Diamond stat / WED 3-31-21 / Soccer great with a statue in Buenos Aires / Japanese salad herb / Potpourri pieces

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Hello! It’s Clare for the last Wednesday of the month (my law school professors seem determined to give me as much work as possible right before I’m scheduled to do the write-up for the puzzle on Tuesdays). Hope everyone has had a great March. Mine’s been suitably “mad,” with a lovely helping of the NCAA tournaments. Growing up in the Bay Area means I’ve been a longtime fan of the Stanford women (and Tara VanDerveer), so I’m hoping they can pull out the win. On the men’s side, Gonzaga has seemed so close for so long that I’d love to see them win the title. (But let’s hope that Drew Timme’s mustache doesn’t catch on.) Anywho, on to the puzzle!

Constructor:
Trenton Charlson

Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: BUILDING BLOCKS (41A: Smaller parts making up a larger whole … with a hint to the six groups of shaded squares in this puzzle) — Each of the shaded squares is a “block” that is a type of building

Theme answers:
  • PAL-ACE (1A and 15A)
  • PAG-ODA (6A and 16A) 
  • SCH-OOL (10A and 17A) 
  • CAS-TLE (71A and 74A) 
  • TEM-PLE (72A and 75A) 
  • CHA-LET (73A and 76A)
Word of the Day: ACACIA (2D: Tree that’s a favorite of giraffes)
“Acacias are thorny trees with foliage that is bright green or bluish-green and has small blooms that may be creamy white, pale yellow or bright yellow… The acacia trees are able to tolerate extreme drought conditions due to their long sturdy root system that access deep ground water. They are an important food source for many large herbivores – especially giraffes. Giraffes are herbivores, which means they eat plant material like leaves high in the trees, and they can eat up to 29 kilograms of acacia leaves and twigs daily.” (areenaresort.com)
• • •

I’m generally not a huge fan of shaded squares in puzzles, but I thought the constructor did a nice job with this one. To me, the most impressive thing was how different the buildings in the puzzle are and how worldly it all is. PAGODA and TEMPLE are predominantly Asian. CHALET, CASTLE, and PALACE are broadly European. The only real outlier to me was SCHOOL. All the others conjured up lovely pictures, and then there’s… SCHOOL. Lots of schools aren’t even a single building. My law school has more than I can count. 

As a whole, I liked the long downs a lot. The clues/answers were varied and fresh, and the words themselves felt interesting for a crossword. For example: BIBLICAL (41D: Like Sodom and Gomorrah) and GRIMACE (45D: Not a happy face). COMMODES (13D: Going places?) is pretty old-fashioned, but it was still different and had enough pop that I liked it. SLAM DUNK (12D: Emphatic two-pointer) was my favorite answer. It might have helped with my solving that I had the tournament in the background, or it could be that I can’t stop thinking about 5-foot-11 UConn freshman Paige Bueckers. WNBA legend Diana Taurasi said Bueckers is the “best player in basketball already,” so, yeah, she’s pretty good. 

One thing I found odd was how many times Hercules appeared in some form in the clues. It seemed intentional — but to what end? The clue for 55D is a “Herculean” undertaking. For 74A, we have: Singer John whose middle name is “Hercules.” Then the clue for 51A is “Heracles” to Zeus, and “Heracles” is the Greek name for Hercules, which is the Roman name. 

I had some trouble getting GINSU (45A: Brand of knives touted in classic infomercials). I’d guess some others might not have known these, either, unless you were watching late-night television around 40 years ago and remember knives cutting through cans. Fun fact I learned from some post-puzzle googling: Ads for GINSU knives helped launch infomercials.

Misc.:
  • Garden of Earthly Delights by BOSCH (10A) is a painting I’ve always loved and just been fascinated by. It’s so weird, but that just makes it more wonderfully delightful in its strange way. I got the chance to see it in-person, and I think I just stood there staring at it for 20 minutes.
  • I simply think that OATEN (11D) is a very ugly word and does not belong in a crossword puzzle — or anywhere!.
  • Thank you, “Dancing with the Stars” for teaching me years ago what the LINDY hop (44D) is. I’ve been just waiting to use this knowledge in a crossword puzzle. 
  • I would like a pet rock (even if it was a FAD, 65A). I think I’d take really good care of it. I’m trying to become a plant Mom, and I think I might have more success taking care of a rock. (Plant parent warning: Don’t buy a Calathea unless you’re aware that this plant has a death wish!) 
  • LILO (52A) and Stitch!! This movie and TV show was my childhood. It’s seriously underrated. I can’t tell you how many times I tried saying “blue punch buggy” like Stitch as a kid.
And that's it! Have a great April.

Signed, Clare Carroll, Paige Bueckers fangirl

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

96 comments:

albatross shell 1:57 AM  

@LMS
WOW! Grandpa Wade.
I love knowing those MLB players of wee careers. Lifetime batting average 556. Bats Left, throws right. Natural righty? Ambi? Sixty percent of his hits were doubles. 5 for 9 lifetime, 4 rbis. Great stuff. I hope someone in the family has his glove and cleats. A star at Duke?

Six guesses to get the B in DAB. Twas a tough cross for me.
I needed the theme to close out the south central. Neat Hercules subtheme. Well-integrated theme of basic BUILDING BLOCKS and their results. The elegance of it all. BOSCH is the single word puzzle-prize today.

O Michigan, my Michigan.

This one might get @Anoa out of his funk. I hope so.

chefwen 2:42 AM  

Can’t say I LOVED IT, but I didn’t LOATHE it either, fell kind of in the middle. Thought it was easier than Tuesday’s puzzle. Had a little difficulty in the SE, detest before LOATHE and butt before REAR, both pretty easy fixes.

Never fell for those GINSU commercials, almost, as I’m I sucker for anything kitchen. I used to manage a small chain of kitchen gadget stores in So Cal years ago. Greatest, most fun job ever. Puzzle partner thought otherwise, he just wanted to know when I was going to be done with the deficit spending, came home with stuff every night. Hell, at cost plus 20% how could I say no?

Ann Howell 2:58 AM  

Sadly, I'm old enough to remember the GINSU commercials, so that was a gimmee... Nice Wednesday puzzle - just enough resistance for mid-week. The theme was well-executed, if not exactly useful to the solve over all. Coincidentally, I was chewing on DARK RYE toast as I worked the puzzle...

jae 2:58 AM  

Easy. The theme works for me and the NE has a bit of sparkle, liked it.

We are semi binge watching “The Big Bang Theory” (four or five episodes a week) after passing on it when it first came out. We were wrong to pass.

Z 5:23 AM  

Hand up for easy. I don’t know my time but it felt Mondayish here. Being raised in the stoic and staid community I was raised in, I naturally erred with I LikED IT before I LOVED IT, otherwise barely a slow down the whole way through.

