Traffic go-ahead that should be followed four times in this puzzle / THU 5-6-21 / Certain Miller beers / Persistently demanded payment from / Nickname for tap-dancing legend Bill Robinson / French river in W.W. I fighting / Nail polish brand with Bubble Bath shade

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Constructor: Ed Sessa

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: RIGHT ON RED (63A: Traffic go-ahead that should be followed four times in this puzzle) — four "RED" rebus squares, at each of which the answer veers off to your "right":

Theme answers:
  • ALTERED STATE (2D: Drunkenness or hypnosis)
  • PUREBRED DOGS (9D: Poodles, but not schnoodles or doodles)
  • CURED MEAT (31D: Pancetta or prosciutto)
  • CHECKERED FLAG (18D: Something waved when a race is won)
Straight-Across answers inside the theme answers:
  • RED STATE (23A: Kansas or Kentucky, politically)
  • RED DOGS (29A: Certain Miller beers)
  • RED MEAT (43A: Rhetoric for the political base, figuratively)
  • RED FLAG (45A: Warning sign)
Word of the Day:
NATE Bargatze (60A: Stand-up comedian Bargatze) —

Nathanael “Nate” Bargatze (born March 25, 1979) is an American comedian and actor from Old Hickory, Tennessee. He started at "The Boston" in New York City. He's known for his special on Comedy Central Presents, has appeared multiple times on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Bargatze was part of Jimmy Fallon’s "Clean Cut Comedy Tour" in 2013. He won New York’s Comedy Festival and the Boston Comedy Festival in the same year. He wrote for the Spike TV Video Game Awards, and has performed multiple times for Coalition forces in Iraq and Kuwait. He was mentioned in Rolling Stone by Marc Maron as a "comic who should be big" and in Esquire by Jim Gaffigan as one of the top up-and-coming comics. [...] 

His most recent standup special, "The Greatest Average American", was released on Netflix on March 18, 2021. It was filmed outdoors at Universal Studios Hollywood. (wikipedia)
• • •

I laughed so hard right here:

1A: "How to Be an Anti-___" (best-selling book of 2020)

It's like the grid just comes stumbling into the party like "Hey, I'm RACIST!" and the clue is over there desperately waving its hands like "No no no no, not RACIST, not RACIST, I swear, here, look, look at the clue! 'Anti-'! 'Anti-'! SEE! ... Please don't write us letters!" Using RACIST for your 1-Across ... that is some kind of choice, that is. Quite the opening gambit. Where do we go from there? Well, straight into the theme, actually, which I picked up about as quick as I've ever picked up a trick theme—a two-trick theme, I guess, since you've got the rebus square ("RED") and the turn. Had the first themer filled in and the concept largely locked down before I ever left the above-screengrabbed section of the grid:

So, aside from the fact that it's easy to get and plays out rather monotonously, there are a couple of noteworthy problems with the RIGHT ON RED theme. One is little-ish. The other ... less so. So the little-ish problem is that the clue on RIGHT ON RED isn't a thing. That is, there's no such "Traffic go-ahead." No signs say that, exactly, and you are certainly never "directed" to make a RIGHT ON RED. You sometimes see signs saying that such an action is permitted, of course. RIGHT ON RED is a thing one may do under certain circumstances, but it's not a "directive" in any meaningful sense of the word. And in the puzzle, you *must* go RIGHT ON RED. Again, the clue is the problem here. It could easily have been rewritten. Something along the lines of [Permitted action blah blah blah ... or required action four times in this grid], something like that. Phrase it how you will (e.g. "... or what you must do four times blah blah"), you get the idea. 

The bigger, much bigger problem with the RIGHT ON RED theme is that the answers actually go left. They go left. Yes they do. They go to *your* right, but the answers. Turn. Left. And hey, don't take my word for it—here's the New York Times Crossword Puzzle from January 21, 2021. Let's see what it has to say:

The gimmick here was that the answer was to turn either Left or Right depending on whether an "L" or "R" appeared in the circled square. You can see that Every Single One of the circled themers above disproves today's puzzle's idea of what direction "Right" is. Upper left is BOREDOM ... see how it turns right at the "R," but goes to our left!? See how CHARGED does the same in the SW. And then EVIL ONE turns left at the "L," but goes to our right!? Yes, that's how directions work. Our right is not the answer's right. Quite the opposite, in fact. Thank you for coming to my extremely remedial Ted Talk.

Not much else to say about the puzzle. No idea what RED DOGS are or who NATE Bargatze is, but these things happen ("these things" being "my not knowing stuff"). They're fine answers. I forgot the MARNE, which is the precise opposite of what you're supposed to do ... oh, dang, I'm thinking of the MAINE:

And the ALAMO, of course. DUNNED is an old-fashioned word that a bunch of people won't know, but I've seen DUN enough in (old) crosswords, and probably (old) literature, that it feels like an everyday word to me (51D: Persistently demanded payment from). DUN is also a color, I think (yes, a "dull grayish-brown color," per google). I have this vague memory of a book from my childhood called The Dun Cow or something like that ... wow, yes, The Book of the Dun Cow


Just seeing the cover gives me strong flashbacks. I think my mom read this to us, or tried to, when I was 8 or 9 years old. I remember nothing about it. And yet ... it's based on Chaucer's "Nun's Priest's Tale" ... and I went on (20 years later) to write much of my dissertation on Chaucer. Coincidence!? Well, yes, surely. Still, interesting. To me, if no one else.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 6:35 AM  

My beer consumption averages about one six-pack per year, so RED DOG(S) beer was unfamiliar to me. This despite the fact that my non-PURE BRED DOG(S) often sports a red cap.

And Rex, DUNNED is a current word - not as you allege "old-fashioned" - used in the business world every day.

Yes, the *puzzle* turned left but I had to turn right to solve it. So no issue there for me.

Paul 6:42 AM  

RED TO GREEN- that’s a traffic go ahead. RIGHT OF WAY is also closer to the mark then the “correct” answer

Paul 6:44 AM  

Both “Red To Green” and “Right Of Way” are better fits for “Traffic go ahead” then the “correct” answer

bocamp 6:47 AM  

Thx @Ed; very enjoyable Thurs. puz. :)

Easy+ solve.

Read Ibram X. Kendi's 'How to be an antiRACIST' recently, so that was a gimme and provided a great start in the NW. Got a hint of the theme at REDSTATE, and the rest of the puz gave no pushback.

Only one observation: those turns are RIGHT from the solver's point of view, but are they really RIGHT turns traffic-wise? Not a biggie, and certainly didn't spoil the solve.

I think the only time I had occasion to use a TBAR was up near the top of either Whistler or Blackcomb, don't recall which.

Here's hoping the G.O.P. gets back to being the party of HONESTABE! Need good people in both parties to make it work.

It's better NATE than lever!

So RARE ~ Jimmy Dorsey

yd pg -3

Peace ~ and Good Health to all πŸ•Š

Richard Stanford 6:54 AM  

So I got CURED before REDMEAT and it feels weird that it’s a totally valid answer to 31 Down all by itself. I see that CURED MEAT also works, but it feels like either they should all have an optional break at the corner or none of them should.

I’ve always seen BOSN as BOSuN before, even with the apostrophes, so that took a little convincing even though I had the right answer in my head straight away.

