Online card game with over 100 million players / WED 6-2-21 / Historic inn commemorated during Pride MONTH as suggested by this puzzle's border answers / 1989 play about Capote

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Constructor: Jesse Goldberg

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (more like an Easy Thursday, just because of the theme type)

THEME: STONEWALL (34A: Historic inn commemorated during Pride Month, as suggested by this puzzle's border answers) — all the answers on the edges of the grid (so, forming a kind of WALL around the grid) are types of STONEs (you must mentally supply STONE to make them work):

Theme answers:
  • HEAD (1A: *Graveyard sight)
  • BIRTH (5A: *Emerald or ruby)
  • GEM (10A: *Ring centerpiece)
  • CHERRY (16D: *Pit that's spit)
  • COBBLE (47D: *Quaint street material)
  • LODE (64A: *Magnetite)
  • BROWN (63A: *Kind of building seen on "Sesame Street")
  • KEY (62A: *Pennsylvania state symbol)
  • CORNER (37D: *Vital piece)
  • HEARTH (1D: *Online card game with over 100 million players)
Word of the Day: HEARTH(STONE) (1D) —

Hearthstone is a free-to-play online digital collectible card game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. Originally subtitled Heroes of WarcraftHearthstone builds upon the existing lore of the Warcraft series by using the same elements, characters, and relics. It was first released for Microsoft Windows and macOS in March 2014, with ports for iOSand Android releasing later that year. The game features cross-platform play, allowing players on any supported device to compete with one another, restricted only by geographical region account limits.

The game is a turn-based card game between two opponents, using constructed decks of 30 cards along with a selected hero with a unique power. Players use their limited mana crystals to play abilities or summon minions to attack the opponent, with the goal of destroying the opponent's hero. Winning matches and completing quests earn in-game gold, rewards in the form of new cards, and other in-game prizes. Players can then buy packs of new cards through gold or microtransactions to customize and improve their decks. The game features several modes of play, including casual and ranked matches, drafted arena battles, and single-player adventures. New content for the game involves the addition of new card sets and gameplay, taking the form of either expansion packs or adventures that reward the player with collectible cards upon completion. [...] 

The game has been favorably reviewed by critics and has been a success for Blizzard, earning nearly US$40 million per month as of August 2017. As of November 2018, Blizzard has reported more than 100 million Hearthstone players. The game has become popular as an esport, with cash prize tournaments hosted by Blizzard and other organizers.
• • •

Hello! It's Pride Month and today we get the first of what I hope will be many Pride-related puzzles. The theme worked well for me, as I went from ??? to "oh, there are two STONE answers in the (NW) corner, so ... CORNER + STONE = cornerstone, I get it" to "wait, but BIRTHstone is not in the corner, what is happening?" until I eventually stumbled into the revealer, where all was made clear and the Aha was genuine. The only "stone" I had trouble with was HEARTHSTONE, which I've never heard of and let me tell you, I won't be alone here. I don't love the gaming clue on this answer, and not just because I've never heard of it. If you actually read this blog, you'll know I don't know things practically every day. It is a rare puzzle that is full of only things I know. I am used to encountering things I don't know regularly, and the vast, vast majority of those I just chalk up to normal human ignorance (in this case, mine), and I move along. But *some* answers I don't know irk me either because they seem genuinely obscure or because they are extremely niche, and even then I'm usually only truly irked if the thing I didn't know ends up feeling like a boring thing that's not really worth knowing. How is my life improved by learning about one of seemingly infinite gaming properties? HEARTHSTONE is some combo of niche and I-don't-care forgettable. If a clue has to tell you how popular its answer is ("no, seriously, 100 million people play this thing! The company that makes the game said so!") then that's a tell. The clue knows that a huge chunk of solvers are going to have no idea what it's talking about. And in this case ... what it's talking about is a subset of the Warcraft universe, and not (by a longshot) the most popular subset: that would be World of Warcraft, which is massively popular, and which I've actually seen in puzzles (abbr. WoW). But HEARTHSTONE? I'm going to forget HEARTHSTONE exists as soon as I'm done typing this. I think the clue is an attempt to make the puzzle a little more contemporary, to give it a little more Now energy (the grid is otherwise heavily laden with olden fill). But there's gotta be a better way than this. "Look, fellow youths! Gaming!" This was a sore-thumb / outlier clue, turning an ordinary word into a niche proper noun in what feels like a desperate attempt to include something "youthful." Is this mere opinion on my part? Well, yes. Hi. What did you think was happening here? Anyway: I was able to work around HEARTHSTONE easily enough, so whatever, I guess. If you're going to teach me something new, just make it interesting, I beg of thee. 

The fill was olden, as I say (feels like ages since I've seen ONEL and TRU, which used to roam the grids of the late 20th-century in great numbers), but I can forgive the crusty short stuff today because we are dealing with a highly restrictive theme (all around the edges *and* in the middle with the revealer). The IVIES should've changed their name as soon as they added a fifth U. to their number. By rights, they should now be called the VIIIies (pronounce it how you will!). Not much to highlight or complain about today. The theme is pretty much the thing. I would really love it if I never saw DTS again. This is largely how I feel about the puzzle's whole alcoholic-mocking vocabulary (WINO! SOT! HIC!). DTS (delirium tremens) is the flip side of mockery—but it's still gawker-y, and it's crosswordese to boot, so why not just make it DES Moines and EASE here today and spare us the spectacle of the suffering alcoholic? I don't get it. I also don't get why you'd put RNC in anything, since they're essentially a white supremacist terrorist group now, but there's not as easy a fix there, as that corner was under a lot of theme pressure (CRAT, OAS ... RNC is merely the worst part of a very rough patch there). Let's end with something fun. EROSION! No, wait, that's depressing. The ALAMO!? No, still not fun. Oh, ERIC hiding inside "America," that's kinda cute (15A: Man found in America?). Let's wave at ERIC. Hi ERIC. We see you there. 

The theme was fun! The rest ... was the rest. Not great, but it was easy, so it never genuinely detracted from the theme, which is a winner.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:39 AM  

Well, my Libra sense of balance was satisfied by this grid, with the theme consisting of the perimeter plus a centered stripe. As I look at the finished grid in the app, I see an outer yellow (Yellowstone!) square with that horizontal dash of blue in the center, and my whole inside resounds with a peaceful aaahhh. Cue “om”.

Jesse had much to work with here. Stones left unturned here include cap, flag, mile, lime, whet, gall, rhine, sand, soap, and tomb. If names were allowed, we could have Emma, Sharon, Sharon, Oliver, and Sly, for starters.

I guess it can be said that the puzzle has a hard edge, but for me its peaceful hitch-free solve and sweet balanced feel leaves me centered, ready to melt tension wherever it arises around me. Puzzles usually don’t do that, and I’m grateful for it, Jesse (and congratulations on your debut!).

