Trucker who relays bear traps / MON 1-4-21 / Pain in the lower back / Ocular inflammations

Monday, January 4, 2021

Constructor: Kathy Wienberg

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (2:46)


THEME: WONDER WOMAN (61A: Co-founder of the Justice League) — theme answers are very basic trivia re: WONDER WOMAN:

Theme answers:
  • DIANA PRINCE (17A: Identity of 61-Across)
  • DC COMICS (30A: Originator of 61-Across)
  • LYNDA CARTER (36A: Television portrayer of 61-Across)
  • GAL GADOT (44A: Film portrayer of 61-Across)
Word of the Day: ROUTE MEN (39D: Some delivery people) —
a person who is responsible for making sales or deliveries on an assigned route (merriam-webster.com)
• • •

***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...

* * *

I regret to inform you that I did not like this at all. I'm not just talking about the fact that it's a screamingly vanilla trivia puzzle with zero to offer in the way of cleverness or ... any real interest. I'm also talking about the fact that is the closest thing I've seen to what looks like the puzzle being used for product placement / paid advertising ... well, ever. I can't remember ever seeing anything this blatantly commercial-seeming. As you probably know, "Wonder Woman 1984" just opened. Christmas Day. I assume they ran this puzzle with the idea that it would be "timely," given the recent opening of the movie, but when commercial enterprises are concerned, "timely" reads a lot like "promotional." GAL GADOT stars as DIANA PRINCE in a DC COMICS production of the latest WONDER WOMAN film! Thank goodness LYNDA CARTER is here to at least provide the teensiest bit of evidence that this is a general-interest "WW" puzzle that just *happened* to come out near the release of the movie. The "bonus" DC COMICS answers—AQUA (49A: Lead-in to "man" in superhero-dom) and AMY (28D: Adams who played Lois Lane in "Man of Steel")—only make matters worse. With the NYTXW running sponsored crosswords on its site sometimes, and with them selling prime advertising real estate directly above the crossword in the actual paper newspaper, *and* with the crossword being the most profitable part of the NYT, with a huge subscriber base, I am more prone to being suspicious / cynical / conspiracy theory-minded about these things. I don't yet think that the NYTXW is in league with OREO or Famous AMOS or Big Cookie in general, but give it a bit. I'll get there. Anyway, if this had been in any way thoughtful or clever, I could maybe have forgiven the blatant commercial angle. But it wasn't, so I can't.


What are ROUTE MEN? I looked it up, so ... it's a rhetorical question, but seriously, I've never ever heard that term, and do not believe anyone says it (anymore?). I assume ROUTE MEN get LUMBAGO, a term I *do* sometimes hear, but only ironically, or in old movies. Maybe they also get GOUT too, I dunno (that's a depressing little malady crossing, that one). Possibly some ROUTE MEN are CBERs? (more hip fill for y'all). Sigh. I liked SEA LEVEL, esp. as clued, so that's ... something (3D: Rising concern?). But sadly all the joy of SEA LEVEL was immediately negated by its truly repulsive neighbor, the swole crosswordese ALIENEE (an answer I often think of as the paragon of long crosswordese; if anyone ever asks you "Can crosswordese be longer than five letters?" please point them in the direction of ALIENEE). I finished the puzzle quickly, and that always feels good, but sadly my job also involves *reflecting* on the puzzle, and today, that did not feel so good. Hope you are feeling better than I am. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

100 comments:

OffTheGrid 6:25 AM  

I see the points @Rex makes but I had fun with it. I knew the rapper, and Wonder Woman is one of the few superheroes I know anything about. Aquila was neat to learn. My constellation knowledge is limited to Orion and the Big Dipper, two stars of which "point" to the North Star.

Lewis 6:27 AM  

So lovely to see a puzzle by a fellow Ashevillian, friend, and co-constructor. As all of her puzzles are, this one is scrubbed and polished. It has a bit of bite for newer solvers, just at the right level to enable them to develop solving skills without being frustrated, IMO, to develop confidence.

Six palindromes! EYE, ENE, SARAS, TOT, DAD, PEEP. I don’t remember ever seeing this many (non-theme related) in a puzzle. Plus something that I learned: AQUILA.

A lovely start to the week, and thank you so much for making this, Kathy!

Frantic Sloth 6:32 AM  

From yesterday @albatross shell 502pm No worries. I'm sure you weren't the only one who saw it that way. For the record, I am one of those animal people, but I also appreciate a good joke when I see one. πŸ˜‰


Today's Puzzle:

A WONDERWOMAN theme? Sure! Why not? Something by one of us chicks, about one of us chicks for ( at least)one of us chicks. I'll take it!

I had a smallish problem with the clue for DELAYED:
"Like some reactions and flights during storms" mighta been cleaner with a comma after "reactions" cuz it don't read right to me. Or were these reactions also during storms? I think not.

Fun Mondee. Liked it and hope it keeps alive Rex's 2021 streak of wonder. We shall see....


Little known fact:

We hate admitting prompt root veggies into our club, so the entrance has a sign: TARDY TARO ONLY

Check, please!


🧠
πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

KRMunson 6:43 AM  

I’m as cynical as the rest of the world, but does anyone really believe this puz was a paid placement timed to the movie release? That would be so sad.

amyyanni 6:57 AM  

I do love the word tardy, on a positive note.

SouthsideJohnny 7:05 AM  

Interesting puzzle, for the most part Monday-easy, even with all of the trivia (and with one exception) - I couldn’t remember Ms. Gadot’s first name, while AQUA man and the constellation eluded me as well (and the clue for LUMPED seems a touch off), so that little corner played brutally difficult (really Natick-territory) for a Monday.

I share Rex’s concern about the potential for commercial cross-contamination and hope that this is NOT another step in the ongoing diminution of the crossword standards at the Times.

kitshef 7:11 AM  

Most of the DC COMICS movie adaptations have been pretty terrible, but I though GAL GADOT was positively electric as WONDER WOMAN.

Pretty good Monday if you know and like WW; otherwise I’m guessing this was pretty hard and instantly forgettable.

ChuckD 7:29 AM  

I’m usually not all in with Rex’s take - but today had the same thought process as him while I was solving. Not sure NYT has seen the new movie because if they did they wouldn’t be running a tribute puzzle to it. My wife and I watched over the holiday - I liked the first one but the new one is bad - borderline unwatchable.

The trivia went in quickly here - so there’s that. The fill is rough - ALIENEE, LUMBAGO, GOUT etc gave me an OVERT sense of LET ME BEness. I do like AQUILA and something about CBER is neat.

