Alpine crossing over Austrian Italian border / WED 9-2-20 / Suffragist and longtime leader in the National Woman's Party / German grandparent affectionately / Middle-distance golf club / Some pepperoni orders informally / Difficult skating jump with backward takeoff

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Constructor: Margaret Seikel

Relative difficulty: Easy (3:47)

THEME: CATCH PHRASE (60A: Popular expression ... or what the opposite to the answer of each starred clue is?) — theme phrases end with a word that means not "catch" but its opposite: "throw":

Theme answers:
  • SUMMER FLING (16A: *Something reminisced about in the movie "Grease")
  • GROUND CHUCK (10D: *Some hamburger meat)
  • BRENNER PASS (24D: *Alpine crossing over the Austrian/Italian border)
  • ELEVATOR PITCH (14D: *Sales spiel in 60 seconds or less, say)

Word of the Day:

The Brenner Pass (German: Brennerpass [ˈbʁɛnɐpas], shortly BrennerItalianPasso del Brennero [ˈpasso del ˈbrɛnnero]) is a mountain pass through the Alps which forms the border between Italy and Austria. It is one of the principal passes of the Eastern Alpine range and has the lowest altitude among Alpine passes of the area.

Dairy cattle graze in alpine pastures throughout the summer in valleys beneath the pass and on the mountains above it. At lower altitudes, farmers log pine trees, plant crops and harvest hay for winter fodder. Many of the high pastures are at an altitude of over 1,500 metres (4,900 feet); a small number stand high in the mountains at around 2,000 metres (6,600 feet).

The central section of the Brenner Pass covers a four-lane motorway and railway tracks connecting Bozen/Bolzano in the south and Innsbruck to the north. The village of Brenner consists of an outlet shopping centre (supermarkets and stores), fruit stores, restaurants, cafés, hotels and a gas station. It has a population of 400 to 600 (as of 2011).

• • •

Really enjoyed solving this one (mostly), then got to the revealer and just sort of cocked my head like a dog when he is both interested and baffled. In trying to figure out what the revealer meant, I kept looking at the the entire *phrase* of each theme answer—you know, because the revealer says to. Then I just simplified matters and looked at the last words in the phrases, and bingo. Well, not quite "bingo!" which implies "aha, got it!" More like "bingo?" Because I wasn't entirely sure I understood. Because the concept is ludicrous. It's as if you wanted to use CATCHPHRASE as a revealer, got nowhere because there aren't enough synonyms for "catch," thought to yourself, "lots of synonyms for 'throw,' too bad there's no such word as THROWPHRASE," and then thought to yourself, "wait, a, minute! I got it!" So this puzzle basically exists because the word THROWPHRASE doesn't exist but the word CATCHPHRASE does. The theme is CATCHPHRASE but you've only got throwphrases, but that's OK, you just (to borrow a film production term) fix it in post! That is, write an "opposite" clue to justify the whole enterprise. I think this revealer is so dumb it's actually good. Like ... yeah, just go for it. I'll take loopy over corny Any day. And the themers themselves are so good, just on a stand-alone basis. I have one big objection to the themers, though, and that is — the song is "SUMMER NIGHTS!" I would've accepted SUMMER LOVIN' (had me a blast, happened so fast). I had SUMMER -ING and when I couldn't get "LOV" to fit in the remaining squares, I sincerely thought I had a rebus puzzle on my hands. What I'm saying is, please be precise with your "Grease" clues; the world is fragile enough as it is and these things matter. Thank you.

I predict one serious potential trouble spot for solvers, and that's at the BRENNER PASS / AMEN RA crossing. I think "E" is the best guess there, but AMEN RA—famous for being spelled a bunch of ways, most notably AMUN RA (the only spelling actually mentioned in the "Amun" wikipedia entry) (32A: Egyptian sun god). And I dunno, but BRUNNER PASS sounds *awfully* plausible to me. So yeah, I think that's close to being a Natick* for some folks, especially you can be absolutely text-book *correct* in the Across and get a Down that looks right enough. My trouble spot was 'ZAS (68A: Some pepperoni orders, informally), which, ugh, for several reasons, most notably a. it's just a dumb abbr. and I don't know anyone who actually unironically uses it, and b. it's Scrabble-f***king** of the rankest sort. "Shove a Z in the corner!" "But...?" "Shove it!!!" Also, this puzzle has weird crosswordesey patches, like ORBS over ZEROG over AMENRA, or that AGA SIR EES run in the SE (SIR is actually fine, the others less so). But wow the longer phrases really land today, both in the theme and non-theme answers. ALICE PAUL! (33D: Suffragist and longtime leader in the National Woman's Party) PENNILESS! (8D: Flat broke) Why do I like PENNILESS? It's both sad and full of common letters, and yet ... something about it is so vibrant and vivid. Give me melodrama! I'll take it. You can always shove ELON. I really wish the PRIDE clue had indicated "for short," because it's PRIDE MONTH that's celebrated (19A: Annual June celebration). Yes, people say PRIDE, but it's a shortening, so the clue should make that clear. OK, that's all. Nice work overall. Is this a debut? Anyway, I hope this constructor makes more puzzles.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

*Natick = two not-universally-known answers (typically proper names) crossing at an unguessable letter (typically a vowel)

**Scrabble-f***ing = when you misguidedly try to make your grid more "interesting" by shoving high-value Scrabble-tile letters into the corner(s) of your grid

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Unknown 6:01 AM  

Are alternative solutions acceptable? "ATENRA" is much more commonly used than "AMENRA" and "RETAIN" is quoted as well as "REMAIN" as a Brexit choice.

Frantic Sloth 6:09 AM  

@Nancy from yesterday - thanks for the anagrammed poem. Like @jberg I remember it from several months ago (not even years!) and that was no help! It wasn't until you gave the P hint (Hi, @Roo!) that I was able to finally solve it. Whew! Fun!

*sigh* Why the plural SOPHS for the singular "frosh"?? Isn't this too basic to EVEN have to mention?? I call POI (capital "I" - whyyyy do they have to look like the lower case "L"???) because I am definitely Inconvenienced! Clearly.🙄

ALFONSO Ribeiro? Who? Oh! The host for "America's Funniest Home Videos", brought to you by Xerox - on the cutting edge of copy machines. They collate now!

Somehow, I recently learned that AFHV is still on network TV. I thought it had been rendered obsolete since the emergence of YouTube, etc...last century. I guess it's still relevant for those who don't do "newfangled".

I've decided not to hate HAS and it's "units of laughter?" clue. Just because.
Might even extend that courtesy to ZAS, but I'm wavering...

Nice to see ALICEPAUL again.

Why can't I just grow up and not immediately think of Lapine when I see AMENRA?
Silflay hraka, u embleer RAh! (Insert juvenile tittering here)

Seeing Michelle YEOH clued with a "Star Trek: Discovery" reference reminds me of when Sir Richard Attenborough died and too many online write-ups referred to him as the "Jurassic Park star." It's just so damned depressing! Not saying it's a bad clue - just a quasi-evocative one for me. Too bad, so sad.

