Model Miranda / THU 6-10-21 / Biological cavity / Most expensive spice in the world by weight / Professor Moriarty's first name / Legendary queen once depicted on Tunisian currency

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Constructor: Sheldon Polonsky

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: A to O — familiar phrases have long 'A' sound changed to long 'O' sound, with wacky results:

Theme answers:
  • RENAISSANCE FOUR (17A: Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael?) (from Renaissance fair(e))
  • MUSICAL CHORES (25A: Polishing the chandelier in "Phantom of the Opera" and laundering uniforms in "Hamilton"?) (from "musical chairs")
  • NO TIME TO SPORE (44A: Result of a poorly planned invasion of the Body Snatchers?) (from "no time to spare")
  • THE BAD NEWS BORES (58A: "I'm tired of all this negative media coverage"?) (from "The Bad News Bears")

Word of the Day:
ANDY Richter (64A: Comedian Richter) —
Paul Andrew Richter (born October 28, 1966) is an American actor, comedian, writer, and late night talk show announcer. He appears as the sidekick for Conan O'Brien on each of the host's programs: Late NightThe Tonight Show on NBC, and Conan on TBS. He voiced Mort in the Madagascar film franchise and Ben Higgenbottom in the Nickelodeon animated television series The Mighty B!. [...] Since June 2019, Richter has his own podcast on the Earwolf network. [...] Richter currently holds the record for all-time highest one-day score on Celebrity Jeopardy!, winning $68,000 during a first round game of the 2009–10 season's "Jeopardy! Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational". His earnings were donated to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. (wikipedia)
• • •

After totally failing to understand what RENAISSANCE FOUR was trying to do, I eventually hacked through MUSICAL CHORES and then literally, disappointedly exclaimed "it's just a sound-change puzzle!?" And it is. That's what it is. It's way too simple a concept for a Thursday, and worse, the wackiness just doesn't land. None of this is funny. The closest to funny is NO TIME TO SPORE, but only because it's so bizarre, not because it's particularly great. It's at least trying, is what I'm saying, where the others are just "hello, we are reporting for duty and following the theme to the letter, sir." This should've run yesterday, with somewhat easier clues, if it was going to run at all. On a more technical level, changing the part of speech of the wacky word in the last themer is really awkward. Luckily I didn't really read the clue—just waited for some kind of "bears"-related phrase to become visible, but making BORES a verb results in a clunky spoken phrase that is both implausible and banal, and it's especially incomprehensible considering none of the other wacky words have their parts of speech changed (n, n, v, respectively). BORES can be a noun, clue it as a noun. It's not going to improve the overall enjoyability of the puzzle much, but at least it's one less rough spot. 

Next, we need to talk about the NE corner, specifically this truly terrible crossing:
[Model Miranda]? No. I know the puzzle wants me to know ~two thousand model names, but there's a limit, apparently, and I have reached it. But *that* is not the problem. Maybe she's famous and I don't know her, fine. But (as I've said a million times): crosses crosses crosses. With proper nouns of non-universal fame, you have to watch the crosses, particularly the vowels! So ALLE is a very bad choice here (16A: Everybody: Ger.). In the end, I figured since ALLA was definitely Italian, it *probably* wasn't also the answer here in German, but KARR is definitely a real last name (ask Mary). And since ALLA is a real word from another European language, this whole set-up is just unnecessarily precarious. And for what? It's not like ALLE is good fill. It's lowest-quintile stuff, for sure. Just redo the whole corner. Betcha I can do it in a minute or so. Bet you can too. I did this in roughly zero seconds:
Which means there must be a ton of ways to fill this corner better than it's currently filled. Even if you think my REDO is a lateral move where quality is concerned (you're wrong, but entitled to your opinion), still, there's now a much more famous proper noun there, and no foreign word in the vowel crossing, so much less possibility for confusion. Now that I think about it, the BARR cluing possibilities are all kind of repulsive to me, so I would probably go with Johnny MARR of The Smiths, who maybe you know and maybe you don't, but, again: Fair Crosses! 

Had STILTS before SNIPES (5D: Marsh birds) and SCANTY before SPARSE (42D: Meager), the latter of which definitely cost me, time-wise (made it look like that third themer was going to end in SCORE, which had me looking for phrases that ended in "scare"...). I remembered Port-SALUT cheese today after absolutely not knowing it at all in some earlier puzzle (last year? last decade? what is time?) (34A: Port-___ (French cheese)). The puzzle did give me three four-letter answers I like quite a lot to finish things off: ANDY Richter, DIDO, and PHIL Hartman. So I was grateful that things ended on a high note. But mostly this was a misplaced and pedestrian theme, with insufficient wackiness and a really bad cross in one corner. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Conrad 6:30 AM  

I hate rebuses and I hate trick puzzles, so I generally hate Thursday puzzles. Today's puzzle had no rebuses, no tricks (aside from wacky cluing and a sound change) and still I didn't like it. Sheesh! There's just no pleasing some people!

Joey 6:44 AM  

Counterpoint: The theme and its clues were fun and good. "Insufficient wackiness." Rex never fails to surprise me.

Paul 6:52 AM  

Too many gratuitously easy clues, e.g., 1A, for a Thursday.

