Rapper who's half of Run the Jewels / WED 4-21-21 / Goddess and ruler of witches in Macbeth / T'ang dynasty poet / Likely inspiration for Meryl Streep's character in The Devil Wears Prada / Neopagan religion / Stand-up comedian who voiced Remy in Ratatouille / Popular holiday gift of 2001 / Little Jack Horner's Christmas treat

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Constructor: Brandon Koppy

Relative difficulty: Medium (name-heavy, so results will vary widely)


THEME: Sci-fi sidekicks — the "Star Wars" 'droids R2-D2 and C-3PO are used to refer to the initial (mostly) letter patterns in the names of famous people: 

Theme answers:
  • RYAN REYNOLDS (he's the "R2") (20A: Star of the "Deadpool" films)
  • DON DELILLO (he's the "D2") (34A: Postmodern novelist who wrote "White Noise")
  • COCO CHANEL (she is the "C3") (42A: Fashion icon with a numbered fragrance)
  • PATTON OSWALT (he's the "PO") (53A: Stand-up comedian who voiced Remy in "Ratatouille")
Word of the Day: Run the Jewels (60D: Rapper who's half of Run the Jewels => EL-P) —
Run the Jewels, also known by the initialism RTJ, is an American hip hop supergroup duo consisting of Brooklyn-based rapper and producer El-P and Atlanta-based rapper Killer Mike. They released their critically acclaimed self-titled debut studio album as a free download in 2013 and have since released the follow-up albums Run the Jewels 2 (2014), Run the Jewels 3 (2016), and RTJ4 (2020), all of which have been released for free and received similar acclaim. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is so well-intentioned, and there are a couple of names I was really happy to see, but I have to start with the obvious, which is that the theme is logically broken. It wants you to think it's not, but it is. The logic is that the letters in the 'droid names are the initials of famous people. In every case, it's the initials that matter, not the mere presence of the letters in the name. R2 = RYAN REYNOLDS, not, I don't know, MARY PICKFORD. The latter does indeed have two R's, but, as you know, that's not the point. The initials are the point. In every case. Except COCO CHANEL, where we are asked to accept that non-initial second "C" as one of the 3 C's in C-3PO. But it's not CO space CO space CHANEL. It's COCO, one word. So making her the "C3" example is a cheat. Now I guess you have to cheat if you want to have this theme come off, and it's not a bad cheat, as cheats go, but it's a cheat. Other than that, I thought the theme was pretty cute, though once I got to R2-D2, I could fill in all the themers immediately, no trouble, which is mildly depressing—I mean, great if you are speed-solving, but the themers just filled themselves in. Actually, they might have been gettable at one glance even without the R2-D2 hint. The point is, I knew what was going to happen and where to look, and bam bam bam. Whole gimmick is kind of given away in that one little answer in the NE:


I have to say something about EL-P today, and that is: LOL, wow. I mean ... I own two RTJ albums and *I* couldn't quite remember EL-P's name. I've been doing NYT crosswords for a while, and let me tell you, RUN THE JEWELS is better known than EL-P and the initialism RTJ is better known than EL-P and KILLER MIKE, the other half of RTJ, is way way better known than EL-P, so it is ultra-bizarre that the first thing to enter the NYTXW from the RTJ Universe is somehow EL-P. He's the far lesser known, and white, half of RTJ, yet he's the first to get into the grid. I feel like that's a metaphor for ... something. More power to him, though. I have nothing against him at all. But when I say "LOL" I mean I don't think I've seen a name that is going to be less familiar to the overall NYTXW solving base than EL-P. It's going to look like a mistake to most people. They're just gonna stare and shrug and cross their fingers. It's obvious that he's here solely because of the thematic crunch, i.e. a tiny space that's dense with theme material (WW3 is fixed, so I'm calling it a themer). There aren't a lot of good options at E-P, as ESP won't work. So ... it was either ['oller from 'enry 'iggins' protégé?] or ... this. I guess you could've gone with EAP (Poe's monogram, ugh) crossing I WAS crossing SIC. But I cannot say that that option is better. Anyway, constructors, please add RTJ and KILLER MIKE to your databases, as they are clearly legal now.


The fill starts out grim on this one, and the short stuff remains so. Horrible ABASE / ABASH problem, and since ABASH absolutely literally means [Put to shame], I wrote in ABASH, which was "wrong," which is terrible, terrible cluing. To ABASE is to belittle or degrade. The concept of "shame" is built into ABASH, not ABASE. It's already not great fill; this cluing makes it worse. With ABBR and STENO up there too, the NW corner made for a terrible start to this puzzle. Later had to endure a lot of overfamiliar (or just awkward) short stuff (ANI YER ADUE OTOS MSN UVEA COTAN ... a random pope (LEOI) crossing a NATO alphabet answer (KILO)!? Gruesome. NATO alphabet clues are the lowest of the low. Abolish. 


The longer fill has its moments. The south and southeast are pretty nicely built overall (though I have no idea what CHOPSAWS are) (40D: Heavy-duty cutters). Happy to see PATTON OSWALT and DON DELILLO today. Great names. I keep waiting for someone to put DeLillo's recent "ZERO K" in a grid. It would look so nice. ZEROK! Add that to your databases too, constructors. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

129 comments:

Jay Apking 6:30 AM  

Anna Wintour crossing Don Delillo with Lipo thrown in? Wednesday? Yeesh!

Conrad 6:32 AM  


If EL-P were from Alabama maybe he'd be called EL-AL?

Zwhatever 6:34 AM  

Name-heavy? Try a PPP count at 38%, but playing even higher because four long themers are PPP. And then I solve the AVCX puzzle in an attempt to wash the stench of PPP off and it comes in at 38% with two PPP grid spanners as well. I didn’t wake up expecting to be cast into PPP Hell at 5:30 in the morning. Blrrrgh. Two Glorified TV Guide puzzles. Now I’m actually looking forward to the nasty vaccine side effects (2nd dose at 10:00 this morning) because side effects will an improve my mood. If anyone needs me I will be at Z’s Placebo and Tentacle Bar nursing a breakfast stout and begging every constructor that wanders in to not saddle us with a bunch names and make an actual crossword puzzle. Double Blrrrgh.




PPP is Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns.

perry79605 6:39 AM  

I liked this one, even though I firmly agree that “Co Co Chanel” is, objectively, a cheat. All of the long name answers were within my pop culture/literary wheelhouse and were easy “gets” for me, but El-P came especially quick to this RTJ super fan. Plus, both El-P and Killer Mike refer to themselves in the third person a lot in their songs, so I feel like even if I only had a passing familiarity with their music, El’s name might pop into my head fairly quickly.

