Number cruncher in Wall Street lingo / SUN 11-1-20 / Bolshoi debut of 1877 / Little auk by another name / Boat sometimes built around whalebone frame / Original site of Elgin Marbles / Coarse-grained igneous rock / Org that publishes journal Emotion / Amenity in GM vehicles

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Constructor: Julian Lim

Relative difficulty: Medium (11-ish)

THEME: "West-Southwest" — W's are (mostly) turned into SW's creating wackiness clued wackily forever and ever ad infinitum dear lord make it stop:

Theme answers:
  • SWAY UP HIGH (23A: What an unsteady tightrope walker may do?)
  • SUMMER SWEAR (29A: "It's just too $%#@ hot!," e.g.?)
  • SWARM RECEPTION (40A: What a beekeeper receives at work?)
  • FOR SWANT OF A BETTER SWORD  (67A: Why the knight went shopping?)
  • SPARKLING SWINE (94A: Hogs, after being scrubbed clean?)
  • SWEPT FOR JOY (111A: What the ecstatic janitor did?)
  • SWISH LISTS (117A: "Michael Jordan's Top 10 Free Throws" and others?)
Word of the Day: POWER-DIVE (80D: Sky fall?) —
a dive of an airplane accelerated by the power of the engine (
• • •

I just don't understand who these puzzles are for? Who is cheering for this? Who is excited by this? This absolutely tepid letter-change / wacky-clue banality, where is this fan base? I guess if you have a captive audience that doesn't really know that things can be different, can be way, way less stale than this, then you can just churn out mediocre Sunday fare like this, week after week after week. "Oh, Rex hates everything." I hate this. And you should too. "Hate" is maybe too strong. I'm just exhausted by this oversized unimaginative never-ending parade of Sunday madness. The title alone tells you that no one is trying very hard. It's just ... a literal description of the letter change? You change west (W) to southwest (SW). But the phrase "West-Southwest" doesn't mean much except a random direction. Who cares? Who!? And so a loooongtime constructor gets max pay for what is essentially filler. People were making puzzles exactly like this, exactly this exciting, actually, probably more exciting, in the 80s and 90s. And actually you can still do a simple theme like this today if the results are stellar, or if your revealer or title is really clever, or really ... if you've got any angle that makes it exceptional. But this is just drudgery. And not even consistent drudgery. You've got a "W" in that center themer that you *don't* change to SW ("WANT")—the only themed "W"word  that doesn't change. It's a jarring, ugly inconsistency. You've also got "SW" answers in non-theme positions (e.g. SWAN LAKE), which just makes the whole theme execution seem ragged and inelegant. I have no more time for this thing. I have trick-or-treaters that need tending to. If this were a novice constructor, I still wouldn't like the puzzle very much, but I'd feel less indignant than I do now, when I see a veteran churning this kind of stuff out (and the editor continuing to accept it). This is worse than you deserve. I'm not lying about this.

There's lots of green ink right in the center of my printed-out puzzle because POP ___ coulda been soooo many things (34D: Beyoncé, for one) (STAR!? IDOL?!), and then END OFF, what on god's green earth is that? I can't imagine ever saying that ever in any context (43D: Conclude (with)). And both of those cross SEADOVE, what the f (62A: Little auk, by another name). So that was unpleasant. Forgot how to spell (crosswordese) UMIAK (17D: Boat sometimes built around a whalebone frame). I think I had UBIAK (?). Also had trouble up there in the NE with CRAWL (I had CREEP) (15D: Go at a glacial pace), and GENRE, which had a very ambiguous clue (18D: Soul, e.g.). No idea about Spike's sister JOIE (112D: Screenwriter Lee, sister of Spike). Really struggled with the cutesy SHORT U (92A: Upfront?) (get it? ... because the "front" of "up" is a SHORT U sound? Hey, here's another SHORT U sound for you: UGH (9D: "Yuck!"). Not much else to say about this one. Praying for a kinder, more ambitious, and more exciting November, puzzlewise. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. how about WAN LAKE? Already light-years better than any answer in this puzzle. Do the theme in reverse! Do something!

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:16 AM  

Oh goody. Wall street lingo. Luckily didn’t have to spend ANY time there thanks to crosses.

Got so excited when I first saw 29A and thought “Oh, yay! Is the answer going to be ‘grawlix’?” Pfft!

If there were a puzzle that I could do in my sleep…scratch that. If there were a puzzle that I did in my sleep, this would be it.
Didn’t hate it. Didn’t’ love it. But barely stayed awake for it (thank heavens it wasn’t posted at 10pm ET) all the same.

No joy. No contempt. No reaction of note.




Joaquin 12:25 AM  

Mostly a drag for me until I got to 107-A and it brought back some memories of many decades ago when I dated a girl named SANDyREEF. We were very young so I have no idea if she 64-D (clue).

jae 12:25 AM  

Medium. Mostly agree with @Rex on this one and so does Jeff at xwordinfo, only Jeff is not quite as harsh.

Harry 12:56 AM  

Agree, horrid. And you didn't even mention having Aone and Ateam so close they are practically touching. The only way it could have been worse is if the two use the same A.

Photomatte 1:08 AM  

The answer for 67 Across doesn't fit the theme (there's no SW in the beginning; it's simply FOR WANT OF A BETTER SWORD). Is this a mistake? Or is the SW in 'sword' supposed to be the trick (FOR WANT OF A BETTER WORD). I was confused by Rex's writeup because he said FOR SWANT OF A BETTER SWORD.

egsforbreakfast 1:16 AM  

Gotta say, Rex nailed this one. Uninspiring as the theme was, the in-your-face inclusion of SWANLAKE made it simply abominable.

bocamp 1:21 AM  

Thx, @Julian, enjoyed your puzzle very much! :)

Had immediate success in the NW, and picked up the theme at 23A; made steady progress with no serious holdups.

Finished just under ave.

New to me: "Spanish Steps"; "sea dove"; "Celia Cruz"; "Paul Dano"; "Ann Martin"; "CSA" (as clued); "Parthenon" (as clued); "Joie Lee"; "Rudy Gobert"; "sha cha beef"; "norite"

At 102D had "sweep" before "swipe"; 4D had "Toys are Us"; 62A could have been "pea dove" for all I knew (didn't know "CSA"); never can remember the final vowel in "Sagan".

Spent Christmas eve in "Rome" ('70); listened to the Pope's address on the hotel radio.

"Quants" | The Alchemists of Wall Street | VPRO documentary

Peace Shlama Paix 平和 Paz Maluhia 和平 Mir Pace Friðr Frieden Salam Síocháin ειρήνη Saimaqatigiiniq שָׁלוֹם 🕊

EdFromHackensack 1:42 AM  

I dont listen to Beyonce and could not name one song except All the Single Ladies. is she a soprano? because I had sOPrano before POPDIVA which I do not think is even a phrase. ENDOFF? clunky . the theme was easy but for some reason took me a LONG time to complete this one.

