Violinist Leopold / Taradiddle / THU 3-4-21 / Retired pugilist Ali / Origin of water clock technology / Birds with S-shaped necks / Divisions of a krone

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Constructor: Blake Slonecker

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: NBA / JAM (38A: With 39-Across, classic sports video game ... or a hint to four squares in this puzzle) — "NBA" is "JAM"med into four squares in this puzzle:

Theme answers:
  • NEWBORBABIES / FANBASE (18A: They're swaddled and coddled / 9D: Beliebers or the Beyhive, for instance)
  • BEANBAG CHAIRS / WIN BACK (3D: Seats that sink / 20A: Regain, as affection)
  • SUSAN B. ANTHONY / PINBALL (58A: Co-founder of the women's rights newspaper The Revolution / 53D: Bumper-to-bumper activity?)
  • CANADIAN BACON / GUN BANS (26D: Eggs Benedict component / 57A: Some measures championed by the March for Our Lives movement)
Word of the Day: Leopold AUER (40D: Violinist Leopold) —
Leopold von Auer (HungarianAuer LipΓ³t; June 7, 1845 – July 15, 1930) was a Hungarian violinist, academic, conductor and composer, best known as an outstanding violin teacher. [...] Auer is remembered as one of the most important pedagogues of the violin, and was one of the most sought-after teachers for gifted students. "Auer's position in the history of violin playing is based on his teaching." Many notable virtuoso violinists were among his students, including Mischa ElmanKonstanty GorskiJascha HeifetzNathan MilsteinToscha SeidelEfrem ZimbalistGeorges BoulangerBenno RabinofKathleen ParlowJulia KlumpkeThelma GivenSylvia LentKemp Stillings, and Oscar Shumsky. Among these were "some of the greatest violinists" of the twentieth century. (wikipedia)
• • •

Well, for a puzzle that began with the clue [Taradiddle] (i.e. with cloying quaintness), this one turned out OK. The theme was really, really simple—simple conceptually, simple to uncover—but somehow it was still fun discovering all the "NBA"-containing answers, which were By Far the most interesting things in the grid. Figuring out it was a rebus went something like this. A. realize that it is Thursday, which is the most likely rebus day of the week; B. Get to [Regain, as affection], realize it has to be WIN-something, but there aren't enough spaces for any answer to make sense; C. get the "K" from DANKE (4D: Counterpart of "Bitte"), realize the cross *has* to be WIN BACK; D. see that "NBA" (a meaningful entity) can fit in one square; E. make it fit. That's probably a few letters too many, it all happened so fast, but hopefully you can see how the rebus came into view. By far the most important solving step in that progression is A: if you don't know to look for rebuses, don't at least have them on your radar, then a puzzle like this can, of course, destroy you. But if you were aware of the possibility, then this one was very easy to see. I hit the revealer shortly thereafter, which told me that "NBA" would be the only letter sequence I'd be looking for (before that I thought I might have to hunt down the initials of all four major U.S. sports leagues). I knew what NBA JAM was, which was undoubtedly a huge advantage in solving this thing quickly. Very easy to discover, and repetitive in its expression (NBANBANBAetc.), and yet, as I say, those "NBA" answers are all pretty delightful. While I like BEANBAG CHAIRS as an answer, points off for not breaking "NBA" across the two words in the answer (as all the other longer theme answers do—actually, SUSAN B. ANTHONY breaks across *three* elements). But eight pleasing theme answers, no clunkers, that's not bad.

My only displeasures today came in the editing / cluing. Well, and AUER. AUER is a name I associate with very very bygone puzzles. It brings its own mustiness. I know it only because of crosswords. The NYT mistook Leopold for (actor) Mischa one time, over a decade ago, and let me tell you, it's bad enough not knowing who the AUERs are. When the crossword can't even keep them straight, that's just depressing. Well, I've at least seen Mischa AUER in movies by now (My Man Godfrey is particularly exceptional). You see LAILA, ENSLER, LES PAUL, and ASNER, you think OK, I see you people all the time, but you're familiar enough that I can just wave and move on. Whereas with AUER, I was very conscious of knowing something (because of past crossword trauma) that a huge percentage of the solving base just wouldn't know. Not a great feeling. You'd think I'd throw my hands in the air in triumph, knowing a relatively obscure thing. But that's not how my brain works. AUER and [Taradiddle] just gave me bad vibes. Musty Puzzles of Yore vibes. Perhaps you're thinking, "your stupid bad vibes are not worth a SOU!" That does sound like something an AUER stan would say. But anyway, AUER had fair crosses, though, so I / you probably shouldn't complain too much.

Cluing beefs:
  • 1A: Taradiddle (FIB) — did I mention I hate this clue word? Also making this 1-Across experience unpleasant: I knew what "taradiddle" meant (because, again, of past crossword trauma ... editor likes this word, for some reason) ... buuuuut I wrote in LIE. And "confirmed" LIE with ICHIRO. Because of course. That seems like the kind of annoying thing that would happen in and around the stupid word "taradiddle."
  • 21D: Garden item that can be brined, informally (CUKE) — cluing CUKE as an "item" is fraud, if not violence. Living things are not "items." Organic matter, not an "item." Your dog is not a household "item." Bread is not a kitchen "item." Inanimate objects are "items." Tools are "items." So the only thing I wanted here was a garden tool. So much so that I was struggling to understand why anyone would brine, say, a hoe. But then the answer was just CUKE. Awful.
  • 16A: Out now, in a way (AIRED) — the clue makes it sound like it is currently available, or in progress. AIRED is decidedly and emphatically past tense. It's just such a clumsy, unpleasant, awkward way to create difficulty.
  • 66A: Divisions of a krone (ØRE—why? Why would you do this to poor ORE? You've already got SOU in the grid. How many people must suffer for your crossword currency fetish!?
  • 27D: State (AVER) — I have no problem with this clue, actually. I just want to register again my distaste for the tiresome AV-- dilemma. Is it AVOW!? Is it AVER!? Least interesting dilemma of all time (after the [Mauna ___] dilemma).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


RK from Switzerland 6:12 AM  

This was fun and easy and, living in Switzerland, it was nice to see two Swiss clues (Franc and Danke) and some European references (ΓΈre, Nor, Dacha).

Flying Pediatrician 6:14 AM  

AUER was indeed annoying, but the crosses were so fair that it wasn’t a problem. However ENSL_R crossing OR_ was no joy. Just had to cycle the vowels until I got the happy music. Then it was like “He’s on fire!” (Which is what the play-by-play commentator in NBA JAM would say after a player made three shots in a row.) Man, I played a lot of NBA JAM in the 90s, often using the cheat code to get Bill Clinton on my team. BOOMSHAKALAKA!

