Lawless figure with legendary fighting skills / WED 12-23-20 / Blizzards are produced in them familiarly / Overindulger of the grape / Locale of 1974's Rumble in the Jungle / Roebuck's onetime partner / Enemy of Antony in ancient Rome

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Constructor: Juliana Tringali Golden

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (?????) (I co-solved on Zoom ten minutes after waking up so I have no idea)

THEME: WEATHER BALLOONS (40A: Carriers of meteorological instruments ... as suggested by this puzzle's theme) — types of WEATHER are rebused inside four little BALLOONS (or circles):

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: SENNA (34D: Ingredient in some medicinal teas) —
1any of a genus (Cassia synonym Senna) of leguminous herbs, shrubs, and trees native to warm regions CASSIAsense 2especially one used medicinally
2the dried leaflets or pods of various sennas (especially Cassia angustifolia synonym Senna alexandrina) used as a purgative (
• • •

Good morning. It's getting late so I'm just gonna sketch the highlights and then refer you to the VIDEO SOLVE I did just now (sooooo early in the morning) with my friend and fellow crossword blogger (and fellow Central New Yorker) Rachel Fabi. I'll post the video at the end of the write-up. Aw, heck, I'll just post it here:

My main thoughts were that the theme was cute and well executed but the fill could've used some cleaning up. Weird (though not unheard of) to see a rebus on a Wednesday, but in this case the rebus squares are clearly flagged by the circles, which have been integrated into the theme *as circles*. Usually circles don't have any intrinsic value, puzzlewise; they just indicate letters that we are meant to notice for some reason. But here, the actual circle itself becomes part of the theme: clever. WEATHER BALLOONS is a perfect revealer and a perfect grid-spanner and so conceptually, this works. The one issue I have with the theme (and I didn't mention this in the video) is that with an embedded word (like the weather words today), the elegant thing to do is have that word touching both elements in the theme answer, the way RAIN, for instances, touches both EXTRA (RA-) and INNINGS (-IN). You break the word across the two elements of the theme answer. Today, that happened only once. Hiding WIND inside WINDOW ... meh. Not hard. There should be a reason you've hidden these inside flashy longer themers instead of just any old place on the grid. But here, LAUNCH and TEAR and BREAD are just hanging out with nothing to do—not touching the "weather" at all. Part of what makes themers in puzzles like this special is that the hidden word is hidden in this particular way, touching all the answer elements. To have one themer do this and the other three ... not ... makes this seem less polished, less carefully made. 

Fillwise, the puzzle is actually pretty rough, but there are some reasons for that, most notably that the theme is pretty dense and puts pretty severe restrictions on the grid. You have the five themers plus the rebus element, which means the crosses of those rebus squares are all fixed parts of the theme as well. I still think the fill should've been a lot smoother, but it's definitely passable. The one huge no-no is the fault of the editor (yet again). You can't (canNOT) cross DQS and QUEEN at the "Q" if you are going to clue DQS as "Dairy Queens" plural. You can't even have DQS and QUEEN in the same puzzle if that is how you're going to clue DQS. That is a dupe. A duplication. An editing mistake. Incredibly shoddy. DQS can be an abbr. for "disqualifications," esp. in sports, so either a different clue should've been used for DQS or that whole section should've been redone. Again, you absolutely cannot have "Q" meaning "queen" in an answer and then have the actual word QUEEN as an entirely different answer, and you *especially* can't do this if the answers cross at the "Q" LOL who's steering the ship over there!? Somebody mutiny, please!

Today's constructor, Juliana Tringali Golden, is an editor at the The Inkubator Crossword, a 3x/month independent crossword made entirely by women ("cis women, trans women, and women-allied constructors"). You can subscribe here!

OK, bye. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. looks like some things need extra explaining: ANAG is short for ANAGram, yes, awful. And EGOT = all the awards (Emmy Grammy Oscar Tony). Thank you, bye again!

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 6:41 AM  

Quicker than yesterday for me.

Just some drive-by observations:

ANAG? For those who dislike them in crosswords, how do you feel about incognito ANAGrams? Better? I didn't think so.

One man's po'boy sammich in a brown paper bag is another man's POBOX lunch, but only if these men told really, really bad jokes.

REWINDS, REOIL, but not reDIAL? 'Tis pity.😉

KAFKA: Bringer of mirth and @JD's inner voice when there's news to be shared.

Help me, OBI WINO Kenobi - the grape's my only hope.

Oh, right. The puzzle. A little rebus goes a long way in my solve joy. A cute-as-a-button revealer making extra use of the circles wraps it up quite nicely. Fun for me and my simple tastes.

The fill is the fill is the fill is the fill.
Wonder why I said that and how many others will do something similar...

Let's watch!


Anonymous 6:53 AM  

Please explain 12 down. What is “egot?” Jim

PGregory Springer 6:58 AM  

Winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.

Anonymous 7:03 AM  

Emmy,Grammy,Oscar, Tony

David Fabish 7:05 AM  

EGOT is an acronym for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. It's used for someone who has won all four (like Barbra Streisand).

Overall, I enjoyed this a lot! Fairly easy, clever, and my only issue was the one that Rex called out, too (crossing DQS with QUEEN).

SouthsideJohnny 7:09 AM  

EGOT = Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony (Babs has won them all). Seems like DR WHO and DQS is a bit of a Natick - are DQS even referred to as Dairy QUEENs anymore ? Just like the former Dunkin Doughnuts now goes by something else ?

Enjoyed the theme - I kept trying to put SNOW in one of the circles though. Finally got CICERO just cause it sounded like the name of some old dead guy (I thought it would have been Greek, but really, who cares?).

FAUST crossing KAFKA is downright KAFKAesque, which is cool cause I get to use that word for the second time in like a week.

NJT 7:10 AM  

Cute theme. Was not a fan of IN ALL and IN AIR right next to each other, DQ / QUEEN (as Rex said) was rough, and ANAG needs to be loaded into a rocket and launched directly into the sun, never ever to return. Otherwise, solid debut.

Lewis 7:13 AM  

Lovely follow-up puzzle to yesterday's Cloud 9.

D Peck 7:14 AM  

26A is different in mother app: “Blizzards are produced in them, familiarly.” I think you do the Across Lite version? Maybe someone missed the “queen” dupe there. The IN ALL/IN AIR dupe right next to each other though, and EGO crossing EGOT . . .

You were nicer than I expected. RAIN was the only answer I really bought as weather. SUN and WIND are kind of sort of weather, but it’s weak, and ICE isn’t weather at all—it’s a byproduct. Freezing rain is what your looking for. With so many good weather phenomena (like, say, blizzard) why not take the time to build a more interesting puzzle and run it on Thursday? Also thought the fill suffered from the datedness you so often point out: JULEP, CLEO, ASHY, JIVE (as clued), REOIL, SENNA, RNA all felt like crosswords of yesteryear to me.

Thought the clue on SEN was willfully obscure, esp. with what’s happening in Georgia right now. You already have ZAIRE, let it go. And ANAG, ugh.

Jim, EGOT stands for Emmy, Golden Globe, Oscar, Tony, and Barbra S. is one of a handful of people to have won at least one of each.

Anonymous 7:15 AM  

Emmy Grammy Oscar Tony

Joaquin 7:15 AM  

@Anonymnous (6:53) - Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony.

Rex is such a drama QUEEN when it comes to Will Shortz. When Shortz retires and the NYT gets around to hiring his replacement, I suspect Rex will be DQed due to all his hateful posts.

Cool puzzle, particularly on a Wednesday.

Anonymous 7:17 AM  

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony - a winner of all 4 awards said to have an EGOT

kitshef 7:17 AM  

Hardest Wednesday in a long while, which curiously had little to do with the them, which I had after about a minute. IN one before IN ALL made the NW hard to puzzle out, and not knowing ERIK nor the DIAL slogan made the SE tough.

And I kept getting the first part of things but blanking on the rest. WEATHER … station? Channel? Reporter? Tear … apart? To pieces? To shreds? Launch … pad? Countdown? Throw in EVEnSO and HEREiN, and everything just took a long time today.

Fantastic clue for XENA.

