Flower that shares its name with a sea creature / WED 2-3-21 / Bookend letters of Google Maps appropriately / Japan's largest lake located NE of Kyoto / Civil rights icon who led historic march from Selma to Montgomery on 3/7/1965 / First sitting prez to fly in an airplane / Sue who wrote the so-called alphabet series

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Constructor: Yacob Yonas

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium 

THEME: JOHN LEWIS (35A: Civil rights icon who led a historic march from Selma to Montgomery on 3/7/1965) — theme answers are related to Lewis's career and activism:

Theme answers:
  • NON-VIOLENCE (16A: Principle of the type of activism practiced by 35-Across)
  • GEORGIA'S FIFTH (19A: Congressional district represented by 35-Across from 1987 to 2020)
  • FREEDOM RIDERS (53A: Group including 35-Across that protested the segregation of public buses)
  • GOOD TROUBLE (58A: Oxymoronic coinage of 35-Across)
Word of the Day: BIWA (37A: Japan's largest lake, located NE of Kyoto) —
Lake Biwa (Japanese琵琶湖HepburnBiwa-ko) is the largest freshwater lake in Japan, located entirely within Shiga Prefecture (west-central Honshu), northeast of the former capital city of Kyoto. Lake Biwa is an ancient lake, over 4 million years old. It is estimated to be the 13th oldest lake in the world. Because of its proximity to the ancient capital, references to Lake Biwa appear frequently in Japanese literature, particularly in poetry and in historical accounts of battles. (wikipedia) ... ALSO ...
The biwa (琵琶) is a Japanese short necked lute, often used in narrative storytelling. The biwa is the chosen instrument of Benten, goddess of music, eloquence, poetry, and education in Japanese Buddhism. The biwa is a plucked string instrument that was first popular in China and then spread throughout East Asia. It is said to have arrived in Japan from China during the Nara period (710–794), and is even thought to have roots that trace back to Persia. It is generally 60 centimetres (24 in) to 106 centimetres (42 in) in length and made from wood. The instrument consists of a water drop shaped body with a handle, and while there are generally four strings, five stringed varieties also exist. In Japan, the biwa is generally plucked with a bachi instead of the fingers, and is often used to play gagaku. In addition, it is used as musical accompaniment when blind monks recite scriptural texts, or when reciting The Tale of the Heike, a war chronicle from the Kamakuraperiod (1185–1333). (wikipedia). 
• • •

Straightforward tribute puzzle. Lewis makes a very worthy subject, of course, but this type of puzzle always feels flat to me. Pick a subject, pick some things related to that subject that fit symmetrically in a grid, done. You can do this for any famous person. There's just not much to it. I did think that the theme answer set was pretty lively—GEORGIA'S FIFTH is original, and the closer, GOOD TROUBLE, is fantastic. But puzzle-wise, there's not much here but a list. No playfulness, no trickery, none of the things that make the puzzle interesting at the *puzzle* level. As an example of the type, this is good. I just don't care for this type of puzzle very much. Also, my god if I never hear the term BITCOIN again it'll be too soon. I thought this puzzle was about *NON*-VIOLENCE, but then you went and made me think about tech billionaire BITCOIN bros. Just CRUEL, really. I did enjoy seeing AOC and the and all. And JAMIE Foxx. And NARUTO (it's a really popular manga title, but I wonder if it's really well known to NYTXW solvers yet). Speaking of comics, John Lewis co-wrote one called "March," a trilogy about his life in the Civil Right Movement. It's very popular and extremely well regarded. Worth (re-) reading this month.

I struggled a bit today in both the NW and SW corners. I love BANG OUT as an answer (3D: Do quickly, as an assignment), but wow I had trouble picking it up. BEAT OUT and then BASH OUT were keeping BANG OUT out of the picture until I got the first two themers up there. So that was a struggle I came out of happy. The struggle in the SW ended less happily. BIWA is totally new to me (37A: Japan's largest lake, located NE of Kyoto). Seems a fine answer—it's geographically significant in a number of ways. But there's nothing inferrable about it, so I needed every cross. Which leads me to BAD FATS (37D: Butter and margarine, nutritionally speaking). Bah. It's the clue, really, that threw me. If you tell me "nutritionally speaking," I expect something more specific and less slangy than BAD FATS. Also, man I hate the moral coding of fat, or anything related to food. In short, It never occurred to me that something as casual and common-parlance as BAD FATS would be the answer, considering nothing in the clue suggested the answer would be slangy or colloquial. In fact, "nutritionally speaking" appears to point me in the opposite direction—toward something more precisely scientific. So FATS wasn't hard, but the BAD part was both hard and, ultimately, disappointing. 

ANNA Deavere Smith has been in a ton of shows, and her name is really familiar, but I couldn't place her today, especially without any specific information to go on beyond her name (you could throw a "West Wing" or "Nurse Jackie" or "blackish" in there ... something) (6D: Actress ___ Deavere Smith). Could not process the clue on GPS (9A: Bookend letters of "Google Maps," appropriately); bookends are, almost by definition, symmetrical, and so the idea that the "G" (on the one hand) and the "PS" (on the other) of "Google Maps" might be thought of as "bookends"??? No, that did not track. Outside the theme, the answers that pleased me the most were POP TRIO and (ironically) OLD GAG. Just good, colorful middle-length phrases. Sometimes you find enjoyment in unexpected, smallish things. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:35 AM  

John Lewis is a hero of mine, who held his own and always stood up for what is right. Who minced no words and carried himself with dignity. Who acted again and again – nonviolently – to further the cause of the oppressed. Who had his skull fractured, who was arrested more than 40 times. I see his face and I see determination, a fighter, and a courageous champion of justice.

How fitting that I ran into some GOOD TROUBLE in the South as I solved this grid!

Yacob created a well-constructed grid, and I even oohed at the eight double O’s, but more than that, he brought to life this hero of mine once again, and I meditated on all the good that can be found in our world. Thank you for this, Yacob.

Anonymous 6:42 AM  

While it is true that health and morality get conflated all the time, and especially when it comes to "fat," good and bad fat refers to whether it is saturated (bad for you) or not (good for you). And I don't think the body scolds appropriated good and bad from the clerics and philosophers. I think they've been used in other realms forever.

Flinque 6:44 AM  

Too easy for Wednesday. More like an easy Tuesday.

BarbieBarbie 6:51 AM  

Very wheelhouse-y for me once I got going. Also, now I know what is meant by sparkly fill. It kept making me smile. On a Wednesday. Loved the seat at the counter!!

Did anyone else feel pinched-in in the NW? Interesting grid.

Anonymous 7:11 AM  

I thought Rex would comment on FITS and SEEFIT being duplicative

kitshef 7:15 AM  

Yesterday we had the day of unknown PPP. Today was more of an even split between obscure PPP (BIWA, OOLA, NARUTO) and green paint (GEORGIAS FIFTH, OLD GAG). Actually, GEORGIAS FIFTH isn’t even green paint; it’s more like wheelbarrow paint.

Having Googled OOLA, I see she is a person of color. In this case, the color is green.

