1993 country hit by Joe Diffie / THU 2-4-21 / People who believe that all natural objects have souls / Post-human race of sci-fi

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Constructor: Derek Allen

Relative difficulty: Easy (except maybe some song titles, depending on your knowledge base) (it's an oversized grid today: 15x16)

THEME: color songs — a rebus puzzle where the rebus squares are colors found in the titles of song; for each color square (four in all), the crosses are song titles in both directions (Across and Down):

Theme answers:
  • "JOHN DEERE [GREEN]" / "[GREEN] LIGHT" (17A: 1993 country hit by Joe Diffie / 19D: 2017 hit by Lorde (also a 2008 hit by John Legend, and a 1968 hit by the American Breed)
  • "PAINT IT [BLACK]" / "[BLACK] OR [WHITE]" / "[WHITE] WEDDING" (32A: 1966 hit by the Rolling Stones / 33D: 1991 hit by Michael Jackson / 45A: 1983 hit by Billy Idol)
  • "BODAK [YELLOW]" / "[YELLOW] SUBMARINE" (38D: 2017 hit by Cardi B / 61A: 1966 hit by the Beatles)
Word of the Day: EIN (22A: Fig. on some I.R.S. forms) —
The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as the Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or the Federal Tax Identification Number, is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to business entities operating in the United States for the purposes of identification. When the number is used for identification rather than employment tax reporting, it is usually referred to as a  Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), and when used for the purposes of reporting employment taxes, it is usually referred to as an EIN. These numbers are used for tax administration and must be not used for any other purpose. For example, the EIN should not be used in tax lien auction or sales, lotteries, etc. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was really disappointing, in that it was promising, but then never came together. Got "PAINT IT [BLACK]" early and thought there was just going to be a BLACK rebus (you know, for BLACK History Month ... somehow). I know the Michael Jackson song "[BLACK] OR WHITE" but at that point was not expecting to see a second rebus square in the same song, and so didn't get the BLACK cross. Eventually got to the Lorde song and thought "It's called 'BLACK Light?" I really thought it was ... oh, I see it is, it's 'GREEN LIGHT'." And thank god I knew that song because what on god's GREEN earth is "JOHN DEERE GREEN" and moreover who is Joe Diffie?? You'd think that if DIFFIE were really famous his name would've appeared in a puzzle at least once in the nearly 30 years since this "hit." You notice that his is the only one of the theme clues that has a genre qualifier in it ("country"). The rest are just "hits." I guess GREEN is an iconic color for John Deere products and so you're probably expected to infer the color that way? In terms of general well-knownedness, that answer is the mother of all outliers, wow. ("The song peaked at number 5 on the country charts"—wikipedia)

So at this point, after the GREEN square, I've got songs ... and colors ... and the songs cross at the colors ... so I'm looking for something to make it make sense. Are these flag colors? I was thinking about the Pan-African colors, but those are red, gold, and green. Maybe black and green will be involved in some other, as yet unknown flag. Or maybe there's some kind of wacky A-side / B-side gag going on with the two songs involved in the rebus squares, and I'll figure it out as I go along. I thought "well there must be a revealer somewhere to explain what's going on." But no. None. The explanation never came. The trick never came. The thing to tie it all together never came. Or, it had already come, and I just didn't know it. It's just songs that cross at colors. The colors ... are meaningless. The crosses ... are just crosses. There's no payoff. The payoff is ... I guess, finding the rebus? Or appreciating that the rebus squares have songs in both directions? I really wanted the colors (or the songs) to do something, to mean something. But they're just songs. And they're just colors. So the puzzle is very interesting from an architectural standpoint, but there's a giant "So what?" hovering over the whole endeavor. I finished feeling I must've missed something, only to find out later that I hadn't. It's not a great feeling to have at the end of a puzzle.

The puzzle was very easy for me. Almost no resistance. I knew every song except the country one, so I was lucky in that respect. My condolences to the less pop culture-savvy of you; this can't have been much fun. The puzzle really does rely on you having broad knowledge of this one aspect of pop culture, so if it's not your bag you are Really left out. "BODAK YELLOW" was a huge song and absolutely puzzle-worthy, but I can see people who haven't heard of the song looking at "BODAK" and going "What ... is a BODAK? Surely I have an error." (Sidenote: Have we seen BOJACK in a puzzle yet?)

The fill seemed a little on the crosswordesey side (when you've got ELOI ACAI IVEY filling an entire row, that's a sign. PED WII. ATOB. ANEG. Even the longer stuff leans into crosswordese (ONE IOTA, IN SITU, LAO-TSE). Would've been nice to see some more MAJESTIC stuff (VERA WANG is nice). Is EYEWINKS redundant? (12D: Secret-indicating gestures) Because it feels redundant. What are you winking with if not your eye? Do I even want to know? Is it your Tiddly? What is a Tiddly, anyway!? I don't have many specific grievances in the fill. Mainly what I feel about this puzzle is a. it was easy, and b. it was a letdown. Again, I admire the construction, but the lack of clear unifying premise, the lack of an emphatic Aha at the end, made the solving experience less than satisfying.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Becca 6:16 AM  

This puzzle totally and completely lost me at EYEWINKS. I cringed putting it in the grid and that feeling powered me for the minutes it took to finish. Even getting to think about Lorde and Billy Idol didn't help. EYEWINKS, cripes!!! It's a wink. You can't wink with anything other than your eyes. Ugh.

I've read Rex daily for years and years and it took EYEWINKS (and getting up before 5 am) to finally get me to comment.

Conrad 6:20 AM  

I agree with @Rex about the easy rating, and I didn't know most of the songs. But PAINT IT [BLACK] was a gimme, as was [YELLOW] SUBMARINE and the rest were all inferable. I stumbled over BODAK in the same way as OFL, but it was fairly crossed; you just had to have faith. Liked the puzzle, and I hate rebi.

Anonymous 6:26 AM  

I was shocked when I noticed this was oversized because this was a Thursday record for me, even after having to fix a couple false leads.

I was definitely one of the "What is a BODAK?" people (had kODAK first), but fortunately BARRE is an easy and certain enough cross to fix it.

Name that tune 6:28 AM  


OffTheGrid 6:51 AM  

1A&D are redundant also. Join TOGETHER! Maybe some solvers don't know what Join means. Other bad clue-La. for Lane? (10D) I've only ever seen Ln. Rex's review is spot on. Early on I thought it would be BLACK OR WHITE (33D) song titles. Then YELLOW SUBMARINE. Whaaaaaat??? BODAK? WTF is that? God, this was awful.

Tom T 6:56 AM  

Agree that Joe Diffie is not a household name. Sadly, he was in the news late last March as one of the first "celebrities" to die from COVID-19. He had a long career in country music that included one of those country song titles that inevitably causes one to groan and smile at the same time: "Is It Cold in Here (Or Is It Just You)?"

Lewis 7:00 AM  

This was an easy/hard solve for me, as the answers were either immediately slapped in or kept blank because they were out of my wheelhouse. The easy part I was surprised at, this being Thursday, and the hard part I figured I’d get, because the NYT editors are very good at making hard answers gettable through easier crosses.

I like that the rebus squares are symmetrical. I also like the ELO/ELO cross coming BAM right at the start. I gave a side-eye to EYE WINKS, where you don’t really need EYE (Hi, @rex!). And I gave an approving eye to the many interesting answers and lack of junk in the grid.

I love what Derek says in his comments on XwordInfo about how solving crosswords is uplifting because it provides a finite solution to a problem in a world that is often more complicated. How true – in a world filled with gray, puzzles give us the relief of BLACK and WHITE. Thank you for that wisdom, and for a satisfying solve, Derek!

puzzlehoarder 7:02 AM  

I knew the BODAK song so I didn't even need to read the 61A clue as I already had the S of SUBMARINE in place. This was when I realized that the color for 17A and 19D was green and not black. Since I solve on paper I could just leave the color squares blank which further sped up what was already an easy solve.

My only other confusions we're thinking the letters of 33D we're ON instead of OR and misreading the 60A clue as "___ Elba." Coincidentally IDRIS works with three of the downs it crosses. As for the confusing series of letters forming in 42A I just assumed it was a stock market acronym. Both of these misunderstandings we're easy to clear up.

As for the colors of the puzzle I don't recall an explanation in the constructors' notes but maybe I didn't read all of them. They are the colors of the Jamaican flag and Wikipedia tells me that they were the inspiration for the ANC's flag. Either way they would be relevant to Black History Month.

This was probably the easiest Thursday I've ever solved.

Mr. Cheese 7:15 AM  

Filled in most of the puz quickly. The only song I knew was YELLOW Submarine.... but what the heck is BODAK YELLOW?
Hated to give up so quickly but.... I know when I’m licked.

