Small anatomical opening as in bone / SUN 9-13-20 / Ground-dwelling songbird / Stark who was crowned king in Game of Thrones finale / Japanese city where Lexus is headquartered

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Constructor: MaryEllen Uthlaut

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (not sure why, just slow, ~12min ... maybe the drink?)

THEME: "Final Offer" — the final "ER" is taken "OFF" of familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, blah blah blah:

Theme answers:
  • HAPPILY EVER AFT (23A: Always glad to be seated in the back of the boat?)
  • ABSOLUTE POW (28A: Perfectly placed "Batman" punch?)
  • RECYCLING CENT (50A: Penny going through the wash once again?)
  • AMEN, BROTH (56A: Soup served at the church social?)
  • BRAIN TEAS (77A: Afternoon gatherings of Mensa?) (ugh, Mensa, stop promoting that crap as shorthand for "intelligence")
  • CELLPHONE NUMB (85A: Having no feeling in one's texting hand?)
  • RELIEF PITCH (103A: Ad for heartburn medication?)
  • NO LAUGHING, MATT (15A: "Quit your snickering, Damon!"?)
Word of the Day: FENESTRA (93A: Small anatomical opening, as in a bone) —
n. pl. fe·nes·trae (-trΔ“′)
1. Anatomy small anatomical opening, as in a bone. [emph. mine] :( :( :(
2. An opening in a bone made by surgical fenestration.
3. Zoology A transparent spot or marking, as on the wing of a moth or butterfly.
• • •

This was pretty gruesome. Felt like a throwback puzzle. Very 1990s. It's just ... a variation on the remove-a-letter theme. The oldest theme type in the book, and one to which we have not been subjected in what feels like (merciful) eons. Somehow manages to combine monotonous and predictable with difficult, as some of these theme phrases were weirdly hard to dredge up from the wacky "?" clues. the BROTH part of AMEN, BROTH(ER). The BRAIN part of BRAIN TEAS(ER). I kept getting stuck wondering what the hell the base phrase could be. And never, not once, did I feel rewarded or happy when I finally got the answer. "NO LAUGHING, MATT!" is probably the best of the lot, and if they'd all been that good ... maybe. But they weren't, not even close, so this one was just shrug after eye roll after shrug. Further, there is zero interest in the non-theme fill. In fact, there are hardly any non-theme answers longer than seven letters. There's just nothing to sink your teeth into, nothing to enjoy. And you absolutely blow one of your few longer answers on the rank obscurity FENESTRA!?!?! I just don't understand the mindset here. 

I'm looking around for things to admire and just not finding very many. I guess the fill could've been worse. It's reasonably solid. But it's just fill. Space filler. Not weak, exactly, but not wowing anyone either. The only things I have to remark on today are trouble spots / wrong answers. Not sure I knew CALICO was a fabric (26A: Printed cotton fabric). I know it only as a cat (26A: Printed cotton fabric). Had to guess most of PHENOL (33D: Caustic compound). Wanted CRUSTY and (especially) CRABBY before CRANKY (60D: Irascible). Holy moly I could not get to the very very general REGION from the weirdly oddly specific 59D: Map section. I will never understand why the puzzle thinks everyone watches "GOT" or why anyone thinks it's better to clue BRAN as a "GOT" character than as the ordinary English word that it is. Ugh. ANONYM is [frowny face]. How is a DOG like a canary? I honestly don't know, and was totally baffled by that clue / answer (82D: Animal for which the Canary Islands are named). Here's wikipedia on the subject:
The name Islas Canarias is likely derived from the Latin name Canariae Insulae, meaning "Islands of the Dogs", a name that was evidently generalized from the ancient name of one of these islands, Canaria – presumably Gran Canaria. According to the historian Pliny the Elder, the island Canaria contained "vast multitudes of dogs of very large size". 
I think that's all I have the energy for today. I wish the puzzle could find some happy medium between the wildly ambitious but kinda solver-hating Sunday puzzle of last week with the very clear but very dull puzzle of this week. All with a sprinkling of sparkle. That would be cool. Take care.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Harryp 12:04 AM  

I didn't find this to be as challenging as OFL makes it out to be, and it was one of my faster Sunday times. Liked it.

Joaquin 12:05 AM  

Unlike Rex, I thought this was a reasonably fun puzzle. I enjoyed trying to suss out the themers with only one or two letters in place. Often times I find Sunday puzzles a terrible slog. Not today.

Z 12:10 AM  

Sadly, the PIPIT is not a close relative of a pewit. The puzzle flipped the birds.

EdFromHackensack 12:12 AM  

FOP/FENESTRA ugh. otherwise kind of easy.

Frantic Sloth 12:13 AM  

Shouldn't the clue read "sheeps' kin" for the plural GOATS? Or am I missing something? (Don't answer that second question.)

Does anybody really say ONSIDE as it relates to behind the line of scrimmage? ONSIDE kick is the only term I've heard with any regularity. "Offsides" all the time, but ONSIDE? Not so much.
Or is this more about rugby or some other type of scrimmage-y sport? Asking for someone who cares.

I liked the theme insofar as the themers weren't complete giveaways. The only known quantity was the dropped "ER" at the end. It still required a little brain power.

Also, I can't imagine it was too easy coming up with phrases ending in "er" that could convert to another which made sense while also changing the meaning of the altered word.
No player/play or raider/raid kind of stuff.
Instead we have:
Only PITCHer/PITCH was a little shaky, but it was still two different types of PITCH.

In the afterglow of yesterday's warzone of a puzzle, this was a welcome respite. Sometimes easier can be cleaner and sharper without having to be mindless.

Well done and enjoyable!


MGW 12:18 AM  

This was one of my fastest Sundays in a while. I personally liked "Happily Ever Aft" a lot as my favorite themer.
I always know Canary Islands aren't named after canaries but never remember what they actually are named for, nice to be reminded.

Ernonymous 12:44 AM  

Presa Canaria is the dog breed that originated in the Canary Islands. I know a fair bit about them because in 2006, my little poodle, the black one in my avatar photo, was attacked by 3 of them. I went to try to help him and I got bit in my arm. The dog somehow survived, he needed stitches and had cracked ribcage. I also broke my front tooth slamming my front door as they tried to follow me in. 2 neighbors were outside hitting them with baseball bats. The dog catchers came and took them, then I went to doggy court, small fine, bla bla bla.
The owner was here renting a house in the neighborhood as he was a Katrina refugee. He had a breeding business for these dogs in LA. The house had a cheap wired fence and they got loose.
The guy came over afterwards and said he'd heard everyone was saying they were 3 pit bulls and he was insulted as they were half presa canarios and half labs. That was a lie, they were full presas. This breed became very popular with drug dealers and low lifes after one killed a woman in an elevator in California. People liked that they seemed meaner than Pit Bulls.
I Still have a nice scar. I dropped the dog at the vet and took myself to the ER. That dog was 3 at the time, and he was a complete mess after that, for the rest of his life. RiP Skippy 2003-2019

Pamela 1:07 AM  

Whew- I needed this after yesterday’s Super Saturday puzzler. The first themer I got, ABSOLUTEPOW, made me laugh and gave me the gimmick. It also made me feel smart, for a change. That helped a lot with the laundered penny, which I happily filled in from the CYC.
The others took a little more effort, but I enjoyed them all.

Finestra, Italian for window, is left over from the skimpy vocabulary I managed to acquire years ago, when I thought I was serious about becoming fluent and spending lots of time in the country. I did get there, more than once, but the language part never quite made it all the way.

