Situ's love in Hindu lore / THU 6-17-21 / Vedic religious text / Accouchement / Frontal or lateral speaking features / Mary whose short story The Wisdom of Eve was the basis for 1950's All About Eve / Whence the Portuguese creole language Patuá / Historical lead-in to evna or evich / Finishing touch on the first transcontinental railroad

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Constructor: Blake Slonecker

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: FISH / HOOK (1D: With 11-Down, what each of this puzzle's groups of circles represents — four theme answers end in a FISH HOOK shape—the hook is represented by circled squares, and each "hook" contains the name of a four-letter fish (so, answers shaped like a FISH HOOK, last four letters are a literal FISH (name) HOOK):

Theme answers:
  • GAME CONSOLE (4D: Xbox or PlayStation)
  • GOLDEN SPIKE (8D: Finishing touch on the first transcontinental railroad)
  • MILKSHAKE (37D: Drink that might be served with a metal cup)
  • UPANISHAD (38D: Vedic religious text)
Word of the Day: Accouchement (25A: Accouchement = LABOR) —
the time or act of giving birth (
• • •

I didn't enjoy this one all that much. This probably has something to do with the fact that I didn't see the fish-name gimmick until after I was done, so for most of the solve, I had this dragging "so what?" feeling. You figure out the deal with the theme answers themselves very early, with FISH / HOOK giving it all away at the top of the grid there. Since I got FISH / HOOK very easily, I figured, well, the answers hook, that's what the circled squares represent, ta da, the end. I didn't really top to think "wait, why *these* answers?" until I was finished, and finishing mostly meant dealing with a ton of overfamiliar short stuff (SSNS and AROD and INSTA ESTES ASADA KEA SNL etc. and somehow QUA *and* ERAT?), or short stuff with deliberately toughened clues, like the clues on ORR, say (28A: Mary whose short story "The Wisdom of Eve" was the basis for 1950's "All About Eve"), or LABOR (25A: Accouchement)I figured "Accouchement" had something to do with sleep ... but then it was LABOR, and I was like "huh, that's work, work's not sleep," and *then* (when I finally looked it up) I was like "ohhhh ... that LABOR"). I liked DIASPORA (5D: Group migration), and the theme answers themselves are pretty colorful, but there was just too much 3-4-5 stuff for me to get much of a joyful rhythm going, and it's hard to get terribly excited about something like INK STANDS. I see now that the FISH / HOOK theme has its two layers, and I think it's reasonably clever. But the actual solve was kind of plodding and by-the-numbers. 
Beyond "accouchement," I only had a few other trouble spots. The first was actually right up top, with the clue on FROG (1A: Animal symbol of fertility in ancient Egypt). I've been doing crosswords so long that I I thought for sure I was familiar with all the ancient Egypt-related animals. Your ASPs and your ibises and scarab beetles and what not. But don't ever remember FROG being clued this way. Even after getting -RO- I could think only of CROC, which seemed wrong on several levels. So I had to hack a lot to make FROG show up. But by far the biggest obstacle for me today was MILKSHAKE, or, rather, MINT JULEP, which is what I wrote in there after getting that initial MI-. Was that a planned trap, because wow it felt perfect. MINT JULEPs are, in fact, served in metal cups sometimes, and MINT JULEP fit perfectly. I felt so powerful dropping MINT JULEP down off the MI-. I like MINT JULEPs, I like figuring out long answers from just a few letters, it was a huge win-win. Until it wasn't. Now, I also like MILKSHAKEs, but, as with the order in which they appeared in my puzzle today, MILKSHAKEs finish second to MINT JULEPs in the 9-letter MI-drink category, for sure. Last obstacle today was spelling UPANISHAD correctly. First of all, I'm used to hearing them referred to collectively: the UPANISHADs. So having just one here was slightly disorienting. But more disorienting was the "I," which I had as an "A"—very glad I eventually caught STYLA there at 55A: Accessories for tablets and changed it (to STYLI). 

Five more things:
    (23A: Ailurophiles)
     — "CAT PEOPLE" is a classic Val Lewton horror movie; you can clue CAT LOVERS as [Ailurophiles], but you cannot pass up a Val Lewton horror movie title when you have your shot at one, because, I mean, when is "I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE" ever going to appear in a grid, realistically? Also, clue VAL as Val Lewton. Also, LEWTON, VALLEWTON, all VALid answers. 
  • TSAR (56A: Historical lead-in to -evna or -evich) — I had IVAN :(
  • MALLORCA (7D: One of las Islas Baleares) — the biggest of the Balearic Islands, which are spelled "las Islas Baleares" here because the answer has the Spanish spelling of the island (two L's) and not the English (a J)
  • LISPS (25D: "Frontal" or "lateral" speaking features — well at least the puzzle isn't mocking speech disorders today, as it so often has
  • KALE (48D: Trendy ingredient in a healthy smoothie) — stop treating KALE like it's some hipster fad. The "trendy" bit here is *$%&ing annoying and completely embarrassing. [Ingredient in a healthy smoothie]—you see how that works just fine, right? KALE is a really healthy leafy green vegetable and it's everywhere, in all kinds of things, all the time. Eat it, don't eat it, whatever, but this weird thing where people treat a simple green leaf like a "lifestyle choice" is beyond me.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


John S. 6:25 AM  

OFL is kinda late this morning.

Lewis 6:30 AM  

Second week in a row when there are far fewer wordplay clues through Thursday than usual. Will et al, please let this be an aberration and not the start of a trend! Thank you.

Joaquin 6:31 AM  

This being Thursday, when I filled in 4D and 8D I assumed the final two squares were rebus squares and dutifully put two letters in each.

Talk about FISH. I was scrod. Eventually HOOKed up with reality, learned several new words, and was done. And don’t worry - I left the money on the dresser.

amyyanni 6:42 AM  

Liked it, got the theme about halfway along. Did have a problem with Upanishad and some of the crosses. Finally got things sorted. Off the office again. It's good!

FearlessKim 6:45 AM  

I’m expecting many people will have had a lot of difficulty with the MACAU/UPANISHAD crossing... I’m surprised that Rex didn’t mention this.

Hungry Mother 6:45 AM  

I had MACAo, so DNF.


Macau also spelled Macao and officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China is a city and special administrative region of the People's Republic of China in the western Pearl River ...