Joaquin 7:20 AM  

Sorry I'm late, but I contracted a bad case of BODAK which caused my Diffie to turn YELLOW and fall off.

kitshef 7:24 AM  

Extraordinarily easy, except for the GREEN crossing, where I've never heard of either song. Choices based on the down clue were red/yellow/amber/green. Yellow had already been used, and amber was a long shot. So it came down to red or green and my impression was more tractors are green than red, and guessed right.

Very early ran into PAINT IT BLACK, in my top 5 Rolling Stones songs, so knew right away we were doing color rebuses. That led me to the Michael Jackson song straight into WHITE WEDDING, my favorite Billy Idol song.

I did run into a little trouble when I misread 14A clue as “Sort of pale” and put in ASHY. Funnily enough, that worked with AHH - which is absolutely correct given the clue for 7D, no matter what Wills says.

TTrimble 7:27 AM  

Egad, this was Naticky. I know a few Lorde songs, but not GREEN LIGHT, and I do not know JOHN DEERE GREEN. I had some trouble in this area, as I did not know EIN (to me that's a German word), and my initial guess for Xing was that was some Chinese thing I also didn't know, and Phil IVEY's name I did not know. I wanted "sly WINKS" before EYE WINKS (sheesh, doesn't the EYE seem awfully redundant there?). So the NE corner was by far the most problematic one for me.

Slight hiccup putting in mELD before WELD. Oh yeah, lookie there, a dupe (WED and WHITE WEDDING).

BODAK YELLOW, yeah, what's a BODAK? Should I even bother looking this up? Many of us are now on nodding terms with Cardi B's oeuvre through such cultural touchstones as W.A.P. (actually, I think it was all the right-wing outrage* -- what's the hubbub, bub? -- that brought this to my attention). But she and her fingernails scare me a little.

Other than that, it wasn't hard. Despite the above, I was not far from a Thursday PR. Someone else will weigh in with the PPP count, I just know it.

*The most amusing reaction may have been Ben Shapiro's, whose outrage is always unintentionally funny. Another case in point: his adolescent reaction video for John Lennon's Imagine.

ChuckD 7:28 AM  

The big grid was odd - but the central BLACK/WHITE especially WHITE WEDDING made the puzzle for me. Theme is loose and could have gone in any direction but I knew all the songs so that helped. I could see a few giving problems. The ELO - STYX throw-ins were cool.

Overall fill a little inconsistent. I really liked RESIDUAL and the clues for DESIGNS and PAWS. But some of the short stuff was pretty bad - GNU, AAH and BRR? Side eye to the FAVE x AVE crossing.

Not my kind of Thursday - but an enjoyable solve.

Frantic Sloth 7:29 AM  

Well, it wouldn't be the first time that I didn't get the theme memo...surely won't be the last.

I'm guessing...songs with colors? In a "frebus"? Anything else? [crickets] Okie-doke. Moving on...

Some new stuff for me: JOHNDEEREGREEN and BODAKYELLOW both courtesy of my two very FAVE music genres. And now I know them and will remember them always never.

Quite a bit of the usual suspects for fill with tweaked clueing to mask its plebeian heritage, but some looked fresh: EYEWINKS and...nope, that's it. Anyway, EYEWINKS? Is that spoken aloud somewhere that's hiding from me?

And there's @JD's maiden name making its appearance at 3D!

It's a crossword puzzle, so I liked solving it as such, but the thrill ride ends there, I'm afraid.

What do you call a run-of-the-mill naiad?
A mehmaid. She dwelleth within this grid.


Anonymous 7:41 AM  

Well, OK, but there are 4 colors in the puzzle.

Hungry Mother 7:43 AM  

I almost quit early because of all of the trivia, but I got hooked when I found the theme. I still hated all of the names, but I got it done.

pabloinnh 7:50 AM  

SLYIWNKS is clearly the best answer for 12D, and with that in place and not knowing bridal gown names or poker player names or what La. or Dr. might be abbreviations for, you will crash and burn in the NE, which is what I did.

First DNF in a very long time, followed by a DNC, for did not care.

Guess this was for the younger followers of pop culture among us. Might have been more fun if I used my granddaughters crayons and colored in the squares I knew.

Rug Crazy 7:51 AM  

Didn't know many of the tunes, bt everything was inferable. A-

Z 7:54 AM  

Boy Howdy, a tribute puzzle and now a PPP based theme. Can I get off this roller coaster?

Pretty much what Rex said except slightly harder here because three of the musical entries are not in genres I listen to and two other songs are firmly in the “better off forgotten” section of the memory attic. Nothing was especially hard although I did try to make JOHN DEERE blues work. Lorde seems to be huge amongst the young sensitive woman demographic, but I’m not especially young, sensitive, nor female. Hence, GREEN LIGHT is a WOE here. I guess adding Chrissy Teigen’s husband to the clue was supposed to be helpful.

I did a little checking. This is Mr. Allen’s third NYTX, but that’s a little deceiving. His first was published in 1997. His second was last summer and was co-constructed with Jeff Chen, another color based rebus. That gap makes me curious.

@Poggius late yesterday - Do you remember the old saw about four blind men trying to describe an elephant, each based on the different part of the elephant they happen to be touching? That’s what it feels like listening to anyone discussing “capitalism.” The first thing one has to do to understand what they are saying is to figure what part of the elephant they are groping. And just like in the parable, none of the blind men believe what the other blind men are saying.

TJS 8:00 AM  

Had a two letter rebus with B/K at barre/kodak, so a dnf, but who cares ? This was an annoying puzzle anyway with obscure(to me)song writers and sloppy cluing. Disappointing for a Thursday IMO.

oceanjeremy 8:00 AM  

Yes, Rex, EYEWINKS is redundant. Unnecessary. Cringeworthy, even.

While solving I 100% thought to myself, Why on earth would you make all song titles cross at color rebus? If someone doesn’t know music then they have no non-musical hints as to what colors they might be. It’s a pet peeve for me when a puzzle requires you to have trivial knowledge of *one* *exact* *subject.*

Then I looked back over the puzzle and realized that all of the color rebuses are fairly inferable. Except for YELLOW, I guess, but come on. YELLOWSUBMARINE is one of The Most Famous Songs on Earth.

Speaking of BODAKYELLOW, Wikipedia tells me it’s a “play on words” referencing the artist Kodak Black. Because the rhyme scheme of Cardi B’s song reminded her of a song by Kodak Black (who must have appreciated the nod, because he later recorded a remix of BODAKYELLOW). Though I fail to see how it is a “play on words.” Seems like it’s just nonsense that partly rhymes, but what the hell do I know?

This is All Greek To Me (apologies to my Greek fiancΓ©e). I am too old, I guess, because RAP to me means De La Soul, Gangstarr, Leaders of the New School, etc.

Interestingly, the BODAK is also an undead, chaotic evil creature in Dungeons & Dragons. Bodaks are the zombified remains of any humanoid killed by a touch of pure evil. They speak Abyssal, are immune to lightning and poison, hypersensitive to light, and they can only be harmed by enchanted weapons.

That’s a hell of a lot cooler than Cardi B’s reason for calling a song “BODAKYELLOW,” if you ask me.

sam 8:02 AM  

Very rarely does growing up on a farm help with a crossword but it did for this one. JOHN DEERE GREEN was an obvious fill for me.

Karl Grouch 8:05 AM  


oceanjeremy 8:14 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
oceanjeremy 8:18 AM  

Not sure what you're referencing about the elephant parable or capitalism, but that "old saw" originated in the Rig Veda around 1400 BCE.

It's also what it feels like listening to anyone talk about "socialism." To many they mean Social Security, Welfare, or any Social Services. In which case the Police Force, Fire Department and even the Military would be classified as "socialism."

Ando 8:28 AM  

The big problem with the lack of a connection between the colors -- and it seemed like there should have been one, because BLACK/WHITE -- is that you have to know some of the songs. "______ LIGHT" could be anything, and frankly I thought John Deere's tractor color was yellow, so had that filled in for a while. If the colors are tied together, like a particular flag, you can deduce the answers.

And a "secret" face gesture is obviously a SLY WINK!

Amie Devero 8:28 AM  

What a crap puzzle. If you didn't know all these songs, you couldn't even tell if you were missing a word. It was entirely plausible to me that there was a song called JOHN DEERES, and another called SLIGHT. Since I didn't know either song, the rebus was completely transparent to me. It's obnoxious for a NYT daily puzzle to depend entirely on knowledge of one subject matter--at least without a title that indicates that. I finished the puzzle minus the GREEN rebus. But found it easy and annoying as hell.

reedmor59 8:37 AM  

I grew up in a rural community, and John Deere green was a no-brainer for me. I still have no idea what a
bodak is.

Twangster 8:39 AM  

I have nothing to say about this puzzle, but I applaud Rex's inclusion of the Bojack Horseman clip. I discovered this show at the beginning of the pandemic and have been slowly working my way through it, to savor every episode. It is possibly the best show in the history of television. By a weird coincidence, the most recent one I watched is the one Rex highlighted where the entire episode is Bojack's eulogy for his mother.