The theme. I guess it's some sort of constructioneering feat, though I wouldn't recognize one if it sat up and bit me. But, I seem to remember something about it being difficult to cross theme answers and stuff. Or is it the opposite? 🧐

Anyway...I liked the long theme answers, some of which might even be brand spanking new (ELEVATORPITCH, BRENNERPASS, SUMMERFLING) ? Since that's something else that escapes my notice on a regular basis, I'll leave that sort of investigation to the pros like @Lewis, @M&A, and @Roo. Hoping one of them will address it.

Overall, I liked it. Some clues were on a different wavelength, but that can be a good thing.

Aw, hell - okay, ZAS - you're free to hop the bus with HAS and get on out of here before I change my mind!


Lewis 6:22 AM  

I love ELEVATOR PITCH (a NYT debut answer!) and the fact that it is vertical like an elevator shaft, with each square like an elevator stop. I love ALICE PAUL and PRIDE, references to bringing rights to all. I love that NEBULA and ZERO G (with its fabulous clue) are SPACEY. And I love the moxie of having both vertical and horizontal theme answers.

I didn’t feel the reveal with its clue perfectly hit the mark, though. I had to think about the theme answers, then after seeing that the last words were the opposite of CATCH, I reacted with an “oh”. Another possibility for a reveal – and it would have necessitated redoing the puzzle – might have been THROWBACK [An echo of the past, and a hint to the answers of the starred clues]??

Nonetheless, my loves in the first paragraph one easily outweighed my reservation in the second. There was cleverness and skill all over the place on this one, showing great promise for your future puzzles, Margaret. Thank you for an entertaining solve!

Lewis 6:27 AM  

@frantic -- BRENNER PASS was a NYT debut, along with ELEVATOR PITCH.

JD 6:56 AM  

The theme doesn't seem so baffling to me to deserve that Red screed ... "the opposite of the answer to each starred clue." Catch v. Throw. Catch loses 4-1. But that pic of the javelin guy is a winner.

This stuck me as a motley collection of words as I was doing it. Summer Fling, Ground Chuck, Toed, Alfonso, Hoagie, Old, Opa and her Orbs. Alice Paul and Zero G.

There's a lot goin' on there. Interesting.

Expat in Basel 6:56 AM  

To Rex’s comment on the spelling of Brenner Pass, Switzerland has the Brunig Pass (with an umlaut over the u)

Hungry Mother 7:09 AM  

Had A before E in the Natick locale, so technical fail. Perfect PITCH for a Wednesday. I needed the theme to get FLING.

Roberto 7:11 AM  

Stop with these puzzles with obscure proper names.

kitshef 7:22 AM  

As soon as I filled in AMuN-RA, I wondered whether they were going to want AMEN. Normally, the cross will help. Today, the cross was useless. So a DNF, finishing with AMuN and BRuNNER. IMO the clue for AMuNRA needs a “(var.)”.

First three days of this week have had essentially no variation in difficulty. As though we have had three Tuesdays.

Anonymous 7:26 AM  

And ZEROG is not a “Space force.” It’s the ABSENCE of force that “occurs in the absence of any contact forces upon objects including the human body.” wiki

ChuckD 7:35 AM  

It’s odd the days I agree with Rex on multiple things. Overall I didn’t have an issue with this puzzle - a workmanlike, quick solve. But - the revealer was bad and some of the fill questionable. You can’t clue “Grease” and insert SUMMER FLING in lieu of Summer Nights or Summer Lovin. Didn’t like the clue for ZERO G - the force is gravity - the magnitude is zero. ALICE PAUL sure is making the rounds lately.

Not a lot I really like here but decent enough I guess for a rainy Wednesday.

John H 7:36 AM  

Thought the revealer was fine. Each starred entry was a common phrase (or thing) and the revealer clearly stated that it was the opposite of those things, so even if no one has ever heard of a "throw phrase" it works.

Open toed sandals is redundant. It wants to be open toed shoes.Same problem with Amun/Amen, Brunner/Brenner.Was grateful for "lutz" instead of the ubiquitous "axel."

Anonymous 7:37 AM  

The plural of frosh is frosh. Like fish and fish

SouthsideJohnny 7:40 AM  

Some unusual stuff going on today. I thought about the theme/revealer for a while after completion and could make no sense of it - finally turned to OFL for clarification. So now I know what “played like a themeless” means. OPA seems a tad unfortunate - I speak German and still have never heard of it (although the clue today is probably preferable to some random initials from a federal agency created during the Roosevelt administration). Is “Amazonas” an actual Spanish word - trying to make the bridge to RIO, which I am guessing is actually the Spanish word for river ? Speaking of OPA’s btw - Amazonas sounds like a word for a really well-built Brazilian.

However, the one that really has me baffled is 64D - “wiring experts” —> EES . Are we going with “Electrical Engineers”? I hope not. Electricians do wiring - electrical engineers invent computer chips and apply the physics and mathematics of electricity, electromagnetism and electronics to both large and small scale systems to process information and transmit energy. Not an awful transgression in the scheme of things, however it seems like the NYT should aspire to do better than that.

Anonymous 7:40 AM  

3:12 for me---too easy for a Wednesday!

Dean M 7:44 AM  

Everyone who has ever ordered “one medium pepperoni ZA and an order of garlic bread,” please raise your hand. Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Anonymous 7:50 AM  

It’s always been the Brenner Pass, not Brunner. Do I only know this because I started studying German 30 years ago? Not sure where the confusion comes there. As far as AMENRA, that’s the way I’ve always seen it spelled in crosswords, however Egyptologists may spell it. Overall the puzzle was okay for me. I liked the long theme answers. Took me 45 seconds longer than my Weds average which is not a bad thing.

Z 7:54 AM  

It seems like just yesterday I asserted that two PPP crossing at a vowel is the worst.. I was wrong. Two PPP crossing at a vowel where one of the vowels is a transliteration from a foreign language with multiple “correct” options is the worst. Bah. Hum.Bug. One Letter DNF because BRuNNER PASS does indeed look plausible.

Rex forgot that Z is the future.

I can accept the whole opposite day revealer thing. But the lack of any indication that the oppositetudeness* only applies to the second word is an editing fail. (*6 syllables)

Any one else feel like BIASES at 1A was a subtweet of yesterday’s gender discussions?

Liked this. Like Pizza. Like the letter Z. Hate ZAS.

Harryp 7:56 AM  

I got myself into trouble early on 7A German grandparent. I had the OV at 7D, and decided 9D could the micro in micromanagement so remembering the Boer Oom Paul Kruger, I figured OOM could be a Germanic derivative for grampa. Turns out it's pretty much Dutch for uncle, but that added a few minutes to the solve. Not that hard, but that will keep my speculations in check.

mmorgan 8:03 AM  

Puzzle was fine — mostly quite good, actually — but I couldn’t get my head around the connection between the themers and the revealer, as I was looking for an opposite to the enter phrase. Not sure it’s “so dumb it’s actually good,” but whatever.