JonB3 7:18 AM  

EGOT = Emmy - Grammy - Oscar - Tony.

Rudy 7:21 AM  

That Tracey Thorn song is amazing. Thank you, I'd never heard it before (liked the puzzle as well)

Anonymous 7:21 AM  

Emmy Grammy Oscar Tony

mooretep 7:22 AM  

EGOT is Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony.

Awards in all four events is a rare "collection".

Glen Laker 7:25 AM  

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar & Tony. The grand slam of entertainment.

Geoff H 7:26 AM  

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony. There’s only a few people who have won all four. It’s A Thing.

Spatenau 7:27 AM  

@Anonymous, "egot" stands for "emmy," "grammy," "oscar," and "tony." Barbara Streisand has won all three.

Van Buren 7:27 AM  

Yeah, I don't get 12 down either.

TS Massachusetts 7:30 AM  

Emmy Grammy oscar Tony EGOT

Casimir 7:32 AM  

EGOT is Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony, all awards Ms. Streisand has won.

Second or third appearance of this, to my mind, iffy fill in the past month or so.

Anonymous 7:35 AM  

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar,Tony

OffTheGrid 7:38 AM  

I just really enjoy watching Rex and Rachel do the puzzle. Delightful!

abalani500 7:38 AM  

6:53 - Emmy Oscar Grammy Tony

ChuckD 7:40 AM  

Liked this one fine - maybe even more if it ran on Thursday without the help circles. The two direction rebus is always tops. Once the trick fell - the solve went quickly. LAUNCH WINDOW and EXTRA INNINGS shined as themers. Agree with Rex that the remaining fill was rough - some short, gluey stuff. KAFKA and STEIN and JULEPs are all apt. EGOT, ANAG etc not so much.

Odd puzzle where the theme overshadows the fill - enjoyable solve.

Okoume 7:41 AM  

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony

JMo 7:43 AM  

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony

Frantic Sloth 7:47 AM  

The video. Rex's Alien head, horror trauma, and Rachel's "maybe you should unpack this with a therapist" were a fun way to start the day.
Excellent point about the DQS/QUEEN transgression, which I completely missed. Shocking, I know.

Plus, I don't know if it was just the video angle or what, but Rachel's coffee mug was huuuge and I must have one!

@Anon/Jim 653am For those who have been awarded each of these: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony.

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

Small (admittedly pedantic) quibble: "DRWHO" is incorrect. The character is called The Doctor. Dr. is not his title, and his name is not Who. The abbreviation is not appropriate.

albatross shell 7:52 AM  

EGOT Same as recently.
Emmy Tony Oscar Grammy.
Persons who have won all 4 awards. GOTE or GOET woulda been my choice.

Dan Miller 7:52 AM  

It's an acronym for a person who's won the biggest awards in multiple entertainment fields: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony.

Mark 7:54 AM  

"EGOT, an acronym for the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards, is the designation given to people who have won all four awards."
(Not that I knew that when solving...)

Enjoyed this, but some nits...

SW corner. No one ever uses the word ASHY to describe anything. "The grate is kind of ashy, would you mind cleaning it?" "The ashtray is ashy, would you wash it out?"

Thinking of younger solvers:
Points off for clues that no one under ?? years old would get.

SL(ICE)D BREAD clue: Sliced bread was first sold in 1921 under the name Wonder Bread and the adverts for this new product said it was “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped”. People thought this was funny so they began to use the phrase “the best since sliced bread” to mean something that is really good.

"Liz" only triggers people of a certain age to think of Elizabeth Taylor.

Anonymous 7:55 AM  

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony.

TTrimble 7:57 AM  

@Anonymous Jim, 6:53 AM
Ooh, ooh, Mr. Kotter: I know! (I learned this the other day.) Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony. An EGOT is a Grand Slam in entertainment awards.

This puzzle played hard for me. Before I finally understood Uncle Rebus, I was thinking that ordinals might be a theme: 10th and 11th, and wasn't the row of letters going to be second or third ROW or something? (HOME ROW, huh.) And then it looked like the blastoff wanted to involve a Count (that C from ARCHIVAL), which is sort of related to ordinals.

Over in the SE, I really wanted TEAR Apart. Misspelled ERIK at first as ERIc (hey, what's up with that K anyway, wasn't he French?).

Last letter to go in was the A in SENNA -- was really unsure in both directions; I don't think I know about this LAN.

I probably should've given myself 20 minutes and a cup of coffee to wake up more before tackling this thing. Time was somewhat worse than average.

From yesterday: cool little nugget of info from @LMS about busboy. Same as the bus we take for transportation -- comes from omnibus! Also from yesterday: I pored over the HOSS, SWINE, and CONEY joke from @Gill I. for some time, and all I could come up with was "long paws". Is that it? But wait, swine have paws? A HOSS = horse has paws? I'm so confused... please someone help.

Rug Crazy 7:57 AM  

Never heard of that definition of PROSPECT before

Rug Crazy 7:58 AM  


paulagostinelli 8:00 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Howell 8:02 AM  

Also don't get "EGOT"... and must be under-caffeinated, because even though I filled in 20 correctly, I could not for the life of me understand what I was looking at until Rex spelled out "EXTRA INNINGS". Enjoyed this one - fun Wednesday!

Anonymous 8:03 AM  

egot = Emmy, Grammy,Oscar, Tony. Babs is fab!

Trockmn 8:04 AM  

EGOT = Emmy Grammy Oscar Tony

Jim McConnell 8:04 AM  

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony. It's a small club of folks who have won all four.

K9doc 8:06 AM  

EGOT : Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony. (Awards)

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony = EGOT

Anonymous 8:10 AM  

Jim, EGOT = Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. Those with that designation have won all four (wow).

Joe Welling 8:11 AM  

Jim: EGOT= Emmy Grammy Oscar Tony awards winner.

MissScarlet 8:11 AM  

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony.
EGOT. Not many have them all.

Elena Gold 8:15 AM  

E: Emmy
G: Grammy
O: Oscar
T: Tony (awards)

Pete 8:18 AM  

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony awards. She won them all.

Schuly 8:19 AM  

Emmy, Grammy, Oscsr, Tony

Pete 8:21 AM  

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony awards. She won them all.

Little brown bear 8:23 AM  

Yea. Somebody help us here.

Megafrim 8:24 AM  

Off the topic of today's puzzle, but we should not look back so fondly on the puzzles of yesteryear. I just did an archived Sunday from 1994, the theme was palindromes. SPOILER ALERT. "Why Mr. Martin isn't popular on Memorial Day" yielded "STEVELAMSMALEVETS". Whaaat? I don't get it. Is "lams" a verb? And "What the quality control chief did at a Japanese auto plant" was "TRAPATOYOTAPART". How does trap work there? Possibly the worst Sunday puzzle ever. For those interested, it was from Sunday May 29 of 1994, and titled "Look Both Ways". By contrast, current puzzles are great!

Little brown bear 8:25 AM  

Egot=Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony

JD 8:30 AM  

@Frantic, How did you know? Threw down Julep and thought, "Aw, this could be another sweet thing like Tuesday then BLAM Kafka and his stories about what it's like to live in pandemic times. A bug* in the works. I wasn't cheered up again until I hit Wino. Heheh.

Agree with Rex on the embedding thing. Consistency - hobgoblin or useful for setting an expectation? In this case I vote for consistency. Still, easy with a little pushback. Wednesday appropriate.

*Really an insect but I wouldn't resist.

Xcentric 8:31 AM  

@anonymous 6:53am
Emmy Grammy Oscar Tony

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

@ Jim EGOT is an eponym for winning an EMMY, GOLDEN GLOBE, OSCAR, and TONY Award.

pabloinnh 8:33 AM  

The DQ?Queen cross somehow escaped my notice entirely, probably because I just think of Dairy QUEEN as DQ, when I think of it at all. Far more shocking, to me at least, was the REBUS ON A WEDNESDAY! What next?