OffTheGrid 6:37 AM  

@Rex has me wondering. Is a jar of pickles an item? According to him the pickles aren't items, but the jar would be an item. This will probably bother me all day.

Anonymous 6:42 AM  

38A was not a revealer. It was a flashing neon arrow! And talk about dupes....!

SouthsideJohnny 6:52 AM  

Your Honor, I throw myself on (at?) the mercy off the court. Please help - I just don’t see how we get from “Lower ?” to COW. I see the question mark, so I know there will be some type of wordplay or pun involved, but the only meaning for COW that occurs to me is the thing that I believe is a bovine (from yesterday’s dissertations). I’m sure there is an aha or lightbulb moment on the way, but I just don’t see it yet, lol.

Lewis 6:54 AM  

The mark of this puzzle for me was its fresh feel. There were few old standard answers that show up again and again, and thus the puzzle had a buzz and shine to it. The same is true, IMO, regarding the cluing, with many clues exhibiting fresh angles.

Blake showed some fine constructing chops here by making the rebus squares symmetrical, which limited the rebus answers available to him in a big way, and yet he found excellent ones.

I liked COW and [Lower} echoing Tuesdays MOOED and the anagrammed HAT (in THA) crossing BEAN. Like @rex, I uncovered the reveal fairly soon in my solve; selfishly, I would have liked that reveal to be down at the bottom, which would have made my cracking the theme come later, and thus making the puzzle a bit tougher. But that is way nitty, because I really enjoyed solving this.

Props on the debut Blake, and props on your constructing chops, which are in fine display. I’m greatly looking forward to some up-the-road BS.

Mark 6:55 AM  

For those of us not familiar with nail polish brands, HOT UP seemed like a possibility to this car guy. Admittedly, HOP UP seemed more plausible, but why just avoid it with "One way to board a streetcar" or something. As Rex would say, where's the editor?

Anonymous 7:00 AM  




oceanjeremy 7:16 AM  

Some thoughts, in no particular order:

- I *love* when rebus puzzles are symmetrical.

- AUER did not bother me. I guess I have just solved enough puzzles that this now seems like comme crossworld knowledge, but I’m not sure I like what that says about me.

- I did *not* like the ORE / ENSLER cross at the E. I filled that square in last, guessed E and got the happy music. But it was irritating, not satisfying.

- This seems like a Rex-level nit to pick, but I was more irritated than I’d like to be that “bread” was used to indicate money in two clues (“Swiss bread” for FRANC and simply “Bread” for DINERO). It just seems... inelegant. Unclever.

Otherwise a perfectly fine puzzle, I enjoyed it a great deal!

kitshef 7:27 AM  

I’m aware that missing SOCKs is a thing, but why? I don’t think I’ve ever lost a sock. I’ve lost gloves, pens, even a sweater. I’ve lost a FRANC. I’ve lost CDS. I’ve lost HUBCAPS. But never a SOCK. I mean, they go from foot to washer to drier to drawer to foot. How are people losing these things?

And maybe an ornithologist out there will correct this, but I think every bird in the world has an s-shaped neck, in which case the clue for 33A is equivalent to just saying “birds”.

I feel like I see "BEAN BAG CHAIR" more often than "BEANBAG CHAIR", so I would say that one breaks across two words. PINBALL has the only NBA contained within a single word.

Tom T 7:30 AM  

I didn't figure out the rebus as fast as Rex, but I did get it quicker than usual. I would have found it sooner if BEAch CHAIRS (which sink into the sand) had not fit so nicely at 3D. That's the price you pay for living near the beach in FL. CANADIAN BACON was the tip off for me.

Frantic Sloth 7:33 AM  

I liked this one a lot - and another debut! This seems to be more common than not lately. That's fun! Cute theme with the NBA literally JAMmed into one square and the "frebus" spanning both words as is the law.

The fill (and one themer) was riddled with all kinds of clever misdirects which I really enjoyed - maybe a wavelength thing, but who cares?

I love it when a puzzle makes me do some meandering thinking and my brain finds itself in a new neighborhood that was hey! only one block over! And I can still find my way back home without relying on some stranger reading the note pinned to my jacket.
Good times!


Robin 7:47 AM  

FWIW. Mischa AUER was Leopold AUER's grandson.

Which means Leopold AUER is so old that... he's been dead for 90 years. Now that's fresh #NYTXW clueing.

albatross shell 7:49 AM  

A rebus Thursday with HUBCAPS,  Eggs Benedict, a HOPpedUP UFO, a SLOB  with one SOCK PLOPped in a BEANBAGCHAIR with an ALLEYCAT.
FATWAS GUNBANS running AFOUL and 262 hit fair and a double loaf of foreign currency to count in your DACHA. SUSANBANTHONY and pugilist LAILA and NEWBORN BABIES. AUER  and LES PAUL. NBA JAM.

Do not ARGUE NOR POUT NOR hunt for a LAPSE. 

A great day, harroo hooray.
Clues too clever? Bah. Naticks? Too easy too hard? Bad and double bah.

Why if ASNER had an anagram, it could have been purrfect.

DeeJay 7:51 AM  

For once, I am in 100% agreement with Rex. I do want everyone to re-read his multi-step grok of the rebus, which shows in precise detail his special talent. I, and many others, had to get all the way to Canadian bacon to realize there was a rebus.

Birchbark 8:02 AM  

Note GU__NS nesting NBA in 57A -- represents two points of view.

"Items" on a grocery list may include garden veggies, such as CUKEs. I brined my own pickles once, then went back to Vlasic.

"Time" has LAPSEd into obsolescence. It didn't so much run out as fade into the forgotten.

bocamp 8:14 AM  

Thank you @Blake; very much enjoyed your Thurs. puz. A good challenge; lots of pizzaz! :)

Med. solve, but like yesterday's puzzle, seemed harder than the clock indicated.

Again, like yesterday, no foothold at all in the NW (with the exception of "sock"); in fact, ended up back in that corner to finish.

Got the theme at "NBA Jam", but didn't reap the benefit until "guNBAns". None of the other themers came easily, tho.

Tiger Rag ~ "Les Paul" & Mary Ford

In jr. hi., had a friend whose family owned a "pinball" machine. Many hours spent in that basement.

yd -1

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Barbara S. 8:20 AM  

Well, Rex, at least you knew what “Taradiddle” meant. I grasped that there must be a rebus at NEWBORN BABIES, but it took getting NBA at 38A to see what it was. Unfortunately I didn’t know the JAM part of the revealer, which was the last thing to go it. The crosses there were fair, except that I wasn’t sure whether it was rON or JON for Ossoff. I don’t live full-time in the cave – I was aware of that extremely high-profile runoff election in January, but I unsure of Sen. Ossoff’s first name. I thought that NBA rAM would sorta work, at least in so far as one was ramming several letters into a single square. But NBA JAM sounded much more plausible, so in the end I was OK.