There were plenty of challenges throughout, so it was quite a while before I finally got back up to the NW, where the brain cells really faltered all the way up to the bitter end. Didn’t know _SHA, and couldn’t make sense of _ATH. Even trying nearly letter, I just couldn’t see the ‘O’
And I had rEDA for the Sanskrit, so the themer was gibberish, too. I put it down finally and took a break. When I came back all became clear and I got the happy music.

@Z You were right yesterday that I mixed A’s and D’s. I didn’t see it until too late, so I’m thanking you today. But I should have asked why winners rewards are BYES.

JD 1:35 AM  

There's a pharmaceutical ad waiting to happen here, "When you're tired of throwing people out the window, ask your doctor about Fenestra."

Has Defenestrate ever been in a puzzle? Why do we even have a word for throwing people out a window. Did it used to happen a lot, like maybe when they first invented windows and it just seemed more convenient than the guillotine?

Finished with a check along the way but the will to go on was weakening and I had to know if I was winning or wasting time.

Absolute Pow made the effort worthwhile. I hear it corrupts kind of absolutely but can't seem to finish the job. Cellphone Numb was a stretch.

All that aside, @Frantic and @Z (Mom and Dad) this just out. Miley Cyrus covered Maneater and turned it into a feminist anthem. She sneers it out like Elvis. Said she did it as a warning for her future ex-husband. YouTube. It's great. Now if somebody could do something about slue...

jae 1:45 AM  

Easy. A simple, reasonably smooth and breezy Sun., liked it.

@Z - I was really hoping for Pewit.

chefwen 2:44 AM  

@jae I was so hoping for Pewit, sad that it was not.

The long ones brought forth quite a few chuckles, HAPPILY EVER AFT was a good one, as was ABSOLUTE POW. Pretty silly overall but kinda fun.

Our ACME had a really fun puzzle in the Wall Street Journal today, with Tony Orbach, well worth you’re time.

Joe Dipinto 3:19 AM  

That 24-word(!) clue for 8a:
Why, Will Shortz? WHY???

Anonymous 3:59 AM  

The Canary Islands clue is a Trivial Pursuit question from the original (1980s) game, which might make it a little less obscure.

Lewis 5:50 AM  

Impressive consistency in the theme. First, the ER-less words were the last words of each theme answer. Second, and even more impressive, was that those words -- AFT, POW, CENT, BROTH, TEAS, NUMB, PITCH, and MATT – are totally unrelated in meaning (in their answers) to AFTER, POWER, CENTER, BROTHER, TEASER, NUMBER, PITCHER, and MATTER (Hi, @Frantic!). Both of these accomplishments tighten the theme and make it more elegant.

But how was the solve? Fun. It was fun to try to figure out each and every theme answer with as few letters filled in as possible. And the good amount of vague cluing made the grid fun to fill in.

Fun also to notice two answers that related to answers of this last week. EDIT is in a right column, and the title, “Final offer” made me imagine a puzzle in which the end of each theme answer would be a famous hitman. Fun also to try to come up with other theme answers – [Product of an inferior bass drum?], say, for OKAY BOOM.

Fun and impressive offering, Mary Ellen. Thank you, and keep ‘em coming, please!

sf27shirley 6:27 AM  

What a sad story, especially that poor Skippy was so affected all his life. Did your neighbor at least have to pay medical costs for you and Skippy? Did he have to give up the dogs?
The killing of Diane Nash was horrible, the two lawyers responsible were keeping the dogs for their Aryan Brotherhood client and ended up in prison themselves.

Anonymous 6:41 AM  

@JD, Defenestrate- Alternate definition: Remove someone from a position of power or authority.
Do any candidates come to mind?

Hungry Mother 6:55 AM  

Quite easy today with a very obvious and helpful theme. Another reminder of the TSETSEs that I saw in Zambia.

Anonymous 7:00 AM  

Using BRAN as a GOT character is one thing, but cluing him with a spoiler for the end of the show is just such a completely unnecessary asshole move.

Ken Freeland 7:01 AM  

I side with those who liked this puzzle. I thought the theme wryly amusing, though much of the fill was somewhat quirkily clued. What I really liked about this puzzle, in the end, was its refreshingly low PPP quotient...I so much prefer fill centered around ideas and abstract concepts to having to work around references to pop-cultural icons whom I usually don't know nor even want to know!

Le Chifforobe 7:24 AM  

Hi folks--like most of you, I enjoyed guessing at the themers and most of them made me feel smart, but my SE corner was really wrecked by my insistence upon "LOL NOTHING MATT".

CDilly52 7:29 AM  

@Frantic: I believe that sheep is one of this singular and plural words so like the possessive, children’s book the apostrophe is properly placed. And pairing “sheep” with another singular/plural “kin” increased the “head scratchiness” perhaps.

ChuckD 7:30 AM  

If I wanted to do a cryptic I’d do the cryptic - I don’t like this theme. Sometimes I can get past that if the rest of the fill is good - which is not the case here. Slog from start to finish. There were no real hiccups although I had to back into FENESTRA. The overall fill was flat and drew little interest from me. I guess PAGODA and GENESIS were nice - and the beautiful LOREN. The center is all glommed up with black squares and even the side downs are interrupted with black - it just leaves medium length blah.

Time for a nice run and then some waves to get rid of this unpleasantness.

ow a paper cut 7:48 AM  

Very enjoyable. Am I the only person who doesn’t know from Game of Thrones?

GILL I. 8:10 AM  

@JD wins the "throw someone out the window" award. I've never done that yet but I did once contemplate yelling IM MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE.
This puzzle grew on me - kinda like a wart does. Not a bad wart.... like the ones that grow on your nose. This wart was hiding on your elbow so no one could really see it.
So I get the HAPPILY EVER AFT and the hidden wart is the ER. that's it! ER....get it? FINAL OFF beans. I know this type of theme has been done before but I think constructors are indeed running out of fresh ideas. Why not try a different twist?
My only huh, lice induced head scratching, was AMEN BROTH. Mind wanders and I picture a bunch of Friars making the sign of the cross before sipping soup. Was that the idea?
Speaking of DOG and the Canaries and the Presa Canario....Yeow, @Giovanni. These dogs make Pit Bulls look like Chihuahuas in tutus. I remember the mauling death by two Canarios on a young woman in San Francisco. She was minding her own business when the two dogs attacked her in her apartment hallway. She later died. The owners were crazies and I think one of them ended up in prison. Man, I love animals but some of these perritos need to be muzzled. Glad your little fur baby survived.
Another TITANIC day ahead. I want to go find a PAGODA somewhere and sit with a Buddhist priest. We can practice Dharma together and then afterwards go share a little cocktail....

TTrimble 8:27 AM  

I too was a little baffled by the dog-canary connection, but as soon as I saw the quotation from WP that Rex provided, I realized I should have had a V-8. Rex's question should not be "how is a dog like a canary?" but rather: where does the word "canary" come from? In other words, the clue is absolutely fine, as the Latin Canarium derives from canis, dog. (Canine, etc.) It turns out that the birds were named after the Spanish Canary Islands. The more you know...

Philistine that I am, I simply don't know Game of Thrones or GOT references. Well, maybe the occasional one that I've picked up doing crosswords. And so BRAN was not in my knowledge base. I had all the crosses except the A, and only A made much sense to me to complete ?NONYM, but for some reason I wasn't getting the happy music. Annoying, but not to the point where I wanted to deFENESTRAte myself. All the same, I don't feel like explaining the single errant letter.

But otherwise: this really wasn't a hard puzzle. Not even FENESTRA, a really nice word and nothing to complain about. (I'm guessing Latin wasn't Rex's language. Of course there's also the French fenΓͺtre [hope this renders correctly] that descends from that.) Okay, maybe some of the answers were OLD HAT (like LOREN -- definitely a little on the creaky side as far as va-va-voom goes). But there's stuff to learn from, too. Hand up for not knowing that FERMIS are units of distance, even though FERMI ought to be practically a household name, one that's lent itself out to a number of things like "fermion". FWIW, also called a "femtometer" according to WP -- a unit of length appropriate for nucleons. Pretty frickin' small in other words.

