Classic comedy figure who sported a bowl cut / THU 7-15-21 / Popular hot-and-sour Thai dish / Low culture disparagingly / Southern newspaper that William Faulkner once contributed to / Cultivars known for their yellow flesh / Quantity that's tied to to one's carbon footprint / Central concept of philosopher Zhuangzi's teachings / What a solver might growl after catching on to this puzzle's theme

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Constructor: Max Carpenter

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "WHY YOU LITTLE..." (57A: What a solver might growl after catching on to this puzzle's theme?) — a "YU" rebus where "YU" (not "you") is made "little" by being put into just one square [ADDENDUM: apparently the joke of "WHY YOU LITTLE" is "Why" = "Y" and "You" = "U" and "Little" = the fact that "Y" and "U" have been made little, but that is *not* how my brain understood the "joke"; as you can (and will) see, I thought "YOU" stood for "YU" and the revealer was an angry (if ungrammatical) question: "Why YU little???" (i.e. "why did this puzzle for me to write 'YU' little, such that they would both fit in one box?!") Annnnnyway, sigh]:

The YUs:
  • YUM YUM (1A: "Delish!") / YUCCA (1D: Southwest desert plant) / YUCK FACTOR (3D: Metric of grossness)
  • TIMES PICAYUNE (21A: Southern newspaper that William Faulkner once contributed to, with "The")  / TIDY UP (10D: Neaten)
  • YUKON GOLD POTATOES (39A: Cultivars known for their yellow flesh) / LAY UP (27D: Easy two-pointer)
  • ENERGY USE (48A: Quantity that's tied to one's carbon footprint) / TOM YUM SOUP (36D: Popular hot-and-sour Thai dish)
Word of the Day: TOM YUM SOUP (36D: Popular hot-and-sour Thai dish) —

Tom yum or tom yam (UK:  /ˌtɒm ˈjæm, - ˈjʌm/US/- ˈjɑːm/Thaiต้มยำRTGStom yam [tôm jām]) is a type of hot and sour Thai soup, usually cooked with shrimp (prawn).[4] Tom yum has its origin in Thailand.

The words "tom yam" are derived from two Thai words. Tom refers to the boiling process, while yam means 'mixed'. Tom yum is characterised by its distinct hot and sour flavours, with fragrant spices and herbs generously used in the broth. The soup is also made with fresh ingredients such as lemongrasskaffir lime leaves, galangallime juice, fish sauce, and crushed red chili peppers.

Commercial tom yum paste is made by crushing all the herb ingredients and stir frying in oil. Then, seasoning and other preservative ingredients are added. The paste is bottled or packaged and sold around the world. Tom yum flavored with the paste may have different characteristics from that made with fresh herb ingredients. The soup often includes meats such as shrimp, chicken, or pork. (wikipedia)

• • •

The gimmick gives itself up right away, and I mean *right* away: I tried "MMMM" there at 1A: "Delish!" Then got MOOR and MOE from there. Then wrote in AGGIE at 14D: Lone Star State athlete, which, despite being wrong, gave me COCOA. Then AFRO changed AGGIE to ASTRO, and then ... I dunno, I could see something was wrong with 1-Across, knew that YUCCA was a [Southwest desert plant], and that was that: (YU)M(YU)M went in and off we went. I sort of hoped it wouldn't just be a bunch of YU squares, but it was. I got (YU)KON GOLD POTATOES not long thereafter [sidenote: this puzzle is 16 wide, as far as I can tell, solely because (YU)KON GOLD POTATOES is 16 letters (well, 17, but 16 with the rebus square). But ... you just need (YU)KON GOLD, which stands alone just fine, and also, at 8 letters, would've balanced out ENERG(YU)SE ... so you could've had a regular sized grid and better symmetry ... that would've screwed up (YU)CK FACTOR, sure, but first, the actual phrase is ICK FACTOR (just ask The New York Times), and second, I'm not a huge fan of puzzles going oversized unless they Have to ... I also would've liked another "YU" square, since you only get three, really, after 1-Across ... but enough about alternate universe puzzles]. 

So after you get (YU)M(YU)M (which, for me was just about the first thing that happened), all there was to do was wait for the revealer, the Big HaHa, the "Why is this rebus a thing? Is it YU Darvish's birthday? What is up?" And that revealer ... wow, big mixed feelings. It's a terrible, i.e. great, pun, on the one hand, even if "YOU" (with the "O") is not, in fact, what's made "little" in this puzzle. Very imaginative. Worthy of its revealer status. Y(o)u earned that rebus, for sure. On the OTHER HAND— two things things I don't like. Well, one I don't like, and one that just makes me squirmy. The squirmy one is the weird grammar of the alleged angry question "Why YU little?" I get that the revealer phrase is a common expression of anger or frustration (Homer Simpson says it all the time), but in the context of the puzzle, the phrase is imagined, at least obliquely, as a question, i.e. "why (is) YU little?," which, here, in its verblessness ("Why YU little?"), sounds like it's aping the way any number of immigrant / non-native English speakers (including Asians) might speak, or certainly how they've been *represented* as speaking on TV and in movies. As an imagined question about the puzzle, the revealer gives me mild ethnic caricature vibes. But the more annoying thing for me was the coy "oh, did my puzzle make you angwy?" energy. This is like when people say something they know is unpopular on social media and then write [ducking], as if they were anticipating your throwing a shoe at them or something. Taking pleasure in or flaunting the idea of making a solver (or anyone) "growl" is obnoxious. Don't tell me how I feel. I solved this puzzle with a reasonable amount of enjoyment, actually. It was easyish, as rebuses go. I never growled. "Oooh, did my puzzle trigger you!?" Stop.

The "YU" words were actually really colorful and entertaining, which helped make the puzzle more than merely a "hunt the remaining YUs" exercise. True, there were two "-Y UP" phrases, but that's a tiny repetition, one that's overshadowed and outshined by splashy stuff like TIMES PICA(YU)NE and TOM (YU)M SOUP. Speaking of said soup, I was so (fake) mad when I dropped TOM YUM GAI in there and it turned out to be wrong. I was like "ooooh, I know this! I know the Thai soup name!" And it fit! Buuuut ... no. TOM YUM GAI is a particular kind of TOM (YU)M SOUP (specifically, the chicken version). Anyway, when I say I was (fake) mad, I mean I was excited to crush that answer, and then find out I had not, in fact, crushed it. But it was still the same general dish I thought it was, and it is an Excellent crossword answer. Add TOMYUM to your wordlists, constructors! Hell, add TOMYUMGAI so I can recreate my feeling of excitement at knowing it!

The fill was mostly nice. Very iffy in a few places (IMTOO CAMEA RIAA ALKA), but mostly pleasantly crunchy on the whole.  I like the weirdly quaint OBEISANT, just as I like ON A HUNCH and SPEED TRAP. The MALE LEADS clue is very clever  (6D: Phoenix and Washington, e.g.) (using cities to hide actors—Joaquin / River and Denzel, respectively—nice). I'm weirdly bothered by a stray "YOU" sound in the grid (i.e. YOUTH, 68A: "___ is easily deceived, because it is quick to hope": Aristotle), but I also get weirdly bothered when all the cushions on the couch are not flush with the edge, so I'm not sure an unlittled "YOU" sound counts as a genuine flaw. The main thing about this puzzle is it was weird, and weird is (generally) good. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 6:21 AM  

I liked this theme, but it seems a little paltry to me. Maybe because of the YU glut at 1A and then just 3 others sprinkled throughout the grid. I wanted more. Give me what I want and nobody gets hurt.