I haven’t liked Weller since The Jam which was about 40 years ago. Rex’s clip today reinforced my feelings for him.

Not the puzzle I would have chosen to start the week.

Unknown 7:47 AM  

If you haven’t seen WW84, stop reading.

Lynda Carter appears in WW84 in a gratuitous and smirking scans at the end. So your “Thank goodness” comment is, sadly, going to be disappointed.

Hungry Mother 7:55 AM  

Very easy here. I did mostly downs for some unknown reason. I knew more about WONDERWOMAN than I knew. When I was a TOT, I wanted to be her.

Joaquin 7:57 AM  

Surprised that Professor Comic Books was so hard on this woman-constructed puzzle. No one is safe here!

And ROUTEMEN are, indeed, still a thing. In many industries. From grocery stores to florists to auto repair shops route men are a daily - and essential - part of our supply chains.

bigsteve46 8:00 AM  

For once - well, not really just once - I am in almost complete agreement with Fearless Leader, although for a somewhat different perspective. This puzzle stunk, and stunk in the worst way: filled with proper names. My iron-clad opinion is that proper names - any proper names, are inferior fill: any clue that is "either-you-know-it-or-you-don't" is inferior, by definition. A superior clue should be one that is in some way, inferable: "That may be inferred or drawn as a conclusion; deducible; that may be put together from previous knowledge and current evidence." (My disagreement with OFL is that he is more upset with the product placement aspect - also offensive, I admit - but I object more to the proper-name business.)

That's my two cents on the subject. I admit I am becoming a grumpy old man - but I try to fight back. Puzzles like this reinforce the grumpy tendency. I fight back by re-reading one of my "POGO" anthologies. That always helps restore balance and perspective. It's also best to air grumpiness early in the A.M. and let it waft away as the sun rises for yet another day.



Frosty Flake 8:18 AM  

I only finished this because I didn't have anything better to do.

A crossing of agua and aguila would have more fun.

Why does sea level make @Rex happy?

Female superheroes are a pandering joke.

bocamp 8:31 AM  

Thank you, @Kathy, for a great start to the puzzling week! :)

Easy-medium solve.

Seemed to be in my wheelhouse and felt faster, but only a minute under av.

Enjoyed playing Snakes & "Ladders" with the grandkids.

"Bless" This House ~ Perry Como


Peace and Tolerance πŸ•Š

H. Gunn 8:35 AM  

There is a word Will Shortz should have used for this puzzle: NO

Mike G 8:37 AM  

Very disappointed to see the answer for 30 across as DC COMICS. DC Comics is the company who published the comic created by WILLIAM MARSTON.

Admittedly 14 letters wouldn't have fit in a 15 letter grid, but Marston (or DR MARSTON) should have been workable.

Z 8:51 AM  

Have I ever mentioned how much I despise tribute puzzles? I have? Alrighty, then. Just go find those observations and copy and paste them here.

@KRMunson - No.

@Joaquin - I’m not surprised. Here’s one of the texts from my son’s college “comics” class. It is to WONDER WOMAN what, say, The Left Hand of Darkness is to Star Wars. And if someone did a tribute puzzle to Epileptic I’d hate it, too.

Kathy 8:52 AM  

“Big Cookie”—alone worth the price of admission! The check is in the mail.

Unknown 8:58 AM  

Re rex's appeal for money, if his blogs contained less rage and more insight & levity, i might have even considered a donation. but since he usually leaves me scratching my head, or in a bad mood, i'll pass . . .

I doubt that the projected demographic for the upcoming Wonder Woman film has much overlap w/ the folks who solve these NYTXW puzzles, so i'm strongly guessing that this was not a commercial endorsement for the film.

And yes, TUPAC was an eminently fair rap artist to use.
Easy peasy, close to my record.

pmdm 9:06 AM  

I'm on record as disliking PPP, so one would think I would pan this puzzle. Because it is a Monday puzzle, the crosses were quite easy. So the PPP did not bother me.

Some reactions strike me as jaded, cynical and/or egotistical. That's not aimed at individuals, it's aimed at the comment itself. There are people who like the Wonder Woman world. (I'm ambivalent.) They deserve a crossword they would very much enjoy. I would prefer not to rain on their parade.

A prediction: Z has voiced dislike in the past of tribute puzzles. If he comments today, I would predict his estimation of this puzzle will be quite low.

Nancy 9:11 AM  

Sigh. Comic books and action heroes again. When the history of this awful era in the U.S. is finally written, will it be said that Americans' increasing inability to tell the difference between fact and fiction, or to recognize when a president is acting in a scarily despotic way that would make Stalin, Mao and George III blush, was honed in the pages of DC COMICS?

Rant over. And I must say that the parts of the puzzle that aren't about comics were quite pleasant. Well, except for the things that made me feel old and achy.

You've got your LUMBAGO and you've got your GOUT. But I was way ahead of that. Long before I got to those answers I had glanced at "Rising concern" (3D) where I already had SEALE--- written in. And the first thing I thought of was SEA LEGS. As in: It gets ever harder to rise up from a very low chair as you age. And sitting on a step and getting up from that is almost impossible. Right?

I enjoyed this well enough despite the comic-book-stuff -- which I really wish Will Shortz would stop pushing.

Lewis 9:20 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week
(in order of appearance):

1. Big roll (6)
2. Complete a lap? (3)
3. Artificial object in orbit? (5)(3)
4. Fluorescent bulb, maybe? (5)
5. Fiddle with a ukulele? (5)


ELEVEN
SIT
GLASS EYE
TULIP
PLUCK

Nancy 9:27 AM  

@Z, @Frantic, @TTrimble, @albatross shell (from yesterday): I tried to answer your where-does-the-quotation-mark-go-vis-a-vis-the-punctuation questions in a way that I hope will be helpful to all of you in the future. The time of my comment was 8:25 p.m.

JD 9:31 AM  

@Frantic, ...and starring a Gal.

RooMonster 9:38 AM  

Hey All !
Well, I liked it! Of course, I've never really outgrown Super Hero stuff. As a matter of fact, last night on TNT was Avengers:Endgame, which was just as awesome as when I saw it in the theater in 2019. Was yelling and hooting by myself and everything! Har.

That immaturity aside, it was a good puz. Took me slightly longer than usual, which for me is fine, I like it when the puz puts up some resistance on a Mon/Tue. Not so much when it puts up resistance on Fri/Sat, though. First day of 2021 Without a one-letter DNF! YAY ME!

Decently open puz, typical 38 blocks, though the 12 (6 each side) at the ends of the center themer add to the total, so there seems to be less throughout the puz, if that makes any sense.