Ken Freeland 1:06 AM  

Yeah, pretty much concur with Rex about this meh puzzle with its high PPP count, naticks, and cryptic cluing.

chefwen 2:35 AM  

I started out really liking this one, unfortunately, it turned into Good Lord when will this be over?

I did like SPARKLING SWINE and SWEPT FOR JOY, SWARM RECEPTION was pretty cute also, but all in all it was pretty tortured. And enough with the SHORT U, long whatever clues. BASTA.

Please bring back Liz Gorski, I sure do miss her fun Sunday puzzles.

Horace S. Patoot 3:28 AM  

SPARKLING SWINE made me laugh out loud. Not much else to like.

Loren Muse Smith 4:55 AM  

Man oh man what a day to decide to comment. I’m not spending every spare moment trying to figure out Microsoft Teams or Forms, but these days I have nothing left in my think tank. Drained, tired, discouraged, that’s all my colleagues. Facing grumpy teenagers who resist keeping their masks on, who complain that they “can’t breathe” or that they “hate it” . . . uh, yeah. I hate it, too, and I’m the one having to teach through it. They just have to sit there quietly aiming their breath down past their mouth so as not to fog up their glasses. I get to stand there trying to maintain classroom management through fogged-up glasses. It. Is. Horrible. About 3 times a day I hear a student assure me that after the election the whole Covid deal will just disappear. Look. I know they’re just parroting what they’re hearing at home, but I did snap once and asked a kid how that worked. How we managed to pull in other countries to participate in our little hoax. Of course my query was met with merely a blank stare, and then I felt bad and cowardly back-pedaled to try to undo the SNARK.

I’m with @chefwen and @Horace S. Patoot - SPARKLING SWINE is terrific. Worth the price of admission imo. (That one reminded me of a piece David Sedaris wrote about how Americans dress for airplane trips. To paraphrase, it’s like someone was home busily washing shoe polish off a pig and then suddenly decided to go board a plane and take a trip. I still see the spectacle of washing a pig covered in shoe polish.) But I enjoyed each and every themer. I really did.

Anyhoo. . . I guess I’m one of the few people left who enjoys a simple add-a-letter theme. Love the startling result that simple little change affords. It’s harmless, simple fun, and that the trick skews trite or quaint bothers me not one whit.

I know I’m not the only one who put in “kayak” before UMIAK.

@Harry - I would have liked it if A-ONE and A-TEAM shared that A.

Loved the clue for SHORT U. Loved it.

Keep going back and seeing LIES TILL. As in He lies till the cows come home or November 3, whichever comes first.

The theme reminds me of my glory days in Chattanooga, where in my household there were several spankings every week. When it was seasonal, Mom would make me go out to the forsythia bush and get a switch – you know, choose it, swipe off the yellow flowers, and then hand it to Mom. The switchings never hurt – that macabre dance where we went in circles while Mom swatted my legs – but they were effective, nonetheless. After today, I’ll remember being sent to the forsythia bush as a SWITCH HUNT

Lewis 5:29 AM  

Nice. Just right for a frantic close-to-election day. Something to center me, relax my nervous energy. Oh, I love the puzzles that wow me with witty clues, with spectacular themes and answers, puzzles that vigorously springboard me into my day. But right now a calm puzzle, Sunday size, with a theme that gives me a warm smile, and a grid that makes me work but not sweat, today that felt just right.

When I saw the constructor was you, Julian, you, who on Saturdays cause me to solve in a remote quiet setting just to have a chance at success, I had great pause. But soon into the solve, especially after cracking the theme early on, I settled into a most enjoyable tranquil solve. Contentment took over.

I love everyday days, the stuff of life. That’s what your puzzle felt like, Julian, and today, that was perfect. Just what I needed. Thank you for this!

Dale Gribble 5:49 AM  

Although I did find this puzzle meandering and insipid, I just can't get as vehemently angry about it as Rex. At the end of the day I'm just glad the puzzle's there. No matter how tacky it is, it challenges my little gray cells and that's honestly what matters at the end of the day.

Conrad 6:11 AM  

DNF'd where the little auk crossed the farm-to-table program. pEADOVE looked fine to me for the former (we have pea hens, right?) and the latter could have been clued as "Good luck guessing these three random letters."

Anonymous 6:12 AM  

Rex hates the Sunday puzzle, @Lewis loves it. Oblah di, oblah dah, life goes on.


Colin 6:24 AM  

Happy Belated Hallowe'en, everyone! It took me a while to truly get the title of this puzzle, although I figured out the theme pretty quickly. This was a light, pleasant theme. I thought the fill was fine. Any mention of Dante's Inferno brings a smile to my face - I first discovered this in the school library in 6th grade, a kids' version - and was hooked. (This is the joy of browsing the stacks, which is no longer a choice in the digital, online world.) Agree with others about SPARKLING SWINE.

@LMS: Yes, I seriously thought KAYAK but couldn't get it to fit, so waited.

I also badly wanted LIZ Taylor (I had "LI - -"), but there was the pesky fourth letter needed.

And Happy November! Be safe in the coming days.

ow a paper cut 6:25 AM  

End off?

sf27shirley 6:34 AM  

FWIW I liked it a lot. Harder than the usual Sunday. Clever theme answers. And a roundabout allusion to my kitty whose name is Swann, taken from Proust, as is his sister-littermate's name, Odette, both originating from Swan Lake.

Is it my imagination or are the regulars becoming grouchier?

Anonymous 6:41 AM  

Bottom lines = XAXES? I don't get it.

Rachel LS 7:01 AM  

I hated this one sooooo much. X-AXES; 0 on a graph. Which is not necessarily the bottom of it.

Colin 7:04 AM  

@Anonymous, 6:41 AM: XAXES = X-axes, the "bottom line" in an X-Y graphical plot.
Took me a while too....

ChuckD 7:13 AM  

Yep - not a huge fan of the letter swap trick but didn’t think the overall fill was bad. The themers with the title just become a find the right phrase to complete - not overly elegant or thought provoking but it does work. SPARKLING SWINE was cute - the others not so much. As Rex mentioned - UMIAK is in my puzzle brain - there were a bunch of those here. I liked the clue for SHORT U - also liked ISCARIOT, and the POWER DIVE x SAND REEF cross.

I’ve seen the Little Aux off the coast of Cape Cod in winter a few times over the years. They normally don’t roam that far south - but they are neat. In consulting with my sister who is a birder - SEA DOVE is used more commonly for the guillemot which is a more common bird down the mid Atlantic coast line.

@LMS - I also have a group of moronic coworkers who spout the same claim about C19 disappearing after the election. Doesn’t give me much hope.

@Anon 6:41 - the X axis of a graph.

Badria 7:41 AM  

Will Shortz has simply got to go now.

ncmathsadist 7:45 AM  

This was an utterly joyless slog. The theme was utterly useless and there was an abundance of really junky fill.

thfenn 7:58 AM  

Agree that seadoves are guillmots and little auks are Dovekies. This was just a slog. Done, but just left me wishing I hadn't bothered. @LEWIS, I usually marvel at, if not envy, your constant never ending joy and pleasure, and think it's usually fun counting on you for the bright side, but today you lost me. This was just no fun at all, and as little else is at the moment, count me disappointed.