SouthsideJohnny 7:17 AM  

Natick-City today, with GRAFTON crossing ROI and ANOS. I didn’t even bother guessing - I’ll just concede the dnf on trivia-day.

Similarly, BIWA and ANEMONE are “either you know them or you don’t” - I hesitated to drop in INERTIA since I don’t really consider it to mean “sluggishness”, but I suppose it’s close enough for CrossWorld.

The rest of it is pretty straightforward - I enjoyed the theme/tribute, so that is cool. I’m confused by the clue for 62A (some succulents) leading to ALOES - which apparently are considered a “succulent plant” - What the heck is a succulent plant ? Something that tastes good - I guess a cactus is not succulent? Don’t some people eat some forms of cactus plants ? At least that was was discernible (and apparently accurate - I’m just slow on the uptake I guess).

Z 7:43 AM  

Straight forward tribute puzzle. [insert tribute puzzle rant here]

Aggressively PPP today. 40%. Take out the five themers and it would still be 33%, i.e. bound to be super easy for some and nigh on impossible for others.

NARUTO? Alrighty then. Same thought as Rex. Hell, people around here have been known to throw hissy FITS over Maus, so you know NARUTO is going to be beyond the ken of many.

Alexandria OCASIO-Cortez excites so many people’s fever dreams that I imagine her presence even more than the JOHN LEWIS theme will keep the mods busy. Nothing like a pretty young woman with a little extra melatonin in her skin who is smarter than you to send the white male privileged into a frenzy of stupidity. I saw something about Schumer being worried she might run against him. What I’d like to see is him retiring and endorsing her for his seat.

One of my biggest hopes for 2021 is that come August we will be able to have 1200 or so ultimate players and their friends in our town playing at our JOHN B. LEWIS Soccer Complex. Don’t congregate, maintain social distancing, wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, wear a mask when around other people, and get vaccinated as soon as you can and maybe, just maybe, that can happen.

ChuckD 7:46 AM  

I don’t care who it is - I tend not to enjoy tribute puzzles. LEWIS is a fine subject but the puzzle doesn’t match up. Like GOOD TROUBLE but the Rye-like GEORGIAS FIFTH comes across as filler to grid balance FREEDOM RIDERS.

BIWA x BAD FATS is bad fill as is all the short glue - BCCS, OKS, SLO etc. Liked OLD GAG and SAYS BOO along with POP TRIO. Not sure AOC should be placed as prominently to LEWIS at this stage in her career.

Maybe we get a nice Thursday?

Z 7:48 AM  

@Southside Johnny - the INERTIA clue doesn’t work scientifically, but it does work colloquially.

Preferred Customer 7:53 AM  

Good morning, I'm here to represent butter. Not a bad fat. In fact, it is a good fat. It is the fats that have been artificially made solid that are not good for you. Additionally, extra virgin olive oil is one of the best fats for high heat frying. Research has absolved these fabulous natural foods.


Hungry Mother 7:56 AM  

A name orgy today. Squeaked through, but not happily. JOHNLEWIS deserved a better puzzle.

snowmaiden 8:02 AM  

SEE FIT and FITS? Isn't that illegal?

Andrea 8:08 AM  

Naruto is household name for anyone with kids (mostly boys, I dare say) who enjoy manga/animé, twenty something and down. If puzzles insist on including sports players and hip-hoppers, I think it’s fair play that solvers learn these as well. After all, it is an extremely popular genre worldwide.

P.S. our dog is named after one of the characters in Naruto and people have trouble pronouncing his name at first; unless they know the show, in which case the recognition always makes all of us smile 😊

TJS 8:13 AM  

@Z, is she smarter than you, or just smarter than us?

bocamp 8:21 AM  

Thx, @Yacob, for a very enjoyable Wednes. puzzle!

Just south of Medium. Pretty much on my wave length throughout.

John Lewis: "Good Trouble"

"The film explores Georgia representative's, 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health care reform, and immigration."

Rented the movie on Apple TV.

"To honor U.S. Congressman John Lewis' extraordinary legacy, Apple is donating its share of proceeds from this movie to the National Civil Rights Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Nothin' But Nothin' from "FREEDOM RIDERS": The Civil Rights Musical

Unchained Melody ~ "The Supremes"

yd pg -2

Peace Tolerance Kindness Togetherness 🕊

Mike G 8:28 AM  

In general I'm not a tribute puzzle fan, but the inclusion of the lunch counter STOOL was a nice little extra that complimented the well theme enough to make me smile.

Nancy 8:31 AM  

Let me join in what others are saying. I don't enjoy tribute puzzles in general and the amount of PPP in the rest of the puzzle is w-a-a-y too much.

Of course the heroic and universally liked and admired JOHN LEWIS is a really worthy subject if you're going to do a tribute puzzle. I just would be happier if no one ever did a tribute puzzle.

I did smile, though, when I got to GOOD TROUBLE, which I wrote in from just having the G. While JOHN LEWIS did and said many things of infinitely greater consequence, the lovely phrase, GOOD TROUBLE, is the way I like to remember him.

Frantic Sloth 8:32 AM  

Well, what would this week be without a JOHNLEWIS tribute puzzle? It's also fitting that Jeff Chen awarded it POW...at least so far.
The theme answers were the easiest part for me, so good thing they took up considerable real estate!
Another grid with better than average fill, too. No complaints and a pleasure to solve.

Two WOEs, both courtesy of Japan: BIWA and NARUTO just because.


RooMonster 8:37 AM  

Hey All !
One of the rare times I didn't like the puz. Sorry. Too many black squares, too much short fill/segmented grid, too many names. OOLA, OK, supposed to know Every Single Bit Player in Every Single Star Wars Movie now? Who is the elephant looking thing playing the instrument? Will that be in a puz soon?

Agree with the SEEFIT/FITS ughness (even if it does provide two F's).You can tell I didn't particularly care for this puz, as my other wha? was the clue for OFF. Again, although I enjoy seeing the F's, how is that an answer for Sharp or Flat? And yes, NARUTO is unknown. Anime, sure, but I can't be bothered knowing something about something I have no interest in that doesn't impact world events.

Sorry for the negativity, y'all know I usually like the puzs. This one just wasn't there. Boo for me.

Five F's

Z 8:37 AM  

@TJS - Oh, C’mon man - everybody agrees that nobody is smarter than me.

Seriously though, it doesn’t take much more than a quarter step back to recognize how much of the visceral hate she inspires has nothing to do with her policy ideas. And the Twitter bios of the nasties is more than enough to expose exactly who is feeling threatened by her.

Debra 8:48 AM  

Enjoyed this one, in spite of its maligning butter and, worst of all, lumping it in with margarine.

Anna Deavere Smith is worth getting to know, a huge talent.


burtonkd 8:56 AM  

Hands up for resisting INERTIA, the force behind - "a body at rest stays at rest, a body in motion stays in motion". If you think it means sluggishness, that says more about you (or me this morning).

Other words where the colloquial has overtaken the literal meaning: literal, although I get a kick out of the dictionary throwing up its hands and now listing a definition as "figuratively".

My person pet peeve, which I just heard on NPR: They gathered momentum, sped up and got louder until they reached a CRESCENDO. My musical brain screams every time that the crescendo IS the gathering of volume or momentum. Of course speeding up in my example is accelerando, so this is all harder than it looks...