I thought Eve ENSLER had adopted the name “V”, but maybe she uses both. I was helped with NOR and ORE in the SE by the fact that Denmark, where I’ve spent some time, uses its own krone and ØRE. CANADIAN BACON as an answer always gets me ‘cause it’s just BACON to me. I found new respect for Ed ASNER – he’s an old crossword friend but I didn’t know about his Emmy haul. Hey, did you notice? We’re now getting a daily OGRE! Right, enough rambling – I’m putting a SOCK in it.

Today I’m quoting Khaled Hosseini, born Mar. 4, 1965.

“It was only a smile, nothing more. It didn't make everything all right. It didn't make ANYTHING all right. Only a smile. A tiny thing. A leaf in the woods, shaking in the wake of a startled bird's flight. But I'll take it. With open arms. Because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting.”
(From The Kite Runner)

Karl Grouch 8:33 AM  

Would have been great if the constructor had managed to include nba franchises in the clues (TRAILBLAZER for Susan B. Anthony and WIZARD for Pinball were the only two he came up with, so he abandoned the idea as he says in xword info. Pity).

FANBASE, could easily have been done
and with more head-scratching maybe WIN BACK (TO BACK) and CANADIAN BACON could work, too.
GAN BANS, would need quite a stretch,though.

Kudos for the symmetric rebus squares.

Two things that sprang to mind:

- Fatwas can be a horrible thing, ask Salman Rushdie.
- I used to drive a Suzuki Swift I always referred to as ICHIRO.

Things change and now I'm the owner of a Toyota PIOUS.

Sgreennyc 8:40 AM  

Is Rex concerned that a cucumber, being a living thing, would be offended by being called an item?

Frantic Sloth 8:46 AM  

Oh, Rex. Why so much Taradiddle hate? Okay, so it wasn't the easiest way to start, but how adorable is that word? Hey taradiddle, the cat and the fiddle and all that. C'mon.

Agree that CUKE as an "item" gave me paws and you know what that means.

@Lewis 654am "I’m greatly looking forward to some up-the-road BS." LOL! Give it a minute.

@Barbara S 820am Oh, you poor dear. "Real" bacon could mop the floor with CANADIANBACON...Oh, hang on...I believe it does! πŸ˜‰
Excellent quote, excellent book. Even I've read it. 😊

toddh 8:46 AM  

Can someone please explain COW as Lower? To me. I feel foolish, I recognize it’s a pun but I don’t understand the joke

Hoboken Mike 8:46 AM  

So I'm confused. When I say bean bag to Google it comes out as two words. Bean bag chair comes out as three. Did you combine them just to have something to complain about?

And by the way are you asserting that Brangelina was not composed of living things or was not an item.

Kyle 8:46 AM  

Liked this one, though Auer, Dacha and taradiddle(!?!?) weren’t great.

Other thoughts:

-It won’t be long until Ed Asner’s number of appearances in crosswords eclipses his 410 movie and TV credits.

-“Out now, in a way” fits the tense of “aired” if you think of it in terms of secrets. “He aired their big secret so, even though she wanted it keep quiet, it’s out now.”

Nancy 8:47 AM  

I was not happy to see that the revealer was a "classic sports video game", not happy at all, because I was sure it would be unknown and therefore useless. But once I had NBA, I didn't need the 2nd word (which I didn't know) because I began looking for an NBA rebus.

Alas, there are two "B"s in the BABIES of NEWBORN BABIES and I was trying to fit the rebus at 10D instead of 9D. The 9D clue seemed so teeny-bopperish to me that I actually thought FANSE was a possible answer -- a new coinage I just had never heard of, and there are so, so many, aren't there?

SUSAN B. ANTHONY helped me the most. Eventually I figured out WIN BACK and BEANBAG CHAIRS. (I had CHAIRS, with no clue as to what came first, and my mind was thinking of BARCALOUNGER because of all the "BA"s.

This is the kind of puzzle I normally adore. But I struggled much too much to love it, often feeling that I was on a totally different wavelength from the constructor. That feeling began with "Taradiddle" (as in what-the-bleep?) and it never really went away. I think it's a very good puzzle, so that if I didn't love it, that's entirely on me.

JennyO 8:52 AM  

I always suffer from the crossword currency fetish!!!

Joe Welling 8:52 AM  

A quibble: BEANBAGCHAIRS are not seats that sink. The sitter sinks into a beanbag chair. If you tossed them in water, I'm pretty sure they'd float.

Sixthstone 8:53 AM  

I didn't enjoy this much. The foreign words (FATWAS, DANKE, DACHA, FRANC, SOU, ORE) and PPP were just not in my wheelhouse. Themers were pretty good, but overall this was a slog.

@Southside Johnny - Cows low (make a mooing sound) and thus are lowers.

JennyO 8:56 AM  

Low is also a verb, meaning essentially to moo. I only figured that out after a good night's sleep. Usually Rex explains clues like this for those like me who are not so quick on the uptake.

Lewis 8:59 AM  

@barbara s. -- Your lovely Hosseini quote reminded me of this one, from F. Scott Fitzgerald:

“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.”

David Eisner 8:59 AM  

Items can be organic -- consider menu items. But it does sound weird to describe garden produce this way.

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

Never again will I worry whether my bag of four cukes counts as one or four items in the express checkout line.

pabloinnh 9:02 AM  

Starting with "Taradiddle" crossing "Mufti's decrees" made me want to go searching for one of my Mom's old crossword puzzle dictionaries, so I moved on, where DACHA and DANKE became the ignition switch. In the middle of NEWBORNBABIES appeared the Thursday rebus I was looking for, just didn't know where the letters might go. Got the JAM part of the revealer and thought "Space Jam" (not a gamer), which made sense, since the letters would be jammed in one square. Got all the way to SUSANBANTHONY before the dawn finally broke, but that really just prolonged the fun. Neat trick indeed.

Wanted AMPUP or REVEP before HOPUP, ANA as clued was news to me, as was Eve ENSLER, even though that's a really useful letter combination. We used to have a couple of BEANBAGCHAIRS, but they're impossible to arise from and the cats found them useful as litter boxes, so they didn't last long.

Also my apologies to ICIRO, needed way too many crosses to remember what a wonderful hitter he was.

Crackerjack Thursday, BS, and that's no BS. Hoping for lots more from you.

