Diarist who documented Great Plague of London / SUN 1-24-21 / Blueberries for kid-lit classic / Only Stratego piece with letter on it / Maker of X6 and Z4

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Constructor: Lucy Howard and Ross Trudeau

Relative difficulty: Easy (8:47)


THEME: "Sugar, Sugar" — wacky phrases made out of candy names:

Theme answers:
  • NERDS RING POP (22A: Bookworms call dad?)
  • BABY RUTH SNICKERS (31A: A young Justice Ginsburg chuckles?)
  • CRUNCH NOW AND LATER (47A: Do core exercises all day, every day?)
  • WHOPPERS SPREE (67A: Burger King bingefest?)
  • MILKY WAY STARBURST (84A: Supernova in our galaxy?)
  • LIFESAVERS PAYDAY (103A: When E.M.T.s bring home the bacon?)
  • MARS SMARTIES (115A: Some astronomy PhD.s?)
Word of the Day: Tones and I (37A: Singer Watson, a.k.a. Tones and I with the 2019 dance hit "Dance Monkey" => TONI) —

Toni Watson, known professionally as Tones and I, is an Australian singer and songwriter. Her breakout single, "Dance Monkey", was released in May 2019 and reached number one in over 30 countries. 

In 2019, she broke the Australian record for the most weeks at number one on the ARIA Singles Chart by any artist with 16 weeks. By mid-January 2020, "Dance Monkey" had spent its 24th and final week at number one, beating Bing Crosby's all-time Australian record for his version of "White Christmas", which spent 22 weeks (five months, namely June to October) at the top spot in 1943.

"Dance Monkey" was accredited 13× platinum by ARIA for shipments of over 910,000 units, in October 2020. Tones was the most awarded artist at the ARIA Music Awards of 2019, winning four from eight nominations. Tones and I released her debut extended play, The Kids Are Coming, on 30 August 2019, which peaked at number three in Australia, and top 10 in several countries. (wikipedia)


• • •

Tame wacky is always so depressing. There are no laughs here, and not much in the way of real cleverness. There's a core idea—a theme type I've seen before ... I'd be stunned if I hadn't seen this exact theme at some point in my life. But once you piece the first themer together, once you grasp the concept, solving mainly just involves thinking of candy names. The particular humor of the clue doesn't matter much, and in most cases isn't really there. Remember some candies! That's all you do here. Except for FANTASY SERIES (which felt new / interesting) the fill doesn't do much that's interesting either. This is placeholder stuff; just absolutely typical, run-of-the-mill, utterly characteristic late 20th-century NYTXW fare. It clears the bar. It's passable. But it's not innovative, and it doesn't even offer much of a new or vibrant take on an old concept. It's just there. It's fine. It'll pass the time for 15 minutes or a half hour or an hour or whatever. Ho + hum. Still not sure how the marquee puzzle remains this tepid, week in and week out. 

The image of a snickering baby Ruth Ginsburg is probably the highlight of the puzzle, in that it's bizarre, and therefore offers a memorable image. something to sear your brain. Everything else is so milquetoast. Wacky puzzles have to get weird, or else they get very tedious (polite smile-quaint) very quickly. NERDS calling their dad, also on the better side of this theme set. But the rest are forgettable. They don't even seem to be really trying. Smaller nit—I don't think "now and later" means "all day, every day." If I do something now and later, then I do it at two discrete times, with a gap in between. The clue is incorrect on a literal level (never a good thing). I did blow through the puzzle pretty quickly, which is always a nice feeling. As usual, the struggles came in the first half of the solve, and the second half was a sprint by comparison (if you watch the solving video I made for yesterday's puzzle, you can see this phenomenon happen quite clearly—2/3 of the time to solve the first half, and 1/3 to solve the last; night and day). 


The NW of course tripped me up a bit. I always start there, and since you start with nothing, that's when you're likeliest to go wrong. Small wrong was ONS for INS (5D: Walk-___). Bigger wrong was PACK UP for TANK UP (not a phrase I heard growing up, and I grew up in car country, i.e. California). Had NEMEANS (!?!?) before NUBIANS, so that slowed things down a bit (also no idea about TONI, who isn't even known by her real name, so ????). The slowest part by far, though, was the NE. Fill-in-the-blank clue (BRAIN) and BMW and WMD all eluded me (wanted a 3-letter version of ICBM, or maybe IED, for that last one) (I never think of WMD as real ... the only time I've ever heard it used is in Bush-era war propaganda) (14D: Subject of intl. treaties). Wanted NGO instead of the mere ORG. at 15A: Doctors Without Borders, e.g.: Abbr.). Haven't played Stratego since I was maybe 14, so SPY was meaningless to me (in general, I find puzzles overestimate how common board game knowledge is ... which reminds me ... maybe I've seen this puzzle type done with board games before? Cereal brands? I know I've seen it ... movie titles, maybe? The whole "making wacky phrases out of names from some category" is definitely a thing). I don't think of what a pen does to your shirt pocket as a mere INK MARK (wanted BLOT or something equally evocative of mess). So I fumbled a bunch up there. But after I escaped, whoosh. No trouble except for the SERIES part of FANTASY SERIES (after I couldn't get NOVEL to fit, I was stuck until crosses came to the rescue). Now I have an urge to reread the "Earthsea" series. If a puzzle inspires you to read Ursula K. LeGuin, it can't be all bad. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. LAST CHANCE: Boswords is gearing up for another online crossword tournament in the very near future. Here's the blurb from co-organizer, John Lieb:
Registration is now open for the Boswords 2021 Winter Wondersolve, an online crossword tournament, which will be held on Sunday, January 31 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Eastern. Solvers can compete individually or in pairs and will complete four puzzles (three themed and one themeless) edited by Brad Wilber. To register, to see the constructors, and for more details, go to www.boswords.org.
Many of my readers and friends really enjoyed the last one of these, so even if you've never competed in a crossword tourney before, you should consider it. ("Competition" isn't really the point)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

120 comments:

Unknown 12:11 AM  

The clue for 31-Across would have been a lot better if the verb CHUCKLES hadn't been used- that's a candy brand itself!

kitshef 12:13 AM  

I suspect I took longer than 90% of ya’ll today. Nothing that hard, but I bogged down in a bunch of places. Probably the worst was the N central.

I don’t know RING POPS, and wasn’t sure about AM I or IS HE, and for some reason RIGBY just was not coming to me, and BUR was not a sure thing, and it all just took a long time.

And in the NE, it was abbreviation city (ORG, NYT, GMS) with the awful, awful OBEYERS and “Startling sound” which could be just about anything (RAP, HEY, BOO, ARF).

