Part of a religious title that means ocean / SUN 6-27-21 / 1966 Donovan hit / 1968 self-titled folk album / Cal's game-winning kickoff return against Stanford in 1982, familiarly / It's covered in paint in the Sherwin-Williams logo / Homemade headgear for pretend pirates / Pesach observers

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Constructor: Ross Trudeau and Lindsey Hobbs

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (untimed)

THEME: "Gravity's Rainbow" — colors of the rainbow turn downward (because of gravity?) inside of otherwise Across theme answers. Plus, it's hard to see this the way the colors are situated in the grid, but if you read them from L to R, they do follow the correct rainbow order:

Theme answers:
  • THE RED PLANET (95A: Mars)
  • BLOOD ORANGE (56A: Fruit with crimson-colored flesh)
  • MELLOW YELLOW (39A: 1966 Donovan hit)
  • EVERGREEN TREE (6A: Spruce or fir)
  • OL' BLUE EYES (43A: Sinatra, to fans)
  • INDIGO GIRLS (60: Popular folk rock duo)
  • ULTRA-VIOLET RAYS (100A: Harmful bits of sunlight)
Word of the Day: LYDIA Ko (64D: Golf's ___ Ko, youngest golfer to be ranked #1) —

Lydia Ko MNZM (born 24 April 1997) is a Korean-born New Zealand professional golfer. A former No. 1-ranked woman professional golfer, she achieved the top ranking on 2 February 2015 at 17 years, 9 months and 9 days of age, making her the youngest player of either gender to be ranked No. 1 in professional golf.

Ko has had much success from an early age holding many youngest accolades on the LPGA Tour. She was the youngest person ever to win a professional golf tour event and youngest person ever to win an LPGA Tour event. In August 2013, she became the only amateur to win two LPGA Tour events. Upon winning The Evian Championship in France on 13 September 2015, she became the youngest woman, at age 18 years, 4 months and 20 days, to win a major championship. Her closing round of 63 was a record lowest final round in the history of women's golf majors, but she lowered that record to 62 at the ANA Inspiration in 2021. She had previously won the ANA Inspiration on 3 April 2016 for her second consecutive major championship, where she also became the youngest player to win two women's major championships. Since turning professional in 2014, Ko has won 15 tournaments. In 2014, Ko was named as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people. In both 2014 and 2015, Ko has been named in the EspnW Impact25 list of 25 athletes and influencers who have made the greatest impact for women in sports.

In 2016, Ko was named  Young New Zealander of the Year, and in the 2019 New Year Honours, she was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to golf.

• • •

There are two interesting features of this theme. One is the title / downward turn of the colors, and the other is the fact that the colors do, in fact, make a rainbow, if you "read" them in order L to R. Beyond that it's pretty paint-by-numbers, a variant of a theme I've seen a thousand times (well, a few times). I got to this point in the puzzle and thought it might be (yet another) rainbow rebus ...

... but it surprised me with the whole downward turn thing, so that's cool. Still, the colors are just colors, and once you get the gimmick (early, easily), there's not much going on here. The themers themselves are straightforward. It's all a bit BLAH, if not a total BORE. I just call EVERGREEN TREEs "evergreens," so the TREE part felt redundant ... and generally the colors were so literal (his eyes are in fact blue, the planet does indeed appear red, etc.) that there just wasn't much flair or surprise here. The rainbow is kind of Pride-ish, though, and since it's Pride Month, I guess that's a nice coincidence. Maybe I'll just enjoy it at that level. Yes, that works.

There were no real tough spots today, though I never really committed the song title "JAI HO" to memory (89A: Oscar-winning song from "Slumdog Millionaire"), so all those crosses were a bit dicey for me, with ON BAIL proving the most tenaciously resistant to completion (72D: Temporarily out). Also didn't know LYDIA Ko's name, but after the LYD- slid in there, the rest was easy to infer. Totally forgot LIT OUT was an actual expression, so I had LI- OUT and still no idea. LIP OUT is something a golf ball does on occasion, but you wouldn't say the golf ball "skedaddled" out of the cup, and anyway, LIP out is in the wrong verb tense. GRADATES is a weird verb (109A: Changes by degrees). Not sure I've ever seen it. "Gradated," sure. A rainbow is gradated! "Gradations," yup. But GRADATES as a verb feels less common. Nothing Wrong With It. Just looks/feels weird to my eyes/ears. Especially under DELIME, which I truly have never seen (105A: Remove calcium deposits from). Was prepared to be mad at RED ONION because it contains a color that does *not* turn down, but then the answer turned out to be RAW ONION, so: madness averted. I wrote in PLATE HATS (?) before PAPER HATS at 21A: Homemade headgear for pretend pirates, as I imagined the hats were somehow made out of ... paper plates, I guess. Not proud of that one. I actually had to think about whether it was CONGO or CONGA (71A: World's deepest river). Also not proud of that. Clue on RICH was good but tough (80D: Laughable). I wrote in "PFFT!" then took out "PFFT!" then finally wrote "PFFT!" back in. In other, completely coincidental news, I just watched the movie "PHFFFT!" for the first time this past week—it's a romantic comedy starring Jack Lemmon and Judy Holliday, who are one of the most underrated movie comedy pairs of all time (probably because they only did two movies together ("PHFFFT!" and "It Should Happen To You," both from 1954). Judy Holliday's movie career didn't last much longer, and she died of throat cancer in 1965. "Born Yesterday" (1950), for which Holliday won the Best Actress Oscar, is my favorite movie, no foolin'. Where was I? Oh, right. "PFFT!" I liked it because it reminded me of Judy and Jack.


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:01 AM  
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Z 12:02 AM  

Yeah Yeah, Pride Month, rainbow, gravity pulling the colors down, people having Pynchon flashbacks. But what I want to know is how one determines “deepest river.” It could be the river with the single deepest point, but deepest from where? Deepest below sea level? Deepest from river surface to bottom? And how do we know we haven’t missed the deepest point of some other river? Or is it deepest average depth? But then how often do you measure? Every inch? Every foot? Every meter? Every kilometer? Every Mile? My guess is that the frequency of measurement is going to change the “average,” and this isn’t even factoring in where exactly one measures. The middle? That might not always be the deepest point at any place along the river. Or is it just the river that is the deepest at its mouth? But the mouth is hardly the river so that doesn’t seem right. What, exactly makes the CONGO the world’s deepest river?

