Demi with 2017 hit Sorry Not Sorry / TUE 4-6-21 / Specifics in slang / One who takes a bow before success rather than after / Hand grenade in slang / New York theater on the National Register of Historic Places

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Constructor: Amanda Chung and Karl Ni

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: ... girl! — exclamations containing "girl"'s names, clued, as if they were being said to a specific girl of that name:

Theme answers:
  • "HEAVENS TO BETSY" (16A: "Omigosh, girl!")
  • "GEEZ, LOUISE" (23A: "Dang, girl!")
  • "GOOD GOLLY, / MISS MOLLY" (35D: With 37-Down, "Wow, girl!")
Word of the Day: Demi LOVATO (14A: Demi with the 2017 hit "Sorry Not Sorry") —
Demetria Devonne Lovato
 (/ləˈvɑːt/ lə-VAH-toh; born August 20, 1992) is an American singer and actress. After appearing on the television series Barney & Friends(2002–2004), she rose to prominence for her role as Mitchie Torres in the musical television film Camp Rock (2008) and its sequel Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam (2010); the former film's soundtrack contained "This Is Me", Lovato's debut single and duet with Joe Jonas, which peaked at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100. [...] Lovato has sold over 24 million records in the United States, and has also received numerous accolades, including an MTV Video Music Award, 14 Teen Choice Awards, five People's Choice Awards, two Latin American Music Awards, a Guinness World Record, and was included on the Time 100 annual list in 2017. An activist for several social causes, Lovato's personal issues received significant media attention in the 2010s, in response to which she published a book, Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year (2013), and released the documentaries Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated (2017) and Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil (2021). [...] A four-part documentary series following Lovato's life premiered on YouTube in March 2021. The series, titled Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil, was directed by Michael D. Ratner and showcased her personal and musical journey over the past three years. It was later announced that Lovato's seventh studio album, titled Dancing with the Devil... the Art of Starting Over, would be released on April 2, 2021. Lovato defined it [as] "the non-official soundtrack to the documentary". The album features collaborations with Ariana GrandeNoah Cyrus and Saweetie, as well as the previously released "What Other People Say", a collaboration between Lovato and Australian singer-songwriter Sam Fischer, initially released on February 4, 2021. Lovato released the title track "Dancing with the Devil" on March 26, 2021. (wikipedia)
• • •

Omigosh. I really liked this. I thought, "huh, interesting" when I got "HEAVENS TO BETSY!" and then I think I said "o my god" out loud when I got "GEEZ, LOUISE!" I then wondered what the hell other exclamation was out there and let me tell you, "GOOD GOLLY / MISS MOLLY!" really delivered the one-two knockout punch. Such a cute idea for a theme, and such an interesting grid to accommodate it — 14x16, w/ mirror symmetry instead of the much more common rotational symmetry. The lack of rotational symmetry actually briefly threw me off, as I wondered why GOOD GOLLY was symmetrical to ESTATE SALE (it isn't ... it just looked that way at a superficial glance). But back to the theme—it's everything a Tuesday should be and never is, bouncy and sassy and weird and still easy. A whimsical lark with a really clever idea at its core. The theme does have one flaw, imho, which is really really bugging me only because I really really like the core concept so much: the 2nd and 3rd themers are clued as exclamations directed at specific "girls" (Louise and Molly). "GOOD GOLLY, MISS MOLLY" has a comma in it naturally, and you can at least imagine one in "GEEZ, LOUISE" even though the exclamation's not really said that way in real life. But in "HEAVENS TO BETSY!" ... the implied direct address is entirely absent, so the specifically direct-address clue (with the appended "girl!") feels off. If it were "HEAVENS, BETSY!" then boom, perfect. But it isn't, so ... imperfect. The "girl!" conceit really only works 2/3 of the time. But the freshness and inventiveness of the core concept carried me through the puzzle happily. They are all exclamations with women's names in them. That's enough.

I cannot deal with trickiness on Tuesdays, and so alllll of the "difficulty" in this puzzle came from "?" clues or, in the case of BAR CAR, a clue that might as well have been a "?" clue (4A: Place for meals on wheels). Trains! How quaint! I haven't been in a proper BAR CAR in I have no idea how long. I see them all the time in movies, though. But in my puzzle ... I had BAR and still wasn't entirely sure. Bring trains back! If only for the BAR CARs! (I know, trains already exist, but the commuter trains I've been on in the Northeast Corridor don't have BAR CARs that I've seen). Not thrilled with the EROS clue because I don't want my clues to be paragraph length, especially on Tuesday, and especially if they aim to be funny (18D: One who takes a bow before success rather than after?). 2,000 words, all for a "bow" pun? No thanks. Don't really like the ABA clue either (61D: Defense org.?), though I'll give you the TAYLOR Swift one (65A: Swift to soar to the top of the charts?). Only other thing to give me trouble was 17D: Get out the ___ (VOTE). I just stared at it. Then worked around it. It seems so obvious in retrospect, but my brain was like, "uh ... clear out the cobwebs? Kick out the jams? Get out the ... way??" Just blankness. Oh, and I wrote in NARC before NESS (33D: "Untouchable" agent), which gunked things up there in the east for a bit. That's all. Good theme. Fun time. Next!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. I imagine most all of a bloodhound's "parts" are "important," to a bloodhound (36A: Important part of a bloodhound) (NOSE). "But what about my eyes!?" "Get sniffin'!" People can be so cruel. Please gaze deeply and appreciatively into a bloodhounds eyes today, won't you? XO

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


pabloinnh 6:54 AM  

Up early and looked for an OFL post before there was one, but my worries did not last long. Good thing, it's just like a dealer to get you hooked and then cut you off.

