Bear in a 2012 comedy / WED 3-24-21 / Kim 7-year-old star of the Golden Globe-winning "Minari" / Comic strip antagonist with massive arms / Semihard Dutch cheese

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Constructor: Amanda Rafkin and Ross Trudeau

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "WHO WORE IT BETTER?" (38A: Question asked regarding two red-carpet photos of those named in the starred clues?) — articles of clothing associated with two ... cartoon characters (?)

Theme answers:
  • SAILOR SUIT (17A: *Donald Duck or Popeye?)
  • DENIM OVERALLS (24A: *Minions or Mario?)
  • FOOTIE PAJAMAS (50A: *Michael Darling or Baby Smurf?)
  • TRENCHCOAT (61A: *Inspector Gadget or McGruff the Crime Dog?)
Word of the Day: ALAN Kim (2D: ___ Kim, 7-year-old star of the Golden Globe-winning "Minari") —
• • •

Sorry, I think I'm just too tired to understand this one fully. I don't know why the figures named in the starred clues are cartoon characters. I don't understand the hook—like, what is cartoony about the cluing, or the phrase "WHO WORE IT BETTER?" I keep looking for the pun or the wordplay. Does "red carpet" evoke animation or cartooning somehow? I don't know. I don't get it. I don't have any problem with the fact that cartoon characters are not real and thus can't physically walk down a red carpet. I just don't know why cartoon characters, specifically, are being used. I figure there has to be an angle. But as far as I can tell, no, it's just that the cartoon characters named in the clues both wear the articles of clothing in question. And that is that. I guess people will enjoy remembering toons, or having the clothing similarities pointed out, and maybe that's enough. I just kept waiting for the punchline that never came. Or maybe it came, in the form of the revealer, and I just didn't get it. Other theme things I didn't get: why BLUTO is up there turning the red carpet into a SAILOR-SUIT threesome (7D: Comic strip antagonist with massive arms); why DENIM OVERALLS (it's true, but you would just say OVERALLS); how you spell FOOTIE (considered FOOTEE and FOOTSY); and who "Michael Darling" is (had to look him up—he's a little kid in "Peter Pan," a movie I don't think I've ever seen).

The fill is weirdly weak in this one. Crosswordese-ish fill splattered all over the place. Starting in the north, there's SAO SAABS ASSAM SEI STIEG NRA AREEL ARIA GAL GADOT (even in long form, I think of her as crosswordese now—she's absolutely outpacing a lot of the old-school crossword names in terms of frequency of appearances; she's not at ASHE levels yet, but she's trying) (deep breath) EGAD OSLO LEIS ORCA RIC LAMESA EDAM SOSAD RIO AESOP IFSO ... and those were all *contiguous*. You can then hop to NOLO and ASP ASHE and ADELE ONDVD you get the idea. It's wearying. And it's really, truly wearying to see NRA this week of all weeks, even with the clue that signals opposition to the group. You would never put KKK in the puzzle at all, no matter how you clued it, right? So ... extend the logic, please. Some orgs. are beyond clue redemption. Thank you.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 6:18 AM  

Rex, I love you, but isn't the joke just that usually the phrase is used for A-list celebrities and here it's used for...fictional characters (who happen to wear similar things?) I mean, it's not hysterically funny, but I thought it was cute. But then I go on fashion sites and watch award shows and see the phrase used a lot. And Michael Darling, c'mon, really, you've never read Peter Pan? (While I guess you're right that it must apply to the cartoon character to be consistent, the book and the tv show on every year during my childhood still gave it away.)

Lewis 6:20 AM  

This was especially fun for me because it gave me a glimpse into a mindset that is so far from mine. It was like a lovely visit to a foreign country for me, one that sparked me with joy.

Foreign? I don’t know who Minions or Michael Darling are. I never heard the term “footie pajamas” (though immediately I can picture them). Most importantly, I don’t follow clothes styles and who wears what, and how well the what that someone is wearing is worn.

But doing this puzzle shot me right into that frame of mind, and it was fun, I tell you! A huge “HAH!”. It makes me want to get out more. On a related note, I’m getting my second covid shot in a few hours.

Oh, I also liked BLUTO / OSLO / NOLO / RIO, plus the PuzzPairs© of FOOTIE PAJAMAS and DADA, as well as BLUTO and clue-word “Popeye”. And that moment of amazement at the powers of the brain when, from the initial W and final A only, my brain filled in WHITE SEA, a body of water I’ve never heard of!

Thank you for the tour and side trips A&R. This was ebullient! Thank you.

Lewis 6:23 AM  

@Rex, re the puzzle's raison d'etre, there's this from Amanda's notes: "Our puzzle today is interesting for me because it turns something I hate (the "who wore it better?" question) into something I love. To me, the existence of this question in its typical context represents so many of the problematic viewpoints society seems to have towards women.

"What I love about the question's transformation in this puzzle is that, through the lens of comparing these quasi-silly outfits on male animals and characters, it sort of illuminates how ridiculous the question is to begin with."

OffTheGrid 6:33 AM  

Easy Wednesday. Theme fun but weak. Kinda meh OVER ALL.

Gillian 6:35 AM  

“Who Wore it Better” is a thing that magazines like People and Us weekly do where they show different celebrities wearing the same item of clothing and then people can vote on who wore the item better.

Joaquin 6:39 AM  

Rex "kept waiting for the punchline that never came." He truly missed the point as WHO WORE IT BETTER is, in fact, the punchline.

BarbieBarbie 6:41 AM  

Was fun but you have to leap to Michael Darling from the Disney cartoon, not the illustrated Barrie book. And of course this is about cartoons so...
Interesting to think about what @Rex’s opinion might be on cartoons (his specialty) adapted from children’s lit (particularly English lit, his major). Is the dumbing-down and infantilizing of the book worth the spreading of the story? But since he never heard of this one on either front, never mind. Please don’t go watch it, Michael. The Disney worldview will bother you.

Not crazy about the fill in this one. Themers are cute but wheelhouse-y. Fun enough, but both constructors have done better. More of those, please.

smalltowndoc 6:44 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. Both fun and funny (imagine any of the themed characters posing on the red carpet!) Getting the revealer also helped me complete the remaining theme answers, since I wasn’t sure what wardrobe all these ‘toons are associated with.

Oh, and Rex, I dislike guns as much as you (having seen more GSWs than anyone should have to). But comparing the NRA to the KKK?? That’s just so beyond the pale.

Michael Page 6:51 AM  

Maybe it’s a “glass half full/empty” thing but is “semi-hard cheese” a thing? I thought it was “semi-soft.” And we seem to be back in the “same word on consecutive days” pattern with SAAB. And Rex, Peter Pan isn’t exactly arcana, just because you don’t know/remember Michael Darling from your childhood doesn’t make it an unfairly obscure clue. But agree completely on the excessive xwordese of the fill.

Unknown 6:51 AM  

Rex, amen re the NRA point. I made the same "KKK" analogy to my girlfriend last night.

On Tuesday evening, at around 8 pm (ET) -- the exact same time the Boulder authorities were holding a press conference announcing the fact 10 people were killed, including a cop -- the NRA tweeted a picture of the Constitution and captioned it with the language of the Second Amendment.

No condolences, no sympathy for the victims' families, not even the tired and trite "thoughts and prayers" the right loves to trot out so much during these times. Nope, none of that. Instead, just support for the f--king killer's right to have owned the AR-15 he used to massacre 10 people in a grocery store.

And the NRA's beyond-offensive tweet was reported that evening in . . . yep, The NY Times.

F--k you, NRA. And NYT puzzle editors, your fetishism for this group REALLY needs to end. I don't care how you clue the damn word, it does not lessen its offensiveness to people every time we are forced to see it, yet again. Yesterday was the THIRD time NRA appeared in the puzzle, this month alone.

SouthsideJohnny 6:53 AM  

This has got to be a wheelhouse thing, and this one is definitely not in mine - in fact it seems like it came from another planet. I had seen STIEG and GAL GODOT in puzzles before, but not enough to remember them from the cluing. Never heard of ALAN Kim or ASSAM. Is LEES referring to the jeans (do they have something to do with wine ?). I’ll take it on faith that AREEL is a real word cuz I’m too bored to google it. Add in the fact that the theme is completely meaningless and indiscernible to me, and I just gave up on this snoozefest about halfway through.

I’ll patiently wait on the sidelines for my turn - hopefully there will come a time when I’m so engaged that I feel like I’m firing on all eight cylinders - definitely won’t be today though.

Conrad 6:53 AM  

ASSAM was a WOE, and I was late to see AIRLINER, so I filled in AppLES for 14A, "alternatives to windows". Cursing the clue, of course, because Windows should have been capitalized. The bulb didn't light up until after I failed to get the happy theme. Other than that (which is 100% on me), I'm more with @Lewis than @Rex.

Hungry Mother 6:59 AM  

For some reason, I had DENInOVERoLLS and couldn’t see the problem. I think it’s with me.

pabloinnh 7:09 AM  

Jeez, fashion is the least of my interests, but even I get the reference to the attention paid to people (women, I think almost exclusively) and what they were wearing when they made their arrivals at the Oscars(?) and if they were both wearing Guccci or something, the question becomes WHOWOREITBETTER ? I found the silliness of using toons to elicit the same question suitably amusing.

Took a while to remember Michael Darling from Peter Pan, and darned if I know what the minions or baby smurfs wear, but didn't really need them. Guessed OWEN before GARP, and misreading a clue number got me OMNIA in the wrong down column leading to MENEXT, which works fine, until it doesn't.

Didn't really notice all the -ese until OFL pointed it out, and it does seem fair excessive.

Otherwise had enough fun for a Wednesday, so thanks AR and RT. Didn't find this Really Tough but it did put up some Amusing Resistance.

Guess I'll find out how many other folks point out Rex's BLINDSPOT.

kitshef 7:13 AM  

While solving, it felt like this was chock full of names I did not know, but in the end there were only two: ALAN Kim and MARC Maron. The latter crossing LA MESA was a little scary, but MESA was the only four-letter Spanish noun I could think of, and it the M worked with MARC.

Dan 7:18 AM  

I assume the reason for cartoon characters rather than real people is that most real people change their clothes every day rather than always wearing a single iconic outfit.

Qpwoei 7:19 AM  

Worth coming here daily for Lewis’ comments alone.

RK from Switzerland 7:30 AM  

I had no issue with the theme - it is a cute idea. My problem was with the clues. I counted 19 proper names and a few acronyms. Way too many for one puzzle. Having never constructing a puzzle, are the inclusion of so many proper names a sign of weak construction - or does the constructor choose to include many names?

bocamp 7:48 AM  

Thank you @Amanda & @Ross for a challenging Wednes. creation. Very much enjoyed revisiting these characters. :)

Medium solve.

Good start in the NW, and with BLINDSPOT going right in, opened up the puz nicely. Slow and steady progress all the way home. Loved the theme. It helped the solve, no doubt!

Can't remember what I did with my SAILORSUIT. Most likely donated it and my other duffle bag items to a secondhand store.

"I'm Popeye the SAILOR Man" (1934)

yd pg -4 (will tab this one for a few days)

Peace ~ Empathy ~ TOLERANCE ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Jess 7:54 AM  

The fill was weak (but Rex, Adele is rad and should be in lots of crosswords!), and I found the cluing uneven (the huge cluster of '?' clues all cross each other was surprising to me)


I LOVED THE THEME. It was so absurd, and the idea of comparing outfits on male cartoon characters is genius.

NRA in a puzzle this week is really not great -- but since there are mass shootings every week, I suppose it's no worse this week than any other :-(

Georgia 7:56 AM  

It's Awards Season. They brought together well known (to me) characters to pose the classic red carpet gush "who wore it better?" I found it clever, and fun to picture the characters in their traditional garb.

Georgia 7:58 AM  

Watch Disney's "Peter Pan" some rainy afternoon, you won't regret it. And the next one try "Hook" with Robin Williams.

Anonymous 8:01 AM  

Brazil micro-theme with “RIO” and “SAO”

Anonymous 8:14 AM  

Good grief! Talk about your overthinking! Rex has tortured this theme into an inedible pretzel, all in the name of trying to figure out why cartoon characters are appearing in this puzzle. Because they are! And why DENIM overalls, when OVERALLS would have been just fine. Because "overalls" isn't a long enough clue and DENIM OVERALLS is accurate! And why FOOTIE pajamas instead of some other spelling. Just Google it: 2,960,000 hits. Because that's how it's spelled!

And he never saw the Peter Pan movie? Did you ever read the book, O professor of literature?

I'm annoyed that I even read this column today because Rex's ridiculous crankiness has made me cranky.

J. Pauley 8:21 AM  

The real problem that Rex has with this puzzle is that it was co-constructed by Ross Trudeau

Nancy 8:27 AM  

Who are these characters??? I mean really! You can just imagine how I feel about a puzzle theme completely based on cartoons and the cartoonish -- and which then throws even more pop culture answers into the mix for good measure -- answers like BLUTO and JANIE and GAL GADOT. And I'm really supposed to know who these theme characters are but what they wear??? I mean really!

And then I got to the revealer, WHO WORE IT BETTER (which I got off just a few crosses) and I completely cracked up. Thank heavens for you, Donald and Popeye!!! I know at least who both of you are and I can see you dressed in your SAILOR SUITS. And therefore I had that big "Aha" moment.

I wouldn't have had an aha moment for any of your theme mates (pun intended) though. I don't know who Minions and Michael Darling and Baby Smurf and Inspector Gadget and McGruff are, much less what they wear. Only 17A kept this theme from going right over my head. Or maybe I should say under my head.

So I hated this puzzle before I loved it. Then, at WHO WORE IT BETTER, I briefly loved it. And then when FOOTIE PAJAMAS raised its ridiculous feet, I began hating it again.

Son Volt 8:45 AM  

I’m all in on highlighting societal viewpoints of women - but this puzzle fails miserably if that was the intention. Theme, fill the whole thing.

On to Thursday.

pabloinnh 8:58 AM  

***SB ALERT****


Tea Man 9:01 AM  

I did it; I understood it; but I didn’t enjoy it. And there did come a point — at the start — when I was stressing out about ever figuring out the theme. Bottom line for me: Tough-ish for a Wednesday but not much fun.

Karl Grouch 9:03 AM  

"The XWorld According to Sharp",
John Irving's kinky-outfit blog.

Chipster 9:09 AM  

I really liked this one. Lighten up a bit?πŸ˜ƒ

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:12 AM  

Did AESOP write for children?

Frantic Sloth 9:17 AM  

This theme was a lot of fun for me. I just wish the dang revealer came at the end as Gof intended.

One quibble: Donald Duck doesn't wear pants, so SAILORSUIT is a stretch.

Had to get FOOTIEPAJAMAS from the crosses because Baby Smurf? Ugh. And Michael Darling is....?? The only "Darlings" I remember were Lady's (of Lady and the Tramp "fame") and that story is about the dogs. Who pays attention to humanoids?

Still, I enjoyed it and the fill was okay, too. Hey, look! There's that 2-pen dude bIC FLAIR again! Wasn't the last time he appeared also in a puzzle by these constructors?
I might be making that up.


@Z from yesterday It's pretty simple ingredients:

Egg of ant
Eye of newt
Stalk of celery
Bowl of bouillon (honey badger)

But it's the herbs and spices that make it sing. You'll have to create your own because the family secret recipe dies with me.

Mr. Cheese 9:18 AM  

Completed this with no problems. I never understood that the revealer was anything more than a hint at what was going on. I have not watched an awards show in 50 years. They all reek of phoniness.

Anonymous 9:23 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
WhatDoing 9:26 AM  

Great crossword today. Loved the theme. Cartoons tend to wear the same clothes all the time ... so ... you’re really overthinking this Rex. And perhaps the March for Our Lives clue will lead some to take action against the terror organization that is the NRA.

Barbara S. 9:28 AM  

I have to give a thumbs-up to the absurdity of rating cartoon characters on their fashion flair. I’ve seen those pieces in magazines with two photographs side by side comparing celebrity women sporting the same gown and, really, COULD anything be more absurd (and demeaning) than doing such an evaluation in the first place and then voting on it?? The use of cartoon characters heightens the lunacy of the whole idea and I like that.

I got off to an unfortunate start by putting in ruB for NAB at 1A. The B was confirmed by BLINDSPOT so I thought I was cookin’, but I should have seen right away that NASA had to be the answer for 1D. I bounced here and there down the grid, leaving a trail of white squares, until I finally got to the SE, which I was able to fill in sufficiently to get TRENCHCOAT. At that point the light started to dawn about the theme. There seemed to be an enormous number of As in this puzzle. I counted 27, and 12 words begin with A. Eh? I liked AESOP crossing LEARN, as his tales always teach us something. Welcome back to LEES for wine dregs – that’s right up there with OAST and ETUI for old crosswordese.

When I was 19, I went on a grand tour of Europe for three and a half months. I kept a daily journal on that trip and I’ve been reading it over the last day or so. I'd arrived at OSLO when I started to do this puzzle. I certainly devote a lot of ink to the Munch Museum, which we visited one evening. Much of his work is emotionally fraught and highly colored, and when we staggered out of the museum at closing time, we found that a strange atmospheric inversion had settled over the city and somehow the night sky was an eerie pink! Yikes, it was like walking straight into one of his pictures.

Today I offer this poem as a tribute to LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI, born Mar. 24, 1919 (and died on Feb. 22, 2021, just one month shy of his 102nd birthday).


Constantly risking absurdity
and death
whenever he performs
above the heads
of his audience
the poet like an acrobat
climbs on rime
to a high wire of his own making

and balancing on eyebeams
above a sea of faces
paces his way
to the other side of the day
performing entrachats
and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
and all without mistaking

any thing
for what it may not be
For he's the super realist
who must perforce perceive
taut truth
before the taking of each stance or step
in his supposed advance
toward that still higher perch

where Beauty stands and waits
with gravity
to start her death-defying leap
And he
a little charleychaplin man
who may or may not catch
her fair eternal form
spreadeagled in the empty air

of existence

CarynR 9:30 AM  

I thought this theme was super clever, especially in the midst of awards season. It made me chuckle to imagine these cartoon characters pictured side by side in their iconic outfits in the next issue of People magazine. Thanks for starting my day off with a smile Amanda and Ross!

G. Weissman 9:35 AM  

Junk-fill-orama. If you use foreign words for numbers in your puzzle, you’re playing tennis without a net. Including extremely obscure names is not a sign of cleverness. McGruff the Crime Dog, Mario, and Michael Darling cannot be said to come from a shared genre or medium. Not fun.

Hartley70 9:39 AM  

This puzzle was super young and fun and started my Wednesday on a high note. The revealer was a hoot! I had to dig deep to remember the outfits on these characters but managed with a little help from the crosses. I confess that I do know who all of the characters are, although Michael Darling held me up for a moment because my first 1950s version of Peter Pan stars Mary Martin and the cast in the flesh. The PPP felt current with the exception of ANNE and my heart skipped a beat when I saw VAPE, pretty controversial for the NYT. I skimmed Rex because I wasn’t into negativity about this puzzle, but my head is spinning at the idea that he hasn’t seen Peter Pan. Is he Amish? ...and I mean no disrespect to those fine people.

Eldreth 9:39 AM  

Enjoyable theme ( come on Rex - a smart guy like you ought to have gotten the joke ). Only minor issue that mars the theme is that Michael Darling isn’t really a cartoon character in the same sense ad all the other, whose existence originated AS cartoon characters and not as cartoon adaptions of literary characters. Only had one problem with the cluing - why should competitor and Saabs be plural when Volvo is singular?

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

I am tiring of the NYT xword because of the new approach to every puzzle. We are seeing WS's legacy invading every construction. The meta is paramount, even if everything else is trite and repeated to make it work. The time of Maleska was pooh-poohed as forcing dependency on xword dictionaries. Now contrived supra-puzzles reign with an overdependence on pop culture and the newest names, events, shows, music, awards, etc.

Unknown 9:44 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. I liked the throwback to childhood and the ironic comparison to Hollywood glamour. As a female solver, it was more up my alley than the often sports-oriented ones with baseball players, golfers and terms I never heard of.

Z 9:46 AM  

I got the “joke” and had the same reaction as Rex to it. Thanks @Lewis for sharing Rafkin’s thoughts, but it still didn’t work for me. I don’t watch award shows since they are really just hours long infomercials for the particular industries, but it’s hard to miss the WHO WORE IT BEST question posed by people living on the edges of the Entertainment-Industrial Complex, so I definitely get Rafkin’s point. Normally this kind of droll satire would make me chuckle, but it just didn’t land for me. A big part of that is probably my instant negative reaction to a theme based purely on PPP, and PPP from one specific cultural area no less. So I can see where others would be amused by the theme (hi @Jess) but I was not. I will note that it is above the usual Dad Joke level of humor so kudos to the constructors for taking a chance at a higher level of humor.

*PPP - Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns. When more than 33% of the puzzle is PPP some subset of solvers will find it challenging. I will not be at all surprised if a theme based on cartoon PPP has the same effect.

@BarbieBarbie - Infantilizing - That certainly happens, but the same can be true of literature adapted to the screen. The “the book was better” observation is so universal as to be clichΓ©. At the same time, it isn’t necessarily true. It is possible to adapt a work of literature into a different medium and end up with something as good as or better than the source. Not easy, but it happens.

@smalltowndoc - That the comparison is apt becomes pretty apparent the more you read about the organization, and it has gotten especially apt in the past two decades. This is the reason people like my brother-in-law (a hunter and a conservative) left it (he wouldn’t frame it the way I do, but the end result was the same).

@pabloinnh - Do you need an intervention? We are all there for you buddy. Maybe a nice cold Sloe FROZTY would help.

@Several People - It is possible to dislike the art and like the artist.

OffTheGrid 9:50 AM  

The KKK facilitated terrorism, mainly against African-Americans, by making that group fearful to just live their lives. The NRA facilitates terrorism through the voluminous proliferation of military grade weaponry, making EVERYONE fearful. You will think of the recent Boulder massacre for at least the next several times you go grocery shopping. Is that how you want to live? If you have kids in school can you not think about Columbine, Sandy Hook, and other school massacres? So yes, the NRA is a terrorist organization.

RooMonster 9:57 AM  

Hey All !
Ever notice the WHO WORE IT BETTER is never for men? That's because all the men wear Tuxes. Mostly black. How come women get all the best clothes to wear? Guys get pants, shirts, and coats. Period. Just sayin'.

Fun puz. Cartoons wearing same clothes. Some cartoon characters don't wear clothes. Warner Bros. especially. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E Coyote, the Roadrunner... Some just have shirts, no pants, Donald Duck, Winnie the Pooh... Weird. Most only have four fingers. Then the Smurfs and the Minions wear pants, but no shirts (mostly). To each character their own. πŸ™‚

Couldn't see GAL GADOT, as came at it from the end. Had ___ADOT, and kept seeing polkADOT. Har. Trying to think of someone whose name was maglADOT, or somesuch. Even after filling everything in (and getting the Happy Music!), I kept asking, "Who is GALGA DOT?"

Fun puz. Similar nits as some about the fill, but that's the way the puz crumbles, or something like that.

Two F's

Sir Hillary 9:58 AM  

Wow, I hated this puzzle. The theme is as thin as could possibly be, and the fill is dreadful (as noted by Rex). Also, I caught a major bummer of a vibe -- STRESSOUT, VAPE FIX, PTSD, NRA (who JANIE can thank for her gun). I was mildly amused at BLUTO crossing Popeye's outfit and LEVI perched above DENIMOVERALLS, but when accidents like those are the only amusement, the puzzle's in trouble.

Malsdemare 10:00 AM  

Oh for Pete's sake! It’s FEETIEPAJAMAS! I am so offended.

ShamanAlchemist 10:05 AM  

It’s back up. Enjoy!

Z 10:05 AM  

@Eldreth - “Volvos competitor” v. “Volvo competitors” —> SAABS
As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, now we have to figure out if there’s a difference and which is better. My initial reaction was that you are right and we should pluralize the brand in the clue to parallel the brand in the answer. But I immediately doubted my reaction.

Re: @Barbara S’s contribution - Anyone else feel like Ferlinghetti lost faith in his reader with that “of existence” tagged to the end? “Yo! Reader! Just in case you didn’t quite catch my extended metaphor let me make it blindingly obvious to you.” A good editor would have said “Hey Larry, two words less will make this much better.”

@Frantic Sloth - So you’re condemning the good customers of Z’s Placebo and Tentacle Pub to always knowing there’s a better version of Ant Egg Soup to be had? Cruel. Just Cruel.

mathgent 10:10 AM  

The theme was the star of the show. Very much enjoyed picturing the fictional characters in their costumes. But like a good actor in a bad movie (Tom Hanks in Angels & Demons), it wasn't enough. No sparkle.

Some come here to learn about crosswords from Rex. Please be advised that some of his information is not standard. For example, the definition of crosswordese. For Rex, it's an entry that is used too much or that he just doesn't like. Look at the Wikipedia article on "Crosswordese" for its usual meaning. Words like ET TU, APSE, NAVE, ATRA, LEK, ASTA.

Anonymous 10:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sixtyni yogini 10:14 AM  

This one was just plain cute and fun.
Seemed a clever satire/making fun of high fashion and (to me) the inane question “who wore it better?”πŸ˜‚πŸ€ͺπŸ˜‚
How could I not love it then?

Frantic Sloth 10:21 AM  

Of course! Peter Pan! The Darling children! Still don't care. I'd sooner remember what Smee or Nana the dog wore before that little sh - er, tyke.

Rex is overthinking this theme, and some of his "crosswordese" examples seem questionable IMO, but whatevs. Had a feeling he might not care for this one before I solved it. Guess why.

@Lewis 623am Thanks for the constructor notes - makes me appreciate this all the more!

@Dan 718am LOL! Although I haven't changed my clothes since early March, 2020. πŸ˜‰

@Karl Grouch 903am πŸ€£πŸ‘

@OffTheGrid 950am Well said! πŸ‘

@Roo 957am LOL! Now I can't get "...itsy bitsy teeny weenie yellow GALGA DOT bikini..." out of my head.

@Z 1005am Yes. And thank you. 🀣

CDilly52 10:26 AM  

Wel, this was a complete joy for me start to finish. When I finally got the connection between each of the respective pairs of cartoon characters, I laughed and said “well done!” to our constructors. The dripping sarcasm portrayed in this clever and well executed theme aligns precisely with my feelings on the subject of red carpet fashion snark. Poor @rex needs to revive his sense of humor or something because this was the best executed theme, complete with a big “aha moment,” that I have seen in the NYT in a very long time. It was new, not a rehash of old done and done again and again tired out snoozer themes. This was clever, fresh and required some brain work! And what’s even better from my perspective is the fact that I was struggling to fill in all my blank white spaces when DENIM OVERALLS finally came through my brain fog, and that was such a fun moment.

Loved. This. Puzzle!!!

Chris 10:27 AM  

Dang, some of you need to get out more. I've never seen a moment of the Minion movies, but I open my door at Halloweenn. McGruff has been doing PSAs since the 80's. Even if you only do the xwords, by now you should know the Smurfs and GALGADOT. I mean, I've never watched a full episode of the Simpsons, but by God, thanks to the xw, I know Moe, Apu, and the gang. I don't ever even see the celeb mags, but am aware of the world around me enough to know that "Who wore it best" is a thing.
If if works for you, great, but I truly don't know how people stay so completely unaware of the ocean they're swimming in.
I also know that Ferlinghetti is a UNC grad. Go Heels. :-)

GILL I. 10:28 AM  

Well this was quite possibly the strangest Wed. I have done in quite some time. But did I like it? Why yes...I did....Ill tell you why:
I love cartoons. I sometimes draw them. My kids loved them. And WHO WORE IT BETTER than Isaac Hayes in his penguin suit at the Oscars? Oh, wait...he's not involved here.
I look at the clue for 18D and I see dregs of wine and I think TITTYNOPE. We need that answer sometime in our future. If we can have a BLUTO GAL GADOT we can damn well have tittynope.
I'm Popeye the sailor man. I eat all the jam that I can.

Guerin Wilkinson 10:35 AM  

Great puzzle. It didn't come easy for me, but it did come after the application of a few extra brain cells. Wonderfull, funny, timely and enjoyable theme.

Seth 10:37 AM  

How in the world have you never seen or read Peter Pan, in any form? And even if you have absolutely no idea about anything Peter Pan related, you MUST know that it's, like, one of the most famous stories ever.

jae 10:46 AM  

Easy-medium. I caught the theme fairly early so this went pretty quickly as I knew all the toons. Clever, silly and fun, liked it a bunch!!

For those of you who notice these things, I just changed my blog pic. We are finally with the grandkids after a year. Vaccination is a wonderful thing!

Nancy 10:46 AM  

Oh, dear. What a sorry excuse for a feminist I seem to be since it never occurred to me that the whole WHO WORE IT BETTER thing was a putdown of women. It occurred to Lewis and it occurred to Barbara S, but, alas, it didn't occur me.

To be sure, I haven't watched a single red carpet pre-awards show since Joan Rivers died. I never gave two cents about the gowns; I just loved listening to her hilarious bitchiness.

And if I felt any outrage at all over the whole WHO WORE IT BETTER question, it was directed at the greedy and couldn't-care-less designers. You're charging thousands, maybe tens of thousands of dollars for a single dress and you can't guarantee for even one single night that your client will be the only one wearing it??? Shame on you!!! If I ever found myself in the same dress as some gorgeous creature 30 years younger, 9 inches taller, 15-20 pounds thinner and six shades blonder...I'd sue. You can bet on it!

Ethan Taliesin 10:48 AM  

Rex, the thing about cartoon characters is they are generally dressed in a standard way, while flesh and blood people mix it up more.

I loved the puzzle. I wasn't able to "bleed" out from one across like I often do, and so there were still blank squares scattered when I got to the revealer. I like it like that. Perfect Wednesday.

Whatsername 10:49 AM  

If you‘re into cartoons you probably loved this. In fact I was a bit surprised at Rex’s tepid reaction. Not a big fan myself so it was a little tough but it was fair and I figured it out. It did seem like there was an excess of Proper Names in the downs for the theme answers. By my count, 6 of 10 at 17A, 5 of 13 at 24A, and 7 of 13 at 58A. But overall it was a cute idea for a theme and well executed.

Great clues for NASA and LAT. Never heard big UPS though and no idea what a Juul is at 58D so had to guess there. Does RIC the Wrestler live in LAME SA? Just curious.

Dave in Florida 11:02 AM  
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fifirouge 11:08 AM  

I agree with "Anonymous". I wish I hadn't read the blog today. Now I'm grumpy. Harumph. This might be they day I stop reading this blog. I've been following Rex for a decade (?), but more often than not these days he just makes me angry. I didn't even get through the whole post. Came from the puzzle with a warm fuzzy feeling and was immediately put off by Rex unable to accept that the theme was a silly concept. It doesn't need some deep meaning or meta connection. It's cartoon characters, it's award season. It's lighthearted.

It feels like Rex is so consumed with his hatred for Will Shortz and the NYT crossword that he's forgotten that puzzles are supposed to be fun. Rex, considering your obvious disdain for it, why do you even keep this blog going? You're always complaining about the puzzle being stale, but frankly this blog is starting to feel just as stodgy.

MetroGnome 11:10 AM  

The NRA and the KKK, as odious as both are, are real-world, newsworthy organizations. Hence, they are both legitimate fodder for a PUZZLE concerned with WORDS AND PHRASES (as opposed to a PAMPHLET promoting an IDEOLOGY).

Where were the virtue-signalers a few days ago when ERNESTO (Che) Guevara was in the puzzle? Or is it only those radical organizations/individuals with whom "we" disagree who are supposed to be eliminated from the English language?

Newboy 11:15 AM  

At about 4:09 pdf @Pabloinnh was posting what four hours later I discovered as what would have been my response. Not sure I would have gotten 21a without the question mark, but still think it’s an amusing way to ground LAT instead of that usual muscle entry. Nice job on this tag team grid Amanda & Ross, you’re a well-suited couple for any AISLES carpet.

Carola 11:15 AM  

@Lewis 6:23 - Thank you for posting Amanda's comments on the theme - I hadn't really gotten the point!

Before reading @Lewis's 6:23 posting, I was only going to give the puzzle a pass because of the delightful FOOTIE PAJAMAS. Talk about having a BLINDSPOT to the whole concept. Thanks to the constructors showing the absurdity of this sort of judgment.

I did think there was an overload of names in the grid. Help from previous puzzles: MARC, LA MESA, RIC, JANIE. No idea: ALAN. Do-over: "is that A no?"

Anonymous 11:20 AM  
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Frantic Sloth 11:27 AM  

@GILL 1028am LOL! Tittynope is my new ort. So much better!

@Nancy 1046am Right? And I've tried time and again to watch the red carpet pre-show and it is just ghastly. There will never be another Joan. :'(

Frantic Sloth 11:38 AM  

And thank you @GILL for leading me down this charming rabbit hole. 😁

Anonymous 11:39 AM  
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jb129 11:45 AM  


Anonymous 11:49 AM  
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Unknown 12:01 PM  
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Anonymous 12:04 PM  
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old timer 12:11 PM  

My post-solve comment: "Well, I got it, but I don't get it."

Put me in the camp of those who feel the joke was not worth the effort, and not worth the drek answers throughout.

But then, I did not know that all the characters necessarily wore the items mentioned. Not the dog, not the Darling kid, whom I totally had forgotten about, But yes,the SAILOR SUIT toons. Them, I remember. And of course anyone who has been a parent in the last century knows about FOOTIE PAJAMAS, which have the double advantage of looking good, to parents and friends, and feeling good, warm, and cozy, for the tot.

This was also very much a puzzle where I hoped our dear @LMS would have chimed in.

Anonymous 12:12 PM  
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GILL I. 12:19 PM  

O Lordy, @Frantic. Now I'm going to have agastopia for some dickpot. Is that legal?

Masked and Anonymous 12:22 PM  

Funny theme. Donald Duck definitely is better, with that pantsless sailor suit.
Didn't know much about FOOTIEPAJAMAS, Michael Darling, or Baby Smurf, tho. But, hey -- that's show biz.

Superb knot of ?-marker clued entries, in that 14-A/5-D/17-A/21-A/24-A mesh. Thank goodness the FOOTIEPAJAMAS were not involved.

some fave sparklers: GALGADOT [M&A finally got to watch the first "Wonder Woman" flick, just last week. Borrowed the ONDVD version from my bro-in-law; tried to buy the DVD myself earlier, but Wal-Mart had their DVD racks stocked in random order, so just could not spot it. But, I digress …]. IMNEXT. BLUTO.

@RP: Day-um. A lot of solid fillins sure got the snark-blog stink-eye, today: STIEG. ARIA. GALGADOT [!]. EGAD. OSLO [!]. LEIS. ORCA. EDAM. RIO. AESOP [!]. IFSO. ASP. ASHE. ADELE. etc. U would be a mighty tough x-word editor to get a puz acceptance from.
staff weeject pick: the SEI & SAO sisters, who braved the ?-marker mesh. @RP didn't like SAO, but was evidently ok with SEI. M&A prefers SUE.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Amanda & Ross. Great puz -- coulda had a FACEMASK category, tho, for completeness. [Zorro, Bat Woman, etc. … I did spot a "Bat Woman" flick DVD at Wal-Mart, btw.]

Masked & AnonymoUUs

mostly all @Kirk's fault:

Anonymous 12:22 PM  
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Anonymous 12:24 PM  
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Anonymous 12:31 PM  
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mathgent 12:37 PM  

The media need to find a word to describe mass killings other than "senseless." That word suggests that there are sensible mass killings by individuals. How about "insane" or "despicable"?

Nancy 12:41 PM  

We’ll said, Lewis!

Anonymous 12:41 PM  
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pabloinnh 12:42 PM  

@Z-I'm on my lunch break, and discover that SB is up and running, so no intervention necessary, but I appreciate the concern.

The nice cold sloe FROZTY would be welcome any time.

Just sayin.

ShamanAlchemist 12:44 PM  

Perhaps I spoke too soon about the SB, which was posted late, after 9am, instead of the usual 3am. But lo and behold, they’ve changed the letters again, sometime after 11am. Guess we all have to face the occasional technical glitches.

Another Anon 12:46 PM  
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Anonymous 12:59 PM  
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Anonymous 1:01 PM  
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Anonymous 1:05 PM  
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Rick Walker 1:08 PM  

I wouldn't assume you've never heard about something just because you don't remember it.

Teedmn 1:16 PM  

Puzzle played hard today. Because I didn't know ASSAM and wrote in Owen before GARP and had no idea about Jacob's son's names, the upper right corner held me up some.

With _RENCH_O__ in place at 61A, I thought, "Well there's nothing else that could be besides fRENCH." This lasted only a nanosecond but it just shows how my mind was going today.

I never had a pair of FOOTIE PAJAMAS, that I remember. I did have a pair of yellow shortie pajamas. I kept begging my Dad to paint my bedroom yellow. He just said that with as squirrelly as I got in my yellow pajamas, he didn't dare paint my room that color.

No one looking at my wardrobe would ever suspect that I'm enamored of haute couture but I love looking at the photo albums the NYTimes publishes during fashion week and after awards ceremonies. But I'm always shocked at how few of these amazing-looking women are actually flattered by their attire.

Thanks, AR and RT, for the Wednesday puzzle.

Paul 1:29 PM  

The theme answers and the revealer were great - nice subject matter and execution there. But I see why Rex felt he must have missed something. The problem seemed to me that there is nothing that ties the "... A & B" clues to their answers. The revealer question doesn't do it.

There is an expectation that no matter how ambiguous or misleading the clues are, the answers are a logical fit. Usually Rex is nitpicking the relationship between the theme cluing, often incoporating the revealer, and the theme answers. Rex wrongly believed his foggy brain missing something. In this case, it was the relationship was missing.

I finished with that must have missed part of the joke feeling to. That wouldn't have happened if the revealer clue were "question asked regarding the answers and red carpet photos of the pairs named in the italicized clues" or "question asked regarding the answers to the italicized clues and the pairs named in those clues". That said, the puzzle was still a success.

Frantic Sloth 1:37 PM  

@GILL 1219pm In California it is. πŸ˜‰

Anonenmity is on a roll. Cheers!

Anonymous 1:43 PM  
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DigitalDan 1:58 PM  

Peter Pan is a classic book, Broadway Musical, and Disney Movie (with entirely different music than the movie.) It's always been clear that Rex Grew Up long before it was time to. Somebody should give him a thimble for his efforts.

pabloinnh 1:58 PM  

Wondering if anyone observing although the @Anon. combat today has thought of The Fight Club.

Sometimes I wonder....

JoshyJosh 2:06 PM  

LOL dude cmon, have you honestly never, ever, in your whole life, seen a red carpet? It's what A-listers walk on before a premiere.

Lyn 2:08 PM  

Steven Tyler started a foundation for abused girls called Janie's Fund based on this song.

Joaquin 2:08 PM  

Looks like a moderator has removed all the political back-and-forth that was posted today. I was not involved in that discussion so I really don't have a dog in today's fight. But ... since Rex often (almost daily) includes some political opinion in his blog, I don't see why it can't be permitted in the discussion.

Here we are; drawn together by a love of crosswords but diverse in so many other respects. The range of opinion on a range of subjects is half the fun (at least for me).

One of the Moderators - the annoyed one 2:09 PM  

I deleted all the anonymous NRA comments from both sides of the debate. I also deleted a few others that were named, leaving only comments from long time commenters who I recognize. What rule was violated? Being annoying to everyone else, starting to get personal and insulting, and forgetting that this is primarily a crossword blog. Mostly, though, just being annoying to everyone else. We really do try to let people debate here but if you can’t control yourself then we have to.

A 2:13 PM  

Much to celebrate today - it’s American Red Cross Giving Day, Equal Pay Day, and….National Cocktail Day!

Considering how little I know about the characters in a couple of the theme clues, I’m surprised how much I enjoyed this one. 50A was the real BLIND SPOT - I do remember the Smurfs but not their attire. I thought they were among the pantless cartoon figures. Michael Darling I can’t call up from the deep. (Oh, right, Peter Pan - wait, Rex never saw it?! Poor thing! Actually that could explain a lot.)

Maybe I was in a good mood because I slept late, instead of waking up early and lying there until the coffeemaker grinder goes off at 6. Weird dreams, though. We were moving, and had packed most of the house and I was power washing the outside (using a ladder!), with the vague notion that we had to take the siding with us. Then I realized there was a room I hadn’t packed and, with zero time left, decided I could do without most of it. I’m from a long line of packrats, so that was a really. big. deal. A moral, as it were. AESOP would be proud.

Anyway, this one tickled my fancy from the beginning - the cheeky NAB, space exploration, GARP. I’m always happy to see my SAABS (yes, I had two at one time), and they crossed AIRLINER - “Born from jets.” Good to see “March for Our Lives” just now.

Tricky clues kept LEARN, AISLES and SET TO briefly hidden. I fell for the “Goodness gracious” repeat and put in oh m-, but GAL GADOT made short work of that. LAT’s clue was my favorite, and it dealt the “Aha!” moment - ‘Oh, longitude!”

Thanks, Ms. Rafkin and Mr. Trudeau - you know how to dress up a Wednesday!

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

annoyed moderator,
Do you really think it's fair to let a post from as you put it, longtime commenters who you recognize? Why one set of rules for them and another for, well, people you don't recognize. Some of whom, I assure you, have been here longer than many of the longtime commenters.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: the fix is in. This is a club and a few members get to do pretty much as they like and everybody else sucks hind tit.

I'd appreciate your posting this. It affects the entire boards and others might have something valuable to say on the two sets of rules that you yourself admit are at work.

Tanks in advance for having the courage to post.

Anonymous 2:45 PM  


What about Lyn's comment at 2:08? nary a word about the puzzle or Rex's write up? why is that proper but NRA discussion--which Rex began--isn't?

How about ppablinnh @ 1:58

or Frantic Sloth @1:37?

These are just the most recent post with nothing to do with either the puzzle or Rex's write up. Surely you know that while a lot of people enjoy Frantic and Gil a lot of others find their posts, and back and forth banter, supremely annoying> Yet they post all the time free from any fear that they'll be spiked.
That's an honest appraisal and question.

Thanks for your ear.

A 3:05 PM  

@Louis, as usual you describe my mindset better than I can! Good luck on your 2nd vax!

Wow, @Barbara S, that poem took my breath away!

@Gill I, is it still a tittynope if you’re saving it for the pets? And if the dog gets it all, is it a kittynope?

@Nancy, sue the pants off of them! If I ever had to go to one of those things I’d have to make my own outfit. The question “Who are you wearing?” make my teeth itch.

@Frantic and @Newboy, glad you enjoyed the Horn Hangout. It wasn’t the best of the bunch but it was nice to see them again.

@annoyed one - thanks, I’m glad I got here late and missed all that. I find the combination of no mention of the puzzle with an insulting attitude bothersome.

GILL I. 3:06 PM  

@Anony 2:45.....Sometimes many of us will comment about something that maybe has nothing to do with the puzzle; it's usually just fun banter than does no harm. My tittynope made me think of LEES and my friend @Frantic, commented on some other silly words. This blog is very fair and everyone has always been welcomed. I think our moderators are being fair - especially when it comes to deleting nastiness. NO one knows who you are because you post anonymously....many who do post like you, come across as pompous asses. Give yourself a name - even if it's a stupid one - at least all will know who you might be.
Yours truly....Dickpot.

tea73 3:23 PM  

I sometimes feel like you all need to get out more. I've got zippo interest in fashion, but I sure know about "WHO WORE IT BETTER". I haven't read Peter Pan since I was ten, and never saw the movie. Never saw the Smurfs, never watched a Minion movie, neither of my kids were into Mario, but I know what all of them look like. I read reviews, I look at ads, I flip through magazines waiting for the dentist. I never saw this as some feminist message, but I thought it was a cute and enjoyable theme nevertheless.

I think growing up we just called them FOOTed PAJAMAS - I already had the IE so I tried bOOTie, but bIELD is not a word.

Barbara S. 3:36 PM  

@Z (10:05)
Interesting. You know, I've always seen that last line -- visually -- as a human body, the body of personified Beauty maybe, suspended "in the empty air".

I saw Ferlinghetti once. The only time I was ever in the City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco he was there. This was about 20 years ago. I don't think he had much to do with the day-to-day running of the place by then (he would have been around 80). He was having a spirited chat with the employee behind the main counter -- they were laughing a lot -- and he was eating a banana, which he'd just extracted from a paper bag! I've always kicked myself that I didn't approach him to say hello.

chefwen 3:59 PM  

Well, I thought this puzzle was tres TWEE. Of course I knew Michael Darling, he was my little brother, I was also into Footie PJ’s when I was a toddler until I slip slided my way into a ladder while showing off and cracked my head open. Stitches required.

Loved this one, love cartoons, don’t give a rats behind about fashion or who’s on whatever runway, that just made this funnier.

Unknown 4:10 PM  

Terrific puzzle, just the right amount of challenge for me on a wednesday, 18 minutes. I looked and looked at the center revealer but couldn't get it until I had a couple of the themers and realized they were all clothes. Terrific fun, thinking of Donald Duck and Popeye and all the others; Blindspot, Airliner, and Balanced were all nice long downs. Thanks, AR and RT!

Joaquin 4:12 PM  

@Anonymous (2:40) - As I posted earlier, I enjoy the banter and I am not put off by the ad hominem postings of (mostly) anons. And I don't believe, as you do, that "the fix is in".

But what if it is? Rex certainly has the right to fix it any way he sees fit, just as you have the right to withhold financial support and the right to move to another blog. The NRA is not holding a gun to your head to force you to post here.

As for me, I will continue to read and post and make the occasional suggestion about the blog itself. I get a lot of pleasure (and info) here and appreciate the work Rex puts into it, even though I often disagree with him.

Z 4:19 PM  

@Barbara S - Ah! I am definitely a sound and sense “poetry is an best as an oral form not a visual form” sort of guy. Hence the visual aspect was totally lost on me. I also prefer the tactile, the concrete. So going from “stand and wait,” “ leap,” “little charleychaplin man” (I love that - so evocative), and “spreadeagled in the empty air” to the metaphysical “of existence” was jarring to my ear.

kayepalmer 4:30 PM  

Before Disney got its hands on it Peter Pan was a celebrated children's book. The Darling family were central characters. The author JM Barrie left the rights to the Great Ormond street children's hospital in London which continues to benefit from it.

Son Volt 4:38 PM  

@Z - for a real cool cross platform experience - check out Ferlinghetti reading his “Loud Prayer” during the Last Waltz. Not sure Levon and the boys were beats so I always assumed Scorsese or Bill Graham planned that one.

Oh Please 4:50 PM  

Don't have time to read all the comments, so maybe someone explained this to the clueless men:

Various crappy women's magazines, such as "Us" or "In Touch" run photos of two or more celebrities wearing the same outfit. Then fashion critics comment on the women's shoes, bodies, and accessories and pronounce "Who Wore It Better. Or a group may polled & we learn that 75% of them thought Sex Object A "wore it better"

Newspapers and online news outlets do this too from time to time.

Applying this ridiculous rating game to fictional characters was funny.

And yes, Wendy, John, and Michael Darling are the children in Peter Pan. You probably did know this once.

Thane of 13th 5:07 PM  

Ha! What a hoot! No, the real question is, why do you keep reading the blog?

Teedmn 5:10 PM  

@Barbara S, that is a lovely poem for today's offering. My favorite line is "and sleight-of-foot tricks".

I, who read voraciously as a kid (and still do) have never read "Peter Pan" or seen any movie or musical versions of it until just recently. On cable, I ran into Wendy. With only the knowledge of the story I've learned through osmosis, I was able to recognize what this movie was based on after only a couple of scenes; the synopsis is rather vague. I liked the movie a lot but have no idea how closely it followed the better-known versions. The actors were adorable.

Anonymous 5:21 PM  

I expect we're seeing a gender gap here. Amanda's theme and the way she developed it is more feminine than masculine. I'm a woman. I found the theme refreshing and humorous. I “got it” right way. It's Oscar time, which makes this a timely puzzle. It pokes fun at the pretentious silliness of movie stars strutting their stuff in designer gowns, each competing for kudos. When cameras catch two in identical outfits, it's a catty put down all by itself. The save is also catty, the self-appointed fashion gurus asking, “ Who wore it better?” So what if the fashion strutters were guys? And not guys in finery, but guys in schleppy clothes? Guys who had appeared on the big screen, like the males Amanda names, but since the point is less a gender dig than a dig at superficial preening silliness, Amanda doesn't use real guys but guys who exist as animated characters? I doubt anyone who got the joke went through all this analysis. They just got it, and smiled at Amanda’s cleverness. And I bet the biggest, quickest smilers were women. That said, this sort of gender gap in what's amusing and clever and what isn't is pretty common. It would be fun, and enlightening, to see Mr. Parker occasionally team up with a woman crossword reviewer, especially when a puzzle seems obviously created by, and hence for, mostly male or female sensibilities. How about it?

Ernonymous 5:36 PM  

@anon 2:45 you never post about your solving experience or the puzzle. You cry and whine like a toddler to the mods incessantly.
Maybe if you did anything other than cry to the mods and attack other posters for not being as great as you think you are, they'd let you into the club.

Whatsername 6:19 PM  

@Frantic (11:38) LOVED the rabbit hole. And Auntie Mame.

@GILL: Just be sure you wear a coverslut when you’re serving up that tittynope. πŸ˜‚

Regarding the political debate, I was happy to see it shut down but only because it was getting ugly. Every single post doesn’t have to be about the Crossword, especially when a back and forth with others gets going. If I’m not interested in an off-topic discussion, I can ignore it. However bottom line, it’s up to the Moderators to make the call. Like the Annoyed One said at 2:09, if we don’t police ourselves, they will. So if you can’t disagree while being civil and respectful of others, you may get deleted. If you don’t like that arrangement, there are plenty of other sites to go argue politics with no “rules” applied. Go for it.

A. Moderator 6:21 PM  

Three hours. 15 comments. Increasingly insulting and personal. I really don’t think any more explanation is owed anyone. If regular commenters ever devolve into similar comments they will get deleted, too. Talking about the NRA is not the issue. Making the comments look and feel like the worst SubReddit is. For whatever reason, regular commenters generally avoid this sort of behavior while anonymous posters do not. So, yes, known regular commenters get a little more slack.

pabloinnh 7:46 PM  

@A. Moderator

Extremely well stated. I come for the crossword, I stay for the often interesting but always civil discussions that may arise. And as I have said before, paraphrasing Holden Caulfield, digressions are often the most interesting part of the commentary, especially when they lead to personal memories invoked by a single clue or answer. See "The Lanyard" for the epitome of this.

Thanks for your service in a thankless job.

pinnh, known regular commenter.

GILL I. 7:52 PM  

@Whatsername 6:19....My coverslut runneth over. The tittynope comes with a TWEE on the side. Please come join me for a squiffy. If we overdo we can always get monged..... @Frantic and anyone else is invited.

Julie 7:57 PM  

Can someone please explain the LAT clue and answer?

JC66 8:09 PM  


It took me a while t notice the period after long in the clue (signifying longitude). So, LATitide "doesn't go a long. way."

Eniale 8:36 PM  

I've only been doing the puzzles regularly for about 6 years or so, so I don't call myself an "old hand" (though I'm quite bloody old!) - but this was the hardest Wednesday I've encountered EVER. Watched the Oscars for many years but never the runway previews; watched cartoons with my kids occasionally in the 70's but that was more Bullwinkle etc. And JM Barrie knew nothing about FOOTY PAJAMAS and that was my only exposure to Peter Pan, in the book as was intended.

Krytykal 9:09 PM  

Civil rights/anti-discrimination is U.S. law and hews to common humanity and decency, therefore KKK = unfit. The 2nd amendment to the
Constitution allows weapons and therefore rifles are protected by law, ergo NRA = fit. It's not hard, bud. Delighted you're not arbiter of what's okay and what's not. And this coming from a non-gun owner.

Smith 10:22 PM  

It was down this morning, then later tonight I did the crossword, then it suddenly kicked me out and gave me the server error message again, was back a minute ago, whereupon I learned that Sam is *still* not accepting INTINCTION.

Z 10:23 PM  

Apparently the SB problems earlier have migrated to the crossword puzzle. I had to start the online puzzle to get to a printable version. Trying to print from the puzzle home page got me repeated server errors.

Texas Momma 10:33 PM  

47D Scrap = SETTO???? SET TO??

Read all the comments and don’t see that anyone else has asked for an explanation yet. I don’t get it. Explain please?

JC66 10:48 PM  

@Texas Momma


Unknown 11:41 PM  

Not very many famous people always wear the same thing, therefore cartoon characters were necessary.

ulysses 12:19 AM  

I’m with Rex. This puzzle blew chunks.

ulysses 12:20 AM  

I’m with Rex. This one blew chunks. Not fun, funny, clever, and so much garbage fill. It was a slog and ruined my day... maybe even my week. Here’s to new beginnings tomorrow.

Hartley70 1:53 PM  

@Texas Momma, a SET TO is an older term for an argument

Avid Reeder 1:59 PM  

Sorry on WHAT basis do we know Mario's overalls are DENIM?????????????

Because they're blue???? They could be linen, nylon, polyester, chambray, twill............ There are literally thousands of fabric possibilities, this is such a fallacy.

thefogman 10:00 AM  

To me, it will always be Brutus - not BLUTO. I loved watching Popeye as a child on a B&W TV. He was my first hero.

spacecraft 10:49 AM  

I see the work of a hack. Plop any old thing in there; it'll fly. The fill is what separates you, constructors. This theme? Cute, silly, and not deep. Take it for what it is and it's fine...but do I have to write FOOTIE?

GALGADOT, without much competition, is DOD. On a personal level, the theme is boring to me, because those people put WAY too much emphasis on what they put on--and spend WAY WAY too much money on it. Think how many hungry Angeleno mouths could be fed with just one of those designer things. It's disgusting.

So, a theme I didn't particularly enjoy, and hack fill. Double bogey.

Burma Shave 11:57 AM  


JANIE took off her SAILORSUIT,
and RIVAL ANNE her DENIM sweater.
Each ENDS UP IN my PAJAMAS, SO cute,


Diana, LIW 1:30 PM  

Strong to the finich, 'cause I eats me spinich. Wonder how many kids ate their veggies because of the Sailor Man?

@Lefty from yesterday - New Jersey and Oregon indeed do share one of the last vestiges of civilization. Lived in both of them, and even in Washington I used to go to the "full serve" pump - no longer an option. Fond memories...

@Spacey - though it is not a zero-sum game, I agree that money could be much better spent than on designer clothes and cosmetics. Or, for that matter, lots of "stuff."

Nobody wears it better - makes me sad for the rest (begin ear worm).

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoaster 8:07 PM  

Not really into animated "red-carpet photos”, though they may appeal to many. These seemed pretty good.

My real-world WOEs are AISLES for “windows", DAN for "Judo ranking”, and “Baby Smurf’s" FOOTIE PAJAMAS.

“DADA", s/he said.

thefogman 10:35 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 1:34 PM  

So Rex couldn’t find the GSPOT eh? Quick Burma! Send him the map...

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