Actually, I was looking around for a good place to start and my possible answers were going nowhere, because of the ROW factor, when I stumbled across good old ABE Simpson, which led me to 40A. Got to be WEATHERBALLOONS, thought I, and sure enough it fit, and the rest was more or less a walk in the park, once I got ICE from SLICEDBREAD. I had thought of that, it didn't fit, and with the ROW, now it did.

Well done with XENA as a "Lawless figure" and the 10th and 11th clues for baseball, which took way too long to connect. Wrong season.

Very nice Wednesday, JTG. I don't think its' your fault that today is not Thursday.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

@Anon (6:53) EGOT = Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony

The list of winners of the 4 major American entertainment awards is growing, but still fairly exclusive. Richard Rodgers was the first to do it.

Some disqualify Streisand (and others) from the EGOT because her Tony was a special award, and not a competitive one.

There are 16 people with competitive EGOTs.

The only people to have acting EGOTs (winning acting awards for the Emmy, Tony and Oscar) are Rita Moreno and Helen Hayes.

Robert Lopez (The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q, Frozen, etc) is a double-EGOT, having won each award competitively twice. He's the only one to do so. He's also the youngest to obtain an EGOT.

TJS 8:36 AM  

Not a word about "anag" and "egot". But "DQS" and "queens" drives him crazy.

I'm gettin' sick of "his" and "her" honor.

That Kafka guy must have been a riot to hang out with.

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

Relatively new solver, so I'm guessing some of my issues with the puzzle might be resolved with experience. I agree with previous anon poster - what is EGOT? Also, I don't understand how Vista is the answer for Prospect.

JBH 8:37 AM  

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony.

BobL 8:41 AM  

Jim - please don't ask a question again!

Joaquin 8:43 AM  

And the "Lifetime Achievement Award" for appearances as an answer in a Rex Blog goes to ... drum roll ... EGOT.

Egads, EGOT! Everyone (including yours truly) answered the 12D question. Guess that actually says something nice about this group. Glad to be a part of it.

GHarris 8:52 AM  

To paraphrase Churchill “never have so many responded to so few”. I guess everyone wants to demonstrate knowledge but cmon folks read the blog first. E got sick of the repetition

bocamp 8:55 AM  

@Juliana, thank you for a fine Wednes. puzzle. Very enjoyable! 🌧 💨 ☃️ 🌞

Slightly over av. time.

Gymnopédie No.1 - "Erik" Satie

Peace 🕊

Zoolander 8:58 AM  

But why male models ?

Frosty Flake 9:02 AM  

If you guessed 27D was queer then repetition problem solved.
Isn't that part of the sexual alphabet soup? LGBTQ?

RooMonster 9:03 AM  

Hey All !
If EGOT is in another puzzle, and ANYBODY asks about it after it being repeated here umpteen times, I will Slap them!!

Now, please stop. Mods, do you have to approve Every. Single. EGOT reply? Cull them a little bit. Or is it our punishment for you having to read them all too? :-)

OK, my little RANT aside, was surprised to find a rebus on Wednesday. I'm guessing tomorrows will be Christmas related? Also a rebus, or some other trick? We'll see. Found said rebus at ICE, as seeing BREAD off of a couple of letters, and then thought it would be SLICED, and with the Revealer clue saying meteorological instruments, knew the ICE would be rebussed, confirmed by CICERO (which I actually know that name, unsophisticate in all things art me!) Got a chuckle when I got WEATHERBALLOONS. Nice Reveal.

Is this another debut-er? Would that word be "debutter" or "debuter"? @LMS? Or is it even a word?

Had EXT(RAIN) starting 20A and kept going to EXTRANEOUSsomething. Har.

ANAG as an Abbr. for ANAGRAM is truly awful. Neat clue, though. But with the __LN caused by the theme constraints, I guess that is the best we can hope for. :-) Other random thoughts: I do agree with Rex on DQS should've been clued as an Abbr. for Disqualifies, and clue QUEEN as the awesome music group! Neat clues on OBI and ZENA. And another pangram. DR WHO IS a long-running show. Why did it need "for short" in the clue? Isn't that the name of the show?

Enough of my JIVE. See ya later.

One F

kitshef 9:05 AM  

@Anon 8:35 - Streisand to my mind also gets a little bonus for having won both a daytime Emmy and a prime time Emmy. I think there are only one or two other EGOTs with that distinction.

OldGuy 9:11 AM  


CS 9:16 AM  

This was a super fun Wednesday puzzle! A Rebus is my favorite kind - a nice surprise to get one on a Wednesday. Not too easy, but solvable. I didn't know "Senna" so that tripped me up, otherwise satisfyingly crunchy.

-- CS

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

Merry Christmas to all and to all EGOT night !

Anonymous 9:18 AM  


It's actually an Australian term. Properly read its TOGE.
( Tasmanian Oceanographic & Geographic Education). It's like our STEM, but for Oceania. It was started in the late 1970's as answer to the calamitous, and deteriorating condition of the Great Barrie Reef.
I'm not sure what everyone else is going on about. They're all upside down if you ask me.

--John Legend Penn `99
EGOT 2019

CDilly52 9:19 AM  

OK, somebody slap me awake or something. I am going to blame my density on the fact that I had a horrible case of the flu that kept me in bed for seven whole days and I am still having to nap a couple times during the day. Solved the puzzle, had no trouble with the rebus on a Wednesday because of EXTRA INNINGS right off the bat.

What hung me up was wondering what the heck ANAG means related to dustpans?!?! Didn’t even read that clue because I filled in all the words on the Across items so I didn’t even see that peculiar word until After I had finished.

For some reason as I scanned to see the finished product, both EGOT and ANAG looked odd so I read the clues. Had forgotten the E-G-O-T award reference and had to dredge it up from the ARCHIVAL space way back at the back. But ANAG stumped me. Stumped me while reading the blog and the comments. Stumped me until I broke down and started to look it up and the. The huge, and dreadfully embarrassing AHA! Sheesh.

This was such a clever, entertaining and well crafted puzzle. I shall look for more from our constructor and hope to get out my dustpan to sweep away the cobwebs that seem to have overtaken my reasoning!!

Mr. Cheese 9:21 AM  

Please help! What does EGOT mean? .......(just kidding)

Nancy 9:25 AM  

What on earth are the "DQS" that produce blizzards? I had D?S and couldn't finish. That's because I had RtES instead of RUES for the Montreal meeting places, giving me ?TEEN for the Ru Paul's Drag Race contestant. And since I've never watched that perfectly dreadful-sounding show...

I ended up with a 1-letter DNF.

But I loved the rebuses anyway, even though I didn't understand what exactly they have to do with WEATHER BALLOONS or meteorological instruments. I got WIND at LAUNCH WINDOW/REWINDS and wondered if all the rebuses would be WIND. Next in was SUN. And so I sort of got the "what", even if I didn't get the "why".

EXTRA INNINGS took me forever since I didn't know UNI?. Was 20A ES TRAININGS? EX TRAININGS? EM TRAININGS? Talk about your DOOKS! EXTRA INNINGS is great, and so deviously clued. Really liked this puzzle, even though I flubbed it.

Frantic Sloth 9:30 AM  


@Mark 754am "Liz" only triggers people of a certain age to think of Elizabeth Taylor.
I'm curious. What "certain age", and which other actor called simply "Liz" comes to your mind?

@TTrimble 757am Sometimes you allow your mathy mind of logic to obstruct the whimsy of a silly joke. Yes, there was some liberty taken with the loose interpretation of "paws", but if one needs must utilize beasts of the grid, one other needs must roll with it. 😉

@Roo 903am May I be second in line for that EGOT slap?
BTW, @GHarris 852am Sometimes there is a delay between people submitting comments and their being posted. For example, I answered at 747am, but did not see any posts after Jim's question despite refreshing several times. Took a chance. Should have known better.
Now, if there are any laggards after 905am...fair game to call them out!

@CDilly52 919am Need a slap? See @Roo. Or yours truly. 😉

So far, no fellow STEINers...

mathgent 9:35 AM  

I thought it was outstanding in every respect. Crunchy, sparkly, clean, with a well-executed theme.

I think that John Steinbeck is a great writer but I've tried twice to read East of Eden and couldn't do it.