Lewis 6:46 AM  

Things I like about the puzzle:
• It is elegant that the fish in the hooks are parts of words and not stand-alone words.
• The theme echoes of ALASKAN and DAM, referencing salmon.
• The lovely duo of ARK and PAIRED.
• The HOOK up.
• A lovely clue for SNL.

And an observation: I know people who think that KALE in a smoothie is HIDEOUS, but I am not one of them. Also, an historical fact: The first time I went fishing, I practiced casting the line with an empty hook; it swung back and hooked me in the stomach – this was also the last time I went fishing.

@Nancy, good to see your last name in the grid!

FISH HOOK is a very clever theme, rhymes-with-HAKE Blake. Thank you very much for this!

Paul & Kathy 6:55 AM  

Near record time today because I caught the hook, so to speak. One of the first things I filled in was GOLDEN SPIKE, realized I didn't have enough room, saw the circles, saw what I'd typed into the circles, and just that like FISH and HOOK went in, and it all went together from there.

I had the K in INKSTANDS, and more familiarity with diner milkshakes than mint juleps, so no confusion there.

I mean, the puzzle certainly has some roughness, but it's just that I solved it easily.

oceanjeremy 6:57 AM  

My studies in Buddhism (historically as well as present practice) had me CERTAIN that it was “UPANISHAD,” so that’s where I grokked that the theme had to involve the answers turning somehow.

I 100% also wrote in “MINT JULEP” instead of “MILKSHAKE.” Now I really want to drink a mint julep. In a pewter derby cup, please, with Rittenhouse Rye (not bourbon). Throw in a metal straw for funsies.

But alas I must work today, so it would be grossly irresponsible to have a mint julep before 7am…

Shé di Felina 7:02 AM  

Not a fan. After originally having correct answers in, I changed them to accommodate other answers that I thought must be correct, most notable MINTJULEP (not being an expert on fish, and often being confused by the different names they get around the world, it was not beyond possibility that a ulep is a fish *somewhere* so even that didn't set me straight) but I also went wrong on the themer, having FISH TAIL initially. The excessive 'fill in the blank' clues frustrated me, especially as I could only get the answers from the crosses, and to my shame I've never heard of UPANISHAD. Add to that a few North America-centric clues and the horribly outdated KALE (it was once 'trending' but it's a long time since anyone has evangelised about kale - I think we're on to chia now, or is that passé already?) and it was an unsatisfying slog. A slow average completion time, but I resent the time I did spend.

Quite enjoyed SMUT and DIASPORA though.

pabloinnh 7:04 AM  

I read the clue for 1D and looked at the grid design, something I rarely do, and thought, they look like FISH HOOKs to me, and that's what they were. The rest of the top went in almost as fast. Caught the trick at GOLDENTSPIKE, and went searching for more four-letter fish, which I found, except for the elusive bass, which I guess is harder to hook.

Learned 'accouchement". Also kept reading the clue for ASADA as "came", which is what happens when I try these without reading glasses. "Carne" would have filled in instantly, but i finished still wondering what "CAME ASADA" might be.

I read Charlie Pierce every day in ESQUIRE on line, and he's a treasure. It's also a good place to get advice on the best $300 pairs of pants, if you like that sort of thing (I don't).

Impressive feat of construction on a Thursday, and that's no BS. Thanks for the fun sir.

Richard Stanford 7:16 AM  

Surely if you’re going with CATPEOPLE the 1982 Kinskii/McDowell movie is the way to go?

MACAU/UPANISHAD was rough for me.

Got the theme with GOLDENSPIKE and went back to add FISH/HOOK and GAMECONSOLE - always nice when the theme actually helps instead of being purely after the fact.

Enjoyed the wordplay. Felt like a lot of foreign word clues today. Glad to see HUDSON as the river not an actor. And SNL was great.

Son Volt 7:25 AM  

Agree again with @Lewis on the lack of late week wordplay. This puzzle was Tuesday trivia tough with the fish hook gimmick. I guess a fun solve but not for a Thursday.

Grid symmetry was cool - but ended up with a bunch of short stuff in odd places. Liked ALASKAN and ARAPAHO. Give me the carne ASADA - keep the KALE.

Red or blue - 40a is a cry for term limits.

Not my favorite Thursday.

kitshef 7:30 AM  

Got off to a tough start in the NW with ankh crossing naan. But once I unraveled that, this solved like a Tuesday.

First encountered INSTA as a shortening less than a year ago, and I’m already tired of it.

With just the M in place for 37D, I wanted Moscow mule, and was suprised it wouldn't fit.

@Lewis 6:30 - always so negative.

TJS 7:34 AM  

I hate it when the POW is a Monday, and this is exactly why. Tuesday, Wednesday and now this one trick pony. A joyless waste of time.

For a hot minute there I thought @Lewis was going to give a negative-sounding review, even if only slightly. Then he had to come back with positives. Damn...

SouthsideJohnny 7:55 AM  

Seems like quite the contingent of esoterica today, even for the NYT - MALLORCA, UPANISHAD, MACAU, RAMA, ASADA, GISH, RIC, ARAPAHO . . . What is this stuff ? Omg, what a potpourri of nonsense - I guess if this floats your boat, so be it - at least it’s not made-up movie names and rap singers crossing other rap singers. It hasn’t been a banner week if your not into the trivia . . . Gearing up for what portends to be a pretty brutal weekend.

Carola 8:08 AM  

Cute idea, very nicely constructed, with the stellar GOLDEN SPIKE, MILKSHAKE, and UPANISHAD making up for a "wish this would have been trickier" Thursday. I got the HOOKed FISH idea with SOLE + PIKE and tried to get the two in the lower part with no crosses, but imagination failed me. However, knowing that I was seeking a fish did keep me from going with a mint julep in that metal cup. Otherwise, I liked the "far-flung" nexus of DIASPORA, MALLORCA, and MACAO. I was hoping that @Rex might include a clip from Val Lewton's CAT PEOPLE.

Do-over: Me, too, for thinking first of MACAo. Moment of "Why doesn't 'ApArt' work?" for 32D, the clue for which I read like @pablonh: "Came."

Unknown 8:10 AM  

An amazing feat of construction. I especially liked how the fish answers were all seamlessly part of a larger answer. Well done! Finished well below my average time.
I recently submitted a puz to the Times with GISH clued almost identically, which is kind of weird . . . .

Re: rex's comment, "well at least the puzzle isn't mocking speech disorders today, as it so often has," I honestly have never seen any such mockery. There certainly have been references to cartoon characters with an identifying lisp, but is that really mockery?