Samodelka 8:00 AM  

A witless slog, like most Sundays lately

Jay 8:17 AM  

Rex is absolutely right. Nowadays, I dread looking at the Sunday puzzles. They are more boring than solving a Sudoku.

Andrew Heinegg 8:19 AM  

Hi Loren. Tell your students with glasses to roll up a piece of facial tissue and put directly under their noses in the facial mask. It stops the glasses from from fogging up. It won't stop them from complaining but, you will have tried.

Z 8:22 AM  

Let me lead off with I hated this less than Rex. I think it would have been a fine Monday theme concept, but just not enough interesting themers to sustain a large Sunday grid. And some of the fill... leading off with ORSER crossing a product name? UGH. Also gave a major side-eye to the NORITE/ROWEL/AIWA section. What a mash-up of answers that don’t look like words. And, I dunno, ISCARIOT SWEPT FOR JOY just doesn’t look quite right. A 15x15 grid and these infelicities could have been avoided. Or maybe Rex is right and this grid was phoned in and a little more attention to detail would have upped the felicity.

@Rachel LS - I get your meaning but if you streeeetch the meaning of “bottom” to suggest that sub-zero is below the “bottom” then the clue is okay.

@Anon6:41 - I looked at that answer three times before I managed to parse it as X-AXES. That’s a particularly ugly “plural of convenience” (and not a POC as defined by @Anoa Bob I think).

Let me END OFF by suggesting to @LMS that you likely have students who thought something along the lines of {snerk snerk}. If there’s anywhere that stupidity should not be tolerated it is a school. Just be artful about it, stupid parents love to complain. Like so many, they hate having their opinions challenged by facts.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

Loved the clue for 15A, which could have worked in a related clue for 15D. Everything else, Meh

pmdm 8:36 AM  

sf27shirley (did I get that right): I think your observation is more correct than not.

The constructor talks about using a word list. I would guess most constructors use one. I think I remember Patrick Berry once referred to his. What you include in your list (hip slang, sexual innuendos, obscure PPP) can influence your puzzles dramatically, I would think.

My reaction to the puzzle? Like many Sundays, OK until the PPP confronted me. My reaction? I suppose similar to Z's.

pabloinnh 8:40 AM  

So OFL thinks this kind of puzzle has been around since the 80's and 90's. eh? Well I'm here to say they've been around since the 70's and 60's and so what? The add-a-letter ploy may not be new but it can still be useful and sometimes entertaining (SPARKLINGSWINE, SWEPTFORJOY).

Any puzzle that resurrects UMIAK is aces with me. Still waiting for old friends ATLE and ADIT, seems like ARA was around recently. Nostalgia.

Also any puzzle that gets a submission from LMS makes the day worthwhile. God bless all the teachers everywhere, and boy am I thankful I'm not trying to do my former job under current conditions.

Last to fall was the 67A long form solution. First DRYER for WRYER applied the brakes as far as making a phrase, and then the phrase was not familiar. "...for want of a better word"? OK. And everyone who's been complaining about all the French lately must surely agree that one egg is an oeuf.

Thanks, JL. Enough good stuff to justify the pop culture that reminded me of my age.

CS 8:55 AM  

I always feel reluctant to complain too much when I know how much goes into creating these puzzles, so kudos to Julian Lim for even doing this. And usually I find Sundays fun, as I *much* prefer themes to themeless - for me figuring them out that is part of the whole point. However, I was sorely disappointed by this one .... I did more or less figure out the idea but just couldn't work up the enthusiasm to fully complete the puzzle. Just not a joyful experience. Glad to hear I'm not alone.

@LMS : not sure what you are teaching, but one idea might be to assign your students a project to write about the reason for masks, requiring them to cite scientific journals (not opinion pieces). Or something to that effect. Or use the debate technique, asking them to take the "other" side. We can only hope that a light bulb will go on. And *thank you* to all the educators out there for all the work you do!

Anyway, I am really hoping for some good distracting puzzles the next couple days!

-- CS

Giovanni 8:57 AM  

@Nancy a few weeks ago you recommended a good Sunday puzzle, the theme was about Pi. I really enjoyed it. Do you (or anyone else) have and puzzles to recommend from the archives? I've done the famous election results one.
Thanks. I

A Grimwade 9:04 AM  

Yes...this was somewhat dull and boring and long, but my little plea is on a different subject entirely. Twice recently NYTXW has used SEA DOVE as the answer for the clue “Little Auk”. No-one in the birding world uses this name. The accepted name is DOVEKIE, which unfortunately has the same number of letters. Please NYTXW stop with the SEA DOVE — it only exists in dictionaries.

By the way, DOVEKIES are very cute little birds, and in no way related to doves.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

Agree. It's in "sword" as that's the phrase. Rex made a mistake.

td 9:14 AM  

Why do Sundays always feel like homework?

Anonymous 9:15 AM  


Anonymous 9:15 AM  

Agree!! Weirdest, worse thing in this puzzle!

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

Not your imagination. But role model--- hard not to subconsciously emulate.

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

I liked this puzzle, minus "end off" and "x axes". My favorite themer was "swishlist". But agree constructor missed opportunity with Swan Lake.

RooMonster 9:27 AM  

Hey All !
Dang Rex, it wasn't all that. Neither was it all @Lewis, but I did enjoy the puz. Adding-one-letter-that-changes-phrase-to-a-pun is fun to suss.

Had my one-letter DNF today. UGH! And worse, it was a one-letter off one-letter DNF, as in had ROnE/UnIAK for ROME/UMIAK. N for M. Oof (or should I say OUEF?) Who knew there is a ROME in Spain? Oh, wait, the Spanish Steps are in ROME, not Spain. Ah, got it. Stupid brain. Was gonna say to go with that, that who knows there is a Las Vegas in New Mexico?

That NE Center area was a bear! Had ___ISITE, and amazingly enough, figured it would be EXQUISITE. But two crossing authors (although BAUM I know is well known, but just couldn't think of it), with odd clues/answers TSTRAPS, EXAMS, QUANT(??), and especially XAXES. Holy moly. Had that X___S, and who wha? Finally BAUM jumped to the forefront, and thought it had to be EBERT (didn't know he wrote a book [probably wrote a few]), which got me EXAMS, then put in XAXiS. So ended up with Ri_EWS for RENEWS. After a head scratching session, reread X's 21A clue, saw it was plural, and then lightbulb on the AXES. Man alive!

Went outside yesterday about 6:45 PM, and the streets were empty. Stood in the middle of the street (don't worry, it's not a main drag!) and saw no Trick-or-Treaters. Eerie. Usually the neighborhood kids are bustling with parents in tow, frolicking with their bags seeking candy from strangers! Not yesterday. Pity, all the candy I have to eat!