Z 12:05 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joaquin 12:13 AM  

My alma mater, the California Golden Bears, have a football history that, at best, can be called “spotty”. We last appeared in a Rose Bowl in 1959 (and we last won a Rose Bowl game in 1938}. But Golden Bears football will live forever in the ANNALS of college football because of the one play referenced today in 69-A.

If you haven’t seen THE PLAY, check it out here, as John Elway’s Stanford team (which just came back to take the lead with four seconds left) is stunned by Cal:

Ken Freeland 12:16 AM  

Thought it was too good to be true when the earlier part of the puzzle seemed to be about words for a change, and not PPP. Then came to a grinding halt in the "Indigo" section... those who have heard of Indigo Girls will not have much of a slog here, but as I had not, there was PPP running every which way from that mysterious answer, and I was hopelessly defeated, despite having thoroughly enjoyed the entire rest if the puzzle.

Nessa 12:22 AM  

I love "It Should Happen to You," one of my faves

jae 12:28 AM  

Easy- medium seems right. I got slightly hung up in the same area that @Rex did, but never came to a full stop. Fun, smooth, and breezy Sunday, liked it a bunch and Jeff at Xwordinfo gave it POW.

Z 12:36 AM  

@Ken Freeland - There’s more than one answer to these questions pointing me in a crooked line.

egsforbreakfast 12:48 AM  

I was the SERENEST I’ve been all day when I finished this. Doesn’t seem like a real-world word.

@Z. 12:02. I doubt that there are many people who could differentiate between the deepest river on average, below sea level, surface to bottom, every foot, every inch, etc. But I guarantee that nearly everyone who attempted this puzzle got CONGO without worrying about these nuances. Just saying that it’s a crossword, not a treatise.

Easy, but enjoyable Sunday for me.

okanaganer 12:57 AM  

I was stuck with PROTEGEES for ages. It seemed to work for LYDEA and possibly DALAE.

I wanted UVRAYS for 100 across, then when I got the correct un-abbrev'd version, I was struck by how friggin much longer it is. ULTRAVIOLETRAYS... count 'em, 15 letters vs 6. And it's only a partial abbrev.

I remember driving in rural Pennsylvania in a dense fog and braking behind an Amish in a 2 wheel horse drawn buggy, carrying a BUGGY WHIP I guess. He quickly placed an electric flashing lamp behind him (nice minimal use of technology!) I passed as safely as possible. Here in British Columbia we have quite a few Mennonites which are somewhat related. Old fashioned dress style, and definitely old fashioned work ethic. But no buggies.

ONCE other words, DAILY? The ONCE is really quite wholly entirely redundant.

Donovan made much better music than MELLOW YELLOW. Like the quite lovely Please Don't Bend.

Unprecedented hot weather here in western Canada. Check out the town of Lilloet (click the "F" below the temperature for degrees F). 113 F on Monday!

Jonathan Tomer 1:15 AM  

Not just left-to-right: if you squint a bit and ignore the lengths of the words, they even make an up-and-down rainbow shape. Of course, the colors in a real rainbow go in-to-out, not left-to-right, but hey, it's a crossword puzzle, not a science project.

Frantic Sloth 1:23 AM  

Reposting - thanks, @Z!

Ooooh! How pretty the finished (online) puzzle is! All colory and everything. I'm going out on a limb to guess Rex won't be as impressed...if at all.

Despite the tendency my EYES have for going all googly when they need to jump around mid-word, this theme wasn't a hardship because it still flowed. Maybe it was the left-right, top-down format. Whatever. I enjoyed it.

A lot of fill was not on my wavelength, but it was all gettable - just seemed to take me longer than average. But, then I see that I was 3 mins under my average. So... ?? It would appear that doing the puzzle consistently, every day for a year or so helped me improve. Anyway, that's what I'm telling myself.


Oscar-winning song from Slumdog Millionaire? Really? Thank heavens for crosses.

Originally read the clue to 35A (MRT) as "I-30 Down the fool" and thought "great - now I gotta know new slang that involves the interstate highway system??" Whatever it could possibly mean is beside the point, but maybe it shouldn't be. πŸ™„

Probably not gonna be the first or last to post this, but just in case... musically removing calcium deposits since 1971


Bruce Fieggen 1:33 AM  

Z @12:02. The Congo is the deepest river from surface to bottom. 220 meters at one point.

Joe Dipinto 1:35 AM  

At first I thought we were dealing with Annoyance Boxes – you know, wherein a bunch of letters are jammed into a single square. I put BLUE and INDIGO into Annoyance Boxes, only to discover that I had been cruelly tricked. Instead of Annoyance Boxes, the gimmick was going to be Surprise Detours.

The Surprise Detours, it turns out, only exist because the puzzle title, bogarted for some reason from a million-page novel, requires that something represent Gravity. I did pick up right away that the sagging, despondent colors were cleverly going be arranged from left-to-right in rainbow order, so I don't get what the big deal is about that (see also XWord Info).

Today's Diagramless was much *much* MUCH more satisfying. It even includes one of the rainbow colors.

Today's musical selection is from the movie "Fitzwilly", starring Dick Van Dyke and Barbara Feldon. Music by John Williams, lyrics by Alan & Marilyn Bergman. Sung by Vic Damone. (I like those two movies @Rex mentioned, btw.)

JD 1:54 AM  

Was onto the trick at Ol' Blue Eyes (which I think was Old Blue btw). After that it was a few pleasant jogs around the Evergreen Tree among the pretty colors, wearing a Paper Hat, somewhere in Rye.

Until the DNF at PHB Band Saw. Can't talk about it right now. It's too soon. Self-induced Natick.

Wouldn't it be funny to have an ice cream shop that used bra measurements for the Cup orders and numbered the flavors.

Sorry, had to distract myself to forget BHD.

Tried to read Gravity's Rainbow years ago and just couldn't. Maybe I'll give it another shot. It's been several decades.

