Ancient kingdom in modern-day Jordan / SUN 1-7-21 / Soul singer Bridges / Specialist publication for short / First Asian tennis player to be ranked #1 in singles / Celebrity who hold Guinness world record for Most Frequent Clapper

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Constructor: Katie Hale and Christina Iverson

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Toddler Talk" — familiar phrases are redone with "W" sounds in place of "R" sounds, resulting in wacky phrases, clued wackily (i.e. "?"-style):
Theme answers:
  • TAKE A WAYNE CHECK (24A: Accept payment from Batman?)
  • AN ELEPHANT IN THE WOMB (31A: Cause for celebration at a pachyderm sanctuary?)
  • HIT WOK BOTTOM (49A: Finish scooping out a big stir-fry?)
  • GET WITCH QUICK (65A: Puritan's goal in 17th-century Salem?)
  • THE WHEEL DEAL (86A: Something a Parmesan vendor might offer?)
  • WEED BETWEEN THE LINES (100A: What a stoner actor smoked during rehearsal?)
  • WHISKEY BUSINESS (111A: Domain for Jameson and Maker's Mark?)
Word of the Day: MOAB (77D: Ancient kingdom in modern-day Jordan) —
Moab (/ˈmæb/) is the name of an ancient kingdom whose territory is today located in the modern state of Jordan. The land is mountainous and lies alongside much of the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. The existence of the Kingdom of Moab is attested to by numerous archaeological findings, most notably the Mesha Stele, which describes the Moabite victory over an unnamed son of King Omri of Israel, an episode also noted in 2 Kings 3. The Moabite capital was Dibon. According to the Hebrew Bible, Moab was often in conflict with its Israelite neighbours to the west. (wikipedia)
• • •

And so we return to earth. After a week of interesting and occasionally extraordinary puzzles, we get the same Sunday stuff we always get. Sound-change wackiness, writ large over a giant grid. I've certainly seen worse versions of this sort of thing. At least some of the themers are genuinely zany, if not LOL funny (GET WITCH QUICK is the winner of the day, for me). But baby talk, not something I enjoy or want to spend time with, thanks / no thanks. This theme is really thin, in that you do this sound-change thing with a ton of word pairs, and then for each of the "W" ones there are a theoretically infinite number of phrases you might find those words in. I mean, "rain" phrases alone must be pretty high in number. So the whole thing feels really slight, which means the themers really really (really) have to be exquisite in order for any of it to feel worthwhile. And I do think that some of the cluing really gives it the old college try (THE WHEEL DEAL isn't that interesting as a phrase, but the clue nearly rescues it, for instance). The concept just isn't that interesting to me, and the themers on the whole aren't funny / wacky enough. Plus, there's some wobbliness. It's "THE elephant in the room," not "AN elephant ..." Or, rather, that phrase would much much rather start THE than AN. You gotta do what you gotta do for symmetry's sake, but it still sounded weird to me with the indefinite article. Further, there's a "w" sound in QUICK that made me think it was gonna be involved in the sound-change theme (I had Q--CK first and I thought there was gonna be a "crack"-to-"QUACK" change there). They did a good job not having any unchanged "R"s in the themers, but that stray "w" sound threw me a bit. Also, what the stoner actor smoked was weed. He smoked weed. "Between the lines" was when he did it, but the clue doesn't ask for that. It asks for "What a stoner actor smoked during rehearsal." Grammatically, that clue wants a noun, and the noun is weed. He smoked weed. If there'd been an adjective before the noun, OK. But the prepositional phrase after: clunky and grammatically off, to my ears. The clue is really awkwardly written.

The fill on this one is ok but really very boring. Besides THE 'F' WORD (nice), there's nothing memorable here at all. It's almost all short and familiar, and what little longer stuff there is isn't terribly interesting. BEER BREWER feels ... I don't know, off, somehow. Redundant-y. I'd call said person either a "beer maker" or simply a "brewer." HERE'S TO is a really jarring partial, and, again, kudos to the clue for trying to make things right (19D: Slice of toast?), but nothing's gonna rescue HERE'S TO. There are no significantly difficult parts in this puzzle. You really can just run right through it. I had some slight trouble with OUTWEIGH (52D: Be more important than). It was only after I got it all from crosses and thought "that clue makes no sense" that I eventually realized "oh, no, as a metaphor for measuring, say, costs and benefits, it definitely makes sense." Beyond that, though, the only fight this puzzle put up was when I tried to parse NCAA GAME early on (when I had only the two "A"s), or when I had to leave a square blank because who can say if it's HEE haw or YEE haw (112D: "___-haw!") (actually, "HEE-Haw" is the title of a show and probably would have the "Haw" part capitalized, so ... at least I taught myself something today). Other than that, it's Monday-easy throughout. As Sundays go, this was better than average, but "average" is a dreary affair these days. Quaintness and corniness reign. I find myself wishing for bold failures instead of typical passable fare. Oh, I did enjoy full-named BO DEREK. If you didn't know the answer straight off (as I did not), then watching her name emerge from crosses was kind of fun. Like NCAA GAME, a parsing challenge. So there was some pleasure to be had. Just wish there'd been a lot more of it.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:06 AM  

Wow. This one flew by. Hardly paused at all - but is that a good thing?
Pretty standard stuff and another change-a-letter-to-a-different-letter-and-wackiness-ensues kind of theme. Cute enough to enjoy the solve, but not exactly dazzling either.


Call me wimpy, but did ya have to clue LOUSE with "Target of permethrin cream"? Would the colloquialism kill ya?? Yuck.

FLORAS? I'm calling this out as a POC. To me it's "FLORA and fauna" and adding that "s" for the plural is ridiculous. It might be technically correct, but it's ugly and stoopit and who really says it?

Not sure if this is an indication of a theme "failing" or too much Rex exposure, but a couple themers had an extra "w" sound outside the switcheroo: GETWITCHQUICK and WEEDBETWEENTHELINES. I'd think ideally you wouldn't want to have that, but what do I know?

Ew. Rex exposure. Erase! Erase! Erase!


Joaquin 12:17 AM  

Surprised to find myself mostly agreeing with Rex today. However, I really don't get his complaint about 100A (What a stoner actor smoked during rehearsal?). I got that from just the leading "W".