This puz was a toughie. Some odd words sprinkled about, NORITE for one, and took me longer than usual. But, hey, SunPuz. It is what it is. (Har, don't you hate that saying?)

Five F's

Nancy 9:31 AM  

I found this reasonably diverting and even had a mild "Aha Moment" when the theme allowed me to change StAY UP HIGH to SWAY UP HIGH. I was befuddled as to how a "reinvented self-image" could be some sort of ?ETME. I wish I could tell you that I made the correction when I was all the way up at SUMMER SWEAR, but I don't think I corrected until I was way down at SPARKLING SWINE.

That was my favorite entry, and it seems to have been everyone else's too. But I was pretty taken with SWISH LISTS as well, and I bet that diehard basketball fan @mathgent will love it as well.

And now let's EAD OVa to my DNF. I had KaBOB. KEBOB never occurred to me. And that gave me ?EADOVa for the "little auk". Since I had no idea what the missing initial in C?A was at 56D (did anyone?), I couldn't begin to even guess. READOVA? MEADOVA? LEADOVA? I had to come here to see SEA DOVE. A real DNF DOOK based on that one pesky wrong letter.

Don't understand all the negative comments. It had its moments of amusement and wasn't especially sloggy for a Sunday -- at least I didn't think so.

kitshef 9:33 AM  

This puzzle will not be to everyone’s tastes. Certainly not mine. I can see where there is some cleverness and that some would enjoy it, and I am happy for those people.

For me, mostly dull, with some irritation in a few nooks (around TSTRAPS and DANO) and some severe tsking at the extra w in one of the themers.

I will say, I did not notice the title until reading Rex, and I think that is pretty clever.

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

KEBOB? A quick Google test for spelling variations on this (I think) transliteration.
kebab: 211 million hits
kabob: 29.1 million hits
kebob: 1.1 million hits
At less than five tenths of one percent of common usage (by the Google-o-meter), could we have a "(var.)" in the clue, please?

Teedmn 9:41 AM  

Wellll, even doing this using the randomization function couldn't save this from being sloggish. Far, far too many names. EBERT as clued, JOIEE, DANO, RUDY, TERI, ANN, ORSER. And the weird clue for SHORT U. "Upfront?" I don't think that's exactly kosher.

I sure questioned how to spell EXQUISITE when I has XAX__ in the grid, which was fun. But my idea of a me-day destination is my kitchen where I'd be solving crosswords. SPA, schma.

It's been over a year since I've flown anywhere - ETICKET took a few nanoseconds to crawl to the top of the brain. I ran the alphabet on the AIWA-ROWEL crossing, successfully I'm happy to say. kayAK before UMIAK made the NE my last area to fill. Yikes.

The theme worked. SWAY UP HIGH, SPARKLING SWINE and SWEPT FOR JOY were all nice. Thanks, Julian Lim.

Halloween report (hi @Roo): we usually don't get any trick-or-treaters but I always buy candy anyway. This year I turned on the outside lights and left mini-KitKats on a plate on the steps. Not one taker, as far as I could tell. This morning I found four bars which had blown off the plate in the gale-force winds yesterday and two of them had been chewed on by some critter. Black cats? Vampire bats? Werewolves?

Z 9:43 AM  

@Rex made a mistake - Maybe. Or he’s being pointedly snarky about the fact that the grid-spanner has a W word that doesn’t fit the theme. Nah, Rex is never snarky. Must be a mistake.

@Pabloinnh - The add-a-letter ploy may not be new but it can still be useful and sometimes entertaining (SPARKLINGSWINE, SWEPTFORJOY) - Agree. Although, as I said, having Judas ISCARIOT associated with JOY by proximity was a little odd to me.

I just heard a soccer announcer say, “Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy” and couldn’t help but smile.

Knitwit 9:51 AM  

Hi Loren, so glad to see(read!) you in comments today!! I so enjoy your insights! I think all teachers are doing amazing things-especially In our high schools-during this pandemic! They’re lucky to have you. Today’s puzzle wasn’t too bad either. Take care❤️

Smith 10:05 AM  

@Pablo 8:40

***SB ALERT***

Ooh, have you noticed that SB doest not accept ADIT?

Carola 10:07 AM  

I'm with @Loren 4:55. I liked the fact that the theme was so immediately apparent from the title + the early SWAY, so that I could try to guess the theme answers with no crosses. Success ranged from the very easy (SWARM RECEPTION) to the ??? (FOR WANT OF A BETTER SWORD, which I thought was inspired). Like others, I'd rate SPARKLING SWINE as the delightful winner. And we get the PARTHENON, IRIDESCE, EXQUISITE, ISCARIOT. I even liked the alphabet comparison of the SUPER B followed by the SHORT U.

Old guy in idaho 10:08 AM  

boooooooo... 🦃🤮💩👎

Canesbr 10:14 AM  

No mistake — following instructions — snidely pointing out weakness of having a non changing W

Sixthstone 10:27 AM  

While some of the themers are pretty good, the theme was so immediately easy to grok that it lost any luster. The title is just too much. Half the fun is trying to figure out the theme based on a few answers. In the NW, it was so apparent that a trapeze artist would "sway..." so off to the races. The fill was ok except for the ridiculous ENDOFF and the poorly clued XAXES. There were also way too many cheap 3-letter gimmes (20+). Overall, just another Sunday chore.

KRMunson 10:28 AM  


Joe Dipinto 10:31 AM  

I had LACK instead of WANT in the answer to 67a at first, which is the way I usually see/hear the expression. When I realized it must be WANT I thought uh-oh, sloppiness.

What you might say about 44d:

There is NORITE answer.

Anyway, the puzzle was too boring overall to get majorly worked up about. Need to go finish the cryptic now.

Y antes de morirme, quiero
Cantar mis versos del alma

Bruce Fieggen 10:33 AM  

Andrew from 8:19. You made the puzzle worth it all by your solution to the glasses fogging up problem I’ve had for six months now. Thank you!
For those who missed it: Tell your students with glasses to roll up a piece of facial tissue and put directly under their noses in the facial mask. It stops the glasses from from fogging up.

Sabrina 10:33 AM  


pabloinnh 10:50 AM  

@Smith 10:05-


Yeah, I have noticed ADIT is unacceptable, which I kind of get, because it is rarely seen outside of crosswords. More irksome to me is their failure to accept either DADO or DOBRO, which I hear and see far more frequently than some of the random collections of letters that I find when I look up the answers the following day to see what I missed. I mean, really.

DSM 10:56 AM  

Agree the theme concept is tired. And if the theme concept is tired, the execution had better be excellent. I’ve seen the SWAN LAKE thing mentioned, which sucked. But the only mildly redeeming thing is leaving the vowel sounds in the W/SW word the same so the wacky phrase rhymes with/sounds like the original. But failing to do that on your longest answer makes the whole thing kind of...crappy, FOR WANT OF A BETTER (S)WORD.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

@lms You are a true delight on this blog and I am sure in your classroom too. Lucky us, luckier kids! You are a hero for soldiering on!....Thank you!