@Z, 12:02 am, As to your last question on the Congo, I'm thinking it's the water. And I have a PHB in Riverine Biology. It's true.

Dan, the Man 2:18 AM  

I'm steamed! I put in a rebus and couldn't congrats so i revealed and then saw that those were my only errors that i put in a rebus. Hogwash

MyName 2:22 AM  

My question exactly. Probably a hydrographer would know the answer... and I probably will still not like it.

chefwen 2:26 AM  

How much fun was that, kids? Took me a little while to catch on, but when I did with EVER TREE I was off to the races to locate the rest of the rainbow. Puzzle partner contributed MELLOW YELLOW, which I had forgotten. OL BLUE EYES showed up, and I love BLOOD ORANGES, makes my mouth water just thinking of them. I have heard of the INDIGO GIRLS so that was another easy one as was the RED PLANET.

I really had a fun time with this.

As an aside, @GILL I, did you get my email?

JOHN X 3:52 AM  

Have you ever wanted to tell a girl that you loved her?

I love Andrea, Chelsea, Tracey 1, Tracey 2, Cindy, Cyndie, Jessica . . .

JayJayRMC 4:58 AM  

Two gripes - 25A - AZURE - doesn't that violate a sacrosanct rule of having a theme answer not be part of the theme? Heck, it's even clued as a *color*!
And then 108A - EELIER - that has to rank in the crossword pantheon of really, really bad answers.

JOHN X 5:03 AM  

. . . Dana, Jackie, Ramona, Alexandra (oh my goodness gracious what I would give to hold her in my arms again), Frances, Cristina, Moya, Gloria, Eileen, Eleanor, I already said Cindy but I'll say her again, Pamela . . .

JOHN X 5:57 AM  

. . . and then there was Emily, who was the most beautiful woman I have ever met. She was so out of my league, and oh so very beautiful. I shall utter her name on my death bed.

Lewis 6:25 AM  

Today’s answers woke up my sense of smell with that RAW ONION, my kinesthetic sense with imagining that HOT STONE massage, my hearing with my earworm of the phrase BUGGY WHIP which I’m going to replace the word “Camelot” with in that song from that show, and my sense of peace as I filled in SERENEST and PLACID. This is before my sense of sight was awakened, first, with picturing that Sherwin-Williams logo, then with being flooded with all those colors.

You filled up my senses, Ross and Lindsey, in this feast of a puzzle. Thank you so much!

Colin 6:39 AM  

A very pleasant, mostly-straightforward solve. Thank you, Ross and Lindsey.
If you color the theme answers, it adds to the effect - a rainbowish arc of answers. OLBLUEEYES started it all for me: Fitting, since I have a collection of Sinatra albums.

Son Volt 7:04 AM  

Cute theme and layout - but thought the overall clueing was flat. I think it just becomes so difficult to fill a Sunday sized grid. Liked ESOTERICA and CRIED WOLF. Not sure yet about SERENEST. No real pushback anywhere. If it was meant to celebrate pride - really liked the inclusion of Amy and Emily.

Started off as an enjoyable solve but dragged in the end.

Flying Pediatrician 7:22 AM  

VAs are not “military hospitals.” They are medical facilities for former active duty members, operated and funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs. They are woefully under-resourced, despite our obligation “to care for him who shall have borne the battle” (Lincoln). True military hospital are operated and funded through the healthy budget of the Department of Defense, are for current active duty service members, their dependents, and for full-career retirees. They are therefore well-resourced, world-class, academic/research medical facilities.

The civil-military gap is getting too wide …

amyyanni 7:23 AM  

Frank Sinatra and Donovan, two favorites, and a "colory" puzzle. I'm happy. Hope you are too.

bocamp 7:28 AM  

Thx Ross & Lindsey for a colorful Sun. puz! Very enjoyable. :)

Easy/med solve.

Good start in the NW, moved across to the NE, then worked my way down south.

No holdups or guesses along the way.

Ended up at the CASTLE, tho not sure why the light blue color (at least on my iPad)?

yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Barbara S. 7:38 AM  

Oooh, pretty colors looking back at me as I peruse the completed grid. And in the correct order, too. But never mind that, I’m just a sucker for those colorful squares. I thought at first we were dealing with a rebus and even started cramming color names into single squares until I realized that “Gravity” was making the colors dangle and answering the corresponding down clues at the same time. Impressive that four across answers cross two colors each – seems it must have taken superhuman constructing skills. I wasn’t sure about AZURE up there in the NE, crashing the party (hi, JayJayRMC). I don’t know how difficult it would have been to remove, but I think its disappearance would improve the puzzle. Gravity’s Rainbow is some book – I know that much of it went sailing over my head (if that isn’t too egregious a pun for a book about the development of the V-2 rocket). I wondered if there was going to be a secondary theme about the novel – answers like ESOTERICA, CONTROVERSIAL, GRADATES, EARTH seemed to fit, and weren’t there also KAZOOs all over the place in Gravity’s Rainbow? In the cold light of dawn, though, I think this supposed book theme is all in my head.

Roy G. Biv 7:42 AM  

One of the few mnemonics from elementary school that has stuck with me.

Barbara S. 7:43 AM  

Today there’s a poem by PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR, born June 27, 1872.


I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!

QUOTER’S NOTE (from Wikipedia): Dunbar’s poem was published in 1899. Maya Angelou titled her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), from the last line in "Sympathy" at the suggestion of jazz musician and activist Abbey Lincoln. Angelou said that Dunbar's works had inspired her "writing ambition." She returns to his symbol of a caged bird as a chained slave in some of her writing, referencing the metaphor throughout all of her autobiographies. Angelou wrote the poem "Caged Bird" in 1983 as a sequel to "Sympathy,” and the title of her sixth autobiography, A Song Flung Up to Heaven, was also inspired by the poem.

albatross shell 8:12 AM  

Take ONCE daily as opposed to twice or thrice. Not redundant. Informative? No confusion anyhow.

AZURE is a color, not a rainbow color? A legal out?