CDilly52 8:04 AM  

@ Frantic. Loved the Watership Down reference. My sister and I still do an occasional riff in “rabbit.” God, I’m getting old!

longsufferingmetsfan 8:10 AM  

BAS ICU EES FDIC TSA ATM GPS CPU USA, is this a crossword or a test on initialisms. Throw in OPA OVI AGA and you've got too much dreck. The dreckiest of all though, ZAS ???

CDilly52 8:17 AM  

I had the same head scratching trouble with the reveal that many had (and more will report, I suspect). But over all, while easier than it probably should be for Wednesday, was fun. BRENNER PASS was easy for me-been there, and that solved the AMEN RA spelling problem. Natick avoided.

I call a total “fair ball” on ZAS, by the way, at least for those of us in my age bracket. For whatever reason (not unlike some of the younger folks speech today that shortens words and puts things like “bae” in the vernacular and in the NYTXW a couple times recently), in my high school and college years, ZA was almost exclusively used for pizza. I have had many, many truncates conversations that just started “ZA?” “Yeah, ‘roni?” “OK, ‘shrooms too.” So that one was a total gimme too.

Another positive wavelength experience which admittedly lends an extra dollop of enjoyment to the solve.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

i’ll have a za, said no one ever.

RooMonster 8:40 AM  

Hey All ! (Hey YesterAnon! 😋)
ZAS. Are we going back to 80's Valley Girl-speak? "Like, yah, I'll take two ZAS." (Cracks gum while poofing up her ridiculously high hair.) (I miss the 80's!)

EES is horrible. I actually misread clue as 'Some writing experts', further causing a Huh? for that. If EES is acceptable, why not redo SW and make 68A ESS? Then you'd get LUTE/ASIS, and get rid of ZAS, yah?

I've only ever seen AMENRA with that E. The U spelling to me is the var (sorry @M&A!). There was a poster here who was tracking the AMENRA usage earlier in the year. What happened to them? I don't remember much, but for some reason, that stuck in the ole brain. It hasn't been used much this year.

Despite all that, liked the puz. Agree with @Lewis on the nice Across and Down themers. @Frantic, crossing theme answers is tough, but sometimes you get lucky with letters that fall into place. Although, that FLING to get the L, while a correct/plausible answer, is a bit of a stretch. One Guys opinion.

Failed to parse ZERO G, read it as one word, causing further head scratching. Har.

Personal CATCHPHRASEs change over time, at least for me. Older, wiser, and all that.

Three F's (FLING! Extra F)

David 8:47 AM  

Yes, Amun Ra. He's called "Amen" in the West because of Christians.

Back in the olden days we studied a thing called "history." It included study of WWII and what led up to it (which is only one reason 2020 is to terrifying to us), so Brenner Pass was a given. Lots of biases are active these days...

I liked this one and its echoes. Do I ever. I can't even. ICU. CPU. Clever stuff.
Orbs, zero g, spacey. Yes.

TTrimble 9:03 AM  

You speak German and never heard OPA? That to me is very surprising. My wife's parents are German and to my kids they're Oma and OPA. I believe it is extremely common (and certain more relaxed and homey than Grossvater).

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

very easy wed puzzle. za? nah.

here in southern Brasil Oma and Opa are common terms, especially for grandparents who are of German descent. lots of places were settled by germans and Italians. so, waiting for the Nonno and Nonna clues!

personally I'm hoping for Nana and Poppa, or Bubbie and Zaydie. Knowwhatimean?

Probably see them before Babcia and Dziadek.


Anonymous 9:13 AM  

Hey yourself Roo!
I'm gonna embarrass self and ask whether you're in Vegas. One of the long-time posters is. If it is's you I look forward to possibly ragging on you if The my Flyers and your Knights both make it to the Cup Finals.

sixtyni yogini 9:34 AM  

Clever! 👍🏽👍🏽🎯🧩🎯👍🏽👍🏽

Paul & Kathy 9:55 AM  

"I predict one serious potential trouble spot for solvers, and that's at the BRENNER PASS / AMEN RA crossing."

It was. Had to google the pass.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Michael Scott from The Office probably did

Nancy 10:03 AM  

A cute theme with a cute revealer. It led to some colorful long answers that were even more impressive because they were embedded in both the Acrosses and the Downs. (We're told that this is much harder to accomplish and I have no reason to doubt the grid-making experts.)

But I'm going to hurl myself into fray and toss in some cluing nits, because there's certainly some really bad stuff here. I hate clues such as "I can't ____", EVEN when they're accurate and fair, but this is neither. "I can't come"; "I can't go on" -- these are at least possible. But "I can't even"???? What does that mean? "Why can't I ever throw a 2,4,6,8,10 or 12 in craps?" Awful.

I didn't know "frosh" was a plural. Of course, I also don't know what the plural is if it's not "freshmen". Froshes?

"Action figure" = DEED? Awful. A DEED is many things, but a "figure" it's not.

I consider myself perhaps the world's most absent-minded person. It's simply jaw-dropping just how absent-minded I can sometimes be. But no one would ever call me SPACEY.

A good puzzle on the whole, but too many clues are just screaming out for editing.

Jonny Ace 10:06 AM  

Pretty sure Amonra was the conventional spelling for the longest time.

mathgent 10:09 AM  

I liked it very much, especially its charmingly theme. Four synonyms for “throw” which refer to four different things: a romance, a mountain pass, a come on, and a cut of meat.

I seemed to feel the personality of the constructor. Like I was in the company of a person, not a computer.

I learned ZA from my wife, who, like all good Scrabble players, knows all the two-letter words. I’ve also never heard people say it. Why would they? “Pizza” is so much fun to say.

In the old days OPA was clued as Office of Price Administration, the agency in charge of rationing during WW2. It’s also a Greek exclamation.

Nine entries of eight letters or more. Very good. Is having 24 Terrible Threes the price we pay for having an above-average number of longs? Lewis can probably tell us.

LUTZ is also fun to say. Bobby Lutz was an excellent tennis player around the fifties or sixties. He was most successful in doubles. I can’t remember who he partnered with usually. I seem to remember that he and Stan Smith played doubles together in some Davis Cup ties.

Old White Guy 10:10 AM  

Rex, tsk tsk (and the rest of you)

In Wisconsin the kids have always gone out for a 'za.

I really don't care about knowing Alice Paul.

Nancy 10:12 AM  

From yesterday -- for Anon 6:16 -- I left you one word on yesterday's blog (the toughest word) and am leaving it up to you to figure out the rest. I don't think you'll have a problem. Let me know.

T 10:13 AM  

No gay person I know (and I am one myself) says "Happy PRIDE Month!" It's just "Happy PRIDE!" June is PRIDE Month, but the celebration in June is just PRIDE.

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

Thank you.

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

Mistakes like this ruin a crossword.