Hungry Mother 11:05 AM  

Ironic that I couldn’t parse XAXES even when I had it. I didn’t know AIWA, which kept this sufferfestive slogfest from being correct.

Hungry Mother 11:25 AM  

@LMS: thinking about how you are heroically soldiering through the pandemic. I’m in awe of all of you on the front lines of education, medicine, retail, and other venues of public service. Thanks for being there.

Suzy 11:31 AM  

I stand with LMS and Lewis. Got hung up on Norite Nd sand reef, otherwise medium crunchy for me.
I will admit, however, that I was ready to be through when sand reef finally fell!

#Rex—. can’t imagine why we never see a Sunday puzzle from you!!

johnk 11:34 AM  

OEUF! I didn't feel a bit satisfied when I finally got to ENDOFF this bore. BYE!

Bill 11:48 AM  

Will Shortz lives rent free in Rex Parker’s head.

sixtyni yogini 11:58 AM  

The good, the meh, the bad, and the ugly have been named.

And may the sparkling swine (👍🏽) swarm return to their sties this week.

susan 11:59 AM  

For a guy who has done every puzzle since 2004 I thought this was really trite and cliched. And then I read your comments! We agree!

Aphid Larue 11:59 AM  

Fun puzzle, loved sparkling swine. @lms could possibly have her students conduct an experiment. Define what “disappear” means, decide how long to wait, get students to vote now, and then later see if COVID disappears using the definitions above. The losers have to clean the blackboards. In the interest of science, not politics.

Frantic Sloth 12:13 PM  

@A Grimwade 904am "By the way, DOVEKIES are very cute little birds, and in no way related to doves."
OMG - you are so right!
They might be the cutest bird I've never heard of! ❤️ (wasn't crazy about learning about their little lives though)

@Z 822am That NORITE/ROWEL/AIWA section got more than a side-eye from me. More like a #3.

@pabloinnh 840am I see what you did there and it is an OEUF, thank you very much. 😉

@Anonymous 938am 👍👍

The FORWANTOFABETTERWORD brouhaha maybe could have been avoided by using "lack" (Hi, @J-Dip!) instead of the "offending" WANT. But, since I know squadoosh about construction...maybe not. 🤷‍♀️

Sami 12:15 PM  

I'm detecting a theme, or maybe I'm just sensitive right now, but I am recalling a lot of (not just on Rex's part, but others as well.)

Issa Ray? Oh, I didn't know her.
Udo Adzuba? Never heard of her.
Joie Lee? No clue.

Please, everyone, let's brush up on our prominent Black women in entertainment who fit perfectly into xword puzzles and should be more well known because they are amazing. We don't complain about silly men like Rami Malek and his ilk. But whomever is keeping score on the proper nouns, I think you should also score Rex on his dismissal of them unknowable or not commonplace by gender and race. Just a theory, probably not really borne out by data. I just want you to be aware that I've noticed it as a frequent kvetch about proper names.

Also, given that we here in the PNW are at maximum stress, minimum things that are in our control and less than usual effectiveness of brain function as a result, I appreciate a relatively unremarkable theme with complexity / comprehensibility in the range for a med-level neophyte solver.

My new favorite swear is "Oh, for swant." Or I could just call you a Swant, if you swant.

bocamp 12:16 PM  

@Loren Muse Smith 4:55 AM

Thank you for providing some insights into teaching during these trying times. I can only try to imagine what it would be like. Bless you and all the teachers of the world. 🙏

You wrote: "Anyhoo. . . I guess I’m one of the few people left who enjoys a simple add-a-letter theme." You can add me to that minority list. :)

@Andrew Heinegg 8:19 AM

Thx for the "foggy glasses" tip; I tried it out, and there is definitely an improvement. It may take some adjustment of the tissue to make it work right.

@Giovanni 8:57 AM

I do at least two puzzles a day from the archives; I'll let you know if I come across anything I think you might enjoy. Meanwhile, here are the 5 puzzles from the documentary "Wordplay" (dvd extras):

5/27/2004; 3/11/2005; 3/13/2005; 2/9/2003; 4/29/2001

Kisses Sweeter Than "Wine"

Rocky Mountain "High"

@jae 12:43 AM 👍

y.d. -1

Peace Shlama Paix 平和 Paz Maluhia 和平 Mir Pace Friðr Frieden Salam Síocháin ειρήνη Saimaqatigiiniq שָׁלוֹם 🕊

JC66 12:42 PM  


Your argument isn't helped by the fact that it's Issa RAE, not Issa Ray.

What? 12:44 PM  

Nothing wrong with letter substitutions if they’re cleverly done. This one passes over to the pretty good. Lots of aha moments which I need considering the Supreme Court (with Barrett, the 3 week wonder) seems poised to (S)WIPE the slate (late, mostly Democratic votes) clean.

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

Why did chuck my posts down the memory hole?
What rule did I violated?

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

Figured out probably more than I should have, so I was pretty happy. Only contribution I have for Rex is: "end off" is a direction used in knitting and crocheting, so that might be where that came from. (In your face, golfers and baseball stat nuts! Revenge of the knitters!) Knowing that didn't help me get it, however - got it, or rather, guessed it, with the crosses. - newbie

Joe Dipinto 1:13 PM  

@Sami (and @JC 66) – It's Uzo Aduba. And she is just as silly as Rami Malek.

Masked and Anonymous 1:18 PM  

Like several others here, M&A's fave themer was SPARKLINGSWINE. fave Comments Gallery-submitted themer was definitely: SWITCHHUNT. (yo, @Muse darlin) Ain't no sense for m&e to even try to come up with anything to top that.

Least fave themer: SWANLAKE. OUEF … U'da thought the Shortzmeister mighta requested a re-work in them there puzparts.
But, but -- I wouldn't go quite as far as makin all the W's turn into SW's. Any SWOE demands would seem a bit too snark-picky, IM&AO.

staff weeject pick: CSA. Which evidently stands for Community Supported Agriculture? day-um [bummer swear].

Cute clue: {Digital sounds?} = SNAPS. Another one: {Bottom lines?} = XAXES. Would also accept CRAXS, on that second puppy. Kinda like them needin to keep the cheeks taut at Trump HQ's, in order to avoid all the crap from spewin out, like "The covid'll end right after election day" (yo some mo, @Muse).

Didn't know: CSA. ISCARIOT. JOIE. POI cookin needs. CELIA. KEBOB without a KA. SHA with a cha. NORITE. Not too formidable a list, for a SunPuz, tho. And always good to learn some new things. And to suffer. har

fave sparkly non-swine thing: IRIDESCE. Honrable mention to: EXQUISITE. Whenever my bride makes the homemade cinnamon rolls, she always gets a sincere "exquisite" from her masked man, durin the taste test phase(s).

Thanx, for swant of a better word, Mr. Lim.
Hang in there, @Muse darlin & all U other SUPERB teachers of our chilluns.