A-RAY crossing B-RAY. C-RAY (…ON) to the left. Where’s our X-RAY?

Frantic Sloth 12:18 AM  

Sometimes I have to read Rex first because I don't know what to say about a puzzle - other than generalities like loved it/hated it or easy peasy/death slog.

Today is one of those days. And nope - no inspiration there.

Maybe he's right about it being "passable" and "not innovative", but I had a good time during my solve, so no complaints.

However, nothing actually stood up and poked me in the eyes either. Gonna be another one of those hop-on-somebody-else's-train kinda deals.

This post is putting me to sleep. πŸ™„


🧠🧠.5
πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰.5

DaddyO 12:21 AM  

I agree with Rex. As has been the case far to many times, this was just a slog. I went through it, but it was joyless. I have to believe that the powers that be at the NYT just want it this way...and that is sad.

Joaquin 12:22 AM  

I'm a car guy. I've been licensed to drive for 63 years. I figure I have about a million miles behind the wheel.

Gas up? Fill the tank? Get Gas? Fill up? Sure, I've done 'em all.

TANK UP? Never.
(Full disclosure: Tomorrow I'm going to try tanking up; maybe I'll get better mileage. Worth a try.)

Apparently, besides not knowing my ass from my elbow, I don't know my Hugo from my Edgar. Did anyone else discover that the term "mystery writer" has the same number of letters as FANTASY SERIES? After that fiasco I definitely needed a SNICKERS.

DaddyO 12:25 AM  

I agree with Rex. As has been the case far to many times, this was just a slog. I went through it, but it was joyless. I have to believe that the powers that be at the NYT just want it this way...and that is sad.

sanfranman59 12:27 AM  

Interesting read posted by Amy Reynaldo on her blog yesterday ... How the New York Times Crossword Became Too Big to Fail

okanaganer 12:50 AM  

Hoo boy difficulties tonight. Some theme/things are a real problem for non-Americans; tonight it's: Candy Bars That We Don't Get Here in Canada!

At least half of the theme candy bars I have never actually seen. And about half of those remaining, I have never even heard of, even in American movies or TV shows (which we get a LOT of here). Either half of NERDSRINGPOP, whatever they are, I have literally never heard of, and I can't even bother to parse that string. NOW AND LATER? nope. SPREE? nope. STARBURST?, PAYDAY? nope. Really tough slog because of that. Basically an alien theme.

BABY RUTH, WHOPPERS, MILKY WAY, I have heard of but never seen.

OBEYERS? Yuck.

Sanders supporters... jeez he's all over the internet now. Grumpy Bernie!

puzzlehoarder 12:53 AM  

Wow my left thumb just accidentally touched the screen of my phone and I lost all the comment I'd carefully one fingered pecked out. I have no idea what happened. I truly hate communicating this way.

Another thing I hate is themed puzzles. Oddly I enjoyed this one. Probably because I struggled with the fill and it took so long for the theme to be forced on me. As always I treat all the clues as if they're theme less because I refuse to play along.

All I got from the puzzles' title was that damn earworm with the line "you are my candy girl." When I got all of STARBURST anyone else would have seen the theme then and there. Not me I just filed that 84A clue under the category of astronomy and moved on. Even when I had LIFESAVER___DAY I still didn't get it. Only when the P of SPEAK went in did the lightbulb go off.

From that point on it was easy to backfill the rest of the puzzle. Getting to that point was a lot of work work which is probably what made the solve fun.

It was an odd week. I enjoyed Thursday and today while both Friday and Saturday we're meh. Usually it's the opposite.

Robin 1:46 AM  

Not sure about Rex's assessment of easy. I'd probably call this one medium.

Seems like I spent 1/3 of time on this figuring out the NW. Yep, I tried PACKUP rather than TANKUP. Walk INS could have been ONS or UPS. No idea about BUR. Finally got a solid grip up there with HADES, which gave the NERDS... start of 22A.

Looking at this afterwards and seeing so much 3/4 letter fill... meh.

As for the theme. It wasn't interesting. It was useful once I figured out what it was, but.. meh.

Anyhow, a slog. Not what I want from a Sunday NTXW.

jae 2:02 AM  

Easy-medium. Top half easier than the bottom. I’ve heard of 7 of the 10 candies and have actually ingested 5 of them.

Reasonably fun Sunday, liked it more than @Rex did. Nice debut for Lucy Howard.

chefwen 2:50 AM  

Started out pretty easy and I figured I’d zip right through it, not so, like @kitshef I got bogged down. My biggest problem and usage of white out is not being able to see the little, itty bitty numbers and filling in answers in the wrong places. Time to invest in some reader glasses. Gettin old ain’t for the faint of heart.

Never heard of Now and Later or Spree. Candy isn’t on the top of my list of things to buy, if it doesn’t contain chocolate, why bother?

I do love WHOPPERS.

Divro 5:40 AM  

At least it wasn't a rebus puzzle.

Lewis 6:03 AM  

Well, thank you Ross and Lucy, as this puzzle kept my solving chops honed, and gave me chuckles on the clues for KFC, HAIR LINE, and VANES (the clever ALI BABA clue made me smile also, but I’ve seen that one before). And congratulations, Lucy (another “Beatles title woman”) on your debut!

But mainly, the puzzle got me thinking about candy bars, which I gorged on as a child, but just haven’t hankered for in forever. Now, to satisfy my sweet tooth, give me a perfect peach, or some grapes, or a just-right ripened banana. Every now and then, in a dessert, or a tiny snack, a dab of good quality chocolate, sure. But those candy bars, no thank you. I’m certainly not preachy about it, though. I may be getting picky, but not cranky!

Colin 6:15 AM  

This was fine. After reading Rex's commentary, I must say I agree with much of it. I have not heard of SPREE but know of the rest. In the NW, there was a point when I had NERDS_INGP__ and really wanted PEZ to be a part of this, even though of course this would've made no sense. (I am the proud owner of a set of Star Trek: Original Series Pez dispensers - a birthday present from a long time ago.)

I've constructed only one additional puzzle since last week, which won the approval of my family. But I goofed in creating a grid that left 2 single squares, and I didn't even realize this until I completed the fill and nearly all the cluing. Oh well. A work-in-progress, which gives me all the more appreciation for any puzzle.

Kevin C. 6:19 AM  

Given all the candy in the puzzle, it would have been nifty if TANKUP had some sort of clue related to the post-Halloween binging.

Anonymous 7:02 AM  

High point-Nice to see OAST again

Low point-Everything else

RoccoChaz 7:25 AM  

Would have been nice to see a TOOTHBRUSH in the grid.

