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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Constructor: Jeremy Newton

Relative difficulty: Easy (or Challenging, if superhero movies aren't really your thing) (3:11)

THEME: CHADWICK BOSEMAN (7D: Late portrayer of 40-Across) — I'd say it's a tribute puzzle to the late actor, but honestly it's just a rather boring THE BLACK PANTHER PUZZLE with the actor as just one element ... :( 

Theme answers:
  • HEART-SHAPED HERB (17A: Source of 40-Across's 63-Across)
  • SUPERHUMAN POWER (63A: See 17-Across)
  • T'CHALLA (24D: Alter ego of 40-Across)
  • WAKANDA (25D: Home of 40-Across)
Word of the Day: Carli LLOYD (48A: U.S. women's soccer star Carli) —
Carli Anne Hollins (née Lloyd; born July 16, 1982), known as Carli Lloyd, is an American soccer player for the Sky Blue FC in the National Women's Soccer League and the United States women's national soccer team as a midfielder. She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist (2008 and 2012), two-time FIFA Women's World Cup champion (2015 and 2019), two-time FIFA Player of the Year (2015 and 2016), and a three-time Olympian (2008, 2012, and 2016). Lloyd scored the gold medal-winning goals in the finals of the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2012 Summer Olympics. Lloyd also helped the United States win their titles at the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women's World Cups and she played for the team at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup where the U.S. finished in second place. Lloyd has made over 290 appearances for the U.S. national team, placing her third in caps, and has the fourth-most goals and seventh-most assists for the team. (wikipedia)
• • •

I know this looks like a tribute, but I have misgivings about tribute puzzles in general, and this one in particular feels thin, opportunistic, and just generally vulture-y. It's a rather ordinary, straightforward, pure trivia puzzle about a movie masquerading as a tribute puzzle. Feels like it was made before Boseman's death and was hastily trotted out in order to ... what, capitalize on some post mortem newsworthiness? Or else it was actually composed as a tribute, in which case it is a very weak example of the kind. Boseman was an accomplished actor who played many noteworthy roles, but this puzzle just defines him by one. An actual *Boseman* tribute might have dwelt on the actor's career in some way; even if it was just one of these typical plug-in-the-data-type tributes, it could have showcased the breadth of his career in some way. But no, what we get is a puzzle composed solely because the central Across and Down are 15s that cross perfectly at the center "K." However well-intentioned this was, it does a disservice to Boseman, and it's just not a great puzzle, conceptually. And the fill, yikes. Way below average. Then you've got FRENCH OPEN and "AMEN TO THAT!" out there looking weirdly like theme answers (longer than both the actual Down themers), but they're not. The whole thing plays real awkward. I was (morbidly, sadly, slightly drunkenly) joking with friends immediately after RBG's death about how long it would take [constructor's name redacted] to get a tribute puzzle into the NYTXW, but then one of my friends reminded me that there was already an RBG-themed puzzle very recently, so we would be spared that particular worst-case death-puzzle scenario. You don't "honor" anyone by churning out a mediocre puzzle. Or by pretending that your mediocre movie puzzle is actually a tribute puzzle. 

And SUPERHUMAN POWER is a clunker. The word is SUPERPOWER. That is the word. When required word length forces you into bad or off answers, rethink things, please! And fillwise, rethink virtually everything here today. I mean, OSHA SLOE as ASDOI before I even got out of the gate? Red flag. And then MSS SOHOT DDE ALB AMFM ATAD OWIE FEMA (*and* OSHA!?) NOS and on and on. Plus an unfortunate and cringey "YO MAMA" (49D: Playground joke intro). In different hands, I can imagine a Boseman tribute (or a "Black Panther"-inspired puzzle) coming off quite well. But tributes actually have to be *better* than average to do what they're supposed to do, i.e. truly honor the deceased. Don't think just because you deign to build a puzzle around someone that you are perforce honoring them. You honor by doing good work. Period.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:02 AM  

Quite the learning experience for a Tuesday because I never saw the movie or read the comic book. And I never heard of Carli LLOYD. So it was a challenge but ultimately doable from guesses/crosses.

On the plus side - no mention of Bix Beiderbecke.

N 12:11 AM  

Agree in general about the quality of the puzzle, though overall I'll forgive it a little and accept any tribute for someone so deserving.

Rex makes a great point about how a great tribute would've highlighted more of his work. Didn't occur to me while doing it, and I completely agree. I was very pleasantly surprised to see how much the baseball world reacted to his passing, knowing him from 42, showing that between Black Panther and 42 (and Jackie Robinson), you have enough of a known backbone with which to really fill things out with the lesser known parts of his career.

There's a comment on NYT Wordplay complaining about how obscure this one is because of Black Panther (and T'Challa or Wakanda) and names like Carli Lloyd and Bill Maher. What the hell? I legitimately do not understand at all how you can make such complaints with some of the crosswords the NYT puts out, stuffed to the brim with MORE obscure pop culture AND from thirty or more years ago. I also believe that even if a pop culture reference skews younger, it's fair because at least older people were alive for it. There is no way in hell for anyone under 30 or 40 to get some of the clues we see much more frequently than in this puzzle.

Am I wrong? Someone tell me if they felt this one was obscure in those sections.

Dan Sachs 12:19 AM  

No one said it was a tribute puzzle. It was a Black Panther puzzle.

Anonymous 12:19 AM  

The word "The" in The Black Panther doesn't seem right. "The" Lone Ranger, yes. "The" Superman, no. "The" Spider-Man, no. "The" Black Panther, NO.

Pamela 12:26 AM  

Epic fail. Let me (not) count the Naticks. Between the action movie (unseen my me) and the numerous sports references, it was not only not in my wheelhouse...oh never mind, you get the point. In the end, I just went to Wikipedia and read the details I needed to finish.

Sweet dreams, everyone.

jae 12:47 AM  

Medium. I’ve never seen the movie or read the comic and I don’t follow soccer of any sort so the TCHALLA/LLOYD/WAKANDA intersection was Natickish at best. Fortunately, WAKANDA sorta rang a bell and LLOYD was the most obvious guess.

Not bad for a cross-referenced-super-hero-trivia-based tribute puzzle. Liked it slightly more than @Rex did.

marty 12:48 AM  

The reason this came off as a poor Boseman tribute puzzle is because it wasn't for him. It's a tribute puzzle to the Black Panther.

Frantic Sloth 1:45 AM  

Oh, joy and celebrations. It's looky-loo time in the barnyard. And a tribute theme as well. Whee.

Okay. Okay. It's slack time because CHADWICKBOSEMAN, but way to employ a cheap, underhanded manipulation to get me to like this puzzle, dude. Sheesh.

Okay. Okay. So, maybe the looky-loo clues weren't that awful either. No need for the "With/See Whiplash" collar this time, at least, so there's that.

Okay. Okay. So there were some fun entries like AMENTOTHAT & YOMAMA (second cousin, thrice removed to Yo-Yo Ma) and a lot of the usual suspects for fill, but nothing bad enough to make me wanna take a hostage or anything.


Always wanted to COHOST a TWA MOLT, but the food is invariably so lackluster.


bocamp 1:46 AM  

Thx @ Jeremy Newton for the challenge; learned some new things. :)

Indeed, a challenge for me; over my Wednes. ave., but was well worth the struggle. Learned about "Chadwick Boseman" and his movie. I'd seen his name in the sad news of his passing and heard of the movie, but most of the theme related answers depended on fair crosses, and @ Jermemy and @ Will saw to that. :)

Wanted "save" and then had "smor" and finally got to "stow" for the win.

****SB ALERT****

Finally got my long sought-after "QB", albeit a day late. LOL

Peace 和平 paix 🕊

Lee Coller 2:07 AM  

I don't know this actor, never saw Black Panther, and never heard of Carli Lloyd (crossing three obscure theme answers). First Tuesday puzzle I can remember giving up on.

chefwen 2:13 AM  

This was difficult for me, haven’t been to the movies in almost 20 years. We had one theater here, closed now, but it was so old I was afraid if I went I’d stick to something, like the floor.

I was using a People Magazine as my table while solving and didn’t realize that CHADWICK BOSEMAN was on the cover until I had finished. Had I read the magazine when I received it, this puppy would have been a whole lot easier.

Had HEART SHAPED HEAD for a while and tried to stretch THE pink PANTHER into 40A. Couldn’t have been farther off base if I tried.

Clawed my way to the end, then read the article. Quite an amazing man, gone too soon. I remember Rex commenting when he passed away.

N 3:12 AM  

Hahaha - well, there's my answer already. I thought women's soccer and Black Panther are near the pinnacle of pop culture, but then again I'm a sub-30 year old sports fan. I'll concede that maybe these were obscure.

@Dan Sachs - it's clearly meant to be a Boseman tribute, but more importantly the constructor explicitly says as much in his note in NYT Wordplay.

Loren Muse Smith 4:15 AM  

I’m with @Dan Sachs and @marty - I took this as a BLACK PANTHER movie theme. That Jeremey said at XWord Info that it’s a BOSEMAN tribute doesn’t affect my opinion at all. Some days we get punny themes, some days word ladders, vowel progressions, add-a-letter. . . There’s plenty of room for a timely theme like this.

Rex – love the word perforce. I had added that into the rotation a while back but forgot about it. It’s back in.

HAHA feels more like a genuine laugh than LOL. The LOLs I notice are the typed equivalent of a little nervous giggle that rarely accompanies anything actually funny.

I ran out of flour yesterday while making bagels lol.

as opposed to

It was when he leaned over that we all heard the RIP, HAHA.

MOCHA has always been this vague thing that I didn’t understand. Is it coffee? Is it chocolate? A combination? A NEW AGE descriptor word thrown in to make the quaff seem fancy? I investigated… MOCHA is in fact a kind of coffee bean from Yemen that has a chocolatey flavor.

That worrisome sound? When you bend over? I’m fast approaching the age where a RIP would be the least of my worries. (See 32A)

“Like some modern spirituality” - INTIMIDATING AS CRAP didn’t fit. I’m not sure I understand the “modern spirituality” part. Does this include healing crystals and amulets and stuff? To vamoose the bad energy through shamanic psychotherapy? Rage rituals? These people frighten me and make me feel wooden, unwoke. (And I imagine this will insult the hell out of some readers, but, well, that’s one way to skin that exorcism cat, right?)

POOPED – I’ve been listening to this podcast called Ologies where Alie Ward picks an “ology” and finds an expert to interview. It’s really well done. On the way to school yesterday I was listening to an animal POOP expert and learned that wombats’ POOP is square. Hmm. Square peg, round. . . Well. You know the drill.

Rex – I bet a bunch of us had that thought about when a tribute puzzle to RBG will run. I’m thinking a proper tribute to her would be to appoint a decent, reasonable judge lest we end up with a nonet that is truly ruthless.

ZenMonkey 4:29 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle as a small meditation on how much joy Boseman brought to moviegoers.

WAKANDA forever.

David in Brevard 6:01 AM  

Well that was truly awful. To (almost) complete a reasonable Tuesday puzzle in decent time (under 20 minutes) and then be completely stumped by an impenetrable Natick in the very center that absolutely requires a Google lookup is a killer for me. Carli LLOYD rings a bell, somewhere in the distance but WAKANDA and TCHALLA were no hope. This puzzle should have had a warning on it that it might create crossword-rage in unfamiliar solvers (c’mon we need a new word for that).
I want my money back!

That’s it from autumnal David in Brevard

Grouch 6:15 AM  

Why am I supposed to Laugh Out Loud at your SB/QB comment? I don't get that. How is it funny?

ChuckD 6:17 AM  

Tribute puzzles are right up there with quote puzzles for me. In this case - knew BOSEMAN primarily from 42 which he was fantastic in - don’t watch comic book movies any longer after they made the 50th remake of Spider-Man etc so the movie specific trivia I had to back into. Agree that HUMAN is redundant and not used. MAHAR crossing PARIAH is fitting. I liked FRENCH OPEN and AMEN TO THAT. Rest of the fill was flat.

The tribute puzzle usually suffers from the time and space spent on the subject - this one was no different.

OffTheGrid 6:29 AM  

Oh where to begin? clues referencing other clues, double referencing other clues, made up names crossing an unknown name, OOHOOH, YOMAMA, SOHOT, ODS. More ugliness has been cited by others. This was, sadly, not very good.

Michiganman 6:32 AM  

If Rex was too harsh yesterday, he was too kind today.

Lewis 6:37 AM  

I came into this with a handicap, not having seen the film (though I want to at some point) or remembering the actor''s name without some letters filled in. (I did remember the actor, if not his name, because I watch the news, and when he passed, I learned much about him to be inspired by.)

This made the puzzle all the more fun, throwing me into hole like that and giving me a rare Tuesday obstacle course to overcome. Which I did, until my last square, the TCHALLA / LLOYD cross, a coin toss between L or F for me, and I guessed wrong. No matter. I still had a great time getting over the hill of my knowledge deficit.

This was a tough construction project for Jeremy, even with his experience (19 NYT puzzles). There were 71 theme squares, almost 1/3 of the puzzle (!), with three theme answers crossing THE BLACK PANTHER. Whew! And HAHA, he actually and amazingly did it. Plus, there was a mini theme of answers ending with A (11).

Thank you, Jeremy, for reminding me to see this film I've heard many things about, for revving up my chops in this early week puzzle, and for floating Boseman back into my consciousness, an angel when he was here on earth at a time when angels are needed.

SouthsideJohnny 6:54 AM  

I agree with those who are of the opinion that it is not a tribute puzzle (not even close in my opinion) - it is a trivia quiz, and like others I was also stumped by the awful triple-trivia Natick of TCHALLA LLOYD and WAKANDA, which renders the puzzle pretty much unsolvable (in the absence of purely random guesses). Not all that unusual for the Times - unfortunate that their callous attitude toward their solvers has seeped into a Tuesday-difficult puzzle which is really unfair. Reminds me of the way the airlines used to just treat their customers like garbage - we’ll see how many people take to flying again over the next ten years if things ever return to normal, the same way we will see if the Times puzzles get any better when Shortz finally leaves (hopefully they will bring in some fresh, new talent instead of hiring from within).

Anonymous 6:56 AM  

So now we're supposed to know movies/comic strips that we've never even heard of?

A.G. Bojaxhiu 6:59 AM  

"Don't think just because you deign to build a puzzle around someone that you are perforce honoring them. You honor by doing good work. Period"

What a condescending, self-righteous, holier-than-thou piece of drivel.

kitshef 7:20 AM  

Lordy, did I hate this. And it's nothing to do with the theme, which was fine.

The puzzle ODS on CECs: “Pick me! Pick me!”, “lol”, “You’re oversharing”, “Immediately!”, “You said it!”, “Ta-ta!”, “Sex-x-xy!”, “Same here” and Fancy-y-y. That is six more than any puzzle should be permitted to have; nine more than I’d like to see.

And don’t bring that pathetic ALB here. Alberta is AB, or ALTA. It’s not ALB.

Finally, there is the absurd “SUPERHUMAN POWER”. Superhuman is a thing. Superpower is a thing. Superhuman power is just wasting our time.

Hungry Mother 7:22 AM  

I read comic books as a kid in the 40s, but haven’t been paying attention since, so this was a woe. I got everything from crosses, so fair enough. My favorite when I was a tot: Wonder Woman.

Tooth Doc 7:39 AM  

USA women win 2 world cups, and people say they’ve never heard of Carli Lloyd. That’s so bad.

pabloinnh 7:50 AM  

Saw The Black Panther some years ago, so of course I remembered TCHALLA, HAHA, LOL. Wanted to spell BOZEMAN with a Z, as that's where my old college roommate is living. Had totally forgotten anything about the HEARTSHAPEDHERB. And I knew the actor had died recently but needed all the crosses to come up with his name Other than that, no real hangups.

Carli LLOYD is a wonderful soccer player and the USWNT is more fun to watch than the USMNT.

And TWA reminded me of living in Spain and when I told my Spanish family what airline I was flying home on they all said "La Too-ahh", since Spanish has no W and the letter was assumed to be pronounced as a vowel.

OK for a Tuesday but not one I'll put in my scrapbook. Thanks for the diversion, JN.

mmorgan 8:00 AM  

He was a wonderful, highly talented, versatile actor. A very sad loss... in this time of very sad losses.

Xcentric 8:01 AM  

Put me down for somewhat challenging for the two reasons listed in Rex’s rating.
No AHAa no “that was neat“ just a struggle to make some fill by crosses.
Never understood the need to idolize actors and actresses.

pt5374 8:01 AM  

Not sure how a movie that made a billion dollars can be considered obscure compared to some of the actual obscure movie references that often appear in the puzzle

Music Man 8:04 AM  

Thanks for the mention of the ologies podcast - will check that out!

Music Man 8:05 AM  


Inigo 8:14 AM  

This word deign. I do not think it means what you think it means.

ow a paper cut 8:25 AM  

Chadwick Boseman was fantastic as Black Panther. I am happy to be reminded of this movie.

Nancy 8:43 AM  

It took all of my SUPER HUMAN POWER to flog myself through this mindless comics HERO nonsense, chock full of well-established crossword puzzle DON'TS (otherwise known as Natick crosses). Did she end up with a Natick? Actually she ended up with two. Did she care? Not bloody likely. What she would most like to do now is to send CHADWICK BOSEMAN and his alter ego TCHAL?A, along with his (their?) HEART SHAPED HERB, (whatever that is), right back to WAKAN?A and, while they're at it, they can take the soccer star with them. Awful. Absolutely and irremediably awful.

TJS 8:44 AM  

@Frantic, is your comment a translation from another language ?

RooMonster 8:48 AM  

Hey All !
Well, dang, I thought I liked this puz, but after reading y'all. I guess I'm supposed to not like it. Maybe I like it cause I knew the themers, as I am a fan of SUPERHUMAN movies. Maybe give these movies a chance, don't just write them off as drivel if you've never seen them. They're actual well written, acted, and have you caring about the characters. IMHO.

Some dreck, as all puzs have, but didn't seem like much to me, or at least spread out enough to not be quite noticeable. MSS the worst one.

Don't see the big deal of having answers longer than themers, it's an arbitrary rule. Will basically made it, he can break it.

Four 15 themers, three crossing the central Down 15! There's something! Plus, two others crossing the Center Across themer, symmetrical! Nice. All but negates the unneeded THE of 40A. Cut Jeremy that slack to make a cool puz. Don't consider it a tribute (even if the constructor says it is!), it's just a puz about the movie.

So gonna stand over here by myself in the "Liked this cool puz" corner. It's better to be friends with THE BLACK PANTHER that enemies. 😋

Three F's

Sir Hillary 8:51 AM  

This was one of those days where I realized early on that the theme pertained to something I knew little about and that I was going to have to rely on crosses to get some of the theme answers. And that's exactly what happened. This being a Tuesday, it wasn't that hard.

To me, this reads 100% as a BLACKPANTHER theme, with the character's portrayer as one of the answers. Learning that the constructor intended it as a CHADWICKBOSEMAN theme lowers my opinion of the puzzle considerably. How do you create a tribute to an actor, then have five of the six theme answers pertain to a single character that actor played? CHADWICKBOSEMAN was far from a one-trick pony, but you would never know that from this puzzle.

Not to much to say about the fill; I like the timely FRENCHOPEN, but there's not much else of note.

SANEST as "most logical" seems a bit off. You can be logical without being sane and vice versa, can't you?

Blue Stater 8:52 AM  

Never heard of the movie, never heard of the actor, so this one was a tribute puzzle, all right: a tribute to the charming Boston suburb of Natick.

pmdm 8:58 AM  

Superhero puzzles are really not my thing. But my problem was not that this was a tribute puzzle, which I don't really have any emotions about. What bothered me is it contained too many clues on a subject I know nothing about. It was the quantity that put me off. Even the ability to guess 40A ahd 63A didn't improve my mood very much.

I have to admire Lewis's attitude. I supposed I could have done a little research and stopped with less unfilled squares. But as a rule, I don't do that on a Tuesday. If the puzzle had more difficult cluing and if it was published on a Wednesday, I suppose I would have a kinder response. But it is gratifying to read the comments here and come away believing that my response is not an outlier.

I can't say I agree with Sharp's analysis. There's a difference between boring and aggravating and our reactions to this puzzle do differ that way. But I firmly agree with his overall assessment.

Carola 9:00 AM  

I agree with @Rex on this one. I'd seen the movie, so it was easy for me, but my main thought while solving was, "I feel bad for the people who didn't see the movie." I actually hadn't noticed the TCHALLA - LLOYD cross, as images of Carli Lloyd playing for the US team are firmly in memory, but I agree that it's tough for a Tuesday. Besides "Black Panther" and "42," CHADWICK BOSEMAN is memorable in "Da Five Bloods."

gerry w 9:03 AM  

As one who virtually never goes to super-hero movies, I totally disliked today's theme. Unguessable proper nouns dominated the center area. The young black star who died was barely known to me, though I guess that's on me. But the soccer star and the alter ego and the home are the kind of trivia I'm happy not to know ... except when they appear in puzzles.

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

Meh. I prefer Bozeman to Boseman. Actually, any place in Gallatin county to, well, most any place else. And certainly to Wakanda.
Mr. Boseman was a very nice man certainly . The world is worse without him in it. But the world could do with a whole lot less Super Hero movies. Or this puzzle.

Sixthstone 9:06 AM  

@Tooth Doc - AMEN TO THAT! Not only is Carli Lloyd a prominent sports figure of the last decade with 2 World Cups, she also has 2 gold medals. And somehow that's obscure? I get that not everyone is a sports fan, but a NYT crossworder cannot complain about someone who has been in the news so prominently for a decade. Sadly, some peopls just ignore women and sports. As if Monday's TONY OLIVA is somehow a better clue... not

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

Never heard of Chadwick Boseman until he died. And even then, I would not be able to come up with his name if you asked me. Finished 100% correct, but it was challenging for me. Is he worthy of a puzzle themed for him. I guess in the BLM age the answer is Yes.

SteveDubs 9:13 AM  

Super easy. Nice tribute.

Anonymous 9:18 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ncmathsadist 9:21 AM  

This was a slog. Most "blockbusters" are made for 14 yo boys. Hollywood has become a giant bore.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

No. Carli LLoyd won two women's world cup. The World Cup is entirely different. You do know that teh US national Team used to train against High School boys, right? This was a a few years ago, and it may no longer be true. But when the US Women were running roughshod over everyone at the World Cup Tourney, I had seen them unable to beat my prep school's team as they preapred for the Cup. Far from ignoring women's sports, it gets far too much media attention. And when taste makers aren't in charge-- i, the free market, women's teams fold all the time.

Tori 9:37 AM  

I have no concept of time and space anymore, but this also seems really late for a Chadwick Boseman puzzle. Especially with the more recent major deaths this week. I'm sure those calling it obscure are the ones who like all the weird references I can't stand, and I vaguely appreciate the attempt at bringing up culture from this century, but I didn't like it in a tribute puzzle. I now wait dreading the inevitable RBG tribute puzzle. It's going to be awful, isn't it....

Also, Carli Lloyd IS a hero, and people should learn her name. So I at least liked that part.

CS 9:39 AM  

I'm really surprised at how negative and mean these comments are -- I expect it from Rex but usually this group is more generous. I am also pretty shocked at how offended people are when they aren't familiar with something that is actually much more known/popular than a lot of the trivial drivel that is in these puzzles. Black Panther was -- and is -- seen as one of the most powerful breakthrough movies in terms of cultural representation and Chadwick Boseman considered a star in many ways. If you are unaware of the significance of this movie I advise you to educate yourselves rather than ragging on the puzzle. (PS I am an AARP-eligible woman who owns a Black Panther DVD, to put in perspective who might actually be appreciative of these kinds of films).
Ditto for Carli Lloyd BTW

-- CS

Mr. Cheese 9:40 AM  

@Lee Coller 2:04am

wilsch 9:46 AM  

The center of the puzzle was difficult for me because I ne vfc er saw Black Panther, and am unfamiliar with Carli Lloyd, so there were no crosses to help me. Mad it a difficult Tuesday puzzle for me.

Z 9:47 AM  

“Vulture-y” strikes me as A TAD much. If you accept that tribute puzzles are an acceptable puzzle form (I don’t) then this is no more “vulture-“ than any other tribute puzzle. Saying that the instinct to want to offer a tribute is “vulture-y” goes too far. And if you’re going to do a CHADWICK BOSEMAN tribute THE BLACK PANTHER is a natural place to go.

But, I hate tribute puzzles. All of them. And this is a perfect example of why. First, it’s all trivia so either you know it or you don’t. And, no matter how huge a movie is and how many think pieces it generates, a wide swath of people are not going to know the trivia. Second, tribute crosswords are inherently reductionist. Eulogies are hard enough, now do that eulogy with a portion of 70 odd words. “Problematic” is unavoidable.

I will add another problem with publishing tribute puzzles, the “why didn’t you do a tribute to...?” plaint. I think we saw whispers of it on 9/11. We see it occasionally on June 6. Who and what “deserves” a NYTX tribute puzzle and what kind of unpatriotic narrow-minded a**h*** are you for not doing one to the person or event I think deserves one? Why did RBG get one but not Scalia? (Yes - I’d be spewing venom - but he is a hero to many) In short, tribute puzzles center the worst aspect of puzzles, trivia, cannot ever do the subject justice, and set a precedent for doing more flawed puzzles. My solution is easy - stop publishing tribute puzzles.

Nancy 9:48 AM  

No, Anon 9:18, I don't "hate women" and you -- male* troll that you so obviously are and quite possibly a familiar creep from another blog -- know damn well that I'm not. I do hate crossing obscurities, though. Mods -- this is a nasty and gratuitous attack on me and I'd much appreciate it if you can zap it. After which you are welcome to zap this post too.

*How do I know you're definitely a male posing as a staunch defender of women? Because trolldom just isn't a woman's thing. It's a guy's thing. Often a quite misogynistic guy at that.

Blackhat 9:49 AM  

12 names, no foreign words (unless we count made up things from Comic books...but I digress)

William of Ockham 9:53 AM  

NYT Virtue Signaling at its finest. Sue me.

Rex is right, it's polar - you get easy or you get challenging. It's not a tribute because it is exactly what Rex said, especially becasue there are no other mentions of oeuvre. Missed opportunity to clue 4D as "What 7D is to many" because of his silent and valiant struggle with the big C for so long.

SO HOT has no business in this puzzle, nor does YO MAMA (yo MOMMA)


Z 9:59 AM  

@Anon9:31 - Way to tattoo “sexist” on your forehead. The particular event in question was a training scrimmage with an MLS development team. But go ahead, keep finding “proof” to support your sexism.

Evan 9:59 AM  

Amused by some of the comments implying that 1) one of the biggest blockbuster films of all time that also happened to be a major cultural landmark for Black representation, and 2) one of the biggest American athletes in the most popular sport in the world are obscure. Cue the Principal Skinner "Am I so out of touch?" meme.

Watch Black Panther, it was very entertaining! The costumes were incredible, and it has some great performances.

And go to YouTube and look up Carli Lloyd highlights. She scored one of the best goals in a World Cup final, and more incredible it sealed a hattrick in just over the first 15 minutes of the game.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

I'm on your side. That was sarcasm. Re-read my post please. The B'Way was especially for you and a cue to note the absurdity of today's culture. Of course Carli Lloyd is a nothing burger. Or at least not anymore. She barely played in the last WC. And the less said about Marvel Comics the better. I'll try to do batter with my sarcasm. I invite you to raed with a more discerning eye or ear. "get on board for the big win, is really the kind of phrase which should hep you to the intent.

Anna 10:07 AM  

I don't think ODS should be an acceptable answer for a morning crossword anymore. We know that addiction is a horrible disease and that people who use drugs are so often people who've experienced horrific traumas in their lives. Using ODS as a fill answer is disrespectful to anyone who uses drugs or loves someone who uses drugs. Time to retire it!

Tim Aurthur 10:09 AM  

What is a NYTXW without a LOTR reference? This wasn't a tribute to Boseman or Black Panther at all, but a stealth tribute to hobbits, since today happens to be International Hobbit Day.

The Boseman and Black Panther material is there to crowd out the Harry Potter and Star Wars references, lest they steal the hobbits' thunder.

KnittyContessa 10:09 AM  

Why does any constructor/editor think that TCHALLA/LLOYD/WAKANDA is acceptable? On a Tuesday. I cursed out loud at that cross.

So is it official that an answer that is an abbreviation does not need to have an abbreviated clue? Seems to be a regular occurrence.

jberg 10:21 AM  

I haven’t seen the movie, but knew it was set in WAKANDA, eventually remembered CHADWICK BOSEMAN once I had enough crosses. But TCHALLA? I needed all the crosses for that, and I didn’t get them— it came down to a guess between gLOYD and LLOYD for the soccer player. -ALfA didn’t sound right, so I got lucky there.

But SUPERHUMAN POWER? I’m with Rex on that one. I got the U from HULU and considered both duper and humor, until I got NOS. At least I didn’t have to look anything up.

Paul Rippey 10:33 AM  

If this was really a tribute puzzle, I suspect the constructor hasn’t actually seen any other films that Chadwick Boseman was in. Or, they’re just inordinately fond of superhero movies.

Hack mechanic 10:38 AM  

Same here, got totally naticked on the cross & guessed Floyd

mathgent 10:42 AM  

LMS (4:15). Loved your post. Especially good today. SCOTUS will indeed be ruthless, as you cleverly observed. I hope that they will also be ruthless in insuring that our laws adhere tightly to The Constitution.

Does any constructor read this blog, throw out his chest, and crow, “Lewis liked my puzzle!”?

The only positive about the puzzle is what Rex noted. The two grid-spanners intersect at a K.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

despite what some knuckledraggers think, yes, the making of a tribute means making extra effort. note how long, and having to drag the developers through a frat hazing, before a true tribute to the Twin Towers became real.

Nancy 10:57 AM  

A quiz for y'all:

This is to answer the people who said that neither the BLACK PANTHER trivia nor the name Carli Lloyd should be considered obscure because BLACK PANTHER is an important film and Carli Lloyd is a genuine soccer star. But one person's "I know it, natch!" is another person's WTF -- and that's why pop trivia should be used, if ever at all, in very, VERY small doses.

Now I'm sure you will all admit that "Casablanca" is a seminal film -- far more important in the history of movies than BLACK PANTHER. And I hope you'll also admit that female tennis stars are athletes who are just as important and interesting as female soccer stars. So here are some of my clues from my next crossword puzzle. Needless to say, they will all crisscross one another:

Rick ______ of "Casablanca" (6 letters)
Ilsa's last name in "Casablanca" (4 letters)
Player of "Casablanca's" Captain Renault (6,5)
Ilsa and Laszlo's destination at the end of "Casablanca" (6 letters)
Lorre's character in "Casablanca" (6 letters)

plus... (pick any one you like. I'm easy.)

Tennis star Simona (5)
Tennis star Sloane (8)
Tennis star Petra (7)

I rest my case.

Unknown 11:06 AM  

Started to watch the movie last night, so this was an easy puz for me.
The movie was Meh, kind of boring, and after 15 minutes we stopped it and watched All About Eve instead, with a young Henry Fonda.
The Bill Maher reference won't hold up in ten years; though the show has been around for a while, it still has a just small niche audience.
I found this puzzle so easy I was filling in squares without even having to look at the clues. And that is pretty rare for me.
I don't think US women's' soccer is a huge deal overall. If you're not a sports fan in general, it probably wasn't remotely on your radar screen. If you did follow the US women's' team, then the clue was pretty easy. Again, kind of a niche clue. And while an earlier poster referred to the overwhelming popularity of soccer, I think that only applies to the men's game. Doubt me? Name three professional women's' teams in the US league. OK, name two teams. OK, how 'bout one? Thought so.

Whatsername 11:10 AM  

I guess if you’re a comic book fan you probably loved this, but I’m not and I didn’t. I’m not saying it’s a bad puzzle because of that, but there are some Naticky spots, already pointed out by others, which were nearly impossible if you are unfamiliar with the theme subject, and that’s a dirty trick on a Tuesday. Funny, yesterday Rex complained about one clue for Desperate Housewives, but if that had been the theme of this puzzle, I would’ve blazed through it and adored it.

I didn’t really see this as a tribute puzzle to an actor, just a puzzle with a movie as the theme. As far as a tribute to Mrs. Ginsberg, the best way to honor her would be to show some integrity and respect her last wish. But then that would require honorable people with integrity so I’m not hopeful.

MarthaCatherine 11:16 AM  

Before I realized it was a Black Panther puzzle, I thought it was going to be a superhero puzzle and I was ready to just bag it for today. Then I realized it was only one superhero and because of the coverage of Mr. Boseman's untimely death, had heard of all of the other odd words. RIP.

Started at 1A and, after almost quitting because of the whole comic book thingy I thought it was going to be, finished at 71A, with no cheats or writeovers, which to me is my own gold standard. (That is, not all acrosses, just moved steadily from the NW to the SE with a nice mix of crosses and downs.)

True Grits 11:16 AM  

For crying out loud, if you’re going to do a tribute puzzle to Carli Lloyd, could you at least have the decency to give her more than one fricking clue??? And not only that, the clue has only five words! And one of them isn’t even a word. It’s a fricking abbreviation!!! This puzzle is an insult to women soccer players everywhere.

What? 11:20 AM  

What garbage! I got 40A because I’ve seen the ads but I’m not interested in a movie based on a comic book character. If you haven’t seen the movie or read about it (surely I can’t be alone) the theme fills need the crosses. Pretty sad, relying on crosses this way. The crosses are easy but no excuse. Total Natick.
Shortz claims to get hundreds of submissions each week. Is this the best he can do? Wonder if the film’s publicist had anything to do with it.

GILL I. 11:28 AM  

I don't mind tribute puzzle but this one had me at: RIP TOOT OWIE OOH OOH HAHA. It was beginning to sound like a YO MAMA joke.
Our son loved anything superhero, so we'd watch things like Batman, The. Masks of Zorro, Doctor get the idea. The only recent one we've watched - because our 2 year old granddaughter loves it - is Incredibles 2. I know of THE BLACK PANTHER but know nothing of it. Didn't know CHADWICK BOSEMAN was in it and I've never heard of TCHALLA nor that he was shaped like an HERB. Sooooo, this gets my oof Tuesday award.
I did know LLOYD (I love soccer)...she's right up there with Hamm, Ertz, Raipinoe and Solo. For those of you sounding silly by saying that everyone should know her....pffft to you. I don't know squat about baseball and I usually groan when my puzzle is filled with its trivia, but I try not to sound like an ass.
After I (barely) finished, I went looking for my smile. My only one was TWA or, as @pablito correctly calls it,... "La Too-ah. There was only one way to fly (for me) from JFK to Madrid. TWA was SO HOT in those days. As an airline employee and flying free, you were required to dress up. And because we would dress to the nines, a lot of us looked ritzy and famous. If there were empty seats in first-class, we were always upgraded. We were the first to board and so when the peons in economy were finally allowed to trudge to their seats, they got to look at us sipping champagne and smirking. I hate flying now.
@chefwen from yesterday....YES...LANAI sharing with you and @Whatsername and hoping you'd make some blueberry muffins to go with the Mai Tai's...... I'll bring the dip.

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

what are you talking about? Surely not the session I was at.
Sue I'm sexist. So is the US federation of soccer. They divide the teams by sex. because the women can't hang with the men. Even a little bit.

Masked and Anonymous 11:40 AM  

When I read the constructioneer comments at xwordinfo.chen, I get the impression that this was meant as an acknowledgement of a great actor in a role that really impressed Mr. Newton. He noted that once he saw that CHADWICKBOSEMAN (15 long) could cross THEBLACKPANTHER (15 long) at the middle square, this puz just had to be. His comment never happened to mention the word "tribute", btw.

I saw the flick in the theater, and I'd tend to agree with such an acknowledgment. Don't recall the HEARTSHAPEDHERB part, but it's been a while back, now.
Also, didn't know this particular LLOYD, but sounds like she deserves to appear in the NYTXW.

Despite stuff I didn't know, this TuesPuz seemed like a fairly easy solvequest, at our house. Didn't get slowed down or confused by the longball Down non-themers, as the themers were all clearly cross-referencin each other.

Interestin clue pair: 15-A's {Sex-x-xy!"} and 56-D's {Fancy-y-y}. Weir-r-rd dejavu-osity.

staff weeject pick: ENE. Man, they really went all out/in on its {Opposite of WSW} clue. Better: {Major contributor to a gene splicing??}. Or somesuch -- dare to go nu-u-uts with it.

"Black Panther" was the first superhero flick to ever get an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Anybody remember what flick it lost to?

Thanx, Mr. Newton.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Mainah 11:43 AM  

I could have driven to Natick and back in the time it took me with this puzzle. And had some clams.

Uke Xensen 11:43 AM  

I detest all superheroes and everything about them, including this boring puzzle.

Karl Grouch 11:45 AM  

Are we related?

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

The Bill Maher reference won't hold up in ten years; though the show has been around for a while, it still has a just small niche audience.

Well... mayhaps. But recall that HBO is the home of rich white Lefties, his demo. As opposed to Fox, home to uneducated poor rural redneck radical right wingnuts (who is that Masked Singer??). note to them: The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) has a 26% positive polling on Covid. THAT's your niche, your true lemming base.

"who they trust when it comes to information about the novel virus, showing that just 26 percent said Trump was a reliable source. "

Now, of course, the zealots will point to a larger number from Republicans, but wait, there's more. The percent of voters who self-identify as Republican is 25% - near the all time low.

Here's the long term trend: Trumpism is taking a larger share of a diminishing slice of the electorate pie, largely because only the incompetent stay in backward rural counties (demanding increasing amounts of moolah from DC; to be paid not to plant crops, of course), while the competent go to the cities as fast as they can. Meet people who don't look like you, and know things you don't know. Mind blowing.

Steve M 11:48 AM  

I find it refreshing when a puzzle goes all in with the pop culture and particularly this one where the 4 main clues were all 15 letters and none were a stretch. In some early editions, the character was referred to as “The Black Panther” so that didn’t bother me. It’s fun to read the comments by people who actively eschew sports and super heroes. I’m sure it’s not dissimilar to those of us less familiar with classical music and religion :)

Frantic Sloth 11:49 AM  

@TJS 844am Only the "musical" one in my head. I have others as well, but I boast.

Add my voice to those crying "foul!" on calling this a tribute to CHADWICKBOSEMAN. This thing is all about THEBLACKPANTHER (and BTW @Anon 1219am has it absolutely correct about the "THE" - No!) and any claim otherwise reeks of the opportunism @Rex bemoans. All IMHO, but I'm right.
See also @Sir Hillary 851am who says it much better than I ever could. (Plus that thing about "logical" and "sane" being equal. I balked at that one, too. And I should know because I'm neither.)

However, do not lump me with the Natickocracy. BLACKPANTHER and CHADWICKBOSEMAN are known to more than enough of the population to warrant the "but that's on me" admission. C'mon! And if this is the first time you've had to guess at a letter in a NYTXW, then why aren't you out curing COVID-19, cancer, the common cold, or any other C-sickness? Inquiring minds and all that.

See also @Sixthstone 906am, re Carli LLOYD. I didn't know her either, because soccer, but that is entirely on me.

Again, as has been mentioned in recent days, an RBG tribute puzzle was done very recently. Personally, it wouldn't bother me to see another (well done - sorry @Z!) one, but I doubt that will happen any time soon.

@Nancy 948am Hear! Hear! And here here's hoping the Mods don't delete.

@Z 959am 😆👍

@Anon 1003am Not sure sarcasm makes it any better, dude. And no, I don't want a protracted argument about this, so that's all I'm saying.

Good day.

egsforbreakfast 11:50 AM  

From Jeremy Newton’s constructor notes: “ I was inspired to honor this Marvel superhero — and the actor who portrayed him — with a puzzle..... For me, trivia-based themes can sometimes be less compelling to solve than themes with tricky wordplay.“.

In the very clear words of the constructor, this was not meant to be a tribute puzzle, but, rather, a trivia puzzle about Black Panther. He cops to the fact that trivia puzzles aren’t generally all that fun to solve, but presumably felt that with the recent death of Chadwick Boseman, it would be of enough interest to give it a go.

Rex, as he mentioned yesterday, doesn’t read back stories, so his kvetching about this as a bad tribute puzzle was simply the result of an erroneous interpretation of the entire puzzle. A large number of follow-on commenters have taken Rex’s error as gospel truth, and proceeded to further disparage the effort off Mr. Newton since he didn’t do a good job of achieving what Rex told you he was trying to achieve.

On the whole, this was a decent puzzle in a genre that, as the constructor admits, is not very compelling.

RooMonster 11:51 AM  

Dang, all.
Still standing over here by myself. ☺️

As @Nancy points out, classic films like Casablanca might be more well known. I think it's only because they've been around longer. There are people out there who don't like those older movies. It's A Wonderful Life is one for me. (*Blasphemy!*) There have been better movies made about the same subject. (*Stop your blasphemy!*) And people watch it Every. Frickin. Year. (*Ahhh, my ears are bleeding from your blasphemy!*)

Just sayin' there are all kinds of different people who like all kinds of different things. Which is why the American People just can't seem to get along.

RooMonster Peace Guy

albatross shell 12:02 PM  

Acttually, THE BLACK PANTHER is a thing. THE is used in the comic book title.  But not in all of them. The ones that say "jungle action" at the top have THE in the title. Do I remember if Marvel started a separate series about strictly African stories of BP? Just vaguely. They were cheap - 30 or 35 cents.

I thought the knot of names in the lower center was a bit over the top but I keep to a small groan at such things. Find it amusing that some here who complain that a Friday puzzle was too easy can get upset over this. If you were alive when the movie came out and pay any attention to Oscar mania you were have to work pretty hard to know nothing about it.

Puzzles are kind of trivia to start with. And sometimes you have to know stuff. Obscure words, capitals, names, whatever.

SUPERHUMAN POWER? Was that too hard to get? Yes, usually SUPER POWER, but isn't it always in reference to what a normal human can do? Is it that weird to throw it there?

Sure the best puzzles have less or none of that stuff.

And those are the PEARLS, lustrous, polished BEAUTIES.

Speaking of old stuff (since it led off today) I made a late comment Sunday that included this about BIX:

And BIX. Great nickname. Listen to his East St. Louis Toodle-Oo and Georgia on my Mind. Cat died at age 28. Inspiration for Young Man with a Horn. In the Duke's band.

Uke Xensen 12:07 PM  

I think the current cultural obsession with superheroes reflects anxiety about impotence and a fantasy about potency. There's a reason the genre was initially aimed at boys about to enter pubescence.

bocamp 12:09 PM  

***SB Alert***

@ Grouch 6:15 AM wrote:

"Why am I supposed to Laugh Out Loud at your SB/QB comment? I don't get that. How is it funny?"

Just making light of myself for being a day late solving Sunday's Spelling Bee puzzle. Not meant to be funny to anyone else. :)


"Rip" went the seam in my jeans as I executed a lunge in my fencing class. Went out and bought some sweat pants. LOL

I was in the score booth, when the plate umpire's pant's seam ripped out, leaving quite a gap. To his credit, he continued on without so much as a care, while his wife drove home to grab his spare plate pants. All "ended" well. LOL


@ RooMonster 8:48 AM

Another excellent post! And, no you're not standing by yourself. :)


Knowing Carli Lloyd was my savior for not ending up in "Natickville." I couldn't recall her last name, but when it came down to that one letter, I was 100% sure of the (L).

Peace 和平 paix 🕊

Frantic Sloth 12:13 PM  

@Nancy 1057am I knew all the answers to the "Casablanca" quiz and maybe one of the tennis stars.

So, now what?

I'll agree that the puzzle went overboard on the movie particulars like TCHALLA and WAKANDA, but THEBLACKPANTHER and CHADWICKEBOSEMAN are fair game simply because of their widespread popularity. If your point is more about loading up a puzzle with pop trivia instead of using it sparingly, I agree wholeheartedly.

All that said, I would add that not knowing the tennis stars is on me.

mathgent 12:22 PM  

More movie trivia. What’s wrong in @Unknown (11:06)?

Whatsername 12:23 PM  

@ Nancy (10:57) Point well taken and I agree completely. Today’s puzzle was a WTF for me, but yours would have been too because I don’t follow tennis and - I hate to admit it but - I have never seen Casablanca.

Paint Drinking Pete 12:50 PM  

Any pop culture reference is obscure to those unfamiliar with it. For me, the problem here wasn't that it was obscure, but rather that it was multiple references from the same source. I knew which movie they were referencing, but having never seen it, the specific ones tricked me up... More than once.

Teedmn 12:57 PM  

As 17A filled in, I was expecting a Nirvana/Kurt Cobain tribute puzzle, but HEART-SHAPED box didn't fit.

Count me among those who haven't seen the movie and didn't know Carli LLOYD. I had resigned myself to a DNF in the crossings of T'CHALLA, WAKANDA and LLOYD until the middle _LOY_ filled in and LLOYD was inferable.

Mr. Newton, thanks for a Tuesday A TAD harder than average.

MovieMaven 1:02 PM  

@mathgent 12:22

"The Lady Eve"

duceman33 1:03 PM  

I enjoyed it because I have never seen the movie and, therefore, a Tuesday became a challenging solve (13 minutes) - nothing better than struggling a little and still getting that satisfying end time picture without using google! I do agree w Rex on one thing - a jackie Robinson reference/fill would have been nice to see

Z 1:05 PM  

@egsforbreakfast - See, this is why reaching consensus is so hard. I read I was inspired to honor this Marvel superhero — and the actor who portrayed him — with a puzzle..... as meaning this is a tribute puzzle (emphasis added).

@Frantic Sloth - But how about that Scalia tribute? 😉 I don’t disagree with your “on me” argument, but there’s a reason I became crossworld famous for toting up PPP, too much lessens puzzle quality. When I want trivia I watch Jeopardy!, When I do crosswords I want wordplay.

@Nancy10:57 - I agree with almost everything. The “far more important” claim is where we differ. There are huge segments of America for whom Black Panther is more important in ways you and I can maybe understand but never truly grok.

@Anon - Sigh.

Ernonymous 1:19 PM  

I knew a little of this because I recently saw Chadwick Boseman on Saturday Night Live in a Black Jeopardy skit where he plays T'Challa from Wakanda.

albatross shell 1:20 PM  

math gent 1222pm
The mistake was Henry Fonda being in ALL ABOUT EVE or maybe more likely the movie was THE LADY EVE which he was in.

Frantic Sloth 1:23 PM  

@Whatsername 1223pm Get thee behind me, Satan! Truth be told, I didn't see Casablanca until maybe 10 or 15 years ago. Of course, it was always on my "must see" list and now I watch it every time it pops up on TCM. (The fact that I can practically recite all the lines word for word is not at all annoying either.)

Don't worry, though. Apparently, @Unknown 1106am screwed the pooch a little, too. (See @mathgent 1222pm and @MovieMaven 102pm)
And on one of my favorite movies to boot!

@Z 105pm A point I've since ceded in my previous post. Too much PPP is bad enough - too much PPP of one thing> is irresponsible, unforgivable, and you know, bad.
Also, what is AI talking about? 😉

Unknown 1:49 PM  

@ nancy 10:57
I don't see the point you're trying to make.
I could easily name all the tennis stars because I actually follow current-day tennis. So they were easy for me, but probably not for 98% of the general public.
(Aside from Serena & Venus, I'm not sure that Joe Six-Pack could readily name another female tennis player.)

I like Casablanca and have seen it a few times, but I didn't know the answers to any of the somewhat (or very) obscure clues.
What is the point that you're trying to make?

Anonymous 1:51 PM  


Don't worry about mixing up The Lady Eve with All about Eve. Each film was written and directed by one of the few bona fide Hollywood geniuses. ( Preston Sturges and Joseph. Mankiewicz respectively. Each has three films better than anything Coppola, or Welles, or Spiel;berg or Wilder ever put on film.)

Dan 2:10 PM  

Some of you seem to be missing the point of a crossword puzzle. You're really not expected to know every answer. That's why you're alllowed to solve by getting the cross clues instead.

But, go ahead, keep crying, "Unfair!" whenever some of the answers aren't in your personal wheelhouse, because Rex certainly does it from time to time as well.

tea73 2:10 PM  

I am surprised at all the disdain for this puzzle. Black Panther was no ordinary superhero movie. It was the first superhero movie with a Black star and it was the second highest grossing film of 2018. It made over a billion dollars. I went to see it several weeks after it came out and the theater was packed. The audience stood and cheered at the end, many there had already seen it multiple times.

And how anyone could not know who Chadwick Boseman was is beyond me - he had a front page obituary in my local paper, a long obituary in the NYT including many, many follow up articles. And even if you don't like superhero movies, he also played groundbreaking figures like James Brown, Jackie Robinson and Thurgood Marshall.

I didn't remember many details from the movie, but I was able to get everything from the crosses eventually. I don't disagree though that this was more of Black Panther tribute than a Chadwick Boseman tribute.

Maybe it says something about the average crossword solver that they don't know the name of one of the best known Black actors working in the last few years and apparently have seen none of the movies about heroes of the civil rights movement.

Crimson Devil 2:14 PM  

USA soccer star CARLI not to be confused with another Woman’s USA soccer star, CarlA Overbeck, captain and leader, now coach in Durham.
I DNF this puz: TCHALA and WAKANDA did me in.

chefwen 3:10 PM  

@GILL I, I’ll make any kind of muffin your heart desires.

JC66 3:14 PM  


Is it girl's only, or can I come (I'll bring the Scotch).

Pamela 3:24 PM  

Just to be clear: My complaint was not that the puzzle referenced a movie I hadn’t seen. There are unfamiliar words used in puzzles every day, but I usually manage to suss them out even if it takes a while- which it usually does later in the week. But today was just unfair, especially because Tuesday is supposed to be more accessible to less experienced solvers.

One thing that makes it rankle is the number of made up phrases, some of which are very far fetched- OOHOOH, YOMAMA. You have to wait for the crosses to get those. And there are already so many empty theme squares- ouch!

But what takes the cake- makes it infuriating- is crossing two made-up words through a trivia question. That is just evil, the kind of thing you might expect on a Saturday. Just not a fair trick to play on a Tuesday.

Toku808 3:28 PM  

I can’t believe people are arguing about how well known Black Panther stuff is when way more obscure pop culture from the 60’s is in the NYT daily. Even if you didn’t see Black Panther, Wakanda and BP are in both Avengers that are...4th and 1st all time at the BO. Ta-Nehisi Coates had an award winning run on the comics too.

chefwen 3:49 PM  

@JC66, the door is wide open.

Joe Dipinto 3:58 PM  

OOH! OOH! @Nancy – I know these! (I took the liberty of ignoring your letter counts for nos. 4 & 5):

1. Rick ______ of "Casablanca"


2. Ilsa's last name in "Casablanca"

She didn't have a last name, it was just "Ilsa", like "Sia" or "Adele".

3. Player of "Casablanca's" Captain Renault

Conrad Veidt. But I bet a lot of people will guess Claude Rains 'cause he has the same number of letters.

4. Ilsa and Laszlo's destination at the end of "Casablanca"

La Colina De Feijão (the famous "Hill Of Beans") in Portugal.

5. Lorre's character in "Casablanca"

Joel Cairo. Or maybe Johnny West. Or M.

I don't remember there being any tennis players in the movie though, and I've seen it a lot of times.

Kathy 4:02 PM  

@Nancy 10:57. Casablanca quiz. LOL and HAHA!
I’m a wordplay girl like you.

bocamp 4:19 PM  

Not "yo mama", but maybe more accomplished on the cello and piano are Yo-Yo Ma & Yeou-Cheng Ma at ages 7 and 11 respectively, preceded with a wonderful introduction by Leonard Bernstein. :)


@ duceman33 1:03 PM

100% agreement here :)


@Z 1:05 PM wrote:

"There are huge segments of America for whom Black Panther is more important in ways you and I can maybe understand but never truly grok."

So right on! BTW, love your use of "grok" in this instance. :) Still on the wait list for Heinlein's audiobook. :)

Empathy = opening the mind, caring, better understanding.

****SB ALERT****

Second day in a row for "QB"; second day in a row for being a day late and a dollar short. LOL

Now on to today's SB and a chance to get back on track. :)

Peace 平和 salam maluhia vrede paix paz 和平 🕊

Frantic Sloth 5:02 PM  

@Pamela 324pm If I hadn't seen the movie, your argument is the exact one I would make - only with a great deal more piss and vinegar. Lucky for me (and I don't kid myself - it is basically luck if one knows whatever PPP is chosen for a puzzle) I have seen it and I still admit to needing some crosses for some of the particulars.

