Tandoor bread / TUES 12-28-20 / Locales of wasps and spies / Xena, notably / Cantankerous

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Once upon a time, there lived a 20-something-year-old named Clare who was so freaking done with 2020 and was counting down the minutes until the clock struck midnight on the new year. She, of course, wishes the stupid pandemic would be over already and the world could get back to normal. In the meantime, she’ll settle for more of the second-half Steelers she saw in their game against the Colts last weekend. She also hopes for another Liverpool title this year and, of course, a BTS Grammy win. Oh, yeah, and a successful final semester of law school. 

Now on to the puzzle!

Matthew Trout

Relative difficulty: A normal Tuesday

THEME: FAIRY TALE ENDING — (“Happily ever after” ... or what 17-, 27-, 39- or 47-Across has?) — The theme answers all end with words often associated with fairy tales

Theme answers:
  • WARRIOR PRINCESS (17A: Xena, notably
  • KOMODO DRAGON (27A: Largest lizard on earth (up to 10 feet long)
  • CN TOWER (39A: Toronto landmark that’s the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere
  • GLADYS KNIGHT (47A: Who sang the 1973 #1 hit “Midnight Train to Georgia”)
Word of the Day: NYALA (52D: Spiral-horned African antelope) —
The Nyala is a spiral-horned antelope native to southern Africa. The body length is 53–77 in, and it weighs 121–309 lb. The coat is maroon or rufous brown in females and juveniles, but grows a dark brown or slate grey, often tinged with blue, in adult males. Females and young males have ten or more white stripes on their sides. Only males have horns, 24–33 in long and yellow-tipped. As an herbivore, the nyala feeds upon foliage, fruits and grasses, with sufficient fresh water. A shy animal, it prefers water holes rather than open spaces. (Wiki)

• • •
I quite enjoyed the theme! I thought it was cute and clever and was done in a neat way. For what it’s worth, in my world, the order here would’ve been changed a bit so that it’s the princess vanquishing the dragon and saving the prince locked away in the tower. Still, who doesn’t love a good fairy tale? 

The theme didn’t help me with the solve at all, but that didn’t detract from the puzzle for me in any way. The fill, however, did detract some from my enjoyment of the puzzle. I didn’t particularly enjoy the southeast corner, as pretty much all of that was just crosswordese (VIA, OTOE, SYNE, IN ON, AGEE). Also, I know my elands and goas and oribis and okapis, but I’ve never come across the word NYALA (52D) before. NYALA crossing ELLIE (66A: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” actress Kemper), who some people might not know, felt a bit mean. It took me forever to get OWN for 29D: Cable channel named for a talk show host — I figured it must be Oprah, but I just couldn’t think of what the acronym for the network would be (I sometimes forget that she even has a last name). That then crossing CN TOWER (39A), which I didn’t know, was a bit hard for me, as well. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard hipsters say I DIG (19D: Hipsters “gotcha”)? My dad tells me that hippies were known for saying that, but, well, he’s ooolllddd. 

All that being said, I do think the cute theme and otherwise nice puzzle trump any of those complaints. Plus, there were some nice downs — I liked LONGEVITY (35D: What the biblical Methuselah was known for) and WORLD MAPS (3D: Some classroom wall hangings), in particular. 

I don’t have much else to say other than that — I simply liked the puzzle!

  • All I could think of when I got to the revealer and saw “ever after” (63A) was the movie “Enchanted,” which I just rewatched with my family, and Carrie Underwood’s “Ever Ever After” that plays during the credits. What a great movie. (Ooh, and *spoiler alert,* it ends with the princess saving her one true love!)  
  • It took me forever to get RIME (15A: Frosty coating). The only thing I saw when I looked at the clue was something about frosting. I tried to come up with an answer related to icing. 
  • Okay, I hated, hated, hated 39A: The Golden State, familiarly. I’ve lived here most of my life. Trust me when I say that no one calls it CALI. Literally no one. That’s almost as bad as calling San Francisco “Frisco.” NorCal is fine. SoCal is fine. But never CALI.
Hope everyone gets off to a great start in the new year!

Signed, Clare Carroll, looking for a prince to save

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:25 AM  

I'm a native Californian. Clare is right about natives and long time (a few years or longer) residents; we never - never! - say "CALI" or "Frisco". But having also lived in the midwest, I can attest to the fact that lots of folks from other states do use those terms. They are, of course, Rubes who don't know avocado toast from a tostada.

okanaganer 12:44 AM  

I thought SIMILES was spelled SIMILIES which didn't fit so changed it to SAYINGS before changing it back later cuz.. almost right the first time.

XENA again! Never watched her.

I have been to the higher observation level of the CN TOWER and it was pretty high (447m / 1467 ft), although kinda cramped. Geez that was 29 years ago! I remember watching a helicopter fly far below us.

I can't see RIME without thinking of the poem Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which if you have a little knowledge of English, looks like a typo.

Evan 2:07 AM  

Hi Clare, thanks for your write-up.

However, I'm not comfortable with describing OTOE or any Native American group as "crosswordese," as though it's a detriment to the puzzle to include them. I realize there are newer solvers who may not have heard of them, but the Otoe are a real people with real traditions and a rich history.

John Hoffman 2:10 AM  

Clare says: “I simply liked the puzzle!” And I agree.

jae 3:19 AM  

Medium. I liked it too and had pretty much the same take as @Clare right down to not liking CALI. Nice debut.

....and before Kimmy ELLIE was Erin on The Office.

Chaiminded 3:41 AM  

I'm probably ooolllddder than your father so I get real CUSSED when I see stuff like TROU. What do we get next, PANT?

Loren Muse Smith 5:37 AM  

Clare – congrats on your final year of law school! Totally with you (and the rest of the planet) on looking forward to putting this hideousness behind us. I’m pinning all my hopes on the successful delivery of the vaccine so that we won’t look back and concede that. . . 2021. Ahem.

Look, this is neither here nor there, but there are a crap ton of words meaning CUSSED that begin with a hard c: cantankerous, crabby, contentious, combative, curmudgeonly, cranky, cross, contrary.

I like that Matthew snuck in GLAYDYS KNIGHT’s back-up singers on that DIE.

Clare – I knew NYALA only from Naked and Afraid - they’re always thinking they can get one, and I’m always pulling mightily for that beautiful creature to get away. It usually does, and the survivalists go back to eating their coconuts and crickets.

I think I read somewhere that KOMODO DRAGONS can be pretty crotchety. To be fair, they Did get stuck with a terrible name. Imagine how the iguanas and Gila monsters could tease them: Hey, Bob – why don’t you go back to the toilet you crawled out of? Snicker snicker. [Little known fact: I have a bit of a phobia of commodes with the lid down. When I lift it up, I half expect some kind of rat or snake waiting to leap out at my chest and make its escape.]

“Salacious” is a word that I don’t have in my rotation. Seems it’s related to salient; they both come from Latin salire “to leap.” So a comment on the size of the vice squad bust would be salient to the story, but a comment on the bust size of the . . . oh never mind.