Is a photo really called an INSTA? I only see that in puzzles. I thought they were PICS?
Loved the Chevy Chase reference.

Frantic Sloth 8:15 AM  

Full Natick at the MACAU/UPANISHAD crossing because huh? Wha? Cripes!
Almost annoying enough to ruin what was a lot of fun up until then.

Give me a neat theme trick attached to interesting longs (with one glaring exception) anytime. In this particular case, it didn't even bother me that the revealer slapped me in the face at the outset because it helped steer me away from what I assumed was gonna be a frebus grid.
Hence, precious nanos not wasted. Woohoo!

Not thrilled about the close proximity of HIDEOUS and CATPEOPLE but you can't have everything.

Thanks to Mary ORR for creating the basis for one of my favorite movies!

@JD from yesterday Very relieved that you're relieved because you would have undershot by more than 100 miles. 😉

Found this one on the difficult side for the Thursdee, but I enjoyed the surprising challenge.
No sophomore slump here for Mr. Slonecker's second NYTXW - keep up the good work!


mmorgan 8:28 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle a lot, but didn’t realize the “hooked” letters were fish till I got here. Nice! Loved DIASPORA and UPANISHAD and I learned a few things (accouchement and ailurophiles). Maybe my eyebrow raised a millimeter when I got INKSTANDS, but no biggie. But Rex is completely wrong on one thing: kale is definitely trendy, unless it’s in Portuguese soup.

Conrad 8:30 AM  

Hand up for @Hungry Mother MACAo (248MM Google hits) before MACAU (317MM). UPANISHAD was a WOE. Well, to be more accurate it was more like a WTF. I didn't get that the circled letters were fish names until I came here, thinking "@Rex is going to rip this puzzle to pieces because there's no rhyme or reason to the answers that hook." Happy to be wrong on that one.

Amy 8:35 AM  

Kale as a hot delicious braised side dish is a leafy green. Kale in a smoothie is disgusting, and only done for the sake of being supposedly healthy (though heavens know what kind of other crap is in the smoothie) and therefore is a trendy lifestyle choice.

GILL I. 8:49 AM  

@Nancy's wall got the proverbial splat. My FROG ate my FISH HOOK SYLI; flew to MACAU (who missed his O) and took the UPANISH elevator with the Ailurophiles, the Vedic religious text and the Accouchement.
Holy enchilada with pizza dough. This was tough....and not fun.
It wasn't exactly hideous because at least you have a fancy schmancy word like DIASPORA.
If you're going to clue a drink served in a metal mug then it better be a Moscow Mule.
I can't even begin to tell you how my mind wandered all over the place and wondered why the hell a FROG is the fertility symbol in Egypt. I don't even think I know how they "do it." How many little green babies do they have? Did the ancient Egyptians watch little frogs mate? Did that excite them? Why am I even thinking about this?

Joe Welling 8:53 AM  

Also, aren't milkshakes prepared in a metal cup, but typically served in non-metal cups? Odd that the clue specified "served" when that metal cup usually stays behind the counter.

bocamp 8:56 AM  

Thx Blake for the 'fishy' Thurs. puz. Very nicely done! :)

Easy+ solve.

Pretty much on my wavelength all the way.

The usual NW, SW, SE, NE trip, ending up with SISAL / MALLORCA in the G.L.s.


Lovin' some MAPLE syrup with my yogurt.

Everyday KALE eater here.

Finally grokked 5D on the cryptic (confirmed w/dict) 😊

yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Health ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Franck Hanselman 8:57 AM  

Fun fact: the “English” spelling of Majorca is actually the Catalan spelling, a dialect of which is spoken on the Balearic Islands

Z 9:08 AM  

Absolutely zero problem with MACAU/UPANISHAD here. Having a son with a Masters in eastern religions and learning Sanskrit has its benefits.

The reason KALE is a life STYLI choice is because of what you need to do to make it edible. It can be done but it takes more. If you are adapting a spinach or Swiss chard recipe, amp up the seasoning. And why is it getting massaged more often than @John X on a wild weekend? Now there’s a life STYLI choice for you, massaged food.

Speaking of recipe ideas, Z’s Placebo and Tentacle is most definitely adding the Mint Julep MILKSHAKE to the cocktail menu. Or maybe the dessert menu. Or maybe the breakfast menu for @oceanjeremy. We will even have a special @Lewis version with KALE. We will market the Lewis Mint Julep and KALE MILKSHAKE as an excellent natick hangover cure.

Hand up for thinking DIASPORA is just a lovely word. This is totally independent of its meaning.

@kitshef - I know, right? Such a negative Nellie. 🤣😂🤣

@Son Volt - Re:40A - No. This isn’t the place, but term limits for legislators are a terrible idea.

P. & J. Child 9:11 AM  

Kale is trendy because of all the super-cool healthy people who never tire of telling you much you should be eating it and loving it. If there were not so much annoying proselytizing, it would lose the appellation "trendy" and just become another "really healthy leafy green vegetable." But until the self-righteous preaching stops, it's "trendy" - and not in a good way.

jberg 9:16 AM  

Unlike Rex, I figured out the fish thing while solving. CONSOLE wouldn't fit, so I left it blank. GOLDEN SPIKE wouldn't fit so I shortened it to GOLD SPIKE. But then I had enough crosses to see there were CAT PEOPLE, and INSTA, and I realized what was happening. Like @She di Felina (welcome to the blog!), I was so sure of MInt julep that I was planning to look up ulep after solving to see what kind of fish it was. Here in New England we have frappes instead of MILK SHAKEs and they are made in metal cups, but I've never seen one served that way -- you pour them into a glass first. But maybe if you're in a hurry, sort of in the same category with standing over the sink and eating out of the cooking pan.

By the way, I REALLY liked seeing that the hooks were barbless; evidently we are being conservation-minded and doing catch-and-release fishing.

I don't like the clue for RAMA, specifically the reference to "Hindu lore." Hinduism is a major world religion, and RAMA one of its principle divine figures; it's like cluing CHRIST as "figure who was crucified and resurrected in Christian lore." That would get a lot of objections.

Other than that, a fun puzzle.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

It certainly helped the enjoyment level to get the trick early on, which I did. My Natick occurred at CAMERA and RAMA.

Barbara S. 9:18 AM  

One-letter DNF. Sniff. I got all the UPANISHADs and MACAUs and MALLORCAs and RAMAs, but failed at the ESTES/ASADA cross at the S. Tried R, tried N, tried throwing in the towel. Sigh. I don’t remember seeing ASADA before (although I may well have) but I’m sure we’ve had ESTES Park in previous puzzles, so phooey on my inability to retain it. [Exit, grumbling.]