Z 7:28 AM  

“Placeholder” sort of sums it up for me. It sounds like they had fun making it, but the constructors fall into the tepid trap with their cluing. If you’re going to do wacky go big. Nothing about “Super nova in our galaxy” induces a smile. It’s just straight find the synonyms cluing. It’s all competent but that something extra was missing.

Hand up for wanting NGO. Also, I remember TOSHIBA but I don’t really remember it being a competitor of Sony. I just looked TOSHIBA up and it is still around, so “onetime” seems off, too. I guess they are both involved in “consumer electronics,” but I just don’t remember them ever being linked like, say, Mac v PC or iOS v Android or Wii v XBox. I am not saying the clue is “wrong,” but nothing about Sony evokes TOSHIBA to me.

Thanks for the link @sanfranman59.

GIOVANNI 8:14 AM  

I'm sorry I clicked on that song link. That pretty much sums up the kind of music I truly despise. Yikes! I guess that's pop? Ouch my ears!
We had this same puzzle at some point in the past 12 months because I remember this theme. Maybe it combined a candy with another word, but it was similar.
I did hit one my one year solve anniversary on Thursday. I thought the Thurs/Fri/Sat puzzles were rough, but I finished all of them in my usual 90 minutes to 2 hours blazing speedy way!

Todd 8:15 AM  

Spot on comment about board game knowledge. I was at a dinner party last year with two other couples, after dessert the hostess broke out a board game. I haven't played one in 30 years.

Todd 8:22 AM  

I had forgotten what a ring pop was. Tootsie and blow pop came to mind first.

Stimpson 8:28 AM  

Mediocre!

I'm surprised Rex didn't complain about TONI for 'Tones and I." That's tantamount to cluing AMEX with "American Express."

ChuckD 8:37 AM  

The candy and nostalgia should be more fun than this. I think it gets bogged down with all the extra black squares in the grid - what’s left is just a boatload of 3 and 4 letter entries that are rough in a Sunday puzzle. Hand up for the odd “chuckles” as a clue in a candy puzzle. Getting TANKed UP before you drive will result in a DWI - fill up or gas up would be better.

Did like FANTASY SERIES and MAD LIB - but just couldn’t get into all the other short ones.

Easy enough puzzle - but a flat start to a bitter cold morning.

TJS 8:56 AM  

Rex pans a Ross Trudeau puzzle ! Shocking !

I liked this one for a Sunday effort. Had some zing to it and required some thought. That's all I hope for out of a Sunday.

bocamp 8:59 AM  

Thank you, @Lucy & @Ross for another enjoyable Sunday puzzle! :)

Medium solve.

Only stumble was "bad rap" for "bum rap"; no biggie, got it repaired when the crosses didn't make sense.

Worked for a spell on the assembly line at the "BMW" plant in Munich. ('69)

"Arlo" Guthrie ~ I Can't Help Falling in Love with You
___


yd 0

Peace Tolerance Kindness Togetherness πŸ•Š

TTrimble 9:07 AM  

This puzzle did not play to my strengths, because I am wholly uninterested in candy, and I don't even recognize some of them (SPREE, what's that? NOW AND LATER?), and have heard of others only barely (I couldn't describe what NERDS are if I had to, and are WHOPPERS milk balls, chocsicles, or what? I think of WHOPPERS as burgers). Thus this puzzle felt PPP heavy and I had to rely on a lot of crosses, making it a tedious solve, a lot of toggling between Across and Down. The grid looks a little choppy: excepting the theme answers and two semi-long downs, a lot of shortish answers, which for me further impeded the flow.

I had pAcK UP rather than TANK UP, and thus couldn't cough up the Sony rival. Even after rectifying to TANK UP, TOSHIBA wasn't immediate. (I do like ARCANUM.)

The cluing seemed unremarkable to me. I did like the one for EYES (they can be batted and rolled), which caused me to learn that JAYS are in the crow family.

Shout out to my PEPYS in recognition of the counterintuitive pronunciation.

SouthsideJohnny 9:21 AM  

Some stuff today that only a crossword solver can love, like SHEEDY, WHISKAS and ARCANUM, and a bunch of stuff I only learned from solving - such as ANKH, YETI and OAST. Add in a few items that I’ve never heard of like RARA and the horrific OBEYERS (if that isn’t a made-up word, it’s about as close as one can get without crossing the line), and the Times checked most of the boxes today (light on foreign stuff - although RARA sounds Latin or Hebrew or something like that).

The insipidness of the theme also drained most of the enthusiasm/enjoyment out of the solving experience, as there really was no reward to slogging one’s way through the muck - just the opportunity to slog some more and painfully construct something completely nonsensical like CRUNCH NOW AND LATER - yeesh, help - nurse ! Are NOW and LATER candy bars - or is NOWANDLATER a candy bar - actually, who cares, lol.

Rex is right - another swing and miss by the NYT, which is evolving in a manner similar to Major League Baseball (I.e. a whole bunch of strikeouts, a few home runs here and there and little else of any excitement whatsoever).

I enjoyed the appearance of YETI - which is cool because it is a real word for an unreal thing - I wonder if there is a special name for that type of word - quick, is there an @LMS in the house ?

oopsydeb 9:22 AM  

I had many of the same errors Rex had. And am not buying TANK UP as a thing people say. OBEYERS is just awful. The "think of the synonyms" approach to the themers was so dull (and easy).

Nice to see The Broken Earth Trilogy get a visual call-out in the write-up. Absolute masterpieces--all three and the trilogy as a whole.

pmdm 9:27 AM  

I used to frequent some diners that had individual fixtures on each booth for selecting and listening to songs from the juke box. I didn't much care for the songs, but I did like perusing the selections. I would read aloud the name of the two songs on a record (either order) if the names added up to a complete sentence of thought (to the embarrassment of whomever accompanied me). Some struck me humorous, others not so. Humor was never the intent, although some combinations were quite silly. So I respond to a puzzle like today's not as a source of humor but merely as a challenge. If all puzzles had over the top humor, none would stand out.

And I think the deceased Supreme Court Justice would have loved the reference in a NYT puzzle. Too bad (for a number of reasons) she's not around to comment on the puzzle.

Lewis 9:34 AM  

@pmdm -- Well said!

albatross shell 9:47 AM  

I thought the ALIBABA clue was great. The KFC clue was really sneaky because of the Bernie meme. When you do not know the candies it was pretty rough. Thinking about sugar and chocolate not the worst way to start the day. I'm sticking to lox and cream cheese on an onion bagel for breakfast.

