Activist Copeny known as Little Miss Flint / FRI 5-7-21 / Caleb represents him in East of Eden / Liquor brand that inspired the name of a Grammy-winning rapper / Best-selling video game that takes place in space / Banned refrigerant for short / Roman god of beginnings and endings / Nonkosher deli order

Friday, May 7, 2021

Constructor: Brooke Husic

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: MARI Copeny (14A: Activist Copeny known as "Little Miss Flint") —
Amariyanna "Mari" Copeny (born July 6, 2007), also known as Little Miss Flint, is a youth activist from Flint, Michigan. She is best known for raising awareness about Flint's ongoing water crisis and fundraising to support underprivileged children in her community and across the country. // When Copeny was eight years old, she wrote a letter to President Barack Obama in order to draw attention to the water crisis in her hometown of Flint, Michigan. Her letter prompted a response from the president where he shared that "letters from kids like you are what make me so optimistic about the future". On May 4, 2016 he visited Flint to see first-hand the devastation to the lives of Flint's citizens as a result of their lead-poisoned water supply. That visit resulted in the declaration of a federal state of emergency in January 2016 and contributed to a nationwide awareness of the city's critical situation. [...] Media coverage of Copeny's work has made reference to her as "Little Miss Flint", a nickname that was coined following her win at a beauty contest in 2015. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was hit and miss for me. Let's start with the good stuff. Crossing OUT OF LEFT FIELD (20A: Unexpected) with INSIDE BASEBALL (10D: Esoterica) is a beautiful move. I don't like when someone tries to foist a theme on me on Friday or Saturday, but I do not mind it all if someone makes a couple thematically-related answers dance around one another like this. You don't have to be a baseball fan to appreciate this kind of wink. In fact, the thing that relates both answers isn't just baseball, it's also the fact that both phrases are idiomatic expressions used outside of baseball. That's how they're clued, in fact, via their idiomatic meaning—nothing in the clues suggests baseball—which means that the baseballness of it all sneaks up on you and surprises you, in a good way. And thus we satisfy both the sports and the non-sports solvers. Win-win. I also loved the clue on BACARDI—here, the answer really snuck up on me. My first thought was "Who the hell is this rapper named BAC-something? Is BACURAU a liquor brand?" (I just saw the movie "Bacurau" last week, which is why that, and not the much more obvious BACARDI, leapt into my brain at BAC-). Then a few seconds later: "Oh, it's BACARDI. But who ... ohhhhhhhhhh ... OK, yeah, I hear it now." People say "fun fact" a lot, but for me, the fact that Cardi B's name was inspired by BACARDI is, indeed, fun. 

There are some issues with the fill today—ASPURE REDOS and INAT all caused some wincing, and stand-alone RICAN and oddly-adjectivized CADENT weren't helping. But the bigger problem for me was the cluing, which just missed big a couple of times. I was semi-mad about the clue on TOTE BAGS (37D: Common items at merchandise stands), since it's one of those "let's repeat the clue from that other answer (41D) where it was a much better fit"-type moments that allllllllways bug me (I have never understood the appeal of the repeated-clue gimmick; it usually just means that in one case the clue is far less apt). Merch stands def have SHIRTS (usually of the T-variety) but TOTE BAGS? There are many many TOTE BAGS lying around my house in various closets, and not one of them came from "merchandise stands." But ... like I said, semi-mad. The clue's not wrong, exactly, so ... not a major issue. The clue on PROUDEST rankled somewhat more (3D: ___ moment (crowning achievement)). When you put a parenthetical explainer after your fill-in-the-blank clue, it really implies that you're going after a very specific, tight phrase, one that actually needs parenthetical explanation. But our answer is just an ordinary superlative adjective. It was so anticlimactic to work cross after cross on that answer, only to end up with ... just ... PROUDEST. There is no necessary connection between "crowning achievement" and "PROUDEST moment." Henry Aaron's "crowning achievement" was breaking Ruth's home run record, but was it his "PROUDEST moment?" Maybe it was, I don't know. But pride deals with how *you* feel, where "crowning achievement" implies stature in the eyes of *others*. Also, I feel like "PROUDEST moment" is used more often in the self-deprecating phrase "... not my PROUDEST moment" than it is to refer to, say, breaking the four-minute mile or climbing Mount Everest. I am talking about this clue more than it warrants, but its slight offness is grating. Not, however, as grating as the clue on "IT'S SO YOU!," which is simply inaccurate (29A: "That fits perfectly!"). "IT'S SO YOU" expresses so much more than mere fit. Something might fit perfectly and not be YOU at all. It has to fit *and* look great on you *and* really express something about your particular style or personality. I could put on a leotard that fit perfectly and literally no one would say to me "IT'S SO YOU!" The botched clue here is a total unforced error. And it's so disappointing, because as fill, "IT'S SO YOU!" is amazing. Really great stuff. I just wish it had a clue worthy of its greatness.

No real missteps today except for YEARNSFOR before YEARNINGS (30D: Wishes). Oh, and no idea what "STARCRAFT" is, so that took a little work (41A: Best-selling video game that takes place in space). Had "MINECRAFT" in there for a bit. "MINECRAFT" takes place in space, right? I mean, we're all "in space," if you think about it. Well, that's all. Gonna go drink a pot of coffee and sit on the front steps and listen to the birds and go for a run and hold virtual office hours and then watch TCM Film Festival movies all day long. Hope your day is full and joyful as well.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


OffTheGrid 6:39 AM  

Not very hard and not very interesting except for Parts of a restaurant's overhead/TOQUES.

Conrad 6:41 AM  

@Rex in a leotard fails the breakfast test.

Lewis 6:42 AM  

Oh, I liked this very much. I’ll do a Brooke themeless anywhere any day, based on this. It’s current, it’s classic, it has clues that put my brain on ALERT and get it revving, it gives me enough cracks of light to keep me eager, and it’s glittered with bits of smile-producing wit.

Your pair of puzzles with Sid Sivakumar were revelations, Brooke, as is today’s solo. In my book, you have arrived after these three NYT puzzles, and my door is wide open to your future creations. Thank you for an everything-I-want-in-a-Friday jaunt, and more please!

Lewis 6:51 AM  

Technical note: The symmetry of this puzzle is diagonal.

Richard 6:52 AM  

Good puzzle. Interesting mirror image on a diagonal.

smalltowndoc 7:04 AM  

@Lewis: The symmetry was the first thing that caught my attention. At first I didn’t see it, making me think the Cardinal Rule had been violated. Then, once I saw it, I still couldn’t figure out what the mirror image of 20A was. Finally, overcoming my lack of pattern recognition, I realized it was 10D. In other words, the two long symmetric answers contain the baseball mini theme . Surprised Rex didn’t comment on this.

amyyanni 7:09 AM  

Share Rex's nit on IT'S SO YOU and some of the odd words, but otherwise found this a strong Friday challenge. As the kitchen and baths are being redone, my day is full of cheerful chaos.

Chaiminded 7:13 AM  

Sorry,but the explanation of ESOTERICA as"inside baseball" is pure doublespeak.

TTrimble 7:20 AM  

A pot of coffee, Rex? I don't know how big your pot is, but in my house, that'd be a lot of coffee for one person, even if stretched out over a day.

Re PROUDEST (moment) and IT'S SO YOU: I would remind Rex that the clue and answer don't have to be exact synonyms, the clue doesn't have to be a definition, and the answer doesn't have to apply universally. It's a clue. A rule of thumb that comes closer, and that often works for me, is that the answer be something that fits or can be substituted for the clue under some reasonable circumstances. Existential, not universal quantification. So for example, if there is an implicit "Knowing you and your style", an understood premise that goes with "that fits perfectly", then those are circumstances where IT'S SO YOU fits perfectly. A similar consideration applies to PROUDEST.