Wow. Very impressive nitpicking of deepest. Made me wonder if anyone has really climbed Mount Everest. 29,000 plus feet above sea level. Anyone start at sea level?

pabloinnh 8:12 AM  

Filled in EVERGREEN, found that I needed TREE to make things work, figured gravity was dragging the colors down, and proceeded apace, feeling extra smart on a Sunday morning.

My worst slow down was trying to think of a word that ended in DIGIES. That took a while. Also reading "message" in the "massage" clue. Had a HOT something or other and was trying to think of some kind of steamy message. Uh, no.

Liked seeing ODDJOBS, not because of the Bond movie, but because a friend of mine had a repair business in town called Will's Job Shop, a name I always liked.

I can say that I read all the words in Gravity's Rainbow, and even understood several paragraphs, but I've done enough bragging for this morning.

Thought this was an above average Sundecito with impressive construction. Thanks for all the fun, RT and LH. This was a Real Treat that gave me a Legal High.

kitshef 8:27 AM  

Just … WOW!

That is as good a theme and execution of it as you’ll see. It is the occasional wonder like this that makes puzzling so fun.

Only nit is having AZURE in the grid. Well, I guess some of the short fill is pretty junky, but that is so much more than offset by the theme and even some of the non-theme answers. ANNALS! CANTOS! THE PLAY! CRIED WOLF! JAI HO!

Best Sunday puzzle since 6-19-2016. Ross Trudeau and Lindsey Hobbs, take a (rain) bow!

Z 8:49 AM  

@albatross shell - At least we know how high the summit is (well, Sorta - I really really want everyone’s favorite Mauna Kea clued as the world’s tallest mountain, now) so when the clue reads “world’s tallest mountain” we all have a more or less general agreement as to what’s being asserted.

BTW - Wikipedia gets to use sentences, so does a much better job of explaining what “deepest” means here, {The CONGO} is also the world's deepest recorded river, with measured depths in excess of 220 m (720 ft). I appreciate that someone stuck in “recorded,” the beginning of wisdom is recognizing what we don’t know.

@albatross shell - you beat me to “ONCE daily.”

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

Did anyone note the lack of parallel structure in the themes? Some theme colors are down in the middle of a phrase, like the red planet. Others are just two word phrases, like blood orange or mellow yellow. Jim

SouthsideJohnny 9:11 AM  

@Flying 7:22. Already pointed out the bogus clue for VAS - that one is so egregious that the Times really should feel embarrassed.

Rex has been in an unusually pleasant mood the last couple of days, so I enjoyed @Z’s take on a classic Rex Rant (I actually found @Z’s version to be much more enjoyable - for starters he’s commenting on an actual question of fact, and additionally he’s making actual, valid points instead of just spewing out some random woke social justice bull crap). A rant with some actual substance - what a concept !

This was a very interesting puzzle - a fair number of sections seemed T-W difficult for me, in fact I thought that I may have had an opportunity to closed it out without assistance, but unfortunately there was enough ESOTERICA to seal my fate. I just couldn’t piece together enough crosses to overcome the ADESTE, DALAI, JAIHO, and LYDIA KO’s of the world - at least I had a fighting chance. I still don’t enjoy taking a stab at things that are not really even words like JAIHO (although I am grudgingly accepting and acknowledging that it is a fact of life in CrossWorld).

I don’t believe that anyone has commented so far about the clue for QUILTERS (Groups of bees) - which totally sailed over my head. I’m guessing it is pretty straightforward, but I just don’t see the connection. Feel free if anyone cares to enlighten me.

On a positive side-note, it was fun to have a guest appearance by REY - which was the the inaugural entry on my 5x7 cheater card !

Nancy 9:22 AM  

All puzzles that include rap groups, rock bands, song titles, etc. need a gimmick exactly like this one. Thanks to the theme, I was able to get both MELLOW YELLOW and INDIGO GIRLS, neither of which I knew from the clue. So instead of you having to listen to me bitch and moan about the oft unfairness of NYT puzzledom, you'll get to hear me say that I found this puzzle quite easy despite its many pop music references.

I picked up the theme at the first themer: EVER[GREEN]TREE. Of course I (like everyone else) at first wanted just plain EVERGREEN -- but the E of ESAU made that impossible. There is a 4-letter person beginning with N in the Bible, but NOAH was not a twin.

My favorite clue was for ENQUIRE (77A) -- where I had sleUthE (is that a verb?) to start. GO DRY didn't help me out at all: a state or county may GO DRY but a drinker GOES ON THE WAGON. Has any former drinker ever said that he went dry a few years ago?

I never saw "Cal's game-winning kick-off return against Stanford in 1982", but if it's known as THE PLAY, it must have been quite something to behold.

JD 9:33 AM  

“Once they have you asking the wrong questions. They don't have to worry about the answers.”
― Gravity's Rainbow

Guess I will take it up again. Pynchon certainly captured my feelings about politicians.

@Frantic, &#! interstate highway system slang is the WORST.

@JoeD, "The sagging despondent colors." That'll pop in and out of my brain all day.

@okanaganer, Vitamins – you overestimate the general public.

Rube 9:34 AM  

Your ONCEDAILY comment is absolutely right. It is a redundancy and therefore just wrong. We distinguish between weekly and bi weekly etc. daily is no different. See 116across as a result

TJS 9:49 AM  

Donovan story : He was booked as the star act for Southern Illinois Univ. homecoming, (somewhere between 1969 and '72, it's all a blur) and had the misfortune of following The Bob Seger System, that blew the house down and was called back for several encores. Then Donovan comes out, unaccompanied, in a floorlength white robe Jesus look. By the third or fourth song, half the place had emtied out and headed for the bars.

Gravitys Rainbow, quickest give-up I have ever made on a book.

Good week of puzzles following last weeks' disasters, and best Sunday I have done in a long time. And I even liked the clips that Rex provided for a change. Nice start to the day.

@Amelia, I responded late last night, so if you didn't see it, please don't stir up the Cleaver !

GILL I. 9:52 AM  

This puzzle, for all intense and porpoises, made me think of egg corn and color blindness. I keep seeing MELLOWY ELLOW right next to OL BEYES and think GOD RY...Who is BLOO DO? I felt like an ASS that needs to ANNUL ANNALS.
I'm really not all that stoopid....I saw what you guys did here. Did I like it you ask...Why yes...I did. I love colors, I paint them daily and I love the rainbow.
Not much gave me pause. Did I love KAZOO and BUGGY WHIP? Yes...they are my favorite two people who walk into a bar and order the delicious DELIME OIL. Try DTS involved.