[Re-enter.] In happier news, I got the FISH HOOK theme very quickly and did notice the names of fish as soon as I HOOKed one. Caught the trick of wrapping around the four long FISH-HOOK answers at UPANISHAD, when I had the middle of the answer filled in: ANISH.

Random observations:
• I always think of Lillian GISH in that incredibly creepy movie starring Robert Mitchum where he kidnaps two children: “The Night of the Hunter.” It’s a STARK allegory of good and evil filmed in beautiful black and white.
• I got nostalgic over ISBNS because of my time in various aspects of the book trade
• I confidently filled in “igloo” for TEPEE for “Home with a hole at the top”
• Why is JLo so incredibly unlucky in love?
• You have The GOLDEN SPIKE. We have, more pedestrianly, The Last Spike, a ubiquitous photograph in every school history textbook and many other places besides. It’s the top photo in this article.

Z 9:18 AM  

@Joe Welling - I am so sorry that your life has been lived deprived of the proper MILKSHAKE experience. A properly made MILKSHAKE always, Always!, has too much SHAKE left in the metal cup, so the MILKSHAKE maker provides the fine diner with both all the MILKSHAKE the serving glass (it should always be glass, not plastic) can handle as well as the metal cup with all the SHAKE that doesn’t fit. There are still places in the midwest that serve MILKSHAKEs properly, as does the Steak and Shake chain (or at least they used to and the pics on their website show a proper MILKSHAKE glass).

Barbara S. 9:20 AM  

There’s a poem today by JAMES WELDON JOHNSON, born June 17, 1871.


I dreamed that I was a rose
That grew beside a lonely way,
Close by a path none ever chose,
And there I lingered day by day.
Beneath the sunshine and the show’r
I grew and waited there apart,
Gathering perfume hour by hour,
And storing it within my heart,
Yet, never knew,
Just why I waited there and grew.

I dreamed that you were a bee
That one day gaily flew along,
You came across the hedge to me,
And sang a soft, love-burdened song.
You brushed my petals with a kiss,
I woke to gladness with a start,
And yielded up to you in bliss
The treasured fragrance of my heart;
And then I knew
That I had waited there for you.

Blue Stater 9:21 AM  

Lordy, I hate gimmicks. This mess is a prime example of why. Gimmicks like this are one class of artificial tougheners that are part of the NYTXW's long and dismaying slide. May it be over soon.

Further evidence that it's possible to publish tough puzzles without phony gimmicks is to be found in the new (to me, anyway) puzzles in The New Yorker. The creators include many figures from NYTXW's glorious past, in particular Liz Gorski, whose work I'm delighted to rediscover.

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

For myself, not that you care, I wouldn't categorize DIASPORA as a 'group migration'. 'group dispersion', certainly. migration, it seems to me, implies the herd going together from locale A to locale B, and DIASPORA has always connoted the group going many different Bs. the canonical example being a persecuted people getting the hell out of locale A to anywhere else, by hook or by crook and not caring where locale B is or however many Bs there might be.

Pete 9:25 AM  

Not knowing @Z's kid, I felt that the MACCAU[o]/U[o]PANISHAD crossing was sub-optimal at best. It kind of felt that this was some arcana that a know-it-all constructor dude was proud to force into his grid. Accouchement was too deep a dive into a foreign language to get at LABOR, should you care about my opinion. Should you care deeply about my opinion, you may want to append my second comment about MACCAU/UPANISHAD to my comment about accouchement.

Pro tip for brown people fleeing failed states, political persecution, starvation, and/or murder - get your plight labeled a DIASPORA. Pool you pennies and hire a damned PR firm if necessary, it's that important. Being called a DIASPORA will engender sympathy, open arms and a green card. Otherwise you're just an invading horde of brown people wanting our jobs and our white women and you'll get your ass sent back home. DIASPORA is that powerful a word.

RooMonster 9:29 AM  

Hey All !
Liked the HOOK idea. Had an "AHA" moment when I discovered that the Long Downs needed the HOOKs to complete the answer. Found it at GAME CONSOLE, when I was puzzled after having GAME___SO, and wondering just what in tarhooties that could possibly be. That let me change my GOLDspike into GOLDENSPI(KE), thereby making the Across appear that were hidden from my wrongness.

But..., UPANISHAD was a never heard before WOE for me. Singular or plural. Looked it up after completing (well, DNFing) the puz. Never knew that. For those wondering, from "The Wiki", "they are late Vedic Sanskrit texts of religious teachings which form the foundations of Hinduism." So, there ya go.

My DNF was 1) having mIC for RIC, thereby giving me DIASPOmy, 2) not knowing that UPANSIHAD, had an S starting it, thinking SPANISH AD. Har. So my MACAU was MyCAs. You know, the good people from MYCANISTAN. ☺️

Left/right symmetry. Sort of an @M&A "jaw of Themelesses" on the bottom. In case you were wondering, he did post a couple weeks ago he was going somewhere and would be gone for a bit.

MInt juleps are served in glass, right? Or is Rex deliberately trying to confuse me? Then again, MILKSHAKE s aren't served in a metal cup, just mixed in one, right? Clue does say "might". Overthink much?

Dang, PELOSI 34 years in politics, time to retire? Just sayin'. KALE in a smoothie sounds nasty. Will the ARAPAHO Indians have to change their name because it sounds too close to disparaging women? Asking for a friend.

So, pretty cool puz, Blake. I was HOOKed. Har.

One F

Charlie 9:29 AM  

Not sure if anybody has mentioned this before, but this is at least the second time the NYTXW has misused the word INSTA. Insta means either the app (Instagram), or somebody's account/profile on Instagram.

So you could say "I'm checking Insta right now" or "You can find that picture on my Insta". It doesn't refer to single pictures on Instagram, which is how it's been clued a couple times now.

mini-complaint over! Thank you for reading :)

kitshef 9:47 AM  

@Pete 9:25 - Accouchement is an English word, and has been for almost 300 years (first known use according to M-W is 1730). If basement is legit (also debuting in 1730), then accouchement oughta be.

Geoff H 9:50 AM  

Great to see RENE clued as the DS9 actor rather than stuffy old Descartes.

