Actress Wells has just entered the scene / TUE 1-5-21 / TV father Cleaver has just left the starting line / Classic NYC punk rock venue / Petite pooch familiarly

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Constructor: Amy Schecter and Christina Iverson

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: famous people doing things — familiar 3rd-person verb phrases are clued as if they express what someone famous is currently doing; that is, the first word (a 3rd-person verb ending in "S") is clued as if it were preceded by an apostrophe:

Theme answers:
  • PAT'S DOWN (16A: Singer Benatar feels blue)
  • SUE'S OVER (20A: Author Grafton has arrived for dinner)
  • DAWN'S ON (26A: Actress Wells has just entered the scene)
  • JACK'S UP (!) (37A: Actor Nicholson will bat next)
  • WADE'S IN (48A: Baseball's Boggs has agreed to join us)
  • CHUCK'S IT (53A: Actor Norris got tagged)
  • WARD'S OFF (59A: TV father Cleaver has just left the starting line)
Word of the Day: TERN (35D: Relative of a sea gull) —

Terns are seabirds in the family Laridae that have a worldwide distribution and are normally found near the searivers, or wetlands. Terns are treated as a subgroup of the family Laridae which includes gulls and skimmers and consist of eleven genera. They are slender, lightly built birds with long, forked tails, narrow wings, long bills, and relatively short legs. Most species are pale grey above and white below, with a contrasting black cap to the head, but the marsh terns, the Inca tern, and some noddies have dark plumage for at least part of the year. The sexes are identical in appearance, but young birds are readily distinguishable from adults. Terns have a non-breeding plumage, which usually involves a white forehead and much-reduced black cap.

The terns are birds of open habitats that typically breed in noisy colonies and lay their eggs on bare ground with little or no nest material. Marsh terns construct floating nests from the vegetation in their wetland habitats, and a few species build simple nests in trees, on cliffs or in crevices. The white tern, uniquely, lays its single egg on a bare tree branch. Depending on the species, one to three eggs make up the clutch. Most species feed on fish caught by diving from flight, but the marsh terns are insect-eaters, and some large terns will supplement their diet with small land vertebrates. Many terns are long-distance migrants, and the Arctic tern may see more daylight in a year than any other animal.

Terns are long-lived birds and are relatively free from natural predators and parasites; most species are declining in numbers due directly or indirectly to human activities, including habitat loss, pollution, disturbance, and predation by introduced mammals. The Chinese crested tern is in a critical situation and three other species are classed as endangered. (wikipedia)

• • •

***HELLO, READERS AND FELLOW SOLVERS!**. The calendar has turned on another year (thank God), and while that might mean a lot of things to a lot of people, for me it means it's time for my annual week-long pitch for financial contributions to the blog. Every year I ask regular readers to consider what the blog is worth to them on an annual basis and give accordingly. Last year at this time, I wrote about what a melancholy year 2019 was; my oldest dog had died and the world was kind of a wreck. And then 2020 happened, and I learned what a real wreck looks like. In February, my other dog died (R.I.P. Gabby). And then, well, COVID. And let's be honest, even with a new president, 2021 is going to be, uh, challenging as well. But I hope that the regular ritual of solving crosswords brought some solace and stability to your lives this past year, and I hope that my blog added to your enjoyment of the solving experience in some way. This year my blog will celebrate its 15th anniversary! I feel so proud! And old! A lot of labor goes into producing this blog every day (Every. Day.) and the hours are, let's say, less than ideal (I'm either solving and writing at night, after 10pm, or in the morning, before 6am). Most days, I really do love the writing, but it is work, and once a year (right now!) I acknowledge that fact. As I've said before, I have no interest in "monetizing" the blog beyond a simple, direct contribution request once a year. No ads, no gimmicks. Just here for you, every day, rain or shine, whether you like it or, perhaps, on occasion, not :) It's just me and my laptop and some free blogging software and, you know, a lot of rage, but hopefully some insight and levity along the way. I do genuinely love this gig, and whether you're an everyday reader or a Sunday-only reader or a flat-out hatereader, I appreciate you more than you'll ever know.

How much should you give? Whatever you think the blog is worth to you on a yearly basis. Whatever that amount is is fantastic. Some people refuse to pay for what they can get for free. Others just don't have money to spare. All are welcome to read the blog—the site will always be open and free. But if you are able to express your appreciation monetarily, here are two options. First, a Paypal button (which you can also find in the blog sidebar):

Second, a mailing address (checks should be made out to "Rex Parker"):

Rex Parker c/o Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton, NY 13905

And heck, why don't I throw my Venmo handle in here too, just in case that's your preferred way of moving money around; it's @MichaelDavidSharp (the last four digits of my phone are 4878, in case Venmo asks you, which they did that one time someone contributed that way—but it worked!)

All Paypal contributions will be gratefully acknowledged by email. All snail mail contributions will be gratefully acknowledged with hand-written postcards. I. Love. Snail Mail. I love seeing your gorgeous handwriting and then sending you my awful handwriting. It's all so wonderful. And my thank-you postcards this year are really special. They are portraits of my new cat Alfie (a bright spot of 2020), designed by artist Ella Egan, a.k.a. my daughter. And they look like this:

He's eating kale in that middle one, in case you're wondering. Anyway, these cards are personally meaningful to me, and also, I believe, objectively lovely. I can't wait to share them with the snail-mailers. Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just indicate "NO CARD."  Again, as ever, I'm so grateful for your readership and support. Now on to today's puzzle...

* * *

This theme mostly works, except for the one place it doesn't. No, let me rephrase. It works, roughly, on its own terms, but those are not the only terms it feels like it's working on when you're solving, so (to my ear) there is one big clanker in this themer group. I wonder if I did a poll and just asked, "Which of these ... [counting] ... seven (!) is substantially not like the others?" there'd be a consensus. Anyway, the problem is CHUCK'S IT. All the other final words are prepositions. Conspicuously, obviously so. And "IT" ... is not. It's just not. The preposition thing felt absolutely crucial the entire time I was solving, as one after the other of the themers was built that way: famous person + apostrophe S + preposition. On and on. And on. Until Chuck. Poor Chuck. Also, poor Dawn Wells. She was the first themer I got, and so the whole endeavor started out slightly sad; in case you hadn't heard, Dawn Wells died just last week. Dec. 30, 2020. Dawn Wells was of course famous for playing Mary Ann on "Gilligan's Island." I always hated that whole Ginger *vs* Mary Ann thing, since there's no reason to pit women against each other like that. And yet the answer was always Mary Ann :)

I was briefly and (probably) unintentionally amused, in a 10-year-old-boy kind of way, when I saw the verb/preposition pattern develop ... and then hit JACK. If you played a quick word association game, or ... was it "Match Game" where they made you guess the most popular fill-in-the-blank answer? Anyway, if you'd played that game with me, and asked me to quickly complete [JACKS ___], let's just say "Up" is not the place my brain would've gone to first. So I mentally filled the squares with the wrong preposition and got a laugh. But the real answer was UP. Jack got UP. Not OFF. UP. But then Ward Cleaver got OFF and I was laughing all over again.   

