Former monetary unit in Japan / Translation of Latin phrase ceteris paribus / Wowie to Gen Z / Drugmaker Lilly / Drama that's credited with boosting sales of Lucky Strike / Dress up old style

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Constructor: Jeremy Newton

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (?) (not sure, had some technical issues with how to enter the theme squares, clock not reliable)


THEME: HASHTAG (39A: Symbol formed by four crossings in this puzzle) — four rebus squares contain "I"s (for the Down answer) and an equal sign ("=") (for the Across answer), which together I guess are supposed to form "#"

Theme answers:
  • ALL THINGS BEING = / SK(II)NG (17A: Translation of the Latin phrase "ceteris paribus"/ 13D: Traveling between the poles?)
  • SEPARATE BUT = / WIIG (27A: Doctrine that was found unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education / 26D: Kristen formerly of "S.N.L.")
  • = OPPORTUNITY / WIIS (46A: Fair for everybody / 43D: Some Nintendo consoles)
  • = RIGHTS MOVEMENT / SHIISM (61A: Organized effort for justice under the law / 49D: Branch of Islam)
Word of the Day: SEN (53A: Former monetary unit in Japan) —
n. pl. sen
Japanese unit of currency equal to 1/100 of the yen. (thefreedictionary.com)
• • •

This seems like a waste of a potentially good idea. There's just no HASHTAG content ... so there's nothing particularly HASHTAG-y about the solving experience. It's "I"s and equal signs. The whole thing really felt fussy and unpleasant to solve. To be honest, I never saw that HASHTAG was the theme. I thought it was just "Two "I"s in one direction, but they're lying down ... to form an equal sign." Obviously the *content* of the puzzle (the thing its themers actually have in common, the long ones anyway) is EQUAL. So when HASHTAG just kinda filled itself in from crosses, I had no reason to suspect it was involved in the theme in any way. Seeing it after I was finished solving, my reaction was "well, that makes a little more sense" but also "that's dumb, there's no HASHTAG content in this puzzle" and also "wow, I don't care." The fill and clues also seemed fussy / old-fashioned / bygone / WEIRD. Really hostile to put the first themer in Latin (?). Big professorial, elbow-patches energy. And AGASP ALAS and DO BE (!?!) all in the same grid. Did a pearl-clutching Victorian write this? DO BE is egregious. You can change that to a very common noodle type SOBA with very, very little difficulty. Then you can change WHEW (which is also *bad*, in the sense of ambiguous—I had PHEW!) to the common word WHET. Tada. SWELLS / SOBA / WHET > DWELLS / DO BE (!?) / WHEW. Real words, no partials. Lots of opportunities for interesting clues. It can be done. If you care. 


Some other things:
  • WHEE (55D: "How fun!") — ... and WHEW? In symmetrical positions? More words, fewer sounds, please! Why isn't this answer GHEE!? Why!? GHEE is so much better. With SOBA up top and GHEE down below, your puzzle would be much tastier (and more interesting)
  • MESH TOP (25D: See-through garment) — had real trouble with this because I couldn't figure out what kind of "garment" was going to be meshed. Was looking for a specific kind of garment, not just the very generic TOP, ugh. Had MESH BRA for a bit. Seemed ... plausible, if maybe not practical.
  • MOB (63D: Pride : lions :: ___ : emus) — always hate these analogy-type clues, just as I always hate the "obscure word for a group of animals" type clues. MOB is such a good word, but this clue has the sensibility and savor of the musty Maleska era (see also the clue on SEN, why, why would you do bygone currency when you have other options? It's unfathomable). Also, I should note here that the MOVEMENT part of (EQUAL) RIGHTS MOVEMENT was not at all clear to me, even after I had the first part of the answer. Seems way, way too generic. Clue doesn't let you in on a particular cause, answer doesn't specify one ... anyway, long story somewhat shorter, I had (EQUAL) RIGHT COVENANT written in there for a bit. "Equal rights amendment," "Women's rights movement," that is how the phrases appear in my brain. :(
  • INTWOS (42A: How promgoers typically arrive) — this answer is bad and also many many promgoers these days arrive uncoupled, as parts of groups, so maybe stick with Noah's Ark if you have to have this not-great bit of fill in your grid
  • OMG (7D: "Wowie!," to Gen Z) —I guess they used to say "Wowie!" back when they TOGged up to go to prom exclusively INTWOS
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

110 comments:

Z 6:30 AM  

My professorial arm patches thought ceteris paribus was everything else being equal, so I thought a rebus would appear at the beginning, elided past the NW down to SEPARATE BUT =, saw the WIIG crossing and said, “Ah, an octothorp rebus. Neat.” Solving on paper, so no technical issues filling in the grid correctly. I went back to the NW, saw LOU Reed, and then the downs gave me the ALL of ALL THINGS BEING =. This would have been very easy from there but I fell into the Sunni trap where SHIISM was required. Took me many many nanoseconds for = RIGHTS MOVEMENT to come along and clean up the south. Yeah, I know, the south still has its issues. Obviously not alone, though.

HASHTAG, number sign, pound sign, octothorp, tic-tac-toe board. I just love the way we use this symbol. It has to be in the Diacritical Hall of Fame. Since I like this multifaceted symbol maybe my opinion is a bit skewed, but I enjoyed this one quite a bit.

I do see Rex’s point on the Maleska Musk permeating the puzzle. Since I was enjoying the #Rebus SEN and DO BE only caused nose wrinkles, not full blown Arched Side Eye.

