Indigenous people of Easter Island / WED 6-16-21 / Jim Sheridan gives Daniel Day-Lewis nothing to work with in this Irish dramedy / Gossip in slang

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Constructor: Finn Vigeland

Relative difficulty: Easy (unless you are very unfamiliar with movie titles, possibly) 

THEME: MISDIRECTED (65A: Led astray ... or like the films at 19-, 25-, 40- and 57-Across?) — theme answers are film titles in which "direction"-related words have been changed to their opposites (so the titles are "MIS-DIRECTED"); these titles are then clued as if the films were made poorly (i.e. MISDIRECTED) :

Theme answers:
  • "MY RIGHT FOOT" (19A: Jim Sheridan gives Daniel Day-Lewis nothing to work with in this Irish dramedy (1989)) (from "My Left Foot")
  • "KNIVES IN" (25A: Rian Johnson helms this snoozer of a whodunit starring Daniel Craig (2019)) (from "Knives Out")
  • "WEST OF EDEN" (40A: Elia Kazan bungles this John Steinbeck novel adaptation (1955)) (from "East of Eden")
  • "STEP DOWN" (57A: Anne Fletcher misses the mark with this first film in a dance franchise (2006)) (from "Step Up")
Word of the Day: HANGUL (55A: Korean alphabet system) —

The Korean alphabet, known as Hangul/Hangeul in South Korea and Chosŏn'gŭl in North Korea, is a writing system for the Korean language created by King Sejong the Great in 1443. The letters for the five basic consonants reflect the shape of the speech organs used to pronounce them, and they are systematically modified to indicate phonetic features; similarly, the vowel letters are systematically modified for related sounds, making Hangul a featural writing system.

Modern Hangul orthography uses 24 basic letters: 14 consonant letters (            ) and 10 vowel letters (         ). There are also 27 complex letters formed by combining the basic letters: 5 tense consonant letters (ㄲ ㄸ ㅃ ㅆ ㅉ), 11 complex consonant letters (ㄳ ㄵ ㄶ ㄺ ㄻ ㄼ ㄽ ㄾ ㄿ ㅀ ㅄ) and 11 complex vowel letters (ㅐ ㅒ ㅔ ㅖ ㅘ ㅙ ㅚ ㅝ ㅞ ㅟ ㅢ). Four basic letters in the original alphabet are no longer used: 1 vowel letter (ㆍ) and 3 consonant letters (ㅿ ㆁ ㆆ).

The Korean letters are written in syllabic blocks with the alphabetic letters arranged in two dimensions. For example, Hangeul in Korean is spelled 한글, not ㅎㅏㄴㄱㅡㄹ. [...] 

As it combines the features of alphabetic and syllabic writing systems, it has been described as an "alphabetic syllabary". As in traditional Chinese and Japanese writing, Korean texts were traditionally written top to bottom, right to left, and are occasionally still written this way for stylistic purposes. Today, it is typically written from left to right with spaces between words and western-style punctuation. (wikipedia)
• • •

speaking of 
This was one that got better upon further reflection. Or more impressive, anyway. Noticing things after you finish doesn't exactly change the solving experience, but can make you appreciate what you experienced a bit more. In this case, I actually had a good time solving the puzzle, but the concept seemed slightly thin to me—I thought movie titles were being changed simply by turning one word in the title into its opposite. So when I was done I thought, "Cute, but it's not a very tight themer set. What about all the other opposites out there: day/night, good/bad, right/wrong... this group feels pretty arbitrary." At this point, I thought MISDIRECTED referred solely to the fact that titles were merely wrong/changed. Sometimes, though, thinking about why something is weak can lead you to realizing it's actually strong and you (me) just missed the trick. When I realized that all the title changes related specifically to direction—that all the changed words were specifically direction-related words—well, then I was like "Ohhhhhh ... sorry, puzzle. My bad. That actually is pretty tight." I kinda want a North/South answer now. But not enough to be mad about it. Good theme!

It's an oversized grid today (16x15), so if you thought your time was fast, well, it was faster than you know. Grid had to be an even number of squares wide in order to situate the 10-letter "WEST OF EDEN" directly in the center. Seemed like the puzzle was trying to add bonus movie answers all over the place, with actors HUGH Jackman and O'SHEA Jackson forming a little JackPack there at 9- and 10-Down, and then there's DR.EVIL, and, looks, even some BIOPICS for your VIEWING pleasure. I didn't struggle very much, though there were a bunch of answers that for some reason did not leap out at me. STYMIE required many crosses. ONE just would not come. Wanted ANON. and then, weirdly, ONO (33D: Unnamed person)—I think my brain decided to process the clue as "One-named person," but even that makes no sense for ONO, so who knows. Did not know the Shak. clue for VIOLENT (and am generally hugely opposed to fill-in-the-blank Shak. quotes, as they are fussy and dull and rarely give you enough context for you to appreciate them—at least tell me the play this is from!) (47D: Word that fills both parts of the Shakespeare quote "These ___ delights have ___ ends") (it's "Romeo & Juliet," Friar Lawrence talking about R & J's teenage feelings). I had never heard (I don't think) of the movie "Step Up," but it wasn't hard to infer my way to "STEP DOWN." The one word that was totally new to me was HANGUL. Did not know the Korean alphabet had a name. Good to know! All the crosses were fair there, so even that answer didn't slow me down much. 

Only things I didn't really like today were D.I.Y.-ERS (I have aesthetic aversion to most abbr. + -ERS formulations, e.g. NHLERS, NBAERS, ATFers ... OK, that last one's not a thing. Yet. The other icky one is CRIT. Read a ton of literary criticism in grad school. Wrote some too. "Lit CRIT" is just not a term I ever heard ever. It just sounds awful. Like you're trying to say something sexual and just garbling it. Lastly, why would you ever clue ABBA as a rhyme scheme? Do you hate joy?

That's it! Fun puzz! Bye!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:36 AM  

Having directional words get flipped in the theme answers to give new meaning to the reveal MISDIRECTED elevated the theme to something beyond my initial description of “cute”. It didn’t aid the solve but added a post-solve “ooh, cool” that doesn’t often happen in a puzzle. (Hi, @rex!)

Very nice to have PSYCHO as an answer in a puzzle with a film-based theme, and also very nice to have three palindromes (ABBA, NAN, TOT). DREVIL makes for a lovely DOOK. Thank you for a fun solve, Finn!

Two side comments. One, in my youth I tried to perform psychokinesis with all my might during a period of several weeks, and all I got was stasis, never “IT WORKS!” Sigh. And two, though it doesn’t fit the theme exactly, I’m going to say it anyway: I’m a bit excited as tonight my wife and I are actually scheduled to watch the movie I’ll call “In the Depths”.

Anonymous 6:44 AM  

When I finally realized what was happening I hated it more. Trivia fest, anyone?

amyyanni 6:50 AM  

Fun, clever, and bright. Looking forward to this hump day. Also enjoyed Rex's review and the Hangul info. Cheers!