Nancy 9:51 AM  

I saw the FISH part of the revealer before I saw the HOOK part. And so, as I'm looking at the half-finished SO for SOLE and the half-finished HA for HAKE, etc., I'm thinking that the title of this puzzle, assuming it had a title, should be:

"Half a fish is better than none."

Because of the way I solved, I got to 11D (HOOK) at the tail end (pun intended) of my solve. Only then did I think: "I wonder if there's a hook involved?" And only then did I notice the hitherto unnoticed LE of SOLE, KE of HAKE, and so forth.

Such amazing skills of visual observation. I SEE really shouldn't be positioned right over STARK in the grid. I DON'T SEE or I NEVER SEE -- now that would have been much more accurate.

I loved this puzzle. After two successive days of a pop culture trivia-fest, here's a puzzle with absolutely none of that -- and it still manages to be tricky and challenging due to some clever and interesting cluing.

Unknown 9:51 AM  

I live in the land of 10,000 lakes, where fishing is a religion, and I’ve never heard of three of these four fish

JD 9:58 AM  

Laid low by the Upanishads. Dam. Had I seen that the Hook(s) held Fish I probably would've gotten it, but was delighted to find they did.

Fell for all the misdirects. All of 'em, but quickly recovered. Didn't know flowers grew on Stalks, but with Stem taken had to get creative.
When will Kale stop being trendy and just join the ranks of the other unfashionable produce? @P. & J. Child, People proselytize on it where you live? I'd be angry too.

Liked the clue for Orr. It pretty much assured that no one from any generation would be able to get it without the crosses. It doesn't make you look better to come up with an alternative clue if you still have to reach back 60 years. And knowing that, if you're going to put __ Flair Drip and Wence the Portuguese Creole Language Patua beneath it, then Bobby. I'm holding a grudge.

@Z, It exists!

burtonkd 10:03 AM  

@Z - you are on fire today! BTW, when you are ready to open your restaurant, there is a lovely storefront in downtown RYE long vacated by Patisserie Salzburg next to the CHASE bank.

I almost did a spit take of coffee on Lewis' initial comment; my stomach tensed in that "OMG this is actually happening" kind of way.

@pabloinh - hands up for reading carne as came without my reading glasses-00- Tried to jam came asunder in there.

...and where were all the kale smoothie drinkers 20 years ago? ergo "trendy".

@anon 9:23 - thank you for identifying that twitch I felt on the DIASPORA clue. I think I've only heard the word PAIRED with "Jewish".

for 65A view from Riverside Park, I was trying to figure out how to work Grant's Tomb into the rebus squares. You can see the Hudson from the entire island...

Finally, I would have preferred the clue for actor Auberjonois to be "your sister-in-law's husband's first name. Maybe that's just me...

mathgent 10:19 AM  

I enjoyed it. Cute theme, well-executed, sparkly.

@Anonymous (9:23). Remember Joaquin's Dictum.

Rex feels that he has to fill up that space at the top every day so of course it often is just a web of nonsense, like today.

Barbara: What a great poem! '

Anonymous 10:25 AM  


In the recent days, what with the voting nonsense, 1619 blowback, Juneteenth sop to Black folk, the Lamestream Media have, some times, used DIASPORA in the context of African peoples brought here. I have a lower brain stem memory of the word used to describe the result of Armenian genocide, too.

Finally looked it up on the wiki:
"A diaspora (/daɪˈæspərə/)[2] is a scattered population whose origin lies in a separate geographic locale."

sixtyni yogini 10:36 AM  

Yes! Good one.
The hook was “catchy” 😂 and clever.
And of course imma going to be delighted by anything with ROTI, UPANISHAD. (Needs S agree w Rex), RAMA
A lot of other great long answers, fish-hooked and otherwise.
OK, I loved 🥰 it.

Fillet of Soul 10:40 AM  

This puzzle must have been in my wheelhouse because it was a Thursday PR for me. Like @Gill I started to put in Moscow Mule before I realized there were not enough spaces. I know that Mint Juleps are traditionally served in metal cups but the ONLY time I drank (several) was at the Kentucky Derby day…they were in plastic cups. First time I got drunk, and sick drunk at that so I haven’t touched a mint julep since! I am afraid that milkshakes are rarely served in a glass with the accompanying shake machine metal vessel extra these days…very sad, but good memories of getting a treat with my dad at a drug store lunch counter as a child!

Ethan Taliesin 10:40 AM  

Speaking of Sita and the Upanishads, there's a fantastic animated film about Sita and Rama called "Sita Signs the Blues." It uses the music of the 20's and is quite original.

Here is Sita Signs the Blues , free to stream or download, courtesy of its very talented creator Nina Paley.

JD 10:42 AM  

@mathgent, When you proposed to Mrs. Mathgent, did you get down on one knee and and proclaim, "I admire you. Meld with me legally."

File the dictum.

Z 10:45 AM  

Interesting reactions to DIASPORA, so I took a look at what Merriam-Webster has to say about the word. Most interesting to me is the sense of “scattering” but also the sense of the place where these people live. And the usage examples are far more varied than the original meaning related to the Babylonian exile of Jews from Palestine. I’m pretty sure I have even seen DIASPORA used in relation to the specie’s probable original migration out of Africa. Anyway, I hardly blinked at the clue because it fit fine with usages I have seen, so it was interesting to read others’ reactions.

@JD - Damn. I can’t believe somebody beat us to it. I don’t see any KALE in the recipe so I better get busy and trademark my natick hangover cure.

@Barbara S - Does breaking up with AROD really make her unlucky? Or maybe you meant it was the dating of AROD that made her unlucky?

@jberg - As one who tends to see Christian lore as equally valid as Hindu lore, I didn’t notice that. But you’re right, not the best term for the sacred writings of a billion people (give or take).

jae 10:45 AM  

Easy except for, like many of you, the MACAU/UPANISHAD cross. The latter was a major WOE, but the rest was a tad too simple for a Thursday. Mostly liked it.

Pete 10:49 AM  

@Kitsch - Not the way that it's pronounced in my head it isn't. I blame William the Conqueror for this, and most everything annoying about the English language.

MarthaCatherine 10:50 AM  

I so badly wanted Moscow mule for 37D. Thought maybe there was a more of a trick to the "hooked" letters so that it would fit. Aren't they served in a metal--usually copper--cup?

I think I'll go have one anyway.