Masked & Anonymo10Us


Guerin Wilkinson 1:35 PM  

Taylor who? Paul who? Spike Lee's sister? A salsa-dancing Cruz? A rowel?? What's a power dive? a 1999 rapper named Nas? Why should I know the book before Joel? Baby-Sitters Club somebody Martin? A skater named Orser? Little Fockers Polo? Rudy Gobert? Sha cha beef? NFC South city? Umiak? I suppose I "should" know these things, but really I look at these clues and my enthusiasm drains. For this puzzle and for future puzzles.

Frantic Sloth 1:35 PM  

@Sami 1215pm Not to pile on, but... If you feel the need to lecture us on our perceived misogynistic racism (let's just call it what it is) you might want to exclude the "unique" stress level of the PNW (C-19, wildfires, lunatic militias notwithstanding) as a reason for your sanctimony.
Then again, maybe I'm just sensitive right now...

thefogman 1:38 PM  

The editor is giving a green light to lost of mediocre junk. The NY Times should be better than this. We need a change so as to make the NY Times crossword puzzle great again.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

why couldn't the Elgin Marbles be found in PAlestine??? another dang ear-worm.

while it was the only thing that the memory machine gave me that fit, is it fair to use a character's in-play nickname, only sporadically used? HAL? what's wrong with 2001? or Mark Twain portrayer? etc.

sharon's 1:45 PM  

@LMS I agreed with your response to the puzzle,
But I was sorry to read that you had back pedaled on the "How did we ge the rest of the world..."

It seemed to me you had a good opening there for a discussion on logic and reasoning that might have actually educated some of the students.

It' been over 40 years since I taught , but I imagine I would have deliberately brought thinking about covid into the class.

A Moderator 1:46 PM  

@12:53 - No Idea but I’ve deleted you before and I’m not surprised my colleagues deleted you.

@Ken Freeland - I deleted you for spreading lies and general stupidity.

Kathy 1:48 PM  

I unabashedly take delight in wacky phrases as themers. Sure, they are groaners, but each one made me chuckle out loud and that’s what I want from a Friday or Sunday. I did feel the SWORD themer was a slight misfit because it was only funny visually—said aloud it doesn’t quite come off. I do love Rex’s idea of incorporating (S)WAN LAKE.

SHORTU. By now I should be alert to any clue that contains words like front, back, beginning, end, etc. but, unfortunately they still catch me unawares. I’ll never like this clue genre, but I must try better to be ready for it.

XAXES. It doesn’t sit right with me. How is a bottom line (either as a financial term or as an actual position on a graph) the same as the x-axis? Every point on a graph represents two dimensions, an x value and a y value, as defined by the creator of the graph. The resulting line or lines, when the points are connected, don’t necessarily reflect a bottom line either figuratively or literally. If I am missing something, I know there are plenty of Mathies out there who can set me straight!

@anonymous 12:57 newbie. If ENDOFF is indeed the Revenge of the Knitters, Bravo! For me it was one of my many lucky guesses.

BOTTOM LINE: Despite the PPP, a few Naticks and a DNF, I still enjoyed this puzzle because it made me laugh out loud. Who can ask for more right now?

jberg 1:50 PM  

So the first two themers I got were SWAY UP HIGH and SWARM RECEPTION, whereupon, seeing a pattern, I wrote in SW at the start of each theme answer. That made it really hard to see SUMMERWEAR. (Btw, to people really say that? Beachwear, yes.)

First rule of reading @Rex: if he says something obviously wrong, he's being sarcastic. You're supposed to figure out what he really means -- it's kind of like sussing the theme of a puzzle.

I did enjoy trying to guess the real phrases, but yes, some of the fill was lame. And while I'm a birder of sorts, I don't have the dedication to get out there and look for alcids, so I only know black guillemots and razor bills, and didn't know what SEA DOVEs were. That made it easier for me to guess it, once I had SEA; I mean, they weren't SEA ducks, and probably weren't sea wrens, so there you were.

Semi-large nit: an E-TICKET is not a reservation. Unless you're flying on W, you normally need both in order to get on the plane.

Hi @Loren. Early on in this thing I read that medical students who wear glasses learn to tape the top of their mask to their face in order to stop the fogging. I can't vouch for it -- I never wear a mask for very long, since I'm mostly at home, and it hasn't seemed worth the trouble.

@Nancy, a CSA is community supported agriculture; what it means is that you pay a lump sum to a farmer (around here, typically $4-500) and then get a box of vegetables every week for the whole growing season. We've been doing it for 10-15 years, but not this year because they don't do home delivery in our area, and when the season started we were staying completely isolated. The big advantage is that you are likely to get some vegetables you didn't know about; the disadvantage is that you may not know what to do with them, and when something is in season (our first year it was leeks) you may get way too many of them. Mid-Manhattan may not have so many of them.

Anonymous 1:52 PM  


bocamp 2:15 PM  

Brian Orser (CAN) - 1988 Calgary, Figure Skating, Men's Short Program

@Sami 12:15 PM

Mea culpa; good point re: black women entertainers! One of the reasons I enjoy doing xwords, is the things I "try" to learn, including the above. All the clues/answers I list in my posts as "new to me:", I research in hopes that they'll eventually sink in. I've even been known to watch a movie, read a book, etc. by someone previously unknown to me. Stay safe in Bend! :)

It was suggested at the end of yesterday's posts (possibly a troll, maybe not) that the word "grok" is "uglier" than the word "Scud". Scud's a clunker, for sure; the harsh sound just doesn't seem to match up with the silent beauty of low, fast moving clouds. But, then, is there any word that would be an onomatopoeic representation of silence. OTOH, "grok" is a word almost in a class of its own. It's basically a Martian term for that which is very difficult to comprehend.

Robert Heinlein uses various forms of the word 487 times in "Stranger in a Strange Land " and fleshes it out thoroughly. Get the ebook here.

"Heinlein describes Martian words as "guttural" and "jarring". Martian speech is described as sounding "like a bullfrog fighting a cat". Accordingly, grok is generally pronounced as a guttural gr terminated by a sharp k with very little or no vowel sound (a narrow IPA transcription might be [ɡɹ̩kʰ])." (Wikipedia)

Peace Shlama Paix 平和 Paz Maluhia 和平 Mir Pace Friðr Frieden Salam Síocháin ειρήνη Saimaqatigiiniq שָׁלוֹם 🕊

Anonymoose 2:23 PM  

@thefogman 1:38. I would proudly wear a MTNYTCPGA hat.

Anonymous 2:24 PM  

Mod at 1:46
Yes, it’s self evident the post was deleted, but my question remains, why?
I was civil, even courteous. I talked about the puzzle and was responding to a previous pots.
What merited your deleting the post?
I’ve been posting here for 7 years. I may even predate you. But even if I don’t, surely you could spare me the time to tell me what precisely led you your decision.

Anonymous 2:43 PM  

I don’t comment often and usually when I do comment it’s because I really enjoyed a Specific clue or a puzzle outright.