Zwhatever 6:41 AM  

Oh yeah - ELP

SouthsideJohnny 6:52 AM  

I’m absolutely, definitely in the “It’s not my cup of tea” camp today. I have never heard of any of the four themers, Lisa BONET, ANNA WINTOUR, Michael STIPE or even WICCA - heck, I looked up “neopagan” and even after reading the definition I have no clue what differentiates a “neo” pagan religion from a pagan one or a totally “non” pagan religion.

Anyway - I stumbled around the grid for a while, parsing together a bit of crosswordese here and there and finally gave up (which is pretty much my normal Friday solving experience as well). Very tough for a Wednesday if your as removed from PPP as I am - I’m sure others will fly through it with ease.

Richard Stanford 6:54 AM  

I had to run the vowels where “T’ang dynasty poet” crossed “Postmodern novelist who wrote ‘White Noise’ “. Classic natick. Other than that, a fun fast Thursday crossword.

Frantic Sloth 7:03 AM  

Zoom! Even though there seemed to be a lot of it, for once all the PPP was in my nuthouse...er...wheelhouse. This made for solving at a pretty good clip for me.

And of course, many of the grid's long answers were names of people, so either you're gonna love that or hate it.
Then there's the tie-in with the theme, which is based on the bane of many here: "Star Wars". So, I can imagine there will be at least a few unhappy campers. I'm just not one of them. 🤷‍♀️
But, as someone (@JC66?) here has pled recently, don't hate me because I'm beautiful. 😉

Even though the answer was RYANREYNOLDS, it was nice to see a nod to the original Deadpool star, CLINT Eastwood. An appreciation of those who came before is always, well, appreciated.

For anyone who might not know, PATTONOSWALT's former wife, now deceased, was the writer Michelle McNamara. Her last book "I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer" was adapted as a documentary and debuted on HBO last year. It was interwoven with a timeline (as relayed by Patton Oswalt) of her personal story and tireless drive to help solve the decades-long case. This took a huge toll and was believed to play a role in her unexpected passing at the age of 46. The documentary is fascinating, tragic, and inspiring at once and I highly recommend it to anyone who might be even mildly interested.


🧠.5
🎉🎉🎉

Jess 7:23 AM  

I don't have much to say about the crossword puzzle (except "DONDELLILO" was the first thing I filled in, but I gave up and didn't finish the puzzle b/c names don't bring me joy) -- but thank you for the Belly deepcut. What a lovely reminder of this song!

Richard Stanford 7:27 AM  

Just realized it was Wednesday. Thanks Covid - and numbers in the grid.

bocamp 7:33 AM  

Thank you @Brandon for this sparkling jewel of a Wednes. puz. It pushed me to the limit and was worth every minute spent.

Very tough solve.

One correct guess at the intersection of 30D / 34A and voila, success. I'll take it, after this WW3 battle!

STEEL guitar: Aloha Oe ~ All-Star Hawaiian Band
___


yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Son Volt 7:34 AM  

I just don’t see how Rex can have anything good to say about this mess. TV Guide material. You push the name laden theme whatever - but then add more names to your fill? I liked TALLY HO and CHOP SAWS in the grid - but that was it.

A real off-putting Wednesday.

Good luck @Z - after my second Moderna I was shot the following day - but it’s all good.

Irene 7:43 AM  

Patton Oswalt? Ryan Reynolds? Woot? Abase, not Abash? Luckily I knew Wintour, DeLillo and Bonet. I can't remember the last time I couldn't finish a Wednesday. And will someone tell me why ODOR is always clued as a bad smell? As far as I know, an odor is simply a neutral smell, while aroma is a pleasant smell.

Lobster11 7:46 AM  

Hey @Z -- I'm getting my second dose at 9:40 this a.m. Looks like I'll be on my way out about the same time you're on your way in. I've cleared my schedule for the day in case of nasty side effects, although it seems most people who suffer adverse side effects from their 2nd Moderna vaccine experience them 8-12 hours after getting the shot. Good luck!

Anders 7:51 AM  

Re ELP: "Classic prog rock trio, briefly" would've worked fine for me.

Frantic Sloth 7:54 AM  

Confession: If I had seen it, I wouldn't have known ELP either.
@Z 641am posts a preferable alternative IMHO. Good luck today (and tomorrow and...), Z. Thoughts and prayers. 😘

Isn't SWEETRIDE ANNIE one of @JOHN X's harem harlots?

Hungry Mother 7:56 AM  

Sickening number of names. I had to run through all of the vowels for the D2 guy. It could have been a cute theme otherwise.

Hungry Mother 8:00 AM  

@Z: thanks for excoriating the PPP today. I’m nauseous. Best of luck with the 2nd vax. It’s very liberating. Sleep well.

Mike G 8:03 AM  

Hated this one. Too many proper names. I show up to do crosswords, not to fawn over celebrities.

Barbara S. 8:13 AM  

I was lucky today – fast solve, so the most of the names were known. I’m usually pretty weak on Star Wars, among the PPP franchises that show up here, but the two droids are some of the best known characters. I didn’t even see ELP. I solved the acrosses in the far SW. Mini fashion theme with ANNA WINTOUR and COCO CHANEL. I wonder if COCO would be annoyed to share a row with ODOR. Mini witch theme with HECATE, WICCA, GALS (3 witches) and SWEET RIDE (brooms) – and maybe ANNA WINTOUR (by reputation). HECATE and the Three Witches have some of the best lines in The Scottish Play and, intriguingly, they almost always speak in rhyme, unlike the other characters. I liked PLUNGE and APEX and wished they were closer together.

Bird of Paradise MATING DANCE: Sublime!

Bird of Paradise song by Little Jimmy Dickens: Ridiculous!

The quotation today is by CHARLOTTE BRONTË, born Apr. 21, 1816.

“Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God's feet, equal — as we are!”
(From Jane Eyre*)
* Frequent crossword denizen.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

Re: El-P, I don't think its anything more than ELP is more crosswordese than KILLERMIKE. I for one was glad to see him in today's puzzle! And for once, all of the people's names were ones i actually know so zoomed through no problem. Possibly a puzzle that skews younger?

Amie Devero 8:29 AM  

The only names I knew were Coco Chanel and Anna Wintour. I thought that was crap that without knowing a bunch of trivial ( pop culture) names this puzzle was a total dud.

