Good fashion sense in modern slang / SUN 5-30-21 / Potato cultivar that was developed in Ontario despite its name / Nintendo dino / Site of lighthouse that was one of Seven Wonders / Smaller alternative to Quarter Pounder / Beach Boys song set to the tune of Chuck Berry's Sweet Little Sixteen / Mowry who starred alongside her twin Tia in 90s sitcom Sister Sister / Breakout 1993 single for Counting Crows / Rob British comedian and TV personality

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Constructor: Adam Wagner

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Game Over" — it's a chess theme ... so CHECKMATE is one ending of a chess game (47D: One ending for a classic board game — another of which (when a player resigns) is represented visually six times in this puzzle); the other ending (referred to in the CHECKMATE clue) is when a player concedes by tipping over their king ... so the puzzle has six tipped over kings, i.e. six kings that are just regular Acrosses, but that also represent the middle parts of six Downs ... so it's like the "king" portions of the Downs have been tipped over, and then the answer has sort of fallen down on itself ... it mostly looks like there's a king just sticking out of the side of the Downs, rather than actually lying down, but whatever:

Theme answers:
  • NAR COLE PTIC (4D: Quick to fall asleep, in a way)
  • DESMOND TUT U (28D: Nobel Peace Prize recipient who wrote "No Future Without Forgiveness")
  • FIDD LEAR OUND (76D: Tinker (with))
  • TI MIDAS A MOUSE (67D: Quintessentially cowardly)
  • WATCHE DAVID EO (22D: Spent some time on YouTube, say)
  • YU KONG OLD (106D: Potato cultivar that was developed in Ontario, despite its name)
Word of the Day: Rob BRYDON (83D: Rob ___, British comedian and TV personality) —

Robert Brydon Jones MBE (born 3 May 1965) is a Welsh actor, comedian, impressionist, presenter, singer and writer. He played Dr Paul Hamilton in the Australian/British comedy series SupernovaBryn West in the sitcom Gavin & Stacey and Keith Barret in the BBCcomedy series Marion and Geoff and its spin-off The Keith Barret Show.

He has appeared in a number of shows for the BBC with Steve Coogan, including The Trip series in 2010, released as a feature film later that year; and The Trip to Italy in 2014 and The Trip to Spain in 2017 and The Trip to Greece in 2020, also edited and released as feature films. (wikipedia)

• • •

Some problems. First, CHECKMATE is not a great revealer, since (by the clue's own admission) that's not actually what's being represented in the puzzle. Second, as well-meaning as the king-lying-on-its-side gimmick is, it just doesn't come off visually very well. As I say in the description (above), the letters in the king name are more jutting out of their Down answers than they are lying on their sides, really. The whole idea of resting on the surface of the board just isn't conveyed by the positionality of the various kings. I'm also not sure why they all tip out of their Down answers in the same direction (to the solver's left) but at least the tipping is consistent, I guess. I really don't tend to have the same sensibilities as dudes (and it's almost always dudes) who play chess. Except Matt Gaffney. I love his work, and he's really into chess. He is the exception that proves the rule, for sure. You should check out his crosswords for New York magazine (now playable online!) as well as the Matt Gaffney Weekly Crossword Contest (now Patreon-only). But back to this puzzle: not really my cup. It does what it does, and it does it methodically, but the whole visual effect just doesn't come together the way it should.

The fill was good and bad. Something about OCTOMOM (8D: Tabloid nickname for mother Nadia Suleman) is so deeply off-putting, so demeaning, so ... dehumanizing, that I can't enjoy it at all, and I especially can't enjoy it when it's crossing SOTS (the mockery of alcoholics continues unabated ...). Also, UNSTOW made my eyes roll so far back in my head I passed out for a little there (70D: Remove from under the seat in front of you, say). I'll give you UNREEL, I guess, but UNSTOW? Um, no. IT'S (not) OK. And I was so looking forward to a really killer grid when, very early on, I encountered that truly fantastic clue for DRIP (31A: Good fashion sense, in modern slang). I know, if you haven't heard it, it's hard to see it as "fantastic," but I've been seeing it a lot lately (as well as hearing it in various rap hits), so I was beaming. I wrote it in off of the "D" in RAP CDS (fitting!), but honestly didn't trust it at all. Felt like a pretty daring clue for the NYTXW, so I carefully checked the crosses and ... whaddyaknow? DRIP was correct! I got a clue that required knowing modern lingo! Me! At 51! High-fiving myself for coolness, which is definitely what cool people do. TOP JOB is depressing in its barely-a-thingness (29D: Sought-after position). Not UNSTOW-depressing, but close. Also depressing: WATCHED A VIDEO. Truly the ATE A SANDWICH of theme answers (it's sooooo close to ATE A SANDWICH, I almost admire its moxie). SAT IN A CHAIR! ROLLED SOME OATS! GAVE ROSES TO ONE'S GIRLFRIEND! You see how these aren't answers, right? I might have given WATCHED VIDEOS some leeway, but WATCHED A VIDEO? Leeway denied!

I see LTE on my phone all the time, I think, but still don't really know those letters (80A: 4G letters). Not a fan of LTE as fill. RTE > LTE. Also BRYDON. I guess I've seen one of those Trip to Wherever movies he was in, but I sure didn't know his name, and every letter was a painful adventure to fill in. Super duper glad I knew what a MYERS-Briggs test was, or yipes, I might still be staring at BR-DON. Only other real mystery was PHAROS, but I guess if it was the site of one of the Ancient Wonders, then it's ... phair (23A: Site of a lighthouse that was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World). 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Ken Freeland 12:04 AM  

Rex says "meh," I say "oy veh!"
I’ll begin my diatribe today with a complaint about this clue: “BRING IT IN.” After finishing the puzzle I looked online for a definition of the phrase...about ten popped up, and nary a one of them had anything whatsoever to do with huddling up, unless you care to apply that meaning to one heterosexual man asking another for a hug, one of the more interesting renderings. One of the first I encountered had this to say:

"bring it in" is an instruction that a coach gives someone who is catching a ball. He means that the person should bring the ball close to his body when he catches it, not try to catch and hold it with his arms out in front of him. 

OK, now THAT makes sense. Or maybe “bring it in” for a touchdown. But is this same coach going to use this phrase to communicate an urgent need for his team to huddle? Not bloody likely – he cannot afford to be misunderstood in the heat of a close game. What else can I say, but that this clue was wafer-THIN!

Now, speaking of sports, three strikes and you’re out, agreed? I love a puzzle with a nice clean finish; this one forced me to roll the dice three times...not tidy at all! --

PPP natick 1: ANA/TAMERA (Sure, smart money is on “a” when it comes to women’s names, but still…)
PPP natick 2): YOSHI/SHUE (Sure, YOSHI has a nice cuddly ring to it, but then you get SHUE going the other way, and I’ve NEVER encountered anyone with that surname, EVER! So this left me a bit dubious…)
PPP natick 3) DYERS/BRYDEN (This theoretically could have been anything, but given that we’re talking British names here, “Y” seemed the leading candidate. I took my degree in psychology, and while that was a while back, I don’t recall this particular personality test. I really have to wonder just how “popular” it is...)

You’re out, Mr. Wagner, and so is Mr. Shortz for permitting this mishmash! If were behind the editorial desk and someone submitted a puzzle with one or more PPP naticks, I would shove it right back to him, and tell him: “If you want this published you’ll see to it that at least one of these two answers is a real word that people can be expected to know, and not some obscure pop culture icon. This isn’t People Magazine, you know!”