What else? I'm stuck on prepositions. I don't want there to be any other prepositions in this puzzle *besides* the ones that complete the theme answers, and I especially don't want any other two-word verb phrases ending in a preposition (looking at you, END AT). Keep your theme tight and don't let parts of it leak into the fill ... I always say! I had a little trouble getting the OVER part of SUE'S OVER, but otherwise, the themers were all quite easy. But since they all involved "celebrities," and the well-known-ness of those can be highly variable, it's possible that the theme wasn't always easy for you. I wonder how many people under 40 know who Dawn Wells was. Or Ward Cleaver, for that matter. Oh, yeah, the other odd-man-out themer (besides the Chuck Norris one that annoyed me) was the Ward Cleaver one, since he's fictional, and the other famous people are not. Further: OMAN does not sound like the exclamation in question, so since the clue didn't not specifically indicate *looks* like, that clue was no good (2D: Country whose name can be an exclamation). I guess with the right (Jamaican?) accent, OMAN can be an exclamation. Bah. The "successive identical clue" strategy once again shows its head and shows why it's generally bad, as the clue (44D & 46D: Trial stages) works really well for one of the answers (BETAS) and really iffily for the other (the ultra-generic TESTS). I thought the SW corner was the most fun, with its shot and CHASER and GNOMES shouting "TEACH ME to JETSKI!" (OK I fudged the last bit, it's JETSKIED, but my brain hears what it hears). Have a nice day!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 6:15 AM  

Surprised not to see any commentary on GOESLONG

Big issue for me on that one: it's not the person who is throwing who goes long! It's the person running to catch it! If anything, the QB will shout "Go Long!", telling the receiver to actually do that thing.

At no point does the thrower/QB actually "go long" they just throw the dang ball

Anonymous 6:17 AM  

*correction* GOES DEEP

"I'm surprised to not see any complaint of GOESDEEP. The thrower is not the one going deep, it's the receiver"

OffTheGrid 6:18 AM  

Really nice. The theme is solid and seems fresh although similar ideas have certainly appeared. The names include a musician, a baseball player, an author, 2 TV actors, a movie actor, and CHUCK Norris. 3 women, 4 men. The name answers parsed as common phrases works well, nothing forced or groan-worthy. The solve was fairly easy but also interesting. PPP seems low (22 or so?) and all within easy reach. I also noticed the "IT" problem in 53A

Lobster11 6:23 AM  

This is the first time I've been amused by an early-week theme in... well, a really long time. And since each theme answer takes up little space, you can squeeze in 8 of them without straining the rest of the grid.

I didn't notice the "inconsistency" of the themers until I read Rex's write-up, and then I found his complaining about it far more irksome than the inconsistency itself. One of them is in violation of the "rule" only if you choose to define the theme in terms of that "rule."

Lewis 6:36 AM  

This is a cute and clever theme that made me smile. It’s tight too – hard to come up with other answers that fit “one-syllable name + S + preposition (with, as Rex points out, CHUCKS IT being an outlier), all making a common phrase”. Jeff Chen came up with TUCKERS OUT, but even that doesn’t exactly fit because TUCKER is two syllables.

In addition, there are five debut NYT answers, my favorite being the lively MATCH WITS.

Fun fact: The aria “pour mon Γ’me” from Donizetti’s “La fille du regiment” requires a tenor to sing eight HIGH Cs in two minutes (sometimes a ninth is inserted), and has been called the Mount Everest for tenors. You’re welcome.

Congratulations to Christina on your sixth NYT puzzle and Amy for your debut. Thank you for a most lovely-to-solve puzzle!

DanGolder 6:40 AM  

True for "Goes long" but "Goes deep" works for QB to my ear. To check my bias I Googled "Goes deep football" and the first page has six QBs, no WRs, and a couple of puns.

amyyanni 6:44 AM  

Impressed by the volume of themers. A good start to Tuesday. Really enjoyed the term article. Birds are cool.

Anonymoose 6:46 AM  


Adam12 7:04 AM  

Rex has never been more spot on correct. The correct answer was ALWAYS . . . Mary Ann.

SouthsideJohnny 7:04 AM  

I guess it worked for me because the celebs in the themes are not too esoteric (or maybe it’s just that they are at least recognizable). It may fall flat for those who don’t remember Dawn or Ward (or even Pat Benatar for that matter).

My take is different than @anon 6:17 - I hear announcers state all the time that “Brady goes deep . . .” as he heaves one down the field.

I like @OffTheGrid’s write-up better than Rex’s today. OtG describes why the puzzle and why it works, whereas Rex is just parsing every single theme clue/answer looking for something to nitpick about.

Are there any truckers or chemists in the crowd - is DIESEL OIL really a “fuel” (like gasoline) ? When I google the term I pretty much got engine oils and additives which I believe are “lubricants” - seems like that clue just isn’t right.

Rug Crazy 7:09 AM  

I'm sure I'm not the only one who is glad it wasn't actor Nicolson who just left the starting line

kitshef 7:27 AM  

No IFC (insufficiently famous celebrities) today! Not only have I heard of them all, but I was able to fill in all the first names based on the last name and "occupation". (noting that TV father was not Ward Cleaver's occupation).

Once I got the theme, all the words to complete them came fairly easily except OVER, which seems the odd man out to me. All the others are common phrases. SUES OVER is not.

Somewhere around age 35 I changed from a Mary Ann to a Ginger. I wonder if at some point one becomes a Mrs. Howell.

pabloinnh 7:28 AM  

If you know all the first names of these famous people, this is easy as cake, or possibly, a piece of pie, Nicely done, no real junk, learned where the compass was invented. I still wonder why China did not think of forks, but that's just me.

No HIGHC's from me any more, even in falsetto. My friend the bass/baritone now has a higher falsetto range than I do, which he says is not unusual, and I believe him, because he is wicked smart.

Thanks for a nice Tuedecito, AS and CI. Solid entry level rating.

ChuckD 7:50 AM  

Cute little theme - I had fun with it and the sports sub-theme. Lassie, Ward Cleaver and the late Dawn Wells are all in the TV of my youth. Like Rex - my 6th grade eye was drawn to the connection of JACKS - OFF. Black squares in the center are odd - but the overall fill is fine with little glue. Long downs especially DIESEL OIL are a little flat.

So many shows at CBs in the late 70s into the 80s. It was a dump for the most part - but cheap and fun and they would let us in at 16. By the time I saw Blondie that whole thing was over. Favorite shows were the Misfits and the Damned in 77. So long ago.

Moxer 7:57 AM  

Excellent puzzle: Just right for a Tuesday. I liked “goes deep,” and I learned that IKEA was the first company to feature a gay couple in a mainstream TV ad in the U.S. An important p.s.: Thank you, Rex, for your dedication to the blog. It’s a constant source of entertainment, enlightenment and occasional irritation to readers like me.

Z 8:10 AM  

Three dead people. Two octogenarians. The “youngsters” are sexagenarians, a baseball player who retired over two decades ago and a rock star whose biggest hits are over 30 years old. Somebody get this puzzle a walker. Turning common phrases into Pop Culture is never going to thrill me, but can we at least please pretend the world didn’t end in 1999? Pretty please?

“Run” can be a synonym for GOES can be a synonym for “pass” so by the Transitive Property of Synonyms™️ run and pass mean the same thing. Let all the football stats nerds know.

Hungry Mother 8:11 AM  

Average time, but deeper thought. I had to switch from across to down more than usual for a Tuesday. The theme helped me get through without too much sweat.

Dogfish 8:13 AM  

Yikes. Y i k e s.

I'm sure these might all be household names in the US, but from this side of the pond? A singer who failed to break top 10 with any of her singles, a character from a US TV Show that never made it across, and a retired baseballer (The youngest person in the mix, and still older than my mother!)

Unsurprisingly, the theme did diddly and squat for me - asides from making the South-East an absolutely nightmare to get into. Meanwhile "DIESEL OIL" is a choice - as was SEGO, IKE as clued (again: never left the US), RBI, CNBC... nothing to make me smile. Oh, and UPI. What the heck is UPI when it's at home.

I'm surprised this seems to be getting decent reviews (from everywhere... except for Reddit, who's solving audience - like me - skews younger). I suppose I'm just not the target audience - this seemed very much aimed at Americans in their 50s and above, neither of which applies to me in any way, shape, or form.

bocamp 8:16 AM  

Thank you, @Amy & @Christina for a fun, crunchy Tues. puz! Enjoyed the challenge. :)

Medium+ solve. Just couldn't get untracked; slow, but steady progress, tho.