I liked the way this one started ABC with and ARS BARCARS. No Daughters of the American Revolution clue to finish the top, but that's OK

The only do over I had was SPECT for SPOSE, which slowed things down slightly. Otherwise a smooth and enjoyable ride which felt just right for a Tuesday. GEEZLOUISE is heard often in these parts, a useful and innocuous phrase.

We're winding down the ESTATESALE prior to moving, which is really an ongoing garage sale, which is tricky during a pandemic. Try having a garage sale by appointment only. Well, it keeps the crowds down.

Thanks for a very fun Tuesdecito, AC and KN. Admirable Choice of Keen Names.

bocamp 6:58 AM  

Thank you @Amanda & @Karl for this challenging, crunchy puzzle. Struggled some, but well worth the effort! :)

Med+ solve.

Just not on the right wave-length to breeze thru this one. Need a humbler every now and then. No major holdups, but lots of holes to patch up via crosses. All fair and square, and a very enjoyable trip.

Flew into SEATAC on the way back from Afghanistan. ('70)

Gustav Mahler - Adagietto from Symphony no. 5 ~ The Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim

@jae 7:08 PM (yesterday eve.) 👍

yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

SouthsideJohnny 6:59 AM  

I just could not get excited about this. Wandered around the grid looking for something interesting and kept bumping into things like ARS, FRAG, MAGE, and HILO - non of which really mean anything to anyone except their minuscule constituencies. Never heard of the Lovato actress (or singer, or whatever she is) and ran into things like SEATAC and then GEEZ LOUISE (which sounds so contrived, but I guess that someone probably says it somewhere - maybe it’s a regional thing).

Surprisingly upbeat report from OFL today - wondering if he pals around with the constructors. . . .

Lewis 6:59 AM  

The kind of don’t-worry-be-happy puzzle that puts a happy bounce in my step, leaves me eager to spread good vibes over the world.

With the lovely cross of HILO and ALOHA, LAO over LOO, and a profusion of animals: CAT, TOAD, COWS, APHID, GOATS, plus the backward APE and STEED.

How does this 14x16 grid compare to the usual 15x15? It has one less square.

But forget the deets. I’m-a skippin’ out and feelin’ good,. Thank you this sunny lift, Amanda and Karl!

Lewis 7:03 AM  

Didn't know that fact about cats, and I'm glad we've never fed ours milk. But I can tell you that our cat is late-mealtime intolerant.

Rug Crazy 7:24 AM  

TOTES? really? Oh, no!

Martini Mike 7:25 AM  

“Uh, I guess” equals TOTES; “Specifics, in slang” equals DEETS; “Place for a sensor in tennis” equals NETCORD.

kitshef 7:32 AM  

Mostly, I really liked this. Liked the theme. Liked having both NOSE and PALATE. TOAD and COWS. A TOM next to CAT.

One complaint. I’m not sure what the word is for entries like I S’POSE, DEETS and TOTES, but I do know that three of them is two too many.

Son Volt 7:45 AM  

Nice, smiley grid - tight theme and decent fill. There must be a few more similar female phrases but I can’t think of any. I did have a co-worker once from Minnesota who used the phrase Geez-o-Pete all the time. Not sure of the connection to GEEZ LOUISE. Couple of ugly short things here - BFFS, MAGS etc but pretty smooth for the most part. Assuming TOTES plays on totally?

Fun, enjoyable Tuesday.

TJS 8:06 AM  

Haven't used "Geez, Louise" in a long time, and now I wonder why. I'm bringing it back.

Totes? Cripes !

This is one of the best Tuesdays in a long time, imo.

Waited all day for the NCAA final and fell asleep before the half.

What the hell does "You can use some HTML tags" mean?

mmorgan 8:19 AM  

Nice puzzle, and it’s a pleasure to see Rex happy, but TOTES and NETCORD sure raised my eyebrows.

Z 8:21 AM  

I have been in a BAR CAR in the past decade. Tis nothing like in the movies.

It’s not really, but the puzzle felt aggressively young while solving. Part of it is the sheer giddiness of the theme. The other part is that the puzzle has some currency to it. Not a lot, but I’m so used to Crossworld ending in 1993 that balanced pop cultural references feel aggressively young. There’s the usual MAHLER, NESS, EROS, IGOR Stravinsky, The APOLLO Theater, all attending an ESTATE SALE. But also Demi LOVATO and TAYLOR SWIFT and REESE Witherspoon becoming BFFS.

I’m with Rex, bouncy and sassy and weird, although my time says it wasn’t “easy” for a Tuesday.

@JC66 - Thanks for posting that version of “Take on Me” last night. I had not seen it before. Through the magic of YouTube’s algorithm that led me to This Beatle cover.

Barbara S. 8:27 AM  

For the last few days I’ve alternated between puzzles in which I make a thousand errors (Saturday, Monday) and puzzles which I sail through (Sunday, today). I like sailing better. Only I don’t want it to be too smooth. I liked this sailboat ride. I started out liking the smiley grid art and then liked the filling, too. Learned TOTES and FRAG. Enjoyed LAO, LOO and LAW. I thought there were a lot of double letters. I counted 20 pairs. I need @Lewis to tell me if that was unusual. Thanks to @bocamp for posting MAHLER. Symphony no. 5 is a favorite. Here are a couple of weird paintings: The Scapegoat.

Today a word or two from LINCOLN STEFFENS, born Apr. 6, 1866.

My mother would thump me sharply on the head with a thimble or a spoon if I became too noisy with the whistle when I was playing I was a steamboat captain. She had no sense of the dignity of command.
(From The World of Lincoln Steffens)


The best picture has not yet been painted; the greatest poem is still unsung; the mightiest novel remains to be written; the divinest music has not been conceived, even by Bach. In science, probably ninety-nine percent of the knowable has not yet been discovered.
(From Lincoln Steffens Speaking)

Joaquin 8:31 AM  

At first I thought we must have a guest blogger today: "Omigosh. I really liked this. ... Such a cute idea for a theme ... ."