Rube 9:03 AM  

Following on Rex, I try not to have any preconceived notions when I solve. So if you are solving essentially top down, you don't hit 38A until you have been stuck in the top half a bit. That's fine. It's fun to figure out. But I shouldn't have to just stumble upon the revealer half way through. And I don't understand the use of "rebus". To me, rebus is word substitution puzzle...think Hugh Downs and "Concentratoon"

Brit 9:05 AM  

Cow is also a verb that means “to submit”

kitshef 9:06 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Odd Sock 9:09 AM  

Hey! I made it into the grid!

gpm 9:16 AM  

Rex's objection to the objectification of cucumbers had me chuckling a little. It just reads a little absurdly woke to me. Why? For one thing, his distinction between organic matter and inanimate objects is problematic. Most all of the plant kingdom is inanimate. If you say but wait, plants grow and change over time, I'd counter that, given enough time, all matter undergoes change.

SomeOneHasToBeMe 9:28 AM  

A cows mooing can also be known as "lowing".

As in "I couldnt see the cattle in the fog, but I could hear them lowing."

So "one who lows, a lower" is a cow.

Z 9:41 AM  

”Low” is a synonym for “moo.” (I know it’s been answered, but I’m hoping putting it in bold will forestall multiple more questions and answers)

“Item” is so typically “not alive” that we append “food” to it when talking about something like a CUKE. Still, “food item” is a thing and dropping adjectives from clues is a thing so I think the clue is fine.

Hand up for thinking turning ORE into ØRE and crossing it with a Pop Culture Name is a giant middle finger to newer solvers. I briefly considered an A just because I thought surely they wouldn’t make it CCF* without a good reason.

ALLEY CAT reminded me of Brian Setzer.

@kitshef - Scarlet tanagers. Pewits. Emus (well, maybe). Plovers. Pipers. I don’t really think we need to ask an ornithologist.

@Karl Grouch - FATWAH’s are neutral. It is individuals who misuse their positions that are horrible. And remember, Islam has no equivalent to a “pope.” That was just some local priest whose hatred got amplified. Saying FATWAHs are horrible is the equivalent of saying the pronouncements of Jerry Falwell Jr. or Franklin Graham represent “Christians.”

This was a fine Thursday, I got the rebus early, which made it pretty easy.

*CCF - Making “Crossword Currency Fetish” a thing seems wholly appropriate and I can’t believe we didn’t have a pithy initialism already.

pabloinnh 9:53 AM  

Repetitive, but-

"The cattle are LOWING, the baby awakes"...pretty famous, and followed by

"But little lord Jesus, no crying he makes", which always strikes me as some kind of bad translation, along with "frosty winds made moan".

What is it about Christmas carols?

td 9:54 AM  

Agree w/Rex *and* Hoboken Mike: Two people can be an item, one can't.

Z 10:05 AM  

I understand why people are reading it this way, but I think many are missing Rex’s “item” point. An “item” is just something listable, a distinct part in an enumeration, account, or series according to Merriam-Webster. Except, not all things listable are “items”. Most especially with people, we would not call the people on a roster “items.” Also, you wouldn’t call the breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club “items” even though you can make a list of breeds. So Rex is saying “item” is only used to mean something inanimate, never something alive.
Where Rex is wrong is in that fuzzy area of “once was alive.” I mentioned “food item” and somebody else mentioned “menu item.” But I will point out that even here we don’t typically leave off the modifier, that the “once alive” are bestowed a title because we all seem to recognize that they are not mere “items.” As for the clue, CUKE gets the honorific “Garden.” While Rex is correct about “item,” the clue is fine. I’d even argue that taking away the “garden” would be fine because crossword clues do that kind of thing.

Carola 10:14 AM  

Easy, except for the "Guess me!" square at IC?IRO x T?A. I went with the H, but only after an alphabet run. The NBA appeared for me early, as part of FAN BASE, which saved my BACON at WIN BACK, where I'd had no idea, and which allowed me to see BEANBAG.
I liked PASSPORT as a complement to the travel-related FRANC, DACHA, DANKE, and ORE....maybe SOON?,.. and thought HUBCAPS, ALLEYCAT, and POTSHOT were great. Favorite cross: ANT(H)ONY x EGYPT.

Karl Grouch 10:15 AM  

@z, thanks for your PC comment, but you may have missed the point. I said "fatwas CAN be a horrible thing".
And I leave it at that.

RooMonster 10:21 AM  

Hey All !
Tough section of JAM/JON/STONE/AUER. Took me a few minutes to unravel that area. Wanting guTSHOT not helping. STONE as clued a toughie. Also, NW corner a toughie. Did have the NBA rebus in WINBACK, bit couldn't figure out what type of CHAIR the puz wanted. Thinking some sort of BAr CHAIR. 23A clue, is it asking for CON-tests, as in games, or CUN-tests, as in how it's ultimately clued? English words...

So a few tough spots, but overall a nice puz. Actually didn't notice the Rebi were symmetrical until @Lewis pointed it out.

Did know it would be a rebus 1) because ThursPuzs often are, and 2) because of phrasing of the Revealer clue. For the Revealer, had it down to N_A __M, and saw it, so went looking for the NBA, confirmed by WINBACK which I had wanted originally but didn't fit. Had a good Har moment at SUSAN BANT___. "BANT who?" I kept asking. Truly AHA once I got it. AHA and DOH.

Neat how the small rebussed answers make real words without the NBA:
The long rebussed answers are fun to try to make new words:

Is OGRE the new OREO?

feralCAT first for ALLEYCAT. Was thinking mUdflAPS for HUNCAPS, but too long. I think that was it for writeovers. Quick time till I hit my two tough spots.

Three F's

Whatsername 10:22 AM  

This was done by a rookie? Wow I’m impressed! One of the best Thursdays in the recent STINT of memory. A rebus puzzle that knows how to rebus. No need to HOP UP this one. It’s just fine as it is. Congratulations Blake on an outstanding debut!

I got the trick pretty quickly at BEAN BAG (two words IMHO) but that northwest corner was a rough start. I was run AFOUL by taradiddle, then had no idea on ICHIRO, THA was tricky and with the rebus there too .... Well it was a lot, especially if you had FATWAS spelled fatuas. Almost enough to make me POUT but learning taradiddle made it all worthwhile. Definitely gonna RETAIN that one.

I read once that Ed ASNER almost didn’t get the ROLE of Lou Grant in the venerable MTM Show. Apparent he did not do well in the initial run-thru of the first scene where he appears but then the second time he was so funny the whole crew was laughing, and the rest of course is history.

Nancy 10:22 AM  

@gpm's 9:16 comment about Rex's "wokeness" in objecting to the "objectivization of cucumbers" provoked my curiosity enough to make me go back and read Rex. It did sound quite ridiculously "woke", even for Rex.