RooMonster 9:51 AM  

Hey All !
Dang, that song Rex included from Tones and I. Is that what passes for good music now? Apparently, as it hit No. 1 in 30 countries. Kids these days... it sounds like a bad Betty Boop impression. And why is she dressed like an old man in the video? Give me good ole Rock-n-Roll. That song sucked.

@okanaganer
Holy cow, you're missing out on all the good candy! PAYDAY is a "candy bar" that is peanuts stuck together with caramel. I just had some yesterday! STARBURTs are very good, juicy square-shaped fruity candy. I hope you at least have OREOs up there. They once had a special edition called "The Most Stuf", and holy moly, it was like two Double Stufs full of cream. My arteries were screaming at me to stop, but I kept on eating them!

Anyway, thought the puz pretty fun. First one I got was BABYRUTHSNICKERS, which got a SNICKER from me. Then I knew the other themers would be mashed-together candy names, but some were still challenging to figure out. Getting towards end of puz, was stuck in both NW and NE corners. Getting in my antsy state of near-finish-but-dang-I-can't-figure-this-s#!t out, I hit Reveal Word for both ORG and BAM in the NE. Cheater! I object to RATTRAP as clued. PIG STY, sure. but wouldn't call squalid digs a "RATTRAP". RAT infested, maybe.

The NW got me, Googed for BUR. And then couldn't figure out RINGPOP. Had dIalPas for a while there(?), and I know that isn't a candy. And TANKUP???? No. Show me one person who says that. I had fuelUP forever. "Hey, Jed, y'all goin' to TANKUP for yer trip to the Big City?" Change KLEE to CLEE and you get a TAN CUP, which is as much a non-thing as TANKUP. Just sayin'.

COYEST/NYU a tough cross, too. For me , anyway. Kept wanting NiU. We get both NYU and NYT today. INKspot, INKblot, INKstain, but INKMARK? Had BadRAP for BUMRAP. LOLCAT YesterPuz (or was it in the FriPuz?), SCAREDY cat today. A LOT OF HAIR LINE BRAIN entries today. Not sure if that's good or bad. EELY, at best.

All that rambling aside, I did still like this puz. Now I want some candy!

Six F's
RooMonster
DarrinV

Lewis 9:53 AM  

@sanfranman 12:27 a.m. -- Terrific and informative read. Let me add to Z's thanks for the link!

Nancy 9:55 AM  

Not so much fun for me since I never heard of more than half the candies. Should I apologize for that -- or should I be really obnoxious and brag?

In fact the only way I knew that there had to be not one but two candies per theme answer was BABY RUTH/SNICKERS. Otherwise I would have assumed just one. And in the case of NERDSRINGPOP, I would have assumed none at all.

In addition to the aforementioned candies, these were the only others I've ever heard of: CRUNCH; MARS, LIFESAVERS; MILKY WAY. That's all, folks. They're all from way back in the day when I ate candy. But I don't now -- it's something I absolutely shouldn't eat and it's one of the few things I'm really good about. Wish I were quite as good about everything else...but I digress.

Not a bad puzzle. The non-theme clues were often tricky and helped protect the theme answers from discovery. Nice clues for HAIRLINE; BRAIN; SALAD; EYES; ALA BABA; VANES; KFC. But the theme left me out in the figurative cold.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Anyone else have an issue with 8D "Beatles tile woman"? Because it was not specified that they were looking for only the LAST name of the title woman, I wrote in 'Sadie' as in "Sexy Sadie."

Frantic Sloth 10:02 AM  

And here I was thinking that the whole TANKUP whatsit was me. Relieved to know 'tweren't.

Also started with NGO because ORG seemed so...orginary.

@sanfranman59 1227am Thanks for the link. I hope some will read and realize that Rex's (anti-Shortz) rants, while occasionally extreme, do have a basis in reality. This quote from the article caused me some concern:
"As Gritzmacher’s meticulous spreadsheet reveals, the 25% of Times puzzles by women, non-binary, or gender non-conforming constructors in 2020 looks paltry compared to the New Yorker’s 50% and USA Today’s 69%."

First, the plain fact of obvious disparity illustrated by those appalling numbers is bad enough, but...
Second, and possibly more insidious is imagining those figures would do more to convince Shortz that his "rarified circle" approach to editing is some sort of perverse proof that straight, white men just are better; i.e., those other, more inclusive publications are laden with all sorts of riff-raff, while the Times remains head and shoulders above the fray.
This is all supposition on my part of course, but it would not surprise me if it were accurate.

Yeah! What is a NOWANDLATER...bar? Chew? Kibble? Inquiring minds and all that.

pabloinnh 10:21 AM  

Put me in the group that never heard of half of these candies. Maybe they have been on sale since I stopped buying candy bars, which would be some time in the 60's. Certainly added to the difficulty level, which I don't mind, as I had to get lots of stuff from crosses. Sunday morning--what else have I got to do?

I'm pretty used to OFL's This Has Been Done Before rants, which I think would eliminate almost all crossword puzzles, but today we seem to have slipped into I Think This Has Been Done Before territory, which is worse. I was hoping we were entering a new phase when evidence became necessary again, but maybe not. Also, giving the NYT the title of "nation's best crossword", or some such, and then bemoaning the fact that it is in fact not the "nation's best crossword" strikes me as disingenuous.

OK Sunday with me guys. Thanks for the fun.

Hungry Mother 10:26 AM  

Like a slow jog rather than a slog today. Just kept my head down and kept moving forward one step at a time. I knew most of the stuff, so hooray for me.

Knitwit 10:26 AM  

I know I’ve solved a candy mashup theme somewhere! NW corner was a mess with PACKUP and CERTS (breath mint/candy mint!?) til the end. I’ve heard of TANKed up in my college days but never related to filling up my ‘68 Bonneville.

Hungry Mother 10:32 AM  

@puzzlehoarder: bluetooth keyboards work for phones in addition to tablets. A good investment.

JD 10:35 AM  

First let me say that I'm a Ross Trudeau fan. His puzzles are quirky and fun and I puzzle through them in a way that I enjoy. Plus he put his mother in a grid.

But when I want sugar I head to the bakery so this was a sea of unknown unknowns for me, or known but forgotten.

Then there was was stuff like this:

The door was slammed angrily. How angry was the door?

If your hair line is the Cutting Edge, does that mean your bangs are shaved off?

The silver was tarnished. Does that mean it was marred?

What is so surprising about say I Do that it needs an exclamation point.

Am I really supporting the late Colonel Sanders if I eat at KFC?

I do think the theme answers were sparkly and certainly there was Crunch. So if you knew this and could read past the cluing, it would've been fun.