Breathe, y’all. No bile today…

Anonymous 6:44 AM  

A HEARTHSTONE is also just .... a flat stone that is part of the masonry around a fireplace, also used metaphorically for "home". I mean, it is a real thing:

Rachel LS 6:48 AM  

I had ASPERGE instead of ASPERSE and MISUSES instead of MISUSED, and was confused till you posted.

OffTheGrid 6:53 AM  

@Rex was very strange today. 1/3 of his post told us all about HEARTHSTONE, 1//3 told us how much he hated having HEARTHSTONE in the puzzle, and 1/3, finally, was about the puzzle.

JJK 7:06 AM  

I liked the theme and since the revealer was a gimme, things fell into place quickly after that. Like Rex, I also had the most trouble with HEARTHSTONE. I wanted Hearts, before realizing it needed to be a stone and being surprised that that many people might play online Hearts.

The IVIES are called that because of their ivy-covered walls, not the number of them, but I suppose Rex was making a little joke?

SouthsideJohnny 7:08 AM  

Getting a tad worried about OFL - he seems a touch schizophrenic. He starts by talking about how much he enjoyed the puzzle then delves into a semi-coherent diatribe against “Hearthstone” of all things (this coming off of yesterday’s kind of off-the-wall nonsense about Professor Plum’s parents). As much time as Rex spends immersed in CrossWorld, it just seems almost unbelievable that he would consider Hearthstone obscure in the broader scheme of things. Additionally, it is well established that he needs to maintain his “woke credibility” - but really, the RNC is a “white supremacist terrorist group” - c’mon, even conceding the fact that they are a little on the loony side, equating them to the KKK is, in my opinion, over the line. Maybe Rex needs to turn the column over to a guest columnist for a couple of weeks and do some meditation or something.

It might be a wheelhouse thing, but NARITA and LLOSA (and to some extent SETI and GHENT) all seem more obscure than HEARTHstone for heaven’s sake.

Richard Stanford 7:08 AM  

CRAT annoyed me because it doesn’t feel like a political suffix. It’s the second half of a political word. I could have clued CAN the same way and that would have been more obviously ridiculous.

Otherwise, somewhat challenging for me for a Wednesday. Misspelled NARITA and had bog instead of FEN but just did the crosses through there so I didn’t catch it until the end.

Finally, “neighbor of Brazil” sounds more specific than “random South American country” but it really isn’t.

Joaquin 7:14 AM  

Very interesting …
We have a rather inappropriate puzzle for Memorial Day and two days later - today - we have the perfect puzzle to kick off Pride Month.

And ... Rex spends 90% of his blog complaining about this puzzle then, at the end, declares it a "winner".

pabloinnh 7:14 AM  

OK, HEARTS before HEARTH. Am I the first to say that? I'm betting it will be extremely popular.

Saw the ____STONE thing right away and then there was that middle revealer again (!) making it clear that they would form a perimeter and then it was a mostly fill-in-the-blanks exercise with only NARITA and SETI being the least bit unfamiliar. YKNOW without the apostrophe looks a little strange too, and I was hoping for someone juggling chainsaws, but that wouldn't fit.

And there's that ALAMO answer again, which is depressing enough, but also makes me think of Texas, and that's even more depressing.

Solid enough Wednesday, JG. Jolly Good. Too easy for the day of the week, IMHO though.

kitshef 7:23 AM  

Y’know, overall I think this was a very nice puzzle, but I really wish YKNOW could have been expunged. Oh, and ONEL, which is now automatic thanks to crosswords, taking up brainpower that could have been used bring about peace in our time.

HYSTERIA comes form the same root as hysterectomy and means ‘womb’, the idea of course being that only women suffered from hysteria. I think they got it backwards.

Rex with VIIES and @Lewis with 'hard edge' are on form today!

Frantic Sloth 7:27 AM  

Ordinarily I'm not a fan of mid-grid revealers, but given that all the edges were occupied in order to "wall it in", I'll allow it.
Plus, the whole thing has the added benefit of being a tribute puzzle (Hi, @Z!), so what more could I ask?

I like the topic, the theme, and the fill, so not gonna find a nit and don't want to.

***Miscellaneous Junk - and I Do Mean Junk - Alert ***

That Japanese-Cajun fusion recipe, NARITA OKRA RUB sounds...*gag*...delicious.

Mmmm - CHERRY COBBLE(r)! Yum!

GHENT ROT is what happens when you spend all your energy trying to stave off SLOP ITCH.


albatross shell 7:41 AM  

I wonder how many people actually play HEARTs online? That was pretty tricky cause at the time time I filled in HEARTs I did not know the theme and did not know the theme. I was suspecting it after HEAD went in and got the revealer soon after. And Hearts Made of Stone or HEARTH or something made it sound almost right. Plus of course sUSHES for HUSHES also almost sounds right. But found it almost immediately when the music failed to play.

bOSH before TOSH.

Played like a easy Tuesday with minor screw-ups in the SW and NE that quickly resolved themselves.

Very well done theme and a decently solid and enjoyable puzzle. I do understand Rex's complaints but do not particularly share them. His standards and reasoning were well-explained today.

Imfromjersey 8:02 AM  

Ambitious theme and I really liked it. Speaking of old timey - the clue on 46A should have been Former name of a HS class where students cook, they don’t call it HOME EC(onomics) anymore it’s usually called Consumer Science.
It was called Home Ec a million years ago when I was in school.

Barbara S. 8:04 AM  

I’m happy to see this theme – in Pride Month or any time. Like Rex, I thought HEARTH was the most difficult of the themers, but unlike him I thought it was a legit themer choice. I either forgot or didn’t know yet that all the words around the perimeter had to work with “stone” attached, so merrily filled in HEARTs as my card game. That gave me sUSHES for “Quiets down” and I was prepared to get all huffy if the puzzle was telling me you could spell "shushes" without the first H. Oops.

Lots of ONEs: Binary digit is ONE, First-year legal student (and shouldn’t that be “law” student?) is ONEL, and there’s another ONE prominently positioned in STONEWALL. I liked 22A: TISSUE for tear sheet. Boo-hoo. BARK for tree cover was kinda tricky; I was thinking I needed some word for wooded area. And I’m in there, being hurtful as usual, BARB, BARK’s near-twin. ASPERSE seems like a little-used word; I prefer to cast ASPERSions.

Today’s quotation is from the work of CAROL SHIELDS, born June 2, 1935.

“In one day I had altered my life; my life, therefore, was alterable. This simple axiom did not call out for exegesis; no, it entered my bloodstream directly, as powerful as heroin. I could feel it pump and surge, the way it brightened my veins to a kind of glass. I had wakened that morning to narrowness and predestination and now I was falling asleep in the storm of my own free will.”
(From The Stone Diaries)

Hungry Mother 8:06 AM  

I had CHERRY, then erased it, then put it back when I saw the theme. I definitely thought it was Thursdayish. Lots of fun filling in the perimeter.

bocamp 8:18 AM  

Thx Jesse, I was with you all the way on this one. Excellent Wednes. puz! :)

Med solve.

This time I got the themer early and it provided lots of help along the route.

Solved from top to bottom with virtually no resistance.

"ITSY Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" ~ Brian Hyland


A Peter Gordon Fireball puz from 2010. I bombed in the SW. BTW, this puz is a sampler.

yd pg -1

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

albatross shell 8:20 AM  

It did it again. Lewis @635am, Imfromjersy 802am. I and many others inbetween missing I suspect.

I will trust they show up.

But I will add:
Hard edge all around. Har!

I resisted CMON til it was there.

Frantic Sloth 8:27 AM  

That's weird. I always thought the IVIES were named for their (real or imagined) "IVy-covered" walls. Roman numerals never occurred to me. Huh.

I was just thinking how cool it would have been to see a center revealer in two lines (=) to represent the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) logo. But I assume that would have been crazy difficult.

@Lewis 639am Yellowstone! πŸ‘πŸ‘

Alexander 8:30 AM  

How Rex feels about Hearthstone is how I feel every time I encounter some obscure sports trivia.

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

Hearthstone has a (largely) positive relationship with the LGBT+ community, including a trans woman developer and a non binary character, which may explain the inclusion of that clue and answer :)

JOHN X 8:56 AM  

I thought this was a very nice Wednesday puzzle.

And the theme was interesting too! Although my ancestors fought for the Union, there is a lot of PRIDE in the achievements of STONEWALL Jackson, and in particular Chancellorsville, where he masterfully maneuvered his entire II Corps around Hooker’s unsecured right and then launched a devastating flank attack out of the thick Wilderness woods that smashed Howard’s corps and sent the Army of the Potomac reeling backwards. STONEWALL was mortally wounded by his own troops that evening; there’s a private farm outside of Fredericksburg where you can visit the grave of his arm. STONEWALL’s flank attack at Chancellorsville is still taught and studied at military academies around the world to this day. STONEWALL was an interesting guy, although eccentric is probably the better word.

Unknown 8:59 AM  

@ Anonymous 8:43
Well, that would explain HEARTHSTONE. I was thinking of the card game HEARTS. That was the only puzzler for me; the rest of the puz filled right up. Given the severe constraints on the constructor, this must not have been easy to create.

@ Frantic Sloth 8:27 You are correct, that is where the term came from.
In 1937, Adams (a NY-based sportswriter) is rumored to have complained to his boss about having to write about those old “Ivy-covered” universities and in his article about the Columbia/Penn game coined the term “Ivy League.”

albatross shell 8:59 AM  

You probably always thought right. No record of IV being the source. Only a theory. Sports teams the earliest reference found. Tribune reporter complained about having to come those ivy covered colleges. He started calling them the Ivies in 1930.. The Ivy League was not formed until 1954. Who knew?

Son Volt 9:01 AM  

We’ve seen these perimeter puzzles before - it’s always the center fill that suffers - I’m assuming because all the effort is spent on the themers. Black squares in weird places. This follows suit - fun theme but clunky fill. Liked CHERRY and COBBLE STONE best. Leading with HEAD STONE was a bit gloomy. Thought the SW corner was bad. Most bourbon drinkers do not consider RYE an alternative.

The themers were enjoyable to get - the rest of the puzzle not so much.

CS 9:05 AM  

This was a clever and fun puzzle; very timely and appropriate and the crosses enabled me to guess or fill in what I didn't know. Pretty impressive how the edges ("walls") were done. Didn't have to know the game to figure out "Hearth." Yes to Ivies = ivy-covered walls.

Thanks, Jesse Goldberg!

-- CS

mathgent 9:09 AM  

Rex needs to fill that space. Loren isn't in that position. She only writes when she has something to say.

I didn't know HEARTHstone either but it was easy to guess.

I enjoyed it quite a lot. Smart cluing. Some nice words -- ASPERSE, FATWAH, AMOK. Well-executed theme.

"Literally" is misused when "figuratively" is meant. How is "ironic" misused? I think that I have seen it incorrectly used as a synonym for humorous.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

And here I thought the ivies were because the buildings were covered with ivy.

Joe R. 9:13 AM  

Dear Rex,
Get over yourself. ESports is a billion dollar a year industry. Until last year, Hearthstone had more users than Minecraft, which I’m sure you’ve heard of. Many people who play games, even if they don’t play eSports (like myself - I haven’t even played video games in years), have heard of Hearthstone. The fact that it’s not something you personally enjoy does not mean it isn’t noteworthy.

P.S. @SouthsideJohnny - The Republican Party is 100% a white supremacist terrorist organization. They explicit promote white supremacy practices in their policies and platform, they leverage racism to gain power, both in riling up their racist base and in oppressing people of color (through disenfranchisement, for example), and they support terrorist actions both implicitly (e.g the attempted kidnapping and murder of the governor of Michigan, or various militia actions over the last two decades) and explicitly (e.g. the insurrection at the US Capitol, which was driven by the leader of the Republican Party, and which the current leaders of the Republican Party continue to block any attempt to investigate and prosecute). What more do you need before you understand that they are a white supremacist terrorist organization?

Frantic Sloth 9:16 AM  

Hand up for HEARTs before getting the theme, but also wondering how it would be played and popular.

@albie 741am Nice Jimmy Two Times impression. πŸ˜‚

CHERRY stone. Great. Now I want clams.

Didn't STONEWALL Jackson eat lemons by the crap-ton or something like that?

JD 9:16 AM  

Worked very well as a tribute puzzle. Hearth was easy once the theme emerged. SETI was new to me.

Like the phrase Ran Amok. Apparently a group of girls in a Home Ec class in the '70s, Ran Amok, brandishing seam removers and chanting, "Hell no, we won't sew!" This forced the administration to change the class name to Domestic Arts and Science and add things like basic plumbing. It's true. Keep watch for the tribute puzzle.

Always liked the way Tonne gives weight to a word that should be longer than three letters. Crat is a political suffix, isn't it? Plutocrat, Autocrat. Technocrat snuck into the party but what the heck.

@Frantic, Of course you're right about the ivies. Apparently the stuff grows all over their hallowed stone walls.

Z 9:20 AM  

Yeah, sure, Rex could have reduced that whole opening salvo to, turning an ordinary word into a niche proper noun in what feels like a desperate attempt to include something "youthful,” but what fun is that?

