Seventh avatar of Vishnu / SUN 2-21-21 / Horror film locale in short / Adlon Emmy winner for King of the Hill / Geographical name that comes from the Sioux for sleepy ones / Papal name last taken in 1939 / 2006 film with the tagline Keep it wheel / Mapo spicy sichuan dish

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Constructor: Matthew Stock

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (much harder if your knowledge of pop music is bad)

THEME: "Karaoke Bars" — Clues all follow the pattern [___ bars?] followed by a singer or group's name. Here "bars" refers to "bars" of music, i.e. songs. So the answers are songs that are punnily related to whatever the word is that precedes "bars" in the clue:

Theme answers:
  • "FLY ME TO THE MOON" (Space bars? [Frank Sinatra]) (a song about (outer) space)
  • "SINGIN' IN THE RAIN" (47A: Wet bars? [Gene Kelly]) (a song about getting wet)
  • "JAILHOUSE ROCK" (69A: Prison bars? [ Elvis Presley]) (a song about prison)
  • "MONEY, MONEY, MONEY" (92A: Cash bars? [Abba]) (a song about cash) 
  • "DANCING ON MY OWN" (116A: Singles bars? [Robyn]) (a song for people with no partners)
  • "POUR SOME SUGAR ON ME" (3D: Candy bars? [Def Leppard]) (a song seemingly related to candy?)
  • "WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS" (33D: Gold bars? [Queen]) (a song about winning a "gold" medal)
Word of the Day: PIA (83D: Flag carrier to Karachi and Islamabad) —
Pakistan International Airlines (Urduپاکستان بین الاقوامی ہواپیمائی‎; abbreviated PIAUrduپی‌آئی‌اے‎) is a Pakistani-International Airline and the national flag carrier of Pakistan under the administrative control of the Secretary to the Government of Pakistan for Aviation. Its central hub is Karachi's Jinnah International Airport, while Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore, and Islamabad International Airport serve as secondary hubs. (wikipedia)
• • •

Slightly more clever than most of the dad-joke themes we tend to get on Sundays, but only slightly. The bars joke is cute, but in execution the theme gets a little thin. The definition of "bar" just isn't that stretchy, so many of these bars (in the clues) are the same type (i.e. the type that serve liquor: wet, cash, singles). Further, the "?" conceit sometimes ends up quite literal, and other times involves a stretch. The Abba song *is* about cash, so [Cash bars?], dead on, "JAILHOUSE ROCK" is a song about prison, bingo ... but the Def Leppard song is not at all about candy. I don't really get why he wants sugar poured on him (in the name of love), but I'm pretty sure it's a metaphor. "WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS" also involves a bit of a stretch, since they aren't singing about the Olympics. So some clues are perfectly apt, others, less so. Feels uneven. Also, huge old white guy energy on these songs. I mean, great songs, mostly, but it's All White, and with the notable exception of Robyn and Abba ... dude city. Plus, Robyn is really the only one providing "bars" that are anywhere near modern (and that song is over a decade old). Robyn also provides (probably) the least well known song (if I imagine a kind of prototypical NYTXW solving audience). Hers will actually be the *best*-known song for some younger folks, but in general we are in solid classic rock / oldies territory here. I know all these songs very well, but I imagine some younger solvers will be less familiar with the 40+-year-old stuff (which is, uh, most of it). Demographic exclusion is the nature of the beast with a theme like this. Would be cool if these weren't all so demographically ... of yore, but at least these are mostly truly classic, as opposed to some Rudy Vallee song about Yuba playing a tuba or whatever the hell that was a few days ago. Anyway, I do like the creativity and ambition of the theme here, but as executed, this one just wasn't for me.

No real resistance in this one for me. Toughest part by far was ELMST crossing NOSEDIN. I assumed that the [Horror film locale, in brief] was going to be a generic horror film site, like, I don't know, summer camp or a sorority house or something. ELMST, yuck. Not your prettiest 5-letter answer there (It's actually "ELM ST.," as in "Nightmare on"). And NOSED IN ... ??? (123A: Was snoopy). I had SPIED ON here for what felt like a good amount of time. SPIED ON is nice, and apt, whereas NOSED IN, pffffft. It's funny that this puzzle thinks I already know not one but two Biden appointees. The whole thing with Biden's election is that I get to take a *break* from paying attention to political *$^% for, like, six months, minimum. I know his dogs and wife, and I know the Vice President, and honestly, I'm maxed out. OK, I do see JEN Psaki's name from time to time, so that's fine (69D: ___ Psaki, Biden press secretary) (also, look out for PSAKI (5), probably!). But it's gonna be a while before I'm up to speed on this currently 1-month-old group of Bidenites. Yeah, even this LLOYD guy, who, as defense secretary, seems *kinda* important (76A: ___ Austin, Biden defense secretary). But I'm exhausted. I voted for Biden so I could breathe again, and check out for a while. Make politics boring again!!!

THE DOW and THE TIDE (?) in THE same puzzle is THE worst. I had no idea how in the world FLUTES could be [High winds] until after I'd finished and went back to think about it (musical instrument winds, not the weather kind of winds). The PAMELA / RAMA cross definitely gave me trouble, even though I've heard of both (59A: ___ Adlon, Emmy winner for "King of the Hill" / 50D: Seventh avatar of Vishnu). Just couldn't recall the names or wasn't certain about them. Before I figured out the theme, I thought for sure that there was something thematic going on in the NE corner, with ETCETC over CHACHA. I thought, "Are all the corners gonna be like this? Six letter answers that are just three letters repeating? What's that about?" Turns out it's about nothing. Coincidence. No pattern. Just a strange one-off thing. Oh well. Until next week.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:03 AM  

I gotta admit - I like a quick Sundee, and this was definitely one.
Was it too easy? Nah. Just not a slog, which can often happen these days.

The theme was clever and fun and it seems the constructor took care to vary the music eras and genres so it wasn't like trying to jackhammer through metamorphic rock. Thank you for that, Mr. Stock!

The fill was no slouch either. Of course the inevitable usual suspects make an appearance (you know who you are, ERR, ANG, and AAH, etc.) but I found it mostly fresh - or at least clued in an imaginative way(hello, SCALE, TALC, and WATER.) Can't ask for more than that.

In other areas:
It helped that I had the _ VA_ _ _ part of EVADED so the EluDED trap could be avoided, but had to wait a bit for AS_ _I to determine if it was ASdoI or ASAMI. I always want a salami sammich when I see ASAMI.

New "friends" from previous/recent crosswords, LEMMA and YTTRIUM were actually a welcomed sight. I knew them and that can only mean I'm smart...right? I said, right?

Happy to see PAMELA Adlon in the grid, but would have much preferred a Better Things clue. Now there's a show that's anything but conventional and it's hilarious. A little dark, a little edge, a little seltzer down your pants. Sorry, just channeling the funeral service for Chuckles the Clown.

Overall, just pure entertainment for yours truly.

@GILL You'll be in our thoughts tomorrow and until we hear from you again, mi querida amiga. Be well...or else. 😘


Joaquin 12:03 AM  

Re: 97A: Please. Never say ERM to me. Ever. Unless you are Ms. Bombeck’s niece or nephew and are referring to her by her family nickname, ”Aunt ERM”. Then it would be okay.

jae 12:24 AM  

Easy-medium. Cute, liked it.

My only real iffy spot was the ALE/IDEALS cross. The ALE clue was obscure and I’m not sure I buy the IDEALS clue.

Anonymous 12:41 AM  

I filled in all the songs with practically no crosses except the Robyn song. my prob was MAWS, I had gApS in there and did not really know LEMMA. SWEARBY didn’t drop for me. DNF, basically I just gave up - I had to go to work

Anonymous 12:44 AM  

Better Candy Bars: My Boy Lollipop Peppermint Twist

Z 12:48 AM  

Hmmm... A puzzle theme based purely on song titles... I’m pretty sure if you’ve been here more than a month you can write my rant for me.

You gotta squeeze a little, squeeze a little
Tease a little more
Easy operator come a knockin' on my door
Sometime, anytime, sugar me sweet
Little miss innocent sugar me, yeah, yeah
Give a little more

I just can’t figure out what that metaphor might be about...


And a palate cleanser

okanaganer 1:16 AM  

It's a rare day when Rex and Jeff Chen ( have similar comments about the puzzle's inclusivity. This is a tour of several decades of 1900s (eg white mainstream oriented) popular hits.

Being a soon to be senior white male myself, the themers were right up my cultural alley. FLY ME TO THE MOON brings back my solo USA circumnavigation in the 1990's, with only my cassette tape player for company. I had a tape of Sinatra's greatest hits. I got very familiar with the ant who had high hopes for the rubber tree plant.

More recently I became enamored of Robyn's electro-ballads, more for the song Call Your Girlfriend. (Nice soulful cover by a couple of young girls with plastic cups here.)

I call a possible technical foul on 105 down. The city is HA NOI, and the airport is NOI BA. The internet won't tell me if the NOI is the same Vietnamese word. If not, never mind!

TTrimble 1:53 AM  

It's the Brits, who spell things funny, like ERM for "um" and "tut" for "tsk". (I kid the Brits.)

You know, I think I don't know some of these songs. Let me give a quick listen to each of these:

POUR SOME SUGAR ON ME? Not big on hair metal. I guess the chorus is vaguely familiar musically, but if I didn't now know the words from the title, I don't know that I could have deciphered them from the noises coming from their mouths.

("No Sugar Tonight" by The Guess Who, that I know. Much cooler song AFAIAC.)

MONEY MONEY MONEY? Nope, I don't think I've heard it. This weirds me out. I thought I was decently familiar with Abba.

DANCING ON MY OWN. I don't even know who this Robyn is. Never heard it.

Despite this ignorance, I finished in a pretty decent time for me (under half my historical average). I wasn't greatly moved by it though. On the positive side:

I like PAMELA Adlon mostly for her work with Louis CK, but hers is the voice of Bobby "that boy ain't right" Hill on King of the Hill.

I think I said my peace on LEMMA the other day; there may be a pop quiz later, so I hope you were paying attention then.

YTTRIUM I like just because the letter sequence is unusual. (That's after a town in Sweden, right? Yttrby perhaps -- seems to have lent its name to several elements in the periodic table.) I used to read the dictionary when I was a teenager and I also liked "ylem". And "yclept". And "Yggdrasil".

OOLONG: good SB stalwart there. As is TATAMI.

CARLA Hall is a lot of fun. (Big Top Chef fan here. I wish it weren't treated as the weak sister of Bravo.)

Okay, off to bed. See you dudes and dudettes later.

Joe Dipinto 2:36 AM  

Once again I immediately filled in all the theme answers (see avatar photo) and proceeded to ignore the rest of the puzzle. I was unfamiliar with this "Robyn" person and the song –it's generic electro-dance, like a sort-of underproduced Bananarama track from the 1980's— but I could visualize enough of the downs to figure out the title.

Having anticipated that Rex would object to the not-quite-as-boringly-white-as-Rex music selections, I provided an alternate Black History Month version of the theme entries:

Candy Bars: SWEET THING, Rufus/Chaka Khan

Space Bars: ROCKET LOVE, Stevie Wonder

Wet Bars: WALKING IN THE RAIN WITH THE ONE I LOVE, Love Unlimited (cameo by Barry White)


Cash Bars: TENDER LOVE, Force MDs

Singles Bars: STATE OF INDEPENDENCE, Donna Summer

Gold Bars: THE WEIGHT – Aretha Franklin

chefwen 3:03 AM  

Other than the little itsy bitsy teeny weenie squares that make me feel that I’m losing my eyesight we really enjoyed this outing. We didn’t find it all that easy, but it was a fun solve.

Cringed at 120A, that woman scares the liver out of me, FLY ME TO THE MOON and SINGIN IN THE RAIN brought the smiles back.

Ann Howell 3:08 AM  

I usually like to linger with a nice, juicy Sunday puzzle, so this was a bit disappointing. Got a little stuck in a couple of places, like LEMMA/ALE (to be pedantic, Berliner Weisse is not an ale, but a cocktail made with beer and grenadine syrup), but being firmly ensconced in middle-age helped with all of the themers (except of course Robyn, but that was easy enough to extrapolate). Will now have to figure out what to do with the rest of my morning...

Charles Flaster 5:58 AM  

Enjoyed this easy, right in my wheelhouse theme.
Favorite cluing was for AIRBALL and OY VEY —both very subtle.
Only writeover was ROASTS for tOASTS.
TATAMI is a good piece of crosswordEASE to master with its alternating consonant/vowel.
Thanks MS.

Lewis 6:17 AM  

Second Sunday in a row that I’ve been utterly charmed, after last week’s SEALED WITH A KISS. With this puzzle, it wasn’t the theme that did it, cute though it be. It was the feeling of freshness. This puzzle, to me, was like that one strawberry you come across every here and there, the one that tastes perfect and makes you feel that life is worth living.

Why? I was totally involved. This wasn’t a Sunday robo-solve where I complete the grid feeling like I was just marking time. Why? Example #1: I’m looking at the list of across clues, and there are only a handful that are gimmes to me; these call for answers in want of crossing letters. Example #2: Not-your-typical crossword answers, such as OEDIPAL, CHA CHA, FRUIT CUPS, ON TOPIC, CRANIAL, STAR PUPIL, HOLI, PILFERED, YTTRIUM, UNCTION, LOWLAND, UNHANDS, AM I CLEAR.

Thus this was more a Puzzle than a puzzle for me. It had drama. Afterward, I was mighty glad for having done it. Satisfied. And content. Very nice one, Matthew, and much gratitude!

Anonymous 6:52 AM  

Coincidentally, I'm reading Bill Bryson's "Shakespeare," and learned that the answer to 43D is a neologism by the Bard of Avon.

Jethro Tull 7:49 AM  

23 across High Winds: I had FL_T_S and being a physician, I quickly dropped FLaTuS. A word that I use every day. Wife and I got a pretty good chuckle.

ChuckD 7:53 AM  

I don’t know - this one didn’t really do it for me. Aside from the artists that were chosen - I figured there would be some type of wordplay involved changing the song names. But no - it’s just filling in the song titles - double that with the use of lame artists/songs and it was a dud of a solve. Some of the fill was fine - although I guess in addition to obscure congress members we’re now supposed to know Biden’s obscure staff?

Liked the cluing on PILFERED, CAMEO and INCHWORM. Agree that THE TIDE and THE DOW is a little much. Learned the origin of IOWA.

Overall the fill was not bad - but the theme dragged this one down.

Guilherme Gama 7:55 AM  

Despite their age, I think most of the songs are safely within "general culture" territory. The Queen, Sinatra, Elvis, and Kelly titles are all *extremely* well-known and commonly featured in commercials, film, and so on to this day.

That said, the theme was pretty disappointing. When I figured it out, I was just, "oh, it's literally just the names of the songs". I filled in FLY ME TO THE MOON without any crossings. Or doubt.

bocamp 7:55 AM  

Thank you, @Matthew; a fine Sunday puzzle. Muchly enjoyed! :)

Med.- solve.

No hangups anywhere; just slow, steady progress.

Field of Dreams; one of my fave movies. Loved "Ray Liotta" as Shoeless Joe Jackson.

Haven't used a "mouse" since 2002; got my first iBook that year. Now, just move the cursor around using my MacBook Air track pad.

"Singing In The Rain" ~ Gene Kelly

yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Colin 8:02 AM  

Cute puzzle, and I appreciate the critiques about the theme/inconsistent cluing by OFL. There seemed to be more proper names today, yes. I'm also beginning to appreciate what @Lewis means by "freshness" with his examples from the grid - thanks! - this is all helping as I learn how to construct a puzzle.

mmorgan 8:14 AM  

The ones for Sinatra, Elvis, and Gene Kelly were fine, the others...? Never heard of ‘em, but eventually got them from crosses. Not my favorite puzzle ever, but whatever.

JOHN X 8:17 AM  

Demographic exclusion is the nature of the beast with a theme like this

Of course it is. If it was all rap or K-pop it would exclude me and Rex wouldn’t complain a bit, but then Rex has the most teeny-bopper bubble-gum taste in music I’ve ever seen outside of a sorority. And as a college boy I was inside many a sorority, if you know what I mean. Rex doesn’t, but I’ll bet money he drives a Subaru.

(“Delta Delta Delta may I helpya helpya helpya?” Yes ma’am, you certainly can. ΑΕΦ was pretty good to JOHN X as well.)

If you try to please everyone you please no one. This puzzle pleased me so therefore it is great. That’s what I pay for.

Badria 8:24 AM  

Please don't check out of politics. Life is as brutal for poor Americans as ever. We'll get another trump in no time if we don't force all politicians to make meaningful, not performative change.

pabloinnh 8:28 AM  

I went from SWEARTO to SWEARON before I got to SWEARBY, otherwise mostly a fill in the blanks, although did the OFL thing with SPIEDON. Also putting the mineral TALC on a bottom does not strike me as helpful.

Knew all the songs that old white guys know and not the other ones, which is making me feel extremely average. At least I'm old enough to get vaccinated (yesterday).

Was glad that we had LEMMA so recently. I suppose having it twice in a short period of time makes it a DILEMMA.

Solid Sunday, MS. Not your fault that the numbers are so small.

Barbara S. 8:35 AM  

I enjoyed this one. I’m no expert on crosswords from the constructor’s point of view but this seemed like a feat: come up with seven long song titles that can be related by cluing to different sorts of bars, and match up the lengths of said titles in pairs – two of 14-letters, two of 15, two of 17 (these being downs which cross the 15ers at either the 3rd or the 3rd last letters of both answers), with the final song title being exactly the right length to be centered in the grid in both directions. Wow. How do they do that? I thought the theme answers, while not ROFL-funny were generally worth a smile. I noticed that three of the clued bars are the kind which serve drinks and the other four are not, but I looked on this as variety, not inconsistency, and it didn’t bother me.

I liked ETCETC above CHACHA and LOWLAND beside TRACTS. We got both APPEAL and PLEA. Clever clues for FLUTES (high winds), DRAINS (sink holes) TALC (what goes right to the bottom), PILFERED (did a little lifting), ETTU (“You, too?!”), SAGA (It’s a long story), WATER (something that’s well-kept), and CAMEO (It’s a relief!). Two words I learned from Spelling Bee: YTTRIUM and TATAMI, and @TTrimble’s right about OOLONG being an SB stalwart.

THO in a poem:

Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “You Ask Me, Why, Tho’ Ill at Ease”

You ask me, why, tho’ ill at ease,
Within this region I subsist,
Whose spirits falter in the mist,
And languish for the purple seas.
(First stanza)

I know everyone’s jaded about EMUs because of an amazingly annoying TV commercial, which happily isn’t run here, but I happen to have a limerick that goes so well with today’s EMU clue that I just have to share (“Bird whose males incubate the eggs”):

A typically staunch EMU father
Thinks childcare is truly no bother.
He guards those green eggs
Under feathers and legs
Though drink beer, I am sure, he’d much rawther.

Today’s selection comes to you from JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER, born Feb 21, 1977.

“But more than that, no unloving words were ever spoken, and everything was held up as another small piece of proof that it can be this way, it doesn't have to be that way; if there is no love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it heavy walls, and we will furnish it with soft red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweler's felt so that we should never hear it. Love me, because love doesn't exist, and I have tried everything that does.”
(From Everything Is Illuminated)

amyyanni 8:41 AM  

Huge Frank and Gene fan (Anchors Aweigh, On the Town), so happy here.

Z 8:50 AM  

@Ann Howell - Your bartender and I need to talk.

@Joe Dipinto - I’m with several of the commenters, how did I not know that version of The Weight existed?
Listening to Robyn makes me wonder what her fan base thinks today, how many of them became Avicii fans?

@Anon6:52 - When does a neologism stop being a neologism? I also always wonder if there were Elizabethan prescriptivists tsk-tsking at Bill for ruining the language.

@TTrimble - I’m with you on The Guess Who > Def Leppard.

Frayed Knot 8:50 AM  

I think Rex is being too literal with the theme. I took Bars to mean bars as in a musical score. Like "Hum a few bars".

Anonymous 8:53 AM  

Naticked for the second day in a row. _EMMA crossing HO_I could have been just about anything.

Otherwise, a fun puzzle that had me bouncing from place to place all over the grid but really never getting bogged down.

Birchbark 9:01 AM  

@Rex, you are "the prototypical NYTXW solving audience." You condescend to yourself.

I like "thrills" in the OPERA clue.

@Anon. (6:52) re UNHANDS -- interesting about Shakespeare coining the word. I was thinking about the Wedding Guest's "UNHAND me, Greybeard loon!" from the "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," a poem whose style and language seem by design to use pre-Shakespeare English -- so maybe a nit for Coleridge, if he's reading this comment from up in the clouds.

@TTrimble (1:53) re "yclept" ("named") and speaking of pre-Shakespeare English -- "yclept" shows up a lot in the "Canterbury Tales." When I see it I think, "I know that word," and feel good. Shakespeare pokes fun Don Armado's use of old-skewing "yclept" in a letter in "Love's Labour's Lost," a word-lover's play if there ever was one.

Today it will be warm enough to go outside and melt down some lead wheel weights, which I'll pour into the base of a wooden flute stand I'm making for my daughter. The point is to keep it compact and stable.

kitshef 9:04 AM  

A few more puzzles like this, and they won’t be a PASTIME for very many people. Even by the low standards of a Sunday, this was dreck.

Let’s start with the truly famous Sinatra, Kelly, Elvis, ABBA, Def Leppard and Queen and their six famous songs, somehow mixed up with the obscure Robyn.

Not one but two of the odious ‘!’ clues. The one for SCALE is bad; the one for CAMEO is hall-of-shame bad.

Look at that SW corner. Unknwon ANA and unknown album ANTI both cross foreign word TATAMI.

PAMELA Adlon?!!? Not in your top 50 PAMELAs.

RooMonster 9:22 AM  

Hey All !
Thanks to Monty Python for help in getting TRACTS. "She's got huuuge... TRACTS of land."

Had most of puz done in 30 minutes, then hit a brick wall in the center area between CARS and CSI. Literally spent the next 12 minutes trying all kinds of combinations of things to complete. SWEARon, SWEARto, SWEAR(wait). For the clue Black, had ebon, oilY, (once I got the Y, saw it would be SWEARBY, but still no help with ___BALL), wanted DRAINS to be DRoopS, and MGM as the studio. NGO wasn't coming to me at all, and AIRBALL as clued? Yikes, yipes, and sheesh! Finally broke down after my 12 minutes, and Googed for the Big Five Studio. There I saw RKO, which got me to take out oilY, see INKY, put in the RKO, and finally saw DRAINS from the DR_I_S. So that whole DRAINS/AIRBALL/NGO/RKO/INKY section really sucked! AIRBALL! Yep, that was my feeling.

I initially had the reaction of "That's it, just the straight-up songs by the Artists relating to the first word of the clue?" But did enjoy it more as I went along. That center area causing me troubles had me doubting the SINGIN part of the Sinatra song. "What else could it be?" I thought. "STEPIN misspelled?" WIth that N of "Black", I could only think of ONYX.

ITS A GO. Har. After YesterComment discussion, really really wanted that to be ITS A NO. But the "We got permission!" clue had me scratching my head about how can it be A NO if We got permission? Good stuff. "We got shafted!" maybe for ITS A NO. :-)

Overall, a nice SunPuz, despite the brain draining stuck section. AIRBALL!

Three F's

Eldreth 9:25 AM  

Fly Me to the Moon is not really a Sinatra signature song. It had been recorded by close to a hundred people by the time he did his version. As such, it doesn’t really stand as an exemplar of the theme.

TJS 9:28 AM  

Hey, I somehow lost my blue name and picture for this site and cant remember how I got it the first time. Can someone (@Z ?) post a link ? Gracias, TJS

SouthsideJohnny 9:51 AM  

I think it was about a year ago that I started solving without any help at all from Uncle Google. I struggled mightily with this one, but was able to work my way down to the Southwest corner before I hit an absolute wall - I didn’t know the song name, the foreign cities, the Japanese yoga mat or whatever it is and the periodic table name that sounds like it was determined when a dictionary blew up. Just not enough crosses for me to discern much of the Dark Matter hiding in that section.

I probably only got that far because I remember the Sinatra and other tunes in the rest of the puzzle, otherwise I likely would have switched to SB an hour ago, lol. So I guess I should at least be happy that the PPP-themed trivia-fest today was at least mostly in my wheelhouse.

Teedmn 9:53 AM  

Knowing all of the songs but one, and having at least heard of DANCING ON MY OWN meant this went fast today. Yup, as Rex says, I'm in this puzzle's demographic. (Read "old"). I liked it. I'm guessing some might balk at the fact that some bars you could actually sing karaoke at (CASH, WET, SINGLES) and some are just kind of bar (GOLD, SPACE, PRISON) (ah, that would be Rex also) but I thought the variety was a plus.

My first random entry was HUEVO. Getting a foothold random-solving can sometimes be tricky. But it was easy after that. I had few write-overs (so AM I, UNguent before UNCTION).

I loved getting the 36A DRAINS for Sink holes. Sink holes, not sinkholes, har! I had no idea what 83D was. "Flag" in the clue had me thinking Olympics, not air travel. Oy vey.

ETC ETC over CHA CHA, as others have mentioned, nice. And my last aha, why a CAMEO is a relief. I got stuck on cameo movie roles.

Matthew Stock, nice job!

Sixthstone 9:54 AM  

For some reason I can't stand Def Leppard, so I started this on the wrong foot. Some nice fill, but it played too easy with the straight-up song titles. Is there anyone who didn't get JAILHOUSE ROCK immediately? Overall though, a nice quality Sunday puzzle.

Teedmn 9:56 AM  

@Barbara S, thanks for the continuing quotes of the day. I guess I have to re-read "Everything is Illuminated". I don't remember it being that deep.

Hungry Mother 9:59 AM  

My musical knowledge is so-so, but good enough for this grid. Overall, it was a nice Sunday challenge.

OffTheGrid 10:37 AM  

What @Lewis said.

Newboy 10:39 AM  

😑 Meh

Usually enjoy dad jokes more than Rex, but not today. Cluing especially seemed vague/overly specific — I’m looking at 4d that even with its ?!” clarifications has no hint of toga and 93d where one recalls the elements or not. OK, did smirk at the TALC clue crossing YTTRIUM, but egads Sunday grids are INARUT!

Amelia 10:43 AM  

@badria By using the words 'performative change,' I can pretty much guess your age. But one thing is clear. If Rex wants to take a break from politics, he has every right to do so. I feel the same way. Because unlike most groups of people in the country, I am part of a group that votes in EVERY election, even primaries. Even runoffs. Even school board elections. The numbers bear this out. I've been lectured to about 'my privilege' more times than I care to say, and I usually respond with those statistics. Young people aren't anywhere near as diligent, for all their virtue-signalling. And that's a fact.

This was one boring-ass crossword puzzle. I knew all the songs. I kept waiting for it to get better. It did not.

Too bad they didn't have @Joe Dipinto in the editor's chair. Those were amazing.

GHarris 10:52 AM  

Unless you are an Asian scholar and a math whiz there is no way to complete the cross of holi and lemma except by making a wild guess. I gather from some of the comments that lemma appeared recently so I guess I’m a slow learner or a forgetful elder. Either way, it didn’t end well for me. I had to cheat to get the final letter.

Nancy 11:04 AM  

I'm going to shock everyone and say that I loved this puzzle -- even though it's entirely based on pop culture song titles. But, by giving me three titles I knew, the constructor made the solve possible for me. I wouldn't know the song POURS THE SUGAR ON ME if you piped it in my ear all day -- and that's the first themer I encountered. But when I hit SINGIN IN THE RAIN I looked back at the clue, saw what was going on, and said "Aha!"

The other titles I knew were FLY ME TO THE MOON (I have Frank's album) and JAILHOUSE ROCK. It took me a while to figure out what Robyn was doing ON MY OWN (was it going to be DON'T LEAVE ME ON MY OWN or something like that?) but DANCING came in. WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS came in too -- once I changed CRee to CROW at 72D. And MONEY MONEY MONEY came in once I changed OY VEZ to OY VEY. I also had RAIL before TWIG for the "really thin type".

I got LEMMA (but only once I had ?E?MA, so hold the applause) not because I'd seen it in a puzzle two weeks ago (I forget stuff like that), but because it sparked the most arcane discussion I've ever seen on this blog between @TTrimble and @jberg. I don't know what they said but I do remember that they said it.

51A may be the most cynical clue/answer I've ever seen in a puzzle. I thought it was going to be something to do with HAIR or TEETH, and you give us IDEALS, Matt. Cynical, but clever.

I certainly didn't find this easy, but I found it engrossing and fun to solve.

Carola 11:08 AM  

I thought this was an unusually good Sunday puzzle, with its clever theme and wealth of not-your-usual sidekicks: PILFERED, INCHWORM, YTTRIUM, AIRBALL, UNCTION, and I"m only getting started. It was a quick solve for me, despite my knowing nothing about Def Leppard, Robyn, or Queen, the crosses and clues making the titles easy to get. I liked the CHACHA adding some rhythm to the medley and CRANIAL next to STAR PUPIL.
"POUR SOME SUGAR ON ME" is what FRUIT CUPS say to my husband: the "fruit is sweet on its own" concept is foreign to him.

@Anonymous 12:44 - "My Boy Lollipop" would have been terrific!

@Birchbark 9:01 - Lucky daughter!

@GILL I. - Best wishes for tomorrow.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

didn't 'we' argue about LEMMA a few days ago? and wasn't that clue contradictory to 'mathematical proposition'? some kind of theorem-ish construct was the clue?

TJS 11:26 AM  

'Never mind". Somehow my initials and picture magically returned at some time after I posted.

old timer 11:29 AM  

I'm sure this would have been a lovely puzzle, except I don't have one. No Magazine today, for those of us in Northern California. Apparently, the Magazine is shipped by truck from wherever it is printed to Palo Alto and other Western spots that print the Times regionally. So I have the other sections (printed in Palo Alto, on the presses historically also used to print the Western edition of the WSJ) but no Magazine.

Due to ice and snow, the Times informs us. I am posting this mainly to let the Mods know that there may be some comments a week from now on a week-old puzzle.

Yeah, I could print out the puzzle myself, but I probably won't bother. What I really enjoy is the rest of the Magazine, including the variety puzzles and SB.

thefogman 11:30 AM  

Had CRee not CROW, eNTerIC not ONTOPIC and iONA not OONA. Yet another mediocre Sunday puzzle as Will Shortz approaches his 10,000th as editor for the NYTXW - only 45 more to go.... Time for a change?

Nancy 11:37 AM  

@Joe Dipinto (2:36) -- If you had substituted those songs for the ones in the puzzle, I would have slit my wrists. Right after I slit yours :)

@Barbara S -- Thanks for the Tennyson and for the cute EMU limerick. As far as "Everything is Illuminated" goes: I read it; I'm pretty sure that I loved it and thought Foer was a huge talent; and I absolutely cannot remember a single thing about it! Such is the diLEMMA of dealing with the TINY CRANIAL area of my mind -- possibly no bigger than an INCHWORM -- that's been tasked with remembering stuff.

Thinking of you, @GILL, and wishing you the best of luck tomorrow. Look forward to seeing you back on the blog very, very soon!

GILL I. 11:40 AM  

As my friend @Frantic might say....A Sundee with a little cherry on top. Speaking of......26A FRUIT CUPS! Who died and made them healthy? Those little things pack in a ton of heavy syrup and artificial colors. Just cut me up a banana and put it on some white bread with peanut butter and then let me croak peacefully on the loo. give me a puzzle with songs and I do the CHA CHA. I love to sing. I do it all the time. My 2 year old granddaughter makes me sing Phil Collins' "You'll Be In My Heart" to her all the time. She is a peach. BUT...I have a sad Karaoke story. I've only been to one of those once. I was in LA for some boring conference with my good friend and there was a Karaoke Bar next door to our hotel. We had had a few little vinos and were a bit tipsy but we were happy and decided to saunter on over to see what the noise was all about. She egged me on; I couldn't resist. I told them I could do a mean rendition of "Total Eclipse Of the Heart." When I got to the turn around part, I got booed off. Seriously.
Only one question here: Why are IDEALS at 51A things that many people lose when they get older? I lose keys, I've lost a few teeth and my toenails start to grow a lot longer, but I've never lost IDEALS.....
Speaking of....@chefwen...Oh no...You need your liver.... I'm about to lose some polyps over her son, Gavin.

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

A lemma is a small theorem that you prove on the way to proving a bigger theorem. "Proposition" sounds like a suitable descriptor. I forget what the previous one was.

When I saw ERM I thought that was lame. But to the creator's credit, that was the only really lame one. There was crosswordese, as always, but it wasn't really silly.

I think the creator and/or editors tried too hard with cluing the themes. The answers were 7 popular songs from the last 70 years, which is a fine theme. The karaoke and bar cluing was just pointless.

Mr. Benson 11:45 AM  

A strong South Asian component to this one... several Indian/Hindu answers, and one Pakistani answer. For whatever that’s worth.

egsforbreakfast 11:46 AM  

A random thought I had yesterday while getting vaccinated: if Trump believes he is currently the legitimate President, doesn’t he also need to believe that he isn’t eligible to run again in 2024?

The opposite of undress is ................ dress

The opposite of UNHAND is ................. grab?

I like EDYS crossing OEDIPAL. EDYS should have a special dish called Edypals for the mother and son who do everything together.

Rex doesn’t like NOSEDIN. Perhaps a better clue for it would be “Honk usually muffled by a hankie”

Count me among those who thought there would be more of a twist to the themers, but I still enjoyed this puzzle a bunch. Thank you Matthew Stock.

JC66 11:55 AM  


Good luck tomorrow.

And enjoy the Jello.

Nancy 11:57 AM  

@JOHN X (8:17)-- Amen, amen to your first and especially last sentence! The in-between stuff was pretty great too. As in funny.

@Southside Johnny (9:51)-- Love your description of YTTRIUM. I thought it was the most baffling answer in the puzzle.

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

NOSE DIN-----Snoring

WIT HIT------Popular joke

David 12:12 PM  

The “cameo” clue was a head scratcher. How is that relief? Comedy? Cameos are comedy?

David 12:12 PM  


Anonymous 12:17 PM  

I took bars to mean measures of music so it all made sense.

KRMunson 12:23 PM  

Played hard for me. Not on my wavelength.

Crimson Devil 12:25 PM  

What Rex said, incl PAMELA/RAMA hiccup.

Z 12:27 PM  

@David - The kind of CAMEO you might have given your wife 100 years ago. (And apparently still a thing since the linked site came up lots when I googled)

@Gill I - Gavin? I’m assuming you’re joking because the Gavin is Pelosi’s nephew thing has been soundly debunked.

Z 12:29 PM  

And just because several people seem to have elided past Rex’s theme explanation, he did write, Here "bars" refers to "bars" of music, i.e. songs.

el maestro 12:30 PM  

Ranking up there with worst crosses ever: HOLI and LEMMA. I got lucky on the sixth try.

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

Ann Howell: A Berliner weisse is not a cocktail but rather a sour wheat beer (sour because it is fermented with Lactobacillus bacteria along with beer yeast). In Germany it is often served with syrup, most commonly woodruff syrup, but sometimes raspberry or another flavor. You can also drink it without syrup, as is more common in the United States.

It's annoying to me that these German styles are clued as "ales," which is a bit of an Americanization. They would not be considered ales in either the British or European context. But because they are top-fermented, they arguably qualify as ales in the United States, so I suppose it's defensible.

TTrimble 12:36 PM  

Yeah, it was about Zorn's LEMMA. IIRC, @jberg said that he had to prove that result as part of a course in differential equations, and it was soon after that that he decided to change his concentration. I for my part expressed utter surprise that that would ever be part of a differential equations course in undergraduate school, adding that most professionals would not know how to prove that LEMMA right off the bat (and then I talked shop about what it was used for, which really would be an arcane conversation).

Don't worry -- the pop quiz won't be on that.

Perhaps some scholar here can tell us whether LEMMA (plural: LEMMAs or LEMMAta), a word of Greek origin, is actually used as such in Euclid's Elements of Mathematics. Or even whether it appears in Euler. (I'm pretty sure you'd find it in Gauss.) For some reason, I think of its widespread usage in professionalized mathematics as belonging more to a modern era. But I could easily be wrong.

Joaquin 12:42 PM  

@Gill I. - Hope to see you back here soon. I don't do "thoughts and prayers" but I'll do a Jello shot or three for ya.

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Not that Yttrium is a household word or anything, but if you get a cloudy film on your eye after cataract surgery, they remove it with an Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet (YAG) laser.

A 12:59 PM  

Great - I read the title and the first few clues and got ready to toss puzzle at Nancy’s wall, but the laptop would cause too much damage. Ok, going back to try.
one hour later……
Ok, after I saw ETC ETC and OEDIPAL I decided this was going to be AOK. I did have a major hold up with rituAL where APPEAL should’ve been, even THO ALF was trying to HELP me. OY VEY!

DoT before DIT also put me ON hold before I got IN A RUT. And contrary to the clue, once I got in a rut I did go somewhere. I WON.

How fun to relearn there’s an element named YTTRIUM, and that it’s from Ytterby, along with erbium, terbium and ytterbium. But where the heck did ERM come from?

Kind of depressing that IDEALS were the ‘things that many people lose as they grow older.’ Not me: I ARCHed a brow at OATEN, on principle.

I didn’t mind a TINY bit of DIT NAT in this one. I’m sure most of my other observations TRENDED so I won’t pre-ECHO, just thank Mr. Stock for the PASTIME.

Liz1508 1:00 PM  

I really spaced out on 23A and kept trying to fit “flatus” there. Oy. Needless to say I don’t know much about music.

Masked and Anonymous 1:06 PM  

Knew all the songs except the Robyn one, so that helped keep the nanoseconds in the vault.

staff weeject pick: ERM. As in: the ERM has turned.
Interestin phrase, "The worm has turned". Evidently goes all the way back to a 1546 bunch of proverbs, or somesuch.

Some early mis-fires: Had THEWORM (has turned) instead of THETIDE. Had CREE before CROW.
some fave sparklers: PILFERED. UNCTION. OOLONG & OONA.
fissler moment: RAMA/PAMELA crossin. Overall, the fillins were nice and smoooth, tho.

fave song of the puztheme bunch: JAILHOUSEROCK.
fave bar song not used: BAR-BAR-BAR-BAR-BARBARA ANN.
fave rap song not used:

Thanx for all them tasty bars of music, Mr. Stock.

Masked & Anonymo9Us

p.s. All my best wishes, GILL I.


ChuckD 1:12 PM  

@TTrimble 12:36 - I was not a pure math guy so I don’t recall an Euler lemma but in electromag theory we definitely discussed Poincaré’s lemma in developing the Maxwell equations. Not so well known to the masses - Poincaré was godlike to all of my modern physics professors.

Anonymous 1:19 PM  


G. Weissman 1:22 PM  

This puzzle has received a more positive review than I would have thought. ERM is a terrible answer, and the puzzle is full of proper names, foreign words, and junk fill. Why is the answer to 7A THE DOW, whereas the answer to 22A is CHA CHA and not THE CHA CHA? A notably poor puzzle overall, with no surprises or real fun. El stinko.

Anonymous 1:23 PM  


Anonymous 1:24 PM  

Loved it! All doable, and it stuck together well. Looked all over before finally getting started with Pelosi down in the SE, but then once I had a grip, and could infer some of the songs--it went well! Thanks, Matthew! --Rick

JC66 1:26 PM  


Loved your BAR-BAR-BAR-BAR-BARBARA ANN almost as much as I enjoy your **grunts** puzzles.

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

Agree with not knowing ABBA'S Money... despite thinking 8 was quite familiar with their hits! I would have used OJ's, but it turned out that though that is the chorus, it's not the title of their song. So 8 guess,I did learn something from this puzzle. 2 things, must include LEMMA

GILL I. 1:33 PM  

@Z....I know...HAH. Our governator is also related to Chuck Shumer. Did you know that John Kerry's daughter is married to a mullah's son in Iran?
@Joaquin....Another hah! I'll think of you when I pull out my flask from my YSL hospital hat. I'm off to our daughter's house but I thought I'd share with you the mouthful of what I'm having done so that you can laugh with me....It's called a PR ESOPHAGOGASTRODUOENDOSCOPY TRANSORAL with a side of a HI RISK COLORECTAL SCRN. I think they're doing this because I eat a lot of black beans,
Your wishes are wonderful and I'll be back next week to continue to bug everyone......
PS...I'm going to ask the nurse to take a picture of me.....

Anonymous 1:35 PM  

The side view of someone's head (in relief) on a brooch is a cameo. They're called cameo brooches (or broaches) or cameo pins. Very commonly worn at the base of the throat on white lace collars in the 19th century (probably earlier and into early 20th as well).

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

Also, although not a themer, Rihanna isn't white.

Anonymous 1:48 PM  

@Gill 1:33- Ha Ha did Kerry fly in his family’s private plane to the nuptials ?

Whatsername 1:50 PM  

An interesting Sunday especially if you’re musically inclined. WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS isn’t as popular in Kansas City as it was last year. But I am confident we’ll be hearing it again someday soon.

@GILL: Hoping all goes well tomorrow. I like @Joaquin’s idea of Jell-O shots. In fact I think everyone should raise one in your honor. As my granddad used to say, take your time going but hurry back.

Anonymous 1:53 PM  

Think of jewelry, as in a cameo pin. Google a picture and you'll see why it is a relief (different elevations).

Lewis 1:58 PM  

Wishing you well for tomorrow, and will miss you while you are away!

Ken Freeland 1:59 PM  

You get my 5 star award for best and pithiest summary.... Kudos

Gian 2:11 PM  

I saw Gene Kelly/Wet, Elvis/Prison (plus there's like one well-known Robyn song) and realized it couldn't have been anything else. First time ever, I literally filled in every theme answer before a single other letter. Super easy this Sunday, too much so as I typically like to stretch the puzzle out over a few days as a brain-starter with my first cup of coffee. This week, on to the dailies! Long time reader, first time commenter. Thanks, Rex!

Teedmn 2:13 PM  

Best wishes, @Gill I!

Maybe . . . 2:21 PM  

I really don't enjoy crosswords based on song titles or movie titles or obscure actors or other "names". I like crosswords based on vocabulary (preferably English language) and real, used idioms, not pop trivia.

TTrimble 2:23 PM  

We mathematicians revere him too. I estimate that Poincaré and Hilbert were easily the best mathematicians of their generation, and among the finest of all time. They might be in my top ten (although I've never tried to compile such a list).

I can see why that LEMMA would be so useful in physics. It's also part of the founding or prehistory of homology theory, an enormous subject.

Someone (named Gian-Carlo Rota) said that it's the secret desire of mathematicians, not to have a theorem named after them, but a LEMMA. I easily understand that. Some result quoted all the time because it turns out to be so god-darned useful.

SouthsideJohnny 2:35 PM  

@Maybe 2:21 - wow, what a concept ! Could not have stated it any better myself. Too bad that idea has never occurred to, and/or is completely foreign to the current regime at the Times.

jae 2:37 PM  

@GILL - good luck, may all your read outs be clear!

Joe Dipinto 2:44 PM  

Why thank you @Nancy 11:37, you're always so unfailingly gracious.

@Z 8:50 – Aretha's "Weight" was a single in early 1969 but it didn't stick around long. I don't recall the guitar intro now, it may have been lopped off the 45 version because I seem to think it started cold on her vocal. Anyway, in hindsight it seems like it should have been a bigger hit.

@egsforbreakfast 11:46 – re your random thought: And conversely, if Trump *does* run in 2024, isn't that by necessity an admission that he lost the presidency in 2020?

sixtyni yogini 2:56 PM  

Thanks, Rex, for leading me to the realization that Sunday 🧩s are mostly not fun (for me) any more.😂

If a puzz isn’t good on a non-Sunday at least it’s a short-lived experience..

there’s always the possibility of next Sunday....

Here’s to future sparkle and wit.

Anonymous 3:15 PM  

I don't mind LEMMA in a puzzle but I hope I've seen the last one. The reason being the elitist discussions that follow. OK. I'm impressed but please stop.

burtonkd 3:15 PM  

@Joe Dipinto - brilliant idea for today with the alternative song list! Plus nice underhanded shot over the net at Rex:)

I won't even take points off for Killing Me Softly being written by a (really nice) white dude.

Anonymous 3:16 PM  

@Joe Dipinto & @egs 11:46:

Yeah, but... The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) insists that *he's* never been bankrupt even when so many of *his* companies have been/are. Denial is the river whose current he floats on. He takes the Norman Vincent Peale approach: if you say it long enough, true or not (almost always the latter), you'll convince yourself and some number of others of your alternate reality. I suspect he really believes that the Insurrection was totally apart from him. That makes him sort of -path, of course. Which kind? Does it really matter?

Here is a long-ish (in news terms, anyway) history of Trump and Peale:

Barbara S. 3:22 PM  

In my post at 8:35 I speculated that this might have been a particularly difficult puzzle to construct. Nobody has commented and I'd be interested to hear from any constructors in the house. Especially hard or standard?

@M&A 1:06 PM
Hey man, you're playin' my (theme) song!

Birchbark 3:25 PM  

@GILL I. -- May all be A-OK. And may your post-op FRUIT CUPS be served in FLUTES.

Georgia 3:29 PM  

No objections to people losing their "ideals" as they grow older at 51A? I'm older ... 68 ... and I resisted acknowledging that answer til the very last letter, thinking "he couldn't be suggesting that ..."

kitshef 3:32 PM  

@Gill I - good luck. Please come back to us as crazy as ever. I'll be eating a big bowl of green jello and thinking of you tomorrow.

PeterWeb 3:39 PM  

I thought Morse code used a dot (not a dit) and a dash?

Tale Told By An Idiot 3:58 PM  

Useless tidbit:

Re:LEMMA. When this word appeared in the puzzle a couple of weeks ago I was able to put it in almost immediately and thought that I had learned it in high school geometry. Discussion on the blog convinced me that I was probably not correct about that. When the word appeared again in today’s puzzle, I decided to try to remember when and where I had to come across it. And bingo: Spinoza. Baruch Spinoza (sometimes, Benedict) was a dutch philosopher who was born in 1632 and died in 1677. His major work “Ethics” uses deductive reasoning to “solve” many of the questions of philosophy: does god exist? What is the nature of mind? Of knowledge? Of good and evil, etc. etc.
He lays out propositions, then uses axioms, LEMMAS (occasionally) and prior propositions to prove them.

TTrimble 4:30 PM  

@Anonymous 3:15 PM
Nice to see you assign the most charitable interpretation: "elitist".

But let me suggest that people in this commentariat sometimes get into certain conversations not to be elitist or to show off, but just because the conversations turn to something that naturally interests/excites them. Conversations go off on all sorts of tangents, as conversations will. I'm usually happy to learn what I can from conversations that go a little deeper than surface level. (A good example is when @Loren Muse Smith talks about linguistics.)

You are free to skip over conversations that do not interest you.

To change the topic: here is a Wikipedia article related to YTTRIUM. Talk amongst yourselves.

TTrimble 4:33 PM  

@Tale Told 3:58 PM
Interesting; thanks! I was wondering earlier about early instances of that word (LEMMA) in the sense we've been discussing, and I think that qualifies.

Barbara S. 4:43 PM  

@Gill I.
May you be back doing the CHA CHA real soon.

pabloinnh 5:05 PM  

Oye GILL I--First phrase from Spanish I in college--

Ojala que te mejores pronto!

Yeah, still works.

Suerte y abrzos.

Anonymous 5:34 PM  

@1:48- Is it really true that John Kerry, our CLIMATE ENVOY flies PRIVATE ? I suspect it’s right wing trolls spouting false bs. It can’t possibly be true.

RooMonster 5:41 PM  

She's got huge tracts of land
Har. Back when the world could take a joke. 😁

RooMonster Teehee Guy

Z 5:45 PM  

@Georgia - I muttered an obscenity when I put that in.

@TTrimble 4:30 - You are so much nicer than me.

@Anon3:15 - We all have strengths and weaknesses. It’s hardly surprising that the mathematicians here might discuss LEMMAta at some length. Up next, Octopodes LEMMATta.

@Tales - Huh. Somehow I missed that Spinoza was Dutch. That’s not like me.

@Joe Dipinto - I’d guess that the disc jockeys were confused, so that it didn’t get the kind of airplay it deserved.

I’m a little surprised at the number of people who don’t remember MONEY MONEY MONEY. We’ve gone from Pink Floyd to a more modern take on money to definitely not Pink Floyd. (That last gets a NSFW trigger alert)

Tale Told By An Idiot 6:11 PM  

@Z 5:45 pm. 😉 Perhaps you missed that Spinoza was Dutch because his ancestors were Sephardic Jews from Portugal. When they were kicked out by Ferdinand and Isabella, with all the other Jews in Spain and Portugal, the Spinozas ended up in the Netherlands. (In case you thought that Columbus sailing the ocean blue was the only thing that happened in 14 hundred and 92, that was also the year most of the Jews were kicked out of the Iberian Peninsula.)

sanfranman59 6:29 PM  

Easy NYT Sunday ... 25% below my 6-month median solve time ... my 6th fastest solve time of 565 contemporaneously solved NYT Sundays and 12th fastest of 1381, if I include puzzles from the archives ... only five erasures and no stalls or sputters is very unusual for me with a NYT Sunday grid ("stalls and sputters" are 30+-second stare times as tracked by former blog regular Ralph Bunker's excellent online solving app)

Most of the themers were right up my alley, requiring few or no crosses. The only ones that didn't go right into the grid were MONEY MONEY MONEY {92A: Cash bars? [Abba]} (I was never into Abba back in the day, though I enjoy hearing their hits nowadays) and DANCING ON MY OWN {116A: Singles bars? [Robyn]} (I had no idea on this one and I don't even recognize the artist's name). The theme certainly wasn't LOL funny, but it was tolerable.

My primary hold-up in the fill was thoughtlessly entering 'ALp' instead of ALE {46D: Weizenbock or Berliner Weisse} after barely glancing at the clue. Ach! My German ancestors are turning in their graves! That error made it very difficult to commit to MAWS {45D: Gaping holes} and to see SWEAR BY {56A: Strongly endorse}. I'm not quite up on my Biden Administration officials just yet, so I needed a little help with both LLOYD {76A: ___ Austin, Biden defense secretary} and JEN {69D: ___ Psaki, Biden press secretary}. It's refreshing to have at least some familiarity with the press secretary's name, considering how little we saw of the folks with that title in the previous administration. Unlike Rex, I've returned to watching the PBS News Hour since the Bidens moved into the White House. My cardiologist and psychologist both recommended that I avoid the nightly news after about the first six months of 45's administration.

CARLA {31A: "Top Chef" chef ___ Hall} and PAMELA {59A: ___ Adlon, Emmy winner for "King of the Hill"} were entirely letter pattern recognition from crosses. I was happy that Will primed us for LEMMA {44A: Mathematical proposition} in a recent puzzle or I think I'd have had a lot more trouble with HOLI {29D: Hindu festival of colors}. My proudest moment of the solve was filling in YTTRIUM {93D: Element 39} off of just the Y. That and UNCTION {87D: Anointment} were the highlights of the fill for me (and pretty much the only highlights of the fill).

I'm usually pretty happy to romp through a grid, particularly one that's Sunday-sized, but I wouldn't have minded a little more challenge than this one offered. One thumb up.

A 7:04 PM  

Rex rants usually don’t phase me, but….the Press Secretary? And the first Black Secretary of Defense??? Who had to get special approval because he was in the military too recently? This stuff is anything but arcane, and is the kind of thing which usually APPEALs to OFL. AM I CLEAR?

@Frantic, I just watched the trailer for season 4 of ‘Better Things’ - it looks like I could learn some of those things that you only find out if you have worldly teenagers! And thanks for the MTM clip - Aunt Yoo-hoo!

One redo I didn’t mention - I had the ES of high winds and the musical meaning occurred to me. Thought “oh crap it’s oboes” and typed in oboe for oboeES. Took me a minute to see it, but I was relieved to take it out. Just glad it wasn’t piccoli.

FLY ME TO THE MOON has to be Nat Cole for me. In other words

@Joe D, nice list, but maybe should we hide @Nancy’s razor blades?

@Barbara, once again you gave us something lovely. I’m looking online to buy Everything is Illuminated - just can’t decide whether to opt for the signed first edition. Btw, nice tribute you got from @Roo All Things Oldies

@Nancy, @Georgia, @Z and you other IDEAListS, I’m with you! Commented on that on my earlier post. (12:59)

@GILL, All the best! Hurry back - we’ll be awaiting your hospital tales!

Masked and Anonymous 7:14 PM  

@Barbara S. 3:22pm: Probably about average difficulty to construct this SunPuz. Trickiest-lookin feat was havin some of the themers cross each other … which can often lead to a bit of desperation.
But, but -- the fillins were quite smooth in this puppy ... so I assume the constructioneer suffered a little extra, gettin things to come out so nice.

All 21x21 puzgrids are a bear to build, if U ask m&e, tho. I prefer to stick to 7x7. At 21x21, I have trouble just keepin track of what grid words I've already splatzed in there somewhere.

M&A Builders Co-op

bocamp 7:17 PM  

@Gill 🙏

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

albatross shell 7:26 PM  

Morse code uses dot and dash but they are often vocalized as dit and dah. Easier that way.

TALC and CAMEO took wasted many nanodays. Wanted TAnk and CoMic. Talk about falling into traps. metOo before ASDOI but that one was quick and easy.

Good sides and bad sides to this one. Too bad Billy Idol's Dancing with Myself was a few letters too long.

Anonymous 7:32 PM  

@1:48-=Look, Kerry is a politician and therefore a liar. Bush, Obama, Trump etc. Don’t trust any of them.

ChuckD 7:50 PM  

@TTrimble 4:30 - understand that if our daily puzzle discussions pull us towards a discussion of Hilbert, Mandelbrot, von Neumann or heart be still the great Gauss - I will be listening. Nerdy maybe - but elitist?? I don’t see it.

Joe Dipinto 8:34 PM  

@A – Don't worry, @Nancy and I are cool. ;-)

That Nat King Cole version of "Fly Me To The Moon" is terrific. I've never heard the introductory verse before, and now that I have, it seems almost necessary to include it – the line "I'll translate as I go along" sets up the "in other words" refrain each time. Good stuff!

TTrimble 8:41 PM  

Maybe that was the word @Anonymous was fumbling for: nerdy, not elitist.

What people should realize is that there are infinite gardens of delight spread out before us. They belong to no one in particular: they are just there.

I'm glad you know about these individuals and are interested in math. I can give you my email if you're interested in a chat now and then (and I may click on your name to see if there's an email address). I've noticed that @kitshef also digs mathematics (and has native feeling for it).

Tugboat 10:14 PM  

Dancing On My Own is not comparable to an underproduced Bananarama song and it is very well known to many people under the queer umbrella.

RooMonster 11:20 PM  

Late, but...
A @ 7:04
That was @M&A who gave Barbara S her tribute. I'm actually honored that you mixed me up with him!

Those Cardi B videos are disturbing. How the hell people actually like those videos is ridiculous. And women wonder why they get exploited. You have women like Cardi B all about everything sex. It's sickening.


Z 12:07 AM  

@Roo - Have you ever watched, say, an 80’s hair metal band’s music video? What’s the difference?

joannalan 8:21 AM  


joannalan 8:21 AM  


MassBookworm 8:26 AM  

One comment: ERM. really?? ERM???

Joe 5:33 PM  

I have a BA in Mathematics (from 50 years ago). I’ve never heard of a mathematical proposition called a lemma.

BJK 7:23 PM  

Forgive me for not reading through all the comments above to freak out right here! Hubs leaves the puzzles out for me when he needs me to finish them off and the first places I jumped was to 51A and I have to admit I’m mortified! Do I have to write a friendly note about ageist attitudes to our dear Mr Stock informing him that we don’t,
in fact, lose our “ideals” when we age? 😫

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