Alberto hair care brand / WED 5-12-21 / Specialized lab equipment for drying / Short-brimmed hat known as a bunnet in Scotland / Colorful flower with a face / Provincial schoolteacher stereotype / Singing animated snowman

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Constructor: Tracy Gray

Relative difficulty: Easy to Easy-Medium 

THEME: VO5 (67A: Alberto ___ (hair care brand) ... and a hint to 16-, 27-, 38-, 46- and 61-Across) — first word "V," second word "O," "5" times:

Theme answers:
  • VITAL ORGAN (16A: Kidney or heart)
  • VIDALIA ONION (27A: Georgia's official vegetable)
  • VEER OFF (38A: Suddenly change course)
  • VIN ORDINAIRE (46A: Inexpensive table wine)
  • VACUUM OVEN (61A: Specialized lab equipment for drying)

Word of the Day:
FLAT CAP (51A: Short-brimmed hat known as a bunnet in Scotland) —
flat cap (sometimes scally cap) is a rounded cap with a small stiff brim in front, originating in the British Isles. The hat is known in Ireland as a paddy cap, in Scotland as a bunnet, in Wales as a Dai cap, in New Zealand as a cheese-cutter, and in the United States as a driving cap. Cloths used to make the cap include wool, tweed (most common), and cotton. Less common materials may include leather, linen, or corduroy. The inside of the cap is commonly lined for comfort and warmth. (wikipedia) (my emph.)
• • •

I haven't heard the name "Alberto VO5" since the '80s. It's still a thing!? Wow. I know the name only from TV ads of yore. The same era as the Vidal Sassoon shampoo commercials. You know, the "and so on, and so on, and so on" ones? Oh no, wait! I've misremembered my cheesy '80s hair product commercials. The "and so on" ads were for Fabergé—Vidal Sassoon was "if you don't look good, we don't look good!" Let's see if I can find an Alberto VO5 ad to round out the trio ... oh yeah, there we go. 

It's possible that VO5 is still all the rage and I just don't know anything about contemporary women's hair products. In fact, that latter part is Very possible. Still, the revealer felt like a blast from the past, which is OK. I'm just unsure about the currency of this product name, is what I'm saying. The theme here works, though it is pretty programmatic and straightforward (yes, those are V.O.s, yes, there are five of them), and the themer set feels a little forced, by which I mean those last two themers are a lot less common and familiar than the first three. I've heard of VIN ORDINAIRE, I guess, but I don't know how or when, and VACUUM OVEN, well, I'm sure that exists, it sounds like a thing that exists, but it's not exactly a household gadget (or term). But as a set, the themers are fairly interesting answers, I guess. The rest of the grid is pretty plain, tending to dull. I really don't like the NE and SW corners, from an aesthetic standpoint. The fill in those corners is fine (how could it not be? they're so tiny anyone could fill them). They're just so small, and so sequestered, that I was semi-annoyed that I had to go in there and finish them off. They felt awfully detached. I guess they're built that way to accommodate the tiny 3-box revealer (VO5). Still, not a big fan of crannies that small. 

Had to suffer through NOVA- and ETALI-; I genuinely "ugh" at these crossword moments, because you just don't know which way this crosswordese is going to VEER OFF at the end. Are we getting NOVAS or NOVAE? (1D: Massive pop stars?) Are we getting ET ALIA or ET ALII? (8D: And others, in Latin) It's like the worst suspense movie ever. I don't believe that SESAMES is a legit plural (22A: Seeds on hamburger buns). They are sesame seeds and that is all that they are. If you take the clue at its word, and go the hamburger bun route, even there, the paradigmatic description of said buns uses the word "seed": 

No idea what a FLAT CAP was (51A: Short-brimmed hat known as a bunnet in Scotland). Sounds like a mushroom type. Now that I see it, I know exactly what a FLAT CAP is, I just didn't know it's name. Linus wears one of these in the "Peanuts" strip that taught me the word "jaunty":
Aug. 4, 1953

I would've gone with FLATTEN or FLATTER or FLATTOP there, as they all feel more familiar, and like they would give you much more interesting cluing possibilities than the clue you've got going here, but if FLAT CAPs are good enough for Idris Elba (pictured up top) and Linus, who am I to complain? 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:22 AM  

I love the clue [Go by]. It can mean to be known by a certain name, or to obey (such as a referee’s decision), or to physically move past, or ELAPSE. It’s one of those clues you have to wait for crosses on, and thus it provides resistance to a solve. I also love having answers out of my knowledge base – such as FLATCAP, RAMMER, and VACUUM OVEN – in a puzzle, as they provide same. And I especially love when such a clue and such answers converge in a small neighborhood of the grid, and yet, through the skill of the constructor and editors, that hill is still climbable, making the conquering especially satisfying, as was the SE quadrant for me today.

I also love when an answer and its reverse show up in a puzzle, as with ERGO and OGRE, and I love when punny clues, such as those for NOVAS, SAGGED, and ASTRO, buoy the journey through the squares.

Tracy, you put a lot of TLC into this puzzle. It warmed my heart and brightened my day. Thank you so very much!

SouthsideJohnny 6:38 AM  

Very nice - hair care products, fashion icons, an abundance of foreign words, web-site names and a singing snowman, an ITZA here, and an ORDINAIRE there for good measure. Pretty much everything one could hope for in a trivial quiz (ok, a dead pope reference would have been nice as well). Not sure why the Times didn’t run a crossword puzzle today, but hey - there’s always SB for those of us who enjoy word puzzles.

JJK 7:06 AM  

My beef was that the Across Lite app didn’t say there was a rebus (it normally indicates rebus for numbers as well as letter rebuses I think) so I was confused by that 5 square - or it could have been FIVE. I guess I shouldn’t be relying on the app to tell me when there’s a rebus, but in this case the ancient-ness of Alberto VO5 products added to my confusion, not to mention my lack of golf knowledge. I found myself wondering if the par was 1 or ‘I’ and if the product had morphed over the decades into VOI (meaning one). Anyway, the theme was clear even with that bit of confusion and I thought the puzzle was an ok one overall. Bunnet had me flummoxed as well, but it became clear what the answer was and as Rex noted, upon seeing the photo of it, it was an instantly recognizable item.

Hungry Mother 7:10 AM  

Seemed hard, but went fast, just like today’s SB. I saw the V’s well after entering them, and needed the down to get the 5, even though that’s my shampoo of choice because it’s the cheapest.

Oshkosh Josh 7:16 AM  

Regarding complaints such as "Is it ET ALII or ET ALIA" and "Is it NOVAE or NOVAS": Aren't we supposed to consider the CROSSing words when filling in an answer? I'm rather new at solving these, but not being immediately sure of an answer is what makes puzzles fun and challenging, IMO.

amyyanni 7:16 AM  

Letters at the end of the alphabet are a favorite of mine. Enjoyed the solve. Happy Wednesday.