@Todd from yesterday, I looked it up. Past the point of no return can also mean can't turn back.

@Frantic (Mom), I was standing on the kitchen chair in my Mary Janes singing it for you.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

everybody knows the Brits have the worst teeth in the modern world because they consume the most candy, aka sweets, and have the most primitive dentistry. remember when the Iron Lady went from Snaggle Tooth to Wayne Newton?

a puzzle just for them.

Sixthstone 10:49 AM  

This one gets a BUM RAP from me, especially since I had a DNF due to BAD RAP crossed with CARE and INKDARK (which seemed like it could be a thing). The fill had a fair amount of blech: INS, AMI, ISHE, AYE, NOR, YEA, UEY, ASEC.

On the bright side, the cluing was clever at times. The KFC clue was a perfect misdirect in light of the Bernie meme phenomenon. As noted by Rex and others, the theme was decidedly average.

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

I like my LATKES with sour cream AND applesauce

Oliver Pollock Daniel 10:53 AM  

As a Canadian, many of these candy bars are unknown (Now and Later, Spree, Payday). But it's a NYT puzzle, aka "Made in America," so that's fine.

What isn't fine is to define Paleo and South Beach as "fad diets." They are both researched, established eating regimens with good health benefits. Don't appreciate ignorant cluing.

Ann Howell 10:54 AM  

Did not exactly "blow through" this one, mostly because many of the candy names were unfamiliar to me... throw in few obscure sports references and red herrings (had MULES for ASSES and OAF/FUN for LUG/GAS) and it was enough to create a mild slog. Which normally I wouldn't mind - I love to linger over the puzzle, coming back to it over the course of the morning, but there was nothing terribly satisfying about this one. At least the sun in shining!

Teedmn 10:55 AM  

Can't say as I've ever run into NERDS, RING POPs, SPREEs or NOW AND LATER but my kind of candy involves chocolate so I'm not surprised. On the other hand, LIFESAVERS and STARBURSTs are ubiquitous.

I got my first hint of the theme at MILKY WAY STARBURST. I think the puzzle is quite clever, with BABY RUTH SNICKERS, MILKY WAY STARBURST and LIFESAVERS PAYDAY making the best punny clues paired with stellar candy juxtapositions.

The rest of the fill was fine but clued rather straightforwardly - I can't see any that I would have circled had I been solving on paper. I finished about 10 minutes faster than my average so I dub it easy.

Nice Sunday sugar buzz, thanks Lucy and Ross!

SFR 10:56 AM  

Almost entirely dependent on the crosses for most of the unfamiliar candy names. Then DNF thanks to misspelling SKAT (which I had never seen in writing) and DISK.

Newbie 11:05 AM  

Why “yea” for helps in passing???

Birchbark 11:11 AM  

We had a steady snowfall last night, small flakes but A LOT OF them. This morning the meadow outside my office has a cottony look. And I SPY a pileated woodpecker standing on top of the bird feeder, leaning down over the side to get the seeds.

And now, in his place, a JAY.

Last night near dusk, a barred owl sat on a branch in one of the elder trees and looked down at the meadow. I watched through binoculars from the office. It twisted its head almost backwards to look into the snowy woods. And when that head turned back in my direction, the dark EYES were big and intense. This owl keeps its own counsel.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

I’m not going to virtue signal that I don’t eat candy. Those were all favorite candies of mine at one point or another (except for ring pops; never liked those). I didn’t even need to look at the most of the clues for the candy answers - if i had any of the crosses, I was able to guess the candy.

Thanks to my sweet tooth, I finished this Sunday faster than my average Wednesday time.

One nit, I’ve never called a Mars Bar just “Mars.”

I really wanted to see Three Musketeers candy bars as one of the answers. That was disappointing.

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

@Newbie:

that's what you 'say' when voting on legislation, and 'helps' getting it passed. yeah, quarterback and race horses and such.

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

sanfranman thanks for the link. I , for one, prefer the stodgy NYT puzzles. I’m not particularly interested in the sex, gender, race, color etc. of the constructor. As was noted, there are plenty of places for the woke folk to get their puzzles. Don’t ever change Will.

Newbie 11:29 AM  

🀦🏼‍♀️ Duh! Thanks

thefogman 11:50 AM  

I give it a C+. I wonder how the constructors feel after reading Rex’s reviews?. He can be tough on even on a first-timer.

GILL I. 11:51 AM  

Well couldn't you do a Dustin man as a woman TOOTSIE ROLL? That's what I ate. Well, I'd buy LIFE SAVERS and give the pineapple ones to my sister - even though she hated those.
We didn't have these candies in Cuba. We ate what are called "pirulies." Pure sugar. When I came to the States, I bought every single candy I could get my hands on. My favorites were MILKY WAYS. You had to put them in the fridge so they'd get hard and make your teeth fall out when you bit into them.

@sanfranman. Thanks for the link. So yeah, @Rex has been complaining about this for a loooong time. Rightly so. Boy do I remember the BEANER episode. I also remember Erik Asgard (or maybe it was Shortz) cluing CHE as a hero. Not as a hero to some, but AS A HERO. I don't get my knickers in a wad (well, maybe because I don't wear knickers) but yes, some words do matter; some clues matter, and for goodness sake, let's put some diversity into this mix. It's about time.

Barbara S. 11:53 AM  

I live with a MARS SMARTIE. In addition to working in the field of terrestrial glaciology, my husband is a planetary scientist and studies ice on MARS. Something very endearing about him is that in addition to being up on and/or interested in everything scientific to do with the red planet, he's a great lover of science fiction -- all sci-fi, really -- and especially any stories, novels or movies set on MARS.

CDilly52 11:53 AM  

@kitshef 12:13 am. You are not alone!!! I’d get a little momentum and then hit a brick wall. . . a d then another- and another. . .

Jeff 11:57 AM  

I started off, confidently, with BETAMAX at 1A, SADIE at 8D, and NGO at 15A, That set the tone for the entire puzzle. I went on to LPGA at 60A and UNLV at 120A. Later I erased BETAMAX to make FUELSUP fit at 1D.....a slog.

Pattywack 11:57 AM  

Baby Ruth Chuckles! That had me bogged down for a while and I still think it's right.

Leslie 12:04 PM  

@southsideJohnny 9:21 Try cryptid. That refers to all creatures like Yeti, Lock Ness etc. It's fascinating how many there are.

Carola 12:15 PM  

Call me inconsistent - I detested that earlier candy-themed puzzle but gobbled this one up, for the wit of the pairings and cluing. I also liked learning that ARCANa has a singular. I wouldn't mind a FAD DIET based on LATKES, nice and crispy, CRUNCH NOW AND LATER.