Rex and Jeff Chen complain that the rebus entries don't all span two words. That would have been better, but I'll take rebuses any way I can get them.

I'm amused that Rex is extremely liberal about politics but ultra conservative about adhering to the unwritten rules of crosswords. DQS crossing QUEEN is an unforgivable duplication, he says.

GILL I. 9:45 AM  

Can somebody explain EGOT to me....OH wait......I'm going to blow my brains out first.
So A NAG and a HOSS went into a bar.....Oh wait...I did that yesterday. I need some Kleenex.
Why do I have a sudden urge to sing songs from the LP "Serpentine Fire?"

A Wednesday RE BUS. My favorite drag QUEEN and now I want to join @Frantic and have some OBI WINO Kenobi with my Mint JULEP. Will they give me the DQS at 6:30 in the morn?

Loved this little JIVE, the swing/music/ dancing sense. No malarky involved in my white SLICED BREAD, complex, bizarre illogical Kafkaesque brain. I'm getting ready for Christmas and need to make bread and cookies.

Mohair Sam 9:49 AM  

Loved the puzz - lots of fun. Liked the cluing a lot. Round balloons instead of silly circles - clever.

Enjoyed the Parker/Fabi team solve too. Nice to see Rex actually enjoys solving, sometimes I wonder. btw Parker - Native Syracusan Lady Mohair points out that you reside in New York's Southern Tier, not Central New York as you apparently believe. Why am I following a blogger who doesn't even know where he lives?

Haven't we gone through this EGOT silliness more than once before?

TTrimble 9:49 AM  

@Frantic Sloth
Just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something. :-) It was a sweet little joke as it stands. But my mind roamed all over the place, including Bonanza and... never mind. It's not important now.

(Hannah Gadsby clips are beginning to enter my YouTube feed, but I haven't sat down to Nanette and Douglas yet. I'm still recovering/convalescing from the semester, and catching up on things.)

I thought I was going to be the first to point out today's pangram, but I see @RooMonster, aka Rooster, aka DarrinV, beat me to it.

Mohair Sam 9:53 AM  

@Mathgent (9:35) - I've read pretty much everything Steinbeck has written and "East of Eden" in my mind is his best, and one of the best American novels ever.

Different strokes I guess.

jae 9:55 AM  

On the tough side for a Wed., but then I wasn’t looking for a rebus. The NW was last to fall as JULEP, JIVE, VISTA....did not readily leap to mind.

Fun Wed. with some crunch, liked it a bunch. Another fine NYT debut.

GILL I. 10:04 AM  

@TTrimble. You and I need to sit down and talk. There is only one thing I make sense of (well...maybe two) and that is Pinot Noir and how long my bread needs to rise. Feel free to call me any time.....I'm good to go.

Eddie 10:07 AM  

Got it!

Z 10:09 AM  

Will somebody, anybody, please get us off this roller coaster and explain what the hell an EGOT is?

Wow. Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like that KAFKA quote.

Somebody said ICE isn’t weather (I’m not wading through 7,000 EGOT explainers to figure out who). Apparently you’ve never awakened to the terrifying beauty of the morning after an ICE storm. If you ever do let me suggest you bundle up and take a walk, but do not get into your car until the roads have been cleared.

I’m torn by XENA in the puzzle. It’s a great clue if the year is 1995 through maybe 2005. But that show has been off the air for two decades and even the “is XENA a lesbian” think pieces are old now. How long is the puzzle life of long-running but never really huge tv shows? It did remind me of the anthem incident (Red Wings/Ducks playoff game I think, where Lucy Lawless sang the anthem and had a wardrobe malfunction).

@Frantic Sloth - re:ANAG - I don’t want to be A NAG about it but I did check to see if I was at the marina. If the choice is a suboptimal indefinite article and a terrible, rotten, contemptible, ugly abbreviation I think you know what I prefer.

@TJS - The thing is, as Rex pointed out, it is such an unnecessary dupe.

@joaquin - LOL - C’mon man, there are lots of people out there actually working as crossword editors. Besides, what makes anyone think Rex would want the job?

Interesting that Rex focused on more recent depictions of drunkenness. Intoxicated man as comic foil is a tool Shakespeare used, heck Homer has Circe get Odysseus’ men drunk and turns them into swine... nothing metaphorical or comic there. La vie est une tragédie pour celui qui sent, et une comédie pour celui qui pense. - Some dead French guy

Lots to like about this puzzle. The demerits are relatively minor.👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

I'm with @Roo/9:03. "My daughter, my sister" gets you a slap, too.

Carola 10:30 AM  

Very nice! And nicely challenging. My first weather phenomenon was RAIN, and so I thought the circles were going to be representing raindrops, but that idea soon ran into a headWIND. I had the most trouble seeing the SUN, with Sleek instead of SILKY keeping the TSUNAMI from view for a good while. I thought the theme entries were super and the the reveal terrific. As an extra tidbit,, I also liked CICERO and Gertrude STEIN being brought together by SLICED BREAD. @SouthsideJohnny 7:09, thanks for pointing out the KAFKA-FAUST cross, each bedeviled in his own way.

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

And no comment on the awful "egot" and "anag"? Miserable puzzle

Z 10:37 AM  

@RüMonster - Why did it need "for short" in the clue? Isn't that the name of the show? I think somebody already kvetched about this. The show is aboutThe Doctor and the show is called Doctor Who. DR WHO in the puzzle always brings out at least one Whoosier making this point. To my knowledge, none of the incarnations of The Doctor has ever won an EGOT.

TTrimble 10:39 AM  

@Gill I.
I take it you're not drinking any F**king Merlot!

Speaking of bread, my wife makes a mean Stollen. I think she's on about loaf #5 for the Christmas season.


KnittyContessa 10:51 AM  

Wow! 83 comments and it isn't even 11am yet.

A fun rebus Weds.

Happy Festivus!

Nancy 10:53 AM  

@Z (10:09)-- If you were a doctor, they'd take your license away for malpractice.

You're advising people to go out for a walk on ice! Have you lost your mind? Do you want everyone on the blog to fall and break a hip?

Why do people who drive cars think that ice is only dangerous to people who drive cars? I'm so tired of local news programs that, after a snowstorm, focus on the state of the roads and highways. They'll show me visuals of every road in the tristate area: in Queens, in NJ, on Long Island, in Rockland County, in Ulster County, and meanwhile...

They won't show me a single Avenue in Manhattan. Not a single sidewalk in Manhattan. Not a single crosswalk in Manhattan. How the bleep am I supposed to know when it's safe to emerge from hibernation? And local news just loves showing you pile-ups on the highway. But do they ever show you a pedestrian falling on black ice on an unshoveled sidewalk and hitting the pavement hard? Never.

Don't listen to @Z, people! Ice is dangerous...for everyone!

RANT over.

Joaquin 10:58 AM  

@Z (10:09) offers as proof that ICE is 'weather' suggests that one "bundle up and take a walk" after an ice storm.

My disconnected/reconnected quadricep, plus the 10" scar over my knee, would suggest otherwise. My advice: Stay inside and don't drive or take a walk until the ice melts.

burtonkd 10:58 AM  

In the holiday spirit (if not always the spirit of this blog), I give a pass to DQ/queen dupe since it has a weather related misdirect as clued. It could be lawyered that DQ is the brand name, no longer necessarily an abbreviation for Dairy Queen. KFC is in on this trend. Just a thought, could we have LASER and LIGHT in the same puzzle, since light is included in L.A.S.E.R.?

EVERSO is just ever so precious

Nice to see another variant on Kafka/Franz/Samsa/Metamorphosis rear its ugly head, get it?

I thought Morocco was the western-most country, but Senegal just beats it by a nose. Looking at the map, I wondered where I had been when Western Sahara became its own non-self-governing territory. I'm sure it will show up in a puzzle near you soon, you're welcome.

Also, the Rumble took place in that 26 year period when the name DRC was interrupted by the Zaire appelation.

Something strikes me as syntactically off about "gradually faster", speeding up, increasing in tempo, becoming gradually faster seem better.