GILL I. 10:19 AM  

When I finish a puzzle, I want to be able to do a happy little tango or sit out on the dance. Today, I couldn't make up my mind. CATCH PHRASE was begging me to Watusi, but I turned him down. Everything else in the ballroom was decorated so nicely and then you throw me a little bone dance that I never could quite master.
There were fancy gems and then some of the canapés lacked the je nes se quoi. Too many three letter egg rolls. Please don't serve me EES and ZAS and OLD, and besides, they all needed a sauce.
Like @CDilly, I've been to BRENNER PASS. It was years ago and I should've remembered that it's not spelled BRuNNER. I'm going to have to start worshipping that sun god one of these days and ask him to make up his mind on how he wants his name spelled.
I gave a smile to Mr. Dior and his "Happiness is the secret to beauty" quote. What a nice thing to say and absolutely false. My husband gave me a bottle of J'Adore because his secret love, Charlize Theron, said it's the secret. It smells like dryer sheets. My all beauty happiness is making a soufflé that doesn't fall flat.
Interesting waltz but our friend @Lewis wins the crown with his THROW BACK. I'll dance with you.

pabloinnh 10:23 AM  

No problems here wiht ZAS, as there was a pizzeria in my college town appropriately named ZAZA'S. Lots of orders for a ZA from ZA's, as they were one of the few places in town that delivered.

Thought this was a pretty good smooth Wednesday with enough pushback to be interesting. Theme was OK with me.

Amen, RA, is what you say when you agree with your dorm counselor.

@Harry-Does this mean that Oom-pa is actually your grandfather?

OK, I'll stop now.

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

@Old White Guy:
In Wisconsin the kids have always gone out for a 'za.

Now, what can kids in Wisc. possibly know about pizza? That's a Northeast thing: NYC, Boston, and, ideally, New Haven. Note that all Blue Cities with the Best Colleges. Of course. The CA folks are worst, putting pineapple and such on a pie. No wonder they're drowning in Covid.

Citizen Dain 10:33 AM  

Truly shocked that Rex liked this puzzle. While solving it felt like every answer was a lame partial or a dumb acronym or stale crosswordese: BAS, ICU, ATM, EVER, OVI, BOA, AGA, EES, ZAS, ALA, KIN, CPU, HAS, TIS... this is utterly dreadful!

Am I the only one who knew it as AMON-RA? Somehow I learned it with the O and entered it with a great deal of confidence.

gloriosky 10:37 AM  

My Natick was Amon-Ra (which seems also correct according to several Google sources) with Bronner Pass, not correct anywhere but sounds like it could be right. So DNF.

Carola 10:44 AM  

What a nice debut! A theme with a twist and plenty of engaging answers to write in, especially the delightfully vertical ELEVATOR PITCH. After FLING and CHUCK, I saw that we were tossing things about...but to what end? I loved the "Wait a minute, what?" of the reveal and then CATCHing on.

Due to an inexplicable fascination with Alpine passes, I had no trouble with the BRENNER (maybe it's because I live in a state that lacks impressive heights but dares to name its ski areas Cascade Mountain [elev. 1.276 feet] and Tyrol Basin [elev. 1,130 feet]).

Help from previous puzzles: ALICE PAUL. Do-overs: OmA (egotist that I am) and ["I can't] wait."

RooMonster 10:50 AM  

@Anon 9:13
Yep, that's me! Living here in Las Vegas.
If the Knights play like they did yesterday (although, they had about 163 shots on goal, against a back-up goalie that stopped everything!), they might not make it past this round!
Funny thing is, I'm originally from PA! Scranton area. Small world, and all that.
Go Knights Go!

RooMonster Hockey Fan 3 Years Running! (Bandwagon much?)

Nancy 10:54 AM  

@mathgent (10:09) -- Bob LUTZ and Stan Smith were a regular doubles team. LUTZ's niece (not named LUTZ) plays regularly at Central Park. She's one of the very best players there. Is the secret coming from a tennis family and having coaching from a young age? Is the secret growing up in South FL and playing tennis year-round? Or is the secret having Very Good Genes? Genes that would appear to be a lot better than mine, alas.

Regarding the way LUTZ is used in this puzzle: How many people can tell when they watch figure skating what kind of jump it is, triple LUTZ, triple axle or triple toe? Or even the quadruples of each one, respectively. I stare and stare and stare and can never, never tell, though I try very hard. All I see is a big jump and a lot of spinning in the air of some sort or other. And a landing of some sort or other. I assume skaters can tell easily -- the way I can tell when watching a tennis match on TV whether a ball is hit with sidespin, backspin or topspin and many of you perhaps can't.

My favorite line on today's blog so far? @GILL (10:19) on the Dior quote: "What a nice thing to say and absolutely false."

GHarris 10:57 AM  

Totally with @Rex on theme confusion (and summer nights). Wouldn’t it have been easy to avoid the confusion by having the revealer clue say the opposite of part, or the last part, of the starred clues? Put in ova and needed auto check to bail me out by identifying the erroneous square. Once alerted I put in the i which enabled me to get fling so I suppose that’s a dnf.

Whatsername 11:00 AM  

Total agreement with Rex today. Basically a solid and enjoyable puzzle, but BRENNER/ZEROG/AMENRA was a big fat Natick for me. Hurt my PRIDE a bit. Nice to see ALICE PAUL again. Second day in a row for an APPLE plug. ZAS is not a word, expression or PHRASE I EVER heard used for pizzas or anything else. EVEN so it was a good Wednesday effort, and I liked the CATCHy theme. Congratulations on your NYT debut Margaret!

@Nancy: I finally figured out your stumper after your hint late last night. That’s a type of puzzle I’d never done before, but it’s absolutely brilliant.

Public service announcement: I will be MIA for a few days so don’t send out the search parties. Attending the funeral of my beloved uncle, the last of my mother’s four siblings, who was the rare combination of a man with both gentleness and strength. At age 98, he was a proud WW II veteran and Purple Heart recipient. RIP Boomer.

What? 11:03 AM  

The fill is DOER

jae 11:04 AM  

Easy-medium. Another puzzle I needed to stare at post-solve to grok theme. Fun theme answers, liked it. Another fine debut.

...and I just watch the final episode of OZARK season 3, holy moly what an ending! This series is moving into “Breaking Bad” territory.

tkincher 11:05 AM  

Yep, BRENNER PASS / AMEN RA got me, I had an "O" at the cross which seemed plausible, too.

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

now I finally figured out how Sun Ra got his name.

not to mention that ATEN is a Sun synonym. not to mention that the on-line dictionary *doesn't* attribute AMEN to Sun, but
"a primeval deity worshiped especially at Thebes, the personification of air or breath represented as either a ram or a goose (later identified with Amen-Ra)."

let the argument begin.

JD 11:07 AM  

@Southside, Beg to differ. EEs design the electrical infrastructure for all sorts of large scale projects and would of course have an expert understanding of wiring. Of all the engineers I worked with, they were of a type.