Lewis 7:00 AM  

After getting one theme answer, the other three became riddles to get with as few crosses as possible – and that was fun for me. The scent and taste of SAFFRON sates every cell of mine with ethereal joy, and just seeing the word gets me halfway there. ESCHER is one of my paradigms of brilliance and his name triggers in my head a parade of images he has made, and triggers awe.

I was inspired by Sheldon’s notes, where he described his persistence and crossword excitement, and, knowing what it feels like to debut a NYT puzzle, I was pumped as I relived what he must be feeling today.

So, all in all, this puzzle was a Good News Bears experience for me. Thank you, Sheldon, and congratulations!

OffTheGrid 7:10 AM  

Ditto @Rex.

pabloinnh 7:15 AM  

This is the kind of day where I filled in MUSICALCHORES and didn't even think about the sound change, which finally registered at THEBADNEWSBORES. Maybe I should be fully awake before attempting these things.

Today I learned Prof. Moriarity's first name. I had been wondering about that for a long time.

I think OFL is more than a little over the top on ALLE. I'm no German speaker, but I have certainly heard Deutschland Uber ALLEs and sung Stille Nacht--ALLEs schlaft.. . Also, the English word "all" seems remarkably similar.

I think to be totally accurate, 17A should have been REHAISSANCEFOURE, but that may be a bridge too far.

OK for a Thursday but I missed my trickery. Congrats on the debut, SP, bet you're Super Proud.

thfenn 7:23 AM  

Bit of a slog for me. Failing to get the gratuitously easy 1A I had egrets, herons, irises, and stilts before SNIPES, as well as slight and stingy before SPARSE, not to mention Hertz before ALAMO. But what really held me up was convincing myself the first "themer" had something to do with Tennage Mutant Ninja Turtles and trying all sorts of stuff to make that work. Just a mess. Oddly enough, no trouble in the NE. I got this one done, and that makes it fun. Not much else to say.

Frantic Sloth 7:25 AM  

@JD from yesterday Re: the exit strategy not taken. As a hug-phobic friend of mine once said "this COVID thing is a Godsend!"

Thoughts on today's puzzle:

So, as far as I can tell, the theme today is aural - "air" sound to "or" sound. I liked it despite not knowing why these particular sounds or whether there is more to grok. I always miss something, so...

And I'm so happy that "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" didn't fit in 17A. I know I keep bringing up Hannah Gadsby, but she does a really funny bit on the names of the TMNT and how Donatello doesn't belong with the Renaissance artists and why he's there in spite of that fact.

TANTAMOUNT is one of my favorite words. There. I said it.

60D ODE (to Billie Joe) makes me wish this puzzle ran a week ago (Hi, @J-Dip!).

Had fun with this one - another debut! Congratulations and well done, Mr. Polonsky! I look forward to more from you.


Charles Flaster 7:28 AM  

Liked it much more than Rex.
Thought JET was creative.
Had XXX as ten and chis but changed them early on.
Thanks SP

Lewis 7:29 AM  

[I eat my apples whole]

kitshef 7:39 AM  

Apparently, we are in no-revealer week. I like it. Seems like the revealer just places more stress on the fill, so without the we are getting better puzzles overall.

KERR/ALLE cross was a bit scary and my last letter in.

I think this would have been about perfect on a Wednesday, and enjoyed all the themers.

Anybody remember ANDY Richter Controls the Universe? It was on for about ten seconds in the Fox Sunday lineup in the early aughts. I loved it … not sure why it didn’t last.

Hungry Mother 7:40 AM  

My KART was a cART for a while; otherwise, pretty easy solve today. It was fun to find the punny themers. Too many names as usual.

Hanne 7:41 AM  

I was so stuck at the end: I had SCARCE instead of SPARSE which didn’t didn’t seem right but I just couldn’t think of a better synonym. ANTRUM was completely unknown to me.

thfenn 7:45 AM  

Lol, @frantic sloth, err, thanks. Forgot to add that many of the joys of puzzle solving for me are the dives I take into stuff the puzzles spark an interest in. Today I read up on Queen Dido. Great story. She fled a kingdom run by her murderous brother, conned a berber king out of some land, set up a city, loved and got spurned by Aeneas, and then killed herself on a burning pyre rather than marry the Berber king. Didn't know any of that. And now my day is better for it. Lol, turns out I did have more to say...

Irene 7:50 AM  

Anyone else think the proper-name OK has gone too far? Either it's a gimmee, you have to do a frantic work-around, or you wind up with the kind of ambiguity Rex found with Kerr/Karr. Brand names, rappers, never-really-famous TV actors: enough!

Son Volt 7:59 AM  

Agree that the theme was a little light for a Thursday. That said - I thought it was a decent puzzle with solid fill for the most part. Liked NO TIME TO SPORE best. TANTAMOUNT is wonderful as is SAFFRON and SPARSE.

Thanks to Bugs for PISMO Beach. Side eye to STDS.

Not a typical Thursday but still an enjoyable solve.

SouthsideJohnny 8:04 AM  

I’m with Rex - the theme answers all felt kind of flat - no “je ne sais quoi” there, just some uninteresting phrases that sort of laid there and took up space.

Personally, I had no chance with OSIRIS crossing PISMO and SALUT - so for me it felt like I was swimming upstream against a Saturday-level flow of esoterica. It may be a wheelhouse thing, but that just seems like a brutal trifecta.