Don't know why this took me an extra two minutes. Only one answer I didn't know: "Dawn Wells". Enjoyed watching Gilligan's Island; just didn't recall the actor's name.

"Dawn Wells" - Sugar Sugar

"Etta James" & Taj Mahal - Mockingbird (1994 Late Show with David Letterman)

Sold "Sego" diet drink when working for Pet Milk in '67: Vintage TV Ads Double Feature: SEGO diet drink & PET Evaporated Milk - 1967

d.b.y.d. p.g. -1 / y.d. p.g. -1

Peace and Tolerance πŸ•Š

Frantic Sloth 8:32 AM  

Why anyone would want to put the past tense of ski (or sky, for that matter) in a crossword is beyond my comprehension. Okay, so most things are, but still.

Theme was cute in that early week themed puzzle kinda way. As is usually the case, some themers were better than others; however, one in particular won my Little Stinker Award. Can you guess which one? I'll give you a hint: SUESOVER. It's weak and a stretch and doesn't even play nice with other phrases, let alone puns.
I want it to go sit in the corner and just think about what it's done.

I people have GNOME(S)-o-phobias like they do with clowns? Seems to me they're equally creepy and anything that can attack my ankles with a garden implement terrifies me.
In a crossword puzzle? Well...If it stays one- or two-dimensional, fine. 3D or higher? That's a big no-stinkin'-way train to Nopesville.

But, I digress.

Aside from our Little Stinker award winner, I thought this was just dandy and a fine example for new solver toe-dipping. Nothing really sparkly, but no big nits either. Standard workmanlike fare.


Barbara S. 8:46 AM  

Just had to try my hand. Puzzles like this always get me going (for better or for worse).

1) Dale's partner has come home.
2) Actor O'Toole has left his apartment.
3) Actor Hamill just got out of bed.
4) Actor Brosnan has decided to quit.
5) Actress Fisher has never been more vibrant.

An outlier:
6) Choreographer Hermes hangs out near here.

1) Chip's in.
2) Peter's out.
3) Mark's up.
4) Pierce's through.
5) Carrie's on.
6) Pan's around (Use of last name)

I (w)racked my brains last night trying to think of a famous person named "Skip" so I could use:

7) X-person accompanies us. ANSWER: Skip's along.

Well, I thought it was fun and I even kinda liked CHUCKS IT, which made me laugh. Yeah, I get that the puzzle's famous people had their heydays long ago and so did most of those in my examples. But it's a challenge to think up first names that are also one-syllable verbs, so I think some slack must be cut.

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

It isn't Ginger vs Maryanne ( by the way V suffices. It's been the standard form of versus for decades now). Its Ginger OR Maryanne. It's simply a preference in the same way that chocolate isn't being pitted against vanilla when we say do you like chocolate or vanilla?
I know you despise men and champion al things distaff but you've gotten this confused. This isn't men putting two women in a cage match, it's one of life's oldest questions: what kinda girl do you like?

Thurston 9:08 AM  

AGEISM!! Lovey (Mrs. Howell) never even made it to the conversation.

mmorgan 9:11 AM  

The IT didn’t bother me at all.

Thurston III 9:12 AM  

AGEISM!! Lovey(Mrs. Howell), my dear wife, never even made it into the conversation.

pabloinnh 9:13 AM  

After reading OFL and some other possible connection between WARDSOFF and Mr. Nicholson, I was reminded of womething that happened at our summer resort that we used to run here in NH.

We had a message board outside the office that listed things that needed to be done or other info I needed to know. One summer we had a guy working for us named Jack, and on his day off, I was left a note that informed me of this, because I would have to perform some of his duties. And of course the note said "Jack off all day". Which struck me as unlikely, as not impossible. Hadn't thought of that in quite a long time, but it still makes me snicker.

toddh 9:19 AM  

I got stuck on HIGHs/sNBC and was unable to parse out what was wrong.

Nancy 9:23 AM  

So you take a wordplay theme -- not an especially thrilling one, mind you, but a wordplay theme just the same -- and then you muck it up with a lot of "who he?"/"who she?" clues.

FWIW, I thought it was Wayne Boggs and Wally Cleaver -- but what do I know? As far as the PAT person -- I can think of a zillion infinitely more familiar PATs than this Benatar lady. I didn't know the Wells lady either, though admittedly I can't think of any alternative DAWNs.

The high point of this puzzle for me was learning that an elephant uses its EAR as a fly-swatter. That's something -- but not a whole lot.

I'm an alto and I think I'll go see if I can hit a HIGH C. I don't expect to hit it well, mind you, I just want to see if I can hit it at all.

KnittyContessa 9:26 AM  

This was delightful! I rarely smile this much at a Tuesday puzzle. I thought the clues were fresh and so many themers for such a small grid. Well done!

@Barbara S love it! I believe Skip Henderson is a musician.

Frantic Sloth 9:34 AM  

Sorry, Rex. CHUCKSIT and its propositionlessness didn't bother me one iota. (Hi, @Lobster11!) Partly because I didn't parse all the themers that minutely, but mostly because the phrase itself is common and the pun works. The end. So I guess your assumed "consensus" takes a one-solver hit.
Strike one.
Which also means that ENDAT, while perhaps suboptimal on its own ,didn't "leak into the fill" either.
Strike two.
GNOMES are fun? Strike three.

Guess I'ma hafta put a stop payment on that check. πŸ˜‰

@kitshef 727am Thank you - I am not alone!

@Z 810am "can we at least please pretend the world didn’t end in 1999? Pretty please?" No. And shut up. 😘

@Barbara S. 846am Brilliant list! Allow me to help out: Skip Toomahloo, dancer.

I'm here all week. Sorry.

TJS 9:46 AM  

@Nancy, it's inexcusable to not be aware of the greatest line from 50's TV :

"Ward, you were a little hard in the Beaver last night."

Unknown 9:51 AM  

Does anyone here know the demographics of the NYTXW audience?
I would guess that this puz skews right to the middle of the bell curve.
Considering this puz was constructed by two women (not that i care, but you'd think rex would be all jacked up) i thought there was a lot of sports-related fill.
again, something YFL complains about quite a bit.
personally i liked the puz; didn't know a lot of the folks (never watched gilligan's island as a kid, thought it was kind of insipid, but i did wind up watching Lost years later, so shame on me) so there were no gimmes for me . . . .
i always deduct a point when ETTA shows up, but that's just me
re the whole preposition thing; didn't even notice it, and once rex pointed it out, didn't really other me.

Nancy 9:55 AM  

@Barbara S -- Nice! -- though I didn't know all of your people either. I knew PETER and got PETER'S OUT, but I also knew PIERCE and couldn't figure out PIERCE'S THROUGH as well as CARRIE and couldn't get CARRIES ON from the clue. The only Hamill I know is Pete (who I always wanted to date, thought I was being quite unusual in my choice, and then found out that Jackie O did date him, so the competition was fierce) and I didn't know CHIP.

@kitshef -- the whole Ginger/Mary Anne thing sailed right over (under?) my head.

The most interesting thing in the comments for me today was finding out that people didn't know these people because they were from too long ago. Meanwhile I was assuming that I didn't know these people because they were much too recent. Moral of the story: when you've never heard of pop culture figures, you have no way of knowing if they're too old or too new. All you know is that you've never heard of them.

So the next time someone accuses me of being out of touch with today's pop culture, just remember: I'm out of touch with everyone's pop culture -- much of my own era included.