Got a chuckle out of having ____ADOT for the end of 44A, and seeing it could possibly be POLKA DOT. Har. GAL GADOT in a POLKA DOT skirt. She was in a couple of Fast & Furious movies, too, BTW. Another immaturity film!

How to enjoy movies such as Super Hero ones, or movies aimed at immature men: Suspend your belief in everything logical or scientifically proven, and you'll have a blast! And movies prove how different men and women are. Men like these type movies, which (most) women don't. and women like the Romantic stuff, family tear-jerkers, where (most) men don't. Good stuff. Can't we all just enjoy the movies? :-)

ALIENEE looks like a Outer Space resident.
SEAL EVEL could be EVEL Knievel's pet SEAL.
What did one ISO say to the other ISO at the ISOBAR? - "Let's combine."
GAL LOP Down from GAL GADOT. Just an observation.
Tells a snake to stop? - ASP HALT

OK, enough silliness. Have a great Monday!

One F
RooMonster
DarrinV

SouthsideJohnny 9:45 AM  

I have offered similar observations in the past, but @bigsteve46 8:00 AM said it much better than I ever have, an his statement should be considered axiomatic (perhaps "BigSteve's first law?):

"Any clue that is "either-you-know-it-or-you-don't" is inferior, by definition. A superior clue should be one that is in some way, inferable"

This holds true for all of the usual suspects such as random roman numerals, foreign words and phrases, dead popes and other medieval kings, rulers, despots, Roman, Greek and Norse mythology . . . Those entries become the "Dark Matter" of CrossWorld in the sense that we know that there is an answer there but we don't have the current tools, theory or technology available to logically discern them and our only option is to slog through every cross and in some cases take a SWAG or 26 and hope for the best.

I do understand that very experienced solvers may enjoy the extra challenge, and if the constructors want to toughen up Fridays and Saturdays by turning them into a trivia-laden slogfest on occasion, have at it. I do contend though that anyone who possesses the proficiency of an advanced beginner or better should at least have a fighting chance at a successful unassisted completion on the other days of the week.

It's obvious that the editors at the Times disagree with me, and in fact, I may even be in the minority opinion compared to most of the others who post here on a regular basis.

GILL I. 9:46 AM  

Well Bless my Lumbago Gout...a Monday all about an Amazon superhero champion. Wasn't she a polyamorist? Who cares......just blow with the wind.
I'm not much of a COMICS reader, much less if it comes from DC because DC reminds me of politics and right now I'm in the AUK....you again? camp. I also didn't find this easy as Mondays go because I always though CARTER spelled her name LiNDA like god intended. Why did you leave out Lucy Lawless? At least I know how to spell her name.
So we have a sweet little thing about WONDER WOMAN and you include a little PEEP EYE STYES, some Corporate LADDERS LUMPED in with TEXAS HAM and I sit back and think hmmmmm. I want to go make a little TUNA melt.

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

Also, Jill Lepore’s “The Secret History of Wonder Woman” was very enlightening

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:55 AM  

Sheesh, I care so little about comic books and the movies based on them that I didn't even KNOW it was a timely tribute puzzle till I got here. I watched Black Panther once when I was on a transatlantic flight, but I fast-forwarded through all the fight scenes. Say something about the puzzle! Consider the AUK/ becoming extinct / because he forgot how to fly and could only walk./ Consider man,/ who may well become extinct, / because he learned how to fly and forgot how to walk / before he think'd.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

The film “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women” was very “stimulating”; it made research into the subject appropriate to ascertain the veracity beyond the drama and sexuality.
Also, this January marks the 79th anniversary of Wonder Woman’s introduction to the comics world.
Homage or “tribute”?

Pete 10:01 AM  

1) Something that "Has a long shelf life" is something that KEEPS, not something that LASTS. Something that doesn't wear out is something that LASTS.
2) ALIENEE only exists in the fine print of legal contracts. It has not business in a xword puzzle.
3) Thematic cross-references in the NW? No no no no. Add 1 & 2 to that, NO NO NO!
4) I get that whenever the WW movie came out several years ago it was a groundbreaking affirmation for women's empowerment, but that was several years ago and no one cares any more. Any puzzle that is entirely about one specific thing of minor import is a waste.

pmdm 10:08 AM  

GRR. I posted my comment before Z's comment was published. The delay makes me look like I comment before reading other people's comments. Anyone who comments here understands the problem. Still, it's a good reason to be annoyed.

jae 10:09 AM  

Medium, but this could be tough for a beginner. AQUILA was a WOE for me and ROUTEMAN seemed a tad arcane. Plus, if you’re only tangentially aware of WONDER WOMAN, you’re sort of up a creek.

Like it a tad more than @Rex did but I too am not a fan of tribute puzzles.

TTrimble 10:13 AM  

@Nancy
I saw it. I am supremely confident in my own punctuation; I was merely too lazy yesterday to express my views more precisely. But I'm glad you took the trouble to say something sensible on the matter.

(Anyone who feels like finding flaws in my punctuation: don't bother. Blog comments are not necessarily things that we try to polish to perfection, as should go without saying.)

Z 10:17 AM  

@pmdm - You know me so well.

@Nancy re: yesterday’s discussion- I agree with you but that’s not the way I was taught.

@Southside Johnny - My formulation of BigSteve’s First Law is “Word Play > Trivial Trivia.”

@unknown8:58 (and everyone else who will write something similar) - I think most of the NYT’s OpEd writers are idiots. By your logic I don’t need to pay for the NYT. If I don’t like a product I stop using it, and thus have no need to pay for it. Saying, “I’m going to read you but I’m not going to pay for it because I don’t like what you say” sounds just a little petty and churlish to me. Rex puts his reviews out there with no paywall, so do whatever you want. But bragging about not paying seems like a bad look to me.

egsforbreakfast 10:18 AM  

Off to get a tooth extracted, but that may ease the pain of having done this puzzle. I know zip about any superheroes, so everything had to be mostly done by crosses. Ouch.

Joe Dipinto 10:33 AM  

You're really not much of a businessman. You should have on offer a complete set of all five Alfie cards for anyone who donates a minimum amount of {whatever you think is fair}, whether by snail mail or electronically. And you can leave off the thank you note. (And give your daughter part of the proceeds.)

TTrimble 10:37 AM  

AQUILA is Latin for eagle, whence the word "aquiline" as in "aquiline nose". So while I wasn't aware of the constellation, this didn't throw me.