I definitely got a chuckle out of “Professor Moriarty” since, as usual, I had no clue - started thinking maybe a TV show ? GoT, Hobbits, the Hogwarts guy, some superheroes sidekick ? I did google the dude and got a reference to Sherlock Homes so we’ll leave him at that.

I always thought Saffron was an herb, lol. Is dried basil a spice as well ?

Old White Privileged Dude 8:12 AM  

Crop. Just a streaming pile of crop.

Richard Stanford 8:13 AM  

Took me until just now to get TAC’s meaning. I really wanted TEN or even ATEN to be one of them.

bocamp 8:14 AM  

Thx Sheldon for an entertaining Thurs. puz! :)

Med+ solve.

Got a foothold with RENO, ADAM & PISMO.

Slow, but steady. Needed lots of crosses, and fair they were.

Didn't see the theme until post-solve analysis.

As Time Goes By ~ Dooley Wilson

You must remember this
A KISS is still a kiss
A sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by

And when two lovers woo
They still say, I love you
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings
As time goes by

yd pg -1

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Frantic Sloth 8:19 AM  

Forgot to talk about SNIPE.*

Does it bother anyone else that it's a bird and a "non-existent" animal? Which came first - the discovery and naming of the bird or the "snipe hunt" practical joke (which started around the 1840s, according to Wiki)? Whenever I run across one, it always makes me question the reality if the other leading to an all-too-lengthy circular mind-boggle which used to addle me to distraction, but now I just give up with a sotto voce "oh, you again"[eye roll] until our next meeting. Now, there's a few seconds you'll never get back.

*But, really - is that such a bad thing? Don't answer that.

Unknown 8:28 AM  

The ALLE/KERR cross didn't bother me a whole lot as Uber Alles was lodged in my mind. The PHIL/DIDO cross was a little more esoteric. The only DIDO I knew was the singer/songwriter.
KISS and TAC were clever.
If I had one complaint, it was that it felt like there were a lot of proper names, but the long crosses put a lot of constraints on the constructor, so that's the tradeoff.
Re: rex's re-doing of the NE corner, sure, the constructor could have thrown in Bill BARR, but then we would all have to suffer through rex's political rant as to why certain folks should never appear in a puz!

Nancy 8:37 AM  

Well, first of all, I really don't get the Twyla Tharpe ART quote. I mean I guessed it, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Second, I have no idea what an ANTRUM is. Worse, I really, really wanted EN gARdE at 50D and never thought of EN MASSE.

Third, I have no idea how NOTICE TO SPORE relates to the Body Snatchers. Worse, NOTICE TO SPARE doesn't exactly roll trippingly off my tongue either.

Add in KERR, ANDY, JAMES, CAYA and PHIL -- and I am not a happy camper.

But although I found the theme both odd and arbitrary, I did very much like how MUSICAL CHORES was clued. And that's pretty much the beginning and end of what I liked.

Nancy 8:48 AM  

Amen, @Irene (7:50)!

Keith D 8:49 AM  

60D - still wondering what they threw off the Tallahatchie bridge...

Frantic Sloth 9:00 AM  

Previous post typo:
Should be "...question the reality of the other..."
Always, always type the i/o switch on this stupid iPad. At least it wasn't "mond-biggle", but autocorrect had that well in its obnoxious hand.

@thfenn Ha! Great minds and all that. πŸ˜„

Like others, also had no trouble with ALLE/KERR because of ΓΌber alles. And I'm an idiot. Poor Rex.

Rube 9:06 AM  

Rex is right on today.
Whatever you might currently think about ANDY Richter, MAYA Rudolph and PHIL Hartman, they were key cogs in some of the worst SNL seasons of all time. How about instead we use Griffith, Angelou, and Silvers

Rube 9:08 AM  

Although if you think Deutschland Uber Alles, the cross isn't all that bad.

ShΓ© di Felina 9:08 AM  

Meh. My fastest Thursday solve to date but I didn't much like the theme - the clues felt like harder work than the payoff and I agree that THE BAD NEWS BORES is a clunky phrase, which made it feel shoehorned. I liked the XXX clues as I was barking up the Roman numerals tree for a long time so it felt like a genuine aha when I figured them out. Lost a lot of time to 'meagre' - I think I went through four wrong answers before getting there, and similarly wanted ROUTE and VOGUE before I got to MASSE. Hated NONREADERS for possibly unreasonable reasons (is this a thing people actually say?)

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

F. Sloth,
The bird name came well before the eponymously name practical joke.
In fact the word sniper comes from late 1770's in India, where nunting snipe was common.
Our snipe--called a Wilson's snipe-- is actually a very cool bird. It has lots of terrific qualities but one of them is the placement of it's peepers. Its eyes are set so far back in the head, snipe can almost see as well beind them as they can in front of them. As you can imagine, it's a pretty good adaptation to avoid predation.
As a birder, I don't have it im em to hunt them. But they are quite challenging to knock down given their fast flush and erratic flight. early this morning,
Well, you'd be wrong on both guesses. and the irony drips from your post. You sir made an unfounded accusation against me, while ignoring my argument. ( you do see the irony of the ad hominem at work, right?) in any event, we can both agree that the reason you dint address my argument is that you couldn't. It is irrefutable given that I quoted Rex directly.