But then like a bucket of cold water the ol' Rex reality appeared. For the most *nit-pickiest* of reasons, it seems the conceit works only 2/3 of the time.

Note to Rex: C'mon, man!

TTrimble 8:33 AM  

"looking for something interesting and kept bumping into things like ARS, FRAG, MAGE, and HILO - non of which really mean anything to anyone except their minuscule constituencies."

You really can't speak for anyone but yourself, so don't presume to. I happen to like all those, and it may be that I'm not in a minority in these here parts.

"Never heard of the Lovato actress (or singer, or whatever she is)" well, that's on you. She seems to be in the news a lot these days.

"and then GEEZ LOUISE (which sounds so contrived, but I guess that someone probably says it somewhere - maybe it’s a regional thing)." Oh my god, I've heard this expression my whole frickin' life. I'm pretty sure it's not "regional". It's in the same vein as "jeepers, creepers", and about as old. Have a read here. Or, perhaps this will jog your memory? A song prominent in Footloose, which is a famous movie from the 80's -- perhaps you've heard of it.

I don't know how you do it. I came within 6 yesterday, and had a devil of a time getting to pg. I may have to talk with you offline.

jbh 8:40 AM  

This puzzle was fun!

I also put ISPECT before ISPOSE.

And if a puzzle DOES have 'paragraph length' clues, ISPECT to find them earlier in the week; to me, it's the short one or two-word clues that mark a challenging puzzle.

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

meh to the nth power

RooMonster 9:12 AM  

Hey All !
Rex's first sentence was TOTES ADORBS. Thought we had either August or Clare as a substitute at first!

Fun puz, didn't notice the odd grid of 14x16. I think the left/right symmetry threw me off from seeing it. Have to figure something out when your themers are 14, 10, 9, 9. And too good a theme to pass up. Liked the slanginess also. ☺️

I just asked a friend yesterday to send me the DEETS of an upcoming trip he plans to take (I'm 51, he's 52), and he said, "what the heck is DEETS?")(I did say, "as the kids say these days.") Har.

Agree with the double-letterness that @Barbara S 8:27 pointed out. If I recall correctly, @Lewis says anything over 20 is unusually high. So 20 is on the fence, as it were.

Nice TuesPuz. Lots of @M&A weejects, 18. Not super high, but high enough. But, most were good. Nice fill overall. Love seeing Karl's name. Naturally reminds me of The Knights Who Say... Ni!

I don't know how @bocamp gets so many QBs, but be like me, live vicariously through him, and celebrate all the QBs you get! 😆 It's too embarrassing to say the last time I got a QB. 😢

Two F's (Vote No to FSTOP!) 🤪🙄😁

The Joker 9:20 AM  

I think "GEEZ LOUISE" were Thelma's last words.

chefwen 9:21 AM  

Neighbor was over enjoying a glass of wine last night, I was casually doing the puzzle wile she and my husband chatted on. They were discussing the cost of us building our barn and when he said how much it was going to cost just to pour the foundation she blurted out GEEZ LOUISE, not even 30 seconds after I had filled in 23A. Eerie!

My middle name is Elizabeth and my dad always called me Wendy Bets, so 16A had a special meaning to me also. And I really liked the ALOHA HILO crossing.

Fun puzzle.

burtonkd 9:21 AM  

The Minuscule Constituencies will be the name of my next band, an apt description of its likely popularity...

@TTrimble, I've learned to put an IMHO opinion in front of any post, Rex or otherwise.

Is Murgatroid a woman's name? Heavens to her too

@Joaquin, I'm with you. The theme is exclamations using a woman's name. Not exclamations with a comma using a woman's name, thus 33% fail. Rex makes my head want to explode with that stuff. Loved his writeup otherwise and he DOES keep me reading every day.

Hands up for the Amtrak BARCAR not being all you dream it could be. European trains still have some first class dining/drinking. I love seeing the old pictures in Saratoga Springs, NY of the private railcars of the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, etc parked behind the grand hotels as that was their mode of transport to their summer vacation. Hard to compete with a private jet to anywhere in the world, though.

NETCORD. I think we're due for a great tennis discussion. Should all lines-people be replaced by the seeing eyes? Discuss.

Mahler is a romantic composer in style, but not from the Romantic era.

GILL I. 9:26 AM  

Holy Juana La Loca.... this was funissimo. Now if ARS just had his little E at the end I would have clued it as an accompaniment to LOO. Or should we skip it?
I've used GEEZ LOUISE lots of times but I think I misspell it. Our friend @Loren has used it and why not?
Loved the clue for BAR CAR. Amtrak has a nice one. I take Amtrak to the Bay Area often and have made friends with the sweet bartender who always has a few stories to tell you.
I LOVE words like FRAG and TOTES and ISPOSE and DEETS.....New words to make heads explode.
Am I overusing love?
MAHLER is my go to romantic composer. My brother introduced me to him. When I don't watch Final Fantasy, I go to sleep with Gustav.
Best Tuesday this year, Amanda and Karl....
PS. @Rex. Have you ever watched the series "Monk?" Well, Monk is a detective that has this compulsive and obsessive problem. He will go up to strangers and pick the lint off their coats. You kinda remind me of him with some of your nit picking. Who cares about an exclamations here or a comma there? Just take the ladies and run with them......comma and all.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

feel like snagglepuss made this

Conrad 9:46 AM  

@TJS: "You can use some HTML tags" means that if you know HTML (HyperText Markup Language) you can use it in your posts to this blog. For example {less than}B{greater than} will turn on bolding and {less than}/B{greater than} will turn it off. Use I instead of B for italics.