Anonymous 8:42 AM  

Liked some answers related to Derek Allen’s day job.

πŸ™ too old to know or remember songs. Had no idea what colors applied except for yellow

Nancy 8:44 AM  

If ever there was a puzzle that was fated to be thrown angrily against my wall, it was this puzzle. And so I did -- I threw it angrily against the wall.

Note to whoever let this absolute horror go through: You will NOT force-feed me all this utterly forgettable and thoroughly inconsequential pop culture trivia. I refuse to spend a nanosecond more on it. Life's too short.

Since I need a puzzle fix, I'm moving right along to Puzzle #60 in my paperback collection of "75 of Your Favorite Challenging Friday Puzzles From The New York Times" titled BEST OF FRIDAY CROSSWORDS. I have about six of these volumes -- some with 150 puzzles -- for days just like this.

Whenever some of you extol old puzzles from the NYT vault, I always want to discuss them with you, but I never can. These collections give you the constructor's byline, but they don't provide the date. So that while I'm sure that some archived puzzles you guys loved are ones I've done and loved too, I just never know which ones they are.

FWIW, Puzzle #60 is by Tim Croce and it has a lot, a lot, a lot of white space. It also doesn't seem to have any pop culture clues at all. Quelle relief!

Richardf8 8:45 AM  

Finished the puzzle. Came here to see what scintillating sparkle of wit I was just not getting. Learned on the one hand that I’m not as stupid as I thought, but on the other hand that the puzzle was not as witty as I had hoped.

Michael G. Benoit 8:45 AM  

Winking from your Tiddly... ROFL!

I'm not an experienced solver, so I admit it: I cheat later in the week. (I really try not to on Monday or Tuesday.) Sometimes, it's just to confirm a hunch. I know I'm not alone because Google prompts me with the puzzle clues as I start typing them.

But with this puzzle, a few of the songs were what I really needed help with. Once I realized that it was a rebus, that helped a lot.

Odd Sock 8:58 AM  

This has been an awful week for puzzles. I didn't even bother finishing yesterday's grid. I hung in there for today but now I wonder why.

Has anyone ever been bitten by a gnat? Clues for them frequently call them biters but I've never had it happen.

It sometimes looks like my cat is winking at me when he turns to walk away with his tail straight up in the air.

bocamp 8:58 AM  

Thx, @Derek, for your palette-ful creation! It was a Thurs. stumper, so color me "blue". πŸ˜₯

Very tough solve. Somewhere near the twilight zone in terms of wavelength.

Had a "Blue Wedding" dnf; the only song I knew was "Yellow Submarine".

After a battle in the northern quad, "John Deere" finally fell into place, and "green" made sense in that context. Thot maybe Jackson's hit was "Black or Blue"; lucky on the "black", not so for the "blue".

Troubles: "fave"; "Ivey"; "John Deere"; "ein"; "Paint it Black"; "White Wedding"; "Bodak Yellow"; "Black or White"; "Ike"; "ave"; "Vera Wang"; "Green Light"

Came too close to packing this one in; called timeout; gave self pep talk, and finally after many agonizing minutes, along came my #1 Maine "fave", and all was good, except, of course, my "Blue Wedding".

yd pg -4

Peace ~ Empathy for all ~ Good-heartedness ~ Togetherness πŸ•Š

Rube 9:00 AM  

Rex is spot on
Of shorts is highlighting BHM, this is the wrong puzzle. The Beatles. The Stones. Idol. How not black can you get? I kept looking for red yellow and green but they aren't really there?
And to me, square 19 is the ultimate Natick. No idea who Diffie is and the only Lorde song I know is that one about totals and you can call me queen b.
Michael Jackson tried to go from black to white but as he said it doesn't really matter of you're black or white.
TGI almost F

Grouch 9:00 AM  

I'm familiar with John Deere and that their products are green but that didn't mean I knew there was F***ing song called that by an artist I never heard of.

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

OK, this one is a long shot, but JOHNDEEREGREEN with Rex's musings about BLACK history month made me think of a story from a while back. One evening I was flying a chartered jet and just pulled into the chocks at Dulles Airport. John Deere's corporate jet parks next to us (recognizable by its JOHNDEEREGREEN stripes, YELLOW wheels--just like the tractor in the picture--and registration number.) The door of the JOHNDEEREGREEN jet opens up and six BLACK women dressed in glamorous evening dresses walk down the steps. Not what I was expecting.

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

You go, Girl!!

G. Weissman 9:08 AM  

Pardon me if someone has already noted this, but the puzzle violates its own theme conceit by including a song title that does not include a color (55A). That’s easily avoidable carelessness.

TTrimble 9:13 AM  

Whenever in the past I read @Nancy saying she threw a puzzle against a wall, I always assumed she meant that figuratively. But now I think she is literally throwing her puzzle at a wall!

Sorry, I got distracted for a moment reading her post. I really came by to encourage those who like SB to give today's a try. It's eminently gettable.

mmorgan 9:16 AM  

I didn’t know most of those songs (I’m old), but somehow I got everything through the crosses. So there’s that.

kitshef 9:22 AM  

@Nancy - Tim Croce seems to specialize in puzzle with a ton of white. Could it be March 22, 2013? Only 21 black squares in that one.

Tony 9:25 AM  

One of the easiest Thursdays I've done. This despite the fact I went down the erroneous BLACK-rebi road Rex traveled. After Paint It BLACK and BLACK Light, I decided Michael Jackson had a song BLACK Out. The Beatles had we stumped though. Baby's In BLACK? BLACK in the USSR? But it had to be WHITE WEDDING. So I started on a BLACK and WHITE theory. WHITE Album? . . . . Finally I just went with random colors. Perfectly logical. [EYEWINK]

Nancy 9:27 AM  

Figuratively, @TTrimble (9:13). Although it's much more fun if everyone imagines it being done literally.

Sir Hillary 9:31 AM  

Yeah, the constructor couldn't quite land the plane.

As one who tends to enjoy PPP, it was interesting to have it thrown back in my face for a change. I knew the Stones song, the Bill Idol song and the Michael Jackson song immediately. Trouble is, I had no idea about Diffie's, Lorde's or Cardi B's (and I didn't even notice the Beatles clue) so all that got me was [BLACK] and [WHITE], and I figured each square would be one of those, or maybe even both. Then, once the Beatles song came into view, I thought maybe we were talking about opposites on a color wheel -- JOHNDEERE[GREEN] crossing [RED]LIGHT, and BODAK[PURPLE] crossing [YELLOW]SUBMARINE. But that would have required, say, "Tangled Up In Blue" to cross "Orange Crush" somewhere, and that wasn't happening. I got there eventually, but it was a letdown.

EMERIL crossing BAM is good, and MAJESTIC in a grid looks exactly that. But may don't have WED and [WHITE]WEDDING in the same grid -- just stick an M up there, and you don't even need to change the 1A clue.

OffTheGrid 9:32 AM  

I noticed that, too.

Barbara S. 9:34 AM  

A mini (OK, nano) matrimonial sub-theme? WED, WHITE WEDDING, and VERA WANG clued in relation to "bridal gowns" (odd terminology here -- isn't "wedding gown" more in the language?) In light of all this, surely "join together" slots in beautifully. I give you Matthew 19:6 "What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."*

I was not very good on most of these song titles, but somehow it didn't matter. Like @Amie Devero, I initially put an S where the GREEN rebus needed to go. Then wandered around, missed the center of the grid and found myself in the SW where, clearly, because of SUBMARINE, there needed to be a YELLOW rebus. Then, newly wised up, I got back to the center, and filled in BLACK and WHITE, after which it seemed apparent that there needed to be a fourth color rebus in the NE -- aha, I knew that JOHN DEERE tractors are GREEN and suddenly everything was tickety-boo.** But when all was said and done, the only two song titles that I knew without a doubt were YELLOW SUBMARINE and PAINT IT BLACK.

* I include IKEA in the nano-theme, too: furniture-assembling as cause of the newlyweds' first fight.

** Something that gave this city girl an edge with the John Deere color was that one Christmas I asked my husband to pick up some wrapping paper. He was in the country that day and I guess thought the Farmers' Co-op was a good place to do holiday shopping. He came back with a humungous roll of (wait for it) John Deere wrapping paper. Umm. Don't little printed tractors and combines immediately imbue you with the festive spirit?! Actually, this paper gave rise to a lot of hilarity and, because I reuse any bits that are salvageable, still does.

burtonkd 9:36 AM  

Clue for 38D should have been: 5 random letters plus a rebus you'll get from the cross; and you're old.

@Tom T: did Joe Diffie also write: "How can I miss you darlin' when you'll never leave?".

