Sobriquet for international hip-hop star Pitbull / FRI 6-11-21 / Blossom of snow in song / Rabbits in a race / Jokey response to an overly technical explanation / Goddess whose Roman counterpart is Victoria

Friday, June 11, 2021

Constructor: Matthew Stock

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (lots of names, so who knows how that went for you?)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: MEDINA Spirit, winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby (13D) —

Medina Spirit (foaled April 5, 2018) is an American Thoroughbred racehorse who won the 2021 Kentucky Derby under suspicious circumstances. He qualified for the race by winning the Robert B. Lewis Stakes and finishing second in both the San Felipe Stakes and Santa Anita Derby. He also came third in the 2021 Preakness Stakes.

He was ridden by jockey John Velazquez in his fourth Kentucky Derby triumph and trained by Bob Baffert in his record seventh Derby victory. The horse was a long shot with post-time odds of 12–1.

Medina Spirit's Derby win was called into question after the horse tested positive for the anti-inflammatory steroid betamethasone after the race. A few days after finishing third in the 2021 Preakness Stakes, New York racing officials banned Medina Spirit and Baffert from participating in the 2021 Belmont Stakes. (wikipedia)

• • •

Well, this puzzle certainly is *trying*. Very strong "Hello, fellow youths!" vibe. I guess it's better than not trying. Still, I think it's wise not to confuse "crammed with references to contemporary pop culture" with, uh, "good." I was hit and miss with the names, which slowed things down a bit. Nobody cares about horse racing anymore, least of all me, so MEDINA was just a bunch of letters to me. I forgot Pitbull's "sobriquet" and that "-RW-" near the front of the answer made the answer so hard to parse that I actually took out PAWNED (whence the "W") at one point. No idea about the racing term "rabbit" so PACESETTERS was ??? (30A: "Rabbits" in a race) (this is a reference to long-distance racing by humans, not horses or dogs, in case you were wondering). I could see Johnny WEIR (alongside Tara Lipinski) in my brain but needed a couple crosses to remember his name (46A: Olympic figure skating commentator Johnny). Very familiar with "Minari" but apparently much less so with the precise name of the director (37A: "Minari" director ___ Isaac Chung) (still waiting for ChloΓ© ZHAO to show up in my puzzle). Completely forgot about the goddess NIKE, largely because I've literally never heard of the goddess Victoria (49A: Goddess whose Roman counterpart is Victoria). This was all enough to slow me down considerably. Everything else was not too troubling. Not too exciting either, except MEAN STREETS, which is so good (35A: Scorsese film added to the National Film Registry in 1997). Rewatched it last month and made me think Keitel should've been a much, much bigger star, even than he already is. Everyone remembers De Niro's obnoxious Johnny Boy, but Keitel's Charlie (the protagonist) is the only reason you care about anything that's happening on screen. He is the complex emotional heart of that movie, as he is with many of the movies he's in. In particular, I recommend seeking out Bertrand Tavernier's "Death Watch" (1980), a prescient near-future sci-fi take on the dehumanizing effects of reality TV.

I opened the puzzle bam bam bam, like this:
Then ran into the bizarrely clued IN AREA (isn't that more for cell service? I think of the insurance phrase as IN NETWORK) (2D: Covered, as by insurance), and the exceedingly dull DATA FORMAT (17A: Computer file arrangement). So not the greatest start.
The middle perks up a bit, for sure. It also toughens up a bit, as I say. Plural TACOS as single "dish" threw me for a bit (23D: Dish that can be prepared al pastor). NE corner was roughish not only because of MEDINA but also because I had LENS for CONE (stupid "N" ... you were supposed to help me!) (16A: Part of the eye). I think of INSTA as the app itself, or an individual account ("posted it on my INSTA"), not a single pic, so that was strange (43D: Pic that may have millions of likes). No other issues except for the hugely dumb error I made at 45D: "African unicorn" (OKAPI). You have a to be a real senile crossword old-timer to see that clue, look at your grid, see O---I sitting there, and write in ... ORIBI. I think I'm still SCARred from the very first comment this blog ever received, some fifteen years ago now, from the infamous (to me) "grandpamike" (you couldn't have scripted a better name). It was my fourth post or so, and I encountered ORIBI, which at that point was a total mystery to me, and I suggested as much, and, well, this was my introduction to the wonderful world of blog comments sections:
Sep. 28, 2006

R.I.P. (I assume) "grandpamike"

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 6:36 AM  

"Rabbit" comes from horseracing, which I very much enjoy. A trainer who has a good "closer" will frequently enter a second horse is a race called a "rabbit" to tire out the competition so that his come-from-behind horse has a better chance to win.

Cayman 6:40 AM  

I’d like to imagine grandpamike has been coming back to this blog and having the answers spoiled for him, everyday, for the past 15 years, getting angrier and angrier each time.

Just sayin' 6:42 AM  

EBOLA was a lot more than a scare to those affected.

Lewis 6:46 AM  

This is an exaggeration, but basically my solve went like this: 1. Coursed through the clues and had a mere smattering of letters in the grid; basically a desert. 2. Blinked. 3. The whole thing was filled in.

How did that happen? How does that happen? Where one or two answers splat the entire grid open? Today I filled in the NW first, but what caused the fill-harmonic explosion were PACESETTERS and MEAN STREETS. Then it was over, a ratatat of answers slamming in.

Only in crosswords, this magnificent pastime of ours.

My favorite parts were the lovely TAP TAP and its clue, being reminded that there is water on the moon and learning who discovered that, the big aha when DIDDLY hit me and smiling at the fun of that word, filling in several answers that are nowhere in my wheelhouse, and the sweet earworm of EDELWEISS that is serenading me as I write.

Thank you, Matthew, for a memorable solve, going from stuck to navigating at warp speed, from idle to a flash drive, as it were. I loved this one.

Joey 6:47 AM  

Medina Spirit has been very much in the news due to the whole drug test scandal, so it's hardly an obscure clue, Rex.

Anonymoose 7:05 AM  

I pay equal amounts of attention to horse racing, hockey, sumo wrestling, boxing, facebook, and rap "artists". In other words, DIDDLY sh.. er, I mean squat.

amyyanni 7:19 AM  

Rabbits as pace setters in Marathons for human also exists. Some are meant to lure the favorites to go out too fast so that other runners can stay the course and finish ahead.
Liked this a lot. Hit all my Friday spots. TGIF. Going back to the office Monday, but before that, heading to the movies to see "In the Heights." Anticipation!

kitshef 7:26 AM  

Probably a fun puzzle for fans of Pitbull, Cardi B, Good Morning America, whatever “Minari” is.

I feel lucky that I actually knew Adam DUNN (ton of homers, ton of strikeouts), RFK Stadium and the immortal Johnny WEIR. Seems like we see his partner TARA Lipinski in puzzles a lot more often. While poor Terry Gannon is pretty much persona non grata in crossworld.

dR WORLDWIDE instead of MR made the SW tough to sort out, especially with LARA being a complete unknown, NYNY for my Big Apple and lynx for my WNBA team. Not simultaneously, of course.

“Arguing with a fool proves there are TWO”. I’m so glad we never see that illustrated in the blog comments.

Z 7:31 AM  

Uh, Pitbull is, uh, like 40 and has been recording for like 20 years and, uh, so, like, isn’t really a “youth”ful answer. Lil Nas X, now, …

Having said that, this felt a little out of,… not my wheelhouse exactly, but everything felt more like the answer was the third or fifth thing I might consider for the clue. CONE is perfectly okay, but I think waffle before I think rods and. Give me a space clue and I’m thinking ESA or China before getting to INDIA. And you can’t give me MR. WORLDWIDE and then cross it with EDELWEISS, that’s just whiplash inducing. While nothing was actually out of my wheelhouse, it was just all stuff stored in the corner out of sight.

@Joey - True. TBF, Rex did add “to me” to his just a bunch of letters comment.

@Anon6:36 - Do you know which came first? I only know it from distance racing, where it’s basically the same tactic.

Z 7:33 AM  

@Anon6:36 - I forgot to finish my thought. I only know it from track and field, so I was wondering if track and field stole it from horse racing or the other way around.

Eric NC 7:40 AM  

How about greyhound dog racing also. Terrible sport for the poor dogs, especially when their owners dump them

pabloinnh 7:46 AM  

Thank goodness for PACESETTERS, which I know from track and field, and EDELWEISS, which is a lovely little tune that I like to sing to see if I can make anyone cry. (With emotion, not as a music critic.)

NW filled in last but when NERDALERT finally appeared it made INDIA apparent and several fits and starts later I was done.

I'm assuming OKAPI was in there for us veteran solvers to balance the youthful vibe of this one. Nice to see an old friend.

Nice crunchy Friday, MS, with just the right amount of pushback. Thanks for a Mostly Satisfying experience.

Hungry Mother 7:49 AM  

I had to turn on the red letters for the NE. I almost quit in disgust about halfway and wished I did. Take your names and shove them.

Barbara S. 7:52 AM  

I was almost defeated by the NW at the end – clearly my solving experience was unlike Rex’s. I got 1A “I literally DIED” immediately, but couldn’t gain any other traction in that corner. I had no particular trouble elsewhere in the grid, but was briefly hoodwinked by a weird coincidence at 46A “Olympic figure skating commentator Johnny.” In Canada there was a long-time figure skating commentator called Johnny Esaw, whose name I confidently plunked in until I saw that nothing else worked there and remembered that he was Canadian. Also had a short brain-wracking session at 42A “Abjure” and settled on “reject” rather than DISOWN. But all that got sorted and then I went back to the dreaded NW. I made three very unhelpful (although short) mistakes: “ole” for YAY, Ira for IPO and I’mouT for I CANT. Finally getting INDIA for the water-on-the-moon country started getting me on track as did the sudden, blinding revelation of DIDDLY at 1D. I still don’t understand 2D IN AREA for “covered, as by insurance.” I hope some friendly soul will explain.

Today’s passage is by YASUNARI KAWABATA, born June 11, 1899.

“My head hasn’t been very clear these last few days. I suppose that’s why sunflowers made me think of heads. I wish mine could be as clean as they are. I was thinking on the train — if only there were some way to get your head cleaned and refinished. Just chop it off — well, maybe that would be a little violent. Just detach it and hand it over to some university hospital as if you were handing over a bundle of laundry. ‘Do this up for me, please,’ you’d say. And the rest of you would be quietly asleep for three or four days or a week while the hospital was busy cleaning your head and getting rid of the garbage. No tossing and no dreaming.”
(From The Sound of the Mountain)

kitshef 8:00 AM  

@Eric NC - I always assumed 'rabbit' in human racing came from 'rabbit' in greyhound racing, where a mechanical rabbit is used to set the pace.

Unknown 8:01 AM  

@AMYYANNI 7:19 I'm going to respectfully disagree with you as to the role of a rabbit in a race. Race directors want to see fast times. Some races (Berlin, London) pride themselves as being world record courses. So the rabbit is hired to go out and set the fast pace, with the idea that the real competitors will follow along and the times will be fast. The official rabbit is there for the entire field, not to benefit one particular runner. I have simply never encountered or even heard of the scenario you describe, and I'm guessing I've been running and racing as long as you have.
I always assumed the term came from greyhound racing, where a mechanical rabbit leads the entire field.
I had mixed feelings about this puzzle: the cluing for AREA is still beyond me. I don't see AETNA or any insurance company as a "health care" provider.
I did like the stacking of STAIRWELLS and TOPSTORIES.
I thought the puzzle had a younger vibe which was fine. Rex typically laments when a puzzle skews "older," and this constructor clearly was going in a different direction. Not sure why rex lambasts him for "trying" too hard? Why not applaud the effort?

Z 8:01 AM  

@Eric NC - If Bugs Bunny is to be believed, I bet greyhound racing is the source of the term. My sense is that greyhound racing is dying from a combination of being seen as cruel to the dogs and gamblers having so many less controversial avenues for their, uh, hobby.

@Keith D late last night - Nice quote. Way to use my favorite scientist/ultimate player against me. I couldn’t help but notice two things, though. First, Nye drives a Bolt not a Tesla. Second, “if.” (And, no, I didn’t know Nye drove a Bolt when I got mine, what kind of fanboy do you think I am?) Well, and third, it’s about his money, not his “vision.” He might end up funding some great things, let’s hope so, but I’m still all for taxing him at 50% and addressing lots of other issues. We could do that and he’d still have enough $ to pretend he is S.R. Hadden.

bocamp 8:07 AM  

Thx Matthew for a fine Fri. puz! Enjoyed the trip, altho I didn't take U.S. 1 to get to RTE 1. LOL

Easy+ solve.

Got the top 1/3 easily, and slowed down a tad going south. No major holdups or guesses on this one.

Nice sense of INNER PEACE all the way to the SE. FEEL IT sums up my rhythm along the way.

One of my all-time fave songs: EDELWEISS ~ Christopher Plummer

yd pg -1

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Z 8:10 AM  

@unknown 8:01 - “rabbit” the way @amyyanni and @anon6:36 describe it is how we used it in the 1970’s when I was on my HS cross country team. I’ve also heard it used this way by TV commentators, although it’s been a long time since I actually watched a steeplechase or 10K on TV.

Conrad 8:15 AM  

I was at Belmont in the late 60s or early 70s. I wondered aloud, "What does it mean when there's a '1' horse and a '1A'?" A friendly track denizen explained the concept of a rabbit, and betting on one: You collect on a single bet if either horse wins. I asked, "Does it work?" He said, "It means the trainer has enough faith in the setup to pay two entry fees." I bet on the 1-1A entry. I think both horses are still running.

Son Volt 8:23 AM  

Trivia love fest - where’s my Friday wordplay? Had to back into a lot of the names - the local fill was fair enough. Liked INNER PEACE and EDELWEISS but STAIR WELLS are not TOP STORIES. Didn’t we see NERD ALERT recently?

Not an enjoyable solve for me.

Dddaly 8:36 AM  

Worked in insurance for years, but still stared for many minutes at 2D “in area” for “covered, as by insurance.” Like Barbara’s S. hoping for an explainer.

TTrimble 8:38 AM  

I also thought dog (greyhound) racing for PACESETTERS, and wondered why Rex ruled that one out.

Pretty quick for a Friday, which is not to say there weren't some trouble spots. LOCAVORE in particular is not in my lexicon, and I dislike that portmanteau on sight. But okay. (Nor is NERD ALERT in my working vocabulary, i.e., I've never shouted it and I've never had it shouted at me, although you might find the latter hard to believe ;-).)

LARA Spencer... ugh. Far and away my least favorite of the GMA regulars. Maybe the less said the better. Sheesh, I'm getting grumpier by the minute!

MR WORLDWIDE -- you ain't helping either! Give me Bo DIDDL(e)Y instead.

But, it's Friday and it looks to be a beautiful day outdoors, so let me now focus on the positive. Have a good one, y'all!

Anonymous 8:39 AM  

Great quote by Doris M. Smith. Reminded me of why I never argue with Z anymore. A lot of people care about horse racing.

M. Perkins 8:42 AM  

RIP grandpamike

Killed tragically when an oribi, separated from its group, leapt into the path of grandpa's Volkswagen Polo while on holidays at the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Neither the oribi nor grandpa survived.

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

@amyyanni is correct. the RABBIT, whether horses or humans (well horse/human and human), is in fact a dodge to aid the late closers, who may or may not be favorites. the experienced runners, again horse or human, are smart enough to detect an unsustainable pace and will let the RABBIT go, knowing it and those that took the bait will fade before the end of the race. the late closers will then fight for the finish. a pace setter, OTOH, is typically an also-ran who does set a pace that benefits the favorite, who obviously isn't smart enough to pace [it|him|her]self. the favorite keeps pace with the pace setter for the purpose of winning, not for the purpose of being gulled into losing.

Frantic Sloth 8:46 AM  

This dude has been on a roll. His NYTXW debut was just in January and since then there have been four more (including today) puzzles. Some were collaborations, but still. Geez Louise!
And if memory serves they've all been pretty darn good. Could stand to cut back on all the PPP, but I can't wait to see what Mr. Stock has in store for us next.

I have to go too deep into the mine to find some nits, so I won't.

Liked this one a lot. Faves include DIDDLY (as clued), TAPTAP (and that clue!), LOCAVORE, MEANSTREETS, and INNERPEACE. Although I discovered "grunge band" has the same number of letters.
Of course I've seen The Sound of Music one *ahem* or two *cough cough* times, but EDELWEISS never fails to choke me up. Sweet to meet it here.


OffTheGrid 9:05 AM  

Reading all the comments about "Rabbits" leads me to conclude that these "Rabbits" are strong, fast runners. Why don't they just win the race themselves? Seems logical.

Unknown 9:11 AM  

@ Z 8:10

I can see where your usage comes from, although I'm not sure how effective a tactic that really was. I used to help coach our local high school xc team, and we all knew who the other teams' top runners were, so if their #5 or 6 guy went out way too fast, it would clearly be silly to follow him just because he was in the lead. Our lead runners were trained to focus on the other teams' top 2.

If you watch the Olympics (or any track meet on tv for that matter, like the Diamond Meet series) they always refer to the pacesetter as the rabbit. Many races like the Olympics focus on place, not on times, and so typically everyone goes out super slow and stays together until the last lap and then there's a huge sprint. The races are embarrassingly boring. Hence the rabbit, to try to keep an honest pace. But sometimes the runners ignore the rabbit, who winds up being 20 yards ahead of the field. Sort of silly. In rare cases, the rabbit wins.

Nancy 9:16 AM  

I always wonder whether the several diabolical crossing wrong answers are planned as a Big Trap, or whether they happen by accident. It seems it would be hard to plan them though.

In my case, it was reAM instead of SLAM (10A) for "criticize forcefully". The initial "R" led to RUIN instead of SCAR for "leave damaged" (10D). And the initial "U" instead of "C" led to UVEA instead of CONE for "part of the eye" (16A). All completely plausible, right?

But what to make of EV??VORE??? Eventually LOCAVORE enabled me to straighten it all out.

Pretty smooth sailing elsewhere, though once again I was irked by the many pop culture names. They're always located in the worst possible places, aren't they? Although I did know MIRAMAX (more about that later if I have time) and EDELWEISS (has Joe D already provided the link?)

Mostly, though, I liked this puzzle a lot.

TTrimble 9:18 AM  

@Frantic Sloth
You too, huh? A beautifully sweet and simple tune, and the movie The Sound of Music is already rife with nostalgia for me. I like to sing, but I really have to concentrate to avoid getting a lump in the throat when it comes to EDELWEISS.

(Christopher Plummer is said to detest the movie, no doubt because of all that sentimentality.)

Here is a duet between John Denver and Julie Andrews. Love it.

Paul 9:18 AM  

This puzzle beat me up. I got stuck in both the NE and the NW. Couldn’t drop LENS for CONE (one cone as “part of the eye” - boo). But the foul I’m calling is clueing DATAFORMAT as a file arrangement. It’s just a file format, not a file data format. DISCFORMAT is the only response that matches the clue and I died on that hill.

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

I literally DIED, when Rex the Millennial wrote that he “literally never heard of “ that goddess.

Birchbark 9:26 AM  

I seek the rabbit within. I FEEL IT: INNER PACE.

And I like the flavor and gentle mess of good TACOS on a hot day.

Kristen 9:26 AM  

As a fan of Cardi B and Minari and Pitbull (...after a few drinks at the bar), I had fun with this puzzle and set a record time for a Friday!

That said, I was really disappointed to see MIRAMAX, the company founded by Harvey Weinstein and his brother, in the puzzle today. Is it too much to ask to have a No Sex Offenders policy in the nytxw?

JD 9:28 AM  

Looked at 1A/1D, nearly Died right there. Trudged through downs and came up with Diddly, not the answer, just the result. Started Tap Tap(ping) around, very little. Rinsed repeated (finally checked), gained confidence, no look ups. Friday.

Inner Peace seemed out of place. More like a Raymond Chandler novel. Died, Slam, Acid, Mean Streets, Gimme, Animals. The dame had some Orbs … married nine times, bring in all the Exes. Marlowe ol' Pal, believe me … I Mac had nuttin to do with this girl. Spill it Mac, we found your prints in the Stairwell near the corpse.

Not my wheelhouse, but an interesting visit to someone else's.

BTW, Grandpa Mike must've been pretty with it if he knew IMHO 15 years ago.

@Frantic, Sound of Music? I'd have never guessed. You ol' softy!

Unknown 9:30 AM  

I literally CAN'T

Frantic Sloth 9:36 AM  

@Cayman 640am 🀣🀣🀣

@Barbara S 752am For half a second, I read your "I'mouT" as a small "L" and thought "why would she start with French?* Oh - Canadian." Please don't hurt me. 😘
And YASUNARI KAWABATA knows my pain. Thank you for the intro!

*Before anyone gets all obvious on me, I know "L'mout" is not a thing.

@Z 801am Bugs Bunny is always to be believed. Yeah, my first reaction was "greyhound racing??", then "Ouch!"

@bocamp 807am Link all you want - I ain't fallin' for it! πŸ˜‰

@TTrimble 918am Ha! Same goes for you. I opened your link, saw the video title, and closed the link. Not. Gonna. Happen.

Hand up for "IN network before INAREA. Maybe it's a regional thing? BTW, @Barbara S I hope someone more worthy than I answers your question. The less I think about "health insurance", the better for all of us.
Hand up for CONE being the last 4L eye part I thought of.

Wondering how RABBIT will do today in the EGOT stakes.

Nancy 9:36 AM  

I am so, so happy seeing all the love lavished being lavished today on EIDELWEISS, and by so many people. Yes, it makes me cry, too, @pablo and @Frantic. And thanks for putting the link up, @bocamp (8:07). I would have done so if no one else had.

I simply MUST sing it with you sometime, @pabloinnh! It's the perfect song for me: requiring a very limited vocal range and containing very obvious folk song-style intervals. Nothing like trying to master, say, the bridge in "Send In The Clowns". Would our voices be compatible? Could we sing it in the same key? (To give you an idea, I pair best with the late Ethel Merman. Or at least I used to. I may have lost some of my low notes -- but, alas, without gaining any additional high notes.)

Tom R 9:36 AM  

I'd say the puzzle was average Friday. In area was tough to see, but likely refers to health insurance which often has geographic limits. Hence you might get a surprise bill for services, especially if they are not emergency services provided by someone outside of your area.

EdFromHackensack 9:36 AM  

I have been in the insurance industry for 39 years and never heard of INAREA

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

I love the comment from Grandpamike. For 15 years people have apparently been saying to Rex: Just because YOU'VE never heard of it doesn't make it a stupid clue."

And yet he calls clues stupid nearly every day because he's never heard of them.

I thought Rex was going to raise holy hell because Medina Spirit was eventually disqualified, so was he (she?) really the winner? Lively discussion follows. But no, he'd never heard of the horse. So it was just a stupid clue.

jberg 9:40 AM  

The very best part of this puzzle was struggling to get all the contemporary pop-culture thingys, and then having it slowly dawn on me that the "blossom of snow" could only be EDELWEISS -- which until today I assumed was a traditional Austrian song, but apparently was written for "The Sound of Music." That was just neat. Literally.

OK, the insurance thingy. I get my health insurance through my university's retiree plan. I have two choices: a PPO, which covers pretty much everything Medicare does not (which is what I chose), or an HMO which covers care only if the provider is "in network," and if you are physically located "IN AREA." If I go to Florida for a mid-winter break, and get injured or sick, I am on my own. Or I would be, if that was the plan I had.

The "rabbits" thing was tough for me (ironic, since I used to raise the critters). All I could think of was baseball, where someone who steals a lot of bases might be called a rabbit. So by analogy I put in fAst runnERS, confirmed by PAWNED. Eventually NERD ALERT became obvious (well, it was obvious all along, except that I was holding on to DARA FOlder), so I changed it to PACE runnERS. That left me stymied for the relevant downs. Could Capek's R.U.R be part of some literary canon? (Note that the capitalization was disguised in the clue.) Finally I worked it out, and the rest was history. Well, almost -- I never heard of Johnny WEIR and needed all the crosses; I had to sort out STAIRWELLS/caseS; and I thought MEDINA Spirit has been disqualified, and therefore was not the winner. But I guess I was wrong about that.

In short (well, I guess that was long), a fine puzzling Friday!

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

Zhao was on Tuesday's mini

Glen Laker 9:43 AM  

Usain Bolt is fast, but he’s not going to win a marathon (well, against me he would, but not against elite marathoners). Rabbits in a marathon tend to be fast 5k-10k runners who can set a pace for the marathoners early on.

April Wex 9:43 AM  

I loved the puzzle, but would like to never again see Miramax or Harvey Weinstein tainting the puzzle. It just put a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

RooMonster 9:53 AM  

Hey All !
Thanks to @Frantic and @A YesterComments for the RAG knowledge. That definition never entered the ole brain.

Surprised myself at getting today's puz 100%! WooHoo, I FEEL IT! Tough everywhere. Did Google for the horse MEDINA, so might be a technical DNF to those who care about such things. What happened to "Funky Cold MEDINA" by Tone Loc? Circa late '80s. πŸ˜‹

IN AREA was bizarre. DIDDLY was fun! Kept wanting iDELWEISS. E_OL_, wait on crosses for either EBOLA or ECOLI. CONE for the eye clue evil! Had leNs forever. chinA for INDIA first.

Nice themeless. Gotta rabbit.

Two F's

Steve M 9:57 AM  

If I could do it it’s not too contemporary believe meπŸ˜‰

Unknown 10:00 AM  

@ Kristen 9:26
If we followed that rule, that would severely cut down on the number of men who would appear in the puzzles. But maybe that's okay . . . .

OTOH, although I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that HW founded MIRAMAX, I didn't consciously connect him to the clue/answer, and certainly wasn't even remotely troubled by the link. In fact, I'm still not. I guess it's easy to get offended by just about anything these days, but it would be nice if we could just enjoy a crossword puzzle for its own sake, without the overlay of political correctness.

OTOH, we should definitely get rid of EDELWEISS, since that reminds me of the Sound of Music, and that reminds me of the Austrians, who were in cahoots with the Nazis, and I don't like seeing those connections in the puzzles; you see where I'm going with this? . . . .

57stratocaster 10:01 AM  

This was my fastest Friday ever; half my average time, and I'm 65. Oh, and Rex had trouble with it. Can't get better than that.

Also, for someone complaining about pandering/slanting toward "youth culture", Rex sure says literally a lot...and the puzzle made fun of him and those who do at 1Across. Lit-rully made my head explode.

Whatsername 10:02 AM  

Yikes! Tough slog for me, especially that center section. Liked TAP TAP but no love lost on IN AREA which was a clunky clue IMHO, as was the one for RFK. I don’t mean to SLAM but the facility which opened in 1961 was called District of Columbia Stadium and did not become RFK until 1969.

It’s interesting that Rex assumes someone called “grandpa” in 2006 has since DIED. Many people become grandparents in their 40s so 15 years later, it’s quite possible Mike doesn’t even qualify for Medicare yet.

GILL I. 10:04 AM  

TAP TAP...Who's there?
DIDLEY lose his Bo and not give a squat?
And so it went...I get to 20A and needed a DRINK. Who on this earth is nicknamed "Big Donkey?" Does he have big ears? Does he need new teeth? Is DUNN the biggest ass around?
Oh, wait. There's more. You mean CHINA didn't discover some water on the moon? No?
Was there a GIMME or two? Some here, some there, some lost in MR. WORLWIDE Pitbull RAMI LARA land.
No SLAM dunk, but gee, I got to learn all about rabbits and doubly glad Thumper was spared imminent death.
What did I like, you ask? PRAM. Yep....I liked imagining a prissy miss toting her tot in Tottenham in a PRAM..
I'll now skip over to my favorite @Barbara S. and think about beheading myself and cleaning my head.

Nancy 10:05 AM  

Why I know MIRAMAX so well -- especially as it relates to "Chocolat":

My musical collaborator and I tried for years to obtain the stage rights to "Chocolat", controlled by Harvey Weinstein first at MIRAMAX and then at the Weinstein Company. The author of the book, Joanne Harris, said she loved our demo -- which we ultimately sent to her when waiting for any response from Harvey and company proved fruitless -- but that her hands were tied: Harvey owned the stage rights to her book as well as to the movie and she couldn't release them to any potential musical teams. She had sold them for a pittance. (It turns out a lot of creative teams were after the property, although we didn't know it at the time.) J.H. was very, very unhappy about it. If you go online and do a Google search, you'll see just what Joanne Harris thinks of Harvey Weinstein.

Our demo of 4 songs: Fourth album on this link.

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

@Kristen -It’s not too much to ask. You’re just not going to like the answer.

Stayhat 10:07 AM  

I agree about a no sex offender policy. MIRAMAX almost ruined my coffee.

Laurie 10:18 AM  

Why did the clue for ETSY have a question mark?

Nancy 10:19 AM  

@April Wex (9:43): A sick feeling in the pit of YOUR stomach? Oh, c'mon, April -- if I can take it, so can you. (See my 10:05 comment.)

JD 10:34 AM  

@Laurie, Right? I've asked the question on things like this before. It would be a clever misdirect if there wasn't a question mark. @Z, what do you say here?

bocamp 10:35 AM  

@TTrimble (9:18 AM)

Beautiful rendition of EDELWEISS; hadn't heard this one by two of my faves. Thank you! :)

@Frantic Sloth (9:36 AM) πŸ’¦

@Nancy (9:36 AM) yw :)

@Nancy (10:05 AM)

Loved your anecdote and 'These Are The Hands' song. :)

pg -10

PEACE ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

mathgent 10:35 AM  

Excellent puzzle. Crunchy, sparkly. Had fun fighting my way through the NE. I had ANIMALS until it didn't seem to work. Tried MAMMALS, but no dice. Went back to ANIMALS and finally stumbled across LOCAVORE.

Is someone going to explain how INDIA discovered water on the moon. They don't have a space program, do they?

TJS 10:45 AM  

This is getting weird. For a while I started skipping @Lewis because I knew the euphoria that was to follow. Now, lately, I find myself having the same reaction to a puzzle that he has, including the solving experience. I know he hasn't changed, so apparently I have. And I have been solving for over 60 years.

Oh great, now I have Ethel Merman singing Edelweiss in my head.

Never thought I'd be grateful for "My girl is red hot, your girl ain't diddley squat", but the time has arrived.

Solved with no lookups, but considered the wall-chucking method on my first go through.

Happy Friday, y'all.

jae 10:53 AM  

Medium. Any puzzle that starts off with DIDDLY gets a plus from me. Solid with a tinge of sparkle, liked it.


I knew MEDINA because of the news and because that’s my home town in Ohio which is why I paid attention to the news.

Last Sunday’s (June 6) Boston Globe puzzle by BEQ is worth a look. I don’t think you can find it on the web so I emailed a PDF to Z. If you’d like to give it a try email him.

Andrew Heinegg 10:55 AM  

I thought it was a reasonably easy puzzle for a Friday. I do have a different understanding of the rabbit business in horse or long distance human racing.

In big time events for either species, any entry is going to be something of a known quality. It is very infrequent for either a horse or a human to come out of nowhere and win a world class race. Ergo, if there is a rabbit in the race, so to speak, any other participant will know the 'purpose' that the rabbit is serving. The jockey or the runner will pace themselves accordingly, assuming they have the emotional control to do so. If they don't have that control, they are not likely to be at or near the top of the elite in their sports. As Ben Hogan said of golf: golf is 100% physical and 100% mental/emotional. If you are lacking in either area, you are not likely to succeed.

Seriously? 10:58 AM  

@Nancy - Yeah, disliking someone because they owned something you wanted and wouldn't let you have it is exactly the same as disliking someone because they're a rapist. Did you ever think that a woman who's been the victim of sexual assault might have feelings about that deeper than plain disappointment?

JD 11:02 AM  

@Nancy, You're a Renaissance woman! I knew you had many talents but wow.

jetzzfan 11:03 AM  

Record time for me on a Friday at 5:58, which is a Wednesday time for me. DIDDLY and INAREA took awhile.


RFK stadium did not open in 1961. DC Stadium opened in 1961. DC was RENAMED to RFK in 1969.

Carola 11:05 AM  

Enjoyably tough, solved in fits and starts, mistakes and corrections, with a pause for a smile at TAP TAP, as it reminded me of the German verb tappen (to grope; to proceed with uncertain steps, especially in the dark). Started with a bang at DIED x DIDDLY, went off track at chinA and reAM, got a much-needed helping hand from NERD ALERT and EDELWEISS as well as the two Ms of shame MEDINA and MIRAMAX, finished up with thanks to whatever science teacher made us memorize rods and CONEs.

Help from previous puzzles: RAMI, NERD ALERT; other do-overs: cds before IPO, ruin before SCAR, PEeweE before PETITE, raE before LEE. No idea: DUNN, MR WORLDWIDE, WEIR, LARA.

I got to know that dad-blasted "rabbit" in 1964 at a greyhound track in Portland, OR, on a first-time visit to a friend whose dad had specifically forbidden her to "go to the dogs," - which is where she of course took me....and then at breakfast the next morning the dad drilled me with his eyes and asked, "Where did you go last night?"

kitshef 11:07 AM  

@Anonymous 9:40. While things could change any day now, as of this morning Medina Spirit has not been disqualified and is still the winner of record for the Kentucky Derby.

Nancy 11:15 AM  

@JD -- I'm quite sure I've never been called a Renaissance Woman before. Wow! Thanks!!

@bocamp -- Delighted you liked "These Are the Hands", but it's from a different proposed show of ours (DOWAGER HEIGHTS, the first demo album on the website.) CHOCOLAT is the 4th demo album on the site. Hope you'll like that one too.

pabloinnh 11:17 AM  

@Nancy-It would certainly be an honor to sing "Edelweiss" together. It's very folksy, as you say, which means I can do the guitar part. As for range, pick a key. I could start this one almost anywhere and given the magic of the capo, could adjust the guitar chords accordingly, or achordingly, har.

Fun to think about this lovely song. I'm a sucker for schmaltz.

Newboy 11:22 AM  

Like @Z “stuff stored in the corner out of sight” today, so surprised that Rex rated it harder than I did. Bizarre collection of names, but crosses filled tho/ese spots of this and that. Cluing had that ETSY feeling with its frequent crafty ambiguity that makes me look forward to Friday.

It’s always great fun to visit Rex’s blog since the range of voices (from @grandpamike to @Barbara’s quotes of note to Kirsten’s woke rage) brings other ways of seeing the world with new eyes—truly a layer of fun I would sorely miss. Thank god Rex has had a thick skin over the years!

But hands down @Nancy’s link was the highlight of the morning!

Frantic Sloth 11:24 AM  

Oh. My. Literal. God.
The comments are killing me today!! You all are in the rarest of forms - thank you!

@Birchbark 926am 🀣 Then is meditation an INNER PACE maker?

@JD 928am 🀣 Hilarious. Again. "The dame had some ORBS"?? You slay me. And yes, TSOM. Wanna step outside about it? πŸ’ͺ

@GILL 1004am 🀣 I literally DIED laughing at yet another of your jokes. Take the act on the road. I'd pay good money. 😁

@TJS 1045am 🀣🀣🀣 Ethel Merman singing EDELWEISS!!! Cannot unhear that now!

Other thoughts:

I'm not a "never in the puzzle" type, but MIRAMAX made me throw up in my mouth.
Hmmm... I have to wonder how many actual sex offenders who simply have not been outed (probably the vast majority) make it into xwords.

Funny thing about DIDDLY...that clue made it a no-brainer for me. Wait, what?

I thought the name was Grand Pam Ike.

Z 11:34 AM  

@JD and @Laurie - I don’t have the puzzle in front of me to check the clue, but I am increasingly in the camp that Friday and Saturday puzzles should eschew the hint.

Regarding when RFK “opened,” it’s pretty common to cite the year the facility opened. So “Tiger Stadium” opened in 1912 even though it was not called that until 1961. I can’t think of a single instance where the word “open” is associated with a renaming.

Going with two well regarded movies was a sly ploy to try to hide what was in the puzzle, but MIRAMAX should be scrubbed from wordlists rather than try to pretend it’s not loathsome.

Photomatte 11:42 AM  

I confidently wrote in GRUNGEBAND for 14 Across (Nirvana, eg) and am still upset the puzzle didn't try and find a way to make that work! No Inner Peace for me when I realized my error...

PS: grandpamike is the funniest thing I've seen in a long time

Frantic Sloth 11:51 AM  

Everyone, do yourselves a favor and go to @Nancy's 1005am link. It saddens me that the world has been deprived of such lovely artistry. Befitting its name, Chocolat, the Musical would have been divine!

Nancy 12:04 PM  

@pabloinnh (11:17)-- YAY, Pablo, I've picked our key! (Even though I don't know what it is.) I chose a key in which I can hit every note effortlessly, plugged in my Roland digital piano, sang the first note (the "A" sound of EIDELWEISS), looked for the matching note, and it was an "A". To confirm my choice, I checked which note "meet me" falls on at the end of the 2nd line. It's an "F".

I assume the key is either A or F, right? Well, it doesn't matter, Pablo -- you're the musician and you'll figure it out.

@Newboy (11:22)-- What an incredibly nice thing to say!! Thanks so much!

Z 12:05 PM  

Big Wordplay News.

Nancy 12:06 PM  

And thanks to you, too, @Frantic, for your lovely comment!

Lewis 12:06 PM  

@son volt -- I missed the Friday wordplay as well. Cluewise, it's been wordplay barren this week, IMO, and I have high hopes for a Saturday/Sunday turnaround.

@nancy -- You've got the knack. Marvelous lyrics! Thank you for sharing.

imnotbobby 12:11 PM  

weird, one the earliest fridays i’ve ever done... hardly stopped really...i actually came here to see if i was missing something...


Anonymous 12:13 PM  

Why don't they just win the race themselves? Seems logical.

well, D'oh!!! they don't have the stamina to go the entire race at their RABBIT pace!!!!! the whole point of being a RABBIT is to burn out the RABBIT and the contendahs before the end of the race so the favorite can skate to a win.

Malsdemare 12:16 PM  

Good Golly, Miss Nancy, you’re quite the talent. How awful HW wouldn’t release the rights to you. That would have been a smash!

As usual, when we get to Friday, my initial response is despair, and that was the case here. I KNEW but didn’t know, if you get what I mean, MEDINA but had to ask Mr. Google to step up with a little help. Many of the other names were a mystery but as I slowly built my creaky hut with a word here and a word there, the names emerged from the mist. . . . And oh god, I really got lost in that metaphor, didn’t I. Anyway, I did finish and other than the doped-up horse, without help.

I had a lot of wrong answers for a while that made this whole thing opaque. FileFORMAT, chinA, STAIRcaseS, imit instead of LETS, rhino, notin instead of ICANT. Lots of errors that made me grateful I solve on my iPad rather than on paper.

@Barbara, as always an amazing quotation. Your choices are one of the major highlights of this blog.

Not 12:16 PM  

Great idea no MIRAMAX in future puzzles ! To that I would add no more EBOLA. According to WHO, in 2014 “ In two years, a total of 28,616 cases of EVD (Ebola Virus Disease) and 11,310 deaths were reported in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.” What was Will Shortz thinking ? He alone can rid the world of these horrible things.

Frantic Sloth 12:17 PM  

@Z 1205pm Wow! That's fun! I only hope this doesn't mean Deb isn't feeling well.

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

Re: MIRAMAX: It's amazing that in all this heat there are so many snowflakes. No names but they start with A,K,N,Z,S,&F.

@Unknown 10:00, Well said. Thank you.

Birchbark 12:33 PM  

@Nancy (10:05) -- I liked "Gypsy Polka" best -- thanks.

Keith D 12:40 PM  

Good stuff, Z. For the record, BTW, I don’t really like Elon, he’s a weirdo who says many moronic things (e.g. Covid), I just like most of what he is advancing. If nothing else, I hope you and I can agree that Tesla has played an important role in accelerating the adoption of EVs (Bolt or otherwise).

chance2travel 12:41 PM  

Got off to a bad start out of the gate with 1A where I confidently wrote "can't" instead of DIED.

I'm going to agree with the group that MEDINA Spirit has been in the news enough that I recognized the name even though I pay no attention to racing.

Answer I never saw because I filled in all the crosses: 37A LEE

Interesting to the comments covering competitive racing across multiple species as well as all the literal and metaphorical uses of RABBITS in said races.

Feel free to check out my INSTA account: chance2travel ;)

Nancy 12:41 PM  

@Birchbark -- Of all the lyrics I've written in my life, "Gypsy Polka" has always been my absolute favorite. So of course I commend you on your excellent taste -- as well as thanking you for your nice comment.

Thanks, too, to Lewis and Mals.

bocamp 12:45 PM  

@Nancy (11:15 AM)

D'oh, poor reading comprehension has always haunted me, LOL. Just listened to and loved 'You're Always Home', so got two for the price of one. Will catch the others on the 'Chocolat' album as the day progresses.

Bff just sent this to me: Irelynn (age 5) can FEEL IT as she ASLs Lauren Diagle's “You Say”. Absolutely precious! πŸ’ž

pg -4

PEACE ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Doris M. Smith 12:48 PM  

Arguing with a fool proves there are two.

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

I don't write Xwords, but I've been in mathytechy for decades, so as a replacement to the LOATHSOME answer as above I offer this:

"Minimax (sometimes MinMax, MM[1] or saddle point[2]) is a decision rule used in artificial intelligence, decision theory, game theory, statistics, and philosophy for minimizing the possible loss for a worst case (maximum loss) scenario. When dealing with gains, it is referred to as "maximin"—to maximize the minimum gain. Originally formulated for n-player zero-sum game theory, covering both the cases where players take alternate moves and those where they make simultaneous moves, it has also been extended to more complex games and to general decision-making in the presence of uncertainty."
the wiki

just 2 letters difference, and within the scope of Fri/Sat niche words. shouldn't be difficult for the OFLs of this blue marble in the cosmos to get it to fit.

JOHN X 1:04 PM  

That Harvey Weinstein is awful and I can’t believe MIRAMAX made it into this puzzle.

Even worse is Warner Brothers because Jack Warner banged every starlet he had under contract. I get sick when I think of all those classic Warner’s films and cartoons that should be banned because of Jack Warner. Howard Hughes was another champion in the field of starlet deflowering, and I mean he was getting it everywhere. It is all so sordid and disgusting. This is why I hate laser beams.

But Weinstein didn’t stop there. I think of a young video clerk named Quentin Tarantino who innocently approached Miramax with some screenplays and Harvey said to him, “Son, how badly would you like to make these movies?” And young Tarantino got the job done right then and there. Next thing you know, that poor young man is making Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction and getting filthy Hollywood sex-money instead of keeping his dignity and becoming a schoolteacher in some hillbilly backwater with the decent folks who love Jesus and go to Walmart.

albatross shell 1:08 PM  

Did a comment I sent not get posted because of some violation? Or did it just not get received? If the former is
there anyway you can email it to me so I can edit it appropriately? I can send you my email. Probably sent between 1130 and 1215.

Anonymous 1:10 PM  

I wonder if any of the commenters see the irony of putting Harvey Weinstein's name out there repeatedly today when it was never in puzzle in the first place. You are the ones talking about him. I did not know he was connected to MIRAMAX and I don't really care.

Teedmn 1:12 PM  

I started out just like Rex with the delightful clue for 1A confirmed by DEAN'S list and then LET'S and DRINK. I then splatzed in DooDLY squat at 1D and my early energy spurt fizzled. After that I struggled in every direction I went, dammed up by running into names. At least I knew RAMI, which, with LOCAVORE, made the NE fairly easy.

While I did finally finish successfully, I did not find INNER PEACE from the solve. It virtually made me cranky. But I'm not going to let it SCAR me. Like a FAD, it won't last long.

SE corner, with STAIRcaseS, I was left with _cO arguing with a fool. It didn't take a NERD ALERT to let me know that should be TWO and brought in the STAIRWELLS. That was kind of fun.

Thanks, Matthew Stock, it was interesting.

Movie Lover 1:14 PM  

I don't want to spoil the fun but HW left MIRAMAX 16 years ago.

Anonymous 1:14 PM  


while born in sh!tkicker Tenn., he was reared in Los Angeles. not likely to end up in a hillbilly backwater, no matter what.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

There's a fate worse than a teacher in Hillbilly Holler-- school administrator anywhere. Talk about a leech on the economy.

A Moderator 1:30 PM  

@albatross shell

I didn't block your comment, so it must be option 2.

albatross shell 1:58 PM  

Good stuff:
All the long acrosses except DATAFORMAT
All the long downs except MIRAMAX


STAIRWELLS over TOPSTORIES; STREETS SETTERS anagrams both good for extra credit. The first better the other way around? The second, yes I got from Wordplay.

@a. non yesterday
I wrote an answer to you yesterday and on final edit, I must have hit back and it disappeared. Rewrote it today and it got lost in the ether. Might try later but god or fate are again me.

Blackbird 2:02 PM  

I found the puzzle easy, except for the northeast corner. And I didn't notice a "fellow youths" vibe. I'm 78 years old, and the answers just fell into place, either because I knew them or because of felicitous crosses. I definitely am not a sports fan, yet 20A answer Dunn came from crosses. I never heard the word "rabbits" used to mean "pacesetters in a race", 30A, but a few crosses led to the "aha" moment. I recognized the movie "Mean Streets, 35A, even thought I didn't know about the 1997 National Film Registry, once I had a few crosses. Why? Robert DeNiro had a supporting role in a play I wrote that was presented in a four-day workshop at Lincoln Center, and the director, Jack Gelber, told me that the actor he cast in the role of "Fatboy" was going to be a top star once the feature film he had just completed was released. 34A definitely was not in my wheelhouse. I don't follow hiphop, didn't know the name "PitBull", but the word "international" in the clue, along with a few crosses, led to another "aha" moment. Of course! Didn't know 13D "Medina", got it only by checking Rex's blog! Anyway, fine puzzle!

old timer 2:09 PM  

Easier than last Friday where I had a DNF. PACESETTERS immediately made me think of the Patricia Moyes books I have been rereading, featuring CID guy Henry Tibbett and his wife Emmy. Excellent series, and one is set in the louche world of dog racing. Not to be confused with rabbit hunting, which also involves dogs, or used to. But I don't think greyhounds are the right breed for that.

okanaganer 2:09 PM  

@Rex: "..the exceedingly dull DATA FORMAT..."

I totally agree. I actually had DATA FOREST for a while and loved it, even though I've never heard of it, which is because it doesn't exist, which is too bad because it would be a great thing.

Georgia 2:25 PM  

HA! A college kid in the infield at Churchill Downs, I bet on Warbucks, the last horse by a lot the year the spectacular Secretariat stormed to first place.

Georgia 2:37 PM  

Grandpa Mike didn't have to come to the blog if he feared spoilers. Like so many commenters that bash the blogger ... you don't have to read it. I'm all for differences of opinion, keeps it interesting! But why use the blog as your scratching post? Many of us are looking for pleasant puzzle discourse, not slime.

oldactor 2:42 PM  

I once played Prospero in "The Tempest" it's the only time I've run into the word "abjure".

Prospero: This rough magic I here abjure, and deeper than did ever plummet sound, I'll drown my book.
(or words to that effect) I immediately wrote in "reject" but prefer "disown".

@Nancy: What a treat. Thanks

Whatsername 3:10 PM  

Glad to hear from others who questioned IN AREA. I was married to an insurance guy for many years and never once heard the term. Nearly as I can tell, it means the geographical area where a company provides coverage. Oddly clued IMHO.

@TTrimble (9:18) Beautiful duet and two of the most exquisite voices that ever put words into music. Thank you.

@Nancy (10:05) Lovely! I had no idea you possessed such talent.

Pdxrains 4:14 PM  

Wow, massive DNF and I'm 38. Guess I don't get the "kids" stuff. Also I don't know about horseracing because it's a barbaric "sport" that shouldn't exist. They drug the horses.

Frantic Sloth 4:17 PM  

@okanaganer 209pm. If my computer crashes in the forest, does the data make a sound?

albatross shell 4:25 PM  


Google result:

What is a data format?

A data format is the arrangement of data fields for a specific shape. After you arrange data fields on a shape, you can save the data format as default or custom.

My opinion is relatively worthless on technical computer terminology. But if a simple goolge search produces this it does appear not to be something non-existent nor unused terminlogy. Seems to be a sorta thing or at least 2 words convenient to put together once in awhile. Corrections cheerfully accepted.

Whatsername 4:49 PM  

@Georgia (2:25) Win, lose or draw, what a thrill to get to see those two magnificent ANIMALS compete. You’re talking race horses there!

Birchbark 5:02 PM  

@Frantic (11:24) -- Yes -- meditation is indeed an INNER PACE maker, and it is equally an INNER sPACE maker. Time and space.

But we also think of Amneris' tragic monotone mezzo-soprano prayer, "PACE. PACE." to conclude Aida.

Anoa Bob 5:08 PM  

I thought this had some nice stuff in it. I word-NERD in me liked ENTITY and NERD ALERT was a delightful bonus. LOCAVORE has a contemporary appeal to it. I wonder if we will be seeing this more as climate change may bring back more family farmers vs big agro.

I immediately thought of EDELWEISS for 32D "'Bolssom of snow", in song". I was still in my movie buff days and was much impressed by "Sound of Music". (Yeah, I did have a crush on Julie Andrews.) But I wrestled with the spelling, especially trying to put a V where the W goes.

This grid had a bunch of entries that needed some letter-boosting help from the plural of convenience POC, including some longer entries such as PACE SETTER, STAIRWELL and TOP STORY. There were also three two-for-one POCs where a Down and an Across share a final letter-count boosting S. All together that's quite a bit of grid space filled with what you might call "non-nutritive" filler. I see the constructor is a relative new comer on the scene. I wonder if in the future he will lean a little less on the ultra convenient S to get the grid filled, i.e., include more "nutrient dense" filler.

But all-in-all, I think it was a solid puzzle.

Anonymous 5:17 PM  

well, 'computer file arrangement' with an answer of DATA FORMAT is just wrong, wrong, wrong. the computer file arrangements are, at least, but not limited to:
- flat
- hierarchical
- relational

DATA FORMAT relates, 99.44% of the time, to how the 'fields' are sequenced WITHIN a flat file (arguably a vile XML file too), not the 'file arrangement'. COBOL DATA DIVISION too. the 'file arrangement' is how the files are arranged.

Scott 5:38 PM  

@ kitshef 7:26 AM

Ahhh yes, Minari, little known BEST PICTURE nominee from this year's Oscars

@ Anonymoose 7:05 AM

Why is the word "artists" in quotes in your comment?

Anonymous 6:46 PM  

@Scott - No one cares about the Oscars anymore. Yes, I know there probably are a few old people who still do but given Rex’s comment about horse racing it seems fair.

A different moderator 6:57 PM  

@albatross shell - I have approved every comment today that has been awaiting moderation as well. We only have three options for comments; publish, delete, or spam. Once we delete a comment it is gone. As a general rule regular commenters like yourself get approved automatically, which is how an occasional spoiler slips through. Others have asked us before to email back comments for correction. There is no easy mechanism for doing this without revealing who we are. Rex doesn’t pay us enough to endeavor to create a work around. We have asked Rex about not allowing anonymous posts because they create almost all of our work. Rex wants to keep this as open a forum as practical without it turning into a cesspool. Moderated comments is as far as he has been willing to go.

Unknown 7:01 PM  

i thought it was the electric rabbit in a greyhound race

pabloinnh 7:20 PM  

@Nancy--Extensive research involving my piano reveals that you are indeed thinking of the key of F for "Edelweiss". This is easily done on guitar since I don't have to capo up enough to make everything sound like it's being done on a ukulele.

Suggest we meet at that little place around the corner for practice sessions.

A Moderator 7:45 PM  

@Another Moderator

You get paid? πŸ˜‚

albatross shell 7:46 PM  


Expected much of what you said. Thanks for explaining. I think you folks do a good job. Rex's rules work pretty well. Unenforced rules are preferable until there is a problem. Spoilers after a few days are likely to have little impact on anyone. If minimum wage goes to 15/hour do you get a raise? I don't expect an answer. Have you considered a union?

JonP 7:57 PM  


TTrimble 8:25 PM  


I've brought this up before. "Others have asked us before to email back comments for correction. There is no easy mechanism for doing this without revealing who we are." It is trivial, and free, to do this with the aid of a gmail account.

I recognize both the magnitude and the thanklessness of the moderation task (thank you!), but I believe it's not as hopeless emailing back anonymously as you say.

The whole thing could be made one way only. All attempts to mail to (whatever the chosen gmail address is) could be sent directly to a kill file; all resubmits of posts would have to go through the normal channel.

Anonymous 8:49 PM  

Liked the puzzle but as a millennial, there is no literally DIED, there is literally CANNOT. Literally died is like so valley girl.

Rcav 9:06 PM  

Whatever “minari” is is an Oscar winning film. Be a bit less proud of your ignorance please. There are things old ppl know that I don’t — that doesn’t mean I need to denigrate them.

Z 9:12 PM  

@TTrimble - Seriously? How about we commenters exercise a little discretion and restraint instead. It would be nice if moderators hadn’t become necessary, but they are necessary and I don’t expect anymore of them than they already do.

@Anon5:17 - I had the same reaction (well less technical) as you. But I think the clue is being even less technical than I was. That is, all computer files are DATA and the way you arrange that DATA is a FORMAT.

@birchbark - You toss out INNER sPACE maker and go PACE, PACE, while time and space leads me in a totally different direction.

@Keith D - I do agree that Tesla gave the traditional automakers a much needed kick in the derriΓ¨re. If nothing else they proved there was a market out there. I think Musk suffers from Billionaires Disease, mistaking luck for genius. If he had been wiser he would have hired talent and let them do their thing and Tesla would be making money from making cars by now. It’s hard enough for anyone to know what they don’t know, it’s got to be even harder when you stumble into a few billion dollars.

Anonymous 9:50 PM  

A long time ago I asked about identifying both the anonymice and the Name/URL posters, via IP in the submission for the various purposes being discussed today. Near as I can recall the Mod (identifying as Not Rex) said that Mods don't have that data, and that may be Rex does, but wasn't sure.

Mere civilians are on dynamic IPs, and they will change without notice. How often and such is up to your ISP.

Anonymous 9:55 PM  

That’s pure Z.
F**k free speech. We need mods to police postsπŸ™„. Because words or ideas might… what? Hurt someone’s feelings?
Hmm. Sounds like a snowflake to me.

A Moderator 10:08 PM  

@anon 9:55

@Z ain't wrong. You wouldn't believe how much "garbage" (penis enhancements, mood influences, etc.) I and the other moderators block, thereby saving you a bunch of time.

TTrimble 10:18 PM  

Yes, seriously: I was addressing a specific claim that was made. And I did so respectfully and in recognition of what the moderators do, and also in a spirit of trying to offer a helpful suggestion. You needn't reply with such a moralizing tone.

I am a moderator myself, on a website that sees considerably more traffic than this one. So I have some idea of what is involved.

I'm not making demands; it's just an idea to consider, and it might help in some cases.

Birchbark 11:06 PM  

@Z (9:12) -- I think I'll go make some toast.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  


I provided some techy explanations about tracking/editing comments, but they got spiked??? Color me puzzled. Why shouldn't folks know why they can't be edited?

Liz1508 9:43 AM  


A Moderator 12:39 PM  

@Anon9:24 - I spiked one comment and it was because it opened by insulting another poster. I don’t recall it having anything about editing in it but I don’t think I read the whole post, so I don’t know if that was your comment.

Anonymous 3:16 PM  

IMO, this puzzle was un-do-able and unedifying. I put it aside without rancor. Instead, my feeling was "Ah, good, this one's not worth my time."

Thane of 13th 5:19 PM  

Hear! Hear!

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

I assumed rabbit mean't the mechanical thing in dog racing,were%20after%20the%20genuine%20thing.

apparenlty, prior to about 1919, live rabbis were actually used !!

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