Perhaps more useful is including a link to a Web site. To do this:
{less than}a href=""{greater than}This is a link{less than}/a{greater than} Example: HTML Links

I hope this helps.

Eldreth 9:50 AM  

Why the “uh” in the clue for totes?

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

tman before NESS, of course, since the clue implied *any* untouchable agent, and they're Treasury Men.

tea73 9:57 AM  

To me the BARCAR is the (now defunct) car on MetroNorth where all the Mad Men types commuting back to the suburbs get sloshed on their way home. No meals involved. You have your meals in the dining Car.

Funny story, my Dad said, "Geez Louise!" all the time. My boyfriend (now husband) heard him addressing my mother thus and thought, "Isn't her name Molly?" We joked that Dad should say "Golly Molly" instead, but he never did.

I liked the triple whammy of SPOSE, DEETS and TOTES. Way better than sports. And only one singer!

Nancy 9:58 AM  

An inspired idea for a theme -- imaginative and clever, most amusing, and challenging to the solver. Vagueness is always a challenge for solvers and at first I was gritting my teeth over the slang-y and completely unhelpful theme clues -- all of which sounded exactly the same to me. "And what am I supposed to do about this and this?" I grumbled.

But when the answers started to come in and I saw that there really was a pattern, I perked up considerably. Then I broke into a wide grin, thinking it was great.

If I had come up with this theme, I'm pretty sure I would have shouted "Eureka!"

And look at all the wonderful clues -- many worthy of a Thursday. BARCAR; SIN; TAYLOR; EROS; SCAPEOATS; CAT; ESTATE SALE.

I loved everything about this puzzle. It's an unusual Tuesday treat -- and certain early-week constructors might do well to note how much it respects the intelligence of the solver.

Whatsername 10:04 AM  

Let’s hear it for the ladies! This seemed very young and modern, and now I feel so dope! Or is it woke? Anyway, it really hit the mark perfectly, not a SNAG anywhere. I mean just look at that symmetry and no junk to be found. Congrats to both constructors on POW and Amanda, your dog is adorable.

FRAG, MAGE and ZEN garden were all new to me. Love the quote about sinning in silence; we have certainly seen examples of that dichotomy play out over the past year.

Nearly every spring, I get an APHID infestation on my red honeysuckle vines. Just yesterday I ran across this cheap easy method to discourage them. Looks worth a try.

EdFromHackensack 10:12 AM  

My wife is Queen of the ESTATESALEs. One Saturday she put a bid on a rolltop desk at an estate sale. They called her on Sunday and said she had the winning bid. We got there late on Sunday with cash to pick it up, everything had to be out of the house by the end of the day. When we got there there was a grand piano sitting there that was bid on but they could not locate the bidder. My wife said “I’ll take it right now for $500”. they said OK, she called her brother - who is a mover - and he brought it to our garage. We had it tuned and shined up and sold it to a local restaurant for $5,000.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

Now that you mention it, Hitchcock had scenes of bar cars in, at least, two movies: 'North by Northwest' and 'Strangers on a Train'. Elegant bar cars they were. Which brings us to Highsmith. By most accounts a truly unpleasant human, who wrote, what appears to be, the first lesbian novel "The Price of Salt" soon after 'Strangers', with a happy ending. But disavowed authorship for nearly 40 years. Anyway, TCM showed the film version, 'Carol' (Highsmith finally acknowledged authorship, and the book was republished with that title) with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, a couple of nights ago. If you have a chance, see it. You needn't be LGBTQ to get the point. As Mankiewicz said in his intro (approx.) 'a love story about to two people of the same sex, is still a love story.'

Maybe . . . 10:26 AM  

I thought "61D: Defense org.?" was a great clue for ABA!

sixtyni yogini 10:27 AM  

Fun fun fun!
More more more!

jberg 10:28 AM  

I loved this puzzle! Everything Rexx said, except that he's wrong about HEAVENS TO BETSY! I can say "Heavens, Betsy" or I can say "Heavens" to Betsy. So Cheers to You!

My stepdaughter says things like TOTES and "adorbs" all the time -- and she's 44, so it's not exactly youthspeak. My advice to my fellow grumpy old folks is to get with the times and make your life more fun.

Me too for a writeover at 19A, only my wrong answer was I gueSs. Also had DenizEnS before DWELLERS, ans SNarl before SNEER.

Hawaii became a state in 1959; it's probably time to learn that HILO exists.

I always thought that SEATAC was the actual name of the airport, not the informal one. I was wrong; but in the process of looking it up I learned that the airport is completely surrounded by the city of SeaTac WA, which was incorporated in 1990. Weird.

Here's a little song about MAHLER (among others). "Alma"

SouthsideJohnny 10:29 AM  

@TTrimble - all valid points, thanks for sharing. I was thinking more in terms of what the "general crossword solving public" might experience, since I am closer to that demographic than some of the heavy-hitters here (I probably should have made that clear). I think it would be a more enjoyable experience for early-week solvers if we at least have a fighting chance at a complete solve (and over-reliance on trivia, esoterica, foreign words, abbreviations, etc can really turn the puzzle into a complete slog-fest - similar to the way bonafide Natick's are considered persona non grata to even the most experienced solvers here).

Steve M 10:47 AM  

Totes .....nope

Carola 10:49 AM  

What a treat! Such a simple idea and yet so clever, and so much fun to solve. Besides the non-theme pleasures other commenters have noted, I also enjoyed seeing APOLLO, the god of music, above MAHLER.

@Southside Johnny 6:59 - I'm one of the someones somewhere who uses GEEZ LOUISE quite a bit. I'm not sure if its a Midwestern regionalism.