Geez Rex, drive 5 miles outside of Binghamton and you'll see John Deeres everywhere with their iconic green (with yellow highlights). Plus, green light is an iconic phrase.

Sideeyewink at ELO x ELOI

Guy who's actually seen hay 9:41 AM  

For the record the iconic tractor colors are Deere - green, Intl Harvester - red, Ford - light blue, New Holland - darker blue. A recent addition is Kubota - orange. New Holland began and currently has its American Headquarters in New Holland PA, where it is the world's largest producer of hay (which we all know is green to brownish yellow in color, never GOLDEN) making products.

Nancy 9:45 AM  

@Kitshef -- It doesn't tell me the date but, yes, it has only 21 black squares. But it's the one that contains two words I couldn't get in my DNF: **Spoiler Alert** --

OTOMIS and ETAMESON. Is that the same puzzle?

mathgent 9:45 AM  

There's no such thing as a bad potato salad and there's no such thing as a bad rebus crossword, but this one needed more celery.

Mr. Benson 9:57 AM  

Another hand up for "super easy except for the GREEN crossing." I had the BLACK and WHITE figured out by then, and either of those colors could work with the Lorde song, so I figured I would wind up tossing a coin on that one in the end. I punted on the country song without realizing the title was a tip-off. Not until I had YELLOW did I figure out the color selection was wide open.

Frantic Sloth 10:09 AM  

Okay, so I guess I agree with Rex. And I'm not alone.
Also guffawed at his EYEWINKS musings.

@puzzlehoarder 702am offers a good explanation for the colors of the grid. Thank you! (I was kind of hoping it was me. All is right with the world again.)

@Joaquin 720am 🀣🀣🀣

I kinda wanna put forth a new challenge to everyone:

Find a NYTXW these days that does not have some kind of dupe in the grid. The first correct submission wins a trip to Rye NY with a free pass for a ride on the wooden rollercoaster and a good gander at the satanic marina, which must be viewed through a pinhole in a piece of GREEN (it must be naturally green. Absolutely no green paint allowed) construction paper.

@oceanjeremy 809am Thanks for the BODAK info, because did any of us really want to look it up? Well, actually I did, but fell asleep while trying to care. You saved me the monumental effort. πŸ‘

JOHN X 10:12 AM  

This was an incredibly stupid puzzle. So far this week the score is 1-3.

I’m sorry, the truth is not always pleasant.

bocamp 10:17 AM  

@Becca 6:16 AM

Congrats on your first post! 😊

My feeling exactly re: "eyewinks"; so much so that I took the "eye" part out, and waited for something that made more sense. Nothing came, so "eye" it was.

td pg -1

Peace ~ Empathy for all ~ Good-heartedness ~ Togetherness πŸ•Š

Mr. Benson 10:21 AM  

@Twangster: An interesting crossword tie-in. A couple of years ago the word BATHOS appeared in a puzzle. I wasn't familiar with the word, but when I looked it up, my first thought was "oh, like the end of the Bojack Horseman funeral episode!" And now I know the word.

That show was simply spectacular. Some episodes were truly monumental, including that one, and none were ever bad. I watched it twice all the way through, and was newly rewarded each time.

Flinque 10:24 AM  

Did not like Camaro competitor clue. if anything the big Camaro competitor was the Firebird not the Mustang

Tim Aurthur 10:27 AM  

I thought the Michael Jackson song was a revealer and that the other rebi would have BLACK in one directions and WHITE in the other. So got flummoxed finding the Beatles song. Ouch.

A 10:31 AM  

Happy Whack-a-Song Day!

So, so sad. Every other entry, it felt, was just one more disappointment. ELOI ECON ACAI SOP PED EIN WII ONE IOTA (without it’s “not”) ANKH TAN ATOB RAP BAM AM I BRR IKE ONE A ANEG IKEA SLRS. Plus EYE WINKS, NINE PM, IN SITU, IT IS NOT. Rex says “a little on the crosswordesy side?”

La? No, it’s Ln.

@kitschef Don’t give up on your chances with Amber - she might like your style!

@TTrimble Yes - WED and WEDDING!

It seems the constructor just bit off more than he could chew. Presuming he started with the BLACK OR WHITE idea, which is pretty nifty, he could have been happy with that and made a really cool puzzle. Adding more ‘songs with colors’ rebi was the misstep, resulting in all the run of the mill fill, and a solving experience that was anything but “uplifting.”

ADDEND and ANIMISTS were bright spots for me - momentarily took my mind off the puzzle.

Hey, @Barbara S, I like your nano wedding theme! There could also be a nano TEXas theme, with TEX, SALSA, PAINT MUSTANGs, BRAND, JOHN DEERE AND Gov. IVEY. Bet there are a ton of brides in Dallas with VERA WANG gowns. Like @Z said, Boy Howdy!

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

I am a little surprised by the general lack of familiarity with Joe Diffie. He was no Garth Brooks, but he was still a major star in the country music scene of the 1990s. He had two platinum albums, and give of his songs reached the top spot on the country charts. As someone else noted, Diffie died in March 2020, an early victim of the coronavirus pandemic. He was only 61. I was glad to see his name today, and I encourage everyone to give his music a listen. (If you do, maybe I'll reciprocate and subject myself to a fee moments of Cardi B, an artist and genre I have studiously avoided).

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

Finally, a rebus (well, some of us think so) that isn't completely stupid. I watched those poker tournaments on ESPN some years back, and Phil IVEY was a constant. Not so much any more, but still took too long to pull his surname out of the lower brain stem, even though I nailed his face from the get-go.

Yes, sly WINKS is the correct answer.

On the whole, easier than the MEAN.

RooMonster 10:35 AM  

Hey All !
Yes, Rex, Country music has hits. Diffie has been around for a while. It's not all Pop "Artists".

Anyway, I liked this one today. Rex says nothing unifying the theme. Um, they're all Rebussed colors. In songs. BAM! *Mic drop*

Sometimes I think he reads way too much into these things. They're puzzles, there aren't political statements, they aren't product placement revenue makers, they're little squares designed to stimulate your brain, and (supposedly) give you some pleasure.

OK, Rex bashing aside, I agree in the Easy assessment. Had to (amazingly enough) work early today, so printed out puz. My only writeovers were putting in answers in the wrong spots and having to write over them. Started at 47A in 48A's spot. Got the next three Acrosses, until there were three Across clues left, and only two spaces. Oops.

Didn't notice the 16 long grid, but did get puz 100% correct with one actual writeover, rEX-TEX.

Easy, rebus, fun theme, non one-letter DNF. Good stuff.

One F

Margaret in New Jersey 10:35 AM  

Dull puzzle. I finished it without knowing most of the songs. They were easy to infer, especially John Deere green. Rex, if you don't knw that John Deere tractors are always a particular shade of green, you need to get out more. It's not like you live in a major metropolis!

GHarris 10:36 AM  

All you farm-bred folks credit your rural upbringing for knowing John Deeres are green. Hell, I grew up in the Bronx and knew that. Still I wrote in red at first. Ahh crap. Yeh, that was my other undoing.

kitshef 10:36 AM  

@Nancy - yes, that's the one. If it helps, your second spoiler 'word' is actually two words, split between the A and the M.

Malsdemare 10:38 AM  

That whoosh sound you heard was this puzzle flying over my head. I knew YELLOW SUBMARINE. That's it. After reading Rex, I recognize BLACK OR WHITE and PAINT IT BLACK but I simply didn't see them, even after I knew the trick. I hope those who knew the songs had fun; me? Not so much. I got through the non themers quickly and screeched to a halt. Not what I want on a cold morning with my second cup of coffee still too hot to drink.

Sigh! On to tomorrow and frigid weather. Wind chill here over the weekend is supposed to be -30. My dog Ryley had emergency surgery on his belly a few weeks ago and his entire tummy is now shaved. I had to make him a fleece belly wrap so he won't freeze this weekend. Btw, he's a malamute and ordinarily would adore our coming arctic front. Not this time.

Bundle up fellow midwesterners.

anon 10:42 AM  

Flag of Ashanti

Whatsername 10:42 AM  

I actually thought the theme was fun and the answers easy other than BODAK but this won’t go on my list of FAVEs. Any joy I experienced was lost in slogging thru the glut of Propers which of course included the themers, but just one after another after another. I didn’t do the math but it seemed like even more than we had yesterday. EYEWINKS and the weird clue for AVE gave me fits in the NW which was the last to fall. Otherwise it’s a rebus Thursday which I love as a matter of principle so there’s that.

@mathgent (9:45) “This one needed more celery.” Perfect simile. πŸ˜„

@Joaquin (7:20) A YELLOW Diffie? Yikes! I laughed out loud at that one. Don’t forget tomorrow is RED Friday. Go Chiefs!!

TTrimble 10:45 AM  

Aw, nuts. Agreed, it's a lot more fun the other way.