No, I reserved the full blown Arched Side Eye for a single clue. November 11 is Veterans Day here, but is Remembrance Day or Armistice Day elsewhere. All of these holidays are on November 11 at least in part to remember the end of World War I. There’s nothing wrong with the clue, it just struck me as incredibly parochial to forget that November 11 isn’t just about us.

Sioux Falls 6:32 AM  

Had trouble figuring out how to enter — first stay entered as rebuses, but finally I entered the squares as actual # and got the happy music.

Z 6:59 AM  

BTW - For those who missed last night’s late shenanigans, NWA is now my official initialism for Nasally Whiney Anonymice. I assume their preferred after shave is Maleska Musk™️.

Anonymous 7:02 AM  

The e-edition accepted II, =, or #. I didn't hate this puzzle.

kitshef 7:16 AM  

Shame Lewis is out, as I’d be curious how he counts the double letters today.

Ye Gods, there were some terrible clues in this one. DOBE careful, Sun and Sunoco GAS, White noise for LONG I – in an average week, you might get one clue that bad. Or you might not. Here, we get three in a day.

Joaquin 7:22 AM  

@Rex has many complaints today about the clues being less than straightforward, or just not in his personal wheelhouse. For example, he complains about MOB as a group of emus, preferring a more common usage. But isn't that what puts the "puzzle" in crossword puzzle?

sf27shirley 7:25 AM  

Why does ONE AM take a toll?

Leslie 7:32 AM  

I thought it was fun and did the trick: distracted me from the election. Very clever all-around!

Ann Howell 7:33 AM  

Rather unsatisfying for all the effort that must have gone into creating such an odd rebus. As Rex points out, some real hashtag content might have made the difference and brought it up to date. Ceteris paribus, I'll wait to see if Friday is a bit zingier.

Carola 7:33 AM  

I was surprised at @Rex's rating: I found this one super easy. I wasn't familiar with the Latin phrase, but the "pari-" part suggestwed parity and thus equality, so with the first Downs giving me ALL, well, WHEE, away I sped. I agree with @Rex that the HASHTAG isn't really connected to the rest of the theme answers. Lots of reactions sprinkled through the grid: OH LOOK! OMG! , WHEW! HOO-WHEE!

ChuckD 7:47 AM  

Rex is off base on this one - his HASHTAG take is meaningless and he overlooks the beautiful connection between EQUAL OPPORTUNITY and EQUAL RIGHTS MOVEMENT with this week’s election. This one checked all the boxes for a Thursday. Definitely a look at what I can do from the constructor but a uniquely enjoyable solve. Once I got the trick with Kristen WIIG - it cleared up the rest of the grid fairly quickly. I liked most of the fill - more wordplay than trivia. A little glue here and there but loved the cluing for APP, GAS and the AORTA x SAWS cross.

Maleska is now living rent free in Rex’s head - every Thursday should be so good.

Arra 7:48 AM  

Wish I knew. That was my sole complaint.

Unknown 7:49 AM  

@sf27shirley

The bell tolls for thee one time at one am.

Z 7:50 AM  

@sf27shirley - Ask not for whom the bell tolls. At ONE AM it tolls for thee.

@Joaquin - Regarding MOB, I find the animal group nouns mostly amusing, but take Rex’s point for crossword purposes. A Murder of Crows or Parliament of Owls or Infection of Republicans all have a wry amusement to them, but MOB of Emus? That just seems random and a little too much towards the trivial trivia end of the spectrum. And for Rex, who loves his noir fiction and movies, I can see why it is off-putting.

@kitshef - I liked the sun/Sunoco clue. As for the DOBE brothers, well, now we know what Maleska Musk™️ smells like.

Johnny Mic 7:52 AM  

I think it's because the clock rings once at 1 o'clock? I also had trouble with this one.

Anonymous 7:55 AM  

I’ll be the first (or fifth ) of many to answer sf27...
Play on words. Clock strikes one at 1AM, i.e., takes a (one) toll.

Carol P 8:00 AM  

I think it's one ring of the bell on a ship which happens at one a.m.-- one toll=a toll

OldGuy 8:02 AM  

I hate these. Rookie problem?

kitshef 8:04 AM  

MOB is not so specific as Rex seems to think. That is not a word that is just for emus. Rather, it is a general Australian term for a group of animals - could be emus, cattle, kangaroos ... so the 'emu' part is to get you to think of Australia.

JOHN X 8:07 AM  

I thought this puzzle was pretty good, although it was pretty easy for a Thursday.

This is the New York Times crossword puzzle, so November 11 is Veterans Day. New York City is in the United States. There's nothing parochial about it. It is simply a fact. If you want to call it Remembrance Day then go do a puzzle in Britain or their Canadian colonies. The U.S. equivalent of Remembrance Day is Memorial Day in May.

Also, Veterans Day is for living U.S. military veterans. Memorial Day is for American war dead. Active duty personnel are NOT celebrated until they have completed such service that they qualify for one of the above two groups. I'm a combat decorated veteran so next Wednesday you get to kiss my ass twice. You have five more shopping days.

lukiegrifpa 8:15 AM  

At one a.m. the bell tolls once. So it takes a toll, whereas two a.m. takes two tolls, etc.

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

I always thought NWA was an initialism for Narcissistic Windbags of America.
I know one of their leading members posts here between 4 and 400 times a day.

Loved the puzzle. And the fact that Rex did indeed miss the puzzle’s elegance as Chuck D notes.

pabloinnh 8:21 AM  

I'm with the "liked the trick" crowd. Boy, when OFL doesn't fill in everything as fast as he can type, venom ensues, and grumpy primate is revealed. Yikes.