Too bad the BUILDING BLOCKS weren’t shaped like Legos.

Between SLAM DUNK COMMODES and BIBLICAL UNIONIST I feel like the puzzle is trying to tell me something... but it feels very NSFW.

GWB over PEEWEE... Again, what is the puzzle saying?

One of the best follows on Twitter is @boschbot, a bot that does nothing but Tweet out images of small segments of The Garden of Earthly Delight like this from 7 minutes ago. Nothing like a pig dressed like a nun trying to kiss some naked dude to make one smile.

I don’t generally watch college sports, but have watched some of the tournament. If you want to say Paige Bueckers is the best basketball player on the planet you won’t get much argument from me. And let me be clear, the men’s tournament has been basically unwatchable bad basketball - I haven’t bothered with much more than 10 minutes at a time before flipping the channel to a good game. People who actually follow the sport say Baylor v Uconn should have been a final four match-up, but all I know is it was some good basketball. (side note - don’t dribble into a double team and then complain about not getting a call when the refs have been basically swallowing their whistles all night). If the choice is a men’s game or a women’s game, this year you’ll be more entertained by a women’s game.


Lewis 6:20 AM  

This looks like it was a bear to construct, with the symmetrical building blocks, with the problems those blocks can create, plus the long reveal in the middle, yet there is no hint of struggle in the result. That is, Trenton is a first rate technician. This beautiful, cleanly filled 16-wide grid is a wow, a SLAM DUNK, for me.

The solve itself was smooth, with an enjoyable punny theme, and it was interesting to learn Elton John’s middle name (but, for the record, by the way, his birth name is Reginald Kenneth Dwight). I also liked being reminded of those GINSU infomercials, not to mention the lovely palindrome TENET.

But it’s Wednesday, and I would have liked a bit more bite tripping me up, and more of a wordplay presence in the clues. Then this would have been a double wow.

Still, it was sweet, with much to admire and enjoy, and sweet is a treat. Thank you, TC!

Son Volt 6:24 AM  

Astonished by the constructor chops here. Six crunchy themers that are all in the same direction around the block + perfect revealer + smooth overall fill = a really good puzzle. I think the easiness comes from the clean fill - I was able to fill in as I moved thru the grid.

Liked the clue for COMMODES and the GRIMACE, BIBLICAL, UNIONIST block. Agree that OATEN is flat and GINSU could be rough for younger solvers.

Highly enjoyable Wednesday.

SouthsideJohnny 7:00 AM  

The obvious trouble spot for some subset of us at least should be DAB crossing BIALIK which unfortunately is not really discernible without the prior knowledge (or a pretty lucky guess). Giving us a little bit of a break on the cue for DAB would have been a little more Wednesday-ish in my opinion.

My recent experience with women’s hoops was a little different than @Z’s. I tuned in to one of the Lady Huskies’ games and thought that I was at a bricklayers convention. I know that they rarely dunk, but I thought they could at least shoot, lol. It was kind of weird - the ball handling, ball movement, positioning and rebounding was spot on . . . but errant shots were clanging everywhere (maybe it was just a bad night on both sides). What’s up with all of the three-quarter set shots though ? Seems like some of them would be able to master a jump shot.

Richard Stanford 7:06 AM  

The only thing that really increased my time was not knowing KEPIS and misremembering GINzU knives.

The Joker 7:11 AM  

The city is TAMPA Bay, not just TAMPA. As in TAMPA Bay Buccaneers.

ncmathsadist 7:31 AM  

I didn't like DAB BIALIK. WTF are those?

kitshef 7:42 AM  

Struggled with this one more than an average Wednesday. KEPIS was probably my biggest hurdle, but DARK RYE, EMME, UDO, BRO, and even GWB gave me some problems. GWB is not one of those presidents who has become known by initials. FDR, JFK, those are solid. JEC, GWB, those are not.

Can't say I LOVED IT, but I didn't LOATHE it. Some interesting long words, a bit of extra difficulty ... a pretty good Wednesday.

kitshef 7:51 AM  

@Southside Johnny - you definitely caught UConn on an off night. They shot 51.5% from the field this season, which is higher than any men's team other than undefeated Gonzaga.

Hungry Mother 8:01 AM  

Had DAp first, maybe a common error. I love having obscure names in a puzzle.

JD 8:06 AM  

Solid Wednesday puzzle. Message to Millennials complaining about 40-year-old TV commercials, as a Boomer I struggled with Ginsu. What you don't know, I now can't remember. We friends again?

In other puzzle news, Erik Agard's Wednesday offering in The New Yorker is a thing of beauty and a joy for however many minutes you may spend on it. If you don't know the 13-letter answer to this clue "Musician known as the Mother of Taarab" you'll figure it out.

@Z from yesterday, right. I agree.

Z 8:14 AM  

@Southside Johnny - My favorite knucklehead sports radio show was actually debating whether college women are better shooters then college men yesterday. It certainly seemed so from the admittedly small sample size I watched. I don’t remember who it was the other night, but I watched a men’s game for a bit (~10 minutes) and it was nothing but hero ball* jacking up threes that clanged off the rim. I don’t think I saw a single basket. Except from the uniforms it could have been a pick-up game at any park in America.

Another player that really impressed me is Anna Wilson from Stanford. I detected just a bit of the sort of attitude that got Isiah Thomas into the Hall of Fame.

*i.e. - I’m not going to pass, I’m just going to dribble around for a few seconds and then shoot

bocamp 8:18 AM  

Thank you @Trenton for solid Wednes. puz; enjoyed the BUILDING challenge.

Thx @Claire for your usual fine write-up! I echo your NCAA sentiments.

Med. solve, but same as yesterday, felt tougher for some reason. Didn't pick up on the theme until finished.

My uncle made me a huge box of wooden BUILDINGBLOCKS, of various sizes. Those, along with my Lincoln Logs and Erector Set were treasured BUILDING activities. The granddaughters still have the BLOCKS, but they're more into Lego constructions.

Whispering HOPE ~ Mary Duff & Daniel O’Donnell (Live in Branson)

Soft as the voice of an angel
Breathing a lesson unheard
HOPE with a gentle persuasion
Whispers a comforting word.

Wait, 'till the darkness is over
Wait, 'till the tempest is done
HOPE, for the sunshine tomorrow
After the darkness is gone.

Whispering HOPE,
Oh how welcome Thy voice
Making my heart
In its sorrow rejoice.
___


yd pg -2

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Amity ~ Kindness ~ HOPE for all πŸ•Š

Blue Stater 8:30 AM  

The DAB-BIALIK cross is a *very* bad Natick. Otherwise pretty good, I thought.

The Big Easy One 8:34 AM  

I wonder if @Joker is joking. Does he really not know that Tampa is a city (with many, many neighborhoods, good seafood restaurants, lots of its own zip codes and its own Mayor). Tampa Bay, on the other hand, is a body of water between Tampa and St. Pete. The football team is named the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (get it - it's a play on Pirates (the seafaring type, not the baseballers from Pittsburg)).

Gerry G 8:40 AM  

Lots of schools are single buildings. My kids go to an K-8 school that’s a single building. 😬

mmorgan 8:40 AM  

Pretty good puzzle, but circles = blecch. I was watching late night commercials 40 years so if you weren’t, it’s your own damn fault. Then there was LILO for the young ‘uns.

Didn’t really care for OATEN but if you ignored the circles (not that easy) the puzzle was plenty sparkly.

Barbara S. 9:01 AM  

I liked this. Got off to a bad start in the topmost acrosses with fAdES for PALES and item for PAGE. That was a malapop since ITEM turned out to be the correct answer for 72A (Thingy). But, back to the start, BOSCH (bless him) saved me from a third strike. In addition to everyone’s favorite macho demi-god, there was a bit of a Disney sub-theme in BALOO and LILO and Stitch. But Disney’s BALOO, really – don’t get me started on how WD massacred The Jungle Book. GINSU Knives. Hey! Something I’m too young to know! (Those are becoming increasingly rare.) Although, on second thought, maybe we didn’t get those infomercials in Canada, so my age is irrelevant. Damn!

ACACIA may be a favorite of giraffes, and it’s also a favorite of the Spelling Bee. Don’t we EAT Off dishes rather than ON? When I got to “Like some breakfast cereals”, I had O___N and for a wild moment I thought OnioN?? Not the way I’d want to start my day. I agree with the research that says exercise and happiness are LINKED – in my experience, exercise is an absolute necessity for well-being.

BROgrammer?? What can that even mean?

After yesterday’s discussion of oronyms, I just happened on a puzzle from the archive that’s based on them! Snap!

Today I’m quoting JOHN FOWLES, born Mar. 31, 1926.

“We lay on the ground and kissed. Perhaps you smile. That we only lay on the ground and kissed. You young people can lend your bodies now, play with them, give them as we could not. But remember that you have paid a price: that of a world rich in mystery and delicate emotion. It is not only species of animal that die out. But whole species of feeling. And if you are wise you will never pity the past for what it did not know. But pity yourself for what it did.”
(From The Magus)

RooMonster 9:06 AM  

Hey All !
That LINDY Hop held me up a bit. Wanted buNnY for a sec, but nMINOR doesn't exist. The LINDY I know is the famous Triple Lindy.

Agree with @Clare about SCHOOL being an outlier. Granted, the themers are different type buildings, but SCHOOL just sounds off. Another nit, BRO-grammar? What in tarhooties is that? That clue gets a D-MINOR. ☺️

Old enough to remember those incessant GINSU knife commercials. Not only slicing soda cans open, then showing it was still sharp enough to thin slice tomatoes, they also cut a sneaker in half (athletic shoe for those who don't call them sneakers πŸ‘☺️). Never bought those, but used to work in a grocery store (ShopRite, Hi @East coasters!) and they had similar type knives that reps would put on a display with (as in, they would put on an exposition [can't think of the exact word I'm looking for!] showing what the knives could do), so I ended up buying those. That has to be about 20 years ago, and I've never used them!

Did notice 16 wide grid. YAY ME! Telltale 14 in last box of top row.

Tough to build puz, with stacking themers, having to have Downs go through them, and not have made up words, and the corner ones are all Long Downs. NE and SW especially. Dang, Trenton, nice job. Clean fill all around, worst was GWB. (How about cluing it as the George Washington Bridge for the NYers?). So a tour de construct.

Although EMME is a "who the heck is that?" Had ELLE, naturally. Everyone knows ELLE MacPherson. (Just looked up EMME. She's an "American plus-size model" and "chosen for People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People, first in 1994, then for a second time in 1999." The Wiki) So there you go.

Couple writeovers, Rear-RUMP, buNnY-LINDY, MIdI-MINI. (Being a Limo driver in Las Vegas, I see MINI skirts [well, BC {Before COVID}] on the 20something club goers, leaving the club at 4am, and they barely cover their RUMP cheeks, so the clue "Above the knee skirt" to me is a MIDI.)

That crazy aside aside πŸ€ͺ, laughed when ACACIA showed up, as I miss that word Every. Single. Time. in the SB. I least now I know it's a tree. 🌲

Nice puz. No LOATHE, close to I LOVED IT.

One F
RooMonster
DarrinV

Whatsername 9:08 AM  

Not difficult but it took a bit to figure out the theme. So worth the wait though when I saw those BUILDINGS made of BLOCKS. Wow! Engaging, clever, and who doesn’t love Legos? Plus there’s exceptionally solid fill with a minimum of proper names and pop culture. A very pleasing combination. I LOVED IT!

Off to get my second vaccine this morning. If things go as smoothly as the first time, should be a SLAM DUNK. I’m a little on EDGE though after hearing from a couple of friends who said their seconds (Moderna) really knocked them on their RUMP. Will that be the CASE? Sure HOPE NOT.

Birchbark 9:13 AM  

I had two empty squares at the end and inferred (guessed) correctly on both: TORINO/BRO and the aforementioned DAB/BIALIK.

GINSU. A couple nights ago, warm and windy on the back deck of our humble country PALACE, I grilled some chicken breasts marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, black and red pepper. I added the chicken atop a salad of spinach and field greens, cheddar and parmesan, homemade balsamic vinaigrette, and a hydroponic tomato.

I know my way around the art of tomato knifing, but this one fought nobly against all efforts to slice and dice. I stopped and breathed. As Luke channeled the ghost-voice of Obiwan, I heard the GINSU narrator of childhood after-school TV, through the old black-and-white Westinghouse: "In Japan, the hand can be used as a knife. But not on a tomato." I believe there is a GINSU in all of us if we listen closely enough. I don't remember what happened next, but the salad was delicious, tomato and all. I LOVED IT.

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

I'm going to wade in with a reality check. Women's basketball is pretty poor. Even at the highest level--the WNBNA-- there isn't a women's team that could even remotely hang with a credible boys high school team. Not one. Set aside the accommodations made for the women's' game, like the fact that they play with a smaller ball which of course makes it easier to get through the hoop-- women aren't fast enough nor strong enough to play the game at really high level. That's why there IS a women's' game. They can't play for the school team so the school team creates a team to accommodate them. Fine with me. But there is no sane person including any of the women in the NCAA tourney, player or coach, who believes they are as good as the men. That some people like watching players move in slow motion below the rim is mystifying. And of course I'm not alone in my confusion. The ratings for the women's game are rotten. The sole exception to the pitiful ratings is UConn games on SNY in New England. That of course is an aberration owing to the Huskies long run of absolute dominance. As more and more programs catch up with the Huskies, their dominance will fade and with it, the ratings.

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

My breakfast cereal today was Branen.

Unknown 9:27 AM  

The DAB - BIALIK was an obvious trouble spot for those of us of a certain age, but other than that . . . . great theme, and a real paucity of 3-letter answers, and none of the typical fill . . . . And while not a fan of OATEN, anyone who has been doing these puzzles during the pandemic would quickly suss it out. I had REAR instead of RUMP for a while, and that slowed down the lower central, but once that got corrected everything popped right in.

A very nice puzzle.
Re: the NCAAs, why can't the coaches keep their masks on during the games? Painful and disturbing to watch. Why we're even having these games is a mystery to me. The resources that go into the daily testing & disinfecting seems such a waste . . . .

pmdm 9:46 AM  

The puzzle was very good except the 48A 50D crossing which others have commented about. Perhaps Shortz believes 50D is an extremely well known name, but I and others commenting here would seem to disagree. Except for that problem, a very good puzzle. Amazing how one little blemish can ruin the entire experience in one's mind.

LEGO blocks? Z and Jeff at XWordInfo make quite similar observations.

And just a side comment on what I posted yesterday. I have discussed the problem of a system in which a popularly elected candidate loses the election. I would maintain that a country that elects a president like ours elects the president undemocratically. Others may disagree or promote reasons for this country's system, but that is beside the point. My discussions with people concerning this system have turned me into what some would call a profound cynic. Something you can't hide from Z. Not even with humor.

Nancy 9:46 AM  

I didn't know the dance move -- not when it was trendy and not even when it became cringey. (Someone, I'm sure, will tell me what it is and why it's now cringey.) I had DA? and could have stared at that last square until the cows came home. I finally decided on DAP (sort of like a DIP in a tango???) -- which left me with paALICK for the Mayim person. She could have been, well, anyone.

Oh, and that "A" instead of "I"? Well, the NYT has been slinging so much current slang into its puzzles that I had I LOVE DAT instead of I LOVED IT at 56A. I'm relieved to have been wrong -- even though it cost me a DNF. Oh wait -- because of the Mayim person, I would have had a DNF anyway. One letter, though, not two.

But I liked the puzzle. Not much was a SLAM DUNK. All the clues made me have to think -- not always the case on a Wednesday. And isn't that a great and completely unexpected answer for "Like Sodom and Gomorrah"? To which I say: "Judge not that ye be not judged."

Unknown 9:54 AM  

Observations: building blocks for schools don't have to be physical. Schools provide the building blocks learning for the future. And Hercules knocked down a building, so it's kind of wonderful that he was in here so often. I haven't mapped all the Hercules answers but, from the bottom at least, they look like they're building upward.

DeeJay 10:00 AM  

Can't agree more, Z. My problem, which I share with my wife, is that basketball holds zero appeal to us. However, we love UConn and are hopeful that this year they win it all. The mutual admiration society that includes Geno and everyone he's coached seems to be real.

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

pmdm,
I don't think cynicism is your problem. The Founders anticipated all the arguments against an electoral College and refuted them quite soundly. Perhaps you could read some of the Federalist Papers. Start with #68.

Z 10:07 AM  

Shot 1 done. W00T W00T

If you solve the puzzle as Gof intended you get gray squares, no circles.

A BRO that programs would be a BROgrammer.

@pmdm - Our system wasn’t designed to be racist, that’s really just an unintended consequence. Remember, in 1789 there was no such thing as a black voter. However, our system was quite intentionally undemocratic. I think the premise was that the common man could discern a good leader but was too myopic to judge well the common good. Then as now the privileged had major blind spots about their own blind spots.

DeeJay 10:08 AM  

Dude (and if you're not male, I'll eat a man-sized basketball), women's b-ball is a different game, but with the same motivation: score more points than the other team. As a UConn fan, I've seen some very strong performances over the years.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

pmdm,
Do you disagree that Bialik is famous? You use such and odd construction--the subjunctive mood "would disagree"-- that I'm not whether you do or don't agree with the claim. But setting aside that locution, surely the fact that
Bialik was part of the ensemble cast of the most successful television sitcom of the past twenty years makes her famous in America. in addition,the number one syndicated show in the country has asked her to host its show ( Jeopardy). And she was the star of a sitcom more than thirty years ago that is so famous that for a while "on very special episode of Blossom" was part of the sarcastic argot of everyone who had even a passing knowledge of TV. That's why Seinfeld used the the line " there's trouble on the set of Blossom" when George is begging Dalrymple to reconsider the "Jerry" pilot.

sixtyni yogini 10:13 AM  

Clever, easy, enjoyed it.
πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ§©πŸ‘πŸ½

Masked and Anonymous 10:34 AM  

Cool PEEWEE BUILDINGBLOCKS revealer. Also was quite partial to themer SCHOOL, with its LOO crossin COMMODES in there. Good, solidly built WedPuz.

Puz put up only a minor fight, in our neck of the woods. The budgie did turn over a small lego building, when it couldn't get BALOO. About it.
Only saw two ?-marker clues, and they were actually pretty friendly … especially that well-used one for ADD.

staff weeject pick: UDO. Much preferable to UDONT.

fave sparkly bits: COMMODES. SLAMDUNK. LOATHE & ILOVEDIT. ACACIA.
MESSI-er bits, at our house: BIALIK. BALOO.

Thanx, Mr. Charlson.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


**gruntz**

Newboy 10:36 AM  

Thanks Trenton for another gentle midweek grid. Liked the clue for COMMODES & overall Lego theme, but more inclined to do the LINDY than watch commercial TV so “Big Bang” — naw. Nice guest write up as well πŸ˜‰

GILL I. 10:38 AM  

Ah....the LINDY hop...or do I do the jitterbug? Eenie, meenie, miney BALOO.
Fun Wednesday. I want meat on hump day and today I got it. Plus....I love to dance and I love MESSI. He and I are the same height!
I didn't get circles, I got shade. I love shade. I saw the PALACE from the get go. I would never want to live in one. Then I got the PAGODA and thought serenity. Not sure what I thought about SCHOOL. And then, Trenton gives me BOSCH. I always wondered what he drank, or smoked when he began his drawings. I have a book of his art and when I want to forget the Trump era, I look at his paintings.
DARK RYE with a side of RUMP roast.....I LOVED IT. And now I'm looking at you @Birchbark....If you leave out the rosemary, we'd be best friends.......

TTrimble 10:38 AM  

I was a little distracted last night while doing the puzzle, watching an installment of Into The Storm which is a documentary about the QAnon movement. You've surely heard of this. The group that started the rumor that the Clintons are at the center of a elite Democrat pedophiliac ring where for example babies are raped in a basement dungeon of a DC pizzeria, and then eaten so that Democrat politicians can maintain their vitality. In other news...

(Quoting a newspaper article: Fifty-two percent of Americans, according to an NPR poll, think that it’s possible that our country is run by a group of pedophilic elites. [Editor’s note: 54% of Americans in the poll either say it’s true that a Satanic pedophile ring controls politics and the media or that they “don’t know.”])

And so being distracted, I fell (for example) into the EllE/EMME trap, which I thought a little mean (who is EMME? I know the answer to that about as well as I know who is Q).

Winter Olympics hosts: how they come and go. I had no idea until the crosses helped me out. I still don't actually remember it was TORINO.

@Barbara S.
"ACACIA may be a favorite of giraffes, and it’s also a favorite of the Spelling Bee." You can say that again. Acai and ACACIA go in right away now. Sheesh, in some ways SB is such a stupid puzzle, and yet I still do it in spite of myself, every day. And keep getting close to QB, but rarely scoring.

@Nancy
"(Someone, I'm sure, will tell me what it is and why it's now cringey.)" Well, I won't go into great detail about what the DAB is since it's easier just to link to it, but why it's now cringe-y: basically it became cringe-y after a critical mass of K-12 teachers and parents, and then politicians, tried doing it in front of kids. If it first projected a patina of hipness to the kids, that ended very quickly and is now just the most hackneyed thing even imaginable. Pro tip: if you're going to do this move, either do it like you really mean it (95% of the lameness is from failing to observe this simple precept, I think), or to be so uncool as to be cool, or else just to annoy your kids or grandkids. Don't know what else to tell you.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

DeeJay,
I couldn't agree more. The thing they call women's basketball is not in fact basketball but something different. That it is a contest where the side scoring more points wins isn't terribly helpful. I mean the side that scores more points in football wins the contest. Does that make it basketball? You see that line of reasoning is bankrupt, right?
My argument is unpopular but it is nevertheless true. Women's basketball is so grossly inferior to the men's game that it is just this side of perverse to call the contests by the same name.

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

Taurasi is biased: when she was the best of the best at UCONN, Auriemma, when asked why the team won so much: "We have Diana Taurasi and you don't."

COMMODES has non-digestive meanings long before toilet.

had to wait for crosses for GIN_U (Z or S) and most of BIALIK.

@Joker:
No the city is Tampa. The water thing is Tampa Bay.

as to the theme: if these are building blocks, the solution ought not to be a circle, but strata, read from left to right, top to bottom.

Michael G. Benoit 10:57 AM  

No, the city is definitely TAMPA. The teams are named Tampa Bay because they are across the bay from Tampa, in St. Petersburg.

Now if we can only get the Jets and the Giants to admit that they're in New Jersey...

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

Re Women’s hops: I’m not a fan but apparently others enjoy watching so it’s all good. Advice to those who do enjoy it: watch all you can now because in a few years the best teams will be comprised of biological men. Cheers.

Preferred Customer 11:16 AM  

School is a location where learning takes place, not a building type. Think of all the different ways that a school can look or be formed. It can be a room in a building, many buildings, a wooden building,etc. The rest of the buildings are distinct types with their form following their purpose.

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

@10:42

the Electoral College, and with the 3/5 stratagem and more, were sops to get the slavers to join. it would have been better from the start to let them have their own slave country. it wouldn't have lasted long, the War Against the Slave Country would have been much simpler, and destroyed the slave country fully. and, most importantly, the nature of Northern expansion westward would have proceeded without contention. the slave country had no industry to speak of, and only the North as market for its agricultural output; without Northern consumers, the slave country would have died. as it was, Texas, that other slave country, begged to enter the USofA just because it was bankrupt.

Federalist Papers is also a sop to the slave country.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

@11:01

be careful, there pardner. the Red states have written new law to bar 'trans' from playing 'girls sports': you have to been born with their plumbing.

albatross shell 11:37 AM  

NCAA Men BB.
I watched almost none this season and less then usual of the tourney. I think you folks are missing the elephant in the room. Gonzaga. Passing, ball movement, backdoor cuts, screens, bounce passes off screens, and shooting. I also saw some games with good shooting - Michigan, Oral Roberts, and Baylor. Saw some lousy shooting too. Saw some really good defense. Alabama, Baylor.

Womens. I haven't seen any this year. Decided to wait for the semis. In past years I have seen some great players and great games there. Excellent basketball. Definitely the real McCoy. But a shooter better than that Gonzaga transfer (Sugga?)? I doubt it, but I'll be looking.

Anonymous 11:41 AM  

@10:43

The 'girls' game is far closer to what Naismith devised. Sure, there was a time, before professional ball, that 'girls basketball' had some silly 'protective' rules. https://thejetstreamjournal.com/17231/uncategorized/how-womens-basketball-has-changed-over-the-years/

women's B-ball these days is more interesting to watch simply because it is played below the rim, as Naismith intended. now, if only the NCAA and WNBA would set uniforms to include volleyball shorts... https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Ftangoeskisehir.com%2Fjrss.aspx%3Fiid%3D444135916%26cid%3D117&psig=AOvVaw1Y5yOA_XJWYbrDFcfQZ2pY&ust=1617291586928000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAkQjhxqFwoTCNDz4ebu2u8CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAI

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

@Anonymous 11:01 I tried writing something similar, but the Mods didn't approve. Basically can you still call them Men's and Women's teams if your are woke.

Anoa Bob 12:03 PM  

Hmmm, for a moment or two I thought I had stumbled onto a NCAA basketball comment board. Oh, right, it's the SLAM DUNK at 12D that spurred (Go Spurs) that thread. Anyone remember the early 80s NCAA Houston Cougars basketball team led by future Hall of Famers Clyde "The Glide" Drexler and Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon? Because of their prodigious SLAM DUNK production the Cougars became known as the Phi Slama Jama. What a nickname!

I used to live on a street named ACACIA Lake Drive so seeing that coming out of the gate at 2D was a nice way to begin the puzzle. And then along came LINDY at 44D and my two-day crossword funk began to dissipate (hi @albatross). When I was an undergrad we were required to take Physical Ed. courses. Social Dance was one of the options so I signed up. Great class! There were twice as many females as males in the class, so we guys never had to sit out a dance. The LINDY was one we learned. I think it was called the LINDY Two (or was it One?) Step. I also learned that being able to dance was an terrific way to meet and get to know the ladies.

Other than "Is it B or P" for For 48A DA___ & 50D ___IALIK, there wasn't much else in the grid to LAMENT or cause me to GRIMACE. Well, maybe a little bit at 27D KEPIS. The old SCHOOL crosswordese KEPI military cap originated in the 19th century. That was even before my time!



Nancy 12:12 PM  

Like @GILL, I've never been really clear about the difference between the LINDY hop and the jitterbug -- both from my era -- but I think I probably do some sort of weird amalgam of the two for aerobic exercise when there's ice on NYC streets and I can't get out of the house for a brisk walk.

I just went to YouTube to look up the DAB and it seems to be mostly about arm movements. And, since the LINDY and jitterbug mostly are about the legs and feet, and since you really do need to move your arms to be thoroughly aerobically exercised*, I probably perform something akin to the DAB as well.

I have a mirror over my couch in the LR and a mirrored wall (that I inherited from the previous tenant) in the entry foyer, so I can see myself from many different angles when I dance.

Sometimes, I'm even brave enough or dumb enough to look :)

*Google "exercise/11 minutes a day" or something like it and you'll see that an energetic 11 minutes a day makes up for spending the whole rest of the day sitting. It keeps you from dying from about a zillion different things. I was thrilled to read that and, when I don't go out, I try to dance for at least 15-20 minutes.

Did I hit the wrong button? 12:15 PM  

Is this a basketball blog?

JD 12:20 PM  

@TTrimble, My Republican, college educated ex-husband told me last night that he hates the government, has decided to not pay his taxes, that the military is nothing but a bunch of idiots who can't get jobs, and that burning down a convenience store is worse than storming and defacing the Capitol. There was more. Finally, he yelled that our daughter never calls him. Seventy-five percent our four-person immediate family think he's drunk the Kool-Aid.

mathgent 12:31 PM  

As Lewis observed, too easy. I finished it quickly without seeing what the shaded squares were about. Then I took a good look and saw the six names of buildings. Oh, nice. While solving, I thought that perhaps the blocks might fit together to make a 4x9 crossword. That would have been great.

I think that seven teams have won men's NCAA basketball after having an undefeated season. Gonzaga is favored to be the eighth. I'm most impressed with their defense. It's a switching man-to-man almost identical to the defense played by Golden State during their championship seasons. It was installed there by Steve Kerr. But you need great athletes to play it successfully. Golden State still plays the same defense but with lesser athletes and the Warriors are only an average defensive team in the NBA this year. Gonzaga has the quick, strong, smart athletes to play it successfully.

The first team to go undefeated and win the NCAA was University of San Francisco in 1956, led by Bill Russell and K.C. Jones. I was a senior at USF that year. I knew Russell well from having been on the freshman team with him.



OffTheGrid 12:34 PM  

To lighten the mood re: the Great Basketball Debates ,PLEASE WATCH THIS

kitshef 12:42 PM  

@Anonymous 9:23 and 10:43. By that reasoning you'd have to be crazy to watch men's college basketball because it is so inferior to professional basketball. Or to watch high school or college football, (or for that matter the Jets). Is it perverse to call high school football "football"?

No one should have watched the Olympics before 1970, because you had to be an amateur to compete and all the best athletes were professionals.

No one should ever go to a local theatre production, because they are so inferior to Broadway.

I'm sure you can come up with dozens of examples of your own.

Not everyone chooses their entertainment for the same reasons.

Maybe . . . 12:42 PM  

A fine, well-constructed puzzle. But I am definitely missing any spark of humor in this week's puzzles. I look forward to getting a chuckle from themed puzzles.
In fact, that's one of the reasons I'm never excited to do Friday's or Saturday's puzzles. I don't like to feel like I'm back doing homework.

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

ANONYMOUS 10:43 - I agree with you! There is no way women can athletically compete with men in a game like basketball. Even in soccer - the gold-medal winning Women’s USA team would get trounced by any decent boys high school team. I’t just how it is though there are those that are in denial. Trans women should be barred from competing against biological women. I know that may be an unpopular opinion these days...

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

@JD:

Is he friends with Matt Gaetz? :)

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Anonymous 11:41.
Says you. And a small coterie of fans. Hey, please by all means, enjoy the women's game. I begrudge no-one his cup of meat. I cannot in good conscience however compare the women's game to the men's game. If you're saying the women player a purer game, I'm willing to accept that. But then you'll have to come up with a name for the game the men are playing. Becaus ethhe products on the court are so different in degree that they are different in kind. The boys team at Camden HS would run any of the women's final four teams off the floor. It would be a mauling. And that's HS boys. True, they may be NJ's finest HS team, but so what? They're kids. And they'd whup, and I mean whup, any women's team in the country. And every sentient being who follows the sport concurs. From Geno Auriemma to Corey Kispert to Dawn Staley all agree women can't play at the level men can. They simply can't compete. Someone earlier noted the tremendous number of set shots in the women's' game. That's because a great many women need the base and the musculature of their legs to launch a shot any distance; they lack the upper body strength to shoot jumpers from great distance. Not all women. But a great many. No one disputes that a jump shot is advantageous for an offensive player--that's why they're standard in every league where the players can actually execute them. The women aren't taking set shots to hew to Naismith's vision, they're bowing to anatomy.

TTrimble 12:48 PM  

@JD 12:20 PM
My condolences to you and your family. That's got to be hard to be witness to. I suppose he spends a lot of time watching Fox (or worse).

albatross shell 12:50 PM  

@ROO
BROgrammer; definition
nounINFORMAL•US
a male computer programmer who engages in stereotypically male-oriented activities and macho behavior.
"she's able to command the respect of brogrammers even as she pushes to make tech more welcoming to all kinds of women"

JOHNXgrammer didn't fit but ROOgrammer would. Har har.

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

@JD 12:20 Maybe he suddenly became woke. It's going around.

GILL I. 12:54 PM  

@Whatersname....Good luck on your second COVID shot. I'm pretty sure you'll be fine. The worse thing for me was that I was tired. I took about three naps a days for the first two days. The best thing was that I FINALLY finished a double double cheeseburger and it was delicious!

Anonymous 12:54 PM  

A couple frustrating trouble spots for me as a millennial solver:

1) Definitely did not know GINSU and got stuck on the S, as I couldn't figure out if KEPI was plural or had a silent ending (T? D?) like some other French words.
2) Didn't know the LINDY hop... and crossing that D with the key of Beethoven's ninth left me basically guessing A-F.

I feel like issues like this tend to happen earlier in the week, whereas Friday and Saturday squares are usually all inferable. I'm always demoralized when I feel "left out" by a puzzle this way! Especially when it's only Wednesday. Boo.

Teedmn 1:07 PM  

My "Far from original" was Tired and my "Posterior" was Rear, but neither of these was hard to recover from. I did have to look at the BUILDING BLOCKS a bit, post-solve, to get the theme. I like it.

@Nancy, when I'm moved to dance in my living room, I can see my reflection four ways in our oriel window if it's dark out. I don't think anyone can see me from the street but too bad for them if they can!

@Birchbark, I always use a serrated knife on tomatoes. Otherwise I'm likely to slice myself while trying to get through the skin. I have a Wusthof "super slicer" knife for that purpose. (And I'm really tired of the wind!)

Thanks Trenton!

albatross shell 1:09 PM  

@1245pm
It has a different name. It is Women's Baskerball. The other is Men's Basketball. Rules, Ball, and clock and bodily organs are different. It's all basketball and all the players know it.

old timer 1:18 PM  

I had DAp and pIALIK so a DNF for me. I know nothing about modern dance moves. I grew up being told the foxtrot was modern and the cha-cha-cha was the new craze. And in my experience the only couples dance that you have to get right every time is the waltz.

This is a union of states, not a monolithic country, and the Federalist Papers make good arguments for a constitution. Attempts to make one size fit all only have ever worked in France, and it took a lot of heads being chopped off to make that work, plus two emperors (Napoleon III is actually more relevant to the modern country, and to Paris, than Napoleon I). Note that the UK is splitting, and Spain and Italy have never really been united. And Canada only survives by giving Quebec a lot of undemocratic power.

Oh, and @Z, there were Black people voting in the North even in 1789. Men only, of course. In the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Douglas had to go through a lot of verbal gymnastics to claim Black people had never been citizens.

jberg 1:20 PM  

@Nancy, is the LINDY hop really from your era? It was created in 1928, although I guess it lasted into the 1940s. The jitterbug, now, was popular in the 1950s when I was in junior high and high school. I guess the Lindy had a revival later on, though.

@Z, @pmdm-- in case you don't read comments from anons, you have to define racism way too narrowly to say that the Electoral College isn't; the records make it clear that it was one of several devices put in there to keep the slave states in the union by assuring that the federal government could never abolish slavery.

I did like the puzzle, but I'm with Clare on SCHOOL. A school may or not be in a building, but it's not a type of building, while the other 5 all are.

But the important thing is --- OATEN! It may sound odd now, but it has Milton immunity. From Lycidas:

Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute,
Temper'd to th'oaten flute;
Rough Satyrs danc'd, and Fauns with clov'n heel,
From the glad sound would not be absent long;
And old Damætas lov'd to hear our song.

I have no idea who old Damaetas is, though; I tried a search, and found two poems about him as a youth, by Byron and Landor, but no explanation.

GILL I. 1:30 PM  

@JD. Your post made me laugh (sorry...I think?).....
Yesterday I had one of those in-house annual physicals that my health net provider wants every year. After the usual physical stuff, the nurse then began asking me questions - just to make sure I didn't belong in a loony bin. One of her questions was: Who is the president? I couldn't help myself.....I told her it certainly isn't Trump and I hope he gets terminal hemorrhoids and Mitch McConnell needs a face lift and should retire and Ted Cruz needs to go back to his Cuban roots and eat himself full of black beans and explode.....She didn't bat an eye. She asked "But who is the President?"

bocamp 1:32 PM  

@OffTheGrid 12:34 PM

Thx for the vid-evoking memories; definitely a "mood lightener". Everything's relative! πŸ€
___


pg -25

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Amity ~ Kindness ~ HOPE for all πŸ•Š

dusky 1:33 PM  

Remembered the Ginsu commercials and so said, ah ha! a puzzle for people over 50! Yes, easier than yesterday and did love some of the new and underused answers: Grimace, Biblical, Unionist (tried to make it Illinoisist but thought, ye Heracles, that is a messy word and it didn't fit? Happy solve, all around. Loved the shaded answers but stuck with FADES (away) before I saw that it had to be PETALS down.

burtonkd 1:41 PM  

@ Nancy - you can continue the word chain from DAB to DAP to WAP to get a dance that was popular and cringey at the same time.

Basketball: Hilarious to watch all the coaches dutifully wear masks except to lower them intentionally to yell at the top of their lungs at a player or ref, completely negating the benefits.
- Through the 90s into aughts, men's NBA was so focussed on athleticism that players tended to not have great shooting touches and ability to run more sophisticated offenses. It was frustrating to watch players clanking shots when I knew people at the local Y who never miss. The NBA game now has more emphasis on skilled offense and working the ball around to get the best open shot, statistically the corner 3. It can turn into a 3 point shooting contest slog, but nice to see phenomenally gifted players not be neutralized by brute force.
- Women's game used to be the place you could turn for that kind of basketball was my roundabout point (haven't watched recently).

JC66 1:57 PM  

@jberg et al

Wherever I've lived there have been office buildings, apartment buildings and SCHOOL buildings. What's the difference between them and CASTLES, CHALETS, etc.?

pabloinnh 2:12 PM  

Getting here in the PM instead of the AM really puts a different spin on things. So I'll say I thought this was a nice Wednesday with not a lot of crunch, but perfectly acceptable. So I'll just say--

A school is a building. I was in the same building from K-12. In grade 6 we moved to the second floor. Wahoo.

I hadn't seen Gonzaga before the tournament but they are fun to watch. They really whip the ball around and play tenacious D. Hope they go undefeated and Bobby Knight disappears forever.

Second Moderna shot knocked me down for a day, had no effect on my wife. Go figure.

Acacia in the SB is popular, but my favorite is BAOBAB.

Thanks for the fun TC, I always enjoy your efforts. Total Class.

Anonymous 2:22 PM  

@old timer:
Douglas had to go through a lot of verbal gymnastics to claim Black people had never been citizens.

Citizenship is a Federal entitlement. At the time of those debates, 1858, Black people were definitely not citizens. That Northern states had renounced slavery, doesn't change that.

Anonymous 2:43 PM  

anonymous
No, it doesn't. It also doesn't change the fact that Blacks had suffrage in several states well before either the Emancipation Proclamation or the 14th Amendment.

Whatsername 2:56 PM  

@Birchbark (9:13) and @Teedmn (1:07) Best tomato knife in the universe. I get them from a lovely lady who sells Rada Cutlery at the Methodist Church fall bazaar.

@GILL (12:54) That’s what both my friends said, just super tired and wanted to sleep all the time. So really that won’t be too much of a change for for me. πŸ˜„ But I am looking forward to a hot cheeseburger with fries that’s not carry out.

Georgia 3:17 PM  

Am I the only one that plopped down Bunny Hop? I must have Easter on my mind ...

Z 3:53 PM  

@jberg1:20 - You’re correct, of course. (I normally read anons, but today’s set quickly got to eye-rolling level of nonsense)

@JC66 - SCHOOL is the only one where it might be a single building or multiple buildings. My high SCHOOL, for example, had 7 distinct buildings (performing arts building, field house, west wing, east wing, industrial arts, fine arts, and administration/library). I suppose CASTLEs might also fit this description, but typically one imagines a CASTLE as a single edifice.

@JD - But why is he “ex?” Seems charming. πŸ˜‰

@Anon10:12 - The issue isn’t whether BIALIK is famous or crossworthy. Even NC Wyeth is famous enough to be crossworthy. The problem is even famous people are not known to everyone, so crosses should be knowable or at least inferable. DAB is the kind of crossing that will be more readily known to those who already know BIALIK, but also the kind of thing that someone who doesn’t know BIALIK is likely to have missed. I don’t know that it is a classic natick, but it is definitely a suboptimal crossing. For the name -IALIK, if you don’t know it that first letter is possibly any of the 26. You can’t even really rule out qIALIK. DA- for a dance move... again, can you actually rule out any letter? So, if you don’t know one or the other you might as well get out the 26-sided die.

Anonymous 3:56 PM  

Z,
No, the issue is entirely whether Bialik is famous enough to be included in a crossword. Her fame is the standard. There is no other.

Anonymous 3:58 PM  

@2:43

suffrage isn't citizenship. and the Fugitive Slave Act made sure of it.

"Sumner explained that prior to 1862, the Federal government did not consider free blacks to be citizens of the United States. "
here: https://rediscovering-black-history.blogs.archives.gov/2020/07/22/a-rare-find-passport-applications-of-free-blacks/

Nancy 4:11 PM  

@GILL (1:30) -- You're a very funny person and you obviously require a healthcare provider with a much MUCH better sense of humor!

And if she had even a soupcon of political awareness, that wouldn't hurt either.

##########################

@Jberg (1:20) -- I'm sure I first became aware of the LINDY hop at Viola Wolff's dancing classes in NYC -- and that would have been around 1955-1956, I think. No, this wasn't the place where they were developing future ballerinas or Rockettes. Rather this was the place where eager little girls got to meet and mingle with awkward little boys. The word TWEEN hadn't yet been invented and we were all pre-teens -- unless, of course, we were older then than I remember.

JD 5:57 PM  

@Anon 1 2:53, No, but if Fox said he didn't do it, then that's the end of that I'm sure.

@Gill, Picture my face as laughing as the emoji with tears running down. I wish I'd been there! And that the next person trying to confirm my sanity asks me that same question.

Dr. Ruth 7:41 PM  

Between JD’s Fox loving ex and her strange decision to bare her feelings to strangers on a crossword blog it seems like they deserve each other. Here’s hoping they reconnect.

JC66 8:16 PM  

****SB ALERT****

ACACIA doesn't work today. Neither does BAOBAB. πŸ˜‚

NY 19th 9:14 PM  

My Congressman is dumber than Matt Gaetz and AOC if that’s possible.

burtonkd 10:00 PM  

@ Nancy - you can continue the word chain from DAB to DAP to WAP to get a dance that was popular and cringey at the same time.

Basketball: Hilarious to watch all the coaches dutifully wear masks except to lower them intentionally to yell at the top of their lungs at a player or ref, completely negating the benefits.
- Through the 90s into aughts, men's NBA was so focussed on athleticism that players tended to not have great shooting touches and ability to run more sophisticated offenses. It was frustrating to watch players clanking shots when I knew people at the local Y who never miss. The NBA game now has more emphasis on skilled offense and working the ball around to get the best open shot, statistically the corner 3. It can turn into a 3 point shooting contest slog, but nice to see phenomenally gifted players not be neutralized by brute force.
- Women's game used to be the place you could turn for that kind of basketball was my roundabout point (haven't watched recently).

Monty Boy 12:11 AM  

I liked this one a lot. Finished with only confirmation lookups. 13D is my favorite misdirect. Bet it makes Lewis' top 5 next Monday.

I liked LINDY, and knew it because my daughter (also puzzler) has spent a lot of time swing dancing, including Lindy. Only way I knew the answer.

I like women's basketball a lot more and It's more entertaining. They actually have to dribble, pass, screen, run plays, etc.
Men don't do much of that, just 3's and dunk. No "art" to the game IMHO. I think the men's game would be improved a lot by raising the basket a foot or two. Men's and women's games are different, I'll grant and biology plays a part.

I've been a UCONN fan for a long time. I got started when I heard the UCONN women were students as well as athletes. I believe all the women bballers have graduated (unlike a lot of athletic programs). Replays of UCONN women's game are on line back to the 90's. Fun to watch.

thefogman 10:00 AM  

One of these things is not like the others...SCHOOL, the outlier in the NE corner sticks out like a sore thumb. Shrine or church would complete the set of six more elegantly but because the six letters do a U-turn it presents an impossible problem for the crosses. And Cathedral doesn’t fit. There aren’t too many six-letter words that fall into the majestic buildings category that also form parts of the words both across and down. This is an unfinished work that somehow got the green light from the editor.

spacecraft 10:54 AM  

Agreed that OATEN sucks, and that SCHOOL may or may not be an actual BUILDING. I do not agree about trouble with the the actress' name: DOD Mayim BIALIK. Come on, she's the co-star of one of the longest-running sitcoms ever, which is already in heavy syndication. A spinoff, Young Sheldon, is still going strong. (Yeah, I know, I basically LOATHE sitcoms, but even I know THAT much.)

Theme is pretty dense, which strains the fill somewhat; the dreaded RMK at 59a, GWB/WWI, SSN, etc. Its execution is fine but for the SCHOOL. There is also some cool longer fill, so I guess "uneven" would be an apt descriptor. Par.

P.S. As to M vs. F basketball, I do think the ladies play a better game. The men's game has been warped beyond recognition by recent evolution; now the basket is simply way too low. Raise it a whole foot and we'll talk. (Half the NBA will STILL be able to SLAMDUNK.)

Burma Shave 1:12 PM  

ILOVEDIT [GRIMACE]

EMME is NOT a PEEWEE gal,
INFACT, LETME ADD the skinny:
though we LINKED up 'BIBLICAL',
I LAMENT her RUMP ain't MINI.

--- ADAM EATON

leftcoaster 3:39 PM  

BUILDING BLOCKS indeed, which supplied chunks of the puzzle and great pieces of construction.

COMMODES (“Going places”) has to be the word of the day, instead of an expected “commutes” (clever misdirection).

Scratched my head to get the B in DAB / BIALIK, and elsewhere in BRO for “Modern lead-in to -grammer” (not -grammar?).

Fun stuff. Thanks, TC.








Diana, LIW 8:10 PM  

A couple of errors cost me perfection. Deli Rye. That sort of thing.

Agree with @Lefty about the word of the day. I knew it was some kind of bathroom humor...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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