RooMonster 11:12 AM  

"Things we're thankful for"

The return of Sports after a little drought of Sportslessness that had some tearing their hair out, with being quarantined And nothing to watch. Well, as much as Sports have come back. Shortened seasons, et al. Football still roaring, and Basketball starting!


OISK 11:20 AM  

Do they have DQs in NYC? Never heard of EGOT either, but from the responses, I guess it is common enough. So OK on egot, not so much on the DQ blizzard. That said, I really enjoyed this puzzle!

cb 11:20 AM  

This sky nerd found today easy and fun! Love a surprise rebus. Thank you Juliana!

TTrimble 11:20 AM  

You may have figured it out already, but DQ is short for Dairy Queen, you know the chain of ice cream stands, and they make this concoction called a "blizzard". They're enormous sort of frozen milk shakes that you eat with a spoon, and they're jammed with sweet stuff, I think toffee and the like, and I can almost guarantee that after one of those you wouldn't need any more food the rest of the day.

Nancy 11:24 AM  

@Joaquin (10:58)-- Great minds think alike. And then I went to your blog profile, not remembering where you live. And I was stunned to see you live in Southern California.

Do they even have ice to fall on in SoCal? Maybe you were on a skiing vacation?

At any rate, you have my sincere sympathy for your fall and your surgery. I regard you as the kind of cautionary tale that I've always been -- and still am -- duly cautioned by.

RooMonster 11:25 AM  

Ah, thanks. (Or should I say Danke since I'm now RüMonster to you?) I didn't know the show's title spelled out "Doctor" completely.

And remember, y'all, what EGOT stands for, because as @Z says, (paraphrasing, as my brain sucks), it will be seen in a puz near you soon. (Probably NYT again.)

Feel free to call me Roo. Or whatever you'd like. I've been called worse. 😁

@Everyone from YesterComments who thought my nickname story was cool, Thanks! After I had moved to CT, I started hanging at a neat bar called The Star Cafe, and as I said, started introducing myself as "Roo". After a little bit, I started joining in on the pool and dart leagues, where your actual name is written down. I kept hearing people ask, "Who the heck is Darrin?" Har, good stuff.

Also funny (if you care to keep reading 😋), @Z postulated that the V in my DarrinV was "the fifth" ala Roman Numerals. I got a chuckle out of that one!
It's just the first initial if my last name.
RooMonster Hopefully Done Patting Myself On The Back Guy

OffTheGrid 11:30 AM  

Ya gotta see this. Ya just gotta.

jberg 11:37 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle, although I'm with @Rex on favoring word-spanning rebuses (or are they rebopodes?). Also with @Rex on recommending
The Inkubator. Try it, you'll love it.

@nancy, @Pablo, @Z -- or get yourself a pair of crampons.

Also @Nancy -- DQs are drive-in soft-serve (fake ice cream) places. I've never seen one in Manhattan, but we had one in Sturgeon Bay. The Blizzard is some kind of trademarked drink or dish--I've never had one, but they used to advertise them, so somehow I knew it.

CICERO was the toughest entry for me. We read him in high school, Latin III if I remember correctly, but almost everything we read was about his enmity toward Catiline, so I didn't think the clue fit. It ahd to be, though, so I put it in and looked him up after I finished. Sure enough, Antony was responsible for his beheading.

Was Unix really pioneering? I'm pretty sure it's still around, but I guess it could be seen as a successful pioneer. I guess I could look that up, too.

I'm feeling wistful about RECLINER. Our favorite movie theater converted to all-recliner seating and began selling wine that you could take to your seat about a year before they had to shut down. Can't wait to get back! My daughter gets her first vaccine shot tomorrow (she's an ICU doc); with luck, I'll have mine by February, so things will start to get safer--but indoor theaters are likely to be Fall 2021, I think.

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

Nancy got one right. Don't listen to Z

It's quadriceps. With an s. That is the singular, for the single largest muscle in the bandy. No such thing as a quadricep. And surely avoid any doctor who says otherwise.

Mrs. Mohair is, of course, dead on regarding The Southern Tier. That is the usage confirmed by someone just across the border in Pa's Northern Tier)

To reaffirm Dr Who is wrong. But so great to have in the grid so that we get Rex's balled up fits and stomping feet and ( unseen but certainly there) beet red face as he throws a tantrum about DQs. So great that the little tin god on wheels misidentifies the mistake has the temerity to rant about a perfectly fine cross. "Mwah" (chef's kiss)

Newboy 11:42 AM  

Today’s grid is truly Golden. Thanks Juliana and congratulations on your debut!

Fun to use the rebus on any day, so enjoyed the solve and the video solve is an addition I now look forward to seeing. There are amazing YouTube clips of truly dedicated speed solvers that I have been amazed by, but as a tortoise paced person for most things, I sorta wonder why.

Seasonal hint for @TTrible, @Gill and others overwhelmed with the aroma of sourdough proofing/baking: Stollen ö I just discovered from an Alaskan KIN can be accurately rendered by just holding down the o character on my iPad. Isn’t technology wonderful when it’s working? Not so much when my iPad changes a possessive its to it’s as it did on yesterday’s post! A KAFKAesque awakening that—sigh.

pabloinnh 11:45 AM  

@Nancy and @Joaquin both offer good advice about the dangers of ICE.

So if I may, I'd like to add to @Roo's list of Things We're Thankful For:

The people who go out in and after ice storms to restore power. My Dad was a lineman for the power company and spent a lot of time doing just that. There were times when he'd be gone for a week if some other area got slammed. Any time the lights go out, I think about those people, and am thankful for them.

sixtyni yogini 11:52 AM  

Loved this puzz. Clever, clever and very difficult pour moi. As a somewhat newbie thought rebuses all had to be the same letters 🤣 Welcome to the theme, Ms Solver. 😂 Almost lost patience!

TTrimble 11:57 AM  

@OffTheGrid 11:30 AM
LOL doesn't even begin to cut it. Perhaps ROTFLMAO begins to. Suffice it to say, I was howling with laughter so hard, the rest of the family had to see...

Pablo 11:57 AM  

Quicker than yesterday, even though it was a lazy solve done while decorating the tree. I couldn't get it out of my head that it was going to be earth, WIND, and fire, but I convinced myself the band was actually earth, WIND, ICE, and fire (this is less ridiculous than it sounds as I'm under 30). Still a very fun solve. SLICED BREAD basically gave away the rebus, which makes it an acceptable Wednesday. No matter how many times they clue "Rumble in the Jungle," I never remember ZAIRE until I get the Z.

OffTheGrid 12:06 PM  

This passenger asked what EGOT is (20 seconds in).

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

simple answer: UNIX, correct spelling, is a play on MULTICS, ditto, which was conceived as the ultimate computer: both near supercomputer for the FORTRAN folks and a time-sharing machine for the rest of us. about 1970, IIRC, and caused the spawn of the C language, which drives most everything in coding these days. while there aren't that many C coders outside of systems work, e.g. writing other OS, most languages that do exist these days end up going through either a C compiler or C interpreter.

much of personal computing's OSes have roots in structure to UNIX. more than a few commands were taken wholesale.

So, yeah, UNIX is pioneering. but, if MULTICS had succeeded, it never would have happened.

Juliana Tringali Golden 12:13 PM  

Wow, so cool to watch Rachel and Rex solve my puzzle! What luck to land on the 23rd.
I thought the discussion of WINO as an entry was interesting and important. Personally, I was hoping to clue this in a more positive light. I live in Oakland, CA, which is not far from the Napa Valley. There you will find "over-indulgers of the grape" who sport WINO bumper stickers. I originally wanted to clue this as [Someone who sees the world through rosé colored glasses] because to me that evokes a person who really enjoys rosé (like me). Now, just because people self-describe with an offensive term doesn't mean it's not offensive, but maybe there is another way to look at it. Something to think about for future puzzles, and I'll keep it in mind for SOT as well!

Joaquin 12:15 PM  

@Anonymous (11:39) - While you are correct about the plural-looking 'quadriceps' being the singular form of the word, the more normal-looking 'quadricep' is also an accepted form. It is one of those words that gains acceptance through its repeaated misuse (also called a 'back-formation' word).