@pmdm 9:27 - When we're back to doing road trips again: another fun-with-juxtapositions activity, to make the miles fly by, is to look for Interstate exit signs with the names of two towns that work together as a person's name. Once you have a few, invent a story line. Our family currently has a soap opera going involving the young Midwestern heiress Rochelle De Kalb and her vying suitors Henry Streator (a tweedy straight-arrow type) and Troy Grove (louche, spends all his time hanging around the country club swimming pool). Supporting characters are incorporated as they crop up, my favorite so far being Rankin Fithian, a visiting Scottish laird.

@Sixthstone 10:49 - I finished with the same error.

Smith 12:23 PM  

The funny thing about these candies that people aren't familiar with...is that some of them I only know from working in the school store in hs (+-1972), like NOWANDLATER, SPREE. Sold them but didn't eat them! So they aren't really new. Kiddos I taught more recently had NERDS and RINGPOPS. Little kids, too. Definitely need a toothbrush!

sixtyni yogini 12:54 PM  

Big MEH. Stale candy for me.
Thanks for link. @sanfranman59. Very interesting article. πŸ‘πŸ½
Winter is here. More positive change coming everywhere. πŸ‘πŸ½πŸŒΉπŸ‘πŸ½

Leon 1:06 PM  

I first had "pack up." In New York we tend to say "gas up."

However, "tank up" is a legitimate phrase. Perhaps a certain region uses it.

A soda v. pop sort of thing.

Z 1:07 PM  

@Oliver Pollock Daniel - 🀣🀣🀣 The paleolithic diet is controversial in part because of the exaggerated health claims made for it by its supporters. In general, research into the diet has been of poor quality. And Like other fad diets, the South Beach Diet has been marketed with bold claims that are not supported by evidence and with an unrealistic promise of easy weight loss. The book which promotes it also contains some incorrect and misleading information. I can summarize all the research on eating pretty quickly. Don’t eat more calories than you burn. Eat a balanced diet. You should probably be eating more fruits and vegetables. You should probably be eating less sugar. You’re probably not exercising enough (walking more is a good idea). Most “bad” foods are only bad when consumed in excess and might actually be healthy when consumed in moderation. I’m probably missing some specifics, but this info pretty much covers the highlights and following these precepts pretty much covers everything one really needs to know at least as well as the 1.73 million diets* that have been written about in my lifetime.

NOW AND LATER were very popular with the kids who came into the party store where I worked back in the early 80’s. I do remember the confusion when I first told Tiny (the store owner) that kids kept coming in looking for “annihilators.” Neither of us knew what they were asking for, but his candy supplier did. For those who have never seen this candy, it is essentially the same thing as a STARBURST.

As for Rex’s “I’d be stunned” comment, Jeff Chen mentions over at xwordinfo.com that he and Tracy Gray did a Universal Puzzle with the same theme 18 months ago (link is to the Crossword Fiend write-up). This isn’t a big deal, but this theme genre does feel a little played out. Constructors will have to come up with some twist to push this basic conceit (take a category of names, mash them together, make wacky phrase) to make it interesting to long-time solvers.


*I did my research on this factoid the same way the Paleo Diet people did theirs - I made it up.

Anonymous 1:18 PM  

As to The Notorious RBG, SNICKER is surely closer to what she's doing Up There, than a mere chuckle. Of course, there is neither Heaven nor Hell in Judaism. Even a bit of ROTFL.

newbie 1:20 PM  

Easy? Really? Ugh! And the “Newbie” posting 11:05 am and 11:29 am isn’t me. If this keeps up, I may have to get a new handle. : (

A2JD 1:28 PM  

Dance Monkey missed me. After listening for a minute, I’m totally okay with that.

Carol DelGaudio 1:31 PM  

Thank you, @bocamp for the link ! Terrific !

Steve M 1:46 PM  

Snooze festival

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

It's all candy, but not all *bars*. E.g. Netds,,Smarties, Ringpops, Starburst.

I assumed Bernie, too, but eventually realized it was the Colonel. Kentucky Fried Chicken. πŸ˜‰

Anonymous 1:57 PM  

πŸ˜„

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

πŸ’”

Unknown 1:58 PM  

On the positive? Managed to finish without cheating, no completely obscure sports questions, chuckled at babyruthsnickers. On the negative? Blah fill..uey (is that really a word?), AOK, org, NYU, BTU....I dislike the overuse of acronyms and abbreviations.

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

Totally agree. I went through "Michelle"? "Rita"? and even "Eleanor" (missed Sadie), before circling back and realizing it was surname that was wanted!

bocamp 2:28 PM  

@Carol DelGaudio 1:31 PM

You're very welcome! 😊
___

pg -6

Peace Tolerance Kindness Togetherness πŸ•Š

jae 2:40 PM  

@sanfranman - Thanks for the link!

bocamp 2:42 PM  

@jae

Freestyle 580 spoiler







Finally finished; 3 errors: had "catpad" and "tween" (don't ask LOL)
___

pg -5

Peace Tolerance Kindness Togetherness πŸ•Š

Nancy 2:50 PM  

From the "Be Careful What You Wish For" Dept:

I read the Amy Reynaldo piece that @sanfranman linked to, and felt myself break into a cold sweat. To Will Shortz: Please avail yourself of the best and healthiest features of the South Beach and Paleo FAD DIETS; avoid the BABY RUTHS and the SNICKERS and the MILKY WAYS; and try if you can to live forever -- or at least a day or two longer than I do. Because apres vous, le deluge.

As a solver and also as a constructor, I feel that there should be only five considerations in the creation of any clue/answer:

Does it intrigue the solver and create a feeling of curiosity?
Does it baffle or perplex the solver?
Does it amuse the solver or even make the solver laugh out loud?
Does it [neatly] trick the solver?
Does it provide the solver with a genuine "Aha Moment"?

A puzzle is meant to entertain. It's not meant to be a propaganda platform where populations who feel neglected and overlooked get to force-feed their culture to others. "Learn more about US, if you know what's good for you, dammit, or don't expect to ever finish a NYT puzzle again!" For heaven's sake: if you want to celebrate your culture, write a book, write a play, write a screenplay. But a puzzle is not a place for delivering messages. I'm reminded of that old line: "If you want to send a message, call Western Union."

To even the most "woke" among you, I predict this: If this policy ever, heaven forfend, comes to pass, you will mourn the passing of a really entertaining crossword venue. And it's a slippery slope: once it happens there will be no turning back.




Axel 2:55 PM  

I guess it's a regional thing. I tank up all the time - but going electric will make all those phrases anachronistic soon enough.