But alas, I am not so positioned, so there’s nothing to do but hope for better next week...but I said the same thing last week, I believe...sigh...

jae 12:09 AM  

Medium-tough. It took a while to suss out how the theme worked. Odd and clever, liked it.

@bocamp - finished Croce’s Freestyle # 615 in one session. It went like a medium NYT Sat. Good luck!

Joaquin 12:16 AM  

I found this to be one of those rare Sunday puzzles that is a remarkable feat of construction AND a lot of fun to solve. And a great "aha moment" when I realized the kings were lying down. Good job, Mr. Wagner.

Jack Armstrong 12:19 AM  

I really don't tend to have the same sensibilities as dudes

No, you don’t, do you.

Ken Freeland 12:20 AM  

Ach, I see now that I was tripped up on yet a fourth natick...for some reason I made sense of the song title as DR JONES overlooking the possibility of MR JONES, but three out of four correct guesses is not bad...would beat the odds in vegas!

jae 12:24 AM  

@Ken - Not surprised you are unfamiliar with the DYERS-Briggs test, however the MYERS- Briggs is popular personality inventory used by many employers.

Elizabeth SHUE was an Oscar nominee for Leaving Las Vegas.

Vince L. 12:34 AM  

BRING IT IN is an incredibly common term for huddling up in football, particularly by a coach telling all the players to gather ‘round for a speech. But if you have to google it, I guess you’ve never been there . . .

EdFromHackensack 12:53 AM  

Elisabeth SHUE is well known and is in the crossword all the time, Ken Freeland. ANA/TAMERA should be a nonissue. Are you new to this Ken?

Frantic Sloth 1:04 AM  

I realize a theme with proper names is going to tilt the scales on the PPP, but I'm not sure that's where the majority of it comes from. And this grid felt like a threshold-breaker to me.

The theme was new and clever if not very exciting. All those kings just lying there...and I couldn't offer a suggestion on any other way to do it, but the jump from the down word all the way to the left of the across word had that unfortunate googly-eyed effect on me.
These old eyes aren't as spry as they once were, so getting googly can quickly devolve into quasi-vertigo and utter confusion.
And I don't need any help with that particular goal, thank you very much.

The fill wasn't bad, but wandered into "green paint" and "ate a sandwich" territory periodically with such gems as DONOTOPEN (naked without the "until Christmas") and WATCHEDAVIDEO (paging Droopy Dog).

Took way too long for RAM to occur to me and TA_ERA? Yeah, no.
So, if I'm being honest, that's a DNF FND© (@Z)

This being only his 3rd NYTXW, it seems to me that Mr. Wagner is still finding his grid voice, but he definitely shows terrific promise, IMHO. πŸ‘


Eli Becker 2:03 AM  

What does PPP signify?

Aelurus 2:45 AM  

My father taught me chess when I was a kid but we just agreed it was checkmate and reboxed the pieces; there was no HARASSing the king. Must watch The Queen’s Gambit sometime.

Found this easy once I got the trick at DESMOND TUTU and then was able to fill in NARCOLEPTIC and see that all the gray areas were kings. Moseyed around to 47D for CHECKMATE but had no idea what the gray areas meant until reading Rex and Jeff Chen, where they thankfully explained.

Today there’s another phrase missing its ending – 116A, DO NOT OPEN.... Sorta like Saturday’s answer YIPPEE KI YAY.... The former absence, till Christmas; the latter, well, I didn’t get a chance to read Saturday’s blog, but I’m sure y’all noticed.

Eyebrow up at 70D UNSTOW. Had SIRE at 34D and then had to move it to 115D.

Thought the physics experiment (92D) was dropping a feather and a piece of lead shot, but maybe that’s Galileo atop the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Okay, just checked – Galileo dropped a variety of things off the top of the tower but apparently not a feather. Oh wait, there’s more! says Commander David Scott, on the surface of the moon on August 2, 1971, having a vacuum at hand, re-created the experiment with a feather and a hammer and confirmed that they hit the ground at about the same time. The feather was from a falcon in honor of the Apollo 15 lander, the Falcon. More detail on the website.

Took me three times to get UNREEL, starting with unfurl, then trying unroll.


Thanks, Adam, fun Sunday on a late-night-Saturday for me!

ZenMonkey 3:10 AM  

After I had the kings, I was lost as to what was going on around them. Was a workout to work it out, but I like that in a Sunday. Doesn’t bother me that it’s not visually perfect. It’s an abstraction that makes perfectly clear what it represents. Fun.

chefwen 3:15 AM  

I had no idea what was going on. Filled in the kings early on after COLE and TUT showed up, that was pretty obvious, finally figured it out after FIDDLING AROUND with 76D.

King KONG mountain is the view from the front of our home, so that’s always a plus in a puzzle for me.

Fun Sunday.

Rique Beleza 3:21 AM  

When I played football the coach said BRING IT IN all the time. It meant circle around him, shut up, and listen.

Rique Beleza 3:26 AM  

Why spoil it by telling us they are kings in the clue? Figuring it out would add have added some snap to the puzzle.

Anonymous 4:43 AM  

PHAROS means "lighthouse" in Greek. So the clue is a bit misguiding. The "site" of the actual wonder is "Alexandria"

Geezer 5:28 AM  

I'm thinking that the theme was sorta spoiled by having "king" in the 6 clues. It would have been more interesting and a better challenge if those 6 had unrelated clues.

For example:

COLE-Half of a salad choice
DAVID-Famous statue
TUT-When doubled, an expression of disapproval
MIDAS-Muffler chain
KONG-Second part of a Chinese region

Lewis 6:03 AM  

After a couple of weekend toughies, a cute theme and a more relaxed solve was just the ticket for me. Part of the art of crossword editing is to make the weekly puzzle playlist have a balanced flow, and the editing team nailed it here, IMO.

I liked the crosses of CLIO AWARDS and ADS, and AMEX CARD and DEBTOR, and I especially liked the KEGEL / BRING IT IN cross. Credit to Adam for taking the classic chess image of a resigning player flicking the king down, and turning that image into a puzzle, one that looks like it was a bear to make.

Thank you for putting in the effort, Adam, and for what felt to me like a lovely row down a peaceful stream.

Anonymous 6:20 AM  

I thought this was more like knocking he king over. Start the down, reach to the left, sweep across the king knocking it down, and finishing the down.

Anonymous 6:36 AM  

Was pleased as punch to see the proud Welsh Rob Brydon in today's puzzle. I might rewatch Gavin and Stacey if I can find it streaming somewhere...

Z 6:54 AM  

Are all chess players right-handed? Or maybe it’s just the losers who are right-handed. A left-handed chess player would tip the king the other direction.
Also, I think the visual is fine if you consider the perspective as that of the chess player, rather than a more typical crossworld perspective of the top of the puzzle being up. As a chess player looking down at the board the resigned king looks just like it does in the puzzle.

I found lots of the cluing not quite on my wavelength, so it played on the harder side of medium for me. Biggest slow down was wanting the Canadian juno AWARD before the advertising CLIO AWARD. I also wasted many precious nanoseconds wanting a lefty loser and CHALK ON G—- to work. Blrrgh. I got it all in the end, but a bigger challenge than usual for me on a Sunday.

@Ken Freeland - Ah, the perils of Uncle Google. I tried the search and the first hit that was this meaning was on the second page, a column for coaches (on Ultiworld of all placesπŸ˜ƒ). This is a good reminder that Uncle Google misses the vernacular if it’s rarely written. And that ultimate coaches are more literate than football coaches.