I totes want the deets 10:53 AM  

I TOTES agree with @Jberg! I LOVED this puzzle in more ways than I can describe. To me, there was nothing in it that was THAT arcane or unknowable and I feel pretty sure I’m not a “heavy hitter.” I love for articles by ARS Technica pop up on my news feed, I had heard of “fragged” as a combat term, and while I’m not terribly familiar with Final Fantasy, I know that a MAGE is a “wise person.” @Southside Johnny, have fun learning these things! Awhile ago there was a clue to the graphic novel “Maus”. I was unfamiliar with it but decided to read it...what a fabulous (but sad) novel! I have to believe there is a reason you don’t work Penny Press crossword puzzles.

JC66 10:53 AM  

I'm no expert, but I think Geez Louise was invented by those who didn't want the Lord's (Jesus') name taken in vain.

Cassieopia 10:54 AM  

Lovely puzzle! TOTES fresh and sparkly!

GHarris 10:56 AM  

Although the quaint expressions were never used in my section of the Bronx we were familiar with them, probably from Jimmy Stewart movies and the like. For me totes is either a verb meaning to carry or a noun describing a kind of bad weather over shoe ( I was thinking galoshes but couldn’t come up with the spelling until my IPad filled it in).

Bobby R. 10:57 AM  

@Martini Mike. The NET CORD is the top edge of a tennis net. The sensor can detect a let serve that may be imperceptible to the human eye.

Elizabeth Sandifer 10:57 AM  

Enjoyed it, but got Naticked by the SIN/NESS cross when I had SIT, a perfectly sane quote filler, and TESS, which, sure. Hadn't heard "Untouchable" associated with Elliot Ness before. So an ugly taste at the end of a fun puzzle.

Nancy 11:09 AM  

The two clue/answers that seemed to baffle/annoy people day are TOTES and NETCORD. I totally get the annoyance with TOTES -- another cutesy bit of modern slang (like ADORBS) that I never heard of. I was baffled/annoyed, too.

But NETCORD??? What's the problem? It's a thing and it's perfectly clued. Not all that many years ago, the net judge would place his fingers lightly on the top of the net during a serve to determine if a ball had touched it. If it had, he would call a "let" and the server would serve again. Now, tennis mostly uses sensors to determine the same thing: it's cheaper, and sensors can't catch Covid.

jae 11:10 AM  

Medium. Smooth and it made me smile (see grid center) liked it a bunch!

Congrats to Amanda and Karl for POW at Xwordinfo.

Whatsername 11:28 AM  

@jbh (8:40) “I SPECT” brought back memories. Haven’t heard that in ages but my mom and her family used the expression often.

@The Joker (9:20) Thelma’s last words. 😂😂😂😂 Best comment of the day!

@EdFromHackensack (10:12) Next time there’s a vacancy for Secretary of Commerce, your wife should be in the running.

mathgent 11:31 AM  

It was a pleasant Monday night surprise. Nice crunch, good sparkle, smart cluing.

I hope there's a mythology scholar here who can explain 18A. I took it to mean that EROS would take a bow to his lyre to charm one he was wooing. But lyres were played by plucking their strings, like harps. Maybe EROS used a different musical instrument in his seductions.

Newboy 11:38 AM  

Like @tjs and @Lewis, I thought this was great fun for an early week puzzle. None of those phrases is in Newboy's vocabulary, but all are used by the skateboarders passing our front porch. As one more likely to be listening to the music of Mahler than Taylor this was not in my wheelhouse, but still it's a delightful diversion for a sunny morning. Almost a compensation for last night's Gonzaga no show. Nice one Amanda & Karl; I was glad to see you got the well-deserved POW from Jeff 👍

bocamp 11:58 AM  


@Barbara S. (8:27 AM) 👍

Love the Steffens quotes! :)

@TTrimble (8:33 AM)

Always enjoy chatting with you! :)

@RooMonster (9:12 AM) 👍

@chefwen (9:21 AM)

Love to hear of other's coincidences. I have lots of them and cherish every one. :)

SB stuff

A few strategies:

Have put my ever-expanding @jae's List into spreadsheet format (willing to share) and am currently including definitions for each word. Study this list every morning before embarking on the puzzle, as well as after finishing it. Always thinking outside the box, and paying even more attention to tacking on annexes (front and back), including "i, e, a" plurals, etc. Spending more time on the puzzle than most would find practical. Put it aside and come back to it with fresh eyes throughout the day. Have many more tips for those interested.

g -10

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

burtonkd 12:14 PM  

@mathgent - Eros is not playing an instrument unless you are thinking instrument of torture. Bow is for the Arrow or love dart.

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

no need for scholarship. Just do a Google image search. You'll see some depictions of Eros with a lyre, but a lot more with him and his trusty bow. Sometime an arrow.
If that's too onerous, consider Eros's Roman counterpart: Cupid.

Lewis 12:22 PM  

@BarbaraS -- @roo called it right re double letters. It was right on the cusp, and your resident alphadoppeltotter was getting quite stirred, but alas.

Joe Dipinto 12:40 PM  

They forgot this.

old timer 12:42 PM  

That little imp Eros is also called Amor (Love) and Cupid, the chubby little boy with a BOW and arrow who shoots people in the (figurative) heart, and makes them fall in love. As I recall, Venus was his mama.

The puzzle played pretty fast for me, and like OFL, I found the themers delightful. Of course, given my age, I first heard the Little Richard song, GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY, when I was 10 or 11, and I had no idea what it meant to say she sure liked to ball. Indeed in that era, most of us in fourth or fifth grade knew nothing at all about balling, except various sports that featured balls. I read, as an adult, an essay by E.B. White that claimed in his neighborhood, the proper families would only have male dogs, because (I had learned later) female dogs had sex right in front of innocent children, so owning a bitch was not quite so nice and refined. Kids today, of course, are taught all about Part A going into Slot B, but the only sex ed we ever had was for girls only, because you really did have to explain about periods. And believe me, the girls never talked about it, not even to the neighbor boy that was their best friend.