(All of which reminds me of a really cool animation some of you might enjoy playing around with.)

And I didn't know Janet RENO was in the Clinton era cabinet for all eight years.

Anyway, here's to enjoying a drink and a puzzle too!

mrnovember 8:43 AM  

This was a very nice Sunday puzzle. Nice clean theme with funny clueing. The Canary Islands clue is well known trivia. Good job Mary Ellen

Mary S 8:54 AM  

I agree about the PPP!

TTrimble 9:01 AM  

rEDA isn't bad -- looks like a contraction of Rigveda, the oldest Veda.

(I'll request that certain Anonymopodes not get triggered by this and start ranting all over again about yoga instruction in elementary schools.)

Marc 9:04 AM  

There are at least two of us that know from nothing about GOT. I particularly enjoyed this puzzle - not a single reference to Harry Potter! Could the NYT give us one week in which neither GOT or HP appear?

Sixthstone 9:28 AM  

Decent and pretty easy puzzle. The themers gave me a few solid grins, but the most enjoyment for today is from @JD's post. I learned the existence of "defenestrate," its history, and enjoyed the pharmaceutical ad.

Colin 9:39 AM  

I enjoyed this - found it to be a pleasant, relatively easy Sunday. Got the theme early on, and these were moderately amusing. I agree some of the non-theme fills were a bit silly (opposite of WSW? Really? Nothing more than ENE?), but Walter Lord's A Night to Remember was on my summer reading list in middle school, and I am a huge fan of the third "Crown of Florence."

OFL's rant about the Canary Islands was especially misplaced, showing a certain Anglo-centric linguistic worldview. C'mon, really? You don't appreciate the linguistic root of the name?

@ow a paper cut and @Marc: I too do not know GOT, at all. Never watched it, never plan to. Just not on my to-do list.

Thank you, MaryEllen, for an enjoyable start to my Sunday.

Nancy 9:42 AM  

I found the fill surrounding the cute puns to be tougher than usual for a Sunday outing -- and that made the puzzle challenging and interesting. I ran into a wall in what turned out to be the PLAN/PHONIES/INK/PRICE/LOCKED section and preceded elsewhere on faith -- faith that if I completed everything else, these answers would come to me. And eventually they did, but not easily.

I wanted BRAIN with "freeze" (43D) (which described my state of mind throughout this section) but it didn't work with "fixing". I could not come up with PRICE for the life of me. As far as PLAN (33A) was concerned, you'd better do a lot more than just "look" ahead, or it's not much of a plan, is it? PHONIES wasn't an obvious choice for "charlatans" -- I wanted something more like scam artists. PHONIES can be annoying and extremely unlikable, but they generally don't rip you off. And I had no idea what Epson was or what they made.

Can I get some AMEN BROTH at the local supermarket? I bet it would be an ABSOLUTE POW. As is this droll and delightful puzzle.

Art 9:53 AM  

Final Offer was good name for the puzzle. But another name could have been Cuter Endings.

David Eisner 10:02 AM  

Unbelievable. I'm furious. Some who plan to watch but haven't yet, or are in the middle (like me) will have the entire series spoiled. I managed to avoid knowing this far. This isn't "Rosebud" territory. Granted, not the worst thing to happen in 2020, or to 99.9999% of the world's population, but come on.

KRMunson 10:03 AM  

Liked today’s puzzle. Definitely hard but inferable. A few surprises, but that’s what makes it fun and challenging.

KRMunson 10:04 AM  

Fun but challenging. Thought I would dnf until the very last letter went down. Liked it!

Teedmn 10:06 AM  

This puzzle was on the easy side but I thought the theme was fun. I really liked HAPPILY EVER AFT, AMEN BROTH and BRAIN TEAS. The rest of the puzzle was clued pretty straightforwardly but I thought it was fine.

There were a couple of places to go wrong - with the U in place at 103D, I first put in pUce - isn't that a brownish-purple? ICONIC started as "famous". CRAbbY before CRANKY. I wanted Farads before FERMIS even though I was pretty sure Farads had nothing to do with distance. Not that I knew that a Fermi was a femtometre until moments ago, a distance that would take few nanoseconds to traverse, I'm thinking.

Thanks, MaryEllen, nice Sunday!

RooMonster 10:08 AM  

Hey All !
Thanks for the GoT spoiler! What if you hadn't seen it yet? (I'm of the "Never-watched-it" group primarily because I don't have HBO. Probably would've watched it had I had that channel.) And who names their character BRAN?

So so so wanted PIPIT to be PEWIT! I actually had it in the puz, after having ___IT and then getting PROOF. I said, "what else can it be?" Disappointed when I figured out UTOPIA!

NUMB BRAIN took me until getting the third themer for me to see that the -er was taken off the end. Unfair that 23A ended with RAFT. Took forever to get off RAFT and to EVER AFT.

An overall nice puz. We get a Woman Constructor SunPuz that's decent and fun, and Rex lambasts it. Have another drink, Rex, and enjoy this puz.

Fill was good, got stuck in pretty much each section, but managed to figure everything out. Last letter was that A in BRAN/ANONYM, knowing the character could be any vowel, including Y. But ANONYM seemed it could only be the A. Put in A on faith while holding my breath... Happy Music!

Is this a debut? Don't recognize constructors name. Uthlaut. Seems is should have an umlaut!

Six F's

Z 10:08 AM  

@Frantic Sloth - ONSIDE is used by football announcers and coaches. Maybe not as much as offSIDES, but still.

@Pamela - more info than you probably want - If the number of teams in a playoff isn’t an exponent of 2 (2, 4, 8, 16, etc) some teams will need to get a bye in the first round. These will often be the teams or players that finished first in the regular season or other qualifier.

@Joe Dipinto - Classic “I’m so bored with the usual clues is there anything else interesting about ATARI” clue. Oreo, Ono, and Eno often get the same “15th paragraph of the Wikipedia article” cluing.

@JD - Thanks for the heads up. Miley is pretty talented. I’m reminded of Elle King on Live from Daryl’s House and I’d love to see Miley on that show.

bocamp 10:09 AM  

@ MaryEllen – An enjoyable puzzle, MaryEllen. Thank you! 😊

Very much on my wave length today. No hitches. Well below ave. time. πŸ‘

Ah, Atari back in the early '80; lots of fun, especially for the youngster. Must have missed the "E.T." one, tho. LOL

@ Frantic Sloth 12:13 AM – I agree re: "onside"

Other than "onside kick," the term is mostly used by coaches to train and remind the wide receivers to always ensure they're onside/s when the ball is snapped. Also, with offside/s penalties, the announcers and analysts (as well as "armchair" quarterbacks) will frequently use the term, e.g., "so and so was clearly onside at the time of the snap," etc.

AFAIK, "line of scrimmage" is used only in "gridiron" (American/Canadian) football.



"line of scrimmage"



Peace πŸ•Š

TJS 10:13 AM  

Better than about 90 per cent of the Sundays we are subjected to, IMHO. Basically because of the duly noted absence of the dreaded PPP. Had to engage the old brain to figure out the themers, which is the reason I start my day off with the puzzle, so mission accomplished.