But, no, nothing "woke" about it. Just a question of proper English usage, that's all. Rex is absolutely right here. Living things are not items. I noticed the peculiar use of "item" while solving, but "brined" immediately revealed the answer would be a kind of food, so I stopped thinking about it.

bocamp 10:23 AM  

One more wonder of the NYT xword: seeing some solvers struggle with "lower" = "cow", I was led to this website, which is not only definitive, but provides a perfect example for noob acrostic solvers such as yours truly.

There are so many ways that one of a pair of "socks" can go missing (but usually found somewhere). After taking items out of the drier, my chief concern is: are all the socks mated.

What @Anonymous 8:59 AM said. Also, my bi-weekly grocery delivery usually comes in two boxes; the "items" therein always include two "cukes".

@Barbara S. 8:20 AM

Of all your wonderful quotes, this is my fave, so far. :)

@Lewis 8:59 AM

Another lovely quote. :)

@pabloinnh 9:02 AM

Same issue and sentiments re: our mutual Mariner friend. πŸ€”

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

Merriam-Webster: intransitive verb - to destroy the resolve or courage of

kitshef 10:32 AM  

@Z - All of those have s-shaped necks except for "piper" which I don't think is a type of bird. Unless you are using that as shorthand for sandpiper, in which case yes, s-shaped neck.

Joaquin 10:34 AM  

I was glad to see LES PAUL (43D) included today. Not only does he have a most interesting personal story (check his Wiki page), he was one of the most - if not *the* most - influential guitarists ever.

Watch him here, and if you are still feeling grumpy seek help:

(Note: hit the "skip ad" icon)

Ethan Taliesin 10:35 AM  

Just tangentially, the SPACE JAM website remains up as a time capsule of 1996 internet. That's 25 years ago.

sixtyni yogini 10:37 AM  

Good, enjoyable puzzle. Good comments.

bertoray 10:43 AM  

Rex accounts for the reason supermarket express lanes (15 items or less) can be so slow. No food limit.

Blake 10:43 AM  

@Karl Grouch 8:33AM I submitted the puzzle with franchises built into all eight theme clues. Here is the original set (along with two different ones that I came up with later):

NEWBORNBABIES: Swaddling helps them keep Heat
WINBACK: Net again
GUNBANS: Regulations for Warriors
SUSANBANTHONY: Feminist Trail Blazer
BEANBAGCHAIRS: Seats for the Cavalier
FANBASE: New Yorkers, for the Knicks (in retrospect, I prefer Group to Spur a team to victory)
CANADIANBACON: Pizza topping for Raptors (boo - bad one . . . Perhaps Hawaiian Nugget?)
PINBALL: Game for Wizards

Also in retrospect, I think it would have worked better without capitalizing the franchise names.

GILL I. 10:45 AM  

ICHIRO who? I don't even know what MLB stands for. The only taradiddle I've met was a big fat LIE. THA what? Who the hell are the Bone Thugs..... So that's how I started. Sometimes you just have to put down a puzzle, wander about, have a sip of a Pinot, go to bed and hope the CUKE in the oven hasn't gone limp.
So morning dawns and I see the NEW BOR[NBA]BIES. Aha. We're doing one of those athletic SOCK things. So I go about my business looking for something I know nothing about except God told me to look for NBA I did. Did I know JAM? Nosireebob. he and I never met. I also didn't meet Mr. Ossoff and I forgot all about AUER. So I was CLOSE but I didn't smoke the cigar.
I did like that I got all the themes; that makes me happy. I liked CANADIA[NBA]CON crossing GU[NBA]N. Why you ask? Because it's near POT SHOT. Do I have to explain?
@kitshef...You never cease to amaze me. You don't make your bed in the morning and you've never lost a SOCK? What are you? I ALWAYS lose socks; they finally end up all waddled in my bed sheets. The dryer takes them and sneaks them in the pillowcases. It's true...Go look at any pillowcases you never folded.
I need a life.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

wait... isn't the au courant AUER that woman who writes prehistoric fantasy fiction?

mathgent 10:50 AM  

Jamming "NBA" into four little squares. Great theme, great rebus.

I got COW from the crosses and didn't notice the clue, "Lower?" I'll have to ask Nancy, that gifted cluer, whether she likes it.

How should we refer to CUKES if not "items"? "Things"? "Organisms"? The clue tells us that they are from the garden and can be brined. We don't need a more precise category.

Lewis is quite a guy. Not only does he know everything about crosswords, he also seems to be well-read. He knows Salinger and Fitzgerald well, for example.

Newboy 10:56 AM  

Thanks Blake for a fun way to start the Thursday. A mix of repetitive crossword standard terms and interesting clue wordplay (49A interesting; 32A xword gimme). The bouncing cursor led to NBA JAM reveal early on the iPad. Then the search for Thursday rebus squares began. BEANBAG CHAIRS and CANADIAN BACON were great payoffs; PINBALL/FANBASE seem meh. Having the crosses work seemed an impressive feat of construction that I suspect Rex appreciates more than this less experienced solver. Off to check.

Karl Grouch 11:02 AM  

That's great stuff!
Agree on the capitalization.
No idea why the editors didn't agree..

Hungry Mother 11:11 AM  

Horrible puzzle. So many names totally fouled it up. I had to turn on the red letters to sort out all of the trivia. Not worth wasting my time and money on. If the NYT puzzle editor can’t do better than this, I won’t re-subscribe.

albatross shell 11:12 AM  

@Anonymous 859am
Good one on cukes. One item or 4. Unanswered checkout dilemma. CUKE is an item there, no doubt. Were slaves auction items in Charleston?

Somehow I omitted my favorite item of all when posting above: PINBALL. It was suppose to be paired with HUBCAPS in my list. I never had access to free pinball as a kid, but I got one for my kids. A 1973 Williams Jubilee. Not the best but a classic 4 player. Had a lot of neighborhood kids over. About 15 years back I was at a flea market and some guy was selling a refurbished Space Invaders era ARCADE game cheap. I can't remember the name now but it was probably or second or third most popular after space invaders and also a invasion game. I asked him why he was getting rid of it. I bought for the kids, he said, and they have no interest. It's all the computer stuff now. Obviously, it was his dream to have one when he was young. Kids these days. My game went to my son when he had kids. They loved it at a young age but my son lost the rec room when he moved and got rid of it. Last I visited (precovid) the kids were playing Minecraft constantly.

Also intended to mention the foreign travel theme with PASSPORTS NORway EGYPT and Switzerland.

@Z congratulations on your silence.