I made up my mind to give up on yesterday's. One, of Greek origin, I might have gotten, but it's hard to see. The other two were real groaners and I'm glad I didn't waste more time trying and not finding. (One of them looks to be of recent, maybe industry coinage -- know which one I mean? Just awful.)

Makes me want to throw Sam Ezersky against a wall. Figuratively, of course.

jae 10:51 AM  

Medium. I knew all but BODAK YELLOW and JOHN DEERE GREEN. I was sure BODAK was an error, so I was surprised to get the “happy music”.

I agree with @Rex about the lack of payoff, but liked it a bit more than he did.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

but no hint to which country's flag? or did I miss it?

Newboy 10:56 AM  

BORW there’s plenty here. Rex is grumpy cause the CROSSWORD has CROSSES??? As one for whom music post Beatles/Stones remains noise, this was harder than it might be for Gen-XYZ...and more fun than an IKEA project. A MEAN share of ANGST unless it’s Thursday—which, indeed it is. Missing the GOOD TROUBLE with yesterday’s weekly theme in today’s expected grid development, but that’s just my white privileged bias no doubt. Off to xwordinfo for constructor notes before bouncing back to the top for other takes. Fun Derek, so πŸ™πŸΎ

Matty 10:56 AM  

Bodak Yellow is fair game. At least that answer doesn’t skew old and white. As a young solver I’n constantly dealing with ANKA and anything else from decades ago. Time for the older among us to struggle with a proper noun.

jrstocker 10:57 AM  

Not for me. Way too much 3 letter crud to be enjoyable. The AAH AMI AMY trifecta...no thanks.

Malsdemare 10:59 AM  

@Nancy. Yeah, I do old puzzles too and wish I could chat with someone about them. Some are just terrific and some are from hell.

Anonymoose 11:00 AM  

@Flinque. You're not wrong. However the Camaro (Chevy) and the Firebird (Pontiac) were GM cousins. The MUSTANG (Ford) was and is a Camaro competitor. Pontiacs are no longer made.

Z 11:02 AM  

@anon9:01 - Nothing so glamorous as flying a charter jet, but your story reminded me of coming out of comedy club’s early show to find one of those party limos loudly rocking out at the curb. We were trying to guess whether it was a bachelor or bachelorette party having all the fun when the chauffeur opened the doors and a bunch of women dressed to the nines tumbled out, all in the 60+ age group. They were clearly having too much fun and we were very jealous.

@Frantic Sloth & @puzzlehoarder - I guess I’m going to be that guy and point out that neither the Jamaican flag nor the ANC flag has any WHITE in it.

@Flinque 10:24 - They’re all competing with that original MUSTANG and the early Corvettes.

@oceanjeremy8:18 - I know, Right! Socialism is the scary monster of the right and capitalism is the scary monster of the left and most people have no idea what the terms mean. One of my favorites “WTF are you all idiots” moments was the “keep the government’s hands off my medicare” foisted by the right. Another is complaining about corporate bailouts as failures of our “capitalist” system.

Masked and Anonymous 11:16 AM  

Colorful songs theme. 7 mostly-long themers! And U got yer ThursPuz rebus fix. All's right with the world.
… Well, give or take a few details:

1. EYEWINKS: Debut NYTimes word. Not all that surprisin, huh?

2. 46 black squares (probably helped out a little by the 16x15 grid). It's sorta like a Black Puzsquare Day, in an appropriate week. Could in-directly also be part of that there colorful theme, I reckon.


4. har. dang, @Nancy! M&A would hate to see where U would throw runtpuzs.

5. EIN/DIEU. What's EIN? Is EIN kinda like related to EGOT, or somesuch?


7. AAH. BRR. WII. Niice weejeect piicks. [Otto-Correct just lost & threw its marbles at the wall.]

Thanx, Mr. Allen. Twas music to M&A's eyewinks.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Anonymous 11:19 AM  

I know you are all wondering.........the last Firebird model was 2002.

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

I feel a bit embarrassed that I didn't know ADDIS ababa (which google tells me is the capital of Ethiopia... eek). But as a result... I had ODDIS crossed with ONEG (instead of ANEG). I feel pretty strongly that all squares should be inferable even if you're a geographically challenged solver like I am.

Havana Man 11:25 AM  

Good clue on 30across--I stuck with TRANS AM for a while and screwed up my time. Turns out, "Trans Am" was really a class of cars of which Mustangs and Camaros were both part (according to wikipedia, anyway).

Carola 11:31 AM  

Who AM I? Someone whose knowledge of popular music ended with the Beatles. So, it took me all the way down to YELLOW SUBMARINE before I understood the theme. After that it was easy enough to go back and fill in GREEN (grew up in a farm town) and guess at BLACK and WHITE...and guess wrong at which went where.

When I saw "Phil in the Poker Hall of Fame," I immediately thought "Hellmuth!" and looked forward to telling you that his dad used to be my boss (multiple administrative tiers above). When I saw there were only four spaces for the name, I was sure a rebus was involved. There went my two degrees of separation anecdote.

@Malsdemare - Stay cozy! Up here we're looking forward to 24 hrs of wintry mix before the arctic cold sets in.

@Nancy - I, too, envisioned you actually throwing the paper. Even if in the past the throw had been figurative, I thought this one might drive you over the edge into literal.

Zack 11:38 AM  

Two days in a row with duplicates. Yesterday's SEEFIT/FITS and today's WED/(WHITE)WEDDING.

RooMonster 11:38 AM  

@Flinque 10:24
As the resident car affectionado, both the Camaro and the Firebird were GM products, mind you one was Chevrolet, one was Pontiac, but not *true* competitors like Ford-Chevy. After the MUSTANG came out, and was a hit, GM (Chevy, Oldsmobile, Buick, Pontiac) scrambled to get something out to compete with it. To me, they did a really good job, with the Camaro, Firebird, Skylark, and Cutlass.

Bit of trivia for car nuts. What is the longest running Auto make? Think about it for a second. It might not be what you think.

RooMonster Oh No! More Trivia! Guy

TTrimble 11:47 AM  

@puzzlehoarder 7:02 AM
Except there's no WHITE in the Jamaican flag. The closest I could come to all four colors is the Ashanti flag, although apparently that YELLOW is supposed to be gold and to represent gold.

(Let's not start up again with things said to be of the color gold, but on the web page linked above -- I'm sorry, that really, really looks to me more yellow than gold. Here's another web page for the sake of comparison, and I'll stop here.)

SomeOneHasToBeMe 11:47 AM  

I gotta say, knowing who Joe Diffie is has got to be one of the biggest cultural separators out there.

Joe Diffie is such a famous country musician that there are hit country songs by other artists about Joe Diffie.

That's Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Garth Brooks, George Jones territory right there.

Gotta say, this particular cultural blind spot is is honestly kinda funny.

KRMunson 11:47 AM  

I totally agree.

orangeblossomspecial 11:48 AM  

Who on God's green earth wouldn't know that John Deere implements are always green? That square was a gimme.

Back before the Japanese/Korean invasion, Massey Ferguson, International Harvester, Ford, etc. had distinctive color schemes on farm implements.

GILL I. 11:54 AM  

@mathgent...There is such a thing as a bad potato salad especially if made with Miracle Whip. This puzzle, me thinks, needed more than celery.
Let's see.....what song did I know. Oh, YELLOW SUBMARINE. Then I did a Porky Pig th-th-th-th That's all folks.

KRMunson 11:55 AM  

Not playing poker or old music I was doomed from the beginning.

CDilly52 11:56 AM  

The only short sticking point, as with many, was BODAK, but BARRE was a gimme, so I just went with it. I take exception to @Rex dissing “John Deere Green” and Joe Diffie. I don’t listen to country or rap, and had no idea who CardinB is, but just because something is unknown to me doesn’t make her snark-worthy. The only reason I did know John DEERE GREEN and Joe Diffie was that my clients in m two of my more rural counties are all country fans and that song was extremely popular back in the late ‘90s (I think) - so popular that I still know many of the words. OFL has a tendency to question a “a thing” nearly anything out of his wheelhouse.

Super easy even the BODAK, and not really Thursday worthy, in my opinion but it awful either.

What? 12:01 PM  

Didn’t know the songs, didn’t get the colors and still finished. Does that make me brilliant? No, the puzzle is stupid. What a waste of time when I could be day dreaming.

Whatsername 12:03 PM  

Enjoying the comments immensely today.

@Odd Sock (8:58) Excellent question about the GNAT. Apparently it is technically a biter but seems to me their primary purpose is just to be annoying.

@Nancy (8:55) I looked up Tim Croce on Jeff Chen’s site, and @kitshef is right. Many of his 33 publications do seem to feature a lot of white space.

@TTrimble (9:13) Thanks for the SB tip. I occasionally give it a shot, but most days I wish it was printed on paper so I could do a @Nancy and throw it against the wall.