JC66 3:25 PM  

@Nancy

Well said (as usual).

I agree, wholeheartedly.

Barbara S. 3:36 PM  

Has anyone else visited the Pepys Library in Magdalene College, University of Cambridge? Hey – two counterintuitive pronunciations (hi, @TTrimble) in one sentence. (“Peeps” Library in “Maudlin” College.) Samuel Pepys left his collection of 3000 books to Magdalene, where they are housed in the original oak bookcases, organized exactly as they were when he was alive, which is (strange to say) by size. No books can be added and none removed. The library is an amazing survival at more than 300 years old, and a unique reflection of its time.

jazzmanchgo 3:43 PM  

Sheesh -- talk about a PPP nightmare. To get through this, you need to be familiar with at least half a dozen brand names (of junk-food, no less), at least half of which I never heard of -- "NERD SPRING POP"?! "WHOPPER SPREE"?! "STAR BURST"?! "CRUNCH NOW AND LATER"?!

How nice it would be to have a crossword puzzle that wasn't a not-so-thinly disguised exercise in product placement. Hope ol' Will got his share of the royalties for this one.

MetroGnome 3:50 PM  

@ Nancy --

BRAVA (with apologies for the binary gendered Latin accolade)! -- This is supposed to be a PUZZLE, not a PAMPHLET.

Unknown 3:55 PM  

One of the pleasures of Rex' column and the comments is the schadenfreude engendered by us having fun and so many solvers complaining. Keep up the hate!

Anonymous 4:08 PM  

Aside from Axel, who commented previously that he says "tank up," it's not a phrase that even makes sense. If I was buying military equipment for an army, I might say I was going to tank up, but more likely, I'd say I was going to buy more tanks.

JOHN X 4:10 PM  

What exactly is in a "queer" crossword puzzle? I've never seen one.

Georgia 4:33 PM  

Same with Japanese PM "Abe."

OffTheGrid 4:41 PM  

Regarding "problem" entries, yesterday's NIP AT was legit, as is CHINK when clue is armor related. Just don't use one of these to clue the other.

pabloinnh 4:47 PM  

****SB Alert/Non-spoiler*****

Disapppointlingly, today's SB will not accept PABLO.

I continued under protest and quit at Genius.

GILL I. 5:00 PM  

@Nancy....Of course a puzzle is meant to entertain....I agree on your assessment on the considerations. However....I believe there is nothing wrong with changing with the times - especially with our ever evolving and colorful lexicons. Will seems a bit loath to do that. He targets a particular group and we get the tried and true "old" Oreos. Why not add, say, a portmanteau or two: FREEGAN a portmanteau of a dumpster diver. Or PERMACULTURE - another portmanteau of farming and gardening. Throw in some PANSEXUAL, NON-BINARY OUTING, a little BAE with some YEET and NO SHADE. A BUENA ONDA and a Cuban Mojito.
New Words...throw out the old...and invite every age group, sexual preference and color to the fray.

Cyrus Musiker 5:24 PM  

Loved this one. Not sure how such cleverly paired candy themers could fail to earn at least a chuckle from Rex. Maybe I'm the chucklehead (AITC). And yes - my wife and I had pack up before tank up, but tannk up is definitely a phrase we've used before. The toughest part for us was the Northeast with compliant sorts/obeyers and sports team VIP's/GMS eluding us. To me that was the weak part: GM's are bosses, NOT VIP's (reserved for shutdown pitchers, MVP's, sluggers, QB's, WR's etc.) And Doctors without Borders is an NGO, not the more generic org, which would work for ACLU, or NRA just as well.

bocamp 5:26 PM  

@pabloinnh 4:47 PM

SB stuff

You're in good company; @Anoa Bob was also rejected. :(

Still spinning my wheels at pg -5


Peace Tolerance Kindness Togetherness πŸ•Š

JeF 5:31 PM  

JFe
@Nancy

Curious...Who are the “populations who feel neglected and overlooked get to force-feed their culture to others.”

I am beyond intrigued!

Barbara S. 5:32 PM  

@Nancy
I doubt the puzzle would change character as completely as you envision with a broader range of constructors. I can't see that entertainment would be replaced by force-feeding, as you fear. All constructors, whatever their individual backgrounds, have fallen in love with wordplay in the various forms it takes in crosswords, and presumably want to imbue their own puzzles with the same sense of surprise and delight they discovered as solvers. People in the western world tend to inhabit the same broad cultural landscape, even though our differences cause us to view it through lenses of our own making. Yes, there would be some level of change with a more diverse range of constructors, but I don't see it completely transforming the puzzle. And here's to opening up the world to perspectives we haven't yet imagined.

Colm 5:38 PM  

That’s not to say now that in me younger years, I didn’t enjoy a boiled sweet. But then I heard tell of a fella from Ballynahinch, what was it his name was, now? I had it there a minute ago. Ach, it'll come to me. Anyway, this Ballynahinch lad, and as I say, his name escapes me - but he was mad keen on the boiled sweets. Sure he couldn't get enough of them! But in the end, well, didn't he choke to death on one? A pear drop, I think it was. Or a clove rock maybe? But either way, it's not how I'd want to go.

Smith 5:44 PM  

@Pablo
Nor BOOLEAN!!

Malsdemare 5:50 PM  

@carola. Hmmm, you live in Illinois, methinks. How about leroy mansfield!

Douglas 6:37 PM  

Voating yea to pass a motion or bill

Douglas 6:39 PM  

I’m going to go and head and admit that I am familiar with every single one of those candies. Made it an easier Sunday for me.

Mike Pompeo 6:43 PM  

Nice to see somebody agrees with my farewell tweet:

Multiculturalism is ‘not who America is.’

Ti OverNamed 7:03 PM  

Bat your *eyes*? Sounds painful. Bat your eyelashes? Sure.

TTrimble 7:24 PM  

Agree with @Gill I. 5:00 PM. Every day I am confronted with evidence of my vast ignorance, and expect that as a by-product of solving I'll learn a smattering of new things, including people and expressions from cultures I'm not familiar with, or for that matter about sports or candy. Let's have a mix of the new with the old.

Increased inclusivity doesn't necessarily entail a "deluge" or "propaganda" or "force-feeding", does it? I'd like to think that the values Nancy espouses could and would still be honored, because people really don't come to crosswords to get their "woke" jollies, but for other reasons. I'd like to think that gradual inclusion of new things, in the hands of skillful editors who themselves love puzzles, could comfortably fit within the ambit of Nancy's "Does it intrigue the solver and create a feeling of curiosity?"

