Coral island nation north of Fiji / THU 10-1-20 / Aunt despised relative of Harry Potter / French daily founded in 1826 / Lum aka actress comedian Awkwafina / Titular married lady in funny girl song / Classic checker-dropping game

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Constructor: Adam Fromm

Relative difficulty: Medium? (don't know, had to slow down and fuss with rebus squares—couldn't remember the exact keystroke pattern I needed—so my time ended up in the 7s but it probably should've been in the 6s)

THEME: TOUCH TONE PHONES (37A: Products since the 1960s ... on which you can see five "key" things depicted in this puzzle) — rebus squares contain a number (for the Down answer) and the letter string associated with that number on a touch tone keypad (for the Across)

Theme answers:
  • GRAB CONTROL / IN 2 (17A: Stage a coup / 3D: Bisected)
  • DEFLATE / DOG NIGHT (9A: Let the air out of / 9D: Band with the 1970 #1 hit "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)")
  • GENGHIS / CONNECT 4 (64A: First name of a famous Mongol ruler / 38D: Classic checker-dropping game)
  • FILM NOIR / 6ERS (52A: Genre of "The Big Sleep" and "Kiss Me Deadly" / 55D: Dr. J's team)
  • TUVALU / 8 TRACK (46A: Coral island nation north of Fiji / 46D: Cassette tape predecessor)
Word of the Day: ARGOS (23D: City of the Peloponnese) —

 (/ˈɑːrɡɒs, -ɡəs/Greek: Άργος [ˈarɣos]Ancient Greek: Ἄργος [árɡos]) is a city in Argolis, the PeloponneseGreece and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It is the largest city in Argolis and a major center for the area.

Since the 2011 local government reform it has been part of the municipality of Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. The municipal unit has an area of 138.138 km2. It is 11 kilometres (7 miles) from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour. A settlement of great antiquity, Argos has been continuously inhabited as at least a substantial village for the past 7,000 years. The city is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network.

A resident of the city of Argos is known as an Argive (/ˈɑːrɡv/ AR-ghyve/-v/-⁠jyveGreekἈργεῖος). However, this term is also used to refer to those ancient Greeks generally who assaulted the city of Troy during the Trojan War; the term is more widely applied by the Homeric bards. (wikipedia)

• • •

! You know ... for the kids. I think this would've been much cooler in a Sunday-size grid with the keys roughly where they're supposed to be (the keypad is a *grid* after all). Also, a larger grid probably would've allowed for more interesting long theme answers. As is, this was a bit of a grind—a bit of effort to figure out what the hell was going on, and then just that extended minefield feeling as you move semi-carefully through the grid trying to dig up the next rebus square before it destroys you. As usual, getting started was the hard part. Got IN (TWO) easily, but then had no idea what the (TWO) was supposed to be doing in the Across, even when I had most of it. I think I actually got the DEF square first, *then* the revealer, *then* was able to fill in the ABC part of GRAB CONTROL. Because ABC and DEF appeared in succession (reading L to R across the top of the grid), I made the reasonable assumption that these rebus "buttons" were going to appear in order. But no. Almost, though, I guess. ABC DEF GHI and MNO appear in successive quadrants, but then you get that weird TUV crammed in there in this strange position; that one was by far the hardest of the keys to turn up, first because it took me a while to remember that 8 TRACKs ever existed and then because I couldn't remember the country name and sorta had to run the alphabet to figure out what letter string could go there. TUVALU sprang to mind, but for some reason felt wrong. But it wasn't. The end.

Some notes on the fill ... TWEENAGER, still not a thing. At all. You call them TWEENs if you must call them a demographic name. Literally never heard anyone use TWEENAGER, which feels like a word someone invented under the assumption that it must have predated the shortened TWEEN. Blargh. Drop it from your wordlists, it's superdumb. Also, how have you not dropped UNPC from your wordlist by now. It's such a bigoted concept. You're offensive. You want to call yourself UNPC because you imagine yourself some kind of free-speech hero, but you're just a run-of-the-mill asshole. The whole "PC" thing is a self-exonerating defensive lie. Stop. The proper names today were weirdly obscure, almost as if they were designed to make many solvers just have to infer Some kind of name from crosses. I had to do this inferring four different times. For character names (MIA, MARGE), and for some "Funny Girl" song (SADIE) (22A: Titular "married lady" in a "Funny Girl" song) and for the real name of a person not-at-all known by her real name? (NORA) (15A: ___ Lum, a.k.a. actress/comedian Awkwafina). Luckily, the crosses were easy enough to make all the names gettable, but yikes. Some hoary crosswordese in this one (NAE, ENLAI). Oh and a note on ENG(lish). The clue [Grade school subj.] is absurd, as it's also a high school subj. and a university subj., a grad school subj. Hell, I will be teaching two ENG. courses later *today*. The clue [Grade school subj.] is fine for SCI., as in grade school you haven't moved onto specific science courses yet. But for ENG. ... it's not wrong, obviously, but it's misleadingly specific. 

My favorite answer today was LE FIGARO (10D: French daily founded in 1826). The rest was workmanlike and oddly bygone in its general cultural orientation. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Diver51 6:35 AM  

Not another rebus puzzle! It's a cross WORD puzzle. Use WORDS!

Frantic Sloth 6:39 AM  

It took me several minutes and almost halfway through the grid before the dime dropped. Numbers on a touch-tone phone pad and their corresponding letters?? Genius! (BTW no pun intended re "dime drop and phone")

And fun? A more enthusiastic "you betcha!" never escaped Margie Gunderson's lips.

Plus, this appears to be quite the constructioneering feat - to my inexperienced eye at least. I'll leave the final word on that to the pros.

What we have here, folks, is the perfect balance of impressive grid construction and a thoroughly enjoyable solve. I just love it when that happens!

Then there were themers themselves:

FILMNOIR/(6)SIXERS (maybe the weakest one because the actual number 6 doesn't work as well as when it's spelled out. But, pffft! Don't care.)
GENGHIS/CONNECT4 (Okay, so I'll admit to a minor and temporary mental kerfuffle over the spelling of GENGHIS, but with the help of the number 4...pie!)

Hard to pick a favorite.

The fill? As far as I noticed (or cared) it was clean, sharp, and yet somehow invisible to my "critical" eye because I was having so much fun!

Other miscellany:

AFTRA is no longer a union on its own. SAG-AFTRA is now the name since the merging of both several years ago.

@Z Looks like a golden OPPORTUNITY at 60D went pffft! I will always look for the satanic marina since that fateful day...

Before I caught on to the theme, I wanted a rebus at 32A (Word after Scotch or duck) so TAPE would fit.
Just as well that wasn't the case lest history repeats itself. Also goes a long way in explaining why "duck" instead of "goose" or "chicken" which I ultimately appreciated because just "duck egg" is kiiiinda green painty.

Here's something I just noticed: Phone "keypads" now contain the entire 26 letters of the alphabet. 7 is now PQRS and 9 is WXYZ. Back in the day, the Q and Z(!) weren't included and 🎶all the other numbers used to laugh and call them names.🎶
Well, that's good because @Z just can't be allowed to hog the future and the past.


Harryp 6:41 AM  

It took a while for me to get Theme, but I finally got there with GEN(GHI)S and FIL(MNO)IR. Hand up for anyone trying CCCONTROL at 17A. siezeCONTROL is so last week or whenever. I wonder if you get the solve just putting the requisite number in the space. Fun Puz.

OffTheGrid 6:48 AM  

I loved it and I'm not even that fond of the rebus. I got GRABCONTROL early but didn't understand the 3Down part. Later I grokked the number part or the theme for a 2nd AHA moment. Or is it OHO? Liked Feet substitutes/SHOETREES entry. I was quite relieved to see TWEENAGER because I feared it would be prEENAGER (pre-teen). Best Thursday in a while.

Lewis 6:48 AM  

@rex -- Of course you liked LE FIGARO. Figaro was Pinocchio's cat, and I'm assuming you're still in love with yours.