The revealer was the star of the theme. WHYYOULITTLE (or something similar) was just here a minute ago, wasn't it? Seems we ran LACROSSE it within the last few days...
WHYYOULITTLE, WhyIOughta, and MOE Howard walk into a pie shop...

I'm really blanking on why Phoenix and Washington are MALELEADS. Is it TV or movies or some other angle I'm missing?

Do COCOA COKES have CAROB to BLAME? I mean, let's face it - CAROB and its YUCKFACTOR can be at the root of all kinds of misery.

Who else has 47D as their go-to rebuttal for inconvenient truths?
Anyone? Hello?


Anonymous 6:32 AM  

Very high YUCK FACTOR. Another annoying, pointless, time-wasting rebus. Hated, hated, hated it.

Richard 6:40 AM  

I don’t believe the revealer is intended to be read as “why yu little?” I think it’s simply “Y U little”. It’s a statement of fact, not a question.

Lewis 6:46 AM  

The funny thing is that as I was solving I kept asking myself, “Why YU?” as I kept filling that rebus in, and then when the reveal began with “why you”, well, that brought out a big “Hah!”. Not to mention that it answered my question!

Then to come across the lovely OBEISANT and FROND, to see the word HARPS and hear one glissandoing for a moment in my head, to know that this is a debut (I check out all unfamiliar names on XwordInfo before I begin solving) and still be so smooth and junk-lite, and to fill in what has become my favorite spuds (those YUKON GOLDs) – all added to the good feelings.

Topped off with music reminders (ALTO, NAS, SKA, HARPS, LALALA, OOMPAH, and I’ll throw in REEDY and the Mikado’s YUM YUM) plus the mini-theme of AFRO, APSO, ALTO, and ASTRO, and their cousins COCOA, GO PRO, and PALEO – and, well, this was prime entertainment.

Thank you for that, MC, I’m glad you’ve arrived, and I’ll be eagerly awaiting your next one.

Anonymous 6:50 AM  

Your strained political correctness made me growl. We look to you for originality not pablum.

oceanjeremy 6:53 AM  

Rex is missing the point. The letters are spelled out: “Y, U” — and are “little” because they’re squeezed into a single box.

“Y, U - little”

I understood this “little” play on words and therefore loved the heck out of this puzzle. My only complaint was the lopsided asymmetry of the rebus locations. But I can forgive it that.

This was fun fun fun, in my book!

Chaspark 6:53 AM  

The Y and U are little because they are scrunched into one square. No ?

oceanjeremy 6:58 AM  

@Frantic Sloth: River PHOENIX and Denzel WASHINGTON. Both are male leads.

(Not sure why my brain goes to River first over Joaquin, but it does.)

John H 7:03 AM  

@Richard, I agree. Not sure why Rex took the direction he did.

Loved this. It was a pleasure to solve. I felt the same as @Lewis. This was a rare occasion of the revealer being important. Now it all makes sense.

WinthorpeIII 7:06 AM  

It can be tom yum goong, or tom yum talay, e.g. It cannot be tom yum soup.

Son Volt 7:06 AM  

Fun time for me. Agree that it could have used another rebus instead of glomming two into the NW but that a minor quibble. I read the revealer differently than Rex - simply as Y U LITTLE so no issue there. Nice to see TIMES PICAYUNE so prominent. Side eye to doubling up on YUM.

Overall fill was smooth and flashy - OBEISANT, FROND, NESTLE and MALE LEADS are all great as is the Bosstones shout out. Another OWLET sighting.

Enjoyable Thursday solve.

WinthorpeIII 7:06 AM  

I'm with "Yu."

Ted 7:17 AM  

@Richard said it. I think @Rex missed it entirely.

The revealer is "Why" "You" Little. "Y" "U" Little. Get it?

It's not YOU = YU.

OffTheGrid 7:21 AM  

RDR. Rebus Done Right. That is, works both A and D so YU don't end up with gibberish in the grid. I skipped around a lot and it was fun. I got theme at LAYUP/YUKON....... Lots of good Fri/Sat clues along the way, too.
Say, does anyone remember THIS MOVIE

Anonymous 7:25 AM  

Yeah, I think Rex missed the Y element of the revealer. It’s Y U little.

kitshef 7:29 AM  

Forget about the rebus and just admire some of the long answers in this one:

There is a bit of initialism overdose with RIAA, ESL, SNL, ICBM, ADHD – all in the downs, for some reason.

Fine Thursday, though.

Rex completely missed the point on the revealer, but that happens to us all at times.

Renee 7:29 AM  

I thought that was fun. And today I learned that a scallop has up to 200 EYES and a few more fun facts after an internet search. The TIMES-PICAYUNE made me smile also - a nice surprise.

webwinger 7:31 AM  

First time I'm aware of when @RP missed the theme boat: As @Richard (and by the time this gets out no doubt many more) noted above, the revealer should be understood as Y U LITTLE, not WHY YOU LITTLE.

I found this quite challenging but liked it quite a bit, especially the revealer.

webwinger 7:33 AM  

Oh, and @Frantic, I'm pretty sure Washington and Phoenix refers to Denzel and Joaquin.

mbr 7:35 AM  

@Frantic Sloth: Joaquin Phoenix and Denzel Washington are male lead actors.

albatross shell 7:41 AM  

There is a Cat Who cats theme going on here. The reporter Jim Quilleran originally worked for The TIMES PICAYUNE and his Siamese cats were YUM YUM and Kao K'o Kung, Koko for short.

There are also 3 YUMs and 2 YUPs, but I do not care.

Richard 7:41 AM  

Hands up for cluing 1A as "Pitti-Sing and Peep-Bo's sister".

Can someone say how to find the 2001 version of this them?

Anonymous 7:41 AM  

Lighten up Rex.

pabloinnh 7:44 AM  

So I thought I knew YUCCA and probably TIMESPICAYUNE, neither of which fit on a Thursday, so what was up? LACROSSE led to what had to be LAYUP and there was the YU and back I went to fill in what had to be filled in, then off to complete the YU hunt, which was a satisfying search.

Agree with @Richard's take on the YU little=Why you little. Seems pretty straightforward.

Did a choral piece with the word "obeisance" in it but this was my first sighting of the adjective form, which took far too long for me to recognize. Had students that played IMTOO sexy for me in class once but never thought that would come in handy in a NYTXW. And I'm sure RIAA has appeared before, but it was a "takes all the crosses" for me.

Nice little Thursdecito, MC. A Moderate Challenge. Thanks for the all the fun.

Ben 7:51 AM  

Yes, this. It’s “Y U little.”

Anonymous 7:54 AM  

Genuine question, there a rebus puzzle that you *have* liked? I ask with no snark--I'd just love to see which ones impressed you. As a constructor myself, getting a rebus puzzle to work at all can be frustrating, adding in a sparkling set of themers, and another layer of A-ha reveal...? All that to maybe get a yea or nay from the only major publication that accepts them, and woof! It makes you want to just go for the straight forward less-ambitious path.

feinstee 8:05 AM  

Completely agree. I saw it as 'YU' is little.

Anonymous 8:08 AM  

I believe you misunderstood the revealer. It's not "Why YU little?", but rather "Why (as in the letter Y) you (as in the letter U) little".

bocamp 8:08 AM  

Thx, Max; a perfectly delightful Thurs. rebus (or whatever the correct terminology is)! 😉

Easy-med solve.

Picked up the YU theme right off the bat and zipped thru this one post-haste.

Only a slight hold-up parsing MALE LEAD / IM TOO.

Liked it a bunch! :)

I actually remembered (from a recent NYT xword) that the YUKON GOLD POTATO cultivar was developed in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, not Ontario, Oregon. 🤓

yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Joe Welling 8:15 AM  

Why I oughtta. . .