@Malsdemare (10:38) Glad Ryley is okay and recovering from his surgery. What a good dog mom you are! We’re hunkering down here in Missouri as well, and I have my fur babies’ sweaters ready. Also canceled my trip to watch the Super Bowl with family at the farm where, for what it’s worth, no JOHN DEERE GREEN is allowed.

sixtyni yogini 12:23 PM  

Country music, car names... thought I was in trouble on this one. So haha- was prepared to give a righteous critique πŸ€—, however the other answers balanced it out! 🀸🏽‍♀️
It’s been a while for a rebus 🧩, so I’ve been looking out for one.
Agree, kind of cool to have all black for rebus fills, or yellow, green, black, and red, but enjoyed it very much as it is!

TJS 12:27 PM  

If somehow "Tangled Up In Blue" had made the cut I might have forgiven this puzzle.

I'm hoping that after viewing this weeks' first 4 puzzles, there maybe a bunch of people of color saying to themselves "I can do better than this".

Frantic Sloth 12:35 PM  

@Z 1102am Oh, shut up. 😘

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

Anal wink
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The anal wink, anal reflex, perineal reflex, or anocutaneous reflex is the reflexive contraction of the external anal sphincter upon stroking of the skin around the anus.[1]

A noxious or tactile stimulus will cause a wink contraction of the anal sphincter muscles and also flexion. The stimulus is detected by the nociceptors in the perineal skin to the pudendal nerve, where a response is integrated by the spinal cord sacral segments S2-S4.

The absence of this reflex indicates that there is an interruption of the reflex arc, or damage to the spinal cord,[2] which may be in the sensory afferent limb or the motor efferent limb. The synapse between the afferent and efferent limbs occurs in the lowest sacral segments of the spinal cord.

Kathy 12:54 PM  

@oceanjeremy and @Z
Another one: it would be un-American and un-constitutional to be required to purchase health insurance. We tend to forget that we are already required to pay into Part A of Medicare all of our working lives so we have hospital coverage when we turn 65. (To be sure, it was hotly contested when Medicare started years ago.)

Oh, the puzzle. All week the puzzles have been PPP-laden. Not fun for me, although today’s was easy. It seems to me that puzzles that skew younger rely more on pop trivia. Bottom line, as much as this might annoy me and others, the proof will be whether or not the NYT can attract a younger crowd of puzzlers while keeping the veterans on board. Those are decisions that every business has to make—fashion, sports, restaurants....appeal to a broad base or focus on a market segment.

Teedmn 1:07 PM  

I liked this puzzle by my old friend, Derek. Derek doesn't know we're friends, but I've been reading his Stumper (and now, Saturday Themeless) reviews for a while, and now I'll be able to picture his face when I'm reading him. He beats the pants off of my solve times (yes, they wear pants) yet isn't afraid to show when he's hit the check button. And he's a constructor too!

I didn't know either of the songs in the NE. The only Lorde song I know is "Royals" and that left a bunch of black ink when I had to write over it. Then, still not getting the color rebus theme, I put in JOHN DEEREs crossing sLIGHT (thought that was a weird name for a song that had been used three times already.) Once I got the color scheme, I splatzed in GREEN with no problem. My late father-in-law was a farmer and a huge John Deere aficionado; my husband once painted our mailbox John Deere GREEN and YELLOW.

When I saw the BLACK and WHITE of the central themers, I wondered if perhaps it was an "opposites on the color wheel" song theme. I could imagine a song, "RED LIGHT" for the GREEN/red cross, but down in the SW, I knew the Cardi B song was NOT BODAK purple. The only reason I knew BODAK YELLOW at all is because it used to be the go-to clue for Cardi B in puzzles.

Thanks, @Rex, for making me laugh at what you had winking in place of EYEs. And thanks, Derek, for a nice Thursday puzzle, albeit tough due to the PPP, and also for all of the Crossword Fiend reviews I've read.

Joaquin 1:09 PM  

Thank you @Anonymous (12:40) for the information regarding the anal wink. And although the clue is "Secret-indicating gestures" one would hope that an anal wink would be, itself, a secret. One would hope.

Now ... how do I unsee the image conjured by your post?

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

Can someone please explain AVE and NET clues to me?

For AVE -- I know that Drive = Dr., but I thought Lane = Ln. So I was a bit thrown off here. Or is it something else?

And how does "Clear" = NET ?

JonP 1:31 PM  

I thought it was GOLD. Seemed plausible that John Deere would call that color gold. And Gold light seemed just as possible as Green light, at least to me. Though in retrospect I guess green light is something I’ve heard of.

wrollinson 1:36 PM  

Boring Thursday puzzle... concept is too easy blah since there are so many songs with colors.

It would have been more interesting if the color intersections were by the same artist:

The Beatles: Baby's in Blackbird
Elvis Costello: Almost Blue Chair (or Turning the Town Red Shoes)
Bob Dylan: Nothing Was DeliveRed River Shore (or Tangled Up In Blue Moon)
Grateful Dead: Stella Blues for Allah

Oh well, as least this song wasn't included:

Joaquin 1:39 PM  

@Anonymous (1:24) - "La" is a Postal Service accepted abbreviation for Lane, even though you rarely see it, LN being much more common.

And if you "clear" five bucks in a sale you have a NET of $5.

NJ Teresa 1:41 PM  

Haven’t read all the comments, but I believe “tiddle” is a verb and “wink” is the small disk that is played. Therefore you tiddle your winks.
If you dare, that is. ;)

Birchbark 1:41 PM  

@Rex, great BOjAcK clip. That funeral episode draws you in from start to finish. I'm among those who've gone through the whole Bojack Horseman series multiple times (cf. @Mr. Benson 10:21, @Twangster 8:39) -- not always easy, but deep currents carry the humor and surreal to unexpected places, and so worth it.

@Nancy and newspaper throwers everywhere. Physics teaches us the anticlimax-risk in throwing paper in anger. @Frantic observed this a few days ago in reference to "Throwing in the BOUNTY [paper towel]." Consider wind direction and velocity before attempting.

Now to go outside, fire up the JOHN DEERE GREEN machine, and move this morning's snowfall from one place to another.

Anonymous 1:45 PM  

not often acknowledged factoid: car companies, meaning the top level (not brands), usually have only one or two or (in the olden times) three chassis off of which they hang design elements. compact, mid-size, full-size sedan; in the olden days. with most, Ford prominently, phasing out 'cars' altogether, I'd guess there are two SUV chassis each. so, all those other GM muscle cars were still Camaros or vice-versa.

today, it's the Zeta platform, available also as some Cadillac models. how embarrassing.

BarΓ§akid 1:50 PM  

100% of businesses south of the Mason Dixon line play country music. It's a massive industry with its own awards show. I don't like country, but I also accept that it belongs in grids. Stop being a snob.

bocamp 1:55 PM  

Was watching an episode of "Long Way Down" yesterday as Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman passed through "Addis" Ababa on their motorcycle trip from John o' Groats, Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa. One of the residents of the city translated "Addis" Ababa as meaning, new flower.

@TTrimble 9:13 AM

Thx for the SB encouragement. You're right! :)

Peace ~ Empathy for all ~ Good-heartedness ~ Togetherness πŸ•Š

Unknown 2:06 PM  

When I logged on there were 108 comments, so I did not attempt to read them all, but if you Wikipedia the colors of the flag of South Africa you will see that all of the colors in today's puzzle in fact are a part of that flag. I cannot say the puzzle constructor had this in mind but it's a good "save" considering it is Black History Month.

okanaganer 2:15 PM  

@Nancy, and any others, at xwordinfo.com there are lots of ways to track down a puzzle. Partway down the home page, in the middle column, you can type in a constructor's name and see all their puzzles. Or, you can go to the Finder and type any answer from a puzzle. (Pick one that looks like it would not appear very often.) You can also search by a Clue!

Adam 2:24 PM  

BODAK was inferable from crosses, so although I'd never heard of it I thought it was fair. But the 17A/19D cross—NFW. I've never heard of either of these songs (nor the John Legend version, nor the 1968 version), and frankly any of a number of colors could fit if you're not familiar with the songs. RED LIGHT. GREEN LIGHT. BLACK LIGHT. BLUE LIGHT. YELLOW LIGHT. EYEWINKS was bad, but that corner absolutely made me hate this puzzle. Grrr.

Frantic Sloth 2:42 PM  

@Birchbark 141pm Thanks for remembering and good point. I would suggest that with newspaper (or better and easier still - the NYT Magazine section) it's best to employ the frisbee method of throwing. I have been known to literally throw these things and that has always worked best for me. But, as with most topics, I'm sure @Z could provide invaluable insight. What with Ultimate and all. And, you know, he's Z. 😁

Anonymous 2:42 PM  

I have a cousin that was in the Navy so YELLOW SUBMARINE was a slam-dunk.