@Eli Becker - Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns.

@Frantic Sloth - I did get RAM, but wasted many precious nanoseconds there trying to suss out that clue. I do wonder what you went with at TA-ERA. I think I recognized TAMERA as a name than figured out how RAM worked.

TheMadDruid 6:57 AM  

Elizabeth Shue is a well-known actress. Bring it in the context of a coach calling his/her squad together for a last second instruction before resuming play is very common.

Anonymous 6:58 AM  

So chess has a mercy rule.

Z 7:02 AM  

Oh, in case anyone didn’t figure out how “Pickup line?” —> RAM, Dodge RAM is a product line of pickup trucks. It’s the one with an uterus for its logo.

A Moderator 7:27 AM  

If your comment is loaded with spoilers for yesterday’s puzzle it will not be approved today. Not everyone does the puzzles in order.

SouthsideJohnny 7:49 AM  

I’ll hazard a guess that the theme got to be so convoluted as a result of an attempt to be creative and original - not all are going to be successful - but we can live with that. After CHECKMATE dropped, it was clear that the theme entries were somehow related to the kings’ names and that was enough (it wasn’t really necessary to try to decipher the “broken” words and phrases).

Unfortunately, this one was pretty junk-laden (even by the Times’ standard, which requires at least some junk). I know that SCRIM and EIDERS are real things only because I have seen them in crosswords before. I have idea how “Bel Paese” (which I believe is a type of cheese) gets to ITALIA - the Times may call it trivia, I call it junk.

Similarly, CUANDO is obviously considered fair game - it probably passes the NYT sniff test because even though it probably means nothing to upwards of 90% of the solvers, it means something to someone, somewhere on the planet.

And the entry that Bogart’s today’s prize for Bogusness goes to . . . . MOAB - hard to get much more of a stinker of an answer than that.

Richard Stanford 7:49 AM  

The MBTI test is very well known, although of questionable accuracy. It’s where personality types like INTP and ENFJ come from.

Richard Stanford 7:52 AM  

From that link:

“Pharos was a small island located on the western edge of the Nile Delta. In 332 BC Alexander the Great founded the city of Alexandria on an isthmus opposite Pharos.”

Son Volt 8:00 AM  

Some decent stuff here - but with a clunky theme and some questionable fill it became a slog in the end. Not overly difficult - especially with the shaded kings just didn’t think the theme was up to a Sunday sized grid. Loads of trivia - I guess that’s what the editors now think a Sunday should be. Don’t know OCTOMOM and sounds like I don’t want to know. Liked YUKON GOLD the best - revealer was a little flat.

Never thought Gilda was funny - but did like the SNL connection with DA BEARS.

Still have my ‘07 Dodge RAM - sometime after that RAM went off to do their own thing.

Garbage weather in NY this weekend - 45 and gloomy. The solve today didn’t do much to help things.

Barbara S. 8:07 AM  

It took me a while to get used to the idea of this theme but, on reflection, I decided I liked it. The end of a game of chess – either one player wins decisively with CHECKMATE, or one player resigns by laying down her/his king on the board, each chess-piece king being represented by a well-known king from nursery rhymes, religious texts, history, mythology, literature or fantasy. In conjunction with the left-jutting Down answers I thought this worked visually just fine.


New to me: DRIP (Good fashion sense in modern slang), “Keep Austin WEIRD” (city slogan), and ON A RUN (Scoring win after win).

PHAROS is not only the site of the ancient lighthouse at Alexandria (Pharos being an island in the Nile delta) but it also came to be the name of the lighthouse, as in “The Pharos of Alexandria.” I think, in fact, “Pharos” gave the Greek language its word for lighthouse, but there's some chicken-and-egg confusion in my mind about that. I know there were various underwater expeditions in the 20th century that found and explored the ruins. A former colleague of mine worked in the field of underwater archaeology. She did a lot of work on the submerged harbor at Caesarea Maritima in Israel, but she was also knowledgeable about a number of the major projects on the go in the Mediterranean. Thanks to her I know that some significant work went on at Pharos in the 1990s but I don’t know what’s happened since then.

@Z - The RAM truck logo!!!!!!

@Southside Johnny - "Bel paese" is "beautiful country" in Italian.

Today’s poem is by COUNTEE CULLEN, born May 30, 1903.


Since men grow diffident at last,
And care no whit at all,
If spring be come, or the fall be past,
Or how the cool rains fall,
I come to no flower but I pluck,
I raise no cup but I sip,
For a mouth is the best of sweets to suck;
The oldest wine's on the lip.
If I grow old in a year or two,
And come to the querulous song
Of 'Alack and aday' and 'This was true,
And that, when I was young,'
I must have sweets to remember by,
Some blossom saved from the mire,
Some death-rebellious ember I
Can fan into a fire.

Frantic Sloth 8:14 AM  

@Z 654am Ironically, the only answer that made sense to me was RAM, but when that didn't work (because of an undiscovered f***ing typo elsewhere), I was so annoyed and tired by then I just ran the alphabet. When that didn't work, I finally just used the check function in AcrossLite...typo revealed. And I thought I was cranky before...
In future, don't wonder anything at me if you wish to avoid another dazzlingly scintillating anecdote such as this.πŸ™„

mmorgan 8:20 AM  

Pretty easy and pleasant overall. The theme answers themselves were enjoyable enough, but the revealer didn't really bring them together for me -- just kings lying down. I wanted them to be literally under some game (i.e., the word above each theme answer would be a game -- as in the title, "Game Over"), but I guess that would have been too cutesy. I did have a kind of triple Natick at 95 A/D -- didn't know mRJONES, didn't know myERS, and didn't know BRyDON, so that whole intersection was a faceplant. I first read the clue for 95D as a single for Counting Cows, but I never heard of them either.

Think I'll go get some GARI.

DSM 8:22 AM  

I disagree with the negative review. I played for well over a dozen coaches in many levels of several sports who have all said the exact phrase BRING IT IN, which is often followed by “take a knee.” The phrase “bring IT in” is very much in the idiom. If you omit the IT, the more general verbal phrase “bring in” has many more varied connotations.
Elisabeth SHUE and YOSHI is a very fair cross unless you’ve been hitting the snooze button on pop culture since Maleska.
And MYERS-Briggs? That’s - everywhere. If you studied psych and you didn’t study under Freud...I don’t know what to say.

bocamp 8:40 AM  

Thx Adam; very crunchy, challenging Sun. puz. Really enjoyed this battle and almost got CHECKMATED!

Tough solve.

A prime example where not paying attention to the theme early on comes back to bite me.

Knowing the Lighthouse of Alexandria (but not of PHAROS) held up progress in the NW. Got a better start somewhere in N. Cali with IMAM, MOW, HOT COCOA, and ventured out from there. Got WENTBYEBYE AND CHECKMATE, and after reading the clue for the theme, it all went rapidly downhill.

Was looking for actions or behaviors that at defeated/resigning player might manifest, e.g. go WATCH A VIDEO, go TUT TUT, get TIMID AS A MOUSE, etc., etc. Never dawned on me, in spite of all the 'king' clues, to grok the fact that all six themers were in fact kings, d'oh! So, having played chess most of my life, I didn't (until the very end) connect 'resigning', 'kings' and chess.