Nancy 11:14 AM  

@mathgent (10:50) -- Thanks for the lovely compliment and, yes, I do like "lower" a lot.* I had DACHA, hence I had C??, hence I got COW with no problem at all. I wish the rest of the puzzle had been so easy -- but I had many of the same difficulties that @GILL had. (Although I did ultimately solve the puzzle without cheats.) Interesting to see just how many people here have also never heard of NBA JAM. And, @GILL, very funny riposte to @kitsshef -- especially your penultimate sentence.

All birds have S-shaped necks? Who knew?

*Of course I liked "lower". I'm the person who clued "best" as "worst" (or vice-versa, who remembers?) in one of my early puzzles and never heard the end of it on this blog!

Joe Dipinto 11:19 AM  

"To prepare hors d'oeuvres for the party, we can use some items from the garden – cucumbers and tomatoes, peppers, basil or mint for a pesto..."

Karl Grouch 11:20 AM  

CANADIAN BACON: Grizzlies favorite kind of meat?

Anoa Bob 11:31 AM  

Thinking that "Taradiddle" (1A) was a drum beat cadence or pattern and that 1 Down was some kind of JIHAD got things off to a shaky start. The solve got back on solid footing when it became obvious that 18 Across was NEWBOR(N BA)BE. Oops, that doesn't work either.

Rube @9:03, from time to time a number of commenters, myself among them, have expressed dismay at how a puzzle with multiple letters in a single square would qualify as a "rebus" puzzle. "Rebus" is a form of the Latin "res", an olde timey crossword staple usually clued as "Thing, in law". "Rebus" means "by things" or "by way of things" and in linguistics the Rebus Principle describes the evolution of alphabets in terms of the progression from pictographs and hieroglyphics to abstract letters.

So it appears that somewhere, somehow somebody expropriated "rebus" as a name for a puzzle with, not things, but multiple letters in a square. You'd think that crossword people would have cried "foul, that's just plain wrong" but apparently no one did and it stuck. @Frantic Sloth has suggested "frebus" (for faux or falsus rebus) for today's type of puzzle but so far it seems mostly to have fallen on deaf ears. I just hope that no one outside of crosswordworld finds out about our egregious misuse of "rebus". That would be embarrassing.

Whatsername 11:34 AM  

@Blake (10:43) It’s always a pleasure to have a constructor join the discussion. I loved your puzzle with the clues as published, but I also really like all of your original submissions. I’m familiar with the NBA so both sets of clues worked for me, but the revised clues may have made the theme concept more appealing to solvers who are not sports fans. Looking forward to more from you in the future.

Masked and Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Nice ThursPuz rebus fix. Insures we won't get those darn double-down shakes, or them TVspots, or somesuch. But, I digress ...

Well now, rodeo fans … weeject stacks in all four corners. And 9 U's. Slam-dunk thUmbsUp.
staff weeject pick: Gotta go with THA one. But honrable mention to both NBA and JAM, of course.

Taradiddle. Right outta the chute, M&A desperately found himself tryin to come up with a 3-letter weeject answer that meant "Fool around with Scarlett O-Hara over at her house". Lost untold precious nanoseconds.

fave fillin collision: POTSHOT/PASSPORT. Primo economy of alphabet usage. (Only non-repeaters: H-A-R.)

Really really liked that extra idea, not realized, of havin an NBA team name snuck into each themer clue. Shoulda done it anyway, even if things got a dash on the wacko side. It's a ThursPuz, afterall.
Example: {Celtic meatloaf or bull t-bone alternative?} = CANADIA(NBA)CON. See? Piece of cake. And wacko. QED, sports fans.

Anyhoo, thanx for the good fun, Mr. Slonecker dude. And congratz on yer debut. Always a little scary, when the constructioneer starts right out with makin the rebus puzs, tho ...

Masked & Anonymo9Us


Frantic Sloth 11:48 AM  

@Joaquin 1034am Thanks for the wonderful clip. I guess he was pretty good, huh? πŸ˜‰

@GILL 1045am Nothing against @kitshef of course, but "What are you?" prompted coffee on the wall. You have a life. It's delighting us daily with you inimitable style and laugh-out-loud snippets of honesty comedy. 😍

Would pigeons and chickens be considered birds with S-shaped necks? If so, that's a pretty flat "s". Sometimes I wish I I had a flat "s".

jb129 12:02 PM  

I absolutely HATED this puzzle

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

z and kitshef may be on drugs. They certainly could use an ornithologist.
The assertion that all birds have s shaped necks is absurd. Of Z's inane list: Scarlet tanager, pewit, emu, plover and piper, only the emu has an s shaped neck.
Not a single passerine, scarlet or otherwise, has an s shaped neck. Nor do plovers. And by the way the pewit is a plover, so beyond the silly idea that it has an shaped neck it's also redundant. Kitshef did get one thing right. there are no such birds as pipers. Birders have an informal term for some sandpipers that love grassy habitats: grasspiper ( Bairds sandpiper, buff-breasted sandpiper and the upland sandpiper to name a few). A playful usage to denote their preferred habitat .But the term pier is never, ever used.
It's within the realm of the possible that Z got confused by another species called the piping plover which is in grave danger. But regardless of its provenance, the term piper is not used in birding.

Georgia 12:11 PM  

"Away In A Manager" is a popular Xmas hymn, with "the cattle are lowing" starting the second stanza. So for those of us raised in Xmas hymn families, that was a clever clue.

bocamp 12:22 PM  

@Blake (10:43 AM)

Thx for commenting; loved your alternative clues, but maybe a bit too much Bball for some. πŸ˜‰

@albatross shell (11:12 AM)

Great "piNBAll" anecdote. :)

p -33

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Geezer 12:25 PM  

The "item" discussion is about the silliest one I've ever seen here. I'll bet my covid vaccination appointment that nobody else would have mentioned this if @Rex had not.

GILL I. 12:26 PM  

Well I just now had the bedroom and hall carpets cleaned. I made the carpet man move the bed (well, I had to pay him extra) AND GUESS WHAT THEY FOUND UNDER THE BED???? 2 odd SOCKS. Yep. Man, I looked for those things for about two years and here they were under the bed......
@Frantic....I really do need a life when the most exciting thing for me is to find a pair of old, dusty socks, and actually get excited.

Seth Romero 12:33 PM  

Got a DNF today because of this clue. I had no idea on DACHA so BOW as the answer to "Lower?" seemed perfectly reasonable to me. I still like that answer better than COW if only DABHA was a real thing.

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Why was "Time" capitalized in the 30A clue? I know what a timelapse is but I think I am missing something important about this one.

Joaquin 12:49 PM  

@Geezer (12:25) points out the silliness of the “item” discussion. I agree, but without it we’d have never had the truly insightful input of @bertoray (10:43) who explained the supermarket express lane slow-down so well. 

jae 12:52 PM  

Easy-medium with the NW being the medium part. Took a while to see WIN BACK/FATWA. Just about right for a Thurs. Liked it. Another fine debut!