Glen Laker 10:00 AM  

Really? Your older friends never had a thing for Lovey Howell? Hubba-hubba

G. Weissman 10:04 AM  

The one themer that doesn’t fit is not CHUCKIT but, instead, WARDSOFF. Ward Cleaver is certainly not a TV actor. Ward Cleaver is a character on a TV show. All the other answers are real people, whereas this answer alone names a fictional character, and only because the constructors and/or editor could not come up with a WARD who is/was a real person. Going with Ward Cleaver is an act of desperation that is being overlooked — why, exactly? I think it is a glaring flaw in the construction of this puzzle, whereas the move from prepositions to IT struck me not at all.

CDilly52 10:06 AM  

Really nice job and bonus points in my book for this being a duo of very able women! Loved it. And it gave me some real trouble in the NW. I just had to move on and come back to it after my brain connected with out constructors.

Have to admit that CHUCK’S IT lowered the degree of overall “elegance” of the theme, but not enough to call it a foul. Giving just a tad bit more thought could have avoided the possessive. Action movie star Norris says no to a new script - CHUCKS OUT. Yep, it would mean revamping the SW, but not impossible even with the “U” of out.

Even with Chuck getting (or playing) tag, this was a much, much better than average Tuesday.

jae 10:08 AM  

Medium. Cute and pretty smooth. Got momentarily hung up when I saw Wells and started to wonder why ORSEN wouldn’t work...and yes I know it’s WELLES and that the clue said actress, which is why I said fault for speeding on a Tues.

Liked it, fun debut for Amy Schecter.

Tim Cline 10:11 AM  

Like the 9:30 club in DC. Same ambience, same acts... Husker Du, Dead Milkmen, GWAR.

Ann Howell 10:11 AM  

Maybe I'm just grumpy, but this one did nothing for me and had a couple clunkers (DIESEL OIL, DADDYO) that made it rather unpleasant. Harumph!

I don't know Jack 10:12 AM  

Actor Nicholson is accidently shot.....Jackshit

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

going straight to comment, and I'll guess this isn't the first... but OFL DOESN'T GET IT!!! the first word is both a name and a verb (in the 'sentence' so constructed). ha ha ha!!

mbr 10:15 AM  

@Knitty Contessa: I too first thought of "Skip" Henderson, but the conductor on The Tonight Show was Skitch Henderson.

TTrimble 10:15 AM  

@Barbara S.
Those are great! I only wish you had left more room before the answers. :-)

Comedian Wilson has fallen asleep.

A pair (is the first too obscure?):
Actor Davis gives a thumbs up.
Actor Reinhold gives a thumbs down.

Last-century creaky:
Speaker O'Neill is wrong again.

Another outlier: Chevy is blue.

Thanks for the laugh! A ten-year-old boy lurks inside all us males. (Except that I was so innocent at age 10, that would be more like 12 in my case.)

It's a very rare occasion when I do better, but dbyd was a -0. :-) For today I'm right now PG -2.

I'm not sure I get SUES OVER. Best I can come up with "SUES OVER what was a minor infraction" or the like, but that seems a little lame.

Ginger: too heavy on the false eyelashes. But the actress (Tina Louise) is still among the living, the last of the cast.


Flip's out.
Hope's for.
Judge's against.
Tip's off.
Chase's down.

Z 10:16 AM  

@Anon8:57 - LOL - The very notion that there is a standard form of versus is just too precious. And then, And then,...(t)his isn't men putting two women in a cage match. 🀣🀣🀣 Rex was joking but it’s not as if the underlying topic hasn’t been written about extensively. Once you know to look for it you’ll find this trope everywhere. It’s wrapped in 1960’s code but it’s not particularly subtle.
My personal favorite in the over analyzing tv comedies genre is the Gilligan is actually Satan argument. He. always. wears. red. Q.E.D.

@Lobster and @Sloth - TBF - Rex did say It works, roughly, on its own terms, but those are not the only terms it feels like it's working on when you're solving. Personally, if one of the theme’s rules is going to be broken I’d have preferred Up Chuck over CHUCKS IT. But that breaks two theme rules and violates the breakfast test. Just call me Gilligan.

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

@I don't know...
Actor Nicholson is accidently shot.....Jackshit

not in 'The Departed', that one was really on purpose.

Renley 10:20 AM  

Though it was o-kaay. Theme was mildly amusing.

What bothered me was the parade of crossword standard 3-4 letter fill: LOO, AFRO, IRS, SEER, ALE, RAG, ASIS, AMA, POM, ASIS, RBI, UNO, ETTA. Mostly with standard cluing.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

and so far nobody else does either.

johnk 10:26 AM  

DOWN, OVER, ON, UP and IN are all adverbs in this case rather than prepositions. All could be replaced by WHERE. IT is definitely OFF.

RooMonster 10:28 AM  

Hey All !

Pretty neat puz. I'm not that much into English breakdowns (see? Don't even know the correct word!) to even think that IT doesn't belong. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. The one the ole brain puzzled over for a bit, was DAWNSON. Then, (not a pun, but really a pun...) it DAWNedON me. Parsed it DAWN SON for a while. Stupid brain.

Seven themers, all shorties. Got 40 blocks, but no too shabby considering that the themere were of the short variety. Have four "cheater" squares, which I can relate to. As you're filling, sometimes you just can't get anything to jive, so if you insert a block, ala the one in front of 8A, it makes getting actual things as answers. Another example, the block on top of 53D, with 53D being CBGB, if that square was not black, it would be impossible to get any kind of real fill there. Know what I'm trying to say? Sometimes I confuse myself!

END AT doesn't grate for the reason Rex mentions, but has a horrible clue. "Stop by"? Really?

@Anoa Bob might blow a gasket today. An "Add an S" theme!

Gilligan's Island, what a silly show. I saw an episode once where the Professor made a car out of trees and spare parts. How in everything that's holy could he have made a car, but Couldn't patch a hole in the boat!!

Does anyone else wonder why the long quarterback throw isn't referred to as Balls Deep? Asking for @JOHNX.

How about: Actor Li shushed down the mountain? for JETSKIED?

Happy Tuesday, two days in a row of complete puzs for me! There's something to celebrate. Har.

Three F's

BarbieBarbie 10:31 AM  

@Southside, I’m a chemist. Diesel fuel at the pump and heating oil in your furnace are the same thing. DIESEL OIL is a fine name though a bit out of date.

burtonkd 10:40 AM  

Really enjoyed this one. Lots of theme answers that elicited a quick aha, while moving to the next. Clues all gettable, but not fill-in-the-blank easy.

Wasn't DADDYO something hip people called squares?

Declaring the answers must end with a preposition is a "rule" up with which I will not put.

@Lewis, I have a good singer friend who sings the hell out of that aria. Incomprehensible to me.

@ Pabloinh - another operatic tenor I work with frequently (who can sing a gorgeous high C) came over to record something and it turned out he also can sing the C 2 octaves below middle C - go figure.

Notice how other than our British commenter, everyone is complaining on behalf of someone else that the answers skew old.

Anonymous 10:44 AM  


don't tell that to a trucker or a statie. home heating oil is colored (red around here), while truck diesel is clear. get it? if the statie finds a bit of color in your fuel tank; well you don't. truck diesel is separately taxed and home heating oil isn't. temptation being what it is...