@chefwenn. Si, mi amiga. Can you give me the name of the book title?

Tom T 9:59 AM  

Can't see the words Jack Lemmon/romantic comedy without recalling The April Fools, one of my favorite quirky films of all time, with a terrific cast including Lemmon, Catherine Deneuve, Peter Lawford, and Sally Kellerman. Plus, the comic delight of two amazing duos--Harvey Korman/Jack Weston and the spectacularly charming Myrna Loy/Charles Boyer. Lemmon has a monologue about buying a goldfish that is a classic.

An easy Sunday for me, with just a bit of slowing down in the east around JAI HO.

stwidgie 10:02 AM  

I enjoyed this one and highlighted the theme answers with colored pencils just because I could. :^)

I would like to see a moratorium on all forms of "eely" , such as today's "eelier". Sheesh.

Teedmn 10:09 AM  

BLOOD ORANGE gave away this theme - themes don't get much easier than this. But it was a pleasant solve with a lot of bonus fill, in my opinion.

I wanted the ewe to turn at "bAa" and with _FF_, tried to get iFFy to work at 79D. My first thought at 37D "One enforcing traveling rules", shows how much I am cowed by the TSA (or how often I've seen that crosswordese.)

Nice job, Ross and Lindsey. Thanks, Jeff Chen, for pointing out that the colors arc in rainbow order - I would have never thought to look - I did look to see if they were in order top to bottom but when GREEN went to YELLOW to BLUE, I quit looking.

@Barbara S, I enjoyed the double-dose of Paul Laurence Dunbar you provided - the Poem-a-Day email I receive ONCE DAILY from also featured a Dunbar poem and probably because it was his birthday.

bocamp 10:16 AM  

@Nancy (9:22 AM)


Just for the 'kick' of it, watch @Joaquin's (12:13 AM ) vid link. As MR T might have said, "I PITY THE" poor band member at the end of the clip. :(


Peace ~ Empathy ~ Health ~ TOLERANCE ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Frantic Sloth 10:18 AM  

@Z 1202am Did you just provide us with a glimpse inside your head? Dear Gof! The horror!! If that's the price of knowledge, give me...well, me any day.*

*Aw, who'm I kidding? That's just a less frenetic, more rational version of my head.

@JD 154am PHB? Doctor of Boneheadedness? Buffoonery? Babboonery? Beauty? (threw in that last one as a red herring)😘
Totally agree it's OLd BLUE EYES. Can you imagine his consternation being adjectively joined with Man River? (World's deepest or not)

@Lewis 625am🀣🀣 Thanks for the ear worm with the lyrical revision.

@Barbara S 743am You've outdone yourself today. Thank you.

RooMonster 10:33 AM  

Hey All !
Ooh, look at the pretty colors! The NYT app has the colors actually colored upon completion. Neat.

Caught the trick, but SILLY ME didn't notice the colors were in order, or that they actually formed an arc to make a rainbow. Dang, brain, work with me here.

Got hung up in West Center section, as had PROteGeES in for PRODIGIES, with it seeming so correct. Had THE PLAY in ("the band is on the field!"), but didn't know LYDIA Ko, and couldn't get the Downs to play nicely with the correct HANDSAW. So Googed for LYDIA, erased a bunch of stuff, saw that PHtS wasn't a thing, said, "Heyyyy, wait a bit. If it's PHDS, with that I in LYDIA, then my PROteGeES could be PRODIGIES." And Bing Bang Boom, solved.

Cheating for LYDIA also got me EARTH, as I had wanted EgRet first (har!), then wanted that answer to end in S. But got EARTH, finally seeing HOTSTONE, and the tricky SLR. Woohoo, says I, finished! But No! Got the Almost There! message. Argh!

Not wanting to scan an entire SunPuz, I hit Reveal Puzzle, to find I had AKITo/oDESTE. Dang. Done in by an A/O. One-letter DNF. Delfates the ego.

On a side note, unrelated to the puz, but related to the comments, YesterComments came *this* close to something I've inexplicably been rooting for to happen. And that is replies to comments seen on phones but not online. In other words, if you hit the "Reply" below someone's comments, it appears below it on phones, but not online on your computer. Why, I don't know. But Yesterday, there was only one (one!) instance of it. Dang, thought we were gonna be somebody! And the worst part was it was just a one word reply. "yup" by an Anon.

Pet peeves, and all that. I can hear some of you now, "That Roo, HE'S an ODD JOB".

Four F's

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

It was cool, at least in the Times iOS app, how the the color words turned into their colors after the solve.

Brings the mind the Stroop effect demonstrating the difficulty of reading out loud the color, for example, of a red font if it’s written as the word blue

thfenn 10:38 AM  

What a fun lazy Sunday morning. Thought this was great. Unbelievably enough I got the theme where Rex did, but because nothing came after MELLOWYELLOW I got stuck a bit when I had EVERGreen at 6A. Had horse before BUGGY and oiL before EEL, but this one was just fun all around. Lots of memories, associations, (encounters with the Amish, travels to Kinshasa and Hanoi, favorite music, college sports etc) and smiles (liked the cluing for RETRO). And the actual arched rainbow at the end was spectacular. Always thought ESOTERICA implied some irrelevance or triviality, as opposed to specialized knowledge, you know, like knowing the depth of the Congo, so that was a nice clarification on its use. Happy Sunday.

Zinnia pink 10:40 AM  

It felt a little like a Monday puzzle dressed up for Sunday. I didn’t mind that, but it was overall, for this middlin’ puzzler, fairly breezy.

albatross shell 10:41 AM  

Quilters meet to work on quilts together. The events are called quilting bees. Yes fairly straight forward.

TTrimble 10:42 AM  

Got started in the weirdly sequestered patch at top center, and found the theme fairly quickly (within a minute?). That said, the solving time was meh in my case; I solved the danged thing with a somewhat indifferent and desultory air.