Ok – so one more lexical observation that involves FAIRY TALES. We have this group of coordinating conjunctions, for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. I’m always whining that we need to write a letter to have the for removed. It feels so affected and forced. If I’m at a party and hear someone say, I stayed home yesterday, for I was sick., I’ma crane my neck to get a look at this person starring in their own private FAIRY TALE. Amirite?

I kept going back and looking at NESTS. Funny how when it doesn’t involve birds, it feels incredibly menacing. A group of cheerleaders is full of wholesome, friendly kids. A nest of cheerleaders is full of gossiping back-biting meanies.

FAIRY TALE ENDING. . . then they perp-walked the ogre, his spawn, and his spawns-in-law -- cuffed and shackled -- to a dungeon, and we all lived happily ever after.

amyyanni 6:33 AM  

Hi Clare, great write-up. Had the same Natick at OWN/CNTOWER, but otherwise, a fun solve, Your fellow Steelers fan, David Greene, is leaving Morning Edition on NPR this morning. That makes me sad, so i'm especially glad for your good cheer today. And yes, it will be beyond words to greet 2021!

mathgent 6:47 AM  

I found the Bob and Ray Komodo Dragon routine on the internet. I hadn't heard it in years. I literally laughed out loud.

CALI, the city in Columbia, was the home of the cartel that controlled 80% of the cocaine market in the mid-90's. The leader is now serving a life term in the US.

Here in the Bay Area, "Cal" unambiguously means the University of California at Berkeley.

Wonderful observation by Loren. A die has pips just as Gladys did. ("LA proved too much for the man.")

Is there an actual FAIRYTALE involving a PRINCESS, a DRAGON, a TOWER, and a KNIGHT?

Yesterday's dud had absolutely no red plus signs in the margins. Today's has seven. And it didn't take much digging to uncover them.

Lewis 6:49 AM  

As for a FAIRY TALE ENDING to 2020, how about that at the stroke of midnight, it’s suddenly three weeks later?

BarbieBarbie 6:56 AM  

@LMS, I agree “for” is fairytale-ese and pretentious, but it’s not a simple conjunction, for it carries the sense of “because” along with its conjunctivitis.

@Clare, good luck with that final semester, and tell your ooollldd dad he needed to pay better attention. The “I dig” phrase meaning “I understand” was something the beatniks said. The hippies used “dig” to mean “really like,” as in “I dig this tie-dyed shirt.” The beatniks were hip, and they predated the hippies, who usually didn’t describe themselves as hip- they tended to describe everyone else as “straight.” There will be a quiz.

I completely agree about never shortening the name of my native state to its first two syllables. Also, the correct way to pronounce “San Francisco” is to say it all, but using only three syllables, so there is no point to that other abomination since it only saves you one syllable.

This puzzle was easy but also really a breath of fresh air. Lately I’ve been finishing puzzles and thinking “well, ok then.” No sparks. This one was just flat-out fun. Using a theme that didn’t reveal itself quickly was part of the fun. The puzzles have not been delivering that Aha factor lately. This one was great, even if there is a Natick right in the middle. It was more or less guessable.

Lewis 6:58 AM  

Thank you for popping in, @evan 2:07 a.m.! For those who are relatively new here, Evan used to be a regular commenter here with awesome insights into the daily puzzles, then he got NYT puzzles published himself, and now is the Sunday crossword editor/constructor at the Washington Post. His puzzles are smart and high quality.

Lewis 6:59 AM  

As for today's puzzle, all four theme answers were slapped down with no more than three letters filled in, so this was zippy with only three mini-hitches: At CUSSED as an adjective, at NYALA which is either deeply buried or unknown to me until now and which sounds like a character from a Disney animation, and at CRANIA, which finally popped in with a little “aha”. The theme was simple and cute, appropriate for Tuesday.

Congratulations on your debut, Matthew, and may there be many more acceptances for you up the road. Thank you for a fun solve!

pabloinnh 7:16 AM  

A very fun Tuesday and since I was zipping along and making no connections involving the longer acrosses, the revealer had me looking back at what I had filled in a thinking "fairy tales", and by God there it was. Love when that happens.

The CNTOWER is usually talked about in baseball broadcasts involving Boston from Toronto, so I knew that one. Watching sports is educational.

NYALA takes me back to the days when my Mom used to look up stuff in her crossword puzzle dictionaries. Somehow I don't remember seeing this one before (hi Clare). I think totally obscure words (not a fan of Naked and Afraid) like this are rarer and rarer, which is fine with me. Also, ELLIE made more sense than anything else as far as names go, so guessed right.

@mathgent-I've got Bob and Ray in my audio files, but no komodo dragons, so I'll have to look that one up.

Nice writeup by Clare and nice stuff from Mr. Trout (not Mike), to whom congrats on a fine debut. Looking forward to more like this.

Anonymous 7:18 AM  

I get that the theme answer "endings" are components of fairy tales but I don't see how they relate to the revealer. i.e. How is TOWER a FAIRY TALE ENDING? How is any of these a FAIRY TALE "ENDING"?

kitshef 7:33 AM  

This was a very entertaining puzzle but lordy it should have run on a Monday.

Glen Laker 7:39 AM  

Hi Rex. Why didn’t you just do the write-up today instead of trolling Clare’s?

ChuckD 7:41 AM  

Cute Tuesday puzzle - I had fun with it. Liked the KIMODO DRAGON and GLADYS KNIGHT themers. Lucy Lawless was featured recently and Rex thought she was dated. Talk to Cool J about going back to Cali. Could do without the plural CRANIA and TROU but thought the overall fill was solid. Methuselah lived to 969 - so I liked the adjacency to AGE E.

@LMS - cool avatar. My kids and I enjoy once a year - that’s all my stomach can take.

Teedmn 8:11 AM  

SayingS vs SIMILES and KaMODO dragon are the wrong turns I took today. I didn't CUSS ONCE during the solve and genuinely enjoyed the revealer. Thanks, Matthew Trout, for a FAIRY TALE ENDING and congratulations on your debut.*

*Seems like I write that almost every day lately, wow!

SteveDubs 8:35 AM  

If “Frisco” is good enough for Otis Redding, and “Cali” for LL Cool J, they’re good enough for me.

Andrea 8:39 AM  

How do you say San Francisco in just 3 syllables??

Seth 8:44 AM  

OTOE / AGEE was a genuine Natick for me. Happy I knew ELLIE Kemper and the CN TOWER, or those would've been struggles, as well.

And yes, 'I dig' is a hippie's "gotcha", not a hipster's. Modern hipsters have been around and making our lattes for well over a decade now, so it just feels old-timey. But as a younger crossword solver that's always gonna be my gripe with the NTXW until I'm no longer a younger crossword solver.

Loved the theme, though!

Frosty Flake 8:50 AM  

All of the "woke folk" who cheer at the idea of the princess being the hero are in total denial of their true selves. Men want to be the knights and women love to be saved by them.

RooMonster 8:52 AM  

Hey All !
LOL at @Glen Laker 7:39! In case you're not reading these comments on your phone, it was a direct response to @Anonymous 7:18.