GILL I. 10:47 AM  

Well @Barbara S and her Peters out, @pablito and his Jack Off all Day and then the sherry cherry @Frantic's Skip Toomahloo has made my day complete..... I can now go back to bed and rest in peas.
Will some kind sole explain SUE SOVER to me? I'm sure she's very nice to have for dinner and all but I've never heard that phrase. I know our President in Waiting is hoping to do some of that in Georgia, but I can't quite put my finger on the gumbo.
Well it is Tuesday after all and we all know about the ugly step-sisters the had their toenails cut off so that the glass slipper would fit and the ugly red-headed step child that Rumpelstiltskin threw out the window somehow survived, but I thought this was rather cute. I didn't know half the names gum....I got them.
I learned IKEA is pretty nifty and up-to-date and that condos don't allow dogs rather than unprotected sex. My small lumps are NUBS and not warts and that I will never be able to hit that HIGH C. I also learned that elephants are not just fanning themselves, they are actually swatting flies with their EARs. I am going to try swiveling my ears and catch a few myself.
This was a fun diversion, Amy and Christina.....Do me a favor and don't watch the news today. Your puzzle is lot more fun.

Whatsername 10:48 AM  

Fun and easy and all clever themers, but could someone please explain CHUCK SIT? Just kidding. I’ve always thought the CARDS are a baseball team in St. Louis. Yes I know there’s a football team in ARIzona but they’re the Cardinals. Rex is a naughty boy this morning. Bless his heart. I agree with him that OMAN has to be spoken with a Jamaican accent in order for the clue to work.

A few years back my SO (You wouldn’t believe what spellchecker tried to change that to.) and I were considering a snowbird condo at one of the many “Over 55” communities in South Texas. We were just about to sign a contract on one when I happened to notice a specific NO DOGS clause. I mean no dogs allowed anywhere ever, not just on the common grounds but even inside your own private quarters. Needless to say, I told them they were out of their ever loving minds, and that was the end of that.

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

@SouthsideJohnny - I’ve been meaning to ask - do you sing with a band called The Asbury Jukes?

Prof. Pooley 10:58 AM  

@Z 8:10am What makes you so sure the world DIDN'T in fact end in 1999?

JD 11:01 AM  

@Z, Big fan of Anon that I am, Anon is right. When court cases are cited these days it's always Ginger v. Lovie. And who doesn't love lawyers and want them to be right? Also, in total agreement w/your early post. Had I time, would've looked it all up myself. So thanks for the public service.

And @G. Weissman, Seriously great catch on Ward Cleaver. Get it outta there ... Ward off!

Newboy 11:04 AM  

Cute is the word of the day indeed. And since @Gill (10:47) said what I was thinking already, Amen sister!

Thanks Amy & Christina both for today’s grid and the triggers it provided the commentariat. Successful on several levels.

mathgent 11:07 AM  

Liked the theme. Kudos to Barbara S (8:46) and TTrimble (10:15) for their clever additions.

johnk (10:26): Jeff Chen also referred to the words in the themers as prepositions. As you pointed out, they can be used as prepositions but here they are adverbs.

The lowest point on the earth's surface is in Asia? Where.

I didn't read Rex carefully, but I think that he said that JACKSUP referred to the children's game with a rubber ball and little metal pieces. It's actually a poker term referring to hand with two pairs, a pair of jacks and another pair of lower value.

Crimson Devil 11:08 AM  

Great to see Chuck: among his many feats, Chuck Norris can do crosswords faster than Rex....

Crimson Devil 11:10 AM  

Good to see reference to Chuck: among his many feats, e.g. he can eat only one potato chip, he can also do crosswords faster than Rex.

jb129 11:12 AM  

Cute puzzle

Whatsername 11:18 AM  

I normally do a background check before posting but failed to this morning and just now noticed this is Mrs. Schecter’s NYT debut. So thanks to both constructors and big congratulations to Amy - whose bio picture is absolutely adorable BTW. Nice job ladies!

@SouthsideJohnny (7:04) I had the same thoughts about DIESEL OIL but I guess technically it is correct. After all, “motor oil’s motor oil,” since we seem to be lost in the 90s today.

@mathgent (11:07) Lowest point on the earth = Dead Sea.

Frantic Sloth 11:24 AM  

@Z 1016am Fair enough, but my point had more to do with what the theme "rules" were during my solve. They might be the "wrong" rules, but they're mine and I'm keepinem.

@burtonkd 1040am "Declaring the answers must end with a preposition is a 'rule' up with which I will not put."
Ha! And πŸ‘

@GILL 1047am Here's all you need to know about SUSESOVER: it's stoopit. Now you can go back to your Princess and the Bed o' Peas relaxation, with or without first ruining the gumbo for everyone else. 😘

@Whatsername 1048am Good for you! Only thing worse than "NO DOGS" is "No Pets".

@JD 1101am Well, I just don't know what. It appears that in our little family, I alone struggle against the "skews old" crankers. So be it, but you can just make you own dinners tonight.

TTrimble 11:32 AM  

Chuck takes three licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

Thanks! Glad you liked them.

Here's a little info, since you asked: the lowest dry land on Earth is the Dead Sea Depression, 413 meters below sea level, and technically that's in Asia.

I would say JACKS UP the price, for instance.

@albatross shell
(If you see this and have a chance to respond.) Good one on the 43 x 47 yesterday. Did you see that in Reddit? Before I saw that, I was wondering to myself: now how did he/she know that?!

Frantic Sloth 11:33 AM  

SUSESOVER isn't stoopit - it's wrong. SUESOVER is stoopit.

bocamp 11:42 AM  

@TTrimble 10:15 AM πŸ‘

pg -3

Peace and Tolerance πŸ•Š

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

could be:
The lowest point underground is more than 2,000 m (6,600 ft) under the Earth's surface. For example, the altitude difference between the entrance and the deepest explored point (the maximum depth) of the Krubera Cave in Georgia is 2,191 ± 20 m (7,188 ± 66 ft). In 2012,
the wiki

that's the country, not the state, and is commonly referred to as in Eurasia.

Uke Xensen 12:00 PM  

Astonished that people like this. I thought it was way too easy and way too dumb.

JC66 12:02 PM  


I hate to disagree but, in my experience, SUES OVER is definitely a common term.

Barbara S. 12:02 PM  

@Knitty Contessa (9:26) was right about Skip Henderson, but you have to like sea shanties. I think Skip is the one sitting down with accordion.

@Frantic Sloth (9:34) was also right about Skip Toomahloo. I'm not sure which one he is, though.

A "Skip" I should have thought of myself is the late, great Skip Prokop, a drummer and one of the founding members of the band Lighthouse. They were Canadian and I'm not sure how well known they were south of the border. Here's their signature song.

@Nancy (9:55)
I was just recently introduced to Pete Hamill through the HBO documentary, "Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists." It's excellent -- check it out if you haven't seen it.

@I don't know Jack (10:12)
Hilarious -- and you said it first.

@TTrimble (10:15)
Fabulous list. I particularly like Flip's out and Chase's down. I tried and failed to do something with Speaker O'Neill -- you succeeded.

My mother adored the comedian Flip Wilson. He had a TV show for a while. My mom shared a name, Geraldine, with Flip's alter-ego. Whenever he went into Geraldine mode, we had to scrape her up off the floor.

Carola 12:15 PM  

It seems that 10 years of retirement can't expunge three decades of paper-grading: when I got to CHUCK'S IT, my first thought was, "Non-parallel construction!'" (noted more in sorrow than in anger, though; it's a great phrase). I agree with others about this being a fine Tuesday. Besides the clever theme, I enjoyed the POM and COLLIE flanking and contradicting NO DOGS.
Do-over: hAlE Boggs. No idea: DAWN Wells.

Anonymous 12:17 PM  

@CDilly52. The apostrophe in CHUCK(')SIT isn't a possessive. All the theme answers are of the form "Name is____" but contracted to Name's____. Then the implied apostrophe is removed to make it a verb phrase. Hope this helps.

Frantic Sloth 12:18 PM  

@JC66 1202pm Why you gotta be so contrary all the time? 😘 I know it's a common enough phrase to be a thing. It's just comparatively weak as one of the themers and both @Barbara S and @TTrimble, et. al. have listed many more that are infinitely superior, IMHO. Also, "SUE'S OVER for dinner is likewise.