Y.A. Tittle 8:22 AM  

Let's see... We have baseball (ASTRO), Lacrosse (LACROSSE) and basketball (LAYUP), but no football? Geez Louise.

TTrimble 8:26 AM  

@Richard 6:40AM
Interesting take. You may well be right. It would also effectively refute the imagined weird grammar and possibly-suggestive-of-anti-Asian vibe that made Rex feel squirmy. In fact, I think in the interest of charitableness toward the constructor, this should be adopted as the official explanation. It's a double entendre, then.

@Frantic Sloth
I didn't get the MALE LEADS either. Very nice to have Rex around to explain it.

I liked the puzzle. For one thing I like PICAYUNE as part of a newspaper name, just because it tickles me. I always think of PICAYUNE as meaning something like "persnickety" or "pettifogging", and the idea that that's what their journalism is going to be like is amusing to me. The clue for SPEED TRAP is excellent. Overall, the puzzle is clean and free of dreck, and smart. And yet, not too hard. Again, like yesterday: a medium it is.

I wonder how others will feel about having YUM three times in the puzzle? (TOM YUM SOUP -- YUM!) Also I wonder how others will feel about having 1 Across being a themer. (Damn it, I just woke up -- give me a minute to get into this puzzle!) What, me worry? -- if I don't get 1 Across pretty much right away, I just move immediately elsewhere. For me, it was I'M TOO.

(Two days ago was my birthday and the beginning of a new decade. I can assure you that I was not feeling too sexy for my shirt that day. How tempus fugit!)

Aaron Riccio 8:27 AM  

What Richard said above. I parsed it as "Y U Little," not "Why YU Little," and that works much better.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

Yeah, it’s definitely “Y U little,” not “Why YU little,” so Rex got very peeved over nothing (as usual?). @Frantic Sloth: Joaquin PHOENIX and Denzel WASHINGTON are male leads.

JOHN X 8:40 AM  

I thought this was a really fun Thursday puzzle. A little weird in places, sure, but I can get through that.

I've been absent from this blog's comment section for two weeks and I apologize for any emotional distress this may have caused, but I was trapped in a coal mine. Please folks, don't ever press a button if you don't know what it does. We were down there for two weeks with no food or water, just on our knees praying. Do you know what the only thing worse than drinking your own urine is? Drinking somebody else's urine, especially if it's a Portuguese coal miner. Oddly enough, after two weeks, we discovered there was a different exit to the mine not a hundred feet away. We all walked out like kittens. Boy that was a surprise.

This puzzle was certainly a nice diversion after that experience. God bless you all.

mmorgan 8:43 AM  

Agree with @Richard, et al. Fun puzzle! Love the Stooges! Unlike Rex, getting (YU)M (YU)M up top came late in the game for me — I first got it with TIMESPICA(YU)NE. Really enjoyed this! Never heard of that THORA person, but no prob with crosses.

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

Could someone please explain “go pro” as an answer to 40 down? Thank you.

thfenn 8:58 AM  

Like @Richard and many, went with "Y U Little" not just making YOU into YU. Started with YUMM and YUCA, but got to TIDYUP my entries and lock in the theme when I had TID_P at 10D. YIOUTTA would've been fun is MOE a cross reference as well? Was that Jackie Gleason? Or do we have to go with the Simpsons? Agree with kitchen- fun long answers. The NICER/NACRE section was tough, but I BLAME my own ignorance there.

Nancy 9:00 AM  

I got this at [YU]M [YU]M/[YU]CCA -- though there were some things I had to iron out first. 1A was initially MMMM (I was pretty sure of the 2nd and 4th "M") and 3D was initially iCK FACTOR -- but they didn't work together. COKES and COCOA finally gave me YUCCA and, voila, I saw the rebus. (Really Eccentric Baffling Unusual Square. Remember, everyone?)

So I changed iCK FACTOR to YUCK FACTOR and was on my merry way. As rebuses go, this one was quite easy, but I pretty much love them all.

Thought of the Day: The life of a crossword constructor is one big crapshoot. The NYT puzzle has probably gone 100 years without once using the phrase WHY YOU LITTLE -- and now it's appeared twice in a week. And I can see Max Carpenter squirming when he saw it in that very, very, very recent puzzle. I can hear him thinking: "Why you've given away my entire theme, damn it!!!" And then: "At least they could have run my puzzle first. That other puzzle wouldn't have been spoiled nearly as much."

I agree, Max. This should have been published first. But it's a nice puzzle all the same and I enjoyed it.

alexscott68 9:01 AM  

WHY YOU LITTLE (Y.U., little), great revealer. Fun puzzle. I’ve never seen Rex so completely miss a play on words/letters as he has today. I didn’t bother reading his rant about it, since it was totally moot. I guess if you’re looking for things to get in a twist over, you’ll find them.

TheMadDruid 9:01 AM  

The guy can overthink anything to get self-righteous.

Unknown 9:02 AM  

Once you've filled in MOE Howard, "Why you little..." is primed. That was a good setup.

jberg 9:13 AM  

Rex seems to have missed the revealer -- it's not little Y(O)U but little WHY little YOU squeezed into one spot. Of course, that depends on whether you pronounce the H in WHY, which depends on the weather.

Very proud of myself for guessing 2ROO from the clue alone; less so for going from there to Obit at 71A.

Now I'll read the comments and come back.

Conrad 9:14 AM  

Agree with @Rex over "iCK FACTOR" vs. "YUCK FACTOR." I almost DNF'd today. When something really tastes good I always say "YUMIM!"

Me 9:14 AM  

Yeah it’s clearly a phonetic pun and a direct commentary on the rebus. Not sure how Rex missed this one.

Zygotic 9:17 AM  

@webwinger - It’s not common, but this is not the first time Rex has missed some element of the theme. It feels like it happens more often when he writes in the morning, so maybe the pressure of getting the blog up means he doesn’t sit back and consider. When he solves at 10:00 pm he has a full 2 hours before the blog goes live. In the morning I suspect he feels a little pressure to get the blog up ASAP. Once upon a time he had posted somewhere that the blog would be up by 9:00 a.m., but I don’t see that anywhere, now.

@TTrimble - I definitely think misunderstanding the revealer led to the squirming and that the plaint disappears when the revealer is properly understood.

@Anon7:54 - Did you ever get a paper back all marked up in red ink and thinking the prof hated it only to find a B+ on the last page? Rex liked this puzzle, The main thing about this puzzle is it was weird, and weird is (generally) good.

5 rebopodes in the top ten rows but zero in the bottom five rows does feel a bit unbalanced. Add in the the revealer is in row 12, leaving three rows existing purely for symmetrical balance but providing no theme balance and I feel like the puzzle teeters just a little bit. I suppose a rebus after the revealer might be considered anticlimactic. Still, one down around YOUTH would have been nice, also giving us three in the west and three in the east. Not a huge thing, but still…
Otherwise, I liked it fine.

Frantic Sloth 9:19 AM  

I thought it was me. iCKFACTOR went right in despite no knowledge of a word for "delish" ending in "IM".
My mind insisted. (Key words there: my mind. Really not to be trusted.)
And doi about Phoenix and Washington!🙄 (Thanks, @oceanjeremy, @webwinger, and @mbr. And @TTrimble for shared ignorance)
But - Oh. My. SweetBabyJesus Rex!! Whatever is that rant about the revealer?! 🤣🤣🤣
I think your argument needs "more character development". (@Z will get that. I hope.)