CALI. Here in Las Vegas, we do like to say the whole city name, but are comfortable with just "Vegas". It's kind of a household name thing. I think there might've been a mini-push for a bit to get the Entire World to say the whole Las Vegas, but then the hockey team came to town named Vegas Golden Knights, and well, that stopped that. BTW, there is a city attached to The Strip, as locals we hardly ever go there. The city is a pretty decent size. *Technical Alert!* There's actually three cities together in our little valley, Henderson in the east, Las Vegas, and North Las Vegas, which is it's own city. Roughly 2 million-ish people.

That city promotion aside, liked this puz. FAIRYTALEENDINGS work just fine as the Revealer. For @Anon 7:18, all the themers ENDINGS can be found in FAIRY TALEs. They are not the ENDINGS themselves. Stop overthinking. :-)

Are you slipping? Har. You missed the backward ROOM to go with ROOMY. I noticed them primarily because of the ROOs, of course. Also, seemed a lot of O's. Probably just me. There is a nice Winning TicTacToe diagonal in the center, though!

Also noticed a lot of I starting entries. Weird how sometimes you notice things and sometimes obvious stuff just flies over your head.

Got down to the last latter, the Natick L of ELLIE/NYALA. Add me to the list who haven't heard of said beast. The L seemed the most logical for the clue for E_LIE, however. Did think maybe an S, but put in the L, and got the Happy Music!

So a nice puz. Congrats, debut, blah blah blah. :-) Seriously, Congrats Matthew!

One F

Mike Herlihy 9:00 AM  

@Anon 7:18. The ends of the theme answers are words many/most English speakers would easily associate with fairy tales. The "ends" aren't the ends of the fairy tales.

Unknown 9:00 AM  

As a Canadian, I can't believe that CN TOWER isn't a gimme.
As a former American, I totally understand that we were never taught anything whatsoever about Canada, so it would be difficult.
Also: since when is CUSSED an adjective? In a Tuesday puzzle? I had FUSSY there and didn't bother checking the crosses so the app yelled at me when I finished.

Hungry Mother 9:01 AM  

To a guy who was raised in the Bay Area, Frisco and CALI are the most grating sounds after Nova for Villanova University. Have you no decency? Anyhoo, the puzzle was fun and fast except for the very slow coming CUSSED, because I never take my coffee ICED.

bocamp 9:08 AM  

@Matthew, thank you for the "fairytale" endings; a most enjoyable Tuesday puzzle. :)

Easy/medium solve.

"Gladys Knight" Greatest Hits

Have been "at sea" in more ways than one, and as the song goes, I once was lost, but now I'm found.

Peace 🕊

GILL I. 9:09 AM  

OK....So here's my favorite FAIRY TALE ENDING:
The Little Mermaid in the original story by Hans Christian Anderson, has the mermaid longing to become a human so she can fall in love with a prince. A sea witch grants the mermaid's wish to become a human....after first chopping out her tongue as payment (which I think we can all agree is way worse than having your voice trapped in a shell necklace). After all that, the prince marries SOMEONE ELSE and the mermaid dies and turns into sea foam.
Moral of the story: Count your blessings:

Oooh...I love me some GLADYS KNIGHT and her DIE (Pips) Hi @Loren. I can sing Midnight Train to Georgia at the top of my lungs. Love me some Methuselah as well. I used to draw him with his gnarly beard and crazy eyes. He was the son of our crossword friend, ENOCH who faithfully walked with God....but then God took him away.
Fun and different Tuesday puzzle. Nothing LEWD other than my FAIRY TALE ENDING and look...we have Mother TERESA to talk about and how awful she really was.

Dogfish 9:11 AM  

Looking at yesterday's comments, I'm surprised how many people would rather see "A cab" over a phrase which has recently re-entered common usage (though unsurprisingly the phrase is substantially older - file under 'some things never change').

Moving onto today's puzzle, I'll re-iterate what I said in another place: I don't mind crosswordese at a basic level. Lord knows you need those Vowels and Consonants to behave, especially if you're working on an awkward grid (I may have recently had Many Regrets on gridding a particular idea). But surely it must be possible to fill in NW and SE with slightly less crosswordese, and thus a handful more well known words?

Biggest issue is in the SE, with DOS/SYNE/OTOE/INON/AGEE. Especially with the two bolded (OTOE, AGEE) crossing - this would have natick'd me a few months ago, and it's nigh impossible to infer. After all, what sounds wrong with OTOl/AGlE, or OTOn/AGnE? Not only is it a fairly bland and boring corner, with words/phrases which don't see much use outside of crosswords and thus little in the way of spark, it's a fairly tricky corner at that. I can't help but think it could have been more... fun, essentially. Similarly in the NW - I'm sure that one or two of ALOE/ELAN/DER/SNL could have been swapped out. These weren't massively constrained corners either.

Theme was eh, completely missed that CN TOWER was part of it (I just saw the clue and plugged it in from experience playing CiV - I'm actually stunned there are people on the same continent as it saying it wasn't a gimme!). And whilst "Knight saves Princess trapped in Tower by Dragon" is a fairly generic fairy tale, it's hardly genre-exclusive, and I'd say leans more on epic fantasies (That said, I actually like the version I saw on Tumblr where the Princess and the Dragon are working together to find the Princess a decent romantic partner. Visiting knights are either polite and 'rescue' the princess, or not and eaten by the Dragon). Not much more to say actually - the fact that I was more entertained by the reCAPTCHA not asking me to identify traffic lights than by this puzzle sort of says it, really :x

TJS 9:15 AM  

No meaningless quibble rants ? What's the deal? Is Rex still recovering from that one Manhattan?
There is a hysterical Roger Ebert interview with Bob and Ray where they stay entirely in character. It's in a collection of Ebert pieces. I remember reading it in a bookstore and laughing out loud.
Yeah, how do you say San Francisco in 3 syllables ?

Smith 9:23 AM  

White Castle?? In WVA??
Oh, to go with the puzzle [head slap].

JOHN X 9:26 AM  

I'm going to chime in on the CALI issue and agree that no one in California refers to it as CALI. Outsiders, maybe. But no residents do.

SOCAL is a term used in Southern California, and it's officially used by the FAA in SOCAL APPROACH and SOCAL DEPARTURE in the flight management system that guides aircraft in some of the busiest airspace in the world. NORCAL is its cousin.

The flagship campus of The University of California is in the Bay area. If you are talking about it academically it is "Berkeley;" if you refer to its football team it is CAL. They are "The Golden Bears" as opposed to the UCLA "Bruins" or the UC Santa Cruz "Banana Slugs."

"The Southland" is also a common term in Southern California, but mostly used by radio/TV broadcasters when giving weather reports, which are usually the same thing every day. These last two days we've had heavy rains and impressive lightning and thunder, which is very rare; it probably freaked out every dog in the county.

Dad 9:28 AM  

Yes, yes, yes!

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

Going with the Steelers fan theme, I’d say it’s San Franco, patron saint of the Immaculate Reception.

Smith 9:31 AM  

@Frosty Flake, et al.
See Robert Munch's book The Paperbag Princess.
It's a "kids book" that will take you 5 minutes to read. Best if you have some kids to share it with.