I don't believe you could eat in a BAR CAR, except maybe a pack of peanuts. I went to college near the railroad where there were many commuters to and from San Francisco, but there were no BAR CARs, except maybe on the one train that headed off to near Los Gatos.

Amtrak, and before it, the long distance passenger railroads, had what they called a "lounge" car, where you could get a drink and maybe a hot snack, but you ate in the diner. Indeed on the West Coast trains I have ridden most, the only part of the train that felt like being in a bar was on the lower floor of the lounge car. Most passengers took their drinks upstairs and preferred to look out the window. That lower-level lounge area was, and always will be, the #1 headache for Amtrak conductors.

I loved GEEZ LOUISE, because it reminded me of my father-in-law, who died several years back. It was his favorite semi-cuss phrase. Very occasionally his children say it, but otherwise, I hardly ever hear it. Maybe it's a New England locution, as he was a Vermonter, and Irishman, through and through. His wife is about to turn 100!

emily 12:57 PM  

I still don’t get it...

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

HEAVENS TO BETSY! I did not enjoy this. I tried. GEEZ LOUISE, I want to. I thought of ISPOSE for a long time before putting it in. Not TOTES wild about the DEETS here. Next?

Teedmn 1:15 PM  

HEAVENS TO BETSY, I like it. I had a snag or two (reading the clue for 10D and splatzing in "antique", d'oh). I thought the quote for 31A would be to SIt in silence because it crossed so nicely with "t-man" but SILOS RISERS cured that.

Then, ScAMS faked me out and I SNEERed at a state with a postal code CI. Um, HI Hawaii!

I say GEEZ LOUISE often. I have a soft spot for the name. My husband comes from one of those communities where everyone has a nickname and for some reason, mine is LOUISE. However, my mother hated her middle name (and her first name also.) No Martha Louise for her, she was Marty Lou.

Amanda and Karl, I always enjoy your work and after I see your names at the top of the puzzle, I look forward to seeing Amanda peering over the dog and Karl with the baby over at Thanks.

TTrimble 1:15 PM  

Thanks for taking it all with good grace. Your views on things like inclusion of foreign words are well-known to readers here, and I almost always disagree with those views :-D, but normally it comes off as merely a difference of opinion. Today it sounded like a stronger proclamation, hence my reaction.

With regard to reaching the "hoi polloi" (whoops, sorry, a little Greek slipped in there): I suppose economics is the ultimate determiner. Because the XW is a strong driver of sales and subscriptions, I tend to think that if Shortz et al. were doing seriously wrong in attracting solvers, they'd learn of it soon enough. My own guess is that if people can solve puzzles that include trivia and foreign expressions, it makes them feel a little smart, gives them a little ego boost, and gets them to come back for more. Of course you can't go overboard with that, or you drive people away. And of course people will disagree on how much is too much, but ultimately the "invisible hand" will be the arbiter. There's a certain logic to that.

Back to the puzzle: I used to muse fancifully that HEAVENS TO BETSY was a kind of nod to Dante's Beatrice. But fanciful that is. There's not a scrap of evidence for it, alas. Without double-checking, my memory is that it's an Americanism that goes back to earlyish 19th century.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

The bar car clue is a little off. And so is Rex. He used a picture of the dining car on the 20th Century Limited. That is most certainly not a bar car.
And as for Rex not having been on a train in the Northeast Corridor with a bar car, more's the pity. There were plenty of lines with bar cars not so long ago. And they were great! Truly great. Some had poker games with a cast of regulars ( these are commuter trains remember) that went on for years.
Arguably the most famous bar cars were on Metro North's New Haven line. They were legendary. lots of guys with big jobs and big thirst. For those not familiar with Metro North's New Haven line--it's the one out of ( or into ) Grand Central that runs a long Long Island Sound up to Yale-ville. It's a land of high cotton, wooden roller coasters and marinas. Including the one in Rye. Which is a dozen or so stops from the city.
Anyone who dissses a bar car is not to be trusted. neither is anyone who posts what may be the most famous dining car scene in filmdom while trying to foist it off as something it's not.

Jeff B. 1:24 PM  

Much to like here. The best was GOODGOLLY MISSMOLLY. But TOTES is a no. As is COWS. Longhorns are bulls. Who refers to bulls as cows? Cattle, yes.

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

@Z You were not in a bar car in this country in this decade. None exists. Have you mistaken a dining car for a bar car like Rex has? Or were you in Europe where they are still plentiful.

pabloinnh 1:45 PM  

All this Louise talk is making me remember that "They all said Louise was not half bad...", which is a great song. My favorite is Leo Kottke's version.

@JoeD, you out there?

mathgent 1:56 PM  

@burtonkd (12:14): Thanks for straightening me out. I did know that EROS was the Greek Cupid. I should have thought of his bow and arrow.

Masked and Anonymous 2:07 PM  

Jumpin Jehoshaphatz! … nice TuesPuz. Grid's got yer novel E-W symmetry, with black hats and cinder blocks for yer shaded areas.

staff weeject pick: ARS. Better clue: {BARCAR contents??}.
Primo quad weeject stack between the black hats, btw.

fave shiny spots: SCAPEGOATS. ISPOSE. REDSPOT (Jupiter version). ROBOTIC.

Pretty much got the idea on the theme mcguffin, after BETSY and LOUISE dropped in. Enjoyed the Little Richard crescendo, too boot.

Three ?-marker clues. Kinda But TuesPuz-level ?-marker clues, more or less -- so no nanoseconds were seriously harmed. (Did lose a few of em, tryin to coax out the mysterious LOVATO and dining car turned BARCAR, tho.)

Bloody Nora, @RP -- U *liked* a TuesPuz? Totes cool blog write-up, especially that rivetin analysis of a bloodhound's parts.