Z 9:14 AM  

My biggest problem with this puzzle is it’s placement. I think it could have appeared on a Tuesday unchanged, certainly on a Wednesday. I’m fine with sound change puzzles generally, although this one falls into my usual NYTX complaint about the NYTX being far too tepid where wacky is concerned. A good pun needs to be so bad it induces a groan, or so barbed it induces an “ouch.” These clues induce a shruggy “oh, I see.” BAD NEWS BORES especially seems ripe for an edgy, scream-fest-inducing clue. I’d go with a Fox clue, personally, but I’m sure just about everybody could come up with their own edgy clue.

Sorry, @pabloinnh, but I think Rex was on the money at KERR/ALLE. Even if it were, say Deborah KERR (certainly more famous to people of a certain age) instead of Miranda KERR, that E has to be crossed more fairly than with a foreign word seen rarely in English texts. I went with the E purely because of my time listening to The Dead Kennedys, but my nose was wrinkled as I put the E in.

I did have to fix lIDO to DIDO. For what ever reason I always think DIDO is a beach. It must be her reputation.

@Keith D late yesterday - Fair enough. But you are pulling the sentence out of context. The whole section is a criticism on how we respond to the super-wealthy as much as it is about that particular wealthy guy. Even in that sentence “repulsive” can be seen as a call-back reference to the tax-rate comment as much as a direct adjective referencing the person. Still, I have little doubt that Rex finds the guy repulsive, too. Your calling that guy visionary in your first post… well, no. The guy isn’t visionary, he is well read in golden age science fiction. Too bad he only read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and not Sirens of Titan. If you want actual vision, try supporting The Planetary Society.

BTW - @jae emailed me a pdf of the Sunday Boston Globe puzzle, a BEQ, saying it’s exceptional, not easy, and not readily available. If you’re curious email me and I can forward it to you. If you really enjoy it consider doing a Boston Globe subscription.

Wilson 9:14 AM  

@Frantic Sloth - As a vertebrate (a smelly tree-dwelling mammal, but still), you should give more respect to your avian cousins

mathgent 9:16 AM  

I liked it a lot, especially MUSICALCHORES, both the clue snd the entry.

One of my father's jobs growing up in Spain was harvesting the strands of SAFFRON from the crocus flowers which grew on the grounds of the family posada. It would go into the rice which his mother would prepare often for the family and their guests.

I hope one day to experience what Lewis does when having SAFFRON. Every cell of mine sated with ethereal joy.

Walter 9:18 AM  

Donny was a good bowler, and a good man. He was one of us. He was a man who loved the outdoors... and bowling, and as a surfer he explored the beaches of Southern California, from La Jolla to Leo Carrillo and up to PISMO.

Elmer Fudd 9:18 AM  

Should have dropped some of the whining and posted the Billie Joe song.

pmdm 9:21 AM  

Yes, today's puzzle seemed a bit easier than most Thursdays. Jeff Chen suggests that many complain to Shortz whatever way he goes (yes, Jeff is still on speaking terms with Shortz). My typical impression of a puzzle by a new constructor is that the constructer is trying to cram a lot of stuff into the puzzle for the enjoyment of the constructor, not the solver. Not today. So I hope Mr. Polonsky hones his skills as a constructor. This is a debut submission that whets my appetite for more.

Just a side note. One can be clever without being humorous. Sound changes can be clever without being humorous, and that is perfectly OK with me. That just makes the humor more enjoyable when it appears. (Is that a bit of illogical justification?)

KenInBoston 9:22 AM  

Nancy, it was NOTIMETOSPARE -> "no time to spore" ie "no time" not "notice", which does relate to Body Snatchers (in the movie).

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

Musk is a visionary. The stuff he's doing with SpaceX is practically out of science fiction. it's incredible. Mind-blowingly sophisticated stuff. The NASA boys ( and girls) are green with envy. No one disputes that what he's done with SpaceX is just shy of miraculous. A private company-his private company--sent supplies to international Space station. Had anyone suggested that was possible 40 years ago, they'd have been committed to an insane asylum.
As for the call back to repulsiveness... Um, no that why he has the long-hyphenated adjective after repulsive. It's precisely an attacks on Musk. Nothing whatsoever in the sentence Keith or I noted has anything remotely to do wiyh tax rates., Just Rex pissing on another human.

jberg 9:36 AM  

I’ve never seen “Body Snatchers,” so that one was tough. Are the snatchers some kind of mushroom?

I was pretty sure they weren’t turtles, but RENAISSANCE men was too short, and artists was too long. Aha, methought, there’s a rebus there someplace, and went after the crosses, and saw FOUR emerge. Kinda bland. Then I got MUSICAL CHORES, and a minute or two later the scales fell from my eyes. Ok.

@Nancy, I don’t know that Rudolph person either, and have no idea who was on SNL when, but I think it’s NO TIME TO SPORE.

@Rex, how about “Anchors who make lurid crimes uninteresting?”