@Nancy (11:24) - I'm a SoCal native and current resident but I did spend many years living in the mid-west, which is where I took my header walking on ice. Much less glamorous than a skiing vacation. I got out of my truck, took a coupe of steps, and ... splat! Had to drive myself to the ER!

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

Dairy Queen serves a drink called a Blizzard.

thfenn 12:19 PM  

LOL, what's EGOT again? Great puzzle. Went with launchpad before seeing the rebus, and shark before tsunami, so took me awhile to catch on. Also had INASmuch and couldn't let go of it, but when it all fell into place I thought it was great.

Masked and Anonymous 12:22 PM  

EGGOT -- Epsy, Gold-Globe, Obie, Tax refund … right?
Or shoot is the T maybe Trump-Dumper?

Likeable rebus theme, at our house. Upliftin.

staff weeject pick: DQS. Plural scrabble-twerkin abbreve meat. honrable mention to ICE & SUN, tho.

Played kinda hard, solvequest-wise. Not exactly sure why. Maybe the SUN was in my eyes.

ANAG. har
ANAG clue. doh

Thanx for the Christmas balloons, Juliana T-G. And congratz on yer fine debut.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Anonymous 12:24 PM  

Didn't we just have ARCHIVAL?

Z 12:36 PM  

It is a "terrible" beauty, not to be taken lightly. Out walking after the 1985 New Years Day ICE Storm isn't even the the craziest weather related thing I've done. Skiing at Tremblant during the Polar Vortex (the high was -24˚F) definitely ranks up there, and more than once I've found myself driving home during a blizzard. When you live somewhere weather happens you cope.

@Rü - Or French. Take your pick Are you more German Death Metal or French Biblical Name?
Also, it will be seen in a puz near you soon. (Probably NYT again.) - A quick google reveals that EGOT was an answer on 12/11/2020, @mathgent mentioned EGOT on 12/3/2020, and the LATX was an EGOT theme on September 16, 2020. Appearing in at least 3 puzzles over 4 months certainly suggests it will be in a puzzle near you again soon.

What? 12:39 PM  

Go to YouTube. You’ll see much slipping band sliding on sidewalks (and driveways) to keep you in stitches. Most are posted for either humor or schadenfreude and they are slapstick funny if you assume no serious damage. If you are super empathetic, don’t watch.

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

You'd do better to be correct when jousting. Not only is quadricep not a word used by any reputable source, your applying t a real term in an attempt to justify it is also incorrect. Back-formation is either the process of creating a new lexeme (less precisely, a new "word") by removing actual or supposed affixes, or a neologism formed by such a process. Back-formations are shortened words created from longer words, thus back-formations may be viewed as a sub-type of clipping.

Quadricep does not of that. It is not a back formation; it is an error.

Teedmn 12:55 PM  

This was fun; a tad tough for a Wednesday for me because I got stuck in a couple of places. HOME ROW, for instance, was not an auto-fill. Couldn't think of ZAIRE in the SE and was trying to fit in SNOW or TORNADO or something other than SUN in the SE balloon so it wasn't until I got SILKY that I gave up on a shark sighting being a scary cry on a beach.

Great job, Juliana Tringali Golden, better than SLICED BREAD, and congratulations on your NYTimes debut.

TTrimble 1:11 PM  

@Anonymous 12:48 PM
So what was wrong with calling it a back-formation? I read what you wrote, but I don't see how that proves your point (that it isn't).

For what it's worth, this entry (based on Random House Unabridged) calls it a back-formation.

Cankee Yanuck 1:14 PM  

I was working on this as soon as it came out last night and was doing okay until I hit the southeast corner. Even with AMAZES, which gave me ZAIRE, I wasn't seeing anything. I kept cycling through SHINY and SLEEK, hoping one of them would help me out, but no luck.

Finally turned out the lights and lay there thinking of various types of weather that might work with TEARA___ until SUN appeared. Turned the lights back on, filled out TEARASUNDER and quickly got the rest. Overall time was at the high end for me though.

Question: What do you mean when you refer to a puzzle as "crunchy"? By context, it seems like it means it's got some difficult areas, but is there more to it than that?

Ethan Taliesin 1:19 PM  

I knew EGOT but had never heard of SENNA.

Juliana Tringali Golden 1:24 PM  

Wow, so cool to watch Rachel and Rex solve my puzzle! What luck to land on the 23rd.
I thought the discussion of WINO as an entry was interesting and important. Personally, I was hoping to clue this in a more positive light. I live in Oakland, CA, which is not far from the Napa Valley. There you will find "over-indulgers of the grape" who sport WINO bumper stickers. I originally wanted to clue this as [Someone who sees the world through rosé colored glasses] because to me that evokes a person who really enjoys rosé (like me). Now, just because people self-describe with an offensive term doesn't mean it's not offensive, but maybe there is another way to look at it. Something to think about for future puzzles, and I'll keep it in mind for SOT as well!

Z 1:27 PM  

@TTrimble - I suspect we are wasting our breath (or, in this case, our recycled electrons), but FWIW American Heritage uses the back formation of “bicep” from “biceps” as one of its examples of a back formation.

Chelseamom65 1:29 PM  

Please someone explain ANAG for me - still don’t get it... (but i knew EGOT so that counts for something, no?)

Anonymous 1:33 PM  


It's not aback formation because it doesn't effectively shorten or change the word. There are times when losing a single letter results in a back formation--Laze from lazy for example, but that change results in a demonstrable shortening from two to a single syllable.
The quadriceps to quadricep doesn't materially shorten the word in any way. And its quite clear where quadricep comes from. And that's ignorance. Illiterates who think the s denotes a plural remove it to get what the thing is a singular. It's not a back formation. It-s a bone-head formation.

Smith 1:36 PM  

Local Area Network....

Smith 1:39 PM  

Hand up for enjoying the Lawless clue! Made me smile.

TTrimble 1:42 PM  

Sure. A similar discussion was had a little while back when BICEP made an appearance in the NYT crossword (11/29). I wrote something about back-formations then as well (3:52 PM). Perhaps Anonymous was too busy arguing about Sumer with you to take notice.

Anonymous 1:53 PM  

On the contrary. Its precisely because I do remember the bicep contretemps that I commented today. You were wrong about that too, and I was tired of biting my tongue.

There have been no arguments about Sumer--it has only appeared in reference to the definitive work on Mesopotamia, History Begins at Sumer.
if you're going to make digs, at least get them right.

TTrimble 2:21 PM  

Thanks for your additional explanation. Can you adduce any evidence that other linguists or lexicographers share your belief, that it's necessary for the shortening to be "effective" (whatever "effective" should mean exactly)? Obviously quadriceps --> quadricep shortens the length. My lay understanding is that that would count.

In sources that I've consulted, "antipode" and "bicep" and "quadricep" are all considered back-formations, and they seem very similar in how they came about (removal of an -s as a supposed pluralizing affix). I've looked up the notion of back-formation in several sources by now, and these examples all seem to fit the descriptions I've read.

Frantic Sloth 2:33 PM  

@TTrimble 949am Just watch HG when you're damned good and ready. I don't think she's going anywhere, but one never know with Netflix, do one?
2nd time (in under a week??) I've completely missed the pangram, but I guess that's good news as far as construcitoneering quality! I didn't notice and never even thought to look for one.

@Z 1009am Don't knock KAFKA-go-lightly. That's @JD's spirit animal. It's unclear whether you found yourself at the marina or not...

@OffTheGrid 1130am That's not funny…but, so is! I remember your 1206pm – perfect!

@jberg 1137am If crampons are anything like Yaktrax, don't wear them anywhere simulating indoors…like a NYC bus. I fell on one when it started moving before I could sit down and my feet flew out from under me. Sideways. Torn ACL, meniscus damage, and a stream of obscenities later, it took another rider Samaritan to yell at the driver to stop for a minute so I could get up. Good times.

@Juliana Tringali Golden 1213pm Thanks for stopping by and your words to think about. Just so's ya know, I much prefer your clue to the one printed.

@Z 1236pm And how much would you like to bet there will be another question about EGOT next time it shows up?