Caught on with the SKIING answer but didn't bother to combine the parallel I's with the = sign until I got the HASHTAG clue, which was a swell aha!, at least for me. I don't text and I don't tweet so the absence of # references elsewhere didn't bother me at all.

My biggest hangup was SHIITE instead of SHIISM, which made the SW unintelligible, at least until I got it straightened out.

Oh, and my Mom used to say "DOBE careful", usually as I started out Fridays after work to make the three-hour drive from NY to NH to see my then girlfriend now wife of fifty years. So nice to think of that, even if Rex deems such sayings "musty".

Clever rebus, nice Thursday. He dicho.

TJS 8:34 AM  

Well, it gave me something else to think about for half an hour, so there is that. Not a fan of the rebus in general, but this was atleast a rather unique take on it, using the symbol to serve two purposes. Kind of funny that Rex didn't figure it out the second he entered "hashtag". And "covenant" ?? Hah.

"clock not reliable". Hah hah hah.

Can we just get Pennsylvania to come through, and then bring on the lawyers, God help us ? Anyone else remember bussing in lawyers so they could pound on the doors while the vote count was going on ?

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

# = checkmate. (In chess notation).
This and other frequent puzzles are almost enough to make me cancel my subscription to the NYTimes,
They’re so unpleasant and frustrating and aggravating.
They are no longer enjoyable.

KrystineM 8:50 AM  

I was also able to enter the word “equal” as a rebus. Doesn’t make much sense in the downs, but I translated it to “ii” in my head and the puzzle seemed fine with that.

Unknown 8:50 AM  

"Lots of opportunities for interesting clues. It can be done. If you care." - rex

Gratuitous comments like this make me think rex is truly an unhappy grumpy old man at heart.
Even if he's way younger than I am.
I don't know why, but I have this recurring image of him always being picked last for softball, and then he got good at crosswords, and now this is his adult revenge at the rest of the world, taking potshots at crossword constructors whilst showing off how smart he is. A lot of ego; a lot of insecurity.
I'd move on to another XW forum but this is such a trainwreck @ times I simply can't help myself.
Oh yeah, I loved the puz. " = " signs in the squares worked just fine.

Hungry Mother 8:53 AM  

No problem with II rebus here. Easy and fun theme. My last entry was ONEAM, which had a very clever clue. More like this.

Sixthstone 8:53 AM  

Really wanted a drink in this one, but I was duped from the start with APP on tap. And then cheated again with GIN clued as a card game. AnyHOO, it was a pretty enjoyable puzzle if a little dated and with some weak clues and fill as Rex and others have noted. DO BE well until tomorrow when perhaps we'll have a party to celebrate.

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

When ii cross = it creates #

RooMonster 8:58 AM  

Hey All !
Neat #-y puz. Started with just the = sign at my first themer, #OPPORTUNITY, wondering why WIIS' I's were laying flat. Looked at Revealer, had HAS____, and filled in HASHTAG, with a Huh? How does EQUAL equal HASHTAG? Then the lightbulb, and "Ohhhh, = Across, with II Down! HASHTAG!" Good Aha moment.

TIRESOME went through TuRnripe, TuRnSOld, TIRESOut, TIRESOME. WHEW! A bit of a toughie in spots. But just kept SOLVING. (Fun, if different, clue on that one.)

WING could easily be WINE, right all you crazy party-goers? Har.

No F's (stop OMITting them!)
RooMonster
DarrinV

albatross shell 9:05 AM  

DOBE fussy Rex. Actually DOBE careful sounds good to me, but the "will you" sounds wrong. I'd say "won't you". I might be hearing a regionalism because I don't see why will you is wrong. Just seems unnatural to me.

All the other clues seem correct to me. MOB is wonderful. INTWOS is fine.

APP ONEAM HASHTAG and many
more had amusing clues. Very good Thursday puzzle.

Nancy 9:05 AM  

I'm really being careful not to read any other comments before writing this because I'm so sure that every single person will have the exact same reaction to the theme that I had. Which is:

The big trick of solving this puzzle is figuring out that the "= sign" has to be rotated 90 degrees for the Down answers -- thus becoming two "I"s. Once you know that, you're home free. But it is a bit...odd. Because two vertical parallel lines are not an = sign. (I suppose it's because you're working with a vertically written answer and therefore you write the = sign vertically too? Something like that.)

However, not to complain. It made the puzzle much more challenging and interesting, and anything that makes a puzzle more challenging and interesting is OK in my book.

Picked the trick up at the first themer: SK (rotated "= sign") NG. Which was helpful given all those strange-looking WIIGS and WIIS. Fairly difficult cluing elsewhere made this puzzle on the hard side. Enjoyed it a lot. As I say, challenging and interesting.

P.S. Is there such a thing as a double nit for the same clue? I have two nits for ONE A.M. at 45D:

Nit #1: My clocks don't "take a toll" at ONE A.M. And they'd better not, if they know what's good for them. Take a gander at my window, clocks! It's a long way down.

Nit #2: If you're dumb enough to have a "tolling clock", why would it take a toll only at ONE A.M.? Why not at one p.m.? Or for that matter at six a.m. or high noon or in fact every single hour of the day and night? Did not like the ONE A.M. clue.