I'm wondering if the OCASIO, JOHNLEWIS, ATONAL stack is a subtle political commentary? That would be especially DEVILish in a tribute puzzle.

Hi Teri GARR, nice to see you again

STOOL and SAT as consecutive clues interesting. Made me think of a possible clue for a different puzzle: He sat on a stool to take a _______


Unknown 9:02 AM  

One might have thought that rex would love this puz about a true American hero, but no . . . .
Three thoughts: 1. "bad" fats is a nutritional thing, not a moral judgment;
2. butter is really healthier than margarine;
3. and rex, like it or not, "bitcoin" is a thing. You may not like it, but the future is now.

Sir Hillary 9:22 AM  

Great theme. Who would argue otherwise?

But the fill -- now that I think about it, it adheres to a "North-South" divide that characterized much of what JOHNLEWIS had to deal with. Up top, we have gems like BANGOUT, GRAFTON, POPTRIO, BITCOIN, OCASIO, OUNCE (nice clue), SAVEME and SEEFIT. But the junk down below -- BIWA, OOLA, NARUTO, OLDGAG, LOP (dopey clue) -- SAVEME! My dietitian wife agrees with the BADFATS characterization due to how they are processed by the body, but says no one really calls them that, so it's green paint. ("Good" ones include olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.)

I do like STOOL being down South, because I picture it in a 1960s diner under a "Whites Only" sign, with JOHNLEWIS and others sitting there resolutely as the police enter the building. That made me smile.

ArtO 9:24 AM  

Trouble in the SE seems an apt metaphor for today's puzzle. John Lewis a man worthy of many tributes.

TTrimble 9:32 AM  

"I’m confused by the clue for 62A (some succulents) leading to ALOES - which apparently are considered a “succulent plant” - What the heck is a succulent plant ? Something that tastes good - I guess a cactus is not succulent?"

Does it occur to you just to look this up? Wikipedia can be a wonderful resource you know.

yd -- same as you. I think I'm going to throw in the Bounty and see what I missed. Grr.

Our Climate Envoy Has a Private Jet said... 9:32 AM  

Overall medium here. Never heard of BIWA or NARUTO before. Need to brush up on my Japanese trivia.

G. Weissman 9:33 AM  

Rex wonders if NYT crossword solvers have heard of NARUTO, but not a word about Japan’s largest lake or the dancer from “Return of the Jedi.” Curious.

Jay 9:36 AM  

Hate tribute puzzles.

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

FDR = Sitting President

Birchbark 9:46 AM  

BAD FAT -- I discovered the perfect snack last night around 11:00. Heat one slice pastrami folded and one slice capicolla cut in halves, turning occasionally until they sizzle and the fat crisps slightly. Meanwhile, in the extra space in the pan, toast one slice siebenfelder (multigrain) or other bread, cut in halves. When it's ready, add yellow mustard to one side of the sandwich and neatly stack on the pastrami and capicolla. Then dig in.

You don't need any other oils or butter -- they would hide the real action here. I call it the GOOD TROUBLE sandwich.

bigsteve46 9:47 AM  

The proper name explosion in these crosswords has reached epidemic proportions. To me, the use of a proper name is an indicator of per-se inferiority of both the puzzle and the constructor. Naturally, I respond more viscerally to proper names in areas I don't know or care about: Star Wars, sci-fi of all types, Lord-of-the-Rings crap - as opposed to stuff I do (usually) know: baseball, geography.
Chacon a son gout, as they say across the pond (foreign language stuff doesn't bother me - as long as they arise from the couple of foreign languages that I know (a little!)

Eldreth 9:57 AM  

Succulent plants are those that have thick, water retaining leaves such as jade plants and, in this case, aloe plants.

Total Novice 10:01 AM  

I'm still completely flummoxed by the clueing for INERTIA. Even after the heroic explications of @Z, @SouthsideJohnny, @burtonkd

Is there a pun here on 'inert' that I've never noticed before? How are people using "inertia" colloquially to mean "sluggishness"? "I'm suffering from inertia today"?

Tearing my hair out over this --

mathgent 10:01 AM  

My wife and I solved it last night while watching the Warriors lose close to the Celtics. We had fun swapping answers. It didn't distract us from the game much.

Good to learn BIWA, Japan's largest lake.

25 threes didn't leave room for long entries.

"Bookend"-type clues are common in cryptics, which I like a lot. Annoying to see it misused for GPS vis-a-vis "Google Maps." Stop the presses! Old man gets annoyed.

Sharp clue for OFF.

Unknown 10:06 AM  

Lol, I thought the same!

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

This is, expect, the first time I can say that a Rex-ism meets me. Taj Mahal and I grew up in the same town. I was born there, and his family moved there at an early age (wiki doesn't say what). Earlier reports had him being born there. Oh well.

Unknown 10:08 AM  

I too hesitated to enter in INERTIA. it was my last fill. Surprised when it was right

Joaquin 10:12 AM  

I believe that JOHN LEWIS would be happy to share the center stage of this puzzle with Alexandria OCASIO-Cortez. Both are smart, charismatic leaders who possess immense courage and strength of character.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

Teddy Roosevelt, apparently, was the first of be in some sort of aircraft. FDR, the first on gummint business. One might also see it as a pun (not particularly nice one, of course), since FDR couldn't really stand or walk on his own due to polio, so was a Sitting President.

GILL I. 10:30 AM  

Well...if you're going to have a tribute puzzle during Black History Month, then JOHN LEWIS is certainly a fitting candidate. And since you had a boatload of names, I secretly wished you had snuck Maya Angelou in. Just a thought.
BUTTER IS BAD FOR YOU ?????? Julia Child is turning in her grave. I wish nutritionists would get it together. The good/bad debate goes on. Can I drink coffee? wine? eat pate de foie? put mayo on my French fries?...I do all of those and my cholesterol is perfectly fine, thank you.
I really didn't have any pauses in today's Wednesday but I winced a bit at so many names. I smiled at SAYS BOO.. @burtonkd's last paragraph made the chortle list. I also like OOPS looking up to STOOL.....Is a trickster really a DEVIL? I'd love a ROOM With a View and wonder if the DEVIL wore Prada.
@Birchbark....Yumminiciousness. My go to mid-night snack is a grilled chicken and cheese sandwich with LOADS of butter.....

Unknown 10:30 AM  

Second day in a row of repeated words: yesterday's TOSSUP and LAIDUP and today's SEESFIT and FITS, and second day in a row of Rex not calling out the mistake. Are we seeing a more forgiving Rex because of Black History Month or what?

Newboy 10:31 AM  

GOOD TROUBLE here today, but everything fell into place with fair crosses. ORB smelled OFF as clued, but otherwise I was CUEd IN for the PPP that evaded recall. Both NARUTO & BIWA didn’t click even though I had conversational Japanese courses when our youngest son taught in Japan with the JETS program. Never was able to visit the boy and try the tongue, alas. From today’s non-stellar grid performance probably not a bad thing. Given today’s solve experience, Rex’s assessment I deem appropriate....GPS, CABS & PUBS easy/ recalling how to spell OCASIA not so clearly a gimme. All in all a great reminder from Yacob to get OFF that STOOL and make some GOOD TROUBLE!