So, at the final battle in the SW, not remembering Skull Island, I was thinking Capt. Kidd was maybe also known as the king of Skull Island and kept all his booty there or something. :(

Not knowing the potato cultivar, nor seeing ALLY nor LENDEE didn't help. Finally twigged on LIONEL for 'Richie', so now knew KIDD wasn't gonna work. Skull Island, mmm, maybe the Peter Pan's lost boys or perhaps Lord of the Flies. KO_ _, mmm … King KOLE, nope, already got King COLE up north. Wait a minute!! all these greyed out themers are kings! KO_ _ … πŸ’‘KONG!! and the rest is history. :)

Now to figure out how the kings fit with the themer idea of resignation. Ah, when resigning, a player tips their king over. So, all six themer kings have been laid on their sides, making the down answers look like nonsense (except for TIS A MOUSE).

What an exhilarating adventure! And, a good prompt to work on better observation skills! :)

Tried surfing at Waikiki; never could quite get the hang of it. So, I surf vicariously thru SURFIN USA ~ Beach Boys

yd pg -3

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Jim in Canada 8:45 AM  

In addition to the other complaints already covered, I'd like Mr Shortz and any future constructor to know that "LEGOS" is not a word.
This has come up, and Lego themselves officially stated that the plural of Lego is LEGO. There is never an 's' at the end, ever.

"I like to build with Lego."
"I have lots of Lego to build with."
"I have around 200,000 Lego bricks."

If you don't believe me, drop into any online Lego forum or fan group and pluralize it with the 's' and see how fast the flame war starts.

BrucieK 8:49 AM  

So Rex, you censor comments that call you out on being unkind? I don’t get it.

Z 8:54 AM  

@DSM - Which has been more thoroughly debunked, Freud or Myers-Briggs?

@Cranky Sloth - If you solved like Gof intended you wouldn’t have those typo problems. πŸ˜‰

@Son Volt - Gilda Sacrilege! You must be one of those people who sweat like Dr. Joyce Brothers.*

*de gustibus and all that, but I saw someone assert that whichever SNL cast was on while you were a teen will always be the best SNL cast to you. That seems very close to universally true.

amyyanni 9:00 AM  

Love Gilda. "Never mind." This was fun and accessible. Never heard of either of the ladies ANA and TAMERA, who intersect on mid left side, so guessing ensued. Happy Sunday. For tomorrow, Steve Hartman is part of Taps Across America, great project. Learn more at @SteveHartmanCBS. #cbstaps

Nancy 9:08 AM  

So I read Will Shortz's blurb about Adam Wagner being a senior advertising copywriter and thought: Good! This will be a wordsmith's puzzle and therefore all about wordplay -- not about knowing a whole bunch of arcane trivia.

No such luck.

The theme looked as though I would enjoy it and find it intriguing -- but one unknown proper name crossing another unknown proper name crossing another unknown proper name made it too painful to soldier on. I stopped.

The constructor's son is two months old now. Hopefully by the time his son is two years old, Adam will have learned that requiring a lot of unrelated pop trivia knowledge is not the way to keep most solvers happy. I can only hope...

Meanwhile, darn it, my wall must be plastered and painted once again.

Z 9:08 AM  

@Jim in Canada - The users of the English language would like a word with LEGO… This reminds me that the coiner of the term “gif” mispronounces it to sound like the peanut butter, while any sane English speaker knows the G in “graphical” has to be hard so “gif” is just “gift” without the “t.” Just because the coiner wants to be prescriptivist doesn’t mean English users care. Yeah Yeah, Lego snobs care but that’s pretty niche.

@BrucieK - There are unkind words about Rex here every day. Either a) you went over the line somehow, or b) you are the person @A Moderator 7:27 is referring to. My guess is B since the moderators don’t seem to care about Rex’s feelings, so I can’t imagine how obnoxious a comment would have to be to be over the line. Spoilers, though? Naughty Naughty.

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

69A King of Ancient Egypt, as clued, would be Tutankhamun not TUT, no?

Anonymous 9:21 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Son Volt 9:25 AM  

@Z 8:54a - lol it was really that entire cast. With the exception of Belushi - it didn’t hit for me. Still don’t understand Murray’s appeal. Give me Second City from that era any day.

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

We've just been watching Gavin and Stacey, but I like Rob BRYDON best as the host of Would I Lie To You, a show I wish we had in the States, like Eight Out of Ten Cats Does Countdown ( who doesn't want to see John Cooper Clarke on a hilarious game show). I guess the Harvard Lampoon is the closest thing to Footlights we have, but the end products are not the same, not even close. There's no equivalent of the BBC for those Harvard Lampoon alums to turn to, I reckon.

Sixthstone 9:25 AM  

I loved this puzzle. Sad that Rex went straight (and only) to the puzzle's flaws. The theme was fun and well-executed, even if all the kings were gimmes. The fill often sparkled (NARCOLEPTIC, TIMID AS A MOUSE, WENT BYE BYE, TENDER AGE, HOT COCOA EGG DROP) and covered an amazingly wide array of subjects and eras, from the ancient wonders of Pharos to the hip DRIP of today. From ONEIDA to ITALIA and the HIMALAYAS. I really enjoyed it.

It even included a nod to my hometown: Keep Austin WEIRD!

Rex complains about WATCHED A VIDEO being vanilla fill, but with the themer DAVID in the middle, I'd say it's impressive. I'd challenge others to find familiar phrases with DAVID in the middle!

Cheers to Mr. Wagner!

JD 9:29 AM  

My car broke down in Natick and there was no way home so I just got out walked.

Aelurus 9:36 AM  

@A Moderator 7:27 am - I see your point and will remember.

@Barbara S. - 8:07 am - Thanks for the details about checkmate vs resigning. I guess neither my dad nor I ever resigned. Am wondering: If your king is checkmated, why would you resign?

RooMonster 9:43 AM  

Hey All !
Neat concept. Found it at KONG/YUGOLD. Said, "Dang, what are YU GOLD potatoes?" Then reread Revealer clue, saw the KON part, and voila! "Ooh, I see! The Kings are pushed over, as in a Chess resignation. Making the potatoes YUKON GOLD! Nice."

Surprised Rex didn't complain about a "thin" theme. *Clears throat**Channels Rex* Only six themers? Seems not a lot for a Sunday "best puzzle ever made for mankind." 😁

Technically, there are 12 themers, as the Resigned Kings are part of the Downs. And Adam got away with fairly clean fill, despite the strain the theme put on the grid. So, bravo! MIDAS was locked into place, as the M was in the Center Down Revealer, so Adam couldn't exchange it with the other five-letter King DAVID. So he had to also have TI(MIDAS)AMOUSE locked into place. And Then work around that. Tough. Made me ENJOY the puz more.

Haven't heard of a MAC JR, but don't frequent McDonald's much. Had three Naticks which I ultimately lost on all of them. SCRIM/MDS at the M (SCRIM? Dang), Y of BRYDON/MYERS (had an E), P of RAPCDS/PHAROS (brain shut-off at that point!) Wanted RAw CDS, after all, Rap lyrics are very RAw a lot. As an aside, RAP CDS sounds like Rhapsodies. Although, personally, Rap "music" is knives in the ears to me. Hey, to each their own.

Add me to the coach BRING IT IN as "let's conference" crowd.

Nice puz, Adam! King me!

Three F's

Irfan 9:46 AM  

The Myers Briggs test is the most popular personality test there is. It’s a very way clue for most people.

“Bring it In” means “ok huddle up” and is also a very common phrase. It means ok bring yourselves into this circle so you can hear me.

I remember Elisabeth SHue from the 90s. Not too popular but she was in The Saint with Val Kilmer which is the only thing I remember her in. But hey, it’s a crossword. You aren’t expected to know every answer and just because you don’t doenst make it a bad clue.

pabloinnh 9:48 AM  

Well I thought this was a lot of fun. After being unable to make any sense of the clue for sleepiness, I toodled around for a while and finally saw what was going on at TIMIDASAMOUSE, which made things make sense, which is what I like in puzzles with gimmicks. Cool.

My first thought for a "pickup line", three letters, was GMC, but that's because I've been driving GMC's for a long time. Was finally able to afford 4-wheel drive, which meant I could actually drive a truck in the winter, thus doubling its usability.

Thought we here had a shout out from Mr. Wagner, who managed to get both AHA and SLOG into his puzzle, which made me think he be a reader, or at least a lurker, since both show up with regularity.

Should have had the lighthouse sooner, as the Spanish word is "faro", and now I see why. Also note how smart they are to spell and F sound with an F, and that's always.

Thanks for all the fun, AW. I think your critics are All Wet.

Nancy 9:50 AM  

Also, it's not just the PPP that bothers me -- it's much of current slang. I had ?RIP at 31A and didn't have the slightest idea. I just remembered to look at the answer, which is DRIP.

DRIP is "good fashion sense in modern slang"?????!!!!! In heaven's name, Why?????? Can anyone here -- anyone at all -- come up with one single, solitary reason why this should be so? Slang should have some reason, some explanation, for being what it is. Otherwise it seems as though it was created by extraterrestrials on meth.

"Chanel was such a marvelous designer. She was known for her incredible DRIP. I'm her granddaughter and I inherited every drop of her DRIP."

Good grief!

Irfan 9:50 AM  

I enjoyed it overall and it was my fastest Sunday solve. I thought it was very straightforward and pretty easy, for me. I don’t understand the hate of OCTOMOM. That was the nationwide tabloid name for her. Adam Wagner didn’t make that up. King clues were a bit too easy and I agree it would have been better to leave “king” out of the clues and make them non king related.

Overall an easy fill for me.

Joe Dipinto 9:53 AM  

This puzzle sucked on just about every level. As @Rique Beleza and @Geezer already wondered, why identify the "tipped" answers as king names in their clues if you're going to highlight them in gray as well? There's nothing to discover in the solve. Clue the king names unrelated to kingliness, so at least there's the challenge of figuring out the connection between them all.

And people unfamiliar with chess will have no clear idea what this "ending" represents. It should be in a revealer (balancing the pointless CHECKMATE clue/answer).

And so many real and potential naticks...I don't see how this mess got the okay to run.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  


Re your pronunciation of "gif": I wonder how a sane English-speaker like yourself would pronounce NATO?

pmdm 9:57 AM  

Took me some time before I understood what was going on. I struggled trying to figure out how to enter TUTU's full name, and I think that's how I knew how the puzzle played. My overall reaction was that the theme material seemed rather weak. Perhaps that's my reaction to the lack of lengthly theme entries spread across the grid.

Like many newer constructors, seems that this one (only the 3rd published puzzle) jammed a lot of entries into the grid that were not on my wavelength.

Today yet another person apparently new to reading these comment did not know the meaning of PPP. I admire Z's patience in explaining the meaning over and over, but there must be a better way.

Unknown 9:59 AM  

@Ken Freeland - at least @SS Johnnie can relate to your quibbles

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

As a non-chess player I did not understand this puzzle's theme until I read Rex's blog. While I was still able to complete it without that chess knowledge, it is always disappointing to complete a Sunday puzzle and never get the satisfaction of that "aha" moment.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

It is almost like Rex did not want to like this. Not sure what he thinks people do on you tube, but watched a video is certainly something done. Bring it in is certainly something said during a football game to get the players into the huddle or the coach to get the players attention, and for the person who has never heard of the last name Shue, Elizabeth Shue was the girlfriend in the Karate Kid, of late in CSI and her brother Andrew was in Melrose Place years ago. In additon, she is/was quite beautiful.
Loved the puzzle because it was hard, but not too hard. I knew there was something going on around the 6 kings, but not being a chess player. did not know about laying down your king to concede, so could not figure out what to do with the missing letters.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

Sorry Ken...I think you're revealing more about your own blind spots here. Go watch 'Back to the Future,' go to a sports event, and bring your A-game next week.

Hungry Mother 10:28 AM  

Almost slain by names, but survived it. I saw the theme early and made use of it. Overall, a very nice Sunday outing.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

How are people not getting the King thing. It's in the F***ing clues! They say "King.....".

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

@Jim in Canada. There's a Legos forum online? That's really sad.

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

Today we learn that the PRIDE flag Rex posted yesterday was wrong.

But we forgive Rex, because he was trying hard, we knew what he meant, and and we appreciate his efforts.

No need to nitpick all the time, right?

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

Longtime reader, first time commenter coming in to say I loved this puzzle! I solve in the iOS app, starting in the list view rather than looking at the grid, so I knew there was something up with kings, got CHECKMATE, then looked at the grid but still couldn't figure it out, then got the idea of the theme at KONG/YUGOLD. The funny thing is I've never played chess and wouldn't have come up with the "tip over king = resign" thing at all except that I was rereading "The Yiddish Policeman's Union" yesterday, one of my favorite books, in which chess plays a significant role. Seeing how the tipped-over kings fit in with their Down answers gave me the best kind of "AHA" moment, the whole reason I solve puzzles.

bocamp 11:01 AM  

Have heard and used "bring it in" with teams, e.g., when players are involved in various drills, and the coach wants everyone to come together. I guess this could be construed as a loose form of a huddle, which I've always thot of a tighter formation. Nevertheless, the clue / answer worked for me.


On it! :)

@Aelurus (2:45 AM)

Kings Gambit: great film, and authentic chess sitches. Highly recommend it! :)

Thx for the link; excellent article. :)

@Z (6:54 AM)

Good catch on the right-handedness. Also, seems like boards are most often shown from white's point of view, so odds are that it was white who resigned, and was also a right-hander.

@Barbara S. (8:07 AM)

Great para re: PHAROS.

And, thx for the Cullen; I'll segue to Whittier: "That all of good the past hath had remains to make our own time glad"

@Aelurus (9:36 AM)

This was @Rex's point. The themer really should have been 'resigned'. A player seeing CHECKMATE is inevitable resigns in advance. Some say this is rude (depriving the opponent of the actual CHECKMATE); others say it's rude if one doesn't resign in a no-win situation. ♔

@Anonymous (10:42 AM)

Welcome aboard! Enjoyed your post. :)

td pg -2

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all ~ πŸ•Š

Birchbark 11:01 AM  

@Z (6:54) re "A left-handed chess player would tip the king the other direction" -- I really like the surrealism in your detective work (which of course holds true only in the Northern hemisphere). Sort of like a recipe for wild goose ravioli I sent to a friend, which included the instruction to "stir counter-clockwise." At any rate, I gather from this that I'm ambidextrous, as I've tipped many a king in every possible direction, including off the table and across the room.

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

LOL Rex,
Yeah only dudes play chessπŸ™„. Besides being sexist the timing of your silliness is particularly accuse. You have heard of that little Netlix series called The Queen’s Gambit, haven’t you? It even passes the Bechdel test, so it must be good!

Matt 11:16 AM  

Some classic Eugene T. Maleska style cluing (PHAROS used to be standard crosswordese) combined with RAPCDS and LTE, I guess this was a multigenerational-appeal puzzle. But I once again set a personal record solving it (on paper), and I'm not that smart. Filled it in top to bottom, left to right, with a few corrections but for once no sticky spots (other than my brain insisting on repeatedly misspelling LIONEL).

I'm a sometime club chess player and the schtick is just dead wrong. Checkmate ends in a handshake, the tipped king is when you resign (the much more usual end to a game when checkmate is inevitable, which is most games.) But one needn't be a chess player to be bored by the schtick here - once I got it (on the first one) it was just a matter of solving the short crosses and then the longer down theme clues (which sadly weren't really theme clues) were super easy with four and five squares in the middle of the phrase right there.

Dare I say - waaaaaay too easy.

Fortunately the paper had the Kids' money section and the excellent long form article on Tulsa today, recouping my fetishistic investment in hard copy for the puzzle.

Ellen C 11:17 AM  

My fastest, too (Tutu)

Mikey from El Prado 11:24 AM  

Well, I haven’t read all the comments, so not sure if anyone else addressed Ken Freeland’s critique of BRING IT IN. But, way back when I played football, the coach would say BRING IT IN as a means to get everyone off the field and “huddled” around the coach for some pointers, etc. Thus, I think it was an appropriate clue.

My favorite answer was the exquisite SOJOURN. Not sure I remember seeing that in a crossword before, but nicely done.

Newboy 11:29 AM  

Where to draw the line on foreign words in the grid does make for discussion. Like CHECKMATE for non-chess folk, cuando might be a mystery for monolingual solvers, but I bet most will have heard this classic tune in some iteration
Cuando Cuando Cuando As a basic student I was flummoxed by trying to put the Espanol for”gift” instead of “roses” doh! A little learning is indeed a dangerous thing.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

no parking Tuesdays 4-6PM is the exception that proves the rule that you can park there legally at all other times.
That Matt Gaffney likes Chess and you like him but don’t generally like chess players is not an example of an exception proving a rule.

Aelurus 11:33 AM  

@Nancy 9:50 am - Very funny re Chanel! I had no idea about DRIP either; got it from crosses. My thought is maybe it's an ECO fashion sense and the clothes are DRIP-dried to save the energy a dryer uses.

@bocamp 11:01 am - You're welcome. And I appreciate the details about checkmate vs resigning. Two sides to every story, eh? I would let the checkmate stand as it would've been earned.

egsforbreakfast 11:41 AM  

Me: Should my dog come to your clinic even though he continues to SNIVEL?
Vet: Sure, BRING IT IN IN BAD SHAPE. You can use your AMEX CARD for the ANTIDOTES. Or you can write a check, mate!

I liked the concept, but agree with others that having “king” in the clues, plus graying in the prone king squares was overkill. But still, a good Sunday solve. Thanks, Adam Wagner.

JOHN X 11:42 AM  

What a delightful Sunday puzzle.

And the words! There were some pretty great words here, all over the place, and they interlocked with each other too. That was a nice touch.

The theme was great as well, what with the knocked over kings. I almost lost a chess game once, but instead of tipping my king I swept all the pieces off the board and then shot my opponent in the head with a silenced Sig P365 I conveniently strapped inside my coat sleeve. “Nyet,” I said to the slumped over KGB spy in front of me. “It looks like I win, comrade!” I relieved him of the microfilm (and some cash) and made the drop in Instanbul as planned, where I got a promotion and furious case of the clap.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

The glaring weakness of this blog is the habit of the blogger to interpret neutral concepts as gendered. Today it’s chess but often it’s business or tech. It’s simply wrong.

Carola 11:47 AM  

The theme struck me as being a rare combination of ingenious and cute. Fun to figure out, fun to get better at tipping over kings along the way. And, apart from the bland WATCHED A VIDEO, I thought the other theme Downs were pretty terrific, too. Plus the nice S-array of SNIVEL, SCHEMER, SAVOIR, SOJOURN. I liked the cross of CHECKMATE and IN BAD SHAPE: to see the least.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

Tens of millions of Americans have been through MOAB. Probably about as many as have driven past the Framingham-Natick exit on the Massachusetts Turnpike. PHAROS is a far less known place.

I never got the concept of the king being knocked over when you resign. Got the theme once MIDAS and MOUSE were in.

Isn't 1D (RAPCDS) supposed to have a "for short" phrase in the clue?


What? 12:04 PM  

Filled all but didn’t get the lying down bit until DESMOND TU. TU? What? Oh TUT. AHA. Well done Adam (and to me too).

What? 12:17 PM  

No. I’m sure even his subjects used Tut (but probably not to his face). 😎

What? 12:19 PM  

To be polite as opposed to irksome.

James K. Lowden 12:25 PM  

1 down reminded me of Gershwin’s famous box set, "Rap CDs in Blue".

bocamp 12:29 PM  

@Aelurus 11:33 AM πŸ‘


Top half of the 615 fell easily; bottom half will require all the luck you wished me and possibly more. LOL

0 (expecting company) 🀞

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all ~ πŸ•Š

Douglas 12:32 PM  

I am astounded that Rex would criticize the continuity of all of the themers jutting out in the same direction, but if they were different he would go on a 10 page rant about how there was no continuity.

AnneHH 12:46 PM  

Never commented before but have been a fan (and supporter) of this site for a few years! Came to say that I LOVED this puzzle SO MUCH!! For me, it was very doable; I thought the theme, the construction and the clues were great and I send thanks and felicitations to the constructor, Adam Wagner.

Francis 1:07 PM  

I loved DRIP because my 12 year old daughter told me what it meant 2 days ago. I showed her the puzzle and she was thrilled. I enjoyed this one.

KRMunson 1:14 PM  

Didn’t like GaryIN. (39D). Doesn’t seem fair to include the city AND the state abbreviation.

Photomatte 1:18 PM  

Nice to see the very small town of Ontario, Oregon mentioned! The clue for 106 Down ("Potato cultivar that was developed in Ontario, despite its name") doesn't mention Oregon so the reader probably assumes it's either Ontario, Canada or Ontario, California but it's not; it's the small town in eastern Oregon that grows more potatoes per capita than any other city in the world (onions, too!). If my former father-in-law hadn't been a potato farmer from Ontario, I wouldn't have known that :-)

tkincher 1:19 PM  

@Anon 9:25 - We got hooked on 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown when we visited the UK a few years ago, great show. That led us to the Big Fat Quiz shows, as well, which is where I know BRYDON from.

bocamp 1:20 PM  

@AnneHH (12:46 PM)

Welcome aboard! Keep the posts coming. 😊

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all ~ πŸ•Š

JC66 1:47 PM  


But the clue includes Chicago, IL.

Crimson Devil 1:59 PM  

Fun Sun, again (thas twoinarow).
Good to remember Gilda: her Emily Littela was a classic I still use.

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

Ah, Ontario, OR.

Despite being a small city, it is actually the largest city in a 5-county area of Oregon that just voted to secede in order to become part of Idaho.


bocamp 2:09 PM  

@Photomatte (1:18 PM)

As a former Oregonian, I'm ashamed to say that it flew right over my head. Also, you prompted me to look up the word 'cultivar'. Thx for the elucidation! :)

Ontario, Oregon

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all ~ πŸ•Š

CDilly52 2:35 PM  

OK, so I play chess and because I’m not very good (and that’s being excessively kind) am very familiar with the concession action if tipping one’s king. That said, I figured out the sideways completion of the answer gimmick at DESMOND TUTU, which made the other theme answers easy but never ever did I get the “other half” of the theme. The constructor might just have said CHECK MATE to me!

Other than missing the theme, the puzzle was dense but doable. Some real clunkers though as @Rex pointed out. My two super-cringes were on UNREEL and UNSTOW. Never, ever in three eternities would I use either of those non-words! I can abide the crosswordese; it is occasionally necessary and when used as that sort of last resort in an otherwise sparkling puzzle. Even giving extra latitude for the fact that this is a gigantic Sunday puzzle, I’m still a bit underwhelmed with some of the clues and answers.

I feel I can’t pass up @Rex’s summarily assuming that the sobriquet OCTOMOM is just a cruel appellation to which Ms. Suleman must object and about which she must harbor I’ll feelings. While I do not approve of the penchant for the media and the public for that matter creating supposedly clever (but often marketable) names for people, things, events, it nonetheless has become almost expected that any newsworthy event that appears likely to remain part of the daily print and television news cycle for more than a day or two to have a name attached to it. Thus, since The Nixon Era, any even slightly sleazy event involving government becomes a “gate” and events involving a person or persons often receive names as well.

Having only had one child, a high risk pregnancy at that, complete with a very traumatic labor and delivery, and needing all the help my wonderful husband provided as a wonderful father just to manage a family of three, I was myself humbled at the thought of giving birth to more than one let alone 8 children all of whom survived. The staggering cost alone of clothing and food must have been a shock to Ms. Suleman and her family. Any person or family not in the 1 percentile income bracket faced with the daunting task of raising octuplets must have had to consider means of providing for everyone. Were I in that situation, I would have been desperate for help and doubt I would have objected to being called OCTOMOM if it meant acquiring resources to provide a reasonable quality of life for my children. Parents do that.

So it probably just is what it is in this case. Someone (perhaps not even kindly) used the term OCTOMOM, it caught on and here we are. And because of the extremely difficult position in which such a very unusual multiple birth event placed Ms. Suleman and her family, perhaps being OCTOMOM, at least in part, allowed the family to survive in more comfort, with better resources for health care and other important quality of life benchmarks, and perhaps we can forgive the sobriquet and just cheer her on.

Mark 3:09 PM  

What everyone else said. Watch an episode or two of Ted Lasso. I bet you'll hear BRING IT IN.

thefogman 3:52 PM  

Badly done and badly edited.

Anonymous 4:48 PM  

actually, the title 'Game Over' was sufficient to 'get' the serpentine answers. played a bit of chess over time, and laying over the King isn't a necessary act of resignation.

jae 4:48 PM  

re: UNREEL - I went from UNcoil to UNRoll to the correct answer.

@bocamp - the SW part of #615 was the toughest for me.

RAD2626 4:49 PM  

Well including the word SNIVEL in the puzzle must have planted a lot of subliminal thoughts in the commentariat. I thought this was a terrific puzzle in conception, cluing and execution. To have this theme in a year where The Queen’s Gambit dominated television drama and sparked a resurgence in chess was timely and having all the incorporated kings fall the same way and include real kings was grand-masterful. I am totally onboard with @Anonymous 10:42. Also liked seeing DRIP which has become a synonym for swagger and is frankly much more evocative than the erstwhile rad or hep which regularly grace puzzles. Maybe not as good as bees’ knees but pretty darn good.

Three nice puzzles from Adam since his child was born. Hope they keep coming.

sharonak 5:23 PM  

@Southside Johnny, Are you serious?? Who has not heard of weider down by the time they are ten years old? And scrim is a word I learned elsewhere, not in crosswords.
Moab was a bit obscure, but no more than many towns and rivers used in crossword puzzles. Now cuando, that does seem more obscure than most foreign terms used in the eyes puzzles. If you have never studied Spanish can't think why you might know its
And embarrassed to admit I put in q instead of c ,because of the sound and the "u", until I looked at 112 down.

Fun seeing how the king intersecting another answer worked.

Irfan 5:51 PM  

There’s a crossword forum online …

Anonymous 6:03 PM  

Are CDs collectible again? Because I have about a thousand I'd love to get rid of.

Anonymous 6:03 PM  

I think you were too harsh on his one ... I liked the theme, even if it wasn’t a perfect representation of “checkmate.” I thought it was clever.

Stickler 6:12 PM  

Cutesily (57a) may win an award for the ugliest neologism ever. Cutely is simpler, easier to spell, easier to say and has the advantage of actually existing. Cutesily needs to go bye bye for ever!

Janis 6:33 PM  


pabloinnh 7:21 PM  

@sharonak-As a retired Spanish teacher, I can assure you that I've seen "cuando" with a q way more than I should have. All you have to remember is that there aren't any words is Spanish that begin "qua".

@CDilly52-Excellent point and well put. I wish we could let people like Ms. Suleman decide for themselves whether or not they liked being called something. Reminds me of a story my good old best friend told me a long time ago about a black student in a college class being asked by the prof what he would like to be called, and the student said "Negro" (a very long time ago), and the prof explained that no, that was not what people of his race liked to be called.
More than a little presumptuous.

CreamyT 7:29 PM  

Rex, can I just say it's very weird you know DRIP but don't know PLOTARMOR (from yesterday I think?)

Loved the cluing, hated the gimmick. We were making great time until we got stuck in the NE and I still somehow hadn't realized what was going on with the tipped kings. And I wasn't happy when I found out. Oh well! Only DNF this week, and only because of 1 natick. I don't remember where it was to be honest.

Anonymous 7:41 PM  

Wikipedia says Yukon Gold originated in Ontario Canada, no?

Colin 7:44 PM  

DESMONDTUTU got me going, but I still could not understand the theme until I read this column. I was thinking, "How is a draw [yet another alternative to checkmate] represented here???"

Tipping the King reminds of the opening scene in the Bond movie, "From Russia With Love."

Was working this weekend, and this was a solve on the commuter train.

Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

Miami Steve 7:53 PM  

@sharonak 5:23 - I had the same reaction as you regarding EIDER and SCRIM. I definitely learned these words outside of puzzledom. I think @Southside Johnny is relatively new to NYT crosswords, and has picked up @Rex's bad habit of assuming that things that he doesn't know are not appropriate material for crossword puzzles. In his defense, though, I really liked his work with the Asbury Jukes.

Eniale 8:03 PM  

@anonymous 10:42 - Yay for Michael Chabon! I just finished rereading "the Yiddish Policemen's Union" myself this week....

Not a chess-player myself, so I just let all that slide by.

And I also twigged the trick with DESMONDTUTU.

Don't care how long a puzzle takes me when I'm working single-handed - if I get done without a DNF I'm happy!

Z 8:14 PM  

@Anon10:33 - Sadder than posting anonymously on an online crossword forum? Asking for a friend.

@Anon10:36 - Well, actually, I’m a little surprised we’ve gotten this far in the day without somebody screaming “Wrong!” at Will Shortz. INDIGO was part of the original Pride Flag. The biggest problem with what Rex posted yesterday is that it is upside down for whatever reason.

@Birchbark - πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ - Great parenthetical. When I played I’d knock the king forward.

@Chess isn’t just dudes people- πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚ - Here are the top four hits I found. I mean, just pages and pages and pages of things to read about sexism in Chess.

@Matt - Read the CHECKMATE clue again. Granted, tortured, so easy to see how you could miss that it specifically said the non-CHECKMATE way to end a game.