Felt a little easy for a Thursday overall, but more challenging than the first 3 days that all seemed to be Tuesday levels of difficulty to me. Otherwise it was “fine”

Lewis 6:55 AM  

I peeked at the reveal’s clue early on, and after filling in my first rebus, RIGHT ON RED popped right in. There was still some lovely resistance for me through the puzzle’s middle sash, plus a couple of words I fancy, SPLOTCH and THRUMS.

BOJANGLES brought that sweet lilting song to mind, and when I picture Mr. Bojangles, I see him doing sweet lilting dances, so that cross of BOJANGLES and HORA appropriately was placed in the THATS ODD neighborhood..

The answer SEE evoked a cool theme pair:

I had a great time with this, Ed, and I’m glad Will greenlighted it. Thank you, sir!

Richard Stanford 6:55 AM  

Oh, and isn’t a TBAR a way to go UPhill?

Lobster11 6:57 AM  

My first DNF on a Thursday in as long as I can remember (not counting late 1990s puzzles in the archive). Flew through this like a Monday until I got to the SE, where I was completely stymied by THRUMS and (this particular) NATE crossing DUNNED and MARNE. Is this some kind of cruel joke? Never seen any of these "words" in my life, and when I let the app fill in my missing squares I still didn't believe they were correct. Big middle finger from me.

Seth 7:10 AM  

Rex! If you wrote your dissertation on Chaucer you should know that Book of the Dun Cow is also (and imo, more importantly!) a medieval Irish manuscript (the Lebor na hUidre) which contains tons of great Irish stories such as 'The Voyage of Bran', 'The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel', 'The Intoxication of the Ulstermen', and, of course, the epic TΓ‘in Bo Cuailnge ('Cattle-raid of Cooley').

'Bricriu's Feast', also in the Lebor na hUidre, was the source for Gawain and the Green Knight's beheading game.

Anonymoose 7:14 AM  

@Lewis. Your example sort of fits but none of the theme down answers was RED the color. The RED was the ending of the word, ALTERED, ETC.

Anonymous 7:19 AM  

Yes. Re-read the clue.

Jeff Keller 7:19 AM  

No left/right issue here. Drivers turn left on red from the stop sign's point of view. :)

Kathy 7:25 AM  

I guess I am dense, but I don't see how the puzzle turns left.

Son Volt 7:32 AM  

This was fast - liked the gimmick but overall felt a little flat. RIGHT ON RED is allowed in all 50 states unless posted otherwise on a location basis. It’s definitely a thing - not sure where Rex was going with that one. Side eye to RED DOGS plural. Liked ALTERED STATE and CHECKERED FLAG.

Can’t listen to either but the NINA - IGGY stack could be cool for some. Piling on ONE A this week.

It was over quickly - don’t think it will stick with too long.

kitshef 7:53 AM  

Love the theme, and thought it was executed splendidly. It also brought beck memories of my favorite Sunday puzzle in the past ten(?) years: June 19 2016.

Flew through this, though I’m not sure why as there was quite a bit of huh? going on while solving. Things I did not know:
Kalaya oil
NATE Bargatze
The ‘Dreamgirls’ song
NINA Simone (though it rings a bell from puzzles)

pabloinnh 7:53 AM  

Is REDDOGs a regional thing. I don't drink any Miller products but I like beer and watch a lot of sports, so see a lot of beer commercials, and I've never heard of it. I had __DOGS until PUREBRED became obvious and then it was just of question of RED for a rebus square all the time or other colors as well. Always RED, made a phrase, OK with the revealer, solid, if easy Thursday.

Any puzzle that makes me think of Mr. BOJANGLES, either as a dancer or a Jerry Jeff song, is fine with me.

And if OFL is triggered by even anti-RACIST, I'm afraid there's just no hope.

Thanks for the fun, ES. Easy Scmeezy and over too soon.

RK from Switzerland 7:53 AM  

Thanks. My exact thoughts. It seems like “dunned” is okay but anything to do with math like a Fibonacci series is ridiculous according to Rex.

Johnny Mic 8:11 AM  

Exact same experience. Amen.

Z 8:14 AM  

I actually resisted putting RACIST in the grid because I just didn’t think that would be 1A. Putting it in the same corner as RED STATE seems way more political than the NYTX is usually comfortable with.

I really dislike the grid. Those staircases of black squares mean this is three crosswords with the barest of connections. I had everything from the NW to SE and above filled and it was like starting a new puzzle to get into the SW.

I get Rex’s point, but I’m fine with the RIGHT from the solvers perspective design (@kathy - turn your puzzle upside and pretend you are a driver - you turn left at the RED). I’m also fine if a puzzle does a similar conceit and the turn is from the answer’s perspective. NBD*. What’s life without a little left/right confusion?

Who the hell is HONES TABE**? The other bouncer at Z’s Placebo and Tentacle Pub? Seriously, ARAB League didn’t click immediately and I wasted at least 7 precious nanoseconds looking at HONES TA-E before I gave myself the D’Oh slap.

Unlike @Lobster11, THRUMS is just about my favorite word in the puzzle. I think it is the hint of onomatopoeia that makes it sing for me. I had the same reaction to DUNNED as Rex. I trust that it might still have currency in some business circles, but apparently I don’t run in those circles often because it feels very 1950’s to me. The only other words that caught me eye were the T-BAR HORA, with the appropriate THAT’S ODD reaction right there.

*@Frantic Sloth - No Big Deal
** Don’t well actually me

TTrimble 8:15 AM  

@Kathy @7:25 AM
The idea is that if you imagine yourself as a figure on top of the crossword walking along in the down direction, southward as it were, then a turn to the east would be a left, not a right turn.

Frantic Sloth 8:19 AM  

As others have already stated, the puzzle may turn left, but I turned right. (If you are driving into the grid from the top, you would be turning left, but I don't drive into my puzzles - I just sit there.)

Plus, maybe the clue for the revealer was re-edited since last night, but "Traffic go-ahead that should be followed four times in this puzzle" doesn't "direct" me to do anything IRL - except for as it relates to the puzzle. Rex seems hung up on something I just don't see.

To borrow from @GILL, BOJANGLES and Mondegreen walk into a bar where Mondegreen presents BOJANGLES with a dog that BOJANGLES promptly names "Yuppin". Alas, the dog Yuppin died. Yuppin died.


LOL 8:37 AM  

1A came slowly to me with my Old man white privilege.

Seriously, it is a bit pious and virtue signaling, even for NYT.

Much more New Yorker puzzle-ish.

Z 8:39 AM  

RED DOG was new to me, too. I just assumed it was another macro-brewery “craft beer,” but apparently it has actually been around since 1994. It is still available, but apparently not all that WIDELY available. Untappd (a social media app for beer drinkers - yes I am on it) has check ins from as recently as Tuesday. I personally cannot recall ever noticing it and searching for it on the MolsonCoors website (They own Miller Brewing) turned up nothing, nada, zilch. There’s almost as much about related paraphernalia as the beer itself in my search results. I’m curious about it, but a quick availability search suggests that I may have to drive a distance to find a WalMart that sells it.

TTrimble 8:43 AM  

Methinks Rex's RACIST rant is pretty silly. I also can't get that exercised about the right really being a left. Consistency is the hobgoblin of ... well, you know. As with traffic laws, I would just follow the local conventions. "Oh, that's how we're interpreting this for this particular puzzle? Okay, fine, I'll play along."