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

I liked it. SNIPE/PISMO crossing almost got me, I guessed. I like Andy Richer alot, but is he a comedian? I think of him as a comedic actor/ Conan OB Sidekick.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

right. that Nazi meme from 80 years ago. and, some say, today too. just ask any other country in the EU. but no rebus, so OK by me.

can never remember the middle of RENAISSANCE (is it SS or CS or SC or...). it does help to phone it as the Brits do: ren-eh-sans to get the AI right.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  


Musk is no visionary, just a huckster. none of his stuff pushes the boundaries of either physics or engineering.

who do you think built the previous rockets? not NASA, it was all contractors. none saw the point of wasting lift by carrying excess fuel. the 'landing' of the spent rocket is a simple case of aerodynamics; gimbaling happens during launch and happens pretty much in reverse at landing. any competent engineer can do it. that cpu is now so small and therefore provides sufficient computation to control the gimbals is the main reason it is now doable. wasn't before. (Musk didn't invent the 10nm cpu.) just like landing on Mars. getting humans into space pushed by solids was a much bigger deal. THAT was never done before; too dangerous. almost worked flawlessly. except those contractors insisted on firing in freezing conditions.
"Thiokol management disregarded its own engineers' warnings and now recommended that the launch proceed as scheduled; NASA did not ask why. Ebeling told his wife that night that Challenger would blow up." the wiki

JD 9:58 AM  

@Frantic, About yesterday. Yah, hate to admit it.

Walked through this puzzle in the dark with a dim flashlight, calling out words and falling through trapdoors. Wackiness ensued, fun was had. What everyone said about every single possible misdirect, I fell for. But I was delighted by it and fun was had.

Two things though, and no fault of the constructor. What @Frantic said about Snipe … they're real? What's with the stupid made-up thing then! And the tuuuuurtles! Turtles all the way down, the insidious result of the octopus tentacles of pop culture. I see those names and it just has to be a misdirect. That is really not good.

However, did have fun @Son Volt, when Bugs Bunny popped his head out of a hole and said, "Pismo you maroon!" See? That's pop culture that elevated itself to classic Americana. Why isn't he in the Smithsonian?

Frantic Sloth 10:00 AM  

@Anonymous 913am Well, that's interesting and makes perfect sense. Thank you. Makes me wonder why "snipe hunt" is even a thing, but I'm sure I'm overthinking it.

@Z 914am It's understandable why you think DIDO is a beach what with you being her son and all. πŸ˜‰

@Wilson (Snipe, I presume) 914am I have the utmost respect for my avian cousins. We share a brain. πŸ˜„

@Walter 918am So true. Watch that ocean breeze, now.

GILL I. 10:09 AM this made me think of a joke. Why, you ask? Well, we have foreign influence here and I like that. We have some French SALUT cheese, some Spanish SAFFRON and a German ALLE. For English, I pick ONE BAG... So:
An English, a French, s Spanish, and a German person sat in the back of a club. The guy on stage asked if they can see him. They said:
"yes, oui si ja"
Feel free to get up and groan.
Did I like this? Well yes, I did. I have all the time in the world to SPORE. I learned about all the names I didn't know and I danced the fandango tango when I got DIDO without her L. What's not to like?
You can give me a sound-change puzzle anytime of the month. I ask...who doesn't like phonological change? We need our friend, Loren here.and we need a crossword dedicated to the great vowel shift.
En hora buena on your debut Sheldon....My cup runneth does my NUDE ANTRUM.

Nancy 10:10 AM  

Thank you, @Keninboston!!! Aha! NO TIME TO SPARE, not NOTIcE TO SPARE crossing MAYA, not CAYA. Exhibit A today of why I hate the inclusion of pop culture names so much. I won't burden you all with Exhibits B, C or D.

Should NO TIME TO SPORE have been clear? Not to someone who doesn't see movies like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers".

Maybe . . . 10:16 AM  

Re: 16A, ALLE. I took Latin and German in school. I did not take French or Spanish. Frankly, I think there're far more French and especially Spanish words than German in our American xword puzzles, and fair is fair. I'd be happy with all American English words, but c'est la vie.

Karl Grouch 10:21 AM  

This was a bit of an after the Lord's MARE's show

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

anon 9:58.
Hooey. The Falcon 1 is a completely original design. As for SpaceX's contributions, the American Society of Aeronautics and Astronautics thought he had done enough to advance the field they gave him their George Low Award.
the world could do with more of SpaceX's hucksterism.

JD 10:25 AM  

@Walter, It's what happened after you delivered the eulogy that slays me. πŸ˜‚

RooMonster 10:28 AM  

Hey All !
Apparently I'm a "don't need a Revealer" type person to grok a theme. πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ˜‹

Yes, I got the vowel-sound-change thingie. Hooray for me!

However, apparently I'm the only one who doesn't get RAG for its clue, "The Entertainer," e.g. What? Had tAG there, as in tag=nickname. Like Cedric the Entertainer. Sure, CAtAT isn't a thing, but RAG is out there, no?

Why turn AINT into PPP? Also asked myself for a brief second how much a TANT AMOUNT was. 😁 Aren't some LUGES 4 person? Asking for some Jamaican friends.

I thought it a fun theme. I also thought it not a ThursPuz. Would've been great for yesterday. Constructors don't get to place their puzs on the day, though. Still, nice debut Sheldon. I HAve NO IDEA what that feels like! Har. Oh, btw, that wasn't me late last night complaining about submitting the same themed puz, only to have it rejected. Although it did sound like me whining. 😁 Life's not worth living if one can't whine. Or eat OREOs.

Two F's

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

@Rube. Andy Richter was never an SNL cast member.

jae 10:48 AM  

Easy-medium. Me too for an educated guess on the ALLE/KERR cross. A mildly amusing theme. Liked it more than @Rex did, but I agree it’s more Wed. than Thurs. Nice debut.

BEE-ER 10:55 AM  

**Possible spoiler for Wednesday BEE**

Anyone out there familiar with affiance(ing)?