@11:31 - Yours is better, I think, but those pesky users of the language are wont to give Latin original meanings a middle finger.

Anonymous 8:19 PM  

You do realize you’re posting anonymously on a crossword blog, right?
A persona or non de blog is not identifying oneself. You are as anonymous as any anonymous poster.

Anonymous 8:35 PM  

Anon 11:31 here.
Z, mine is better?!!! Mine is world’s better. It’s the one every logician on Earth uses, for obvious reasons.
That the definition I provided is the definition is beyond reasonable doubt.
My beef is that when I use Henry Fowler as the defininitive authority, and I have many times, you invariably sh** all over him. You once smugly derided his credentials as a non starter owing to his age and citizenship. Now you link to a wikiπŸ™„that uses him as the authority. Please.

JC66 8:36 PM  

@Anon 8:19

You do realize that there's only one @Z on this blog, but multiple @Anons (with no way to tell them apart).

Anonymous 8:37 PM  

In fact, you once thanked me for explaining what the exception that proves the rule means. You professed having been curious about for a long time. I used the same parking example. I have for more than three decades.

bocamp 8:42 PM  

@Anonymous (7:41 PM)

Good catch! YUKON GOLD potato cultivar

"Yukon Gold is a large cultivar of potato most distinctly characterized by its thin, smooth, eye-free skin and yellow-tinged flesh. This potato was developed in the 1960s by Garnet ("Gary") Johnston[1][2] in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, with the help of Geoff Rowberry at the University of Guelph. The official cross bred strain was made in 1966 and 'Yukon Gold' was finally released into the market in 1980." (Wikipedia)

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Anonymous 8:43 PM  

Why does z go by that? It’s for one reason: to remain anonymous. Same reason you do. And I do.
You don’t seem to have any trouble conversing with me, do you? We’re all anonymous here.

Crimson Devil 8:47 PM  

Chess fan: Watched Bobby Fischer whup Boris Spassky, real time at Greenwich Village park in 1972 or 1971: awesome. Way above my grade.

Anonymous 9:12 PM  

I invite you to reconsider your position. You do realize that you don’t believe it yourself, right? I mean, why would you address a post to me unless you believed I would know who you were addressing. It’s because there’s no evidence posters who choose to not use a silly blog name ( JC 66πŸ™„, ZπŸ˜‚) pretend to be other people. Which is precisely why you have bantered back and forth with me many times.

JC66 9:20 PM  

@Anon 8:43

@Z uses Z as his nom de blog because his last name begins with Z (see his profile). He is definitely not anonymous.

One can differentiate between @Z and me and all the other "named" posters on this blog, except for the anons.

If you can't see the difference, I can't help.

Anonymous 9:21 PM  

No JC 66, you can’t.

Anonymous 9:23 PM  

Jc 66,
Your conversation with me proves that anonymity is not an impediment to identification. QED

Never argue with idiots 10:05 PM  

He either doesn't get it, @JC66, or he doesn't want to get it. What an idiotic thing to say. It's like "all happy families are happy in the same way." All Anonymice are unpleasant in the same way -- snarky, smug, patronizing. You can't tell them apart by their comments or their tone and who would want to bother anyway. Now us OTOH -- you can tell all of the rest of us apart. @Z even has a dog up on his profile. Don't argue with an idiot, JC66. It's not worth your time.

Russian Princess 10:42 PM  

Another day in Troll Paradise. I scrolled up from the bottom, I see it's troll field day (again)
and yes you can tell the problem anonymous apart easily from the others by his condescending tone. I used to like reading the comments here. This troll is the worst on the internet. How he is allowed to continue to post here is a mystery. I'm glad you guys enjoy him. I can't.

Z 11:00 PM  

@11:31/8:35/8:37 - Yes, your explanation is still better. English users also still give the middle finger to it. Rex, being one of those pesky English users, uses the phrase in a different way. That meaning, something like “every rule has its exceptions” is the one I hear more often. That’s the thing with idioms, they become idiomatic leaving logic behind.

@JC66 - What are you going to do with someone who thinks my profile pic is a dog. πŸ˜‰
BTW - I go by “Z” because that’s what I go by. Students always called me “Mr. Z” and if you see me playing disc everyone will be calling me “Z.”;Occasionally I might append an M to my email sign-off, and infrequently you might even get an actual name, but mostly it’s just “Z.” My last name has been bastardized so often and often so creatively that it’s just easier to keep it to a single letter.

Hopeless 12:05 AM  

@JC66 nice try but it's tough to educate someone who already knows everything.

Dave S 2:19 AM  

Not that anyone's paying attention anymore, but a quick word in support of "unstow": Stowing is what one is asked to do on an airplane, the clue specifically refers to retrieving something from under a seat, nd an airplane is by far the most likely place where one would have put soemthing three in the first place. so I'm okay with it.

Also happy to see Rob Brydon make an appearance: not sure how one could watch only one of the Trip films (or series, depending on how you came across it) without watching all the others. Some are better than the rest, but all are charming.

Lauryl 8:13 AM  

I enjoyed it too
Drip, I have never heard of in that context, only as "you are a drip, a duh" loser context

Lauryl 8:40 AM  

I thought this crossword was delightful and clever. I didn't get the chess theme, as I don't play chess, but I actually enjoyed it (as opposed to feeling horrible). That is a great thing! Thank you Adam and Will. Thank you REX!

Sassy Susan 9:09 AM  

Lewis! You made me blush! (KEGEL / BRING IT IN) And laugh ��!

Michelle Turner 11:01 AM  

Love that collection!

Irishmaineiac 11:40 AM  

Big sports fan here. So, bring it in was obvious to me.

Irishmaineiac 11:42 AM  

ENTJ here.

Anonymous 5:10 PM  

Could someone please explain how them's the breaks = ADS? Tried Google but it didn't help. Thanks.

kitshef 10:55 PM  

I really liked the theme, but the explanation given in the clue for 47D was terrible.

Also terrible: TAMERA crossing ANA and RAM. Guessed right on ANA, but guessed wrong on RAM, going with RAV. I know a RAV-4 is some type of vehicle. Maybe it’s a pickup, maybe not.

Hand up for DRIP being a complete mystery.

Chapps 7:46 PM  

Honest to god - Pharos? Really? Pharos is the word for lighthouse - and this one was located in Alexandria, Egypt! So, if the clue were 'the name of the lighthouse that was one of the Seven Wonders of the World,' then OK. But Pharos isn't the location!

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

Ads are what's shown on TV during the breaks.

Burma Shave 1:58 PM  


she WENTBYE ONARUN, we gaped,


Diana, LIW 5:26 PM  

Here I go again, playing horseshoes. Got an almost. Squelched by some "names."

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords
I miss Gilda

Cross@words 1:54 PM  

Cowardly vs timid? Discuss.

chilly1156 11:59 PM  

For the record, "LEGOS" is not a word, and the LEGO Group has officially said as much. It's simply incorrect, and should never be used in a crossword in plural form. It's not a debate, just fact. Here's the official statement from the LEGO Group:

Rick J 6:35 AM  

chilly 1156 Its hilarious that there EXISTS an "official statement from the LEGO group." Thanks for this

Gloucester de la Vegas 9:57 PM  

Didn’t see anyone make comment on clue “infinitesmal” being answered “wee” (127 Across). Just seemed way off to me…”wee” in the typical Scottish-type usage doesn’t suggest the “microscopic” at all.

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