The theme revealed itself early to me, so it was a treasure hunt from there on, and I’m glad the theme squares weren’t symmetrical and that the theme answers weren’t in order from top to bottom. Those two things would have made things too easy rather than the fun finds that ensued. Along the way, I traversed 11 answers starting with S (I don’t track this, but it seems high), a mini-theme of double E’s (5), and – and this makes perfect sense – I noticed Adam picked the five keys that contain vowels.

I encountered enough grit to get my hands dirty, always a good thing, and was impressed that Adam was the first to see and GRAB CONTROL of this seemingly-obvious-theme-to-come-up-with, a theme idea that's been floating in the ether since the dawn of the touchtone phone.

So I got joy out of this, and also much joy out of Adam’s brief notes (which anyone can see on or NYT’s wordplay), as he has a terrific sense of humor. Thank you for a smile-producing start to my day, sir!

kitshef 7:18 AM  

Whee! What fun!

You have a fun theme like this, and I will completely forgive your ALFREs and NORAs and ‘Law and Order’ clues.

Here you have what must have been a phenomenal challenge to construct, but which also results in a wonderful solver experience. Bravo!

thfenn 7:25 AM  

The theme clicked for me with Three Dog Night, "...nephones" in the reveal, and then DEFLATE. Thought this was a great puzzle. Still remember playing lots of CONNECT4 with my kids. Wanted dunG beetle before STAG beetle but then had fun reading all about those. STyED instead of STIED took me forever to find/fix, but had a lot of fun with this one.

Haven't been here for awhile, hope all the regulars here are well.

Anonymous 7:29 AM  

If you use the number in the team name, it is only ever the 76ers. 6ERS is... OFFAL.

ChuckD 7:44 AM  

Liked this for the most part - theme was neat but being only a subset felt incomplete as Rex mentioned. Got the theme with 3 DOG NIGHT - the others fell quickly after that. The overall fill was decent - liked the clue for BUTLER and SADIE x COOTIE. TWEENAGER does feel wrong and another useless kid lit clue for MARGE.

I’ll take this for a Thursday - enough trickery to keep me interested.

Leslie 8:05 AM  

Fantastic! Had a great time.

Z 8:09 AM  

@Frantic - Yep. You know that clue got a RYE grin from me. And “tape” was another lost opportunity. Sigh. Those two really ruined the entire puzzle for me.

Skews old? 8-TRACKs playing 3 DOG NIGHT while Dr J is playing for the 6-ers (@7:29 is right, 76ers or Sixers, never. 6-ers). Why would anyone think the NYTX is written for the over-MNO OPER crowd?

Agree with Rex that TWEENAGER is probably a back-formation from TWEEN, disagree with him on the “nobody uses it” thing, although I imagine it more as a middle school thing than a fifth grade thing. And the whole PHONE number/letter thing reminds me that there is a small demographic slice of people who were in high school between, say, 1998 or so and 2004 or so, who mastered the skill of touch texting on a flip PHONE underneath their desks without the teacher noticing. Boy howdy did that practice piss off some teachers. Oddly, from my perspective as an administrator, it was odd how the better teachers never seemed to have a big problem with it.

Decent enough Thursday. The theme conceit didn’t wow me, but it did make me work a little.

OldGuy 8:21 AM  

I hate these puzzles

Blackhat 8:22 AM  

14 names, 3 foreign words

Mikey from El Prado 8:50 AM  

Agree with Rex on the time. It wasn’t that difficult, but the way the rebuses worked (number/letters) added to the overall solve time,
I had to remember that 1 and O have no letters. I suppose I could have cheated a little with phones near by.

Pete 8:55 AM  

This was done really well by Liz Gorski a few years ago. She got all twelve keys in, in prefect position, in a Sunday puzzle.

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

Isn’t it “a penny dropped” not a dime?

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

I agree. Especially since in the era of Dr. J, they were only known as the 76ers.

Tina 9:00 AM  

I guess I’m too green with NYT puzzles. I always feel you have to enter something in a square to complete the answer. Implied answers like the three in 3 dog night just threw me. I kept trying to hard wire an answer in there. Guess I learned the hard way.

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

No one says unpc anymore. It’s unwoke. Unpc is so 2010,

TTrimble 9:06 AM  

At the risk of seeming UNPC, I don't really get why it makes Rex so mad. Let's say you're at a party with your aged dad and he refers to someone as an "Oriental", and you take him aside and try to gently explain that people don't say that anymore, it's just considered a little UNPC is all. (Let's also assume he understands what UNPC means.) How is that so terrible?

Anyway, yeah, this was a pretty clever puzzle. I could see pretty quickly that numbers were involved, and that something else was afoot, before I left an unfinished NW for other pastures. I forget exactly when and where I cottoned onto the theme, but all in all this puzzle took me a while. I especially got mired down in the W: could not cough up ARGOS to save my soul, and SADIE was not in my knowledge base, and the whole Tape --> EGG thing took me forever. Cute, once seen, but tricky. Down in the SW, I had "bark" and "dung" before finally STAG beetle -- didn't know the term, had to deduce it from crosses. Despised Aunt "Petunia" (I asked my wife for help there; I myself stayed away from Harry Potter) was not fitting, and MARGE emerged only from crosses. So in summary, the puzzle was not a breeze and I posted a worse-than-average time.

I don't know if this works for Rex, but I never bother trying to figure out the rebus gizmo. I do the puzzle online, and for this puzzle I just plunked down numbers, as in GEN4S, fairly certain that the software would do the rebus GHI automatically on completion and happy music -- which it did. In other instances, just putting in the first letter of the rebus does the trick. (If I were doing it on paper, I'd probably write 4/GHI.)

Amy Z 9:20 AM  

Not a fan of the clue for 64A. Genghis Khan was born Temüjin Borjigin, and "Genghis" was just a title meaning "ruler of all".

Sixthstone 9:23 AM  

Played tough for me, but I enjoyed the theme. It was pretty fun to look for the hidden rebuses as I worked my way through the puzzle. The fill itself contains a lot of dreck and (as Rex noted) some little known proper names.

I completely agree with Rex about ENG being clued badly. It's actually called READING and WRITING in grade school. No one has English or English/Language Arts until middle school.

Frantic Sloth 9:30 AM  

@Z 809am Sneaky. Took me a nano or 30, but I grokked your mini-puzz. Smell me!

@anon 857am You are correct. I can admit conflating "dropping a dime" on someone with "the penny dropped"...but I'd rather say it was adjusted for inflation and the purpose of a pun I lied about not making. Yeah. That's the ticket. 😉

Idle ponderment: Is it bad and wrong that I only knew ARGOS from "Clash of the Titans" (and Harry Hamlin's consistently bared single nipple)?

SandyM 9:36 AM  

In a coin operated phone, you put in a dime and dial (or push buttons) when the call connects you hear the dime drop. If it doesn't connect, you got your dime back.

pabloinnh 9:37 AM  

A Thursday that Thursdays properly is a Thursday I will always support enthusiastically, and this is one of those. Well done indeed.

Knew it had to be IN2, but couldn't do anything with the letters, and then another number with 3DOGNIGHT, same spelling conundrum, but eventually caught on, although the revealer in the middle was misplaced, but for something this much fun who cares?

The Eb/DEFLATE from a while back was helpful and COOTIE just showed up in the SB, a world of confluences indeed.

Thanks for all the fun, AF. Nice piece of puzzling.

In election news from NH, my wife and I voted by mail yesterday. Our ballots arrived, we filled them in, and I drove down and handed them to the town clerk. We had one each, which was somewhat disappointing as I was hoping for thousands with which to skew the election. Also, there were no busloads of illegals from Massachusetts in evidence. Another illusion shattered. Hope you all are able to have as much luck where you are.

Lewis 9:40 AM  

@pete -- Liz's puzzle just had the numbers and two symbols, but no letters. It really wasn't directly comparable to today's puzzle, IMO.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

hate hate HATED THIS

Jim Spies 9:52 AM  

Didn't like "Course Objective" for PAR. I get the mis-direction, but the "objective" of golf is not to get par, specifically. It's to score as low as possible. "Course Average" would have been better?

Nancy 9:55 AM  

An EPIC rebus. As I've often said, I love 'em most when the Acrosses and Downs are different. I'm embarrassed to say that, even after I saw that the first themer simply had to be ABC/2, I was still slow on the uptake. I thought that I'd better go down to the environs of the revealer and find out why. As soon as the word PHONE came in, I didn't even bother my pretty little head with what kind of phone we were talking about. I sat in the seat next to my very old, very beloved landline and used it to sort out which numbers I needed in each instance. I didn't need it for, say, SIXERS, but I did need it for THREE DOG NIGHT, which I didn't know from the clue, but of which I've heard at least. The D of DOG allowed me to change fIRmS to GIRDS at 21A, and all was good.

Fewer proper names would have made me even happier, but at least I got "mine", just as you got "yours". Yours are MARGE, NORA, ICET and MIA as clued -- all of which could have been clued in a way that would have made them easy for me. Only they weren't. Mine were ENLAI, SEALE, ALFRE, and GENGHIS -- and grateful was I for each and every one of them. You may notice that I know as much about history and government as you know about pop culture. Although I did know ALFRE.

Other than the names, an almost perfect rebus and a great Thursday.

jberg 9:55 AM  

@diver51 Probably you should avoid solving on Thursday’s.

mathgent 9:56 AM  

It’s absolutely wonderful. I took out my iPhone to see what numbers went with what letters. Besides the lovely split rebus, it had a lot of sparkle. 16 red plus signs in the margins.

When my grandson started beating me in CONNECT4, I did a little research. There is a winning strategy. The player going first can force a win. It’s very complicated.

Great clue for SHOETREES, “Substitutes for feet.”

Excellent health tip. Don’t drink eel blood.

GR(ABC)ONTROL is good. What other possibilities? FL(ABC)ONTROL, “Reason for going on a diet.”

DavidL 9:58 AM  

I had a very enjoyable aha moment when I understood the trick (on 3 DOG NIGHT and DEFLATE). Clever theme.

Anyone else have trouble in the SW? I had the G from GENGHIS, and immediately wrote in "dung" beetle. That really screwed me up, because I've never heard of a STAG beetle, I didn't know the word TRICE, and AGATE was gettable but hard. Also in that corner, I could picture Aunt MARGE but couldn't come up with her name without crosses, and even AVIAN wasn't so easy -- there's a bird called a "rail"? Ok, if you say so.

Cool puzzle though.

GILL I. 10:02 AM  

I feel like the village idiot. Or maybe I should say the court jester so as not to offend anyone.
I managed to get TOUCH TONE PHONES and though "so what." I don't know what that is. I don't think I've ever had one....seriously. Oh, I knew we were into some kind of rebus thing with DEF lATE but I had no idea about that 3 DOG NIGHT. I also knew FIL MNO IR but I wouldn't know Dr. J and his team even if he came up to me and planted a wet one on my lips. For those of you who got it and loved it, I am so happy for you; I feel like a pig being STIED.... or worse.... a CAKY clumpy COOTIE. Scotch EGG, my eye!

Devo 10:05 AM  

Using the numbers does give you a solve. That’s what I did.

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

Rex trots out his usual take on UNPC, and I couldn't disagree more. I work in communications for left-leaning non-profit, where we have -- without much discussion -- recently shifted from "Latino" to "Latinx." It doesn't matter than polling shows that most Latinos/Latinx dislike, or even don't know, the term, or that a significant number of pundits decry it as another example of our Anglophonic hegemony (x is rarely used in Spanish). The fact is a small but very fired-up contingent of our audience (and more so, our workforce) were vehemently for the change. To persist in using it, or to argue for it, would be career limiting. It is a word that runs contrary to our group politics, it is quite literally UNPC.

jberg 10:09 AM  

I somehow had IN2 crossing GetCONTROL, so even though I got 3DOG.../ DEF I couldn’t figure out the rule without the revealer.

Of course rotary phones had those same letter-number combinations, but since they didn’t have keys the clue is technically correct, just a little lame.

ANDS for addenda is awful—but not as bad as STIED. Ugh! And I feel like I’ve always heard those bugs called STAGhorn beetles, but Wikipedia tells me I’m wrong..

Anonymous 10:12 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 10:14 AM  

In Philadelphia it's only Sixers. Mohair, if you're lurking, back me up please.

Iverson 10:25 AM  

I listen to top Philly sports station WIP every day. They ALWAYS refer to the team as the “Sixers”

pmdm 10:25 AM  

After I read the top of the blog, I thought to myself "Hmm. Mr. Sharp had trouble. That means he's going to pan the puzzle." I think I've been reading the comments posted here too long.

This puzzle suggests to me that puzzle theme can indeed by repeated. And probably those who like the theme will continue to like the theme. Ditto for those who don't like the theme.

What's my reaction? Even though you don't care, I'll tell you. I continue to like the idea, but for some reason this puzzle did not tickle me.For some reason, the 50A clue/entry annoyed me.

By the way, I still use a wall rotary phone in my home. At least most answering machines (or whatever you want to call them) use voice recognition.

An addendum (not ADDENDA) to a topic in yesterday's comments. If you want to vote by mail, each state has its own way of doing it. Each state decides for itself how voters can determine how to learn if their mail ballot has been sent to them. If a state mails the ballot in a letter sized envelope, one can view the envelope via the USPS option called informed delivery. If you visit the USPS web site (search "informed delivery" on the web), for free you can sign up for the option. When the enveloped is sorted by the USPS machines, the machine takes a picture. A daily email message will display pictures of mail you should receive in a day or two. My wife loves the service. As far as I am concerned, it just alert me to when I will be receiving a bill.

Photomatte 10:27 AM  

I entered numbers in the rebus squares instead of their 3-letter equivalents. This was a much cleaner way to solve the puzzle; I wish the constructor or the editor had seen that. Also, Dr J's team is the 76ers, not the 6ers. Other than that, pretty easy for a Thursday rebus.

William of Ockham 10:28 AM  

@10:14 Any-nun-moose - AYE! the SIXERS in PHL, indeed

Agree with Rex (WTF?) on using this theme on a 21x21 with all in the right places, but 7 & 9 might be problematic (Use 3 or 4 letters).

Very little awkwardness, revealer easy to solve to convince yourself.

Decent .puz

Casimir 10:35 AM  

I had troubles there. Indeed, because I asked my wife for help with the Harry Potter clue, my streak of 640 straight ended. Tomorrow is another day!

RooMonster 10:43 AM  

Hey All !
Took a bit to get the ole brain to see what in tarhooties was happening. Had the DEF of 9A, but then figured out DOG NIGHT, and knowing it was THREE(3), said "Huh?, How is DEF DOG NIGHT a thing?" First thought it was musical notes together, ala, ABC, BCD, etc. But doing that to G, only gives you 7 (including FGA, GAB as a continuation of together-notes), and the DEF doing it that way, is number 4.

Got 8 TRACK, and seeing there wasn't an 8 in my musical notes, looked at Revealer, saw PH__ES, and said, "Aha! Old phones!" Wrote out the buttons on a piece of paper, but messed up at 7, writing down only PQR, getting me STU for 8. But couldn't think of any island with STU__U pattern. Then a lightening bolt flashed across my brain, and realized I had an old phone in my desk drawer. Pulled that sucker out, and saw my error.

Debated whether to put the numbers in, or the letter string, decided the letter string seemed better. Got the Happy Music* after last entered letter!

But, *a technical DNF (but im not counting it as one!), as I had to look up Potter's aunt. Dang. TRICE and AGATE were toughies.

Agree with @Frantic Sloth 6:39, growing up, the Q and Z weren't on the phone. It was 7 PRS and 9 WXY. Phone makers gave them respect after a while.

There's funny memes out there of TWEENAGERs trying to figure out how to use a TOUCHTONE PHONE to make a call. Good stuff.

I enjoyed this puz. Got stuck in that SE co, but managed to suss out the rest. Nice one Adam!

Four F's (DEF included)
SHOE TREES (SHOEs don't grow on TREEs!)

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

I totally agree with Rex's rant about PC and UNPC. It's a shame the expression "politically correct" ever was introduced. But regrettable as it may be, both PC and UNPC are nevertheless commonly used used terms that are not profane and as such are perfectly legit to use in a puzzle. Moreover, every use of PC and UNPC is not by a "run of the mill asshole." It often is, but not always.

Just curious - When did "English" become a grade school subject? Maybe the 70s? I didn't take "English" until junior high school.

TTrimble 10:45 AM  

I think Anonymous 10:07 is factually correct: "Latinx", however well-meaning, has not been well-received in the Latino/Latina community, not at all. Part of the problem (aside from Anglophonic hegemony, and I think that's another valid point) is confusion over how to pronounce it. "Latinex"? "Latincks"? Something closer to how an "x" is usually pronounced in Spanish? To my sensibility, the word is plain ugly to look at. It's clunky and ham-handed.

As to what would go over better: why not ask the community it's referring to for suggestions?

Karl Grouch 10:47 AM  

¿¡Where did that come Fromm?!

Brian 10:59 AM  

Rex you highlighted LMN in red instead of MNO

Seth 11:02 AM  

I'm sorry but the clue on MARGE is abysmal. Harry Potter's awful aunt is Petunia. I had to Google Marge to remember who she is--she's technically his uncle's sister, she appears in like one chapter at the start of one book. It is absurd that the clue refers not to Harry's awful aunt who is a recurring character in the series, but to that aunt's obscure sister-in-law. But hey, it's not like there are any other well-known Marges to build a clue around.

Newboy 11:06 AM  

TUVULA?? Oh for whatever powers you pray to! I call foul on recent island nations with fewer people than exist in Idaho’s 15th largest town. There’s trivia justifiable like today’s ARGOS sure, but TUVULA (sounds like an obscure body part?) is the kinda answer that drives solvers out of Crossworld for good — one hopes they achieve landed immigrant status with @okanageer in user friendly Canada. Now Canada I could accept as a real country/answer....TUVULA, nah.

Beyond that I loved the puzzle, knowing that anything that would slow Rex’s lightening solve is always a good thing worthy of amusement in its own right.

What? 11:06 AM  

I seen this before several times in my extensive collection - not worth the trouble.

Brian 11:10 AM  

The 5 keys are the ones that contain the vowels aeiou. And except for 3 are the evens 2 4 6 8.

Mary McCarty 11:11 AM  

Does anyone remember the film (or maybe tv show) murder mystery, where the key clue was a bogus telephone number starting with “Quincy....?” It’s driving me crazy, and I had no luck Googling it.

egsforbreakfast 11:11 AM  

Didn’t know that the blood of EELS is toxic to humans. Makes the oil’ unagi order seem a little more daring than I thought. Perhaps I’ll stick to EGGSforbreakfast.

I loved the theme, but disagree that it would be better as a Sunday with the keys placed in correct positions. Seems to me that that would give away an awful lot of answers if you grokked the theme early.

If, as Rex demands, we should drop UNPC because it is self-attributed to a**holes, don’t we also need to drop “proud”?

Good puz. Thanks Adam Fromm.

Joe Dipinto 11:12 AM  

"I told you I love you, now get OUT!"

Frantic Sloth 11:14 AM  

@mathgent 956am Well, you went ahead and got me thinking...

ST(ABC)ONTROL - Anger management?
SL(ABC)ONTROL - A slice of bacon is sufficient (said no one ever)?
SC(ABC)ONTROL - Stop picking!?
GR(ABC)ONTROL - Never employed by the WH squatter?
CR(ABC)ONTROL - Nope. Not gonna go there.
BL(ABC)ONTROL - Something I clearly lack?

@pmdm 1025am Thanks so much for the "informed delivery" tip. Gonna look into that!

Agree that "Latinx" is all kinds of blech! If I had my ignorant druthers, it would be "Latin-y". Like satiny.

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

for cryin out loud, it's a push button PHONE.

Whatsername 11:33 AM  

This should have been lots of fun but I can’t say it was. I loved the combination rebus and figuring out the themers, but I had so much frustration with some of the clues that it kind of detracted from the joy. I did my best without help but with breakfast long forgotten and the clock creeping toward lunch, I finally caved.

Never in my life heard of a Scotch EGG, and after googling am absolutely certain I will never eat one. Don’t play checkers, don’t watch SUMO or Law & Order, and then there’s my hated nemesis, Harry Potter. No disrespect to my much beloved and definitely not despised Aunt MARGE.

NOR do I follow the NBA, but even I knew the Sixers, plus I still listen to the ageless THREE DOG NIGHT, and I loved the clue for AVIAN. So great puzzle and brilliant theme trick, just not my wheelhouse. It was one of those days when I hid behind the smart kids so the teacher wouldn’t call on me. Maybe I’ll be smarter tomorrow.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

Just FYI, Awkwafina does have a show called "Nora from Queens" which is how I knew it.

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

I was surprised to see Awkwafina/NORA counted among the obscure names, but that might be because NYC got a major advertising blast for her Comedy Central show "Nora From Queens." She was even the voice of the 7 train earlier this year, announcing all the stops with a comedic twist and promoting the show!

Westword 11:44 AM  

@anonymous 8:57: An aha moment is “the penny dropped”; “dropped a dime on” is ratting someone out.

pwoodfin 11:45 AM  

Rex, your PC mini-rant is rich! You’re the king of pseudo PC. Self-exonerating indeed. Please stop.

Roth 11:55 AM  

God, I am so SICK of Harry Potter answers. I even tried to watch one of the movies, solely for all the crossword references, but couldn't take it. Will someone rid me of this meddlesome wizard?

Michiganman 12:02 PM  

My grade school years coincided with the Eisenhower administration. I learned to read and write in English. I believe that is still the case in American schools. 1D seems solidly legitimate.

Seth 12:11 PM  

When I got to that clue I had _E_S and entered Nets, which would have also been accurate.

Z 12:15 PM  

@Philadelphia Fans - Just to be clear, the plaint is about “6ers” not “Sixers.”

@TTrimble - I disagree a little bit with has not been well-received in the Latino/Latina community, not at all. I think the response breaks quite strongly along generational lines. It is certainly true in my family that my cousins are far more conservative regarding the language than their kids are. So if you’re writing for 50+ readers O/A, if you’re writing for <30 readers X. Writing for the 30-50 cohort? Good luck. Interestingly, I just went looking for some support for my gut reaction and found this from NPR, dated today.

@10:07 and @10:45 - Fair points. I mostly run into “UNPC” the same way Rex rants about, some racist/sexist/homophobe/transphobe trying to use “free speech” as a shield when they are called out for their assholery.

@Jim Spies - “Objective” can also mean a minimal target that you can hope to exceed. So my objective on a golf course might be 18 over PAR. Everyone’s objective is technically an 18, but that’s nobody’s objective.

@jberg and @pmdm - I generally have no problem with noun verbification, it happens. But STIED sounds contrived. It could just as easily refer to puffiness around the eye. So a STIED side eye from me.

@Michiganman - Sure, but that wasn’t Rex’ plaint. Why the “grade school” specificity? It could just as accurately being clued “School subj.” Or “College subj.” My issue with Rex’ plaint is how to improve it. “College subj.” is just as overly specific and just “Subj.” seems a tad sparse. I guess “School subj.” gets my vote as the best option, but since nothing is really better it’s hard to complain with the clue presented.

Anonymoose 12:18 PM  

Occasionally, actually extremely rarely, a puzzle calls for a numeral in a square. This not such a puzzle. If you accept that it's OK to enter "3" in the 9 square, for example, then you are saying that 3LATE means let the air out of. The app's accepting it is not equivalent to being right.

Azzurro 12:19 PM  

I don't know if it was intentional, but I got lost in the NW and NE because you can also spell GAIN CONTROL and DEFLATE by going diagonally, and I thought that was the gimmick at first.

I enjoyed this but would have liked it a lot more with the missing keys. It fell flat when I realized they were just omitted.

Maybe clue [JKL]OL as "Texter chuckling at his own joke?" to get 5. Jeff Chen suggested [PRS]tunt (PR stunt) for 7. I haven't thought of anything clever for 9. Still, it seems doable, maybe in a Sunday grid.

Music Man 12:21 PM  

Yay!! Thanks for calling out an old favorite of mine “Telephone Line” by ELO. “A New World Record” by ELO was released in 1976, during the 8 TRACK era.

Swagomatic 12:21 PM  

I enjoyed it for the most part. I dunno. It was okay.

bagelboy 12:29 PM  

Really liked it except tough STAG-MARGE-TRICE. But I had the rest of the corner, so eventually inferrable. I read all the Potter, but dont remember minor characters.

Got the FILMNOIR-6ers crossing and got it to make sense when i had enough crossings to fill in the revealer. And I'm old enough to remember 8 track players in the car and we had a player/recorder in the house also so i could make tapes from the LPs. So I could sing along to 3DOGNIGHT's Joy To the World in the car also.

Carola 12:29 PM  

Today's readings: Difficulty Meter = Just Right; Delite Meter: Wowza!

sixtyni yogini 12:33 PM  

I looked up the letter/ numbers (online photo) and put the numbers in the rebus 3 times which I suppose makes the puzzle 🧩 harder, more time consuming, and (to me) more interesting haha and more annoying. Of course - because I put the numbers in I didn’t get the cheery finish sound, but rats! I liked my solution better. 🤗🧩🤗

RPM 12:35 PM  

I solved the puzzle entering the numbers only and got the NYT across lite fanfare telling me I was done before I figured out the touch-tone connection. This even though the revealer was quite explicit.

I think the term politically correct (pc for short) is likely to be a permanent addition to the language because it resonates for at least two reasons. The origin of the term is Soviet indoctrination and in 21st century America it is a useful rebuttal to self-righteous thought police who, like the soviets, think indoctrination is an effective route toward social change.

jb129 12:37 PM  

Fun puzzle. (I wish they'd give up on Harry Potter though.

Aelurus 12:39 PM  

Wow, this was a two-step rebus for me! Got that it was a number at IN TWO (3D) but thought it was the spelled-out number, then realized the square wanted the LETTERS attached to the number keys. Yikes! Favorite answer: FILM NOIR. Great misdirect: AVIAN. New to me: TUVALU, TRICE, LE FIGARO. Lost interest in completing the puzzle's short fill, though, and went to the SB. Thank you, SBers, for your comments about this NYT puzzle, so intriguing I tried it--and now I'm hooked.

@Lewis from Tuesday: You're very welcome--I'm glad the YEATS poem was a good part of your day. Your "pool of peace" is wonderful.

Masked and Anonymous 12:41 PM  

Well, huh. This ThursPuz was an odd little duck EGG. I mean, shoot -- not a single ?-mark clue? On a ThursDay? Where do we get our daily dosage of puz-humor? The theme was fun, but not especially fun-ny.

At least we have that extra-weird EGG = {Word after Scotch or duck} clue. Seems like a set-up trap for us to write in TAPE, except … ka-thud … it's only 3 letters long. Sooo that TAPE-trap has its own built-in spoiler.

Lost many precious NANO-seconds up there in the NW, tryin to figure out that IN?/GR?ONTROL cross. Stubbornly lingered there, munchin on countless NANO-cinnamon rolls, until the mysterious crossin finally yielded its secret, with a belch.
Cute theme idea. I can kinda see why there was no featured 5-JKL-key in this rodeo, tho.

staff weeject picks: IN2 & TUV. Always good to see the runt words get to participate in the theme mcguffin.

Was incredibly relieved, that {Playground "germ"} = CO???? didn't end up bein COVID + some number.
Wear a mask, kids. Don't listen to that there "turd mentality" WH pandemic advice.

Thanx for the touch-ing ThursPuz, Mr. Fromm. thUmbsDUGUP.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

in honor of LUKE, from a recent puz:

GILL I. 12:46 PM  

I don't know one single Hispanic...nary a one...who wants to be called Latinex. Many have never even heard nor understand the word. It is an imposition by activists. Basta. Do we need to keep tip-toeing through the tulips?

Joe Dipinto 12:56 PM  

@Mary McCarty – you've got me intrigued. It's not ringing an immediate bell. I assume it was not the TV show "Quincy". Do you remember anything else about the story? Did it take place near Quincy, Massachusetts? An actor who was in it? The approximate year it would have been from?

Whoosey Whatsis 1:00 PM  

Wow - loved it! Challenging, and great fun!

Even after I figured out the gimmick, it was still difficult. If it weren't for "3 Dog Night" which I knew was right, and "deflate" (what else could it be?), I might still be working on this damn thing!

(I especially loved fi6ir.)

How do people come up with these crazy ideas, and then make them work? I don't pay much attention to constructors' names, but Adam Fromm, I'm going to be keeping an eye out for your puzzles. Thank you!

GILL I. 1:02 PM  

@Whatsername...If you like eggs, a Scotch Egg can be quite delicious. If you over boil the egg and use crummy sausage, you probably won't like them. The eggs really need to be fairly soft, the sausage should be a mixture of pork and maybe bison and the crumbs I'd use would be home made. Deep fry them - don't bake and you've got yourself a nice little bite of yummies.

jae 1:03 PM  

Medium-tough only because I needed to visualize the touchtone phone buttons at least 5 times. I’m impressed that Adam pulled this off, liked it.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

What’s Rex teaching in his English class today? “Richie Rich” or “Archie?”

Doc John 1:09 PM  

Aunt MARGE? Really? It's Petunia or nothing.
Even "Pee-Wee's trucker friend Large _____" would have been better.
Otherwise, a fun and interesting puzzle.

Whatsername 1:10 PM  

@pmdm (10:25) Thanks for the info on the post office link. Sounds cool. Who knew?

For some reason, after finishing the puzzle I got to thinking about PHONES and remembered the side-splittingly funny Lily Tomlin as
Ernestine the Operator on the old Laugh-In shows. Here she is calling the White House circa 1970.

Hannah 1:17 PM  

Racist slurs are considered racist, not just "unpc". Politically correct implies that it only matters in optics, but racism matters in substance. It's not just that calling people orientals sounds bad, it is bad. So by undermining the value and importance of respect by calling it PC, "UNPC" becomes a weak excuse for ignorance, hate or thoughtlessness. It's moral cover for the immoral, and in my opinion, Rex is right to say that it is tired & dated.

FrostMo 1:29 PM  

Actually figured out the gimmick pretty quickly, but still extremely tough for me. Couple pretty obscure words in there, IMO. STET/TRICE/ENLAI all seem archaic to me. Also still have no idea what AVIAN has to do with rails and stilts. Obviously, I needed on the I cross in that SW...

Brian 1:33 PM  

Maybe just Latin?

old timer 1:42 PM  

My paper was so covered with ink corrections and switches between numerals and letters that I gave up, though only after some Googling helped me almost complete it. One of those rare occasions when I would have preferred an online solve.

I agree, "unwoke" is better now than UNPC.

Latinx is an abomination. One used to refer to Mexican-Americans, and in the 70's to "La Raza", but "Latino" came into use, in order to reflect the fact that many Hispanic migrants were coming from Central America. Also, to include Brazil, which is a Latin country but not Hispanic, since they speak Portuguese. But really, the number of immigrants from Brazil is pretty small, so we sensitive folk probably should moved to "Hispanic", which applies to both sexes. Of course it is true that most people who call themselves Latinos (or Latinas), have no use for latinx.

Anoa Bob 1:47 PM  

I always look askance at a puzzle with some multiple-letter squares being called a "rebus" puzzle. Last week I watched the PBS show "A to Z: The First Alphabet" that further solidified my opinion that "rebus" has been commandeered and used incorrectly by xword puzzlers.

The show carefully documented how a letter of an alphabet started out as a drawing of some thing (rebus), then how the sound of that thing was used to represent something like a syllable, and then finally how that was then shortened into a abstract sound without any particular meaning that became a letter of an alphabet.

Linguists/philologists use the phrase "The Rebus Principle" to refer to how this process of going from pictographs to abstract sounds to letters of an alphabet evolved.

I think we need a better, more accurate term for the kind of puzzle that we get today. How about the acronym MIOS from multiple letters In one square or how about MULET, from multiple letters?

I realize I'm swimming against the tide and shouting into the wind on this matter and that a variant of the George Costanza Principle "If you tell a lie often enough it becomes the truth" is at work and we never be able to right this egregious wrong.

For an example of what a rebus puzzle should look like, check out the classic television game show "Concentration".

JC66 1:55 PM  


How about BOC -> Box of Convenience?

TTrimble 1:56 PM  

I looked it up too. One study says, "[Latinx] did not register above 3% as a preferred term among any geographic, income, education, or age subgroup we tested."

Then the Pew Research referenced in the article you linked has "However, for the population it is meant to describe, only 23% of U.S. adults who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino have heard of the term Latinx, and just 3% say they use it to describe themselves, according to a nationally representative, bilingual survey of U.S. Hispanic adults conducted in December 2019."

So I think what I wrote was okay.

TTrimble 2:02 PM  

"It's not just that calling people orientals sounds bad, it is bad."

As with all things, I think intent matters. The hypothetical Dad who learned "Oriental" when he was young is innocent; it would be wrong to label his usage "racist". On the other hand, if someone knows how the word is regarded and persists in using it anyway, then said person is at least an asshole, and maybe a racist asshole as well.

I can almost guarantee that someday in the future, "Asian" (which is a term used a lot today, arguably somewhat inaptly) will be considered racist. It's called semantic shift. I can give other examples to illustrate the point.

Pamela 2:16 PM  

@Joe Dipinto- that was the most fun I had all day. I’ll remember STAG beetles forever!

For all the Harry Potter haters- that’s how I feel about Star Wars clues. I watched the very early shows, but by the time the movies came out I’d lost interest. Reading Harry, however, was delightful,

@Whatsername- Ernestine was always my favorite of Lily Tomlin’s characters- thanks for the reminder, and the laugh.

LorrieJJ 2:39 PM  

Well said. I totally agree.

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

Anoa Bob,
Amen times 1,00000000!
and more important, thank you.
After you fix the rebus error, maybe you could help with wrong-headed NW or SE corner nonsense. I understand the desire, ( call it a need if you like) for an easy designation to identify a part of the puzzle. But surely upper left and lower right are superior and just as easily abbreviated. The puzzle must be oriented a particular way to be read. That means what is currently called the North West, is always the upper left, but of course depending on how you the solver are oriented not necessarily the Northwest. It's maddening. And bone-headed. Very much akin to football announcers describing a runner as going North- South when he means perpendicular to the line of scrimmage. Ugh.

bocamp 2:52 PM  

@ Adam Fromm - Loved, loved, loved this puzzle! Took 3x my ave. Thursday, but every minute was worth the battle. Just not on my wave length at all, but that's part of loving crosswords – expanding horizons. :)

For 3D, wanted "in-half", so missed the opportunity to grok the rebus at the outset. At 9A, did get a whiff of the rebus, but still no cigar.

The language of "Tuvalu" is Tuvaluan.

@ DavidL 9:58 AM

Yes, similar experience in the SW. :)

@ Devo 10:05 AM

Ditto that!

As for "par", my goal was always to break "bogey". Never did shoot par, but came close a few times. LOL

It's been 15 years since I used a "touch-tone phone" other than for answering the condo's entry-phone. Switched to an unlimited North-American Skype plan somewhere around 2005, using a Nokia phone. I've got a very basic FIDO plan for my iPhone, but still use the Skype app for the majority of my calls. It costs something in the neighborhood of $30 per year.

As was suggested in a previous post: "no peeking at available devices, etc. for help with solving," unless "house rules" permit, of course. LOL

"Virtue signaling" around the use of "unpc" is far worse than the controversial acronym itself. I'll go with "offensive" or "not woke" in its stead, but will not cast aspersions on those who choose to use it. Judgmental self-righteousness is a blight. "Cast the beam out of thine own eye…".

Peace 平和 filemu ειρήνη paix 和平 🕊

Unknown 2:53 PM  

Brilliant puzzle. So clever. Were there a couple of obscure clues? Uh, yes. But so what? This was fun. And any reference to 3DOGNIGHT puts a smile on my face, and probably dates me.

That rex ketches about it, and refuses to post his time which *of course* he tracks until he starts to realize that he's going slower than normal and then, what? he turns his stopwatch off? Or the built-in timer to his puzzle just sort of stops . . . . ? Like, how does he not keep track of his time on the *tougher* puzzles? What a fragile, delicate ego he must have. Or was that UNPC of me to mention?

Tim Aurthur 3:06 PM  

NYTXW construction rule #2 (after the one about Star Wars): Any person's name, no matter how common, that can be found in Harry Potter must be clued in reference to Harry Potter.

JackyMacky 3:32 PM  

I’m from Edinburgh and teach US college English so I’m bilingual.
“NAE” has a much narrower use than “no” or “uh-uh.” A simple “no” is usually “naw” or even “nut” with a glottal stop. “Nae” only means “no” as in the absence of something.
Example conversation:
A: Will ye be voting for Trump?
B: Naw!
A: How no?
B: He’s got nae couth!

Further complicating matters, “uh-huh” means “yes.”

ow a paper cut 3:33 PM  

Thanks to 3 Dog Night or I’d still be doing this puzzle.

Aalok 3:33 PM  

I was frustrated initially, but loved it when I finally figured out the 'key' :)

I'm relatively new to crosswords, so it took me almost an hour to complete this one.

One minor correction Rex;the letters for the 6 key are MNO, so you should highlight those in 'Film Noir'

Anonymous 3:44 PM  

Came here just to read Rex going off on UNPC. Not disappointed.

Frantic Sloth 4:07 PM  

@Joe D 1112am Normally, I can't watch insect videos, but that was hilarious! And the comments! Thank you for sharing.

@Anoa 147pm I like your suggestion to rename the impostor. I might add that since there are often numbers or shapes or other non-letter entries, maybe "character" instead of "letter"? MUCH or MULCH or MUCHIOS??
Nah. As you say, we've already been Costanza-ed into the rebus herd. 😕

@JC66 155pm LOL! BOC? Why not?! It lends a certain degree of familiarity!

goldbug 4:17 PM  

I liked the concept here lots. I clicked the consecutive letters of the alphabet when I spotted grABControl and DEFlate, and could tell there were numbers needed for IN2 and 8TRACK, but it wasn't until I got the revealer that I understood what was going on. But that's exactly what you want a puzzle to do, right? Create a mystery and then give you all the clues to solve it. It's always satisfying when they work as intended, as this one did. Not a huge fan of all the three-, four- and five-letter answers though - not a brilliant grid in that regard. Still, TIL that EELS' blood is poisonous to humans. I am sure over the next couple of years doing the NYTXW I will come to learn a great deal more about EELS.

Anonymous 4:22 PM  

Rotary-dial phones have had the same number-letter associations since 1904.

sixtyni yogini 5:01 PM  

@anoa bob- saw that PBS show A TO Z and wondered how the crossword rebus came to that name.
(Great still thinking about pictograph to alphabet.)

Whatsername 5:03 PM  

@GILL (1:02) I’m certain any combination of ingredients that YOU put together would be absolutely delicious, and I would probably love it. The main reason I said I’d never eat a Scotch Egg is that I wouldn’t ever go to all that trouble to prepare one. 😅

@Pamela: Wasn’t she a treasure? I can remember just cracking up every week watching her, Goldie Hawn, Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson, etc.

TTrimble 5:03 PM  

On @Frantic Sloth's recommendation, took a look at the beetle video courtesy of @Joe Dipinto 11:12AM. And... it did not disappoint (and neither did the comments below it). The music accompanying the beetle romance reminded me a lot of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Thanks, you [ABC]!

Unknown 5:11 PM  

@ goldbug 4:17

You will also learn how to EKE out a tough puzzle; that folks enjoy eating an OREO; the oceans are full of ORCAS; that Brian ENO is way more famous among XW fans than music lovers; that ETTA James is the most famous jazz singer; that EMO was a very popular music style; and that Arthur ASHE is the world's most popular tennis player. Oh, and that everyone has read all the Harry Potter books and seen all the Star Wars films.

Z 5:36 PM  

@TTrimble - Yeah, I know. Hence my “little bit.” Reading that Medium article you linked to I take issue with the framing of the questions by some of the researchers. If I were a client for the research outfit in the article I’d fire them because there is nothing more useless than not asking the right questions. To reframe their conclusions, for most people with ethnic roots in Spain, “Hispanic” is the preferred term. Most Hispanic people are not even familiar with the term “Latinx,” nor, we might assume, why it was ever created. Fine as far as those questions go. Here are the questions the researchers failed to ask:
Among people familiar with the term how many would prefer the use of Latinx over Latina/Latino?
And of the ones who care, how much do they care?
Those questions is were the generational split exists. So the advice the researchers should be giving to corporate clients is not hardly anyone cares. It should be “you won’t offend anyone if you use ‘Hispanic’ but if you use ‘Latino/Latina’ or ‘Latinx’ you are likely to be upsetting someone.

RooMonster 6:29 PM  

@Unknown 5:11
You forgot OTT as the only baseball player and ORR as the only hockey player you need to know.

Oh and thanks Yoko ONO is a singer. Har!

RooMonster Love The -Ese Guy

Pamela 6:52 PM  

My phone just surprised me with a slideshow from Qom. I was there one year ago today. This is the first time I’ve ever paid attention to those memory/anniversary games the iPhone plays on everyone, but it’s also the first time it caught my attention and kept it. Qom in the puzzle yesterday, and a phone theme today. Is there a word for that?

Ernonymous 6:55 PM  

@Anoa Bob the George Costanza quote is not "if you tell a lie often enough, it becomes the truth". He said " it's not a lie, if you believe it."
Don't ask me how I know this.

chinch 7:13 PM  

To all you 6ers objectors, it’s never been 3 Dog Night, either.

Anonymous 7:14 PM  

Greatest Crossword Athletes All Time:
Baseball: (Mel) Ott
Basketball: (Shaquille ) O’Neal
Boxing Laila (Ali) Football : Otto (Graham)
Golf: (Ernie) Els
Hockey: (Bobby) Orr Soccer: Mia (Hamm)
Tennis : (Arthur) Ashe
Grammy goes to:
Singer: (Yoko) Ono
Producer:(Brian) Eno
New Ager:Enya
Rapper: Nas
Group: ABBA

CDilly52 7:15 PM  

@SandyM or alas, now and quarter. But “drop a quarter” just sounds wrong since “drop a dime” has been in the vernacular for such a long.

syracusesolver 7:23 PM  

I had to resist the temptation to look at the touchstone phone next to me which I felt would have been cheating. No problem until the island, but I figured it out as that combo of letters was the only realistic possibility.

I’ve had the USPS Informed Delivery service for many months now. It’s a handy heads up, but more importantly there’s a way to report missing mail which I’ve had to use a few times.

Anonymous 7:47 PM  

You don’t know it.
The line is, it’s not a lie If you really believe it.
Watch Alexander’s delivery, paying particular attention to his face and body movement when he speaks the word really. I’m confident you’ll note why it’s critical to the rhythm, timing and meaning of the line.

CDilly52 7:57 PM  

So I started this by thinking it was Friday (sad on so many fronts) and made so little progress that I just gave up until about an hour ago when I was visiting with a client who cleared my calendar problem up while we were scheduling something. Got over my sadness that it’s only Thursday because the light bulb went on for both 3 DOG NIGHT and 6ERS. A truly exciting crossword aha moment because I instantly got the connection between the numeral and the letters.

The one cross of which I was certain when I put this down early this morning was the 3 DOG and DEFLATE, and I suspected it had to do with a rebus, but could not figure out how 3 and DEF were connected. What a perfect moment! I haven’t had that kind of crossword “Oh wow, clever!!” moment in I can’t remember how long.

My next thought was how much I wished I were sharing the “aha” with my dear Gran whom I thank for so very many things in my life not the least of which is teaching me about crosswords.

I absolutely could see her sitting in her old, saggy and well worn green recliner. When she would figure out a trick that particularly pleased her - especially a tough one like today, in a TRICE, she put the paper down in her LAP, clap her hands twice (always twice) and give me her “aha!” smile and say, “Got it!” She never ever spoiled it for me but would always turn to me on my stool next to her and ask “are you close? “ Of course many times as I grew from my 8 year old self and gained competence, I had no earthly idea what conceit the constructor had created as the day’s challenge, and was merely learning new words and facts and trivia. More often than not, I never actually got a complex trick like today’s and Gran would always explain and if she was especially impressed, say “remember this one.” If it had a name like rebus, she would explain that as well.

But there did come a time when I did get there first. As competitive as I am by nature (being a middle child), I never ever gave away the fact that I beat Gran to the punch on a trick. Two of the most important things I ever learned from her were simple ways quietly to demonstrate love and gratitude.

What a good day after all!! Kudos to Mr. Fromm.

JC66 8:23 PM  

****SB ALERT****

Any SB with 62 words is too much for me.

I quit!

Ernonymous 8:27 PM  

@anon 7:47 that's exactly what I wrote! Read again my post I said the quote is: it's not a lie if you believe it. There is no "really" in the exact quote as you claim. Can you not read or do you just get wet telling people they are wrong? Re-read my post and go watch the clip.

TTrimble 8:46 PM  

@Anonymous 7:47 PM

You don’t know it.
The line is, it’s not a lie If you really believe it.
Watch Alexander’s delivery, paying particular attention to his face and body movement when he speaks the word really. I’m confident you’ll note why it’s critical to the rhythm, timing and meaning of the line."

Let's go to the video tape! (Go to 2:30.)

Sorry pal: Giovanni (that's two n's) nailed it. Do watch Alexander's delivery. I'm confident you'll hear that he never said the word "really".

Or perhaps you are thinking of some other scene?

Anonymous 9:02 PM  

rex is a typical narcissist: "bygone" to him means bygone to everyone. It wasn't bygone to me. But narcissists think that everything revolves around them or it should and if it doesn't it's bad. That's why I long ago stopped reading this blog. Today just wanted to verify I had the correct solution since the app didn't recognize it. And to verify that Rex is still the same old jerk.

bocamp 9:08 PM  

@ Pamela 6:52 PM

"A serendipitous coincidence," especially if it's a happy memory. :)

How and why you might want to use "a shoe tree".

"Figaro" - Luciano Pavarotti

"Bobby Seale"

@ CDilly52 7:57 PM - What a sweet and inspiring story. If kids are only given the chance to be treated as equals. :)

**** SB ALERT ****

Only 16 more to go LOL

Peace 平和 filemu ειρήνη paix 和平 🕊

Anoa Bob 9:13 PM  

@Giovanni your information about what the George Costanza quote actually was is, shall we say, quaint in this day and age. Hah! There was a time when facts and accuracy and what is true counted for something, but no more. So I say the quote was "If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes true" because I believe it! (Facts be damned.)

@JC66, I like your BOC suggestion for renaming a "rebus" square because it ties in nicely with POC and SOC, so how about we call any puzzle that uses a multiple letter square a MOC puzzle (multiletters of convenience) rather than a rebus puzzle? Yeah, that hits the spot for me.
"Today's puzzle was a MOC puzzle as Thursday puzzles often are". It would be a term for crossword puzzles only and not a term questionably imported from a another domain.

Bob, the rookie. 9:54 PM  

Happy Sixers fan here. Love 3 dog night. Great puzzle!

Aelurus 10:04 PM  

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

@JC66 - LOL - This is my fifth SB and I don't even know where to find out how many words there are. I'm at 41 words and am too tired to check for more. Didn't find the pangram and kept checking back, but I quit too.

@bocamp - LOL ABC ("too": 2 as in today's puzzle) - wish you good luck on those 16

JC66 10:23 PM  

****SB ALERT****


If you go to you can get as much/little info as you'd like.

CDilly52 10:25 PM  

@Lewis. The grit you left behind certainly found its way to my addled brain!

CDilly52 10:27 PM  

@kitshef: couldn’t agree more! This is exactly what Thursday should be. Clever and “tricksy” as Gollum would say. Resulting in absolute delightful Thursday fun (once I awoke to the fact that today was not Friday).

Aelurus 10:27 PM  

@JC66 10:23 pm - Thank you!

Bruce Fieggen 10:30 PM  

For us lousy golfers par is an objective and a bogie is avergaey

CDilly52 10:38 PM  

@TTrimbke 9:06 AM. thank you!! I learned something incredibly valuable about solving in the app. Never had even a glimmer of an idea that the app would fill in the blanks.

Bruce Fieggen 10:38 PM  

What about TUVALU? Is that acceptable for you?

CDilly52 10:58 PM  

@bocamp - Yes to treating children as equals. Didn’t know it at the time, but it was one of the absolute best things I learned from Gran. Unfortunately, I was able to come to trust her style by comparing it with the diametric opposite in my father. My daughter who turned 40 this year is a teacher of 4th-6th graders (special needs) and just a couple weeks ago in a general conversation about the difficulties of distance/virtual/on-line teaching thanked me for always treating her like an “equal being.” She and her husband are waiting to adopt a child and she said they were looking forward to it with the confidence that letting their child be an equal family member works well. She approaches her students the same way, and has received accolades from her district superintendent for Special Ed.

bocamp 11:00 PM  

**** SB ALERT ****

@ Aelurus 10:04 PM

Thx for the good wishes. All the best to you, too. :)

I'm packin' it in with 12 to go; didn't get the pangram, either. :( Tomorrow's another day. :)

Peace 平和 filemu ειρήνη paix 和平 🕊

CDilly52 11:00 PM  

I am a fan of word puzzles but have no idea what a SB is. Explanation please? Been reading intriguing comments from the fans of that genre here in this neighborhood and would really like to know.

JC66 11:21 PM  


Spelling Bee (SB) is a word puzzle that appears in the online puzzle page daily and in The NY Times Sunday edition.

JC66 11:23 PM  

The NY Times Sunday print edition.

bocamp 11:35 PM  

@ CDilly52 10:58 PM & 11:00 PM

Amen to everything you said! God Bless the kids, and all adults who make them feel "included and appreciated." :)

@ JC66 10:23 PM left a link for the best info re: the "Spelling Bee" puzzle, which the NYT includes in its "Games" section. 🤓

All the best! 😊

Peace 平和 filemu ειρήνη paix 和平 🕊

jae 1:46 AM  

****SB Alert*****

2 away from QB and I suspect that’s as far as I’ll go. One more try tomorrow.

jae 2:25 AM  

***SB Update***

Make that 1 to go.....oh, and isn’t karma a bitch.

bocamp 9:03 AM  

**** SB ALERT ****

@ jae 2:25 AM

Well done! 👍

I'm at 10; not having the pangram, I decided to give this one some more thought. 🤔

Peace 平和 filemu ειρήνη paix 和平 🕊

Anders 9:49 AM  

A question: how can you know what the app will accept in a rebus square with different readings across and down? I included the numbers, writing 2ABC etc., got the warning about errors when completely filled in, checked all my answers carefully twice (for I always make typos on my phone) and then just gave up and checked the puzzle and was annoyed to find only the rebus squares flagged.

Is there some rule that applies?

Z 10:01 AM  

@Anders - not that I’ve been able to discern. Apparently the “right” answer was the letters or the numbers, but not both.

Taxed Too Much in NJ 1:59 PM  

Thanks so much for telling me how to get the Success music when solving electronically—never knew that!!

Taxed Too Much in NJ 2:03 PM  

Enlai is part of Zhou’s name meaning “Good things are coming”

pianofemme 9:03 AM  

Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens. This is the name of a TV show on Comedy Central, so Nora is more well-known then perhaps most of us realized.

thefogman 10:53 AM  

I had a tough time in the SW corner. Crossing MARGE and TRICE did me in. That was a bit unfair. Aside from that, this was a really good one.

Burma Shave 12:45 PM  


I’MOPEN to BET any TWEENAGER can GRABCONTROL of ringtones,
the PROS AND CONs of my wager: TRACK down your TOUCHTONEPHONES.


spacecraft 12:50 PM  

Had a bear of a time getting under way with this one; absolute dead giveaway 3 DOG NIGHT--but that left an inscrutable 9-across. Come on, now, I told myself, some way or another this has to make sense! Suddenly DEFLATE occurred, and the lamp was lit. An aha! moment to rival the best of them. After that only a careless mistake held me up. I wrote FI [LMN] OIR & got stuck. ME, the 6ERS fan! Of course, it was FIL [MNO] IR, and all was well. Good puzzle, made me think. Birdie.

Headline today: ALL EYES ON NEVADA. Our wonderful state may very well indeed be the one that sends Biden over the top. Fingers crossed!

Diana, LIW 1:03 PM  

What a hot mess.

Oh, yes, then there's the puzzle. What a hot mess. Put together a bunch of trivia I don't know (so no amount of thinking will bring it "back to mind") along with a "phoney" rebusella, and you get this. Just what I did not need today. Back to my jigsaw puzzle of Central Park in the Fall.


rondo 1:03 PM  

I put a square around the clue for UNPC knowing Rex would rant on it. The term is *not* bigoted. I have Black, Asian, and gay friends who have used the term with no compunction. Due to his close-mindedness, OFL is the real "run-of-the-mill asshole".

Anyway, both numbers and letters in a rebus. Wow. I think I'm fit to be STIED. I knew something was up at IN2, but got the trick in the 9 hole with gimmes 3DOGNIGHT and DEFLATE. After that, search and destroy.

Emma as MIA, yeah baby.

I nailed this puz but IMOPEN to something else.

rainforest 1:59 PM  

Until I got the revealer, I was somewhat at sea, even though I knew that something about numbers and letter strings was in play. I had 3 DOG NIGHT, SIXERS, 8 TRACK, CONNECT 4, and either IN half, or IN TWO. It took the reference to PHONES to clue me in which got me FIL(MNO)IR, and then the others.

I enjoyed this a lot. Apparently @Rex didn't much like UNPC (no surprise there), but I was unfazed by that answer and basically the fill was good, in my opinion.

Clever and entertaining and I had fun.

Come on, Nevada!

Unknown 3:58 PM  

It's duct tape,not duck.

leftcoaster 4:26 PM  

After seeing a completed puzzle, thought it was impressively overdone. And I’ll add my EPIC mess to @Diana’s hot one.

rondo 8:10 PM  

@Unknown - I forgot to comment that it is indeed duct tape, not duck tape. These 'smart' people just kill me.

WilsonCPU 11:32 PM  

To rondo@ 8:10pm....
ACTUALLY, it was originally “Duck Tape”, as a brand name. After WWII, its popularity spread, and the name morphed from the Duck brand name to the more generic “duct tape”, since, clearly, it was also useful on ducts. And if you’d Googled this, you’d have known without having to snark all over people who were actually correct. “Smart” people just kill me. A link to a page with all the poop:

PS: in order to “officially” be “duct tape”, it’s required to pass some heat requirements; much (but not all) canvas-based “duck tape” satisfies those criteria.

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