This was arguably a smidge too hard for a Monday, even discounting the fact that this was comic book-themed and a lot of us are not really up on that lore. AUK crossing AKITAS, ALIENEE, ROUTE MEN: I'm not sure, but maybe that's more Tuesday-like?

I did remember LYNDA CARTER, with that spelling, from (I guess it was) 80's TV. And I see GAL GADOT's name from time to time these days, so that wasn't bad either. I'm afraid I don't know DIANA PRINCE. And DC COMICS vs. MARVEL or whatnot -- I have no real knowledge of any of that stuff. Whatever fit, I just filled it in as a matter of routine. It's not like you have to be a member of MENSA or anything to get through it.

I didn't derive any real pleasure from the puzzle. On the plus side, it does seem clean and solid and workwomanlike. Just not quite WONDER WOMAN-like.

burtonkd 10:51 AM  

@Lewis's list of favorite clues reminded me of a thought from last week:
Wordplay appreciated, but has anyone ever heard a ukulele being plucked? I've only heard them strummed.

How did XENA, a Topps character, slip in unnoticed today? To throw off the scent of promotional tie-in?

Business puzzle hangover with the corporate LADDERS.

He had an OVERT SENSE of STYES is a fun phrase.

Carola 11:01 AM  

Where's the Justice League when we need it? Anyway. Coincidentally, in the newspaper the puzzle is opposite a full page article illustrating with comic book covers WONDER WOMAN's evolving outfit from 1941 to 2011, so DIANA PRINCE and DC COMICS were residual images on my retina when I turned to the puzzle. I enjoyed the tribute to this heroine of my childhood but wished the grid could have had more verve - and not come to a close with that cluster of woes LUMBAGO x GOUT x STYES x our honoree.
Do-overs: inuiT, sciatic...oops, doesn't fit; help from previous puzzles: AKITAS

Backing In 11:03 AM  

When I had _ _ _ _ ADOT in 44 across, I asked myself, "Could there really have been someone named Polka Dot who played Wonder Woman?"

Whatsername 11:07 AM  

This was a little on the challenging side only because I know squat about most superheroes. I remembered the TV show and vaguely recalled that GAL GADOT was in the movie version. I really do love the idea of a female super hero though. There are so few of them but thankfully getting to be more every day. I read there will be approximately 135 women serving in Congress now plus of course VP To Be Kamala Harris, the breaker of that particular glass ceiling, at long last.

Loved the crossing of LUMBAGO and GOUT. Wonder if WONDER WOMAN ever suffers from such maladies at her age. I’m thankful for all my ROUTE MEN and women. I’ve always been an online shopper, but these people have been a godsend to me during the pandemic. And I apologize for all those heavy boxes from chewy.com.

@egs (10:18) Ouch! Hope all goes well. Dental work is one thing, but an extraction is entirely another. To have something unceremoniously yanked from your head that has been there for the biggest part of your life, that’s a trauma IMHO, and the aftermath can be even worse. Once when I was younger and slightly more foolish than I am now, I ignored the instructions about not using a straw, etc. and ended up with a dry socket. What followed was pure agony and several weeks of therapeutic care. Never again!

Unknown 11:13 AM  

@Z 10:58 i wasn't bragging, merely voicing an opinion
i like when rex focuses on the construction and nuances of a puz
i learn something when he goes that route
but that doesn't happen a whole lot
but paying for his regular rants on lack of female constructors & certain words or answers that trigger him? (I'm looking at you, NRA), yeah, not gonna happen
that that comes across as a "bad look" to you is up to you.
it is what it is.
have a nice day.

mathgent 11:21 AM  

I skim Rex so that I can understand the comments here better. I skip his personal nonsense. But this forum is a significant part of my life and I'm sending him a hundred.

I read a lot of comics growing up but Wonder Woman didn't do much for me. I thought that Dragon Lady in Terry and the Pirates was sexier, even though she never wore tights.

It was pleasant enough even though the clue ENE is a disgrace.

Frantic Sloth 11:31 AM  

@KRMunson 643am No. To me it smacks of Rex's imagination run amok.

@Nancy 927am Thank you! That makes perfect (common) sense to me. I think that's what I try to do, but don't always succeed. Plus, Peanuts!

@JD 931am Good catch! Also, duh! (for me)

@Roo 938am Many's the time when suspending disbelief meant the difference between wanting to put my eye out with a lichen-coated stick and enjoying something immensely. Doesn't always work though - especially if the (fill in the blank*) is just plain awful for other reasons.
*movie, show, play, book, etc.
I was thinking ALIENEE was an alt. spelling of ALIENy, but you could be right.
ISO pickup BAR? I wonder what @GILL would have walking in there...

And speaking of...

@GILL 946am "spelled her name LiNDA like god intended" cracked me up. Now I want a tuna melt.

@Pete 1001am "I get that whenever the WW movie came out several years ago it was a groundbreaking affirmation for women's empowerment, but that was several years ago and no one cares any more."
In other words, we gave the girls their lady-movie because it was in demand then with all their "Me, too" and "Time's Up" crankiness, but now that that's all over (because they "made us look" - what more do they want?) and now it's time for it to go away. Is my interpretation correct? If you're making an attempt at @JOHN X-type humor, I don't see it, but I will apologize. If not, your #4 statement could just as easily have been said without that line.

@Z 1017am Took the words right outta my mouth and saved me the effort - thanks!

@J-Dip 1033am Hear!Hear!

@TTrimble 1037am LYNDA CARTER was 70s. I know that because it reminds me of a high school study group I held at my house in preparation for some big standardized Chemistry exam, which would have been circa 1973-4? Don't ask me how they relate.

@Backing In 1103am 🀣🀣🀣 Come sit with me on the "what fish has fur?" bench.

Nancy 11:31 AM  

@Whatsername (11:07) -- Some people are straw-drinking people and some aren't, and I have never been a straw-drinking person -- except with Schrafft's ice cream sodas back in the day. But mostly when a straw is put inside my drink, I take the straw out. I think I'm perhaps too impatient to use a straw -- especially with something alcoholic like a Cuba Libre or Planter's Punch.

Also, when some server sticks a straw in my glass or container of milk, I have to wonder if he thinks I'm in 2nd Grade.

But using a straw being dangerous???!!! That has never once occurred to me. Tell me, @Whatsername, how on earth using a straw caused you to have a tooth "unceremoniously yanked from your head"? [Note use of quotation mark here]. I simply can't picture it. Was the straw made out of cast iron?