Tom T 10:33 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle and the FDR clue. Nothing to boast about here, as I had nothing to do with it, but the pilot of the plane that FDR rode in as the first sitting president in the skies was a relative of mine, Henry Tift Meyers. He also was Truman's pilot and quite an interesting character. Here is part of his biographical sketch from the University of Georgia archives:

"Henry Tift Meyers was appointed the first Presidential pilot in 1942, and served in this capacity until 1947. He was the captain of "The Sacred Cow" and "The Independence," the predecessors to Air Force One, and he was responsible for transporting Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and their families within the United States and abroad. Myers was also frequently charged with transporting members of Congress, high ranking military officers, visiting royalty, and other VIPs and guests of the United States government, including Dwight Eisenhower, Madame Chiang, wife of Chiang Kai-shek, Mexican President Miguel Alemán, and Winston Churchill, among others.

During his years as a pilot Myers also set numerous world records. He was the first pilot to circumnavigate the globe at the equator; he was the first American pilot after Lindbergh to fly nonstop from New York to Paris. His ten-year air transport speed record was broken by Howard Hughes in 1944. As a result of his high profile career, Myers also maintained a modicum of celebrity. He hobnobbed with Hollywood actors and actresses, and was frequently profiled in magazines and newspapers."

Whatsername 10:35 AM  

Despite the high imbalance of Propers and the unfair swipe at butter, I liked this puzzle simply because of the theme subject who could not be more worthy of a tribute. I was young but do remember the early days of the civil rights movement when the first black students were integrated into my small-town school. I can only imagine how frightening that must’ve been for them at such a young age. Martin Luther King said “we shall overcome” and they certainly did, with every OUNCE of courage they could muster.

@Z (7:43) Re the “frenzy of stupidity,” I think that’s true and it’s not just the men either. Unfortunately, I’ve seen that same level of condescension and derision directed toward VP Harris.

Z 10:40 AM  

@Total Novice - Keep your hair. People use language in sometimes confounding ways and crossword puzzles like to misdirect us with these alternative usages. Take the part of the definition that says “a body at rest will stay at rest” and imagine that the “body” is that of a person binge watching The Wire.. One might colloquially say the binge watcher is suffering from INERTIA rather than saying they are feeling to sluggish to even shower today and what is it with all the Chinese takeout containers.

Yeah - Stop with the reductionist BAD FAT crap. Shockingly, some amount of saturated fat seems to help prevent dementia while too much of it will clog your arteries. So what is good for your heart may be bad for your brain (seems like this is the moral of some Shakespeare play). And if I remember correctly, you really really want to make sure that babies get enough saturated fats (from milk fat) because those myelin sheaths are fatty. What the scientists are mostly saying is that we Americans have too much saturated FAT, the “too much” being the BAD part, not the FAT part. And, of course, there’s wide variance between people so my father-in-law can dip white bread in bacon fat and his cholesterol is fine while my mother-in-law has to be careful or her doctor will nag nag nag.

Nancy 10:40 AM  

Unlike so many of you, I showed no INERTIA in quickly writing in INERTIA this morning.

Then, seeing all the comments about INERTIA (those that that weren't written by @Z) I wondered if I'd been using it incorrectly all these years. I often suffer from INERTIA and have been so happy having such a delightful word for it. Now I was beginning to doubt myself. So I Googled it.

Nope. Wasn't wrong. Last definition in Webster's.

And I protest mightily that it's the same thing as "literally" being substituted for "figuratively" due to improper usage. It's nothing of the sort. Rather it's a colorful way to describe someone who's too lazy and indolent to want to move at all.

TTrimble 10:43 AM  

@ Total Novice
I dunno, something like "I suspect the reason that we haven't heard back from the administrators is total INERTIA on their part."

Almost as if to say: they're not moving, and that's how it will be unless some force is exerted. ;-)

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

probably seen ROTJ 100 times and never new her name was OOLA

Whatsername 10:52 AM  

From John Lewis’ farewell letter: “The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.” [Emphasis added.]

It is bone chilling to realize how close we came to doing exactly that so soon after he left us.

tea73 10:52 AM  

I am suffering from INERTIA this morning. I should be working, but I'm doing the puzzle instead.

I'm not a big fan of tribute puzzles, but I liked this one. The sneakiness of GEORGIA'S FIFTH made me laugh. I liked the STOOL to remind us of other protests.

Believe me, I've watched Star Wars way more times than I would have liked, and listened to it even more times, (my kid was a fan we had the VHS tapes), I do not remember the name of the dancer.

Crimson Devil 10:55 AM  

Fine tribute to National hero. Learned BIWA & NARUTO, both gettable via crosses. Did not know actress ANNA Smith, but enjoyed being reminded of ANNA Nicole SMITH, source of one one of the best ever retorts from witness stand on cross-examination: when asked by stepson’s lawyer, in estate dispute, how she could possibly have spent so much of her now-deceased husband’s money, she reputedly replied “It costs a lot to be me”!!

sixtyni yogini 11:01 AM  

Have to love a puzzle that fits the times!
And is tribute to a hero!
And that has some of today’s stars 🌟 in politics and the arts!
(And no sports peeps, thank you!j
Easy, yes - and fun.

pabloinnh 11:04 AM  

Alas, my children are grown, and I no longer see my students in high school, and the knowledge of NARUTO has escaped me entirely. Another cultural phenomenon outside my ken. Nor have I heard the mermaids singing each to each. A melancholy snow-covered morning here.

Well, at least I made the acquaintance of BIWA and OOLA, a couple of newcomers for me, so into the xword part of my brain they go. Hope they don't get lost in there.

Nice to see STOOL clued in a way that made me think of it only as a piece of furniture.


Very nice tribute, YY. We could use us some more John Lewis about now, and some more AOC too.

gloriosky 11:04 AM  

@Tom T: Thanks for the info! Interesting, and something I’d never otherwise know.

Canon Chasuble 11:10 AM  

I thought this to be a thoughtful puzzle, both on the part of the constructor and the solver. That is to say, I actually thought about the meaning, the history, and the emotions brought up by the answers. I had nothing but admiration for the puzzle after solving it, and thinking about what it meant. Oh, and the MA cities of Natick and Grafton are only about thirty miles apart. And my wife and I once took communion
With John Lewis at new york’s cathedral of St John the Divine.

burtonkd 11:23 AM  

@Nancy - I read definition 2 of INERTIA, and I stand corrected, unless of course Webster's definition 2 is like the figuratively definition of literally where they just gave in, in which case I know Loren would approve.
Just checked; it IS definition 2: MW dictionary - literally

I thought LEIA would be the dancer, remembering her chained to the throne of Jabba the Hut.

Steve M 11:24 AM  

Great puzzle
Good trouble

JD 11:31 AM  

FDR was the first president to fly on Official Business. Distant cousin Teddy flew before him.

FDR's claim to fame this month would be that he was married to Eleanor. She's the one who thumbed her nose at the DAR when they barred the soprano Leontyne Price from singing at Constitution Hall in D.C., quit the organization and arranged for her to sing at the Lincoln Memorial.

Price's birthday is in a week. She'll be 94.

I liked this puzzle. It made me feel good. Especially the "Stool" answer. I think it passed the "it matters" test.

albatross shell 11:37 AM  

Are you saying a puzzle that is a tribute to a black hero during Black History Month is too black? Har har, I know you're on the square. Har. Also: Give me a middle C. I think that is a tad OFF. Sharp or flat?
I am no musician but that strikes me as normal usage. But maybe not? I would expect you to know yout OFFs.

@Total Novice and others
Merriam-Webster fir example of using inertia inasentence: He blames governmental inertia for the holdup. He blames goverment sluggishness for the holdup. My example: I can't get started this morning. I think it's just sluggishness (inertia). Just trying to save your hair.

oisk17 11:51 AM  

Just awful. I don't evaluate puzzles based on whom they are honoring. But OOLA ? Crossing "aloes" ? The former unacceptably obscure in any puzzle, the latter a contrived plural. And then there was or were "Bad fats." With Biwa. I like geographical clues, and am annoyed at being defeated there, but "Bad fats"? I thought of it, actually, but thought "nah, couldn't be..." Oscar Isaac?? Bad trouble! I am going to brush up on my Spanish, though, as I foresee a week of puzzles by Latino contributors coming soon.....

burtonkd 11:54 AM  

@JD - Marian Anderson was the Contralto who sang at the Lincoln Memorial after being denied Constitution Hall by the DAR. Nonetheless, a good connection on your part to Eleanor Roosevelt.

FrostMo 11:56 AM  

Was able to BANG OUT this one for a Wednesday PR by a fair bit. Felt like yesterday and today could very easily have been swapped difficulty wise. No matter though, enjoyed the puzzle. Thought it was a nice tribute.

jae 12:00 PM  

Medium. Pretty smooth for a theme rich tribute puzzle. Liked it and Jeff gave it POW.

Me too for BIWA and NARUTO as WOEs.

bocamp 12:04 PM  

Love the idea of a "cashless society". Haven't used cash (aside from tips) in years. "Bitcoin" is way above my pay grade, but blockchain technology seems a good idea, given reasonable security, reliability, etc.

Have gone to a "butter/margarine"-less diet, replaced by peanut butter (on my English muffins) and a variety of nuts in my snack mix.

Didn't grok the "GPS" answer until reading the comments. Like it.

Really appreciate the "esoteric" knowledge exhibited by many of this blog's contributors related to puzzle construction. My enjoyment of the NYT x-word doesn't really depend on many (or any) of these observations per se, but nevertheless, it's eye-popping to see how some are able to discern and define what makes a puzzle great, good, so-so or poor. I've paid attention to most of these observations, which certainly leads to more appreciation for the talents of the constructors and editors. Can't define why I love Patrick Berry's or Robyn Weintraub's (and a few others') puzzles so much, but clearly, there is a sense of "something special" that goes beyond just the enjoyment of doing the puzzle.

No problems with "tribute" puzzles. Leads to more research and knowledge about significant people.

SB stuff

@TTrimble 9:32 AM

Recently had a npg -6 because of a missed gerund, an annex and a feminine ending, even tho I thought I had covered my bases on those. I also flat out missed a common 4L word and a 5L common informal word. Still much work to be to the master the basics. LOL

Possible spoiler to yesterday's. If you haven't totally packed it in, you may want to skip this:

Of my yd pg -2, one was esoteric and seemingly "very unusual", only due to my lack of experience in Korean dining. The other was another one of those "not paying attention to latin plural opportunities" situations. Fact is, I had paid attention to the root word, but not as thoroughly as I should have. LOL

Just starting on today's. 🤞

Peace ~ Empathy for all ~ Good-heartedness ~ Togetherness 🕊

Joe Dipinto 12:11 PM  

@JD – That was Marian Anderson, not Leontyne Price.

Masked and Anonymous 12:12 PM  

GOODTROUBLE, JOHNLEWIS. Good material, there.

Interestin puzgrid construction … with two pairs of long themers mooshed up against each other. Probably due to those pesky 13-long ones, I reckon. This has some nice potential for desperation, whenever one themer's stuff is right over the other themer's stuff.

Case I -- NVIOLENCE over GEORGIASF: Really, not bad at all. You even get some inventive fillins like BANGOUT & SAVEME. Nice job.

Case II -- DOMRIDERS over GOODTROUB: OLDGAG sorta has that Ow de Speration scent. Ditto on SAYSBOO. NARUTO seemed nuts, but I guess M&A just learned somethin new, there.

Some nice combo 6-stacks and weeject stacks, in the NE & SW. BADFATS/BIWA was a bit raised-by-wolves as a crossin, maybe. faves: POPTRIO, WEVEMET, INERTIA. Toss in OCASIO up the middle, for some icin on the cake.

staff weeject pick: EOS. Whoever named that there goddess surely musta proudly commented, while doin so: "This'll save someone's ass, in constructin a crossword, someday."

Thanx, Mr. Yonas. GOODTRIBUTIN.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


mathgent 12:15 PM  

I just saw a startling statistic about obesity in our country. In 1980, West Virginia had our highest obesity rate, 23.9%. By 2019, Colorado had nearly the same rate, 23.8 %, and it was the LOWEST of any state. I'm not saying that butter is the reason, I would say it has more to do with junk food. My market has almost a full aisle of chips.

Frantic Sloth 12:18 PM  

@bocamp 821am Thanks for the links to "Good Trouble" - It's also available on HBO Max, but I might rather go the AppleTV route now that I know part if the proceeds will be donated. 👍

Like others have stated, loved the STOOL "seat at the counter" connection. Immediately evocative of the deplorable lunch counter scenes we've seen documented in all types of media.

@Debra 848am Agree wholeheartedly and thanks for the link. I hope you don't mind if I blue it for the lazy folk. 😉

I agree the "bookend" GPS was off, but it didn't bother me as much as it did others. Guess I was just thrilled to figure it out at all!

It seems everyday there are mentions/complaints about repeat words in the grid. Is this the new normal? Because it certainly does happen a lot.

Andrew Heinegg 12:22 PM  

I think your assessment of AOC and the way she gets the right in a lather is spot on. Politics should be left to old, White Republican men from their perspective. AOC violates all their 'principles'. The fact that she is pretty and shapely is relevant to nothing except that I am convinced that it adds to their ire, which pleases me.

I too would like to see Schumer retire and endorse AOC. Except that will never happen. She doesn't march in lockstep with the party regulars so they will look to someone more 'conventional'.

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

I don't know what Hoyle says about duplicate xword answers but here's my take. The two discussed today are TOSSUP/LAIDUP and SEESFIT/FITS. I think in each case there is sufficient difference that it doesn't seem wrong. TOSS-UP is hyphenated and the meanings are quite different. FIT is part of longer answer and is different from FITS. Again, the meanings are different.

Carola 12:34 PM  

@Canon Chasuble 11:10 - I had a similar response to the puzzle. What it especially brought to my mind was the Freedom Rides exhibit at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

Anonymous 12:37 PM  

Jack Sprat could eat no fat,
His wife could eat no lean;
And so betwixt them both,
They lick'd the platter clean.