On the other hand, if Rex had offered better or more accurate clues, or what he thinks would be better clues, I would have read them with interest.

I started the puzzle last night but after a few drinks, and it wasn't going all that well so I put it away for the morning when all was revealed. Not my PROUDEST moment as crossword solver. For example, TURING took me (a mathematician) much longer than it should have. Solve time was 5 minutes over my average.

Interesting symmetry in the puzzle, where the SW to NE diagonal is the unique line of symmetry. Don't recall whether I've seen that before. The fill seems pretty clean, so overall I'd say it was a good job.

Fun fact, speaking of Minecraft (not STARCRAFT): if the fictional world of Minecraft were real and displayed as a parallelogram (which it is), then the length of one of its sides would be close to the diameter of Neptune. It's big.

(yd 0. Today's SB is funny-looking.)

bocamp 7:30 AM  

Thx @Brooke for a perfect Fri. puz. Didn't feel too far out in LEFTFIELD on this one. ⚾️

Just a tad south of Med.

APPS & AMP were all I could come up with in the NW. Got a better hold in the Dakotas and Great Lakes, then branched out from there.

I was surprised to come in a few mins under avg, as I didn't feel I was on Brooke's wavelength; but, all the fair crosses were there to move me around the bases to home for the winning run.

@TTrimble (late yd) ๐Ÿ‘

yd 0

Peace ~ and Good Health to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Richard Stanford 7:34 AM  

Can someone explain REDOS? I was expecting REntS there, and I haven’t figured out the right pair of meanings finger a match.

Definitely a slow beginning for me until I realized from EVES that there was only one likely choice for a city ending in V.

Joaquin 7:37 AM  

Rex hopes my day is "joyful", yet so far I have been unable to unsee the image of Rex in a leotard.

Son Volt 7:37 AM  

Generally a fun time here. Tilt your head to the side to see the diagonal mirror - it’s pretty cool. Overall fill was solid - with some glue here and there. Liked the baseball sub-theme and the clue for TOQUES although has a little side eye to the TORQUE cross. Never played STARCRAFT and don’t drink BACARDI - no idea on MARI or IAGO.

I liked to see CADENT but the ROES plural was a little much. A friend of mine typically orders a REUBEN with mustard - no swiss or russian which I believe is kosher.

Enjoyable Friday solve.

Hungry Mother 7:42 AM  

I thought I was plodding along and then I was done. Call it very easy here. I think that SB has helped me find words in xwords as well.

SouthsideJohnny 7:57 AM  

Ok, how many people know what a TOQUE is - especially in the context that it’s clued in ? I wandered through several different Google results, and I’m still not sure that I even know. As best as I can tell, it’s some type of a chef’s hat (perhaps it is a French word, or of French origin ?). If so, I can see the “overhead” connection - but boy that strikes me as a loose and sloppy clue. Or, perhaps I’ve just led a sheltered life and have totally missed the boat on its clue/meaning. Does seem like a lot of machinations to get to a 6 letter crossword answer - welcome to Friday !

kitshef 8:02 AM  

Definitely off my game today. Had ANGELO_ in place, and knew it was a poet, and all I could think of was ANGELOS?!

REDOS, IN AT THE FINISH and PROUDEST moment are not part of the language as I hear spoken (or see written). Nor CADENT. Nor can I match IT’S SO YOU to “That fits perfectly”. Some days you just know the constructor is not from the same (age, country, region) as you.

The Joker 8:02 AM  

@Joaquin. To unsee the image of Rex in a leotard, picture him at a naturist camp.

mambridge 8:08 AM  

Richard, "lets" as in tennis. Totally baffled by INSIDE BASEBALL.

pabloinnh 8:10 AM  

@Richard Stanford-Lots and lots of people are going to tell you to "think tennis".

I liked this one fine, just crunchy enough for a Friday. I learned about MARI and found out CADENT is a word and also what TELAVIV means, so a worthwhile experience. This also may be the day that makes me remember TURING, hasn't happened yet.

OTOH, nobody has ever told me ITSSOYOU about clothing or anything else, and my video game career ended with pong. But two baseball clues, huzzah. The Sox-Tigers series (hi Z) was a mess but interesting. Beaneaters still in first, and I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

Very nice Friday, BH. Big Hugs for this one.

albatross shell 8:17 AM  

Most unusual: the symmetry.
Best crossing pair: TORQUE TOQUES.
Best answer referencing yesterday: CITED.
Worst echo of yesterday clue: 11D.
Best hidden BASEBALL answer: LEO.
Best fuck-me answer: HOSE.
Most changed answer: bulk, pump, TONEUP.
Best fuck-me one letter change: ImPERIL
Best hidden dog: WOOFER.
Worst Rex complaint: ITSSOYOU, cause ITSSOhim.
Biggest Rex consistency question: Was he complaining about INSIDEBASEBALL meaning esoteria last time? Or not?
Biggest is that a word question? CADENT.
Best battle of the cities: PALOALTO v. TELAVIV.

"It fits perfectly" to it fits you perfectly to it fits the whole you perfectly to its so you. Expansive definition of "fits". Within Friday misdirect range. I'd say.

Barbara S. 8:17 AM  

I found this reasonably challenging but fair. It took me just about forever, though, because of three errors right out of the gate: plea for DRAW (5A), brava for RICAN (9A) and PAsadena for PALO ALTO (2D). That last was pretty dumb. Oh – and I haven’t even mentioned amana for OSTER at 19A. There were a few more false starts down south, too, but I’ll spare you. You could say that I was slow to get going.

I agree with Rex about OUT OF LEFT FIELD and INSIDE BASEBALL, that latter an expression that I only understood the metaphorical meaning of thanks to the discussion of a recent puzzle. I loved the TOQUES/TORQUE cross, and YEARNINGS (the S seemed appropriate and not glaringly POCish), FIASCOS (more POCish), URBANE, and CADENT (new to me but inferable).

Tricky clues for PLOT (“Device used in filmmaking”), IAGO (You’d name your parrot IAGO? Was it evil?), HOSE (“Running apparel”), and SITTERS (“Stay-at-home workers”). I was proud of myself for remembering ACELA from other puzzles (but it wasn’t my PROUDEST moment). Two places I kept alternating alternate answers until I finally settled on the right one: 23D – in went CAIN, then abel, then back to CAIN; likewise 55D – in went BAE, then hon, then back to BAE. Thanks to @Lewis and others for pointing out the diagonal symmetry.

Today's quotation to follow.

Barbara S. 8:20 AM  

Today we have a guest-quoter – hooray! Many thanks to @Nancy for this poem by ROBERT BROWNING, born May 7, 1812. (QUESTION: On Sunday, we had the word EPODE (2D), clued as "Classical poem form". Does anyone know if this is an EPODE?)

Love among the Ruins

Where the quiet-coloured end of evening smiles,
Miles and miles
On the solitary pastures where our sheep
Tinkle homeward thro' the twilight, stray or stop
As they crop—
Was the site once of a city great and gay,
(So they say)
Of our country's very capital, its prince
Ages since
Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far
Peace or war.

Now the country does not even boast a tree,
As you see,
To distinguish slopes of verdure, certain rills
From the hills
Intersect and give a name to, (else they run
Into one)
Where the domed and daring palace shot its spires
Up like fires
O'er the hundred-gated circuit of a wall
Bounding all
Made of marble, men might march on nor be prest
Twelve abreast.