Golly, any music in Slumdog Millionaire went straight down my memory hole, including this JAIHO song.

Interesting etymology for AZURE, of which I was completely ignorant. Ultimately, it traces back to the Persian.

On other burning topics of the day:

On measuring heights of mountains. That one is relatively simple.

For relatively deep rivers, I just would've assumed that sonar would give both accurate and continuous readings, and that such readings over navigable rivers (and deep rivers are generally navigable, right?), even if not 100% complete, would be fairly exhaustive. GPS technology is also prevalent. So among topics where a healthy skepticism is warranted, this business about the CONGO would have to be pretty far down my list. Is there in fact some -- or any -- controversy here? From the embarrassment of riches department: I'm not an expert and not sure which article I should link to, but this has some relevant info, even if the paper is more about bathymetry problems for shallow rivers.

TTrimble 10:45 AM  

@Southside Johnny
It's a reference to quilting bees.

johnk 10:50 AM  

If ONCE DAILY is redundant, then is "twice daily" also redundant?

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

Re deepest river:

In crosswordland nowadays, a supposed fact is whatever Wikipedia says it is. :)

Photomatte 11:04 AM  

This was made MUCH more difficult for me because I first got the theme with the clue for 39 Across (1966 Donovan hit) and I thought there must be a rebus at the end (the word Yellow in one square) solely because another - very common - name for Chicken (the clue for 42 Down) is Yellow Belly, which totally fits in the spaces for 42 Down if the first space is a rebus. I began looking for other rebuses involving colors of the rainbow. I also thought they must 'round the corner,' like the Donovan hit and Chicken did, with the rebus square ending the Across words and beginning the Down words. Nope, not at all. After I'd sussed out there weren't any rebuses, I still thought the gimmick - errrrr, the theme - must involve Across/Down combinations where the end of one word began the other, like it did with MELLOW YELLOW. This understandable error was further reinforced when I got BLOOD ORANGE, which followed the same pattern as Mellow Yellow.

If you're gonna have a theme, please make it consistent! Having some of the gimmick words appear in the middle of the Across answers, while others appear at the end (and, in the case of INDIGO GIRLS, at the beginning), is totally lame. Also, I've only ever heard Sinatra referred to as OLD BLUE EYES, not Ol' Blue Eyes. Gotta hit the buzzer sound on that one: Sorry, Ross and Lindsey, you misspoke.

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

Isn't the intersection of CASTLE and ELO a true Natick?

I had EmO because that's always the answer for E_O in crosswords. And CASTmE didn't seem impossible.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Thank you for the YouTube links. I will most assuredly watch those films. And the original Born Yesterday is indeed a great film. Judy Holliday was so talented! (Love her yelling.)

Mary Sofia 11:14 AM  

Thirding those who've guffawed at EELIER. But what tells me I have a case of crossword brain is that I got it immediately from E _ _ I _ _ .

Mary McCarty 11:17 AM  

South side Johnny: “I don’t believe that anyone has commented so far about the clue for QUILTERS (Groups of bees) - which totally sailed over my head. I’m guessing it is pretty straightforward, but I just don’t see the connection. Feel free if anyone cares to enlighten me.”
People (usually women) who make quilts often meet to work on one together—it’s faster that way! This is called a QUILTing Bee.

EricStratton 11:18 AM  

Missed opportunity to post the Debbie Harry/Kermit version of Rainbow Connection, notable both for her beautiful voice and her utter failure to seem sweet. Sweet is not something she can pull off. The Paul Williams lyrics are worth a listen, as well. More there than you think, probably because of the banjo music.

Carola 11:21 AM  

Applause all around for this one. It was a pleasure to see the beautifully constructed arc of the rainbow take shape and to smile over many a fine non-theme entry along the way. Engaging from beginning to end.

@Barbara S. 7:43 - Thank you for the poem and the background information.

sixtyni yogini 11:24 AM  

Especially love the Gravity’s Rainbow 🌈 visual metaphor noted by Rex, and Gay Pride works also.

A Pynchon reference would have sealed it! πŸ§©πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ§©

Easy theme made it fun and the tough spots gave it teeth 🦷!

“They call me mellow yellow” 🟑🎡🎢🎡🟑

Good one,

OffTheGrid 11:42 AM  

@Rex. The answer to 98D is LITOUT, not LIpOUT.

If I were the REF I would blow my whistle on the 2 EYE(S) answers. FOUL! (43A & 122A).

At first I had MELLOW with YELLOW as a rebus, which gave me YELLOWbelly for "chicken", 42D. Oh well. Seems like we've had color rebi before but maybe not with the entire rainbow.

Brudder bought a coconut, he bought it for a dime
His sister had anudder one, she paid it for DE LIME
She put DE LIME in de coconut, she drank 'em bot' up
She put DE LIME in de coconut, she drank 'em bot' up

Eniale 11:47 AM  

@n.adams - If you're the one I'm thinking of, I miss you still in the afternoons! You still playing that sonata?

Matt 11:59 AM  

Anyone who titles a puzzle "Gravity's Rainbow" and does not at least sneak a Thomas Pynchon reference in somewhere deserves to be brought up in front of The Crossword Commission and charged with professional negligence.

Randy Miller 12:18 PM  

KAZOO is apt fill for a Pynchon-themed puzzle and couldn’t have been a coincidence, but I would have liked to see some more direct references to his work. Enjoyable puzzle all around though.

sixtyni yogini 12:30 PM  

Oh gosh, I never read the titles on these Sunday 🧩s.
Knowing the title - perfect! Love it πŸ’―% now. Pynchon mention or not.

JAI HO! 🎡🎢🎡
(Loved that movie too.)


Matt 12:49 PM  

Oh my gosh, good catch! Although in true Pynchonian style, perhaps we should hunt for extremely obscure clues within the puzzle to prove the author is really...Trystero

Anoa Bob 1:06 PM  

I use crushed lapis lazuli for wood inlay so 25A AZURE was a gimme. Some ESOTERICA: Almost all lapis lazuli comes from the Sar-i Sang mines of Afghanistan and has been used since ancient times (~7000 BCE) for decorative purposes. In medieval Europe it was the source of the color ultramarine and it was extremely expensive, costing more than gold. Only a handful of artists were able to afford it. An example of its use can be seen in Johannes Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring".