Leon 6:57 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
SouthsideJohnny 6:59 AM  

Ugh - this one was not made for me. I didn’t know any of the movie titles and I pretty much took an Oh-fer on the rest of the trivia as well. I’m not at all interested in misogyny, vulgarity, sexism, racism or promoting gun-violence so the only rap musicians I know are from doing crosswords (and this puzzle had two of them crossing each other).

I did think the clue for BLANK CD was kind of cool. Stuff like RAPANUI, HANGUL, STBEDE etc. is definitely outside of my wheelhouse (they don’t even sound like words) - seems like they may have been more at home on a Saturday. So if this was in your wheelhouse and you enjoyed it, good for you. I’ll have to settle for SB and hopefully press on to fight on another day.

Jon Alexander 7:11 AM  

With the 16 wide grid, you could have thrown in a Hitchcock themer….SOUTHBYSOUTHEAST (as opposed to North by Northwest)

Overall I had the same reaction as Rex when I actually saw how tight the theme was and just a smooth puzzle from the get-go.

Richard Stanford 7:13 AM  

Took me forever to get TECS as well with no indication in the clue that the word was shorter. I actually wanted something similar at first but have only ever seen TECS in the crossword.

Figured out the theme with KNIVESIN and it fell into place nicely. Props for only using commonly known titles.

jfpon 7:15 AM  

Agree with Rex re this puzz's quality/solving pleasure. Surprised, however, he didn't comment on the (rare) 3rd layer aspect of the revealer/themer wordplay: the clueing's insinuation that the director bungled their direction in each instance. Thanks, Finn, for the fun!

Also, Rex's take on LITCRIT and ABBA seems a bit odd, given his LIT training/teaching experience. Far from joy killing, the latter is a staple of the Petrarchan sonnet's rhyme scheme and that of such joyous and more recent love poetry as Elizabeth Barret Browning's "How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)" While the former is quite common usage ("top 46%" per M-Webster) and hardly suggestive of anything sexual, except perhaps to the highly suggestible.

kitshef 7:20 AM  

A puzzle I suspect was way easier for an experienced solver than a new one. We’ve seen YER out, lit CRIT, and spill the TEA so many times they fill themselves in, even though you never see ‘em outside of crosswords.

Not familiar with STEP Up, but knew the other themers.

First time I’ve filled in OSHEA without crosses (again thanks to previous crosswords).

Son Volt 7:23 AM  

Lots of trivia - but I liked the multi-layered theme. Smooth and quick. Liked the K stack with SHAKIRA and KINESIS and the shout out to NEIL Tennant.

Learned HANGUL and always need help to get the SB winners when given the number. Like the Shakespeare quote. Hesitated with ST. BEDE without an abbreviation in the clue.

Enjoyable Wednesday solve.

Z 7:35 AM  

Do I even need to say it? Two days in a row with PPP based themes. Blrrgh.

Easy enough here, and I sussed out the direction thing before the revealer (and Rex didn’t even mention that all the clues mention the director - YooHoo! Giant Theme Hint Clue Flag waving at you) so I’m feeling all superior at the moment (let’s just ignore that my time was slower than a Rex Saturday time, shall we?). The RAPA NUI clue STYMIEd me because I thought that was the name of the island, not the people… Oh, it’s both. The RAPA NUI are native to RAPA NUI. Alrighty then. Other moments of hesitation were scattered about. I think we had this discussion before, but ST. BEDE will always be Venerable to me. I briefly forgot O’SHEA Jackson’s first name and considered OScar. You may have noticed that all my hesitations are the of the trivial trivia sort that comes arise from PPP. Blrrgh. My only delight while solving was PUMAS making me think of Black PUMAS.

I also got a big chuckle from Rex at Lastly, why would you ever clue ABBA as a rhyme scheme? Do you hate joy? Oh the irony of Rex with the J’accuse!

John H 7:40 AM  

Ups and downs for me. Knew Rapa Nui and Stymie, but have little interest in rap (except for Lynn Manuel Miranda and a few classics) so Oshea/Thee was a Natick, and this partially accounts for the Natick Shakira/Hangul. They were "gettable" for me, so I guess not really Naticks in the end. On the whole, I liked it.

Barbara S. 7:47 AM  

I liked this, too. The only trouble spot was the interlace of O’SHEA, THEE and TECS. We must have had TECS for “Gumshoes” before as those are such useful letters, but the term seemed unfamiliar to me. I also had no idea about HANGUL but, as Rex said, the crosses were fair. STYMIE always looks like a nickname to me, as in “Oh no, here comes STYMIE. I wonder how he’ll torpedo the plan this time.” I liked BRONCOS crossing STOCK. Asian stack: CHINA and HANGUL; Anatomy stack: UTERUS and MY RIGHT FOOT; Contrasting Behavior stack: PRIM and SASS.

Crossword, rather than birthday, quoting today.

I was going to quote the Shakespeare, but @Leon (6:57) beat me to it. But here’s…


“The present life of man upon earth, O King, seems to me in comparison with that time which is unknown to us like the swift flight of a sparrow through the mead-hall where you sit at supper in winter, with your Ealdormen and thanes, while the fire blazes in the midst and the hall is warmed, but the wintry storms of rain or snow are raging abroad. The sparrow, flying in at one door and immediately out at another, whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry tempest, but after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, passing from winter to winter again. So this life of man appears for a little while, but of what is to follow or what went before we know nothing at all.”
(From Ecclesiastical History of the English People)

Hungry Mother 7:51 AM  

I didn’t get far before I had two rappers crossing and quit.

Leon 7:57 AM  

Romeo and Juliet,Act 2-Scene 6

These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which, as they kiss, consume. The sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite.
Therefore love moderately. Long love doth so.
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.

HBO's Westworld used the quote often.

Rasmus 8:02 AM  

fwiw, the Shakespeare quote isn't "just" a Shakespeare quote, it's also a centerpiece of the popular HBO series Westworld. Guessing the majority of people got it from that.

Ray Yuen 8:06 AM  

The 10-down/23-across coupling is brutal. C'mon, you can't clue "thee" better than with a rap name?! And "O'Shea?" Sure, it's good to be current but Ice Cube as ancient as Perry Como in the rap world?

Someone mentioned it earlier: rap is all about hate, misogyny, racism, murder... Why do we want to highlight this abomination to music?


Anonymous 8:08 AM  

Like the puzzle overall but BIG thumbs down for overt conspiratorial anti-Semite OSHEA Jackson. It should have been clued as his son, O'Shea Jackson Jr.

Unknown 8:12 AM  

I liked the misdirection theme. And given the length of the themed answers, that really puts a ton of constraints on the constructor. And so even though I thought there were way too many proper names, in retrospect I get why the constructor was so limited and had to go that route. Fun Wednesday.

bocamp 8:13 AM  

Thx Finn for a crunchy, challenging Wednes. puz; enjoyed the struggle! :)

Med/tough, but successful solve.

Good start in the NW, but the rest was a hit and miss proposition.

Toughest area was the center, esp NUTOIL, WEST OF EDEN, TEA and NEIL.

Also had trouble in the SE with DR EVIL, VIOLENT and ERUPT.

yd pg -1

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Health ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Cristi 8:14 AM  

NAN, OSHEA, SHAKIRA, NEIL, RAPANUI—not in my wheelhouse, but mostly gettable with crosses. Done in by my brain’s reluctance to even consider DIYERS is a thing or that OSHEA could be a first name.. Liked the theme. Knew the Bede was Venerable, but didn’t know he was canonized.

pabloinnh 8:28 AM  

Hand up for the look back to really appreciate the theme, but the revealer belongs in the SE, not the SW. I wish constructors would pay some attention, as I've mentioned this before. Or maybe it was more MISDIRECTION. Whatever.

I've lost track of the Super Bowl numbers/winners. Thanks a lot Roman numerals.

OSHEA is as familiar to me as HANGUL, but learning about another alphabet system is interesting, whereas rap will never be attractive, at least to me.

RAPNUI is something that makes you say "I knew that" after you get it all filled in.

And NUTOIL always feels green paintish to me. Maybe it's the latest iteration of LESTOIL, for your modern cleaning problems.

Really fun Wednesday, FV. Crank up the applause-o-meter to Full Volume.

TheMadDruid 8:29 AM  

Fine puzzle. Lit crit is definitely a thing. Somewhat impressed Rex knows Lone Justice.

TTrimble 8:30 AM  

Insomnia and a sluggish solve. I don't know my movie titles as well as Rex, and there was trickiness in some of the letter combinations that conspired with trickiness of clues to make this a slower than average experience. I thought for example the clue for BLANKCD was cute but tricky; I had some vague sense of the spelling of RAPANUI, but that IY combination in DIYER -- I didn't parse that right away, and how many other IY words do you know?

The crossing of SHAKIRA with HANGUL: a slow spot. STBEDE: another unexpected letter sequence until I parsed the danged thing. That was true as well of AMTRAK -- that MT looked weird to me at first.

My first association with Victorian is not PRIM. I mean, I get it -- alleged Victorian attitudes towards sex and clothing and all that (surely a simplification), but more often when I think of "Victorian", I think of it as an age of booming confidence and certitude, that Western (Anglo-Saxon) mankind had things well under control and pretty much figured out. (I use the word "mankind" as that was the word that would have been used then.)

For example in science: in the late 1800's, after the wealth of advances in physics, beginning with Newton and the detailed working out of celestial mechanics, through Maxwell's equations and the tremendous unification they afforded, the harnessing of electric power and telegraphy, telephony, etc.: there was a great sense that the scientific revolution was reaching a pinnacle or culmination, with little clue of the tremendous scientific upheavals that awaited in the 1900's. Not to mention the great geopolitical upheavals that awaited! There was that old expression "the sun never sets on the British Empire", which similarly parallels the booming confidence in the primacy of Western and especially British civilization.

Two summary achievements from that era include the legendary 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica, and the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. For the latter, I might recommend any of Simon Winchester's compelling accounts (e.g. The Professor and the Madman, The Meaning of Everything, and I haven't read The Surgeon of Crowthorne). For the 1911 EB, I'll quote a snippet from this article in The Guardian:

'[A.J.] Jacobs continued, "I think Hans Koning of the New Yorker nailed the appeal 30 years ago. He said it was the last great work of the age of reason, the final instance when all human knowledge could be presented with a single point of view. Four years later, the confidence and optimism that had produced the 11th would be, as he puts it, 'a casualty in the slaughter at Ypres and the Argonne.'" And he's right. To open an 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica is to open a worldview lost forever in the staggering slaughter of the first world war. The 11th edition of the Britannica represents the high tide of optimism and belief in human progress that had dominated the Anglo-Saxon vision since the Enlightenment.'

td pg -4 (hi @bocamp)

Nancy 8:43 AM  

Who are these people and why are they here? It's all so arbitrary and so deliberately obscure.

Why Jim Sheridan (19A) and not Martin Scorsese?

Why Rian Johnson (25A) and not Sofia Coppola?

Why Anne Fletcher (57A) and not Gus Van Sant?

These directors could have MISDIRECTED those films exactly the same way as the constructor's choices. And, guess what -- we might even have heard of them!

This is the kind of unnecessary PPP obscurity that isn't puzzling and intriguing; it's just plain irritating.

And then the constructor throws in 10 more non-theme proper name clues for good measure.

Don't even get me started on the Korean alphabet system. It was right on the tip of your tongue -- right?

SHAKuRA, dUpED (instead of LURED) and iMS (instead of DMS) gave me MuSiIpECTED for the longest time. It took me forever to sort it out.

A very annoying puzzle.

Z 8:52 AM  

Shakespeare is all about hate, misogyny, racism, murder... Why do we want to highlight this abomination to theater?

I think Megan THEE Stallion is no worse than any other PPP, but crossing two PPP from not just the same area (music) but essentially the same genre, especially when there are non-PPP alternatives, is definitely suboptimal. {See - it’s possible to criticize a bad crossing without sounding racist}

@Barbara S - TEC is perhaps the purest example of crosswordese. Allegedly a term for “private detective” that nobody has seen in the wild for several decades, it regularly appears in Crossworld. Merriam-Webster does have an entry, but not a single usage example. It says it is slang for “detective,” but the definition for detective does not cite it as a synonym. Maybe Rex has seen it in one of his noir paperbacks, but I do believe he has complained about it before, too. It is not as common as Oreo/One/Tern, but it so much less of a thing anymore that its relative infrequency does not diminish its esey purity.

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

ya wanna know one BIG reason CA is in water shortage: almond groves.

such a tasteless, dry pebble soaks up so much H2O. water for the people!! none for the Nuts!!!

pmdm 8:56 AM  

Finn is one of the constructors who tends to insert stuff into the grid that turns me away from the puzzle. The PPP today was too much for me. I struggled as much as I could, and filled in a surprising large number of squares, including the theme entries. But as a certain point, I simply gave up. I don't mind looking up a ton of PPP on the last 3 days of the week, but on Wednesday it's too much for me. So for me, I would rate the puzzle as a failure. After reading the comments, some others agree with me. Oh well. It unfortunate when a puzzle like this follows a puzzle like yesterday's.

George 9:04 AM  

What, exactly, are the rules that govern clues for answers containing abbreviations or acronyms? I thought I understood them, but the clues for BLT, DIY-ers, and TECS suggest otherwise!!! Plz help, SOS

mathgent 9:14 AM  

Rex says that he has never heard "Litcrit" before. I'm pretty sure it's been in a previous puzzle fairly recently.
I was going to cry foul at DIYERS but it is in dictionaries.

Dull but inoffensive.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

@Nancy 8:43 - If you think about it for minute, I think you'll see that the choice of directors in the clues is anything but arbitrary.

albatross shell 9:20 AM  

A perfect theme. And all in there proper symmetric locations. Helped with the solve and more to appreciate about it after the solve.

Knew all the movies. STEP up just dimly. Knew both rappers but not the names asked for in the clues but knew the enough crosses to fill on the blanks.

Needed every cross for HANGUL, most of them for AMTRAK, and had BLANKC_ crossing _IYERS and couldn't get it til I ran the alphabet the third time.

There were a ton of 3 and 4 letter words, my only complaint.

With Rex on ONE, but got STYMIE with one or none crosses.

BAE in NW and SE. Legally.

I hope there are no LAME UTEROPODES out there. Or limp penopodes for that matter.

Is that dramatic, situational or coincidental?

I was busy yesterday. Did not read the comments until 6 pm. Dumb lucky me. Couldn't find Rex's post about some anonymous post. Where was it?

Maybe I missed or forget something, but where is M&A?

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

Doc Ttrimble.
Uh, you mean Kepler. Kepler was the genius who figured out the most important celestial mechanics--the laws of planetary motion.

And if you actually read Winchester's book, you'd know the OED wasn't completed until after the First World War.

And the West is superior. Burma is still relying on British infrastructure for goodness sake. There's a reason the whole world wants to come to the West. Aint no line of refugees desperate to get into any country but those in the West.

Nancy 9:31 AM  
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Anonymous 9:31 AM  

the thing is, there is no such thing as a BLANK CD in the consumer world. put one in your machine, and nada. you need a CD/RW. not the same, same.

TJS 9:43 AM  

I'm with you, @George. I thought we only had to put up with abbreviations not indicated in their clues on Saturday, but apparently
Mr.Shortz has thrown in the towel on this. Is "etsy" an abbreviation? I just assumed it was but I'm not going to bother looking it up.

@Z, followed you right up to that last sentence, but can't make heads or tails out of it, even if "esey" is a misprint.

I think it's a rule of wokedom that you can't diss a rapper.

Irene 9:43 AM  

On a Wednesday?

Nancy 9:43 AM  

Got it! I was looking for the wrong thing. I Googled to see if there was a movie called KNIVES IN or MY RIGHT FOOT, etc. -- and there wasn't.

What I should have Googled is "Director of KNIVES OUT" and "director of MY LEFT FOOT", etc.

Elia Kazan for EAST OF EDEN should have been my tip-off, but, alas, he wasn't. The other directors were complete unknowns to me.

Mea culpa.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

There's a reason the whole world wants to come to the West.

Ah with the likes of The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) and Orban and other so-called Populists working diligently to establish dictatorships just like the ones in all the Sh!thole Countries, not so much. Hell, in due time Right Wingnut legislatures will have the burden of tossing out election results that don't favor themselves. Nice work if you can get it.

It's also worth noting that much of the West's wealth was extracted from the ground in many of those sh!thole countries by the democratic West, who paid off, supported, and installed many of the dictators of those countries. Want some Iranian oil? OK, kill elected Prime Minister and install Our Lil Fren. Such a nice example.

Shé di Felina 9:49 AM  

A super quick Wednesday for me, because I happened to know the answers. And that's why I hated it. I want to actually solve something, not just run through my trivia knowledge. Maybe I'd have liked it better if the directional words swap had come to me later, but that was how I solved the remaining themers after WESTOFEDEN so I felt extra hard for those who didn't know the original film titles.

I enjoyed seeing AMTRAK though. In 2019 I travelled 9595km by Amtrak in 21 days and basically won't shut up about how amazing travelling by train is.

RooMonster 10:00 AM  

Hey All !
Comment on NUTOIL? Har.

Nice multi-layer theme. Noticed the 16 wideness when seeing the number 14 in the top row. STBEDE needed every cross. All sorts of STs out there. Another possible DOOK is DREVIL. If you're not into the Austin Powers movies, you'd have no idea what that is. Funny movies, go watch them now! Go on... ☺️

Found this a fun puz. ACACIA, har. Miss that word in the SB Every Time.

Looking forward to reading the uproar that the clue for SEX causes (posting before reading y'all).

Tag line for Almond extract? NUT OIL, IT WORKS!

Two F's

Cassieopia 10:02 AM  

Enjoyed it a lot, it put up a decent fight but ended with the happy music. Not a fan of a lot of PPP but in this case it helped the puzzle’s entertainment theme.

There’s some great rap stuff out there, I’m not a regular aficionado but do love some of the songs that veer into pop/hip hop territory. I like listening to it when I need revving up…and classical for winding down. Life would be pretty boring if we all had the same tastes in music.

bocamp 10:03 AM  

@Barbara S. (7:47 AM) quoted:

"So this life of man appears for a little while, but of what is to follow or what went before we know nothing at all.”

Thx for the quote! My take: maximize the Now! Learn from the past and fear not the future.

@TTrimble 8:30 AM

'The Professor and the Madman' was a page-turner; great read!

@Carola (11:11 AM) yd

Gradually learning little bits and pieces of cryptic-ese; as you alluded to: EVERY word is important! Still working on 5D.

pg -10 (hi @TTrimble)

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Health ~ Kindness to all 🕊

jae 10:15 AM  

Easy-medium. I knew all the movies so it was a pretty smooth solve. HANGUL of course was a WOE but the crosses were fair. Cute, liked it.

Newboy 10:18 AM  

Classic visit to NATICK this morning. Crossing a famous rapper/actor with a less well known rapper stands in stark contrast as Rex points out to the valid Korean language cross. Bet there’s more than ONE’s solve streak in peril today; back to read other’s comments on what I otherwise thought a mildly amusing grid. Glad I was able to get that Israeli rapper DREVIL at least!

TTrimble 10:37 AM  

Uh, no I didn't. Of course Kepler's laws (which were empirically determined) were very important input for later developments: one of Newton's early magnificent successes was showing how to derive those laws from more fundamental principles. But since you seem not to be aware of it, I was actually referring to Laplace and later successors, who took matters much, much further. Laplace wrote Mécanique Céleste, a tour de force in five volumes of detailed calculations of trajectories of heavenly bodies. Here's a little introductory article for you. It was a brilliant vindication of the mathematical techniques inaugurated by Newton (not Kepler).

As for the OED: of course I know this, but it was started during the Victorian era (the first fascicules appeared in 1884, but serious work began in the 1850's, under the auspices of the Philological Society of London). To narrow the discussion down to a date, instead of seeing the OED as a grand experiment stretching over decades, and one thoroughly imbued with the Victorian spirit that I referred to earlier, is of course very limited and ultimately silly.

As an aside, for anyone reading this: much of Winchester's storytelling in this case surrounds two principal characters: James Murray, a Scotsman who was a kind of spiritus rector for the OED project, and William Minor, an American surgeon who was behind bars for acts of insanity, but who was perhaps the most prolific contributor of citations for proposed dictionary entries in those early days -- this helped him keep going mentally. It's a fascinating story.

htpsmnoptp 10:38 AM  

Having "Psycho" at the very top center was also a nicely sly movie tie-in that was not clued as a movie. As such, it also serves to characterize the "misdirected" theme of the puzzle.