@TTrimble 826am Happy belated (that's not our fault 😉) birthday, you little scamp! 🎂🍾🥂🍻 You get a party favor!🎉

I once took a series of pictures of my cat stretching languorously on the bed and captioned them as "I'm too sexy for my fur, too sexy for my paws, too sexy for my sexy!" Boredom inspires the inane, one supposes. Why would I volunteer such a thing?? Don't answer.

Zygotic 9:22 AM  

@Anon8:48 - GO PRO™️ is a cameras that one can wear, usually on one’s head, to film the scene as one does something like snowboarding or parkour. I’m sure if you google GO PRO camera a bunch of videos will pop up.

Paolo 9:23 AM  

Well…. I stared with a belief that I got the rebus as I filled in LAY(UP). Continued happily on my way with TIDY(UP). Filled in TOMYUMSO(UP) thinking that the UP in SOUP kinda strayed from the single word UP theme. Then took more time than I care to admit working myself back out of that error. The harm of a little too much confidence in believing the rebus was correct.

jberg 9:26 AM  

Oops! I guess I should have read the comments before my earlier post; sorry for the repetition.

There are two ways of thinking about the location of rebus squares. One is that they should be symmetrical, since they are theme answers. The other (including mine) is that symmetry would spoil over half the fun. Knowing in advance that a particular answer will have a rebus in it just gives the game away.

My personal preference is also that duplicate clues should refer to things that are very different from each other, ideally in based on different meanings of a word in the clue. Conversely, if you have something like CAROB that is sometimes used as a substitute for COCOA, it would be better to clue them very differently.

I'll leave it to others more nautical than I to discuss the difference between dock and MOOR.

pmdm 9:28 AM  

8:46AM: Go Pro is the name of a manufacturer of headgear. Perfect example to me of ugly PPP.

Ugly PPP is what crops up too often in new constructors' puzzle. Or so it seems to me. I respond positively to puzzles that include rebus squares.

Mike Sharp seems to be very concerned with speed. I suspect what applies to crossword puzzle solving also applies to blogging. So if, due to speed, he miscues in his initial write-up, that is that. It would take up too much precios time to rethink one's initial thoughts. I remember counter-examples, so this is not a universal problem. But today - yes, perhaps that is what happened that many here take exception to.

EyeGeeWhyGuy 9:30 AM  

Funny that the linked William Safire article on The Ick Factor has this to say about the possible origin of that term: 'An alternative imitative etymology is from sticky, sickeningly sweet: "They blow ickylickysticky YUMYUM kisses," wrote James Joyce in his 1922 "Ulysses" '

JD 9:36 AM  

It's confusing to me how certain words and phrases can pop up these days and within weeks they're used over and over again. Owlet, Rica/Rico, Why You… Does the editing team suddenly decide it can't get enough of Owlet and just start reworking puzzle for it? Does Will Shortz pound his desk and scream, "I WANT MORE OWLET DAMMMIT!"

Is it a signal for a drug drop, that the Russians are working through NYT, or is the CIA using it to send messages? Does the appearance of JohnX signify roger on code? Some of these puzzles have been done years apart. How is it possible that so many constructors independently thought, Hey! Owlet!

And yet Owlet held up that whole corner and thus my finish. There, happy U little bstrds? Y, it finally worked.

Fun fact, Faulkner actually was referring to the Frostbite Falls Picayune Intelligence. Wacky guy. "In order to combat poor newspaper sales Colonel McCornpone announces a treasure hunt for the "Picayune Pot" a useless brass trophy stuffed with one million Confederate dollars." Rocky and Bullwinkle join the hunt. Skip to minute 1:47 to learn more Although the incomprehensible ad at the beginning is an oddity you might want to catch.

Max Carpenter told Jeff Chen that the editing team removed Funyuns because someone hadn't heard of them. That was a big mistake. Here's an idea, stop editing the puzzles for a while and see how that goes. Owlets might go extinct for a while.

I see the old Anon has a new approach. Personal insults must be scheduled for later in the day.

@Frantic, Boredom inspires the inane... That might explain Lyndsey Graham and Chik-fil-A.

Rube 9:43 AM  

Fun. Had to work all the way around from north around to west until LACROSSE and LAYUP made the reveal. I think if you just dump YUMYUM and YUCCA in right away you are either very lucky or beyond prescient.

Stand By Me.... a fine turn for the late River Phoenix. Movie takes place in the state of Washington

Anonymous 9:52 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Keith D 9:53 AM  

@John X, that sort of anti-Portuguese racism has no place on this blog. Why you little…

Canon Chasuble 9:57 AM  

Can this be a coincidence? In today’s Times, if you turn to the page on the other side of the puzzle page, the first thing you see is an article
With a MAJOR feature on 69 across. Today’s puzzle was fun, clever, interesting and made me think of two unrelated things, the great English actress Thora Hird, and the RIAA curve which revolutionized the record industry.

Joseph Michael 10:03 AM  

In recent times, it’s what can barely give a hoot. It’s also what is a little snowy, perhaps And now it’s a small screech, for example. I would like to nominate the OWLET as Crossword Avian of the Year.

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

Rex whiffing on the themer is pretty funny

Steve M 10:07 AM  


GILL I. 10:14 AM  

Can someone please explain to @Rex how he missed that little YU. Oh wait....I think about 200 people already did. AND @Frantic....aren't you glad everyone reads you and knows all about Denzel and Joaquin?
Such a happy and willing to share group.
But did you like this puzzle, you ask? Well..yes and no. The yes is that I got the YU pretty early on. I got it at the PICA[YU}NE/TID[YU]P little cross. I always thought Picayune meant worthless. So if you live in New Orleans and read the paper are you inconsequential? We have the Bee. Lots of sting involved here.
Let's see...what else did I like? Remembering how to spell that APSO dog and that a brass band has a little OOMPAH coming out of its trombone.
What I didn't like was trying way to hard to guess at a few things. YUCCA can also be YUCA. I know the difference since I cook yuca all the time. But they are both plants so that fouled me up. Then I got to that Thai SOUP. I cook a lot of Thai and yet I've never heard of TOM YUM SOUP....That's on me. I'm not sure I'd want to eat any of Tom's yum. I've never heard of THORA Birch nor would I know RIAA IOS NAS even if they were my hairdressers. Again, my bad. Will I remember these little gems in the future? No...I will forget them as soon as I get off the phone.
Max....I'm betting you're a swell guy and that I'd share a drinky poo with you that would be enjoyable. Now I want to sing ONLY YUUUUUUU.

I'm wearing a mask again. Can you tell?

Unknown 10:14 AM  

@ Joseph Michael 10:03
Is it me, or have OWLETS been showing up a lot lately?
It's funny how that happens.

That Rex (a) utterly missed the revealer, and (b) went off again on some sort of "woke" faux anger about how foreigners are represented is sad/funny.

Today's puz was a gem.

Chicago Chica 10:20 AM  

Good puzzle. I struggle with rebuses and generally hate them but YUKON GOLD a and TIMES PICAYUNE made this one apparent to me

RooMonster 10:21 AM  

Hey All !
Does anyone know if Rex grokked the theme?

Hey, found SunPuz's missing ROO!

THORA Birch was a known name here. There is an awesome movie called "Now and Then" which she started in. Can't remember what year movie came out (of course, thanks memory), but it was about four young girl friends "Then" and how their lives were "Now". Maybe classified as a chick flick? Don't hate me because I like such things! 😁

Forgot it was Thursday, thinking Wednesday, so when I wanted LAYUP and it didn't fit, scratched the ole head, and thought, "A Rebus on Wednesday?" Then after realizing that yes, it is Thursday, wondered how a YU Rebus could mean anything. Got Revealer, and let out a "Heh, that's pretty cool."