Or how about Sassoferrato's "The Virgin in Prayer"? He must have had a patron with deep pockets to afford that much ultramarine.

Unknown 1:06 PM  

Thanks!!!!! Loved the puzzle. Finished an entire Sunday, which is always pretty good for me. Enjoyed the downturning colors and the variety--some at the beginning (INDIGO), some in the middle (GREEN), some at the end (ORANGE). Terrific diversion, thanks! Now back to running a hospital... prayers appreciated : )

CDilly52 1:25 PM  

LOL @Z (12:02 am)!! I had a quick “who does that, why and how?” Moment with this clue but moved on with a mere shrug of the shoulders rather than listing all the potential questions to be raised to make an accurate (or even “close” ) determination.

CDilly52 1:40 PM  

Thank you @Barbara S for the complete poem (a favorite of mine) and especially for the mention of the of the relationship of the poem to Maya Angelou, whose writing had a huge influence on me.

CDilly52 1:45 PM  

What absolute Sunday fun! Gran would have adored this. The colors plopping in upon completion might have even gotten her to change from ink on paper to digital solving . . . Nah.
Super fun Sunday. I agree wholeheartedly with (and thoroughly enjoyed the graphic blandishments of @ sixtyni yogini 12:30 pm.

Nancy 1:55 PM  

@joaquim & @bocamp --

Someone put THE PLAY up on Wordplay. I watched -- and this was my reaction:

Thank you so much for that clip! But weren't there, like, hundreds of extraneous people dressed in red on the field as the ball carrier crossed into the end zone?? The end zone and the area right in front of it seemed exceedingly crowded. Who were all those extra people and what were they doing there?

Also -- @Frantic and @Photomatte --

Actually, I thought Sinatra's nickname was Ol' Blue Eyes -- but you both may possibly be right. However, Frank would hardly be upset by being compared to "Ol' Man River" -- it was a song he recorded. I never thought he was "right" for it; it's not a song for a crooner, it's meant for an opera bass like Paul Robeson who was incomparable. In fact, I always thought it was one of Sinatra's very rare mistakes in choosing material. But record it he did. You might want to listen to Sinatra sing it and then hear Robeson in the 1927 (I think) movie. Or vice versa.

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

Lapis lazuli was used most extensively in ancient Mesopotamia. The Penn Museum has some of the country’s finest pieces, notably from the third dynasty at Ur from the twenty second and twenty first century BC.

Anonymous 2:24 PM  

Would someone please explain "The Play" to @Nancy?

bocamp 2:32 PM  

@Nancy (1:55 PM)

Re: THE PLAY (complete account from Wikipedia)

First two paragraphs:

"THE PLAY was a last-second kickoff return during a college football game between the Stanford Cardinal and California Golden Bears on Saturday, November 20, 1982. Given the circumstances and rivalry, the wild game that preceded it, the very unusual way in which The Play unfolded, and its lingering aftermath on players and fans, it is recognized as one of the most memorable plays in college football history and among the most memorable in American sports.

Stanford took a 20–19 lead on a field goal with four seconds left. The Golden Bears used five lateral passes on the ensuing kickoff return to score the winning touchdown and earn a 25–20 victory. Believing that the game was over, members of the Stanford Band came onto the field midway through the return, which added to the confusion and folklore. There remains disagreement over the legality of two of the backward pass attempts,[1][2] adding to the passion surrounding the traditional rivalry of the annual "Big Game.""

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Health ~ TOLERANCE ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Anonymous 2:36 PM  

Please don’t explain the play. Asking what happened is akin to the guy who has to bring up in every conversation that he couldn’t possibly know what the Simpsons are because he doesn’t own a tv.

Joe R. 2:42 PM  

Today was another case of knowing too much getting me into trouble, I came to 43D with only the ‘W’ in place. Being a former gamer, I instantly wrote in pWNAGE, which is what most hardcore gamers would, say, not OWNAGE. Totally messed me up on Sinatra, I had to come back around to that from the other side to see the mistake.

Nancy 2:50 PM  

@Anon 2:24 --

Here's how THE PLAY was explained to me on the Wordplay blog:

"As noted by someone earlier, the Stanford marching band came onto the field a little earlier than they were supposed to; hoping to celebrate a Stanford victory, but instead helping Cal win."

Fair warning: If I'd been the referee, I would have blown the play dead. It was an absolute mess down there on the field!. So aren't you glad, glad, glad that I wasn't the ref?

Frantic Sloth 2:59 PM  

@Nancy 155pm I couldn't agree more as far as Sinatra and Ol' Man River are concerned; unfortunately, not knowing he actually recorded it (yes - a mistake), I guess my little joke tanked. Oh well, it wouldn't be the first time. And there's no disputing that Paul Robeson owns that song.
What's next? BTS doing "Over the Rainbow"??

Z 2:59 PM  

@Frantic Sloth - There is nothing like an epistemological question to pique the random corners of my brain. But if you really want a look inside, try this or maybe here. When love is gone, there's always justice. And when justice is gone, there's always force. And when force is gone, there's always Mom. Hi, Mom!*

@TTrimble - I like the idea of continuous sonar but continuous sonar isn’t possible because the CONGO is unnavigable for the first 200 miles from the ocean. Which raises the question of how “deep” a river is at a water fall. Also, it’s a little odd to me that the “deepest” river is so deep that it needs to be dredged at its mouth to allow access to it’s seaport. That’s according to Britannica. It’s far more precise to say the CONGO River is the river with the deepest points of any river in the world.

@egs - TBC - Just one of those clues that got the arched eyebrow. “Deepest you say as if that term by itself has any real meaning.” Just another example of people thinking they’re walking and not realizing they’re falling.**

*And now I have this image of Will Shortz as June Cleaver in my brain. Thanks @TJS.
**This might actually make sense if you watch that first link.

Frantic Sloth 3:04 PM  

Oh, and since Sinatra has an album entitled "Ol Blue Eyes is Back", I guess @JD, @Photomatte, and I have some crow to eat. Yum!