Harryp, I liked your train of thought on that Oom Paul Kruger thing. I have South African friends who speak Afrikaans and the grands call them Oma and Opa, Afrikaans having evolved from Dutch which evolved from German (which I guess you knew).

@Frantic, Can't let go of the Xerox thing? Hilarity spit take with oatmeal thanks very much.

Masked and Anonymous 11:10 AM  

M&A did the opposite of CATCH on to the theme revealer immediately. Good to see I have plenty of company.
Sooo … The themers are all the opposites of catch phrases, cuz they are "throw" phrases, right? M&A can live with that. Kinda different theme twist, actually. Like different. And the revealer did have a ?-mark clue, I'll grant -- permit ticket for goofiness.

When in doubt on a vowel intersection, choose "U" (yo, @Roo dude & BRuNNER/AMuN). Wrung again, M&A breath.
Had GROUNDROUND in there for waaay too long. Til I met up with SKYS's gimme clue, that is.

staff weeject pick: ZAS. har. Nicely scrabble-twerked, tho. Part of the primo weeject stacks in all four puzcorners.

YE-OH, Ms. Seikel darlin: U nearly threw m&e on this pup, but it's been fun. Thanx; and congratz on yer fine debut. And for makin things so goofy that @RP even liked yer work. Keep it up.

Masked & Anonym007Us


Graham 11:18 AM  

Really enjoyed this one!

Speedweeder 11:19 AM  

@Nancy - I can see how you came up with DEED, with ALFONSE and DICER sounding reasonable, but the action figure was a DOER, with ALFONSO and RICER.

Regarding Smith and Lutz, my doubles partner was named Robert, so I started calling us Stan Stiff and Bob Klutz. I thought it was funny at the time.

Joe Dipinto 11:21 AM  

The "Grease" clue isn't asking for a specific lyric or even a song, technically. In "Summer Nights", Danny and Sandy separately detail their brief, now-ended romance for the benefit of their friends. They are most definitely recalling their SUMMER FLING.

This must be the dumbest idea for a themers/revealer combination in the history of the Times puzzle.

Frantic Sloth 11:25 AM  

Stupid iPad has a stupid iMind of its own.

Thank you, @Lewis! Knew I could count on you! You, too, @Roo! Ooh! ☺️

@Anon 737am Okay, so "frosh" is plural, but it fails the eye test. Point is, the editing could have and should have cleaned that up.

@Dean M 744am Carb much? Doubt I'd order pizza and garlic bread in any language. 😉

@Z 754am "Rex forgot that Z is the future." 🤣🤣 Although, I have to agree (despite my earlier "pass") that ZA/ZAS is one of those hipster-doofus words that really grate.

@CDilly52 804am & 817am Somehow I knew you would! We're still grownups...right? 😆(sorry that you're so wrong about ZAS, though) 😉

Hand up for the theme clue side-eye and its striking a glancing blow on clarity. Wasn't a dealbreaker for me, BUT HEY* - c'mon!

SUMMERFLING was an itch I couldn't first. Then I read the clue again: "Something reminisced about in the movie Grease" and said to myself "well, t e c h n i c a l l y it didn't specify 'song' guess...maybe...ugh! Just don't want to spend another nanosecond on this, so okay - fine!"
However, logic seems to dictate that if the movie is a, you know, musical that the reference might be a, you know, song.

Itch still unscratched. Mind on an express train to Nolongercareville.

*Hmmm. Maybe I'll continue this backflip to a yesterword on a daily-ish basis...seem to be doing a bunch of it already.

signaling the virtues 11:27 AM  

@Citizen Dane
Rex liked this puzzle because it is another female constructor. Monday and today show the bar is definitely been lowered, but we must start somewhere

Reno retired 11:32 AM  

Have to defend the EE clue. EEs design circuitry in appliances, machinery and all sorts of things the liberal artsy types use every day but refuse to acknowledge their myopic liberalism. So saying they are wiring experts is absolutely correct. Electricians as important execute the wiring designs!

Frantic Sloth 11:34 AM  

@GILL 1019am Mmmm! Dryer sheets! 🤢😆

@JD 1107am LOL! Nope. @Z with his satanic marina in Rye* and me with my Xerox. Maybe I need a collatomy.

@Whatsername 1100am Thank you for the heads-up. So sorry about your Uncle Boomer, but I'll bet he made the most of his long (98 - wow!) life. RIP, fine sir.

*In fairness, he's successfully pried that particular monkey off his back. 😉

Anonymous 11:36 AM  


When I was at Clarkson, back when it was just a tech college (oh, and a bit of hockey), the hierarchy was specific:
everybody else who didn't amount to much

blinker474 11:39 AM  

I thought that the revealer was quite OK, as I was able to understand it without delay. Fling, Pass, Chuck, Pitch jumped out yelling "Not catching!"
But, plainly, mileages vary. If 'pizza', a very pleasant word, continues to be abridged, it will soon be 'z'.

Swagomatic 11:43 AM  

Yep, good puzzle. I got the catch and throw after thinking about it for a minute. Overall, A+.

JD 11:44 AM  

@Signaling, Men have been consistently lowering the bar of the NYT puzzle for quite some time now, starting from the top. Drek and stupid crap are gender neutral.The few women constructors published of late can have only made the most insignificant contributions to that process, if even to nudge the bar at all.

Ellen 11:53 AM  

Got led astray by FLING and CATCH as romantic opposites and wanted one night stand-esque themers

egsforbreakfast 11:54 AM  

My reaction on finishing this last night was similar to Joe Dipinto’s (dumbest idea .....). However, the more I think about it, the more I appreciate it. If someone were to ask you “What is the opposite of the Brenner Pass?” you would say it was a stupid question until they said “It’s the Brenner catch!” Then you would groan, but with a tiny bit of a smile. As Rex said, it’s so dumb, it’s actually good! Plus, I think Rex is likely trying to be encouraging toward the notion of constructors that aren’t old white males. Hence his coy “Is this a debut?” Oh my, I really hadn’t looked at who the constructor was, I’m imaging Rex saying.

Anyway, I’ve landed in the “like it” column, and say congratulations on a good debut to Margaret Seikel.

Dave S 11:54 AM  

Little surprised to see Summer Nights featured in Rex's playlist since it's frequently criticized as sexist (not by me-I think it shows a good consciousness of its characters' lack of self-awareness-who after all are supposed to be in high school even if they are all 32 years old). Have the same objections to the clue, though, even though I think the film is dreadful, only relieved by this song which is one of the few carryovers from the original musical. But I enjoyed the puzzle even if the theme didn't become clear until long after all the work had been put in.

trebore 11:58 AM  

Nice, easy puzzle for mid-week. Nobody knows how ancient Egyptians spelled or pronounced their language and vocalic equivalents are not indicated in the glyphs. So fuggedaboudit. ZA is just deplorable. Once you're west of the Hudson pizza doesn't exist anymore.
As a side, I print out the puzzles when they come online (NYT 7PM PDT), but for about a week I can't get the left side of the puzzle to print. I can't adjust the print layout to correct it. All others (WSJ, WAPO, USA TODAY) print to paper size. Anyone else who prints having a problem? Tks.

Crimson Devil 11:59 AM  

I understand this is debut: Encore, svp. Congrats.
Loved ex-frosh, akin to deer, fish, etc.

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

@JD, @Signaling:

As mentioned some days ago, if you want to see the (d)evolution of the NYTXW, picked up a compilation from the 90s.

Sir Hillary 12:18 PM  

Nice little theme. @Rex's commentary on the revealer is lost on me.

Has there EVER been a better vertical answer than ELEVATORPITCH?

Crossings I noticed:
-- GROUND... crossing SKYS and NEBULA.
-- ...PITCH crossing baseball-clued CALL.
-- FIVEIRON crossing ANGER; when I use the former, the latter usually results.
-- SPACEY crossing SEDUCE (eww!).

Sometimes a lack of knowledge is helpful: I only know SIR Sun God as AMENRA.

I would have spelled it "spacy" but the interwebs tell me I would have been wrong.

WET noodle over WET DISHRAG every day of the week.

Amazing coincidence that DeEd could replace DOER and appear to work just fine, depending on your knowledge of "AFHV" and how you mash potatoes.

jberg 12:21 PM  

@M&A is right, I think -- the opposite of SUMMER FLING is SUMMER catch, which is a phrase -- if the revealer only referred to the last word in the answers, they wouldn't be phrases, so it wouldn't work.

@Nancy, I sympathize about Deed. I actually considered ALFONSe, but went with the O to match his surname. And I have RICER, but no dicer -- so that confirmed DOER for me, but it was close.

I have no idea how I knew the BRENNER PASS. Because it sounds like the Donner Pass? Or maybe, I thought, it was how the Von Trapp family got out of Austria? (Nope -- in the movie they escaped to Switzerland, IRL they just took a train, telling everyone, correctly, that they were booked for a concert tour in America). But somehow I knew it, and it never occurred to me to try AMuN RA.

OmA before OPA, easily fixed; more problematic, I started to write in WET noodle before I noticed it wouldn't fit. I did like the irony of having the epitome of limpness crossing SEDUCE. All in all, a nice puzzle, with more interesting fill than usual.

SCIENCE MINILECTURE: If the force in space was really ZERO G nothing would go into orbit. OK, enough of that.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

Fair point. Re frosh

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

The phrase is sung "SUMMER FLING, don't mean a thing" so, for me, the answer fits the clue just fine.

JD 12:48 PM  

@Anon 12:03, Thanks, agree. I was working the archives hard back in April/May/June.

Z 12:49 PM  

Maybe if the puzzle would accept AMəN RA...
Wikipedia and American Heritage Dictionary both list AMEN and AMoN as acceptable alternatives to AMuN. Maybe if English would use only one letter for the schwa sound it would be different. Someday it will probably be AMaN RA eating ZAS.

Even if you have a niggle that you should remember the BRENNER PASS, that doesn’t rule out the possibility of a BRüNNER PASS, especially on the Austrian border.

@Frantic Sloth - I did hear that AMEN RA likes to summer at the Rye Marina because he is really into wooden roller coasters.

Who got out the rose tinted glasses?

Nancy 12:54 PM  

Oops. A DNF I didn't see and wouldn't have seen. Thank you, @Speedweeder; @Jberg and @Sir Hillary.

I could make excuses and say that I use a DICER and not a RICER on my potatoes -- but the truth is that I don't use either. MUCH too much work for what are just...potatoes, after all. I almost always rely on take-out or restaurant potatoes, rather than cooking them myself. Most kinds of ways of cooking potatoes have to go through many too many steps and processes. Why, you could practically make Duck a l'Orange with that amount of effort. On that rare occasion when I do cook a potato, it's to pop a raw sweet potato in the microwave.

As you can see, there's more than just an entire continent separating me from @GILL. And there's more than just half a world separating me from @chefwen :)

Teedmn 1:06 PM  

I liked the little aha I got when I realized we were dealing with "throw" phrases. Yes, the revealer clue was awkward but it got the job done.

Margaret Seikel, congratulations on your debut. Nice puzzle.

@mathgent, at my friends' cabin, where all of my Scrabble games are played, we have rejected the words that the Scrabble dictionary allows and we adhere to the original rules of the game. 'ZA is not allowed, :-).

@Gill, I laughed out loud at your DIOR comment. Thank goodness my husband's secret (or not so secret) love, Cameron Diaz, (she's way too tall for him!) has never PITCHed a perfume, as far as I know.

McKay Hinckley 1:11 PM  

Limp as a wet dishrag? Is that even a phrase? Noodle obviously. Filled in “noodle” immediately and couldn’t figure out what was going wrong when the crosses weren’t fitting.

Harryp 1:12 PM  

@pabloinnh 10:23am, more like my Dutch Uncle. The sound advice given was to go from the known to the unknown and abjure needless speculation.

Anonymous 1:27 PM  


re: taters.

your kidding right?

rinse off the dirt
cut to quarters (or eighths, if yuge)
mash with a ... potato masher and some dairy (butter, cream, milk, sour cream) and may be a bit of garlic and very burnt bacon if your devilish

one pot, two tools, a bit of arm exercise

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

Rex, you're being way too rough on the theme. It worked, it was fine, it did what it was supposed to do. Maybe a bit more of Tuesday theme than Wednesday.
Absolutely correct about the natick that got me. Just left that space blank till the end and then got it on my second guess.I also agree that zas is bothersome.

Nancy 2:18 PM  

Anon (1:27) -- Those are mashed potatoes you're describing, right? You left out peeling them, right?

Mashed potatoes = unexciting potatoes, as far as I'm concerned. They're easy enough to find in restaurants (just not the Asian rice-serving ones), they're not expensive to buy already prepared, and just about anyone makes them better than I would.

Of course no one makes my favorite kinds of potatoes anymore: Baked Stuffed Potatoes; Hashed Brown Potatoes; Potatoes Lyonnaise; Potatoes au Gratin and Potato Pancakes. Can't find them anywhere. Well, of course you can't. They require a tremendous amount of effort and they're still jusT...potatoes. Restaurants won't turn a profit for all that work the way they can, say, if they make a nice Veal Marsala or a Chocolate Souffle. I guess I'll have to depend on the kindness of ambitious home cooks like our GILL.

bocamp 2:28 PM  

Thanks, @Margaret, liked your puz very much! 😊 The throw-phrases made perfect sense to me, although I usually don't pay attention to themes until afterwards, except on the rare occasions, when I need help polishing the solve.

Apparently I'm in the minority today, as I found this to be a somewhat tough, chewy Wednesday (4 mins. over my ave.). It was like an early-morning 2-mile run when all cylinders are not firing. Many answers (which I ultimately knew) were just not playing nice. Nevertheless, I was successful and felt a sense of accomplishment and gratitude.