Peter P 11:32 AM  

Oof... easy puzzle, but I had to hunt down two errors which made it twice my Monday average. I knew it was LYNDA CARTER, but I spelled it LiNDA CARTER. The cross with AMi didn't help, as that's a valid female name, and I have never seen "Man of Steel" nor know who AMY Adams is (I'm generally pretty bad with my actor names. Nothing against Ms. Adams.) This took me around four frustrating minutes trying to hunt down.

But that was the second of errors. The first was a pop cultural hole for GAL GADOT. I vaguely recognize the name, but my Wonder Woman growing up was LYNDA CARTER (now that I've learned how to spell it.) So I had GAd GADOT for 44A and dUMPED for 46D ("Thrown (together)"). That one took me about three minutes to track down, though should have been earlier as "GAd" is a male name.

Adam 11:39 AM  

I read the Onion too much; I had A_ _ A for 49A (Lead-in to "man" in superhero-dom) and couldn't think of anything other than AREA, which vaguely fits with the theme (area man needs to be rescued....). *sigh*

I agree with @Rex. ROUTEMEN? AQUILA is a constellation with which I'm not familiar. ALIENEE? No. SEE ME or LET ME BE; pick one.

Bleh.

sixtyni yogini 11:43 AM  

Gotta love a Wonder Woman theme so how could I not enjoy this puzz? Product placement? Well, πŸ€” maybe. But even if it were an ad, it certainly wouldn’t make me go see the movie. (However the good reviews would.)
Fun and fast with all the easy downs. Made me feel WONDERful and powerful.
🀩πŸ’ͺ🏽πŸ’₯πŸ’ͺ🏽🀩
❤️🧩❤️

jberg 11:48 AM  

Stroke of luck this morning -- I held off on the obvious "keeps" at 1A because I couldn't think of a cross at 1D. That saved me a lot of trouble.

I don't mind an occasional reference to a comic book character; but expecting me to know all about who played them in the movies, on TV, etc. is a little over the top, I think. GAL GADOT has a pretty memorable name, though, so that was all right. Also throwing in AQUAman and XENA was a bit too much.

@TTrimble, exactly my thinking, right down to the 'aquiline' comparison. I knew there was a reason (other than the obvious, vanity) why I took 4 years of Latin.

Tim Aurthur 12:09 PM  

The minute I saw Lynda Carter I started waiting for Gadot and fortunately didn't have to wait long.

My, Aflie has grown. Nice pictures.

TTrimble 12:24 PM  

@Frantic Sloth
I knew I was skating on thin ice there. However, I'm going to subject your memory to a fact-check: Wikipedia says 1975-1979. At the same time, in view of the possibility that I caught glimpses of the show in syndication during the 80's, I'm going to give myself a pass.

In more detail: the pilot aired in November 1975 on ABC, and then there were two one-hour specials in April 1976. Apparently those were set in the 40's, no doubt reflective of the original comic books, which made it a bit expensive to produce (sets, clothing, automobiles).This explains why ABC was slow to agree to a second season. Warner Brothers went with CBS in the following two seasons, 1977-1978 and 1978-1979, and but changes were introduced along the way: it was now set in the 70's, and had more of a police/detective action-type feel to it, like many TV series from that era.

And this is more about the show than I ever knew.

pabloinnh 12:27 PM  

Right there with @TTrimble and @jberg with "aquiline". Also if you spell AQUILA with a G instead of a Q, you have the Spanish word for eagle, and also the name fo a Spanish beer, or it least it used to be.


Today's highlight was having PRINCE and somewhow remembering DIANA.Who kows where stuff like that gets stored in your brain? Not me.

I always wish GALGAOT could have married Guy Lomabardo, or Guy Madison, or even Guy Lafleur, for what I hope are obvious reasons.

Fun enough for a Monday. Themeres gonna theme, after all.

egsforbreakfast 12:27 PM  

@Nancy. Having now returned from my surprisingly non-excruciating extraction, I must defend @Whatsername’s straw story. Upon completion of my process, the dentist warned me quite seriously to not use a straw for a week. Apparently you can accidentally jab the sutured extraction site and reopen it, leading to bad stuff. I think this is probably the root of @Whatsername’s woes. Sorry if this TMI about dentistry for a crossword blog.

Barbara S. 12:35 PM  

I may be all alone on my own planet, but I always think there's an elephant in the room when we talk about PPP. I'm with the people who say, like @bigsteve46 (8:00 AM), "proper names are inferior fill." I, too, much prefer clues based on wordplay of some sort (and a wide range is quite acceptable to me)

BUT

in a difficult puzzle (normally a Friday or a Saturday), I often get my first few toeholds by getting several correct answers to PPP clues. After that I'm off to happily wrestle with the other sort. But I sometimes think that if I hadn't been given the opportunity to fill in UMA or OREO or STLO, I never would have got a look-in to a tough puzzle.

Masked and Anonymous 12:39 PM  

Wonder-full MonPuz. Actually, M&A knows very little about DC Comics characters, in general. As a kid, I specialized in $crooge McDuck by Carl Barks. And Krazy Kat compilation books. Later on, Mike Ditka sci-fi Amazin Stories comics. Then The Far Side. Now mostly The Borowitz Report.

Also, now I am into Ella Egan's KaleCats. Very cool. Can we contribute to her, sorta in honor of @RP?

AUK word. staff weeject pick. Primo weeject stacks, in the NE & SW.
debut word: ROUTEMEN. yep, I can see that.

Hard to beat an ASPHALT & LUMBAGO combo crossword.
fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {The Lone Star State} = TEXAS. Other end of spectrum: {Eagle constellation} = AQUILA.

Thanx for the comics relief, Ms. Wienberg darlin. I'da plowed thru an Uncle $crooge one slightly faster, tho.

Masked & Anonym8Us


total chew-thru-leather biter, accordin to test solvers:
**gruntz**

Nigel Pottle 12:44 PM  

This was a quickie for me. I had AMY before LYNDA. Amy Adams is not a nobody and she was brilliant in Arrival. I find it amusing when people complain about trivia in a crossword puzzle. It’s all trivia. I too was not impressed by Opposire of WSW. seriously, that is not a clue - it’s a gimme. And did no one think ALEUT and ALERT (along with AUK) across the same line was bad placement. It didn’t feel right. I loved Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman when I was that age. And I’m not that old (70), but I actually had a single episode of GOUT in my 60s. No more please. I don’t think I’ve had LUMBAGO - I don’t think anyone has had lumbago since about 1913. Mind you, I’ve had lower back and joint pain, so by definition, I have had it.

KnittyContessa 12:54 PM  

I had the same initial reaction as Rex. The puzzle felt like an advertisement for the movie. An awful, awful movie except for the very last scene after the credits. I do love LYNDACARTER.

Big Cookie made me laugh out loud!

old timer 12:56 PM  

Didn't know the first thing about Wonder Woman. My education in such comics begins and ends with Superman (and Superboy). So it wasn't at all Easy in my case.

But I would like to know more about OFL's daughter. She is quite the artist! And if the pictures online can be trusted, very, very young. And probably is the one to whom @Rex turns whenever he has a problem with Twitter.

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

The movements of sucking on a straw can dislodge the scab following an extraction, exposing nerves and tissue and delaying healing.

GHarris 1:04 PM  

Didn’t feel nearly as negative as Rex and reject the notion that the NYTimes sells promotions as part of its xword. Speaking of self promotion, The Times will be running a letter of mine online later today and in print edition tomorrow. I suspect that you can guess the subject.

Teedmn 1:06 PM  

Har, Rex's "Big Cookie" almost made me spume my yogurt lunch. Good one.

LUMBAGO - This brings to mind a Lassie book I had as a kid. Gramps is laid up for the summer with LUMBAGO (or so I remember it) so Mom and Timmy have to take in boarders to make some money. Two woman birders stay with them; they take long walks through the local woods accompanied by Lassie. Suddenly one day Lassie turns on them and starts barking, growling and lunging until the ladies turn around. They tell Mom and Timmy what a vicious, vicious dog she is. All is well when Timmy finally realizes that the ladies were about to walk through the area filled with poison ivy. Lassie apparently remembers last summer when Timmy suffered so horribly from having a poison ivy encounter in that spot. The ladies all pet Lassie as a hero and no one falls in the well.

ROUTEMEN - My Dad worked for the USPS for the whole of his adult working career, and was Postmaster for half of that. I don't remember the postal workers ever being referred to as ROUTE MEN. (Rural carriers, yes.)

Kathy Wienberg, I'm not a huge tribute puzzle fan myself, but I think you did a great job with this. Thanks.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

Not add to the cynicism but Lynda Carter makes an appearance at the end of WW84.

tea73 1:12 PM  

@unknown 8:58. I read Rex everyday. I've learned a lot from his takes on the puzzles even if I don't agree with him or enjoy other people's comments more. So yes I will pay up. And he's right that there are better crosswords out there - I don't do a lot of them because I'm not that fast and have a life, but I can't tell you how often my husband and I finish a WSJ puzzle and say, "Well that was better than today's NYT."

As for the comics. I don't read them. I don't particularly love watching them either, but I think I've seen just about all the Marvel movies and many of the TV shows. (Liked Agent Carter, loved Jessica Jones.)I'm less fond of the DC Universe, but I did watch the first Wonder Woman movie. Not sure why there was such a fuss about it. (Woman star sure, but just not that interesting a plot.) I will probably end up seeing the new movie because my husband likes them.

Anyway two more crossword puzzle aficionados who watch comic book movies. That said, I'm terrible with names, so prefer not to have too many in my puzzles.

JOHN X 1:24 PM  

For the young JOHN X watching the TV way back when, Lynda Carter had a bosom that just wouldn’t quit.

GILL I. 1:39 PM  

Well, since it's Monday and we're talking LUMBAGO and GOUT and straws, here's what I read recently on some stupid thing. You know how nobody wants to use plastic straws anymore, right? So this lady in the UK bought one of those metal ones and had it sticking in her mason jar. No one is sure if she was sipping hooch or not but she tripped and fell and the straw impaled her eye ball. She was put on life support and later died.
Then there's the one that involves my son......He thought it was funny as hell to put two of them up his nose...you know...one in each nostril....and then pretend he was a walrus. Well one time when he did that, he sneezed. LOUD AND HARD. The straws both flew across the room, landing on our cat. Jordan thought it was the funniest thing he had ever done in his entire 7 years of life. He laughed so hard he fell on his side and ended up breaking his rib. Yup. To this day, he can't even look at a walrus
Moral of the story: Monkeys are smarter than crocodiles.

Whatsername 1:41 PM  

@Nancy (11:31) As @egs verified at 12:37, refraining from using a straw apparently is a standard warning following a tooth extraction. In the situation I described, I was given a sheet of paper listing several things to avoid - smoking, using a straw and obviously, chewing in the area around the wound - the purpose of which is to protect the blood clot which forms over the extraction site. It isn’t the straw itself but - as with smoking - the suction movement of drawing in air with the cheek muscles that can cause the blood clot to dislodge. When this happens it results in a condition called a dry socket which impedes healing and is, without going into detail, your basic dental nightmare.

P.S. Nice job on the punctuation. ;-)

A 1:46 PM  

Happy Ele'en Pipers-a-piping Day,

though I'd've preferred a different puzzle. Never got into WW. As a young, serious teen, I was turned off by the stupid outfit - what self respecting woman in 1975 would wear a tiara?! And sequins. Sigh. Although seeing GAL GADOT reminded me of singer Melody Gardot, a real wonder woman. Learned about her from the New Yorker many years ago. Honed her skills while in the hospital for months after a bike/car accident.

Yes, @Nancy, I am with you on the reality/fantasy confusion. Let's just hope there will be someone left who can write.

I did learn some things. Not Aquila - that one I knew from Astronomy 101, and also from researching names for my dog. Found out that Quila/Qila and Gila could be related, which could support the idea of early trans-pacific migration. But I looked into the auks and learned, among other things, that some sea birds drink salt water. Now I know.

Fun neighbors SEA TUNA. SEA TUNA STAY. Sorry, Charlie.

@Z I was mesmerized by the excerpt of Epileptic, though I didn't understand it all. Maybe the illustrations would illuminate? Coincidentally, The Left Hand of Darkness has been waiting on my side table for a reread. Thanks for the nudge.

Off to listen to some upbeat brass music for Piping Day.

Peace,
Mimi

Masked and Anonymous 1:48 PM  

p.s.
12:39pm Major Correction [sheesh]:
Steve Ditko, Amazing Adult Fantasy Comics artist. (Not Mike Ditka, in this case. sheesh.)

M&Also
Brain is goin.

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

JFe

Unknown8:58
Sigh...I figured what I was sending Rex (like you, I read the blog every day). But now, I have to double because of you. Thanks!

A 1:57 PM  

PS. I did have fun imagining the comments from the anti-foreign language and anti-comics anonymice if @Z's un-wish came true and there was a NYT tribute puzzle to a French comic book; sorry, graphic novel.

PPS. @Gill I. My sides hurt now! And after @Barabara S's suspenseful tale, we're on a roll with the eye-socket stories!

Z 1:58 PM  

I new these comments were missing something but I couldn’t quite put my straw on it. Up next, appendectomies.

@Unknown - Maybe it didn’t feel like bragging to you, but it read that way to me. TBF - others have posted similar comments in the past with far more braggadocio so I may have interpreted your comment with the taint of their comments.

@Barbara S - Ah, yes. The PPP Conundrum. I agree that PPP can be the piton we cling onto as we dangle from the edifice of a seemingly unscalable Saturday. I don’t even mind the occasional obscurity. But I don’t mind the same way I don’t mind an occasional Big Cookie answer or Yoko Eno or even Yma Ipecac. Getting 64-78 words to cross sensibly is challenging and some compromises are inevitable. Still, PPP is best when kept to less than 25% of the answers, is diverse across eras and interests, and the clues shouldn’t come from Wikipedia, especially not the 14th paragraph of Wikipedia (although, when cluing somebody like Brian Ono the 14th paragraph might be necessary to find a fresh clue - so even that is sometimes forgivable).

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

@John X , I definitely second that assessment, and that fabulous superstructure of hers was on full display in Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw. Wow !

albatross shell 2:04 PM  

I took XENA to be a theme bonus. If only ONLY were somehow connected to WW (perhaps if she were billed as the "one and only WW) you could have a symmetrical pairing.
Maybe XENA stumbled across the Amazons in some episode.

ALIENEE or A LIENEE? I looked both up. ALIENEE seemed to be archaic and closer to the clue, but I'd appreciate a more knowledgeable opinion.

LUMBAGO is pain in the lumbar region. Sciatica is pain perhaps starting in the back and shooting down the leg. I thought LUMBAGO crossing GOUT was just weird but when STYES crossed GOUT I upgraded my opinion to a LULU. The Oh Hell corner. Which reminds me good luck and good meds @egs. I had two teeth pulled and asked the denist if I could have them. He snuck them to me. Apparently against the rules. Hazardous waste.

Some delivery people: Don't be RyderMEN. No. Got MEN, then got the R. No no no. So I was almost happy when it turned out go be ROUTEMEN.

Nice tutorial today for those counting plurals of convenience. I would say there is only one double POC. DC COMICS should not count. DC COMIC seems more like a SingularOC. And BLESS has two SOC's but neither are double and neither are part of BLESS itself.

I thought this a pretty enjoyable puzzle. Tight theme, well constructed. Clues are a bit vanilla but the fill has sone nonMonday stuff. So it balances. Tribute shribute. Just a comic character theme.

Yes Ukuleles can be plucked, strum plucked, and fingerpicked:

https://youtu.be/0gaWuadgL3g

Monday math segment.

OCTAL number system: digits 01234567. No 8. 8 base10 = 10base8.
Or why 9 is not so special.

If you add up the digits of a number in base 10, and a add those digits up, and keep repeating this until you have a single digit number, and the final digit is 9, then your original number is divisible by nine.

In base8 arithmetic this works the same way with 7. If the digits add up to 7, the
Original number is divisible by 7.

124base8 equals (1x8×8 + 2×8 + 4)base10
= 64+16+4 =84base10 = 7×12 and so is divisible by 7.

Yes this generalized to other bases.

Extra credit and bearing no relation to anything:
There are 47 distinct ways to express 43 as a sum of 9 primes. 47x43 = 2021.
Happy New Year.

Unknown 2:04 PM  

I understand your point. But I will contribute because some of the "regulars" comments and insights are so enjoyable. I contribute as much for creating the community as for sustaining it with engaging commentary.

John Hoffman 2:12 PM  

ALIENEE - No, no, no.

Granny the Great 2:27 PM  

Mostly boring

Ethan Taliesin 2:31 PM  

I did not like this one at all either. Pretty much the sames carps as Rex.

Anonymous 2:37 PM  

DC Comics was not the originator of Wonder Woman. National periodical publications was. They didn’t use the name DC Comics till years later.

Pete 2:38 PM  

@Frantic - WW I was 3 1/2 years ago. All I was saying that whatever good it did then it is not doing it now (though I now know that there's a new one coming out, and that one may do some good along the same lines). No one's saying that doing good isn't important, that girls and women having representation among the super-hero class isn't good and important, it's just that the effects of WW I is old news, and minor news at that. There's been a billion more significant instances of women making their marks since then. Elizabeth Warren made Mike Bloomberg pee in his fifty billion dollar pants on national TV. We'll have a woman VP in 3 weeks. WW I is just ephemera.

Read me with a little more generous attitude, and you'll find I'm on your side in about 100% of things. Including my admiration of Sloth. Kinda, though not to any extreme or anything.

Richard 3:03 PM  

I don't think you'll ever find a lawyer under the age of about...um...150 who uses the term ALIENEE. Sure, the word can be found in Black's Law Dictionary, but so can "hypoblum," or "tonoderach," or "faderfium." Doesn't make it right.

Anonymous 3:10 PM  

I'm curious about something, since I don't construct crossword puzzles and don't know if there are rules, formal or informal. TTrimble (10:37 a.m.) and others note that 45D AQUILA is Latin for eagle, which is true. But there's a problem with the cluing, since the English *eagle* derives from the Latin aquila, having passed through a permutation in Old French (if my dictionary is accurate). The words look different, but isn't having the clue and the answer be etymology connected a no-no?

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Pdxrains 3:56 PM  

Absolutely. Most of the big ticket action movies are practically simply product placement vehicles themselves! Giant commercials for the dipshits to sit thru for an hour then go buy more stuff from the same company that made it

SFitalian 4:00 PM  

Aquila means eagle in Italian. It is also a province in Abruzzo where I’ve been many many times. But this definition speaks to the Latin word.

A 4:00 PM  

@albatross shell Wasn’t iYLNO her pessimistic sidekick in the episode “The Woman from A.U.N.T?”?

ooh! Monday Math Segment! That’s it! I knew a daily might be overkill. Pretty sure it’ll take me until next Monday to wrap my head around this one.

linac800 4:00 PM  

@albatross shell 2:04 and @egs: a side bat on tooth pulling. Back in the dark ages (74/75) when I first started running particle accelerators as an undergrad, I was in need of a good undergrad honors project (in South Africa). Had a buddy who was a dental student. One afternoon over bridge/yea he was talking about fluoride and how it would be nice to get a better understanding of the concentration of fluorine in tooth enamel as a function of depth with better resolution than chemical etching which could be done in steps of about 20 thousandths of a millimeter (microns). Cut a long story short I was able to do it with my 1 mega volt machine and protons up to 5-7 microns with better than 1 micron resolution. My wife (married young, still hitched) was very understanding when I trotted home one day with 100 matched pairs of freshly extracted human teeth (cosmetic reasons, perfectly healthy) for storage in our refrigerator at home while I dutifully irradiated them on nights and weekends!

Lasted several months, and she never ran out of patience! Led to a budding nuclear/accelerator physicist’s first referred publication in Archives of Oral Biology! Those were the days - I loved all the hands-on aspects. Designing fixtures, developing techniques, writing FORTRAN on punch cards for modeling on an IBM 360 main frame.... lots of fun!

@egs - hooray for quick and easy extractions, and yes, no straws for a while.

Frantic Sloth 4:22 PM  

@TTrimble 1224pm Hmmm. I graduated in '75, so 1975-1979 works. (For some reason, I thought my chemistry class was in sophomore or junior year.) Definitely take that pass - especially because syndication! That little snippet of info was more about the show than I ever knew, too...or cared to know. 😘

Hand up for the AQUILine connection. Don't ask me why I knew that.

Hand up for LOLAT "Big Cookie".

@Teedmn 106pm Thank you for the lovely Lassie synopsis, but is it really a Lassie if no one falls in the well? πŸ˜‰

@JOHN X 124pm You complete me.

@GILL 139pm LOL!! OMG Is this what your house sounded like all the time??

@Unknown 204pm Good for you! Another fine reason to contribute! 😊

@Pete 238pm Thank you for that thoughtful and thought-provoking response. Your point is well-taken, and I bow to your convincing argument. Please accept my and sincere apology for not being of a more generous attitude with my interpretation and knee-jerk (or just jerk) reaction. I've been on the receiving end of that dagger of misunderstanding and it ain't comfy, so I really should have known better. (If I had a nickel...)
Plus, the Elizabeth Warren vs. Mike Bloomberg visual made me crack up. If you've no objection, I'ma go ahead and consider us friendsies again. 😊



***Cuteness Overload Alert***

This just popped up on YouTube while I was searching for something entirely unrelated. Sometimes, the YouTube is wise.

anonymiss 4:25 PM  

You don't say.

Anonymous 5:00 PM  

LOL Pete. Warren did not make Bloomberg pee in his pants. Warren won no states in the 2020 primaries. she came in 3rd in her home state. No one is afraid of Elizabeth Warren.

Ann Howell 5:25 PM  

With all the negativity going on in the world, this puzzle made me smile! It was a pleasant, lolling Monday and a snappy theme - what's not to like?!

GILL I. 6:36 PM  

Frantic 4:22. I hardly ever open up posted "blue" links...(sorry @Z) but I always do when you post them because I know for sure I will get a laugh. The bunny one brought on the smile du jour. My male friend of over 30 years has a pet bunny. I'm making sure you know he's male because Richard is this big, he-man, I ain't eating no baked beans, type of a guy (sweetheart)....Anyway...He has two little white fluffy pups, 3 cats and a couple of snakes for pets. Someone gave him a bunny and said "do what you can to make him happy because we found him under our porch." Richard took him in and named him.....ready for this?..... Sugar Muffin." The bunny has very long ears that hang on the floor; the pups play with him all day long - not sure about the snakes.....but Sugar Muffin is trained to got potty in the cat litter box and sleeps in his special bed that smells of dandelions....... True story and I love telling it over and over....so thanks for the bunny video.
PLUNK.

Z 7:53 PM  

@A/Mimi - The version I have is the English Translation. It reminds me of Maus, using the graphic novel form to convey a memoir of a difficult subject. Like Maus it is pretty unblinking in its depictions of people. As for LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed are two of favorite books. LeGuin was declared a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress and was awarded the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and I still think she’s one of our most underrated writers.

@Gill I - I’m crushed. πŸ˜‰ I don’t actually keep track but I think about half are just links supporting what I’ve said (and usually contradicting something someone else has asserted) and ¾ths of the rest are music videos. Only a small fraction would be generally interesting to people (unless you like my taste in music) or, like today, are a reference to something I mention that I wouldn’t expect a large percentage of people to know about.

GILL I. 8:16 PM  

@Z.....I love you anyway...and anything music or art will make me cantar la vida loca. :-)

Frantic Sloth 8:53 PM  

Oh, @GILL What a perfectly charming story - and man! I absolutely love it. Sugar Muffin sounds adorable, and as far as I'm concerned you can repeat that story as often as you like. Thanks for that and for watching my links. Sorry @Z 😘

Anoa Bob 8:56 PM  

Haven't seen any movie in a loooonnng time, so the theme was way out of my orbit. The commentariat is in especially fine form today, so all was not lost.

albatros shell @2:04 enjoyed your POC analyses and agree with your conclusions. Theme entries go in first in grid construction so with DCCOMICS (the go-to, base phrase) in place, any 13D entry will necessarily end in an S. So I think 13D AKITAS is a plural of necessity (PON?), not of convenience. I'm seeing only one two-for-one POC at the ends of 31D CPA and 40A SARA. 51D BLESS is what I would call a POC enabler for 64A LULU AND 67A STYE. Overall, I'd say the grid relied only modestly on the ultra-grid-fill-friendly letter S.

Years ago I had a colleague named Aguilar, so nice to see AGUILA and I knew that it means "eagle". Eduardo's lengua materna was EspaΓ±ol and he tried from time to time to help me upgrade my tourist-level lingo. Ed dropped by my office one day and I tried to impress him with "Tenga la bondad de sentarte" which I thought meant "Kindly sit down". He gently chided me, smiling all the while, that I had mixed the formal "Tenga" with the informal "te". Since he was a friend, I should have have used "Ten la bondad de sentarte" and not the formal "Tenga la bondad de sentarse". This was long ago, so hope I got that right. ¡OjalΓ‘ que sΓ­!

GILL I. 9:39 PM  

Ay...@Anoa Roberto. You'd fit in Spain now. They've mandate the "usted" be dropped forever. No one should be given that special title because you happened to be birthed with family fame. I would have said "Sientate....quieres un vinito"?

TTrimble 9:39 PM  

@Anoa Bob
The answer was AQUILA, not Aguila.

Ian 10:01 PM  

I agree entirely.

Anonymous 10:17 PM  

Keep freeloading, Unknown. Your incessant negativity about someone's labor of love really brings this comment section to life and uplifts us all.

Anoa Bob 1:02 AM  

Ah, @ttrimble, maybe that's why I got the dnf. Must learn to mind my g's and q's.

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