Anonymous 7:26 AM  

A VACUUMOVEN is called an autoclave. That's like calling your blender a 'chopperjar'

kitshef 7:32 AM  

Never heard of a VACUUM OVEN, so that themer kind of stood out. But the rest was more Tuesday than Wednesday.

The threes were allowed to get a little out of hand today: T.L.C., G.T.O., E.L.O. E.P.A., V.O.5, U.S.O., and OPS, ERS, GOV, GRR.

Is MARM a stand-alone word? I’ve never heard it without "school" in front.

oceanjeremy 7:45 AM  

I was loving this puzzle, until I got to the last square, which for me was that pesky 5. If it had just been clued as "Hair care product ... and a hint to ..." I would've done better. The "Alberto" threw me off more than anything, and I just could not suss out VO5 from that.

And the crossing clue?? "The 18th at Pebble Beach, notably"???? You might as well have asked me "The Latvian word for cucumber." This is golf trivia crossing with hair care trivia, both are trivia and no amount of word knowledge can save you if (like myself) you hate golf and are bald and therefore never need to purchase shampoo or conditioner.

I don't know what kind of cross you could have with a numeral 5 in it that isn't trivia, but still — crossing trivia with trivia just kinda left a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe that's the fatal flaw of this theme, and nothing could save it. Which, again, leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I suppose I should have counted the themers and entered "5" but instead I guessed (read: I positioned my cursor on the offensive square and typed A through Z and, when that didn't work, typed 1 through 5 until I hit upon the answer).

Oh well, can't please everyone I suppose — and today I'll grumpily stand in the ranks of the unpleased.

Z 7:45 AM  

Isn’t VO5 near the bottom of the shelves near Suave these days? Seems like it is a low price brand, now, along with Prell. But don’t quote me, it’s a family sized bottle of Suave in this house with the occasional musing about why anyone would spend anything more on shampoo. I vaguely remember there also being a shampoo that smelled like beer … Yep, “Body on Tap.” With marketing being so targeted these days it seems to me that shampoo and hair products are not the thing they were in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Or maybe the algorithms know I’m just going to buy Suave no matter what they do and devote their energies elsewhere.

In-laws were metallurgists, so VACUUM OVENS have been the topic of discussion once or twice. I especially remember the stress my brother-in-law went through when a million dollar VACUUM OVEN was dropped in shipment. It’s not as if there’s another one handy to replace the damaged one. As I recall, he had purchased three because he needed three, so only getting two was a major headache. We did mostly automotive, medical, and aerospace metallurgy, meaning if you drive a car or visited a hospital it is very possible that something heat-treated by the family business has intersected with your life.

This was a fine, if not exactly scintillating, Wednesday. That Georgia has a state vegetable and that vegetable is a VIDALIA ONION is the kind of information that makes the morning complete.

JD 7:53 AM  

If you take away the theme of a shampoo brand and just look at the words, this is a very solid puzzle. A lot of fun interesting phrases and words.

Heavy on the PPP, names that most people won't be familiar with and I expect a lot of carping. Here's some background on them.

The Dutch/Russian classic pianist Astro Van Veeroff actually had a very promising career until he got lost on the way to a concert hall one night, thought well t'hell with it and never played again. The Transylvanian Grad Vacuumoven filled in and that performance launched his career.

French actor Vin Ordinaire tried his hand as an action hero but never took off because he wasn't really that heroic. After his first movie, critics called him "médiocre" and that was that.

Vidalia Onion was Count Olaf's evil twin sister in the Lemony Snicket series.

Filled in three-fourths of this thing in a couple of minutes and then spent way more time deep thinking across the south.

Almost forgot Oné Adrate, Italian race car driver, did commercials for the Pontiac GTO in the '60s. I had a real crush on him.

Anonymous 8:01 AM  

I've used a vacuum oven to fill a porous material with epoxy so it doesn't crumble when sectioned. One wouldn't use an autoclave for that.

kitshef 8:11 AM  

@oceanjeremy 7:45 - "gurkis", which you might have gotten due to similarity to gherkin, given a couple of crosses.

gregg 8:13 AM  

Not necessarily. An autoclave is used to sterilize and a vacuum oven is used to dry. Thirty years in the pharma business.

Anonymous 8:14 AM  

Re: 7:26, on a vacuum oven being an autoclave. I'm not sure anyone cares, but I thought the two were different. The vacuum oven would be for specialized drying, as the clue says. An autoclave is used mainly to sterilize, and I thought it was used mainly when throwing things out. E.g., in a clinic a box of old needles would be autoclaved, so that if a needle protruded, which happened often, the one handling the discard would have some protection.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

bocamp 8:18 AM  

Thx @Tracy for this challenging and VITALity filled puz. Enjoyed the adventure! :)

Med++ solve.

Tougher than the usual Wednes. puz, but well worth it!

Put in ARMIES instead of DROVES, which took time to sort out.

yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Z 8:20 AM  

@Oshkosh Josh - As you do more and more puzzles certain frequent entries lose their charm. There’s nothing particularly puzzling about Novopodes, it is just a matter of “did the constructor need an E or an S.” Along about the tenth time you have to wait for the crossing for ET ALI- you will get that twinge of annoyance. By the 25th time your eyes will start to roll, and by the time you get to the “I could do a better blog than Rex” stage you’re just howling at the moon when ET ALI- appears. (BTW - -opodes is the correct plural for all words! From the too frequent “is it octopi, octopuses, or octopodes” discussion we have here)

@anon7:26 - I was not really paying attention to the clue, which to my mind does indicate an autoclave now that you point it out. VACUUM OVEN evokes an industrial VACUUM furnace to me, a very different thing. I did find some VACUUM OVENs on the interwebs that look more like an autoclave, so it does seem to be in the language, but I agree that cluing it as lab equipment is a wee bit off.

Z 8:25 AM  

@Poggius - Well, at least three of us care. Thanks for the illumination. That makes sense. Who knew VACUUM and heat had so many varied uses.

Barbara S. 8:30 AM  

Rex remembers Alberto VO5 commercials from the 80s. I remember Alberto VO5 commercials from the 60s, which may have been the heyday of the product. I remember thinking it was such an odd name with its mix of word, letters and number. I found out this morning that the Alberto part is named after the chemist who invented “Alberto VO5 Conditioning Hairdressing” (the original formulation) and that the VO5 part refers to the five vital organic emollients it contains. I’m sure there’ll be scope to bring this up in casual conversation during the first post-COVID cocktail party.

I enjoyed the language lesson: learning that MAHI MAHI is “very strong” in Hawaiian (that must be some fish) and that DE NADA is “you’re welcome” in Spanish (like “de rien” in French). I would call the FLAT CAP a “newsboy cap”. I’ve never heard of VIDALIA ONIONs and wonder if there’s anything special about them, tastewise.

@kitshef (7:32)
I know what you mean about the freestanding MARM, but Spelling Bee accepts it. On a personal note, my mother was a (school)MARM when she presided over a one-room schoolhouse in the late 30s. But she would have been the liveliest and most engaging MARM ever, and I bet her students loved her.