And now, on to more important things: Go Chiefs!

okanaganer 12:59 AM  

OK so I read the clue, saw that the answer started with WHI---, and just had to be WHISKY BUSINESS. Except there was an extra square left over? I knew I had it right, but put in WHISKY'S BUSINESS, which was... just not quite right. Eventually remembered: those crazy Americans spell it with an e: WHISKEY! Sheesh. (Actually a little research reveals the Irish also use an e; clarification here. Learned a new thing!)

I liked it a bit more than Rex and a bit less than Jeff Chen. But I actually laughed and mimed a high five to the screen when I saw GET WITCH QUICK.

Yes BEER BREWER seems redundant. Like WINE VINTNER. Except I guess you could conceivably brew other things, like tea.

Robin 1:04 AM  

Echo the sad feeling about the theme. Really, this the #NYTXW and Sunday is replace an R sounds with a W?

Almost makes me miss the Maleska days when Sunday themes were all too often a multi-part quote, that meant nothing in the end.

THEFWORD and OUTWEIGH were good in my book. ASNER shows up a lo, but I liked the clueing, maybe because I am that old.

BEERBREWER was most def redundant. After getting a cross or two up to, I thought maybe BEERMAKER, but that was one-char short. Disappointed to see the fill there.

NCAAGAME as an answer for Rose Bowl just seemed... anticlimactic.

Also, old enough that I saw BODEREK in both the Tarzan movie (a gimme) and also 10 at the theater. Did she ever do anything else?

Ken Freeland 1:06 AM  

I found the ther at least halfway cute, and there was nit a singlr natick, so I concur: better than average.

egsforbreakfast 1:16 AM  

To put on canvas a BEERBREWER watching an NCAA GAME would take more green paint than Van Gogh could muster. I have to pretty much agree with Rex. The puzzle did what it set out to do in a workable fashion, but was very easy and not all that much fun.

jae 1:24 AM  

Easy. Cute and fun, liked it.

Joe Dipinto 1:26 AM  

For 100a, how about: "What the members of Fleetwood Mac did on tour for a little variety?"

I liked this puzzle a lot. You'd think such a slim conceit as turning phrases to baby talk would be a yawner, but the theme entries are actually enjoyably witty. Plus we get some nifty extras in BEER BREWER, ON A HUNCH, HARD SELL, THE F WORD. A very pleasurable Sunday puzz, the best one this year so far, imo.

And I wuv the DOORS clue. Bwake On Thwoo...

albatross shell 2:34 AM  

I liked HIT ROCK BOTTOM best, but thought WAYNE WITCH WEED were good too. Like Rex is was nice seeing BODEREK appear,but I had the same experience with VANNAWHITE OPRAH and ASNER. Did not know any of them as clued.

Actually Rex is convincing about the Sunday puzzle. I enjoyed any of the M-Sat. Puzzles more than this one. This one held my interest. The theme was amusing. Some of the clues were clever. But lacking in sparkle. Nothing attention demanding. Each of the daily puzzles had something that caught my eye.

Lewis 5:57 AM  

Yes, Katie and Christina were careful to have no R’s in the theme answers, and I’m guessing they also purposely made sure than none of the puzzle’s answers began with R – as an elegant touch – and the puzzle is better for it. But the best part of this puzzle for me was the playful sounding theme answers – I could imagine toddlers saying them and when I did, my heart immediately warmed – and the clues they were given, especially for HIT WOK BOTTOM and GET WITCH QUICK. Those brilliant clues painted funny pictures to imagine – which make me smile and laugh as much as wordplay itself. Thank you, you two, for brightening my day!

Meanwhile, my cat, who shares his name with the coyote whose nemesis is the Road Runner, is young and has a long life ahead of him. But he has so much personality, he has already inspired a trove of anecdotes. When we want to turn on a certain light in the house, for instance, all we have to do is run the laser dot up the wall toward the switch; he inevitably swats the switch and voila! – illumination. Anyway, way up the road, when I write a book about him, today’s puzzle has inspired the title: The Life of Wiley.

mmorgan 6:57 AM  

Easy, corny, and it felt like an old-fashioned Sunday. Yes! Wheee! Thank you!

OffTheGrid 7:18 AM  

I agree with @Rex but he was too kind. @Lewis found the theme answers heart warming but I found them cringe-worthy. When I got the theme (early on) I thought "Oh no, they're not really doing this!" The *W* sound for *R* isn't really funny or endearing as a developmental difficulty in children. In adulthood it's called a speech impediment. Simply put, this theme is in poor taste.

Anonymous 7:29 AM  

Won for the hills ;)

Barney 7:55 AM  

Really enjoyed this puzzle. It's not the type of theme I typically find interesting, but for some reason most, if not all, of the themers made me smile. I think what helped is that the rest of the fill is clean. Sure, there's quite a bit regular solvers have seen time and again, but such is the nature of a Sunday grid. Also, I found some clues particularly good, e.g. 19D "Slice of toast" and 72D "Half and half?"

re: ST PAT, interesting (ironic?) how folks seem to conveniently forget that they're celebrating an Englishman.

pabloinnh 8:01 AM  

For some reason I was just listening to Robin Williams do Elmer Fudd doing The Boss's version of "Fire"--"I'm dwivin; in my cahwuh..", so after ANELEPHANTINTHEWOMB, this one fell into place instantly. I'm in the "liked it" group for the themers (a WYNECECK? not bad).

The whole thing played like a very long Monday, which is OK with me. Sundays are always a semi slog for me as I spend more time trying to read the tiny numbers than I do actually filling in answers, but as Candy points out, it's my own fault, darn it.

Thanks for a pleasant spell on a Sunday morning, KH and CI. A lot of folks like vanilla.

mooretep 8:15 AM  

For 100 Across, I would have preferred a clue like: What to do with crabgrass in the Super Bowl?"

To imagine an actor taking a toke on the stage during rehearsals suggests a need to intervene.

Barbara S. 8:18 AM  

I had a couple of errors right out of the gate, gracE instead of POISE and Eon instead of ERA. I knew a bishop’s jurisdiction was a SEE, so that got rid of GracE pretty fast and I also filled in INK, which gave me __NEo for the actor who played Captain Davies. For one crazy moment I wondered if Sal Mineo had been in “Roots,” but rejected that idea quickly. I started the puzzle before supper but hadn’t yet tumbled to the theme by the time we sat down. For one of the themers I had ANELEPHANTIN______OMB, and in my head, while munching the carrot-parsnip medley, I was going through bOMB, cOMB, tOMB. Suddenly I fixed my husband with a piercing stare and said, “AN ELEPHANT IN THE WOMB”, to which he understandably replied, “Huh?” I liked IVIED but thought AIR ALERT was wrong -- "AIR raid siren" would have been more correct. I, too, thought GET WITCH QUICK was funny, although I always feel badly at deriving amusement from those poor unjustly persecuted Salemites. HIT WOK BOTTOM also produced a chuckle.

Hey! Guess what? It’s my birthday today, so @Gill I. and I are practically twins! Nice of the NFL to honor me with their little shindig although, just between us, I’m not a football fan. If pressed, though, I’ll cheer for the Chiefs (hi @Whatsername) on the grounds that I’ve been to Kansas City but never to Tampa Bay.

Apropos of not a whole lot, here’s a passage I’m fond of, courtesy of Charles Dickens, another Feb. 7 baby:

“You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since – on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with. The stones of which the strongest London buildings are made, are not more real, or more impossible to displace with your hands, than your presence and influence have been to me, there and everywhere, and will be.”
(from “Great Expectations”)

Frantic Sloth 8:23 AM  

I don't get what Rex is on about with his criticism of WEEDBETWEENTHELINES. If you infer there is a comma after WEED or BETWEENTHELINES is in parentheses, it works. But maybe that's his point?

Hand up for BEERBREWER being a little redundantly repetitive.

@Lewis 557am The Life of Wiley! Take my money now. I wish we had such an adorable
"remote" for our lighting. ❤️

Unknown 8:29 AM  

Puzzle is cute and clever. Needs nothing else.

bocamp 8:43 AM  

Thx, @Katie & @Christina for a sparkling Sun. puz; thot the theme was the "wheel deal"! 😊

Easy solve.

Steady progress with no hitches.

The Limerick Song

yd pg -1; not ready to pack this one in yet 🤞

Peace ~ Health ~ Hope ~ Equality for all 🕊

ChuckD 8:50 AM  

First of all Rex - however noble and necessary black constructor week was we did not get a great set of puzzles - lets not sugar coat it. I do agree though that today was somewhat flat. Cute theme - but not sure it can sustain a Sunday size puzzle. The gimmick gets a little boring after the first few. Liked TAKE A WAYNE CHECK - especially near the doubled up Superman clues. Also liked GET WITCH QUICK and THE WHEEL DEAL.

The overall fill was fine - not too much gluey stuff. Liked LIMERICK and LULLABY and was always infatuated with BO DEREK so she’s a welcome addition. I use THE F WORD too much. NCAA GAME is a little odd as is BEER BREWER.

We’re awaiting another 6-8” so this was decent enough solve - fun but could have used a little more bite.

amyyanni 8:54 AM  

Puzzle was fine; story of Wiley even better. Thanks, Lewis!

RooMonster 8:58 AM  

Hey All !
Potential Natick at the S of POISE/SEE. SEE as clued, oof. Also ILIUM/MOTT, but the M seemed a better choice than a C there.

I liked this theme. Fun to pronounce the themers whilst thinking of the actual R phrases. My fav was HIT WOK BOTTOM. Also good, TAKE A WAYNE CHECK.

Fairly quick SunPuz for me. A bit of resistance here and there, but nothing to write home about (or write here about.)

We're digging deep into our IVANs for IVAN V. Har. GMEN are the New York Giants football team, if any of y'all were wondering (or caring!)

Lots of W's today, granted they were part of the theme, but extras spread throughout puz. But that's fine to get clean fill. If the constructors banned themselves from W's outside of themers, who knows how puz would've come out?

So an enjoyable, easy SunPuz. Onto watch Brady (hopefully, praying to every diety I can think of) lose lose lose! Lose!

One F (*says THE F WORD*) Har
DarrinV (No relation to IVANV)

TTrimble 9:14 AM  

Three easy days in a row! What, are you getting soft on me, NYTXW? Very little hesitation anywhere, and with that easiness there was wackiness in today's theme answers. (Actually, I'm of two minds about this: I guess children's less-than-developed pronunciations can be "cute", but I know adults with the type of speech impediment where pronouncing r's is difficult, and I reckon it's neither cute nor fun for them.)

One slight hesitation was over 24 Across, where I had the letters TAKEAWAY entered and just assumed that word was going to be part of the answer, only to have to deconstruct and reconstruct later the correct parsing. And then down in 104 Down, I tried Nilla before NECCO.

A nit: the spelling WHISKEY is correct for Jameson, but not Maker's Mark. What you will find is that the Irish tend to write WHISKEY (and Jameson is an Irish whiskey), but the Scots tend to write WHISKy (as in the names of many single malt exports). Maker's Mark is a bourbon whisky -- and that's how they opted to spell that. (It's a nice product, and I'm out of it at the moment.)

I'm sure we'll be seeing any number of comments about BICEP and how the English language is going to hell in a handbasket. Yes, yes, we know how knowledgeable you are.

Bodacious BO DEREK. (Just learned that "bodacious" is thought to be a kind of portmanteau of "bold" and "audacious".) Her maiden name is actually Mary Cathleen Collins. I never knew much about her beyond her pin-up status. Actually, poor woman -- she's garnered quite a few Golden Raspberry awards and nominations over the years, including a nomination for Worst Actress of the Century in the year 2000. A number of these were for films directed by her husband John Derek, who she became involved with starting at the age of 16, and who comes off looking like a pretty cheesy and exploitative guy in the Wikipedia article.

Enjoy the game, folks!

Frayed Knot 9:16 AM  

Finally some light-hearted fun after a dismal week of crappy puzzles.

@ Barbara S, Thank you for the lovely Dickens quote.

@ Lewis, Timely anecdote and cute trick.

Andrea 9:18 AM  

It’s -10 degrees in Chicago this morning, and this puzzle wasn’t warm enough.

Sixthstone 9:18 AM  

I'm with the majority on this one: easy with some cleverness but not a ton of sparkle (and no challenges at all). However, the party theme is right up my alley: BEER, WINE, WHISKEY, WEED, the DOORS, a little SWAG, and some lovely hostesses (BO DEREK and VANNA WHITE). You go, girls!

kitshef 9:20 AM  

There were a lot more things that irritated me (IVANV, BICEP, AN ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM, NCAA GAME, BEER BREWER, ZINE, FLORAS) than things I actually enjoyed (NEWTS … OSAKA … think that’s it).

So, let’s talk about the LOUSE (Frantic Sloth, feel free to skip this part). Did you know that the duck-billed platypus is one of the few mammals that don’t get lice? And that many lice can only feed on one host species, so that if, for example, human beings went extinct, our head lice would too?

kitshef 9:21 AM  

Many happy wee turns, @Barbara S [and, apparently, belatedly so to Gill I]

bocamp 9:25 AM  

@Barbara S. 8:18 AM

Happy B.D. 🎂 🎉

Peace ~ Health ~ Hope ~ Equality for all ~ Teamwork 🕊

SouthsideJohnny 9:31 AM  

I’m with Rex today - the theme is just meh, and kind of boring. I mean - TAKE A WAYNE CHECK ? And it doesn’t get much better after that.

Two very WEAK candidates for today’s “made up word of the day” (MWAH and YEE). We’ll give the prize to MWAH today in a photo-finish, avoiding the rare DEAD HEAT.

TJS 9:42 AM  

I'm with @JoeD and Lewis on this one. Had a smile on my face after sussing "Wok bottom" and enjoyed the sly cluing throughout. Agree that this is our best Sunday so far this year. Enjoyed trying to figure out the themers with as few letters as possible and stopping to reassess with each added cross. Definitely not a speed solving technique.

I even enjoyed OFL straining for critcal nits in this one. Too bad we couldn't have a NRA mention to take the pressure off the poor guy.

And as long as Bo Derek did "Ten" she didn't have to do anything else, IMO.

Frantic Sloth 9:58 AM  

@Barbara S 818am Happy Birthday! Another Aquarius and my "streak" still holds true. (I hear they might even add an "O, Canada" in your honor at the Super Bowl.) Enjoy your special day. 😊🎂🥂🎁

@kitshef 920am Thanks for the warning, but such things invariably have the opposite effect on me. See also "spoiler alert". I am wholly incapable of heeding these signals. Not your fault of course - it's just the toddler in me.
As you were.

Birchbark 10:02 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
bocamp 10:09 AM  

@Gill I

Happy belated B.D.; sorry I missed the party. :( 🎂 🎉

Peace ~ Health ~ Hope ~ Equality for all Teamwork🕊

king_yeti 10:17 AM  

Actually the NCAA has no jurisdiction over or real relation to the Rose Bowl, FWIW.

GHarris 10:22 AM  

did it on paper first and thought i had it right. Later did it on iPad and i had two mistakes. hard ball and hee haw.

Liz T 10:31 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle. But I'm surprised that after a week supporting Black constructors that no one (especially Rex) objected to the reference to women in Salem being murdered for the crime of being unconventional.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

Beginning and end to America...SCHWAS...? I finished the puzzle..but don’t get this answer...please enlighten me.

Z 10:38 AM  

GET WITCH QUICK was my favorite. Nothing says Sunday Funday like allusions to hanging people out of some weird religious fervor. If only we could have had a good Spanish Inquisition answer (Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition) and maybe, I dunno, Boethius. We just don’t get enough Boethius in our NYTX.*

The ST PAT clue got the arched eyebrow here because he’s a few centuries too late to be considered an “apostle” except in the most metaphorical sense. One had to be commissioned by Jesus directly to be an “apostle.” I see now some traditions stretch this meaning. Heathens.

Re: BEER BREWER - I think this might become a retronym. When the two major brewed drinks were tea and BEER BREWERS only ever brewed BEER. But these days kombucha seems to be growing in popularity and maybe some day we will need this distinction. When that day arrives we will realize this puzzle was just ahead of its time.

@Joe Dipinto - I think it was coke.

@TTrimble - I think a 46 year old getting involved with a 16 year old is pretty much the definition of “exploitative.”

YEE haw. Or hEE haw. Or gEE haw. All three have appeared in the NYTX. I have learned to wait for it.

@A et al. late last night - 🤣🤣🤣 I laugh because I’ve been there. Blogger is still primarily 2006 software and that fact raises its ugly head in the weirdest way. - @JC66 - you need to add a “don’t use smart quotes” warning to your cheat sheet. That’s not just an iPad thing, other systems sometimes default to “smart quotes.”

*To be clear, I really did like the WITCH answer - dark humor is fine with me.

Teedmn 10:39 AM  

This was a fine distraction from the cold weather outside (-17 this morning). I've spent the last two days chasing turkeys off our deck. They HOG the seed so the little birds don't get any and they leave nasty deposits on the deck that freeze on. (Just had to interrupt my typing for yet another (and now another) shooing)(Okay, third time's the charm, I ran after them and made them fly off to the neighbors, good exercise, though cooolllddd).

Not a lot of word play here outside of the theme answers. The clue "It may need to be broken to move" for LEASE was clever and "One creating draft after draft" evoked the image of a frustrated writer before the BEER BREWER. When my husband is going to get together with his brewing group, he says, "I'm going beer brewing tonight", so I didn't think of that as redundant. Better than brewing trouble!

The PLANTED bulbs and evidence was nice as were the clues for 41A's SWEAT and 51D's BOAT. And yes, the clue for 107A had me checking the first and last words of "America", har. The trivia about IAGO was new information to me.

My favorite theme answer was HIT WOK BOTTOM though AN ELEPHANT IN THE WOMB was nice also.

Nice job, Katie and Christina, and congrats, Katie, on your debut.

Happy birthday, @Barbara S.!

egsforbreakfast 10:39 AM  

🎁🎁🎉🎉🎊🎊🎈🎈Happy Birthdays to @Barbara S and @Gill I. As STPAT used to say, “May you never HITWOKBOTTOM,”

Unknown 10:42 AM  

Can someone explain the answer SCHWAS?

Z 10:42 AM  

@Anon 10:32 - The word “America” begins and ends with the SCHWA sound. UhmericUh.

mathgent 10:44 AM  

Sundays are too big for me but I read the comments. Barbara S, have a great day! Thanks for the Dickens quote. It seems more poetic than he usually is.

I got a kick out of Lewis saying that the puzzle warmed his heart.

Peter P 10:44 AM  

@TTrimble -- interesting about the Maker's Mark spelling. I, as a practiced whisk(e)y drinker (even did some of the bourbon trail, including Maker's), thought all American whiskeys were spelled with the "e." Looks like there's at least one exception, with Maker's. Knob Creek, Basil Hayden, Elijah Craig, Four Roses, etc. all spell theirs "bourbon whiskey." Wonder if there are any other odd ones out. Actually, with a little research, it looks like George Dickel (Tennessee whisk(e)y) and Old Forester (bourbon) also use the e-less spelling in their branding.

GILL I. 10:47 AM  

Hey @Barbarita.....In the neck of the woods I used to live in we'd sing:
APY VERDE TU JOO......Sending a virtual banana split with a cherry on top.

Sometime an elephant joke tickles my fancy. This one did it. I loves me some Elmer Fudd. I really can't find one particular theme answer that I liked the best. They all made me do a little hee hee. I read that Katie Hale recycles children's books; she must've found a few of these gems in her collections.
@TTrimble beat me to the punch on WHISKEY/Whisky. I have both. I sometimes will make an Irish coffee using Jameson. I also have Maker's Mark but I hate bourbon. Husband has a bourbon cocktail every night.
Loved seeing CASH right love the GET WITCH QUICK. Cute way to clue PATCHY for a teens facial hair. I was thinking blotchy or fuzzy. I see CHUM and I think of shark bait. I slept in the same room as BO DEREK did when she filmed 10 at Las Hadas. Woohoo me. I don't wear cornrows, though.
Fun puzzle, ladies. It gave me a smile. Now to hope KC does the same.

Z 10:48 AM  

Maker’s Mark
“Whisky” is all I see.

oliar 10:48 AM  

I enjoyed this mostly, but also did not understand "schwa" although I got it from the crosses. When I looked up the definition, it was something like "unstressed vowels in the middle of words",so both the cluing AND solution were all kinds of wrong!

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

maybe not politically correct, but Sat puzzle was, from my perspective, awful........stale fill, awkward.

Nancy 10:57 AM  

I'm sure many will hate this. Wacky puns -- or should I reverse-engineer and call them RACKY puns? -- are not evwyone's thing. But How can you not like AN ELEPHANT IN THE WOMB?

Find an excuse and you can do this sound-switch with all kinds of sounds. And an excuse for any kind of wordplay is easier to come up with in a title than in a revealer. (This is something I know from experience.) Which may be why you see this sort of thing on Sunday more than on any other day.

Now for the title. Do all or even most toddlers talk this way? Or is it found more in comic strips than in real life? When I saw AN ELEPHANT IN THE WOMB, I immediately thought of Elmer Fudd and his "wascally wabbit". But I suppose an Elmer Fudd title would have given too much away.

Oh, wait. I see that Katie and Christina are both stay-at-home-moms. So I guess toddlers weally do talk that way.

Z 10:59 AM  

@oliar - I think you misunderstood the definition. Here’s the American Heritage definition: A mid-central neutral vowel, typically occurring in unstressed syllables, as the final vowel of English sofa. Note that even in the example the “mid-central neutral vowel” is at the end of the word. If @LMS is around she could give an informed explanation of what “mid-central neutral vowel” means to a linguist. I think it has to do with how the mouth forms the sound, but I’m just inferring.

Carola 11:07 AM  

I'm with @jae on this one: "Easy. Cute and fun, liked it."

As the constructors are introduced as stay-AT-HOME moms, I enjoyed the answers that trace some of the steps of mom-hood: the DOULA at birth, a LULLABY for the infant, the dreaded preschool or grade-school LOUSE ALERT, the teen with the PATCHY beard studying the VOCAB list...not sure about the WEED BETWEEN THE LINES.

One do-over: "lilts" before KILTS (I thought it was poetic that the lilting sound of their language was "around" them).

@Lewis - I hope you realize you have wakened an insatiable desire for more Wiley anecdotes!

@Barbara S - Happy birthday!

Joe Dipinto 11:12 AM  

@Z – I think maybe you didn't quite get it.

Nancy 11:18 AM  

Happy birthday, Barbara S! Yes, you and @GILL are almost twins.

But, according to the "birthday paradox", we probably have some actual "twins" on the blog. When you have 23 people in a room, there's a 50% chance that two will share the same birthday. And we have a lot more than 23 people on this blog. There's a mathematical probability equation explaining this, but I don't remember it. Ask @mathgent or @TTrimble.

Boo 11:28 AM  

I'm struggling to understand how "SEE" is a bishop's jurisdiction. I also am pregnant, and pregnancy brain is a real thing. Would you mind explaining this to me?

Georgia 11:36 AM  

This was indeed easy but really clever and fun. You want more women constructors and these two nailed a theme in the wheelhouse of most parents of a toddler now or very long ago. Thanks for the smiles!

GHarris 11:40 AM  

The Vatican,which is within but considered separate from the city of Rome is also referred to as the Holy See. It is ruled by the Bishop of Rome who also happens to be the Pope.

Nancy 11:41 AM  

@Lewis -- Awwww. Can you put up a photo of the adorable Wiley on your Profile? Or are you, like me, someone who never touches your Profile because you're afraid that if you do, the whole thing will go "Poof"?

And, yes, I'll buy the book. How soon will you have enough material to write it?

Z 11:45 AM  

@Joe Dipinto - That’s what I get for not reading carefully.

@Boo - Scroll all the way to the bottom for SEE as in “holy SEE”

David Plass 11:52 AM  


CDilly52 11:54 AM  

I’m with the “liked it” crew today. @Lewis - you did a great job of explaining my thoughts for me. Thanks! I was in at the top with TAKE A WAYNE CHECK. Chuckled there and the fun kept coming. This was a very well a executed example of a really good and very traditional Sunday NYT puzzle. And it was freshened up a bit. Didn’t play as old as some of the recent ones so it gave me a bit of a tussle in a couple places. Kudos to our constructors!

JD 11:56 AM  

Wow, tough cwowd. I loved this light-hearted romp. And easy Sundays cater to
my short attention span.

Laughed aloud at every themer, probably because (hey @Nancy), this is the way my toddler talked right up to kindergarten.

When she was three, I had to attend an event after work. Got down on my knees eye-level with her and her brother and explained that I'd be home late and that I'd baked a nice treat for dad to give them after dinner, to which she answered, "Gweat, the bwonies can be ouh motheh."

Comedy gold.

Happy birthday @Gill!

susan 12:02 PM  

I enjoyed some of the clues-it was clear the puzzle was written by women. No worse than any other Sunday and better than many!

sixtyni yogini 12:07 PM  

Yay! I didn’t hate it!

thefogman 12:11 PM  

Has the Sunday NYTXW HITWOKBOTTOM ? I wheely can’t wait for better days.

JC66 12:25 PM  


Thanks. Who knew...I only use a MacBook Pro. I've added the caveat.

@Barbara S


Have a great day and an even better year.

Spyguy 12:28 PM  

Made EXACTLY the same error I made on Thursday, in that the first 5-letter dance I know nothing about is TANGO. The second is SAMBA. Only by the third do I get to SALSA.

Richard 12:39 PM  

I'm shocked, SHOCKED! The Gray Lady uttered the FWORD. On a Sunday! I'm just thankful our daughter was out of the room. (Actually, she's 48 years old and lives across town with her own family; nevertheless....)

This turned out to be delightfully easy. Grokked the theme early at TAKEAWAYNECHECK, but ended up with a messy grid (using pen on paper) when I began writing "theELEPHANTINTHEWOMB" and ran out of spaces, so ended up with a long, smudgy writeover at 31A.

My only other nit is at 86A: I don't think "WHEEL" is pronounced "weel" -- unlike, say, 111A, "WHISKEY," which (witch?) may properly be pronounced "wiskey." (@LMS, where are you when we need you?)

A fun Sunday frolick. Thanks, Katie and Christina.

Z 12:46 PM  

**Formatting Discussion Alert**

@JC66 - Huh. System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Text and there is the "use smart quotes" setting checked on in my MacBook Air, and yet I get " when I use the quotation mark key here. If I go over to a word processing app I get the smart quotes. I don't know if that is Apple, Firefox, or Blogger realizing I don't want smart quotes when in the comment box.

@Everyone who never heard of "smart quotes" - It is the computer determining which way the quote mark curls depending on whether it is at the beginning or end of the word. To format a link in Blogger you have to use straight quote marks or the link won't appear properly.

Unknown 12:59 PM  

Any puzzle not capsizing under the weight of sports trivia is okay with me. I did appreciate the female knowingness of this puzzle. At home. Womb.Anne. Vanna White. Etc. Of course I didn't know Pacer--but guessed by cross fill. Oddly I got NCAA Game immediately. What else has a double A? Okay. Batteries.

Doc John 1:02 PM  

I just realized that Rex is the Mikey of crossworld.

Rug Crazy 1:09 PM  

Started bad- got worse. Finished it to see just how bad it would get and it didn't disappoint.

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

and __RP

Crimson Devil 1:17 PM  

What WEX said.
Enjoyed references to Wiley and Bo DeWek.
Pullin for Tom BWady.

Charlie 1:24 PM  

Get witch quick made me lol. There is a better answer for the always opening rock band (although it doesn't fit): the Who???

Neil 1:28 PM  

It was fun! Debut puzzle.

A 1:36 PM  

Happy Birthday, @Barbara S. - It’s as though our constructors knew and planned your birthday menu: a SOY-crusted tuna STEAK with mango SALSA and SHAD roe, with a WHISKEY sour and some NECCO wafers.

Teenage boy’s facial hair - PeaCHY?

I liked the child-related extras - LULLABYe, LIMERICK, DOULA, WOMB, SOY milk, ALOE and NEWTS, which I’ve heard as a term of endearment for a wee one. And - sorry, @Frantic - LOUSE.

Favorite thing today? Stevenson’s bottled poetry.

AN ELEPHANT IN THE WOMB and WEED BETWEEN THE LINES, far and away the most interesting themers.

Raised an eyebrow at the questionable clues for NEE (formerly called) and AUTO (manual alternative), and entry AIR ALERT. Shouldn’t that be AIR raid SIREN or AIR raid ALERT? Otherwise we’re just talking about the weather.

I don’t know but I think we might need an EEk! ALERT:

Finally, thanks, thanks, and thanks again to the rescue squad from last night. @bocamp got the ball rolling and saw the whole thing through, @TTrimble and @JC66 threw life lines, @Joe “Sherlock” Dipinto sleuthed out the culprit, which conclusion was reinforced by brother Mycroft, aka @jae. All undergirded by just the right amount of moral support by @Z, and the patience of the all-suffering Moderators!

For anyone having trouble with creating hyperlinks - watch out for software changing your quotation marks to smart quotes (straight to curly) without asking!

bocamp 1:41 PM  

**Formatting Discussion Alert**

Just to follow up on what @Z 12:46 PM wrote re" "smart quotes" interfering with commenters' attempts at hyper-texting on this blog, all those interested in being able to make your links clickable (blue) may want to hit the "Older Post" button at the bottom and read the thread near the end of yesterday's comments, related to @A's issue with being unable to turn her url's "blue" (i.e., clickable hyperlinks).

BTW, you may want to email @JC66 for his "HTML Cheat Sheet".

Peace ~ Health ~ Hope ~ Equality for all Teamwork 🕊

mathgent 2:07 PM  

Feliz cumpleanos, to you, Gill. Sorry to be late. You're a doll.

As Nancy noted, it's probable that there will be two of our group to have the same birthday. Going a bit further, if our birthdays are close to being evenly distributed over the 366 birthdays, there are about three having that birthday for every thousand of us. So, if there are five thousand of us, there are about 13 more of us sharing a birthday with Barbara and Gill.

bocamp 2:12 PM  

@Newboy 10:14 AM y.d.

I replied to your last post yesterday at the tail end of the comments.

Peace ~ Health ~ Hope ~ Equality for all ~ Teamwork 🕊

Joe in Newfoundland 2:24 PM  

SCHWAS is wrong, unless that is a New York accent and Mr Shortz has never heard anything else.

bocamp 2:26 PM  

@A 1:36 PM 👍 😊

Peace ~ Health ~ Hope ~ Equality for all ~ Teamwork 🕊

chefwen 2:30 PM  

A lovely, wee lass walks into a bar and says to a Scotsman, what is you hae under your KILT, he tells her to reach under and find out for herself. She does and says OCH, THAT IS GRUESOME. He says do it again wee lassie, it’ll grew some more.

Sorry folks.

Barbara S. Happy Birthday.

@Lewis - Hurry up with that book.

Oh yeah, loved the puzzle. Favorite clue, answer and beverage WINE.

TTrimble 2:31 PM  

@Barbara S.
Happy Birthday! And thanks for the Dickens; it's lovely.

(I never thought before to look up "like the dickens", as in, "it hurt like the dickens". Turns out "dickens" is a substitute for "devil", that people would use maybe to avoid putting money into the SWEAR JAR. The word appears in Shakespeare, for instance.)

@Gill I.
And a belated Happy Birthday from me too -- sorry I missed it before.

I seem to remember the birthday "paradox" has come up before here. It's easier to compute the probability that a group of N people all have different birthdays, for values of N ranging from 2 to 365. I'll run through a few examples.

For N = 2 people, named Alice and Bob, once A names her birthday, there's a 364/365 = .997 (99.7%) chance that Bob's birthday is different.

For N = 3 people, Alice and Bob and Carol, assuming the event that Alice and Bob have different birthdays (which has 364/365 probability), there's then a 363/365 probability that Carol shares a birthday with neither of them. So the probability that all three have different birthdays is 364/365 x 363/365 = .992 (99.2%). Note there are 2 multiplicands here.

For N = 4 people, the same type of iterative reasoning leads to a probability of

364/365 x 363/365 x 362/365 = .984 (98.4%) (there are 3 multiplicands here)

that they all have different birthdays. And so on. With each iteration, the fractions you multiply by to get from one probability to the next keep dropping (361/365, 360/365, etc.), and the drops in percentage going from one probability to the next begin to increase*. For example, the first drop is from about .997 to .992, or about .005. The second drop is from .992 to .984, or about .008. And the drops keep increasing (for a while, anyway -- there's an inflection point where that trend discontinues, around N = 21 people -- see this table).

For 23 people, the number of multiplicands in the product expression is 22, and the probability that all 23 have different birthdays is

364/365 x 363/365 x ... x (365-22)/365.

This is the first probability in the series that drops below 50%.

A remaining question is: why is 23 a reasonable number to expect? That's a little harder, and maybe not a suitable discussion for this blog, but the Wikipedia article is pretty good if you know a little calculus, and this article is also not bad.

Whatsername 2:57 PM  

@Lewis (5:57) Wiley sounds like quite the character and a good match for my latest rescue, a small female tuxedo I dubbed Sassy Pants because she has so much Cattitude. Looking forward to the publication of that feline biography. I second @Frantic’s motion for pictures in the meantime.

@Barbara S: Wishing you a very happy day and welcome to the Chiefs’ bandwagon! Come back to KC and see us sometime. We’ll have barbecue.

@GILL: In case you missed my message late yesterday, welcome aboard to you as well. I know you love your Niners, but glad you decided to become part of the Red Kingdom, even if it’s only temporary.

@Joaquin: Wear red, yell loud! Go CHIEFS!!

Mike 3:36 PM  

Don't understand 92 across: one of all fours? Arm?

Bob Neel 3:40 PM  

Me too. Bamboozled.

Bob Neel 3:44 PM  

Googled it: the unstressed central vowel (as in a mom e nt a go), represented by the symbol /ə/ in the International Phonetic Alphabet.


Nancy 4:26 PM  

Whew! Just in the nick of time! Two and a half hours to go until kick-off and I still hadn't found a reason to care who won* -- meaning I hadn't found a reason to watch at all. Any sporting event where I really don't care who wins or loses is a sporting event where my mind wanders incessantly. My eyes are watching and my mind is somewhere else entirely.

With NY fielding two of the worst football teams in the country right now, I've been sulking all season and haven't watched a game of any description since late November. But now, some of my favorite people are rooting for the Chiefs: @GILL; @Barbara S.; @Whatsername and @Joaquin. Wanting to see them happy -- especially since two of them are celebrating birthdays -- I now have a reason to care, sort of.

* Earlier I had a different reason for caring -- but it was schizophrenic. Like so many others, I have always loathed Deflategate Tom and I've made a career out of rooting against him. But now he's...old. He's very very old. And he's with a different team. A formerly underdog team?? I don't know because I've been sulking all year. But has Deflategate Tom suddenly become a sentimental favorite? I was actually thinking to myself: Tom Brady is just like you, Nancy -- battling heroically against encroaching old age. Until I came to my senses and said:


Anyhow, no more schizophrenia. I will root heartily for Kansas City thanks to my many friends on the blog.

bocamp 4:26 PM  

@Mike 3:36 PM wrote: "one of all fours? Arm?"

I took it as referring to two arms, two legs, as in crawling:

"Between six and ten months old, most babies are really starting to move. At first they may get up on "all fours" and rock back and forth—like a rocket at countdown, waiting to take off. But unlike a rocket ship, little ones might stay in “countdown” mode for a weeks before they are ready to start moving." ~ Steps Toward Crawling

Peace ~ Health ~ Hope ~ Equality for all ~ Teamwork 🕊

Axel 4:34 PM  

Was wondering that as well...

A 4:39 PM  

@Lewis, that's awesome, a Catcontrol light switch! Is it like this?
Also, Is there room in the Life of Wiley chronicles for guest appeawances? I'm thinking of @Gill’s little mutt Waffles antagonizing Fwancis the mule?

@JD, your "Gweat, the bwonies can be ouh motheh." story is precious! I gather your toddler was pleased about the substitution!

SCHWA 1895, from German Schwa, ultimately from Hebrew shewa "a neutral vowel quality," literally "emptiness."

@Joe in Newfoundland, I agree; I’ve sung America in many a chorus, and the directors made it clear we were uneducated yokels if we sang Uhhmericuhh.

*Formatting discussion alert
@JC66 - I checked, and the quotation marks on your cheat sheet came through on gmail as smart quotes (though I wasn't using your form yesterday). So it might be worth a warning to check them even if the person just uses your form and never types a " on their keyboard. I know I didn't yesterday. Here's what happened - @TTrimble had posted this on the blog yesterday:

** In the following, URL denotes your url, TEXT denotes the text that you want highlighted, ( denotes <, and ) denotes >. In other words, where you see ( below, substitute <.

To create a clickable link, just type (a href="URL")TEXT(/a). **

On my MacBook, I copied his example into Notes and made the changes as he instructed. When I subbed in the > for the ) the quote mark adjacent to the ) changed to a smart close quote. Then, not seeing that, I copied the finished (so I thought) link and pasted it into the blog comment box for the fail.

Interestingly, just now I tried to make a new hyperlink directly into the comment box, instead of preparing it in Notes - the quote mark did not change this time. Learning more all the time!

John Windle 4:50 PM  

On all fours = arms and legs

JC66 5:00 PM  


Great minds...I sent you an email an hour ago a;ologizig and correcting the Cheat Sheet.

EdFromHackensack 5:07 PM  

Hesitated a bit on THEWHEELDEAL. I had the HEE and the mention of Parmesan in the clue made me think “cHEEse”... just a hiccup in an otherwise smooth puzzle. Liked it alot, dont see the need to grip about a fun puzzle.

Smith 5:22 PM  

@Pablo this morning

...and I know it's time to get my glasses prescription updated when I start to have *real* trouble with the tiny numbers!

Z 5:29 PM  

@A & @Joe in Newfoundland - I am trying hard to imagine how one might say America without SCHWAS.
American Heritage gives the pronunciation as: ə-mĕr’ĭ-kə
Merriam-Webster: ə-ˈmer-ə-kə
Lexico: əˈmɛrɪkə

So lots of variation on representing the pronunciation but they all agree that it begins and end with a “ə,” what we affectionately spell out as SCHWA.
I’m amusing myself imagining Aye May Ree Kaye being sung in West Side Story.. Nope, they still SCHWA away. Anyway, I just can’t imagine how you are saying or singing America.

bocamp 5:31 PM  

@A 4:39 PM

Thx for your link. Loved the "Catcontrol light switch" vid. Cats are awesome! 😻

Also pasting @TTrimble's formatting tip, in addition to summarizing your experience with the "smart quotes" issue, should be useful to those who may not have had a chance to read the thread at the close of yesterday's comments, and are still having problems with the process of making clickable links. 👍

pg -2

Peace ~ Health ~ Hope ~ Equality for all ~ Teamwork 🕊

Smith 5:43 PM  

@Lewis what a gweat tale!

@GillI and @ BarbaraS Happy Birthday!

Liked the puzzle well enough but weally, too easy. Was writing in themers off one letter/phoneme. So not cwunchy and didn’t take long enough for a Sunday. Oh, well.

Whatsername 5:56 PM  

@Nancy (4:26) Hooray!! Another Chiefs fan among us! Heck even if it’s just for this one game, I’m happy. The sports media have been hyping this Super Bowl as a contest between Tom Brady, The GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) and Patrick Mahomes, The Kid (age 25). But I like to remind everyone that another word for a young GOAT is a Kid.

Anonymous 9:00 PM  

dark humor is fine with me.

Aren't we a little queasy today? The real term is perfectly fine:

"Breton coined the term for his 1940 book Anthology of Black Humor (Anthologie de l'humour noir), in which he credited Jonathan Swift as the originator of black humor and gallows humor (particularly in his pieces Directions to Servants (1731), A Modest Proposal (1729), Meditation Upon a Broomstick (1710), and in a few aphorisms)."
the wiki

The word “America” begins and ends with the SCHWA sound. UhmericUh.

Only in The Ruby Red states.

Lewis 9:56 PM  

@A -- Yes, exactly!

jberg 9:58 PM  

Wow, it's almost Monday. So I'll just point out that Ike's opponent's slogan also rhymed: "Madly for Adlai!" At least, it sort of did. Fortunately, only one of the two is 3 letters.

I loved the theme answers, but still, it was a Sunday, so a little boing overall.

AIR ALERT was a little off -- no one ever said anything but "air raid alert," as far as I know.

Anonymous 10:14 PM  

GOAT. I don’t even care that he’s a MAGA guy.

MichGirl 12:02 AM  

When I figured out on the first themer that it was going to be grating baby talk slog I almost decided to just try again next Sunday. It was as annoying as I had anticipated.

oriordan 12:45 AM  

@Barbara S - happy birthday!

isobel 12:00 PM  

Yes. Welcome and congratulations to Katie Hale and Christina Iverson!

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

You are correct that Flora is a plural, especially if anywhere near Biota or Fauna.

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

The clue should have been "What the stoner actor DID...", not " What the stoner actor SMOKED...". And Rex is white about that.

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

Rex's point (and he's "white" about it), is that the clue should have been What the stoner actor DID, not What the stoner actor SMOKED.

Anonymous 2:19 PM  

I have always had trouble pronouncing the letter "r," as a child and now as an adult. I had a miserable childhood of other kids making fun of it. Luckily adults rarely do -- with the exception of this crossword puzzle. That anyone thinks this is "cute" makes me cringe. What can we expect next Sunday -- making fun of lisping or stuttering?

spacecraft 10:54 AM  

Weird: OFC calls THEFWORD "nice," while decrying the appearance of other unsavory entries like NRA or somebody's name whose ideology he finds objectionable. McCarran, e.g. Our famous airport is now getting renamed (at a cost of about $3 mil!) on account of somebody objecting to his apartheid views. How many mouths could that $3 mil feed? And yet: FWORD: fine. Go figure.

I wasn't all that excited about the baby talk theme, but it worked on its own level. Nothing too flashy--OR trashy--about the fill, so, par. BODEREK must be DOD, but an extra honorable honorable mention to VANNAWHITE. I don't know how she does it: she must certainly be pushing seventy. You go, woman!

Burma Shave 2:40 PM  


she's ADEPT at 'THEWHEEL' you'll learn,
SEE, her POISE ON GAME shows is THE trick,


rondo 3:00 PM  

@spacey - THEWHEEL of Fortune yeah baby VANNAWHITE turned 64 three days ago. BODEREK is also 64. OPRAH is 67. Our lady constructors' ages unknown. I'd say I'm close to the mean.

I knew there would be a WHISKEY vs. WHISKY conversation.

BTW I finished the latest Harper's Puzzle in just a few hours yesterday. Thar's puzzle gold in them thar hills.

Stuck with the oars, woeisme.

Diana, LIW 5:08 PM  

Didn't even notice the name of the puzzle until the last letter was in. Apt. I've discussed it with the cats, and they prefer I not use baby talk. Tho it's ok to call them "baby."

Lady Di

Beverly 7:27 PM  

What is schwas?

rondo 11:00 PM  

@beverly - not a long a nor a short a sound. Kin of the uh sound as in Uh-meric -uh.

Unknown 11:46 AM  

Really? PC gone wild. The theme would be in bad taste if it referred to someone with a speech impediment. It doesn't.

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