I do agree with Rex that it was relatively easy for a Thursday. I'm pretty sure that he grasped the theme a great deal more quickly than I did -- if my calculations are correct, he got in within 1.5 seconds of opening the puzzle. Shaking my head in admiration of such speed.

Also shaking my head at posters who can't believe certain words are words, to the point of using sneer quotes ("words"). MARNE and DUNNED seem to be ordinary fare for crosswords -- I know I've seen DUNNED or some tense of the verb here fairly recently.

That said: what's the PPP ratio for this puzzle? I was thinking mid-solve that it could be high. I lucked out in this case knowing those P's.

SB Alert: I took more time with yd's than I have been recently in general, and was grateful to make it to pg -4 (20 or 21 points to go). I gather that @bocamp also had some trouble (yes?). Today's looks a lot easier -- got to pg in no time.

SouthsideJohnny 8:44 AM  

Rex is amused/confused/alarmed by the answer to 1A - he certainly is an Odd Duck - but hey, we all know that already. I was more bothered by being offered PPP right out of the gate - which, in my opinion, sets the wrong tone (more a trivial quiz than a wordplay puzzle, although this one did seem to manage to get the balance about right).

Moving into later-week, I have to expect some weird stuff - though there is nothing too esoteric about the likes of SCARAB, DUNNED, MARNE, OPI, or even SPLOTCH which is a little unusual but at least not arcane. I hope more Thursdays are like this - hopefully it’s not just an outlier.

Photomatte 8:46 AM  

All my theme answers turned to the right, not sure what Rexy is talking about. Here in Oregon, right on red is always permitted, no signs required. However, Oregon may be the only state where a LEFT turn on red is also permitted, even if you're turning against oncoming traffic. Yep, if you're turning onto a one-way street, even if you're currently on a two-way street, you can turn left on red. Not many Oregonians know this, but it's the law...

Z 8:50 AM  

@TT8:43 - PPP is 21/76 for 28%. Pretty much NYTX typical.

PPP - Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns - 33% and higher will give some subset of solvers problems.

Barbara S. 9:01 AM  

I got the trick when I had _UREB_ for “Poodles but not schnoodles or doodles” and _DOGS for “Certain Miller beers”. I don’t know RED DOG beer but there was clearly only one rational choice at that point. Yay! A rebus! I read through Rex’s various objections to the theme, but don’t share them. I made an error early on: ceo for VIP, but I couldn’t get any of the related downs so abandoned it quickly. I had no idea that EMUs were a source of anything used by humans except maybe eggs (and, OK, feathers), so the whole Kalaya oil revelation was a shock. It seems to be used as a cosmetic for dry skin. Poor EMUs.

Oh, another goof was GOES broke for GOES UNDER. I wondered if that clue should have referenced “business”. When someone experiences personal bankruptcy, do we say GOES UNDER? I know, this is nitty. And also it’s late in the week.

I’m glad to be reminded of Ibram Kendi’s How to Be an Anti-Racist, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Gold Bug” and Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, an indispensable tome for cosmic wanderers, whose cover is emblazoned with the words DON’T PANIC!

There’s a poem today by RANDALL JARRELL, born May 6, 1914.

The Woman at the Washington Zoo

The saris go by me from the embassies.

Cloth from the moon. Cloth from another planet.
They look back at the leopard like the leopard.

And I....
this print of mine, that has kept its color
Alive through so many cleanings; this dull null
Navy I wear to work, and wear from work, and so
To my bed, so to my grave, with no
Complaints, no comment: neither from my chief,
The Deputy Chief Assistant, nor his chief—
Only I complain.... this serviceable
Body that no sunlight dyes, no hand suffuses
But, dome-shadowed, withering among columns,
Wavy beneath fountains—small, far-off, shining
In the eyes of animals, these beings trapped
As I am trapped but not, themselves, the trap,
Aging, but without knowledge of their age,
Kept safe here, knowing not of death, for death—
Oh, bars of my own body, open, open!

The world goes by my cage and never sees me.
And there come not to me, as come to these,
The wild beasts, sparrows pecking the llamas’ grain,
Pigeons settling on the bears’ bread, buzzards
Tearing the meat the flies have clouded....
When you come for the white rat that the foxes left,
Take off the red helmet of your head, the black
Wings that have shadowed me, and step to me as man:
The wild brother at whose feet the white wolves fawn,
To whose hand of power the great lioness
Stalks, purring....
You know what I was,
You see what I am: change me, change me!

Tim Aurthur 9:03 AM  

The revealer clue might have been, "The only good thing about California, according to Woody Allen."

Nancy 9:17 AM  

Loved it! Yes, easy -- but also very clever, very fair, and completely free of garbage fill. Certainly my favorite puzzle of the week so far and the first puzzle in three days that I didn't want to throw against the wall.

The fact that the answers work both before you turn RIGHT and after you turn RIGHT was a big plus for me -- even though, I suppose, that actually made the puzzle easier. Not easier to construct though -- and the construction is pure delight. Kudos, Ed -- I had a great time with this.

One question, though: Why is yin DARK? I thought the yin/yang dichotomy was a male/female thing. Guess I should read up on it. RIGHT?

Michael Page 9:21 AM  

Rex is right about left.
Photomatte, left turn on red is the norm, not unique to Oregon (California, for one).

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

wait. Rex and everyone here calls the right side of the puzzle the east and the left side the west. Now we're supposed to reverse the perspective and see things as if we were on the page, that is left is now east and right is west? That is through-the-looking glass nonsense.

pmdm 9:21 AM  

Odd reaction to today's puzzle. After figuring out the rebus trick, I didn't bother to research the PPP I didn't know. I guess I'm more excited at patronizing a beer garden later today than filling in the blank squares. I guess the puzzle just failed to interest me.

Did you know most states allow turning left on red from a one way street to a one way street? But don't try that in NYC if you want to avoid a ticket. Speaking of NYC, since it prohibits right turns on reds (except if a posted sign states the turn is permissible).

I have two minor problems with the write-up. The clue for the revealer uses the term "should" rather than "must" which makes the concept a permission rather than a directive. The rant in the write-up seems to misinterpret what the clue really says. Second, I used to work for OSHA which used to send out what we called dunning letters on a regular basis. I can appreciate if Mike Sharp lives in a world where that use of the word is absent. But his projection of the word's use to the universe is somewhat parochial, as some others have pointed out (in different manners).

Coniuratos 9:29 AM  

I distinctly recall advertising for RED DOGS being all over the place as a child in the 1990s - the logo being a bright red bulldog face. Think a friend of mine had a little pin of it with light-up eyes that I was very jealous of. That said, as an adult who enjoys a beer fairly regularly, I can't say I've ever actually seen a bottle, or can, or tap, of it in the wild. Sort of just assumed they'd gone under at some point.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

well, along with RACIST and RED STATE, we get ARAB crossing HORA. may be there'll be a Two State Solution, after all?

if you go DOWN hill on a TBAR, you just wasted the money on a lift ticket.

Jdsternb 9:36 AM  

RIGHT ON RED IS ABSOLUTELY A SIGN HERE IS LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK!! You can't make a right on red in the city, so wherever you can here, there is a sign. And the sign says exactly that: "Right on Red"

Hungry Mother 9:38 AM  

Easy rebus fun with a twist. Not a mind bender, but very nice.