Azzurro 2:47 PM  

I'm glad others have commented on Joe Diffie. I'm not a big country fan, but he was a radio mainstay back in the 90s. Even if you don't know his catalog, John Deere _____ is pretty easy to infer.

I was saddened last year when Diffie passed, one of the first celebrities to die from COVID. Sometimes, I wish Rex would be a little less tone deaf.

Guerin Wilkinson 2:48 PM  

Deere (as in John Deere) has been such a common puzzle word. Surprised that so few people knew John Deere equipment is famously and invariably green (and a special mustardy green at that). Did not enjoy this puzzle at all.

Anonymous 2:51 PM  

@Roo. Skylark and Cutlass were not in the class with Camaro and Firebird. Olds and Buick did not have versions of that car type.

Guerin Wilkinson 2:51 PM  

I wish the clue for greenlight had been 'classic NRBQ song covered by Bonnie Raitt'. Give the Q song a whirl!

Chip Hilton 2:55 PM  

I only knew Joe Diffie for his contribution to one of the great albums, Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Come On Come On”. Mary Chapin and Joe duet on “Not Too Much to Ask”, which I highly recommend. Saddened to hear of his recent passing.

BODAK!? Which is it, AAH or AaH? Not knowing the sci-fi race, I went with aLOI and, I thought, a quite reasonable WaD.

Other than those quibbles, a very easy and not terribly thrilling Thursday.

David 3:05 PM  

I disagree with Rex that Bodak Yellow was a huge song. In order for it to be a song, it would need actually be music. You may get off of my lawn now.

Pete 3:06 PM  

@"Diffie was FAMOUS!" folks - Country music is very much niche - representing < 9% of domestic music sales by genre. Hip-Hop, rock, pop, R&B combined have sales > 8 times that. It trails even Latin music. I'm pretty sure you would be stumped to name a Tejano artist whose peak was 25 years ago and wasn't named Selena. I couldn't, and that artist sold more records that Joe Diffie.

jberg 3:12 PM  

I'm late, there are 120 comments, and I haven't read them yet. I'm the less-pop-music-savvy person Rex referred to. Mention "Mille Regretz" or "Il Estoit Une Fillette," or even "fortune my Foe," and I'm all over it-- I can even handle the early 20th Century, through about 1980-- but after that my knowledge wanes. I knew PAINT IT BLACK, and like Rex expected a black theme; then I saw YELLOW SUBMARINE, so I knew there were other colors involved. But I had no idea, NEW or otherwise, if the rebuses applied to the downs. BODAKy seemed as good as BODAK YELLOW, I didn't know the Michael Jackson song, or GREEN LIGHT, but (contra Rex) I did figure out that a color related to John Deere was likely to be green, and GREEN LIGHT made more sense than gLIGHT -- so it had to be BODAK YELLOW, and the Jackson song might be BLACK OR blue, crossing BLUE WEDDING -- a great song title, that last! Sigh, another DNF.

I did love PED xing, also an exciting highway sign to see; and the proximity of GNU and GNAT.

Ah well, there's always tomorrow.

JD 3:15 PM  

Puzzle was out of my wheelhouse and about a mile down the road. I have no one to blame but myself. It's Not the puzzle One Iota, it was me.

@Frantic, I miss her.

@JohnX, I don't agree, but I compliment your relative restraint and am still a fan.

@Matty, Older people struggle with proper nouns every day (in speaking we cover it with things like, "You know who I mean, that guy who married that singer what's-her-name"). We can't even remember the stuff we know. But I love what you said and dammit I support you.

Anonymous 3:17 PM  

Country music is very much niche - representing < 9% of domestic music sales

Yeah, but... C&W covers more territory (mostly devoid of sentient humans, of course). just like: https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2019/10/02/trump-impeachment-2016-election-map-tweet-inaccurate-philip-bump-ctn-vpx.cnn

albatross shell 3:31 PM  

Dear, I did dream we
All were happy in our John
Deere Green submarine.

Do I hear a BODAK bELLOW?
Damage some eardrums!

Record Thursday for me. Finished in just over one Father Brown mystery. Got that half right. Turned out to be an accident.

Until I got down to the Beatle's song I was thinking all this stuff I don't know: Diffie song, Cardi song, wedding gown designers, Phil the gambler, tv cooks, MJ song, blah, blah and blah. Got the I and IVEY came. Saw the JOHN DEERE and dammit, I knew the song. Fun one too. YELLOW was clear. And that made the Stones easy. VERA WANG popped out with a couple crosses. Amazing what ya know that ya don't know ya know. It all came together BAM. In the WINK of an EYE. OK it should be blink. I was thinking of POWs blinking in Morse code.

I did like the BLACK AND WHITE connecting to WHITE WEDDING and PAINT IT BLACK. Really nifty chain. Not connected to slavery today, l guess. Worth the price of admission. Happy rebus. Paint it in letters 3 feet high on the barn door.

Not quite that good. EYEWINK if you get the reference.

Anonymous 3:44 PM  

@Mods. Frantic sloth 12:35 seems out of bounds, courtesy-wise.

Z 3:46 PM  

@Frantic Sloth - There are actually multiple ways to throw a frisbee; a flick, a hammer, a knife, a scoober, a chicken wing, a backhand, an off-back hand. For throwing a newspaper against a wall I recommend either a backhand or an off-hand backhand (i.e. a backhand with your non-dominant hand). As for @Birchbark’s concerns, these can be ameliorated by the shape one puts on the throw and the amount of spin imparted. As a general rule, dipping the outside edge of the paper away from your body, maximizing the cock of the wrist, and maximizing the snap of the wrist at release to maximize spin should result in the “ultimate” wall-paper contact and thus good feeling for the paper thrower.

@Unknown2:06 - Here I am being that guy again, but if it’s going to be the South African flag colors you can’t leave out blue.

re: Joe Diffie and JOHN DEERE GREEN and Rex, In terms of general well-knownedness, that answer is the mother of all outliers, wow. Once again, that you or I know something doesn’t make it generally well known. The comments today as a general rule seem to indicate that Diffie isn’t known outside the circle of “country music fans.” I was bemused by @SomeOneHasToBeMe because he compares him to country music artists that have a big difference with Diffie, i.e. I’ve heard of all of them. It’s also not fair to compare his career to Cardi B. of BODAK YELLOW, who has sold as much in 3 years as Diffie did in 30. In short, Joe Diffie is a real outlier in “general well-knownedness” in this theme set, however well known he might be known amongst country music lovers.
Likewise, it really seems like a bunch of people elided over what Rex wrote about JOHN DEERE GREEN, I guess GREEN is an iconic color for John Deere products and so you're probably expected to infer the color that way? In other words, JOHN DEERE’s GREEN color is more well-known than the song. Go over the comments again and you will see that Rex is spot on as several people sussed out the answer from the theme and the tractor, not the clue.

sanfranman59 3:48 PM  

Easy NYT Thursday ... 31% below my 6-month Thursday median ... plus, it's a 15 x 16 grid, so even easier than my relative difficulty stats suggest

This was a piece of cake and I'd have submitted with a record Thursday solve time but for two squares. I almost submitted with an error as I had 'mELD' right from the get-go instead of WELD {1A: Join together} and figured there was going to be some kind of Thursday trick to make sense of 'mED' (instead of WED {1D: Join together}). I had that in the back of my mind throughout the solve.

Since I thought the theme was just going to be [BLACK] and [WHITE] rebus squares, JOHN DEERE [GREEN] {17A: 1993 country hit by Joe Diffie} crossing [GREEN] LIGHT {19D: 2017 hit by Lorde (also a 2008 hit by John Legend, and a 1968 hit by the American Breed)} didn't come to me until the very end. This was the second of my two blank squares at the end that cost me 1:07 of solve time. I don't think I know any of these songs. I was a little worried that I had something wrong with BODAK [YELLOW] {38D: 2017 hit by Cardi B}, but the crosses all seemed unimpeachable (as, apparently, is our former president, at least according to almost half of the senators in Washington).

Once again, the amount of short fill (3- and 4-letter answers) is almost overwhelming. 44 of 79 answers! I'm no constructor, but I would think that it's tough to come up with enough interesting clues and answers when that's the way you've constructed your grid. Even among the longer fill, there's a bunch of short, rather blah words (e.g. ONE IOTA, IN SITU, DIALS IN, LAO TSE, NINE PM, NEW IDEAS, IT IS NOT, EYE WINKS).

Is there any significance to these particular colors or are they only selected because they're used in these random song titles? At first, I thought it might be related to the colors of an African flag, but I don't think that's it.

(These are my immediate post-solve thoughts before reading reviews and the comment section here, so please forgive any duplication.)

bocamp 3:53 PM  

Used to drive a "John Deere" wheat harvester in the Palouse, early '70s, so that solidified the "green" rebus. Also had IH's on the farm, as well.