This is why I agree with your argument that this situation makes it unfair for a Tuesdee puzzle. Imagine if you were an inexperienced solver who also hadn't seen the movie. Yikes!

On a side note (or maybe not), I think that the consternation suffered by wordplay purists of the crossworld is utterly justifiable and understandable, even if I don't completely agree with them.

Joe Dipinto 5:09 PM  

@Nancy – also, look up the puzzle of Saturday April 6th, 1985, by Bert Rosenfield.

Ernonymous 5:10 PM  

I agree with @pamela most complaints are not about what the PPP was, but that if you have any proper names, they shouldn't cross each other. And in this puzzle, they triple crossed. Because proper names, you either know them or you don't.

I agree that there are way too many clues about sitcoms from 50s 60s and 70s in these NYT puzzles. Those are easy for me but my millenial sons would have no idea.

It's not the same thing as not knowing something current, which I see a lot of people in these comments try to equate.
This I see: well you expect me to know rap singers so don't complain that you don't know a minor cast member from Mary Tyler Moore!
Just because you are a young adult, you shouldn't have a huge advantage in knowing something current, since we are all adults, and it's happening now. Yes, some of it is geared to younger people.
I appreciate when these puzzles have someone or something current, that interests young people, because even though I'll struggle with the puzzle, I cam learn about it afterwards and this seems to impress my kids. CHILDISH GAMBINO comes to mind. I'd not heard of him, but now I know.

Z 5:41 PM  

@bocamp - It seemed the perfect time to demonstrate the difference.

@Frantic Sloth - My loathing of tribute puzzles aside, my issue with PPP is only when it is excessive or a cross is not inferable.

BTW - I just did a PPP Analysis. The puzzle is only 22 of 78, 29%. That is a little lower than it feels because of the crossing 15’s plus the four other themers all related to a single movie. So not technically excessive but the outhouse comments are certainly understandable.

Barbara S. 5:56 PM  

I'm terribly late to the debate, but I liked the puzzle, I hadn't seen the film, but I know at least something about it because of a) Oscar buzz, b) its emotional reception as a breakthrough, and c) revived discussion following the recent death of CHADWICK BOSEMAN. Strangely, I remember seeing Boseman being interviewed at the Academy Awards that year and thinking I hope he's really enjoying this moment because "sic transit gloria mundi." No, I don't normally think in Latin but that expression is so much more elegant than any English equivalent about passing worldly glory. Anyway, I guess Boseman had already been diagnosed by then and was likely much more aware than I of how brief his moment might be. I'm sad for him and for film.

I knew nothing about any heart-shaped herbs, and got strangely mired in a backwater in the NW: the beginning of the herb answer and also ASDOI, which I insisted must be soDOI. That messed up OSHA, an organisation I should know from crosswords, and ALES, whose clue I interpreted as having something to do with *sports* draft picks. Eventually sorted it all out.

@kitshef is, of course, completely right about ALB. It grated a bit.

****SB ALERT****
I missed QB yesterday, although I'm aware that a lot of people were crowned -- kudos to all! I got QB today though, after being stuck for ages with one (simple) word to go. (It happens all too often.)

Unknown 6:06 PM  

@ tea73
I honestly never heard of him by name until he died.
But then, I don't go to the movies that much.
I did watch the first 15 minutes of Black Panther last night, but found it boring.
I also tried watching the bio of James Brown a few weeks ago. Now, I love James Brown's music, but after a half hour I had to stop watching the movie. It was terrible.
They were just bad movies.
Saw about 10 minutes of the Jackie Robinson film one night while I was spinning the dial (I know that term dates me), but it didn't hold my interest.
As far as your note that "it says something" that many folks here don't know him or his film - -I think you're implying that we're racist. In my case, I just don't watch many movies. But I think I saw Sidney Poitier in The Heat of The Night (?) recently, so I hope that means I'm not a racist. And *that* was a good movie.

Andrew 6:21 PM  

I saw the movie and watched the women’s World Cup so all the proper names were gimmes for me. However, that’s how it always is with proper names-if you know them it’s easy and if you don’t, it’s enraging (Erdos, Bix). Now, don’t even get me started on foreign words!

Barbara S. 6:22 PM  

RE: the movie "The Lady Eve"
In addition to a young Henry Fonda, Barbara S. was also in that film. ;-)

Nancy 7:13 PM  

@Joe DiPinto (3:58) ...escaping to the famous Hill of Beans in Portugal. You crack me up, Joe. Truly! You are such a funny guy!

Frantic -- It's not "on you" -- not in the least. You are under no obligation whatsoever to know the names of any of these tennis stars if you don't follow tennis. And you are under no obligation to follow tennis. That's exactly the point I was making when I said that one person's "I know that, natch!" is another person's WTF when it comes to trivia. One shouldn't have to be a font of trivia knowledge in every subject order to solve a given puzzle -- that's how I feel.

Re: Casablanca, a movie I've seen many times: I went to Wiki and picked trivia questions I mostly wouldn't have known myself to make my point. I knew Ilsa's last name but not Rick's; knew who played Renault, but didn't remember the name of Lorre's character; had no idea where Ilsa and Laszlo were off to, but I do wish they'd fled to a "hill of beans."

Ethan Taliesin 8:14 PM  

I'm so sick of superhero movies. In my perfect word they would not exist and everyone would think they are as dumb as I do.

Richardf8 10:55 PM  

Sharp found it boring because it IS in his wheelhouse, pretty completely.

As for me, I never saw the film, only saw the character in the Avengers movies, and was surprised at how much I was able to scrape from the corners of my brain.

Charles Emerson Winchester III 11:06 PM  

In an odd way, I have to tip my hat to what must be a remarkable achievement: like so many others, I was multi-Naticked. In my case, the total unfamiliarity with the actor’s name (yes, I know he just died to much wailing and rending of cloth from the less-lettered among us), his nickname, his planet of origin, and finally the soccer player, resulted in a triple Natick.

Look, I get that this fellow Boseman was much appreciated by many - but this was decidedly not a pleasure for me since one couldn’t even hope to winkle out the answers to all these proper names.

bocamp 11:40 PM  

***SB Alert***

Finally working on today's SB; one word to go (six letters) :)

Peace 和平 paix 🕊

thefogman 10:56 AM  

I liked this one a lot. Rex hated it. Life goes on.
PS - Don’t forget to vote folks - even if the long lineups require SUPERHUMANPOWERs.

Burma Shave 11:42 AM  


I was ALONE with HER an hour,


Diana, LIW 11:54 AM  

Not really Tuesday level. For me, at least. I know Lucy and Desi. The Pink Panther. But recent pop culture? I knew the big names, at least, but not the plot. As @Rondo says, I should get out more. But then, there's that virus...

Diana, Masked Lady-in-Waiting

rondo 12:56 PM  

Well, I’m not a big SUPER HERO fan. Anything more recent than Superman or Batman means almost nothing to me. Couldn’t recall the actor’s name at first even if his passing made all the news outlets. Did not see the movie so those made up words TCHALLA and WAKANDA came only by crosses/guesses.

Another missed opportunity to clue it as HAHA Clinton-Dix.

Carli LLOYD gets a yeah baby. AMENTOTHAT.

This subject almost caused a DNF. I’m probably not ALONE.

leftcoaster 2:06 PM  

A challenging convergence of proper nouns in the middle.

Guessed fLOYD instead of LLOYD, and of course ended up with the crossing T’CHALfA instead of T’CHALLA. (A one square error, unfortunately.)


Anonymous 2:31 PM  

First letter had it right. An easy puzzle with some potentially unknowable answers, but they could be worked around. Satisfying solve.

strayling 6:01 PM  

To all the sports fans who hated the Black Panther references: "Yes! Yes! Now you know how it feels!"

Ahem. Loki mode off.

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