And such plenty and perfection, see, of grass
Never was!
Such a carpet as, this summer-time, o'er-spreads
And embeds
Every vestige of the city, guessed alone,
Stock or stone—
Where a multitude of men breathed joy and woe
Long ago;
Lust of glory pricked their hearts up, dread of shame
Struck them tame;
And that glory and that shame alike, the gold
Bought and sold.

Now—the single little turret that remains
On the plains,
By the caper overrooted, by the gourd
While the patching houseleek's head of blossom winks
Through the chinks—
Marks the basement whence a tower in ancient time
Sprang sublime,
And a burning ring, all round, the chariots traced
As they raced,
And the monarch and his minions and his dames
Viewed the games.

And I know, while thus the quiet-coloured eve
Smiles to leave
To their folding, all our many-tinkling fleece
In such peace,
And the slopes and rills in undistinguished grey
Melt away—
That a girl with eager eyes and yellow hair
Waits me there
In the turret whence the charioteers caught soul
For the goal,
When the king looked, where she looks now, breathless, dumb
Till I come.

But he looked upon the city, every side,
Far and wide,
All the mountains topped with temples, all the glades'
All the causeys, bridges, aqueducts,—and then
All the men!
When I do come, she will speak not, she will stand,
Either hand
On my shoulder, give her eyes the first embrace
Of my face,
Ere we rush, ere we extinguish sight and speech
Each on each.

In one year they sent a million fighters forth
South and North,
And they built their gods a brazen pillar high
As the sky
Yet reserved a thousand chariots in full force—
Gold, of course.
O heart! oh blood that freezes, blood that burns!
Earth's returns
For whole centuries of folly, noise and sin!
Shut them in,
With their triumphs and their glories and the rest!
Love is best.

Ellen C 8:21 AM  

Inside baseball and esoteric are two different things ...

RooMonster 8:24 AM  

Hey All !
Went looking for the symmetric pairing of 10D, saw nothing, said, "wait a minute, what's the deal?", then saw the Diagonal Symmetry from block 13 down to block 58. Interesting. Brooke just decided one day to think, "hey, haven't seen a diagonal symmetry puz in forever, I think I'll make one." And there you have it.

Neat puz, liked the Q shoved in there, with s great clue on TOQUES, a word I only know from puzs. But with the surrounding I'd, I thought, "Q? Ah, yes, TOQUES!" NICE JOB in that! (Had good JOB first)

Chuckled at myself after getting TELAVIV. Of course, said I, but only having the ending V at first, thought, "dang, what city ends in V?"

Other random observations, WOOFER means the clue, but kinda opposite the clue (in dog sense) also. REUBENS are delicious! Have to like corned beef, though. FIASCOS is a cool word. ON ICE instead of IN ICE. Discuss. ๐Ÿ˜

Five F's (three in OUT OF LEFT FIELD)

Annoyee 8:43 AM  

Think tennis

Nancy 8:46 AM  

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who would look long and hard for a "rapper" with which to clue one of the world's great and most famous liquor brands. And those who wouldn't.

And, there another two kind of people in the world: Those who would clue IAGO by means of a parrot. And those who wouldn't.

Moving right along -- and crashing smack-dab into the initials crossing the video game. I thought it was PCPs that were banned. No? CFC sounds like either a creation of the New Deal or one of America's current and most secret spy organizations. I must read up on my refrigerants.

All I could think of for the non-kosher item was HAM, LOBSTER, SHRIMP and BACON. I had a "B", but it didn't go with any of them. REUBEN is quite nice actually -- you're mixing the Swiss cheese with the Corned Beef. I assume that's the problem. But for those of you who've never tasted a REUBEN -- my deepest sympathies.

I liked some things about this puzzle and didn't like others so much. But no one would say to me about it: IT'S SO YOU.

TheMadDruid 8:47 AM  

A let in tennis is a redo. If the server hits the net with the serve but the balls lands in the correct quadrant the server gets to serve again.

Joaquin 8:49 AM  

Hey, @Joker (8:02) - Your idea worked great. Now don't forget to read my obit in tomorrow's paper.

Nancy 8:56 AM  

Thanks, @Barbara S!

TTrimble 8:59 AM  

Hate to break it to ya, but yes I knew what a TOQUE is, and I believe it's a well-known word. Yes, it's a chef's hat, often white (toque blanche), and often with a stovepipe shape at the bottom and puffy up top. You've seen it many times I'm sure. It's the kind of hat that lets you know that a chef is a chef. Think Chef Boyardee -- that's exactly what you should be picturing.

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

@albatross shell - your "worst rex complaint" elicited quite a laugh!.

albatross shell 9:15 AM  

I do not jot things down as I think of them (my memory is about what you claim yours to be) but you hit 4 of my forgotten comments:

Best hidden Bard answer: IAGO
Best sandwich I had Wednesday: REUBEN.
Best guess why its not kosher: cheese and meat on the same grill.
Worst memory for a middle letter: CFC.

Cliff 9:20 AM  

After finally seeing "it's so you", I assumed the clue was a slight misdirect:: ~ not meaning it fits your body, but rather that it fits your style.

Z 9:21 AM  

Easy East, Challenging West, so I guess medium is about right. And the challenge is right where Rex commented, IT’S SO YOU and PROUDEST moment. @albatross shell gets the stretch that makes the IT’S SO YOU clue acceptable in his last paragraph at 8:17, but boy howdy that is stretching the rubber band to near snapping. Hence, the answer was nearly opaque to me for a very long time. And I think the “know your clichรฉs” response to the “What is your PROUDEST moment” is always something like “being a good parent” or “being a good spouse,” never winning the Nobel or setting a single season record. So that one, too, took me many precious nanoseconds to suss out before softly growling “that’s not quite right.” The adjectivized CADENT wasn’t helping matters. I don’t really know, but it feels like 40% of my solve time was spent in that corner.

I seem to remember STARCRAFT being the most popular game in Korea at one point. Hey, it is. That article is much more recent than I anticipated, because I seem to remember learning the popularity when the boys were boys. My first guess was asteroids. Nice of the puzzle to bring the PPP into the 21st century.

@The Joker - You are not helping! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚

@Ellen C - To me they are perfect synonyms, arcana known only by specialists. ๐Ÿง

@TTrimble - My morning is one pot minimum. I use a French Press. My hand crafted mugs (it happens when your spouse becomes a potter- I get all the rejects) are quite large compared to what you might buy at BB&B*, so I only have two “cups” per pot.

@pabloinnh - OMG we are so bad. I think Baseball Prospectus had us maxing out at 60 wins. Right now it looks like we’ll be lucky to win 45. How the hell we swept the Astros is beyond me.

*@Frantic Sloth - Bed, Bath, & Beyond ๐Ÿ˜˜

Mill City Architect 9:27 AM  

Webster’s Collegiate Definition
1a : designed for or understood by the specially initiated alone
a body of esoteric legal doctrine
— B. N. Cardozo
b : requiring or exhibiting knowledge that is restricted to a small group

Inside baseball (metaphor)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In American slang, the term inside baseball refers to the minutiae and detailed inner workings of a system that are only interesting to, or appreciated by, experts, insiders, and aficionados.[1][2] The phrase was originally used as a sports metaphor in political contexts, but has expanded to discussions of other topics as well.[1] Language commentator William Safire wrote that the term refers to details about a subject that require such a specific knowledge about what is being discussed that the nuances are not understood or appreciated by outsiders.[3]

RooMonster 9:30 AM  

... surrounding U's....
Damn auto-correct


Tale Told By An Idiot 9:31 AM  

Yesterday was the 8th anniversary of the death of my twin sister and today we have HOSE, a word that reminds me of a story about her. Sometime when she was in her late 40s or early 50s a new boss was hired. Perhaps some of you know him : young, cocky, apparently needing to prove himself by being a jerk. He soon issued a decree that women had to wear hose in the office (this would be in the early 1990s) so the next day my sister arrived with a piece of garden hose draped elegantly around her neck. Ah, words!

albatross shell 9:39 AM  

@Tale Told 931am
Great tale there. Thanks!

Unknown 9:46 AM  


Your comments echo Rex's style when he doesn't know a word.

Nancy 9:50 AM  

@Tale Told (9:1) -- What an inspired takedown of a jerk. Obviously, Gloria Steinem at her most rebellious and iconoclastic has nothing on your sister.

SomeOneHasToBeMe 9:50 AM  

My favorite moment from this puzzle is the TOQUES/TORQUE crossing, for a few reasons:

1. It's a nice, well clued, "honest" Q. No weird abbreviations, no middle eastern countries, no corners. 2 Qs, 2 Us.

2. Both of these are perfectly reasonable common words that would be absolutely fair in probably anything but a Monday.

3. Both of these have all the hallmarks of good words to use in your grid- aside from the Qs lots of vowels, and R, T, S as well.

4. "Toke" is one of those wretched, wink wink nudge nudge hahaha weed amiright? fill. (Looking at you, "Maui") Nice to see a better use of the phonemes.

5. Both are a nice juicy 6 letters long.

In other words, this feels like a little slap upside the head to the hacky Q clues. The cheap "Summer activity" Or "City in N. M." 3 letter clues. And it's done while illustrating that you can drop Qs into a grid without being obscure, or hacky, or saddling yourself with a bunch of oddball letters.

They're Friday hard, but because of the clues, not because I had to remember middle eastern geography. Loved it.

Mothra 9:53 AM  


Mr. Cheese 9:55 AM  

I’ve never seen or heard “BAE” used in any way let alone as “sweetie”.
Am I old, out-of-touch, uninformed, square, xxxx (pick one)

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

I'll go out on a limb and complain that TORQUE isn't a calculation, but rather a parameter or measurement. A F-1 racer has not much TORQUE, but goes like a bat out of hell with 1.6 litre engine that buzzes along at 15,500 RPM, while your average over-the-road semi has over 2,000 lb/feet at about 1,500 RPM. It's not as if your calculating the sine or some such of an arc. Your just not.

RooMonster 9:59 AM  

Sympathies, @Tale Told.
But a fun story!

@The Joker
Damn, man. Now I have to sing the Brady Bunch song to get rid of that! (Har!)

Was following all you SBers yesterday, jealous of your QB's. It seems my word-finding abilities are waning. I still do the SB, but not with much gusto anymore. Two days ago, with the 952 final score ๐Ÿ˜, I got to Genius and was content. (Sympathies accepted! ๐Ÿ˜†)

RooMonster Reply Guy

Rube 10:03 AM  

Why does puzzle have to be symmetric?

Solid Friday. Not too easy and lots of fun clues like OUTOFLEFTFIELD which was the name of a sports column written by the great Stan Isaacs back In the 20th century

JD 10:14 AM  

Liked this. Things I didn't know were inferable from crosses. What @Lewis said.

@Nancy, I think it may be that there are two generations at play here. Millenials and Boomers. And we're heading into a time when there will be more and more constructors from the first and less and less from the second. That rapper and Disney character wouldn't be a hard search for the M's.

Joe Dipinto 10:15 AM  

"Proudest moment" is going for the job interview angle. An interviewee is often asked about this, meaning in a professional capacity in your previous work experience. "What do you consider your greatest achievement/proudest accomplishment/crowning moment?" – just mix and match the adjectives and nouns.

Masked and Anonymous 10:25 AM  

Some kinda feisty clues in this puppy [yo, CITED]. Had to spend precious nanoseconds as I wandered down to the CAIN/NOT crossin, just to get a toe in the door.
Luved the raised-by-wolves symmetry of this puzgrid. [AKA diagonal symmetry, evidently.]

Most of my other reactions to the puz & fillins have already been mentioned, but I'll just echo my admiration for the TOQUES/TORQUE intersection and the longball baseball intersection.

Didn't know: MARI. CFC. IAGO parrot. Not too bad a mystery visitors list.

staff weeject pick: CFC. Banned everywhere except in xword puzs.

@RP: We agree to disagree on themed Fri&SatPuzs. M&A votes "YES".

Thanx for the NICEJOB FriPuz, Ms. Husic darlin.

Masked & Anonym007Us


GILL I. 10:28 AM  

I don't think men would say IT'S SO YOU unless you're gorgeous Ru Paul. I've said it often to my BFF when we go shopping and she picks out a polka dotted blouse with stripped pants.
Well I kinda zipped through here. I had a few get up and scratch my head moments. INSIDE BASE BALL took every single cross to work for me. I always thought Esoteric meant someone with special knowledge. I know nothing about baseball; I'd rather watch @Rex in a leotard doing a petit jete or maybe a glissade into barrel turns.
Fun fact: BACARDI is now made by the RICAN's of Puerto. I know the clue is Costa but I'm changing it. At one little point of my life, we use to live in posh Biltmore in Havana. We had the run-down, over-grown with weeds, humongous house on the block. Right next door, the Bacardi's lived. They owned a city block. The three brothers were little turds that liked to sneak into our yard and tear down the tree house my brother built. We knew it was them because they were fat and always left candy bar wrappers behind. Anyway, my brother and I knew they would be back because he just re-built his little house. We collected all the rotten mangoes we could find and waited patiently in the top little balcony of the house. We could see them winding their way through the tall un-cut grass and as soon as they were within firing distance, we sent squishy, fetid mangoes down to their fat little heads. They let out little squeals like they were born with them. Our day was complete.... and that my friends....was out PROUDEST moment.
Fun puzzle, Brooke....I'll have my BACARDI ON ICE and a side of a yummynishouse NYC REUBEN.

Michael Page 10:28 AM  

Nit du jour . . .
I don’t think a sail is part of the rigging; sails are what gets rigged by the rigging (all those lines, blocks, etc.).

Carola 10:46 AM  

A "just right" Friday for me: managing to be welcoming and resistant at the same time. I enjoyed PLOT next to IAGO, writing in DRIFT, CADENT, FIASCOS, IN PERIL, and getting faked out by the clues for HOSE and PLOT.

Thanks to @Lewis 6:51 and others who commented on the diagonal symmetry. It is indeed very cool how OUT OF LEFT FIELD and INSIDE BASEBALL perfectly overlap, when you picture the puzzle folded along that axis. Also cool: the TOQUES - TORQUE cross, where the "fold" through the Q can give you one TOQUE x TORQUES. Also: HOSE meeting REND (fingernail snag).

Help from previous puzzles: IAGO, BAE, INSIDE BASEBALL. No idea: MARI.

mathgent 10:51 AM  

Very nice puzzle. The constructor is seriously into crosswords. Very professional.

I didn't know that Reubens weren't kosher. An article I just read on the internet says that it comes from a prohibition in the Torah. "Do not cook a kid in its mother's milk." This was a way of preparing goat meat at the time. Quite a stretch but my religion, Catholicism, also bases some of its rules on very exacting interpretations of the Bible.

I had a wonderful Reuben last week at one of our recently reopened restaurants. High quality corned beef is the key. Some restaurants think that they can use mediocre meat because it's covered with sauerkraut and cheese.

Z 11:05 AM  

@Anon9:59 - TORQUE - With a formula to calculate it.

@Rube - Why do poems have meter and rhyme schemes? Why do novels have chapters? Why do REUBENS and Rubens have balance? Why do songs have a time signature? Next level - what is the role of dissonance?

@Joe Dipinto - Gahhhhhh! I hate that question. It might as well be “for the next five minutes brag about yourself with a patina of false modesty.” When we would do group interviews it is one of the questions I’d try to get us not to ask. I always found the “what was the last book you read?” question far more informative, especially if “for pleasure” was added. I never cared much what people read, I was just looking for proof that they enjoyed reading. It is hard to be a good educator if you don’t love reading, maybe impossible. If the question elicited a five minute reverie on some esoteric work on Euler and Gรถdel the person was going to be near the top of my list.

Joaquin 11:08 AM  

I was having a tough time seeing the symmetry. I print the puzzle and solve on paper so I cut out the grid, folded it, and held it to a mirror. Voilร !

bocamp 11:08 AM  

I didn't interpret 'that fits perfectly' as having to do with clothing per se, but went with the wider meaning of the phrase.

Thx to all who pointed out the symmetry of the grid. Normally, I don't pay much attention to such, but this one was remarkable. I'll start taking more notice from now on.

@ Hungry Mother (7:42 AM)

Totally agree re: the compatibility of the SB with xwords and vice versa.

@SouthsideJohnny (7:57 AM)

Before coming to Canada, I wouldn't have known a TOQUE from a toupee. LOL. Got three of 'em, one of which is close at hand for early morning 'overhead' insulation. ๐ŸŽฉ

@Barbara S. (8:20 AM)

Thx for posting @Nancy's Browning poem. I especially like the last line! Btw, there's an Easter egg related to today's SB found twice in it.

@Tale Told By An Idiot (9:31 AM)

Wonderful anecdote!

pg -8

Peace ~ and Good Health to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Aelurus 11:10 AM  

Thought I'd not finish without a Google so began to work in sequence with all the acrosses then all the downs and filled more here and there, which turned into more and more, and finished, surprisingly, faster than average. Was a PROUD MOMENT.

Learned about the awesome Mari Copeny. Also that lets is a tennis thing. How so? Wikipedia: "A serve is called a let when the ball hits the net cord but still lands in the service court. Such a serve is not considered a fault and the server may repeat the service attempt." Alrighty, then.

@kitshef 8:02 am - Yikes, me too! How could I not get Maya ANGELOU when I had ANGELO_? Certainly not a PROUD MOMENT! And your last sentence about the constructor just not being "from the same (age, country, region) as you" reminded me of a NYT article I read yesterday that had me thinking the unknown word it discussed would someday appear in the NYTXW so would likely be good to remember it (of course, that might be a day I don't get to the puzzle!):

CHEUGY. Apparently a Gen Z coinage in 2013 by a high school student (word appeared on TikTok two months ago). Best I can tell, it means people fond of what used to be trendy but is not anymore, used not in a pejorative way, though. NYT article, "What Is 'Cheugy'? You Know It When You See It," dated 29 April 2021. I think it’s easily found, but if I knew how to include a link to the article, I would!

Whatsername 11:19 AM  

I found this on the tough side especially that southwest corner, just totally blanked there. Didn’t help matters that I had MINECRAFT at 41A. Raised an eyebrow at the clue for PROUDEST moment which might be seeing your granddaughter graduate from medical school, but that would be her achievement, not yours. Loved ITS SO YOU but agree with Rex that “that fits” isn’t even close to the same meaning. “That’s perfect” would have sufficed.

**NERDY ALERT** (Book Recommendation)
Currently reading Animals by Will Staples. The back cover states “This is a story about animals, some of which happened to be human.” Although the narrative is fictional, the characters and circumstances are based almost entirely on fact. Focuses on the legal and illegal trafficking of animals throughout the world, primarily those IN PERIL of becoming endangered. As an AVID animal lover, I have found it mildly disturbing at times but only to the extent that I wish it wasn’t rooted in real life occurrences. Putting aside my distaste for the subject in general, I’ve found it to be fast-paced and absorbing and overall a very good read.

Nancy 11:30 AM  

@Mathgent -- The most important, underrated, and occasionally [gasp] missing ingredient in a REUBEN is the Russian Dressing. This gives it its underlying sweetness and also cuts the saltiness of the Corned Beef.

Because I live in NYC, I've seldom had an experience where the cook was dumb enough to leave out the Russian Dressing, but it did happen once. (Of course, it was also a restaurant where the sandwich wasn't grilled -- another unforgiveable sin; it was invented at Oscar's in the Waldorf and it's called a GRILLED REUBEN, not just a REUBEN. In this instance, the ingredients were just warm and piled up on toast.) I took one bite, and asked for a side of Russian. "It should be there already, but it's not," I explained to the surprised waiter.

Missy 11:30 AM  

That's not a Reuben!

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Anon 9:59,
Torque is a force. You're right about semi-s and F-1. But the fact that one vehicle is a stump puller and the other a screamer doesn't advance your argument.
But because it is almost lunch and I'm looking at my helmet and contemplating going out to eat, I'll add that my vehicle today could use a little more torque. I'm on my wife's Kawasaki Ninja 250. I have no idea what the torque is for that little twin ( certainly less than 20 Foot Pounds ) but it is game. Revs comfortably to 10K.
which is good, because I now weigh something like 10,000 LBs myself. I haven't been on a scale, but i have a good feel for these things. Not that I wont eat pizza for lunch, I just feel a little bad for the bike.

PhysGraf 11:35 AM  

My dog's name is Cadence. She's a Mastiff and slobbers like crazy. I am going to start calling the big gobs of drool that I find everywhere "CADENT".

Aelurus 11:37 AM  

The New Yorker cartoon posted yesterday is what prompted me to look up "cheugy." A quick Google for "New Yorker cartoon cheugy" will pull up a link to the cartoon.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  


note that TORQUE is not an independent algebraic quantity, but rather a function of Force. it depends on how one interprets 'calculate'. if you just mean doing some arithmetic, then r and F give you TORQUE. but how do you get F? you have to measure it; one is measuring a transformation of TORQUE. kind of like E = Mc^2, the two values are interchangeable. TORQUE, one can argue, is a measured parameter by way of a transformation. if you mean algebraic calculation, such as 'calculating' the sine of an arc of rotation, that's a different connotation and TORQUE doesn't qualify.

sixtyni yogini 11:40 AM  

Symmetry schwymmerty. ๐Ÿ˜œ ๐Ÿ™„ ๐Ÿ˜œ
Thought it was ๐Ÿ’ฃ uncleverly ๐Ÿ’ฃ difficult except for TOQUE clue.๐Ÿ‘จ‍๐Ÿณ

Frantic Sloth 12:01 PM  

This puzzle.

Everything else in the known universe.

My wavelength.

Ouch. Another WTFuzzle in my world, but I really enjoyed the challenge along the way.

๐Ÿง ๐Ÿง ๐Ÿง ๐Ÿง 

jae 12:24 PM  

Easy, with delightful 14s. @Rex, YEARNsfor before YEARNINGS was also my main misstep.

Fun Friday, liked it.

Barbara S. 12:27 PM  

Further to my EPODE query in relation to today’s Browning poem, "Love among the Ruins” (posted at 8:20), this is the definition of EPODE on

What Is an Epode?

By Megan Shoop

“An epode may have one of two definitions. It can be a type of lyrical poetry comprised of rhyming couplets. The first line in each of these couplets is usually longer than the second line, and the second line may support or subvert the first line. This term is also used when referring to choral verse, such as that in a Greek play. When the word is used in this way, an epode is the third verse of an ode, usually summing up the juxtaposed meanings of the two verses that preceded it.”

I’m thinking that the Browning might fit the first (bolded) definition mentioned here. But I’d love to hear from anyone who’s fluent in poetic forms.

ghkozen 12:27 PM  

Secret theme puzzle on a Friday, and the theme is baseball. Zero stars, a complete non-starter. Please please please please stop having every other puzzle revolve around that inane monstrosity of a “sport.” If I never saw a baseball clue or answer in a puzzle ever again, I would be thrilled.

Carolyn 12:34 PM  

Caleb = Cain+Abel
Not just Cain. He has a choice.

Son Volt 12:44 PM  

@mathgent 10:51a - meat and dairy together are a no-no. So in the REUBENs case - it’s the corned beef and Swiss and possibly @Nancy’s delicious russian dressing that are the culprits.

@anon various - TORQUE is the rotational equivalence of force - so any non zero TORQUE results in some rotation with angular acceleration. It is a vector so it has both magnitude and direction and is calculated quite often. I agree that engine TORQUE in today’s world is almost measured - but the output of the dynamometer used is actually doing the torque calculation internally.

pabloinnh 12:46 PM  

I'm with @bocamp in having experience with more than one kind of TOQUE, (I knew the chef's hat too, which makes me at least extra-special). The winter hat variety, pronounced "took" to rhyme with "kook" has made its way across the border and was in general use in far northern NY State when I lived there. I've even heard it around here, a couple of hours south of our friends to the north, and I can't wait for all of us to reopen the border and revisit La Belle Provence.

What? 12:47 PM  

Mixing dairy products (e.g. cheese) with meat is tref - non kosher.

Frantic Sloth 12:49 PM  

@Conrad, @The Joker, @Joaquin You've all knocked @Z off the top of my "list". ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ Remember: RINGS Fibonacci is just a phone call away.

@Z 921am You'd still be there (on top) if you weren't so blatantly and pathetically mistaken about BB&B*

@Tale Told By An Idiot 931am A very touching, maddening, and remarkably funny story. Thank you for sharing. ❤️

@GILL 1028am Oh, how could you?! My eyes!! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ
It's okay though - you've won me back with that beautiful mango-headed pigs story! "They let out little squeals like they were born with them" is sublime. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

*Bed, Bath, and Beyoncรฉ

What? 12:49 PM  

Story is the early editor Margaret Farrah just thought it looked better.

mbr 1:00 PM  

@Frantic Sloth: You minded me of some graffiti I saw on a wall in the Marais of Paris several years ago: "Libertรฉ, Egalitรฉ, Beyoncรฉ".

Anonymous 1:01 PM  

regardless, you now have. isn't that wonderful?

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

Son volt.
No. Torque IS rotational force. No equibalance necessary pal. It is the equivalent of linear force when talking about rational force. Don't correvt me please. And don't lump me in w Anon 9:29.
The first words of my first post was that torque is a force. Because. It IS.
As for saying that engine torque is almost measured we cannot agree. Because I never said that. Because, well, its wrong. In fact Dynos are precisely torque measuring machines.
Dynos measure mechanical force (power) transmitted by a rotating shaft. Power is the product of torque (turning force) and angular speed. It is measured. Not almost measured.

And the Kawi did fine with my fat ass on it. Lunch was great. Better than these comments for sure.

Anonymous 1:12 PM  

@anonymous @9:59am
I disagree. Typically, torque IS a calculation. Most torque measurement instruments use a strain gage to measure - guess what - applied force. The force measurement is then used to determine (or calculate) the applied torque. So the fundamental measurement is not torque but force.

chance2travel 1:14 PM  

I had a leisurely wander around the puzzle, but never coming to a complete standstill.

I'd say Rex is being too literal with his critique of That fits perfectly and ITS SO YOU. Cleary the "fit" comment is about the overall suitability, not just the sizing.

I also briefly fell into the mineCRAFT trap - but was saved by TONE UP.

Similarly for 9A where I thought RICA- was too short, so went with brava, but was very suspicious of 12D starting with a v, so ripped it out to put in ACELA and then NERDY for 13D which got me back to RICAN.

Struggled a bit to realize that 44A was a tennis clue, so got it from the crosses.

Got TOQUE from crosses, even though I've seen it before I'd forgotten that it's the name for the poofy white chef hats.

AMP, MARI, PLOT were the last ones I filled in.

burtonkd 1:14 PM  

TOQUES are also the generic Canadian knit cap. So prevalent, they are the 5 Golden Toques in the Bob and Doug McKenzie 12 Days of Christmas

Hands up and head slap for ANGELO_?
Also, what city ends with "V"

CARDI B is, while not my cup of tea, hugely known. She was a returning elder statesperson at the Grammys this year. At least the clue did have an element of wordplay and the answer wasn't the rapper name. Plus, she's in the same quadrant as AGUILERA, although that's probably not ideal.

I remember someone being impressed with Jake on Brooklyn Nine Nine for making a reference to IAGO from Shakespeare's Othello. He was totally puzzled and explained that he was talking about the parrot from Aladdin.

Police shows with "9" mini-theme with the hilarious RENO 911 that I think someone here referenced recently?

I had the same tilt of the head as Rex for PROUDEST and TOTEBAGS. But loved ITSSOYOU - perfect clue that doesn't have to refer to clothing. Hard to get, then snapped beautifully into place. Strange letter combination mid-solve.

I had DOE for the longest time as a deer, ROE to me being salmon eggs. Learned something new today, hurray!

Unknown 1:27 PM  

What's bae?

What About Bob 1:34 PM  

Physicist here. What a strange "conversation" about TORQUE. Torque is a force that can be measured and/or calculated. Any force can be calculated (T=Nm, f=ma, etc.)

On another note, Oxford definition of INSIDEBASEBALL: "(adj) esoteric or highly technical."

Frantic Sloth 1:40 PM  

@mbr 100pm ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ‘

LorrieJJ 2:12 PM  

Any Canadian will tell you that a toque is any tight-fitting headgear ... we say toque for a ski hat or a chef's topper.

CDilly52 2:16 PM  

My kind of Friday puzzle! Crunchy, very very clever clues (took me forever to grok REDOS!) and themeless (although, being a die hard baseball fan, enjoyed the mini-baseball theme).

Unlike some, I found the TORQUES/TOQUES crossing a light moment and wondered whether it’s genesis arose from just how difficult it may have been to use the QU both ways while maintaining the symmetry.

This was a masterful construction all the way. I truly enjoyed it.

A 2:17 PM  

Happy Birthday to both Brahms and Tchaikovsky! Here are some happy musicians. Brahms could be CADENTially confusing, but he knew how to show an orchestra a good time!

No, Rex, IT’S not the leotard that’s SO YOU; it’s you going on about the clue you misunderstood. “That fits perfectly” doesn’t mean fits physically, it means fits your style - IT’S SO YOU! Same kind of miss with TOTE BAGS: when you finish purchasing your tee-SHIRTs, you put them in the TOTE BAGS you brought with you because you’re trying to be kind to the earth, but if you forgot them the vendor could sell you one - maybe hand painted by a local artist. Fits perfectly both ways. Awesome clue.

I thought this was a FFP: Frolicking Friday Puzzle. Nicely tricky in spots and loaded with less familiar entries, but I never felt like I was OUT in LEFT FIELD. Some great clues, a little tennis, both math and literature, astronomy and gastronomy, a train, a video game. We’re filling out yesterday’s STEREO system with an AMP and a WOOFER. And as Rex noted, the crossing baseball/non-baseball entries.

The only palindromes are diagonally symmetrical. (PEP/CFC) We also have two entries which can be reversed: REAL/LEAR, crossing Otello’s IAGO, diagonally symmetric to an AVID/DIVA. Coincidence?

Thought CADENT might’ve been a bit desperate, but now that I investigate, it seems like a very useful word. It can also mean falling, as TEARs, and comes from the Latin cadere, to fall. Footfalls come to mind.

How did I come up with TURING test without hesitation? I think the same way I knew INSIDE BAEBALL (ok, I just have to leave that typo): learned it right here in Rexland.

NICE JOB, Ms. Husic! Hope to see your work again soon!

WhatDoing 2:18 PM  

Wrong, wrong, wrong. We non-baseball fans never use INSIDE BASEBALL. Ever. It’s not a thing and I’d thank you to quit pretending that we care about your tedious game and related trivia, terms and minutiae. We do use OUT OF LEFT FIELD but we don’t like to.

burtonkd 2:22 PM  

unknown 1:27 BAE = before anyone else, i.e. best friend or significant other

Ferguson 2:25 PM  

A Toque is a chefs tall head covering usually white. Been around for ever and yes it is of French origin.

Unknown 2:39 PM  

@ burtonkd Thank you, I wondered where that term came from. (and why I see it only in crossword puzzles, never in the real world.)
I had BULKUP as opposed to TONEUP, so made the SW corner a bit of a slog for me. Otherwise, I thought it was on the easy side for a Monday.
I agree with WhatDoing 2:18 Has anyone used the term INSIDEBASEBALL for esoterica? I get that Rex loves it because he seems to be a bit of a baseball nerd, but anyone else? (Tangent: Is there an inverse relationship between love of baseball esoterica (stats; standings) and natural athletic ability? I don't know anyone who I would consider to be athletically gifted to geek out about baseball. Maybe it's some sort of wish projection.)
As far as ITSSOYOU, I thought that was a lovely use by the constructor of some tricky letters. I think Rex just likes to nit pick because that's his nature, and I imagine there a few regulars on this blog who are similarly inclined. I thought the clue and the answer work just fine.

Barbara S. 2:47 PM  

@Tale Told (9:31)
Thanks for posting that hilarious story. Here's to memories that help keep alive those we've lost.

Anonymous 2:51 PM  

Just when is the phrase "inside baseball" used outside of baseball??

Anonymous 2:56 PM  

Such an unashamed nit-picker. . . To ramble on for 2 paragraphs about Tote Bags and Proudest Moment is RIDICULOUS!! Are you incapable of just saying "Very nice job" or "Well Done"??. . . These people work very hard to provide us with a few minutes of diversion. . . Shame on you.

Anonymous 2:59 PM  

Anon 2:51,
Are you kidding? Inside baseball is used everyahwer all the time EXCEPT in baseball.

Here. from the NY Times itself is a citation and an exoplantion.

IT IS ONE OF THOSE underappreciated, 'inside baseball' moments that ratify politics as the Ultimate Game. . . .'' So begins a Michael Kramer column in U.S. News & World Report. ''Jack Germond produces a self-described 'inside baseball' syndicated political column,'' writes William Prochnau in The Washington Post, ''with his partner, Jules Witcover.'' A couple of years ago, Tom Oliphant of The Boston Globe said that the columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak had been ''marvelous on the inside baseball of the Democratic Party.''

''The people in my state,'' said Richard Weiner, chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, ''are interested in jobs, the economy and education. The rest is >inside baseball.''

The phrase has been used outside baseball for at least a decade. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, wrote Myra Mac-Pherson in The Washington Post in 1978, ''chairs endlessly boring hearings . . . then cuts through testimony with inside baseball jokes that no visitors understand but laugh at anyway.''

The meaning of the phrase can best be ascertained from a brief study of its origin. In ''Fungoes, Floaters and Fork Balls,'' a 1987 baseball dictionary, Patrick Ercolano defines the term as ''The style of play in which the offensive team tries to score one run at a time through such tactics as the bunt, the steal, the hit-and-run, the well-placed hit and the squeeze.''

The Baltimore Orioles of the 1890's perfected this type of play; the baseball was then ''dead,'' in contrast to the livelier ball of today, and usually traveled short distances even when a batter connected squarely. Wee Willie (''hit 'em where they ain't'') Keeler of Baltimore was an exemplar of inside baseball, now frequently called >scientific baseball; by the 1920's, along came Babe Ruth, then the livelier ball and a more wide-open, aim-for-the-fences game.

But the earlier style of play is still with us. Whitey Herzog, manager of the Kansas City Royals, who liked to put on the double steal or hit-and-run, was quoted in 1978 as saying, ''If you understand 'inside' baseball, you gotta love us.''

Breakfast Tester 3:04 PM  

⚾️ It's a mini theme. I think the grid design is supposed to represent a baseball field. (The solver's view is from the upper deck above the first base line.) The two baseball answers define the base path. The hitter SPEEDS out of the box, rounds the bag at first towards left field, etc. It would be cool to see this carried out to full themeless. Maybe it's already been done.

Late commenting from California so I'm sure if anyone mentioned this idea; I didn't read all of the comments but did a quick search for "field" and "diamond" and didn't see anything.

Yesterday was Willie Mays's 90th birthday. Go Giants! ⚾️

TTrimble 3:11 PM  

@Anonymous 2:51 PM
I think the sense has already been explained, but it's commonly used (outside baseball) to describe a conversation about a specialized topic, probably understandable only to the cognoscenti. Deep nerd. Esoteric is not a bad approximation.

Breakfast Tester 3:32 PM  

OOOOPS.... I got autocorrected into confusionland

It was supposed to say, "would be cool to see this carried out to full theme-ness" — not "themeless".


bocamp 4:11 PM  

@ Whatsername (11:19 AM)

Thx for the heads-up re: 'Animals' by Will Staples. Checked out the summary on Goodreads. Looks like a winner. I'll get on the wait list when it comes to my local library.

I'm currently reading (listening to) 'Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?' by Frans de Waal and finding it fascinating and informative.

Born with a glove in one hand and a ball in the other, I've been involved in BASEBALL all my life. Up to this week, I don't recall seeing or hearing the term, INSIDE BASEBALL, but from what I gather from the comments, it certainly seems to have some bona fides, which should entitle it to some respect as a valid xword choice.

Here are some wonderful youngsters who play in one of our local Little League Challenger divisions. Seeing the enjoyment these kids get out of the game of BASEBALL is an awesome thing to behold.

And, when these kids go skiing at Grouse Mountain, they'd probably swap out their batting helmets for TOQUES.

pg -3

Peace ~ and Good Health to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Barbara S. 4:47 PM  

@bocamp (11:08)
I just recently got around to SB. I see what you mean!

Anonymous 4:52 PM  

The Russian dressing is not part of the problem. Both the ketchup and mayonnaise are "parve," which means they are neither meat nor dairy, and therefore can be eaten with both.

Anonymous 5:08 PM  

I find the angular motion physics concepts to be very annoying.

Torque is an angular force, not a force. Using English units, torque is measure in pound feet (not to be confused with foot pounds, which measure energy). A force of 1 pound on a 6 inch long socket wrench exerts half as much torque as the same force of 1 pound on a 12 inch long socket wrench.