Today’s puzzle.....whew. It was really bad. I didn’t enjoy it at all.

I think I’m cranky because I’m so nervous about the election. Someone please tell me it’s going to be ok. Thanks.

Z 2:54 PM  

@SBers - FWIW American Heritage, Merriam-Webster, and my Scrabble Dictionary all have “adit.”

And now that @pabloinnh has mentioned it, “adit” is sure to appear this week. If you are a normal person and have never seen it before, know that AH defines it as An almost horizontal entrance to a mine.

Rocco 3:06 PM  

Oh, for the days of Margaret Farrar and Will Weng!

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

please tell me it’s going to be ok

to follow Bubba, it depends on what the definition of 'ok' is. :)

carol_p 3:10 PM  

Poi is not cooked in an underground oven that I've ever heard.

DigitalDan 3:20 PM  

I don't often word for word agree with Rex. Today I do.

Nancy 3:30 PM  

@What? (12:44) -- I laughed heartily at your suggested theme answer and the timely context within which you place it. It's very apt and it's terrific satire! At least I hope that's what it proves to be and not a dystopian prediction.

Giovanni 3:43 PM  

I'll never forget The Battle of The Brians: Brian Boitano (USA) vs. Brian Orser (Canada). 1988 Winter Olympics, they were neck in neck.

Azzurro 3:53 PM  

I know “For lack of a better word.” I suppose some might use “want” there, but that raises the question of why it wasn’t part of the theme.

This, along with SWAN LAKE, were annoyances. I didn’t hate the puzzle like Rex, but I can certainly see his point.

Z 3:54 PM  

@carol_p - I think mainly for tourists these days. I’ve definitely heard of pig being roasted this way, I assumed an imu can be used for POI, too.

If “adit” and “imu” both appear this week it will confirm the existence of Rye, NY.

Nancy 3:55 PM  

@bocamp (2:15) -- I don't believe I've ever used the word "grok" in speech, but I know I've written it -- probably on this very blog. And now you tell me that I've been writing in...Martian???!!! Without knowing it? But I don't want to write in Martian! I'm an Earthling!!! Thanks for warning me, @bocamp. From now on, my verbs of theme discovery will be "figured out", "realized", "cottoned onto", "apprehended" and even the slangy "sussed out". But there will be no more grokked or grokking or anything of the sort. That's a promise. Sheesh.

Barbara S. 4:22 PM  

@Giovanni 3:43 p.m.
Me too! You could have cut the tension with a sharpened skate blade. I remember staring at the television screen with all fingers and toes crossed and every muscle clenched and thinking, "...and I'm watching this for fun??" Beautiful skating, though.

Nancy 4:33 PM  

Okay, now I just have to do it. There was so much Shortz-bashing today. There was so much pining for the so-called golden olden days of the "Maleska era". Do any of you people have any idea what you're [mistakenly] pining for? It was not a good puzzle era. Let me show you:

I Googled for a Maleska puzzle and this 1965 Sunday of his appeared. Here are some of the clues and answers:

Welsh solar divinity -- LLEW
Half peck: Bibl. -- OMER
Persian fabric -- SUSI
Belgian violinist -- YSAYE
Caucho -- ULE
Stone crops -- SEDUMS
Opera roles -- MANONS (Talk about a really ridiculous POC!)

Please tell me you're not trying to push out Will Shortz in order to go back to...this! Ugh.

No, I'm not exaggerating. Check the puzzle out HERE.

And btw, I didn't develop my huge crossword passion until Maleska was out and Shortz was in. I can't begin to tell you how much I feel he's improved the NYT puzzle.

Bonnie Buratti 4:43 PM  

OK, I get that you have to have easy puzzles occasionally to attract new solvers, but the same puzzle should have a really clever theme, because that is half the fun (at least) of doing the NYT Sunday: cracking the theme and getting them all. I felt this puzzle broke that strategy. The theme and associated answers were just too blah, as Rex and others have pointed out.

Anonymous 5:16 PM  

not to beat an increasingly dead horse, but spend a couple of bucks and pick up an early Shortz era compendium of Sunday puzzles; do a few and come back and tell us about the experience. it won't be fun.

whatever his predecessors did, and he does now, all that before now was borderline Natick everywhere.

Giovanni 5:25 PM  

My earlier post seems to have vanished and this is highly important, so I'll repeat.
Before I saw the knitting comment about END OFF, I'd written that I'd used that expression as a kid weaving pot holders. Once you had it woven you had to END it OFF which was the hardest part. The END OFF was pretty dicey, you could lose the entire thing.
My sister and I sold them door to door for 35 cents each or 2 for 50 cents.
They last 50 years, my mother still uses a few we made!

egsforbreakfast 5:32 PM  

@Nancy 3:55 pm. Just between you and me, grok isn’t really Martian.

bocamp 5:38 PM  

@Nancy 3:55 PM

Too funny! I doubt I've ever used it in conversation, either, but have most certainly misused it here on occasion. If I ever chance to chat with a fellow "Heinleiner" I may sneak it in, tho. LOL

Here, I'll save it for the really deep stuff, like "grokking" the fallacy of "begging the question", or for "grokking" (or not) the occasional extra tricky theme, as in the recent case of "no t no w". I "grokked" the theme only because I parsed the answer as intended, and realized that it applied to the clues and not the answers. :)


Peace Shlama Paix 平和 Paz Maluhia 和平 Mir Pace Friðr Frieden Salam Síocháin ειρήνη Saimaqatigiiniq שָׁלוֹם 🕊

Debra 6:20 PM  

I think rex was too easy on this one.

Anonymous 6:51 PM  

Slogged through this. Didn’t hate it as much as Rex and some others, but I will say (agree?) that Upfront?/SHORTU may be the single most unsatisfying and obtuse clue and answer I’ve experienced in ten years of crosswords.

Sami 8:06 PM  

@JC66 but it is by the fact that it should also be UZO ADUBA and you kinda failed to point that out.

Anonymous 8:20 PM  

Honor is flashed off exploit, so they say.
Oh right, no one here knows Hopkins. More’s the pity.

Anonymous 8:41 PM  

Joie Lee was one of the only ones I knew off the bat. And Teri Polo who I know from the show "The Fosters" not whatever the clue said

Anoa Bob 8:47 PM  

Sunday sized, 21X21 puzzles are very, very hard to make. You're going to need probably seven or eight theme entries minimum and that's a tall order. Getting just four for a weekday puzzle that really stick the landing is tough enough. There's also that vast white space to fill and that just magnifies the chances for less-than-optimum-fill. I think these are some reasons why Sunday puzzles often are not as well received or rated as are weekday puzzles.