Maybe . . . 11:03 AM  

"The Entertainer" is a famous Ragtime tune by Scott Joplin. You can hear it on UTube.

Peter P 11:04 AM  

@Southside Johnny (8:04) : "I always thought Saffron was an herb, lol. Is dried basil a spice as well ?"

Well, I admit there's some fuzziness in the definitions here where many things we can cook with can be fairly called both "herbs" and "spices" by their dictionary definitions. Culinarily, I generally refer to herbs as the leafy parts of plants used for seasoning/spicing, and spices as any other part (like the bark, the flower, fruit -- like in peppercorns -- etc.) I found a quote from the United States Arboretum which agrees: "Herbs, in the culinary sense, are leaves of plants that can be used either fresh or dried to season food."

So your dried basil would definitely be an herb under this definition, and the saffron a spice. Some plants can be both a spice and an herb. For example, the coriander plant gives us both an herb: cilantro (US)/coriander (UK) and a spice: coriander seeds. (And you can also use the roots.)

So when you're talking about food, that's how it's used. When you're talking with botanists, "herb" has a more technical meaning, much like the whole "Is tomato a fruit?" discussion. (Botanically, yes. As are cucumbers, squashes, peppers, beans, peas, etc. Why is the tomato always singled out for this?)

Carola 11:07 AM  

I liked the offset stacks of TANTAMOUNT + TIE A BOW and SAFFRON + RUBBER TREE but was disappointed in the theme (too easy; second sound-change puzzle in a row; non-parallel construction, one -OUR, two ORES, and one ORE - it would have been nice to see them either all the same or all different, maybe with out-of-control swine (BAD NEWS BOAR) or a va-va-voom dress style [FIT-AND-FLOOR).

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

"That Rudolph person" is not only a gifted comedienne and actress, she also appeared in several TV ads for Seventh Generation cleaners and is the daughter of the singer Minnie Ripperton. Her first name is Maya.

Mikey from El Prado 11:16 AM  

I’m with pabloinnm…. ALLE is a common German word and no worse than, say, Spanish word for everybody, todos or todas. In fact with the Romance languages, feminine and masculine spellings come into play. So, once again we have OFL claiming foul on a fairly common knowledge word because of HIS unfamiliarity.

Anonymous 11:17 AM  


go read the wiki, or any other Lamestream source of your choice, and quote any part which reveals that Falcon 1 did anything materially different from any other LOX/RP1 rocket that came before. bet you can't.

you can start here:

"The first stage was originally planned to return by parachute to a water landing and be recovered for reuse, but this capability was never demonstrated.[21][22] The second stage was not designed to be reusable."

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Instead of KART/KISS, I had MART/MISS, assuming GO MART was a convenience store chain I hadn't heard of and MISS referred to an incorrect answer or a swing and a miss in baseball. Other than that, no real problems, but agree that it didn't feel right for a Thursday.

TJS 11:22 AM  

Wait ! @Southside using "je ne sais quoi" !!! Ooh la la.

Joe Dipinto 11:24 AM  

@jberg – the "body snatchers" are pods that look like giant sugar snap peas. They show up out of the blue and if you fall asleep near one a creature that looks just like you hatches out of it, taking over your existence, and the original you dies. The hatched replicas have no individual traits or personalities. It's an allegory about giving in to conformity. The original 1956 version and the 1978 remake are both good.

Frantic Sloth 11:25 AM  

@Roo 1028am Think "Ragtime" and Scott Joplin and maybe the movie The Sting.
Also, bobsleds are the ones with 2 or 4 people. They sit and "drive", while the luge is 1 or 2 people and they lie down, feet first, using what I call the "lobster claw" technique to steer.

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

the American Society of Aeronautics and Astronautics thought he had done enough to advance the field they gave him their George Low Award.

"Musk will be recognized for his outstanding contribution to the development of commercial space transportation systems using innovative low-cost approaches. "

great. yet another low bidder gets an attaboy.

but he didn't get the real George Low Award, the one from NASA. you might think he would?

RichardinNM 11:43 AM  

@Pabloinnh: you might add "ALLE menschen" from Beethoven's Ode to Joy. Lots of German "everybody's" floating around to make this an easy cross, even if you're not familiar with model Miranda Kerr. Query: how does she pronounce her last name -- like Deborah? or like Steve? Inquiring minds and all that.

Newboy 11:44 AM  

THE BAD NEWS BORES, but today’s grid doesn’t. Thanks Sheldon for a fun solve & congratulations on breaking into the elite club of NYT acceptance. Those big plus and minus signs had me looking for a trick that never materialized, but the cluing made for some head scratching. Liked the XXXes, ABES and ART as decent short stuff to counterbalance the long dad joke puns. Bottom third seemed substantial with top & middle easily in Rex’s rating zone.

chance2travel 11:52 AM  

Easy - saw the sound change on the first themer and had the exact same reaction as Rex - "It's just a sound change?!"

I definitely look for more trickery in the Thursdays.

Wasn't aware of the CARAT to grain conversion. But it didn't hold me up for long once I realized 37A was a RAG and not a mAG

Whatsername 12:07 PM  

Maybe it’s just me but this seemed like something from a children’s puzzle book, maybe designed for middle schoolers. It was challenging enough - in fact that NE corner was brutal - but the theme just struck me as juvenile. Certainly wasn’t a bad crossword, but I would have liked it a lot better if it had RUN yesterday.