Pete 9:38 AM  

Old business first - As I sat down to comment, my browser still had a tab open to info regarding Sunday's great Grenache controversy. It was a review of the Liminal 2018 High Country Grenache in Wine Enthusiast. It was of interest because it said the wine had notes of "crushed rock", and I wondered why, if you're such a wine expert that you feel compelled to differentiate between notes of crushed vs uncrushed rocks, why can't you tell us what types of rocks? I'm no oenophile myself, but I would guess there's more difference between notes of
basalt and granite than between crushed basalt vs uncrushed basalt notes. Maybe it' because it's all nonsense, no?

When I finished my immediate reaction aligned with Clare's, that it should have been re-written so that the theme was Princess / kills / Dragon / saves / Knight. If you could throw in woman initiated sex in there somehow, that would be fine.

If "crosswordese" is, as I believe, defined as words that appear much more often in crosswords than in the world at large, then OTOE is crosswordese. I have never heard of the Otoe outside of crosswords, and I doubt there are too may people outside of Otoe themselves who write the word OTOE at least once a month. It's not dismissing the Otoe, any more than complaining about RRN Popes is dismissing Popes.

Smith 9:40 AM  

Easy puzzle, did not see some issues others had because of just doing downs.
Note: MOOR is not on land. We had a MOORing in the harbor and a tiny dinghy to row in to land. At the end of the summer my father would laboriously bring the mooring up and hide it in the woods.

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

CALI - I'm an East Coaster so don't hate me but "Going Back to Cali" by LL Cool J is pretty famous. Someone MUST use that term. I doubt LL Cool J just made it up.

GILL I. 9:51 AM  

@JOHN X 9:26.... Guy Fieri of The Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives calls his native California CALI....and he lives in Santa Rosa.....!!! I can forgive him only because he's raised millions to help unemployed restaurant workers.....So there's that!

kitshef 9:52 AM  

Boy, 'Friscans are really uptight about their city name, it seems.

Nancy 9:57 AM  

To wind up with a DRAGON doesn't seem like such a FAIRY TALE ENDING to me. Personally, I'd prefer Cary Grant. But I digress.

A pleasant Tuesday with some nice clues and some places I actually had to think. I wrote in EGOTism before EGO TRIP. And I kept wondering what Methuselah had that was LONG. LONG LIFE didn't fit. LONG EPOCH was off -- there's no "Methuselah epoch". Then VIA came in and I said: Aha -- LONGEVITY! Nice.

I looked at the "some classroom wall hangings" clue and thought "WOeful Art"? It fit -- up to a point. But I digress.

Stir in the lovely clue for SIMILES and that completely un-Tuesdayish antelope and you have a puzzle with a bit of ELAN.

Eldreth 10:13 AM  

In Baton Rouge and other Southern locales the word “for” is used as a time indicator - as in “I have to be there “for” eight o’clock”

JOHN X 10:14 AM  

When LL Cool J & Guy Fieri are used as the defenders of the term "CALI" I believe my my point has been made. Nobody actually uses it, except dorks.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

I concur that no Californian refers to the state as Cali. Also, Frisco is in Texas, not California.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

Isn't it Friscoans? or Friscoites?

Sixthstone 10:17 AM  

Nice puzzle and nice write-up. A few notes:

CALI is a thing, with apologies to natives. Like most places, what natives say and do is likely very different from what outsiders think. I know--I live in Texas!

For the young, HIPSTERS are not exclusively bearded dudes in skinny jeans sipping IPAs. Original hipsters were part of '40s jazz culture. IMHO the original hipsters were hipper. Dig me?

Speaking of crosswordese, I think ALE certainly qualifies. But it is also a very delicious thing with a rich history.

tea73 10:27 AM  

When I was born I was given the complete set of Hans Christian Andersen tales. It was a huge volume - the classic tales were on pink paper, the shorter tales on white paper and the longer tales on blue paper. I do remember a lot of horrific endings. The little match girl freezes to death, but has a flaming vision of her grandmother while she dies so we are supposed to be happy for her.

My SIL (a Cal grad) never calls it Berkeley. It has nothing to do with the school vs the football team.

The Otoes may be a fine tribe with an interesting history, but I've never seen them mentioned outside crossword-land. I can name the five tribes of the Iroquois ( Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca), the tribe that met the pilgrims at Plymouth rock (Wampanoag), the various tribes that you see in Western movies ( Lakota, Cheyenne, Comanche, and Apache), in the Southwest the Hopi and the Navaho are famous for art, for code talk in WW2, for carpets, for architecture.

I thought the antelope might be the Eland which has a very tight twist to its horns. My favorite spiraled antelope is the kudu, which along with great horns also has stripes.

Nancy 10:37 AM  

I'm hoping that a new book of literary analysis will arrive in bookstores soon. It will be titled:

@GILL I's Mordant Exploration of the Nasty Underbelly of Fairy Tales

Don't miss her deathless synopsis of "The Little Mermaid" at 9:09. Hysterical.

And, btw, I too am wondering how to pronounce "San Francisco" in 3 syllables.

jberg 10:38 AM  

Nicely done theme. Note that two of the endings refer to an actual (fictional) PRINCESS and an actual TOWER, while DRAGON and KNIGHT have different meanings. And then as a bonus we have the word ONCE sitting upon NIGHT time.

I think I probably saw a NYALA when I once visited Namibia, but I still needed three crosses to bring it back to mind.

@Evan, I love your puzzles, and I see your point about the OTOE. If only we learned something about that history and traditions from puzzles; all we really learn is that they are a 4-letter tribe starting with O.

I've definitely seen the CN TOWER as well, but I never remember the CN part. Does it stand for something? (Checks Wikipedia) Oh, Canadian National. There's my difficulty -- I always thing "Canadian National What?' Railway, apparently, which makes me doubt my answer.

@Clare, we don't have to read a chronological story into the top-to-bottom order. After all, the PRINCESS is a WARRIOR, while the KNIGHT is a troubadour.

jberg 10:41 AM  

From yesterday -- thanks to @sanfranman and @Anoa Bob for explaining the difference between "universal" and "common" to me. I should have gone back to the puzzle in question and looked at the clue!

Whatsername 10:44 AM  

I liked this a lot. A little fun and cleverness for old pros but the perfect difficulty level and nice bit of wordplay for newer solvers. Excellent debut Matthew! Thanks and congratulations.

I’ve heard of SoCal and just Cal but I thought CALI was a city in South America. It’s definitely a RIME type of morning in my part of North America . . . which BTW is known as Missourah, not Missouree. As if anyone cares.

Clare, WARRIOR PRINCESS, keep searching for that prince. He’s out there somewhere. And after you climb up the TOWER and rescue him, let him rescue you right back. You might even find yourself a FAIRY TALE ENDING.

jrstocker 11:08 AM  

I put down IUDS instead of IEDS for a second there, and had to give myself a head slap.

Slightly different.

dadnoa 11:12 AM  

+1 for Joaquin’s comment. The whole thing!

JC66 11:12 AM  

@chaiminded 3:41

I don't know how old you are, but I'm 81 and I remember using "drop TROU" in Junior Hi and High School.

dadnoa 11:13 AM  

+1 for Joaquin’s comment....the whole thing.

pabloinnh 11:16 AM  

One solution to the "San Francisco in three syllables" problem would be to use the nickname for Francisco, which is Paco, so "San Paco". Said no one, ever.