Whatsername 9:27 AM  

Well this was just brilliant! Absolutely loved it. Tricky clues, quality fill, and a double rebus that works differently on the downs and crosses. That in particular was what made my NOGGIN GET IN GEAR. And MAD MEN, my all-time favorite TV show. Thursday just doesn’t get much better than this. Congratulations Jeremy, on Puzzle of the Week! You deserve a big TIP for this GEM.

Somewhere long ago I read that the only words starting with DW were dwarf, DWELL, dwindle and variations of them. Now, however modern usage has brought about the addition of dweeb, the only other one I know of.

SKIING is an activity similar to crossword SOLVING in that you must concentrate fully on what you’re doing. I had a dear friend who was kind enough to go with me on the bunny slopes when I was learning how to travel between the poles. She would often shout “WHEE” as she hopped off the lift and waited for me to wobble along after her. I will always be grateful for her patient coaching and her infectious zest for life that made the whole learning experience so enjoyable.

Blackhat 9:31 AM  

7 names, 3 foreign words...

Z 9:32 AM  

@Unknown8:50 - I always separate criticism of the construction, real words and no partials, and criticism of Team Shortz, “interesting clues.” Rex and others have said that if it’s the grid blame the constructor and if it is the clues blame the editor.
While you’re not alone in your take on Rex I find all such takes akin to criticizing a movie critic for complaining about bad dialogue. Rex has a specific aesthetic that your quote from his post today fairly summarizes. Puzzles should have real words, preferably with some currency, partial words should be avoided, proper nouns should be current and not too obscure (or at least fairly crossed). Clues should involve wordplay and creativity (but not puns). Solving should be fun, not a chore. Rex may be hyperbolic at times, I may disagree with him on specific matters of taste, but the crossword aesthetic he lays out is really only disputed on the margins (how much dreck is okay in service of other puzzle features, for example) by the constructors I follow on Twitter. And I bet if you removed Rex from the discussion, Shortz shares that aesthetic.

@Anon8:49 - Checkmate! Love me more octothorp usages.

@TJS - Rebopodes in general or this rebus specifically? I thought about you while processing ballots. The vast majority of the ballots we processed were regular absentee ballots. But we also processed several hundred military and oversees ballots and had at least one come in from the Dominican Republic.

@John X - Hmm... Let me look again... Nov. 11 honoree. Oh, right, the puzzle, published and solved internationally, failed to make any reference to the US of A in the clue. It is almost as if thinking Nov. 11 is all about me and mine and only me and mine is the very definition of parochial.

@Anon8:18 - Ouch. But I must admit yours is much better than mine. Kudos. I limited myself to no “of” allowed, but that’s no criticism of yours.

@Nancy - re: Nit #2 - It takes “a toll,” that is a=1 here.
Which makes me fear that “One a.m.” is going to show up sometime soon in place of our usual clues for “atoll.”

Phipps44 9:33 AM  

# is a sharp sign to me. However my young music students don't agree.

57stratocaster 9:35 AM  

I put in # for the rebus squares...no jingle.
I changed them to = ...still no jingle.
I looked at the grid and fixed a typo...jingle.

Steve Irwin 9:42 AM  

Aussies name every group of critters a MOB. MOB of sheep, MOB of cattle, MOB of emus, MOB of Roos. Even a MOB of Sting-rays. You don't have to know anything about groups of animals, you just have to know a little about Aussies. That, and we can be kind of stupid about messing around with live critters.

Giovanni 9:51 AM  

@john X I have your present right here...
What is your opinion on those who think all vets and all military should be honored on Memorial Day? My grandfather died at the Battle of Monte Cassino in May 1944 and I think he should have his own day. Someone on facebook was thanking vets and active duty military on Memorial Day and it was pointed out that the holiday is for soldiers that died. That person went on about how we should honor the military every day and this was just a difference of opinion. I agree we should thank our military and vets every day. I don't, however, think opinion counts here as Memorial Day has a definition.

Nancy 9:53 AM  

@Z -- I've always thought of a "bell tolling" as being a singular verb* -- no matter how many times it actually rings. Otherwise, wouldn't you have "the tollingS of the bells"?

*Of course, I could also be wrong :)

Shackfu 9:54 AM  

Rex completed the puzzle incorrectly. In each special square he put equal instead of a hashtag symbol. That is blatantly incorrect and makes no sense with the down answers.

bocamp 9:59 AM  

@Jeremy, what a great "hashtag" theme. Well done!

Technically, I dnf'd, as I had just placed "i"s into the four mystery cells. Went back and looked at the revealer and then dropped "hashtags" into them, and Bob was my uncle. What a great two-way effect! Liked this puz a lot!

Average time. No significant holdups; made steady progress, not being too concerned about the four lonely "i"s until the end.

New to me: "ceteris paribus" and "Gangstas Paradise".

Had "inapt" for "unapt". Got that straightened with "separate but #"

The Many Loves of "Dobie" Gillis: Season 1 Episode 1 - Caper At The Bijou (Full Episode)

@Barbara S.

You asked for feedback on the book, "Thinking Inside the Box" by Adrienne Raphel

Just got the audiobook mp3 file from my library and am on ch. 4 of 7. Lots of crossword history going back to the early 1900s and now focusing on the New York Times puzzle. Acrostics have also been discussed. I've already given the book high marks, both for content and delivery (being read by the author). Haven't yet reached the part where she mentions Rex or this blog.

@TTrimble 8:51 PM (last night)

All who have an interest in "Spelling Bee" (SB) comments/discussion on this blog may want to have a look at @TTrimble's post yesterday at 8:51 PM, along with @JC66 10:45 PM's & @Anoa Bob 11:19 PM's responses re: the "SB" issue. Hopefully, there can be more discussion today on the subject.

It seems inevitable to me, given that the "Mods" approve of SB content, that there will continue to be occasional SB comments. It would help if we could agree on some basic guidelines as to what would be considered "appropriate" and "reasonable", both content-wise and format-wise.




Peace Vrede ειρήνη שָׁלוֹם Paix 平和 🕊

Joe Dipinto 10:11 AM  

65a– Anthem of a Cambridge university:
O, MIT

36d– Autobiography of a Cambridge university:
I, MIT

Who drank all the gin?

longsufferingmetsfan 10:15 AM  

Really enjoyed it, a bit musty but loved the letters rotating 90 degrees. Some crunchy cluing and new word meanings equal a winner. Adding the hashtag answer just adds to the enjoyment, no other reference to hashtag is necessary.

@Unknown 8:50, yes its the train wreck that you simply just can't avert your eyes...."alot of insecurity", one need go no further than to look at his avatar, and check out his alter ego: I am Peter Parker's stronger brother, REX!!!! I understand his second choice was "THOR" PARKER.

Anonymoose 10:15 AM  

@Unknown 8:50 and many others. It is amazing how much you know about Rex's psyche, personality, and behavior just from reading his opinions about crossword puzzles. You are remarkable people.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

@Nancy. I don't think it's a matter of rotating the = to make the I's. They both have to be there to make the #.

mathgent 10:30 AM  

I thought that it was absolutely great. It’s a rebus in the classic sense, not a little nest of letters, a picture (actually a symbol). And the picture is formed when the down entry (two side-by-side i’s) is superimposed on the across entry (equal sign). I’ve never seen that before. And the four rebus squares are in symmetric positions. Wow!

Besides this wizardry, the puzzle has a lot more. Sparkle, clever cluing, crunch. My favorite clues were “Thank you for waiting” for TIP, “White noise?” for LONGI, and “Formal introduction?” for SEMI.

Another thing I liked about the puzzle was its personality. I could sort of feel that a human was behind it, not a computer.


Blue Stater 10:32 AM  

Huh?

Swagomatic 10:32 AM  

It was okay. I had the hashtag in early, and thought "that can't be right," so I put equals signs in. Then I got to 39A and I had to go back and fix them. Overall, it was pretty good, but it was, indeed, a little musty.

EdFromHackensack 10:32 AM  

kinda challenging for me. Took a bit to get the curveball, but I was confident it must be Kristen WIIG they were asking for and that broke it open. This is the kind of puzzle where I am grateful I still do the hard copy. Most of the complaints seem to be how to enter #,=, II, into the app. I’ve tried doing these online, but after 40+years doing these almost every day it is hard to change course. Cheers all

Linda 10:33 AM  

I loved this puzzle. Easy peasy.

JOHN X 10:34 AM  

@ Giovanni 9:51 AM

You are correct, Memorial Day is dedicated to U.S. military personnel who were killed in active service. Your grandfather is among those honored, perpetually. Living veterans and active duty are not honored on Memorial Day.

Active duty service members can be briefly thanked on Armed Forces Day, which should only be a half-day observance and then everybody back to work. Maybe give 'em an extra pack of smokes.

Veterans day is for living veterans, who should be celebrated far and wide. I accept Visa, PayPal, and Zelle, but if you say "thank you for your service" you have to pay double. However, when I die the party is over and I'm not eligible for Memorial Day. I'm taking the white marble G.I. headstone so stick a flag on me or something.

- - - -

@ Z 9:32 AM

Stop hating America.

Rug Crazy 10:39 AM  

Good distraction.

bertoray 10:40 AM  

OFL'S rants are more fun when read in the voice of Andy Rooney.

jae 10:44 AM  

Medium. Clever and fun, liked it a bunch and Jeff gave it POW.

Sir Hillary 10:45 AM  

I enjoyed this. Fun theme. Loved the clue for TIP.

Yesterday EAZYE, today "GANGSTAS Paradise" -- big week for 90s rap.

Newboy 10:54 AM  

WHEE/WHEW rankles. Didn’t get the EQUAL = LONG I that had to be right? Maybe Rex will tell me? Some lovely clues—“thanks for waiting”—starting with 1A that leads one to Ale, saP, maP before APP....must be Thursday. Doh! All the downs have double Ls to cross the = sign going across & voila #

Damn clever even for Thursday! Thanks Jeremy for the most engaging experience in a very long time! Gotta check —&— yes Chen says POW as well. Now I can’t wait any longer to see what Rex & commentariat have to add for further delight.

Obviously I’m as lonely as an Idaho Democrat today in my praise of the grid. Glad I went to xwordinfo first before finding the cool reception here.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

Thank you for keeping me from going insane while waiting for election results. I had to input the theme squares many ways before in frustration I finally found the right combination of symbols for the electronic puzzle. The clues were fun - and really helped clear my mind. LONGI was a stretch though.

GILL I. 10:59 AM  

This gets my cool beans award. Just wish funny @Frantic were here keeping us company with her OH LOOKEE HERE.
Well I was flying all over the place. Put in, take out....put in, take out. I don't shout GIN I shout OLE. My barely made it was a pHEW. I don't DOBE careful...My French takes de vacancies at an ILE and if it's not SHiiTe then I don't ISM well.
OK...I can figure this out. There's something fishy about this ii thing sez I. I smell some HASH wafting about. Ooooh...one of those double rebus with a = sign. NOW I know ceteris paribus is ALL THINGS BEING = and not All Creatures Great and Small. Wow. I had to take Latin in School because it was required in case you became a priest. I fell asleep at E Pluribus Unum.
Moseyed on down and got HASH TAG so the jig was up. Yeah...cool beans indeed.
I learned all about collective nouns on this here blog. Was it you @jae? I can't remember but I sure had fun looking them up. MOB is totally new to me. My favorite is a smack for jellyfish. Oh, wait....a prickle is a porcupine. Cute, huh....
OK....Do I dare turn on the tv? Are there riots yet? I think I'll go out and buy a sweater.
I'm going to wear a @bocamp PEACE sign. One can hope?

Eldreth 11:04 AM  

The puzzle fails for me because schism is spelled with one i not two.

Whatsername 11:11 AM  

@JOHN X (8:07) I agree “Veterans Day” is observed only in America for US VETS, and it’s a privilege to honor them on November 11 as well as every other day of the year. Next Wednesday I will be flying my flag in recognition of you all and in special memory of my recently departed uncle who was a WW II Purple Heart recipient. Please accept my humble personal gratitude for your military service.

Re the debate on rotating/positioning the = symbol and letters to form the rebus, here’s what Jeff Chen had to say: “Even having a strong feeling that some rebus-like element was in play, it took a long time to piece together the concept: overlaying the equal sign = on top of capital II to form #.”

My TWO cents worth regarding the SB commentary from yesterday: I don’t have any problem with it. As someone else said, it’s really no different than a lot of other discussions that spin off from day to day. We all get off of topic now and then. I try the SB occasionally and sometimes read the comments, but I do appreciate the **ALERT** warnings for those times when I’d rather not.

I’ve missed @Frantic the last couple days. Hope all is well.

Harryp 11:14 AM  

I saw the double I rebus and was able to get the happy tone after a hard struggle. I guess Hashtag makes sense as the theme, but the solve wasn't much fun. I had gOB of EMUS till it wasn't working.

CT2Napa 11:16 AM  

Took a while for GANGSTAS because I always think of it as Weird Al's
Amish Paradise

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

Giovanni,
You think the living should be memorialized? That is a bizarre idea. You do know what memorial means, right?

egsforbreakfast 11:21 AM  

If you read the #’s as mini-grawlixes, the puzzle gets much funnier.

At 12D I said ‘LO GIN, haven’t seen you for a while, and then tripped right over both GIN and ING (presumably a bit too much gin.

A clever concept for a themer, executed well. Thanks Jeremy Newton.

Chip Hilton 11:36 AM  

Sorry, but I’ve got to crow. My eyes immediately went to the Brown vs. Board of Education clue and I thought, “Hmm, let’s try SEPARATE BUT=,” since it was a Thursday. I checked with the down clue, yielding WIIG and boom! Within ten seconds, I had a Thursday theme solved. Great feeling, which was tempered by the next three minutes of basically getting nothing. But, once a few things appeared, the rest of this nifty puzzle filled nicely. Entering SHIIte slowed the train for a bit, but otherwise, a great way to spend a Thursday morning, waiting on NV, AZ, GA, PA. Bring it home, folks!

SaltySolver 11:46 AM  

Thought this one was a lot of fun. Not a PR, but still under average time (~11min) -- theme was interesting, but my biggest grip is WHEE as an answer, but I guess that's because I didn't know it had a different spelling from WEE. Who knew!

Think Rex is looking for some extra icing on the cake by hoping the answers were actual hashtags you might see on social media, but I don't think that's a big miss here and the grid still seems to hold together nicely and no clues felt too crosswordy, musty, or obscure.

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Z ( NWA memeber,

Not today. Not tomorrow, but when the temperatures are lower ( and the result official)

Give me your two sentence explanation for the C. Cunningham result.

Best,

NWAnonymos

Joe Dipinto 11:54 AM  

@Anon 11:16 – That is not what Giovanni said, or meant. He was referring to a post by someone else on Facebook.

What? 12:04 PM  

I liked it. Finished with lots of ahas. Only problem with 17A.
Take a familiar phrase, enter in your translation app, choose Latin, and there you have an obscure clue that demonstrates the constructors breadth of culture. Malus.

What? 12:09 PM  

Speaking of puzzles, does anybody know what Build Back Better means? Build what? Back? It sounds like an exercise for stutterers. How about Make America United Again.

Andrew 12:10 PM  

I got caught on the NE because I had SOBE and PHEW giving me SPELLS across, which while a stretch isn't out of the realm of possibility for "Fixates (on)." I actually took more issue with WHEW vs. PHEW.

jberg 12:13 PM  

Um, @Rex, you really didn't notice that HASHTAG was related to the theme? DO BE serious! When the clue says "...formed by four crossings in this puzzle, it's a theme answer.

I grew up celebrating Armistice Day. We didn't get the day off, but all gathered in the auditorium while the principal read "In Flanders Fields" to us. I think there was some lighting of candles, as well. The poet was a Canadian soldier; I may not have known that at the time, but it was pretty clear that we were celebrating the Armistice that ended the first World War, and all those who fought in it, at least on the allied side. For surviving veterans, the date had strong emotional resonance -- the Armistice took effect at "the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month"-- which is why it is one of the few holidays that aren't movable for convenience. Eventually, it was obvious that veterans of other wars needed to be celebrated, and the powers that be thought we couldn't afford additional holidays, so the name of the day was changed. Resistance from surviving WWI vets was enough to keep the holiday on the 11th, but not enough to block the name change.

I agree with @Z, ALL THINGS is wrong. "ceteris" means "others.;" viz. "et cetera."

jberg 12:17 PM  

Almost forgot. The problem with the "Aussies call everything a MOB" argument is that the clue is asking for something much more specific, the equivalent of a pride of lions.

spandersen 12:19 PM  

Can someone explain the LONGI answer for me?

Ethan Taliesin 12:22 PM  

Had to come to the comments to find out what "What takes a toll" has to do with ONEAM. It was what I expected.

...but needing to have a joke explained is never very satisfying.

Very mediocre bordering on all right otherwise.

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

US vets are honored on Nov. 11. The clue doesn’t say they are only ones honored. Clue is correct. I don’t hear anyone complaining that other cheeses can be substituted for Gouda or that French vacation other places too.

Barbara S. 12:34 PM  

@bocamp (9:59 a.m.)

Thanks for the interim book report on Adrienne Raphel!

I just tried to contact you off-blog and it didn't work. If you want to solve the mystery of what I tried to say, contact me on the email address on my profile.

Joe Dipinto 12:48 PM  

@spandersen – Haven't you ever been walking down the street and passed by a white person who was mumbling "longi, longi, longi" to himself?

Aketi 12:52 PM  

Wasn’t quite a good as the Pi Day puzzle, but I enjoyed it.

Teedmn 1:16 PM  

WHEE, this was fun. And scary hard for me. Not the theme but all of the vague or misleading clues. I actually had some of the same thoughts at 61A as Rex, eg. trying AMENDMENT when I had E_ENT in place. But my conclusion is the opposite of Rex's - I liked it.

I always leave the _HEW open for the cross. My default is WHEW but it seems like constructors prefer pHEW. Not today though.

I fell right into the tub of Ale that Jeremy Newton left out, 1A. So 2D is water liLy but who the heck is Li_ REED?

LOG IN, LOG oN, GIN I said when that game ended.

I needed the 39A revealer to see that it wasn't just a sideways set of IIs (hi @Nancy). And I'll admit to wondering how any phrase was going to end in a Roman numeral II until I filled the whole a7A in.

Nice job, Jeremy, thanks.

Anonymous 1:47 PM  

Still don't get "LONGI" (though I appreciate the @Joe Dipinto mansplaining)

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

By the way -- the sun has no gas. It's called "plasma" and it ain't gas, any more than gas is a fluid (though they all obey fluid equations of a sort).

JC66 2:01 PM  

@Anon 1:47

re: White Noise: the I in whIte is long, as opposed to the I in whIt, which is short.

(@Joe D wasn't mansplaining, he was making joke.)

SharonAK 2:06 PM  

@Eldreth 11 am
Maybe someone earlier cleared this up for you, but in case not: it was shiism not schism - Shia muslims

Sharon ak 2:09 PM  

@Joe Dipinto12:48
LOL

Masked and Anonymous 2:18 PM  

M&A had figured out SK(II)NG, but needed to get more of HASHTAG, before gettin the ahar moment on what the 17-A # revealer might be. And couldn't get HASHTAG right away, because I had (the mysterious and ergo erroneous) GANGSTER Paradise a little off, for quite a while. My faux-rap-pas finally became apparent, when I got 39-A filled to the HAR?TAG point. ["HAR?", indeed.]

INTWOS and LONGI sure ended up seemin highly non-UNAPT, for relatin to the Down themers' mcguffin.

staff weeject pick: HOO. Also, honrable mention to the immediate return of yesterday's celebrated SEN.

fave long sparklers: GETINGEAR. TIRESOME. USVETS.
feistiest long sparkler: MESHTOP. Further concealer of HASHTAG, at our house. Tough TOG.

Thanx for the fun with harsh tags, Mr. Newton.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


**gruntz**

Doc John 2:55 PM  

Not much else to say about this except that MESH TOP reminded me of this, the sequel to the much-watched "Shoes" video.
Let Me Borrow That Top

Anonymous 3:04 PM  

horrible. didn't bother to finish.

DrBB 3:37 PM  

Didn't find this very hard, though Crosslight wanted the word "EQUAL" in the rebus, whereas the down crosses wanted "II" so that's kind of a glitch. And it doesn't add up to being a hashtag, which is this # AFAIK, so that was kind of a puzzle fail.

Oh, and the clue at 42A does use the modifier "typically," so I don't think Rex's criticism on that one holds up.

blinker474 3:45 PM  

Had trouble with these Across: 1,8,22,41,42,67, as well as some downs. But eventually solved, and really liked the puzzle, especially the # rebus - until my across lite software insisted on changing my #s to "equals". Very bad.

wellmet 4:04 PM  

Liked a lot. Took a ton of patience and time. Worth the hour effort

GaryMac 6:07 PM  

I thought the answer for 40D was a very apt descriptor for this puzzle.

Anonymous 6:08 PM  

Mesh top reminded me of Cheryl Tiegs. Joe D: Ha. Anonymous: the i in the word white is a long i sound.

albatross shell 6:09 PM  

Like funerals, all holidays are for the living.

bocamp 6:14 PM  

Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay ("Otis" Redding) | Playing For Change | Song Around The World

@Whatsername 9:27 AM / 11:11 AM

Thx for the "dw" words and for your SB comment :)
___

Paul McCartney & "Wing"s - Mull Of Kintyre

E "Street" Band - Bruce Springsteen's Letter to You now playing on Apple TV+



Peace Vrede ειρήνη שָׁלוֹם Paix 平和 🕊

Jay Bergman 7:03 PM  

Mr. Parker,

I've checked your website weekly -- to find the answers I couldn't come up with on my own, and to read your wonderfully incisive commentary.

So I was shocked -- to say the least -- when you referred in your comments on a Sunday puzzle (I think in late October) to fucking Trumpists, or some such formulation, though the adjective I supplied is accurate.

I voted for Trump. I did so because in my opinion the policies he put in place have been, on balance, good for America and good for the world -- certainly far better than those Biden has enunciated. And for this, you smear me -- and the millions of other good and decent Americans who voted for Trump -- with the most execrable curse word in the English language. On your website you are concerned, in the final analysis, with words, with the English language, and with the ways these can be put in place to render puzzles that are at once entertaining and educational. So for that reason in particular you should be ashamed of yourself -- for your intolerance, your unwarranted vitriol, and your sheer arrogance! All I can say is that you have a lot of growing up to do. A mature, rational adult you are not. Jay Bergman, 49 Crown Ridge, Newington CT & Professor of History, Central CT State University, New Britain CT

Whoosey Whatsis 7:10 PM  

This was damn hard, but I solved it with lots of brain wracking. Hard + solved = enjoyed.

Granny used to say "Do be careful out there," so that was a gimme. Two years of Latin gave me "ceteris paribus." I had "cob" for the longest time, knowing it had something to do with birds. Finally abandoning it cracked the rest of the puzzle. (A cob is a male swan BTW. And "mob" is actually the collective noun for emus. Seems dumb, but so are emus from what I hear.

Dictionary.com doesn't recognize "agasp," but if it isn't a word, it should be, along with gems like "afeared" and "aright."

Wanderlust 8:15 PM  

This is one of those days when I really can’t stand reading Rex. Other than DOBE, I thought this was a near perfect puzzle. The theme worked beautifully and must have been super hard to construct. Rex, when ii crosses =, it makes #!!! Clever and unique. Almost as important to me, the cluing was outstanding. Clever cluing is my favorite thing about a puzzle and this one had it. Especially for really boring words like APP, HOE, SAWS, and my very favorite, TIP. AND i even liked the clue for GAS, which others apparently hated. Great puzzle!

Anoa Bob 8:18 PM  

I thought it was a clever idea for a theme. Plus it was at least half of an actual rebus puzzle (vs a puzzle that just has some squares with multiple letters in them), what with the equal sign being involved. I think the equal sign qualifies for a true rebus; it's a single symbol that stands for a word or phrase.

I don't think, however, that the crossing Down part of those equal sign squares worked quite as well. Since they are letters that have no meaning in and of themselves, they would not qualify as a rebus. And those "...II..." letters are straight up and down, but in all the hash tags in the above comments (and the one on my keyboard), those letters are slanted. I don't think I've ever seen the strictly horizontial/vertical version. What would that be? Is that the real hash tag and the ones with slanted lines are symbols for pound, number, etc.? I notice shit like this all the time.

I have said here a number of times is that it's not fair to judge contemporary puzzles with those of past eras by the same criteria. I'm hesitant to bad mouth those oldies, say of the Maleska era, because of the restrictions under which constructors and editors worked in those days. Imagine having an idea for a puzzle, grabbing pencil, paper and a big gum-type eraser and heading to the musty reference section of the local library to complete your puzzle!

Yeah, those puzzles and their constructors and editors can seem a bit musty but I think they should be judged by comparing them to others of their day and not by comparing to them to contemporary ones.

Bradford Caslon 8:50 PM  

In the navy TWO bells is one a.m.

Frayed Knot 8:58 PM  

Thank you Mr. Bergman

Anonymous 9:01 PM  

IMO, this was a big mis-fire of an "idea," and absolutely not worth my time. Didn't even bother to TRY to finis b/c this half-baked concept didn't deserve that level of effort on my part.

JC66 9:05 PM  

@Bradford Caslon

At my local bar, TWO BELLS are two Scotches on the rocks.

Andrew Heinegg 9:41 PM  

In other words, you evaluated the man who is President and, you being an intelligent man, a man of good judgment and a Professor of History, decided to support this profoundly mentally ill person with numerous afflictions after concluding that he has promulgated excellent policies. Okay.

Anonymous 9:51 PM  

as Tillerson observed: the Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) is a 'fucking moron'. middling professors from middling colleges notwithstanding. if anyone has the gonads to list the good things he's done for the American People, have at it. all of the American People, not just white racists and 1%-ers. have at it.

he just got finished saying that he's entitled to still be President.

"We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won't allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead. Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan, if in fact, ... there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!"

secretly dumped, really? here's a guy who's up to his sphincter in Russian and Chinese money? anyway. this is the sort of nutball some think is the answer??

Unknown 1:38 AM  

I am a little late on this, but does anyone see SPELLS, SOBE (...so be careful, will you!? is something my parents would say to me), and PHEW as a valid possibility for the northeast corner?

Space Is Deep 5:15 AM  

I use WHEW in emails at work regularly.

Anonymous 10:50 PM  

Mr. Bergman, for a professor of history, you don't seem very familiar with history, especially American History, or even basic civics for that matter. Maybe you're so stuck in your ivory tower that Trump's horrendous behaviors don't touch you.

I question the judgment of anyone who thinks Trump has done a good job, given that he's spent nearly 4 years golfing, tweeting, and doing his hair & makeup. Ah, yes, and promising that his new "health plan" will be ready in 2 weeks - that's about 200 weeks of "it'll be ready in 2 weeks." One has to be very naive/gullible to fall for that.

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