Always happy to become AWARE of new words - two today. ANTRUM (I HAD NO IDEA!) and “tessellated” (of, relating to, or like a mosaic). There’s a small pond behind my house and we have GEESE year round. I love to hear their honking when they’re approaching and watch them gracefully circle and gently float to the ground. A good friend who is a pilot tells me if you want to understand how to land an airplane, just watch a goose. Cut back on the power, set your wings level and raise your nose right before you set down.

How do NONREADERS manage to WEND their way? Do they travel en MASSE? What a BORE life would be without books. Congratulations Mr. Polonsky on your NYT and WSJ debuts. Y’all come back real SOON okay?

TTrimble 12:43 PM  

I found it easy for a Thursday. I'm not on board with the gripes about the KERR-ALLE cross: even if you know neither, E is by far the most plausible vowel to put there. And as others have pointed out (Deutschland ΓΌber alles), you can even deduce the E from a well-known phrase.

Nice to learn a new word (ANTRUM).

Port SALUT is always associated in my mind with bringing in the stuff as part of a classroom report in the 6th grade, and really stinking up the joint. Don't leave it in the fridge for long!

Anybody know what the Donald Sutherland pic in the write-up is from? (I think it's Donald Sutherland.)

yd 0, td pg -8.

CPG 12:48 PM  


KnittyContessa 12:49 PM  

I thought this was a tough at first. I had no idea what was going on until I got to THEBADNEWSBORES. Then I flew through it. My favorite part about this puzzle was the Twyla Tharp quote. Loved it.

Joe Dipinto 12:56 PM  

@TTrimble – Yes it's Donald Sutherland form the "Body Snatchers remake.

Son Volt 1:03 PM  

@TTrimble 12:43p - it is Sutherland in Body Snatchers

Thane of 13th 1:06 PM  

A baby. Duh

Teedmn 1:10 PM  

Yes, I'm missing my tricky Thursday puzzle but this was pretty good even so. I really liked MUSICAL CHORES and NO TIME TO SPORE. I thought the clue for 58A could have been jazzed up somehow - I found it rather boring.

I WENDed my way down after leaving the end of RENAISSANCE blank. I filled in MUSICAL CHORES easily which gave away the theme but didn't help all that much with filling in the others. Thank goodness SAFFRON gave me the F to finish 17A - I knew it was something to do with TMNT but was blank for a moment.

I know, wheelhouse and everything, but I'm shocked at how many people don't recognize MAYA Rudolph. All of her time on SNL, the movies she's been in and recently her spot-on depiction of Kamala Harris on SNL, well, how have you all been able to miss her?

I'm with @Carola in appreciating TANTAMOUNT and TIE A BOW.

Congratulations, Sheldon Polonsky, on your NYT debut.

A 1:13 PM  

Ok, this may have been easy for a Thursday, but I DNF. Left the c in cART, even though KISS was staring me in the face. @Frantic, this article might interest your haphephobic friend. There’s even an explanatory video about “French” KISSing but it’s pretty clean - the cussing is SPARSE.

Donald Sutherland fan here, so I knew the 1978 Body Snatchers movie, but it held me up. I was only at half speed on the theme and plopped in NO TIME TO ShARE, as in share a body. Ugh, those slimy pods! Good movie but left me okra-phobic. (And if you haven’t seen it, the pic of DS Rex included is a spoiler!)

ALLE seemed a BIT NUDE without its “s” - did @ANOA BOB it? (sorry, BAD NEWS BORES inspired that groaner)

@pablo, yes to FOURE!

I did know JAMES Moriarity’s name, and coincidentally encountered him yesterday whilst YouTubing for the ultimate armchair expert, Mycroft Holmes. There were one or two decent videos, but nothing as good as reading the original.

Hey @Roo, try this RAG on for size! And just for variety, there’s a RENAISSANCE RAG and a different one with birthday musician Judy Garland.

@bocamp, thanks for the link and the lyrics - you straightened me out on a mondegreen!

bocamp 1:37 PM  

@A (1:13 PM)

Yw, and now I'm trying to see where your 'mondegreen' might be LOL. Btw, mondegreen uses 7 letters so we'll be on the lookout for it in the SB someday; tho, hard to say whether or not Sam would go with it, even tho it is a scrabble-worthy word. πŸ˜‚

td pg -5

PEACE ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Joaquin 1:42 PM  

[Aesop Fable about a horny turtle]

Whatsername 1:48 PM  

@Peter P (11:04) Re “Is tomato a fruit?”
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Philosophy is wondering if a Bloody Mary counts as a smoothie.

@GILL (10:09) “DIDO without her L.” 🀣🀣🀣🀣

MAYA Rudolph is best known on SNL for her impersonation of VP Kamala Harris.

JD 2:29 PM  

@Whatsername, Putting those things together is Genius!

@Gill, What Whatsername said and all those emoji.

ow a paper cut 2:45 PM  

Did this while walking my toy poodle so I had help.

TTrimble 2:49 PM  

@Son Volt, @Joe Dipinto
Thanks! Never saw that movie. Apparently 1978 was a big year for Donald Sutherland: he was in Animal House as the pot-smoking English Literature professor.

The expression on his face in that pic looks pretty campy taken out of context, but apparently that version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers has been widely hailed. I like horror films with a big creepiness factor (more creep than gore) -- I should give it a watch.

Frantic Sloth 3:19 PM  

@Z and @jae - Thanks for the BEQ puzzle! It was fun and why can't we have nice things??

@A 113pm LOL! Thanks for the link. Relieved to see it was about French kissing and not French kissing. As for my friend, that article would have laid her out. She's not terribly...demonstrative, let's say. πŸ˜‰

@GILL, @Whatsername, @JD I didn't even get @GILL's joke until just now. Was picturing the "L" as the first letter...LIDO. Good grief! I could learn a few things from freakin' Bambi.πŸ™„

ghkozen 3:36 PM  

Vehemently disagree with Rex. Miranda Kerr far, far more famous than Johnny Marr (especially with Rex always complaining the puzzle has too many obscure white dudes in it!). What’s more, Alle is a VERY basic German word. I’m regularly asked to know who phrases in French and Spanish, along with far more obscure words in Italian and even Portuguese. That cross is 100% fair, and if you don’t know it you have only yourself to blame. Sorry Rex, but sometimes the problem is with you and not with the puzzle.

Tom T 3:57 PM  

Because of the MUSICAL CHORES themer, and because it would have been in the wheelhouse of an old guy who grew up with Broadway show tunes, the 13D "Model Miranda" could have simply been clued, "The original 'I' in The King and I."

Newboy 4:01 PM  

@Gil & @Whatsername bring as much joy as today’s solve. I’d heard the fruit distinction before , but without the philosophical extension which truly spices/herbs today’s menu; the multilingual joke is new to me & worthy of memorization.

Joe Dipinto 4:02 PM  

@TTrimble → The expression on his face in that pic looks pretty campy taken out of context

No comment. :-)

Whatsername 5:00 PM  

@JD (2:29)/@Newboy (4:01) Thanks but unfortunately I can’t take credit for the genius part. I saw it posted on Facebook.

Birchbark 5:01 PM  

Intense workout involving decorative ribbons? TIEABOW.

Also "Scales, etudes, etc." for MUSICAL CHORES. Less wacky, but totally relatable.

Eniale 6:54 PM  

Amazed that @rex classed this as easy-medium; I found it very Wednesdayish. Even though I'd never heard of model Miranda KERR.

@Bocamp, I'm convinced my pg -1 yesterday was the same as yours, and I actually exclaimed out aloud when I found out what the missing word was. *?!%^^ was more or less my attitude.

bocamp 7:37 PM  

@Eniale (6:54 PM)

Very likely; I'd've never got that one! I'm more or less in the same boat today. Got all but one early this a.m. and have been laboring on and off since. It's getting so hot in here, I had to turn the fan on. πŸ₯΅

td pg -1

PEACE ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Z 9:39 PM  

Catching up on comments and now I’m wondering if Prince was French.

@ALLE was okay people - “I knew it so you should have too” is a terrible argument, especially when you didn’t even know it. That is, ALLE is not really the same meaning as ALLES. ALLa and ALLo are also actual foreign words, and KERR is a name, notorious for random spellings. It’s a bad cross that, as Rex showed, could be easily fixed. Also, Everyone who is anyone knows Johnny Marr.*

@ow a paper cut - I couldn’t help but think that walking my toy poodle is what DIDO did when @Gill I returned her lost L.

@Whatsername 1:48 - I always knew I was a philosopher. πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

@Joaquin 1:42 - I nominate you for @Lewis’ weekly list.

Wow! An Anon I agree with! To be clear, the “visionary” guy has only ever made money by being a leech on the economy. I won’t be surprised at all if his car company is out of business or sold off in the next 5-10 years, since he still can’t turn a profit from making a car. Much like Gates before him, the image of the guy as an “innovator” is all good PR with at most a tangential relationship to anything the guy has actually ever done.

*I mean it just as much as Rex did

Anonymous 10:02 PM  

It’s no secret Tesla doesn’t make money on cars. It’s not even a good design. Musk has queer ideas and has made many dubious decisions in the manufacture of cars. Duh.
But Spacex is a different matter. That is no way dependent on government largesse.
Also, Rex’s rant on Musk’s tax burden is nuts. Musk’s wealth comes from Tesla’s stock price. US tax code doesn’t tax wealth, it taxes income.
Unfortunate.y Rex’s criticism is rank hypocrisy. As an employee of the NY State University system he is required to be part of its pension program. That fund’s assets are more than 60% invested in US securities. All of which is to say, Rex has accrued much wealth, all un

Joaquin 11:52 PM  

@Z (9:39) Thanks for the props!

Keith D 12:29 AM  

“He and his companies are shaking things up in a great way. Some disclosure, he served on the board of The Planetary Society for a while, but has had to recuse himself as SpaceX became Yuge. (I gave him a ride to the airport once.) The Tesla outperforms conventional gas-powered cars (as does my new all-electric Chevy Bolt). If the reused lower stage of the Falcon rockets proves profitable, it will change space exploration in great way. Go Elon!”

— Bill Nye, CEO, The Planetary Society

Joe 4:55 PM  

Go Cart? I should have known it was Go Kart, seeing as when I was a teenager I wiped out on one before I could jump on the rear axle. The guy sitting on the hood, who was steering, and his brother sitting in the actual seat both wiped out as they were navigating a 90 degree turn at 15 mph.

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