Nyx 8:32 AM  

I don't understand the PPP hate on this one.

I'm usually the one struggling to fill in celebrity names, but there were so many hints in this puzzle, like R2D2 and C3PO (I've never seen star wars and I know that, come on guys), and great crosses, that I didn't have to cheat or guess on a single one! Well I had LIAO before LIPO just cause it seemed like the sort of pattern you'd want in a crossword.

Anyway, all to say I think Brandon did a great job of leading you to the PPP answers with the rest of the puzzle. Do you come to the crossword wanting to fill in all the answers off the bat? No. That's what makes this one masterfully crafted - just enough footholds to learn some new things.

Zwhatever 8:35 AM  

Huh? ”Automaton” first appeared in 1639? I would have guessed it was a post R.U.R. word. Thanks @Barbara S.

@Frantic Sloth7:54 - That made me laugh out loud. {For those who don’t remember, @Sloth and I had a bit of a conversation over this cheery tune} Also, I’m pretty sure SWEETRIDE ANNIE is his go to when @John X needs bail money.

@Lobster11 - Good Luck. I see that the side effects seem to be experienced by about 1%, so here’s one point in life where we don’t want to be a 1%er.

Thanks @everyone else. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, now is a good day to schedule one (or even walk-in in some places).

Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted. - Allegedly but probably not actually Churchill.

longsufferingmetsfan 8:37 AM  

Mostly enjoyable, liked the numerical twist

Claiming a Natick at WINTOUR crossing WOOT

The ELP I know is the famous progressive band known for great work such as "In the Beginning" and "Lucky Man"

Mikey from El Prado 8:38 AM  

I slogged through it, but RYANREYNOLDS gets tossed in the garbage along with all the Star Wars, Harry Potter and Game of Thrones trash that keeps popping up crosswords.

chirs 8:43 AM  

Woot for Yipee! Is the Sylvester talking?

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

Ugly for me. Lots of Naticks. HOOT? ROOT?....WOOT??? And ELP? And And the revealers seemed tenuous at best. Way too many proper names and way too pop-cultury at that; I suspect an editor younger than Shortz, who needs a bit of perspective.

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

Kind of giving Rex the side-eye for "owning two RTJ albums" and not knowing El-P's name. They literally say their names all the time in the actual songs. I mean, their best known record opens with Mike screaming "Let's go, El-P!"

Alan 9:00 AM  

Agreed. ELP as a band initialism is as well-known to me as ELO.

Schuly 9:11 AM  

ELP is a prog rock band from the 1970's - would that have been so hard to clue?

John C 9:13 AM  

In my colts college (UNC) honors thesis, I translated and analyzed the poetry of Li Po. What a surprise to see it on this puzzle.

pmdm 9:22 AM  

Nyx: I don't understand why you don't understand. If the PPP is in your wheelhouse (as apparently it was in yours), the puzzle should seem quite easy. But if it isn't, as with me, the puzzle was impossible without a whole bunch of research. Glorified TV guide puzzle? You bet. My feeling is that it is a fine puzzle, but not the the NYT. And not for me.

Gretchen 9:24 AM  

Fun! Should have been a Thursday themer maybe. I loved the baseball season BUNT and RBIS.

GILL I. 9:31 AM  

I wouldn't know an EL P from the TP I was missing in this outhouse. I wanted to BURY the ODOR..
Heavens to yikes....this was WICCA hard. Oh, wait...I knew COCO CHANEL because I'm a classy person.
DONDELILLO could've been dandelions for all I knew. The only REYNOLDS I know are either Debbie or Burt..
PATTON OSWALT made my NOODLE swoon. Michael STIPE made me gird my STEEL.
I seriously needed a mate to dance with. It got my GOAT good.
My LICE runneth over......

PS...@Z. I'm counting on you being fine. I would just say to plan on being tired. I napped 3 times the next day. I was also famished and ate one of those double double cheeseburgers. It was delicious.....

JD 9:38 AM  

Another day another (Star Wars) puzzle.

RooMonster 9:38 AM  

Hey All !
ELP? Who in tarnation is he? (He?) But, crosses worked. Not my cuppa music.

Figured out theme at R_D_. Said, "is there numbers in the grid?", confirmed by 2AM and 2ND. Then already having COCOCHANEL, knew 65A would be C3PO.

Not horrible fill considering the constraints the themers put on the grid. Could've been worse. Plus the Nines above/below the first/last of the long themers, which not only had to jive with those themers, but also go with the 2's and 3. If you know what I'm trying to say. Tough to fill cleanly, is my point. 🙂

Weird clue for BUOY. Couple writeovers, elmo-BERT (every time I see Sesame Street in a clue, I autofill as Elmo), uTes-OTOe-OTOS, OSWALd-OSWALT.

LEOI, my old friend, haven't seen you in a bit. Let's grab a PIE.

A PPP themed puz, but with a twist. Agree with those who say you either know the Nouns, or your hopelessly at sea. Since @Lewis is gone for a bit, there's a triple double-letter block in the SE corner. Quick count got me 11 Doubles.

No F's (No WOOT for that!)
RooMonster
DarrinV

BubbleHead doll 9:40 AM  

Don't TV Guide and even People Magazine have crossword puzzles? Today's puzzle would seem very appropriate for such a publication. One thinks that the New York Times would perhaps shoot for something a touch more "high-brow", shall we say? I doubt that you would ever see this puzzle run in the WaPo or the WSJ for example.

I have never tried to construct a puzzle myself - it sure seems like the ones with themes can disintegrate into an exercise in garbage-time very easily. I wonder if it is a welcome challenge (or even a constructor's adrenaline rush) to successfully finish putting together a puzzle like this that doesn't stink to high heaven (which, IMHO, did not occur today).

Nancy 9:45 AM  

I DON'T KNOW WHO MOST OF THESE BLEEPING PEOPLE ARE!!!!

Yes, I'm shouting.

I couldn't finish the SE because in addition to not knowing any of the names, I had CHIPPERS instead of CHOPSAWS at 40D. I've never heard of CHOPSAWS but I learned a few years ago that CHIPPER is the official word for what I've always called "those earsplitting trucks that eat trees and should never EVER be allowed in Central Park". When they're operating, you can hear them a mile and a half in every direction. Truly. Meaning that this is not a civilized society. No civilized society could possibly invent such a thing.

Anyhow, CHIPPERS gave me ENN?? for the "Winner of seven Tonys in 1977" and it also gave me RIC?? for the "Neopagan religion". You try to solve the damn SE when you have those to work with -- along with 53A to contend with.

One of the worst examples of PPP I've yet seen in a puzzle.

Flying Pediatrician 9:47 AM  

Proud to call William & Mary my alma mater! It’s turned into somewhat of a comedian-producing powerhouse, graduating PATTON OSWALT, John Stewart, and Michelle Wolf (who lived about 10 doors down from me freshman year; we used to have Survivor watch parties together).

Also, the Jacksonville community’s commitment to TEAL is legit. I used to fly along the St. John’s river over the Jaguars’ stadium; all the seats are TEAL, which is a pretty gaudy sight from the air: TIAA Field.

The home runs were the big story from Monday’s Nats-Cards game, but watching Jack Flaherty lay-down a perfect suicide squeeze BUNT for an RBI was my highlight of choice!

JOHN X 9:47 AM  

INT - CHURCH BASEMENT - NIGHT

ME: I AM JOHN X

CROWD: HI JOHN X!

ME: I KNEW EVERYTHING IN TODAY'S PUZZLE. DO YOU KNOW WHY?

CROWD: WHY JOHN X

ME: BECAUSE I AM JOHN X

CROWD: HI JOHN X!

Bertie 9:49 AM  

Agree.

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

Just typing for myself, but WW3 is still a cheat: WWI, WWII, WWIII.

Reverend Bill Johnson 9:52 AM  

I believe ELP is more accurately described as "yacht rock."

God Bless.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

so, how many had GuyS first?? male chauvinist pigs!

Joe Dipinto 9:59 AM  

Possibly the most pointless NYTimes X-word ever created. A "tribute" to Star Wars robots. A "theme" cobbled from a 44-year-old movie that gets shouted out in the puzzle every week as if it's still current.

aNna wintOur.

TJS 10:04 AM  

Mary Pickford ???

Albums ???

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

@Frantic:
Isn't SWEETRIDE ANNIE one of @JOHN X's harem harlots?

I dunno Frantic. I sure don't see JOHN X as a miscegenist, even for fun and profit.

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

Adding a rap or hip-hop artist to the puzzle is a start toward becoming more diverse and inclusive, but these constructors need to try a little harder.

Anonymoose 10:26 AM  

Sorry if someone else said this and I missed it...but PATTON OSWALT is a theme cheat (in Rex language) also. PO from C3PO is simply his initials. It completely ignores the theme of number of letters and the two names have different starting letters, unlike the other three theme answers. I didn't not enjoy the solve but the theme falls apart after starting strong.

I did not know CHOP SAW but I have seen them. Now I know what they're called.

Tim Aurthur 10:34 AM  

Anonymous 9:50 beat me to it: WW3 is a fatal flaw.

Tom R 10:37 AM  

First ditto MikeG. Too many names and unlike Rex I do not know all the dang celebrities in the world, and ESPECIALLY not all the music stars. But my real nit to pick is Acrosslite and square 13 in the NE.

The answers were obvious and I stuck the numerals in for R2D2 and C-3PO, but of course no happy pencil at the end. OK, so I hit solution just to see and Acrosslite stuck in a T (first letter of a rebus). Well the rebus answer would work for the other two squares, but not 13. "Twond" for second place? Utter nonsense. When will Acrosslite be fixed to accept numerals? Apparently not in my lifetime.

jae 10:49 AM  

On the tough side. I kept looking for more to the theme than just initials but never found it.

Add me to the not my cuppa contingent.

tkincher 10:50 AM  

EL-P was an insta-get for me, but, not being big into fox hunting, TALLY HO was the last thing I sussed out.

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

JOHN X - get over yourself. You take up too much bandwidth

Bax'N'Nex 10:53 AM  

Thank god I didn't know "El-P" and "Killermike"...nor ever care to.

Whatsername 10:55 AM  

Um well, where to begin. There were parts I really liked others I could’ve done without. I liked the theme concept but I hate sci-fi and never saw one single Star Wars film, so that part was about as far out of my wheelhouse as it could get. That’s not to criticize the puzzle but it just made it more difficult for me.

No problem with the themers except for OSWALT who was a total mystery, and hadn’t the foggiest clue how to spell it. So here’s an unfamiliar and unusual Proper Name in the long cross combined with a complete glut of PPP (9 of 11) in the long down at 24D* and that whole SE corner was a mess. 64A threw yet another loop into the snarl with the “neo” in the clue and wondering why WICCAN wouldn’t fit.

Not a bad crossword and appropriate for a Wednesday. It just didn’t make me want to NESTLE in for a SWEET RIDE with my coffee.

*OTOS???

JOHN X 11:03 AM  

@Anonymous 10:51 AM

YOU'RE TOUGH BUT FAIR

JC66 11:05 AM  

@Z

Good luck. FWIW, I only had a mild reaction to my second Moderna.

@Frantic

I definitely could have said it, but I didn't.

mathgent 11:16 AM  

Three squares holding a numeral instead of a letter. Not a rebus because the numerals don't substitute for a string of letters, but a nice departure.

Like Gill, I took extra naps. It was the J&J. But no pain or soreness.

The only three PPPs I didn't know were PATTONOSWALT, STIPE, and ELP, with the first two crossing. But the crosses were pretty obvious.

Not a lot of fun overall but I liked seeing MATINGDANCE. In most species it's done by the male. High school boys do it by playing on the football team.

"Embrace something embarrassing" for OWNIT? When I've seen that phrase, I take it to mean taking responsibility for a misdeed.

I've read some DONDELILLO novels, including "White Noise." I don't know why he's so admired.

albatross shell 11:20 AM  

I did well on the short PPP: ANI, LIPO, BERT, ANNIE, BONET, DRE, and the Star War droids or bots.
Not ELP or the long names. Eventually remembered No. 5 and one other crossing C gave me COCO.
Mental block there because the name is in my knowledge base, but fashion and perfumes are in my low interest category. Still I soldiered on and got to the WOOT-WINTOUR cross, and I tried H, R, and T before W. WOOT is Greek to me.

I'm not in with Rex's criticism of the revealer clues. The clue says "hint to to the answers". They are both good hints, just different ones. Three are initials. One is initials plus. But they are still hints. Accurate clues. SLICK and a little slippery, yes?

I enjoyed the puzzle, despite the excess PPP and the excess time it took me. Very nifty, Sharp, Smart, SLICK, or one of those anyway.

egsforbreakfast 11:27 AM  

It doesn’t seem like the Rex rant about cheating on COCOCHANEL, supported by many commenters is, is exactly on target. The two revealer clues contain the phrase “or a hint to ....”. And guess what? They provided very helpful hints to the specified answers. They didn’t say “or the initials of a famous person...”. They provided, as promised, a hint. These hints made the puzzle a very easy, but enjoyable one. Thanks, Brandon Koppy.

Anoa Bob 11:27 AM  

This one could have been written in Swahili and I would have had the same chance of finishing it. Names I didn't know clued with a movie I've never seen (I know R2D2 from previous puzzles but that's about it). When the highlight of my unsuccessful solve attempt was seeing an old friend, the classic muse of history CLIO*, I knew this one was not for me. The needle on my solve buzz meter never got off of zero.

*I once had a failproof mnemonic device for all nine of the classic muse sisters and their respective domains. I wish I could remember what it was.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Not used to numbers in the grid. I knew Artoo but couldn't imagine I had to type in "2"

SomeOneHasToBeMe 11:31 AM  

COCO CHANEL is objectively a cheat, but so what? It's a nice clever one.

I loved this puzzle. A dearth of fill, and most of the obvious fill was at least nicely clued.

I suppose some stuff was obscure, but I find it interesting how other people solve vs how I solve

The pope clue....I mean, I know the last letter is I and then how many 3 letter pope names are there? None come to mind besides LEO.

Same with LIPO. Im gonna guess it's Consentant Vowel, Consentant Vowel, probably ending in PO or PU as the most likely options.

Idk, I like it when I get clues from logical inference like that.

DON DELILLO is the best writer with the worst plots I've ever read. Astounding writer about these mean, dull little people living dull little lives. Maybe that's the point? Never liked him much though.

Newboy 11:32 AM  

Nah!

If names are the game I want more fun. Compare today with Chronicle of Higher Education for Feb 21, 2020 and see what a consistent theme can accomplish. Thank all powers of goodness that archives exist. Maybe today was just too contemporary for an old dog. Thanks for trying Brandon.

albatross shell 11:36 AM  

My first Moderna gave me minor discomfort for 3 days. I had to sleep on my other side. (Hi @Nancy. Did you see my suggestion for getting it in your preferred location? Tell them you faint with arm injections.)

My 2ND injection: I had one day of very very minor discomfort. Relax before the shot. Hope for the best. Best wishes to all.

Masked and Anonymous 11:44 AM  

Day-um. This rodeo was a pretty hard ride, at our house. Didn't know about half the names, and since they were left free to cross paths at will, this puz really put up a heckuva fight. Lost KILOs and LIPOs of precious nanoseconds.

Always cool to see schlock flick celebs like R2D2 and C3PO in the puz, tho. And who can forget A2W1*, too boot?
* from ANNAWINTOUR, who came out as ANNAHINTOUR, in M&A's ill-fated-not-knowin-any-better solvequest.

staff weeject pick: Awful fond of YER, but gonna hafta go with ELP. Always a pleasure to meet another rap celeb, even if they ain't quite as famous as A2W1. Is he/she one of them ELITE ELPERS, like we just met recently? [I tried out the google-munchies on ELP, but got Emerson, Lake & Palmer.]
Primo weeject-with-numbers stacks in the puz's main Star Wars sectors, btw.

Learned somethin new on CHOPSAWS, also. Kinda sounds like it could be a "Chopsticks"-like tune played on a bandsaw at a BARN dance, or somesuch. And M&A was pretty much in the darkside on knowin of DONDE LILLO, the ANNA WOOTIN TOUR, PAT TON-O-SWALT (that name sounds borderline familiar, I'd grant), LIPO Tang, ELP, & HECATE.
Likes: TALLYHO. MATINGDANCE. CENTRAL. ESTROGEN. PLUNGE. Mainly cuz they was long and I knew of em.

Thanx for the challenge, Mr. B1P2Y dude. WICCA-d hard, but it is good for us to suffer.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


**gruntz**

Brit solves NYT 11:54 AM  

Oof, names crossing names crossing names, broken theme... Not good at all.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

@NANCY:
CHIPPER is the official word for what I've always called "those earsplitting trucks that eat trees and should never EVER be allowed in Central Park".

Well... the alternate official word: quickie divorce in CT

"This led the police to conclude the remains [of his wife] had likely been fed through the woodchipper Richard had been seen towing. "
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Helle_Crafts

BigJ 11:59 AM  

Ummm.... WTF is WOOT?????

jb129 12:00 PM  

I spent way too much time on this "Wednesday" puzzle which left me with "WTF?"

Frantic Sloth 12:10 PM  

@JC66 1105am You're right - it was @JOHN X. I knew it began with a "J"...🙄

A 12:10 PM  

Sorry, this is not a crossword puzzle, it's a crossname puzzle. Not why I subscribe. @Nancy, may I borrow your wall?

Hah! Now we know the real reason Lewis took off - he must've gotten wind of this malODORous mess.

@Z and @Lobster11, when I got my 2nd dose I followed @RooMonster’s (I think) advice and drank water all day. Only got a sore arm. Thanks, @Roo, if that was you!

Today is Queen Elizabeth’s 95th birthday. Hope she finds something to provide a moment of levity. Love the imitation of the vibrato.

Whatsername 12:14 PM  

@Z and @Lobster11
Good luck with the vaccine. I myself would’ve felt fine the next day if it hadn’t been for that bus that ran over me during the night.

@Nancy (9:45) I felt your pain in the SE corner with CHOPPERS which made perfect sense to me, and then ENN__ and RIC__ in the crosses. I didn’t go into it in my earlier post because well, I’d already beaten that horse.

jb129 12:15 PM  

BTW - for all those of you who received their 2nd VAX, best of luck. The night I got it, I slept like a baby. Unfortunately, now I'm back to not sleeping. But I feel safe. Best of luck to you all :)

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

To @Z at 8:35 a.m. I don't know what your source precisely means by having "automaton" first appearing in 1639. The term was regularly used by classical Latin authors (Petronius, Suetonius, and others), sometimes as *automaton* and sometimes in the more Latin-looking *automatum*, meaning a self-moving machine or a robot of sorts, pretty much in the modern sense used in Jane Eyre --you think I'm a robot, without feelings.
But the term had been long in use among Greek authors, and was used even as early as Homer to refer to a mechanical device. Thus in 1639 the term was about 2500 years old.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

RandomThoughts 12:21 PM  

ELP...you want "Prog Supergroup" instead? Please say no...

old timer 12:22 PM  

I thought it was a SWEET little puzzle. Of course I knew WINTOUR and CHANEL and actually needed OSWALT to get out of the hole a dug myself into, having put in CHOPperS before CHOPSAWS.

If I had a complaint it would the there should be more than 2 and 3, among the numbered squares. !? 4? Probably not enough space. Plenty of potential 4's though: 4WD comes to mind and of course the coptalk Ten-4.

I just listened to the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose song, which I haven't heard for many a year. And my, little miss EYRE came up with a fine rant, didn't she? I look forward to these daily quotes, even more than I look forward to @JohnX's rants.

Master Melvin 12:27 PM  

One of the worst crossname puzzles ever.

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

I don't know that this puzzle entirely worked, but I really enjoyed a lot of the more unusual parts. RECLAIMED and HECATE are fun words, and ESTROGEN with that cluing was a pleasant surprise. I feel like the puzzle has a better track record than the paper when it comes to treatment of trans people, at this point.

Loved the clues for GOAT, ABBR, and ONS, which made up for my general disdain for the use of the latter two. WW3 is fine. Roman numerals are more common, but it's not like referring to the World Wars with Arabic numerals is unheard of.

Everyone complaining about the ELP clue is embarrassing themselves. Objectively, yes, making it about Emerson, Lake & Palmer would've been easier for the target audience, but come on now.

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

Anon 10:51

Leave JohnX alone

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

Agree with Rex about all but ELP (El-P).

The NYT xword demo may not be fluent in Hip Hop, but EL-P has been well-known in that world for years. Solvers who recognize Run With Jewels know him, and Google returns more results for "Run The Jewels" than for "Patton Oswalt," say.

It must be difficult for constructors to thread in "contemporary" clues/answers while avoiding charges of obscurantism or irrelevance from non-contemporaries (like me). I hope they keep leaning into the new stuff.

David

Nigel Pottle 1:00 PM  

Oh Rex - you suggest ZEROK? That seems very Scrabblish to me - you usually go on about that, and not in a good way. Don Delillo, I just read his most recent book - a rather slim novella, and like @mathgent I don’t get him either - he appears to be so dour. My real beef with the puzzle was the total disconnect from the Star Wars theme to the names. R2D2 is not the first thing that pops into my mind if I come across Ryan Reynolds or Don Delillo. Ditto with C3PO. Seeing Coco Chanel and Anna Wintour together in a puzzle is interesting in its own right, though. I’m also scratching my head about that second R in Rex’s suggestion of Mary Pickford. Whaaaat. By the way as well as the 4 themer names we have ANNAWINTOUR, ANI Difranco. Lisa BONET, CLINT Eastwood, and good old BERT, the Muppet. Not PPP, just People - 9 of them in one puzzle - is that a record?

Teedmn 1:14 PM  

BUOY, this seemed tougher than it was. I've never read anything by DON DELILLO but his name is on so many people's reading lists, I guess I should.

RECLAIMED - I was ruing splatzing that one in because I wanted Mar[ch] for 11D and thought maybe 12D was going to be a rebus (Beat by [a nose?]) but DARN it, BARN got me through to R2D2.

On the other end of the grid, I hesitated mightily. I thought it was C3PiO. ELP? ELPi? I left it at PO because PATTON OSWALT has no "i". Google tells me I'm nuts to have ever doubted. Google does that a lot. Maybe I should switch to BING.

LIPO, yes I've seen him before, and yet, with LI_O in place, had to go elsewhere to find my PIE. Later, looking at LIPO, I realized I hadn't seen any clues about LIPO-suction, har.

Thanks, Brandon, but maybe no people in your NEXT NYTimes puzzle?

Zwhatever 1:16 PM  

@Poggius - I linked to Merriam-Webster earlier which lists the first known English use as 1629, but also has a fascinating “Did you know” section which discusses Byzantium and then lists an etymology from Latin and Greek. Lexico also lists “early 17th century” as the earliest usage, but omits the fascinating anecdote.

@egsforbreakfast - Rex called it a “cheat.” I might have gone with “nettlesome compromise.” R2 - initials. D2 - Initials. C3 - Not initials. PO - Initials. One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn’t belong.

Zippity Do Dah so far. First time around all I had was a bit of a sore arm for a couple of days. The drive through set up was very efficient. From pulling in to pulling out, including the 15 minute post-shot wait, was 20 minutes.

Barbara S. 1:47 PM  

@Z (8:35/1:16 PM) & @Poggius (12:15 PM)
RE: “Automaton.” I just looked in Oxford and the earliest date they cite for the use of the word in an English-language text (although the word itself is in Greek) is 1611 in Coryat’s Crudities: “The picture of a Gentlewoman whose eies were contrived..that they moved up and down by themselves..done by a vice which the Grecians call [Greek word for automaton].” The first use in English cited by Oxford dates to 1625 and is in Beaumont and Fletcher, The Bloody Brother: “[It] doth move alone, A true automaton.” 1625 must be a publication date as I think Beaumont was dead by the 1620s.

@oldtimer (12:22 PM)
I’m glad you’re enjoying them. You can’t be having half the fun reading them as I have posting them!

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

Ugh!!! Please. Please. Please. Can we now dispense with the fiction that Miriam Webster is even remotely close to a good dictionary?

Poggius,
Not only does Homer use the word, he uses it so much people have even written about it. Maybe even people on this very board contributed to the research.

Anonymous 2:47 PM  

Run the Jewels? Patton Oswalt? Who is supposed to know these people?
Rappers, video games, obscure computer terms, all have no place in crosswords.
No one under 50 should be allowed to construct crosswords.

Anonymous 3:12 PM  

@2:44

Merriam Webster has been made (edited) in my NE hometown from the beginning. It is the true truth. The OED is for the Brits.

BooBooGus 3:16 PM  

Anon 2:44
Upon what evidence do you base your assertion about the "fiction that Miriam Webster is even remotely close to a good dictionary"?

Anonymous 3:34 PM  

Boo-Mostly experience. But to cite two recent examples from within the past week, rubric and automaton. A better dictionary would have yielded not only a superior definition in the first case, but in both would have allowed the reader to understand how the word came to be and how it occurs in the wild today.

Nancy 3:39 PM  

Wow, @Barbara S -- Thanks for posting that incredible Bird of Paradise video. I watched both the one you posted and then another one that followed, courtesy of YouTube.

To the various female Birds of Paradise, I say: Whatever turns you on.

To the YouTube censors, I say: Are you sure this isn't banned in Boston?

To the males of the human species, I say: Has any one of you ever worked anywhere near that hard on a seduction??? I mean that seemed really exhausting, didn't it?

Birds are such amazing and fascinating creatures! They really, really are!

Unknown 3:41 PM  

I liked this puz.
I solved it in my average time.
I have never heard of the rap star ELP.
I'm probably as up on rap music as most of the folks on this blog. Probably even more so.
Yet I've never heard of this particular guy.
Somehow, that doesn't bother me in the least.
It's just a puzzle.
That he was clued instead of "Killer Mike" (who I have heard of) strikes Rex as a metaphor.
I really really don't think that's what the constructor was shooting for.
Nor do I think that the Derek Chauvin verdict was a metaphor.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

BooBooGus 3:55 PM  

@Anon - isn't that what we have LMS for ?

Zwhatever 3:57 PM  

@Barbara S - Lexico.com is some sort of partnership with Oxford and have both UK and US versions. Curious that they provide such minimal etymology, but I guess they want people to pay for the fuller information. M-W does something similar, providing only the date without the source for their “first use.” I do like how M-W provides “Recent examples from the Web.” I may just have to pony up the $50/yr for their unabridged dictionary subscription, though.

jberg 4:10 PM  

Oh goodie, now we're starting to argue about dictionaries!

Oh, the puzzle. I had a big blank space at the intersection of PAT-ON and S_IPE. I've never heard of Mr. Oswalt, and though I think I did know STIPE at some point, I didn't remember; thought it might be Snipe. Anyway, it was so ridiculous cross that I decided not to guess, and just came here.

LI PO on the other hand is very famous, though he's been overtaken by Rumi in the "poets from long ago in a country far away" category. But I have a whole book on my shelf of poets from the Tang Dynasty, so it's a tough clue. "Drunken poet of China" would be better.

The ideal substitute for COCO CHANEL would be something in the form of Caleb C. Carr, if only such a person could be found. I can't think of one, though.

@anon, good point about the chipper. Hella Crafts was murdered 10 years before "Fargo" came out, so I'm betting that's how they came up with that body disposal idea for the movie.

OK, now I have to go click on Rex's link to RTJ to see what I've been missing.

Anonymous 4:11 PM  

I find it odd, given Rex's track record, that he complains about "C3" COCO CHANEL but doesn't object to her presence even though she was a Nazi sympathizer and spy.

Rug Crazy 4:11 PM  

Guessed wrong on the vowel in the DeLillo/Lipo cross, thinking that if it were Lipo, they would have sucked the Fat out. At that point iI didn't care

Doc John 4:13 PM  

I also claim LIPO/DELILLO as a Natick. To be fair, I did guess correctly with the I, but still.
As for ELP, any music fan worth their salt has at least heard of them. Hugely influential (yet, shamefully, not in the Rock Hall of Fame).

P.S. Does anyone know how to get the happy pencil to appear? Neither numbers nor writing them as words seemed to work.

Anonymous 4:17 PM  

@Anon 2:47

"Don't trust anyone over 30" morphs into "don't trust anyone under 50". SMH

JC66 4:21 PM  

@Doc John

Try using just the first letters, i.e. RTDT and CTPO.


Worked for me.

Blue Stater 4:34 PM  

WS's method of making puzzles easily and artificially difficult is to break the rules, whether the one that says you have to be correct on your facts or the one that says your word definitions must be accurate. Today it's using numbers instead of letters. What's next -- using the Cyrillic alphabet? This puzzle was deeply silly and a waste of time.

Anonymous 4:48 PM  

@4:11

did not know that. kind of like a certain ex-politician was cozy with today's dictators. can't afford, or need, anything Chanel.

Anonymous 4:54 PM  

Did anyone else have trouble downloading the puzzle last night? I kept getting an error saying my subscription had lapsed (not true) and now all my stats are gone. I solve on an ipad using the nytx app.

Kevin

Whatsername 5:02 PM  

@jberg (4:10) You’re right about Fargo. The Coen Brothers later confirmed that the wood chipper scene was based on the Connecticut murder conviction.

Scott 5:22 PM  

I need to stop looking at these comments, y'all are cranky old farts and I'm 50 years old AND cranky. I finished this in about 12 minutes, sorry your heads are all in the sand about popular culture (and um, literature). Imagine a world where you haven't experienced the joy of Patton Oswalt's standup comedy or the challenge of a Don Delillio novel (not exactly a newbie on the fiction scene, he's 84 years old! Hell, Patton is 52) or the righteous power of Run the Jewels (and ELP is a band for old-fogies and it's prog rock, Reverend, not yacht rock). Also, Michael Stipe is 61 and Anna Wintour is 71. Someone said that this is "Possibly a puzzle that skews younger?" All these pop culture people are OLD. But not as old as this commenting crew, I guess. Elitist, y'all are elitist! Crosswords, even NYT xwords, aren't ONLY for old people, dangit.

Michael G. Benoit 6:11 PM  

That all threw me for a loop, too. Definitely a Natick situation for me. (Though, being from New England, Natick itself is easy for me.) WOOT didn't exactly jump at me either when I had _OOT.

ONS had me rolling me eyes. That's just gross. Otherwise, a fun puzzle!

Barbara S. 6:26 PM  

@Z (3:57 PM)
I'm glad to see you're conscious and coherent! The stuff I quoted is from the Compact OED -- yeah, imagine, a book. It's that 2-volume edition with the teeny-tiny print and a magnifying glass. I love diving into it when I want to search out the misty origins of something.

@Nancy (3:39 PM)
That particular sort of bird of paradise won my heart some years ago when I was watching a nature doc on TV. From some angles while he's dancing, he actually loses his identity as a bird, looking a bit like a small, jewelled UFO. If such a bird were to alight in my front yard and start doing that dance for me, I'd be off with him like a shot. (Don't tell my husband.)

Space Is Deep 6:59 PM  

Epic fail. First DNF on a Wednesday in years.

Nigel Pottle 7:06 PM  

Earlier I noted that there were 9names in this puzzle - but I found more I missed in my count - how about CLIO, LEO1, LIPO, ANNIE, HECATE, OTOS? and dare I say, R2D2 and C3P0. Hmm so that makes 17. Did I miss any? A little more than necessary?

egsforbreakfast 7:51 PM  

@Z. - I think you missed my point. I understand that not all of the themers would work if the clue had said “or a famous person’s initials...”. The clue doesn’t say that. It says “... or a hint to 42- and 53 Across”. It was a good hint for COCOCHANEL, but not a good hint for her initials (CC).

Anonymous 8:06 PM  

I liked the synecdoche/metonymy clue/answer which was sort of a call/response, "Nice wheels!/Sweet ride". I wanted to write "synecdoche" but this is even better.

RRDDCCCPO 8:39 PM  

@Scott -- There's a reason that crosswords are called crosswords and not crossnames.

Go play trivial pursuit and watch jeopardy and stop foisting your pop culture names on us. And stop being such an ageist. I'm probably younger than you are (36, in case you care) and I don't see why I should have to know all this crap. What does wanting to have a puzzle based on vocab and not PPP make someone a "cranky old fart". Ugly language, Scott -- real ugly.

Paul 8:39 PM  

I mixed up the books White Light and White Noise in my head, and Rudy Rucker fits in 34A (also works as an "R2"). Was so sure of that answer that it took me a long time to figure out why none of the crosses seemed to be working :(

TTrimble 8:54 PM  

@Barbara S.
Drive-by comment here. I have the compact OED myself, but I rarely use it because the magnifying glass that came with it really isn't powerful enough -- I'd need to get a better one -- so it's a pain to wade through and try to read the thickets of citations. I prefer my old Random House Unabridged, perhaps partly for sentimental reasons that hark back to teenage years when this volume delighted me so much, in an old-timey nerdy budding philologist way. I find the etymologies in the RH easier to read than in the OED.

Now -- if I had a shelf's full of the "uncompact" OED, that might be a whole different story. It would be fun and strange to one day return to my childhood mode of learning, which was curling up in a chair with a fat dictionary or encyclopedia volume and just leafing indiscriminately. Those days feel long gone.

(Don't get me wrong -- I think Wikipedia is just wonderful, and of course the knowledge spread across Wikipedia dwarfs, by several orders of magnitude, what is possible in a traditional print encyclopedia. But the whole experience of the online encyclopedia is qualitatively very different from the sort of garden of delectation that's possible just perusing topics that begin with the letter M, say.)

Alexa and Dan 9:09 PM  

The ABBR of cotangent is COT. No one would ever write out COTAN.

TTrimble 9:49 PM  

@Alexa and Dan
Agreed. That was goofy and awkward as hell.

RAD2626 10:18 PM  

Well, I am clearly out of the flow today based on the 100+ comments and Crossword Fiend. I liked the puzzle a lot. Had to suss a few names but sometimes have to suss a few words. Thought use of droids was very cute. Love DELILLO. Zero K is weird but The Angel Esmeralda is a startlingly beautiful and haunting collection of stories. Don’t understand hating clever elegant work like this but fawning over common missing last words? Prefer this every time, but again clearly I appear to be out of the mainstream. Thank you Brandon.

albatross shell 10:18 PM  

@Z
A slavish devotion to the unwritten rules of crosswords is the hobgoblin of purist mentalities.

Actually I didn't mind your compromise description. But your Sesame Street simplicity undercuts the mildness of your position.

"Mommy, Mommy. They broke the rules."
"What rules?"
"All revealers shall always be the same if 3 of them are."
"That is not a rule."
"But it should be."
"Rules are made to be broken. Unless I make them. Now go out and play, dear."

Lakehouse55 1:01 AM  

"LOL" that you own 2 RTJ albums and couldn't name one of the 2 members of the group and somehow that indicates that he is obscure and not that you are ignorant

pdplot 7:10 AM  

Worst puzzle ever in the NY Times. Broke the taboo against using numbers in a grid, too many PPP by far - I finished, but just a total slog. I know one woman who would have loved this puzzle. She was a TV addict and raved over the B and C list celebrities found here. I know I'm old, but Jeez.

kitshef 7:13 PM  

Curious solve today. First, I have to say this was the worst puzzle in years, full of unknown names and questionable clues and just overall very unpleasant. If ever a day really merited a classic Rex-rant, this is the one.

And yet, despite having no idea who ELP or DON DELILLO or PATTON OSWALT or LIPO are, I finished in probably 2/3 or less of my usual time, so everything was either auto-fill easy or "skip it" hard.

spacecraft 10:40 AM  

What day is today? I'm confused. Cluing LIPO as--what now?--a "T'ang dynasty poet" means that the cross has to be absolutely solid, and that such a clue should be banished to Saturday. Especially when there's a Wednesday clue readily available. Apparently DONDELILLO has at least a modicum of fame (not here, though), but nobody but a dedicated T'ang dynasty scholar is going to know LIPO. Come on, let's at least TRY to be a little fair. As for my guess, I resisted the letter I because: geez, why not just "some cosmetic surgery, for short?" I played around with other vowels, but wound up writing I, shaking my head the whole way. A perfectly horrible clue that surely should have been edited out.

As to the rest of it, I don't mind the numbers (except for LEOI!); they're within the spirit of the theme. But to get there required too much fill-wrenching. What is a CHOPSAW? Egad. And it's...WEDNESDAY?? Gotta be kidding. Double-bogey.

thefogman 11:15 AM  

Agree with Rex. The theme “cheat” at 42A should not have been given the green light by the editor. How did it get by? Does WS just not care much about quality anymore? The troble here is that there aren’t many (or any) notable people with the initials CCC and also fit into that ten-space spot. https://peoplebyinitials.com/?q=CCC The theme just doesn’t fly and that’s why are passed a counterfeit..

Burma Shave 11:27 AM  

DARN SLICK

In her ADCOPY, said COCOCHANEL,
"When you OWNIT, EVEN ESTROGEN is enhanced,
GALS, take the PLUNGE, the SWEET ODOR works well,
TALLYHO, RIDE off to your NEXT MATINGDANCE!"

--- ANNIE WINTOUR

Diana, LIW 3:08 PM  

Another fun puzzle made unfinishable by a couple of unknown names.

Lady Di

rondo 3:28 PM  

I knew COCOCHANEL, others from crosses.

ANI DiFranco a Righteous Babe. (That's her record label.)

Believe in the Tue/Wed flip flop yet?

leftcoaster 3:44 PM  

From R2D2 in the NE to C3PO in the SW, this was a WOOT! (but not a hoot!). A good SWEET RIDE in between them.

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