Kasi 10:50 AM  

You have two names (HUGH and OSHEA) next to each other and then decide to clue the crosser THEE as some rapper's middle name!?!? One might think that an editor would flag something like this since it's so easy to fix.

JD 10:56 AM  

Same Natick problems as some others. Big mess with cockiness over my Rapahni. Yep, StBede. It would be great to see a rapper known as the Venerable St. Bede and watch it be clued that way. East of Eden was my least favorite Steinbeck and the movie was really bad. Talk about misdirected. Woof.

@Z 8:52, 😂 Speaking of violence, bigotry and misogyny, you can watch on YouTube all five seasons of The Rifleman. Chuck Connor fights heroically against all of it and looks great shirtless, chopping wood in the sun. "I guess what women do best is raise kids Pa." "That's true son." OK, maybe not so great on the misogyny. Crystal clear in B&W. No less than three bad guys get blown away in almost every episode. I'm still on season one.

@TTrimble, Not sure how much Victoria herself had to do with scientific advances unless all that repressed sex was being channeled into science. Did like Winchester's OED book. @Bo, it IS a page turner. The Krakatoa book is good too.

@Frantic, please come back.

Canon Chasuble 10:57 AM  

The reason the sun never set on the British Empire is because God never trusted an Englishman in the dark.

Whatsername 11:03 AM  

What @Nancy* said at 8:43. This puzzle can kiss my 39 across.

*Thank you.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

Here's what you wrote "For example in science: in the late 1800's, after the wealth of advances in physics, beginning with Newton and the detailed working out of celestial mechanics"

It was YOU who credited Newton with the beginning of our understanding of celestial mechanics. That is incorrect. Maybe you meant to write something else. But of course, you didn't.

And William Minor was in prison for murder. Acts of madness are not crimes. You should be more precise doc. By the way, what kind of doctor are you? That is, what is the degree you earned which confers the status of doctor.

Marty 11:14 AM  

BLTs do not have do not have to be nonkosher. In this, the year 5781, purveyors of kosher beef and lamb bacon abound!
I liked this puzzle, very clever.

Uke Xensen 11:18 AM  

Never heard the term "lit crit"? University Press Books in Berkeley had a whole section they called "Lit Crit Brit."

Dumb theme though.

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

I was STYMIEd at the end by RAPANUI crossing DIYERS (probably could have gotten the latter if the clue had included "in brief"), but overall I found this puzzle on the easier side.

sixtyni yogini 11:21 AM  

Thought the theme clues were too much time and trouble to think much about, but it didn’t matter to the time, solve, or getting the theme. So who cares? And yes to the PSYCHO clue. 👍🏽

pmdm 11:26 AM  

George: The rules for such things as abbreviations in the NYT crossword clue indeed seem lax. As a rule, clues like "two words" don't ever appear in the clues. Warnings of abbreviations seem to be limited to easy puzzle (early in the week). If a clue includes an abbreviation, that is a hint the answer will include an abbreviation. Perhaps if you want more specific help you should email Shortz.

By the way, "etsy" is a name of an internet site, so I would not consider that an abbreviation. And stuff commonly spoken n the vernacular (such as BLT) might not be considered an abbreviation.

On the other hand, substitution of ST for VENERABLE without some warning in the clue seems bad to me. And perhaps to Z.

bocamp 11:32 AM  

@JD (10:56 AM)

Spot on re: Krakatoa! :)

Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883: VIOLENT beyond imagination!

"The bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman and The Map That Changed the World examines the enduring and world-changing effects of the catastrophic eruption off the coast of Java of the earth's most dangerous volcano — Krakatoa."

@Canon Chasuble (10:57 AM) 😂


Peace ~ Empathy ~ Health ~ Kindness to all 🕊

albatross shell 11:36 AM  

Have you watched Cheyenne yet?
Clint Walker does some bare-chested wood chopping in the sun, but almost any excuse to be shirtless would do. Better bod than Clint if you don't object to objectifying. No idea of his kills per episode.

albatross shell 11:39 AM  

Did the sloth disappear to? Some reaction to yesterday? Or before?

jberg 12:12 PM  

For reasons far too complicated to explain, I got invited to conferences in Cheju Island, Korea, for about 6 years in a row, and there was a guy from Australia who usually attended wearing a T shirt with a map of Rapa Nui on it (he said it was actually the text of a treaty, showing the boundaries or something). I didn't really remember how to spell it, but knew it started with RA, which got me going. Plus I had learned about HANGUL from going to Korea. It's sort of odd. The whole point was to make literacy easier; but intellectuals think it is more elegant to write in Chinese characters, I guess because it's harder--sort of like Latin here, until fairly recently. Anyway, that got me over a few hurdles, compensating for my ignorance of who had directed any of those movies except East of Eden.

I got even more lucky with STBEDE -- I saw the clue peripherally while looking for a different one, and told myself 'Oh, that will be BEDE.' If I'd started knowing it was six letters it would have been much harder to figure out. He's been a saint for over 100 years, but he still gets called Venerable mostly.

I did like the theme. I figured out the trick early on, but didn't know the directors -- I didn't even know that Jim Sheridan or Rian Johnson WERE directors -- so I needed Kazan to get that part of it.

I think Rex's point about LITCRIT is that people who teach literature don't use it; it's more a term of the popular media, sometimes with overtones of disparagement.

Didn't we have NANOOK OF THE SOUTH in a puzzle recently?

Joe 12:36 PM  

I hated this puzzle. Too many proper names of obscure (to me) glitterati.

Master Melvin 1:05 PM  

I'm never happy with puzzles loaded with show biz/pop culture trivia, but when you cross rappers' names, I'm outta here.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

Jim Sheridan has a definite style. And preferred theme, the Irish experience chief among them. You may like In the name of the Father very much. It's the (based on a) true story of the Guildford four and Maguire Seven--focusing on Gerry Conlon.
It's a bit high-handed but its heart is in the right place.
In America is another good one. A much more intimate look at what's it like to be alone and poor far from home. Poignant and well observed.

TTrimble 1:12 PM  

"Not sure how much Victoria herself had to do with scientific advances unless all that repressed sex was being channeled into science." --> Well, I'd say little to none. ;-) People have this odd habit of attaching people's names to particular eras. :-)

Sure, I'd even stand by that -- but it devolves on what one means by "understanding", leading to a very different kind of discussion. Since your intent in all this is clearly hostile -- you seem generally angry* and entirely bent on finding a gotcha! wherever you can and trying to embarrass people -- there would be little point in trying to have discussion with you about this, but for whoever else might be interested: I would indeed credit Newton with the first deep scientific understanding of why Kepler's laws hold. I might put it this way: Kepler performed a tremendous service for science by culling reams of experimental data and distilling them into three general laws expressed in mathematical form. In fact those are incredible laws, and it was an amazing achievement! So you could say he understood how to calculate with them.

But they were "just-so" laws. The really big advance, due to Newton, was to see that they follow from a much more simply expressed, much more fundamental law of universal gravitation. In fact, Kepler didn't make the connection with gravitation at all, the force pulling apples to the ground. I suppose for all he knew it could have been angels moving those planets around. In fact, why did the planets move as they did? Kepler knew "how" they moved around, to a first-order of approximation anyway, but he didn't have any grasp on the "why", particularly the fundamental connection with the force called gravity, the same force that can be observed here on Earth.