Since "Paco"="Frank", more or less, in Spain back in the day I used to refer to its caudillo as "Frank Franco", amusing mainly myself, as usual.

GILL I. 11:19 AM  

OK here's another gem of a FAIRY TALE and it involves Cinderella and her prince:
So lurking behind the glass slippers and a pumpkin coach, the nasty step-sisters cut off parts of their own feet in order to fit them into the glass slipper - hoping to fool the prince. The prince is alerted to the trickery by two pigeons who peck out the sister's eyes. They end up spending the rest of their lives as blind beggars while Cinderella gets to lounge about in luxury at the prince's castle.
Morale of the story: Go see your podiatrist first.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  


Ask your father to explain the difference between hipsters and hippies, or just read "On the Road". You sure you're in college?

Anonymoose 11:22 AM  

I doubt XENA is looking for a prince, if you get my drift...Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Richard 11:24 AM  

I'm embarrassed to even show my face this morning, given that so many of you have called the CNTOWER a gimme. I've been to Toronto (oy, the traffic, but otherwise a lovely city), I've seen (and gasped at) said tower, but don't think I ever learned its name. That plus the crossing (clued "Cable channel named for a talk show host") gave me a true natick.* Sometimes the troublesome square can be inferred because, e.g., it's got to be a vowel or something. This time, it seemed to be an initial for a word (or name) that could begin with ANY letter in the alphabet. I settled on B as in Canadian Broadcasting Tower. THAT, to me, is a true natick in which the letter can't be inferred.

*I don't capitalize natick because it seems to me to have entered the vocabulary of cross-worders as a concept distinct from the Massachusetts town that gave rise to it. Kind of like kleenex or band-aid or xerox. So sue me.

mathgent 11:24 AM  

We run the syllables together and say it fast. There isn't a standard version. I say something like saffin-SIS-co.

Rug Crazy 11:25 AM  

Had CP Tower, thinking Canadian Pacific, and Then OWP for Oprah Winfrey Productions. This was after going the the alphabet, and guessing my "best guess".

RooMonster 11:26 AM  

"Things we're thankful for"

Progress, no matter how small.


Anonymous 11:28 AM  


well, both involve explosions, dontcha know?

Art 11:35 AM  

I guess since there is “usually” an umpire at home plate during a ball game this answer makes some sense. However there are multiple umps on the field during a game (first base, right field...) so I’d argue that they are not “usually” found at home. Just sayin.

David 11:36 AM  

LL Cool J is from Lawnguyland. I wouldn't use him to argue for the use of Cali.

I still have no clue how an adjective is a clue for a past tense verb, but whatever.

Kind of fun puzzle, but I'm not sure about saying a people whose land was stolen from them by force "lent their name" for use by the murderous conquerors... Perhaps the fact that it's the anniversary of the massacre at Wounded Knee has me overly sensitive?

We hippies were hip. In fact, we were way more hip than today's "hipsters," dig it?

I see somebody a few years older than I used "trou." Personally, I've never once heard anybody use it and thought it was just a crossword thing.

egsforbreakfast 11:40 AM  

The most notable thing, to me, about today’s blog is that, as of 10:44 am no one has misspelled Clare as Clair. I believe this is a first in her tenure as fill-in blog master. Congratulations, Clare, on your name recognition and academic achievements.

As to the puzzle, well it ain’t a fairy tale to me if it’s topped off by a LEWD TAUT PISAN. But who am I to say? Here in Washi we just dream of the days when we could say I DIG to the idea of a road trip to Safrsco, CALI. Or better yet, dream of spring break in Flori (this was always a NAAN-starter).

I saw the theme before the revealer, but then I’ve also seen a NYALA. Nothing seemed too fishy about this fine puzzle from Mr. Trout.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings “Revelator”

Darling, remember when you come to me
I'm the pretender and I, what I'm supposed to be
But who could know if I'm a traitor
Time's the Revelator

They caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride
The Fortune Lady came along, she walked beside
But every word seemed to date her
Time's the Revelator, the Revelator

Up in the morning, up and on the ride
Drive into Corning and all the spindles whine
And every day is getting straighter
Time's the Revelator, the Revelator

Leaving the valley, fucking out of sight
I'll go back to Cali where I can sleep out every night
And watch the waves and move the fader
Time's the Revelator, the Revelator

Queen of the fakes and imitators
Time's the Revelator

Carola 12:02 PM  

A lovely idea for a theme, but it took me a bit to recognize it. After encountering the PRINCESS and DRAGON, I was still groping my way through a dark wood, but then I happened on the TOWER. Aha. That helped me a lot in unmasking GLADYS KNIGHT (I've heard the name but know nothing more of her). What a happy ending of a reveal!

As a Midwesterner, I've freely tossed around CALI, but will now try to reform, given how allergic I am to some of the abominations circulating for my home state: the ridiculous "Wisco" (what, trying to be "Frisco"?) and the odious "Sconnie" printed on t-shirts and sweatshirts.

JOHN X 12:04 PM  

I was a young boy up at the top of the CN Tower in Toronto in 1977 when word spread that Elvis Presley had died.

Joe Dipinto 12:07 PM  

Mother Teresa's pursuit of high-stakes pop celebritude hadn't gone so well in her previous visits to Puzzleland. First she unsuccessfully stalked George Harrison in the hope of becoming the Fifth Beatle, or at least having a fling with Sir Paul. Next she infiltrated the set of the latest James Bond film to try to get cast as a Bond girl, only to be rebuffed by Daniel Craig himself. Nothing was working. Cali proved too much for the nun, and she couldn't make it in Oman. She was running out of places on the world map.

So it was that she recently found herself in a ramshackle train station, recounting her travails to a nice black lady who was there waiting on the platform. "Back home in Albania, I kept dreaming that one day I'd be a star," M. Teresa was explaining.

The lady cocked her head. "A superstar?"

M. Teresa nodded. "But I didn't get far. And the pandemic made things worse. I got exported from Alaska. And then I had to cancel my concert at the Leaning CN Tower of Pisa. For almost a year now, I could usually be found at home, watching the elks and nyalas and komodo dragons cavorting in the backyard."

"Oh, you're a singer! Well, you know, I sing a little," said the lady. "And career longevity is difficult to achieve. Sometimes you just have to inch along until–"

Three guys were making their way down the platform, pausing to say "woo-woo" to each of the waiting passengers. They approached M. Teresa and the nice lady.

"Woo-woo," they said in unison.

"Well, I guess my train is leaving", said the nice lady. "Look honey, I've got to go, l've got to go, I've got to go—hey, you take care now. It's been nice chatting with you." "l dig, same here. Just stet," said M. Teresa.

The lady looked at her, all at sea. "Excuse me? I don't follow."

M. Teresa was surprised – the lady obviously wasn't exactly sharp as a tack. "Stet. It's a hipster expression. It means, like, 'Just keep as you are.' Or 'Don't change, you're fine as is.' Stet, baby."

The lady laughed. "Well, you keep stetting too. Maybe your dreams will have that fairy tale ending after all," she smiled as she turned and walked off down the platform.

M. Teresa thought that was a very nice thing to say. "I hope your train doesn't derail!" she called after the lady.


She is the Warrior.