The only three I don't recall having heard of were: "zas", "elevator pitch" and "Alfonso". Had many pizzas back in the day (E. Wash. U, or College as it was then) and just don't recall that terminology. Gave it a momentary side-eye, then quickly thought of pizza, so was content that I'd spelt "lutz" correctly. Elevator pitch is quite nice; I think I'll remember that. Cut the cord years ago, so "Alfonso" was a mystery (thank you crosses).

"Amen Ra" I dropped in immediately and was borne out by "Brenner", which I knew. I'll keep an eye out for "Amon" and/or "Amun" in future, tho.

Had "oma" before "opa".

Learned that "Amazonas" is both the Portuguese and Spanish word for "Amazon".

Read lots of sci-fi, so "Nebula" was a gimme.

The five-iron was my go-to club in the day (high school golf team).

"Serif" was serendipitous, as I had just finished watching this prior to doing the puz.

Had just recently read up on "Alice Paul" and added her to my "Admired People" Pinterest board.

Have a great day 🌈

Signing off from cloudy (and mild) Vancouver, BC

Joe Dipinto 2:29 PM  

Almost forgot:


Leaping into the Top 10 in 1968:

Bounding into the Top 10 in 1969:
Fructose and glucose

Anonymous 3:06 PM  


there's much nutrition in the potato skin. rinse off the dirt. leave 'em on.

you do eat the skin of baked right? of course, if you go the aluminum foil method, all you get is a boiled; yuck. 450 degrees for at least an hour, naked, oiled a bit. crispy skin, fluffy potato. eat the whole thing. break open and load up with sour cream, may be a bit of chives, bacon.

GILL I. 3:44 PM're much too kind. I'm no trained chef but I do love to cook. I also try to invent things in the kitchen and I have the perfect guinea husband. There is something ethereal about turning an ordinary potato into a work of art. Take your mashed potato. By the way, those already made things in the store taste like cardboard.
First, we'll talk mashed. need a RICER. I make these all the time and I promise you, even you can make them. White potatoes, peeled, cut into little chunks, boil for 12 minutes. Run them through the RICER, add about half a pound of butter (yes) and let sit for a while. Add some whipped cream, a little bit of milk, salt and pepper and then stir, stir, stir until fluffy. Pour into a casserole and then top them with some very good grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stick under the broiler until the top turns brown. All of this, my friend, takes no time and any leftover can be made into potato pancakes. But...that's another puzzle.
By the way....our true chef...@chefwen, I understand, makes the best blueberry cupcakes this side of the Mississippi.

tea73 3:54 PM  

I lived in Germany for five years and when ever the Germans got too German for us we'd take off for Italy via the BRENNER PASS, so I never even saw AMEN-RA, though I think that's how I spell it anyway.

My oldest was born in Germany and my parents briefly considered being OMA and OPA, but decided that it wouldn't be fair to the other grandchildren. In the end, on our side both grandfathers wanted to be called the same thing and it caused no end of confusion.

My kid married a woman from Hong Kong and I am hopeful that we'll come up with different names for the grandchildren assuming they produce us some.

I liked the twisty-ness of the revealer.

Michelle YEOH is fabulous in Star Trek Discovery as she has been in everything I've seen her in.

Nice to see a shout out to the NEBULA awards.

Unknown 4:18 PM  

Easy fun Wednesday.
Re: Nancy's ponderings on why some folks are great tennis players: Yes, good genes and growing up in Florida all help. When I played for my college freshman tennis team, our #1 freshman player was from Virginia, and he had been the #4 player in high school. I was #1 on my high school team from NY, yet only #6 at college. That taught me that the level of high school tennis down South was much higher than in the northern states. I'm guessing that's still true. Then you throw in that your uncle was one of America's top players in the 1970s? Yeah, genes go a long way in sports.
PS Last night, I came across rex's very first submission to the NYT in August of 2010, and it was not bad!! I solved it before i knew who constructed it.

Anonymous 5:06 PM  

it's much easier to play non-frozen field sports in areas that don't freeze. the Williams sisters are a prime example. golfers tend to be southern. hockey players, not so much.

KnittyContessa 5:15 PM  

I liked this puzzle just fine - except for the Grease clue. I have watched that movie more times than I will admit to and Sandy would never ever in a million years refer to their summer romance as a FLING. SUMMER lovin, yes. SUMMER nights, yes, but no no no to SUMMERFLING.

Harryp 5:29 PM  

@Unknown 4:18pm, I looked it up, and I think you are referring to the Tuesday August 17th 2010 puzzle by Michael Sharp. I had completed it at that time in 12:42 and my Tuesday Average is exactly 12:00 now, so maybe my time is improving. Thanks for pointing it out!

Barbara S. 5:31 PM  

I wrote a long, rambly post yesterday, talking about both the XW puzzle and the SB, and it completely vanished into the ether. Maybe I said something the Mods didn't like, but I can't for the life of me think what that could have been. Does this happen? I mean, the disappearance of posts for mysterious reasons? Anyway, I didn't have time to reconstruct it so was silent, and lost my chance to boast about

****SB ALERT****
getting QB yesterday! In spite of the rejection of both RAILYARD and LAIRD, which annoyed me. Today's is a monster and I'm 4 words away. Inspiration may have flown, but I'll keep at it for a bit longer. A tip o' the hat to all the SBers out there. SB talk has been thin the last couple of days, probably to the relief of most.

Whatsername 6:11 PM  

@Frantic and @ GILL: thank you so much for your kind words.

Jeff B. 6:40 PM  

For once I agree with just about everything Rex said.

Colette 6:54 PM  

Could not read all the comments and not weigh in on the Zas controversy. Being a native Chicagoan, having lived in NY for the last 40 years, yes, I like thin crust, and NY definitely has the best of that. However, for all you ethnocentric NY pizza eaters, I will say this: You have not EATEN pizza until you have had true Chicago Deep Dish pizza at the source: Gulliver's, Gino's East, or the original Uno's or Due's will do. And as for the puzzle, I thought it was on the easy side for a Wednesday, but had some interesting trickiness to it and didn't see the theme at all until explained by OFL.

Pamela 7:19 PM  

I agree with the most of the nits today, but BRENNER/AMENRA wasn’t a problem for me. The god has shown up many times around here, and the PASS also seemed familiar. With the LF in place from the suffragette and the FOOD court, ALFONSO was a no brainer. Not much else to say, except:

Hated 5D and 14A.


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

@Barbara S- congrats on QB yesterday!

I’ve had a busy few days so have only played to Genius lately. Today’s word count is ridiculous, I’m at G, still missing a bunch but will have to stop soon. Hope tomorrow will be more quality, less quantity.

bocamp 8:19 PM  

@ Barbara S. 5:31 PM – Sorry that your post got deleted. 😔 I wonder if the mods have been instructed to clamp down on "SB" posts or posts that include "SB Alerts". If so, I can kinda understand where they're coming from. When I started seeming them (not sure exactly when that was) I thought maybe they were some kind of spoiler alerts re: the previous day's crossword (which might spoil a late solver's experience). As I started to look closer, I could see that it seemed to have something to do with word lists that may have resulted from past crosswords. I started to feel a tinge of "being left out of something that might be fun (maybe a secret society or some such)" LOL

Eventually, someone explained what SB stood for, so I went to the NYT puzzles and games site and the rest is history: I'm hooked! 🤓

I think it would be skookum if someone would start a SB blog, then there wouldn't be a "possible conflict" on this one. Maybe I'm off base here, and it's just an anomaly that there haven't been as many SB posts in the last couple of days.