Whatsername 11:02 AM  

Mixed feelings. Seemed easy but a few things that really threw me. UPANISHAD and DIASPORA for instance, don’t exactly roll off the tongue. And when I got up this morning I couldn’t spell ailurophile but now I’ve learned I are one. The clue for SNL was brilliant and I liked the mirror symmetry. Overall an enjoyable solve with a cute theme that I had fun figuring out.

On the food front, I question whether a MILKSHAKE is really served with a metal cup. Seems to me it’s mixed in one and then poured into a different container for serving, Also, it’s a little known fact that if you drizzle olive oil over your KALE, it will be easier to scrape it into the garbage. Vile weed!

TJS 11:02 AM  

@Z, with ya all the way on proper milkshake service. Highlight of my day when Mom would do her shopping at Kresge's 5 and 10. (Never made the K-Mart connection until the puzzle the other day.)

Tom T 11:05 AM  

I think it unlikely that I have ever worn, eaten, watched, or used anything that might be considered trendy at any point in time. Even I consume KALE regularly. KALE must be no longer trendy.

Andy S 11:15 AM  

I like the fact the the ORCA in MALLORCA was left alone. Be cause that is something you do not want on your hook

KnittyContessa 11:16 AM  

I don't understand why the constructor would cross MACAU/UPANISHAD when MACAo is an acceptable alternative. Is the goal to frustrate people?

George Costanza, marine biologist 11:24 AM  

An Orca is a mammal.

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

Richard Stanford - Yes the 1982 Cat People w/ Natassia Kinski is epic. The image of her strutting around bare breasted is one that will forever be in my mind.

egsforbreakfast 11:30 AM  

It would take a MAD DAM to STEM the METS at this point.

KALE definitely handed the trendy food title to Açaí about 10 years ago.

Cute and well executed theme, Blake Sloneker. Give the man a milk julep.

Newboy 11:50 AM  

Easy except for the hooked UPANISHAD where the hook became a stumbling block rather than an aid. Kept thinking how to fit in harpsichords for 50A that didn’t assist in speeding to the bottom either. Still, any day when I can fill in DIASPORA & MALLORCA without crosses to start the solve is either a GOLDEN SPIKE in solver cred or a confirmation that I’ve been spending my time too long in Crossworld. Missing a rebus is this Thursday puzzle’s only flaw beyond the short fill Rex cites, but I’m more than compensated by the FROG entry & how it lets one reflect on Egyptian flood cycles, fertility rites, etc! I’m heading back top to see others responses which I suspect will be more critical???

jb129 11:53 AM  

I really really plodded through today - got the theme but nothing else (which I should have). Kept me busy!

jb129 11:55 AM  

Being Thursday I thought it was a rebus too so that kept me plodding.

Unknown 11:57 AM  

@Knitty Contessa 11:16
No, most constructors are not looking to deliberately frustrate the solvers.
They actually want the solver (you!) to have fun.
But sometimes the constraints of a puzzle (long themers; an interesting arrangement of black squares - like today) force the constructor to come up with less than stellar answers. But they do the best they can. And Will Shortz and his team of assistants try to assist them. In this case, you had two pretty unusual words, and he relied on a variant (although to me, he actually used the primary spelling, but folks can argue about that).
If you simply followed rex's lead, one would think that constructors (and Mr. Shortz in particular) were deliberately trying to make life difficult for us. That's a sad, jaded view of the world.

P.S. Apparently the constructor in this case wanted the black squares to represent a fish, sort of a meta theme to the themed puzzle. It didn't look like a fish to me, but i appreciate the effort.

Unknown 12:18 PM  

@whatsername, your line about olive oil on the kale made me laugh. Thanks! I also enjoyed the puzzle and thank Rex for pointing to the fish ar the end of each hook. I think age may be an interesting divider of opinions on some clues. I am old. Had trouble with Insta, but not Upanishad or Gish (nicely rhyming with fish). And the clue for milkshake does not say served "in" a metal cup, but "with" - a distinction that makes sense, as it is poured from the metal cup into another container, most likely a plastic one, these days. I am always delighted when I can solve the Thursday puzzles and I love reading all the comments. Thanks!

old timer 12:25 PM  

You might almost think that you're seeing double
On a cold dark night on the UPANISH Stairs.

Actually, I had "OPANISH" having totally forgotten about the UPANISHAD, if indeed I ever knew.

Other than that, a pretty Easy puzzle, since I got the FISH HOOK trick with the GOLDEN SPIKE, which for many years was an honored artifact at the Stanford Museum -- still is, it seems, though the museum is now named for a couple of Cantors. A second, and arguably better, Golden Spike, also used in the Last Spike ceremony at Promontory, is displayed at the excellent California Railroad Museum in Sacramento. A three-star destimation (Vaut le voyage, as Michelin would say) if you are a railfan.

But I digress. I, too, was misled by ailurophiles, and put in "FAT PEOPLE" before the correct CAT PEOPLE. I mean, there are millions who love fat people, aren't there? Far more than actually love KALE, if you ask me. Which has no business in a MILKSHAKE or a smoothie. Fried with a little bacon: Not bad.

As for Mint Juleps, in Kentucky they require a good Bourbon, though in any other whisky drink, I prefer rye, mandatory in Manhattans and Old Fashioneds, and a reasonable substitute in many other Bourbon drinks.

Accouchement means "brought to bed" at the end of a pregnancy. Often when LABOR has begun, but as any mother can tell you, the accouchement can last for hours, even days, and there can be a lot of rest periods before the little one meets the world and that first cry is audible. (Actually, nature expects babies to be born in a more upright position, but modern medicine prefers use of a bed, at least in hospitals.

I also had "ankh" before FROG, which was just silly, except I never knew the FROG was an important symbol for the old Egyptians.

mathgent 12:25 PM  

@burtonkd (10:03). Great line about RENE.

@Barbara S. (9:18). I think that J Lo is incredibly beautiful, talented, and sexy. And AROD cheated on her? Boggling.

Barbara S. 12:26 PM  

@Z (10:45)
I have no views on AROD as an actual or potential lover. I'm not a reader of tabloids but it seems to have escaped into the ether that JLO is forever taking up with new men and swearing she's set for life, only to have it all end in tears. Perhaps I'm being unfair in suggesting that she goes through this more than most celebrities, but gee. The whole thing puts me in mind of this snippet from Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary:
“FAMOUS, adj. Conspicuously miserable.”

chance2travel 12:36 PM  

The only reason I hesitated to drop down FISH at 1D was that like Rex I struggled to think of an Egyptian symbol starting with F (even thought of ANKH).

After that my experience was completely opposite his - I got the FISH names in the HOOKs starting with 4D and all the remaining themers. I was very happy that GAMECONSOLE just seemed the natural answer *and* that by using the extra 2 letters in the hook I could get a FISH named SOLE.

Tried CATlovers before CATPEOPLE and then had an island named MALLv--- Thankful that PLIE set me straight on the Ailurophiles.

Wanted Moscowmule as the drink in the metal cup.

Never saw QUA.

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

Ah yes, saying Hindu lore is insulting but saying Christian lore is okey-doke. Lucky the Supremes not only respect Christian lore they value it. Big win for Philadelphia's Catholic social services today. And of course, properly decided.

Teedmn 1:15 PM  

This was mostly easy until I got to the STY/STYLI area. I don't know of the Fox Islands and I was reading 37D's clue as being "in" a metal cup, not "with" so the starting M had me thinking Mead, perhaps in a pewter cup, yeah, no.

I put STY into the grid, entered STYL_ and could only come up with STYLo. Since that is a French word, I crossed it all out because as far as I was concerned, 48D might be Kiwi. Certainly KALE didn't occur to me, even though I've heard of KALE smoothies, because I don't do KALE. You could send it to a day SPA and have it massaged all you like, I will still find the texture off-putting. Perhaps in a smoothie it would be in small enough particles to make it palatable, but I don't do smoothies either. Just let me eat the food as it was intended (with the exception of kale :-) ).

HAKE reminds me of the first time I ran into that fish on a menu at a lovely restaurant in Ireland. Though the real star of the meal was the amazingly tasty shaved rutabaga.

Thanks, Blake Slonecker, nice grid construction.

Whatsername 1:33 PM  

@Z (9:18) The Steak ‘n Shakes where I live do use a proper glass but not the metal cup. Maybe that’s a tradition you can revive at Z’s Placebo and Tentacle.

@Barbara (9:20) Divine quote today. That one’s definitely a keeper.

@Unknown (12:18) If you missed it the first time, take a minute to view the “vile weed” link for another good laugh.

@GILL: Welcome back! I missed you.

I’ve also noticed M&A has been MIA for a while. Hope all is well.

TTrimble 1:48 PM  

Fairly quick for a Thursday. For the most part I liked it, though -- I don't think I groaned once, and some of the answers were fun getting: GISH, DIASPORA, ARAPAHO, STYLI, UPANISHAD, SISAL, PLIE.

Well, maybe there was a tiny groan at INSTA. (And do I detect a tiny groan over the spelling TEPEE from one of our resident CAT PEOPLE, one @Frantic Sloth?)

HeinOUS before HIDEOUS.

pg -9. But a lovely day outdoors awaits, so first things first! Have a good one, y'all!

bocamp 1:49 PM  

Learned 'accouchement' and UPANISHAD today.

Remember getting MILKSHAKES in large metal containers accompanied with glasses filled with part of the SHAKE.

Pretty sure I still have an old Rubik's Cube made in MACAU buried away somewhere. Here's a MACAU Skyline Mural (Guinness World Record Rubik’s Cube Mosaic).

@Z (9:08 AM) wrote:

"The reason KALE is a life STYLI choice is because of what you need to do to make it edible."


I dip pieces of KALE in hummus with my evening veggie platter. In the morning, I prepare a bowl of diced carrots, celery and cukes with shredded KALE for daytime munching.

td 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Health ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Z 2:11 PM  

@Barbara S - “Bennifer” made it through, and I’m way too informed about sports so I knew about her and AROD, but as a general rule I’m fairly ignorant of the famous’ love lives. I just read the section of her Wikipedia page about her personal life and it really seems to me that she needs to stop getting married and just sleep with whoever her flavor of the day is. Either way, I doubt she is actually miserable and if she is she needs a different therapist. Seeing that her various paramours have included a high school sweetheart, a back-up dancer, a famous actor, and a famous baseball player reminded me of a line from the Sex Pistols: I don’t know what I want but I know how to get it.

Anonymous 2:15 PM  

Remember getting MILKSHAKES in large metal containers accompanied with glasses filled with part of the SHAKE.

Decades ago, at least, at Friendly's in NE.

Whatsername 2:19 PM  

@Barbara (12:26) I completely agree.

thfenn 2:21 PM  

Didn't get to tackle this one until lunchtime, but what a great break it offered. Hooked fish, maples and aspen, milkshakes, curry, the hudson, islands, alaska - so much to love. Don't really think of those grand metal containers that great milkshakes come in as cups - I really only have hot chocolate in a tin cup, but the clue worked for me, even if I'm slightly embarrassed I did NOT think of MIntjulep. Shad run so abundantly in some rivers you can catch them as easily with a "stick in the water" as you can a fishing rod, so that also brought back fond memories. Plus I learned GISH and UPANISH. Fun Thursday, thanks.

Barbara S. 2:33 PM  

@Z, @mathgent
I'd like to make clear (I'm not sure why) that if I'm right in thinking that JLO has had a particularly trying love life, I have nothing but compassion/ sympathy for her. I have no reason to believe that she brought any of it on herself. And I thought she was terrific in the TV series "Shades of Blue." That show also starred Ray Liotta and lasted only 3 short seasons, but she was a stand-out as a conflicted cop.

Masked and Anonymous 3:16 PM  

For those concerned about M&A:

I am away from home, helpin folks do stepup and cleanup for a move. Don't have much of my trusty computer
equipment with m&e, tho. So havin to do this msg anonymous-style.
Probably be back in a month or so.

M&A Help Desk

albatross shell 3:19 PM  

@Unkown, whatshername
Yes careful clue reading really does help. The clue: Drink that might be served with a tin cup. The answers I thought of were mint julep, well water, milkshake. The first fits well the words might be served not, but not with. The second fails on both counts. The third works foe all of them. Well almost. I would never call that metal container a cup. Maybe a beaker or a canister. No handle and too big for a cup. Since I don't know the proper name, I can kinda give it a pass. So the moral is a close reading helps, but a too close reading does not. And yes I thought of those 3 answers. My grandmother's well had a ton cup attached with a chain to the pump and another container of water was around to prime the pump when people were not using it regularly. Yes I remember that ole prime the pump country ballad. But no, that is not how I got MILKSHAKE. I got that from getting the ILK from crosses.