Bax'N'Nex 12:08 PM  

Joe D and other experts on things hereabouts... Why, when I read people's comments that are a response to someone else's post on my phone, does it come up in a gray box directly under the original post, but on my PC, those same comments are just posted in the order they were written, appearing as random, non-sequiturs?

Enquiring minds (OK, probably just me) want to know...anyone???

Oh, and as a lifetime (60 years) SoCal boy, I had to switch to acrosses just so I didn't have to actually answer the "Cali" (derision strongly emphasized) clue per se. Thank you Clare for letting folks know...

Masked and Anonymous 12:11 PM  

ACCTually, the full themer answers would make a mighty day-um interestin fairy tale schlock flick:

"WARRIOR PRINCESS rescues GLADYS KNIGHT from the cussed anti-mask KOMODO DRAGON that was chasing her around inside the CN TOWER. No Pips were badly injured, in the making of this movie. Rated R, on account of some pretty gory LOPS."

fave sparklers: LONGEVITY crossin ENDING. CUSSED. WORLDMAPS is also decent, even tho plural.
fave Ow de Speration glimmerers: CALI. IEDS.
staff weeject pick: DER. Better clue: {Color up??}. [Works, cuz it is a Down answer.]

Thanx for all them happy endins, Mr. Trout. And congratz on yer debut.
2020 has had a ton of debut constructioneers. Might be more than any previous year, I think.

Thanx to prince-seekin missile and temp-blogmeister Clare; Best wishes on that law degree wrap-up.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


gringa 12:14 PM  

I agree with Carrie: No one in the Bay Area, at least says CALI or FRISCO

Kath320 12:20 PM  

39A needs to be taken out and shot...

Nigel Pottle 12:33 PM  

I don’t know how many people will see this so they may not learn that cusséd with an accent on the é is an adjective. It is somewhat equal to darned as in “that darned cat”, but more emphatic and angry.

JC66 12:34 PM  

@Dogfish 9:11

Since you're blue, you don't have to prove you're not a robot.

Just click the "Publish Your Comment" box.

JOHN X 12:40 PM  

I'd also like to thank our own @Nancy who wired me bail money via Western Union to La Grange, Oregon, where I was in jail. And do you know what her only condition was? "Please don't kill anybody else, no matter how bad they are."

That's a first-class broad.

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

I think Cali entered the vernacular in the late 80s after “Going Back to Cali”, which was a hit for LL Cool J., who is from New York.

crayonbeam 1:26 PM  

I hated having OTOE crossed with AGEE. Aren't there rules against that sort of thing? Crossing two proper nouns seems like poor editing. I suppose common knowledge is subjective but that's the whole reason not to do it.

BarbieBarbie 1:31 PM  

Thank you, @mathgent at 11:24! I was just signing back in to explain the three syllables. Take thepronunciation in your note, elide the “saffin “ so that it’s more of a “saff’n,” and voila. Or, like this: begin to say the name, but as you come to the first n, close your teeth on your lip so that you are saying the n and the f together. Then take off with the “cisco ” as though that n had been the second one. Clear as mud?

I thought the CUSSED entry was interesting, but forgot to say so earlier. Definitely, CUSSEDness is very similar to cantankerosness. But CUSSED is not another word for cantankerous, which applies to people, or anyway animals. CUSSED is what a cantankerous person would say about a nail that would not go in straight. Same as damned and slang for cursed. Yet cussedness is a human trait. Weird. Anyway, minor edit fail IMO. Dig?

Unknown 1:34 PM  

The joke was on me. I'm thinking that rex must be in a great mood, or on some new mood-lifting medication, or had stopped drinking . . . . whatever, the reason, I'm thinking this is a new positive vibe i don't usually ascribe to him, only to find out that it was Clare instead.
Crushed me.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

East Coaster here. I'm going to split the ticker here. I can say with certainty that at least one native Californian does say Cali. I'll ask him if he's being ironic or not.
But Frisco appears to be a genuine and almost taboo no-no.
Many year ago I wrote it in a script and the great Harry Kalas ( who was doing the VO) informed that San Franciscans hate the term Frisco. I had no idea. But at least I was smart enough to defer to the great one. My how I miss him.

Anonymous 1:53 PM  

Otoe is very crosswordese. So is (yoko) Ono, Anias Nin, Ayn Rand, Eli Yale, Enya, Easi Morales, Isao Aoki Eero Saarinen, and a hundred others.
They are worthy of being include in crosswords in large part owing to their fame, not simply the letters in your name.

The idea that they are being denigrated by being included in the term croswordese, is risible. And worse, it betrays a lack of understanding of the term. It's not virtuous to inform the world that the Otoe are a people. and of course all peoples have history, tradition and worth. To inform us that Otoe possess what all men do is itself condescending to them and anyone who has to read that piffle. No, the post at 2:07 was grandstanding. Cheap virtue signaling.

Dogfish 1:56 PM  

@JC66 is that so? Well, I suppose this'll count as a test run, really!

And to think I've identified so many traffic lights... though if I was truly angry, I'd have CUSSED. The more we know!

Art 2:04 PM  

I guess since there is “usually” an umpire at home plate during a ball game this answer makes some sense. However there are multiple umps on the field during a game (first base, right field...) so I’d argue that they are not “usually” found at home. Just sayin.

Joe Dipinto 2:06 PM  

@Bax'N'Nex – I'm hardly an expert, but since I don't see @Z here– There are two different "views", which can cause confusion for newbies. The "mobile version" is the view you're seeing on your phone; the "web version" is what you're seeing on your PC. People viewing the web version can't ordinarily tell which post someone is responding to because everything just shows up in chronological order. That is why we use the convention of starting all responses with {@original poster's name}. It makes things clear for everyone regardless of what smart device is being used and which view it is set to. (I can actually toggle between the two views on both my phone and my iPad.)

Hope that helps. It's not a glitch, it's just a facet of the software, I guess.

Bax'N'Nex 2:29 PM  

Joe-Thanks. Didn't think it was a glitch, just thought it would be nice on the web version to be able to have the posts associated with each other and was wondering why that does not happen.

So, basically, no that didn't help ONE BIT! LOL. But appreciate the reply.
Z would just make me feel stupid (er?) anyways.


Anonymous 2:56 PM  

@Joe D - how do you toggle between the web view and the mobile view ? Or maybe it just depends on what platform and/or hardware you are using ?

Anonymous 2:59 PM  

I don't like "Cali," but I'd be lying if I didn't say there's a lot of people that use that term, even in California. It is not where near as bad as Frisco.

SharonAK 3:00 PM  

Please, if anyone is still out there. Tell me how to become "blue". I rarely posts since I''m 4 hours being east coast time and solve daily slowly and not in the middle of the night. etc.
But it would be nice to skip the CAPTCHAS
I thought the right side of the blog might tell me, but could not find instructions

Not into GoT 3:03 PM  

I did notice the endings of the theme answers as I solved, and I was afraid it was going to be a Game of Thrones theme. Never having watched the show, I don't know whether it actually incorporates princesses, towers, knights, and dragons. But I was relieved when GoT was not the theme.