And he would not have been in any position whatsoever to explain any discrepancies between his laws and more refined observations. What really packs a punch in the Newtonian theory is that all those discrepancies could be accounted for in exquisitely fine detail, just by relentless application of the law of gravitation and pure mathematics** (as undertaken by e.g. Laplace). There was simply no way Kepler had anything close to that understanding.

Now if you've never experienced what it's like discovering a deeper and unifying explanation for some observed phenomenon, drawing manifold connections between things no one had even dreamt before, and tying them together into a single theory based on a few parsimonious principles, then perhaps this notion of "scientific understanding" could be lost on you, but that's the type of understanding that I'm talking about. It's what people in the "hard sciences" live for.

*As in using all-caps for words not connected with the day's puzzle.

**At least this held good until some really fine-grained observations of Mercury's orbit could not be satisfactorily explained purely in Newtonian terms. But the Victorian scientists of the 19th century seemed mostly pretty well satisfied, at any rate.

Ben 1:16 PM  

A bit surprised the English teacher didn't know "These violent delights have violent ends"

TTrimble 1:31 PM  

Oh, you devil! 0 again! I'll see if I can get there.

Favorite word not on today's list: caryatid.

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

Not sure how much Victoria herself had to do with scientific advances

Nothing to do with it. As with most expansions of all things natural, knowledge growth/acquisition runs non-linearly; what the vulgate routinely call 'exponential'. More or less true. Toward the end of the 19th century, all but a few oddball natural elements of the periodic table had been discovered, which thus turbo-charged the development of many things physical. The decline of manufacturing and inventions of most things physical has been noted widely in the last few decades: "software is eating everything". Yes, the shrinking of computer chips has seen them embedded in places unimaginable during Abbey Road, but the basis of computing hasn't materially changed since. Just gotten more transistors to play with.

The Bohr model, Einstein, Rutherford, and such post-date Victorian Era. One might posit that the invention of the transistor from semi-conductors (known since the early 19th) is the biggest deal in human history.

TTrimble 1:42 PM  

Spoke too soon. I'm right there with ya. :-)

Anonymous 2:05 PM  

Dr. Ttrimble.
You said the workings of celestial mechanics. Everything you just wrote supports Kepler being the author of those ideas. That he didn't know why the mechanics worked is quite independent of his ability to precisely determine those mechanics.
You've changed the subject that you yourself introduced-- the mechanics of celestial motion ( of which Kepler is the uncontroverted Father)-- with something else--the law of gravitational attraction. As you say, that is much more important to the world. Maybe you should've led with that. But alas, you didn't. Instead you're going on and on, raging against something no-one, least of all me, has disagreed with. What you wrote originally does not "devolve on "'Understanding'". There is no one who doesn't understand that the meaning of the person who worked out the celestial mechanics refers to Kepler.

And of course you didn't bother addressing your ludicrous statement that William Minor was jailed for acts of madness. He was jailed for murder. And while I'm at it, the OED is not Victorian. That work began on it in the Victorian era is incidental to its identity; the work was first published more than two decade s after the end of the Victorian Age.

As for your armchair analysis that I'm angry. Wrong again. I'm looking forward to my raise, the weather is just about perfect here, and I recently, and quite unexpectedly, added a lifer. I'm as happy as a clam at high tide. (Maybe because I'm not a crank who makes unfounded guesses about other people. That's why I ask, once again, what kind of doctor you are. You do recall saying you were a doctor not that long right?)

okanaganer 2:07 PM  

Today I liked the puzzle itself, but my greatest reward was reading a bit about HANGUL. I had always assumed it was pictographs, like Chinese/Japanese, but it isn't. The characters represent sounds, like ours, but with the extra twist of being grouped in 2 dimensions into syllables which each look like a big pictograph! Fascinating to learn.

Ironically, in SB yesterday (Warning: possible partial spoiler info) I was STYMIED by the very last word on the list. No QB for me!

Frantic Sloth 2:17 PM  

Sad to miss you all yesterday, but I was trying to pretend it never happened. I can ostrich with the best of 'em.

And a late start, so please forgive the inevitable redundancies. Or, you know, just don't read this. 😉

Theme of misdirected movies?? Just name the time and place and I am here with bells off! Glad Rex finally grasped the whole misdirected direction directing him to the full meaning of this delightful puzzle. OTOH, I'm pretty sure the necessary PPP that results will drive some down the wall.
Ugh. Enough with cute-ish reflections of the puzzle already.

As I'm sure many others here are, I was familiar with all the movies (they're pretty mainstream) except STEP up, which sounds like it might be age- or generation-related. I can live with that.

Seriously though, if your theme revolves around PPP, you might wanna cut back on it for the fill. It's a little abusive to the PPP-challenged, which if we're honest, is everyone at one time or another. There was a lot of it (Hey there, SHAKIRA, BIOPICS (as clued), TINA, DREVIL, BERT, ASS...wait...); however, I agree with Rex - the lone exception should have been ABBA ("do you hate joy?" LOL).

The few nits I had are small (gnat nits or nit gnats - depending on whether you want to be "decorative" about it. Not everyone considers nit gnats* "decor" [does anyone??], but who am I to judge?)

*Mrs. Sloth's term for knickknacks is "nit nats". Don't ask.

I digress.

Not a fan of the "fill-in-the-initialism-ERS" (DIYERS) thing, but I'm semi-resigned to the fact that they are here to stay. Boo.

Of course the lookie-loo is a given. Both PSYCHO and KINESIS could be clued separately, so why you gotta do me like that??

Then there's HANGUL, which elicited a "va fANGUL!" from me. (Not really - just wanted to say "va fANGUL!" And now I got to say it twice!) But I'm always happy to learn new things that I have no hope of remembering, so there's that.

Overall, this was a solving pleasure that flew by way too soon. I'll take it.


Unknown 2:25 PM  

I wish that the posts by Anonymous & TTrimble were a little shorter.
I might actually read them through to the bitter end.

Sometimes I wish the moderators would simply not post Anonymous's critiques, since they almost never have to do with the puzzle itself, but just criticizing what someone else (typically Z) has written.

Mostly I come here now just to see what racist/sexist/anti-Palestine answer was buried in the puzzle that I never noticed. Who knew Rowling was such an evil woman? I actually had heard she was pro-gay (something about Dumbledore?), but what do I know?

This blog has become less about the intricacies of a puzzle, and seemingly more about wokeness. And yes, Sharp reads the comments, don't kid yourself.

JD 2:32 PM  

@Albatross, I'm trying to find out where to stream Cheyenne. Rifleman is free on YouTube.

@Anon 1:39, You're quoting my lame attempt at humor, but I appreciate the info. I think about this kind of thing a lot (how did we get to this point). Re. Bohr and Rutherford ... the history of their early work is so beautifully covered for the liberal arts mind in The Making of the Atomic Bomb. High on my list of all-time favorite books.

bocamp 2:32 PM  

@TTrimble (1:31 PM) / TTrimble (1:42 PM) 👍 for 0

Good one! Mine would've been C(k)atydid; only if … LOL

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Health ~ Kindness to all 🕊

TTrimble 3:07 PM  

Last note to you, anon, then I'm done -- I have more important things to do.

Kepler did not perform what I called (you didn't quote my 8:30 post accurately) a "detailed working out of celestial mechanics" -- that's what people like Laplace did. At best he wrote down three laws which prescribe (approximately) how a planet in our solar system moves around the much more massive sun, taking a fixed heliocentric frame of reference -- and (this is crucial) ignoring how the motion of one planet might be perturbed by the presence other bodies, because he would have had no idea where even to begin with that. (Why are you writing "uncontroverted Father", with a capital F? That makes it look like some sort of weird article of faith, something that must not be questioned.)

In other words, celestial mechanics is *much* more than Kepler's laws. He gave us a piece of the puzzle, but it was left to Newton's huge insight and the subsequent elaborations of others to do things like explain better where to point the telescope when a planet's motion didn't do what Kepler would have predicted.

Sure, William Minor fatally shot a man, but he was found (Wikipedia) "not guilty by reason of insanity"; ergo, that murder was considered an act resulting from madness. Wikipedia again: "Affected by paranoid delusions, he was committed to a London psychiatric hospital from 1872 to 1910 after he shot a man whom he believed to have broken into his room."

I'm glad you say you're happy, but you do act as if you're angry, endlessly picking fights as you do, without provocation. I'm not the only one here who finds this strange, and sad. (@Z mentioned that wonderful German loanword yesterday, fremdschämen.)

And why this weird obsession with my doctoral degree? Anyway, as I said before, I'll leave this to you to figure out for yourself. But it's not that hard, actually.

Anyway, bye for now. Enjoy the beautiful day.

Anonymous 3:11 PM  


(the same mouse)

He who laughs last didn't get it. :(

Frantic Sloth 3:22 PM  

@Barbara S 747am 🤣 Now I'll always see STYMIE as the Jonah on my ship of fools - thanks for that!

@pabloinnh 828am Why don't constructors listen to us about where to put the dang revealer??? But you might be onto something with the whole misdirection thing. Hmmmm.....

@JD 1056am LOL! I'm baaaack.

@Albie 1139am Yesterday never happened. That is all. 😉

I'm with others on the unfairness of crossing of 2 rappers, an actor, a movie, and crosswordese (TEC) all in the same vicinity. Just ridiculous, but oddly enough, it didn't seem to slow me down. 🤷‍♀️

Anonymous 3:28 PM  

@Unknown 2:25 Agreed. I would also offer that it starts from the top. Rex (more often than not) includes some (occasionally bizarre) woke sentiments in his daily commentary, which certainly influences the tone/content of the commentary (witness the Rowlings flap). I'm sure many of us would prefer to do without it. However, there also appears to be a significant group of commenters here as well who have pretty heavy daily woke quotas to fill in order to keep their cred intact with their like-minded peeps.

The Official Score Keeper 3:35 PM  

and the match goes to Trimble is straight sets!

Anonymous 3:39 PM  

Funny! We only ever called it Lit Crit.

JOHN X 3:50 PM  

The AMTRAK California Zephyr was in the puzzle! This is one of the best train rides in North America, traveling west from Denver Colorado to Emeryville (Oakland) California.

The best time to ride the Zephyr is on a weekend in the spring during the snowmelt. The train climbs up out of Denver, then rides a single track carved into the side of a gorge that is the headwaters of the Colorado River from Moffat Tunnel to Grand Junction. Only one train can pass this route at a time; many long freight trains and the two daily Zephyrs (eastbound and westbound). There are hundreds of rafters in the rapids of the Colorado at this time, and they all moon the Zephyr as it passes. Hundreds and hundreds of butt cheeks await you and all the German tourists who will inevitably be in the observation car with you.

If you ride the Zephyr from Denver to Emeryville it is a two day ride and getting a small sleeper car roomette is the best. Go on the AMTRAK website and keep checking the prices because they fluctuate as rapidly as Bitcoin. You can get a great price if you work it, and dining car meals are included. When you get to Oakland go to Heinhold's Last Chance Saloon in Jack London Square and try not to set it on fire.

For all you Clint Walker fans, here's his greatest movie.

Here's a picture of JOHN X at Dulles Airport, taken just last month.

Anonymous 3:55 PM  


What, exactly, is wrong with being Woke? I mean other than being anti-White Supremacist? I mean you've got OANN, Fox, Newsmax, The Orange Sh!tgibbon's (not my coinage, but I cleave) failed 'blog', MTG, Boebert, and a panoply of other crazies. What more do you want? Dictatorship of the proletariat?

Theo 3:56 PM  

@anon 3:28 you sound ridiculous hollering "woke" 20 times a day. It's not an insult. What does it mean? The opposite is asleep. I see you prefer to go to sleep and wake up back in the time of Jim Crow, or slavery was legal or when interracial marriage was outlawed and women couldn't vote. You know, the good old days, when America was great.
You act like "woke" is an insult. It's not if it means you believe all people should be treated with dignity and respect.
If that's my daily "woke"quota reminding you that you are not the superior race, than so be it. Get over it.

albatross shell 4:02 PM  

If anyone is posting proof I am woke comments I feel the same about their comments as I do about the comments by people who might be posting proof I am asleep comments.

bocamp 4:07 PM  

@okanaganer (2:07 PM) 👍 for your -1 yd

I see the 'irony'. I was also -1 due to a gimme I missed near the other end of the list (one that I have in my study list).) :(

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Health ~ Kindness to all 🕊

JD 4:08 PM  

@Frantic, Relief. I was thinking I might have to fly to NY and beg.

@Anon 3:11, You're not the first. But I got got a fresh perspective on my thoughts so thanks!

@JohnX, You're shorter than I expected.

Z 4:14 PM  

@TTrimble - I love you, man. You can keep them.

@mathgent - not only did we recently have Lit CRIT but I’m pretty sure when we did OFL went on an extended rant about how he has never heard of it before. Me, I remember that kind of crap and still take at least twice as long as him to solve the puzzle. grrr.

@George - I think in the three examples you cite it can be argued that they are stand alone words, now. I do think that on a Monday or Tuesday these might have gotten some sort of hint that the answers would be shortened. TEC does get an old-timey slang clue for an old-timey slang answer.

@TJS - Criticize Rap all you want. But if we want to do it and not sound racist we should not apply standards that we don’t apply elsewhere. Hence my Shakespeare example. Rap isn’t my favorite, but watch a Clint Eastwood movie (how about our hero being a heroic rapist to prove his manliness), or some Beatles tunes, or my god, the early James Bond movies (our hero converts the lesbian Pussy Galore and saves the gold through the power of his penis), opera, the Odyssey (our hero has all the maids slaughtered because they slept with/were raped by Penelope’s suitors - no misogyny or violence there). As far as I can see most rap criticism is just pearl clutching. Megan THEE Stallion had the audacity to put out a song proclaiming she loves sex. Egad! My Stars! No white man would pen an ode to sex. Well, except for good old Bill who wrote a play about a couple of 14 year olds so hot and bothered despite (because of) being from families that were blood enemies they go to extreme ends to consummate their lust… uh love. /rant
As for It is not as common as Oreo/One/Tern, but it so much less of a thing anymore that its relative infrequency does not diminish its esey purity. That’s one auto-corrupt (Ono not One) and I use “esey” a lot to describe worded that are crosswordese like. So TEC to me is the purist of crosswordese, defensible in the most trivial and arcane way, never used anywhere anymore but crosswords, but still fairly common in crosswords and only crosswords. I mean, even Asta makes an appearance on TCM periodically, so isn’t as pure as TEC.

Barbara S. 4:27 PM  


Your Self-Portrait:

🎵 Here come old flat top
He come groovin' up slowly...🎵

Anonymous 4:32 PM  


The rap against rap, so far as I'm concerned, is simply that it's the most egregious example of the dumbing-down of music since Brahms, to pick an arbitrary target.

Up to that time, music strived to be ever more inventive, which is to say complex, within the bounds of a tonal scale. Writing symphony took knowledge, talent, and imagination. What passes for music since has devolved into ever more base simplicity, claiming to be modern. Hell, until the early 70s, much of jazz was as challenging as Bach. Do you really think that 'Abbey Road' could be written and produced by any rapper of today?

The devolution of intelligence in any venue of human endeavor, in favor of the base and the crass, isn't progress. Why do you think the anti-intelligence of The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) is so dear to the hearts of the uneducated white under-class? It offers a simple answer to a complicated problem, which is why is there an uneducated white under-class? The answer offered, oddly enough, is simplicity itself: it's all the fault of Black folk as exemplified by Rap. The truth, of course, is that the white under-class in places such as Appalachian Hollers keep electing white (local) oligarchs who want to keep them poor, uneducated, unhealthy, and blaming Black Rappers for their troubled lives. There's no cure for stupid.

Anoa Bob 5:29 PM  

Didn't have a chance with this one. It was like a game of Trivial Pursuit in a category I would never pick.

Lived in South Korea for six months back in the 80s so knew HANGUL, the name of the alphabet, not the alphabet itself. That remained a mystery to me.

I used to live on a street named ACACIA Lake Drive. I always thought that ACACIA referred to a large group of tress and shrubs rather than to a single tree. We had mesquite (mez KEET) and huisache (wee SAH chay) trees in our yard and I think both belong to the ACACIA family.

I join those who are big Simon Winchester fans. I think he could write a book on green paint drying and make it a page turner!

Piano Phil 5:45 PM  

Didn’t enjoy this one one bit. A rare DNF for me. Not up on my movie titles, remote island people, or photographers, so the NW was I total bust. I managed to guess the rest, but it was so much work for so little reward, that I finally threw in the towel. No fun at all. Tomorrow’s another day.

Son Volt 7:01 PM  

@ anon 4:32p - upon reading your post I agree with your ultimate statement.

Pete 7:03 PM  

@TTrimble - I'm figuring in another couple of weeks, the @anon will finally circle around to taking exception to something he wrote earlier (actually, not wrote, as most of his arguments arise from a misreading of prior posts), and just get into an argument with himself, leaving the rest of us alone. Just hang in there 'til then.

Anonymous 7:26 PM  

@Z & sock puppets- LOL

Z 8:33 PM  

@Anon4:32 - Devolution you say?

Anonymous 9:05 PM  

Isn't all commercial music dumbed down compared to the great classical works of the past? Music is more accessible nowadays and mainstream music is created to appeal to the average consumer. Complex contemporary music does exist and is readily available for those who are looking; it is just not as profitable as an attractive vocalist, simple catchy beat, and a flashy music video. I understand and agree with your point about how rap music is perceived, however. My personal conclusion from analyzing well written rap lyrics is that creativity and intelligence are both required.

CuppaJoe 10:24 PM  

The one bright spot in this tedious obscure trivia was the Steinbeck title which brought back fond memories of the directions to a relative’s house in Skokie, “take a left at the East of Edens Bowling Alley”.

Laura 10:39 PM  

Rex enjoyed this puzzle more on reflection. And went on to write a column which made me enjoy it more. Getting back to why I used to read every day. Thanks.

Nutella Nutterson 10:40 PM  

I had cryptozoology and I'm salty about the cluing. Because psycho or telekinesis is one specific "skill" where cryptozoology is an entire field of pseudoscience.

NASA Scientist 12:01 AM  

@anon 9:34

In my work environment I am frequently referred to as Doctor, so either NASA is not reputable or your last statement is risible.

albatross shell 1:27 AM  

Yes Dr. Kissinger. I agree with you. One of those truly rare times. Anonymous is wrong. Besides that he's rude and whiny. But he is no more or less wrong because he is rude and whiny. So all my statements are based on the facts at hand. Why Mr. Einstein you agree too? And its not even relative?

thefogman 10:46 AM  

Foiled by one little square. Had DrYERS-RAPANUr. Knew something was off but just could not detect D.I.Y. in noun form with the ers ending. Crossing with 2D was no help - pick a letter. A good puzzle - but that crossing was a bit unfair IMO.

spacecraft 10:50 AM  

Yeah, where IS @Masked and Anonymous? I miss his colloquial style and his obligatory U-count (a very thumbs-up 8, today).

What I do not miss is crossing rappers. Okay, this one I inferred correctly, but yikes! Gotta stop that. Also the TEA/NEIL cross. Gossip is supposed to be TEA now? Really? Gee, if you gossip about someone you envy, would that be--wait for it--GREEN TEA??

I was fine with the movies till I got to 57 across, but that too was perfectly inferable via the established theme. New word learned: HANGUL. Fair crosses, so no problem. ABBA as a rhyme scheme: very Wednesdayish. Getting a little tired of BCCS, but if that's the worst, we have a winner. TINA Fey graces the DOD stage with another curtain call. Birdie.

P.S. Come on back, @M&A! We're all masked now. (Latest local decree: all workers in businesses where 250+ people gather, this in response to alarming increases in delta variant cases) Everybody: GET VAXXED!!!

Burma Shave 1:12 PM  


NEIL, I ERUPT when we have SEX,
DEERE, I love YER ASS immensely,
IT's ONE STEP up from the APEX,


Anonymous 1:47 PM  

A mix of easy, tricky. and pissers. Too heavy on the last, so rejected.

Diana, LIW 4:33 PM  

After noting what the theme was going to be, WESTOFEDEN was a great help. Agree with @Spacey on all the unknowns, but got them with the crosses and inferencing.

Diana, LIW

leftcoaster 5:17 PM  

Best of the day: PSYCHOKINESIS

Toughest: RAPANUI and HANGUL

(Not to speak of the surfeit of PPPs)

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