Kentana 9:41 AM  

I feel dense but why is suited to serve “ONE A” (or ONEA?)

Hungry Mother 9:43 AM  

I remember RIGHTONRED from riding with my Mom in San Mateo, California in the 40s.

bocamp 9:44 AM  

@Richard Stanford (6:55 AM)

Tricky clue; the TBAR is a 'way up', to then 'go (ski) downhill'.

@TTrimble (8:43 AM)

Yes, altho one of my misses was a very common 6er. I'll ink that one so it doesn't happen again. LOL

@Photomatte (8:46 AM)

Don't know how long the law's been in effect, but I recall making that left turn on red (from a two-way onto a one-way street) back in the '60s. Why not? It just makes sense.

td pg -5

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

Every where I've seen such a sign, it's 'RIGHT turn ON RED' which caused a pause. And, IIRC, it also depends on which ALTERED RED STATE your in: some laws say you can unless signage prohibits, others you can only when signage says you can.

Whatsername 9:54 AM  

First thought out of the chute was oh BOY! A Thursday rebus and it OPENED WIDELY right there in the NW corner to get things rolling. Now IM ON! Off to the races and ready to turn some laps. However, the tires started to deflate considerably as I realized there was nothing more challenging than four RED squares. SO SAD. But STILL, I didn’t PANIC. With nerves of STEEL and without even a pit stop to adjust a COG, I sailed to the CHECKERED FLAG waaaay down there at the end, RIGHT where it otter be according to my friend @Frantic,

I’ve consumed a few RED DOG brews in my day, usually with some RED MEAT in a RED STATE somewhere at a NASCAR event. In case that wasn’t totally obvious by my ramblings above. AND pretty sure I was wearing RED OPI nail polish at the time. Fun puzzle, fun Thursday rebus and fun writing this nonsense. Thanks Ed.

Z 10:01 AM  

Way up to go downhill
It seems like several people have missed the point of the clue, a T-BAR is the “way up” one uses before going “downhill.”

While I think the clue as written is fine either way, the answer turns left, the solver turns RIGHT to complete the answer. As Rex pointed out, in previous puzzles we have turned according to the answer’s perspective rather than the solver’s perspective.

@Kentana - It is a Selective Service classification, so suited to serve in the military.

@Coniuratos - If my brief search is any indication, your friend’s pin is probably worth a little bit to a collector. The RED DOG’S Tap Handle is apparently especially desired.

The turn left on RED discussion reminded me of a friend of mine, a retired Dearborn police officer, getting a ticket from an Allen Park police officer. He (allegedly politely but I have my doubts) explained to the officer that the maneuver was legal. He had to go to court to fight the ticket. He was less than pleased. He was right, so he won, but fighting a ticket is just about as costly as just paying the fine. Not that the experience changed any of his views on policing policies.

jberg 10:07 AM  

@kentana -- Selective Service classification.
@Richard --- I thoght so too, but read the clue again -- it says "Way up to go downhill." I.e., you take the t-bar up so that you can go downhill from the top.

I'm with Z, no big deal whose perspective the puzzle takes. I ran into the same thing when I had to have a tree trimmed after a huge limb fell on someone's car in the street. Arborists describe the location of trees from their perspective standing in front of the house -- so they kept calling it the tree on the left, when it seemed to me to be the one on the right. We sorted it out.

Unlike @R'ex, I didn't work out the whole theme from just the NW corner, as I was thinking it might be a RED state BLUE state rebus. Then when I got to the revealer and had IGHT from the crosses I thought maybe there were some rebused greens in the grid; since I had MeusE for the river, the ON RED was not so obvious.

@kitshef -- you don't know what you're missing. Here's Nina Simone's YouTube channel, and here she is improvising a baroque-style fugue in the middle of "Love Me or Leave Me." Enjoy. And if you like the clue for 1A, search the YouTube channel for "Mississippi Goddamn." or "Strange Fruit."

Rug Crazy 10:09 AM  

a TBAR is a way UP HILL, every time(10 across)

JoshyJosh 10:10 AM  

Complaining about right on red signs doesn't make sense--those signs definitely do exist! Anyone who has lived in a place where it's prohibited, and then drives to a nearby place where it isn't, has seen those signs.

However, Rex is absolutely right about the turns being clued wrong, since they're all left turns. Minor to me, but I could see it irking certain people.

KRMunson 10:11 AM  

I launched Red Dog beer for Miller back in the 90’s. It was a big deal then. Not so much anymore.

KRMunson 10:13 AM  

I launched Red Dog beer in the 90’s for Miller. It was a big deal then. Not so much anymore.

TJS 10:13 AM  

Welcome to "Rex Parker Nitpicks Some Ridiculous Aspect Of The New York Times Crossword". Geez Louise !

Forgot all about that Red Dog Bulldog-face logo. But I do remember "red-dog" being a common term for a linebacker blitz a half century or so ago.

Instead of anticipating what Rex has to say, I find myself guessing what @Southside will have to say. Hang in there, Dude.

KRMunson 10:14 AM  

I launched Red Dog beer for Miller back in the 90’s. It was a big deal then. Not so much anymore.

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Easy Thursday but FUN! Got the red part, and only later the "right" part and the go-ahead we just opaque enough to keep its secret 'til the end. Here is Mass. right-on-red has a checkered history, so fun for that reason. And no problem with RACIST clued as best-selling book..."How to be an ANTI-Racist." I say: easy for a Thursday but really well done.

JD 10:16 AM  

"I don't drive into my puzzles - I just sit there." @Frantic, that comment should memorialized in the comment hall of fame.

Not much more to add there, but of course that won't stop me.

People can forget that you still need to make a full stop at that red light and not just tap the brake and go, cause look there's a camera up there and they just took your picture and now you have the option to go to traffic school to have it expunged from your record so it doesn't impact your insurance rate. But you still have to pay a big fat fine. If you've been to traffic school twice does that give you a Masters in driving?

Of course you could hire the firm Thrum and Dunned to fight it. But they just show up in court, make a lot of noise, and then hunt you down to collect.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

"he was right, so he won". Hmm. The winner won, because he was right.
That friends is begging the question.

albatross shell 10:20 AM  

There is no reason to look at the grid as a street grid. The reveal does not say to do that. Traffic go ahead is RIGHT TURN ON RED. What you should follow in the puzzle is RIGHT TURN ON RED. You fill in or read the the down clue. You get to the rebus RED, you turn right. Rex, who has messed up on those "or" type of revealers in the past, has erred again. No "or" here but it works the same way.

Peter P 10:23 AM  

@Anonymous 9:21 - No, not "through the looking glass" nonsense. To be honest, I didn't notice it at first, but after getting halfway through the puzzle I also thought, well, isn't the answer really turning left, not right? Maybe I thought of that because I always use GPS maps with north fixed up (so the map does not move or rotate), so if I'm heading south and my GPS is showing me the route go right, it means I have to turn left. It's just a matter of perspective, dude. Both are natural interpretations, not some kind of weird mental word twisting.

Either way, I see no issue with the clue-answer-revealers as given.

Every time "DUNNED" or its variants come up on this blog, I'm a little surprised. I'm an English major by degree, photographer by profession, (so no strong connection to corporate speak or anything). I'm perfectly familiar with the word, and it's not through ancient literature. Those letters you get from companies saying "hey, you owe us a balance!" Those are dunning letters. I think I first heard the term about 30 years ago and have heard it used in conversation or emails sporadically since. Not a common word, but not one that is being excavated from the grave of English past.

Same with IMGUR yesterday. Why all the complaints? It's demonstrably a very popular website. Some solvers happened not to know it. This happens to me all the time with New York neighborhood or Broadway-musicals-I've-never-heard-of clues. I'm sure it's perfectly obvious to others, but it ain't to me. I don't understand complaining about that. Learning a new word, new person, new bit of trivia, and new lingo that somehow passed me by is part of what I find joyful about crosswords. Do you know how long it took me to finally memorize ARIE in the India.____ clue? And I actually DO listen to contemporary music, but I don't always pay attention to the artists, and she completely flew under my radar. And now, I know who India.Arie is, I read a little more about it, and, gosh darn it, I learned something.

I apologize for being curmudgeonly, but this sometimes sticks in my craw and I gotta grouse a bit.

TTrimble 10:30 AM  

@JD 10:16 AM
Actually, I think your final paragraph was awesome in its own right, and deserves at least a nomination for the Hall of Fame.

@Z 8:50 AM

GILL I. 10:38 AM  

Can I pull up a chair and sit with @Nancy? I will....
I will be HONEST GILL and say My HORA PESO runneth over. Did you know that PESO is a weight and not a little dollar? Did you really know that RED DOGS is the worse name you can give a beer?
My grandmother DONNED white gloves to her hoity-toity cocktail parties but she never once demanded payment from anyone. She would also NEVER turn RIGHT ON RED unless someone told her it was legal.
I didn't know NATE the Great and I had trouble with the THROMS of my life. But still...this was an easy, fun little puzzle. Too bad I don't look good in RED. I do paint my toenails that color. Will that be a SPLOTCH on my record?
Will some opinionated, kind person, tell me how in the world you extract Kalaya oil from an ostrich? @Z?
Ooh...@kitshef....Do me the kindest favor and go to Google and listen to NINA Simpne's "Feeling Good." I listen to her all the tine when I'm driving. Her voice is the cream on your butter, the caviar on your perfectly toasted little bread, the sip of some beautiful cold Moet.....You want to dance when you hear her.
@Frantic...."Yuppin" DIED????? Say it ain't so. No way....NOOOOOOOOO. :-)

PhysGraf 10:41 AM  

Red Dog was fairly popular in the late 90s in western PA (at least for us high school kids trying to get our hands on cheap beer). Everyone always said that the logo has a dirty hidden image in it but I could never see it.

sixtyni yogini 10:41 AM  

RED STATES and the RACIST right wing ? NW corner.
RIGHT ON, (as in go!) RED ? SE corner

This puzzle may be both a LEFT and RIGHT wing conspiracy. πŸ˜‚

Fast and easy ambiguous (?) puzz

Newboy 10:43 AM  

I’m with @Hungry Mother today. In fact “easy with a twist” sounds like the cousin of those RED DOGS? Whatever—I’ll raise a glass to any Thursday with rebus and a clue as amusing as 7d. Thanks Ed for a fine start to the morning!

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

Red Dog was a bad one. Not hard to get in this grid, but just bad. I'm in my mid-40s, so I would have been a target demo in the mid-90s when this stuff was in its hay day. Okay, sounds vaugely familiar, but not something that should expected to be remembered. Sure, still available today, but I don't recall ever seeing this. If a 46 year old beer drinker doesn't recognize it....

Dunned stumped me, but then realized I am familiar with it in the business world. Not an everyday word, but not antiquated either.

JC66 10:53 AM  

Leaving the left/RIGHT controversy aside, isn't RACIST, by definition, a derogatory term? Would a RACIST want to be called a RACIST? If that's the case, what's wrong with including the term in a crossword puzzle? It surely isn't promoting racism.


In case you weren't joking, it's DUNNED/THRUMS.

Son Volt 11:00 AM  

@jdsternb 9:36a - so you’re the one everyone is beeping at. By NYS vehicle and traffic law - the default statewide, excluding NYC is that a right turn on red after a complete stop is legal unless otherwise posted with a no turn on red. If you approach an intersection with no signs the right turn on red is allowed. The signs you are referring to are near the NYC border to clarify to drivers that they’ve crossed the border.

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

Pancetta is uncurled

Carola 11:07 AM  

Nice one! That is, nice = gentle, as rebuses go, and nice = so well done. It took me a bit before I was able to see the theme: I got into the grid at TBAR x BOJANGLES, which soon led me to DOGS, but what kind of dogs I had no idea. I'd left 1A blank even though it should have been an easy fill-in: my short term memory has gone off to live somewhere else, taking with it the fact that I'd read Kendi's book. Anyway, the Downs across the top bailed me out and soon got me turning RIGHT ON RED. I liked the collection of RED examples, although RED MEAT + RED STATE reminded me of rage-ridden talk radio where the RED FLAG of various culture-war abominations have hosts seeing RED at apoplectic levels.

Tom R 11:11 AM  

You guys are overthinking the right on red stuff. Don't know what its like in your State, but right on red is permitted in Wisconsin unless signage specifically prohibits it. I think its a thing and not worth the nit picking.

jae 11:11 AM  

Easy, no erasures no WOEs. Solid but a tad meh. Liked it, but it would be nice to have a bit more zip on Thursday.

oceanjeremy 11:21 AM  

Allow me to invite some of you to reread the first three sentences of Rex's post today. He is not "confused" or "alarmed" or "triggered" (what a douche-y word) by 1A, his feelings didn't get hurt, and he wasn't angry, he didn't even rant about it: He laughed about it. The reaction was all of three sentences, two of them hilarious and joking, and the only minor criticism came by way of: "Using RACIST for your 1-Across ... that is some kind of choice, that is. Quite the opening gambit."

Those who are put off by this are profoundly misunderstanding the whole point of Rex's nit to pick with RACIST. He's not being "woke," or "sensitive" or left-wing about it. This is 100% entirely an aesthetic complaint. Think about all the time Rex complains about "ugly fill." It's his personal opinion that fill should be attractive, and that looking at the solved-and-finished complete grid (without any relation to the cluing) should be a pleasant experience. Starting out with RACIST right there at the top of the NW is not attractive. He would have the same complaint if the word were PUSTULE or PHLEGM. Hell, even actual racists hate the word RACIST. It's not an attractive word, and it doesn't make for a good-looking grid. Ca c'est tout.

Anyway, I loved this puzzle except for the DUNNED / MARNE / NATE cluster£#¢₭. With a surname like "Bargatze" I was not at all confident that the first name would be a recognizable or common name, so I finished the puzzle with only the N_TE / M_RNE square open and thought, "Well, I guess I'm going to run the alphabet!" It didn't take me long, seeing as A (the first letter of the alphabet) was, in fact, the correct guess. All the same, it was a guess. And I love Thursdays for the puzzle aspect — not the "guessing a vowel crossing on two proper names I've never heard of" aspect. So a "Boo — thumbs down" for that section. Otherwise loved this.

Also agree with Rex about the direction — when I first got the clue I said to myself "Wait, isn't the answer turning left??" But I let it go rather quickly.

Fun fact: NYC is the only place in the mainland U.S. where right turn on red is illegal as the default. Meaning every time I leave the five boroughs I have to remind myself "Oh yeah, I can turn right on red! Which also means if I'm going straight I need to not be in the right lane if there are at least two lanes to choose from."

Some other notes:
• I've seen the "boatswain" contraction once before in a NYTXW puzzle. I thought it was stupid then and I think it's stupid now.
TERPS: I hate this. So much I refuse to even look up what it means. Thank heck for crosses!
THRUMS: Thrum is one of my favorite words! I once wrote a poem with the line "Thrum of thumbed string, secret as a tree root drinks rain." Thats how much I love the word.
SPLOTCH: Also a great word!

@Lobster11: My fiancΓ©e DNF'd at the same spot. I probably would have DNF'd myself, except I heard her shout "DUNNED? What the *** is that?" from the other room before I tackled the puzzle. I contest that this word is still used often in business. I have taken on the "collections" mantle at jobs before, where I pestered clients to settle outstanding invoices, and I have never encountered this word except in the NYTXW.

@Nancy: The "yin" is dark colored compared to the "yang." One of my philosophy teachers in college (who later would go on to translate the Tao te Ching) said that the yin/yang was meant to be an aerial view of the lit and shaded sides of a single mountain.

Pete 11:23 AM  

@Gill I - Even more so, listen to Love Me or Leave Me" and sit in awe as Ms. Simone segues into a Bach-like fugue on the melody, just for fun.

albatross shell 11:25 AM  

Oops. RIGHT ON RED not TURN RIGHT ON RED. The point remains the same.

TTrimble 11:27 AM  

@Anonymous 11:06 AM
Pancetta, like bacon, is CURED.

@PhysGraf 10:41 AM
(Cool handle by the way! Long live Led Zep.) You remind me of the rumor that, at least in old ads for things like liquor, you could see the word "sex" embedded in the pictures of ice cubes if you used your imagination just a little. That really did seem to me to be the case when I was a teenager, but I haven't played that game in a long time. Ah, here are some examples of this type of thing.

Every Italian Person in the worlk 11:33 AM  

@Anon 11:06 - Look at recipes, find the proportion that say some form of "pancetta is salt-cured pork belly" and report back to us with your findings. Clue: if it's less than 100% you're either lying or looking at recipes for vegan pancetta

RooMonster 11:33 AM  

Hey All !
Put me in the "looking-at-the-grid-direction" group, not the "following-the-Down-from-the-top" group. So my answers turned RIGHT. As someone before said, we all say the left side of looking straight at the grid is West, the right side is East. So, with that, the answers turn RIGHT.

Nit 😁, the REDs are just randomly placed in grid, with no rhyme or reason. And nothing after the 9th row. Odd.

One-letter DNF today. Dang. Had THRoMS/DoNNED, because, why not? But, the correct way gives @M&A another U. So, acceptable. ☺️

RED DOG came out at the same time as another RED beer. Can't think of the name, though. I like Killian's Red, myself.

Re: 10A clue, for all those who think it's wrong (even though it's been explained a few times already), Way UP to go downhill. TBAR is the way UP to go downhill. No more questions!

Knew about the Left turn ON RED from a one-way street onto another one-way street thing. In Nevada, no sign means OK to turn RIGHT ON RED, otherwise it says No Turn ON RED. See also: No U-Turn sign.

Anyway, ramblings aside, decent ThursPuz. Kinda closed corners. But still fun to solve.

One F

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

Would a RACIST want to be called a RACIST?

sure. amongst themselves. amongst Snowflakes? not so much. the whole point of being Racist (mostly, but not exclusively, poor, rural, red, uneducated, white folk) is to announce the superiority of Your Race. if you check your news feed (if it's not Fox, or OAN, or NewsMax) one Justin Lafferty (R-TN) yesterday publicly opined that the 3-fifths Constitutional Compromise was Northern anti-slavery. not so much. but he was making the point that Southern White Folks were being persecuted. still are. Poor babies.

Masked and Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Holy rebus runt-rolls, Batman. Real different … M&A likes.

The whole issue of whose right -- or who's right -- or who's on first -- didn't occur to m&e, until I came here and RED the blog. The best resolution, here: everybody's right!

staff weeject pick: OPI. Is the nail polish perhaps called that cuz it has a dash of opium in it? Or does it have a young Ron Howard as a mascot?

Took M&A a long nanosecond-eatin while to figure out that there openin NW corner. Finally decided there was a RED rebus square in 23-A's ?STATE. Which made 2-D = ALTERED. Which was a good word but didn't make a ton of sense as a {Drunkedness or hypnosis} answer. About as much sense as an answer of OPI woulda made. Turned over a couple of pieces of furniture at our house [yo, @Nancy], but the whole theme mcguffin eventually dawned on m&e.

The REDs kinda died out, in the lower puzgrid half. Kept lookin over yer shoulder, waitin for the next RED alert to drop, down there, but ... nope.


Thanx for the right stuff, Mr. Sessa dude. Good job.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Whatsername 11:39 AM  

@bocamp (6:47) “Need good people in both parties to make it work.” Truer words were never spoken. Would that we could.

JD 11:46 AM  

@Tom R if it weren't for the premise that every single thing in the world actually is worth nit picking, this blog wouldn't exist.

@TTrimble, Thanks! Humbled and honored to receive this nomination.

Aelurus 11:49 AM  

Fun, easyish solve. Got the rebus at CHECKERED, then RED MEAT, then realized it was a double dose of rebus.

And this week I got my second dose of Pfizer vaccine! After the first shot I was fatigued for two days late each day, the first afternoon lying down to finish a book — read one paragraph and woke two and a half hours later ravenous and ready for dinner. And after that, some original Pringles. There's always an unhealthy stash somewhere around and thankfully I found it. Second shot just a bit of fatigue the first afternoon. Have now been feeling the heady possibility of future freedom to travel again.

Had no problem with a hypothetical turning left or right. A puzzle should be able to choose its viewpoint. Smiled at @Frantic’s 8:19 remark and agree — I also don’t drive into my puzzles but sit there.

@Barbara S. — Powerful poem, such striking, sad imagery. Hadn’t read any Randall Jarrell and wonder if he hoped the anonymous cog in the bureaucratic nightmare would find a way to effect change. Thank you for the daily quotes — it’s always a treat to see what’s on board for the day. Like for Forrest Gump, like a box of chocolates, and there’s not been an unenchanting morsel in the bunch. If there's a pause in June, I hope there will be an eventual renewal!

Thanks, Ed Sessa, for the first puzzle delight this week.

Lewis 11:49 AM  

@anon 7:14 -- Good point. It wouldn't have worked in this grid.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

It's a draft (selective service) classification. One A. We had this just a few days ago.

kitshef 11:52 AM  

@Gill I - I don't like caviar, nor champagne, and I'm not even sure what cream on butter would be (though that sounds delicious).

But thank your for the recommendation; the song was excellent. I plan to check out some others (thanks @jberg) later today.

Frantic Sloth 11:53 AM  

@Z 814am Thanks, Mr. NipItInTheBud Wiseass. 😘

@Whatsername 954am Thanks for the shoutout, my friend, but I'm not alone in that conviction. The phrase "as god intended" comes to mind. πŸ˜‰
@JD 1016am I'm with @TTrimble 1030am 🀣 Question: Did THRUM and DUNNED represent you in that traffic school Roman à clef? Too soon?