I had a childhood friend who used "for" to mean "in order to" or "so that." For example, he might say, "I need to pump up my bicycle tires for I can ride to the park." I always wondered whether that usage was a calque from another language (given his name, maybe a Scandinavian one). Any linguistic help?

JC66 3:14 PM  


If you go to google.com , you should be able to find an option to "create an account."

Once you do that, you can check the Google Account option when choosing an identity (under the Leave your comment box).

You then just have to hit the "Publish Your Comment" box to post...no longer necessary to prove you're not a robot.

Good luck.

A 3:17 PM  

Five Go-old Rings!

Actually I liked this puzzle less than Clare. Hi @Joaquin!

I’m from the Deep South (SoUS?) and even I wrinkled my nose at CALI. Possible alternative clue to avoid offense:
Super____fragilisticexpialidocious, or to force people to sing the song to find out,
3rd and 4th syllables of nonsense song from Mary Poppins

In these here parts, CUSSED, pronounced cussid, is used as a substitute for a true curse word when one is in polite company. Think Jeff Foxworthy at a church social. “Ow! I should’ve known better than to lick my CUSSED steak knife’

The KOMODO DRAGON can smell prey coming from up to 2.5 miles away and can tell if it’s on the left or right. They use their long forked tongues and swing their heads to collect airborne molecules. What if they could be trained to detect COVID aerosols, sort of like cancer-sniffing dogs? We could use them to clear stages before concerts. Actually, with that head swinging, maybe they could double as backup vocalists!

@LMS, I tried unsuccessfully to find out the name of your specific phobia, and learned that a lot of people share my aversion to self-flushing commodes, but, OMAN, I wish I could unsee a couple of photos. If you want to read about TP (toilet phobia) check out The Peoples’ Pharmacy, but do not, I repeat DO NOT look on bbc.com.


A 3:27 PM  

test PeoplesPharmacy

JC66 3:40 PM  


Joe Dipinto 3:42 PM  

@Anon 2:56 – My display has something at the very bottom of the Comments page, after the last post, that says "View Web Version" when I'm in Mobile mode, and "View Mobile Version" when I'm in Web mode. I just click that and it switches to the other version.

Actually now I'm not sure if I can toggle on my iPad, it may just give me the Web mode. I don't have it handy to check. I almost always use my Android Moto-Z Play phone to read this blog, and it lets me toggle as described above.

A 3:44 PM  

Do what JC66 says and you should be good to go. Once you create your Google account you may need to stay signed in for it to work.

Also, you may know this, but the Robot test will still be showing, you just ignore it. Took me a couple times wondering why it was still there.

JOHN X 3:47 PM  

Why are people bringing up “Frisco”? Who cares?

I’m an Angeleno by choice. I was born and raised in Washington DC and lived there for 30 years, with stints in late 80s Manhattan, Charleston SC, Honolulu, and London.

I’ve lived out here on the beach for 20 years.

I lived one year in San Francisco. That is the stupidest town in the universe.

And NOBODY says Cali unless they are tourist.

Anonymous 4:22 PM  

I lived one year in San Francisco. That is the stupidest town in the universe.

Angeleno, as in Reagan Territory? people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. y'all have become the Covid poster child for maximum anti-social behaviour. last time I looked (here: https://www.investigatetv.com/county-map/ ), NoCal was in much better shape than Angeleno Land. hospitals with 0 beds and such and Covid on the rampage. be careful who you call stupid.

CDilly52 4:27 PM  

@Gill 9:51 am. You beat me to this one. My daughter and son in law live in Santa Rosa and each time I have visited I have heard someone use CALI in conversation and until I visited there, I had heard Norcal and SoCal but never CALI. My real comment though was about Guy Fieri, Santa Rosa’s favorite son. A couple years ago, I visited during the fire season. It was so frightening, and the devastation to the wineries and nearby properties was heartbreaking. Guy Fieri had dropped what he was doing and brought a bunch of his restaurant folks and at his expense set up field kitchens and was very quietly, without a bunch of press hoopla feeding the firefighters, first responders and displaced persons. Classy Cali product in my book!

sanfranman59 4:33 PM  

Given my moniker, I feel compelled to chime in on the CALI discussion (since virtually everyone else has). I learned very quickly upon my arrival in San Francisco in 1996 to never use Frisco and Cali when referring to my new home town and state.

As a couple of others have noted, LL Cool J is a Brooklyn native and may not have known any better at age 20. Gillian Welch was born in NYC, but moved to LA with her adoptive parents at age three, so she only gets a pass if Dave Rawlings, a New Englander, wrote the lyrics for "Revelator". Guy Fieri was born in Columbus, OH, though his Wikipedia article says he grew up in Humboldt County, CA, so he has no excuse.

In any case, CALI is surely fair game as a crossword answer unless the clue specifically suggests that natives and residents refer to their state that way.

GILL I. 5:06 PM  

@CDilly 4:27. I've ignored JOHN X's post about Guy being a dork because he's in jail and, well, we know what they drink there. Anyway....I was never crazy about Fieri as part of "The Food Network" crowd until this man started giving back to his community. He's a hometown hero as far as I'm concerned and he puts his money where it counts (unlike Congress). He can call (ugh) CALI anything he wants, as far as I'm concerned....Stay safe and keep the lawyers honest.... :-)

Anonymous 5:22 PM  

Not only LL Cool J, but Mayer Hawthorne (from LA) uses Cali, so it must be pretty mainstream.

CDilly52 5:37 PM  

This was a fun Tuesday! If only I could spell, I think it could have been easy. Had cOMODO DRAGON and cOLA nut, both of which looked just fine. And the OWN/CN TOWER crossing nearly Naticked me as I had no idea about the TV station and had no earthly idea about the second letter of the aToronto TOWER’s name, if ever I did actually know it. Been to Toronto and have dear friends from Toronto who have lived in Missoula MT since 2007. Nearly emailed them to cheat. WOO was easy but I erased the second O because of my particular Morse code tutelage lured me into yet another unwitting error and also provided zero help with the issue of the TV channel. Alas.

Which leads to the the Morse code “S” problem. Morse Code, (as I learned to “spell” (vocally) the Morse alphabet in Gurl Scouts) consisted of “dit” and “dah” for the short and long taps in the code rather than dots and dashes. Thus, SOS becomes dit dit dit, dah dah dah, dit dit dit. So, long after I had sussed out my spelling error with the lizard and the nut, and by sheer guesses the N for the tower/TV channel, I still had a mistake and so back to the serenade and the chocolates we went - after way way too long. Put the first O of WOO back in and . . . Happy Music and another solve in the books. Took me longer to fix than to solve. Good grief, not the fault of the constructor, certainly. He did a very nice job.

chinch 6:26 PM  

@Joaquin & Clare, Wrong. I have lived in CA most of my life and plenty of natives call CA Cali. It’s mostly the wannabe natives trying too hard to signal their bona fides who object to Cali. Doubly true for the anti-Frisco warriors.

Mom 6:31 PM  

Thank you, Clare, for pointing out that no self-respecting California EVER uses "Cali". It's just not done. So visitors, don't buy the junk that says Cali. It labels you as a dorky tourist.

If the editor continues to approve of (or changes the clueing) to a CALI entry as a nickname for California, I propose that New Yorkers start being referred to as Yorkies.