@pabloinnh - My brain also goes to the Christmas carol when I see low or lower in a puzzle.

JC66 12:56 PM  

@Anon 12:38

My subscription to Time Magazine LAPSEd years ago.

Z 12:58 PM  

@12:02 - Uh, I’m with you. Sorry about not making that clear. I included the (maybe) after emu because I don’t think of it as S shaped but maybe it is.

@kitshef - I suppose if “cervical vertebrae” is the same as “neck” you’re probably right. But, seriously? If you look at any of the birds I listed, not their bones, but the actual bird, there is no S to be seen. There’s barely a hint of an S on the longish neck of an emu, but there are probably positions that are more S-like so maybe I went overboard there. Still, like yesterday’s physical science clue, the clue might be wrong on a bird anatomy test, but is fine everywhere else.

@Karl Grouch - I’m not being PC, I’m just being correct. FATWAHs are nothing but advisory opinions on Islamic Law. That particular FATWAH isn’t even recognized as legitimate by most Muslims and was condemned as illegal in and of itself (that is, it is not proper to use a FATWAH to order the death penalty, let alone an assassination). It wasn’t the FATWAH that was horrible, it was the Ayatollah and his cult of personality that were horrible. Imagine a leader misusing, say, the Constitution to convince his followers to use violence to achieve the leader’s aims. That his followers then use violence doesn’t make the Constitution horrible.

@Albie - I’m mystified. But thanks anyway.

Chip Hilton 1:03 PM  

Slow start. My wife defers to me on sport references so I confidently told her that 2-down had to be Ty Cobb. Fortunately, crosses quickly did away with the Georgia Peach. A sillier error had me reading Primetime Emmys as Daytime Emmys which had me going through my limited stash of Soap Opera actors (Who plays Victor Newman? Sonny Corinthos?). That took a while to rectify. As far as the rebus, loved it! I agree with Rex that all eight resulting answers are solid word groups. Just another example of how these constructors blow me away with their inventiveness. Well done, Blake!

Teedmn 1:16 PM  

@kitshef, one of the great mysteries of the universe and you have evaded it all this time, wow. We once took our washing machine apart and we found a couple of socks that had gone over the basket because we had overfilled the machine. But now we have a front loader, and my husband still has a sock or two missing a match. And it couldn't have snuck under the bed - our waterbed goes all the way down to the carpet.

I took a while with the NW, having a similar experience as @Nancy plus I thought it might be WooBACK, not helpful with an NBA rebus!

Mr. Benson 1:24 PM  

I wasn’t quite so repulsed by “garden item” in the CUKE clue, but did wonder why it didn’t just say “vegetable.” The clue adds a degree of difficulty, I guess, but as Rex says it’s not like a tool can be brined, so... not that much difficulty. Just seems like verbosity.

albatross shell 1:53 PM  

@Rube 903am
Rebus has been adapted to describe this type of crossword in the crossword community. Why? Because they needed some word. Why not?

@Z For not taking the bait. Last line of my 749am post. Maybe you just missed it.

fkd 2:26 PM  

A rebus puzzle. Ugh.

sanfranman59 2:26 PM  

Medium NYT Thursday ... 1% below my Thursday 6-month median solve time ... another NYT debut for a constructor that I'm familiar with in other venues (LAT, WSJ, Universal)

I had some trouble at the outset in the NW because I forgot that it's Thursday and needed to be on the look-out for a trick (@Rex). And then, when I came back around to finish up my solve in that section, I forgot that I needed to look for the rebus square. Doh! I probably should have been done about 30 seconds faster. Having 'THe' instead of THA {17A: "___ Crossroads" (Bone Thugs-N-Harmony hit that got a Grammy)} up there sure didn't help with parsing BEA[N BA]G CHAIRS {3D: Seats that sink}. I should have known better, based on the clue. Before I remembered that there had to be a rebus square somewhere in that answer, I went with 'BEAch CHAIRS'. Again, I say, "Doh!"

I thought this was mostly a fair challenge and I enjoyed my solve. But the SE corner is kind of a crossword-ese mess with CEL {63A: Still making cartoons?}, ORE {66A: Divisions of a krone} and NOR {69A: Country that uses the krone: Abbr.}. I had 'neD' (for Netherlands) instead of NOR at first. Yet another "Doh!" there. It's a good thing that I managed to remember ENSLER {51D: Eve of "The Vagina Monologues"} this time around. AIRED {16A: Out now, in a way} gets a bizarre clue in the NE.

One thumb up.

p.s. The CrosswordFiend comments pointed out to me that the rebus squares are symmetric. Good on the constructor for that added touch. I sure wish I'd more consistently remember to look for niceties like that to help me with my solving.

kitshef 3:00 PM  

@Gill I - of course, socks do get stuck static clingily to sheets, shirts, etc. But I don't consider that lost, because I know if I go through the rest of the load they will be there. Where else could they go?

jberg 3:31 PM  

Rex asks why clue ORE that way? Either to put it over NOR with the cross reference, or to have it cross DINERO in a little currency party -- take your pick!

I got the rebus with NEW BORNBABIES but somehow got confused and thought the N was there already and the rebus was BA -- or maybe it was going to be 'degrees you can get at a university,' although we had that recently. I finally remembered what a taradiccle was, which helped me to stop trying to get rEclinING CHAIR with some kind of rebus, and the rest was easy.

I had to look up that Bone Thugs-N-Harmony song, but it didn't help. The first item called the song just "Crossroads," and the second had "The Crossroads." But that was enough to let me see ICHIRO, and then it had to be THA.

@Blake, thanks for stopping by! Enjoyed our puzzle.

GILL I. 3:32 PM  

@kitshef....Under your bed.

jberg 3:33 PM  

I think the first line in Gray's "Elegy in a country churchyard" is "The LOW[er]ing herd winds slowly o'er the LEA" -- two crossword regulars for the price of one!

Barbara S. 3:36 PM  

@Lewis (8:59)
Thanks for the Fitzgerald. It's a perfect complement to the Hosseini. Do you know where it's from? It seems to be prose and yet it has the rhythm and rhyme of poetry.

**SB WARNING (in more ways than one)**
SB accepts a word today that caused me fall off my BEANBAG CHAIR in amazement.

CANADIAN BACON: Beaver bellies? (Don't worry -- I would never eat it.)

pabloinnh 4:03 PM  

@Barbara S-re SB

Same here. Oh my.

TTrimble 4:09 PM  

Consider yourself lucky. Missing sock mates rank among the greatest mysteries faced by humankind. Someone ought to write up, properly, the phenomenology and metaphysics of lost socks.