Anyway, I imagine we'll know what's up, soon, and if this post is DOA, I'll know even sooner! LOL

BTW, I was Googling to see if there is such a SB blog, but so far haven't found one. However, I did come across a couple of nice articles on SB, one from two years ago (likely just after it started), and another from earlier this year. > here Cheers! 😊

Runs with Scissors 8:41 PM  

I enjoyed this one. My BIASES were ACTIVE, but my GPS was right up there with GROUND CHUCK.

@Frantic Sloth 6:09 a.m. - as at least one other has said, thanks for the Watership Down referent. Made me chortle, which in itself is worthy.

I've only known the dude/dudette as AMENRA. Never have seen the Amun version.

My LAPTOP runneth over. Need more storage.

There was a theme????



Somewhere out there.

JC66 8:50 PM  

****SB ALERT****


The ****SB ALERT**** allows commenters who have no interest in SB to skip these posts.

A Moderator 9:13 PM  

I never saw @Barbara S's post.

SB comments would not be a reason to censor, obviously.

Sometimes comments just disappear, although it rarely happens.

Another Moderator 9:51 PM  

I never saw @Barbara S’s post either. There’s been no discussion about the S.B. posts at all and I have approved all S.B. posts in the queue when I have checked.

Runs with Scissors 9:59 PM  

***SB ALERT****

I gave up at 66 words and 295 points. My brain is fried from work. There's always tomorrow.

bocamp 10:08 PM  

****SB ALERT****

@JC66 8:50 PM – Thank you! I'll do better 😔

bocamp 10:17 PM  

****SB ALERT****

@A Moderator & @Another Moderator – Thank you for the clarifications, and I apologize for the inference that any of you may have deleted @Barbara S.'s post. I'm happy that all is well! 😊

bocamp 10:28 PM  

I just got hammered by @Frank Longo's Sunday puz from Oct. 1, 1995. I got two cells wrong (one of which I should have known), and was fortunate not to have had more. What a great puzzle, tho, and a worthwhile learning experience. I'll have another go at it in a year's time, which I do with all the old puzzles where I've had dnfs. 🤞

JC66 10:34 PM  


BTW, mazel tov on going blue!

Pamela 10:44 PM  

@bocamp. Yes, congrats on blue!

And welcome to SB, or should I say sorry? I’ve only been hooked for a few weeks, but it feels permanent.🙄

bocamp 11:00 PM  

@ JC66 @ Pamela – Okay, I give … what does "Blue" refer to? And, assuming it's a good thing, thx. 🤓

JC66 11:04 PM  


You registered with Google so now your name appears in blue (and when we click on it, we can see your profile).

JC66 11:06 PM  


And you don't have to prove you're not a robot anymore.

Eniale 11:19 PM  

@Nancy - re Duck a l'Orange! Where I shop, at a discount supermarket north of Seattle, you can buy a frozen duck with a little package of high-fructose orange-flavored syrup to baste it with. 450 degrees for a couple of hours, no sweat at all. But the clean-up!

**SB** comments:

I gave up today with 3 to go before QB; I'd never have made it because one of the missing ones was a word I absolutely do not know. Feel better than if it had been a careless omission like yesterday.

bocamp 11:25 PM  

@ JC66 – 👍

bocamp 11:28 PM  

****SB ALERT****

@ Pamela – Many thx for the welcome; you made my day! 😊

bocamp 11:31 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 11:56 PM  

*****SB Alert*****

@Barbara S. I’ll add my congrats on your QB yesterday. I got all but the second pangram which I don’t think I would have come up with. Way too many words today, I still have 7 to go.

Greg 6:51 AM  

got stuck at AMENRA/BRENNERPASS. there's an Australian wine called Amon-Ra, so I went with that, which gave me Bronner Pass. Since I'd never heard of BRENNERPASS, seemed just as likely.

Burma Shave 10:11 AM  


an OLD guy who’d DOER on CALL,
they’d REMAIN ACTIVE in some NEW thing,


spacecraft 10:52 AM  

What's not to love? It's got my name in it! Even the letter add-on, ZEROG, occurs in *space!* Instant forgiveness!

No problem here with the BRENNERPASS: I actually traveled through it while hitchhiking through Europe. An Italian truck driver picked me up; we stopped in a little town and he indicated I should wait (neither of us spoke a word of the other's language, but I knew what was going on). After about twenty minutes he returned, beaming. A fun trip--and the scenery was breathtaking. Such were the '60s.

Our newest female constructor hits all the marks with this one--including DOD Michelle YEOH. Welcome to the fold, Margaret, and have your first eagle!

thefogman 11:09 AM  

Pretty good but not perfect. The reveal was a bit of a letdown, but the rest was mostly okay. I might feel differently had I got burned by the AMENRA - BRENNANPASS Natick.

rondo 11:46 AM  

At first OFL must have forgotten that this puz was from a lady constructor. Big swing in his opinion up there. Lotsa threes, and many of them not too good. 31d a shout out to @SPACEY. I used to hear them called pies and ZAS, not any more. Ms. YEOH gets a yeah baby. Not great, not terrible; you make the CALL.

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

Concerning pizza, nowhere do they have better cheese than Wisconsin, ergo, the pizza there is usually very good. Personally, the very worst pizza I ever tasted was out East (Mass).

rainforest 2:02 PM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle both from a theme standpoint, and the overall evident quality of the answers. I rarely care how many 3's there are, and the ones here were just fine, in my opinion. Nice to see SPACEY in there though I never think @Spacey is SPACEY.

Excellent themers and I liked the revealer for its oppositeness. I also appreciated the uniqueness of many answers. Great job!

rondo 2:46 PM  

I beg to differ, from A to Z there are at least a dozen 'bad-ish' threes: AGA ATM BAS CPU EES GPS ICU OPA OVI TSA USA ZAS.

leftcoaster 5:13 PM  

Was slowed down at the BRENNER PASS by AMEN-RA, and decided that ZAS was short for pizZAS, pepperoni or not.

Thought the CATCH PHRASE clue/ revealer was a little awkward but worked well enough.

Generally, I think that proper noun trivia is often used as an easy way to toughen up a puzzle, and this one reminded me a little of that.

Still, liked the puzzle and enjoyed the solve.

Diana, LIW 7:23 PM  

A one-letter dnf where the unknown god crosses the unknown pass. Phhhlllgggg.

Diana, LIW - I like words

Guilherme Gama 8:54 PM  

The Amazon River in Portuguese is Rio Amazonas, which the clue was referring to.

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