Anonymous 3:04 PM  

Not really. I don’t give a fig about either Cal or Stanford football. Both poseur programs. And both with many fewer wins than any of the teams I do care about.

Anonymous 3:16 PM  

Cal Stanford pretending to be The Game? LOL.
Sure, course Yale and Princeton have been playing each for two decades longer. Penn Harvard is more than a decade older rivalry.Hell even Williams and Amherst have been at it longer. But yeah, Cal Stanford is The Game.πŸ™„

Potato Chimps 3:38 PM  

Found this one too be meh. Out of curiosity, did anyone do the crossword puzzle at the end of the book review? I still get the paper edition of the newspaper, so not sure if it shows up online. Was basically a long-ish Wednesday. Fun but a breeze ..

cck529 3:44 PM  

Can someone explain 46D? SRI?

Anonymous 4:01 PM  



Hungry Mother 4:16 PM  

A usual Sunday outing, completed after driving from central Florida to North Carolina. Simple theme, easy to find. Too many names, as is the norm now. Maybe better editing?

JD 4:42 PM  

@Frantic, They made him say it. Have you ever heard someone from NJ say ol'? It's true.

Eddie Arcaro 5:03 PM  

Had HORSEWHIP at first, but the image of the Amish guy flaying the animal until it was BLOODORANGE seemed too unwoke for the NYT so sought a kinder picture

SouthsideJohnny 6:05 PM  

@CCK - my guess would be Senorita - just a guess as I don’t know. I do know that when Shortz and his team can’t be bothered to come up with creative cluing and actual words, they pretty much just throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. One of their pet (and favorite) techniques is just adding a 3-letter jumble and scouring the globe for a language that it actually means something in - they do that for abbreviations as well. Sad, yes - and actually, in my opinion - pathetic.

thefogman 6:32 PM  

Liked it but did not love it. Should have (and could have) been so much better.

JC66 6:43 PM  


SRI is a term of respect in India.

Frantic Sloth 7:29 PM  

@Z 259pm Oh My Sweet Baby Jesus - it's worse than I thought!
Nice quote, though. 😊

@JD 442pm "They made him say it" ?? Just let that sink in for a minute. Can you picture anyone making Sinatra say or do anything? We should surrender. We've lost. Time for ice cream!

TTrimble 7:42 PM  

"It’s far more precise to say the CONGO River is the river with the deepest points of any river in the world." To me, that's the most immediate way to interpret "world's deepest river", and I took it for granted that's what was meant. Since that's a possible interpretation, I think it's okay for a crossword.

@Southside Johnny
"One of their pet (and favorite) techniques is just adding a 3-letter jumble and scouring the globe for a language that it actually means something in" -- you really don't know what you're talking about. SRI in particular is incredibly commonplace and well-known; I'd have to think that anyone unaware of it knows next to nothing about India. And do you really think that's how crossword constructors and editors operate?

yd 0, td pg -1.

Anonymous 7:46 PM  

Sri has nothing to do with India. It’s Sanskrit That it is used in the country called India is incidental to its meaning. It’s used all over South East Asia.
But if anyone wants to dispute that it isn’t particularly Indian, consider Churchill’s astute observation. India is no more a country than is the equator. No, Sri is not Indian. That’s why there’s a country called Sri Lanka.

Paul Statt 8:32 PM  

I don't do the Sunday puzzle, but I would really like hear what Rex has to say about the puzzle in the Book Review.

Z 8:45 PM  

@TTrimble - Just to be clear, I never said it was inappropriate for a crossword. It is just a fascinating example of something that seems obvious but is open to wide interpretation.

I just got back from an 80th Birthday Ice Cream Social. the guest of honor’s son recently moved from Brooklyn to Asheville since his job at Merriam-Webster allows him to work remotely. He and I had a great time explaining the difference between being a prescriptivist and a descriptivist to other guests. He also mentioned that COVID-19 set the record for shortage time from coinage to inclusion, 34 days.

TTrimble 9:15 PM  

So to put this topic to bed, when someone asks "what's the deepest river?", I think they usually just want to know: for which river does river depth, as measured from the surface to the bottom, attain a maximum? They're not after average depth or depth at the mouth or anything like that. Anyhoo...

You live in Asheville NC? I thought it was Rye NY. My mom lives in Hendersonville NC, so I know the area a bit.

Z 9:40 PM  

@TTrimble - There’s several posters in the area. @Lewis lives in Asheville, I’m actually in Black Mountain.

Anonymous 9:59 PM  

But as far as I can tell, Mr and Mrs are abbreviations and Sri is not? Which seems like poor cluing to me.

ghkozen 10:05 PM  

But where’s the comment regarding the Eye for AN EYE/OL BLUE EYES dupe? That’s a rookie mistake any half competent editor (i.e. not national embarrassment Will Shortz) should have caught.

John Hoffman 1:56 AM  

I never got the gimmick on this one! Glad to see it explained here. It was just disappointing because I couldn’t make anything work right. So this puzzle was a big failure for me.

Unknown 7:02 AM  

Am I the only one who found 42 down really offensive?? It’s 2021: really can’t find any other clue for the word yellow?😩

LHS 888 7:05 AM  

I’m still chuckling over @JD’s 1:54am post. Classic!

Koop 10:28 AM  

Life is easier when you aren’t so easily “offended” by innocuous things. Lightened up. Life in 2021 is hard enough without being continuously offended.

Diana, LIW 1:32 PM  

I got messed up in two areas - got lost in the colorful mix I guess.

But the rest was grand fun. Enjoyed it a lot - could say a "ton" (which I had as "TAN" - don't ask how). OK - Raves instead of LOVES was one of the culprits.

The other area was, you guessed it, some sports lingo. Just not a competitor.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 2:41 PM  


so, did MR. Lincoln enjoy THEPLAY?"


spacecraft 7:55 PM  

Hand up for the objection to AZURE. "if it does not fit, you must acquit." Some of the fill was EELIER than usual...including GRADATES (?) and the old SILENTU. But there was also plenty to like, especially the colors IN PRISM ORDER!! Neat trick, that. Birdie.

Cross@words 12:13 PM  

@anonymous 3:16 — to be clear, Cal-Stanford football is The Big Game.

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