Not for nothing @Anon 153pm, but if that's what you call "biting my tongue", perhaps you don't know everything. Don't mind me – I'm just the eye-roller sitting in the corner, watching the shite show.

JC66 2:59 PM  

I thought EGOT was the plural of a back muscle.

SharonAK 3:07 PM  

Anonymous 7ll:51 Ok, so now we know you are a serious fan of the program. But no matter what the doctor's name, the shows title is Doctor Who, and the "for short" in the clue makes Dr. perfectly OK as an answer.

ChuckD 7:41
But leaving out the circles would have left part of the fun they are balloons.

sanfranman59 3:15 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 3:19 PM  


sanfranman59 3:28 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
sanfranman59 3:50 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 4:09 PM  

The short answer, sufficient and definitive, is that quadricep is not a different word than quadriceps and the formation of a new word is the sine qua non of back formation.
You’ll agree that quadricep and quadriceps have identical meanings. They are the same part of speech. They convey the same tone. There isn’t a hint of difference between them save the final s.
And that s is the result of ignorance not the effort to creat a new word.
As an aside, your rhetorical device “whatever ‘effective’ should mean exactly” is a poor strategy, that is what is called an appeal to ignorance. It is beneath this board. It was clear what I meant, and I made my meaning explicit by saying there was bio difference. And there’s not. Not in meaningful terms. That removing the ultimate letter of a word relieves some of the ill informed of discerning a singular from a plural is hardly a rationale to sanction the illiteracy.

Pdxrains 4:25 PM  

I honestly had the whole thing solved quick and was looking at TEAR ASUNDER for like 10 minutes. I've never heard that phrase in my life!

sanfranman59 4:35 PM  

I've noticed that Rex hasn't ranted lately about the lack of women in the bylines of NYT puzzles (at least not since early March when the Times published a week of puzzles by women). With another debut puzzle by a female constructor today, I got curious about the gender breakdown this year. So I went through my crossword solving database and I'm happy to report that there's been at least one female-constructed or co-constructed NYT crossword every week this year and in most weeks, it's been two or three. While that's not very close to equity, it seems like a pretty good improvement over the past. Maybe Will has heard the complaints of the solving community?

Here's a breakdown by day of the week:

Monday: 21 of 51
Tuesday 17 of 51
Wednesday 14 of 52
Thursday 14 of 51
Friday 17 of 51
Saturday 14 of 51
Sunday 13 of 51

Total 110 of 358 (30.7%)

p.s. I hope I haven't offended anyone by using the gender-specific terms "women" and "female" in this post. I know this can be a sensitive topic these days, but I just haven't figured out how to incorporate more gender-neutral language into my speaking and writing styles, particularly with a topic like this one. I'm wide open to editorial suggestions, but I'm afraid that "His/her" isn't particularly helpful in this case.

p.p.s. Ok ... This is the fourth time I've attempted to post this message. I deleted the first two myself when (first) I corrected an error in one of the counts and (second) added the p.s. because I hate pissing anyone off (as I seem to have a propensity for) and I'm an over-sensitive libtard (or so I'm occasionally told). It's been over an hour now, so I'm guessing the third one must have just become lost in the ether. Given all the work I've put into this, I'm not giving up now (not that anyone will actually read it at this late hour).

EdFromHackensack 4:53 PM  

anyone have QUEEr before QUEEN?

Hungry Mother 5:06 PM  

Busy day, so I waited until after afternoon beach time to get to it. Nice rebus and good theme. Pretty easy, but a bit more time consuming because I’m distracted by waiting for my presidential pardon, which I thought was due today.

Shaunna 5:12 PM  

Yikes! My guess is "lams" is short for "lampoons"? Both of those are a stretch. Welcome back to 2020?!

GILL I. 5:25 PM  

@sanfran man. Why heavens to Betsy....You can call me Hootie, cutie Patootie, Twinkle Pumpkin, Blueberry Bun Bun or even Petunia Peep and I would never be offended.

TTrimble 5:41 PM  

@Anonymous 4:09 PM
That actually did clarify greatly what you meant, so thanks!

Anonymous 5:52 PM  

Sorry for my stridency. Unlike z I could be wrong😉
Merry Christmas!

Z 6:01 PM  

@sanfranman59 - Here’s a comprehensive spreadsheet tracking the information for the whole year. Part of what’s happened is Inkubator has been inviting women into the construction community and Agard has transformed the USA Today puzzle, also growing the ranks.

Which reminds me, the best 21x21 Christmas Puzzle this week so far was Gorski’s independent puzzle. Plus, drawing on the grid!

@TTrimble - As I suspected from the original post it is that anon who never provides any support but keeps making the same erroneous claims over and over again. The shocking thing is they quote the definition but obviously refuse to accept what it means. You and I both point to reference sources and the facts are just blithely ignored. Up next, if it gets past the mods, will be some sort of insult.

@JC66 2:59 - 🤣🤣🤣

@Frantic Sloth - I just double checked - my dig was at the timing of the quote, not the author. Philosophically, I agree with KAFKA, but stab wounds are more Easter than Christmas. Christmas Eve Eve is more toys! and gift-wrapping! and hope for a better world! and Joy!

Anonymous 6:03 PM  

@sanfranman- I think you meant parity not equity. If so, I agree. If not, you’re way off.

Anonymous 6:06 PM  

As is so often the case, you’ve made a wildly in accurate claim.
Please direct me to my error.

TTrimble 6:13 PM  

Just to add to my previous comment: to be clear, I think the way you are using (or want to use) the term "back-formation" is still at variance with the way that lexicographers and linguists use the term, especially since it has been indicated to you that reputable dictionaries do refer to "bicep" and "quadricep" as back-formations. So I don't think you can fault Joaquin or me for making use of the term in a way that is consistent with the way that such sources use the term.

But at least I understand now where you're coming from.

However, I think I still disagree slightly with "You’ll agree that quadricep and quadriceps have identical meanings." The difference between them is that "quadriceps" serves (in English) both as a singular and plural form. Whereas "quadricep" could never be mistaken as a plural form. (This was essentially the same point I made about "biceps" last month.)

In any case, if you can find a scholarly citation that declares that it is incorrect to call "quadricep" a back-formation, then please pass that along.

Joaquin 6:15 PM  

@Anonymous (4:09) - You (and I) may not like it or approve of it but the English language is constantly undergoing change which is, essentially, "sanction(ing) the illiteracy" of English speakers. Words and their meanings are changed by misuse and abuse. For example - The word "unique" has been so often used improperly, that many dictionaries and language mavens now accept "unusual" (in addition to "one of a kind") as proper usage.

When I hear someone say, "Very unique," my gut says, "Ignorant moron." But my head tells me it's time to let that go. I suggest it's time for you to let go of your "quadricep"="ignorant" belief.

Just imagine if some English speaker from a few hundred years ago came back, they'd think we are ALL illiterates.

And as an aside, if you ever ask me, "Where you at?", we'll not speak again!

TTrimble 6:33 PM  

Of course, Merry Christmas to you too!

I'll add that you're right that the dig about Sumer was a gratuitous swipe. It wasn't meant *super*-viciously, but it would have been better left unsaid, as it certainly wasn't productive. So, sorry about that.

Unknown 7:08 PM  

1. What's an EGOT?

2. I yearn for the days when the "3 post" limit was adhered to.

3. I'm grateful we don't have to read about SB any more.

sanfranman59 7:11 PM  

@Anon (6:03pm) ... You just can't help yourself, can you? If my misuse of the language led to confusion, please accept my apology. I'm just a lowly internet message board commenter.

@Z (6:01pm) ... Absolutely re Inkubator and Erik Agard's tenure at USA Today. I put the latter back into my daily rotation when Erik started as the editor about a year ago. I also started doing the Universal puzzle again after David Steinberg became editor. I was surprised to learn that the Universal's female representation isn't higher, but I confirmed it with my database. Is that your spreadsheet? Just curious.

@Anon (6:03pm) ... I realize that "Just curious" isn't a complete sentence and, therefore, shouldn't have a period at the end of it. Again, please accept my apology.

Anonymous 7:18 PM  

So we agree.when we hear someone say something nonsensical it registers.
I’m happy to let the morons slide. But when the morons mount a defense of their ignorance I react.