@GILL 1038am Yes, Yuppin died. At least that's the way I've always heard it. 😊

Anonymous 11:54 AM  


could be worse. back when we lived on Capitol Hill, Maryland teams were awful. thus called 'The Twerps'.

Aelurus 11:55 AM  

And thank you, oceanjeremy 11:21, for the yin/yang imagery of DARK yin being the shaded side of a mountain.

Crimson Devil 11:57 AM  

Good to learn some constructive use of EMUS; sick of tv adds.

Crimson Devil 11:57 AM  

Good to learn some constructive use of EMUS; sick of tv adds.

Anoa Bob 12:04 PM  

Which of these needs some help to work as a themer: ALTERED STATE, PUREBRED DOG, CURED MEAT or CHECKERED FLAG?

This looks more like a verbis (by way of words) puzzle than a rebus (by way of things) puzzle. If you can type in multiple letters in a single grid square then it ain't no stinking rebus. Linguists use rebus to describe the process of how ancient pictographs/hieroglyphics evolved to abstract letters and ultimately alphabets. This "Rebus Principle" was explained in detail in 9/20 on PBS' NOVA program A to Z: The First Alphabet. Bet you a RED DOG that you can't watch that program and come away still calling a crossword puzzle with multiple letters in a single square a rebus puzzle.

Peter P 12:06 PM  

@Anon 11:06 -- OK, this was covered, but assuming you meant "cured" and "curled" is a typo (in case I'm missing a joke), pancetta is absolutely cured. You might be under the misapprehension that curing requires nitrites/nitrates. It does not. Salt is a cure, as well. If you do a salt-only cure, you generally have to use substantially more salt than in a salt and, say, Prague powder cure where you use a nitrite/nitrate in addition to NaCl salt.

Now here's my little peeve for the day. Well, I guess we're on to my third peeve after my previous screed: If you are watching your nitrite/nitrate consumption be careful with the products advertising "UNCURED" and "NO ADDED NITRITES/NITRATES*" First, note that sneaky word "ADDED." Next, see that pesky little asterisk. Follow it. It'll lead to something that says "except for those naturally found in celery powder/juice." These so-called "uncured" products may have as much or more nitrite/nitrate than their "chemically" cured counterparts. It's just BS. That product is cured. If you really want to avoid nitrites/nitrates for your own reasons, you need to read that labeling.

Me? I don't care. I just eat the regular cured products, but it chuffs me how marketing and labeling laws obfuscate these things.

GILL I. 12:18 PM  

@JC...oopsie doozy....My THRoMS/DoNNED done runneth over.
@Pete 11:23. My nanny and housekeeper and my best friend was originally from the Grand Cayman Islands. She used to smoke Cuban cigars which made her beautiful singing voice kinda smokey and sexy low. She even looked a bit like Nina Simone. I know all of her songs. You should see me sing "Ain't got No, I got Life" in the car. It's scary good.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

@Anoa Bob

Would rebu (sans POC) be acceptable to you?

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

11:36- The Representative from Tennessee was correct about the 3/5 compromise. The slave states wanted to include enslaved people as full persons thereby increasing their population and thereby increasing their representation in Congress.

Rick Walker 12:47 PM  

I would like Rex to please keep his tribalism and political correctness out of these discussions or at least note that complaining about the word racism as the 1a answer even coughed in the purity of the guilt turn is kinda sad. It seems liberals often can't see human nature for as awful as it is so they love to make up rules and offensiveness concerning words. But I'm with Wittgenstein who bemoaned words' beguilings.

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

Strange coincidence. Just finished putting OPI Bubble Bath polish on my nails before sitting down to do the puzzle.

bocamp 1:04 PM  

@JD (10:16 AM)

Echoing @TTrimble re: your last para; had quite the chuckle over that one! πŸ˜‚

@Anonymous (10:20 AM)

Still trying to get my head wrapped around the 'beg the question' fallacy. As I recall, you and @Z and I had that discussion back in the Fall.

So, the Dearborn officer who got the ticket for the left on RED was technically RIGHT, but that may have been incidental to his winning the case? Iow, being RIGHT doesn't necessarily always result in winning, hence we can't assume the court used his RIGHTness as the basis for its ruling? or something along those lines … ?

@Whatsername (11:39 AM) πŸ‘ πŸ™

td 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Flying Pediatrician 1:20 PM  

Late to comment today, but coming to defend NATE Bargatze. Here’s the deal: he’s pretty famous in my age demographic (30s) because he’s really dang funny. I mean, beverage-out-your-nose funny. Start with his first special on Netflix. You will love it. Nate Bargatze: The Tennessee Kid.

Anonymous 1:22 PM  

NOTHING worse than an anal-retentive crossword puzzle anal-yst. . . If you can nit-pick this winner (about directions !!!) for 2 paragraphs, don't go left or right...Go straight into retirement.

JC66 1:25 PM  

For those who were in the dark a few days ago (including me), check out 18D in today's BEQ offering.

pmdm 1:26 PM  

oceanjeremy: As Rod Serling once observed, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And some others have observed that also. And if you are trying to make an "attractive" puzzle, I doubt the puzzle will seem attractive to the universe of solvers.

Your point about what Sharp wrote about RACISM is well thought out. I think the problem is that Mike complains about so much, and often enough he adds to his complaints seemingly unending justification (that don't seem to opined in a humorous manner), many of those who have read these just assume he's doing the same here. To recall another clichΓ©, if you cry that the sky is falling often enough ...

Anonymous 1:29 PM  


since slaves were property, not persons, none should have been included for purposes of Congress. there's a reason the South dominated the Damn Gummint for so many decades. and if you believe the spate of voter suppression efforts in the Red States will be enforced against White Folk... well, your wrong. the White Folk Republicans are already skipping those nasty bits for their Party events.

Granny the Great 1:38 PM  

Right on red is NOT legal in New York City! Found out the hard way ... legal in the rest of the state and city environs. So beware! $375 fine!

Z 1:43 PM  

@Gill I - From EMU teats, obviously.

@bocamp - Since I wasn’t making any kind of argument “begging the question” doesn’t apply. My pal was correct, the Allen Park officer was wrong, my pal went to court, cited the law, and won. That’s just history.

@oceanjeremy - First two paragraphs- πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½ - I’ve given up pointing out the almost daily phenomenon of people not understanding what Rex actually wrote.

Lewis 1:49 PM  

@anon 7:14 -- But how about this?


Even cooler!

Anonymous 1:50 PM  

For those interested:

"the White Folk Republicans are already skipping those nasty bits for their Party events."

Turns out to be true, at least a bit.

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

We've seen this theme before! June 14, 2012:

Also, 1-Across: Apt descriptor of many people in a 23-Across

CreamyT 2:03 PM  

The wife and I got this a bit under average for our Thursdays, but not by much. I'd still call it medium just because of the SE-ish combination of THRUMS/MARNE/DUNNED/NATE/GAR. We were able to eventually suss out THRUMS, but I wasn't 100% on it. Maybe 75%. And with __TE, NATE seemed as good a guess as any. And it happened to work, but I wouldn't have be all too surprised if we were wrong.

Either way - enjoyed the theme and enjoyed most of the cluing. A solid and quirky Thursday for us!


Same exact thing happened. I guessed Nate and Marne but I finally gave up.

Bobby 2:18 PM  

WHY ON EARTH would they pick as their RED STATE examples not one but two states that have Democratic governors?

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

bocamp and z
Z was making an argument. Or at least recapping one
"He had to go to court to fight the ticket. He was less than pleased. He was right, so he won"
Fight in this case means to make an argument. So to say he won the argument because he was right is exactly what begging the question means. It assumes the truth of the answer in it's premise.

JC66 2:53 PM  

@Anon 2:41

That's not what begging the question means.

Lewis 3:11 PM  

@anon 7:14 -- Scratch that last suggestion of mine. It doesn't work. My brain is rushing today instead of thinking things out! Sorry.

Anonymous 3:39 PM  


Well, that link is to a story only about Republicans in Virginia, so it's just an internal party snafu or hypocrisy if you prefer. But, I'd expect that regular elections under full Republican control will enforce only those 3/5 voters.

Pdxrains 3:45 PM  

Easy for a Thurs except the SE corner.. DUNNED THRUMS and MARNE plus not know Nate bargatze had me STUCK!

egsforbreakfast 4:18 PM  

I’m very late to the left/right discussion, but I’ll chime in because my peeve is slightly different. It’s likely that around 100% of solvers got the gimmick, so I think it’s fair to say that the clue works with the themers just fine.

But my problem is that Rex, referring to a previous use of left and right in a NYTXW, says “You can see that Every Single One of the circled themers above disproves today’s puzzle’s idea of what direction “Right” is.”

So, the fact that a previous constructor has viewed it in the opposite way disproves the validity of today’s constructor’s notion? Interesting. If priority in time proves or disproves whether a subsequent answer is correct, then we may all be living in Kellyanne Conway’s alternate reality.

BTW, I thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle, as is my right. Thanks, Ed Sessa.

bocamp 4:26 PM  


Thx, again, for the vowelless and the tip. It got somewhat easier as I caught onto the idea. :)

Peace ~ and Good Health to all πŸ•Š

PhysGraf 4:29 PM  

Great newer examples! Thanks for the handle shout out. I have been using PhysGraf or other derivatives since my days of drinking Red Dogs as a teenager (wow is the internet old).

JC66 5:05 PM  


Glad you're enjoying it.

How about giving me an SB tip, I'm -2 today. πŸ˜‚

Anonymous 5:09 PM  

I originally had BAR (dive bar and high bar) for 47A. That's all

bocamp 5:26 PM  


It's very doable today! 🀞

*Possible SB spoiler alert*

I'd be willing to bet that there's nothing in it that you wouldn't know.

Peace ~ and Good Health to all πŸ•Š

Sioux Falls 5:27 PM  

Kinda real-life example from having worked in tv production. Imagine sitting in the audience or in A control room behind the audience. We talk about CAMERA LEFT and CAMERA RIGHT... from the camera’s POV. Then STAGE LEFT and STAGE RIGHT.. from the point of view of the performers. So CAMERA LEFT is STAGE RIGHT and CAMERA RIGHT is STAGE LEFT. So I get Rex’s point.

Barbara S. 6:06 PM  

@Aelurus (11:49)
Thanks! I read the poem as empathetic to the speaker. Her cage was made partly by life, partly by herself perhaps, but she's no less sympathetic for all that.

@JC66, @bocamp
QB!! I wish I had some wisdom for you, @JC66, but I can't think of anything to say that's legal. Good luck! (My fingers are crossed for ya.)

Anonymous 6:16 PM  

The puzzle was right (correct). The theme answers turned right (east). La la land (where many of you probably reside) is on the left coast.

JC66 6:30 PM  

@Barbara S

Thanks. I'll get back to it later, while I'm watching the Nets game.

bocamp 7:04 PM  

@Barbara S. (6:06 PM) πŸ‘

@JC66 🀞

Peace ~ and Good Health to all πŸ•Š

JC66 7:58 PM  

@Barbara S & @bocamp

Yay me! Got QB halfway through the 1st quarter.

BTW, if there had been an R, I wonder if IMGUR would have been accepted. πŸ˜ƒ

bocamp 8:24 PM  

@JC66 (7:58 PM) πŸ‘

Ha ha; good one! :)

Peace ~ and Good Health to all πŸ•Š

Wellmet 8:29 PM  

Fastest by far rebus identification led to a record Thursday solve.

Barbara S. 8:33 PM  

Mazel Tov!

JC66 9:28 PM  

@Barbara S & @bocamp

Thanks. Your encouragement helped.

Ben 10:03 PM  

I don't really get the criticism about right vs left -- it seems overly pedantic and literal.

You, the solver, turn right on the clue. You turn right on red. Why would you care about the turning direction from the perspective of someone driving along the clue?

Sometimes it seems like Rex just invents problems.

TTrimble 10:22 PM  

@JC66, @Barbara S., @bocamp,
Feels like old times again -- I got to QB after a struggle where I too was stuck at -2. Glad to be in your company.

Embarrassing to think that one of the two I was stuck on is a common word that played an important role in my class today, the last lecture of the semester. But, sometimes that's how it is!

bocamp 10:25 PM  

@JC66 9:28 PM 😊

Peace ~ and Good Health to all πŸ•Š

JC66 10:49 PM  


Welcome to the club.πŸ‘ŒπŸ˜‚

Bruce Fieggen 10:54 PM  

@Photomatte 8:46. Yikes! Since I learned to drive mostly in Oregon I figured the left turn on red into a one-way street was legal everywhere. Surprised I’ve never been ticketed for that now I live elsewhere.

Anonymous 2:25 AM  

OMG, is this the most pedantic theme complaint yet? The answers go to THEIR left, even though they go to YOUR right?

And then to interpret "Traffic go-ahead" as meaning a directive (when, in fact, 'go-ahead' means that it is permitted not required) or to be upset that in it's clue meaning, it's something 'permitted', but in the puzzle it's 'required' (or simply, taken literally, as many themes do) is just such a trivial complaint that it's surely not worth the effort to make it.

C'mon, Rex, you're really reaching for the acrimony with this one.

Steve 7:50 AM  

The year is 1962, long before Ohio permitted right turns on red. We were visiting folks in Toronto. My father sat at a red light with his blinker on. From the back seat I called out "right on red" which I had learned in my driver's ed class in Columbus but had never had an opportunity to do. It was already a catch-phrase even where it wasn't yet legal. He made the turn. First time for everything.

thefogman 10:40 AM  

The editor should not have given this the green light.

spacecraft 12:30 PM  

I think Ed's getting better with age. This one is pretty good, a theme that you have to dig a little to get, and not much worse that a TBAR in the fill.

The SE brought me back to the dentist's chair, where I OPENED WIDELY. Hey, from now on I'm gonna correct his grammar when he leaves off the -LY.

The shinning light of the theme set is CHECKE[RED]FLAG, and of the fill is certainly BOJANGLES and he danced for me in worn out shoes...

NINA Simone for DOD, and a solid birdie for Mr. Sessa.

Diana, LIW 12:52 PM  

A miracle. I got the rebus, AND actually liked it a lot more than a couple of last week's offerings. Phew!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting, not the Lady in Red

thefogman 3:49 PM  

This puzzle looked eerily familiar and now I know why:

Burma Shave 4:46 PM  


A RACIST, ANDI say so,
said, "Give THAT HORA PESO."


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