SouthsideJohnny 10:15 AM  

OMG ! I finally did it ! ! ! My first time completing the entire Sunday puzzle with no dictionary, no thesaurus and no Google - and I’m all by myself so I didn’t bounce any ideas off of anyone. The last square I had open was the F in the FENESTRA (which I never heard of), luckily in the dark recess of my mind I seemed to remember that a FOP was some type of a person - and wham, Mr Happy Music ! It’s been about five years of doing the puzzles - I’ve gotten close before, but this is the first time I was able to grab the gold ring.

One question for the group - is OATH really a curse - and does TAPS really mean bugs ? That one had me stumped, I just lucked into it because it seemed plausible.

SouthsideJohnny 10:20 AM  

On second thought . . . OK, it just hit me - when you TAP someone’s phone it’s called bugging, and apparently a secondary definition for OATH is some type of a swear word. Anyway, AMEN BROTHER !

bocamp 10:26 AM  

@ ow a paper cut 7:48 AM – LOL, I'm pretty sure you're in good company. I wonder what the percentage is of those who did and didn't view it. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I really liked it. If you do happen to watch it at some point, pretend you didn't do this puzzle. πŸ˜‰


Interesting % speculation by commenters on "Quora".

Peace πŸ•Š

Brian 10:31 AM  

Nagoya — sister city of Natick

Horace S. Patoot 10:43 AM  

As a retired chemist, I find it very difficult to think of phenol as caustic. To me, caustic refers to strong bases; in fact, in industry, “caustic” refers to lye. “Causticity” refers to high pH, i.e. bases.

Phenol is a weak acid, the opposite of a base. It is very damaging to skin because it is a solvent for skin.

That said, this puzzle was a joy to solve.

bocamp 10:51 AM  

@ SouthsideJohnny 10:15 AM

Congrats!! πŸ†

Peace πŸ•Š

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

Absolutely no good reason to spoil GoT for those of us who've yet to watch the final season.

Vincent Lima 10:53 AM  

My daughter was doing the typing today and was more thrilled than usual when she entered our last letter, at the cross of ELDER and PRICE. Why? I found out when she started singing an excerpt from Book of Mormon.

pabloinnh 10:54 AM  

Liked this way more than OFL. Wait, have I said that before?

This seemed like a classic (not "stale") Sunday puzzle to me. Get a long answer, see how it relates to the title, which indicates how it will work, try to figure out the themers before you get them all filled in. Good fun, and what's wrong with that. Nothing, IMHO.

Also the Canary Islands question was a gimme and surprised that it was deemed unfair by OFK, Unknown stuff is OK by me. How else do we learn anything? I don't know a thing about GoT, but a guess today's clue was better than "nature's laxative".

Defenestration seems to be how Mr. Putin deals with certain dissidents. Sincerely hope the practice does not spread.

Also, I had to change TELEPHONE to CELLPHONE. That's how old I am. At least old friend TSETSE came along to comfort me.

Thanks for a fun Sunday, MEU. I liked it fine.

Reading the clue for 8D 11:01 AM  

May I borrow a bookmark?

CDilly52 11:07 AM  

What a construction work of art! I cannot imagine how Ms. Uthlaut figured out her theme or how long it must have taken to achieve such impressive consistency, but she pulled it off impressively. @Frantic and @Leeis said it all thoroughly. All I have to add is wow.

Had the theme not been such a work of art, and humorous to me, I never would have finished this one. I was down smack dab in the middle of the puzzle before I had anything filled in. Then the things around AMEN BROTH started to fall into place and that was my first themer. Made me chuckle and I understood what I was going to be looking for throughout the rest of the puzz.

So, I went looking for the remaining theme clues and found them. I had just enough wavelength to get some surrounding answers and the theme answers fell but the rest of the clues did not connect with me easily.

This was a Sunday work of art and I shall eagerly awaiting another offering from Ms. Uthlaut.

John 11:09 AM  

Easy. 15 seconds off my PR and I wasn’t really concentrating.

thefogman 11:14 AM  

CRANKY Rex hates themes - most of the time - because they cut into his speed solving. Nano seconds are wasted on whimsy. I prefer to take my time and to stop and smell the roses. Even though it may have been done before I still really enjoyed this one.

bocamp 11:18 AM  

"Tora Bora" Caves, Afghanistan

"The Battle of Tora Bora was a military engagement that took place in the cave complex of Tora Bora, eastern Afghanistan, from December 6–17, 2001, during the opening stages of the United States invasion of Afghanistan. It was launched by the United States and its allies with the objective to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, the founder and leader of the militant organization al-Qaeda. al-Qaeda and bin Laden were suspected of being responsible for the September 11 attacks three months prior. Tora Bora (Pashto: Ψͺورا بورا‎; black cave) is located in the White Mountains near the Khyber Pass. The U.S. stated that al-Qaeda had its headquarters there and that it was bin Laden's location at the time."


Afghanistan is near and dear to my heart. The absolute worst experience in my life and the absolute best experience in my life happened in Kabul in 1970. The people there are among the friendliest, kindest people I ever met in my world travels. The Afghanis have been subjected to so much tragedy throughout history. They deserve better; I pray that peace comes to their land, once and for all. πŸ™


Ernonymous 11:21 AM  

Kind of mad because I'm only on season 2 of Game of Thrones. Well, that's an epic unexpected ending. Thanks for the spoiler. I never would have thought that could happen...

Jackson 11:26 AM  

Are you, like, bitter or something? This was a delightful puzzle.

sixtyni yogini 11:26 AM  

Thought some of the clueing was fresh/clever. Seemed balanced in terms of easy gimmes ie the theme and interestingly oblique clues.
But about midway, grew bored and wished to be done🧩.πŸ€—πŸ˜΄πŸ€— 🧩 (Not sure I can blame it on the puzz tho)
‼️Thought Amen broth was the best πŸ˜πŸ˜‚πŸ˜ ‼️

Charles Flaster 11:38 AM  

Fifteen minutes until reaching RECYCLING CENTer.
Remainder became easy after that.
Enjoyed theme immensely.
Thanks MEU.
PS- Still reeling from yesterday’s ultra difficult slog.

TundraDad 11:46 AM  

Re Canary Islands: Latin word for dog is canis

bocamp 11:46 AM  

"Aloha oe"

I served on the USS Bryce Canyon at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii from '62-'65; my mom & sis moved to Honolulu for a couple of years during that time. Mom worked for Kamehameha Schools; sis attended Punahou High.

Aloha πŸŒžπŸ„πŸ½πŸŒŠ⛱🌴 and Peace πŸ•Š

bocamp 11:54 AM  

If you're in the "Aloha-mood", here's a steel guitar instrumental version of "Aloha oe".

Peace πŸ•Š

Newboy 12:02 PM  

deFENESTRAtion has been one of my favorite words of all time &today it opened a window into the last corner that was flipping me a bird. On the other hand 31D got a sigh here in the Pacific Northwest where EVACUATE has become NO LAUGHING MATTer. As 2D would have it, “such a pity” for so many and even those not directly affected suffer with hazardous AQI conditions downwind. NOLA bracing for the next hurricane—what’s next a plague of locusts? Neither Will nor MaryEllen is responsible for the environmental chaos, of course, but the timing of today’s grid calls for some RELIEF PITCH & AMEN BROTH.

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

13A: Heists are not just attempts. They are SUCCESSFUL attempts,

Frantic Sloth 12:06 PM  

@Giovanni 1244am Such a sad, sad story. Poor Skippy! But, what a tough little dude he must have been. RIP, dear boy. ❤️

@JD 135am There are no words. You're killin' me here! (BTW "Mom and Dad"? 🀣🀣)

@Lewis 550am I knew you could and hoped you would say it better than I did - thanks!

@Anonymous 700am Agreed! I've tried watching GOT several times and just couldn't get into it; however, it's the principle of the thing! Seriously.

@CDilly52 729am Thank you and good dog almighty! Why do I not remember this??? I was recently schooled by the 'tariat on this very thing. A thing I did actually know, by the way, which makes it all the more tragic. πŸ˜•

@GILL I 810am Great. Now I can't stop thinking of Glinda asking "Are you a good wart or a bad wart?"

@TTrimble 827am We'll have to agree to disagree on Sophia LOREN. She and her va-va-voom are both ageless.
But, I would have loved to play with that animation link to see how far out I'd need to go in order to find trump's ego. Alas, the Google-placed ad at the bottom of the page covered the slide bar. Then I just got pissed off because when I tried to close the ad, I had to do the whole "why did you not like this ad" crap, which ended with the obnoxious and more maddening self-congratulatory "Ad closed by Google" (are they a superhero? do they wear a cape??) block of white nothingness that still covered the content!
Okay, so you didn't need to hear all that, but I needed to say it. πŸ˜‰

@Z 1008am and @bocamp 109am I understand, but I still don't like it. And you can't make me. πŸ˜‰

@SouthsideJohnny 1015am Congratulations! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸŽ‰

@pabloninnh 1054am Have you coined a new term for @Rex? OFK = Our Fearless....Kook? πŸ˜‰

Birchbark 12:09 PM  

@JD (1:35) -- deFENESTRATION lives. We still see a fair amount of its slow-motion variant in action movies and television. And I recall a scene in Thomas Pynchon's "Vineland," where, TV cameras rolling, Zoyd uses the technique in an annual ploy to qualify for government relief by acting "bonkers."

Lovers of yesterday's SIBILATE: About midway through the finale of "Shall we Dance," a 1937 Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire (and George and Ira Gershwin) movie, you will see a true laugh-out-loud version of something quite like it. It's a delightful film -- choreographed dog-walking, the "Tomato/Tomahto" song on roller-skates. And just watching two people move to music in their own different, very complementary, word-defying ways.

TTrimble 12:28 PM  

@bocamp 10:26AM
It's a critically acclaimed series, so I'm sure it's nothing to be ashamed about. Millions of intelligent and discerning viewers would agree.

You said something similar about the Sopranos yesterday, and there I'm certain it's nothing to be ashamed of. IMHO, really compelling fiction, and the acting is just astonishingly, gobsmackingly good (hey, there, @Frantic). I'd gladly binge-watch all of it again, when someday I find the time.

Jen Payne 12:31 PM  

I have to disagree, we loved this puzzle. We found it to be a little tough but witty and full of fun finds. I'll agree on the GOT bit though, never watched it and never will. I'm tired of seeing those clues.

JC66 12:32 PM  

IMO, @Will & @MaryEllen should have included ER in the clue for 87D

CT2Napa 12:32 PM  

from wikipedia:

While sheep and goats seem similar and can be mated, they belong to different genera in the subfamily Caprinae of the family Bovidae. Sheep belong to the genus Ovis and have 54 chromosomes, while goats belong to the genus Capra and have 60 chromosomes. The offspring of a sheep-goat pairing is generally stillborn.

Newboy 12:34 PM  

@Birchbark Thanks for sharing Thomas Pynchon's "Vineland," as the Zoyd episode that began my fascination with.the term. I was wrongly recalling it as a scene from John Barth & couldn’t dredge it from the mental morass that masquerades as memory these days. Also, I forgot to say that I enjoyed this Sunday almost as much as last Thursday—rare praise from these quarters.

Pamela 12:38 PM  

@Z- Not too much info for me- I think I sorta get it now. And even if I don’t, the next time something like that comes up I’ll at least have a glimmering of why it’s right. Thanks!

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

You bee-ers have been pretty quiet lately. Am I the only one still doing it, after you all teased me into it with your posts? Or are you all just September-busy?

Unlike yesterday, QB was pretty accessible today, I’m happy to say. 🦟🌟

Ernonymous 12:38 PM  

@shirley I did decide to file a lawsuit because usually the homeowners policy pays for dangerous dog claims. But he was a renter and the landlord fought it, although renting to 12 of these dogs in a yard with chicken wire fence was maybe not negligent, but not too safe.
The case went into judgment 3 years later, and I was told it would take years but then I never heard anything, and then I never called the lawyers back. The man moved back to New Orleans. The dogs then had 8 puppies.
The local county judge ordered that the man show he had a secure place for the dogs and then lowered the fine in half. The man put up this cage for them. Kind of a strong but small kennel.
The whole session of dog court was interesting in that people who let animals run loose, against county ordinance, were all treated quite leniently with fines cut in half. And given second chances. As well as animal abusers.
The only reason my dog didn't die is that the 3 of them kept getting into each others way, and their big heads were butting into each other. My neighbor was able to pull him up, but then he slipped out of his collar. He made a beeline to the front door, where I was inside hiding after having been bitten, and I opened it to let him in with the 3 dogs chasing him. I slammed the door so hard that I hit my tooth on the doorknob and broke it.
Hard to believe that was 14 years ago!

TTrimble 12:41 PM  

@Frantic Sloth 12:06PM
Okay, I'll cede the point about Sophia Loren. Or more precisely, what I should have said was that as crossword answers go, LOREN is getting a little long in the tooth. In films, she's still hubba-hubba and all that. But there are more recent lasses deserving of consideration as well.

And sorry about the Google Ads, I didn't see them myself (there should be a way of turning them off). I wanted to give people the option of toggling for themselves, but here's a YouTube version which might be less obnoxious, adwise [goes by a little too quickly for my taste]. (I'd estimate Trump's ego to be about the same size as Minecraft, which tickled me to see in there. But then, it's easy to underestimate such things.)

agarlock 12:41 PM  

Lol yesssss thank you, I love the word "defenestrate" (so absurdly specific!), thought of it immediately upon seeing FENESTRA in the grid, and was coming here to comment along the same lines!

oceanjeremy 12:51 PM  

I was on the fence but leaned toward liking this theme right until our final theme answer, which was RECYCLING CENT (my partner and I finished up in the lower northwest pocket).

The other theme answers were all common phrases, but when is the last time you’ve heard (or read) “recycling center”? Grossly disappointing.

I didn’t find it quite as unsatisfying as did Rex, but it didn’t quite hit the spot.

Reading the clue for 8ACROSS 1:06 PM  

May I borrow a bookmark?

TTrimble 1:20 PM  

---[SB Alert]---
-->> slight spoiler for yesterday ahead <<--

Still doing SB, every day. It's been a week or so since I got QB (unannounced, because I wanted to be worthier of the attention of e.g., the esteemed Queens Barbara and Pamela). I seem to have about the last 4 days open at any given time, hoping against hope that one of them will be completed. Yesterday's I come within 3. I don't think I've started today's.

But congrats on today's!

I remember the other day when you reported getting to QB before you even sat down for breakfast, I was somewhat envious not to have gotten there myself. In particular, an answer that I didn't know, which also belongs to yesterday's, referring to an improbably cute plump little bird. I said to myself then, "now that's going into the memory bank", and was glad to be able to retrieve it yesterday.

Swagomatic 1:28 PM  

I gotta say, I liked it. It had its moments, but, overall, it's a winner. πŸ˜€

JD 1:29 PM  

@Gill, I'm humbled and honored (Kidding! I'm not really humbled) @Z, Oh she rock! @Mom, hehehheh.

@Defenestration fans and dear kindred goofy minds, Thanks for remarks :) Found the word 40 years ago looking up another word in the paper dictionary and then doing the usual hopping around on the rest of the page (a tragically lost pastime w/Google). As soon as I saw Fenestra it came roaring back.

Anyone critical of Rex, say what you will. He's gathered a community of word lovers.

@Bocamp, You might be the first person ever to stay in Rex Stage 1.

jberg 1:35 PM  

Once again, the puzzle proves that all those years in Latin class were worth it -- FENESTRA took a few crosses, but then was obvious, and DOGS came along right away. (@Giovanni, how horrible. A guy down the street was raising pit bulls for dogfighting inhis basement, and got prison time for it, appropriately.) If people had remembered Cave Canem it might have helped.

@JD and others, see the defenestrations of Prague.

Anyway I thought this was a lot of fun, and cleverly constructed -- although I do think that AFT/AFTER are related in their meanings.

I had a malapop with SCAN, which I tried first at 33A.

A fast and fun Sunday.

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

What a great puzzle! Almost no people or trivia, which is by far the most important thing (IMO). Enjoyed the theme, too. Very nearly finished the puzzle without any aid except I struggled with NE corner due to having "slIdeS" for "Stealing attempts on the diamond?". I took the "?" to imply that the slant-meaning (baseball) should be used instead of the literal meaning (stealing a diamond). After doing a puzzle-check I quickly finished up.

I've never seen a femtometer referred to as a "fermi" but it wasn't too hard to guess from FE_ _ _ _. (Although my first thought was "femtos".) I got "fenestra" because of similarity to "defenstrate".

I don't understand why Rex condemns the usage of GoT characters yet he often praises the inclusion of obscure figures from sports or pop culture.

Would love to see more from this constructor!

@Horace I was wondering that, I suspected "caustic" specifically meant bases but wasn't sure.

@SouthsideJohnny Well done! I'll get there someday.


bertoray 1:52 PM  

I second.

Masked and Anonymous 1:55 PM  

The PEWIT concerns eminatin from around here are mighty touchin. Good-er clue for PIPIT: {The infinite abyss that begins with 3.14159265…}.

Didn't know NAGOYA. It was a NO-GO-YAH, at our house. Don't recall many other obstacles, tho. A nice, smooth solvequest.

Theme was basic-ER than snot, but still kinda entertainin, in a mildly humerus vein. fave themer: CELLPHONENUMB.

staff weeject pick: LOS(ER). INK(ER) also sorta works.
fave clue: {Where to find MA and PA} = USA. Not many ?-mark clues in this rodeo, other than for all the themers, of course.

sparkly stuff, in my eyes: FENESTRA [German for "window"]. The EVACUATE/ASSOCIATE/NOMINATES Ate-It Trio.

Thanx for the fun, Ms. Uthlaut darlin.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

Bill Cruse 2:03 PM  

Thought it was fun. @rex - you are 60 down. Yet again

RooMonster 2:10 PM  

@oceanjeremy 12:51
The World would be a better and cleaner place if everyone heard of "recycling center". I hope you use your recycling bin for actual recyclables, not trash, and all those recyclables go to the Recycling Center. /Rant

@Pamela 12:38
**SB **
I still do it, but haven't achieved Q in quite some time. The ole brain doesn't seem to want to come up with known words. Every time I check it the day after, there are words I missed that I say, "Dang, should've got that!" I actually started back to work last week, still doing the Bee, but not caring much anymore after Genius. ☺️ Working today, I did it earlier, I think I'm about 2 words away.

RooMonster Ranting Non-Queen Guy

Jim 2:13 PM  

Why was HEISTS a ? clue - I don't get it. It wasn't all that clever a clue - and on a puzzle where all the other ? clues are theme answers... smh

bocamp 2:30 PM  

@ Frantic Sloth 12:06 PM – Ha Ha πŸ˜‰

@ TTrimble 12:28 PM – Roger that! On the whole, I agree with most of what you say. However, let me be clear: I own my "shame;" it is not intended to be a projection onto others; nor is it meant to demean the crafts-people involved in those two excellent series or my fellow viewers. Long story short, it's my "guilt trip;" it's my way of subtly sharing that I'm thinking I need to cut back on consumption of violent fiction (whatever the medium). Besides, there's enough real violence in the world to occupy my thoughts, starting with the "institutional racism" going on in North America. πŸ™

@ TTrimble 12:41 PM – Thank you for the skookum "Scale of the Universe" video. Good stuff! 😊

Peace πŸ•Š

Barbara S. 2:34 PM  

****SB ALERT****
@Pamela 12:38
You're not alone! I'm still plugging along with the Bee. And because of your QB achievement today, I went back in and got QB myself -- so thanks for that! I wondered if I was sensing a general waning of enthusiasm for the SB. That's one of the reasons I've been quiet. I've also been quitting somewhere between Genius and QB more often than I used to. I sometimes have the urge to discuss individual words (either accepted or not), but I've been reining it in, in case it became a monologue. But if there's still interest in SB discussion, I'm in.

willzimjohn 2:40 PM  

DNF on the "a" crossing of Bran-anonym. I knew the character as I have seen all but the last season of GOT. (Thanks, BTW for giving away the ending.) I thought it sounded like Bron. I guess an ononym is a name a Beatle would change his middle name to. In the spirit of sugar-free or gluten-free priducts, we could shop for GOT-free or Harry Potter-free puzzles.

TTrimble 3:00 PM  

To answer your question: we have two recycling centers where I live. One is in my town, which I alternately call the recycling center or the town dump, although the latter gives the wrong picture: it's clean and well-maintained, and they call themselves the town recycling center. The other is at the grocery store where I shop, the next town over. You feed bottles and cans into machines and they count your contributions; the machine spits out a receipt and you go inside the store to redeem your 5 cents per bottle or whatever. They also call themselves a recycling center.

The people who come by to pick up our weekly trash are supposed to put the recyclables in a part of the truck that is not the compactor, but they are no too scrupulous and if they think they're not being watched, everything gets smushed in the same place. So I'm glad we have recycling centers.

Barbara S. 3:09 PM  

I liked the puzzle and I agree that it was a harkening back to a theme type of old, but it was a pleasant throwback for me. One of things that really struck me was the grid design with that almost unbroken diagonal division between NW and SE: just four separate one-square linkages. At one point, I had relatively little filled in up top while the entire SE half was completed. It looked quite strange. I've seen isolated corners in grids more times than I can remember, but this was different.

HEISTS: people who worship men?

"You were my queen in CALICO
I was your bashful barefoot beau."
No, Rex, she wasn't wearing a cat. I admit it, though, the song is over 100 years old.

ALAS, I agree that it was terrible to spoil GoT with the BRAN clue (although a lot of other significant things happen before the end -- you have no idea.) But look on the bright side, SEPTA could also have been clued as GoT.

The puzzle was quite Freudian today:
IDLED: a person guided exclusively by the most primitive part of their psyche.
IDEST: the most extreme example of such a person.

ghthree 3:19 PM  

For those of you who follow For Better or For Worse (Canadian Cartoonist Lynn Johnston's blog) today's issue illustrates REX's point that it takes a lot of positives to overcome one negative comment. Lynn considers this just human nature. Maybe Rex isn't such a curmudgeon after all!

For those complaining about spoilers, Game of Thrones ended last year. What do you feel should be a decent waiting period before revealing the outcome? If you didn't see the final episode of The West Wing, NCIS, MASH, etc. how much time do you feel entitled to?

My wife and I both liked today's puzzle. Although we don't time ourselves, we finished in about two hours, not counting interruptions. Slightly better than average for a Sunday.

Stay safe, everybody.

bocamp 3:23 PM  

***SB Alert***

@ Pamela 12:38 PM – Still going strong and loving every minute spent exercising the muscle between my ears. Have managed to get QB every day except one, where I had come to a standstill and intended to come at it next morning, only to find out that the puzzle is only saved for the current day (no archive). πŸ˜”

Anyway, thanks to all of you "SB"ers who sparked my interest. I'm in it for the long haul.

Peace πŸ•Š

Z 3:35 PM  

I dunno... It’s been 16 months since the final episode aired and the kvetching about the ending seemed pretty ubiquitous. Seems like the ending is fair game by know.

&TTrimble - The critical panning of GoT was there from the start, it just got subsumed by the marketing hype. I found the books unreadable and the show unwatchable for the most part. For me, though, a lot of that was from knowing all the tropes they were supposedly inverting (but weren’t really) making it just sex and gore painted on top of a more or less trite soap opera to me. Mervyn Peake and Michael Moorcock are to GRRM as Shakespeare is to Jonson.

@M&A - PI PIT. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

@Jim - I guess because the clue seemed like it referenced baseball.

JD 3:43 PM  

@jberg, Wow, absolutely fascinating. As much respect for the Ten Commandments in that religious fervor as some patriotism seems to have for the Bill of Rights today. Surprised no one thought to have the windows barred upon taking office.

And now we know why the word was needed.

bocamp 3:44 PM  

Search results for recycling center; "recycling center"; recycling depot; "recycling depot"

recycling center (no quotes) 387,000,000 hits.

"recycling center" (in quotes) 6,680,000 hits.

recycling depot (no quotes) 506,000,000 hits.

"recycling depot" (in quotes) 269,000 hits.

Peace πŸ•Š

TTrimble 3:54 PM  

I didn't/don't even watch the show. Really was just talking to @bocamp who seems to enjoy it with a guilty pleasure, but maybe he'll see your message. By the way, is "subsumed by" what you meant to say? Maybe you mean "drowned out by"? [Yes, I know I might sound here like a certain Anonymous. Not wishing to come off that way, though -- generally you seem too nice to spend time trolling.]

Unless I get QB, let that be all from me today.

bocamp 3:55 PM  

@ JD 1:29 PM – Ok, I'll bite: what's "Rex Stage 1" ? 😊

Peace πŸ•Š

egsforbreakfast 4:02 PM  

Alternative way to clue 8A:

Company incorporated on June 27, 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, who had previously founded, but never incorporated Syzygy Engineering, the company that designed Computer Space, the world’s first commercially available arcade video game.

This approach is about as pithy as the actual clue, and equally likely to be generally known.

Wonderful limb immobilizer: SPLENDID SPLINT(ER)

I thought the puzzle was fun, and that’s what I play for.

RooMonster 4:30 PM  

Are you a Mensa BRAINiac? To get every day QB except one is mind-boggling. Why aren't you bragging more? I would be!

I'm sticking with my 'finite brain space' theory, it doesn't make me feel too bad when I see the easy words I missed!


Birchbark 4:35 PM  

@Z (3:35) -- I've not seen Game of Thrones. I do know that Jonson is to Shakespeare as malt is to Milton, viz. justifying God's ways to man. I'm talking about good malt.

@Jberg (1:35) -- For such odd, straight-faced history, your link to the Three Defenestrations of Prague has all the elements of a Monty Python sketch.

Next time we see DEFENESTRATION, let me offer a couple possible Saturday clues, based on quotes from the Wikipedia article you linked:

1. Prague's Third led to the Thirty Years War.
2. Government ________.

Barbara S. 4:38 PM  

Speaking of GoT (but that wasn't the half of it), I was sorry to hear of the passing of Diana Rigg. She was an actor with a long and vibrant career. I saw her on stage in London in the 1970s -- she was wonderful. RIP.

bocamp 4:56 PM  

@ RooMonster 4:30 PM – LOL, not even close to a Mensan; I've just always had a love for words, puzzles and logical thinking. 🌰

Peace πŸ•Š

Unknown 5:09 PM  

Lol u always blame the drink when it’s hard

Crimson Devil 5:17 PM  

Attaboy !! Southside Johnny!
I, too, stared at BUGS forever, dredging up much wisdom from Sat AM from whence much does/did flow, finally got Duh moment.
Quite a feat of construction: congratulations!
Very nice Sun.

joebloggs 5:20 PM  

Nope. I’ve only seen one episode because I was at a friend’s and it happened to be on. Couldn’t care less other than it would help with crosswords.

Pig Elder 5:21 PM  

This was fun and cute. I don't know why you're so cranky about it, Rex. Maybe you shouldn't drink before doing the puzzles!

Anonymous 5:29 PM  

A Fermi is an atomic unit based on fundamental constants like Planck's constant, the mass of an electron, and the speed of light. This has nothing to do with meters, seconds, or grams. Atomic units are used in atomic physics, and not in everyday measurements.

Anonymous 5:36 PM  

Loved it! Fun, relatively gettable, grokkable theme. For us non-pros, it's a joy to have one of these once in a while. And I found the themers quite enjoyable.... got it on ABSOLUTE_POW and then went back and got HAPPILYEVERAFT, which cracked me up. Thanks, M-E U. Watch out, your last name could become the theme for a puzzle... : )

bocamp 5:41 PM  

@ TTrimble 3:54 PM – Yes, I did read @ Z 3:35 PM; pithy analysis and cogent reasoning for his aversion to GoT. I respect that. Me, I held off on The Sopranos and GoT for a long time, and truth be told, I can't remember what my motivation was to tackle them. When I do decide to start into a book or movie/series, I commit myself to at least read the first couple of chapters, or watch the first half hour or so before deciding if it's worth going on. In the case of GoT, I was hooked on the books before I could blink; it had me at the dire wolves. (Gee, I hope that's not a spoiler) LOL, although I do agree that dropping you-know-who into today's puzzle wasn't the best decision. I'm guessing that a good number of folks are a bit put off by that. No, I'm a deep thinker when it comes to metaphysics, philosophy, logic, spirituality, etc., but I'm a sap when it comes to books, movies, music, etc.; either I like it or I don't; not much rational thinking goes on there. That's why I'm striving to be more of an analytical thinker when it comes to use of my time. Does "fantasy violence" in any form provide an ultimate quantitative to qualitative payoff? As I said before, IMO, the answer is no; there's enough real violence in this world to contemplate and deal with. As a side benefit, my TV streaming time has decreased substantially since I've become an active member of this blog, leaving more time for the things I really love to do. It's gonna save on my electricity bill, too, LOL πŸ™

JD 5:44 PM  

@Bocamp, 1. Happiness. Following the blog for a while, love Rex and commentariat and have decided to participate.

Bless you and stay there!

GaryMac 5:44 PM  

*** SB Alert ***
@Pamela 12:38 I'm still at it every day but I do get frustrated with it and throw in the towel a lot more easily than I used to. I did get QB today, but that's the first time in a week. I find myself missing words that I have missed before which didn't used to happen very often. I was usually good at learning from my mistakes. Worse yet, I find myself leaving out words that i have previously found. When I get down to just a few words to go, I start wondering whether I'm on a wild goose chase or if I should keep on plugging. I definitely don't approach it with the same enthusiasm that I once did.

kitshef 6:24 PM  

Very enjoyable. Liked the trick and liked the results, and the whole grid was remarkably junk-free. Every Sunday should be this good (but harder).

bocamp 6:25 PM  

@ JD 5:44 PM – ❤️

bocamp 7:00 PM  

*** SB Alert ***

@ GaryMac 5:44 PM – If I'm not being too presumptuous, I'll share my method with you. You may already have your system, but here's mine, for your consideration: 😊

The first thing I do is to take a few minutes to see how many annexes or common word endings I can spot, e.g. "tri"; "tion"; "ial"; "ure"; "ing", etc. The second thing is to look for common letter combos, e.g., "tr"; "th"; "fl", etc. (these preliminary steps are kinda like loading up with ammo for the battle).

Then I always start the solve with the obligatory "center" letter look for every word I can find that starts with that letter. I may do this for 10-15 minutes, before moving on to do the same thing with the top letter, then moving on clockwise to the next letter; "rinse and repeat." Caveat: any time I notice a word that doesn't start with the letter I'm currently working on, I step out of the system and enter that word, before going back to the rotation. If I haven't achieved QB by the time I've worked around to 12:00, then I may "shuffle the deck" (do a refresh). When things are getting really tough, I'll look over at my list of words and try to imagine adding annexes to them, or even dropping another letter or two into existing words to make new ones. If I'm still at a standstill, I'll take a break and come back some time later to start over at the beginning to see what I may have missed.

One time after almost a full day of on and off solving, I was something like 40 points from QB; I had been in the kitchen with my AirPods on, listening to an audiobook. When I came back to the "SB", I was about to removed to AirPods, when the thought came: "leave them in, keep listening to your book, and see what happens. I couldn't believe it! I got the rest of the words in needs in a matter of minutes. I think I was still able to get the gist of the audiobook while solving. This was a "jaw-dropping" experience, to say the least.

Well, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it; thanks for listening.😊

Hang in there, GaryMac! 🀞

Peace πŸ•Š

Pamela 7:09 PM  

*** SB ALERT*****

@Barbara S, @bocamp- Thanks for checking in! I don’t mind fewer postings, just didn’t want to feel abandoned! This is not my first go- round with word games.I thought I was thoroughly bored by the idea of another, so I resisted for ages. Obviously I finally succumbed, and it’s been a nice addition to my day. Once I got over thinking I had to Queen every day, I started to enjoy it even more. Usually getting to G isn’t so difficult, after that schedule and mood decide how much more effort I’m willing to add.

@Barbara S- congrats on today!🌟

@bocamp- QB every day?! I’m impressed! πŸ’₯☄️⚡️πŸ”₯

Pamela 7:20 PM  

****MORE SB****

@TTrimble- I just saw your post- don’t know how I missed it before! In my freelance days, there were times when I had to be at work and ready to go well before sunrise. Now in retirement, my great luxury is leisurely mornings. I usually wake up very early (the old clock keeps ticking) then, on my iPad, which is always charging nearby, I read news, emails, check the blog and SB before I start moving. Sometimes I don’t get to everything so early, but the QB before breakfast was definitely one of those extra late starts.

Z 7:28 PM  

@TTrimble - I double checked, “to include or place within something larger or more comprehensive : encompass as a subordinate or component element“ was what I was going for. My emphasis was on the “encompass as a subordinate” part of the definition, not the “or component” part. MW provides two sample sentences, the second being closer to my intended meaning.

Pamela 7:34 PM  

**** SB ALET****

@Roo Monster, @GaryMac- I’m so excited that we have so much company! I guess my current enthusiasm level sits somewhere in the middle in this group. I’ll still work for G every day, but then the pressure is off. Unless my competitive spirit gets triggered by one of you, of course.

bocamp 7:58 PM  

*** SB Alert ***

@ Pamela 7:09 PM – thx for the kind words. 😊 Looks like everyone's back; all it took was a little encourage from you. 🧚‍♀️
I'll try to chime in more, too. 🎡

Peace πŸ•Š

Bruce Fieggen 9:17 PM  

Amen brother

Richardf8 9:55 PM  

Once, long ago, my wife and I were in the habit of paddling with her in the bow and me in the stern; a capsize or two later, we realized that she is the better stern paddler, and has thus live happily ever aft.

Richardf8 10:03 PM  

It showed up at my local Caribou once. I’d never seen it before, but obviously it wasn’t the bird. Canarias. Canidae. Dog, named for Dog! Yes! Give me my 10 cent discount for I have owned your trickery!

Richardf8 10:05 PM  

Or a position of POW?

jae 10:44 PM  

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

I too hit QB today after a loooong drought. Congrats to all who got there today.

@bocamp - After reading your methodical approach I realized that randomly staring until something jumps out may not be the best way to do this.

TTrimble 11:53 PM  

You left out the first part of Merriam-Webster's definition, "to include or place within something larger or more comprehensive", which was part of the explanation of the meaning.

Also, I think "subordinate" is to be read as an adjective here, not as a noun. In other words, "encompass as a subordinate element or component element". The key thing is the verb "encompass", which here means to include comprehensively.

In the language I speak, when one says an assertion A is subsumed by another assertion B, it means that A and B are in agreement, are consistent with each other, but that B is more sweeping, more comprehensive, more general, etc. than A.

I saw the quote attributed to Tareq Baconi. Actually, I don't think either sample sentence is a good illustration of the meaning (and M-W even cautions that these samples are "automatically selected" to show some current usages, which I think means that some robot is crawling the web).

I've consulted several dictionaries about this.

bocamp 12:15 AM  

*** SB Alert ***

@ jae 10:44 PM – Congrats on your "QB" πŸ‘ and 🀞for many more. 😊

Bedtime for Bonzo here in smoky Vancouver, BC 😴

Peace πŸ•Š

TTrimble 12:25 AM  

@Anonymous 5:29PM
If you see this, would you mind linking to what you're referring to? It seems undeniable that there is a meaning of fermi as 10^{-15} meter, and there is no way you'd get that precise figure from fundamental constants. So you must be talking about something else, no?

Lynnatny 5:28 AM  

There’s something after Genius?!

bocamp 3:46 PM  

@ Lynnatny 5:28 AM – LOL I had wondered the same thing when I first started with "SB", but it soon became apparent that "QB" was the "hip" term for "Genius".

Happy "SB"ing, "QB" 🐝

Peace πŸ•Š

JC66 4:13 PM  

****SB ALERT****

@bocamp & @Lynnatny

QB (Queen Bee) is when you get all the acceptable words.

When you reach genius, you're about 70% there.

You can go to to see how many words/points are needed for Genius & QB as well as other info if you want hints (# of words by length, etc).

Lynnatny 4:59 PM  

@JC66 - That's what I suspected when I read all the comments about Queen Bee. Thanks for the link to! Who creates this? I'm assuming it's NOT the NYT.

Mudshoe 10:44 AM  

Diane WHIPPLE. SNCC co-founder Diane Nash is alive and as far as I can tell has blessedly not been the victim of any newsworthy dog attacks.

Ken Freeland 1:07 AM  

I third

spacecraft 9:22 AM  

Not challenging here. A nice, mostly junk-free puzzle with a few chuckles thrown in via the theme phrases. Trick was simple to get. Smoother than your average Sunday, for sure. The ICONIC Sophia LOREN has to be DOD. Birdie.

Diana, LIW 7:00 PM  

Another 90%er - lots of it fell easily, but then there were those names I didn't know. Of course, I got the "trick" answers - love that wordplay.

Diana, LIW for Crosswords

Burma Shave 9:29 PM  


so NOLAUGHING NOW at harlots,
HAPPILY ENDING as you play
hide the SALAMI with STARLETS.


Anonymous 12:37 AM  

@ Burma Shave: hide the SALAMI with STARLETS. LOL !

Good Puzzle with great syndicat comments.

Took me 3 football games, and lunch and dinner to finally write in the last letter. It always feels good finishing a Sunday puzzle even when it takes a while to figure out between games and chores.

I had that feeling during the solve that OFL was not overjoyed with the puzzle, even though it was penned by a female constructor. I was right on that but I thought it was excellent.... and somewhat of a BRAINTEASER.

Phillip Blackerby 4:12 AM  

All the talk about deFENESTRAtion made me wonder. If one can defenestrate, can one Al's enfenestrate? "The burglar enfenstated the back bedroom. After securing the loot, he refenestrated the same way."

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