So...wanna step outside?

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

commonly, at least when I was in high school, the Urals demarcated Europe from Asia. the Middle East is west of the Urals (extended).

albatross shell 12:20 PM  

Two 6 letter words: COLLIE DIESEL.
The rest are compound words, phrases, or words made longer with extenders that are all basically 2, 3, or 4 letter words.

21 esses:
8 in theme answers: one not after the name and which is a POC in the cross. Three after the S in the theme answer that are POCs in the cross.
Two double POCs not in the theme answers. Six esses that are single POCs and not in theme answers.
Four esses that are not in theme answer and not POCs.
I might be one off somewhere but close enough, I think.

Should the theme esses all be considered POCs or given theme exemption? Probably. Might be able to make the theme work without the Esser.

Did the POCs spoil the solve? Not much for me. All the short words didn't seem to make it exceptionally easy, but still bothered me. It seemed a pretty low voacabularly solve. Can you make a good puzzle with the above constraints? Yes. This one does in many ways seem relatively clean. Only one name I did not know, DAWN.
Overall, not much fun. Some in the theme but that's about it. Surprised by the word-lovers here giving it so much love.

Bobs up.
Ducks under.
Yeah the musician. Or if toons allowed.

emily 12:20 PM  

Unfortunately, HAILMARY fit, messed me up!

Z 12:21 PM  

@Whatsername & @mathgent - Speaking of Rules... Is the Arabian Peninsula really in Asia and is the Dead Sea really the lowest point on land? One could argue that Europe is more a part of Asia than Arabia is. And is being under a glacier the same as being under water? And since the clue says “earth’s surface” doesn’t the bottom of the ocean count? It really seems to me that Shortz decided on the rules and is keepin' them. Hmmmm... Maybe @Frantic Sloth is really Will Shortz in disguise....

@JD - Well, sure, lawyers and judges think they are the center of the versus universes. And when speaking of court cases definitely just “v.” But nobody told Vedder.

@Kerry Dineen's Defensive Replacement - Does anybody really know what time it is?

@Whatsername - NO DOGS made me chuckle because here in WNC the enduring question is who let the dogs out? People around here take the “best friend” thing to an extreme I’ve never experienced anywhere else. If you like dogs Asheville is the place for you. I can’t imagine a condo association getting away with such a clause around here.

@barbiebarbie - I’m sure you are correct on a basic level, but one of my teammates is a fuel chemist for Lubrizol. I’m pretty sure he could go on at great lengths about the differences and why they matter.

@burtonkd - everyone is complaining on behalf of someone else that the answers skew old. Well, not everyone. And this puzzle doesn’t just “skew old,” it comes close to “skewing dead.”

bier_ist_gut 12:34 PM  

I just came here to say that I love the Weezer usage. Great song.

Cheers to you, Rex. Going to donate now. Happy New Year.

JC66 12:39 PM  


OK, I won't get all lawyerly on you.

A 12:45 PM  

Happy Twelve Drummers Drumming-off Day!

Oh, you guys, stop it with the boy-brains. Tsk.

This was mildly amusing while solving. Some sparks mixed in with the AMA LOO TWOS (and BTW, UNO and UPI) fluff. I liked RAG, as clued, and MATCHWITS - are they like color announcers? Good clue for SLAVE, which crosses OVER.

The real fun, aside from some comments I’ve seen, was looking at the completed grid and seeing what an active morning it was. Even without the themes, we had POMs doing the HORA, a COLLIE and GNOMES CHASE, not just a BIGHIT but an RBI for the PADRES, a BEAR ICE fishing, and we ALSORAN across CHINA to the URAL. I feel FIT.

@Frantic, I bet there is a garden figure phobia. All it took for me was seeing the Dr. Who episode with the stone angels. Don’t blink, or they’ll eat you alive.

@Barbara S. and @TTrimble Fun lists! I tried too hard though, wanted Carrie’s a-torch.

Coffee-spewing moments:
@Z Somebody get this puzzle a walker.
@pabloinnh unlikely, as not impossible
@TTrimble Chuck takes three licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. (BTW, I was wondering the same about @albatross yesterday!)

Peace when the drummers stop,

Douglas 12:47 PM  

I still don’t understand SUES OVER. Is it supposed to sound like suss over? That would make sense as a phrase but doesn’t fit with the other themers, as Sue is a different pronunciation.

TTrimble 1:01 PM  

@Tim Cline 10:11 AM
GWAR! Knock me over with a feather; I never thought I'd see mention of them on this site. I used to hang out with them in the Fan/VCU area in Richmond before they hit it big. They were an awful lot of fun.

I guess you know that Dave Brockie is no longer with us, as of a few years ago.

TTrimble 1:08 PM  

@A 12:45 PM
Fisher is all washed up. ;-)

TTrimble 1:09 PM  

(Oh sorry, I see that I pinched one of Barbara S.'s contributions. My apologies!)

Masked and Anonymous 1:10 PM  

But, but -- What About BOB? …

@RP and daughter; Luv them KaleKats.

staff weeject pick: ARI. The weejects were a pretty clean bunch in this here puz, but ARI could be (but wasn't this time) clued as a name. Not sure that ARI'S phrases are much of an option, tho …


IT ain't a preposition, all-rightie. yep. [yawn] [grunt] [jaw crack] Anyhoo …

{Melber will??} * Answer below.

Thanks for the verbname fun, Amy & Christina darlins. Good job on IT. har

Masked & Anonymo4Us

* {Melber will??} = ARI'S TO.


albatross shell 1:11 PM  

@DOUG 1247PM

Trump sues over electioN count. He sueS over nonsense just too delay paymenT. Sue sues over any comment anout her appearance.

Frantic Sloth 1:13 PM  

@Z 1221pm Is that why I'm too Shortz to go on the wooden roller coaster in Rye?

@JC66 1239pm LOL! Good thing. You could probably take me. 😘

@A my name is Mimi 1245pm Great. Now I gotta worry about stone angels, too. Worse, the two factions teaming up in a wings-in-the-face/trowel-on-the-ankles kinda way. Thanks for that.

Teedmn 1:18 PM  

Hah, should have saved my Lassie story for today instead of for yesterday's ailment answer.

I liked today's puzzle. A little bit of the CNBC CBGBs but otherwise, good stuff!

My write-over came early on with ANise. I was thinking of the star anise spice and thought, "Hmmm, it's a pepper!" (Punctuation within the quotes.) But no, the star anise is from the pericarp of the fruit of an Asian evergreen tree. I then looked up pericarp which led to a Wiki article about the anatomy of the fruit. Pericarp is the fleshy part of a fruit surrounding and protecting the seeds.It's usually the edible part of the fruit but that doesn't hold true for pomegranates (the seed is edible) or the pineapple (the flower and stem compose the edible part.) So now I know...something.

Thanks, Amy Schecter and Christina Iverson, for a cutely themed puzzle and congrats, Amy, on the debut.

Frantic Sloth 1:20 PM  

@Z 1221pm Forgot to mention...that album is from 1993. How can you preach "straying" old while you flout "staying" current? πŸ˜‰

amyloowoo 1:21 PM  

Hey everyone - it's Amy Schecter. I'm a newbie and apologize if this isn't kosher, but thanks for ALL your comments on my (and Christina's) puzzle today. Good, bad, indifferent or giggly. They can only help me improve my puzzling.

Douglas 1:37 PM  

Not at all Amy. Glad to see you here. Fantastic puzzle!!!