I did get PELOSI with no crosses. Not that I knew the fact. It just made sense. Also got FISH with no crosses. Yes I had HOOK. It still seemed weird. I enjoyed the several places in this puzzle where answers filled in not because I factually knew the clue, but because the "flavor" of the answer matched the clue. Also there were places that made me doubt answers. Wanted birch before ASPEN. SPAS stopped me from impeaching PELOSI.

Now this mirror symmetry did not make the puzzle sparkle but it did make the theme sparkle. The mirror symmetric hooks accenting the mirror symmetric puzzle adds a bit of polish.

I tried using Kale for my STYLI but I couldn't get any sound.

Does everybody realize that any house with a chimney has a hole at the top? Also the tipi is a chimney.

Whatsername 4:41 PM  

@M&A Help (3:16) Thanks for checking in. Glad to hear all is well and look forward to your return.

@albatross (3:19) Your mention of priming the old pump sure brought back some memories for me. My grandmother’s house was a wondrous place of well water, out houses, barn cats and wood stoves, including the one she cooked on,

JD 5:11 PM  

@M&A, Your cheerful voice is missed.

Z 5:58 PM  

@Barbara S 2:33 - With all the usual disclaimers about not really knowing anything because who can really know how somebody’s else’s life is going, I tend to fall into the “If you keep doing the same thing and keep getting the same result, what you are doing must be working for you on some level” form of cynicism. Also, I’m just predisposed to having very little sympathy for someone worth $400 million dollars. Money can’t by happiness, but it does allow for a sizable down payment. I also tend to think that personal life and professional talent are mostly independent. My sense is that J.Lo is generally well regarded in all her professional efforts with the exception of Gigli (hence, the sizable net worth). And she made that money because of her talent, so props to her in that regard. As to whether or not she’s going to or has gotten back together with Ben Affleck and they live happily ever after, I could not possibly care less. It is interesting that her greatest professional failure is paired with her supposed greatest time of personal happiness. It would be almost too stereotypical if it turned out that all her good art comes from a place of unhappiness and that everyone else loses when she finds happiness.

Barbara S. 7:25 PM  

@Z (5:58 PM)
Interesting. That's an ancient idea -- the notion that unhappiness and creativity go together. It dates back to Aristotle, if I'm not mistaken. And clearly it was stock-in-trade for the Romantics. I think various well-intentioned researchers have done studies to see if the correlation can be proven and documented! But I suspect it's all very individual. How or whether JLO fits the mold I don't know. Some artists' lives have been tough and impoverished and full of negative emotions, I would imagine. Some artists have spent their whole lives with various forms of illness. But artists with choices, who find creative power in melancholia, do they seek it out? It sounds like a punishingly high price to pay, but I guess only the individual can make that determination.

Anonymous 8:27 PM  

Did Z, 60 year old white dude , actually condescendingly say “props” to Jennifer Lopez? 😂😂 🤣🤣🤣🤣
And he couldn’t care less about her 🤔. That’ s a lotta text for someone who doesn’t care.

TAB2TAB 9:00 PM  

Enjoyed the FISH HOOKS theme and cracked it uickly. Thought I would blaze through the puzzle but burned half my time and nearly DNF due to PPP-fest in the center top: SISAL, ORR, RIC, MACAU were *not* in my wheelhouse, which made DIASPORA and MALLORCA difficult. Last letter to go in was of course the U of MACAU and UPANISHAD (??) which took a run of the alphabet. Great puzzle, but would have found a better final themer.

Nancy 9:13 PM  

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck used to be together?

TJS 11:24 PM  

Z@2:11 Okay That was just a great comment. I hereby apologise for about ten of my negative comments. Take your pick. But, ala OFL, I've had a few strong ones.

Joe Dipinto 1:07 AM  

@Nancy – Yes. It is a tragic tale.

In ancient times, before what is known as The Millennium, Ben and Jen were Bennifer, beloved and admired by all the people of the land. It was so hoped that they would marry and live happily after ever, looking gorgeous and making movies about themselves looking gorgeous, and procreating gorgeous mini-Bennifers that would become beloved in their own right.

And then, one day...

Bennifer was no more. The people of the land wept tears of chagrin. If Bennifer couldn't get their shit together, what hope was there for anyone else? Who would the people venerate and idolize as the perfect couple now?

Ben, being a not very imaginative sort, got married to a *different* Jen, whose last name was Garner. They procreated mini-Bennifers, while the Jen who is the heroine of our tale, in the ultimate what-was-she-thinking? development, took up with a common baseball player –one who was accused of steroid abuse! The people of the land felt betrayed.

But what goes around comes around, and now it is many moons later. Ben and substitute-Jen are no more, the baseball player has been kicked to the curb, and our hero Ben and heroine Jen, older but wiser, appear to be rekindling the old Bennifer chemistry. Just as the country reopens after the pandemic and we are becoming accustomed to a new, sane president. It's as if gigantic windows have been thrown open, and sunlight and rose-scented breezes and puppies and kittens are everywhere you look.

And the people rejoiced, but also they admonished Bennifer: don't you ever do that to us again.

Harry 4:55 AM  

I'll chime in and say that I was charmed by the grid construction and cluing from the "get go". Fairly breezy solve for a Thursday, but completely satisfactory. I'm likely to be inclined to see what else Mr. Slonecker has contributed previously.

Nancy 5:37 AM  

@Joe D -- You are such a treasure! Wonderful!

Crimson Devil 9:20 AM  

Certainly agree re SNL clue.

thefogman 10:58 AM  

DAM good. A few nits to pick here and there but nothing HIDEOUS.

Burma Shave 12:35 PM  


ORR his on-CAMERA dialog,
that STUD’S a STARK fraud,


Diana, LIW 3:41 PM  

At moments I thought the PPP quotient was pretty high, but I managed to get through it all with just a few changes along the way and w/o any help. And it was not a rebus. Always a plus on a Thursday.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoaster 4:21 PM  

Clever, delightful puzzle with depths and levels of meaning. (You all know this by now, but let me indulge myself anyway.)

Four FISH are caught at the bottom of their HOOKs, dangling symmetrically from top to bottom, and all the hooks spell out words of their own. First in was GOLDEN S_PIKE and last was UPANI_SHAD (not to ignore the GAMECON_SOLE and the MILK S_HAKE).

With all this good fun, have to note a couple of errors: Wanted OilS, which really do “stick in the water”, instead of the OARS, which I’ve never called “sticks”. The other error was the “i” in MiLLORCA instead of MALLORCA, a bad guess.

A very fine piece of work by Blake Slonecker.

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