@Z (7:45)
It used to be thought that beer was good for hair. I remember there was a fad for rinsing your hair in beer at the end of the hairwashing process. I think I even tried it. I can’t remember whether I smelled like a brewery for the rest of the day, but I decided it didn’t add to my overall lustre and shine.

@Frantic Sloth
I’m interested in how you’ll handle today’s LEN count.

Today I have a poem by EDWARD LEAR (of “The Owl and the Pussycat” fame). He was born May 12, 1812.


How pleasant to know Mr. Lear,
Who has written such volumes of stuff.
Some think him ill-tempered and queer,
But a few find him pleasant enough.

His mind is concrete and fastidious,
His nose is remarkably big;
His visage is more or less hideous,
His beard it resembles a wig.

He has ears, and two eyes, and ten fingers,
(Leastways if you reckon two thumbs);
He used to be one of the singers,
But now he is one of the dumbs.

He sits in a beautiful parlour,
With hundreds of books on the wall;
He drinks a great deal of marsala,
But never gets tipsy at all.

He has many friends, laymen and clerical,
Old Foss is the name of his cat;
His body is perfectly spherical,
He weareth a runcible hat.

When he walks in waterproof white,
The children run after him so!
Calling out, "He's gone out in his night-
Gown, that crazy old Englishman, oh!"

He weeps by the side of the ocean,
He weeps on the top of the hill;
He purchases pancakes and lotion,
And chocolate shrimps from the mill.

He reads, but he does not speak, Spanish,
He cannot abide ginger beer;
Ere the days of his pilgrimage vanish,
How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!

Anonymous 8:35 AM  


"if (like myself) you hate golf and are bald and therefore never need to purchase shampoo or conditioner."

Haha, a kindred spirit. I filled in everything but that last square, and then just stared at it, knowing that there was no way to avoid the DNF for these exact reasons.

My Insufferable Blog 8:37 AM  

Is no one going to mention how stupid the clue at 41A is? Since when does a lightning bolt make a sound? My 5th Grade science teacher would be so upset.

A man of letters 8:39 AM  

I was really enjoying this. The theme was clever and (mostly) well done. Fill was certainly OKAY. Then I got the "Oops, not quite!" message. I looked hard for an error and then got slapped in the face. "5? Oh no she dih-unt". But yes she did. This is awful. I got the five concept and had VOV, accepting V for five. Why not? I thought it was nifty, slipping in an extra V. What a shame! I'm organizing a BTN* movement.

*Ban The Numeral

Pete 8:47 AM  

Autoclave are high pressure steam ovens, a very different thing than VACUUMOVENs

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

Was fun to learn about 18th hole at pebble beach

Jim in Canada 8:52 AM  

@JJK - your app TELLS YOU when there's a rebus?
Is that a setting that you can change? It sounds a lot like cheating and seems to me it would take a lot of the fun out of things.

It's rare - RARE, I tell ya - that I dislike a puzzle more than Rex, but wowzers, today was one of those. From the "two words that are only ever seen pluralized in crosswords" NW corner (YETIS and SESAMES) to the staleness of the revealer (I had to suffer through the likes of VIN ORDINAIRE and VACUUM OVEN just so you could remind me of shampoo I hadn't thought about since high school?) this puzzle felt like one of those jokes with a long set-up story and a lacklustre punchline.

I guess you had to be there. I totally wasn't. Seems I'm in the minority, though, so kudos to everyone who enjoyed themselves on this one today.

pabloinnh 8:58 AM  

Saw the V-O thing coming right away and wondered where it might end. I was thinking it might be some kind of a cognac connection, nope, good old Alberto VO5, which I knew instantly but hadn't thought about in years.

Everything else in this was in the read-the-clue-write-in-the-answer category except for FLATCAP and VACUUM OVEN. FLATCAP yielded the delightful "bunnet" and VACUUMOVEN led to one of the more esoteric discussions I've read here in a while. It's indeed a poor day when you can't learn something.

Shout out to all my AMIGAS and AMIES and happy hump day to all.

Nice Wednesdecito, TG. Not very Tough Going but a step up from ORIDINAIRE.

Jeffrey 8:59 AM  

Desiccator was my first guess for 61 across. It fits the clue, although it doesn't fit the theme. By the way, @anon7:26 - an autoclave works with high-pressure steam and heat, so in a sense it's opposite of the low-pressure dryness and heat of a vacuum oven.

Nancy 9:00 AM  

First of all, I didn't know Georgia had an "official vegetable". I knew it had an official fruit, the peach, but a vegetable? I didn't know any state had an official vegetable. Does New York have one?

And if you're going to have an official vegetable, is VIDALIA ONION the best you can do? I mean, I'm sure it's a very nice onion as onions go, but onions are a second banana kind of vegetable. If you see what I mean. They go into other dishes; they very seldom stand on their own. Except in Onion Soup.

I was pleased to notice that "Official Vegetable" is VO backwards -- so it's sort of theme-y in its own way. It makes the five VOs even richer -- and five VO answers are not easy to find.

A clever and delightful theme that, alas, did not translate into an especially interesting solve. I found it dull in the West -- until I got to VO5. But the VIDALIA ONION section, crossed with the one tricky clue at 26D, LOAF, presented a bit more challenge. Especially since I had no idea what flower had a "face" and wrote in dAiSY instead of PANSY.

Everyone, even people who have never laid a hand on a golf club, should experience the 18th hole at Pebble Beach. Go to YouTube. Gorgeous! (The other 17 holes ain't half bad either.)

Son Volt 9:10 AM  

Quick Wednesday solve - just too much trivia to make it enjoyable though. Theme was conceptually fine but not a lot of spark. Liked DE NADA, AGAVE and PANSY - overall fill was smooth. 49d could also be clued as a male sheep.

Not too much sparkle with this one.

Oshkosh Josh 9:13 AM  

@Z 8:20- Thanks for your explanation. However, I gave bad examples with those plurals.

My point might be better expressed by citing a complaint a few months ago along the lines of "I threw down OPAL and it turned out to be ONYX" question is basically "Why would you throw anything down without checking the crosses?" I get that if you are doing it online it's easy to change, but it seemed like he was upset that he didn't guess correctly the first time!

Maybe I'm overly cautious, but for a four-letter word I'd be reading at least 3 clues.

Unknown 9:15 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 9:17 AM  

Someone asked if there's something special about Vidalia onions. What's special is that they're sweet and grown in a specified region in Georgia; often they're called Vidalia sweets. They're often eaten raw.

Nancy 9:21 AM  

@Barbara S -- I'm always attracted to people with a self-deprecating sense of humor. If they can self-deprecate in verse, it's even more winning and delightful. And therefore, I really enjoyed your Quote of the Day today. Especially since I'd never read it before.

Joe D (from yesterday) **Cryptogram Alert**. It was unusually easy once I cottoned on to the key. And the key for me was the BAQ'N/BN'A combo. You too, I'm thinking?

Pete, science guy du jour 9:22 AM  

@My Insufferable Blog - Since forever? What do you think thunder is, other than the audible shock wave caused by the rapid heating of the air due to the lightning bolt?

Frantic Sloth 9:27 AM  

Feeling lazy today, so...

What Rex said. Although I didn't notice the corner issue specifically. Just seemed to be a lot of black squares.

I liked it okay, but the Thursdees lately...oof.

LEN x 0 😕

SomeOneHasToBeMe 9:28 AM  

Just popping in quick. I haven't read any of the comments because I just got started, but I had to say this. the plural of sesame is not SESAMES (spell check doesn't even recognize that.)

Oh wow all these SESAMES used to make sesame oil said no one ever.

And the plural of NOVA is *novae*. learn to do your Latin plurals before you start writing crosswords.

Frantic Sloth 9:34 AM  

What's that? You say today is Wednesday? 🙄

This changes everynothing. Except the day placement makes more sense.

That is all.

Michael Page 9:36 AM  

Yes, lightning does make a sound; a loud sizzling/crackling sound caused by the absurdly high voltage “zapping” (where did you think that word came from) the water vapor in its path.
Would have been nice to put SRTA in the SW, to round out the trio with AMIGA and AMIE.
Spun wheels for a while at the end searching for a typo (I use the NYT app) until I realized that FIVE wanted to be the digit 5 instead of a rebus. App should be able to accept either.

jberg 9:58 AM  

VIDALIA ONIONs Are Not Like Other Onions--large, white, very sweet, more expensive. I don't think you would cook with them, but use slices in sandwiches. They're grown around Vidalia, GA, so a natural choice for the state vegetable. Walla Walla onions, on the other hand, are grown around Walla Walla WA, but are otherwise very, very similar to Vidalias.

OK, so I got down to that SW corner, and for some reason was thinking VO Plenty (a combination of the shampoo and the Dick Tracy character named B.O. Plenty). Then I looked at the golf clue. I know little about golf, and even less about famous courses, but I was thinking Roman numeral, so it had to be I, V, or X, and only V was plausible. Then I remembered the shampoo, and for maybe 5 minutes thought the revealer was flawed because it had a V instead of a 5. Eventually I saw the light, and a bright glow began to emerge from p. 3 of today's NYT Arts Section.

@Pete -- sure, thunder is the sound of a lightning bolt, but thunder doesn't sound like "ZAP."

SESAMES is right up there in the worst-POC ever category. I can imagine using it with a considerable stretch. "You got sesame seeds?" "Sure, what kind do you want?" "You mean there's more than one kind?" "Well, there are lots of kinds of SESAMES--black, tan, Middle Eastern, Japanese, spicy...." [Repeat with the oils.] But no.

I did enjoy learning that those dolphin (the fish, not the mammal) are extra strong.

Anyway, once I figured out the 5, I thought it was a pretty good puzzle.

CreamyT 10:00 AM  

Easy fill, cruised through basically everything until the SW.

Honestly, SCREW that clue. I have literally no idea what "VO5" is. I get that the down could be sussed out, if you knew it was a Par 5 or something, but putting a number in an obscure PPP is just total garbage. I really don't normally get this frustrated at PPP or quirks, even if I don't get them. But having what is probably the most unusual type of fill (a number) with a damn hair product. Really? REALLY? Just stupid.

Frantic Sloth 10:01 AM  

@Anonymous 726am 🤣🤣 Now I'm gonna hafta start saying "chopperjar" because, well, chopperjar.

@oceanjeremy 745am We don't know who reads these comments, so just in case you gave somebody "ideas": gurķis. 😉 (Hi, @kitshef!)

@JD 753am 🤣🤣🤣 There are no words. I'd look into it if I were you, but here's hoping there's an ointment for...whatever that is. 🤣🤣🤣

@Barbara S 830am Yes! Alberto VO5 from the 60s. What's with this 80s crap??
As you can see, and as usual, it was handled with elegance and grace - my typical M.O. 😉
And speaking of "the first post-COVID cocktail party"...

I'll stop now. Good day, everyone.

Whatsername 10:02 AM  

I found this crossword to be Very Outstanding for a Wednesday. A little challenge, a little rebus hidden there in the corner and a coupla entries like VACUUM OVEN that made me a little smarter. Loved OGRE crossing ERGO and SALAMI crossing VIDALIA ONION which sounds pretty tasty, even at the breakfast hour. Wonder how that would be paired with a nice VIN ORDINAIRE. 🤔

@Oshkosh Josh (7:16) Hi and welcome.

@JD (7:53) Bravo! (Or brava if you happen to be an AMIGA.) Brilliant post, made my day.

TJS 10:03 AM  

A par one ?

Unknown 10:13 AM  

Hey @Josh, are u from Oshkosh? I am.

RooMonster 10:15 AM  

Hey All !
Being follicly challenged as I am, VO5 is my brand of shampoo! It's cheap (99¢, although I think it went up at my store to $1.29. Ouch!), and works just as good (for me) as any other shampoo. So that was an easy get for me.

Narrowly escaped my one-letter DNF at RAMMER. Had VIN ORDINAle, as foreign words are not my forte. (Pronounce as you wish!) But knew a lAMMER didn't sound right for compaction tool. LAMMER could be a nickname for a Laminator. But erased the L, and saw it would be R, so last letter in, and then Happy Music!

Never remember how to spell ITZA. Has IchA in first! Got a chuckle out of Rex's observation of ET ALI_. Like seeing the clue Mauna ___, just put in the __A and wait, I just put in ETALI_ and wait. Not annoying, just something commonplace in puzzledom.

Hadn't heard of a VACUUM OVEN. Not very sciencey here. ☺️ Have to agree with the SESAMES nay-sayers. I worked in an In-Store Bakery years ago, we had to put SESAME seeds on the plain rolls before we baked them, and never once did I say, "hey, grab me some SESAMES." It was usually, "hey, grab me some SESAME seeds." (Full disclosure, what with my seive memory, who knows? I might've said it once or twice!) But still iffy.

Anyway, puz was OKAY. Fun reimagining by @JD 7:53. Got me chuckling!

Three F's (sorta kinda Four, if you write out 5 [five])

burtonkd 10:19 AM  

@SomeOne: I'll fill you in that Z already pointed out that it is SESAMODES. See also NOVodes and ETALIodes.

@anon 9:17, you beat me to it with the Vidalias. Costco just replaced them with some kind of sweet onion from Peru. @Nancy - a quick glance at wikipedia tells me our NY state vegetable is the sweet potato, which seems unlikely. The apple as state fruit makes a lot more sense.

Hands up for VOV, which I maintain is a superior answer, doubling down (so to speak) on the V in a non-W kind of way.

The lightning sound discussion reminds me of a car camping trip where my daughter and I rushed to the car sensing a sudden deluge just before setting up our hammocks for sleeping. Next to the car, there appeared a ball of light with a crackle you could feel, then the loudest ZAPpiest bang you ever heard. My wife, who was still a hundred yards away, made it to the car and said we were both white as a sheet.

kitshef 10:20 AM  

@Nancy - Texas, Utah and Washington also have onions as their official state vegetables. Oklahoma, it what really looks like it has to be a joke, has the watermelon.

GILL I. 10:20 AM  

A sweet little Wed. I keep looking at VITAL ORGAN SAGGED. Then I kinda got SAD because the VIDALIA ONIONs in me probably need a little ZAP and quite possibly a VACUUM OVEN. Hah...just use your imagination.
Ah yes....the MARM who is always the spinster; always wore little bispecles, was a virgin (or so they said) and wore granny underwear. My paternal grandmother was a school teacher in Enid Oklahoma. She taught in little 4 room school. BUT....she was anything but the depicted MARM. She raised 10 children and when the dust storms hit Oklahoma, she was the original in the cast of Grapes of Wrath.
@Nancy....California's official vegetable is the artichoke. Hence: okie dokie artichokie......I believe New York has something called an apple muffin.
Since Tracy has a little love for espanol, I thought she might sneak in VINO DE LA CASA at 46A. It fits. But we get the perfectly acceptable ORDINAIRE. However, I don't think I've met a single Frenchman, who would EVER order such a thing.
Loved the reveal - even thought I've never used VO5. It's still around in grocery stores. My hair is so long and unruly, I might just try it instead of the gazillion dollar shampoo I have to order through Amazon.
My SESAMES runneth over.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

Filled with the most uninteresting fill...

...and all to get to VO5.

The clue on 31D...How about like MOST interviews?


jae 10:26 AM  

Easy-medium. Top half very easy, bottom a tad tougher. Cute with a tricky reveal, liked it.

A man of letters 10:29 AM  

@burtonkd. That's 2 of us preferring VOV to VO5. Much more elegant.

JD 10:31 AM  

@Autoclave v. Vacuum Oven folks, And I was worried there wouldn't be fodder for the debate club! I love the fun house.

@Frantic, I'm going to present on a paper on the research I had to do at the first meeting of IA. Working on the slides now. There will also a be discussion of Chopper Jar, possibly one of the greatest things to come out of the blog ever.

@Whatsername, Thank you! Made my day.

@Z, I think back in the Prell/VO5 days, fancy shampoo was what you saw on TV. And then, because this is America and we think big, it became something that cost three times as much that you buy at a salon.

Newboy 10:35 AM  

Thanks Tracy for your neat Monday grid. Sorry that NYT printed it on the wrong day. I VEERed OFF on that PAR5 finish for an early visit to the 19th hole when the iPad wouldn’t accept the correct numeral and VOF that works seemed just wrong. It’s enough to drive one to drink!

Nancy 10:40 AM  

I Vaulted Over Rex's comments 5 times before noticing the wonderful "Peanuts" strip he's included to show a picture of a FLAT CAP. "Peanuts" maven as I am, I'm quite sure I never saw it before, because it's so delightful and unexpected that, had I seen it, I never would have forgotten it. Rex says the strip taught him the word "jaunty". Which reminds me of my own hat/"jaunty" anecdote. (Take a look at this wonderful strip first; otherwise my anecdote will make no sense to you.)

Anecdote: I'm taking a Comparative Religion course Freshman Year in college to fulfill my humanities requirement. I've chosen a tough bunch of other courses; and it sounds a lot less demanding than Philosophy. Besides I've decided I will add some spark to the class, since, I'm thinking every Religion class should have at least one relatively articulate agnostic.

One assignment is to "attend the services of a religion not your own", and I choose a Catholic low Mass. I'll need a hat for the occasion, and none of the ski hats I own to guard against the frigid Northampton MA winters will do. I ask my Catholic friend Ruth -- devoutly Catholic, I might point out -- if she has a hat I might wear to the Mass. She opens up a drawer from which I select an adorable beige cashmere beret. I put it on, skewing it to one side of my head (ala the "Peanuts" strip) and look in the mirror. "I LOVE it!!!", I burble to Ruth. "It looks so jaunty!!!"

In the driest tone you can possibly imagine, Ruth says, "Oh, yes -- by all means, look jaunty."

I did have the decency to feel abashed. I'm sure I blushed. I may have even said, "Sorry," though I don't remember. Happily, our friendship survived it and I was certainly the most jauntily-hatted person at the Mass that Sunday.

Barbara S. 10:51 AM  

@Frantic Sloth (10:01)
Yup, tee hee. I've been to parties like that long before COVID. I'm now thinking that post-COVID party chitchat will be worse than ever!

As your self-appointed LEN consultant, I feel we have much to talk about regarding today's puzzle. While strictly speaking you're right in saying there are no LENs, I've detected some crypto-LENs here and there that you might want to consider. There are two right-angled LENs toward the bottom of the grid. One starts in 53D and ends in 61A. The other begins at the end of 48D and terminates in 68A. Then, front and center, there's a "LENus interruptus" in 28D (LorEN). What do you think? Are these countable LENs?

Unknown 10:52 AM  

An autoclave is a pressurized steam oven, not a vacuum oven.

Masked and Anonymous 10:53 AM  

yep. SESAMES. Sesame seeds = sesames. Sorta like top seeds = tops.

Different theme mcguffin slant, which I kinda had to like. Even tho it did that one weirdball rebus-like square trick. Alberto VO5 had no recognition problem, at our house, btw.
VO5 gets today's staff weeject pick, of course. It was the theme revealer, plus it got to be one of the six caged weejects in the outstandingly tight little NE & SW cul-de-sacs. Pebble Beach golf clap.

Primo fashionable Ow de Speration moment = FLATCAP. Anagram of FATCLAP.

fave sparkly bits: POMADE. Featured in the "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" flick. RAMMER gets at least a strong har. VACUUMOVEN is new to m&e, but it sure saved the puz from bein a total U-vacuum. I definitely want a job where U get to use rammers and vacuum ovens … unless I gotta be a Republican Caulk-ass dude to do so, of course. [U deserved better, Ms. Cheney darlin.]

Thanx for the fun, Ms. Gray darlin. The five themers + VAN + VERA + … oh, not quite. Shoot -- Coulda had a V-8.

Masked & AnonymoUUs

them single rebus-like squares can be lifesavers:

albatross shell 10:54 AM  

Counting LENs.
If you can turn "right" on "E" as in a recent puz: 2
If you can turn down on "E" coming from the east: 1
If you can turn down on "E" coming from the west: 1
If you can move like a knight in chess: 1

Just got the Sunday moments read:
A lotta sensitive folks out there.
I especially enjoyed @CDilly52's story and attitude. Pain and angst transformed. That's how to do it if you can.
And thanks to @Nancy for her lyrics link.

Aelurus 11:00 AM  

Another fun puzzlet. When I got to VO_ had to pause and think for a bit if it would really be an Arabic number, but from the 56D golf clue I figured yep, go for it.

Learned 29D Chichen ITZA; 27A VIDALIA ONION, not that it exists but that it’s Georgia’s official vegetable; and 51A FLAT CAP, which, when I finally get to Scotland, I’ll purchase.

Wondered where Grenoble was in France and found out about les bulles, totes adorbs bubble cable cars that travel from the city to the Bastille, a fortress atop a hill giving panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains. One of the first city cable cars, built in 1934 (fingers crossed - this is my first attempt at a live link):

Thanks, Tracy!

@Barbara S. 8:30 am – Always nice to start a day with some literary nonsense, thanks!

@Nancy 9:00 & 10:40 am – Ah, the Vidalia sweet onion might not take center stage in many dishes, perhaps in the wonderful onion soup you mention, but in my hot dishes (@jberg 9:58, yes even there), cold salads, and plain old sandwiches it (or a cousin) makes lots of appearances. Thanks for pointing out it’s also the reverse of the initialism theme. Another plus! :)

Joe Dipinto 11:05 AM  

What Linus is wearing in the Peanuts strip is technically a newsboy cap, with the "button" on top and slightly pouffy sides. @Rex, your Wikipedia entry specifies that Flat cap is "Not to be confused with Newsboy cap." (Hat philistines will use the terms interchangeably, however.)

I thought of VEAL OSSO BUCO as an alternate themer, but osso buco is two words and veal is redundant since it's almost always made with veal.

@Nancy – I just gambled on the first word in yesterday's Cryptogram, because the repeat locations of those letters looked favorable throughout. I did get the contractions quickly from that.

Karl Grouch 11:07 AM  

V.O will always remind me of the rare (surely less than 5) movie theaters that showed undubbed films ("Version Originale") when I used to live in France.

Joaquin 11:12 AM  

@JD (7:53) - I hereby declare you today's *winner*!

Unknown 11:16 AM  

@ nancy
It looks like there was a movement for Sweet corn to be the NYS vegetable. Not sure if that came to fruition, if you get my drift. Sorry, I didn't mean to be corny.

This was just a super themer, but five long themes puts a lot of constraints on the constructor, so all in all, let's not get too nit-picky about the fill. Yes, rex, I'm talking to you.

Richard in NM 11:17 AM  

Back in the day, my best friend owned a 1977 Dodge Tradesman, just about the ugliest vehicle I'd ever laid eyes on. It sported the bumper sticker, "Van Ordinaire."

Frantic Sloth 11:17 AM  

@JD 1031am I look forward to your presentation at the next meeting. Alas, we missed the first one which was today because it's now tomorrow as previously noted in my first post. Also, we're idiots.

@Barbara S 1051am You know..I did actually see those and thought "should I?" Then figured it would be too convoluted and unfair to expect others* to stay focused on the count. However, I should have realized that this is you and no challenge is beyond your fearsome ken.
What the hey - let's go for it!

*others? Really? Oh! Hey there, @albie! 🤣

Aelurus 11:17 AM  

SIGH. I see my link at 11:00 am did not become live. Any help would be appreciated. In the meantime, Googling "les bulles" will bring up some cool pics and even a video or two in French.

Bax'N'Nex 11:30 AM  

Not a word about RAMMER??

Is that a thing? Is it so common that no mention is made of it? Have I been living under a rock?

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

If you have been in a P-Chem class/lab in the last couple of decades, and it was/is up to date on equipment, then a VACUUM OVEN is a gimme. Alas, my P-Chem class was in a lab with equipment from the 1930s, when the building was outfitted. We had one Mettler electronic balance, which only the prof was allowed to use. The class had to go into a sealed balance room, with a long, wide table with a dozen or so enclosed chain balances. It is so passe` that not even the wiki has a picture. Ah, those were the days. When I ran, not toddled, from a chemistry degree.

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

Joe Dipinto,
Hear, hear!

JC66 11:35 AM  


Email me (see my profile) and I'll send you my Embedding Cheat Sheet.

Carola 11:38 AM  

Worth it for @JD 7:53. Well, also for the delightful pairing of a VIDALIA ONION with VIN ORDINAIRE and the laugh at the reveal. I also liked VEER OFF, as it does just what it says in departing from the noun phrase pattern of the other theme answers.
Do-over: RAMrod; no idea: VACUUM OVEN.

Frantic Sloth 11:42 AM  

@Nancy 1040am Loved your anecdote. Read it aloud to Mrs. Sloth who laughed and said "oh, well. It was a low mass..."

Masked and Anonymous 11:50 AM  

Well, yeah … Get to have a V-8, if U include VO5, I reckon.

Or another way to look at it, there were exactly eight V's in the puzgrid.

Sooo … ok. Drink up.


Prell 11:51 AM  

Oh, sure. Like you can just drop a pearl into any old shampoo.


Head & Shoulders 11:53 AM  

This theme set was a bore.... and the great VO5 revealer? This suggests that our crosswords are so tired that we are having to reach far back for a barely popular item. I don't dig it.

burtonkd 11:58 AM  

@Joe D: with your profile pic way ahead of the curve on this one, I'll believe anything you tell me capwise.

@M&A: POMADE was in "O Brother", but it was the unacceptable brand for the self-avowed "Dapper Dan Man". I love the line that follows when told it would take 2 weeks for an order to arrive: "Well ain't this place the geographical oddity, 2 weeks from everywhere?".

Barbara S. 12:00 PM  

@Frantic Sloth (11:17)
Barbara (Barbie?) and her "fearsome [K]en" -- I love it! (Too bad my husband's name is David.)

Chaumette Communications 12:09 PM  

Thank you. I was waiting for someone to call out that V. = 5. That gave me Dnf. No bueno.

OffTheGrid 12:11 PM  

Apparently "Rebus" can mean what ever you want. And I can never see "rebus" without thinking of Homer's "Jebus".

JC66 12:14 PM  

There's only ONE V in VO5.

Doc John 12:19 PM  

Both VO5 and Zest soap are featured prominently at Universal Orlando's Cabana Bay Beach Hotel, which is a retro homage to the beach hotel/motels of South Florida. Having grown up there, my brother and I found it to be a real kick!
And I'll just leave you with this:
I'm Idris Elba

Jeff B. 12:36 PM  

Perfect ending to the write-up by referencing the great Idris Elba with his FLATCAP, something many of us have worn but likely have never heard referred to that way.

Gerrythek 12:44 PM  

Anyone else bothered by EDGE? Anyone who does jigsaw puzzles knows that the strategic starting piece is a CORNER. Leave out “starting” and the clue is accurate.

Z 12:46 PM  

I really should read instead of just looking at pictures - autoclave.
When I think of VACUUM OVENS I’m thinking something <a href="”>more like these babies.</a>

@OshKosh Josh - That’s a whole different thing. One kind of trap for experienced solvers is a common clue for answer A suddenly being used for Answer K. So you see a clue and it has always been for “opal” so you write in “opal” only today it is “onyx.” Or, you just have a brain fart and even though the clue could be for either you just throw down “opal.” The absolute worst is when you fixate on “opal” when it is supposed to be “onyx” and it just stymies you because none of the crosses work. Many precious nanoseconds get wasted when one is sure of a an answer and it is wrong. As for our various observations about our solving processes, take our kvetching with a heavy dose of grains of salt. It’s also good to remember that we’ve all been there or will be there. I’ve had my fair share of “D’Oh slaps.”

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

I'd wager that most folk refer to such hats as Kangol's. Check your favorite on-line retailer. Or watch Bryson DeChambeau hit a golf ball.

Joe Dipinto 1:00 PM  

@Doc John – Thanks for the laugh, that is hilarious!

JD 1:11 PM  

@Roo, Good to hear ya chuckled!

@Joaquin, I win, I win (I won, I won)!

@Frantic, It'll give me time to see if they still make slide projectors.

old timer 1:14 PM  

My only problems was the VO at the end. Had to figure out that it did not refer to the first two letters, but to the first letter of the two words that formed the answer. Counting revealed it was VO5. I had written in VO6.

On my first trip to France, at age 19, we delighted in Vin Ordinaire. Before picnics on the road, the tour leaders always stopped in some town to give us a chance to buy wine. Trial and error convinced me to always buy the *second* cheapest wine at any small store, and to buy local, as the customers almost always do.

My last two trips to Paris I went to Willi's Wine Bar, where the Vin is never Ordinaire, but the prices are reasonable, and the food is great. Its mission is to introduce Parisians to local and regional wines they may not have tried before. Excellent place, founded a few decades ago by a couple of Cambridge grads. An easy walk from anywhere on the Right Bank, in a historic neighborhood founded by Cardinal Richelieu.

Teedmn 1:15 PM  

Funny, I've always associated VIDALIA ONIONs with Missouri because of Sedalia, MO. Georgia, huh.

And SESAMES, yes, the plural sounds awkward but there at least two sesames, white and black, so technically it probably works.

I had a similar nostalgic jolt as some others here upon finding Alberto VO5 in the SW corner. I went to Google to find out if it was still available - it is - but Prell isn't. I used to use Prell exclusively on my hair but I think I've read since that it was close to detergent as far as its effect on hair went. Now I use an expensive shampoo and conditioner and still get split ends, sigh.

Tracy Gray, thanks, this was fun.

sharonak 1:35 PM  

@ JD 7:53
Thanks for the chuckles

A 1:37 PM  

Joyeux anniversaire to Gabriel Urbain Fauré, French composer, organist, pianist who wrote the some of the loveliest music you will ever hear.

I saw VITAL ORGAN and was hoping for more musical instruments. NOPE. Hard to be disappointed with a VIDALIA ONION, though. The best, sweetest onions - people make pies with them, delicious pies and tortes. OKAY, that’s on my to do list for the day. The Rye LOAF is tempting, too.

Glad I knew VO5, because PAR WOE? I’ve even played there, but I never keep score when I’m “golfing.”

This puzzle was very educational (and not in a pop “artist” kind of way - even GAGA wasn’t clued as PPP). FLAT CAP and VIN ORDINAIRE were new terms for me, and I had no idea there was such a thing as a VACUUM OVEN. Somehow I also couldn’t dredge up Chichen Itza without crosses. Other slow spots at TIER (tasty clue) and OLAF.

Had some fun in the SE: wanted FL-T-A- to be a FLAT hAt, and there is a flower called a tANSY. I’m no sailor, so hOVES could be a haven at sea. Then I spied the COVES and became suspicious of FLAT CAt - oh, look, there’s a and they sell a Bobcat FLAT CAT HAT. For cooking while backpacking - “an insulator, pot cozy, hot pad and snow insulator!” Went with CAP, but enjoyed the FLAT CAT HAT CAP FLAP.

Thanks for the extra SESAMES, Tracy!

foxaroni 1:52 PM  

I remember Alberto VO5 from the 50s. Ye Gads, I'm old. :-( However, my "greasy hairstyling product" of choice then was Brylcreem. Rub it in, style with a little bit of water in the comb, and soon you had a ducktail hairpiece that was rock-solid. (Maybe that's why I lost all my hair, LOL.)

Thanks, Tracy, for a fun puzzle.

CT2Napa 2:03 PM  

How to do an html "a" tag!

albatross shell 2:36 PM  

Corner does nothing w/o two other non-corner edge pieces. Might as well start with all the edge pieces you can find. Of course corners are (double) edge pieces too. Basically any edge will do. The corners will show up eventually.

bocamp 2:39 PM  

@JD (7:53 AM)

A classic! 😂

@A (1:37 PM)

Thx for the vid: beautiful performance! :)


Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

pabloinnh 2:55 PM  

@Teedmn-Maybe I just live in an old-fashioned part of the country, but Prell is still on the shelves around here. I've been using it forever and have half a squeeze bottle upstairs in the shower right now and a new one in the closet.

On a side note, in Spain I used to "wash myself the head",as they say, although not as often as I would have liked. Showers in my family were intermittent at best.

Anonymous 3:01 PM  

On "v.o.," the theme of this puzzle. Those of you planning traditional weddings should take notice. The "v.o." in Medieval law was the vir optimus, or "best man"--the term was used so frequently that it was abbreviated. The best man was evidently a fighter, one who saw to it that the bride would not be reclaimed by her original owners (whether family, village, or feudal lord).

The odd term "best boy," which you see in movie credits, was a Medieval term as well, used for particular person in a guild.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Odoriferous 3:25 PM  

The Alberto VO5 shampoo called Blooming Freesia has a delightful scent.

Joe Dipinto 3:53 PM  

Wasn't there an episode of "Third Rock From The Sun" where they encountered a bunch of alien women that all had names of shampoos, like Prell, Breck, and Pantene? I think they were played by actual supermodels like Cindy Crawford.

Blue Stater 3:55 PM  

Just dreadful. Yet again, WS is artificially toughening a puzzle by breaking the rules. Either you can use numbers in a puzzle or you can't. As far as I know, you can't. Terrible Natick miasma in the SE. Hated it.

Aelurus 5:38 PM  

@JC66 11:35 am - I started researching before I read your post, and I think I figured it out! I think the issue is I didn't include any text to click on before I typed the angle brackets enclosing the slash"a". I mean, all that blank space made it into my post...maybe my link is there but it's i.n.v.i.s.i.b.l.e? Trying again. If it works, clicking should whisk the clicker to the thing meant to be seen. Okay, eyes closed, fingers recrossed, drum roll...

One of the first city cable car systems

JC66 5:56 PM  


Mazel Tov!

Aelurus 6:01 PM  

Oh wow, that is so satisfying to have figured it out! Am so careful because I don’t want to break the internet. Or, well, more likely, my laptop. What further good trouble can I now get into? [John Lewis remembered.]

@JC66 5:56 pm - thank you! If I get into future hyperlink confusion I will email for that cheat sheet.

Just checked rest of comments. @CT2Napa 2:03 pm, thanks for your link - and by example, too!

TTrimble 6:32 PM  

Oh, I remember VO5. My mom used to buy the stuff.

Few people have heard the ZAP sound made by lightning. You'd have to be pretty close by. The sound created by the super-heating of air by a lightning bolt? By Jove, everyone knows that one. It's actually a shock wave that's created.

Neat to learn about VACUUM OVENS. So nice hearing from people who know what they are talking about!

yd 0, td 0. (Hi @bocamp) Is that the first time I've gotten QB on two consecutive days? Last word found today naturally followed one of these really juvenile conversations that hold sway in our household.

RAD2626 6:34 PM  

Perfectly fine and clever theme with fun cluing and word play with albeit a couple of odd themers. Amazed how much abuse Pebble Beach has received. Iconic eighteenth hole hard to miss in commercials or any sports discussions even if you hate golf, which I decidedly do not. Been musing about whether a clue like “Longest golf holes, usually” would have been more accepted. I happen to prefer the puzzle’s clue with its evocative imagery. Struggled some with SE. Toehold was hard to find but still ended up 15% below my average Wednesday time.

sixtyni yogini 6:38 PM  

In keeping with the theme of V. I put VoV —Roman 5 - for hair care brand (Alberto.).
The app would not allow it! 🚯so extra seconds ⏰ til I found the “error.”
Good puzz! 🤗🧩🤗

bocamp 7:49 PM  

@TTrimble 6:32 PM 👍 👍

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 9:01 PM  

Doc. If only you were one of those folks who knew what he was talking about.
There are, give or take, 1.4 billion lightning strikes every year. About 44 every second.
Plenty of people have heard a lightning strike.
By the way, what kind of doctor are you? Are you an MD?

Nancy 9:05 PM  

@Frantic (10:01) -- I'm just catching up with the blog now, and your post-Covid party link is the funniest SNL skit I've seen in years!!! I would have hated to have missed it. The skit, not the party. And I'm glad that Mrs. Sloth liked my anecdote.

Wonderful post today, @JD! Very clever and original.

@RAD2626 (6:34) -- I agree: Your PAR 5 clue would have been much fairer.

Malsdemare 10:03 PM  

@Nancy, I love your flat cap story but your friend was seriously out there. I went to college at a Jesuit university and we were known to grab a kleenex and pin it to our heads in order to conform. But there was a brief period when mantillas were the rage and I loved those lovely lacey head coverinings. So Madonna-ish

I got to the puzzle late as my husband had his knee replaced Friday and while he’s doing unbelievably well (he made dinner tonight because I and our son were taking too long to get started), he does have me busy. I’m almost always happy with the puzzle; today was no exception. For some idiotic reason I was particularly taken with VIN ORDINAIRE. I wanted RAMrod for RAMMER but otherwise flew through this until I hit VO? Took me a bit to remember the shampoo but I listen to my golf fiend husband often enough to have a vague memory of Pebble Beach being really tough.

Thanks, Tracy.

Anonymous 10:33 PM  

The problem is that the brand, exactly, is Alberto Culver. Doesn't fit, you might notice.

A 11:31 PM  

@Joe D and @bocamp, if you liked those selections, there is plenty more from Weir, Still, and Faure to delight. All three have distinctive yet varied means of expression.

I also just now followed Rex's link to the Pérotin. It's great! I don't know why he posted it, maybe he was eschewing polyphony as having small crannies? Or does it illustrate the uncertainty of Latin endings? Whatever the reason, he shared an amazing bit of musical development.

Congrats, @Aelurus! That is quite the view.

@Poggius - fascinating v. o. and best boy explanations! Back in the 1980s, I think, there was a public tv show called "Connections" which was full of that kind of intriguing information - a kind of physical/cultural "etymology." I raved about it so much that Mr. A bought me the book. Thanks for the reminder!

oriordan 11:51 PM  

@JD - the puzzle was *SO* much better after you explained the themers 😜

Joe Dipinto 1:13 AM  

@A – the title of the Pérotin piece is "Viderunt Omnes" (another "VO"). How Rex happened on it will remain a mystery I guess.

sasses 1:24 AM  

On a clear day, even an average golfer can par the 18th. Beautiful!

Stickler 3:28 AM  

Thank you Doc John @ 12:19 for the Famalam link 🤣. I did not appreciate the 5, VOV would be much better.

Beecher Scoville 4:09 PM  

A snarky crossworder really shouldn't write
"I just didn't know it's name"
instead of
"I just didn't know its name"

Don 10:09 AM  

Yes, but is RAMMER really a thing?

spacecraft 11:13 AM  

I didn't time myself, but this has to be about the easiest Wednesday I ever did. Eyes drawn to the revealer clue, I recognized VO5 at once, checked the down: yep, PAR5. Clues to the themers resulted in gimmes, all but the last; I thought it might be something like VACUUMOVEN but wasn't sure, so I waited for a few crosses on that one. It was almost like copying an already done puzzle onto an empty grid.

There sits Lady GAGA directly atop Sophia LOREN, twin DOD's from different eras. Hand up for FLATCAP giving a tiny "ohmlet" of resistance. Seems like a simple description rather than what the thing is called. It's flat. It's a cap. Duh.

From "The Doomsday Machine" (STTOS):

SPOCK. If you don't VEEROFF, I shall relieve you on that basis. [insanity]
DECKER. (exasperated) VEEROFF!

Great stuff. A little too easy for anything better than a PAR5.

thefogman 11:36 AM  

From the Alberto VO5 Haircare website:
VO5® stands for 5 Vitamin Oils (Sunflower Seed Oil, Mango Seed Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Rosemary Leaf Oil, Chamomile Flower Oil) and was originally used to off-set the harsh conditions of Hollywood sound stages

Diana, LIW 11:41 AM  

First thing I saw was Georgia's vegetable????? Then, in my jump-around manner, I pretty quickly came upon VO5. Uh oh - rebi?? Vegetables of unknown origin?

But then it turned out to be EZ Pea-Z.

Vitally Operational. Or something.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 11:47 AM  


KID, don't CRY, it's OKAY, so your VITALORGAN lagged.
Sometimes a MALE must say, "NAY", when his SALAMI has SAGGED.


rondo 12:38 PM  

Unbelievable, especially on *this* blog site - not one mention of the METOO movement. ITZA miracle.

@D,LIW - NOVAS for your loxes.

Anyone besides me remember ZAP Comix? I own a few issues.

Sophia LOREN, yeah baby.

Easy ONE.

rondo 12:39 PM  

Very Ordinary

Diana, LIW 1:26 PM  

Right you are, @Rondo! But these June days my salmon is Copper River. We've had it for 2 weeks now. Spendy - and worth every penny. (Copper penny, of course)

NO VAS Copper River!

Lady Di

leftcoaster 3:31 PM  

Required a little TLC for the V_O_ themers, particularly VIDALIAONION and VINORDINAIRE. As for the revealer, stayed with VOV (V = 5) cross as a virtual PAR 5 on the Pebble Beach 18th. Felt OKAY to go with that.

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