HEARTs/sUSHES looks like it works but I’ve never heard HEARTs called HEARTsSTONE and I just left it there to the very end, looked at it for 1.53 nanoseconds then thought, “obviously HEARTH(STONE)HUSHES but WTF is this HEARTH(STONE) card game?” I was fully prepared for the WoD to be some new HEARTs variation I’d never heard of and a one letter DNF. Instead, I got a WoW variant I’ve never heard of. Alrighty then. At least I avoided a DNF.

Viiiopodes, obviously, pronounced vee-eye-yeoh-poe-deez. And Rex never kids so of course IVIES is from a RRN.

@Frantic Sloth - I don’t consider this a “tribute puzzle.” The signature feature of a tribute puzzle is WGAFF trivia about the theme subject. This is a nice little wordplay puzzle that takes a timely piece of history and makes a decent puzzle out of it.

@JOHN X - I’d just go with “traitor.”

J. Locke 9:20 AM  

@Richard Stanford (7:08) Actually, "-crat" is a commonly used suffix to denote someone who supports a particular kind of rule or style of governance, or who belongs to a movement that supports such rule; e.g., plutocrat, democrat, theocrat, autocrat, technocrat, aristocrat, bureaucrat, etc. Cluing it as a "political suffix," then, seems quite on target to me.

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

equating them to the KKK is, in my opinion, over the line.

Well, if you're Black or Brown and want to vote in a Red state going forward, you might agree with Rex. Not to mention getting stopped by cops on the ruse of a non-working tail light. And so on. Justice for Tulsa!!

sixtyni yogini 9:23 AM  

Loved this one. Theme - perfect!
Fun, (mostly) fast and easeful (is that a word?)

Michiganman 9:24 AM  

This is a very fine puzzle. Different cluing for HEARTHSTONE, e.g. "Fireplace part", would have made it even better. A fireplace HEARTHSTONE is actually stone of one kind or another. I know nothing about the game but there was no need to clue 1D as PPP trivia.

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

No idea what @Lewis is talking about.

Bad Mouse 9:26 AM  

Just as it's insulting to call it Home Ec to students and staff, the same with Gym Class. People are sooooo sensitive. I mean, someday we'll be capitalizing descriptives of folk's race/country of origin/religion/handedness. When will it ever end???

Frantic Sloth 9:32 AM  

Thanks for the backup on IVIES everyone! Thought I was losing it.

@albie 859am Here you are, kindly taking the time to explain it so clearly (unbeknownst to me) while I'm busy ragging on your typos. Oops.
My only excuse is the "typos can be fun" defense. 🀷‍♀️

@Z 920am Oh, sure. Now you don't explain your initialism. WTF is WGAFF? Seems they are related, as in Who Gives A Fat F***. Amaright? Also tribute/timely piece of history - potato/much more wordy potato.

GILL I. 9:32 AM  

Well, I kinda got 1A HEAD and immediately thought that was awfully gruesome. I mean how many of you see a HEAD sticking around a graveyard. I suppose if it's a Steven King novel. then I got to 5A and BIRTH and again, my mind wanders to giving BIRTH to some sort of an emerald or ruby. Boy was I doing some head scratching. Why does a CHERY spit?
Ok, so I work my way around the corners and I get to the whole Historic Inn part. I was able to suss out STONEWALL but I wondered why it wasn't Jackson. Let me look this place up. Cool frijoles. I wasn't around during the gay uprisings in 1969. I was still living in Spain. There was no such thing as "gay rights" in Spain. NOSIREEBOB. You even mentioned you were gay and off to the pokey you were sent, never to be seen again. Same thing happened in Cuba under (what some of you call a hero) Che. Man, he hated gays. Anyway, a part of the Inn's history is that during prohibition, the Mafia invested in the Stonewall and it was they that turned it into a gay bar. They believed that a business catering to the otherwise shunned gay community might turn it into a profit. Imagine being able to blackmail closeted wealthy patrons.....
So the lightbulb moment gave me an aha and I did a little skipping through the tulips. I learned something new and now I have an urge to hop on a plane and go to Greenwich Village and have me a Cosmo or maybe an Appletini.
My OPEN TAB runneth over....Thanks, Jesse......

Anonymous 9:47 AM  


tell us, when, exactly did Che run Cuba?

Nancy 9:49 AM  

A GEM of a puzzle that is very satisfying and enjoyable to solve and also must have been very difficult to construct. I mean, for heaven's sake, the theme answers go all the way around the entire perimeter and can't be put anywhere else! You try it.

I figured out the theme in the top row -- even though, my memory being what it is, I couldn't for the life of me remember the name of the inn. I knew it was STONE-something or other, but STONE what? (I also realized that, as long as I knew that STONE came after each partial theme answer, it didn't matter if I remembered or not.)

I had three hiccups in the puzzle I shouldn't have had:

ASPERgE before ASPERSE. Who knows why?

RAN A MOb before RAN AMOK (38D). (Those mobs can be pretty uncontrollable.)

oK NOW before Y KNOW (50D). The type of could-be-anything-at-all slangy clue I hate.

Because of these errors -- errors that added much extra puzzlement to the puzzle -- I probably solved this puzzle more slowly than you did.

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

Rex's bad take on the Ivy league has largely been covered but which four schools did Rex, mistakenly, believe were the Ivies?
As for the term originating in the 30's that's nonsense. Most of the colonial colleges, and all the ones we call Ivies, had or still have in one way or another a tradition of actually planting Ivy on campus. I know Harvard did. And Penn has had an official Ivy day since the late 18th century. ( Maybe 1874 or `75. It predates the US Centennial celebration for sure). In fact, if you're ever on campus, you'll see plenty of Ivy Day stones with the year they were affixed to whatever building that year's graduation class chose. Unique design each year as well. In any event Rex is all wet on the Roman numeral concept. And so is that sportswriter beefing having to cover the Penn Columbia game. In fact, The University of Pennsylvania led the nation in attendance for the decade of the 1940s. Franklin Field was THE place to be on a Fall Saturday. ( if the `33 game was at Columbia, then I withdraw my observation. I don't know where Columbia played ball in 1933, but for many decades now, they play waaay off campus. Baker field. Nice view of the Harlem river but not much else)

Frantic Sloth 9:54 AM  

@GILL 932am 🀣🀣🀣 Only pray you didn't do your HEAD scratching in the graveyard. Che hated gays? I'd say he was gay. Yea, Che was gay. Gay Che. Hope he's spinning.
Glad you learned about STONEWALL, mi amiga. πŸ‘

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

Damn! Penn led the nation in attendance in the 1930's too. I knew that but somehow lost my nerve. Wiki is wonderful. Anyway, Hurrah for The Red and The Blue!

Joaquin 10:02 AM  

@Mathgent asks, "How is "ironic" misused?"

It is frequently (mis)used when the proper word is "coincidence".

pabloinnh 10:11 AM  

re HEARTS online-I was kind of hoping that would be right because one of my son's best friends developed an online HEARTS game about twenty years ago. I've played it and it's pretty good. I think he still gets some royalties.

Also, I can attest to the fact that the nearby Ivy League college does in fact have a lot of buildings that are ivy-spattered, if not ivy-covered, which I think would be an inconvenience.

starwarsyeah 10:13 AM  

"HEARTHSTONE is some combo of niche and I-don't-care forgettable. If a clue has to tell you how popular its answer is ("no, seriously, 100 million people play this thing! The company that makes the game said so!") then that's a tell."

Rex, buddy, do I need to link the definition of the word "niche" here? You wanna argue about niche, how about Mario Vargas LLOSA? I guess that's your niche so it doesn't count though. To direct all your hatred at a super popular video game, and one that's a pillar of esports, is insane to me when ORR, LLOSA, NARITA, OAS, ONEL, TOSH, and TRU exist in this puzzle. I wonder how the popularity of hockey compares to the popularity of esports?

Whatsername 10:14 AM  

A really good theme, with or without the Pride connection which was a nice complement. Agree it seemed like an easy Thursday. In fact the whole time I was solving I was thinking Thursday but a very smooth flowing, satisfying Wednesday this turned out to be. Big congratulations to you Mr. Goldberg! I loved your puzzle.

HOME EC was taught back in the Dark Ages when I took it but I believe they call it something different now. Whatever the label, IMO every HS student could benefit from a class covering the basics necessary to self-survival. My classes were taught in a real house that was set up with multiple kitchenettes and one large classroom with sewing machines lining the walls. It was considered an easy credit and there usually wasn’t much homework, but I learned how to cook, sew, apply first aid, change a diaper, balance a checkbook, set up a household budget, plan a meal and shop for groceries, among other things. Skills I’ve used every day of my adult life.

David Manderscheid 10:15 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Stonewall Inn is NOT an Inn and never was. It's a bar.

David Manderscheid 10:25 AM  

Was I the only one bothered by the clue "Tokyo's airport?" Hello, Haneda?

OffTheGrid 10:26 AM  

@mathgent. The widespread misuse of "Ironic" is people saying it when what they're describing is merely a coincidence. I see and hear this MISUSE a TONNE.

The Joker 10:28 AM  

My favorite online game is shuffleboard.

G. Weissman 10:30 AM  

The theme is fine enough; I thought the southwest area of the puzzle has too much crappy fill (NARITA, OAS over RNC, ITSY, TONNE, YKNOW, HEREON, ARTOO) to be successful. Revise and resubmit, imo.

Unknown 10:31 AM  

Hearthstone isn't niche. It's a hugely popular game. I don't play it, but I know of it.

Not everyone will know it, but enough will that it's a fair wednesday clue. Not everyone reads nobel prize winning literature, or orders wine in restaurants, but puzzles should be a little bit broadening.

Lots of people feel entitled to sneer at video games, in a way they wouldn't at gardening or playing bridge or other pastimes. Get over yourself.

Anonymoose 10:36 AM  

When I was in Jr. High(early 60's), boys were assigned to shop and girls to HOMEEC. Although I made a pretty neat bowl on a lathe and learned a little bit about tools and internal combustion engines, I might have gotten more out of HOMEEC.

Nancy 10:40 AM  

"Hell, no, we won't sew!"???!!!! "Domestic Arts and Sciences" as a new euphemism for HOME EC???!!!!! What a hilarious and informative post today, @JD (9:16). I had no idea. Brava, ladies who fought the good fight.

P.S.6 forced the girls in 8th Grade to sew their own dresses for graduation. I, who was not destined to become one of History's Great Sewing Legends like Betsy, made a complete mess of it. I'm sure it must have cost my parents much more to have a neighborhood seamstress re-work the damn thing into something resembling wearable shape than it would have cost to simply buy a graduation dress. All I remember is that the material involved was a pale yellow eyelet something-or-other, but what the pattern was or how I ended up looking in it has vanished from my memory. Sometimes having a really terrible memory is a truly wonderful thing.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

It was some Big Conference sports reporter (too lazy to refresh my memory, the wiki will confirm) who derisively dismissed those schools (whether the current contingent?) "as just an ivy league!" Context, IIRC was, of course, football. Back when it was a gentlemen's college sport, and when schools, including the Ivys, 'hired' ringers (also, see wiki).

FrostMo 10:59 AM  

Fun puzz. A little quicker than average. My theme experience was a bit odd. I decided on HEARTs for the online game, which to be fair probably does have a lot of online players. That made me think it’s something about body parts so I put HEAD into 1A, but I did not think of it as HEADstone (which is indeed pretty morbid). Got CHERRY/GEM without thinking of the stone, COBBLE/LODE from the crosses without really looking. Left me with total blanks in the north central and sw. Finally figured it out on CORNERstone. Finished correcting HEARTH where I had HUSHES as sUSHES... tricky for me.

Newboy 11:02 AM  

Welcome Jesse & thanks for this lovely debut—always nice to have new bylines join the party. Solid use of mostly cliche compounds and especially appropriate as we lurch from Black Wall Street to Stonewall to ??? (Name your own historic American debacle to complete that double play). Kinda thought those two black cheater corners should have been reworked, but nice prompts for commentariat to react to. I was a big fan of Castro when in high school, having thought that US support of evil despots had driven him into the Commies corner. Ah well, live and learn. Interesting Confederate general reflection as well! Not an EASY OUT among any of those moral/political quandaries. Obviously, I enjoyed the baseball entries more than friends above & can tolerate ORR coming out of retirement.

Shawn 11:03 AM  

The hearts/HEARTHSTONE fake out was what made this puzzle 10/10 in my opinion. Maybe a tad easier than ideal, but well worth it for the theme tie-in and walled puzzle.
Not convinced Rex likes learning new things as much as he says he does...

albatross shell 11:04 AM  

I knew to what dumb mistake you were referring, but I have no idea at all no idea at all who Jimmy Two Times is.

Carola 11:04 AM  

Nicely constructed, easy to solve...that is, after I understood how the top row worked and then turned the CORNER on CHERRY. It was fun to anticipate what other STONEs might appear.
Real-world theme-related: A friend's daughter chose heteronormativity as the topic of her end-of-year "TED Talk" to her sixth-grade class, beginning, "I am here to talk to you about homophobia and the challenges queer kids face throughout all of their school years." What a change in awareness from my clueless middle-school years!

Tim Carey 11:09 AM  

Well. DNF. I thought ERIe was reasonable and didn't know TOSH at all, so never saw CHERRY. So Sad.

Mikey from El Prado 11:16 AM  

Liked the theme. Liked the timing (Pride month).

I actually blazed through the puzzle, only to get the “so close” message. I, as others, had HEARTS/SUSHES. I kept wondering if it should have been SHUSHES, but that would have been the only rebus. So, once realizing the theme, I went back… didn’t catch the HEARTS stone error in first go, then after losing over a minute realized the HEARTH/HUSHES solution. Damn.

The delay could have been avoided with some kind of normal HEARTHstone clue.. fireplace, mantelpiece, etc. But, unlike Rex, I found the cluing fair and square. But, paid the price.

ADHD 11:25 AM  

Not defending the cluing on Hearthstone, but the wikipedia page you linked to states that World of Warcraft had a peak monthly subscriber base of 12 million, which last time I checked is substantially less than 100 million. Therefore ranting that Hearthstone is less popular seems like... um... a really weird hill to die on.

Frantic Sloth 11:41 AM  

@albie 1104am I wondered. Here's a brief hint. πŸ˜‰

@JD 916am I completely missed your post! Now I have to imagine mob mentality not with torches and pitchforks, but "brandishing seam removers". 🀣🀣🀣

jae 11:42 AM  

Medium. Me too for HEARTs at first.

Liked it. Nice debut!

@bocamp - I think in 2010 I was buying Gordon’s Fireball puzzle books from my local Barnes & Nobel so I’m pretty sure I’ve done the one you link to. Of course 10 to 30 thousand puzzles later my memory of it is a tad hazy.

What? 11:42 AM  

The Republican Party is not all Republicans. Still, I’m glad you’re on my side.

Prescriptivist 12:01 PM  

@Anonymous (10:15) “Stonewall Inn is NOT an Inn and never was. It's a bar.”
Using my iPad to do a look-up on the word “inn,” the following synonyms pop up: tavern, bar, taproom, hostelry, hotel, guesthouse, pub, etc. FYI.

Uke Xensen 12:03 PM  

Well-intentioned but dull.

Ryan Miller 12:07 PM  

Hearthstone actually was the revealer for me, I haven't played it in ages but as a gamer it was right in my wheelhouse. I should get back to it, it's a fantastic game. Easy to learn, difficult to master. It's nice seeing new things enter the puzzle instead of golf names and baseball names all the time. Not to mention that I could do without ever seeing colleges in the puzzle ever again. I usually just throw a U down somewhere and hope for the best when those show up, but I'm an amateur puzzle solver.

Anyway just had to comment because I like seeing video games pop up from time to time in these things. There's lots of good stuff out there and it deserves mention in crosswords. Just because a lot of the crossword generation skews older doesn't mean that newer things shouldn't be a part of it, including games.

TJS 12:11 PM  

Cmon, nobody else put in "dead" for what ya find in graveyards ? And "dearth" could def be a game name. Never gave a thought to figuring out the theme, which would have really helped this time. Oh,well.

Glenn L. 12:18 PM  

Rex Parker said “ I also don't get why you'd put RNC in anything, since they're essentially a white supremacist terrorist group now..” This anti-racist (really neo-racist) bubble in which Rex resides is fascinating. I’m sure he could make this ludicrous statement among a large group of colleagues without anyone so much as raising an eyebrow. I’d say it was funny but it’s not. It’s tragic that this fringe element permeates our academic institutions.

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

Shush-Be quiet
Schuss-A down hill skiing term
Suss-To realize

Sush-Is not even a word

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

12D bugs me. "Ironic", sure, but "literally" has been used as a figurative, hyperbolic intensifier for LITERALLY hundreds of years, by the likes of Charlotte Bronte, Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov, and so on. It's a stupid thing to be pedantic about.

jberg 12:36 PM  

DNF. HEARTs was just so obviously right for the game, even if I couldn't figure out where the stone came in, and was disgruntled about sUSHES. If 1D had mentioned a fireplace I'd have got it, but that's what makes it a puzzle, so I'm not complaining. At least I thought to check the crosses before putting in tomb for 1A.

Vargas LLOSA not only won the Nobel Prize, he was also a serious candidate for President of Peru, losing to Fujimori.

Although he supposedly doesn't read the comments, I still believe he enjoys seeing how many people he can get to take one of his little jokes seriously. So today he's having a great time.

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

anon 12:26. Citation needed.
Just one. Just give me one example of any of the authors you named using literally as a substitute for figuratively.
H.W. Fowler the authoritative voice on English usage ( see Z's post of couple days ago defending Rex's idiotic use of the exception that proves the rule) says literally as an intensifier or substitute for figuratively should be repudiated. As indeed it should.

Another Anon 12:43 PM  

Consider this. The Republican "leadership" is strongly opposed to investigating a violent attack on the United States Capitol. And, this attack was engineered by a sitting U.S. president and supported by various
Republican congressmen and senators. This attack was totally OKAY with them. Got that?

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

Anon 12:26 I strongly suspect you cadged that idea from a magazine article. You'll note that article also doesn't provide a single example. They do have other citations to defend other idioms that have changed over the years--they have a Chaucer citation. But that article does not provide a single instance of any author--let alone any from the canon-missuing literally.

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Maybe so, maybe not, but still a misuse.

GILL I. 12:47 PM  

@Frantic 9:54...HAH! Che might've been a closet gay, but I doubt it. That man showed contempt for women, blacks and his murder targets were gays. He fathered 5 children; loved to "pump" the maids in his aunt's house, and fathered several illegitimate little ones. If he was indeed gay, he would've made a lousy one......

OK...speaking of HOME EC. I had to take that class at Pali Hi. It was a cooking class and we were all ordered to make our favorite dish and bring it in for everyone to try. I've been making black beans since I could walk and damn...they are good. So I brought my dish in and no one would even touch it. BLACK beans! are you kidding me? Who would eat that caca? My teacher tried it and anointed it yummy. I was crushed. I never made them again...until white people actually discovered that they were damn good.

nancy stehle 12:49 PM  

1969-Greenwich village: nobody slept...walk to christoper st to get NYSunday Times on Sat. night. sit in restaurant wait for order and watch John and Yoko walk in....crowded streets. open stores selling fruits and veggies on the sidewalk....just married a on downing st.....around the corner from life on the street.....sirens and crazy no other night.....will we all live in peace again.....of course, Tony,my cousin was the biggest voice...500+ lbs. of voice.....we move. and the beat is calmed....some die. those perfect bodies crumbled and died...some went home to die....AIDS is the grim equalizer.....Now old...I miss Tony, I miss my friends, I miss the wild-eyed youngsters looking for adventure. Now they are in Brooklyn.

Skharonak 12:56 PM  

@JJK, Re the Ivies... Yes, I suppose he was making a joke. And a very crossworld one as we so often have had roman numerals as answers.
It took me a second, then I chuckled. Reminded me of his commentary when I first discovered this blog in about 2008.

emily 1:03 PM  

Me, too for asperge

albatross shell 1:08 PM  

Oh! Goodfellas. I saw it on the big screen when it was released. Good, maybe great, movie, but I am waiting until I forget the parts I don't want to remember before I see it again, see it again.

Teedmn 1:10 PM  

I'm glad Rex added a "challenging" to his medium rating. My SW weNt ape off of the N in RNC and with NARITA the only other way into that sector (which I didn't remember), I was frantically looking for a foothold down there.

"weNt ape" left 37A as _w_T. I was pretty sure the political suffix wasn't twiT but perhaps I should rethink that certainty? I finally came up with ITSY with no crosses, leading to KEY and the whole thing finally came together.

Forgot how to spell Mario Vargas LhOSA's name. Persist ≠ hAST. With ONE-L already filled in, perhaps the two-L LLOSA should have been more obvious but it took a few moments.

I'm with Rex on HEARTHstone being a WOE. PokΓ©mon was the only thing that came to mind but didn't fit.

Congratulations, Jesse Goldberg, on your debut and on a fine theme.

Stephen 1:13 PM  

You are insanely wrong about Hearthstone. A game with 100 million players is not "niche," and although they're in the same universe it's not been accurate for a long time to describe Hearthstone fans as a "subset" of WOW fans. There are many, many people who play Hearthstone daily who have never played World of Warcraft. Instead of dumping on a clue you didn't get because you're out of touch, try downloading the game! You might enjoy it. Unlike WOW, you can play it on your phone (another reason for its wide reach).

Thane of 13th 1:14 PM  

Some people use ironic when they mean coincidental.

albatross shell 1:22 PM  

@Skharonak 1256pm
Yes, I suspect he was joking. Apparently that theory has been claimed and that might have inspired the joke. Or maybe he heard and believed. Who knows. Choose a door.

JOHN X 1:34 PM  

Boy is my face red! I totally didn’t know which STONEWALL this was!

So I guess we’re done with the Asians and on to the gays now? That’s terrific and I’m so happy for all of them. As travel restrictions lifted last month I rode a lot of railroads and I was impressed. Great work!

I’m so glad the gays have their own month to be proud just like I am the rest of the year. I’ve spent my whole career in TV and feature films so I’m no stranger to the homo-sexuals and it never bothered me. I even have have two cousins who are that way yet I always tell them that I love them in spite of it all. Good for them! They know where all the best restaurants are; my cousin Mark’s partner Jeff is better than Yelp.

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

@12:18: Most of his colleagues know he’s full of shite but are afraid to say anything because of Woke McCarthyism. They are afraid they will lose their jobs if they speak up. I suppose that in itself is a problem. The universities used to be a place where people could speak their minds freely. Not anymore.

Donna 2:02 PM  

In 10th grade, I was fascinated by combustion engines. I petitioned the principal to let me take auto shop. He said no, I might get my dress greasy.

Anonymous 2:08 PM  

Anonymous 1:37,
Conservatives rightly fear for their jobs in academia today. It is a grave problem in this country. Robert George (the McCormick Professor of jurisprudence at Princeton) has been sounding the alarm for years. That universities should be a place to search for truth is almost axiomatic. Yet today's campus chills, or worse criminalizes, speech that the liberal-leaning academy disfavors. Everyone knows campuses tilt left. But the last decade and half has seen a sea change where unpopular speech has been, in effect, banned. And when speech is banned, thought is squelched. What we're left with is a generation of students who haven't been educated at all but rather indoctrinated into a liberal orthodoxy. In the end, we all suffer for that.

And it turns out Penn DID play at Columbia in 1937. A very rare away game for the Quakers. Can't blame the reporter for not wanting to go to Baker field.

Anonymous 2:12 PM  


The GOP used to be a place where people could speak their minds freely. Not anymore.

Ciao Liz!

Joe Dipinto 2:33 PM  

My guess is that a regular old hearthstone was too difficult to clue succinctly with something synonymous – what else can you call it but a "stone"? – so the alternate clue was used. I have no problem with the egame clue.

Ptui Ptui

Charlie 2:50 PM  

Almost every song, singer, or athlete that appears in a grid is something I've never heard of, because I despise music and sports. But I don't complain about it because I'm no jerk who insists everything be memorable to me. Why should you care about Hearthstone, which is something you can actually interact with, less than I should care about whoever the hell Andy Murray is? Turns out different people have different interests and you should be okay with what is actually a big deal among many young people showing up in a crossword, just as I'm okay with there being bimonthly puzzles centered on songs that all came out before I was born.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  


It's no coincidence that the bulk of so-called conservatives are uneducated rural bumpkins, while so-called liberals are educated urban thinkers. The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) recognized what Goldwater had started and tripled down on racist jingoism; all problems are caused by the invasion of dark, non-Protestant lazy rapists and killers. It is a fact that a 'liberal' education does open the minds of people, whereas the right wing notion of education is blind fealty to the Authority Figure.

Richard in NM 3:16 PM  

Hey @TJS 12:11pm, Hand up for dEAD (Graveyard sight) at 1A. Had _EAD and ran the alphabet anc could only come up with "HEAD" and "dEAD." The latter made more sense at the time, even though a little (what?) off.

In the day, HOMEEC for girls, shop for boys. I got out of shop by taking something called Mechanical Drawing. Great class: learning to print in single stroke gothic was perfect for crossword puzzles.

Always enjoy ALAMO in the grid. Who was it said, "If the Alamo'd had a back door, there'd never have been a Texas"?

Richard Stanford 3:17 PM  

@J. Locke 9:20 - I get that, for sure, but that's not how we use the word "democrat" in politics these days.

Ah well. Still a fun theme.

Graham 3:30 PM  

I liked this one (11:39). Have to disagree with Rex. Hearthstone is hugely popular. The clue wasn’t lying lol. There are plenty of cultural references from his generation about which he would never make the same argument.

Tony Bell 3:37 PM  

Jeez. Hearthstone is a common ordinary word which most people know. Surprised by your vehemence.

Frantic Sloth 3:47 PM  

@nancy stehle 1249pm Beautiful, heartbreaking memory. Thank you for sharing it with us.❤️

Anonymous 3:49 PM  

anon @12:41
"His limbs and body were literally worn to the bone." - Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
"Literally, I was the apple of his eye." Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
"Tom was literally rolling in wealth." The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (speaking of "authoritative", that one is cited in the Oxford English Dictionary, BTW)
"He literally glowed." The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I've got more, going back to at least the 1700s...but if it's good enough for centuries of renowned authors, it's good enough for me. Grammatical prescriptivism is a waste of time.

Anonymous 4:07 PM  

The RNC is "essentially a white supremacist terrorist group". . . It's EXACTLY that kind of moronic remark that'll return the proper party to power. . . Cheers, fascist.

Anonymous 4:21 PM  


Charlottesville. 6 January Capitol. Liz Cheney. Flynn's Sedition. and so on.

Twangster 4:31 PM  

Dixiecrat, autocrat, democrat.

Oh Yeah? 4:39 PM  

@Joe D - It lays in front of the fire.

Pat 4:48 PM  

Perfectly satisfactory Wednesday puzzle.

Anonymous 4:55 PM  

Given that your research is correct, they should have been ashamed of themselves.

Anonymous 4:57 PM  

First of all it's "lies". I guess there's no second...

Sandy Schuckett 5:04 PM  

It's great that the revealer of this puzzle was STONEWALL, but folks should also be aware of The Black Cat -- a former gay bar and current restaurant in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles -- where one of the first protests against anti-gay police happened.

Joe Dipinto 5:26 PM  

@Oh Yeah? 4:39 – How do I know the answer is HEARTHSTONE and not just HEARTH from your clue? The answer to the card game clue, otoh, can only be HEARTHSTONE.

JD 5:31 PM  

@Nancy, @Frantic, Thank you. They were very brave girls, (even if they didn't exist:)

@JoeD, Fireplace base

@JohnX, Genius. I stand in awe.

Whites 5:43 PM  

You complain the Republican Party continues to block any attempts to investigate the supposed "insurrection", but yet the Democrats continue to block any attempts at recounting the vote. Hippocrit.

#Unity 5:52 PM  

@anonymous 4:21- The QAnon and alt-right types responsible for 1/6 and Charlottesville are the moral doppelgΓ€ngers of Rex Parker. They are fringe players and no more represent the RNC than alt-left types like RP represent the DNC (thank God).

ghostoflectricity 7:32 PM  

Today is Rolling STONE drummer Charlie Watts's 80th birthday. The gentleman percussionist, a truly nice guy, has provided the backbeat for the greatest rock and roll band's music for 58 1/2 years at this point. I wish a puzzle with a "STONE" theme had managed to work that in somehow.

TJS 7:35 PM  

I thought people in the U.S. could get out and mingle now. What the hell is happening here ??

Anonymous 7:35 PM  

Democrats continue to block any attempts at recounting the vote.

They've been re-counted multiple times by professionals, while having an avowed QAnon conspirator 'do it' does seem a tad beyond the pail. I mean, just send The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) to each state to ferret out the bamboo. He should find it next to the carton of bleach bottles. He's so smart, it should only take him a few minutes. I mean, he claims to have gone to Penn, when he actually went to Fordham, that commuter school in Da Bronx.

Left o’ center 8:29 PM  

@7:35- I’m on your side but Trump is a Penn graduate. You’re not helping.

Z 9:08 PM  

@Frantic Sloth - So close. “Flying” not “Fat.” Alluding to Vonnegut’s Go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.
As for my “more wordy potato,” would you consider the Monday Puzzle a “tribute puzzle?” Sure, the revealer, like today’s, is real historical PPP, but none of the rest of the theme material is related. Tribute puzzles are laden with factoids and trivia at its most trivial. That’s why this puzzle gets πŸ‘πŸ½ from me, it is still centered around neat wordplay. If it were a tribute puzzle in the usual tributary manner I would have howled more.

@HEARTH(STONE) clue defenders - Pshaw with a capital Peh and a capital Shaw. WoW is huge. In the WoW universe HEARTH(STONE) is tertiary at best (btw - WoW, the MMRPG version is 2 orders of magnitude more popular than HEARTH(STONE) - It’s like saying Ultimate is just as big as soccer in the US - Whoever tried to say HEARTH(STONE) was bigger than the MMRPG needs to read farther or read better). But even if HEARTH(STONE) were as big as the MMRPGs it would still be suboptimal, and if you read Rex and the comments often enough you’d see the same plaints about other PPP, so much so that we have “PPP” to describe excessive Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns appearing in puzzles.

@3:49 - And there you go proving them wrong and it won’t matter because they are true believers. Nice list.

Re: irony - Merriam-Webster has a nice synopsis, including a not too subtle dig at the coincidencers:
Critics claim the words irony and ironic as they are used in cases lacking a striking reversal, such as “Isn’t it ironic that you called just as I was planning to call you?,” are more properly called coincidence.

The historical record shows that irony and ironic have been used imprecisely for almost 100 years at least, and often to refer to coincidence. This 1939 quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald is typical: "It is an ironic thought that the last picture job I took—against my better judgment—yielded me five thousand dollars five hundred and cost over four thousand in medical attention."

@TJS - I’m torn between “Excuse me sirs, but this is a crossword blog,” and “Excuse me sirs but would you all please take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.” But I’ve been known to wax political so I won’t say anything. 😈

Anoa Bob 9:17 PM  

I did a double take when the clue for 1A "Sight in a graveyard" turned out to be HEAD. I thought "They do that there?" Oh, HEAD STONE. Never mind.

Maybe the reason why HEARTH STONE didn't get a "fireplace piece" type clue was that another themer COBBLE STONE (47D) was already clued similarly with "Quaint street material".

For those keeping score at home, there are three two for one POCs. That's where an Across and a Down share a final S that boosts both words' letter-counts and makes it easier to fill the grid. As others have noted, though, the WALL of themers does impose a higher than usual grid fill challenge.

Didn't we have SERRANO (42D) lately? It is indeed as clued a "Spicy Mexican pepper". It's a main ingredient in the Mexican salsa Pico de Gallo and it will kick your average taco up a notch or three. Pico de Gallo also works great as a dip. Very tasty.

JC66 9:39 PM  

Isn't it IRONCI!

Anonymous 10:15 PM  

I don't think you can complain about puzzles picking on alcoholics/over-drinkers and not decry the ubiquity of "Ale/Ales" clued to refer to some kind of beer I assume as well as all the oenophile and cocktail, spirits, and Rye cued to mean to the alcohol.

As someone who abstains from alcohol I find these offensive. And I gotta assume most (recovering) alcoholics don't need to slapped with the crossword continuously glorifying alcohol.

Tl/Dr: get over yourself you self-righteous prick :)

Joe Dipinto 11:07 PM  

If you replace the "I" in irony with "HE" and then scramble the letters, you get O. Henry. How ironic is that?
a. mildly ironic
b. extremely ironic
c. not the slightest bit ironic
d. this is literally the stupidest question on this test

Whites 11:38 PM  

@Another Anon 12:43
Consider this: The Democratic "leadership" is strongly opposed to investigating a recount of votes. And, this fraudulent election was engineered by a sitting U.S. Speaker of the House and supported by various Democratic congressman and supporters. This fraudulent tons of votes was totally OKAY with them. Got that?

albatross shell 1:16 AM  

Isn't the Fitzgerald quote you give actually pointing out an irony and not the coincidence?

He took a job he did not want to have because he wanted the money. The job caused medical problems that cost him 80% of what he earned. He would be better off not taking the job and not being sick. Irony.

Anonymous 10:31 PM  

You're right

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