just don't go messin with the U-BOAT, dude.

PERIHELION. Ay, that's pretty close …
How'bout EDITEDBYWILLSHORTZ, tho …? (Y's don't count, right?)

Thanx for gangin up on us, Amanda R. & Ross T. [A M and A is one cool name, btw.]

Masked & AnonymoUUs


SteveHikes 11:36 AM  

Still a huge undercount of racist Presidents. When you consider anti-black racism, racist colonialism in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, anti-immigrant racism extending to southern and Eastern Europeans, anti-semitism, the list certainly includes every President up to the 1960s. Cut some slack for FDR, and maybe a couple others. And, most Presidents during the past half century carried out brutally racist policies at home (mass incarceration) and abroad (Vietnam, Iraq, Palestinians, etc.) The current Nazi-in-Chief embodies it all!

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

Blind CC on an e-mail

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

I don't understand ALES for Things sold by the yard?

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

I used to BCC many of my memos to Higher Ups from the time I was first employed in the 70s. likely been in use since the memo was created. not a new invention by today's Whiz Kids.

JC66 11:57 AM  

Anon 11:49

Google does.

Swagomatic 12:05 PM  

i never caught on to the theme, even after reading the revealer. Then I was too tired to figure it out, so I went to bed. I did like the puzz, though.

JC66 12:07 PM  


I emailed you my Embedding Cheat Sheet. I hope it helps.

Z 12:13 PM  

@JD and @ SteveHikes - Yep, but it’s not quite so black and white in many cases. Washington became increasingly anti-slavery in his lifetime, but put unity first. Jefferson seems to have devolved on slavery, especially when he realized that they were the source of his wealth (and he was an infamous spendthrift). And then there’s the whole “affair” with late wife’s half-sister slave (and there’s the pretty convincing idea that having sex with a slave is inherently non-consensual and is therefore always rape). The anti-immigration waves are a case study on the evolving nature of “whiteness.” Like Dante’s Inferno, I think there are circles of racism, only we need about 99 instead of just 9.

KnittyContessa 12:43 PM  

I thought the EIEIO theme was very clever. As for the rest of the puzzle, I had the same complaints as everyone else. NIHIL/CHOI could have easily been NIHoL/CHOo. I really, really hesitated on AYS. Never have I ever seen AY, always AYe. VERMICELLIBOWLS was new to me but easy to figure out with the crosses.

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

I think there are circles of racism, only we need about 99 instead of just 9

went to Haiti, while Baby Doc still ran the joint. no problem getting in, but getting out turned out to be a problem for The Wife (she's a dead ringer for Whoopi Goldberg; alas, I'm not for Ted Danson). the 'guards' checked and re-checked her US passport, just to be sure she wasn't a Haitian trying to escape the benevolent ministrations of Baby Doc.

we stayed at the Montana, up Avenue John Brown from the center of Port Au Prince for the week. made of reinforced concrete, but still pancaked by the earthquake.

well, that week was interesting for a white boy and his camera. what was dumbfounding was (is?) that Haitians are enthusiastic racists. white folks aren't part of the hierarchy, except for bidnezzmen who actually ran the joint. yet the top of the hierarchy are those 'Black' folks who are, to use a term of some piquancy, hi yella; a bit Black, but not too much. the folks who live in the hollers (there's one all along Avenue John Brown between the Montana and the city, well there was, anyway) on a dollar or so a day are truly Black. and the rest find some place in between. but riding with them in the tap-taps was no issue. whether that was due to Baby Doc's insistence on being nice to tourists, or innate comity, I never found out.

jberg 12:44 PM  

As an (ironically) proud Norwegian-American, I'm embarrassed that I never knew ROLLO; but I had ROL by the time I got to him, so what else could it be? It does sound vaguely Normanish. Fortunately, Robert (the Viking who conquered Sicily) wouldn't fit. Anyway, that was so nice it overshadowed my joy at being credited with the Titanic's demise.

The other thing I learned is that I had been wrong in believing that "a bevy" meant "a pair." Not sure why I thought that.

I did like RIFT/SIFT, and ETHAN/ETHER. And I would have liked HALS if only he'd been clued "painter of old Holland."

Pamela beat me to it, but here's an embedded G&S link for all those too lazy to cut and past.

I may know what a bowsprit is, but I'm really not all that nautical. So I have two questions. 1), does the captain actually take the helm? Or is that just a metaphor for being in charge. 2) My understanding is that the nautical "AYe" or "aye-aye" is an acknowledgement of a command, sort of like "roger wilco." In that case, one wouldn't expect captains to say it too often - only when they're on the phone with the admiral. Or is this another cherished misbelief of mine? One of you is bound to know!

JC66 12:55 PM  


I'm no expert, but I always thought aye = yes, whether on a boat or in the senate.

So if the captain was asked "should we stay on course?" He could reply AYe.

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Definitely going to start using that tactic!

albatross shell 1:22 PM  

Pronounced long A or long I?

bauskern 1:26 PM  

Not sure if my original post got lost. Second day in a row with a female constructor on board? Are the puzzles noticeably better/or somehow different? Does anyone besides rex really care?
Loved the theme, it actually helped me with some solves, and four spanners> Yes, I am very impressed.

GaryMac 1:27 PM  

*** SB Alert ***

A little more difficult than yesterday, but nothing like the previous eight days. Got QB fairly easily with a just a little bit of a struggle coming up with the last two words.

Nancy 1:45 PM  

Thanks, @jberg (12:44) for that delightful G&S link. It's very appropriate for today, because it not only contains the word WHEREFORE (many many times), but it's also speaks to the AY/AYE discussion with its infectiously repeated line "...and a lord who rules the water".

I'm of the opinion that it is impossible to be unhappy while listening to an uptempo G&S song. It doesn't matter which one. While it's possible to be unhappy 10 seconds before you hear it and 10 seconds after you've heard it, it's simply not possible while you're hearing it. Try it for yourself.

TTrimble 1:57 PM  


Sorry about the tone of my comment! And you're right: I know you weren't trying to goad me!

And thanks for the explanation of WOE; it's just like "What the hell?" which is probably how I'd say it. There's another question I have about abbreviations here, but I'll wait until it comes up again.

---[SB Alert]---

One away from QB. So this one is probably not a killer!

ghostoflectricity 1:59 PM  

Double it triple near-natick in SW corner (extremely poorly-clued BEVY, obscure one-names rap artist EVE from almost two decades ago, unacceptable-in-any- context AYS) and the constructors cheating (all themers should have had ONLY EIEIO as vowels in them, and the rule was egregiously violated by REWRITESHISTORY: Y here is a vowel) made this one of my least favorite Tuesdays.

Julie 2:03 PM  

Don't get the Ales sold by the yard. What is this?
Murse is meh.
Captains are not necessarily at the helm and ays are not a thing, whereas ayes are a thing.
I also winced at Pres Wilson being in the puzzle.
BCC, never knew that before.
I did not like this puzzle much because of these issues.

Greg 2:39 PM  

Probably my biggest pet peeve is the use of random prepositions in crossword answers. To "Teach by repetition" is to DRILL. Can you say, "drill in". Of course, but why? If I see 7 spaces in a crossword answer my brain immediately starts searching for 7-letter words that would work. I don't think, "hmm, maybe this is a 5-letter word followed by a preposition..."

Anonymous 2:42 PM  

Bevy? Murse? I did get Rollo right away...Not because of my great viking knowledge but because he was the brother of Ragnor on the tv show Vikings.

jae 2:58 PM  

@Carola re: WOE. I can’t really claim credit for WOE but I was an early adopter. Just trying tone down the crassness on the inter webs.

JD 3:18 PM  

@Z, Washington could have freed them before he died, so no slack there. You're right on Jefferson though, he only gradually freed his own enslaved children by Sally Hemings.

Norm 3:25 PM  

A "yard" glass is a tall beer glass. British nomenclature, I believe. So, ale can indeed be sold by the YARD.

Pamela 4:12 PM  

@JC66- Thank you so much for sending me the embedding code. It’s filed in a safe place. I hope I’ll be able to find it the next time I want it! When I was growing up, we always said that anything we couldn’t find was in a’safe place’- safe even from us!

****SB ALERT****

2 words short of QB...and I peeked. One I should have gotten. The other, never. Only willing to withstand just so much frustration. Moving onward now to tomorrow.

Barbara S. 5:01 PM  

Hand up for ROLLO as Berserker, yelling, axe raised, blood-spattered, jumping shirtless back into the fray. ("Vikings" is what you might call a vivid series.)

SWINISH. Harumph.

****SB ALERT****
Mr. S. doesn't seem to have called it for today. Ah well, prognostication is a mug's game. I'm two away from QB and seem pretty stuck. @GaryMac said he had hard time getting the last two words. I wonder if I'm after the same ones.

I keep getting distracted by all the PPP in the SB today, none accepted, of course.
Drood and Dorrit (Dickens)
Mordor (Tolkein)
Troi (Star Trek)
Dior (Fashion)
Dmitri (Mendeleev, Shostakovich, Hvorostovsky -- take your pick)
Roddy (Ricch, McDowall -- another choice)
Romio (Shakespeare)......OK, kidding, just trying to pad the numbers.

Xcentric 5:06 PM  

Agree with Rex about derringer and ay.
Eieio was a pffft.
Although other presidents would work with the eieio, they wouldn’t fit the grid. Clinton, Washington, Madison, 2 Harrisons, Fillmore, Lincoln too long, Nixon too short.
Fill was OK.
Solved near my record for a Tuesday, but didn’t beat it.
Vermicelli bowl makes me hungry too. And some Vietnamese fresh spring rolls.

@Joaquin - would love to see someone start a SB blog too. Then I could kvetch about the words not in the list. Why accept patentee, but not lessee? Why accept mullah, but not amah? Makes me nuts sometimes because I just can’t see the logic behind some of the choices.

Birchbark 5:59 PM  

@M&A (11:29) -- Well rejoined, every one. But especially "Go Vikes, Dude!" for its open-ended inclusivity. I know that guy, and I like him.

Barbara S. 6:00 PM  

***SB ALERT***
Hey, I just queened! Did not expect to, but sometimes inspiration strikes!

OK, I'd like to resubmit the last entry from my previous PPP SB list:
Dromio (Shakespeare - Comedy of Errors)

SweetCaroline 6:19 PM  

What on earth?

Anoa Bob 6:20 PM  

When I saw the EIEIO reveal my thought was similar to @Nancy's that there must have been a program to search 15-letter strings to find ones with that vowel sequence. And that's all that holds the four theme entries together, just that vowel sequence. None of the four strikes me as very interesting on its own, so overall I'm thinking that's some pretty thin VERMICELLI for a theme.

Another thing that jumped out at me was that of the four themers, DERRINGER PISTOL, REWRITE HISTORY, PRESIDENT WILSON, and VERMICELLI BOWL, two don't have enough letters to quite span the whole grid. The solution is to get some much needed help from that uber convenient letter S. POC to the resuce!

Needing a POC to make a themer work is a major demerit in my book. Today we get two. Recall that POC (plural of convenience) is not a grammatical term but an xword term meaning adding an S (or an -ES or -IES) as a shortcut to boosting the letter-count of a potential grid entry. It's just too easy, especially with theme entries. Is it SWINISH of me to think that way?

Anonymous 6:47 PM  

Wilson (D) was obviously a racist. I just don’t agree that bad people shouldn’t be in the puzzle. They’re part of our history. Deal with it.

BarbieBarbie 7:05 PM  

@Greg, it isn’t “drill in” as in “drill into.” It’s the answer to the question “in which subject are we drilling today?” “We will drill in French.” But it’s still awkward.

JC66 7:13 PM  

****SB ALERT****

@Barbara S

You can add MIDORI to your list.

Z 7:44 PM  

Doesn’t the NYT have an SB specific thread? Or do we collectively disdain that commentariat so much that we completely eschew joining them even for that (I’ve heard rumors - I may have posted there once but definitely not twice)? I don’t care, just wondering.

@Anoa Bob - Way to anticipate the “well actually” REWRITES HISTORY “corrections.” With 4 themers would it have been too much to ask to eschew themer POCs and go with two 15s and two 14s? Apparently yes.

@Anonymous6:47 - Did anyone today suggest Wilson should not be in the puzzle? The closest I saw was someone wondering why OFL hadn’t.

@Xcentric - A president has to have exactly two vowels, first an I then an O, to fit the theme. Washington, Madison, the 2 Harrisons, and Fillmore don’t work.

JC66 8:13 PM  

****SB ALERT****

Just quit 2 short of QB, and I'm glad I did.

TTrimble 8:26 PM  

-- SB Stuff

Congratulations go to @GaryMac and @Barbara S. for getting the crown! As is my wont, I asked my son to look up the one missing word together with the expected question, "do you know it?" When he said "no", I at last threw in the towel. I feel reasonably confident I would not have coughed up the word myself, even though it resided in some remote area of my mind. Alas.

TTrimble 8:39 PM  

Since you ask: apparently they do encourage SB feedback at buzzwords at nytimes dot com.

Tonally, "Or do we collectively disdain that commentariat so much that we completely eschew joining them even for that" suggests to me that you (and it's not just you) do find the SB commentary here annoying. Speaking for myself, I have no experience and therefore no judgment of that commentariat. I'm considering checking them out.

Other commenters have been more explicit about their annoyance. The way I see it, there are all kinds of side conversations, which can be ignored. But I would take heed if the collective annoyance were widespread.

Z 9:05 PM  

@TTrimble - Apologies. I really don’t mind the SB comments. Everyone very politely gives the SB warning, which I really appreciate. As one famous (infamous) for journeying far afield it would be truly SWINISH of me to object to people discussing something they clearly enjoy discussing. And, as you note, it is easy enough to not read something here. I was referencing a point in time when, apparently, some derisive comments about Rex and the Rex commentariat were made on Wordplay. I know a few people here post in both places, but most people seem to have strong preferences for one or the other. FWIW, I follow Deb Amlen on Twitter but don’t venture over to WordPlay.

StGulik 8:34 AM  

I used to enjoy Mondays and Tuesdays. I could even occasionally manage a Wednesday, consulting Google first for the rest of the week. I can't recall the last time I finished a Monday or Tuesday. Today it was "unheard of viking" crossing a "movie I ignored" or a "word in some dead language" crossing a "common name in another country" or some unnecessarily made-up word...
Kinda turning me off these days.

thefogman 10:11 AM  

Good puzzle. One mistake. I had NIHaL-CHOa. One nit to pick - the Y in REWRITESHISTORY Is an outlier with an additional vowel to the EIEIO sequence.

spacecraft 11:45 AM  

Have to laugh: usually when I see EIEIO I decry it as horrible crutchy fill; now it's the whole point! Okay, so we have a bunch of phrases that contain those vowels in that order. Whoop-de-dee. I don't think it's worth it.

Although I did this without too much headache, the SW was cause for some alarm. The clue "Group [of like things]" really threw me off. The bracketed phrase should really have been eliminated. And AYS??? Well, Bard to the rescue again:

"AY, do, go on, persever..." (from "A Midsummer Night's Dream")

See also the third-e-less "persever." Anyway, it didn't help that I had no idea about VERMICELLIBOWLS. Not sure how an Italian pasta wound up in a Vietnamese dish. Crosses ruled the day there.

A MURSE, AKA "messenger bag," is a man-purse. I go everywhere with one; it's handy. Foils pickpockets, at least.

DOD is not PRESIDENT, but A'ja WILSON, who has led the WNBA Aces to the top seed in post-season play. Hey, the Knights lost; gotta find success somewhere. CALL this one a par.

Burma Shave 12:05 PM  


and IHEAR the TWIT’s SEEIN’ someone thrillin’,
the PRESIDENT has RAZED a mystery


Diana, LIW 1:50 PM  

My my - a BEVY of vowels. Put that in your MURSE and go to the mall, 'cause it's too smoky outside to walk out there.

Stay safe, everyone!

Diana, LIW

Wordnerd 2:07 PM  

Murse also refers to male nurse.

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

Rewrites history is not a plural of convenience, but is a tense of convenience(TOC).

rondo 3:59 PM  

@foggy - "and sometimes" you are right. ORCA in the corners. That is all. EIEIO

leftcoaster 4:08 PM  

EIEIO may not be an exciting theme, but it emerged nicely in the grid-spanning themers, and it has to get some credit for that.

Wanted mooch before LEECH and iris before UVEA. Didn't know EVE but BEVY gave her a boost. Also didn't know that CHET BAKER sang. ROLLO deserves Man of the Day.

Neat construction by Amanda and Ross.

leftcoaster 6:14 PM  

Afterthought: There's a technical difference between an UVEA and an IRIS that I don't quite understand. A "pigmentation" of some sort applies to both.

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