Giskarrrd 6:56 PM  

We zipped through this puzzle way faster than typical for a Tuesday, until all we had left was the center north and we got completely stuck. I didn’t know the word RIME, TROU is both awful and clued poorly (no reference to the abbreviation or a “familiarly”??) and I really wanted SHOE, initially had CUSSED but removed it because it didn’t seem to make great sense, and knew AIRS but couldn’t make it work with anything else we tried. There are four or more UMPS in a baseball game and only one of them is found “at home”... our time turned into a Friday time! :(

bocamp 6:57 PM  


Crunchy oldie: Fri., Dec. 29, 1995.

Peace 🕊

Anonymous 7:13 PM  

People from Philadelphia used to turn their noses up at people who referred to their city as “Philly.” Now it’s ubiquitous. I suspect Cali will follow.

JOHN X 7:16 PM  

I guess I pushed my comedy stylings a bit too far this time.

I worked with LL Cool J on a movie and he was a very nice guy.

I’ve never met Guy Fieri but his reputation among the TV crew crowd I know is that he is also a very nice guy and fun to work with.

I don’t understand the Reagan reference, and Los Angeles County has a population larger than 34 of the 50 U.S. states, but in my quiet little beach community everyone seems to be taking the virus quite seriously. I don’t know about elsewhere.

San Francisco is highly over-rated. Beautiful place to visit but you don’t want to live there.

Smith 7:16 PM  

@CDilly 5:37
Hand up for DiT before DoT. Thx for reminding me that I may have learned those dits and dahs at GS camp.

JOHN X 7:26 PM  

However, CALI is strictly a tourist term.

It is not mainstream. CALI is a drug cartel city in South America.

Anonymous 8:39 PM  

Reagan lived and died in Bel Air, and as The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave), a faux Populist.

Anonymous 9:02 PM  

Hey shit gibbon, give it a rest.
Reagan never lived in Bel Air. He died in Santa Barbara

GILL I. 9:31 PM  

@JOHN X...Just don't go away. I'll bring you some Tequila when I visit you in the Tijuana pokey. You know.....that town that ABUTS San Diego..... :-)

Ian 9:55 PM  

“ a nest of vipers” will rob you of your purse in the markets of Casablanca. Close to the gin joint that she walks into.

albatross shell 10:06 PM  

Otis Redding was born in Georgia so he can call a CALI bay any cussed thing he wants to make his lyric sound good to his ear. Tourists rights. Artistic License. Otis died in Lake Monona, home of the Monona Dragon.

CUSSED is a most excellent adjective meaning 1.Cursed. 2.Cantankerous, obstinate.
It's in the cussed dictionary. That's @everyonewhosaidotherwise. It and LONGEVITY were the acres of the fill.

CALI makes me think of my favorite scenes in Gunga Din. CALIS can try to control the nicknames for the state. I think it is about the worst nickname one could choose, but obviously some CALIS and non-CALIS use it. Perhaps only as a NOC or so the meter or rhyme works.

That's NicknameOfConveinence.

Thanks to @LMS, @mathgebt for the puzzles die-pips connection. I needed both of them to get it. Nice Easter egg there.

JOHN X 10:14 PM  

Ronald Reagan most certainly lived and died in Bel Air (Los Angeles) because I was an eye witness.

I'll tell this story from memory, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong anywhere.

I was standing on a corner in Santa Monica California on a Saturday that one of the Triple-Crown horse races was to be run. It was Wilshire Blvd at about 19th St. My girlfriend at the time was a hairstylist at a salon on that very block. I visited her and told her that I was going to a little bar down the street to watch the horse race and if she could manage it she could join me.

I'm outside standing on the corner and the the biggest kerfuffle I've ever seen outside of a combat zone just materializes before my eyes. 50 police motorcycles come down Wilshire and turn at corner I'm standing. There were 10 helicopters in the sky, all stacked together. Then a hearse came and drove to the funeral home that was just down the side street I was standing next to. I hadn't heard any news so this all just came at me out of the blue.

I'm still trying to remember who won the horse race.

Anonymous 10:14 PM  

Reagan died of pneumonia, complicated by Alzheimer's disease,[365] at his home in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles, California, on the afternoon of June 5, 2004.[366]

the wiki. you can go to the wiki and follow the links

Anonymous 10:46 PM  

@John X, Say it ain't so. Too far is what you DO! (take that post down immediately you cowardly bastad)!

JOHN X 11:25 PM  

@Anonymous 10:46 PM


Here on this New Years Eve Eve Eve, you might actually be more hammered than me. If that is the case, I nothing but admiration for you.

albatross shell 12:29 AM  


Sorry @math gent
ACMES not acre
I blame that on autocorrect

burtonkd 9:31 AM  

@bax'n'nex - it is a convention and courtesy here to do the heretofore done @someone, so people know which thread you are referring to in a comment. NOONE knows why the blogger can't do this, but this forum is too well established to move to a more user friendly environs.

@Joe DiPinto, very amusing: I usually don't enjoy those kinds of riffs on the words of the day...

Seems like a lot of W,V and Y action for a Tuesday.

Charo 10:45 AM  

@anonymous 6:50 am: In English the word is pinyon. There is no ñ in English.

spacecraft 11:06 AM  

@Roo: How could you forget Paradise, the actual name of the community that includes the Strip?

So, today we have a super-easy one, with cold gimme WARRIORPRINCESS (featuring DOD Lucy Lawless) ushering us in. Agreed that CALI is a desperado. It probably sprang into (non-native) existence through the popularity of the clothing that reads


What some people will wear! And to this day I'll never understand why "Aeropostale" became so ubiquitous. Why why why???

At least this puzzle is comparatively well-dressed, considering it's a debut. I shall encourage Mr. Trout with a birdie.

thefogman 1:29 PM  

5D should have been re-clued: Hole in Paris. Nobody says TROU for trousers.

leftcoaster 1:50 PM  

Charming TALE and tail ENDINGs.

Outlier name: NYALA

Good word: LONGEVITY

Thanks for the fun, MT

rondo 3:41 PM  

Au contraire @foggy - tradition says that if you don't hit your tee shot past the forward (formerly ladies') tee box, you must drop TROU.

Found this puz easier than yesterday's all the way to the ENDING.

Burma Shave 4:04 PM  


With the PRINCESS the KNIGHT was LEWD,
he OGLES and CUSSED condescending.
Turns out ELLIE was WES that he WOOed,


Diana, LIW 4:42 PM  

Found it only a tad more difficult than yesterday - don't remember, but there must have been a name or two that I didn't know. And TROU didn't pop to mind immediately.

And agree on the rarity of hearing CALI from anyone.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 4:45 PM  

@Bax'N'Nex(12:08pm) :
On your tablet, laptop, or desktop, type in
Hit enter and you will now have the phone version on your non-phone device.
Remember, no spaces allowed.

muons 3:32 AM  

Interestingly, at least four words in this Dec 29 puzzle also appeared in the crossword in the Jan 4 & 11 issue of the New Yorker: 7D UMPS, 8D TERESA, and 57D ALPO. The fourth word was in the puzzle's subtitle: "A crossword toast to auld lang SYNE" (71A).

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