Whatsername 1:46 PM  

@(12:21) You’re way above my pay grade with the geographical question but I’d say the qualifier “earth’s surface” implies those areas not covered by water. And yes, I also suspect @Frantic may secretly be an undercover persona, perhaps several. Something sinister at work there. . . . πŸ€”πŸ˜‰πŸ˜„

Asheville’s must-love-dogs ambiance sounds like yet another reason to love it, not that I’d need one. After that incident in McAllen, I learned that such a clause was quite commonplace among senior living communities in that area. I can understand having outdoor restrictions, but their justification for the total ban was that residents were generally averse to the presence of dogs on the property. So since I’m generally averse to people who are averse to dogs on their property, I wouldn’t have wanted to live there anyway.

@amyloowoo (1:21) You’re welcome and it’s quite kosher for you to post here. As a humble solver, I always feel honored when the constructor stops in. I really liked your puzzle and I apologize for calling you “Mrs.” Schecter in my earlier post. I swear I typed Ms. and this evil iPad changed it.

sanfranman59 2:07 PM  

My two cents (before reading Rex and the comment section ... apologies for any duplication) ...

Medium NYT Tuesday (just a skosh above my 6-month median solve time) ... ick ... I'm not a fan of prepositional phrases in puzzles as it is, let alone an (almost) entire theme comprised of them. "Prepositional phrases" may not be the right term here since I don't think they all serve that purpose in these phrases. I guess they're (mostly) just phrases that end in words that can be prepositions. CHUCKS IT {53A: Actor Norris got tagged} is the lone exception and, for that reason, sticks out like a sore thumb. Then, there's END AT {32A: Stop by} which, aside from being an incredibly awkward clue/answer combo, *does* end in a preposition, but isn't part of the theme. Then, there's SUES OVER {20A: Author Grafton has arrived for dinner}, which just kinda sucks all around (though I'd have loved to have her OVER for dinner when she was still with us, that is). Clearly, this puzzle wasn't my cuppa.

Anoa Bob 2:09 PM  

I've heard DIESEL OIL used for "engine fuel", as clued, though it usually is referred to as just DIESEL. I use DIESEL OIL to clean the chain on my motorcycle because after the solvents evaporate a little bit of OIL is left behind on the chain (a good thing). The OIL content in DIESEL fuel is why it's said to have "lubricity".

The TERN is one of my favorite birds to watch hereabouts in coastal south Texas. Both the largest, the Royal TERN, and the smallest, the Least TERN, are regulars. I especially like to watch the Least TERN. Their chicks are hatched in the open near the beach and the parents work tirelessly diving for small fish in the shallow water near the shore line. When they catch one they make a distinctive chirping/peeping call and the chick answers with its own call to help the parents locate it so they can come and feed it. (Apparently the chick moves around to help avoid predators.) It's pure joy to sit on the beach and watch and listen to that. What a treat!

I think DADDY O kind of sets the time frame for many of the names in the themers. If the solver is old enough to remember them---I am---then it becomes an easy fill-in-the-blank kind of theme.

@Roo, my gaskets were definitely under a POC-induced strain on this one. The letter S occurs in standard English text at about a 6% clip while in this grid it is almost twice that rate, at over 11%. Anything over 12% and I come completely undone. It's not pretty.

albatross shell 2:10 PM  

I think it was Reddit. I hardly ever go there intentionally, but an occasional link or search gets me there. It had a nice diagram in color showing the 47 ways in a square. I almost included the link.
I thought folks might have appreciated my links to the pole dancing and my uke gently weeping. Maybe they did. I certainly enjoy a lot of links and comments here I do not mention. But since they got no response I let it slide. I thought the math might though.

I haven't been using bluelinks because I not swift at it and I hope a lot of folks use phones like mine that when you click on a plain link it shows up and one more tap gets you there.

You said: "“Run” can be a synonym for GOES can be a synonym for “pass” so by the Transitive Property of Synonyms™️ run and pass mean the same thing. Let all the football stats nerds know.".

If you meant something other than a satiric take on nits about "goes deep" or possibly making fun of double and triple synonym chains for justifying crossword answers (and how did that come up?) I am more lost than usual.

Notice my period before and after the quotation marks above. Even though there would be no confusion I put both in. The only difference in my position is you only want that to happen when confusion is possible. But if confusion is possible how would I know the author is just following a rule or means the punctuation is in or out for a reason. Thus use it regularly. A minor arguable difference. And do I really want to worry about stuff like this when blog posting? Strict punctuation? No I would not. In formal legal or scholarly writing? Yes.

albatross shell 2:20 PM  

Kosher and then some. Welcome to read participate or make fun of us. We can take it. Inside stories welcome too. Always honored to have puzzlemakers, not just doers here.

JD 2:35 PM  

@Frantic, Aw mommmm! @Z (akaDad), Agree, as for Eddy, nobody does it Vedder.

Frantic Sloth 2:44 PM  

@amyloowoo 121pm Always lovely to have a constructor stop by; however, you are obviously a brave and good-natured soul and we don't cotton to your kind around here. 😘

The neighborhood ass

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

Anybody who appreciates terns is aces in my book. and you're dead right about the least in every way. I have been dying to bird your patch for a couple of decades now ( and the Lower RGV) so I'm not sure what your species distribution is like. But even so, the royal--who love the beach--are very big as terns go but the biggest in North America is its cousin the Caspian. I'm sure you know royals like the back of your hand--that crazy haircut of theirs is unmistakable), juts wanted to give you a heads up for the next time you see a big boy who's slightly bogger or with more of a corporate cut.

Unknown 3:10 PM  

It’s a common phrase coming from an announcer on a long throw. Saying the quarterback “GOES DEEP downfield” while the ball is in the air. Seems ok to me

Z 3:47 PM  

@Albie - You got it. The first comment of the day correctly states that GOES DEEP references the wide receiver. @Anonymoose and @Southside Johnny correctly point out that Tom Brady GOES DEEP by passing. Ergo, passing and running are synonymous.

@Frantic Sloth - that album is from 1993. Gee Willickers. The video link is from a song released in 1969.
are some
videos (I expect @Gill I to watch all of them πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚)

Is that why I'm too Shortz to go on the wooden roller coaster in Rye? I don’t know but I understand why people always see Gilligan on that roller coaster now.

Barbara S. 3:50 PM  

@ Frantic Sloth (1:13 PM)
Apropos of absolutely nothing -- Wow, you’ve just given me an incredible blast from the past by calling our fellow-poster, “A my name is Mimi.” I hadn’t thought of that chant in decades.

A My name is Alice, my boyfriend’s name is Andrew, we live in Albuquerque and we sell apples!
B My name is Barbara, my boyfriend’s name is Basil, we live in Botany Bay and we sell balaclavas!

We used to chant that by the hour while bouncing a ball. Or was it a skipping song? No, I think bouncing a ball, with legs moving over the ball then under in some sort of intricate pattern. Crikey, I’m benumbed with nostalgia.

@albatross shell (2:10 PM)
I loved your Peter Holoda link the other day even though I didn't say anything at the time. I was happily startled that the pole-dancer was male, and struck by his combination of athleticism and grace. I even looked him up and found that he's an Olympic swimmer! Here's the link again. I also appreciated your Jules Feiffer reference. Here's "A Dance to Spring". (Scroll down about half-way.) I guess I missed the ukulele link.

Another fabulous recommendation from the last few days was A/Mimi's and Birchbark's link to the website about British opera singer Jennifer Vyvyan. The sort of site maybe you (and certainly I) can get lost in for hours. What a beautiful and unusual sculpted face she had, and a clear, agile voice.

jberg 3:50 PM  

I'm way over 40, and I had no idea who Dawn Wells was; like @Nancy, I figured she must be someone recent. OTOH, I'm old enough to have heard people say DADDYO, and in my experience it's not a name youo apply to a cool cat, but rather to a pompous authority figure you want to take down a peg. But I was never actually a hippy, so I may have got it wrong.