Maybe we should change our evaluations of Sunday puzzles to reflect he greater degree of difficulty in constructing them. Maybe that's why as of August 2019 the average inventory of puzzles accepted for publication in the NYT for weekday puzzles was 41 while there were only 15 for Sunday puzzles (

I work a lot with wood and have been wearing breathing protection type masks for many years. Fogging of the glasses has had me saying bad words on many occasions. In my experience the best best way to prevent this is to have ample air flow across your face. Electric fans work well so maybe that could be of some help to LMS and her class or to anyone wearing a mask and sharing a closed space with others.

Kathy @1:48, I balked at the clue for XAXES, but I was also thinking x y plots and then I recalled that bar graphs have X AXES where they are truly "bottom lines". Negative values don't don't make sense there. I would prefer a clue along the lines of "Fabled Babylonian garden keeper". Then it could join Nancy @4:33's list!

It is a weird plural and since the base, go-to phrase is X AXIS, changing that I to an E solely to fit in the grid is certainly convenient so therefore it is a POC. But it doesn't increase the letter-count, so it really isn't a POC, as Z @8:22 suspects. I think it's both at the same time. It's a Schrödinger's POC!

Joe Dipinto 9:34 PM  

@Sami – JC didn't point it out but I did. We are a tag team. We fight actor name misspellings throughout the universe.

bocamp 9:49 PM  

done at -3

Peace Shlama Paix 平和 Paz Maluhia 和平 Mir Pace Friðr Frieden Salam Síocháin ειρήνη Saimaqatigiiniq שָׁלוֹם 🕊

Anonymous 9:52 PM  

Is that last line really necessary? Adds nothing. Seems inappropriate. Not clever.

live healthy or die trying 10:08 PM  

Maybe blame Covid?

CDilly52 10:13 PM  

Hi @LMS! I know exactly how you feel about the students’ attitudes. Although a different group, I deal with three counties’ elected officials and citizens who all hate the masks, want to “go back to business as usual” and who “can’t wait until Wednesday when this will all be over.”

Since I am in Oklahoma, I just bite my tongue because I have spent a lifetime (well 45 years) trying to enter into discourse with folks here about common goals without applying labels or taking sides. And in the last four years as the nation became more and more divided, it has become nearly impossible to create an atmosphere that encourages discourse.

All I can say to @LMS and all teachers everywhere is please keep teaching!!! We need for our young folks to learn to think and question and be ready to assume the mantle of leadership as adults. Good teachers in a free public education system are the keys to an educated electorate and the building blocks for our children’s futures.

Speaking of building blocks, count me among those who enjoyed this traditional Sunday NYT puzzle. Took a while for the theme to warm up but by the time it got to SPARKLING SWINE, SWEPT FOR JOY, and SWISH LIST, it was a silly, Sunday theme that I enjoyed. The fill wasn’t anything too challenging and I wish there had been a bit more deception and cleverness, but this was for sure a Sunday NYT puzzle. Lots of other puzzles out there that offer many, many alternatives - something for everyone. And rather than try to force this one to change or berate it for what is isn’t, perhaps our reviewer would simply prefer to do another Sunday puzzle that tickles his fancy. This one tickled mine.

Z 10:46 PM  

@Anoa Bob - Schrödinger’s POC - 👍🏽👍🏽

@Nancy - We steal lots of words from foreign languages, especially when the concept doesn’t have an exact analogue in our native tongue. Why should we discriminate against Martian?

Unknown 10:54 AM  

How about, the W(ant) is for West and the SW(ord) is for Southwest. The title in one word. Thought that was the cleverest thing in this puzzle.

Unknown 12:53 PM  

Anonymous at 9:52. Get a life.

ghostoflectricity 10:18 PM  

Just got to the Sunday NYT crossword (more than 39 hours after picking the Sunday paper off the front step) so I'm late here. I agree with everything Rex said. This puzzle was tedious, laborious, dated, trite, no fun, and unfunny, with no payoff.

Don't know if anyone else mentioned this, but 58D: "KEBOB"? Really? Uh uh, no , no way, wrong, wrong, wrong. An acceptable spelling is either "kabob" or "kebab" but never "kebob." This puzzle was an abomination.

Giz 12:51 PM  

No troll, just my opinion. Though it does strike me as odd to see "grok" misused in a forum dedicated (more or less) to word usage. Maybe akin to seeing "enormity" used to mean something great, rather than greatly awful. To also quote Wikipedia:

Grok is a word coined by Robert A. Heinlein for his 1961 science-fiction novel, Stranger in a Strange Land, to indicate a concept of self transcendent experience and emergent identification beyond those of many "subject-object" assumptions. It has since become a widely used word to indicate intense or profound understanding.

Why misuse "grok" when you simply mean "I got it"?

I know this is pedantic, but isn't that what we do here? ��

Anonymous 5:11 PM  

puzzle after puzzle, Mr. Parker lambasts the quality and relevance of these constructions. he constantly bemoans the fact that he has to slog his way through all of the antiquated, irrelevant and shoddy puzzles that appear in the Times. Mr. Parker, why do you do this? perhaps you should just devote your energies to your daytime gig and anoint a more enthusiastic successor.

Joe 11:13 PM  

Come on, man! SPARKLING SWINE? That was worth it right there.

novamaz 12:32 PM  

Looking forward to the elegant, amazing crossword puzzles you design, Rex.

If already in existance, let me know where they are, as I'd really like to see your idea of a perfect crossword.

Burma Shave 11:18 AM  


OH, FOSSE liked them to SWAYUPHIGH,
EXQUISITE dance moves FOR to make,
SO from SWISHLISTS he'd pick ANY guy


rondo 11:44 AM  

Didn't we just recently have a letter-change puz? It's tiresome and today I agree with OFL. Between that and numerous obscurities (including PPP) where there should be help, I did not find this fun. Not MEAN just true.

For some self-encouragement the 4 corners say GO ME!

LILI and TERI can split any honors there might be today.


(DJ can't throw away this tournament, can he?)

Anonymous 5:13 PM  

This xword ran in our local paper today, so my comment may be missed by all. The clue for 34A is completely WRONG! Poi is never cooked, in an underground oven, or anywhere. It is pounded raw taro root! Very surprised our chef in Hawa’i did not comment on it!

fakt chekker 6:45 PM  

POI - Traditional poi is produced by mashing the cooked corm ***(taro root, either baked or steamed)*** on a papa ku‘i ‘ai, a wooden pounding board, with a pōhaku ku‘i ‘ai, a carved basalt pestle.

spacecraft 8:23 PM  

SHORTU. Hate it, hate it HATE IT!!! Throw that GARBAGE out of your puzzles! You put one in, you can't get better than a bogey. And the rest wasn't that spectacular: double bogey.

Didn't even watch the Masters; it's DJ's world, and the rest of them are just living in it. I heard his lead shrank to 2 at one point; ho-hum. Just put the coat on him and forget it.

Diana, LIW 11:07 AM  

This took forever and a day - thus, I post a day late.

All I can say is that never, ever, in the history of the English-speaking world, did anyone ever describe a bubble's joyous bubbleness by saying that it did IRIDESCE. (That was not my problem area, but what rot.)

Diana, No Longer Waiting for Monday, It's Here

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