@Barbara S.
By any chance, does that SB word begin with F and have seven letters?

If so, then I probably know which one you mean, but I'm less amazed than you because I'm pretty sure I've seen SB use it before.

Today's is annoyingly hard to me. I feel lucky to have achieved pg status, but I'm still -11.

*** SB Spoiler ***

An annoying word from two days ago began with a V and was six letters long. I refuse to believe it's a commonplace word. I would've had QB then, if it weren't for that. Answer below.


M.A. 4:19 PM  

You don’t have a pile of single, unmatched socks next to your dryer?

JC66 4:28 PM  


Re; missing SOCK. I think that's how Shari Lewis got started.

BEE-ER 4:38 PM  

** SB SPOILER?? **

F______ is OK but FL_T_L_TE isn't?

nick 4:54 PM  

top left corner was the only snag for me.
side-eyeing the man who thinks knowing OPI is a reach but not Ichiro?

Anonymous 5:50 PM  

Ended up with C_W and OR_ and was shocked I inserted the correct letters.

Could not understand COW for the longest time but I think it's more fair and sensible now that I remember: "The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes."

Just not a fan of the DINERO ORE NOR crossing. Do not care that much about Krones or their divisions or the emphasis on money in this area.

Grayjing 7:10 PM  

EGRET/HERON/CRANE/STORK is a cluing dilemma I find on equal footing with AVER/AVOW. Thankfully letters are all different.

Tale Told By An Idiot 7:33 PM  

Very enjoyable puzzle, Blake. Thank you. (I was once a Trail Blazer fan but when they became the Jail Blazers - after Terry and Clyde - I lost interest.)

Missing SOCKS: I read an article once that explained where they go (at least when they go missing from the washing machine.) In top loading machines they somehow get into the space between the tub and the inner part of the side of the machine. Can’t remember where they go in front loaders. Maybe they don’t disappear from them. And I don’t know if there was an explanation of why it is only one that disappears and never a pair.

In any cases, I am fortunate enough that I can replace missing socks. Not so, however, with the bits of information I once had in my brain; they seem to be lost and gone forever, as well as being irreplaceable. Sigh.

Anonymous 8:43 PM  

for pity's sake folks, just have only one kind of sock. mine are black Gold Toe.

oceanjeremy 9:50 PM  

Regarding Ed Asner: as per xwordinfo, he's been in the NYTXW 150 times for ASNER, 41 for EDASNER.

191 in total. First appearance in 1974. He has averaged an appearance in the NYTXW once every 90.13 days.

I didn’t check, but I’m pretty sure the frequency of his appearances is not evenly spread over that time — but for sake of some back-of-the-napkin calculations, let’s say it continues at the same pace.

That would put us at a little over 54 years from now. Meaning he'd hit 410 appearances in the NYTXW on Tuesday March 19, 2075.

Deb Sweeney 10:02 PM  

to LOW is to moo, as in "the cattle are lowing" in Away in a Manger, if you know that Christmas carol. So a lower = cow.

Anonymous 10:48 PM  

Organic matter, not an "item.“ [citation needed]

Mike B 11:11 PM  

This is exactly what I was looking for someone to answer. I was just trying letters and was surprised when "cow" finished the puzzle. (And now you know my secret of how I deal with crossings I don't know... save then for last and try all the letters!)

A 1:02 AM  

Taradiddle? I’ll add that to my list of Britisms, with the musty but flavorful tommyrot and folderol.

Has anyone found a wheelhouse? I’ve been looking for mine all day. It went missing this morning around eight. Basket ball (sic) is a sport I have never followed, despited having “played” it in school.

I did enjoy the rebus, but so many little mysteries: THA?, ICHIRO? Buzzer beater - I mean, I get WHA that must be but have never heard those two words together.

I also liked the clue “Random criticism.” It just seemed so self referential.

I know paradiddle as a percussion rudiment. Never heard paradiddle - ok, Otto Korrect hasn’t either. Never heard taradiddle so just kept going. Couldn’t remember DACHA, only DoulA, so just kept going….and going, PLOPping in the occasional ALLEYCAT, DANKE, CUKE, and EAVE. EAVEntually everything fell into place

Thanks for knocking the HUBCAPS off my wheelhouse, Mr. Slonecker! Come again, with less NB and A.

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle.

However, the clue/answer for 11 down isn't correct. "Make chips become bread" is what you do at the end of the game, when you "Cash Out".

From Poker Wiki; "To cash out is to exchange poker chips for cash, and is the opposite of buy-in".

'Still enjoyed the grid.

BC 10:22 AM  

When you start the puzzle with CANADIANHAM in 26D and BUMPERS then BUTTONS for 7D, one is up a creek in finding a way out of the mess created lol. Sad thing is I thought to myself “beanbagchair” doesn’t fit “pinball” doesn’t fit... I gotta learn to trust that little voice! Lol

thefogman 10:39 AM  

This was a very well crafted puzzle. A slam dunk.

spacecraft 10:58 AM  

Wow, do you realize there are THREE 11-letter components of eggs Benedict?
-->POACHEDEGGS (but of course no fair; as a clue word is repeated, but still)
-->CANADIA*CON, with * being NBA. And, unfortunately, my last choice. What an ink mess!

However, I worked through it. But for that fumble, I would've called it easy. Nice puzzle, with an undeniable DOD in theme-based SUSANBANTHONY. Birdie.

And now, as they say in Augusta, "Play away please."

Burma Shave 12:46 PM  


if YOU FIB ABOUT smuggling POT,
YOU'LL SOON be in a JAM, but STONEd at least,
yet with no PASSPORT YOU'LL get SHOT.


rondo 3:11 PM  

The PGA guys are at the Masters. I guess the NBA guys are still playing; don't much care; do they ever call AFOUL? ANA and LAILA for yeah BABIES. Thumbs up for LESPAUL. Probably trouble in the NW if you didn't know ICHIRO. Tolerable for a rebus.

leftcoaster 3:27 PM  

NBA JAM was an early set-up that paid off later in the game, a surprising delight.

All themers were right-on and fun to find, especially the BEAN BAG CHAIRS and the CANADIAN BACON. As for GUN BANS, that’ll be the day.

Let’s hear it as well for non-themers ICHIRO, LAILA Ali, Sharon STONE, Eve ENSLER, and the inimitable Ed ASNER.

Diana, LIW 7:43 PM  

I've been waiting at the front door all day for a FedEx for Mr. W. (he can't hear the doorbell)

Anyway, REBI make me angry. If you can't construct a puzzle within the allotted squares, then you are constructing something other than a crossword. A Crossword Plus One, or whatever.

The rest of the puz was too loaded with PPP - especially sports (don't watch) video (really don't care) trivia.


Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Friday

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP