Online initialism of rejoicing / TUE 6-1-21 / Figure skating biopic of 2017 / Part of the digestive system in brief / Mario's love interest in Super Mario games / Tech release of 2017

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Constructor: Finn Vigeland

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: BORE FRUIT (34A: Turned out successfully ... or what the parents of 16-, 19-, 52- and 57-Across did?) — fictional and real people whose last names are types of fruit:

Theme answers:
  • HALLE BERRY (16A: First African-American to win the Oscar for Best Actress)
  • PROFESSOR PLUM (19A: He might have done it with the candlestick in the study)
  • PRINCESS PEACH (52A: Mario's love interest in Super Mario games)
  • FIONA APPLE (57A: Pop star with the 1996 3x platinum album "Tidal")
Word of the Day: DUA LIPA (33D: Singer with the 2019 #2 hit "Don't Start Now") —
Dua Lipa (/ˈdə ˈlpə/Albanian: [ˈdua ˈlipa]; born 22 August 1995) is an English singer and songwriter. After working as a model, she signed with Warner Bros. Records in 2014 and released her eponymous debut album in 2017. The album peaked at number three on the UK Albums Chart, and yielded eight singles, including "Be the One", "IDGAF", and the UK number-one single "New Rules", which also peaked at number six in the US. The album has achieved platinum status worldwide. At the 2018 Brit Awards, Lipa won for British Female Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act. [...] Her 2019 single "Don't Start Now" peaked at number two in the UK and US, and number four on the US Hot 100 year-end chart. It would become the most successful 2020 song by a female artist in the US. [...] Her second studio album, Future Nostalgia (2020), received critical acclaim and earned her six Grammy nominations, including Album of the YearRecord of the Year and Song of the Year. It became her first UK number-one album, with four top-ten singles including "Physical" and "Break My Heart". In 2021, Lipa was included on Time'100 Next list about the future 100 most influential people in the world. She won for British Female Solo Artist and British Album of the Year at the 2021 Brit Awards. (wikipedia)
• • •

The basics of the theme are pretty unremarkable. Last names = fruit. The names have no relation to each other, and two of them are fictional, but they're names, fine. So, four fruit names. Not terribly exciting. Also, one of the fruits is more a fruit type. If you offer me an apple, a plum, or a peach, I'll either say yes or no (probably yes). If you offer me a berry, I'll ask "what kind?" I can picture the other three fruits, but BERRY is just a blurry mash of all the possible kinds of berries. But let's say, sure, berry, go ahead, you can be in this club. The problem with the theme is not the theme set, it's the revealer, which is chalkboard-scratch grating. My minor, inconsequential, matter-of-taste issue with it is I just don't like the way it sounds. I keep saying it out loud and it sounds awful. I think the past tense-ness of it is making it seem less stand-alone worthy than BEAR FRUIT would be. But that's just my ears freaking out—not a flaw per se. The flaw is the somewhat creepy biological angle here, the fact that our attention is directed not toward the answers but toward their ... parents? ... doing it? ... and then the mothers physically giving birth to babies? Never mind that two of the names are fictional and, seriously, does PROFESSOR PLUM even have parents? I don't know. But now I'm being asked to imagine his parents procreating? What in the world? The exclusionary, biologically-determined definition of parenting here is really off-putting. But mainly my point is none of this had to be. You had a fruit name theme. It might've worked, somehow. But that revealer is a thud. The clue on it is tortured and it asks me to go places, mentally, I have no interest in going. Not too happy about the stray fruit in the puzzle, either (4D: Cantaloupes and such = MELONS).


On the plus side, it's very very easy. The grid overall is fairly smooth and has some sparkly moments (TAQUITO TRUMPET!). And the theme answers themselves are colorful (!) all on their own. As usual, if there's any real difficulty today, it's gonna come with the names. Knew them all, though forgot which fruit the Super Mario princess was, so had let the crosses remind me. Also had a weird moment where I couldn't remember which part of HALLE BERRY's last name was -E and which was -Y. My brain seriously went "are you sure it's not HALLY BERRE!?" This is the second day in a row I've seen DUA LIPA in a puzzle. I've listened to her 2020 album Future Nostalgia, watched a "Song Exploder" (Netflix) episode about her, but I still couldn't get her name from this clue (33D: Singer with the 2019 #2 hit "Don't Start Now"). I know her name way way better than any one song title, so even though "Don't Start Now" was a big hit, it didn't register. You should expect to see her name, and name parts (DUA, LIPA), a lot now. She's a vowel-heavy 7, and, when you break her name apart, you've got two previously unusable and probably irresistible bits of short fill. Either way, she's gonna be around a while.


Thought the Heidi author was SPYRO despite having just looked at a copy of this book in our house (me: "throw away?" wife: "No!"). Is the puzzle corporately winking at us by driving IMACPRO (40D: Tech release of 2017) through APPLE? I can't say I'm a big fan of corporate winking. Do people still use FTW!? (short for "For the win!") (36D: Online initialism of rejoicing). Filled that in and realized I hadn't seen it in years and years. Feels very '09 (no idea what happened that year, it just sounds right). Hardest answer for me was GIFTS because it's inaccurate (28D: ESP and photographic memory, for two). I think the concept of "photographic memory" is disputed (wikipedia: "true photographic memory has never been demonstrated to exist"), but even if it's real, I *know* ESP is bullshit, so you cannot call something a "gift" if No One Possesses It. YUK. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

83 comments:

Frantic Sloth 6:26 AM  

Either I've become overly sensitized to it, or the PPP levels lately have been consistently higher than average.
And it's starting to rankle.

So...four FRUIT names: 2 fictional, 2 real. Okay, I don't care that there's a mix here. I just don't care.

Can't muster much energy (positive or negative), except to wonder what the actual PPP percentage is. @Z?

GIT RACT is not a nice thing to say to somebody.

🧠.5
🎉🎉

Joaquin 6:38 AM  

Historical Note: Today, June 1, 2021 @Rex becomes the first guy in the history of the world to be put off by the idea of Professor PLUM's mom and dad doing it.

Lewis 6:39 AM  

Just when I’m starting to think that returning to a movie theater isn’t that far away, along comes this entertaining creation that reminded me of so many films I’ve loved:
• Rocky Horror Picture Show
• Back To The Future (and Marty McFly in particular)
• I, Tonya (filled with wit, plus the wondrous skill of Allison Janney)
• Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and The Royal Tenenbaums from Wes Anderson

Throw in a theme whose reveal gave me an LOL, plus several answers more than usual on a Tuesday that I needed crosses for, and I left this grid buoyant, Singin’ In The Rain. Wow, and thank you Finn!

Anonymous 6:40 AM  

How did Tina Fey get into this?

SouthsideJohnny 6:45 AM  

Wow, was that SE section ever a tough field to plow for a Trivia-challenged solver like me - PRINCESS PEACH right on top of FIONA APPLE, with crosses bringing you MCFLY, DUA LIPA, IMAC PRO, and even Amy POEHLER. I feel lucky to have escaped from that section relatively unscathed.

Rex seems more and more desperate (and actually, a bit pathetic) in his daily search for something, anything to criticize - not sure what he is even talking about with the parents “doing it” comments, but he sounds creepy, and to be honest, just a little bit LOCO.

fkd 6:46 AM  

There once was a puzzler from Nantucket, who put all his fruit in a bucket. I was going to write a review, but then I decided to chuck it.

pabloinnh 6:57 AM  

Saw the FRUIT theme coming after BERRY and PLUM, but ran into Mr. Revealer right in the middle of everything, where he just does not belong. I don't think I would have guessed PEACH and APPLE were coming, having never played the video game or listened to any of "Tidal", but that's just me.

I'm also unfamiliar with DUALIPA and was hoping it was some kind of double IPA that I might try. Really like those.

Also discovered that DRUMSET and TRUMPET share lots of letters. At least CRUMPET was not a possibility.

Nice little Tuesdecito, FV. Wonder if you got a Few Votes for POW.

Max D 7:04 AM  

38 down. “Part” of the digestive system . What else is there if the GI tract is the whole bit, from the mouth to the anus? (Wikipedia)

Nancy 7:09 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kitshef 7:15 AM  

Nice, tight theme. Would have been fun to work in Princess Tomato (another video game thing) to throw in a technically-but-not-normally-recognized-as-a-fruit.

SPYRI sure looks like an error, and crossing that with WII and WARP (as clued) on a Tuesday seems like asking for trouble. I bet someone won’t be able to keep their IRE PENT about that.

OffTheGrid 7:28 AM  

@Max D. I had the same thought. Then I realized that the liver, pancreas, and gall bladder are parts of the digestive system but are apart from the GITRACT.

Joe Dipinto 7:30 AM  

Bea Hero's parents bore a sandwich.

A Moderator 7:31 AM  

Spoilers of yesterday’s puzzle should be avoided at at the very least have alerts.

Barbara S. 8:10 AM  

I thought the theme WAS fine and I WAS very self-congratulatory about easily getting PRINCESS PEACH. (I’m super-unversed in Super Mario characters, although I did finally memorize Yoshi, the dinosaur.) In addition to the fruit angle (and I couldn’t decide whether MELONS was a theme-strengthening feature or a bug), I thought the puzzle was a riot of color. To the themers, you can add AQUA and (AXL) ROSE. Loved LEAPT AT and I REPENT one on top of the other – sounds like an interesting story. I got nostalgic when I hit Johanna SPYRI – I haven’t thought about Heidi in decades. To be honest, it wasn’t a children’s book that left a particularly deep impression on me (except that I understood about missing mountains when we moved away from B.C.). I’m scratching my head at Rex’s BORE FRUIT rant. Seems fine to me.

I liked WARS crossing WARP and BE A HERO crossing JEDI. I liked the DOE-ODE-ORE trio. We had AMA and HOG, reminiscent of the famous “First Lady of Texas” (Ima Hogg). I learned the term “supervocalic” and the singer DUA LIPA. It’s always great to see the happy-go-lucky (but subversive) FIGARO.

Good news! There’s a guest-quoter today. Many thanks to @Whatsername for this passage by HENRY BESTON, born June 1, 1888.

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they moved finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.
(From The Outermost House, 1928)

pmdm 8:21 AM  

Frantic Sloth: Trust me, you are not overly sensitized to it. Not often that I stop solving a puzzle, but the PPP drained me so much that I muttered that I don't enjoy trivia contests and stopped solving. Those for whom the PPP lies in their wheelhouse (like Sharp it would seem) will find this puzzle very easy. Good for them, but not good for me.

Regardless, I will still ignore today's cryptogram puzzle since I am not partial to those types of puzzles.

TheMadDruid 8:22 AM  

Rex is weird.

Z 8:27 AM  

Happy June everyone. I hope you had a wonderful June Eve.
Most of the time I at least understand where Rex is coming from even if I don’t agree with his conclusions, but today’s rift on not wanting to think about people having sex is just a little weird. Unless you are here via IVF your parents had sex. And even if you are here via IVF, your parents probably tried sex before deciding they needed IVF. And if you were adopted both your parents and your real parents probably all had sex (though probably not all together). And yeah yeah, your “real parents” are the people who raised you, yada yada yada, but that’s not the only way the word is used. For example, Merriam-Webster has one who begets or brings forth for 1A and who brings up and cares for for 1B. The clue is fine as is, and yes, people arrive via sex, and most people don’t spend a lot of time when a baby arrives pondering the notion that mom and dad got busy and that’s why the little one now needs their diaper changed. Anyway, weird.

Having said all that, @Joaquin - he’s probably not the first.

@Joe Dipinto - I again wonder where @chefbea has been. I never knew her last name was HERO but it makes sense.

@Anon 6:40 - This will probably be the tenth answer to your question, but none appear as I type. That’s not Tina Fey, that’s Liz Lemon.

@Frantic Sloth - PPP comes in at 27 of 76 for 36%, so your PPP SpideySense is spot on. And, yes, the paid product placement excess from Tim Cook’s company is reaching new highs.
(PPP is Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns - over 33% gives some subset of solvers difficulties)

Speaking of, FIONA APPLE has made music since 1996 and her latest got lots of plaudits from critics.

albatross shell 8:35 AM  

Should Rex have kept his IRE PENT concerning PLUM's parents? Are lecturers allowed to make fun of ancient full professors with tenure?

What is Tina Fey doing in there? Probably being Rex's blind guess or alt-answer for 41D?

Thanks for the limerick, @fdk.

Knew all the movie answers. But SPYRI DUAL IPA not at all. Slow learner. SE gets a POW award for best PPP Knot.

How can PRINCESS PEACH get any sleep with that PEA near the end of her name? Did she wed BEA HERO?

Overall, managed to be a fun Tuesday.

G. Weissman 8:37 AM  

When your themers are a set of proper nouns don’t have your downs include a slew of individuals’ names as well. This puzzle is a disastrous collection of proper names. EEK and YUK indeed.

Keith D 8:39 AM  

Because Rex thought he knew who Amy Poehler is.

Son Volt 8:39 AM  

Harmless puzzle with a cute theme but I agree with @Frantic 6:26a regarding the recent trivia spike. AXL ROSE and MCFLY were a little scrabbly. Liked the doubled up AA in 57a.

Not a lot of spark - but a decent Tuesday solve.

bocamp 8:40 AM  

Thx Finn; enjoyed your creation! Nice crunchy Tues. puz. :)

Med solve.

Good start in the NW, down and around, ending up with SPYRI.

More or less on Finn's wavelength on this one; finished without any hitches.

Tell Mama ~ Etta James
___


yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Carola 8:43 AM  

I'm with @Lewis 6:39 on an LOL at the reveal - I thought the theme hit the spot for just-right zany. I'm acquainted with PRINCESS PEACH and FIONA APPLE only through previous puzzles, but PROFESSOR PLUM and I are old chums, my having often pursued him through the conservatory and library, so it was fun to encounter him again. A treat of a Tuesday.

More help from previous puzzles: BAE, AMA. No idea: TAQUITO, FTW.

@pablonh 6:57 - I also parsed DUAL IPA for the two-(wom)an band, but then saw we already had IPA as part of a trio with IPO and IPS.

@Barbara S. 8:10 - I, too, wondered about those MELONS hanging from the rafters.... And @Whatsername - This morning very early I observed a squirrel in our yard, undisturbed at the quiet hour, leisurely I-can-only-call-it grazing, so different from the usual high-alert, pre-dart state I usually see them in. Your quote was such a nice complement.

Tori S 8:44 AM  

I got I MAC PRO entirely from crosses and context. I'm pretty up to date on Tech (it's literally my job) and I don't really see that release as momentous, or associated with a particular year...

Joe Dipinto 9:07 AM  

Not only do we have gratuitous MELONS, what about the Aro family? Don't they get credit for bearing FIG?

Heads-up for solvers: Dua Lipa won the Best New Artist Grammy in 2019. She may get clued accordingly in the future.

RooMonster 9:11 AM  

Hey All!
Dang Rex, how did you have a daughter if the thought of procreation gives you the heebie-jeebies? Or is it just others' procreation that gets you upset? Also, being woke, how can you call DUA LIPS a she? What if "she" doesn't identify as a "she"?

Rex bashing aside, I liked this puz. Simple theme, I'm sure a fruit theme has been done before, but this one was nice. Stacked themers are always neat. Tough to get clean Downs when your themers are sandwiched together. So I can forgive the name-heaviness.

Could've clued MELONS as Slang for breasts, or somesuch. Before you get offended by that, think how many women spend how much money to get them enhanced. And then get mad when men ogle them. As guys, we can't help but look. Maybe if one was gender fluid...

W heavy North Center. Almost a pangram. Missing V, Z. Try harder next time, Finn. 😁

We get IPA, and DUAL IPA. Someone is thirsty. (Or drunk.) YUK YUK. (Really wanted HAR there!)

Four F's
RooMonster
DarrinV

albatross shell 9:16 AM  

@Z
Liz Lemon?
Oh my. I liked my explanation, but I never watched an entire episode of 30 Rock. Never knew her character's name.

Birchbark 9:21 AM  

DUAL IPA -- It's a little early, but I appreciate the thought.

A priest who was a close friend of our family liked to wear purple SOCKs with Birkenstocks. When his time came twenty or so years ago, the bishop respected his wishes and that is how he was laid to rest -- in a simple alb, purple SOCKs and Birkenstocks. Of course, he would be the first to agree it never would have worked with flip-flops.

The grid shape looked more choppy than the solve, which today was fluid.

Nancy 9:27 AM  

I re-posted this morning something I wrote on yesterday's blog-- very late yesterday, after 11 p.m. -- that I'm quite sure most of you missed. It's from my new musical based on yesterday's puzzle subject. It was deleted. I imagine the mod deleted it because he thought it gave away yesterday's puzzle. I urge you to please go to yesterday's blog and read it there. It's much more fun than what I'm going to write about today's puzzle.

Today's puzzle: DUALIPA was a big "Huh." Luckily I knew Marty MCFLY and I TONYA. I didn't like IPA and IPO in the same puzzle. I didn't know FTW. I never heard of TAQUITO and mixed it up with fajitas. The names didn't crush me but there were too many of them for me to really like the puzzle.

JD 9:33 AM  

Don't say it ... don't say it.

This puzzle was the pits! I don't mean that, just couldn't resist. This thing had appeal.

Rex missed the other themer, Fig Aro. Italian opera singer, a contemporary of Louis Prima. @JoeD, he had a bit part Big Night.

Wes Anderson made all my favorite movies with the exceptions of a few from the Cohen brothers. Wouldn't a collaboration there be something? Extreme pastel violence.

@Lewis, do you think Owen Wilson's yellow jumpsuit in Bottle Rocket was meant to signify that he was Bananas? You probably don't see Banana showing up as someone's name because it'd make 'em seem Loco.

Spyri/Warp gave me pause at the start. Other than that, easy.

EdFromHackensack 9:40 AM  

MELONS crossing HALLEBERRY did not go unnoticed

TJS 9:42 AM  

Been puzzle-less and Rex-less for 10 days so I come back to what I thought was an excellent Tuesday effort. And also to the sense that OFL is seriously needing a break from this daily grind. This is not crossword review. It's more like a cry for psychiatric help.
(Either that or he is hoping that everyone gets the joke).

What? 9:42 AM  

What a horror! Names, names, names, and all theme fills no less. It could be an example of what not to do for a NYT Crossword. Where’s the wit, the wordplay, anything else?Even this corny fill is better -
Nevil Shute’s ode to fruit -
On the Peach

Brainpan 9:44 AM  

You don't get it? It's fruit, and a BORE. Even the constructor didn't like it.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Biologically-determined definition of parenting? Ugh. Get help Rex. Really.

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

Never heard of that obscure singer Dual Ipa; cute naming one's self after an alcoholic beverage.

Eidetic memory is real, and differs from the common notion of photographic memory, in that it's the ability to recall the events of one's personal experience. Not quite the same thing. teeVee show about that: 'Unforgettable', with Marilu Henner (with such a memory) as consultant.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

had to wait on crosses, since there's also the IpAd PRO. why do they do such things?

burtonkd 10:43 AM  

Where there's fruit, Fruit (Mc)Flies can't be far behind.

@anon 10:13, I could have sworn the ipad pro came out after the imac. Not my favorite "put in 2 letters and wait for the other 2" clue.

So glad I suffered through watching much of the Grammys this year (in an increasingly futile effort to stay current) to discover the lovely and talented DUALIPA. Watching Megan Thee Stallion's set with the whole family was an uncomfortable cringe-fest for everyone.

I thought 38D had to start with GUT... Answer sounds more like military housing.

mathgent 10:45 AM  

Twenty-four Terrible Threes and consequently not a single long down. Two columns had the maximum four of the little brats.

One of the joys of my recent week in Las Vegas was dressing in shorts, tees, and flip-flops every morning. I wore thin white socks to protect my delicate doggies.

Jeff Chen raised his eyebrows at CRAPPY. It hasn't been in the puzzle before. We use it a lot out here.



Piano Phil 11:00 AM  

I feel ya, Rex. You kinda slipped into that rabbit hole of visualizing Mama Plum in labor, at the height of her fruit-bearing years, with the professor-to-be slowly emerging into the world, din’t ya? It’s OK, I’m sure we all did.

jae 11:00 AM  

Easy. Pretty good Tues. Liked it.

DUA LIPA was just barely on my radar, a semi-WOE. Turns out she was on Colbert a few years back which is probably why the very vague familiarity.

Unknown 11:02 AM  

No, it's because her character's name is "Liz Lemon" - another potential entry in the theme set.

George 11:03 AM  

just chiming in to say:

1. i got professor plum and princess peach before the other themers, so i was CERTAIN this was a fictional-characters-with-P-names theme... which led me to think of Penelope Pitstop for the first time in quite a while!!

2. this time around, i agree with our resident cranks -- i don't think that this puzzle is particularly exclusionary or objectionable... and i am a proud, millennial graduate of what Bill O'Reilly once called "The University of Havana-North". i imagine there are a lot of people who found today to be pretty harmless that found the mothers' day puzzle to be pretty horrible; if we treat all of this as the same, then i don't blame the people who accuse us of doing exactly that. let's keep our powder dry, folks.

albatross shell 11:11 AM  

Went back to read @Nancy's post from yesterday. Excellent start. Nicely risqué. Will it be continued? I thought you might have done a variation on A Little Tin Box. I know I couldn't. But I love that song.

Discovered I never read several hours of comments. Did we ever get an answer to @DeeJay 715am question? 5 letter name, sounds like 3-letters?

Also did not understand the continuous objections to the clash of the titans clue. The answer was well-explained several times.

GILL I. 11:14 AM  

The FRUITS of my labor include hiring a new law firm...it's called HTTP PSA IPA WII IPO FTW IPS AMA and SNL. I thought long and hard because I also considered CRAPPY, DUALIPA, PROFESSOR PLUM and PRINCESS PEACH.
I simply won't PILE IN on the BORE discussion; I can't unsee TRUMP ET and felt PEACH needed a little "IM" in front of it.
What did I like? TAQUITO LOCO.

Anoa Bob 11:17 AM  

I had no chance with this one. I finally threw in the towel in the SE corner. So many names. And what the heck does 40D I'M A C PRO mean? I did EEK out a half-hearted YUK when GI TRACT was followed by CRAPPY.

Anoa Bob 11:23 AM  

Oops. Forgot to mention that I learned how a SOCK can be worn with a flip flop while living in Japan. They even make their SOCKS with the material already drawn in between the big toe and the others. With regular SOCKs just simulate that by pushing the material in at the same place. Works great.

Malsdemare 11:40 AM  

Well, I mispelled HAiLEBERRY and I wanted AXeLROSE so that northwest corner was a slog. Rex's riff on being triggered by BORE FRUIT was frankly over-the-moon looney. I get that maybe, possibly, you'd perhaps once in a blue moon associate bearing fruit with human sex, but I'm having trouble seeing it. I think of bearing fruit as have an idea finally get executed. Now does executed there make you think of firing squads, gas chambers, the Holocaust? If I'd said, that the idea blossomed, is that sex! Good grief. Please, god, let me get off this crazy merry-go-round.

@Barbara, your lovely quote evoked the book I'm reading, "A Most Remarkable Creature." Jonathon Meiburg makes a similar point and takes us back to the early days of Pangaea to do it.

For those who keep track, we had another case of force relocation of a possum, this time a mommy and four babies. Rose the malamute was positive that mom wanted to emigrate to the indoors and so helped her along. This possum rodeo was a lot easier than the last mommy-plus-babies rodeo. Maybe it was all those children; she seemed relieved that she didn't have to trudge back outdoors but got wrapped in a cozy towel and gently transported to the woods. For those who haven't heard of our many possum immigrants, they are never injured. I guess Rose just wants her own pet to love.

I saw Finn's name on the puzzle today and smiled. I usually enjoy his work and today was no exception. A lot of names, a few I didn't know, but I was ultimately successful.

Whatsername 11:42 AM  

Wow! Mixed reactions here. Perfectly nice theme and revealer but my goodness if you’re going base your theme solidly on proper names and pop culture, you might think about not using quite so much of it in your fill. I don’t mean to SLAM but at qa certain point it just becomes tiresome.

SE corner was like trying to crack a PEACH pit. Did not know the Mario character at 52A or the singer at 33D and had IPAD at 40D. Not a fan of FIONA APPLE’s style. YUK. Seems like an acquired taste. It would be LOCO to try wearing a SOCK with a flip-flop. Yeah I think you mean a sandal. And why only one?

Well I TRIED.

Malsdemare 11:45 AM  

@Nancy from yesterday. That is very clever, please continue!

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

@Anoa Bob:

Isn't there some scenes in at least one of the Bond films, set in Japan of course, where the Geishas wear socks in their zoris? That's what we woke folk called them in Havana-North country in the 60s. Because that's what they're called in Japan. Culturally accurate, not like today when so much of the population rejects anything that isn't fish belly white. Boo hoo.

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

wiki to the rescue:
"Regardless of variety, zōri are almost always worn with tabi socks."

Take that @Whatsername. :) No, it ain't LOCO, but does comfort the locomotion.

chance2travel 11:52 AM  

I agree with Rex on ESP, which means I threw down mythS for 28D. JEDI at 32A set me straight.

albatross shell 11:53 AM  

@Malsdemare1140am
Me too, on both misspellings.

Anon 6:40 12:04 PM  

@Z. Thanks for the education on Liz Lemon. It makes sense now of course. Did not watch 30 Rock so didn't know that character name

offbrand 12:11 PM  

I was able to get the theme without thinking about sex, so I think that’s a Rex problem....

Whatsername 12:21 PM  

@Barbara (8:10) I had almost forgotten about sending you that. I liked it even better the second time around.

@Malsdemere (11:40) Thanks for the book recommendation. I just put it on reserve at the library. I find I learn so much from observing the different creatures. I had a great aunt who used to say “We e are the dumb animals.”

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

I can't believe Rex didn't comment on IPO, IPA, and IPS being in the same puzzle. I ended up second-guessing what should have been easy because it seemed too weird unless they were part of the themer somehow. The epitome of lazy fill to me!

Karl Grouch 12:50 PM  

ITO NYA's parents bore a meowing judge

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

Have to agree on the insufficiently specific BERRY, and now I wish the puzzle could have found room for Darryl Strawberry (though it would have to go 16 wide for that).

Teedmn 1:02 PM  

So I got this great inspiration from the grid when I was able to parse out DUAL IPA as a cute play on the two IPAs in the grid and decided to write about it. But first, Ctrl-F, only to find that five other comments reference it already. Geez, people, I finally get a good idea and you won't even let me own it? Har.

SHH or Ssh = Aah or Ahh. I never know which it should be so 12A, "Placed a curse on" was briefly sEXED. Oops.

Thank you, Rex, for letting me know what the FTW initialism stands for. My version in no way resembles rejoicing.

Bonus fruit FIGaro.

Finn Vigeland, thanks for the entertaining Tuesday.

Teedmn 1:05 PM  

Kudos to @Nancy for her lyrics for the proposed musical based on yesterday's theme answer. Very fun!

Karl Grouch 1:16 PM  

One way to avoid MELONS is BELONG. Of course, you should then have a SLAB of a margin to tolerate PASG, inflatable trousers and all.

Master Melvin 1:45 PM  

I have long held that when the theme involves proper names, the constructor should be judicious in the use of additional proper names. Instead we get about about 15 additional names, including the double Natick in the SE. Throw in about 7 initialisms and you get a real ugh of a puzzle.

Unknown 2:17 PM  

Lol! Need your levity after the scathing(?)review. I'm having fun. Thanks.

Unknown 2:18 PM  

Thanks for the laugh. The review was scathingly (?) surprising.

Unknown 2:19 PM  

Love you! Smart!

Lewis 2:29 PM  

@JD -- Hadn't thought about that, but it makes sense!

jberg 2:39 PM  

Well, I learned something today. Though familiar with the movie, I'd never seen Harry Lime's name in writing -- so until Rex posted him, I'd always thought it was Lyme (like the town in Connecticut with the marina). But he's one letter too short to sub for HALLE BERRY.

@AnoaBob beat me to it with tabi; the clue should have said "except in Japan." But here's a photo.

@teedmn, me too for a different meaning of FTW.

I really thought I wasn't going to finish this namefest, but somehow FIONA APPLE came to me -- just as a name, I had no idea what she sang--and that was enough. I liked the theme and the revealer, but almost got smothered by the PPP.

barryevans 2:57 PM  

thanks OFL for calling out ESP

Newboy 3:09 PM  

Sour grapes for today’s fruit salad

albatross shell 3:19 PM  

SPY RI Is Rye NY's sister town. Z is starting a franchise there. He needs a manager. Not Me.

Madame Avenir 3:28 PM  

@Barry E. I knew you were going to say that.

sixtyni yogini 3:35 PM  

And @ Rex- in addition to MELON - don’t forget FIGaro.
🤗

Aunt L 4:53 PM  

If ever a puzzle made me feel ancient and out of it, this was the one. Names I'll never care to know, crossed by more names for the pop followers of today and clues from games I'll never play. I got the fruit theme but the evanescence of so many clues crossing each other made me go YUK.

OTOH...ESP is a gift. Sorry to hear you don't have an inkling of it.

Aelurus 5:10 PM  

The PPP won today. I didn’t have the patience to track down the error so did a grid check and found that correcting the errant square in the skater’s name makes TONYA not Tanya and the rocker is AXL ROSE not Axl Rase (okay, Rase might have been a clue, but again, no patience this morning). I might remember for next time, maybe. I did remember DUA LIPA, having learned it via crossword only a few weeks (months?) ago, though at first I couldn’t stop parsing it as “Dual Lips,” even though there was an extra letter to squeeze in...but could have been a singer.

@Barbara S. yesterday afternoon – I wish I had a photo of that pose! Every time I came back with the camera Suri would be up on the windowsill or sitting placidly on the bed giving me a wide-eyed inquiring look. She grew out of the meerkat pose in her not-at-all-terrible second year. Love your clever “cat scan” take on it. :) Your Lex’s fun with her tail sounds just like Suri, who will sometimes bank herself off the wall to make a surprise twisty grab at it (rates a 9+ on that gymnastic scale). Yes, cats are the best and, I think, aptly described along with other nonhuman animals “caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth”—thanks, guest quoter @Whatsername, for today's thoughts!

Anoa Bob 5:24 PM  

jberg @2:39 PM, I will occasionally were socks with my flip flops here in the good old USA. I just pull some cloth out away from my toes and then tuck that loose cloth back between my big toe and the others. No need for the custom made split-toed socks. It's perfect for days that are too cool for bare feet and flip flops but not cold enough for shoes.

I'm not sure why the split toed style is so popular in Japan. I just checked out some images of Samurai in traditional garb and most of them are also wearing them. I still have a pair of scuba diving boots with split toes that I got when I was in Okinawa.

Z 6:22 PM  

@Malsdemare - HAiLE
HALLE
I can see why one might be confused. 😉

Malsdemare 6:30 PM  

Oh Z, you're too funny. I knew exactly who I wanted and it sure wasn't a petty dictator. I just can't spell my way out of a paper bag. I blame it on all the student papers I graded over the years with their incredible creativity. (My favorite was the reporter who won the pullet surprise.)

Yeah, Halle Berry is stunning! Haile? Not so much.

Anonymous 9:02 PM  

9:57 am-Biologically-determined definition of parenting? Ugh. Get help Rex. Really..... I think Rex has an adopted child which would explain this, but yeah, always walking on eggshells with this guy

Unknown 9:24 PM  

"The exclusionary, biologically-determined definition of parenting here is really off-putting."

Wow, and we wonder why Trump attracts so many folks . . . . .

As for the puzzle, I'm with those who thought there were too many names. And ETTA James is overused, IMHO.

Aelurus 11:52 PM  

@Malsdemare 6:30 pm - the reporter with the "pullet surprise" - seriously too funny!

Hungry Mother 8:02 AM  

Had CHERRY, then erased it, then put it back when I saw the theme. Very nice mid-week challenge. Definitely thought it was Thursdayish. Lots of fun filling out the perimeter.

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