Anoa Bob 7:26 PM  

The WEATHER BALLOON reveal brought my solve to a jarring halt. I already had the RAIN and WIND multiple-letter squares filled in and I thought how does RAIN fit this? As I understood and quick net search confirmed, a WEATHER BALLOON measures primarily WIND, altitude, humidity and barometric pressure, but not RAIN. And, as it turns out, neither of the next two theme multiple-letter squares, SUN and ICE, are WEATHER BALLOON related.

Yikes! That's three out of four themers that don't look to me like they "suggest" (as clued) a WEATHER BALLOON. I must be missing something or else this one would not have been accepted as is for publication, right?

I was hoping to be set straight in some of the above comments, but maybe I just missed it. Or perhaps I'm just overthinking things again, and they are all sort of WEATHER related, so maybe that's good enough for crosswords (sigh).

While I'm here, that WEATHER BALLOON needs a little inflation in order to fill its spot. And there is not a single rebus in this puzzle, not one. Just ask the nearest philologist and they will tell you that "Multiple-letters in a single crossword grid square do not a rebus make."

GILL I. 8:21 PM  

@Joaquin...Isn't language evolution fun? How about AWFUL which actually meant to be worthy of awe....Or, my favorite HUSSY, which originates with housewife...... My awful hussy wife is making me my favorite meat tonight.

TTrimble 8:57 PM  

***SB Alert***

Did anyone hit QB today?

I decided to cheat for today (not enough time for me to ferret out all those answers). At least one of the answers seems like it would be disallowed by the rules -- really devious.

For Christmas this year I would like ordinary words like ALEE and AMAIN allowed. Very occasionally a word will pop up in the list that used not to be.

Anonymous 9:12 PM  

@sanfranman- With all due respect, you misunderstood my comment. I think you’re arguably the smartest person on this blog. Please reread my 6:03. Sometimes words matter. Cheers.

Z 9:15 PM  

@sanfranman59 - Not my spreadsheet. I think Rex shared it pre-pandemic (that only seems like a decade ago) and so it is in my google drive. I do not do the Universal puzzle. Right now I do the NYTX, New Yorker, AVCX, Inkubator, Gorski, Fireball and Newsflash, LATX (via WAPO - I used to do it via the FREEP), the Saturday Stumper, and BEQ regularly. I do the USA Today occasionally (because my local Gannett paper doesn't carry it and the iPad app is horrendous IMHO - no, I don't want to collect "coins") and the Newsday Monday or Tuesday when I need an ego boost (I think if I really really tried I might regularly break the 4:00 Monday on Newsday).

@Anon - As is so often the case, you’ve made a wildly in accurate claim.
Please direct me to my error.
Why bother? Your multiple errors have been pointed out and you just keep posting obnoxiousness like "I’m happy to let the morons slide. But when the morons mount a defense of their ignorance I react." Even when @TTrimble and @Joaquin reach out with an an olive branch you respond by being an ass.

Z 9:33 PM  

@Anon6:03/9:12 - Candidly, I had no idea what you meant... well, I made the conjecture that you see "parity" as meaning the %age of puzzles by women would equal the %age of women in the general population, but no idea why you would argue that parity isn't the same as equity. But maybe that's not what you mean by "parity." So, yeah, no idea what you meant.

JC66 9:39 PM  

@Anoe Bob

Yes, you may be overthinking it.

The circle represent balloons and contain weather-related words, ergo: weather balloons.

BTW, today's SB stil won't accept ANOA.

Anonymous 9:44 PM  

We should afford everyone equal opportunities. The outcomes should result from merit and not from immutable characteristics. My girls don’t need the help thank you very much, They’re happy to compete on an an even playing field with the boys,

A Moderator 9:49 PM  

@bocamp - I was just cleaning out the spam folder ("David Flood" wanted to share that his penis is bigger 25 times this evening) and found 10 comments from you there, the oldest from November 12. I posted them all. Aside from actual spam, it was only posts by you there, not anybody else, which suggests that Blogger sometimes thinks your posts are spam. I have no idea why this would be the case.

Ytr 10:11 PM  

@Z: Equity implies fairness. Parity implies equal results. If you can’t see the difference then I overrated you.

Z 10:49 PM  

@10:11 - What would "equal results" look like? Can you be a little more concrete? Is it just a simple "half the puzzles are done by women" would be "parity?" Or does the NYTX (for example) need to make up for a couple of decades of putting up barriers for certain types of constructors before we will have "equal results?" Whatever you answer, could "unequal results" ever be present if "equity" exists? Again how does "fairness" ≠ "equal results?" Or are you going further, i.e. are you arguing that even if we had "parity" there's no guarantee that we would have "equity?" Rex, for example, has said it is easier for a crappy puzzle to be published if the constructor is an older white male. So are you saying that even if we have "parity" we might not have "equity" because it will still be easier for an older white male to have a crap puzzle published? If that's what you're arguing 👍🏼👍🏼. But, I still have no idea what you're arguing because you're making a distinction that isn't necessarily a distinction. Indeed, It has been argued here that since the percentage of puzzles published by women equals the percentage of puzzles submitted by women that parity and/or equity already exist. Which brings me back to, "Can you be a little more concrete?"

Well, this has been fascinating - but it's time to read some happiness inducing KAFKA. And @bocamp - what's the deal? What did you to Blogger to make it hate you?

Frantic Sloth 12:12 AM  

@JC66 259pm 😂😂 You're like a one-liner ninja comic!

@sanfranman59 435pm Well, if it's any consolation, I read your post and very much appreciate all you efforts.

@Z 601pm What? You never heard of Ebenezer KAFKA?

Can we go back to answering the EGOT question?

thefogman 10:13 AM  

Nice puzzle. Fun to solve. I especially liked my final entry at 26A which was a clever sub-theme DQS (Blizzards are often produced in them). Excellent debut puzzle for Juliana Tringali Golden. Bravo and more please.

spacecraft 11:17 AM  

Started with KAFKA/FAUST and got the WIND rebus right away. Silly me, I was sure that *all* the circles would be WIND, as in The Four. Nah.

Not too long after getting the double-REs (REWIND, REOIL)--which merits a demerit--I hit upon the revealer: perfect! Then I wasn't so sure...maybe a circle could contain ANY kind of WEATHER--even a TSUNAMI! So it proved to be.

I didn't even think about the Q in DQS standing for QUEEN, or why this is such a blasted no-no. I DID see another verboten item, though: ADES. Let's get this one straight, people: ADE IS NOT A STAND-ALONE WORD!! It is a suffix only, and you must clue it as such! Or maybe as George.

Nice wordplay on DOD Lucy Lawless as XENA. Loved the clue for RECLINER. Does it seem that many first-timers strive for a pangram? Again, not mentioned by OFC. Could he be coming around to believing that it's no big deal--unless it looks forced? This one looked...well, maybe a little forced. Not awful, though. Oh, and they're not ELTRAINS. They're just ELS, you know, like the golfer. Now could we "archive" the word ARCHIVAL for a while? Birdie.

Diana, LIW 1:04 PM  

Aside from the rebis showing up on Wednesday (I noticed when I got to the EL TRAINS - tho that wasn't my first corner to work on) I made a hot mess of this puzzle. Completely my "fault." Had a good time anyway. During pandemic, good times are where you find them.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Vax!

rainforest 4:33 PM  

I liked this puzzle a lot even though it had rebi, and it was somewhat challenging for me.

I believe I've heard EGOT before but completely forgot what it meant. There were enough gimmes to help decipher the rebi, and, overall, this was a pretty clever puzzle.

Burma Shave 4:56 PM  


or YOO want HER under,
XENA’s CAREER won’t stop,


leftcoaster 4:58 PM  

Very clever and engaging puzzle. Thanks for the challenge, JTG.

Got the rebus first at ICE and will never forget having once eaten gooey, SLICED, white Wonder BREAD.

Didn’t really know DR WHO, but the revealer helped there and elsewhere.

Took extra time to get LAUNCH WINDOW because I thought REWINDS was too simple and needed some TAMPering.

Slow but quite worth the time.

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