Agree ICK FACTOR is better than YUCK FACTOR. But for themes sake, will let it slide. 😋 Had Aggie first for ASTRO, wondering why I've never seen a COKE G. Coke with Gatorade?

Two F's (bunch of U's, for those who follow such things)

pabloinnh 10:21 AM  

For anyone interested, The Guardian has a nice profile of Will Shortz today.

@RooMo from last night--Not tipsy, thought I'd lost my first line of deathless and witty commentary and kept looking for it, resulting in comical spacing. Still working on G for today.

Anonymous 10:38 AM  
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Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Oh, and the best part of The Picayune? Their (weekly?)column called Lagniappes.

TTrimble 10:44 AM  

@WinthorpeIII 7:06AM
Sure it can. Open up a Thai take-out menu, and very often it will say, TOM YUM SOUP. Typically with a list of ingredients so you have an idea what you're getting.

@mmorgan, @Gill I.
The only thing I know THORA Birch from is the movie American Beauty, where she played the daughter (the parents were played by Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening). In my mind it was a memorable performance.

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

Not loving:

- the YUs are not only asymmetric, but completely missing in the lower third of the puzzle
- iCK FACTOR is more common than YUCK FACTOR, and it's unnecessarily confusing because iCK FACTOR fits into the space as a non-rebus
- there is too much repetition: YUMYUM/TOMYUM, LAYUP/TIDYUP, YUCCA and YUCKFACTOR both cross the same word
- most of the YUs are within the word rather than crossing over two words (YUM vs laY Up). Six of the nine YUs don't cross into two words, and of the three that do, two use --Y UP.

It's a good idea, but if I were the editor, I would have sent it back for some re-writing. This could be much, much better.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

@10:21- Thanks for the heads upon The Guardian article. One notable quote: “ Shortz, who recently passed the milestone of having edited more than 10,000 Times crosswords, says he has no intention of retiring – ever. ” Yay.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

Not sure why my brain goes to River first over Joaquin, but it does.

umm, because he's DEAD? DEAD Trumps psychotic almost always.

johnk 10:52 AM  

YU bet. The revealer phrase is not what this solver growled, but I'll keep it CLEAN by not repeating it here.

mathgent 10:54 AM  

Now we know for sure that Rex doesn't read Jeff Chen before writing his critique. Chen explained the little Y U clearly.

That was the highlight of the puzzle for me. The delightful explanation of the rebus.

@John X (8:40). Please hang out at my corner of our little playground.

PICAYUNE. Great word. I guess that I've heard of that newspaper before because it popped into my head smoothly.

Peter P 10:56 AM  

I had the same issue as reck with "YUCK FACTOR." Colloquially, I've only known it as iCK FACTOR.

One note, since I know Rex is fond of knowing which words can be construed as offensive -- in the article posted in this thread about TOM YUM SOUP, the leaves are referred to as "kaffir lime leaves." Now, they still are referred to as such, but if Rex wants to be ahead of the curve -- and if others want to know -- "kaffir" is a deeply offensive South African word often compared to the n-word on its level of offensiveness. The substitute term is "makrut lime leaves," and you will see that usage in some cookbooks (especially in Australian ones, I've noted.) I personally usually do use the "kaffir lime leaves" terminology because not many people, at least in North America, are familiar with "makrut lime leaves," but just a heads-up for anyone interested.

johnk 10:56 AM  

It's not go pro. It's GOPRO - a small camera that can be mounted on one's head, or even on a dog.

Joe Dipinto 11:00 AM  

the weird grammar of the alleged angry question "Why YU little?"

There's no "alleged angry question"; the phrase is not "imagined, at least obliquely, as a question". In the revealer clue it's imagined as irritation in reaction to the puzzle. As a descriptor for the visual element it's reinterpreted as:
in the grammatic style of, say,

Stop making things up that aren't there.

I liked the theme, though it does look skimpy somehow. Maybe because the theme boxes are all shoved toward the edges. TIMES PICAYUNE sounds like a font name. Fun fact: In "Breakfast At Tiffany's" (the novella), Holly Golightly smokes cigarettes called Picayunes. I thought it was made-up back when I read it, but it was an actual brand sold in the South, with the slogan "Pride of New Orleans" on the front of the pack. They were discontinued but the brand came back as pipe tobacco apparently. Commenters here from down that way can probably elucidate.

"I can't hear you, but I love you."

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

American Beauty is, now, widely derided as one of the Academy’s all-time great blunders.
Birch’s performance was never particularly well regarded. She had better reviews for her work in the vastly superior Ghost World. And of course, she’s been at it forever. She was, for example, the daughter in Patriot Games as a small child. I’m sure she was in lost more as a youth.

Knitwit 11:00 AM  

It’s a small video recording device a lot of people use to record there activities-it can attach to a helmet. YouTube has a lot of this

Carola 11:04 AM  

Thank you, @Lewis, for pointing out that this is a debut. Very impressive. A fun one to solve - liked it for the reasons everybody else did + the double YUMs over COCOA and COKES. The hardest section for me was the SE: I had TOM YUM and four empty squares, which I thought would be the third section of the Thai name. No idea about the Bosstones, the Motorola phone, the Aristotle quote. Thankfully, AHAD suggested SKA...and then the probably-shoulda-been-obvious SOUP came into view, with a laugh. My first laugh was for CAME A, which gets today's Audacious ("I dare you to outdo this partial") Award.

Masked and Anonymous 11:07 AM  

har. Yu can't beat a rebus like this. thUmbsYUp.

Kinda weirdly cool, havin YUMYUM crossin YUCKFACTOR at a rebus square, too.

staff weeject pick: YU little.

Tricky MALELEADS clue, btw. Like.

Thanx YU for the fun, Mr. Carpenter.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Masked and Anonymous 11:17 AM  

Technically, 2 U's and 5 YU's … just for completeness sake.
Cuz YU can't deny any U its well-deserved glory.

M&A Census Bureau

jae 11:20 AM  

Easy-medium. Like @Rex I caught the rebus immediately so this went pretty smoothly. A fine Thursday, liked it. Nice debut.

Popeye 11:21 AM  

@jberg re: Dock/MOOR. Dock is where a boat is tied up. A MOOR is a tract of open uncultivated upland; a heath.

(Sorry about that)

My real thought is that Dock has to be a verb in this clue. Dock your boat. MOOR your boat.

Whatsername 11:33 AM  

OOMPAH pah! Light and easy but tricky with a rebus. Just what I wanted on this warm summer Thursday. I won’t dare TRASH it but will say I would’ve liked more - more themers, more rebuses and maybe a tad more of a challenge. But all things considered it was a pretty darn impressive debut. Thank you much Max! And for the record I did not find the revealer the slightest bit offensive. Good grief!

Growing up in the rural Midwest, I learned at an early age in my YOUTH how to whine incessantly for a bottle of pop. It didn’t matter what kind - orange, grape, lemon lime, Pepsi, RC or COKE - it was all pop. “Want a bottle of pop?” “YOU betcha.” “What kind?” “Oh a Coke sounds good.” Then I got older and moved to Wisconsin (also part of the Midwest according to the map making experts) where on the OTHER HAND, they drink soda - emphasis on the flat oh sound - and the same conversation ensued.

Joaquin and Denzel are two of my favorite MALE LEADS. You might even call them ICONS actually. Definitely no YUCK FACTOR there.

A 11:34 AM  

YUM, YUM - more please! Max-imum fun.

Theme maybe a bit too easy to get, but I liked the sense of humor in the overall cluing. Every now and them I’d let out a chuckle and wonder when Mr. A was going to ask what was so funny. Turns out he was too focussed on his puzzle, which he threw down in a fit (Nancy’s wall being out of reach).

He does the syndicated NYT in our local paper, so he was on a Thursday REBUS also. Guess he doesn’t share my admiration of a puzzle within a puzzle. Think the actual words he used were “It’s just stupid.”

Getting the theme right out of the gate made me a LITTLE cocky. My big mistake was, although I’m familiar with the TIMES-PICAYUNE, there’s also a town called PICAYUNE not far from here. Before my coffee kicked in I wrote in PICAYUNE TIMES. Fortunately the OOM PAH from the brass band got me back on the beat.

Nice to see @ROO getting the deserved attention.

Is the E in POTATOES a POC square?

Boy, the OWLs are breeding like rabbits!

Thought the brown powders would be COCOA and CaCao, but happy to see CAROB. My mom got on a carob kick when I was YOUNG. At first I more than skeptical, but after I got used to carob milk, when I tried chocolate again - YUCK. Tastes are definitely acquired.

Gotta run - it’s TRASH day.

JD 11:42 AM  

@Gill, Have I told you I love you lately?

Ari Stotle 11:47 AM  

Not sure if its hilarious or sad to see how eagerly some folks wanted to jump on Michael for making an honest, if somewhat clumsy, error.

david kulko 11:48 AM  

No consistency with the rebus vis a vis slash between or not. Yuck

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

"the revealer gives me mild ethnic caricature vibes" = really all you need to know about "Rex".

albatross shell 12:10 PM  

@Roo 1021am
Found the missing Roo or found the missing Roo puz? Which I've been trying to tell yoo only the R is misssing. The OO remains.
And you did find the puz cause yoo commented on Sunday:

RooMonster8:50 AM
Hey All !
Well, holy cow. I go on vacation for a week, and miss out on a ROO puz. Murphy's Law in full force!

I nominate this puz for Puz of the Year. 😂

In the immortal words of Rodney Dangerfield (in the movie "Ladybugs" [whuch,big you haven't seen it, is quite funny and charming]) "I finally got some respect."



But I guess that doesn't mean you had done the puz or read the comments. I feel like I maybe living in a literal word while yoo are off in magicland. Who me?

Anyway maybe you, if you have not read the comments yet, you may appreciate the magic of the backward ROO that is in The DOORS and the variation of the puzzle's theme I apply to it to justify the double Jim Morrison appearances. It's OK if you do not. I seem to live in my own wee world. It is obtuse. My comment at sunday 1156 pm.

Like today: I thought there are a ton of mystery fans here and even more cat people. I thought my comment about the TIMES PICAYUNE connection to the Cat Who Series and the name of one Siamese and a homophone for the other would be of some interest. It sure tickled me. But whatever. I am certainly entertained by comments here that I do not comment on. So who knows.

Backward ROO in MOOR today.

puzzlehoarder 12:34 PM  

A little longer than the typical Thursday. Some of this has to do with spelling issues. I know LHASA has an H I'm just not sure where it goes.

OBEISANT is an interesting word. At least one of the regulars here is a prime example of it regarding our host.

I had a TAMPA/TIMES write over. While I don't associate that person with Florida I know precious little about them and the clue does say "Southern."

This was an easy rebus to smoke out but the randomness of the placement kept things a little more interesting. In the NW 1A went from yuMMY to yuMMM and finally yuMyuM.

In the SW the OWLET was a screech. Last week it was a snowy but basically it was the same clue twice in a row so even easier today.

THORA looks like the name of a silent era actor. I was surprised to find out that she is quite contemporary.

Whatsername 12:52 PM  
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TJS 12:53 PM  

Had fun with this one. Amazing that it was a debut (thanks @Lewis).

This new Rex rant confirms his status as "person I would least want to spend a day fishing with". What a maroon.

@Roo, same here. Until I remenber it's Thursday, these rebuses (sp?)
always sneak up on me.

Missy 12:59 PM  

Below is a long article about Shortz from the Guardian if interested.

Zygotic 1:00 PM  

Rex has posted an update. He didn’t change anything, just added an “I missed it” near the top.

John Ex 1:02 PM  

Feel free to stay in the mine permanently next time. What a pleasant two weeks.

Crimson Devil 1:05 PM  

Judge pal of mine grew up in Oxford, and related that once he was invited on quail hunt with FAULKNER, and eagerly anticipated words of wisdom from him: said only words uttered all day by WF were “Son, you take the birds on the left and I’ll take the ones on the right.”

Crimson Devil 1:10 PM  

Good to see memorable Bugs line.

Whatsername 1:13 PM  

@Frantic (6:21) “Who else has 47D as their go-to rebuttal for inconvenient truths?” Not only that but also obnoxious commercials, yapping dogs, annoying relatives and anyone who harps continually about a point that’s already been decided.

@OffTheGrid (7:21) Good catch on the movie clip. 👏

@JD (9:36) “That might explain Lyndsey Graham and Chik-fil-A.” 🤣 Made my day.

@GILL (10:14) What @JD said at 11:42. And by the way, keep wearing that mask! According to this news article, Experts say that while vaccines are very effective, they're not perfect -- and Americans who have been fully vaccinated should still consider the levels of transmission and the type of environment they'll be in when deciding whether to wear a mask.

Teedmn 1:21 PM  

My COCOA in the CAROB spot made a nice, chocolatey mess at the top since it worked with OOMPAH and ICBM. However, once I had OaEIS in place at 9D, I started to rethink that.

Congratulations, Max Carpenter, on your long-awaited NYT debut.

JOHN X 1:26 PM  

@ John Ex 1:02 PM

Son, when I want your opinion, I’ll beat it out of you.

Anonymoose 1:28 PM  

@A. Your post reminded me of Dan Quayle.

"On June 15, 1992, Quayle altered 12-year-old student William Figueroa's correct spelling of "potato" to "potatoe" at the Muñoz Rivera Elementary School spelling bee in Trenton, New Jersey. He was the subject of widespread ridicule for his error."

RooMonster 1:29 PM  

Ah. I see now. To answer your questions, yes, I Am often in magicland. 🤪 And when I was on vacay, I was (selfishly) scanning the comments to see if anyone was asking where I was. (Oh, the vanity!) That's how I ran across that SunPuz.

I now see your point on just the missing R, not the whole ROO. I actually didn't do the puz, nor read the comments completely, so you're backward ROO fell on deaf ears. But thanks for that!

I'm often backward anyway!

RooMonster RetsnoMooR Guy

kitshef 1:31 PM  

@A 11:34 - not according to Dan Quayle.

bocamp 1:34 PM  

Gotta admit, the Y & U being smaller by virtue of being placed in rebus didn't cross my mind. I figured the LITTLE-ing of WHY & YOU were simply shortening them phonetically to Y & U and putting them into the rebus cell. Maybe I get 1/2 credit, along with a partial dnf. LOL

Poor @Rex; he doesn't get as much credit as he deserves for what he does, but if he makes a booboo … :( Being a good sport, tho, he admits his faux pas and moves on. :)

@Missy (12:59 PM)

Thx for the link; great article on Will Shortz! :)

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all 🕊

GILL I. 1:49 PM  

@JD....YOU are my sunshine...
@Whatsername...So are you. And thanks for the news article. There is so much ambiguity surrounding the should I or shouldn't I mask. As long as the pandemic still persists we need to be careful and solicitous to those around us. Just a little FYI story....
My good friend who lives in Ajijic, Mexico, was fully vaccinated in April. She travelled to the States to get her vaccination because of scarcity. She just recently come down with COVID. It was a mild case but nonetheless, she got a strain. Her biggest fear (and she still dreams of it) is that she passed it on to those who had not yet had their shots. The surge in COVID cases is high where she lives.
We're not out of the woods yet; wearing a mask to protect ANYONE should be a big factor for people - especially consideration for the young and those that have compromised immune issues.

Anonymous 1:50 PM  
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Anonymous 1:55 PM  
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Ed C 2:02 PM  

It’s possible he didn’t “see” it because Rex likes to cringe on purpose and often sees racism in NYT puzzles. He enjoys being offended, even if he has to invent the offense.

CDilly52 2:07 PM  


Denzel Washington
River Phoenix

albatross shell 2:08 PM  

Brendan Emmett Quigley puzzle with WHYYOULITTLE from NYT 11/7/2001.

faber 2:17 PM  

I looked through the comments and I hope I am not duplicating.

Unlike Rex, I had not figured out the rebus by the time I got to the revealer. So I read this as what transpires during a macho war of words. "Why you little ..." fill in any cuss word you can imagine. So I thought "so and so" since I had a lot of partially filled words with "so" in them. After a lot of inventive incorrect answers, I finally stumbled into tidyup and timespicayune which I knew had to be correct. So that gave me yucca and everything fell. When I finished, I went back to figure out what happened to so and so. Head slap! Little YU.

Frantic Sloth 2:18 PM  

@GILL 1014am Well, I did ask. 😘

@JD 936am I can't believe I watched that whole thing! What happened to that other pair of socks and peanut butter sammich?
🤣Pintos R Us ramps that video up to a whole 'nother level. Also, clearly Miss Lindsey doesn't care about getting married.

@Whatsername 1252pm Har! Exactly! 😁

They should have left "FUNYUNS" in. Now it's the constructor who faces criticism for a skimpy theme when it was an editing fail. Gee. That's fair. ☹️

As others have mentioned, I can't even see the words potato or POTATOES without thinking of Dan Quayle...still! It's when I welcome death the most.

CDilly52 2:32 PM  

Although I raced through this at easy Tuesday or difficult Monday speed, I truly enjoyed the puzzle. First of all, I am rarely so bang onto the constructor’s wavelength, but was today and after the last couple weeks, it felt really good! Also, I thought the puzzle and theme treatment were overall excellent.

First of all (as others (Hi, @Lewis!) have pointed out, we have some lovely words: FROND, NACRE (I love words that end in “re” for some reason), OBEISANT. All those “LAs” both in LALALA, and LACROSSE were kind of comical looking. Also really liked the clue for SPEED TRAP. That bad to be one of those a constructor thinks up in the middle of the night and quickly writes it down for future use. Very clever.

The theme really worked! Tight, clever, not without humor and consistent. Doesn’t get much better than that. Even though I was into the rebus immediately, I truly enjoyed finding the remaining “YUs” and eagerly awaited the reveal, because I absolutely couldn’t guess what it might be.

I waaaay overthought what the abbreviation “YU” might mean (yes, and apologies to Dr. McKinty who saved me from failing High School chemistry), including thinking it might be an element on the Periodic Table. OK, laugh everybody, but that is a shining example of why law school exists. Otherwise smart folks who struggle with math and science are drawn there like moths to the flame. And, we can (and I have many, many, many times) hire wonderful experts to explain to us and the court and jury what all the math and science mean and while they matter to the issue at bar. Heck, if the scientist can explain it to me, I always knew the jury would get it!

That’s a great Thursday to me. Thank “YU” Mr. Carpenter!

Anonymous 2:38 PM  

LOL.Rex spends most of his addendum taking us through his thought process to help us appreciate how he arrived at the wrong answer.
How about something like: “oops, I missed it.” Or “D’oh! I goofed.” Or simply, “I was wrong.” But nope, all we get is a sigh and a weak sauce apologia.

egsforbreakfast 2:47 PM  

The revised blog entry by Rex begins:

THEME: "WHY YOU LITTLE..." (57A: What a solver might growl after catching on to this puzzle's theme?) — a "YU" rebus where "YU" (not "you") is made "little" by being put into just one square [ADDENDUM: apparently the joke of "WHY YOU LITTLE" is "Why" = "Y" and "You" = "U" and "Little" = the fact that "Y" and "U" have been made little, but that is *not* how my brain understood the "joke"; as you can (and will) see, I thought "YOU" stood for "YU" and the revealer was an angry (if ungrammatical) question: "Why YU little???" (i.e. "why did this puzzle for me to write 'YU' little, such that they would both fit in one box?!") Annnnnyway, sigh]:

I think he deserves some credit for posting to the world that he didn’t get the theme. On the OTHERHAND, it must be doubly mortifying to have gone on a virtue-posing rant about what you thought, mistakenly, was the theme.

Great theme/revealer combo in my book.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

YU? Why me? Why anybody?

foxaroni 2:58 PM  

This was one of the easiest (and, therefore, most enjoyable) Thursday puzzles I can remember solving. Thanks, Max Carpenter--excellent debut.

Thanks, too, to all the commenters for the explanations of GOPRO, and Joaquin Rivers and Denzel Washington. I worked out the answers, but had no clue as to their meanings.

foxaroni 3:10 PM  

Also, I'm familiar with Funyuns--even here in a middle Midwest flyover. I've even eaten a few--a mistake I won't make again. (There's a YUCKFACTOR in there, for sure!)

Anoa Bob 3:27 PM  

Asking for some help here. (Not related to today's puzzle.) After years of accepting only snail mail submissions, the NYT crossword puzzle has switched to electronic submissions in a PDF format as detailed here: NYT PDF format.

The first page of the requested format has an upper left name and address header followed by a numbered grid solution. Then the second and following pages have the clues with answers. No matter what combination of format options I use with Crossword Compiler, I can't duplicate that arrangement. Closest I can get is the header followed by the clues and answers on the first and following pages, with the numbered grid solution on a separate, last page.

It's especially frustrating because the NYT submission instructions state that "All crossword constructing programs have settings to create PDFs in the proper submission format". I have not found that to be the case using Crossword Compiler.

I'm hoping someone out there in Rexworld has been able to successfully get the requested NYT submission PDF format using Crossword Complier and is willing to share that information. I would be much obliged.

Chippah 3:31 PM

Colette 3:51 PM  

Loved this puzzle, what a great debut! I actually like them better when the rebuses (shouldn't it be rebi?) are not symmetrical -- trickier to find them. Loved Yukon Gold Potatoes (personal fave) and the double meaning of the revealer. However, now that I know about the 2000 eyes, how will I ever eat a scallop again? Help!

JD 3:53 PM  

@Whatername, Gimme a bottle of pop and a bag of chips any day. Cream of cherry soda was my favorite. Recipe was probably a 1 to 1 ratio of water and sugar by teaspoon, red dye 2, and artificial vanilla flavoring. YM YM YM!

@Frantic, As you know, no Caribbean vacation is complete without a stop at Pintos R Us. If I could write like that!

@JohnX 1:26, Thanks, I'll use that line when I need it. Likely it'll be here.

Carola 4:10 PM  

@GILL I. - We may be half a continent apart, but as one of the immunocompromised, I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Piano Phil 4:30 PM  

“I’ll take The Three Stooges for $100, Alex.”

“‘Why, you!’ and ‘Why, you little …’”l

“What are things Moe says.”

V. Gilligan 4:43 PM  

@foxaroni (3:10pm)

Walter WhIte: "Three entire bags of Funyuns?"

Jesse Pinkman: "Funyuns are awesome."

Walter: "God..."

Jesse: "More for me."

GILL I. 5:12 PM  

@Carola 4:10. Without ever wishing anyone would reach over and pat me on the back, my hope for some of mankind is that we just take a breath and think outside of our little "private" box of either security or insecurity. I mean hard is it to be just a tad considerate.

GILL I. 5:13 PM  

@Carola. I meant to add: I hope you are ok......

RooMonster 5:19 PM  

I have successfully submitted puzs to the NYT electronically, however, I can't quite remember how I did it at the moment. I do remember it being a pain in the butt. You have to switch the Crossword Compiler file to a PDF file. Maybe if you left click on the puz itself, a little window might pop up with a clickable PDF link.
Good luck, and you're welcome for All the help! Har.


JOHN X 5:28 PM  

I was trapped in a coal mine for two weeks fer goshsakes.

Can I get a break around here? Put on some Loretta Lynn.

Eniale 5:36 PM  

I also slid in IckFACTOR first and then had to change it later after I grokked YU. And I remember my dad frequently reproaching us with "Why, you little....!"

@ttrimble: You're not the only one who entered a new decade a few days ago - but I'll bet my decade's a couple ahead of yours, seeing I have granddaughters who've graduated from college, unless your rising HS senior daughter's a product of a rather late blooming.... Anyway I'm not whining.

Ben 5:54 PM  

So Rex misunderstands the theme, and then interprets it as disparaging Asians.. Y that's on U, Rex.

Roger 6:04 PM  

I did dnf precisely with that error!

Anoa Bob 6:13 PM  

Thanks Roo @5:19 PM, yeah, I've tried all the options in the Crossword Compiler File Menu for exporting a PDF file and I can get all the NYT requested information but just not in the sequence they ask for. A lengthy internet search and emails to the NYT (no answer) and Crossword Compiler (no help) were fruitless so that's why I posted the question here.

A 7:14 PM  

Cats and kittens! Just in time for National Pet Fire Safety Day.

@albatross, I was just thinking about the Cat Who series the other day when someone mentioned guilty pleasures. I happened on my first one in a thrift store and got hooked. Who can resist a mystery-solving Siamese cat? I didn’t remember Quilleran had worked for the Times-Picayune, but I did name a cat Koko.

JOHN X, “We all walked out like kittens” tickled my funny cat meme bone. And I’d only just recovered from “don’t ever press a button if you don’t know what is does” - not to mention the YUCK FACTOR in between.

Zygotic 7:43 PM  

@Anoa Bob - It is possible to combine pdfs into a single document and to rearrange the pages (find the view thumbnail option). I don’t now how you get the contact info onto the grid page.

Joe Dipinto 8:00 PM  

@John X – I thought we were gonna have to come bail you out again. Don't have any Loretta Lynn but here's one for you.

A 8:02 PM  

@TTrimble - wow, you share a birthday with Emperor Ferdinand? Happy new decade!

@JD - Another great post (9:36). I think you’re onto something with those CIA OWLETs. They’re always watching us.

I think we should demand to see the FUNYUNS version. “We want FUNYUNS!”

@GILL, love the avatar - makes you look like a superhero! In case you missed it, I played your sidekick last night.

Pioneering guitarist Julian Bream, born July 15, 1933, always wanted to meet Stravinsky and play the lute for him. He got his chance, but later said it was the most embarrassing moment of his career. I think he was too hard on himself - Stravinsky seemed annoyed at first, but when Bream took out his lute and played, Stravinsky was totally absorbed. Here’s the whole story.

Unknown 8:32 PM  

Didn't read all the comments, but seems like everyone missed that "why you little" is a catchphrase of a classic comedy figure who sorted a bowl cut, MOE. I think that adds a but more intrigue to the puzzles theme.

Bruce Fieggen 8:49 PM  

Why don’t the down YU rebus answers rate as themers?

Bruce Fieggen 8:50 PM  


Anonymous 8:57 PM  

@Unknown 8:32

If you did read all the comments, you wouldn't; have made such a ridiculous comment.

RooMonster 10:23 PM  

Oh, btw, I believe they still accept puzs by regular mail. Haven't read up on submission rules lately (even though you provided a link), do maybe I'm talking out of my ass. (Good bet, that.)

5 posts is my limit! 😁

Amy 10:36 PM  

Love love love! So much fun.

Anonymous 2:02 AM  

Lhasa Apsos are classified in the Non-sporting group by the AKC. They are not toys

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

And ed c gets off on being offended by rex. And the world turns...

DigitalDan 1:27 PM  

SLACKERS fits in the MALLRATS space. Humph.
I remember GINOS (GENOS) Pizza rolls better, but at some point they became TORINOS. Love 'em, either way. Had SOCHI for the resort.
Getting better at harder puzzles, but this definitely was one.

DigitalDan 1:28 PM  

Thursday comment was meant to apply to Friday. Sorry. Forget the whole thing.

thefogman 9:53 AM  

I am really surprised how nice Rex is being about this one - which is sub-par in so many respects.Ultimately, the BLAME resides with the editor for giving it the green light. EDIT - This is Max Carpenter’s debut puzzle - so let’s hope for more (and better) in the future.

Jaussiegirl 10:24 AM  

Well, this was fun! And not too difficult for a transplanted Aussie (in Canada for 30 years) and having to consider so much USA content because it’s the NYT puzzle of course. Just helps the brain keep ticking over. Thanks to the constructor. Only my second time commenting after a gap of three or so years but I’m still solving and reading the blog. A few days ago the puzzle answer “Adelaide” gave me some joy as it’s my home city and today’s (in syndication) answer “Why you little…..” filled in nicely after a bit of wandering around the puzzle.

thefogman 10:30 AM  

Yu the Great:

Burma Shave 11:49 AM  




rondo 12:07 PM  

Welcome back @Jaussiegirl. Please do comment more often!
@foggy - YU the best
Hand up here for Aggie before ASTRO. Otherwise CLEAN. Funny that OFL did not get the idea. SPEED solving kills.
THORA Birch, American Beauty, yeah baby.
Not a big rebus fan, on the OTHERHAND this was kinda harmless.

Anonymous 1:01 PM  

Rebus: benign in this enjoyable puzzle.

spacecraft 1:07 PM  

First of all, WHYYOULITTLE appeared in a recent puzzle, did it not? The expression is the beginning of a name-calling rant, when the speaker is so pissed he can't even think of what little thing you are, and so just trails off: "WHY, YOU LITTLE..." and then, presumably, physically attacks his foe.

As a revealer, the phrase means YU, written LITTLE so it can fit into one square. The central gridspanner, which necessitated yet another 16-wide grid (second one this week! Not only is crossword solving growing--the grids themselves are!), needed nearly every cross here. Learned something new; also, what a cultivar is.

The rest of it was pretty simple for a Thursday. Not making immediate sense of the NW (again!), I slid over to the NE and bang, there it was. TIDYUP fit with TIMESPICAYUNE; plus, Thursday = rebus. And when I saw the YU, I right away thought of the revealer, having seen it on this page just last week. YUp, sure enough, there it was.

Pleasant enough solve, some cool fill, and clever use of that phrase. Add a smashing DOD in THORA Birch, and it's a CLEAN birdie.

thefogman 2:16 PM  

Cheers Rondo! YU rock!

leftcoaster 4:56 PM  

Took a little time to break into the SW.

"WHY YOU LITTLE...” is a good revealer (something MOE of the stooges would say) and the YU rebuses are fun to get in the crossing themers.

Fun solve.

leftcoaster 5:13 PM  

Does Lewis, way above, really mean this? :

"I check out all unfamiliar names on XwordInfo before I begin solving”.

WHY? Not YOU, surely.

leftcoaster 6:41 PM  

Oh, Lewis has to be talking about the clues.

Diana, LIW 6:43 PM  

Not a fan of the rebus. (I mean, if you can't make the grid you already have work...)

But for a rebus, this one's revealer was spot-on perfect. In so many ways. Why you little rebus!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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