As an aside, I view with dismay the constant flinging of reductionist terms like "virtue signaling", "woke", etc. (I don't say this is characteristic of Nancy -- I can't recall her using such terms elsewhere.) For example, 11:13 AM, where the commenter proudly declares that he/she is not going to virtue signal not eating candy. (How virtuous not to do so!) I'm sure this was a response to something I said about candy not being one of my personal interests. It's absurd: every statement now comes under immediate suspicion of being a political manifesto, with insincere motivations to boot.

But in case anyone is wondering, I buy candy once a year, around Halloween. I choose the candies I like best, because why have it go to waste? My faves are Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Peppermint Patties, Mounds -- none of which are great fodder for a puzzle. I used to love Three Musketeers as a kid, but either the quality has gone downhill, or I just don't think they're all that good anymore. For whatever reason, never got into STARBURST or Skittles. If someone were to offer me a LIFESAVER, I might accept with a smile and a thanks, but probably more often I would politely decline. Truth be told, I think I'm more of a salty snack kind of guy anyway. There was recently some talk here about UTZ, and people named some really good chips in that convo. And some months back there was some encouragement to Rex, probably unheard by him, to try Tate's Cookies -- I very virtuously chimed in to agree with that assessment.

Nancy 7:57 PM  

@GILL -- FREEGAN??? (Something to do with vegan, maybe? But I'm just guessing.) YEET??? A BUENO ONDA??? What are you talking about, @GILL?

Diversity of personnel at the Times puzzle department and among the ranks of constructors is certainly a good thing on its own. But if it leads to neologisms and slanguage known to only a few, such as those mysterious words @GILL cites above, I may have to take up a new hobby. This is exactly what I'm afraid of -- that the celebration of as many cultural differences as can be included -- no matter how obscure they may be to most people -- will become the main focus of the puzzle.

And some of the comments in the piece that @sanfranman linked to were troubling. "I've never had a crossword that was about me or that celebrated me," complained one female interviewee. Well, guess what, -- I never have either! Nor do I ever go to a puzzle expecting it to be "about me". Do any of you?




Carola 7:57 PM  

@Malsdemare 5:50 - I wondered if any Illini would recognize their territory. Actually, I'm a Badger, but the stretch between Madison and the border is a barren wasteland, as far as suitable names go. Yes, Leroy Mansfield would be an excellent addition to the cast :)

Unknown 8:07 PM  

I like @LMS. I love dark chocolate. I dislike SS Johnnie. I hate Tom Brady.

jae 8:22 PM  

@bocamp - I just finished Croce’s Freestyle #582. I was slightly easier than #580 but still in Saturday Stumper territory.

Smirkin 8:49 PM  

This got a big “meh” from me…

One thing did bother me: “up” was part of two answers 1D, the already topped off TANKUP” and 42D SOPUP, and was also used in the clue for 30A “Depletes, with ‘up.’”

I’ve been under the impression that if a word is used in a grid, it should never show up in the clues. But here it is, twice, in the grid. Isn’t this the kind of thing an editor is supposed to catch? Especially when one of the “up” answers crosses the offending clue…

sanfranman59 9:07 PM  

For those wondering if they've seen this theme before, I did some searching in the XWordInfo database. The only one I found using the candy that's in today's puzzle was this Cathy Millhauser grid from 19 Nov 1995. I allowed my subscription to the Cruciverb database to lapse, so I can't check puzzles from other sources.

GILL I. 9:28 PM  

No, No, NO....@Nancy.....Never take up a new hobby....These are neologisms that are part of main stream "NEW"..... Remember "Bitchin" and "Hang Ten" and and and.....Well...The Beatles and their HAIR???? I'm not advocating anything drastically changing...just some refreshing words that are now mainstreaming. Why not? Aren't you tired of the ALEE, ASEA, ERATO, SMEE......all being clued the same way? At least constructors are finding clever ways to clue an (ugh) OREO. My point is that new ( and in the vernacular) words can be clever and fun - especially if you know how to clue them. They hit a little bit of everybody's WOW button...and why not? I would think Will would want to bring a smile to a little bit of every person of color, age and gender. So far, I don't see that.
Bring back Liz....!

Joe in Newfoundland 10:41 PM  

"Dropping the f-bomb" is not swearing. The editor should have caught that.

jberg 12:14 AM  

Nobody's posted for a couple of hours -- Tomorrow starts our new semester, and I'm teaching my first course since 2018, and my first-ever entirely-online-course, so the day was spent in nervous preparation. I've gone to many concerts, webinars, and conferences via Zoom, so I know all about breakout groups, whiteboards, and the like -- except I don't know how to start them, as I've never been inside the control room as a host. Tomorrow will tell.

I did enjoy figuring out the theme answers, although I'd never hear of either WHSOPPERS or SPREE as candy; but what with ngo, pack up, and mules, plus having to take off my glasses and squint to read the number (Hi, @chefwen), this one was tough for me. (I'm schedlued for cataract surgery April 27 and May 25, which should help with the number reading).

Plus I read the clue for 48D as "get hip" rather than got hip--so I put in WISEn, and wondered what NISC golf might be.

@pattywack, "chuckles" is in the clue, so you can't put it in the answer.

@Nancy, have you done the puzzles in the New Yorker? They're far more entertaining, on average, than those in the Times, and they're free. So are AVC and The Injubator, although you have to pay for them.

Anonymous 8:36 PM  

@Oliver Pollock Daniel the fad diet thing rubbed me the wrong way too! I bet the candy-loving constructor of this puzzle hates those diets because they discourage eating garbage candy lol

spacecraft 12:29 PM  

A junk puzzle for junk food. Perfect! If I tried to list all the crap in this one I'd miss the kickoff. Hey, is there really honest-to-God a candy named NOWANDLATER??? Must be one of those where the taste comes back on you--in a not-good way. Double-bogey.

Burma Shave 4:05 PM  

RACY BUMRAP

WELL YES, NOWANDLATER madame ERIN SNICKERS
that APRIL was her COYEST PROTEGE,
but ALOTOF AMATEUR ACTS without her knickers
and now she SLEEPs with MARKs for her PAYDAY.

--- ARLO "BAM BAM" RIGBY

tomorrow completes 6 years, at least once every day, year 7 starts Tuesday

Diana, LIW 5:37 PM  

Yeah, yeah - easy. Can't get enuf of those Kit Kat Bars. Good way to spend Super Sunday.

Diana, LIW

rondo 6:01 PM  

Candy everywhere. Figured out those I didn't know.

YEP. YES BABYRUTH G.

Sweet puz. WELL . . .

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

Love those Derry girls.

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