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

all this hype about bitcoin/blockchain is funny. blockchain has been around since the first version of Oracle relational database. it's called (among other names) the transaction log. blockchain is just a database log without a database. neat idea. but antique, despite what the kiddies think or say.

albatross shell 12:53 PM  

I do not mind tribute puzzles. On average, the theme answers have less of a chance to be clever or surprising. So there is that. It may create a low ceiling, but I do not belive that is always the case. Remember the Apollo 10 (or some NASA one) tribute with the grid art? Was that a good one? I do not remember for sure, but the commentary was lively. This is solid at least. A GREAT honoree. GOOD TROUBLE, very GOOD. FREEDOM RIDERS also right on. GEORGIA'S FIFTH is not green paint because anyone who occupies that seat is going to be proud and humbled that they occupy the Lewis seat. At least until its gerrymandered to a different area, GEORGIA'S FIFTH will mean something special. The puzzle quietly is informing you of this. Counter seats, courage, and sit-in nicely referenced too. A BAN is what they were fighting also. NONVIOLENT protest is usually the best and most effective kind. Not ready to say ALWAYS.

AOC may grow into a leader like Lewis. She is putting in the work. She knows the bills and does her homework to ask good questions in committees. Also pushes a moral and ethical view point. She commands attention by her personality and style. Lewis by his actions and dignity.

GPS cleverly clued and not too cleverly. Even if you are fixated on symmetrical single unit bookends, G_S shouldn't be too tough for a Wednesday.

BarbieBarbie 1:06 PM  

Inertia as sluggishness is most often used to describe an unwillingness to make an effort to change. I have Verizon even though I know Comcast has better service in my area. Why don’t I switch? Sheer inertia.

I’m generally turned off by any politician whose all-about-me ego quotient is so high that it becomes the story. DJT or AOC. Both nonwhite, but I don’t think that’s influencing me, @Z.

Teedmn 1:06 PM  

For tribute puzzles, this one rocks. I thought the clue answer pairs for 14A (Unit of courage = OUNCE) and 41D (Utters a sound, informally = SAYS BOO) were great. My mother would use the phrase, "Didn't say hi, boo or a damn thing" when complaining about someone who didn't speak up when they should have.

Yacob Yonas, nice job and congrats on the POW designation.

Master Melvin 1:07 PM  

As an aging veteran of the Selma-Montgomery March, I very much appreciate this tribute to a great man whom this country misses dearly. Already.

JD 1:07 PM  

@burtonkd @Joe, and et al in the future. Thanks! Read it almost 30 years ago in the Doris Kearns Goodwin book on the Roosevelts and for some reason she popped in before Anderson. Appreciate the course correction. Should've learned to question my memory by now.

GILL I. 1:23 PM  

@Z...I have a dream: I want to see a debate between Rep. Greene and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. Guess who'd get trounced?

old timer 1:23 PM  

I panned yesterday's puzzle, so to be equable I should praise today's. Which I do. I found myself grinning with satisfaction as I solved each column and row. I did briefly think that 35A would be some variant of ML King, but JOHN LEWIS is a fine hero. If A OCASIO C puts in the time, maybe she will be mine someday. Right now I think of her as a shameless and often irritating publicity seeker. Which, come to think of it, Schumer was, in the Watergate era, but he's grown up some.

I have visited that unfinished cathedral. Possibly on the same trip I bought the best bagel I ever had eaten, up to that point, with the obligatory lox and cream cheese, and walked down to the park on the river to eat it. I later found there are great bagels on the East Side, too, and another Episcopal church, St. Bart's, which is the best place in New York to hear music. Was it the Tallis Scholars I saw there? Maybe the Kings College Choir on tour? A splendid place in the neighborhood I have so often stayed in, at a hotel on E 50th St.

sanfranman59 1:24 PM  

Easy-Medium NYT Wednesday (13% below my 6-month median solve time)

This was kinda like yesterday's solve for me. I mostly enjoyed it and pretty much moved right through it, but there were two total head-scratchers (BIWA {37A: Japan's largest lake, located NE of Kyoto} and NARUTO {47D: Popular Japanese manga series}) and one intersecting ugh (BAD FATS {37D: Butter and margarine, nutritionally speaking}). Is it appropriate to clue any cryptocurrency as "popular" (BITCOIN {27A: Popular cryptocurrency})?

Once again, there's an abundance of 3- and 4-letter fill (43 of 76 words ... almost as bad as last Wednesday's puzzle). It seems like that's happened an awful lot lately in the NYT. The theme makes up for the deficiencies for me, though GEORGIA'S FIFTH {19A: Congressional district represented by 35-Across from 1987 to 2020} is a little wince-inducing.

jberg 1:31 PM  

One of my sons spent a couple years teaching English in Kusatsu, Shiga prefecture, 20 miles from Lake BIWA. I never actually saw the lake, but had certainly heard of it--so I had an unfair advantage with this puzzle.
@oisk, See Athol Fugard's play, "A Lesson from ALOES."

Marian Anderson was banned from Constitution Hall in 1939; in 1982 the DAR invited Leontyne Price to sing there; she dedicated her performance to Anderson. So that's probably how her name got into this.

To me, a political scientist, GEORGIA'S FIFTH sound a little off; one tends to say "the Georgia Fifth" or "Georgia Five."

One last nit; I played an atonal piece for recorder just the other day; but generally speaking, it is no longer avant garde. I hit its peak about 100 year ago.

Douglas 1:31 PM  

The clue for 9A should have read "Bookend letters of Google Maps, plus add in one more letter right before the right bookend so the answer will come out cute".

ColoradoCog 1:32 PM  

I say this as someone with deep respect and admiration for both JOHN LEWIS and AOC: It felt a little tone deaf to me to have her right there sharing center stage in his tribute puzzle, Otherwise, a nice puzzle to honor a most honorable man.

Coniuratos 1:41 PM  

Apparently I'm the only one who knew OOLA at first glance (though I acknowledge that it's a real deep cut). The Star Wars Essential Guide to Characters was a favorite as a kid. (@RooMonster, the "elephant looking thing playing the instrument" is Max Rebo, leader and namesake of the Max Rebo Band, in case it does happen to come up)

Maud 1:41 PM  

Does seem like you’re saying that things you know about should be in the puzzle and things you don’t shouldn’t be? As a solver with no interest or relation to any sport, I can assure you that the puzz is filled with unknowns that might be worth getting to know. Not to you but generally: so appalled by the reaction to “pin up” the other day. Anyone whose ever hemmed a skirt knows that phrase. But we’re still expected to know hall of famers in basketball football and golf.

Total Novice 1:48 PM  

Re: clarification on INERTIA - thanks @Nancy, @TTrimble, @albatross shell, @Z, and others !

Fascinating to learn a word (usage) I've never encountered, or more likely never attended to, before. I guess it was pure inertia, rather than authentic doubt, that kept me from turning to Merriam-Webster or the OED2 this morning to check alternative definitions.

Zack 1:49 PM  

Fully agreed on FITS and SEEFIT, how did that survive editing?