The trouble with SUESOVER is the cluing. It's not a word used to indicate a change, as in just arrived, but an ongoing state -- "Sue's over for the day."

JOHN X 3:58 PM  

Here in the new year of our Lord 2021, with this crazy pandemic, I believe it is my calling to make sure you all get a good healthy night's sleep by telling you war stories from my nuclear submarine days many years ago. Once I start you shall be sound asleep in five minutes.

Today's lesson is DIESEL OIL. Although we were nuclear powered (I was an engineer; I shoveled Uranium into the reactor) we also had a large Fairbanks-Morse diesel engine that we would snorkel with. The DFO No. 2 fuel tank was in fact a major reactor shield. Starting the diesel engine was one of my many jobs. It required both hands and one foot. One hand was on the starting quadrant lever, the other hand had to turn the "snorkel safety cut-off switch" to "bypass", and one foot was on the kick valve of the exhaust system. The other foot you were allowed to stand on.

So when the conn gave the order "COMMENCE SNORKELING" I would move the cut-off switch to "bypass" and throw the quadrant lever to "start" and then . . .


Frantic Sloth 4:23 PM  

@Z 347pm Never mind @GILL - I'm not even gonna watch all those.

@Barbara S 350pm And you returned the favor! My memory went as far as "A, my name is Amy" and then quit. You brought it all back with the bouncing ball and leg fancies and stuff - wow!

Anonymous 4:34 PM  

I am 40 but capable of time travel. This ability makes PPP a snap. Try it.

chinch 6:07 PM  

@amyloowoo, Super fun that you stopped by, which makes you seem super cool too. Congrats on your debut!

Whatsername 6:24 PM  

@JOHN X: Great story and I had a nice nap but now I’m afraid I won’t sleep tonight. Could you come back around 10:30 or so with the next chapter? Thanks. 😡

burtonkd 6:45 PM  

@amyloowoo: brave of you to stop by - It is frequently xword dissing one-upsmanship around here:) I had to go back to read what I wrote today with a constructor reader in mind...nothing to regret there:)

@Z - sure it skews old/borderline dead, but it isn't keeping much of anyone here from knowing the answers.

Along these lines, I wonder if puzzles and other general trivia skews old because of the more recent splintering of media: music, movies, games, tv, etc. all have so many subgenres that it is dizzying to keep track of and there perhaps aren't as many people that rise to the "household name" designation.

At an opera class orientation session, the director asked for the students' favorite singers, and despite being in their early 20's they almost invariably named stars from the 50s-70s.

GILL I. 7:06 PM  

@Frantic 4:23...NEVER MIND GILL?...You make me listen to "Flies in the buttermilk" and you tell me to never mind? What kind of democracy is this? I want my 11,780 votes put back in my bouncing ball leg fancies.

Unknown 7:09 PM  

Can someone please explain to me 9D - ALSORAN? This answers makes absolutely no sense to me.

Unknown 8:07 PM  

@amyloowoo - Very nice puzzle. Really enjoyed it.

TTrimble 8:36 PM  

@Uknown 7:09 PM
An ALSO RAN is someone who competes in a race but didn't win. In this case, the "office" should probably be interpreted as a political office, like that of being a Senator.

JOHN X 9:01 PM  

@Whatsername 6:24:PM

I sure can! Where do you live?

Nancy 9:09 PM  

I forgot to let you know earlier and I'm sure you've all been waiting with bated breath. I just got around to testing myself. And discovered that this alto can indeed hit a HIGH C. While I don't think Kiri and Joan have anything to worry about and while I doubt you'll be standing in line to buy my recording, this startling discovery can only mean one of two things:

1) The clue for 22A is incorrect.

2) I'm not an alto any more.

Z 9:45 PM  

@Unknown7:09 - Mr. AL SORAN is very famous... Oh wait, that’s not it.
ALSO RAN as in, “Joe Biden will be our next president. Donald Trump ALSO RAN.”

@burtonkd 6:45 - What are you saying about the commentariat?

@Frantic - But they’re all great songs...

Frantic Sloth 10:20 PM  

@GILL 706pm LOL! Now, now...I just meant that not just you won't be clicking on @Z's links. Democracy schmemocracy. This is an asylum with the inmates in charge, dontcha know. And we're all bouncing ball leg fancies off the walls.

@Z 945pm Okay okay - quit whining. I listened, okay? I listened! "Thoughts and Prayers" is one snappy, uplifting ditty. And I think you posted the New Porn. video before, but I did enjoy it anyway. πŸ˜‰

Sixthstone 11:13 PM  

So late today but just loved this puzzle, so had to comment. Snappy and fun and surprising and delightful!

Roth 7:15 PM  

"Org. with an inspector general" is a non-clue. There are about 75 of them in the Federal government, so the clue is not especially helpful (esp. for a 3-letter word), and it's not clever.

WinthorpeIII 11:59 PM  

Thank you!

WinthorpeIII 12:03 AM  

It's inexcusable to not know that it's "on" the Beaver.

Diana, LIW 5:09 PM  

On a Tuesday...Happy Burma Day to the SyndieCat poet.

Lady Di

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

Cards on the scoreboard is STL, not ARI. Arizona Cardinals,not Cards.

Burma Shave 11:38 AM  


IT DAWNSON ME she IS AS sharp AS any razor.
She could TEACHME which END's UP, you SEE,


so begins year 7

spacecraft 11:57 AM  

I agree with the very first commenter about GOESLONG, but that's just one of many problems with this. The Times does truly appear to have lowered its standards for crossword publication lately. This is crappola.

I'll mention just one other: CBGB. If you're not a New Yorker, you're not going to get this ugly consonant string. Crosswords should be for everybody, even if they appear in a certain locality.

DAWN Wells wins a sadly posthumous DOD. And yeah, she had it all over Ginger. And speaking of over...SUESOVER? A stretch at best. Double-bogey.

rondo 2:23 PM  

I dunno, CBGB a gimme here. Even the history. Name stood for Country, BlueGrass and Blues, but became well-known for punk and new wave. But I'm a music person.

Speaking of which, BOPS in the corners.

NODOGS? There's a POM and a COLLIE.

I've JETSKIED around the island of Key West. Therefore I've captained a vessel in both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Have been to 3 PADRES games in SD, saw Barry Bonds tie the HR record there.

I'm done, someone else's TERN.

leftcoaster 2:33 PM  

Rex is picky of course, but he’s also pretty good at critiquing a puzzle, as today. All the same, this puzzle and its theme deserves attention and respect. It’s an unusually good Tuesday, IMO, and it has some bite.

As for the theme, needed to wait for crosses to get DAWN and feel sure of SUE. Had to laugh at Rex’s play on JACKS UP/WARDS OFF.

Liked the down columns of OMAN, ASIA, CHINA and of BTW, CNBC, ARI.

“Cool cat” DADDY O? Thought that one was long gone.

thefogman 3:40 PM  

GASPS, or even ACAI, can sometimes be heard whenever BS WADESIN. He’s an acquired TASTE.
BTW, he’s a BIGHIT among GNOMES and BEARs - who take TERNs shouting: “OLAY, OLAY, OLAY!!!”

Congrats on #7 Burma. Long may you run.

BS2 6:12 PM  

Thanks @thefogman - I often get my UP and OFF confused.

spacecraft 6:20 PM  

Perhaps he should rebrand himself as Myanmar Shave??

BS3 8:09 PM  

@spacecraft - Don't think I need to revolt. Burma will do.

Unknown 7:48 PM  

The Arizona Cardinals are the Big Red, the St. Louis Cardinals are the Cards. Obviously not from either city.

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