Masked & Anonymo1U


Anonymous 2:20 PM  

EROS uses a bow and arrow to incite passion in us mortals

Anonymous 2:33 PM  

HEAVENSTOBETSY, I thought, Who the heck is "Mariana Trench"? GEEZLOUISE! You learn something every day. That's one of the reasons I do crosswords.

Anonymous 2:37 PM  

I think a lot of the terms in this puzzle originated in the desire to avoid blasphemy. One might want to shout out in amazement, "Jesus!" or "Jesus Christ!", and to avoid that, one said Geez! or Gee whiz. Geez by itself might be too close to "Jesus," so one added Louise. *Golly* and *goodness gracious" and even "hot dog" were used for "God," dang and darn for damn, etc. *Good golly* might still sound too close to the blasphemous "good God," so one added "miss Molly." Amazement could be expressed by "hell's bells," which could suggest, I don't know, that the world has become so bizarre that church bells are ringing in hell, or hell has taken over the church. I assumed that "heavens to Betsy" could be a term for "heavens to Beelzebub," or that Satan's number 1 assistant, Beelzebub (as in Milton), now ruled heaven.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Singmaster 3:05 PM  

That photo from N by NW is not a BARCAR.
Its a dining car.
She recommended the trout almondine.
Good movie though.

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

In case anyone's interested...
Last week there was some back and forth regarding women's basketball. Among the disputes was its popularity. This year's college championship game drew a little over 4 million viewers on Sunday. Last night, the men's championship drew a little more than 13 million. The women's game was a tight affair and included a Cinderella (which the public traditionally rewards with lots of causal fans tuning in). The men's game had no such draw and they stilled managed to treble the viewership. Debate the merits of the women's game if you're of that bent. What is beyond dispute is that it's not terribly popular.

Hungry Mother 3:35 PM  

Hardest Tuesday ever. It felt Saturday hard in places. April Fools a few days late?

Pdxrains 3:44 PM  

This felt like it was made by a Gen Zer haha. I'm 39 so I "get" most of it, but could see how this could throw older solvers with a lot of the slangy stuff

A 4:16 PM  

Happy Siamese Cat Day!

This one hit me just right - a purrfect Tuesday with purrsonality galore! Hated to (F)STOP SO SOON.

A few folks might not be as familiar with NET CORD and RISERS but they gave me a lift - like old friends dropping in unexpectedly.

Liked the placement of the cat’s NOSE right in the middle of the grid face, HEAVEN crossed with BLESSES, ABYSS/MORASS, HILO/ALOHA, OVEN over PALATE.

DWELL has an interesting etymology, apparently beginning as to be clouded/misled, to delay/hesitate.

My in-laws say GEEZ LOUISE. Western NY.

Thanks, Ms. Chung and Mr. Ni, you can put MAHLER in my puzzle any day!

Whatsername 4:37 PM  

@JeffB (1:24) Cows - i.e. females - are Longhorns too, but I would agree with you that the preferred term as clued is cattle.

egsforbreakfast 4:38 PM  

JEEZ LOUISE, I got no time to comment today, so consider this a Hail, Mary!!!

Anonymous 4:54 PM  


wrong, again. the men's final had more viewers for two reasons:
- chance for the first men's team to go undefeated since 1976
- Gonzaga is a small (in Div. 1) Catholic school that played in a bush league
- wimins on ESPN in Sunday afternoon
- mens on CBS in Monday primetime

ergo: some watched to see such a pretender blown away (that would be me and mine), while others wanted an underdog team to be an undefeated Champion. not to mention that Gonzaga got to the Finals with a half court shot at the buzzer in the semi-final game.

if the wimins had featured UConn vs. anybody, that's a whole other story. as it was, a couple of west coast schools that aren't big deals in BB. Stanford first Champs since 1992, Arizona never at all.

JC66 5:00 PM  

@Anon 4:54

I like the way you count. Can you do my taxes? 😂

Anonymous 5:22 PM  

Ok anon 4:54,
That explains this year. What accounts for the men beating the women in the ratings every other year since they began televising the games?

Anonymous 5:24 PM  

By the way anon 4:5r,
I fear your reasoning is as faulty as your counting. You said there were two reasons for the men’s game having superior ratings.
But you listed 4 reasons. I’m inclined to let it go given that two of the reasons you cite are so silly.

Anonymous 5:25 PM  

Just saw your comment JC. My goof. ( but yeah, yikes) i

Anonymous 5:32 PM  

Oops again. I’ll let a lot of crud slide , but the anti Catholic crack about Gonzaga is not something I’ll,let it slide.
And neither should you Mods. That’s bigotry. And part of a long tradition of anti Catholicism in this country and blog.
In the spirit of comity, I’m assuming your grasp on things theological is as strong as your counting skills.

Anonymous 5:40 PM  

FRAG has a rather unsavory history.

It has been asserted that a number of overenthusiastic new lieutenants in Vietnam who ordered their platoons into very dangerous situations were FRAGged, i.e., had a fragmentation grenade thrown at them by one of their own troops. That is the only way I have ever heard the word used.

Anonymous 5:54 PM  

??? What was anti-Catholic about the remarks about Gonzaga?

As for SEATAC, it's always been called Seattle-Tacoma International Airport officially, and Sea-Tac informally.

The region south of Seattle includes unincorporated areas that are not part of any municipality - they only have county and state government, no local government. That has the advantage of low taxes and the disadvantage of meager government services. What presumably happened is that those living in unincorporated areas in the neighborhood of the airport saw the opportunity to become a city which could get its revenue from the many airport-area businesses, thus improving services without much cost in taxes.

pabloinnh 6:02 PM  

@anon. i.e.Poggius-The blasphemy substitutions are kind of ingenious, especially the ones that substitute something for "Jesus". "Jeepers" sounds so childish and sunny. "Jeezum Crow" is popular around here.

My favorite is "Cheese on crackers!" for J.C. . This is so far from offensive that some ironic types have amended it to "Cheese of effing crackers!". The juxtaposition of the profane with the blandly innocent always makes me snicker.

Anonymous 6:28 PM  

OK, I added the broadcast times without updating. so sue me.

as to being anti-Catholic, well I was raised Episcopalian back when that was called just Catholic in English, and the significance is historically accurate: Catholic colleges, as opposed to multi-10,000 state universities, tend to enforce recruits' academic performance closer to non-BB/FB/Hockey players. and they do play in a bush league. not, from a gambler's point of view, a worthy Final's team.

Z 6:37 PM  

The only negative think about Gonzaga I see is the “bush league” comment, which is about the West Coach Conference not Gonzaga. So, yeah.

As for the ratings discussion, the comparison is akin to the “born on third base and thinking you hit a triple” observation. More money goes into marketing the men’s game plus the men’s game has a 50 year marketing head start. I think lots of fans are just waking up to the fact that the women’s game is entertaining. And as young women start having heroes that look more like them I imagine more of them will do what it takes to become elite athletes.

BAR CAR v. Diner Car - Yep. Our government’s decision to subsidize air travel instead of rail travel means we have neither BAR CARs nor diner cars anymore. I wish we had high speed rail and all the comforts that form of travel could afford us. The Amtraks I’ve taken are better than your typical freeway gas station/Denny’s only in as much as I can drink and ride.

Joe Dipinto 6:50 PM  

When I was a senior in high school we went to the Gonzaga Retreat House, a sort of Jesuit getaway, in Monroe, NY. As I recall, we mostly sat around singing folk songs. We didn't play basketball. At least I didn't. Maybe some of the other kids did and "accidentally forgot" to invite me. Those bastards.

Here's @pablo's Leo Kottke video.

Simeon Bankoff 6:56 PM  

Liked it but I call shenanigans on the NYC Theater on the National Register clue. There are at least 2 dozen theaters in NYC on the NR, and at least 4 in uptown Manhattan.
Don't get me started on the "on the NR" vs. "in the NR" debate....

Anonymous 8:04 PM  

the “bush league” comment, which is about the West Coach Conference not Gonzaga.

what I wrote: "Gonzaga is a small (in Div. 1) Catholic school that played in a bush league"

so... 'bush league' means the League, not Gonzaga. OTOH, one is judged by/as the company you keep.

Anonymous 8:44 PM  

Christ on a cracker is profoundly offensive. For close to two millennia, people have been mocking Catholics for believing that the Holy Eucharist is actually the body of Christ. One of the most popular forms of mockery is calling The
Host a cracker. Folks like you call the thing that looks like an ordinary wafer a cracker. Thanks to the holy sacrifice of the Mass, that wafer, the work of human hands, is transubstantiated into the body of Christ. Not a symbol of Christ. The actual, literal body of Christ.
To those who don’t believe,that is ridiculous. Something to be ridiculed. And indeed it is. By phrase like : Christ on a cracker.
To those that understand, the Holy Eucharist is the greatest gift the world has ever received.

Anonymous 8:48 PM  

Are you kidding? Rail travel is massively subsidized by the government. As a percentage of expenditure, much greater than air travel.
You do know that the Norheast corridor is profitable where no other are of the country is, right? You do know this, right?

Clark 12:20 AM  

A law is actually not just an act. A proposed law that is passed by one house of Congress is a bill. If it is passed by the other house it becomes an act (of Congress). If it is signed by the President (or if it is vetoed by the President and the veto is then overridden by Congress) it becomes a law.

thefogman 10:14 AM  

ISPOSE this one is pretty good. Even Rex liked it. Burma will have fun with 20A.

Burma Shave 10:30 AM  


and EROS OBLIGEd real fast.


spacecraft 10:50 AM  

The most famous BARCAR in film is the one in "Strangers on a Train," in which Guy's only alibi is so drunk that he isn't one. Pivotal plot point. Not to be confused with the dining car where Roger O. ("Nothing.") Thornhill was seduced in "North by Northwest." Yeah, you might say I'm a Hitchcock aficionado.

I assume TOTES is short for "totally," straight out of Valley Girl-ism. Sounds like this puzzle is trying to be current--but isn't, really. The only other trouble was a "weeject," ARS, so it didn't hold me up for long. An easy Tuesday, but as OFC said a fun one.

DOD candidates abound--and we're not even counting the theme girls. Right away we get REESE and DEMI, then TAYLOR says 'bye to us on the way out. Pick one and you can't MISS, MOLLY. Birdie.

Diana, LIW 2:05 PM  

It's Murgatroyd. Heavens to Murgatroyd. Simply ask Snagglepuss. Or we could call him Snagglepuzz, I s'poze.

Lady Di

leftcoaster 2:07 PM  

A fun puzzle, and thought “GO GIRL!” might be the best fit for a theme.

“Girls"? I S'POSE, but “women" would be more apt, particularly celebrities like REESE Witherspoon, Demi LOVATO, and TAYLOR Swift.

Crosses took care of the unfamiliar DEETS, TOTES and MAGE as clued.

Solid work by Amanda and Karl.

rondo 5:22 PM  

One longish write-over having D___S the DenizEnS were living there before the DWELLERS.

Four corners make a SARA, pick one.

Can't say no to TAYLOR Swift. In a nice way I'd like to MAHLER.

Best Tuesday this year IMO.

leftcoaster 10:31 PM  

@rondo --

So you’d like to MAHLER (maul her, i.e.,TAYLOR Swift) in a ”nice way"? Wouldn’t you have to be pretty sadistic or an unusually slick dude to do that?

No reply required.

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