Italian car since 1907 / SUN 3-21-21 / Marvel group led by Hercules / Jupiter exempli gratia / Like many characters in Alison Bechdel cartoons / Food service industry lobby for short / Style of women's leather handbags / Longtime procedural set in Washington DC

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Constructor: Julian Kwan

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Mores" — long "A" sound is added to the ends of familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, clued wackily (i.e. "?"-style):

Theme answers:
  • SLEEP IN THE BUFFET (23A: Nod off at a self-serve restaurant?)
  • TRAILER PARQUET (34A: Fancy flooring for an R.V.?)
  • COLD HARD CACHET (50A: What the prestigious ice sculptor had?)
  • YOU'VE HAD YOUR FILET (69A: "Let everyone else get some steak before taking seconds!")
  • LET'S MAKE A DELAY (88A: "We should stall!")
  • BACKSTAGE PASSÉ (103A: Why no one hangs out in actors' dressing rooms these days?)
  • UNSOLICITED BIDET (117A: Bathroom fixture that one never asked for?)
Word of the Day: LANCIA (49D: Italian car since 1907) —

Lancia (Italian: [ˈlantʃa]) is an Italian car manufacturer and a subsidiary of Stellantis. The present legal entity of Lancia was formed in January 2007 when its corporate parent reorganised its businesses, but its history is traced back to Lancia & C., a manufacturing concern founded in 1906 by Vincenzo Lanciaand Claudio Fogolin. It became part of Fiat in 1969.

The brand is known for its strong rallying heritage, and technical innovations such as the unibody chassis of the 1922 Lambda and the five-speed gearbox introduced in the 1948 Ardea. Despite not competing in the World Rally Championship since 1992, Lancia still holds more Manufacturers' Championships than any other brand.

Sales of Lancia-branded vehicles declined from over 300,000 annual units sold in 1990 to less than 100,000 by 2010. After corporate parent Fiat acquired a stake in Chrysler in 2009, the Lancia brand portfolio was modified to include rebadged Chrysler products, for sale in most European markets. Lancias in the United Kingdom and Ireland were rebadged as Chryslers. As sales continued to drop the Lancia-badged Chryslers were no longer offered after 2015. Since then, the company's only product has been the Lancia Ypsilon, and sales outside of Italy ended in 2017. Despite Lancia's much smaller brand presence, the Ypsilon continues to be popular in Italy; in fact it was the second best-selling car there in 2019. (wikipedia)

• • •

And things were going so well. I guess the law of average is bound to catch up with you sooner or later. Or the law of Sundays. Either way, this was unpleasant every step of the way. I literally (out loud, alone in my home office) said "no" over and over and then swore a little at this puzzle the second the theme dropped. And it dropped right ... here:

I just couldn't, could Not, believe that in the year of our lord two thousand and twenty-one I was doing a puzzle with so tired, so old, so hoary a theme as a simple add-a-sound. And with no ... oomph, no special twist, no nothin'. "A" "A" "A" over and over and over. And with such horribly mixed results. No, scratch that; not mixed. I didn't smile once at any of these themers. SLEEP IN THE BUFFET is probably the best, but since that's the answer that made me curse at my computer, it can hardly be considered a high point. I'm just bowled over by how completely unimaginative this theme is. And that it was accepted. At all. How can the puzzle be so great some days and so lost in mediocrity other days. He should stop bragging about how many submissions he gets if he can't even put up a decent Sunday puzzle once a month, let alone every week (which should be the standard). I'm trying like crazy to find bright spots anywhere in this puzzle, and I'm not having much success. I have never heard of the GOD SQUAD, but it's got some pep to it, some originality, so I guess that's OK (15D: Marvel group led by Hercules). And LESBIAN (82A: Like many characters in Alison Bechdel cartoons). Always happy to see Alison Bechdel, whose Fun Home is one of the greatest comics (ahem, "graphic memoirs") of this century. I wish they had just gone ahead and used the title of her long-running, ground-breaking comic about LESBIANs, but maybe "Dykes to Watch Out For" is a bridge too far, still, for the relatively staid NYT. Still, hurray for LESBIAN and for the Bechdel name-drop. The rest, yeesh. Yeeeeeeeesh.

Big trouble parsing, or even conceiving of, "I OWE YA!" (24D: "My treat next time!"). The clue suggests you bought me ice cream, but the answer is something you typically say re: a favor. Tough one. Also tough: LANCIA. Completely forgot that car existed. Reading the wikipedia entry about LANCIA, I see that there's good reason why I forgot that car existed. If only I lived in Italy, where people still drive it (?). For some reason I thought PEPPIEST would be a good answer at 87D: Most cheerful (PERKIEST), so that held me up a bit. I have no idea what the OCTOPI clue is on about (96D: Forms of some mythological sea creatures). Some? Which? What? I can't name even a one. I'm sure they exist, but what a completely unintuitive clue for an ordinary (if terribly pluralized) word. 

I will say that [Bob hopes?] is a good clue for APPLES. A very good clue. Took me a good deal of effort to get that, but the effort was rewarding. No idea what an "unsolicited bid" is, so the puzzle really ended with a sputter for me. Is that a bridge term? No, looks like it's just a literal description of a business thing. Huh. How ... exciting. I need to go listen to upbeat music or watch a Jean Arthur or ... well, do anything to get my spirits up again after this puzzle. Before sitting down to solve, I'd just watched a Fred Astaire / Ginger Rogers movie. I was so happy then. Ah well. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. the NRA clue made me laugh. Not sure why you don't just eliminate it. That section can be redone a number of ways without NRA. No one's gonna look at NRA and think, "oh, right, the famous food service industry lobby." Still, glad they at least didn't go the usual route on this one because white supremacist terrorist orgs. don't deserve the ink. 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:15 AM  

Well, @Rex is nothing if not predictable. I knew he'd love the LESBIAN entry, dislike having the NRA appear in any form, and hate the rest.

I found it a bit harder than the typical Sunday puzzle but just as "sloggy" as they all seem to be of late. I find myself agreeing with Rex that Sundays are not what they used to be. Or maybe I'm just getting old and grumpy.

PS - Get off my lawn.

EdFromHackensack 12:21 AM  

LETSMAKEADELAY? sorry, how did that pass muster? awful

yinchiao 12:24 AM  

aybemay isthay uzzlepay ouldway avehay eenbay etterbay luedcay in igpay atinlay?

Graham 12:46 AM  

I’m sure I won’t be the first to point this out, but OCTOPI isn’t truly a word; it’s an incorrect correction (a “hypercorrection,” as grammarians have it) of octopuses. Octopus derives from Greek but is very much an English word, so it should take the English plural (octopuses) or, I suppose, the Greek (octopodes).

And I’m sure I won’t be the first to point out that English words become English words because they get used, not because they are prescribed by some lofty grammarians to be correct. To which I’ll simply respond: “Yeah, but that ain’t right.”

Joe Dipinto 12:50 AM  

Hard to get excited about this one. A few items were new to me, which added a bit of interest, but not much. I had OPIE for ABIE at first, thinking "I wonder what Opie is a nickname for." Weird to clue something with "Best Revival of a Musical" – who on earth would remember that? – but PIPPIN didn't win Best Musical in its first go-round, so...

I was hoping for something niftier. Here's an ode to my favorite clue/answer:
And she used to be alive, but now she's dead.

John Hoffman 12:58 AM  

For “option for an overnight guest“, who had Airbnb instead of AIRBED?

Frantic Sloth 2:11 AM  

It was this puzzles bad fortune to come on the heels of the last couple of gems. Never stood a chance.

I didn't hate it as much as Rex by any stretch, but I did feel an overwhelming desire to moan-sing "The Party's Over" during the solve.

This whole thing was like a rude awakening that only an UNSOLICITED BIDET could provide.

I feel allowances should be made because it's a NYTXW debut and congratulations are always in order for such an accomplishment - one that I'll certainly never be able to claim - and yet, Rex is right when he cranks about "the law of Sundays".

There's always a slight sense of trepidation that creeps up on me around 6pm EDT every Saturday, and that's just wrong.

Oh, well...can't get worked up either way for this mega-meh, so that's all I wrote.


Breakfast Tester 2:17 AM  

Would've preferred a title like "Oh... Canada!" or "North of the Border" or "Canadian Goosing" or something like that. 🇨🇦

Anonymous 2:38 AM  

And Rex’s favorite editor hits his 10,000th puzzle on April 7th! Will there be a tribute?

Unknown 2:57 AM  

I believe the "octopi"clue was referring to the sea monster Scylla of the Odyssey fame.
Might we find someone like Shirley MacLaine to channel the late Margaret Farrar (sp?) to come back to guest edit next Sunday's edition? Just a thought. Thank you.

okanaganer 3:00 AM  

Beauty, eh?

Let's Make a Deal, eh? (Monty Hall was Canadian)

We Canadians don't actually do that eh? thing as much these days. Not like 30 years ago. But it's still a thing.

Trailer Park (Boys) eh? (Also a Canadian series... Ricky and Julian, and Bubbles of course)

chefwen 3:03 AM  

I started out liking this with SLEEPING IN THE BUFFET and TRAILER PARQUET, things went downhill quickly. Still don’t quite understand what CACHET has to do with ice sculpting and LETS MAKE A DELAY was just weird. What started out as promising turned into a slog festival.
I enjoyed Fridays puzzle, found Saturday to be extremely difficult and I see that many of you had the same experience, opposite of Rex.

Oh, how I long for the day someone woos Elizabeth Gorski back to the NYT.

jae 4:05 AM  

Easy-medium. I’m with @Frantic on this one, liked it more than @Rex did but...

Lewis 6:23 AM  

After the intensity of the past two puzzles, strolling through Julian’s debut – an amazingly junk-lite grid, with some lovely sights – made for a most relaxing balance.

Those sights included BIBLE crossing BAUBLE, the PuzzlePairs (©) of PIPPA/PIPPIN and AUTO/LANCIA, not to mention the smile-producing theme answers, where those A-sound-ending words perfectly capped in-the-language phrases.

Your notes reveal how hard you worked on this, Julian, and that ethic should serve your future puzzles well. Thank you for a most pleasing diversion, sir, and enjoy your Debut Day to the fullest!

BarbieBarbie 7:07 AM  

I enjoyed this one a lot. Found it hard because the root phrases had no clues. Maybe that’s what’s making all these critics grumpy. The fill was great, and having to work to get the themers is not a bad thing at all.

I don’t care that add-a-sound has been done before. This time it was done really cleverly, with most added AYs doing something funky to the spelling of the last word in the phrase or having its own funky spelling, and all of them used in words that make you shout the AY part. Which for some reason makes it harder to come up with the phrase.

My only nit is that DELAY has regional pronunciation, so it’s not a good one for everybody. Coastal me thought “huh?” But then I could hear my plains-states father in law’s voice in my head setting me straight. Had an entertaining few moments trying to spell DELAY phonetically-for-me, and couldn’t decide between duh-lay and dill-lay. It’s one of those almost unvoiced, consonant-only syllables. You know, like San Francisco. (Wink)

More please from this new constructor!

Megafrim 7:30 AM  

Oh Me, but this one has some problems. Not a total bomb, but some judicious editing would have helped. Oh me oh my? Okay. Oh my. Fine. But just Oh Me??? Has that ever been said?

kitshef 7:36 AM  

NBA and ABA in the puzzle while the NCAA Basketball Tournament is going on. Coincidence?

I lived in England for a couple of years in the mid ‘90s, as a result of which I still am not permitted to donate blood. Mad cow and the human version vCJD are untreatable and always fatal. Pretty scary stuff.

Don’t drink Peroni before getting behind the wheel of your LANCIA.

@John Hoffman yes to AIRBnb at first.

Anonymous 7:39 AM  

I wish when Rex hated a puzzle, which is most of the time, he could offer constructive criticism instead of being so mean, especially about a constructor`s debut. And that he would also realize that just because he doesn't know something (today God squad) doesn't mean it is irrelevant or unfamiliar to many others.

bocamp 7:49 AM  

Thank you @Julian for a perfect Sun. puz. Just right, eh! :)

Easy-medium solve.

Got EPSOM, MADCOW, IOWEYA and the rest was a slow and steady trip. No major holdups.

OKIE from Muskogee ~ Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson

yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ TOLERANCE ~ Kindness to all 🕊

pabloinnh 7:51 AM  

First my yowling cat got me up at 4AM for reasons best know to himself, as nothing seemed to please him. Finally found the right food around 6. Also had my second Covid shot yesterday which is catching up with me this morning, so no going back to bed. Finally gave up and printed out the puzzle.

Thanks goodness for this one, as it kept me busy for quite a long time. As usual, doing a theme which has done before does not infuriate me (looking at you, OFL). Answers were Dad-joke funny, which is OK with me. I tried coming up with one or two of my own and quickly gave up. Too much work. Also was skipping around everywhere and got BUFFET and BIDET first, so thought is was an add ET gimmick and was pleasantly surprised by PARQUET and DELAY.

Congratulations on your debut, JK, and wish it could have been Judged Kindly. Keep at it, and good luck.

Bubbabythebay 8:06 AM  

Thinking that President Taft went off to run the American Dental Association with his hoDo bag over his shoulder seemed plausible enough, but no happy tune. Hey REF; What game are you watching?

Colin 8:22 AM  

For once, I didn't like this one. I still don't get "Mores" as the title, even though I figured out about adding the "a" sound to the end of each themer. I pronounce "Mores" as 'morz' or (after 3 years of high school Latin) 'morez.'

@John Hoffman, 12:58 AM: Yes! AIRBNB for a long time. I also initially had MATCHES for "Sticks in a box?" and LOOS for "Their heads get dirty."

Head scratchers: "IOWEYA" (the "YA" seems a stretch); "ABIE" (I had OPIE at first... never heard anyone call themselves ABIE); and "LISTICLE".

Clued well: APPLES ("Bob hopes?" - Agree with Rex); AFT ("Back in the U.S.S.?").

Agree with @Frantic Sloth that a NYTXW debut is to be congratulated, but this one is, well, Sunday-light. Sorry I couldn't be more enthusiastic.

Nickyboy 8:23 AM  

Ah yes, my favorite, linguistic pet peeve appears again!! The plural of "octopus" is either "octopuses" or "octopod(e)s". When you say "octopi" are you trying to sound smart? All you are doing is taking a word that is Greek in origin and incorrectly making it Latin, which it is not. Don't do that.

amyyanni 8:27 AM  

PIPPEN fan, so that was enjoyable. Ben Vereen was in the original. 'Corner of the Sky' is a wonderful song. Thinking of it makes me smile. And Caroline, my black & white cat slept on my lap while I solved, so can't complain. Happy Sunday, all.

Son Volt 8:29 AM  

Thought it was well done for the most part - resulting in a fairly easy, smooth solve. The gimmick was flat though - just no sparkle and not much to think about. I liked COLD HARD CACHE and YOUVE HAD YOUR FILET best. DELAY took a little license on the theme but it was fine.

Learned BECHDEL and the term LISTICLE. Liked the hoops slant at NBA x ALLEY OOP. Agree with Rex that the Bob hopes clue is excellent. LANCIA was back in the gray area somewhere. PERKIEST, NIFTIER, IFFIER I can do without. A little side eye to MORE being an answer in the grid with no connection to the theme.

@Joe D 12:50a - funny how things work. Just before you posted that link we had finished watching American Utopia.

I think a well made puzzle - but a flat solve.

John H 8:40 AM  

For a change I am with Rex all the way. What a slog.

I have a theory that Shortz doesn't really like crosswords. He spends all his energy on other kinds of word puzzles, some of which are fun, others not so much. His Sunday radio show can be a real snooze.

Thank you @Graham for the English lesson. Embarrassed that I didn't know that already.

Barbara S. 8:44 AM  

I almost always like Sundays, and I didn’t hate this one, but found it more of a chore than usual. I think the theme was fine and of a pattern that we see quite often, but to me, the themers just weren’t funny enough or wry enough to quite CUT IT. But I did learn a lot. Here are six things this puzzle taught me:

48A “seven-layer dip”: Wow, where has this been all my life?: Tex-Mex dip that has a lot of amazing ingredients like refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, grated cheese, SALSA of course, and others (Wiki) – sounds delish.

115A that MOJO can refer to an actual, hold-in-your-hand object, not just an abstract quality: “a flannel bag with one or more magical items” (Wiki).

4D APERÇU: I knew the word in French but not the English-language meaning of “a brief survey or sketch: OUTLINE” (Merriam-Webster).

9D TOE the line: OK, I knew this expression but I’ve always been a bit uncertain about the TOE or TOw question. I found out that “tow the line” is an eggcorn! What a fabulous word! (presumably from "acorn"), “a word or phrase that results from a mishearing or misinterpretation of another, an element for the original being substituted for one that sounds very similar or identical (e.g. tow the line instead of toe the line)." (Oxford languages). “To all intensive purposes” is another eggcorn.

56D LISTICLE is a word I can say with confidence that I never ran into until now. It is, of course a portmanteau of “list” and “article”. Do I wish the sight of LISTICLE had been indefinitely postponed? Maybe – it’s never going to be my favorite word, but I find it of some interest nonetheless.

74D SOP as bread for dipping. I guess I repressed or never knew the literal meaning. I knew SOP only as “a conciliatory or propitiatory bribe, gift or gesture” (Merriam-Webster). Until now.

Today there’s a poem by Phyllis McGinley, born Mar. 21, 1905.

Sunday Poetry: Ballade of Lost Objects

Where are the ribbons I tie my hair with?
Where is my lipstick? Where are my hose -
The sheer ones hoarded these weeks to wear with
Frocks the closets do not disclose?
Perfumes, petticoats, sports chapeaus,
The blouse Parisian, the earrings Spanish -
Everything suddenly up and goes.
And where in the world did the children vanish?

This is the house I used to share with
Girls in pinafores, shier than does.
I can recall how they climbed my stairs with
Gales of giggles on their tiptoes.
Last seen wearing both braids and bows
(And looking rather Raggedy-Annish),
When they departed nobody knows -
Where in the world did the children vanish?

Two tall strangers, now I must bear with,
Decked in my personal furbelows,
Raiding the larder, rending the air with
Gossip and terrible radios.
Neither my friends nor quite my foes,
Alien, beautiful, stern and clannish,
Here they dwell, while the wonder grows:
Where in the world did the children vanish?

Prince, I warn you, under the rose,
Time is the thief you cannot banish.
These are my daughters, I suppose.
But where in the world did the children vanish?

Joaquin 8:51 AM  

@Colin -

♫♫♫ When you're down by the sea
And an eel bites your knee
That's a moray ♪♪♪

lujoc 8:52 AM  

Can someone explain how the title relates to the theme??

Marc 8:55 AM  

My interpretation of today's puzzle is that it was directed by Will to those who have been moaning about the quality of the Sunday puzzles. It is his way of saying "You think the recent ones have been poor. You don't know what bad is - and here is an example." Thus, according to my theory, we have only worse (is that possible?) puzzles ahead...
As to the octopi controversy. I think we can bury it forever by agreeing that most mythical sea monsters of this ilk were probably giant squid of one sort or another (Captain Nemo encountered one if I remember correctly) and we all know the plural of squid is: CALAMARI - with an I.

Tom T 8:56 AM  

I accept that 96d is not a proper plural, but I smile broadly when I see it, thanks to one of my favorite Gary Larsen "Far Side" cartoons: "Fellow octopi, or octopuses ... octopi? Dang, it's hard to start a speech with this crowd."

pmdm 9:05 AM  

I struggled with everything yesterday, including this puzzle. Just one of those days. Nothing to hate about the puzzle (for me but not for others).

When I filled in the entry for the plural of octopus, I knew there would be comments here about it. I knew some of the hyper-reactions that Sharp sometimes writes would repeat themselves today. If the puzzle feels old, some of the commentary here feels, if not old, at least repeated. Including mine.

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

@Colin Mores as in more As. You add the long ay sound at the end the theme answers.

I'm with Graham. Octopi needs to stop in the puzzle. That's twice within the last few months. Two too many. Scylla meanwhile was not an octopus. She was a young woman transformed to have the tail of a seamonster and sometimes wolves also in her lower extremities. She is depicted variously in ancient art, but I like the sculpture the emperor Tiberius had at his dining room at Sperlonga. I have no idea even what culture has octopodes in its mythology, unless we're referring to a kraken in which case it's Norse. The kraken by the way will be the mascot of the new Seattle NHL team.

Sank is not the past participle of sink. The word should be SUNK and I can't believe that got past the editors. People increasingly do not seem to know how to form the perfect tense.

Birchbark 9:13 AM  

103D: I spent a long time thinking about ways to make a goat ("roast," "smoke," and "curry" fit, "braise" doesn't, FYI). I BLAME no-one but myself and the fact that I'm usually a little hungry when I do the crossword puzzle.

In the Mixed Classical (EMCEE) department, there's an old Firesign Theater ("How Can You Be in Two Places at Once?") where, while the main action is proceeding, you can hear this television dialogue in the background:

"What, what, what?"
"What has happened to your nose?"
[Pinched-nose voice] "I've just returned from Rome."

Z 9:19 AM  

MORES is pronounced “more A’s.” If all the themers had ended in ET there would have been a frenchie layer to the pun.

I pluralize the way the GOD SQUAD intended so of course I wrote OCTOPODES in my grid.

TYPE AB? Anyone want to justify that clue? O Negative is the Universal Donor Blood Type, isn’t it?

ESSAY? But somehow Esai Morales didn’t make the grid.

I liked this more than Rex but there’s a strong Dad Joke aura that keeps this below “loved it.”

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

LANCIA is a storied marque, and anyone who knows European cars would be familiar with it. Plus I see them all over whenever I got to Italy. Some of us know cars, others of us know musical theater... anyway, I agree with Rex... this puzzle was a dreary slog.

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

Great puzzle. The review not so much. Where does a middle aged white might guy get off condescending to a young person of color. Seems a little racist.

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

@Z - - the clue wasn't universal donor, it was universal recipient

ow a paper cut 9:29 AM  

I owe ya <——sheesh

Keith D 9:33 AM  

This. And that the puzzles should fit within his preconceived world view. Truly miserable.

Z 9:35 AM  

@9:05 - SANK

@Barbara S - LISTICLEs are churned out by yesterday’s mystery term (which I won’t repeat because no spoilers).
I’ve also been pondering your choice of birthdates. I think I have a slight preference for publication dates only because it feels like it gives more cultural context. But by “slight” I mean very very slight. More of a musing about the various ways one might date a quote and feeling a need to justify one over the other without ending up doing a full wikipedia article about the author and work.

burtonkd 9:35 AM  


"Colin of Firth" crowded out any brain space left for SCOT for too long.

@Joe DiPinto - thanks for the Stravinsky links yesterday. I went through a Rite of Spring phase in college (played the 4 hand arrangement), and got a melodica for Xmas this year, so never has a clip been more tailor-made for me!

I just know Bechdel for the eponymous test* of a film regarding women characters and their roles. Of course she is doing more in life than coasting on something she devised in college!

* a way of evaluating whether or not a film or other work of fiction portrays women in a way that is sexist or characterized by gender stereotyping. To pass the Bechdel test a work must feature at least two women, these women must talk to each other, and their conversation must concern something other than a man.
"a lot of Hollywood movies fail the Bechdel test miserably"

Z 9:37 AM  

@Anon9:28 - D’Oh! Thanks.

RooMonster 9:38 AM  

Hey All !
Well dang, @Graham 12:46 and @Nickyboy 8:23, where have you been? We've had this OCTOPI, octopuses, octopodes discussion at length to exhaustion. Consensus here: Octopodes correct. As a matter of fact, anything plural is -opodes. ☺️

Tricky in spots, and ended up with my one-letter DNF. Argh! Had SPONGEr/PROFErS. Wanted PROFfer first, but saw it wouldn't work, and the R instead of the S seemed absolutely correct. DRAT!

128A surprisingly difficult. Went rely, rEsT(which was tough to get off), _E_T, finally BENT.
REIKI new here. Got from crosses.

Liked the four F block in third top section!
IOWEYA looks like a typo of Iowa.
LISTICLE makes my inner kid chuckle. I don't think as guys we are ever fully matured!
Had the BED part of AIRBED first, so avoided that pitfall.

LETS MAKE A DELAY doesn't work to my ears. Deal from DELAY is a stretch. It's DEE-LAY, not DEAL-AY. LETS MAKE A DEE? Uh-uh. Your pronunciation mileage may vary.

Congrats on the debut. Much better puz to me than Rex, but that seems to be the norm. NIFTIER. Rex needs his 15 years ago MOJO back. 🤪

Your second-best pal? IFFIER BFF.

Seven F's

Stephen Minehart 9:45 AM  

Sigh. This was not a good crossword puzzle. And am I the only one bothered by the lack of a verb in "backstage passe?" "backstage is passe" would at least fit normal language convention, "backstage passe" sounds like Tarzan-speak to my ears.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

O Negative is the universal donor and AB (or technically AB Pos) is the universal recipient, ie can get blood from any of the other types.

Nancy 9:49 AM  

A cute, perfectly pleasant way to pass some time and I found the puzzle mildly diverting. The puns are well-enough chosen, though only UNSOLICITED BIDET brought anything close to a smile.

As for the rest of the puzzle: I don't know WAZE (is it anything like GPS?) and I thought MOJO meant something entirely different. When I hear people say "He's lost his MOJO", I always think it means something like confidence, or ability, or charisma or something like that. I had no idea it was a "lucky charm". I suppose that from now on when a new coinage appears in front of me, instead of guessing its meaning from the sentence, I should actually look it up the nanosecond I see it.

My favorite clue was "Target of the heckle "What game are you watching?" What an inspired thing to say to the REF. I've never heard it before but I'll make sure to use it at the first opportunity. Wonder if McEnroe ever said it?

The clue for 10A, OTOH, is an insult to the solver's intelligence.

I don't quite get the title MORES and have only two good things to say about it. 1) It doesn't give anything away and 2) I can't think of a better one. (I did try.)

Joe Dipinto 9:52 AM  

@burtonkd – I've become an instant fan of the Melodica Men from that video. They have a whole bunch of others on their channel, many of them hilarious.

Colin 9:55 AM  

Rex could decry the state of the NYTXWP....

O tempora, o mores!

Senatus haec intellegit, Consul videt; hic tamen vivit. vivit? immo vero etiam in Senatum venit, fit publici consili particeps, notat et designat oculis ad caedem unum quemque nostrum!

- Cicero (as outlined in Wikipedia)

RK from Switzerland 10:04 AM  

Good not agree more. Dee lay, not Deal a.

Chaiminded 10:08 AM  

Listickle? Really? Then what are you going to call an article on school exams?

pabloinnh 10:10 AM  


I've used

When an eel bites your arm
And it causes great harm
That's a mo-ray....

because a friend had an eel bite his arm. It was a moray too, at least for me.

Great minds, etc. etc.

SBpianist 10:11 AM  


Hungry Mother 10:15 AM  

I needed my wife to tell me the name (AVEENO) on the moisturizer that I use every day. I keep wanting to spell the mushroom ENaKI.

Ed 10:26 AM  

My biggest “huh?” with the theme was UNSOLICITEDBIDET - I don’t pronounce “bidet” as BIH-DAY but as BEE-DAY (chalk it up to speaking French, where the I makes an EEE sound), and so I had a hell of a time figuring out what the trick was supposed to be with that one. “What’s an unsolicited bead?”

Frantic Sloth 10:29 AM  

So far, the best part of this puzzle has been @Barbara S's 844am post.

@Anonymous 928am Thank you! I completely misread that clue. (Hi, @Z!)

OCTOPI/OCTOPuses/OCTOPodes??? Who knew?

Guilherme Gama 10:33 AM  

The food service NRA should run a yearlong PR campaign to reclaim the acronym. "We're the good NRA!"

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

Would someone please explain the Bob hopes - APPLES clue/answer. I can't get the aha!

The Well Rounded Philistine 10:52 AM  

I’m Canadian. Everything ends in eh. Eh? And Lancias are also available in Switzerland, where I now live.

The Well Rounded Philistine 10:53 AM  

Bobbing for apples.

Whatsername 10:57 AM  

@Barbara S (8:45) Loved, loved, loved the poem today! Reminded me of a family reunion long ago where a group of us with teenage daughters discussed how our cosmetics, clothing and accessories just disappeared, never to be seen again.

I don’t do Sundays but sometimes stop in to read the review and comments. Just wanted to say I knew of GOD SQUAD but not in the sense that it was clued. Here in the Bible Belt, it’s a somewhat derogatory term for evangelical Christians, no doubt coined by those who are not.

Casimir 11:04 AM  

"Bob" as in "bobbing for apples."

DeeJay 11:06 AM  

When you Bob for apples, you hope to get one.

Joe in Newfoundland 11:07 AM  

If you're going to allow octopodes (which is fine, like platypodes or Antipodes), then you have to allow for the possibility that octopus came into English from Greek through Latin.

I agree with Anonymous (10:45).

Ken Freeland 11:08 AM  

Rex absolutely right on this one...what a PPP-loaded slog...get a life, Mr. Shortz

Steve 11:21 AM  

An unpleasant slog from beginning to end. Nary a smile nor a chuckle throughout.

egsforbreakfast 11:30 AM  

Interesting to have 61A (Grammy award winning Cash) directly below an alleged homophone for cash (CACHE T). The same eyebrow was raised by the DEAL in ARMSDEAL being near the kinda homophone in DELAY). These are but nits (which sounds like a minor infestation of one’s derrière).

The title confusion of some commenters indicates unfamiliarity with the word “mores”. (pronounced more A’s), which are the essential customs and conventions of a community. Perhaps a better title would be “A+”.

I think that to debut with a Sunday puzzle that was passable, clean and entertaining, which this was, is a feat for which Julian Kwan should be congratulated. I look forward to more of his work.

TJS 11:31 AM  

My Sunday expectations are so low that I thought this was one of the better ones we have had in a while. I also couldn't wait for OFL to savage this and he came through with flying colors. Hurray for lesbian comic strips ! Aargh, the NRA !

Dad jokes again. Hmm. Anybody know any Mom jokes?

@Nancy and others, there are many classic blues songs with phrases similar to "Goin down to New Orleans, get me a mojo hand" to solve the singers problems with women.

And my favorite MacEnroe rants are "You CANNOT be serious" and the great "And you call yourself an American ?" when not getting the call vs. Ivan Lendl.

Z 11:32 AM  

And Bob’s your uncle.

I’d like to be under the sea.

Unknown 11:34 AM  

Same felling exactly

Christopher Jones 11:36 AM  

Another drag of a puzzle but hey, my time is getting better.

MichGirl 11:38 AM  

Good grief. What a waste of my Sunday moment. I agree with Rex, just awful. And I dare anyone to tell an RV owner they are even remotely related to a trailer park....

Teedmn 11:39 AM  

Stupid, stupid error today. I was solving randomly and saw the PH_ start to fill in at 75D. As the randomizer jumped me away from there, I thought to myself, "Greek letter PHI" for that answer. Later, when it came to filling in the Best Revival of a Musical, I ended up with Vietnamese PHo soup. Didn't someone do something with Mary Poppins lately? Yeah, no excuse, har.

I thought SLEEP IN THE BUFFET and UNSOLICITED BIDET were great (I could probably sleep falling in the salad bar, I'm usually sleep-deprived (self-induced) and I've been lobbying for a BIDET in a upcoming bathroom remodel). I liked BACKSTAGE PASSÉ for the unique -eh ending. And while the ice sculptor clue doesn't work that well for me, I love the word CACHET. So I enjoyed this solve.

A few write-overs, with ARMamEnt before ARMS DEAL and mERrIEST before PERKIEST. I thought "sis" would be the shoo-in for the myriad maids-of-honor and nearly left zEUS in for "Jupiter, exempli gratia" - should have known they wouldn't use Latin to indicate a Greek god, plus the GOz SQUAD didn't have the rhyme thing like GOD SQUAD.

Julian Kwan, congratulations on your debut and thanks for a fine Sunday solve.

@okanaganer, your reference to "Trailer Park Boys" brought back last year when my husband was binge-watching that show - he talked in Bubbles' voice for a month, ack!

Carola 11:47 AM  

I thought the theme was inspired, starting with the title -- sure, add-a-sound themes have been around forever, but you still have to figure out how they work. I had fun doing that, and liked the 2 curve balls when -ET was replaced by -AY and an accented E. My favorites were the TRAILER PARQUET and UNSOLICITED BIDET.

@amyyanni 8:27 - There's nothing like having your kid participate in a high school musical to have it permanently imprinted in your brain...Morning Glow, Magic To Do.... Nice that it's such a good one :)

@Stephen Minehart 9:45 - Yes, I balked at the lack of a verb, too. Possibly salvageable with punctuation: "BACKSTAGE? PASSE!"

CDilly52 12:03 PM  

Hand way up!! And I thought it was possibly a debut answer. Was looking forward to @Lewis telling us whether ‘twas true or not. Alas, boring old, hard to get up off the floor in the morning AIRBED. DRAT!

G. Weissman 12:03 PM  

This puzzle reached new heights (or depths) of awfulness. Particularly odious: OHME -- and not oh my -- ("Goodness gracious!"), OHO ("What have we here") and ABIE (Man's nickname that sounds like consecutive letters of the alphabet). "Oh me, o ho [or oh o?], there's Abie going on again about how his nickname sounds like consecutive letters of the alphabet."

One can only wonder how this puzzle made it into print. The error with OCTOPI (inane clue and error in pluralizing octopus) adds to the disaster that is this puzzle.

Michael Fleming 12:11 PM  

I’ve heard of an unsolicited bid in a corporate merger/ acquisition context or a bankruptcy auction. Not really a common phrase outside of law in my experience.

nevercared 12:12 PM  

Your nascent neo-fascism is showing.

I'm sure StormFront and Breitbart have riveting right-wing crossword blogs to keep you safe and shield from any hint of "woke" culture.

Nancy 12:17 PM  

@Barbara S -- Don't you find LISTICLE even a little bit cute? I have a weak spot, it seems, for portmanteaus, just as I have a weakness for puns -- even not very good ones.

Also, haven't you ever used a piece of bread to SOP up a really delicious sauce? If you never have, you're truly missing something quite wonderful.

@TJS -- Of course I knew the "you cannot be serious" plaint, but I've never heard "And you call yourself an American?" Lovely.

CDilly52 12:20 PM  

Shout out to all our Canadian friends, Eh!! Call me old-gettin’ there anyway and after this past year certainly feeling it. I like a good old fashioned corny NYTXW Sunday. Agree that after the initial two themers, the remainder just didn’t have the same level of tightness, for want of a better word.

That said, though, congratulations to our debut constructor - and a debut on a Sunday is an extra feather for the cap. Well done, Julian! 🎉 this was such a clean puzzle - virtually drek-free and on a Sunday when some crosswordese is not only excusable but in my opinion often necessary to give the solver an easy hint or two. I look forward to more puzzles from Julian. His style of crafting clues seems right on my wavelength. A thoroughly enjoyable Sunday.

GILL I. 12:27 PM  

A Sunday debut.... Kudos Julian Kwan.
I know you're getting a bit of "this needs some salt in the tortilla" but I had fun. I did a few WHAAAAT? things but overall, I enjoyed it.
So this reminded me of when one of my children (I won't say who because they read this thing) made me a "tortilla de patata" the first time. I've been making them practically all my life and I've shown both my kids how to turn out the best. Well, the potatoes were a bit undercooked and the flipping process was a tad messy, but in the end it tasted good. So there's
I laughed at UNSOLICITED BIDET. We finally got one because the entire population of Sacramento bought all the toilet paper god created. It cleans the toilet bowel really well.
@Barbara S to the rescue....again.!
@TJS: Just for you:
What did the baby corn say to the Mamma corn?
"Where's Pop corn?"

Brit solves nyt 12:27 PM  

Unenjoyable slogfest, wish this type of groaner theme was retired

mathgent 12:31 PM  

I rarely do Sundays and today was no exception, but I read the comments. So happy I did. The poem by Phyllis McGinley brought a tear to my eye. Thanks Barbara (8:44).

Ethan Taliesin 12:33 PM  

OCTOPI just sounds ignorant to my ears, like some dumb snoot using "cognitive dissonance" as a synonym for hypocritical.

CreamyT 12:37 PM  

I mostly found the cluing to be decent. I didn't dislike it as much as others seemed to. The theme was very blah.

I did have a major issue with several acrosses that I found to be naticks or near-naticks, at least for me:

CACHET (what is a cachet to an ice sculptor? HUh?), with ROSANNE Cash (Cash Rosanne? No clue who that is), with HOBO (Have not heard of hobo bag but was guessable at least) with LANCIA (maybe, possibly, vaguely familiar with this?) with ETA/ETD which isn't deterministic, although LANCIA is clearly much more Italian sounding than LANCID, crossed with REIKI (also have not heard of).

Just...why? It's so unfun. We ended up solving without checking or having to retry any letters after the last fill, but it felt like it was just lucky guessing with that whole set. Are these all things I should be familiar with? Am I the dumb one? I'm aware there are obscure answers like that but many. crosses.

Masked and Anonymous 12:44 PM  

UNSOLICITEDBIDET. har. Well, there's yer rodeo.

REIKI? Wakey REIKI, hands off snakey? Closest M&A could come, to recognizin REIKI. Debut word, btw. Also did not know LANCIA, so that there puz area devoured many extra solvequest nanoseconds.

faves: GODSQUAD/DEUS crossin. MADCOW. ALLEYOOP clue. Also enjoyed the Ow de Speration bouquet sniffs of IOWEYA. IOWEYA won their tourney game, btw. (Go Hawkeyes)
Speakin of bouquet … sounds like a lotta themer potential, there. OVERTHERAINBOUQUET, or somesuch.

staff weeject pick: WII. Always a welcome WII-ject.

Debut puz. Pangram puz. BIDET closer puz. We have a bingo. thUmbsUp and thanx and congratz, Mr. Kwan dude.

Masked & Anonymo9Us


burtonkd 12:49 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
puzzlehoarder 12:55 PM  

This was a smorgasboard of trivia and out there cluing. It held my interest to the very end at no point becoming predictable or boring. OHO and OHME does come close to repetition. A fun fifty minutes to a clean grid.

Jamie November 1:01 PM  

Rex, I beg to differ. I thought this puzzle was quite enjoyable but maybe we have a different metric for fun, I agree some of the fill was a stretch and/or tired, but overall I had a solid 15 minutes of enjoyment with very few errors - maybe that’s why I liked it because I do the puzzle in ink & had only one or two places to redo letters. Try to relax and be less critical.
A faithful NYT puzzle solver since 1971.

Donna 1:06 PM  

Great idea! When my grandson first started school, he came up with something called Bacon Latin, a variant of Pig Latin.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

Ladies and gentleman,
I give you Rex in a nutshell. Gladly capitalizing Bechdel but not Lord when it refers to Christ.
The word Lord is traditionally capitalized when using Anno Domini as Rex does in his review.
It’s Rex’s blog and he can of course be as disrespectful as he wishes. But my God, he sure does attack a lot of people and things for not showing courtesy, deference or decency to things he holds dear. Funny how someone so tolerant of all things au courant, like the idea that a person with a penis can be a woman, or that comic books are worth multiple classes in a University English department, isn’t very respectful of conventions that have been observed by everyone for millennia.

Anonymous 1:15 PM  


A 2:02 PM  

Happy National Common Courtesy Day!

“And things were going so well.” “unpleasant” “said no over and over” “I need to go listen to upbeat music”

Thank you, Rex, for saying what I was thinking so I can be more courteous. I’ll just say I knew this was not going to be my favorite puzzle when it stiffed me with I OWE YA. YA sure do.

I guess I could complain courteously. WWCDay? (What Would a Canadian Do, eh?) The mighty Hercules leads a GOD SQUAD? Sounds more like a young people’s study group at a Baptist church. “We were going to call our youth group the Christeens, but they thought GOD SQUAD was NIFTIER.

WAS the clue for WAS intended to depress? If so, mission accomplished.

On the bright side I knew LANCIA and now I’m eager to get my car cleaned up and go for a Sunday drive. Maybe I’ll stop for some fig preserves and BRIE.

Thank you, Mr. Kwan, for the puzzle.
PS. Came across MORE MORES while exploring YouTube for LESBIAN musician videos:
Bernstein introduces Janis Ian.

Unknown 2:07 PM  

First off, a debut New York Times crossword on a Sunday should be applauded. Thank you Julian.
Secondly, I often wonder if Rex likes crosswords, he is so often critical.
Third, the NRA in the puzzle was the National RESTAURANT Association.

Giovanni 2:10 PM  

@nancy In Italian, sopping up the sauce with bread is called "scarpetta" which means Little Shoe!

TJS 2:21 PM  

@Gill I, Thanks...I think.

Josie Owens 2:33 PM  

Jean Arthur! My dad’s favorite actress and one of mine. Which movie? I would be torn- Talk of the Town, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, The Devil and Miss Jones. As for Astaire and Rogers - I just love Shall We Dance and Vernon and Irene Castle. I watched Swingtime recently. Blackface. Ugh.

Joaquin 2:41 PM  

@nevercared (12:12 p.m.)

So...according to you, my pointing out Rex's predictability is an indicator of my "nascent neo-fascism". I think you need to look before you leap (to a conclusion about me).

albatross shell 2:56 PM  

OCTOPI is used in English. And in crosswords and your complaints are sillier than what you are complaining about. And the passion is even sillier. And if you reply "But that ain't right" to me" to me, I reply "Tisn't over yet, tis it?" to you.

Certain college clue. Uncertain college seems more apt. I mean which one?

Clue: Lesbians on alert to singer Charles performance


Is this what Rex meant? Or did he just want DYKES in the puzzle?

A Moderator 2:58 PM  

If you want your comment to be posted, please avoid spoilers on recent puzzles.

emily 3:22 PM  

I doubt that those of that ilk enjoy word games.

emily 3:23 PM  

They use to be available in South America, Ecuador-and they were very nice cars.

Anonymous 3:29 PM  

Josie Owen,
May I invite to reconsider your Astaire/Rogers rankings? Swing Time is really the pick of the litter. At least in a lot of critic’s opinions. Including the late great Roger Egbert. As it should be. George Stevens was at the height of his powers and easily the best director the pair ever had. Most film historians rate the Never gonna Dance sequence as the pairs best ever. And the script is probably the best they ever worked with as well. But it’s your assessment of the Bojangles of Harlem that’s most wide of the mark. The Cinebook essay on it is correct when it says it’s “perhaps the only blackface number on film which doesn’t make one squirm today. His skin made-up as an African American rather than a minstrel show caricature of one, Astaire dances an obvious tribute to the great Bill Robinson.”

Joe Dipinto 3:30 PM  

@A – Bernstein introducing "Society's Child" says the song was kept off the radio "for reasons unknown to me – maybe because of the subject matter." Ya think? Lol. (WABC in New York did in fact play it, it came in at #60 on their Top 100 songs of 1967.)

Looking back at the puzzle again, I like the theme answers better now than I did when I was solving it. So I will revise my opinion to say that it qualifies as a worthy Times debut.

One for the road.

Bonnie Buratti 3:45 PM  

I agree that the theme was trite with unclever expressions, but my main gripe was the fill. It contained all the terrible features of recent NYTimes Sunday Puzzles: crosswordese, excessive references to video games and commercial items, made-up expressions like "I owe ya", etc. I found I had to finish much of this terrible fill to make headway on the puzzle. Fill should be done last, not first.

Weekdays continue to be mostly good.

Lewis 3:56 PM  

@cdilly -- The answer debuts today, aside from the theme answers, are MADCOW, PERKIEST, REIKI, and WAZE. AIRBED was last used 1992.

Graham 4:00 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steve M 4:08 PM  


Barbara S. 4:28 PM  

Thanks for the love shown to Phyllis McGinley. I thought that poem was a gem.

@Z 9:35
Date of publication would be a fascinating sort criterion, but I've a feeling it would require more complex research than I do. DOB is straightforward and easy to find. But I like your idea about illuminating social and cultural context.

BTW, @Z, I'm a little worried about The Placebo and Tentacle. I do hope it will cater lavishly to those among us (such as I) who cannot drink alcohol for medical -- or indeed any other -- reasons. And don't start with the carrot juice and the chamomile tea. I want something original and unusual that will blow my socks off.

I'm surprised no one's posted Abie Baby. This is a cleaned-up version from the movie (the Abie Baby part starts about 1:25). You can, without difficulty, find a much rawer version from the Broadway production of Hair.

Because of the word LISTICLE (yeah, @Nancy, maybe a little cute) and because of the clue about the traveler's mental checklist: phone, wallet, KEYS, I've had in my head all day that terrible old joke about the guy doing inventory, saying, "Watch, wallet, spectacles, testicles..." Please tell me that really does exist in the world and I didn't make it up.

Z 4:43 PM  

@CreamyT - An ice sculptor would have CACHET about their ability to form art from COLD HARD ice, so COLD HARD CACHET. I know, but there you go.

@Joaquin - Since I view comments in the web browser version @nevercared’s comment was just a weird non sequitur. Now that I see it was a reply to you it is just a weirder non sequitur.

@Anon1:06 - Wow. I hate to break it to you*, but your post says far more about you than the failure to capitalize “lord” says about Rex, and it ain’t a pretty picture.

*I know, I’m such a liar.

Anonymous 4:56 PM  

What are you talking about? It says plenty about Rex. He deliberately didn’t capitalize Lord. That’s a signal. A way of saying the d. Of Domini is of no consequence. I say openly that it’ is. What part tell are you suggesting you’ve uncovered in my post?please. Tell me.
Here’s what I’m saying so there’s no misunderstanding. Rex was being deliberatively dismissive of the phrase Anno Domini to signal that he’s above such simple mined things as “The year of our Lord”, sniffing instead to say lord because, well, Christianity has it wrong and I’m not willing to participate in its misogyny or patriarchal blah blah blah.
I say ca
Italizing the word Lord when refers to Christ is not only standard editorial practice. It has been sine Gutenberg was in short pants.
But, yeah, by all means Z, side with Rex. Not every editor outside Medina. Or Springwells, or wherever you worked for three decades.

What? 5:30 PM  

When that eel bats an eye
wink right back
don’t be shy
that’s a moray

A 5:31 PM  

@Stephen M, thanks for the bizarre image of Tarzan declining an invitation to an actor’s dressing room!

I agree with @Carola that adding a question mark is the only way to justify BACKSTAGE PASSÉ without a verb.

egsforbreakfast, ‘but nits’ does not PASSE the breakfast test!

@Nancy, @TJS My favorite was when McEnroe couldn’t stop himself from muttering, “You gotta be the absolute pits of the world, you know that?”

@MandAnon, the rodeo got even more interesting with ON ICE right there under yer BIDET! And I like your OVERTHERAINBOUQUET better than most of the ones in the puz.

@Joe D, maybe he thought it was the chord changes that they objected to, right? And thanks for the Baubles link! After listening to Dionne’s version I checked out a few more, including Peggy Lee, Bill Evans, and Sarah Vaughan, where I learned of the connection to Borodin.
String Quartet
And then someone recommended this:
Ernesto Acher, Juegos

another anonymous 5:31 PM  

@1:06, 4:56
Not everything is about christianity or any religion for that matter. There are many atheists who better demonstrate and live by so-called "christian values" than those bible-thumping zealots who claim to know everything their god "wants"

Nancy 6:25 PM  

First problem -- I can't ever use the F3 function to track down @Z because he consists of only one letter.

Second problem: I Googled @Barbara S's "The Placebo and the Tentacle" allusion (4:28) and there is absolutely no reference to such a thing on Google. I have no idea what it is. Barbara is addressing @Z when she writes about it, but I can't track down his initial comment.

It seems to have something to do with Barbara's not being able to drink alcohol for medical reasons. I have no idea what's being discussed here. Can anyone enlighten me?

Unknown 6:30 PM  

I love the NRA and my guns. BOOOOOOOOOOOM!!! Sound of a semi-auto....

Joaquin 6:39 PM  

@Anon (4:56) - I think you are reading waaaaaay too much into Rex's use of "lord" instead of "Lord". If he thinks, as you allege, "Christianity has it wrong and I’m not willing to participate in its misogyny or patriarchal blah blah blah," then why would he use that phrase at all? He'd simply say, "In the year 2021 ...," and make no reference to a L/lord he rejects. Or maybe he's unaware of the convention of using the capital letter. Or maybe it's a typo.

JC66 6:47 PM  


The Placebo and the Tentacle is a fictitious restaurant/bar @Z made up a while ago baaed on answers in that day"s puzzle. He and others use it (sarcastically) from time to time.

JoshyJosh 6:58 PM  

Maybe this is just me, but having the first four theme answers end in "ET" reallllllllly made me think the rest of the theme answers would ALSO end in ET. And then I got to that corner in the SE, with KEYS crossing DELAY...

Barbara S. 7:21 PM  

@JC66 is right. It's another haunted rollercoaster at the Rye Marina. (More puzzle silliness.) I was just ribbing @Z (but, dammit, I'm waiting for an answer!).

burtonkd 7:21 PM  

Small nit from yesterday in the word of the day paragraph (probably lifted from Wikipedia?): Along with many oper-odes, Carmina Burana may have premiered there, but it is not an Opera.

@Roomonster - IOWEYA looks like a cross between Iowa and its nickname Hawkeye.

Moderator: I have removed the part with the answer.

Anonymous 7:33 PM  

You’re mistake. Reread his review. He did use lord. And I contend it was a signal to a certain way of thinking and believing, I don’t se another piece of non traditional capitalization in his write up.
Typos are exceedingly rare in Rex world. And as for his being unfamiliar with the capitalization of a phrase that’s been in use for more than a thousand years, wel, it beggars belief that a sentient being with a PhD in English could be unaware of the convention. But yeah, maybe you’re into to something. Thanks.

RoadshowReject 7:43 PM  

Thank you...I agree

RooMonster 8:06 PM  

Dang, @Graham
I didn't get to see your reply to me before the Mods deleted it. Was it snarky? Nasty? Did you call me a "but nit"?

See also - @Z's allusions to the Rye marina with the wooden roller coaster. That @Z is one crazy guy! 😆🤪😁
But I would still go to the Placebo & Tentacle. 👍

RooMonster I'd Like An MGD Guy

Nancy 8:25 PM  

Ah. So @Z made it up. That's why I couldn't find it on Google. Thanks everyone for explaining.

