Gray in the face / TUES 9-29-20 / Subject of una balada / They do dos / Not be serious

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Hello! It's Clare — here for yet another Tuesday crossword! I'm one million weeks into my final year of law school (at least that's how it feels), and things have been mostly running smoothly with online classes after some early problems. I did almost die of secondhand embarrassment the other day in class when a girl started complaining about how boring and useless the class was... and her microphone was turned on! (Now I always triple check my mic is off; and I have this fear that my camera will just randomly turn on, so I bought a lens cover!) Hope everyone is staying safe in these continually weird times...

Now to the puzzle!

Ricky Cruz

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: BREAKS CHARACTER (38A: Can't hold back laughter while performing, say ... or a hint to the circled letters) — Each of the theme answers is a symbol whose name is broken up between two answers.

Theme answers:
  • TILDE (18A: unTIL and 19A: DEnse)
  • HYPHEN (24A: asHY and 25A: PHENoms)
  • AMPERSAND (51A: cAMPERS and 53A: ANDy)
  • ASTERISK (61A: hASTE and 62A: RISKy)
Word of the Day: LYDIA (21D) —
Lydia Ko (born 24 April 1997) is a Korean-born New Zealand professional golfer who became the No. 1-ranked woman professional golfer on February 2, 2015 at 17 years, 9 months and 9 days of age, making her the youngest player of either gender to be ranked No. 1 in professional golf. (WIki) 
• • •
Overall, I quite liked this puzzle. The theme was clever; the puzzle was nicely executed; and there was a good revealer. I'm not always a huge fan of puzzles with circles in them, but I think the constructor here made really good use of them. As a whole, I found the puzzle engaging and amusing.

That being said, I didn't find that there were a lot of interesting or clever words/clues in the puzzle. There wasn't much junk in the puzzle, either, but I'm having a much harder time than usual figuring out what to say about this puzzle. There just isn't much of note about the individual words, even those that provide the theme (UNTIL, DENSE, ASHY, PHENOMS, etc...).

Some of the more "punny" answers, like OVENS (2D: Devices relied upon to a high degree?), BASE (12D: It might be stolen in full view), and DARE (27A: Alternative to truth?), livened things up a tad. My favorite clue/answer might have been 8D: They do dos as SALONS. I also liked some of the longer acrosses: COLONIAL, EMULATED, and ROSARIES. I don't think this was intended, but I got a slight mythological theme from the puzzle (maybe it's because I just read the book "A Song of Achilles," which I highly recommend — seriously, everyone should read this!) with SPARTA, OMEN, and HERC. Because I had mythology on the brain, when I got to 60A: A siren's wail, e.g., it took me a while to realize the answer was BLARE and not something else having to do with Odysseus.

As much as I liked the slight mythological feel, it does cue up the first of two nits I had with the puzzle. The clue for 26D: Nickname for a mythological hero as HERC just didn't sit right, because Hercules was only ever called HERC in the Disney movie version; cluing this nickname as being a mythological hero is pretty misleading. The second nit is bigger: Why in the world is the answer for 37A: One of many for baking soda: USE ? Is that the best clue for the word we could find? Why single out baking powder for many uses? It just strikes me as random and slightly bizarre.

  • When I first went through the puzzle, I put "up til" for 18A: No later than rather instead of UNTIL. It took me a bit to find my mistake, as I realized "map" made absolutely no sense for 5D: "Whew!"
  • I remember taking part in Greek Games when I was in elementary school, as we were all assigned different city-states to be in. I remember I was in... actually, I don't remember. I just know it wasn't SPARTA or Athens. I also know my city-state ended up winning, and my toga was epic.
  • Fun fact: "Hercules" is the Roman version of the name, which became more popular with the Disney movie. He's Heracles to the Greeks. As he was the product of one of Zeus' 14 million affairs, the goddess Hera hated him and tried to mess with him on every occasion, She sent snakes to kill him when he was a baby (he strangled the snakes in his crib), and she drove him crazy. He killed his wife and their kids, so he went to an oracle and was told to atone by performing the 12 labors he's famous for. See what Disney doesn't tell you?!
  • And now, as a treat for reading this whole thing, here's your monthly BTS update — my favorite artist, a K-pop group, is going to be on The Tonight Show all week long, so I highly suggest tuning in!! It should be a blast and a half.
Happy almost October! Stay safe.

Signed, Clare Carroll, toga queen

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:30 AM  

I might say having rather than requiring nerve is more akin to GUTSY, but that's a minor nit.

Also, "Yo! HERC! Let's bounce! Nemmy the Lion ain't gonna slay hisself!" said no one ever.

But I liked this one and imagined myself as a newbie being thrrrrilled with seeing this kind of theme and easy, doable fill. Another early week winner.


๐Ÿง .5

Joaquin 12:40 AM  

Re: 37A One of many for baking soda: USE.
I agree with Clare's "random and slightly bizarre" take. Perhaps the editor went with baking soda because we just had duck/t tape a couple of days ago!
Hey @Whatsername - It’s only a game, but sooooo much more fun when we win. How ‘bout those Jefes!

Pamela 12:43 AM  

Hello Clare! You got both of my nits- USE was the worst, followed by HERC. But I also liked the puzzle. It was a little more crunchy than yesterday (which wasn’t at all), and I didn’t like it quite as much, but there was some nice clueing and I thought the theme was cool. I think my only mistake was kEATS for YEATS, but ANDk was so obviously wrong that only lasted a minute.

Blackhat 12:48 AM  

9 Names, 2 foreign words....

okanaganer 1:53 AM  

Clare... your generation has my empathy for the current situation. My university years were rich and full, and most all of it was the interaction with my fellow students. I can't imagine what you are missing out on by doing so much remotely. My niece is in her first year of university right now... and she is doing the first semester entirely at home. Geez, what she's missing.

Anyway, when I saw "Some Catholic gift shop purchases" I remembered walking the outskirts of the Vatican in Rome and noticing... well I thought of it as "the nun store". Display window full of habits, necklaces (ROSARIES, I guess), bibles, etc. Some of those nuns were kinda cute.

Your comment on HERC(ules) vs Heracles is a thin justification for my going off on this hyperbolic tangent...why do we have to change so many names from their native language? Looking at an English map of Europe, you won't see anything resembling the following countries, even though they use the same alphabet (more or less, sorry, not bothering with special characters, umlauts, etc):

Magyarorszag (ok maybe this one is for the better!)

Birchbark 1:58 AM  

This puzzle is your classic Frank ZAPPA tune: Everyday blues progressions (like so much of the fill, out of the gate with SOS and on down, wher'er you want to find it) + Way off the ranch (BREAKS CHARACTER, ROSARIES, SLEEP IN, COLONIAL etc.). The guitar is clean, but what's with all the distortion on the bass?

I'm lucky to have seen Frank ZAPPA perform, in a huge circus tent in Marseille in 1984. One of the vey few times I saw a rock musician conduct his band during a jam, and not for show. Last encore was a cover of Allman Brother's "Whipping Post."

jae 2:00 AM  

Easy and easier than yesterday’s. My only wince was @Clare HERC. Smooth and nicely done and Jeff gave it POW. Liked it.

Cliff 2:00 AM  

Nice write up Clare!

Interestingly, I had the same final "fix" from "up til" to until (actually before that I had "up too"). Both of my wrong answers fit the clue better.

chefwen 2:40 AM  

Pretty easy, once I got the theme with TIL DE the rest were easily filled in with just a few letters in place.

Gulp before CHUG was my only mark over. I did like HASTE and RISKY side by side, they seem to go hand in hand.

Didn’t exactly hit that sweet puzzle spot. Looking forward to Wednesday.

Conrad 5:49 AM  

@Clare: Great writeup, as usual. Funny you should mention "A Song of Achilles"; I just finished "Circe", also by Madeline Miller, and I recommend it highly.

Hungry Mother 6:05 AM  

I found it a bit north of medium. I got the circles, but had a hard time seeing the reveal until I had a bunch of crosses. I kinda thought I had missed a day and had to check the calendar. Although slow, a very nice puzzle.

ChuckD 6:25 AM  

I liked this puzzle - even with the circles. Theme was tight and well done - the revealer maybe could have used a little more work - but each themers fit well and the overall fill was solid. ABYSSES (abyssi?) looked odd - liked the AZUL x ZAPPA and SPIRE x ROSARIES crosses. SCOTUS was timely.

When I was in grade school - Catholic and strict - Brother Simeon would make us memorize certain poems for some reason. In 8th grade it was Invictus and Innisfree. Little did I know then that it began a lifelong interest in YEATS and loved seeing the poem in the puzzle after so many years.

“Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade”

We may need some of that solitude after watching this farce of a debate later

mathgent 6:38 AM  

This is Jeff Chen’s POW. As usual, it’s about the constructor, not the solver. Jeff admired how Ricky Cruz inserted the themers. Forget about there being very little fun for us.

They’re punctuation marks, not characters.

Good puzzles have at least 8 long entries, the best have more than 12. This one had 4.

Lewis 6:56 AM  

This is a high-quality Tuesday puzzle, with a clever never-done-before theme that’s well executed and can help the solve. This is a puzzle that newer solvers can solve while seeing that puzzles can be providers of wit and fun and not just things to conquer.

This MAMBOed, ZAPPAed, and BLAREd with spark and even brought in some wordplay clues (on a Tuesday!), like [It might be stolen in full view] for BASE and [Something to make in an emergency] for HASTE, and more. Probably unintended by Ricky but adding to the party were related words: SLEEP IN/DRIFT, DARE/GUTSY/RISK, BAR/RUMS, YEATS/A VERSE. Not to mention CAMPERS crossing an anagrammed SCOUTS.

Oh, as a seasoned solver, I sped through this, but it wasn’t a SLEEP-IN, as I had to revisit a couple of areas. So I was alert as well as charmed. I have been impressed with all your puzzles, Ricky. Thank you for that voice of yours and the terrific time you gave me today!

SouthsideJohnny 6:58 AM  

I kind of liked this one - perfect for a Tuesday. I stopped by here to read Rex panning it and was pleasantly surprised when I saw that Claire was on board - nice job by her and I agree with the few nits. Don’t know what a MAMBO is - it must be important if someone wrote a ballet or opera or something like that about it.

kitshef 7:12 AM  

Oh, these youngsters. Clare, long before the Disney movie, in the TV show The Mighty Hercules, Newton always called Hercules “Herc”. Of course, Hercules also had to put on a magic ring to get his powers, so maybe not a 100% accurate representation of the mythology.

Misread 56D as “Post who wrote …” and filled in EMILY.

Clue for 16A should just read “Like modern dinosaurs”.

Beaglelover 7:18 AM  

Marie Curie was a pioneering scientist and Madame is her title? I guess her most important feat was getting married.

albatross shell 7:49 AM  

I noticed in the SE corner the ANDY/YEATS intersection and thought Bill's lesser-known brother? But then noticed reading around the corner it could be read ANDY EATS or AND YEATS. Then I saw CANAL and DRIFT started looking around the puzzle for words that are still words (or maybe crossword answers) when you drop the first or last letters. There seem to be a surprising number of them, although I have no idea what % of words fit that criteria.
AMASS ASIDE. ASHY is a double: ASH and SHY. CAMPERS AMPERS? CAMPER for sure. PoC's and SoC's will often fit right in.

Oh no. Have I also discovered V(owel(s))oC and C(onsonant(s))oC. Noooooo!

Skipping 3 letter words:

And the two letter drops; ADVISORS
And the 3 letter drops: ROSARIES.
And the embedded words and phrases: EMULATED and MADAME are pretty amusing ones to start on. Puzzle seems to me to have a dogpile of them.

I can see how words with embedded words might, on average, be good words for crossword construction, but who knows?
I do think there are a high number here. Who is COVID-bored enough to figure that one out?

OffTheGrid 7:56 AM  

It's time once again for Peggy Lee's "Is that all there is?". There is no there, there, in this puzzle. There is no fun or cleverness in the theme answers. I said a big "So what?" when I finished. Is a TILDE even a character? It's an accent to indicate pronunciation. Is a HYPHEN a character? Maybe? I think of AMPERSAND and ASTERISK as characters. The breaks in HY PHEN and TIL DE are at the syllable break at least. The other 2 are not. AMPERS AND, ASTE RISK. This just didn't work for me. Time to check out the LATX.

Z 8:40 AM  


Why is the puzzle swearing at us?

JOHN X 8:42 AM  

Disney released it's animated Hercules in 1997.

Clare, I've got news for you: the world existed long before 1997, stretching back to the Romans and the Greeks and even to 1959, when Hercules, an Italian film starring American bodybuilder Steve Reeves opened in the United States and became an enormous hit. They pumped out dozens of these movies.

Also, in 1963 there was an animated TV series (128 episodes) called The Mighty Hercules, which starred Hercules, and he had this little side-kick centaur who always called him "Herc."

The absolute best version is Hercules in New York (1970), the film debut of Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose thick Austrian accent was so bad they dubbed his voice. After he became a big star they would drag out this movie and it's hysterical to watch. ALL Hercules movies have bad dubbing, but this one is sublime:

TLDR: It's always been Hercules

pabloinnh 8:45 AM  

Same problem with are these characters? but mostly fun. I've seen ADVISORS and ADVISERS so I finally looked it up and found that either is acceptable. Anyway I guessed wrong here which made PROS hard to see, but easily fixed. LYDIA was a WOE, but easy crosses. Always like seeing ZAPPA.

All in all smooth and fun enough and a nicely executed theme, so thanks, RC. Don't drink your cola but you make an fun crossword.


Had limited success with yesterday's SB and was stuck on Amazing forever and didn't want to quit before Genius. Came back from our Monday hootenanny and took one last look at the letters and thought of my two-year old granddaughter running down the hallway after her bath and yelling with great delight, "I'M NUDIE!". So I tried NUDIE and it was accepted and everything about the experience made me happy. Thanks Emma.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

Really? Mambo is a dance. Mambo No. 5 is a song that you can dance the mambo to.

JBT 9:08 AM  

I agree with Clare nits for sure, but there is one more that is glaring that I am sure Rex is fuming about. COLON is right there as part of COLONIAL. Um, maybe don't have another special character in the puzzle as non-theme material?

Carola 9:09 AM  

Easy, nicely done, if lacking some verve. I did get a laugh out of the baking soda clue - the Internet is full of life-hack USEs for the stuff. Do over: "aLARm" before BLARE. Potential do-over: for "Cabinet members, to the President," I counted spaces for "toadies."

Barbara S. 9:15 AM  

I'm thrilled! (It doesn't seem to take much.) I had my first documented malapop! I've been doing XWs for decades so I must have had them before, but I only found out the proper term for them a couple of months ago on this blog, and until a thing is named it can't be remembered. (Hmm, is that true?) Anyway, for 69A "Requiring nerve" I entered RISKY, only to discover that was wrong and I had to replace it with GUTSY. But then at 62A, "Having low odds of success," RISKY was the right answer. Can anything possibly live up to that for the rest of the day? ;-)

Z 9:18 AM  

That second version was everywhere for a hot minute... OMG, 21 years ago. Okay, now I feel really old again.

Nancy 9:44 AM  

Before I start carping, I should say that I thought this was a cute puzzle with a cute theme. But I also thought that BREAKS CHARACTER was not a term I'd ever heard. BREAKS UP, yes. LOSES IT, yes. RUINS THE SCENE, yes. Anyway, before coming here, I tried typing it into Google. Guess what? It's not there.

That didn't prevent me from enjoying finding ASTERISK and AMPERSAND, et al. Even despite the tiny little circles that always force me to squoosh my letters. I wish I'd needed the theme to help solve, though: this puzzle was so easy that it was completely unnecessary.

Loved the clues for BASE (12D)and HASTE (61A). But when I got to 26D, I found myself saying: "Oh, no -- please don't be HERC. Please don't be!" Alas, it was.

But a fun early week puzzle regardless.

Unknown 9:47 AM  

Clare, re your fellow student not realizing there was a "hot mic," might be the most valuable lesson of the day. In most courtrooms nowadays, everything is recorded, sometimes even when court is not in session. You'd be amazed at what attorneys will say when the judge is off the bench, not realizing that the microphone is still running. Always good to check with the clerk to see if the recorder is on or off before saying *anything.*

This was easy, thought rex would pan it; nice to see Clare's sunny write-up. And I totally agree with the cluing for USE; while true, it just felt a little off.

Can't quite figure out why certain folks here are so into SB. When you have to guess at a mishmash of letters just to get the "solution," not sure where the fun is in that.

GILL I. 9:52 AM  

Well, at least it wasn't BREAKING wind although it sort of wafted in that area. I'm also glad my name isn't Hercules. "Hey, Herc....while you're up can you get me a Bud."
I stopped counting all the three letter gluey words. EVA PERSOS walked into a BAR with EMI USEKID. They ordered ALE and AFT with a side of EMI.
I always want to like a Tuesday; it's treated so badly. The PHENOMS need a bolster today.

RooMonster 9:54 AM  

Hey All !
Pretty neat puz. Apt Revealer for me. Common word themers, no dreck. What more can you ask for in a TuesPuz?

My nit is with SHE. Never know if it's SHE or HER. Todays clue (to me) strongly suggests HER. Am I right or not?

Nice to see Clare, still going to her Millionth Week of College. ๐Ÿ˜„ Hang in there! You'll be Lawyering before you know it!

HERC is forgivable. ☺️ Which names/country/people came first? Greeks or Romans? And why would you change Gods names and such? Ego? Inquiring minds...

One F

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

I don't get the angst over 'remote learning':
- home schooling has been the ken of the Right Wingnuts for decades, and they are quite happy with it, but now that it's far more common, it's evil? get a life.
- the number of 'on-line colleges and "professional schools"' has exploded in the last decade or so. most of them scams and/or useless diploma mills, but then some consider any form of book larnin a scam. well Trump University was the victim of Deep State retribution, fine cite of larnin that it was.

when a girl started complaining about how boring and useless the class was

now, now. Gloria will be very upset with that description.

TTrimble 10:00 AM  

Clare, I enjoy the change in pace and tenor that comes with your filling in for Rex. Good luck with law school.

Pretty straightforward puzzle, although hand up also for thinking of siren as a temptress of Odysseus. I liked the cluing for OVENS. Always nice to see ZAPPA in there (meaning Frank; am decidedly less keen on MADAME ZAPPA). Also nice, for me, to see my daughter's name LYDIA.

(Total aside: my 16-year-old Lydia plays piano, I DARE SAY pretty well. When she was much younger, she told me she didn't like practicing the F major scale -- it's one of the scales where instead of fingering 123-12345 which is common, you have to do 1234-1234 on the right hand, but 54321-321 on the left. I said to her, "maybe you'd like F in LYDIAn mode?" and showed her how you stay on the white keys. She of course was delighted.)

A small usage note to Clare: I've seen Herakles more often than Heracles as the rendering of the Greek name. But then again, I've seen Pericles more often than Perikles. So what can you say?

Nancy 10:05 AM  

Two people on Wordplay inform me that if you type in BREAK CHARACTER or BREAKING CHARACTER rather than BREAKS CHARACTER, the phrase will come up on Google. So let me apologize in advance before someone also corrects me here.

Frantic Sloth 10:10 AM  

@Z 840am Your comment is missing its footnote. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Nancy 10:13 AM  

@TTrimble (10:00) Re: Fingering in the key of F Major. What on earth are you talking about??? Not a word of what you're saying did I understand. Why, you might just as well be writing in HERC's native language.

Andrew Heinegg 10:25 AM  

I thought this was a solid Tuesday puzzle which took me a little longer than usual for reasons unknown to me. I liked Clare's review as well.

Life is full of coincidences like law student Clare reviewing the puzzle on a day when the Supreme Court in abbreviated form is one of the answers.

I know our esteemed President does not do crosswords. If he did, I am quite certain he would have taken exception to the clue-answer that ecology is a science. His gut knows better.

Whatsername 10:26 AM  

A crossword with CHARACTERS as the theme. How much do I love that? Let me count the ways and the different USES of them. A few entries were tough for Tuesday but overall I found it easy. Congratulations to Ricky on the POW.

Thank you Clare, for the mythology lesson. I also thought HERC sounded iffy, but I’m not much on Greek gods or Disney movies. Hera sounds like the original evil stepmother. Yikes!

I automatically knew that the answer to 52D was ELIAS. Don’t ask me Howe.

Cabinet members to the president? HENCHMEN has the same number of letters as ADVISORS. Just saying.

ASHY PHENOMS DARE SLEEP IN, well at least on the weekends,

TTrimble 10:29 AM  

Sorry, I'm confused. Did you say you didn't find "BREAKS CHARACTER" when you Googled?

Ernonymous 10:31 AM  

@okaneger The best one is LEGHORN for LIVORNO.

BEE-ER 10:32 AM  

At Unknown 9:47. We know SB is no fun. We're masochists with OCD.

Capt H 10:36 AM  

I suspect that few on this blog are ex-military, so you wouldn’t be familiar with the Lockheed C-130 Hercules cargo airplane. But it was frequently referred to as the HERC.

Karl Grouch 10:40 AM  

Risky Business with Tom Cruise.
Mumbo Characters by Ricky Cruz.
What the herc!

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

I automatically knew that the answer to 52D was ELIAS. Don’t ask me Howe.

so did I because he invented something. don't ask me what.

What? 10:46 AM  

“Breaking character” is in Wikipedia

Joe Dipinto 10:51 AM  

@Southside Johnny 6:58 – clearly you've never seen this episode of "The Honeymooners".

Today's entry has two clues that encapsulate what I hate about the puzzle these days: the clue for USE and the clue for OVENS.

Makes me wanna go back to bed. Here's a song originally from the musical "House Of Flowers".

Newboy 11:03 AM  

Thanks Clare, always nice to have a fresh start for the day. I too mentally sailed off with the Argonauts for a side trip, but corrected course before the CANAL blocked reentry. Back on course I finished quickly & enjoyed the 7/8 letter entries as well as the end of alphabet focus—maybe a pangram. (Yesterday that would have been “criticism of elderly relative”?) Nope, no pangram, but still the POW which isn’t too shabby for a Tuesday. Thanks Ricky for the GUTSY grid without the expected 3 letter glue on an early week grid.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Capt H,

What? You think only those with military experience know the C-130?
Wow! Ignorance masquerading as expertise.
The most densely populated state in the country is home to joint base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Every living creature below say, exit 8 of the NJ TPK, West of The Garden State Pkwy and above say, Rt. 73 not only knows the C-130, but the C-141 as well. You'd have to be a heavily sedated imbecile not to. And I assure, most of us are not in the military.
I'll skip the folks in Israel who know the C-5,......

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Pro tip. Clerks and bailiffs, really anyone in a courtroom isnt obliged to tell you much of anything. If you don't want something repeated, don't say it in public.

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

What a PLEASURE to read such an upbeat and accurate review of the ACTUAL PUZZLE. . . instead of the discouraging, politically-correct drivel we usually get from whats-his-name. . . Excellent recap. . . Good luck in your studies.

EdFromHackensack 11:53 AM  

TTrimble, I read this blog everyday and a piano blog as well. I was reading your post and thought I was on the piano blog, got confused. YES the Lydian mode sharpens the fourth, so the Bflat becomes a B in the key of F. Thus turning that into all white keys on the piano. do you play?

egsforbreakfast 11:57 AM  

This puzzle could have been taken up a notch by having the “bridged” words be coherent words or phrases in their own rights:

18 & 19A - How long to stir the risotto: UNTIL DENSE
24 & 25A - Young All-Star players around Mt. St. Helens: ASHY PHENOMS
51 & 53A - Orphan’s dog on an overnight in the woods: CAMPER SANDY (I know it is broken differently in the puzzle as constructed)
61 & 62A - Characterization of something that is perilous from being done too quickly: HASTE RISKY

Also, I think that with this type of approach, the circles would be less important, since you’re breaking an answer while simultaneously breaking a character.

I’m pretty sure that my wife slipped something into my coffee if I expect anyone to read this and think “Yeah, good point!”

chance2travel 12:00 PM  

I think I would have rathered the puzzle use "break character" instead of the more awkward "breaks". Also it bothers me a little that these are all symbols (vs letters) but not sure how one would do it differently.

Does anyone else get annoyed when the revealer is in the middle of the puzzle? I guess it helps if you're struggling with the final themers, but that's not as likely to be an issue this early in the week.

Bummed that I didn't get an good italian or french food or locale in this one. Oh well

Clare - love that you bring a different unique voice to the write-ups. I like OFL's voice too - just nice to have variety. And as a 6-video-calls-per-day telecommuter, I also have camera lens covers on my macbook and frequently double-check that I'm on mute ;)

Whatsername 12:00 PM  

@Joaquin (12:40): Yes, winning is so much more fun, especially when they play like the PHENOMS they are. Loved the razzle dazzle. And what a great feeling to start the season with the team that’s at the top of the heap!

@Capt. H (10:36) I’m not ex-military but I had completely forgotten about the C-130 being referred to as the HERC. That old work horse has served our country well and with distinction.

@Anonymous (11:09) “Wow! Ignorance masquerading as expertise” says a lot more about your comment than it does about Captain H’s.

linac800 12:02 PM  

Greetings All!

Enjoyed today's puzzle, although my comment comes almost 12 hours after I managed a slightly-worse-than-average Tuesday time. Speed solver I'm not! Must admit that threw in USE for 37A right away, and muttered something about a waste of a clue.

As others have said, many neat juxtapositions today, and an overall straightforward solve.

My only nit, mentioned earlier, is the clue/answer for 9D - MADAME as a title for a dual Nobelist in Physics (1903) and Chemistry (1911) - that irked me - I'm a nukular (sic) physicist/particle accelerator person and that landed like a lead brick that I once made when I was very young and impressionable. We were out of lead bricks, I had a hot Cesium radioactive source to do a Compton Scattering experiment as a second year physics student in South Africa, needed shielding, and was shown the smelter and forms, and told to make my own if I needed them. Needless to say I'm closing in on 70 so I don't seem to have suffered lasting effects.

Great write up, Clare!

Greetings from the cool climes of Sweden.

Anoa Bob 12:06 PM  

From your resident S NERD: With 23 Ss in a 40 black-square grid, it occupies a little over 12% of the open squares while the letter S only appears about 6% of the time in standard English text (

Many of the ultra-grid-fill-friendly Ss were of the POC (plural of convenience) variety, to wit OVENS, SALONS, ONES, ROSARIES, PHENOMS, PROS, ADVISORS, BREAKSCHARACTER, RUMS, ABYSSES, CAMPERS, LTS. Gives the puzzle a bit of a POC marked feel to it for me.

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

More comments on F Major scale please.

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

On 37A USE. I disagree with Clare here--I can't think of anything as notoriously famous as a multi-use product, and unlike duct tape, such a variety of uses. It's a stomach settler; a product for a variety of baking purposes; general deodorizer for refrigerators, freezers, and pantries; moisture absorbitant (sp.?); and perhaps most importantly, what you use to put out a grease fire. It works beautifully and quickly for oil and grease fires.

Made me recall what American men and women used to chant in Europe before going out in the morning on archeological digs (the weather was hot, travelers, living on a tight budget, would often neglect to bring extra shoes, and everything tended to get a little "gamy"). The song was this:
"The morning I wake up,
Before I put on my makeup,
I put baking powder in my shoes."

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Joe Dipinto 12:33 PM  

@Nancy – it's simple. A scale has 8 notes; we only have 5 fingers on each hand. Standard right hand scale fingering on a keyboard is first (thumb), second, third fingers for notes 1-3, then for the fourth note you cross your thumb under and start again, to finish out the scale. So the fingering is 1-2-3-1-2-3-4-5.


In the key of F Major the fourth note is B-flat – a black key. It's too awkward to cross your thumb under to play a black key, which is set further back. So you cross the thumb under after the fourth note. The fingering becomes 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4.


There are types of scales called modes. A mode can be played by starting on any white key and playing the next seven white keys in succession. They all produce different interval relationships. And, they can all be played with the standard fingering. The mode starting on F is called the Lydian mode. Hence, T Trimble's joke that his daughter –Lydia– might prefer to play the Lydian rather than the regular scale from F.

Ernonymous 12:36 PM  

@beaglelover when I saw that, about Marie Curie, I thought Rex is gonna hit the roof.

Anonymous 12:37 PM  


I, for one, wouldn't mind a whole lot if you also explained why even-tempered is desired, but also, sort of, broken.

mathgent 12:38 PM  

@egsforbreakfast (11:57)” Yeah, good point. Really.

Ernonymous 12:41 PM  

@poggius I sang that to the tune of:
The morning I wake up
I put on some make up
Turn on the 8 track
I'm pulling the wig down from the shelf

Z 12:42 PM  

@Roo Monster - re:SHE - Hmmmm, “The woman in question” suggests the subject of the sentence to me as opposed to the object of the sentence. “Who wrote the blog today?” “SHE did.” Thus, SHE is the woman in question.

@Unknown 9:47 - I know! Anagramming is something I will never understand as entertainment.

@BEE-ER - Nice nom de blog. Have an IPA on me.

@TTrimble - I grew up with “Hercules” being the common English spelling, but “Herakles” is much better than “Heracles” since a) Kappa looks like a K, and b) “C” has two pronunciations one of which is wrong.

Re: MADAME - We also see “mrs” and “sra” and “mme” clued as “titles” for married women. The misdirection is that with MADAME Curie the cluer wants the solver to think of a title like “doctor” or “nobel laureate.” But, MADAME is perfectly cromulent.

@Anoa Bob - If those were cheater squares this puzzle would never have been accepted. I agree with you on the POC-markedness.


Masked and Anonymous 1:05 PM  

Great TuesPuz, altho its average word length was maybe a bit stubby. It is thereby and henceforth dubbed the HERC of TuesPuzs.

staff weeject pick: LTS. Plural abbreve meat. Or probably the nickname for some myth member. yep … LiberTaS was the goddess of freedom ...

Didn't know: MAMBO #5.

Some sneaky TuesPuz clues peppered this puppy, makin it a less than runaway solvequest. 5-D's {"Whew!} and 37-A's {One of many for baking soda} come to mind, at our house.

Great blog write-up by Toga Queen Clare today.

Thanx for the ~-&* splitz, Mr. Cruz.
M&A will now perform his famous @ split: AfT. [ta-da]

Masked & Anonymo6Us


Anonymous 1:08 PM  

It is she. But not for the reason Z asserts. It's much less attenuated. She in this case is simply a predicate nominative.
Z is right to look at the construction, but has it all balled up. The woman in question (is).... she. That's a predicate nominative.

It is true that if you rewrite the sentence by saying: She is the woman in question, then you'd have she as well, this time as a subject. But there's no need to rewrite it--as Z has-- to arrive at the correct answer.

Richard 1:15 PM  

At 33A I tried toadies, lickspittles, sockpuppets and asskissers, but none fit. But ADVISORS?! Hahahahahahaha.

Teedmn 1:18 PM  

I'm with everybody who calls foul on the clue for USE. Just, no.

I did like this puzzle's theme and the longer fill. HERC brings to mind the extremely obnoxious CHARACTER so nicknamed in "The Wire". What a bully.

We have a few words celebrating AL: CANAL, NAVAL, COLONIAL, INALL, ALE, SALONS and the backwards BLARE. Hi, Al, whoever you are.

Thanks, Mr. Cruz, and congrats on the POW.

Donna 1:36 PM  

I found this puzzle on the same wave length as Sunda's "Playing With Food" puzzle.

bocamp 1:46 PM  

@ Ricky - You had me at "Mambo No. 5". Thanks for the memories. :) @ Clare - Great write-up; I don't care for "circles" either; much prefer "grey cells". Yes, it was a perfect revealer…spot on! Hope the rest of your final year goes well, and you stay safe, too. :)

First heard Lou Bega's "Mambo No. 5" when I chaperoned a dance at a "Students for Safe Driving" conference. What a catchy tune. Was an earworm for a long time after. : )

@ Barbara S. 9:15 AM

I treasure "malapops"; I love coincidences, in general, but malopops are among the best of them. : )

No problem here re: the clue for, and/or the usage of, "use"; "use" is a wonderful word, and baking soda does have many uses, for sure.

@ Joe Dipinto 12:33 PM

Although I didn't last very long at my gramma's piano lessons (not her fault, bless her heart), I do remember the "thumb under" move. LOL

To those who find "anagramming" off-putting, please consider this: isn't variety the spice of life? What's off-putting to one, is another's delight. I would think seeing others enjoying what they do, would be reason to be happy for them, rather than to question their motives.

*** consideration, empathy, understanding, appreciation, kindness ***

**** SB ALERT ****

Ended up 3 short yesterday; had at least three "Scrabble friendly" words not accepted. 5 to go for today. : )

Peace Frieden Maluhia Pace Miers Paz Mir ๐Ÿ•Š

Nancy 1:46 PM  

So as I read both @TTrimble and @Joe D, here's what I'm realizing. I'm realizing that Rubenstein, Horowitz and Van Cliburn would have had no competition from me. Nor, for that matter, would Billy Joel, Burt Bacharach and Elton John.

Oh, wait. I already knew that at age 10, although my parents continued to pay for my piano lessons for several more years -- for reasons best known to them.

@TTrimble -- It doesn't come up under BREAKS CHARACTER. Before writing my first comment, I typed in BREAKS and then, in succession C (nada) H (nada) A (nada) R <nada), right to the end of the word. Try it yourself. Evidently you have to type either BREAK or BREAKING to get a result.

old timer 1:48 PM  

Welcome back Clare. This too shall pass -- and so will you, with flying colors.

For a little diversion, go find Agatha Christie's "The Labors of Hercules", a collection of short stories featuring Hercule Poirot, who did not like being called "Herc". He starts with an hilarious take on the Nemean Lion labor, and covers them all.

Mme Curie was always referred to as MADAME (or Mme.). Didn't faze the Nobel committee. Her husband was great, but she was the greater of the two. And in France, then and now, it is a long time before a friend can abandon the title (Monsieur, Madame, Docteur, Professeur) and move to using your first name.

kitshef 1:49 PM  

@Joe DiPinto - a noble effort, but still uncomprehensable. Maybe @Nancy will fare better with it.

Aelurus 1:53 PM  

I like circles, gray areas, rebuses, and the absence of anagrams in puzzles and thought this one was cute. AND it has the first line of one of my favorite poems--The Lake Isle of Inisfree. "Bee-loud glade" has simple words but how sublimely put together.

Don't have time until this afternoon to read everyone's posts, wasn't even going to post until I saw that clue, so apologies if this is repeating someone but I had to share it for those who haven't read it:

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

Barbara S. 1:58 PM  

I was glad to see both SOS and ABBA in the grid.

Also happy for the mention of "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" by Yeats. Here’s Judy Collins' version.

@TTrimble 12:53 a.m. (on yesterday’s blog)
Thanks for the cogent explanation of the ADDERS joke. Now I finally get it myself! (Pro tip: it’s probably best to avoid telling jokes you don’t fully understand.)

@Whatsername (10:26)
Isn’t XW knowledge grand! And even better when it’s accurate. I felt the way you did about Mr. Howe, but entered ELIja (spelled like nobody spelled it ever).

***SB ALERT***
@pabloinnh (8:45 a.m.)
Loved your story! I was a bit surprised they accepted that word. It didn’t offend me in any way, but I wouldn’t have been surprised to see it on their “obscene” list. I find their sensibilities to be quite delicate.

@BEE-ER (10:32 a.m.)
I’m still laughing.

Unknown 2:22 PM  

@Z 12:42 Cromulent.
I guess we all now know who the smartest kid in the room is.
So thank you.

And yet there's a small but undeniable part of me that likes seeing a word I've never seen before.
So thank you.

dadnoa 2:38 PM  

+1 for Herc comment. Much pithier than my original thought......and having taught BOTH Greek AND Roman mythology for longer than Clare has been alive, Herc never made it to a vocal list.....

Monty Boy 3:01 PM  

I liked this one a lot, especially Clare's refreshing writeup. Lots of good clues, e.g. "Short strokes" and comments (see other terms for cabinet "advisors" in several comments.

Was it Nathan Hale who said: I only regret that I have only one * for my country?

Nancy 3:06 PM  

Thanks, @kitshef!!! I didn't understand a word of Joe's *explanation* either and was really starting to think that I might be completely brain dead.

Anonymous 3:13 PM  

To those who find "anagramming" off-putting

I read an interview with Gerry Mulligan, bari sax player, in which he said, as an aside, "anagrams are extra".

Barbara S. 3:19 PM  

***SB ALERT***
It's gloomy here with a rainstorm moving in. The temperature has dropped considerably. But rather than do any of the indoor chores I should be tackling, I decided to apply myself to the SB. And got QB -- yay! I'm hoping a big bunch of you will join me at our Coronation. There's some quirkiness in today's list but nothing highly technical.

"Zadok the priest
And Nathan the prophet
Anointed Solomon king..."
(Coronation Anthem for George II by G.F. Handel, sung at all Coronations of the British monarch since.)

TTrimble 3:20 PM  

@Unknown 2:22
Yes, @Z is smart, and so are the writers of The Simpsons, which is where the made-up word "cromulent" comes from. It's a perfectly cromulent word, though. (Meaning, "acceptable", "serviceable".)

(Actually, it's pretty astonishing sometimes the learned references that appear on The Simpsons. Certain math papers have been written in response to some episodes.)

@Joe Dipinto
Thanks for filling in. For those people who didn't follow his (very good) explanation, it may help if you have access to a keyboard and know how to locate notes. Reading from left to right, where you see a group of three consecutive black keys, the white key just before the first of those black keys is F. Place your right thumb there, and read through his explanation again really slowly. Or maybe quicker: grab someone who plays the piano and ask them (he/she) to walk you through it. It's actually simple, as he says; it just gets a little long-winded when you try to say write out the explanation in full.

@Ed From Hackensack
I *did* play piano. At the time my kids started playing, I decided I would too, with the same teacher, partly out of a sense of solidarity with them, and partly because I always wanted to. However, as happens with many adult students, I didn't practice with nearly the commitment I should have to reach a level I was ever moderately happy with. It's hard, hard work. My pet theory is that neurology and musculature are much more pliant and "educatable" when you're young, and the later in life you take up something as challenging as the piano, the harder it gets. I'm not sure how true that is, but it's something I told myself and I'm sticking to it. :-)

Anyway, I reached a certain level, and then stopped. Among the last things I was doing were some Chopin Mazurkas, Mendelssohn Boat Songs, Arabesque #1 and Clair de Lune and also Sunken Cathedral by Debussy (whom I adore), and a few other things. My taste in terms of personal performance ran more to Romantic and Impressionist, let's say. Maybe one day I'll return to it, I don't know. But my Lydia is super-good now and I'm super-proud of her. :-)

@Barbara S.
Glad you got the joke! As you can see, I was a little reticent explaining it, especially with the level of nerd-bashing (NERD CRED, "smart kids", various projections and advice to read C.S. Lewis, etc. etc.) we've seen recently. So I just sort of "tucked it away".

burtonkd 3:27 PM  

Regarding Lydian mode. I was playing a song titled "Lydia", an ode by Gabriel Faure to the many charming qualities of said Lydia.
I had an aha moment when I realized the fourth was raised in the melody and the girl's name was Lydia, making it a pun on the Lydian mode. Super excited to discover this, I told my voice major roommate, who gave me a look like "where have you been, everyone knows that". I bet they didn't all discover it on their own...
Beautiful song, at any rate, and I Bear No Grudge (a song by Schumann).
To continue this garden path, Faure is known as the Schubert of French Lieder, or Chanson, if you will due to his interesting use of harmonic modulation.

Nice puzzle, and nice write-up Clare!

jberg 4:02 PM  

I solved this easy puzzle this morning, enjoying the theme, then had to rush off to a medical appointment. Now I'm home, and it's late in the comment stream, but I'll still say a couple of things.

First, on the different names in different languages thing, it seems complicated to me. In some cases--like Herakles/Hercules--the two peoples always had different names for them. I'm not an expert on this, but I'm guessing many other Mediterranean groups (Etruscans, Sabines) had mythological figures that were similar, and names for them that had drifted apart over time (look up "glottochronology.") In some cases -- like Lviv/Lwow/Lemberg -- it's staking a claim in a disputed sovereignty. In some cases -- like Nueva York -- it's a simple translation of the meaning of the name. They all seem legitimate to me. Then there are the attempts to render foreign names into English -- like Peking -- which we are now moving away from.

Are &, -, tilde, etc. characters? Well, maybe not tilde -- but as for the others, they are not only characters, they are SPECIAL characters, as you will read the next time you have to create a secure password.

Finally, Clare, great writeup, but you are mixing up baking soda and baking powder. They are not the same -- though if you mix up baking soda with cream of tartar you create baking powder. I'm guessing you are too busy to bake much! I do agree with Poggius that baking soda is famously multi-usable, e.g. by opening up a box and setting it on a shelf in your refrigerator to capture any bad odors.

TTrimble 4:06 PM  

The discussion would not be complete without mention of Lydia the Tattooed Lady. (What mode is that in? I dunno. But maybe you, or any of a number of musicians who hang out here, know right away.)

I wasn't aware of Faure as the French Schubert. It's nice to learn things here!

Joe Dipinto 4:41 PM  

@kitshef – maybe this video will help.

tea73 5:07 PM  

@TTrimble I am impressed. I did the same thing when my oldest took piano lessons. Even though I practiced diligently I never got very good at all. I could just about play "Fรผr Elise" and maybe some possibly simplified Bach and Mozart. I had a boyfriend in college who could play ragtime and Art Tatum. Swoon.

Mambo No. 5 brought back fond memories of dance aerobics classes. It's horribly sexist, but I love it anyway.

I laughed at that baking soda clue.

I thought the puzzle had an awful lot of names, but remembered them all but Mr. Sewing Machine.

TTrimble 5:20 PM  

There is no doubt that Fรผr Elise, played all the way through including the "B" and stormy "C" section and the fast descending run before the coda, is nontrivial. Beautiful piece of music.

I really think that if I went back, I ought to take Bach (esp. the Well-Tempered Clavier) very, very seriously.

kitshef 6:08 PM  

@Joe D-

that video was helpful ... although it raised further questions. Why use all five fingers when using the left hand, but only four fingers with the right? Why is one black key being pushed in the middle of all those white keys? And why does the key in which you are playing matter? Wouldn't you have a same "reach" in C or A minor? And it is probably well past time to take this off blog as probably most people who care already understand it, and everybody else is say "ye Gods - not another music post", so feel free to email.

Z 6:09 PM  

@1:08 - Your logic is fine though I think a tad excessive, sort of like the predicate* nominative. As is often the case, M-W’s usage guides are a source of amusement.

@TTrimble - Ah, man. Am I remembering correctly that the original meaning was subject to debate because the context allowed various interpretations? I don’t think I’ve ever watched a full episode, so that the word has entered the vernacular is a testament to the show’s cultural impact.

*Auto-corrupt is on my side, wanting “predictive,” which isn’t exactly an argument in my favor.
@Frantic Sloth - there you go.

Pamela 6:24 PM  

I love reading all the music stuff. My mother was a wonderful pianist. She told me that by the time I was 2 I could play the ‘pop’ of Pop Goes the Weasel.” She taught me until I was 9. Then my school started music classes and I decided I wanted to try the violin that my grandmother had passed along to us, which had been tucked away in a closet for years. Mom said I could only have one instrument, and there would be no going back. That was the end of piano lessons for me. About all I remember now is the scale fingering, a simple Haydn tune and Chopsticks. And as of today, I know about Lydian mode. Thanks!


@ Barbara S- Congrats, and thanks for the encouragement. I only have 2 left to go now, but don’t feel inspired. Maybe now my competitive spirit will wake up.

Yesterday I gave up with 3 missing. I should have gotten DENIZEN and PINUP, but PINNIPED would always have been beyond my ken. I looked it up- something to do with birds. Hmmph.

Lewis 6:37 PM  

@aelurus -- Thank you for posting the YEATS poem, which was a pool of peace for me in an otherwise hectic day.

jae 6:46 PM  

******SB Alert******
@Barbara S. - I’m pleased to join you for the Coronation. As to “quirkinesses” the only reason I got there was remembering obscurities from past SBs and a bit of “only seen in crossword” crosswordese. The main drawback to getting there early @Unknown & Z is that now I have a big hole in the rest of my day. I’ll probably have to read a book.

Good luck to those who are still at it!

Joe Dipinto 7:24 PM  

@kitshef → everybody else is saying "ye Gods - not another music post"...

Is that like when I say, "%&*#@ – not another spelling bee post"? :-)

I don't think I can really explain it further. As T Trimble said, it would be better to sit down at a piano with someone who can explain it and even have you try it for yourself. But the underlying point is that you want to move as fluidly as possible; you don't want to be contorting your hands or fingers into unnecessarily awkward positions. Pianists will work out specific fingerings in order to get through complicated passages of a piece gracefully.

bocamp 7:33 PM  

**** SB ALERT ****

Congrats to @ Barbara S. 3:19 PM ๐Ÿ‘ & @ jae 6:46 PM ๐Ÿ‘

@ Pamela 6:24 PM - I'm right behind you at 3 to go. ๐Ÿคž

Peace Frieden Maluhia Pace Vrede Paz kapayapaan Paix mir ๐Ÿ•Š

Anonymous 7:40 PM  

And of course, if we went by the link you provide, the answer, pe4 your logic would be her. Not she.
So which is it? The argument you used earlier. Or this one which refutes your answer to Roo.

I stand by assessment. And have a better authority than you to support my claim. Fowler. The definitive word on English usage.

TTrimble 7:44 PM  

@Z 6:09 PM
You might be right, but if there was ever any debate, neither Wikipedia nor Simpsons Wiki gives any hint of that. In fact it seems fans picked up and adopted the word right away, and it sure looks as though there was widespread consensus that it meant "acceptable", etc., based on the assumed lexical context.

However, the wiki (not Wiki) points out that more recently, "cromulent" has taken on an ironic meaning of "not at all legitimate", as might be applied to the word itself. (Very meta.) But... for the fact that now several prominent dictionaries now list the word in their lexicons, with the predominant meaning given above.

Must feel good to be a Simpsons writer. The link above has hundreds of made-up words introduced by The Simpsons. (You say you're not a viewer, but I'd recommend earlier seasons to your attention, maybe ones through the mid-90's. There is a wealth of delicious allusions, some pop, some recondite. It's right up there with Bullwinkle and Bugs Bunny in the pantheon of cartoons.)

NeverNudes 7:46 PM  

I don't know if you are serious but I laughed so hard I almost woke up my newborn (ballet or opera).

Z 7:50 PM  

@Anon8:40 - If you want to go predicate nominative to make the clue work for SHE, you can. Easier is to assume that the clue is looking for a subject. As for I stand by assessment. And have a better authority than you to support my claim. Fowler. The definitive word on English usage. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ Can we discuss how your preference demonstrates your bias? On second, thought, nah.

Anonymous 7:59 PM  

Stick to the question at hand,
You have provide contradictory answers, claiming at various times that she is correct. And her is correct. And Of course your initial defense of she completely misunderstood the grammar. If there is any tear of laughter it’s at your protean and unconvincing argument.

TTrimble 8:33 PM  

Hoo boy. Let the prescriptivist-descriptivist battles begin.

But let's hear from some real linguists, shall we?

(Full confession: I've had my prescriptivist tendencies too. So I feel some compassion toward all involved here.)

bocamp 8:54 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
bocamp 11:54 PM  

**** SB ALERT ****

Gave it my best shot, but no go; still 2 shy. Both very gettable, alas :( Tomorrow's another day. :)

**** Scrabble friendly words ALERT ****

The following were acceptable in at least one Scrabble oriented site:

1) corky
2) coco
3) chiro
4) cooky
5) chico
6) cocci
7) cricky
8) choko
9) chocho

Peace Fred Maluhia ฮตฮนฯฮฎฮฝฮท Paix Pokรณj ๐Ÿ•Š

Burma Shave 8:53 AM  


VERY GUTSY to DARE the MAN you’re keepin’,
ASIDE from the ASHes UHAUL
for other ONES with whom you’re SLEEPIN’.


thefogman 9:52 AM  

I’m pretty sure Rex would have hated this one and I would agree with him.The double meaning of the reveal is not enough to get it off the ground. Why is such mediocre stuff is getting published?

rondo 10:26 AM  

Tuesdays are typically VERY much less than stellar, but I don’t know why it has to be that way. Maybe because all the real talent has gone to other venues? Remember when there was a steady diet of Patrick Berry and David Steinberg in the NYTXword? Not anymore. Makes for some unhappy CAMPERS. Yet I stick to what ISEE in the daily paper.

Things you might SEE at AMASS. ROSARIES.

EVA and SARAH and LYDIA are all up there in the NW. Pick one. SHE wins.

'Joe’s Garage' goes on now. Nothing a little ZAPPA can’t cure.

Diana, LIW 10:40 AM  

SOS sez it all for today.

Except that the puzzle was fun, fair, and a happy Tuesday diversion. Diversion from what you ask? Oh, I don't know...maybe the end of overused exclamation marks?

Said the ex-grammar teacher, elliptically.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting

leftcoaster 3:32 PM  

Clever theme and revealer, and good overall. Got just a bit sticky in the middle North and NE, which is a good thing, adding a little BYTE to the puzzle.

A slightly sour political note on Election Day with mention of the president, his ADVISORS, and SCOTUS. Should be an interesting night.

spacecraft 3:40 PM  

Liked it. Liked yesterday's Lempel, too. Bonus "CHARACTER:" COLON(IAL). EVA Longoria reprises as DOD. The birdie PUTT dropped.

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