Maud 1:49 PM  

Should we speak of the “inferiority” of constructors? Also, I’m familiar with neither baseball nor, really, geography, so I’m always relieved to get a sports free puzz—does sound in this post like you’re saying that answers that aren’t familiar to you/don’t interest you personally shouldn’t belong. Not to you but just generally: I was sort of appalled at the reaction to “pin up” the other day. Anyone else who’s ever hemmed a skirt knows the phrase, yet hall of famers in basketball baseball and football are considered common knowledge.

Inigo Montoya 1:56 PM  

@Old Timer: You keep using that word (equable). I do not think it means what you think it means.

TTrimble 1:59 PM  

A significant drawback of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies is the enormous amount of electrical power thereby consumed. Here's an article.

*** SB Stuff ***

Possible spoilers

Yes, the Korean dish (which I've had -- it's seriously delicious) was one of my two. I don't think I would have gotten it in a long while, for one thing because I've seen it spelled differently. My other miss shames me.

Today I'm currently pg -5. I got the longest, but other long ones are elusive.

Brit solves nyt 2:12 PM  

This played very hard here in the uk. Never heard of John Lewis, apart from as the name of a famous department store over here, so that meant several answers had to be done from the crosses only. Add in things like biwa and naruto and oola and I had to switch on the trusty auto-check to get this one finished!

Barbara S. 2:22 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
bocamp 2:26 PM  

@TTrimble 1:59 PM

Thx for the link; excellent point re: "coin" mining and use of exorbitant power resources. Maybe someday, with the expansion of renewable energy, but for now, probably not such a good idea. 🤔

SB stuff

Echoing your experience at pg -6 🤞

Peace ~ Empathy for all ~ Good-heartedness ~ Togetherness 🕊

johnk 2:44 PM  

Easy, regardless of the horrible SW cross of a questionable food opinion and a Natick. Is that Yonas' opinion or is it Shortz'? Either way, it's a CRUEL ACT of editorial INERTIA.

Barbara S. 2:46 PM  

I'm very late today and I've read most of my observations in other people's comments. I think JOHN LEWIS is a fine subject for a tribute puzzle in this or any other month of the year.

I'll just add something I think no one's mentioned. I found SÃO Tomé and Principe totally unfamiliar, so I did some digging. It's a tiny island nation in the Gulf of Guinea -- close to the 90-degree angle in Africa's sub-Saharan west coast. It was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese in the 15th century and they colonized it, ultimately setting up sugar plantations there. It has a terrible history as not only a way-station/"depot" for the slave ships, but also a user of slave labor on said plantations. The country got its independence from Portugal in the 1970s and is now described as one of Africa's most stable democracies -- a very positive change of fortune. But its history is a sad one indeed.

bocamp 3:41 PM  

@Barbara S. 2:46 PM

Thx for the info on São Tomé and Príncipe. Didn't know the history and present status, which is one more indication that there's hope for the world. 🙏

In one of the older NYT puzzles I did recently, "São" was the answer to "First part of an African capital city". My first thought was "São", but I didn't know São Tomé was the capital of São Tomé and Príncipe, so, not knowing the cross, I did whack-a-letter and came up with something else. LOL

I've been a fan of Sporcle quizzes for many years, and had memorized all the African countries, so São Tomé and Príncipe is not new to me. I didn't know its history, tho, so thx again. 😊

BTW, São Tomé and Príncipe in English is Saint Thomas and Prince. 🇸🇹

Peace ~ Empathy for all ~ Good-heartedness ~ Togetherness 🕊

Nigel Pottle 4:02 PM  

I have one beef with OFL today. The clue for GPS is perfectly fine, if also a gimme. The G and S bookend (first and last letters) of both, the clue and the answer, GPS and Google Maps (and although both also end in PS, P is not part of the bookend. And I don’t know why Rex thinks bookends need to be symmetrical; in fact, in libraries, there is usually only one “bookend” per shelf. Just look next time you are in one. I did enjoy the puzzle, even if I did depend on crosses for names like OOLA and NARUTO.

Z 4:18 PM  

I’ve commented before that Chen and I just do not find the same things interesting. A tribute puzzle will never be a puzzle of the week for me, even when it’s a well done one like today’s. At their root tribute puzzles are based on trivia, not word play, and trivia is always less interesting to me than word play.

@mathgent - I am not knowledgeable enough to have a strong opinion, but I’ve seen some persuasive articles that the US obesity problem is because we believed big agricultural’s “fat is bad sugar isn’t” propaganda. Good luck eliminating high fructose corn syrup from your diet.

@Frantic Sloth asks It seems everyday there are mentions/complaints about repeat words in the grid. Is this the new normal? Because it certainly does happen a lot. The non-duplication rule seemed more closely adhered to even five years ago. My sense is better constructors still avoid it and most solvers consider duplications sub-optimal at best.

@Andrew Heinegg - My worry is that she has somewhat naively attached herself to Bernie more than Warren or Pelosi. Somehow the import of Pelosi being the first woman to be Speaker seems to have escaped the gang of four.

@BarbieBarbie - whose all-about-me ego quotient is so high that it becomes the story. DJT or AOC. Both nonwhite, What? and What? I think you’re mistaking reporting about a person with the person but I can at least see why you might conclude that AOC has a big ego. But why you would think a person whose parents are of German and Scottish heritage is “non-white” completely escapes me. Unless you mean some other DJT than the ex-president.

@jberg & somebody else - The “State’s Ordinal number” construction seems fine to me, especially for notable districts. Michigan’s First comes to my mind as oft discussed for its size and general conservatism. My current congressional district (North Carolina’s Eleventh) looks like it’s trying hard to be the infamous counterbalance to GEORGIA’S FIFTH.

Regarding OOLA - If wikipedia is to be believed, OOLA is never actually named in the movie. Now that’s what I call a real deep cut.

Joaquin 4:39 PM  

@Z (4:18) - Orange is the new non-white.

sanfranman59 4:40 PM  

@Z re @BarbieBarbie reference to DJT as non-white ... I was confused about that at first also, but as I pondered it a little more, I think she likely thinks of him as our first orange-skinned president.

Anonymous 4:49 PM  

As a proud resident of Georgia's 5th, and one who's voted for the man pretty much my entire life, I am absolutely fine with this puzzle.

GILL I. 4:56 PM  

@Barbara S....I can't remember the exact date, but a bunch of us "airline" folks had been in Lagos, Nigeria sometime around 2001 or maybe later. Our guide suggested visiting Sao Tome since we had free airline travel. He said that it was peaceful at the time and that we would be well taken care of. We flew on TAP and I remember it was a long flight. Anyway the island is beautiful and the people were incredibly friendly. We stayed in some funky cabana type hotel on the beach. The only thing I remember about the food is the fruit. We ate these banana fritters laced with chocolate and sugar at every opportunity. I'll have to look up their name. Anyway....it was delightful. We only stayed two days but I'll remember that trip.

pabloinnh 5:14 PM  

Well Sao Tome is fine, but I think "Sao" should always be clued as preceding "Paolo".

Barbara S. 5:42 PM  

@Gill I.
Well, isn't that just the beauty of this blog? I mention what seems to me one of the more obscure countries in the world and someone in the group has actually been there! I like your description of the place, the people and the food; it sounds like an idyllic getaway for that couple of days. (Oh, and chocolate and banana -- yes!) Am I right in guessing you didn't come across any reminders of the country's past?

Barbara S. 5:50 PM  

Yeah, Paulo is definitely the more popular option, but I wondered if Tomé and Príncipe was chosen because of topicality in Black History Month.

Anonymous 5:56 PM  

I'm no great fan of AOC, but she at least has retained a little of Marx's poetry, which Bernie has now lost altogether. I'm thinking about when she says that capitalism has had a beginning, and it will also have an end. I would love to see an intelligent discussion of this beginning, which the right-wing NY Times seems to be incapable of providing.

I taught for years survey courses in European history. When you teach courses of this type, publishers beg you to adopt their textbooks, and many would get sent to me, usually covering all of Western Civilization, often a more limited time, say 1400 to the present. When I got these texts, I normally checked two areas, first the Italian Renaissance, which I knew best (and vainly hoped, usually, that I would be cited, or feared the same), and second, the beginning of capitalism. *Not one* of these textbooks had an intelligent discussion of the beginning of capitalism. All of them were a PC dreamworld, with discussions of race, gender, multiculturalism, environmental history--but none had a discussion of capitalism. Then I realized, capitalism was a product of intelligent design. Still today, in academia, there is no intelligent discussion of what capitalism is. It is as if it is a product of intelligent design, as the NY Times seems to believe. True, what God hath wrought, man screws up, and the NY Times is eager to tell us how to fix things, as are great fixtures of the Democratic party. It is a great myth that the modern university is a bastion of socialism. There is not a trace of socialism. There is, however, academics falling over themselves to promote the true range of political opinion, from liberalism to "very" liberalism.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

albatross shell 6:24 PM  

I did not know SAO Tome principe at all. I had _AO and thought it might be tAO cuz Tome might be book or belief and Principe might be connected to principle. Tao might fit right in. Nope. FOund SAYS BOO. Later looked it up. Beautiful place with a dreadful history of slavery and exploitation. Theme connected in a way. There slaves went mostly to Brazil. And that 1200 foot skyscraper rock. Wow. Magna filled volcano. Then the volcano eroded away? I guess. What a view. First climbed in 1975. Now has been free-climbed.

Mary in NM 7:01 PM  

Lots of talk of PPPs lately. Have tried to figure out meaning from context. Googled it. No joy. Is it just 3 letter words? Etymology not obvious to me if that's the case. Any clarification would be appreciated.

Have read you folks for years. You all feel like friends. Don't have much in common outside of crosswords, but friends nonetheless. Which is to say, thanks.

JC66 7:12 PM  



Pop culture, Product names, and other Proper nouns. 25-30% is pretty NYTX typical. More than 33% almost always causes some subset of solvers trouble.

bocamp 7:13 PM  


Tough Rich Norris NYT from Sat., Feb. 3, 2007. Got it, but not without a struggle.

pg -5 spinning wheels, getting nowhere. :(

Peace ~ Empathy for all ~ Good-heartedness ~ Togetherness 🕊

pabloinnh 7:35 PM  

@Barbara S--There are vert good reasons for cluing Sao as Tome and Principe this week and I heartily approve of them.

It's true Sao is usually followed by Paolo, as it is far more familiar. My reason for suggesting it was to point out the connection to my name, since I think self-important people are worthy of satire, and my brilliant attempt at humor landed with its usual audible thud.

Thanks for the research, I learned something important.

oriordan 7:40 PM  

@Barbara S. For a fund raiser at my kids' school, we visited Alegio Chocolate - https://www.alegio.com - who source all their beans from Sao Tome & Principe. The Italian who founded the company was (is?) fanatical to the point where the people who work there remove the germ from each cacao bean by hand before they are roasted. Amazing dedication!

PS - Can anyone tell me how to insert links into a post? Blogger help says to use Cmd-K on my Mac but that doesn't do anything...

TTrimble 8:02 PM  

I'm pg -3, and haven't given up, but yeah, exactly, my car also seems a bit stuck in the mud at the moment.

JC66 8:05 PM  


Email me, and I'll send you my Embedding Cheat Sheet.

Mary in NM 8:06 PM  

@jc66 7:12 Thanks!

bocamp 8:49 PM  

@TTrimble 8:02 PM

SB stuff

Packed it in at pg -4; keeping 🤞for you.

Peace ~ Empathy for all ~ Good-heartedness ~ Togetherness 🕊

Riley S Abel 9:13 PM  

I've always had a problem with the NYT using Spanish words that should have an ñ (La Niña etc.) crossing with a word that has an n, but today takes the cake. In Spanish años means years, but anos means anuses. Seems like an egregious misunderstanding.

Barbara S. 10:11 PM  

Oh, @pablo, phooey on me. I know exactly what you mean. I'm always glad to see any mention of barbarians in the puzzle.

Thanks to you and @Gill, I've now got a positive association for São Tomé and Príncipe: chocolate.

Anonymous 10:13 PM  

Schumer cant give up the Senate majority spot to AOC. If she beats him in a primary and wins his seat, she will be a senator but someone else , maybe Dick Durbin, will be majority leader

Anonymous 10:19 PM  

It was Marian Anderson, not Leontyne Price

A 10:44 PM  

So late I missed my opportunity to elucidate on SĀO Toma and Principe (nice @Barbara S!) and its slave history being a part of the tribute, along with STOOL, BAN, more than an OUNCE of courage, and WEVEMET the DEVIL.

@albatross shell - Excellent observation: “GEORGIA'S FIFTH is not green paint because anyone who occupies that seat is going to be proud and humbled that they occupy the Lewis seat. At least until its gerrymandered to a different area, GEORGIA'S FIFTH will mean something special. The puzzle quietly is informing you of this.” Thanks for pointing it out so eloquently.

@mathgent and @Z re obesity - I’m a big nutrition nut, but even worse than HFCS or BADFATS is inactivity.

@jberg - I’d agree that ATONAL music is no longer avant garde, but isn’t “much avant garde music” still atonal?

@Master Melvin - Wow! Someone who was there! Thank you for standing up for right. And thanks for dropping in here.

John Hoffman 11:04 PM  

I’ve been upset with the NY TImes puzzle for a few days now. The Sunday puzzle (with MONSTERRAMRALLY) was quite bad. But today’s tribute puzzle was well done. Too many proper names, but I could get them by the crossings. Let’s hope that the term “good trouble” continues to represent the civil rights fight, and is a lasting tribute to a strong leader.

Music Man 9:47 AM  

I wholeheartedly agree!

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

man what a bunch of grumps in these comments. I loved the tribute puzzle to John Lewis, especially with the non-them echo like "stool". "Good Trouble" as a political motto will go down for the ages. And talk about fresh - Ocasio, Anna Deveare Smith, Naruto, Oola.

For Black History month, this puzzle hit all the keys. References to Jamie Foxx, Destiny's Child, Supremes, FDR, Moor. Great job Yacob Yonas!!

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