@jberg 3:12 PM

Lots of "blues" in the comments, but it appears we're the only "Black" or "Blue"s. Seemed as good a name for a wedding song as white, so that was my dnf, as well. πŸ˜₯

Peace ~ Empathy for all ~ Good-heartedness ~ Togetherness πŸ•Š

RooMonster 3:56 PM  

@Anon 2:51
Apparently not as aficionado-y as I thought! They're close enough for me! Would you agree that the early to mid 70's Camaro and Firebird are hard to tell apart?


Z 3:59 PM  

@anon3:44 - 🀣🀣🀣 - Thank you for your concern. Sloth is a well-known rabble-rouser and it is about time somebody stood up for poor, demure, shy, me. As you can see, I’ve barely been able to comment since her vicious attack.

Anonymous 4:07 PM  

It's a big stretch to associate this puzzle with the flag of South Africa as that flag also has red and blue.

Jeremy 4:10 PM  

I was solving the NE and I got to _ _ _ WINK, and I thought "It's not gonna be EYEWINK. That's not a thing."

And then I filled in the Y, so I had _Y_WINK, and I thought "C'mon, it's not EYEWINK. Gotta be something else."

And then it was EYEWINK.


Anonymous 4:14 PM  

If you’ve never heard of YELLOW SUBMARINE you are not of this earth. I dont care how old you are

TTrimble 5:08 PM  

@Anonymous 12:40 PM
Yes. I didn't want to mention stuff like that myself, since (CUZ) surely that type of winking was not within the intended scope of the puzzle.

The alternative winking I recalled along such lines is called "vulvar winking" and is well-known to those who are in the business of getting horses to mate. That's probably as much description as is really needed here, but for those who are curious, one can find out more here (warning: graphic depictions of equine behavior).

Woke Millenial 6:20 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
pabloinnh 6:49 PM  

I used to own a '68 Camaro with a 327 engine, 4-barrell carb, and 4 on the floor. It would get rubber in all 4 gears. My wife still describes it was "steel blue, like your eyes. "

This is apropos of nothing. It just makes me happy to think about it.

albatross shell 6:57 PM  

@woke millenial
Don't know if you're awake or asleep, 20 or 1000 years old, trolling or reverse trolling, but you might try to find something Obama actually did while he was president to ban him from a puzzle. Bush was president then. It shouldn't be that hard.

Bruce Fan 7:03 PM  

@pabloinnh-“ I got a sixty-nine Chevy with a 396
Fuelie heads and a Hurst on the floor
She's waiting tonight down in the parking lot
Outside the Seven-Eleven store”

Pdxrains 7:17 PM  

What an odd mix of well known classic tunes and forgettable garbage pop shite. What the hell. Who TF is john diffie???

ChuckD 7:39 PM  

@pablo - if it was like your eyes it was probably Grotto Blue. Those small blocks were bad ass - I’m sure you have stories. And yes - they were put up as direct competitors to the Mustang - as were the Challengers.

oriordan 7:39 PM  

@Bruce Fan - not sure if you’ve seen Springsteen on Broadway but he tells a hilarious and self-deprecating story about driving cross country and him not being able to get the car going in 1st gear. And this tied into him writing Racing In The Streets

A Moderator 7:45 PM  

I just deleted 4 very long responses and the 6:20 comment they were responding to. No, I didn’t read them all, just enough to know they had nothing to do with the puzzle or any other topic arising from the puzzle. I post this as a fair warning to not waste your energy trying to post something so purely political and off-topic. There are other forums for those discussions.

A 7:51 PM  

@Roo I just got to your quiz query and skipped to guess Daimler/Benz? All I know for sure is it ain't Saab. Ok, going back up to find out the answer.

albatross shell 8:25 PM  

@A Moderator
Do not mind your deletions. Wish I would have read them first. Woke Millennial did reference the puzzle. Insincerely in my view.

But you seem to have missed my comment. I don't know if it was because it came too early or too late than the others, or if you were just overwhelmed by my humor and sincerity or my valuable information. I kind of like that it sits out there, a lonely ocean atoll. I wonder if any of the deletes mentioned my comment. I see only Woke Millennial is listed as removed by blog boss. So maybe it was only me that did not use the reply button. Can you tell me anything? Should I not have sent this if I wanted my message to remain?

Jim Lemire 8:28 PM  


albatross shell 8:40 PM  

Well, since I received neither bELLOW nor EYEWINK, I will reveal my reference: Joe Diffie's lyrics.

In John Deere green, on a hot summer night
He wrote "Billy Bob loves Charlene" in letters three foot high
And the whole town said the boy should've used red
But it looked good to Charlene
In John Deere green
John Deere green

You may by now see what's coming. The important question lurking in the background in this puzzle.
You may buy it on line or at your dealer, but is John Deere green paint actually green paint?

A Moderator 9:23 PM  

@albatross shell - I deleted four comments that were in the queue, so nobody but the writers and me saw them. When comments are deleted in the queue not even the other moderators see them. I did consider deleting your comment but opted against deleting it.

Anonymous 9:59 PM  

Thank you, Moderators.

RooMonster 10:07 PM  

Sorry so late, bit it seems as if only one person actually cared about my trivia question! πŸ˜‹ I missed the political foofaraw (thank God.)
The Answer is the Chevrolet Suburban. Constantly made since 1935.
Corvettes have been made since 1953, however, they didn't make any production ones for 1983, so it's not a continuous run. A one year break.

Sorry, @A 7:51, I had meant Model of car, not Brand. I should have made myself clearer. I do believe you are correct on the Benz being the oldest marque.


Z 10:14 PM  

@RΓΌ - Wow. Glad I didn’t offer my guess of the VW Beetle. My next guess was going to be the F-150. Boy Howdy, not even close.

SomeOneHasToBeMe 11:09 PM  

AVE is short for avenue and "clear" as in "I cleared $5000 on that deal, it was my net profit"

OISK 12:17 AM  


benny boy 12:18 AM  

You may not have heard of it, but Bodak Yellow is an enormously popular song. It topped the billboard 100 for three straight weeks and has 672 million plays on Spotify.

That’s arguably a reasonable entry any day of the week, and at Thursday or later there’s no question.

A 12:21 AM  

@Roo -Yes, the politics and all the "I knew this song/I didn't know that song" nonsense didn't entertain. But you shared a great bit of - no, I don't consider it trivia - of human history that the Chevy Suburban holds the record for the longest running auto model (and you did say make, so that's why I went with the Benz guess.) I checked it out and found some awesome info and pics. (myautoworld.com was one source) Surprised to learn it was a two-door (not including the back tailgate/doors) until 1967, when it got a 3rd, right-side door. The first four-door Suburban didn't come until 1973. The '36 was a beauty, but boy, howdy, the '46 had panache. And check this out:
1946 INCOME AND PRICES (with 2010 inflation conversions)
Chevrolet Suburban(base MSRP).................................$1,283 ($14,344)
Median household income..........................................$2,500  ($27,950)
Median house price..................................................$5,600 ($62,608)
Cost of a gallon of regular gasoline..............................$0.21  ($2.35)
Cost of a loaf of bread..............................................$0.10 ($1.12)
Cost of a movie ticket..............................................$0.35  ($3.91)
Average Major League Baseball salary..........................$4,500 ($50,310)
Thanks for the side road trip!

Anonymous 1:10 AM  

Since I was a teenager in the 80s, WHITE WEDDING and BLACK OR WHITE were pretty easy, as of course were the Stones and Beatles songs. GREEN was also a pretty easy guess even if I didn't know either song involved. But BODAK??? Clearly I've made some terrible mistake in this crossword because that can't be right. I spent a good amount of time staring at that corner trying to get a real word in that song title and couldn't figure it out.

Maud 4:35 AM  

That’s what I thought to. Made me think of Kandinsky but the other way around

Greg 2:43 PM  

The "problem" with this puzzle is that if you happen to not know BOTH of the songs at a cross, or can't infer their titles, you're lost. I guess you could start typing in random colors until the computer says you've solved it. I had never heard of either "John Deere Green" or "Green Light". I took a guess at GREEN, figuring, "Well, John Deere is a tractor, and they are usually painted green."

I did think that crossing EMERIL with BAM was sort of cute.

bugpowder 9:04 AM  

Can somebody please explain atob to me? I get that it is crosswordese but I could not find a meaningful explanation of it's etymology anywhere on the web. It would be helpful to have some understanding of it so I can spot it in the future.

Unknown 3:57 PM  

Rex, Joe Diffie is famous. Sorry he is not in your wheelhouse. I am a seven-sisters educated East and West Coast-based U.S. diplomat who travels the world and has lived in eight foreign countries and I know Joe Diffie is famous. Your snobbery is partly responsible for ripping our country apart. Please stop it. This is a serious thing. I am left of center but come on, don’t be disrespectful. Thank you.

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