All messy and of limited usefulness. But when you need to use angular motion measures, you really need them. Ugh.


Rube 5:23 PM  

I don't know the answers to your questions either. But here's a poem with no meter
Fleas. Adam had em.
And I don't think youll find a lot of rhyming in t s Eliot.
And if an unsymmetric grid makes you nervous, I am sorry. I just solve the puzzkes. My solutions in perfect penmanship with no writeovers do create a form of art though

Whatsername 5:26 PM  

@bocamp: I should warn you there are some unsavory characters and the occasional foul language in some of the dialogue. I’m about halfway through, and so far it hasn’t been anything excessive. Thank you for the tip on Are We Smart Enough. I just put it on reserve at the library. Sounds like one I will enjoy.

bocamp 5:39 PM  

@Barbara S. (4:47 PM) ๐Ÿ˜Š

pg -2

Peace ~ and Good Health to all ๐Ÿ•Š

bocamp 6:05 PM  

@Whatsername (5:26 PM) yw ๐Ÿ˜Š

Consider me warned. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Peace ~ and Good Health to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Anoa Bob 6:06 PM  

I've seen the "why symmetry" issue come up before. One reason is that symmetrical patterns in general are usually more pleasing to the eye than random, non-symmetrical patterns. (People whose facial features are more symmetrical, for instance, are usually judged as more attractive.) NYT's first crossword editor Margaret Farrar recognized this quality of symmetry and requiring it in a grid's pattern of black squares became one of her legacies on how crossword puzzles should be constructed.

Another reason is that requiring symmetry in black square grid patterns raises the degree of construction difficulty by several factors. If there were no constraints on the placement of black squares other than what works for each individual entry in the grid, then crossword puzzle construction would be much, much easier, child's play actually.

This is especially true for themed puzzles. We often see commenters here coming up with lists of additional theme possibilities for that day's puzzle but they are doing so without having to take letter-counts into consideration. Things get a lot tougher when matching, symmetrically placed themers have to have matching letter-counts. I have had what I thought were good theme ideas but was unable to come up themer candidate pairs with equal letter-counts. The puzzles never got off the ground.

I think the much higher degree of difficulty imposed by required grid symmetry is one of the things that elevates the status (and the challenge and enjoyment of solving) of crossword puzzles over most other kinds of word-type puzzles. Long live symmetry!

Z 6:16 PM  

@Frantic Sloth - While Bed, Bath, & Beyoncรฉ sounds like a lovely evening, I rather doubt that I’m her type.

@burtonkd - I’m pretty sure BAE is just slang for “babe,” and the alleged acronym came long afterwards when it migrated into mainstream slang. I also feel like I learned this here from a previous discussion. Did we already have this discussion?

@Rube - ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ - Short answer - We are pattern seeking creatures and so tend to take pleasure in things with patterns. We also take pleasure in dissonance, the violation of the expected pattern (well, some of us more than others on this). Long answer: So crosswords have symmetry because we like symmetry, we like that there is a recognizable pattern. If symmetry is violated, or we get a different type off symmetry, that also tickles our fancy, but only if we recognize how a violation of symmetry is possible. Today’s diagonal is different, using the difference to highlight two non-baseball baseball clues is just incredibly elegant to our pattern seeking brains. But at least part of why so many of us like it is that frisson of dissonance from the norm. It’s sort of like syncopated symmetry, making this a puzzle with Jazz Symmetry.

re:TORQUE - This seems to have really confused some pretty smart people. All measurements involve a calculation. I’ll wait why you all chew on that………
Go look up the scientific definition of even the most basic measurements (length, mass, time) and you will see that those definitions are all based on calculating a relationship. Or, maybe simpler, think of “speed.” Your speedometer doesn’t seem to be making a calculation, but it is. 60 miles per hour, distance divided by time. What is a speedometer really doing? Counting how often your tire is going around every second. If your 18” wheel goes around 58 ⅔ times every second your car is going 60 miles an hour. That’s a pretty complex calculation to get from counting revolutions to getting a speed, even though it seems like we are making a direct measurement, we are actually measuring the relationship between two measurements. Yes, think about this too long and it gets very circular and you start to wonder what, if anything, we actually “know.”

Eniale 6:44 PM  

Way back when, I used to read a restaurant-rating book by the (French, I guess) writers Gault and Millau. They graded the places as TOQUE-worthy, with cute little drawings of toques instead of stars. Oh, now I've looked them up; the brand still exists! They started off in 1965.

Pdxrains 7:36 PM  

Torque is not a measure of rotation, it is a product of force and distance around a rotational axis. That clue was BS.

Anonymous 9:03 PM  

It's very cute - Mari Copeny is on Twitter and is super excited about her crossword mention.

Barrowma 10:49 PM  

What happened to ChuckD? Miss his comments.

Unknown 10:57 PM  

The English don't use symmetry as a rule

Unknown 11:00 PM  

I disagree. The term "fit" in the clue does not refer to technical fit as to size, it refers to fitting personality and style. In this instance you and Rex are being too literal.

Unknown 11:04 PM  


Bob Mills 5:56 AM  

Finished it 100%, but I have no idea how. Can someone explain how "BAE" is the answer for "SWEETIE?"

burtonkd 9:37 AM  

@Bob - check the recent comments

spacecraft 10:27 AM  

One of the things I am absolutely TERRIBLE at: corporate names of sports venues. Naturally, for Coors Field I was thinking Denver--so, Bronco. What do I know? That little boo-boo cost me buckets of time in the SE, and things weren't all that easy anywhere else.

But it was my PROUDEST moment when I sussed out that, with only the B, the liquor was BACARDI after CardiB! ME, getting a rapper clue!! I will, however, slip down two lines for DOD Christina AGUILERA.

I put this at harder than medium, at least medium-challenging. Some great stuff, including the crossing baseball-but-not-baseball sayings. NICEJOB, Brooke. Have a birdie.

thefogman 11:02 AM  

Pretty good. My last entry was to change OUTinLEFTFIELD to OUTOFLEFTFIELD. Thus DRInT became DRIFT and iNTOPIC became ONTOPIC.

thefogman 11:21 AM  

@Unknown 10:57 pm. The puzzle is symmetrical if you fold it along the diagonal.

Burma Shave 11:36 AM  


the TOPIC a ROCKIE revealed:
IT’SSO the SINE that YOU call


leftcoaster 4:00 PM  

Look-ups help a lot when you don’t want to waste time.

Diana, LIW 4:16 PM  

Started pretty well, had to look up a couple of **** names. Came back and continued quite well. Went to the gym. Came home and finished.

Did you get that? I WENT TO THE GYM

It's been over a year - oh it feels good to be back at working out!!!!

The puzzle worked out too. Happy Friday all1

Diana, Happy Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords
My nose smells but my HOSE don't run.

Anonymous 1:48 PM  

No one yet has pointed out that the diagonal symmetry represents a baseball field. If you were watching a game from the centerfield bleachers, the two baseball answers would be the foul lines, crossing at home plate. In fact OUT OF LEFT FIELD would be the LEFT FIELD foul line.

Anonymous 2:12 PM  

Whooops, apologies to Breakfast Tester, who beat me by five weeks pointing out the center field perspective.

Speaking of center field, I love that LEO was 24 across on Willie Mays' birthday. Leo The Lip was of course Willie's manager at the start of his career.

Also speaking of Centerfield, John Fogerty's band gets CITED diagonally behind home plate.

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