The Placebo and the Tentacle. It sort of sounds like The Frog and Peach Restaurant.

Z 8:28 PM  

To be clear, it was the Mighty Masked One who coined Z’s Placebo and Tentacle Pub. It will be Crossworld’s famousest Eatery and Drinkery.
@Barbara S - Our sommelier will also be a noted Ice Sculptor whose creations will melt into the most excellent non-alcoholic drinks. @LMS will be our Maitre d’eau, and her creations will come with excellent stories.

@JC66 - Fictitious‽ Fictitious‽ I am wounded! Continue such slanders and there will be no roller coaster rides for thee.

You know what this blog really needs? More discussions about religion! Drinks on the house.

oriordan 8:39 PM  

@Joaquin And @pabloinnh - thanks fir the various renditions of That’s Amore. Big chuckles from me that made my significant other praise her eyebrows.

CS 8:54 PM  

Late in the day but oy, this was indeed a slog although I didn't mind the premise. But at least I finished....

Pete 9:00 PM  

@Z My invisible magician is better than your invisible magician! Or maybe my lack of one is better than your having one!

Barbara S. 9:02 PM  

Excellent -- I'm ready to book my table!

JC66 9:07 PM  

Okay, I apologize. Since Z’s Placebo and Tentacle Pub is an M&A creation, it's obviously not fictitious.

NY Composer 9:12 PM  

Didn’t like it until LETS MAKE A DELAY. From then on I hated it.

A 9:47 PM  

@Nancy, Sorry you missed the whole Placebo and Tentacle gestation, but thanks for the Frog and Peach routine. "Yes, well, I wrote a letter." British humor at its drollest.

Ernonymous 9:52 PM  

@anonymous 7:33 Out of your at least 4 posts per day, when are you going to ever mention the puzzle? You never comment on the puzzle, only criticize Rex and the other posters. And tell them how much smarter you are.
Why are you still here? Your posts have nothing to do with the puzzle, are cruel to other posters (Z, what are you talking about?)-- That's rude. Do you even solve the puzzle? I've never seen you post an opinion of it or your experience of it. You are only here to tell other posters that they are wrong.

Nancy 10:35 PM  

@A (9:47) -- The lines from "The Frog and Peach" that have always cracked me up since I heard them onstage all those many years ago are:

"We have only two dishes. Frog a la Peche. And Peche a la Frog.

stephanie 11:39 PM  

@EdFromHackensack thirded. the others didn't bother me (although UNSOLICITED BID was just...blah but at least went along with the theme) but that me it reads like "LETS MAKE A DELL" based on the other answers and that's just plain ol' Not Good.

stephanie 11:45 PM  

@lujoc "mores" is pronounced "mor-ays" which in this case could also be construed as "more AYs"...each long fill has the sound "AY" added. sleep in the buff = sleep in the buffet. park = parquet. bid = bidet, etc.

stephanie 11:54 PM  

@Barbara S. thank you re: sop. i really had a hard time accepting that answer as i thought, surely they mean what you DO with the bread, not the bread itself. but according to google dictionary which you just reminded me to check, it can be in fact the bread itself! well, that's something learned i suppose.

re: seven layer dip - it can be delicious...but you gotta prepare & serve it right. too many people prepare it so that it looks pretty but isn't nice to eat at all. (for instance, in a huge deep trifle dish. even pre-pandemic, i don't want to be elbow deep in shared dip, thank you. additionally, this means you won't get all the ingredients on your chip, you'll just get one. not very exciting or delicious, or dippable if that layer is shredded lettuce or unmelted cheese.) i make one sometimes that's five layers that my mom makes sometimes...refried beans, cheese, seasoned ground beef, more cheese. bake it so the cheese melts, then let it cool a little. spread with sour cream and garnish with chopped tomatoes and scallions. i guess if you include the garnish it's six layers ;) serve it with a spoon so eaters can have their own plates. and make sure the chips are sturdy :)

stephanie 12:05 AM  

waze is a gps app, yes. i used it for awhile because
1. it allows you to connect with others so it has a social media aspect to it. it's good if you need to let people know you're arriving. (my partner and i share a car so it was nice to let him watch me make my way to his office to pick him up, so he could see at a glance how far away i was to determine if he had time to help a coworker last minute or whatever. you can have your little chosen vehicle icon visible to friends too and they'll show up if they're in the vicinity, but that was not appealing to me.)
2. it has fun voices for the GPS. C3P0 and R2D2 were my favorite.
3. it has silly stuff for passengers to do like collecting "candy" along the road, or you can easily report things like speed traps, construction/closed roads etc.

however, i stopped using it because the main reason i use GPS is for - and i'm sure you're shocked - directions. and waze infamously took us so out of the damn way it was comical at times. we once ended up lumbering along a random dirt road in total darkness to reach a club. we live in boston. it seems to believe that the shortest way there in minutes is the best - even if it means hitting a billion traffic lights, taking forty turns, going through back roads and torn up roads etc - just to shave off one minute of drive time when you could just hop on the highway and go straight. suffice it to say, my time with waze was very brief, and i thought it pretty random and funny to see it pop up in the crossword.

John Tjia 12:13 AM  

I agree! You know, Rex should try constructing a Sunday puzzle himself, and see how challenging that is. When he makes his debut, I’d be happy to be in a front row seat making the same kinds of snarky oh-I’m-so-bored comments on his grid that he does on others’ on this site.

Whoosey Whatsis 2:49 AM  

The Kraken? Cthulhu?

Z 5:20 AM  

@John Tjia - October 28, 2012.

kitshef 11:52 AM  

@John Tija 12:13 - Rex is a constructor, and has had several published in the New York Times. However, he no longer submits to the Times. You would have to go back to the early 2010s to find them.

Anonymous 11:02 PM  

More A's. The A sound at the end.

Burma Shave 12:14 PM  




yargo 2:26 PM  

Thank You Barbara S. @8:44...Loved the 'Ballade of Lost Objects' so much, I ordered a book of McGinley's poetry on-line.

I'd like to suggest another of her poems - and offer it up to Rex.

'The Angry Man'

"The other day I chanced to meet
An angry man upon the street -
A man of wrath, a man of war,
A man who truculently bore
Over his shoulder, like a lance,
A banner labeled "Tolerance".

And when I asked him why he strode
Thus scowling down the human road,
Scowling, he answered, "I am he
Who champions total liberty -
Intolerance being, ma'am a state
No tolerant man can tolerate.

"When I meet rogues," he cried, "who choose
To cherish oppositional views,
Lady, like this, and in this manner,
I lay about me with my banner
Till they cry mercy, ma'am." His blows
Rained proudly on prospective foes.

Fearful, I turned and left him there
Still muttering, as he thrashed the air,
'Let the Intolerant beware!"

spacecraft 7:33 PM  

My dad once said to me "The only thing I can't tolerate is intolerance."
"Who said that?" I wondered. "Why, I just did." Dad was like that.

I can tolerate a puzzle like this...but that doesn't mean I have to bother finishing it. Compare it to playing blackjack: Other peoples' play seldom bothers me; it's all part of the shuffle. But if I see a guy splitting tens I have to get up and move. It's just too painful to look at. This guy today: he split tens. DNBTF

Phillip Blackerby 3:11 PM  

I had dayBED.

Phillip Blackerby 3:13 PM  

Or The Kraken, rendered as an octopus in one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP