Conductor Georg / THU 7-8-21 / Coffee liqueur originally from Jamaica / One of the Big Four domestic carriers once

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Constructor: John Lampkin

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging to discover theme, Easy-Medium after that

[Those "AM" squares are actually "AM/FM" squares]

THEME: Two-way RADIO (39A: It can be two-way ... with a hint to four squares in this puzzle) — an "AM/FM" rebus, where "AM" works in the Across and "FM" works in the Down:

Theme answers:
  • ALAMODE / OFFMIKE (17A: Fashionable / 3D: Not amplified, in a way)
  • TIAMARIA / SELFMADE (21A: Coffee liqueur originally from Jamaica / 10D: Rich, but not born that way)
  • MAMMAMIA / HALFMAST (56A: 2001 Broadway hit with an exclamation mark in its name / 43D: Certain flag position)
  • YOGAMAT / WOLFMAN (62A: Something to meditate on / 49D: Figure in a horror film)
Word of the Day: ODE Records (6D: Onetime record label with a poetic name) —

Ode Records (also known as Ode Sounds and Visuals) was an American record label, started by Lou Adler in 1967 after he sold Dunhill Records to ABC Records. It was distributed by CBS's Epic Records except between 1970 and 1976, when the label was distributed by A&M Records. The original incarnation was closed in 1978 and CBS took over most of catalog, often with Epic logos replacing Ode logos on reissues.

Adler reactivated the label several times, including another short run with A&M in 1989. It was disbanded when A&M was sold to PolyGram in late 1989.

Ode is now part of Sony Music Entertainment (the successor to CBS), excluding:

  • Cheech & Chong catalogue is controlled by Warner Music Group. After Cheech & Chong switched to Warner Bros. Records in 1978, they took also its past catalog to their new home label. Depending on reissue, they can have "Warner Bros. Records Inc.", "Warner Records Inc." or "Ode Records" printed as copyright owner. It is believed that Lou Adler still owns copyrights for its Ode releases.
  • Soundtrack to The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the London Symphony Orchestra's version of Tommy are still owned by Lou Adler, with reissues distributed under license to third party oldies labels like RhinoCastle Communications and more recently, The Orchard, another subsidiary of Sony Music. (wikipedia)
• • •

, that was tedious (except for WELL, WELL, which was easily my favorite answer in the grid). It's a one-note puzzle, where it's hard to find the note (because of unpleasant / deliberately hard cluing around that first rebus square in the NW), but once you find it ... well, that's that, really. You gotta wait on a (very) weak revealer, and then, of course, hunt down those other rebus squares, but they're a lot easier to find now, even if they weren't symmetrical (I prefer asymmetrical rebuses—I just assume that the constructor could get better overall fill results if they didn't artificially restrict themselves to the symmetrical rebus-square formation). AM/FM, AM/FM, AM/FM, AM/FM, toggle toggle toggle toggle, pffft. If the revealer had had some sparkle, or the themers had been particularly original or colorful, maybe this thing would've been able to overcome its essentially monotonous core. But mostly what you get is a very old-fashioned and dull grid overall (both in terms of its lack of any contemporary references, as well as its reliance on STP SSS SERA TREY NNE ERRED OBIE IBET YEA TWA, all the olden short stuff you've known for years). The classical music thing also becomes an annoying hobby horse. I listen to classical music regularly, and none of the answers gave me any trouble, but ugh, stop, we get it, Schubert, Beethoven, Haydn, Bartók, SOLTIART SONG, NOTATE, on and on and on. I think it's good when you give your puzzle a bit of your own personality (if that's what's going on here), but there's a point at which that personality starts feeling like a rut. A record skipping, if that metaphor helps. (Admit it: all you rap-haters would lose your collective *minds* if there was as much rap in a puzzle as there is classical music in this one)

Really rough going to start, as 1A: Slip could've been a billion things, so that even after I got BEACON and OAK, I couldn't get a grip up there at all. I wanted OFF-MIKE but it didn't fit (first clue that some trickiness was afoot), but I had CENTS before COINS (20A: Some change), and, because of that, GIFT before BOON (4D: Windfall). No idea about ODE Records (see Word of the Day, above—it's not a particularly distinguished or memorable label, and *again* with the bygone music ... not as bygone as Classical, or RAG, but still a good half century ago in its heyday). After fuddling around a bit more, then realizing I must be dealing with some kind of rebus, I struck oil, but unlike those who strike oil (I assume), I immediately wanted to stop digging, as this rebus was not about to make me happy or rich. A non-blogging me probably would have quit right here:

... though that's probably not true; I would've wanted to *confirm* that the only thing I had to look forward to was a bunch of AM/FM squares (and tepid fill). So maybe I would've quit with the revealer, which told me in no uncertain terms that those squares were gonna go two ways (AM, FM) and only those two ways. Of course actual two-way radio has nothing to do with AM/FM channels, but that's not really important, since two-way is obviously being repurposed in punny, hyper-literal fashion. The problem is the predictable repetition, and the fact that digging up the AM/FM squares doesn't produce any delight (except, I guess, the delight of mere discovery). There's a lot of repetition, from the theme, to the classical music, to the two EN-words (ENFOLD, ENLACE) to the two comparative adjectives (OILIER, VAINER) ... it all felt very same same same.

Having HOT PANTS and OGLE in a puzzle is an ... interesting choice. I was talking to a young woman constructor recently who told me she had actually deleted OGLE from her wordlist, so tired was she of having this creepy, objectifying, often actually threatening act be such a staple of crossword grids. She said she was keeping LEER, but would never clue it as an OGLE synonym (LEER is Spanish for "to read" and I think LEER is also the name of a major truck accessory company ... I feel like I've stared at the word on the backs of pickups a number of times ... yes, truck bed covers, also called TONNEAU covers, why have I never seen *that* word in a grid!?). Anyway, OGLE is a word and LEER is a word, you can't deny that, and if you don't want to see them banished, that's fine, but since OGLE and LEER are both age-old repeaters, it's not like you would be losing much. Your grids might get better if you took the sexual objectification out of your grid. Fight the patriarchy *and* ditch the crosswordese! Two birds, one stone.

I don't think OUTACT is much of a thing (50D: Best in a film audition, say). Roles go to the people who are best suited for them, not necessarily to the person who can act the best. Auditions aren't rap battles or poetry-slams ... I don't think. I struggled to get AVENGER, as I think of Thor as a god, not a comic book character (of course I know he is also that). So, yes, in case you were confused, Thor is an AVENGER (47A: Thor, for one) because he is literally one of the founding members of Marvel Comics' "Avengers" (along with Hulk, Iron-Man, Ant Man and the Wasp). I also struggled to get ANN'S (just never heard of it) (23A: St. ___, neighborhood in north London). Otherwise, the puzzle didn't contain any stumpers, and didn't present much difficulty once I finally got the gimmick sorted and got the hell out of the NW corner. And now its STATUS is "done" and this blog post's STATUS is "done" I can get on with my day. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 6:13 AM  

I've lived in London for over a decade, and I've never heard of ST ANN'S either.

Also a note for anyone struggling with the app: you MUST put the / in AM/FM or else it won't recognise as completed (I was stumped that it showed as unsolved but I had just put AMFM in each rebus square).

Joaquin 6:15 AM  

I disagree with @Rex (Yeah, I know - Alert the media!). This was a fun puzzle with a terrific rebus.

The clue for 43-D is 100% fine, so this is not a nit of any kind. What this is, is a “red motorcycle fact”: Many folks say HALFMAST when they should be saying “half-staff”. Half-mast is used to describe a flag’s position on ships and naval bases; half-staff is the appropriate term to describe the same thing anywhere else.

And I’m not sure which is the proper way to describe the pants location of some of todays ultra-cool teens. Perhaps neither is right and the correct term for them is “half-assed”.

FKD 6:18 AM  

Well well, another rebus. I'm in a panic. Is the answer AM, or FM, or AMFM, or FMAM, or AM/FM. Boohoo, how many permutations do you have to try before finding the one that the software recognizes? No, just no. Go back to the drawing board on this one.

clap63 6:21 AM  

I was annoyed that the first themer was “off mike” when “mic” is how to spell the abbreviated microphone.

Frantic Sloth 6:33 AM  

Here's a Thursdee that knows how to Wednesdee...or Tuesdee even.

Rebus schmebus. What a disappointment. Again.
Nothing terribly egregious, but...

HOTPANTS?? Weren't those from the 70s?? Does anyone under the age of 50 know of these?

And, oh dear Lord. I must have caught a terrible case of the vapors, what with all the excitement in the grid. [INAPANIC, furiously fans self]
How is a girl supposed to maintain any composure or sense of decorum with such frisky language?

Please. SSStop.


American Liberal Elite 6:41 AM  

Nice to see MIC dropped and replaced by my old friend MIKE.

Zygotic 6:44 AM  

I can’t really disagree with any of Rex’s points, but I liked this more than he did. Maybe in part because BOO BOO wasn’t obvious to me, so I started with ORB and VEE, worked the NE, and got TI(A M)ARIA and SEL(F M)ADE first. That’s a much better theme pair, so I wasn’t immediately soured on the puzzle. OF(F M)IKE and ENFOLD are both suboptimal, so if I had started in the NW my reaction might have been more like Rex.

Rex failed to mention that each AM and FM are not in the same word. I think that is a nice touch. I also see “two-way” as a plus.I love that kind of wordplay.

I wrote in ——God off the G and wondered what kind of God Thor was going to be. filled in AVENGod from the crosses, the eyebrow started to arch, wasted at least one nanosecond pondering the possibility of thunder make-up and an AVoN God, and then did the D’Oh Slap. I still feel as though an Avon God would be a good idea. I picture him speaking in Elizabethan English while dispensing beauty products to the faithful.

Speaking of Rap, This is my favorite song today. I oh so want that t-shirt (if you watch the video you’ll know which t-shirt I’m talking about).

Johnny Mic 6:56 AM  

Same. Just made the whole thing less fun.

amyyanni 7:01 AM  

Got the whole center swath with the NW & SE wide open. Biggest peeve: going back to insert the / in all the rebus squares. Otherwise enjoyed it. BOOBOO reminded me of Yogi Bear, one of my favorite cartoons. Good Thursday. Off to take in the car for a checkup. Trip ahead later this month!

Zygotic 7:06 AM  

@Joaquin - Maybe because “flagpole” is more common than “flagstaff” and “halfpole” just screams “Cialis ad.” You made me curious, so Merriam-Webster to the rescue. HAL(F M)AST has a first known use of 1588, “half-staff” doesn’t appear until 1708. This makes me think some Army pendant had too much time on their hands and decided to get all fussy about not being in the navy. I mean, how else can you explain so many words for a pole?

Anonymous 7:07 AM  

Hi - this is the person who solves while coming off mushroom trips. I think this is my fourth or fifth time doing this. It helps me wind down a trip (I’ve been doing psilocybin therapeutically for a while now to help with trauma, anxiety, PTSD and depression). It really helps. After a trip I feel so much lighter and calmer - I feel… I imagine everyone else feels.

Shrooms made this tougher than it should have been, but I finished with a pretty reasonable time for someone who keeps looking out the window and marveling at how beautiful the world is. Now….the “prove you’re not a robot” challenge awaits. Will I have to identify all the bridges? Crosswalks? Motorcycles? Buses? Adventure awaits!

Have a great day everyone!

OffTheGrid 7:25 AM  

Rebuses are not my favorite thing but a clever rebus can be fun. This was not one of those. I might be impressed if the AM and FM both worked across and down but it would still be very cluttered.

I'm Switzerland in the Mike/Mic war.

Men OGLE. Women OGLE. Ho hum.

Will it be keY or CAY? drum roll please.....

"Yogi's sidekick" would have been a much better clue for 1A.

20A. How about simply "Change"? for COINS. I had dimeS.

OffTheGrid 7:27 AM  

@amyyanni. We think alike. I submitted my BOOBOO comment before I saw yours.

kitshef 7:30 AM  

SE corner may as well be a separate puzzle as I don’t think anyone is getting ART SONG(???) from the clue.

With the NG in place, raiNGod for Thor sure seemed promising.

You could clue OGLE as Australian golfer Bret, but no one ever does.

pabloinnh 7:33 AM  

I too liked this more than OFL, which I suspect puts me in the company of anyone else who did the puzzle. Started in the NW a la @Z because I was hoping a three letter word for "baseball" might be FUN, but was not surprised to see ORB. TIAMARIA led to SELFMADE, although misreading "wilt" for "wit" gave me SAG instead of WAG, oops. Ran into RADIO soon after which made the whole thing clear. Fun to discover the other themers.

Hand up for looking for a Norse GOD and also wanted the "tour guides" to be people. Had the ST and the proper amount of blanks and briefly wondered if Beethoven could have been Haydn's stepson, which seemed unlikely, and was. AWE or WOW and OGLE or LEER were the only other speed bumps.

Nice job on a Thursday, JL. I found your rebus gimmick to be Just Lovely.

Conrad 7:34 AM  

Like @anyyanni, I got the NE-to-SW corridor relatively easily and had zilch in the other two corners. lOOt for BOON at 4D and dimeS for COINS at 20A were my banes in the NW and my inability to spell SOLTI coupled with a complete ignorance of ART SONG hurt in the SE. But then, no victory music. All my answers looked okay and I was about to hit Reveal when ... I figured it might -- just might -- be because I put AMFM in the rebus squares. Unlike @anon 6:13 and @FKD 6:18, I didn't go for AM/FM but happily for me a simple AM (and, I presume, FM) worked in the Times Web site.

thfenn 7:43 AM  

Oh, this gets a big WOOHOO! from me. Loved it! Got a rare Thurs without any peaking or googling, and had fun filling it in. Knew something was up when I couldn't make ALAMODE cross OFFMIKE, and then thought it was fun finding the others. The reveal was a little weak, but thought the fill was great. MIA felt VAINER, put on HOTPANTS, got MAMMA INAPANIC, what's not to love in the SW? Probably got OGLEd by WOLFMAN but luckily Thor was around to AVENGE her. Plus I love my ASIAGO and TIAMARIA. Am happy as could be with this one this AM.

NB 7:54 AM  

I live in London and have never heard of St Ann's.

Katy 8:14 AM  

Thank you for both the image of Thor selling cosmetics in a collar ruff and the video link. Good start toy day.

Todd F. 8:17 AM  

How do you enter the rebus to get “credit” in the times App? I’ve entered several variations without success.

Cankee Yanuck 8:43 AM  

I also thought Thor was going to be some kind of god. Mixed up the locations of Tennessee and Kentucky, which had me IN A PANIC that the NW would do me in (Didn't help that I had dimeS before COINS).

I was RELIEVED when I finally got that corner, but I was so certain that ARTSONG couldn't be correct that I waited too long to try adding a slash to my AMFM rebus entries. Then, while doing that, I ERRED and in trying to correct *that* BOOBOO I got the Congrats message, even though I had only entered A in the square. Now I have a crossing of MAMMAIA/HALAAST that I can't fix. SSS.

bocamp 8:44 AM  

Thx John, for this excellent two-way Thurs. puz! :)

Easy-Med solve.

Got the theme at al AM ode / of FM ike.

Very much on John's wavelength, so pretty much no static on this RADIO.


yd 0

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

Unknown 8:45 AM  

I originally tried AMFM but that didn’t work in the app for me. Once I used either AM of FM only as the rebus I got the credit for the solve.

TTrimble 8:47 AM  

My own response is rather more appreciative than Rex's, because I'm guessing that from a constructor's perspective this was pulled off pretty WELL. Not only do the AMs and FMs each straddle two words, but contra to what Rex wrote, they are symmetrically distributed (in pairs) about the center square.

I too got my start in the NE. I'm continually amazed that Rex can almost always get a good solid bite starting in the NW, because I frequently find that's the hardest corner (by design?) and it's the last to fall. Anyway, I think SELF MADE crossing TIA MARIA (where I had a moment wondering whether I'd forgotten how to spell Kahlua -- although that's from Mexico) is the strongest of the four, and from there the challenge was figuring out where the others were going to be.

Didn't know LEOTARD was originally a last name. Also didn't know that Beethoven was literally, not figuratively, a STUDENT of Haydn. Wanted something to do with Lieder when it came to Schubert, but ART SONG was quite all right by me. I didn't find the classical music trivia quiz at all unfairly difficult.

(My guess is that Rex would have been as happy as the proverbial kid in the candy store if all those classical music references were replaced by rap references, although maybe he would've grudgingly admitted this would play hard for a large percentage of solvers.)

OUTACT is subpar to me also, just because it sounds to me just barely legit as a word and of limited application. And yet, here Rex commits the same conceptual error that I see so many commenters make, that the clue must necessarily (his word!) fit the answer under all circumstances, whereas possibly is necessarily (ha! see what I did there?) the correct modality. I mean, look: it says "say" right there in the clue! How much more of a clue do you need to set you straight?

@Gill I., @jberg yesterday:
I didn't remember that it was ACME who coined "malapop", much less did I have any idea that there may be bad blood between her (I think her) and Rex, at least from Rex's perspective. Hmm. Normally I can barely remember who I'm supposed to be mad at, although if someone really pisses me off, then I'll definitely remember, for a long time.

D-Squared Media NYC 8:53 AM  

This puzzle had its fun moments. I think those classical music references were definitely personal to JL. He was my piano teacher for years though I switched teachers to study more jazz with him and less classical. Always brings back many sweet memories when I see his name as constructor. Thanks JL.

Barbara S. 8:58 AM  

I quite liked this, but went mad at the end trying to format the rebus squares to be recognized as correct by the app. In hindsight, AM/FM seems obvious, but I tried various other things before tumbling to that one. Normally I find the app too flexible in what it will accept in situations like this – sometimes it will even accept input that doesn’t prove you’ve understood what’s going on. But today was the opposite: be precise or go home.

I had a number of short-lived BOOBOOs along the way: dimeS for COINS (hi, @OffTheGrid), value for WORTH, suiT for TORT. But nothing was too difficult here. I liked WAG, RAG and (TEA)BAG. (And thanks, @pabloinnh, for adding SAG.) I liked learning that LEOTARD is named after a person – I’ve worn my share of those in dance classes over the years. I thought “oppressive boss” was an odd clue for OVERLORD. Perhaps I’m thinking of the word in a historical context, but OVERLORD suggests someone whose power is truly great, not someone who merely thinks it is and tries to throw his weight around. I found some interesting stuff when I looked up ART SONG. I’m hoping @A will address this later. Merriam-Webster says an ART SONG is “a usually through-composed song for solo voice and accompaniment — compare FOLK SONG.” Which led me to look up “through-composed”: “A song is said to be through-composed if it has different music for each stanza of the lyrics” according to Wiki. I love stuff like this. Yay, crosswords!

faber 9:03 AM  

On my phone, it accepted AM/FM.

Barbara S. 9:04 AM  

Today’s passage is by ANNA QUINDLEN, born July 8, 1952.

“The biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4, and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in a hurry to get on to the next things: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.”
(From Loud and Clear)

albatross shell 9:10 AM  

NW disaster. Could not think of BOOBOO even though I used it in my post yesterday!! Then having solved the rest of the puzzle I put AM/FM in the wrong place. dimes for COINS. OLDSALT confirmed finaLe. Eventually noticed my mis-symmetrical placement of AM/FM and thought of BEACON and BOOBOO. Oh, also had Louisville NNN of Nashville. That small area easily accounted for over half my time on the puzzle.

Rex makes some decent points but I thought it was a decent rebus anyhoo.

Pluses: WELLWELL (glad it wasn't tripled) SELFMADE LEOTARD BELA (And the classical music mini theme) HOTPANTS TIAMARIA ALAMODE (But not the clue)

Not impressed with ADS crossing ADDS. The triple S. The many plurals and -EDs. ABBA's comeback. Some of the fill Rex mentions.

A bit on the dull side for discussion and riffs but will see what the blog comes up with.

Michael Page 9:16 AM  

Also annoyed that app will accept AM but not AMFM for rebus squares. Leaves one chasing all over for a nonexistent error. And why isn’t BIO clued as an abbreviation? Granted, we are raising a generation that thinks it’s a word.

gerry w 9:20 AM  

Rex says the theme was hard to get. Looking for a place to gain traction, I put in ORB, then VEE, then OVERLORD. TIAMARIA was a gimme. It's my favorite coffee liqueur, way better than Kahlua, IMO. So that screamed "Rebus". Then SELFMADE located the rebus and the AM/FM theme very early in my solve and very quickly.

Now to all the app solvers out there complaining about how annoying it is to enter a rebus, I say. The app also gives you many advantages over us paper solvers. You get a warning when you've got an error; so you get several bites at the apple. We paper solvers have to live with the occasional erroneous finish.

Gerry W

Amanda 9:20 AM  

Thank you! I couldn’t understand where I had an error until I read your comment about the / mark

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

Like many others, I found it so frustrating that the app would not accept the correct fill of AM/FM. This kind of thing happens over and over again with rebus puzzles and needlessly affects my solving time. Can we fix this please?!!!

Frantic Sloth 9:36 AM  

Oh, yeah. Forgot to mention OUTACT. What a stupid word and a stupider concept.
Also, not only did I not start in the NW, it's where I had to finish. That corner was my bugaBOO...BOO.

Oooh! A MIc/MIKE war's a-brewin'! We never fail to dwell on the most compelling issues.😊

@Z 644am What do we call your Avon God, one wonders? And does he/she/they/it/Pat/Chris go door-to-door for the homebound flock?
@Z 706 am "I mean, how else can you explain so many words for a pole?" Patriarchy.

@Katy 814am You may be onto something. I think every day should be toy day. 😉

Carola 9:56 AM  

One of the rare days when @Rex's "medium-challenging" is an "easy" for me. Granted, for my first two rebus squares I entered FAM and wondered if we'd have a FAMily-related theme, but the appearance of the RADIO cleared that up and made the remaining crosses quick to spot.

ART SONG - One of Schubert's best known is his setting of Goethe's "Erlkönig", which is absolutely terrifying in its power. @Barbara S 8:58 - I think it's a very good example of "through-composed": the song has four "characters," narrator, father, son, and erlking, and the music shifts as each takes over the story line.
If anyone has 4 minutes to spare and doesn't already know this song, I highly recommend listening!

Joseph Michael 9:58 AM  

Who knew there was a Jules LEOTARD? Any relation to Desmond Tutu?

Joe Dipinto 9:59 AM  

Well well. Thursday annoyance boxes. And two-way annoyance boxes at that. What more is there to say?

What neither Wikipedia nor the puzzle mentions: 50 years ago today, on July 8th, 1971, Ode Records had the #1 song in the nation. It was all over AM radio that summer. Some FM stations may have played it too – the album it was from didn't do too shabbily.

I'd also link some Schubert but there is too much to choose from. So instead we will celebrate Boo Boo's Birthday.

abalani500 10:00 AM  

The phone app accepted AM or FM in the rebus squares. I alternated depending on whether I was solving across or down. Easy rebus, discovered at TIAMARIA, which was a gimme, and brought SELFMADE to light immediately after. Almost record time. Hands up for the dullest revealer ever

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

could this be a LBGTQ skewed puzzle? after all, how else to interpret getting OFF on MIKE?

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

Deb Amlen in the Wordplay column writes that these are the rebus answers that will be noted as correct by the system:

But not AMFM or AM FM for some reason. I don't understand why they aren't included.

Joaquin 10:17 AM  

@Joseph Michael (9:58) - FTW!

Richard in NM 10:19 AM  

An AM-FM radio and a two-way radio are not the same thing. Anyone else bothered by that? No? Ok. Otherwise, picked up the conceit early and breezed to the finish.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

The fact that 3D was OFFMIKE was nice to see. I've always thought it was stupid that microphone has "properly" been shortened to mic and not MIKE. We don't call a bicycle a bic. and you don't bic to the store. and no one is called a bicer when he rides his Harley. And saying someone has been mic'd up is just ridiculous.

I pronounce the new correct spelling MIKE. You heard it here first (through the MIKE).

Nancy 10:25 AM  

Oh, this is so wonderful and I loved it so much! And I "suffered" so terribly -- especially in the fiendish NW corner which would have given me fits just from the difficult cluing -- even had there been no rebus at all. My heart sank when I saw that the NW corner was cut off from everything else except 5D -- and that, along with OAK, was the only answer I thought I had. I'd inked OLD SALT in very lightly, though, as I wasn't sure.

I wouldn't have thought of BOOBOO for "slip" in a million years. I thought, from the K in OAK, that 3D might have had a MIKE in it, and I inked in NO MIKE -- also very lightly. I didn't really like it though.

The trick suddenly occurred to me all the way down at the MAMMA MIA/HALF MAST cross. Each answer was obvious, and AM/FM was the only way to accomplish it. I then went back and put in RADIO and I was already beginning to feel much, much better about life.

I won't burden you with too many other details, but let's just say the puzzle was a real WOW! One of the cleverest rebuses I've ever done -- with all of the theme answers protected by extremely difficult clues in the surrounding fill. I live for puzzles like this one -- especially when I'm actually able to solve them after being IN A PANIC at the outset. Great job!

Diane Joan 10:25 AM  

"OILIER" crossing "WELLWELL" was cute. I did struggle a bit with the southwest corner because I had "AREAREPS" in place of "AREAMAPS" and forgot that "MAMMAMIA" had a double M even though I saw it back in the day. I was saved by Thor after I changed "A_ENGOD" to AVENGER in the center. For a Thursday I thought it was fun although there's always a moment when I submit a puzzle with a rebus that I hold my breath hoping it'll go through the way I entered it.

Whatsername 10:30 AM  

This is my kinda Thursday so I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. A rebus is always appreciated and a two-way! WELL WELL, all the more so. You might even call it a BOON. Pretty easy other than the NW where I had a big BOO BOO with BUNGLE/NO MIKE/GAIN and just couldn’t get a foothold until I got the trick. Still had a tough time with ALA MODE which in my food addicted brain instantly meant ice cream, not fashion. A nice little challenge and pleasant solve. Thanks Mr. Lampkin.

@Barbara (9:04) Citing one of my favorite authors today. I’ve read many of AQ’s books and often marvel at her insights.

Frantic Sloth 10:36 AM  

@Joseph Michael 958am 🤣🤣🤣

@J-Dip 959am Thanks for the memories. That album was ubiquitous in my youth.
Plus it gives me an excuse to post this one more time.

@Richard in NM 1019am Maybe nobody's mentioned it because Rex addressed that issue in his writeup. 🤷‍♀️

JD 10:37 AM  

In my usual blank way, the theme meant nothing. Eventually the old light bulb flickered on and I stopped putting in an M.

@Frantic, The vapors you say dear girl? Irrational fear of the Wolfman perhaps? Well Well. Enlace your bodice, pull up that Leotard, get out the Teabag(s), put on an Art Song and emplace the Yoga Mat.

Lots of good fill but the cluing felt a little prosaic at times. Creature Whose Eyesight Has Four Or Five Times The Acuity Of Humans. One Of The Big Four Carriers Once.

Not Amplified In A Way and More Slick In A Way. Why is the In A Way needed? Very Beginning, In A Way? Slip, In A Way? The lion sleeps tonight, aweem away (whatever the hill that mean).

But Look What We Have Here was inspired and Like Tom Yum Soup was fun. Wit for Wag was clever. Fun puzzling experience overall.

Ahh @JoeD, I wish you hadn't said that song was 50 years ago. It feels like yesterday, listening to the whole album over and over again that wonderful summer. But 50 years, yikes.

@Anon 7:07, Your story is interesting. Can you select Name and ID yourself in a way that we know it's you? You don't have to sign up for blogger.

Malsdemare 10:44 AM  

I wasn’t pleased that the app wouldn’t take AMFM. But otherwise it was a lot of fun, though I was sure it was MAMAMIA and struggled with a UaP calling strikes. I thought maybe it was a worker’s union I’d never heard of. Finally figured it out but it took a while.

This was fun. I enjoyed it.

@Z. I want the shirt too!
@Joseph Michael. Good one!
@anonymous 7:07. Get a blue name and you don’t have to do the reCAPTCHA.

jberg 10:45 AM  

I had a hard time getting started with this one -- working across and down from 1A, my first entry was Tony, and that was wrong. That kept me from seeing BOW, and made me reluctant to put in WELLWELLL. I really needed the revealer to get anywhere at all. That said, I liked the theme, and thought a lot of the fill was good. But I'm a classical music fan, so all those were gimmes (except ATUDENT, but that was pretty inferrable).

@Z, thanks for posting that ART SONG. I see what you mean about the T-shirt, but I wouldn't have the nerve to wear it.

And speaking of art songs, here's another by Schubert who liked it so much he turned it into a quintet.

@Lewis has teamed up with Jeff Chen to construct today's puzzle for the Universal syndicate. In case you don't get a paper that carries it, Here's the link:

Speaking of links, a couple days ago I posted one for a pantomime version of Dick Whittington. It was a live video when I posted it, but that's been taken down, apparently; my apologies for any perplexity that caused.

@TTrimble, TBF, I don't actually know that ACME coined "malapop," just thought it likely because she used the word a lot when I started coming here, and no one else seemed to at the time. As for her and Rex, I don't know what happened, but I think is partly why she quit coming here. Others know more, probably.

david kulko 10:46 AM  

If you don't get how the rebus is supposed to be filled online, ie with an effing slash between am/fm guess what you are effed. I have to assume that this method is consistent so this'll be the last time I "waste time/lose time" figuring out how to fill in answers! If it isn't consistent then can any of you tell me alternatives that are used?

GILL I. 10:55 AM  

Well...I. did a BOO BOO BOON BOW dance. Yes. I did. You should've seen it.
Did I smell a Thursday rat, you ask? I did. I smelled it at the SELF MADE/TIA MARIA bar. I walked in with my black LEOTARD and green velvet HOT PANTS, skipped a my loo over to the other AMFM and the voila from my SOLTI ART SONG emanated loud and clear. This is fun. I AM SO GLAD I do this on paper. It's fun sliding in those little RADIO things and seeing them make sense. Clever.....Like @Nancy, I thought this wonderful....
Why do I see TORT and think chocolate cake? And speaking of TORT and looking at 11D, my mind wandered to the one oppressive boss I had. He was a lawyer and his name was Richard. I called him "Dick Head." (with apologies to all you fine lawyers on this blog). He was the dictator (which also fits) from hell. Dick Head would insist that I call him first thing in the morning when I got to the office and make sure he got his fat fondillo out of bed. I stayed exactly one month...but before I left, I presented him with my over-time hours. He told me he never paid over-time.....I said goodbye. His partner sent me a check for $1,000 fearing I was going to sue Dick Head. I sent him a very nice thank you note (his partner) and my boyfriend and I spent a fun weekend in Big Sur. And you say there isn't a God?
I'm looking at YOGA FAT at 62A. I wonder where that will take me....


EdFromHackensack 10:59 AM  

interesting puzzle . one that I am glad I still do the hard copy. So many comments have to do with the app, and not the puzzle. got the trick at TIAMARIA/SELFMADE - I could tell something was awry. I never really liked ABBA but MAMMAMIA I saw twice on BWay. I had mOther before WOLFMAN, thinking of Pyscho. OUTACT? sorry I agree with Frantic Sloth. I thought the clue for YEA was cute. I was thinking more of death... passed away. RIP kind of thing.

Canon Chasuble 11:00 AM  

Count me in as a former Londoner who lived in St John's Wood and St Pancras but never until this morning heard of St Ann's. And, Rex, please don't knock those of us who are not into rap, but who still know that Sir Georg Solti has won more Grammy awards than anyone else, and who know that Schubert,Beethoven and Haydn will be around, and be appreciated, and be played, and be listened to, and be loved, long after ANY rapper will be.

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

Anon 10:21
Huh? Ever see a segment called mic’d up? It’s standard for all the sports networks, ESPNU included.

MillValleyMom 11:06 AM  

Thank you!!

mathgent 11:13 AM  

Like Nancy, I'm a sucker for rebuses. I like 'em all.

This one stands out because I needed to know it was a rebus in order to solve. My first rebus sighting was in MAMMAMIA. Next came TIAMARIA and WOLFMAN. And so the puzzle was done except for the sea of white in the NW. Assuming symmetry, I had a pretty good idea where the fourth rebus square was. Trying BEACON, BOOBOO, and OLDSALT, I saw it in ALAMODE. Victory!

I know that Rex often has to overreach to find things to slam in the puzzle. That's the secret of his success. But he used to be a lot wittier doing it.

@TTrimble (8:47). You're fifth paragraph is a neat elucidation of Joaquin's Dictum. They're clues, not definitions.

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

Canon Chasuble,
You lived in London and didn’t know the Seven Sisters tube stop was in St.Ann’s?

Whatsername 11:27 AM  

@Joaquin (6:15) HALF MAST vs. staff is one of those things that annoys me when I hear it used incorrectly. And I think you’ve hit on something there with the PANTS position. I see someone wearing them in that style and I can’t help but snicker helplessly. They obviously think they look ultra-cool as you say, but there’s nothing HOT about it.

@jberg (10:45) Thanks for the link.
@Lewis: Nice going!

bocamp 11:27 AM  

@Barbara S. (9:04 AM)

Thx for the Quindlen quote; amen to 'living in the moment'.

@Carola (9:56 AM)

Thx for the Der Erlkönig vid; excellent performance of a grim theme.

@jberg (10:45 AM)

Thx for Lewis and Jeff's puz link; look forward to tackling it. And, thx for the

'The Trout'; certainly refreshing after listening to 'Der Erlkönig'.

pg -17

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

Doc John 11:36 AM  

So I referenced MAMMA MIA! in my comment yesterday and here it is in the puzzle today!
And LEER is also German for “empty,” just like this puzzle.

albatross shell 11:40 AM  

Wordplay claims all sorts of answers work in the rebus squares.

johnk 11:43 AM  

"Mic" is how to abbreviate microphone only lately, since it became unfashionable to read. Mike is the traditional abbreviation.

jb129 11:47 AM  

Altho I was surprised to see ENlace & ENfold in the same puzzle, I loved it.

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

For me in the NYTimes app just putting A in each rebus square worked

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

That poor girl, Naomi Osaka, who doesn’t like media scrutiny is on the cover of Time. She posed for it.
Hmm🤔, I guess when she gets to control the story, or the story is actually a valentine to her, she’s ok with the attention.
Color me shocked.
Oh Z, might want to check your claim that women’s tennis needs her more than she needs it. Seems womens’s tennis haha a new IT girl. Everyone’s cuckoo for Coco these days.

Bitter 12:20 PM  

While I liked it, I think you're a decade or two late on the pants joke. Saggy jeans was 90s-00s. Now it seems the trend has gone back to something resembling the 80s, with high waists, lots of color, and shorter shorts for guys.

Frantic Sloth 12:24 PM  

@Z 644am Is it the one that says "SECURITY"?😉

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

@Joseph Michael:

According to the wiki, LEOTARD didn't live to give his name to the garment:
"The first known use of the name leotard came only in 1886, many years after Léotard's death. Léotard himself called the garment a maillot, which is a general French word for different types of tight-fitting shirts or sports shirts. In the early 20th century, leotards were mainly confined to circus and acrobatic shows, worn by the specialists who performed these acts. "

If the wiki is correct; Jules was an acrobat not a balletomane, current identification with the dance isn't historical.

Technically, Jules didn't partake of his garment. And Desmond certainly didn't.

kitshef 12:34 PM  

MALAPOP was coined by Acme on August 17, 2008. It was in response to a suggestion from Rex to call that phenomenon an "Andrea".

oldactor 12:45 PM  

I hardly ever complain about a puzzle, but as an actor for many, many years, I have never heard of outact. What a bizarre concept. Absurd!
Leotard was a gimme. I believe he was a French acrobat. We had to wear them in Martha Graham's class in
acting school. Humiliating! All the guys despised them; even the gay ones, I think.

Mamma Mia! was the only show I walked out of at intermission. Excruciating.
No, there was another time. The movie, I think was "The Sea Wolf" with Edward G. Robinson. I was about ten years old.

Liz1508 12:57 PM  

DNF NW & SE….I’m probably being dense but can someone explain “a word in passing?” = yea? Oh, passing a test? Wouldn’t that be more like YAY!?
Got stuck wanting to keep LEGMAT because I don’t know anything about classical music so 45D and 58A added to the struggle. But I liked it.

Anonymous 1:03 PM  

Ha!! I love Edward G.Robinson but no matter how many times I’ve tried I have never made it all the way through the Sea Wolf.
But, oldactor, if you think people watching performers on stage or screen don’t believe there’s such a thing as outacting, you’re nuts.

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

I'm a relatively novice solver and managed to figure out the AM/FM thing with only a little trouble. I think I noticed it for sure when I saw that the answer was likely "MAMMAMIA" and saw another one pretty much had to be "WOLFMAN" and noticed they were both missing space at the M. I took a stab at it likely being AM across and FM down, and that turned out to be correct.

Maybe it's crossword inexperience or just not part of my vernacular, but BOOBOO as a synonym for "slip" really tripped me up. I see that it's in dictionaries as a "minor error", but I have never in my life heard it used to refer to anything but a minor injury, so that even when I had "BOOBO_", I thought I must still have something wrong, because it didn't click that "BOOBOO" was the word. I'll know for next time I guess.

@Liz1508: That's "yea" as in "yea" or "nay". The sense is "passing" a vote/resolution/something along those lines.

bocamp 1:38 PM  

@Liz1508 (12:57 PM)

The YEAs outweighed the nays, so the bill passed. 👍

pg -2

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

TTrimble 1:46 PM  

@mathgent 11:13AM
Thanks for the info -- I'll remember Joaquin and his Dictum next time I have to recall this.

@kitshef 12:34PM
And thanks to you too. I looked up the post and tried a ctrl-F on it for "andrea", "acme", and "malapop", but nothing relevant showed up. Not sure what happened there. I did see "malapop" mentioned by Andrea Carla Michaels here, which is NEAR by in date.

A bill that is passed got more "yeas" than "nays".

Photomatte 2:13 PM  

Didn't realize I needed the / in between AM and FM. Went back and did that, working top to bottom, and got to the end and the software said I'd solved the puzzle when I really hadn't (my puzzle now has the word YOGFAT in it and it says it's correct! 😂😂).

kitshef 2:17 PM  

@TTrimble 1:46 - for some reason Acme posted as "Anonymous" that day, but it's at 2:03pm. Your ctrl-F for "malapop" should have worked, though.

Anonymous 2:23 PM  

Citation please?
And why would mic be preferable for non-readers?

jae 2:41 PM  

Easy-medium seems right. Caught the rebus just after I gave up on the “double word” theme...BOO BOO, WELL this went pretty quickly. Fun breezy Thurs., liked it.

@Z - I started the Banksy project last night and was wondering if you printed out a blank grid to work with?

Re: ACME’s absence. Let’s just say there was a problem with Evil Doug without going into further detail.

Zygotic 2:42 PM  

Malapop origin - See @Anon2:03 pm - that’s ACME - I don’t know why it shows up as “anonymous,” at least one later reply is to “@Andrea. And it was apparently @Crosscan who suggested calling the phenomena an “andrea.”
Also, I noticed that this was a Monday puzzle with a Sunday header at the top, so apparently this week’s error wasn’t a new mistake.

Favorite serious answer to a silly question? @Frantic Sloth’s “patriarchy.”

@Frantic Sloth 12:24 - 😂😂 I also like “If you want to get sticky and hot go go… go go get the shot” Security indeed.

Anonymous 2:45 PM  

Like anonymous, I too lived in London for 20 years and can confirm there is no St Ann's in North London!

Sara Dacus 2:46 PM  

I, too, found the northwest corner to be extremely difficult.

Georgia 2:59 PM  

In poor inner city neighborhoods, the low ride pants style is still pretty common.

Anonymoose 3:08 PM  

@Photomatte. I was at a point in my day when I really needed a laugh. Thanks for YOGFAT.

Cc’d 3:08 PM  

I don’t know why it wouldn’t take AMFM in the rebus squares. Annoying!!

Anonymous 3:16 PM  

I am never disappointed with a Thursday puzzle. I never expect much.

oldactor 3:16 PM  

@anonomous 1:03: I agree many actors overact, chew the scenery, are unintelligible (I once shouted "Louder" in a Broadway house, but I now regret that)
Meisner always said that acting is an art conceals itself. If you can see an actor acting they are a bad actor. But most actors don't feel it's a competition, which that phrase implies.
I would never say Meryl Streep "outacted" her co-star, but I would say that she was a better actor. Probably better than everyone.

oldactor 3:25 PM  

A little theatre humor:
At the circus, the elephant trainer prepared them for the show by emptying their colons to prevent unfortunate accidents in the ring.
He did this with a broom handle. During the operation each elephant let out a deafening howl. When he came to the last one, a very old veteran trooper, when he inserted the broom, she looked over her shoulder and said, "How's the House"?

kitshef 3:26 PM  

@Z 2:42 is correct about Crosscan. What I read as Rex suggesting "Andrea", was actually him addressing a comment to Andrea.

@oldactor - I wonder how you would feel about the film adaptation of Mamma Mia!, which stars Meryl Streep. I think I know the answer, though.

bocamp 3:30 PM  

Learned about the St Ann's neighborhood in north London today.

"St Ann's is a neighbourhood in Tottenham, north London, England, in the London Borough of Haringey. It is located to the east of Harringay and West Green and is within, but distinct from, St Ann's ward." (wikipedia)

pg -1 @TTrimble: (thot I nailed it with 'doric' (not); then was pretty sure I had it with 'laird' (not) 😂

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

CDilly52 3:58 PM  

Wel, I have not been this irritated with a solve in decades, possibly ever! I had trouble getting started so the. W was largely blank. It I had BOOBOO, BOON and OLD SALT. Nothing else fell up there but I raced diagonally from NW down to SE, including RADIO.

SE was also a breeze and revealed the theme cleverness because I was certain about WOLFMAN crossing YOGA MAT. It only took a moment for me to recall that the clue for RADIO had something to do with this theme and bingo! The Thursday rebus.

My frustration comes from the fact that I torched my solve time record but for the fact that I had AMFM in each rebus square (which should have been the actual answer) and triple checked the answers to see where I ERRED, but could find no misspellings!! Drat!! No happy 🎶 - recheck. Nada. After almost forty (40!) minutes of looking and thinking and spelling review I finally decided to do something to the rebus squares so I started by removing the FM part of the accurate answer AMFM and lo and behold, happy 🎶. What?!?!,!

I cry foul; where is the editorial UMP? Spent more time figuring out what the editorial misstep was after making (in my ever so humble opinion) no mistakes of my own. No way to rationalize this. It’s just a giant BOOBOO.

And then I come here and find that my eschewed / between AM/FM would have been accepted but when both the AM and FM together didn’t work, my first try was to just remove the FM, and poof! It worked.


Anonymous 4:40 PM  

I tried all the different combinations of AM/FM while solving on my laptop and couldn't get the system to accept any of them.

oldactor 4:46 PM  

@kitshef: At least I didn't walk out.

Barbara S. 4:55 PM  

Thanks to @Joe D. and @Frantic for Carole King (and Aretha!) and to @Carola and @jberg for Schubert. Wonderful listening, all. If I scared anyone yesterday with Poe and "Usher" karma got me back today with the Erlking.

Is anyone finding that the SB is loading strangely? I get the honeycomb of letters and the words I've made on two separate screens. I really need to see them all at once and now I can't. Help!

Young Crossword Constructor 4:57 PM  

I’m crossing Pride, Gluttony, Lust, Envy, Greed, Wrath ,and Sloth off my word list. They’re even worse than Ogle and Leer !

Anoa Bob 5:34 PM  

The first thing that jumped out at me, hit me smack between the eyes actually, when I opened this one was the super segmented grid. Look at those upper left and lower right corners, for instance. Only one open square leads into each corner. That lowers the difficulty factor of filling those two corners to that of smaller grid sized mini puzzles. Makes it easier to get the two-way, multiple letter squares tucked in there, though.

A similar situation exists in the upper right and lower left corners with two separated one-square entry points for each coming in from the walled off center section. It seems almost like solving five different puzzles.

I don't share the fascination that many of yous have for puzzles with multiple letters in some squares. Like Joe D. @9:59 AM, I find them more annoying than anything else. And when they require closed off sections to get the gimmick done, they are doubly annoying.

I hope no one outside our little circle of crossword puzzles solvers finds out we are calling puzzles with multiple letters typed into a square a rebus puzzle, especially any linguists or philologists, you know, the ones who use The Rebus Principle to document how modern alphabets evolved from ancient hieroglyphics and pictographs. It would be embarrassing.

Anonymous 5:36 PM  

NW entries were somewhat tough, so in the NE I saw more obvious answers, saw that there was a gimmick afoot, and went at it like a terrier. And so discovered the first rebus square. After that things flowed, but the NW was still the last to fall.

bocamp 6:05 PM  

@Barbara S. (4:55 PM)

Nothing unusual at my end.

I use the Brave browser on MacBook Air (Chrome & Safari pretty much provide the same view). I set the font to 90%, and with any more than 33 words, I have to scroll left on the word list to see the remaining words. The only way I can see all the words is to reduce the font size. Then I could zoom in to increase the screen size, and still see all the words.

Maybe you could email me and give more detail re: what platform you're using, e.g., Mac, PC, iOS, Android, app or NYT website, etc. I'd be interested to know how you've been able to see all the words at one glance. 🤔

pg -1 (packing it in for td; may keep the tab open and put fresh eyes on it tm)

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

Nancy 7:15 PM  

@Anoa Bob (5:34) -- How 'bout we put THIS PHOTO (2nd one down on the left) in each rebus square. Would you accept that? :)

Once again my deepest sympathies to solvers like @Carola and countless others who had a beautiful solving experience -- I swear it was! -- soured by lousy software glitches. Once again, I urge you all to solve on paper like God intended. You'll never have to deal with such glitches again.

I've made a note of the Schubert that everyone seems to be loving. Once I've finally caught up with today's Wimbledon matches (I tape so I can skip all the commercials) I'll go listen.

A 7:27 PM  

WOW am I glad I use the dead trees method - it took me a HALF second to figure out how to write in the
rebus (M in lower right, smaller F on top/A on left). My sympathies to those who suffered needlessly.

The only part of Rex’s writeup I agree with is the suboptimal fill, but the theme was worth it. The worst was SSS, but it’s so bad it’s good, plus it’s a palindrome.

Rex is particularly off base about the personality - isn’t just about “classical” music, there’s Broadway, opera, ragtime, and ODE Records produced pop, rock, gospel, and soul.

And then there’s whatever this is: Who wears short shorts?
I had no idea the Nair jingle was anything more than that. I watched one of those - the girls were all trying to OUTACT each other. HOT PANTS at HALF MAST?

Bygone? Bygone? “Classical” music bygone, Rex? You have made a big BOOBOO, son. You have ERRED. MAMMA MIA what a MISS. Tell me which part of this video will still be around in 100 years.

Oh, and these ‘bros’ might beg to differ, as WELL.

But don’t take my word for it.

Fun musical puzzle, with a PAULA Poundstone bonus - thanks John Lampkin.

Doc John 7:36 PM  

I always thought the term was malapLop.

pabloinnh 7:41 PM  

@bocamp-In addition to doric, which may need a capital D, though I doubt it, and laird, which is a perfectly acceptable word without the capital L, although that was need for a college dean of mine who had that last name, SB has rejected DORADO, a fine Spanish word but also a fish.

Still a ways from 0 but this is not helpful.

TTrimble 8:02 PM  

dbyd -2, yd -1 (grr), td currently pg -3. I haven't closed yd's window.

@Anoa Bob
I'd think most of the "regulars" know that "rebus" is, to put it kindly, an abuse of language, and regard the name "rebus" with something like amused tolerance. I don't know how that naming custom got started. Maybe the NYT calls it that? That's what I'd say to any hypothetical linguist or "philologist" (love that term) who inquires with arched eyebrow. :-)

I don't think it's multiple letters crammed into a square per se that's fascinating -- it's just simple delight in word-play. I've observed that @Nancy has a taste for that sort of thing, and so do I (although her appreciation runs deeper since she also appraises such things from a experienced constructor's point of view). Trivia quizzes interest me rather less.

bocamp 8:19 PM  

@pabloinnh (7:41 PM)

Good catch re: dorado; I missed that one. Mahimahi is accepted in its lieu (just not today, tho) LOL. As for doric, some scrabble dicts like it, some don't.

0 (got the last one just before packing it in; such an easy and common word, too)

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

Joe Dipinto 8:26 PM  

BTW, if you want more of a Schubert fix, Philippe Sly, the baritone in the clip that @Carola linked, has a terrific album of Schubert songs accompanied by guitar instead of the usual piano. It includes "Erlkönig", and a few songs from the "Winterreise" song cycle (which he also recorded in full with the chamber group Le Chimera Project).

Mr. Benson 8:49 PM  

Took me way longer than average, because of two mistakes I wouldn’t give up: (1) figuring the London neighborhood at 23A was St James (squeezing the “AM” into one space, even while observing that this leaves me with an unlikely “FM” at the start of a crossing down) and (2) embarrassingly, reading the Nashville-Louisville direction backwards (i.e., thinking of the direction from Louisville to Nashville) and entering “WSW” as what I thought was the first gimme of the puzzle. That made the NW corner completely impenetrable to me after I had the remaining 3/4 of the grid in place.

pabloinnh 9:14 PM  

@bocamp-Well done you on the 0.

Also, saw what you did there with the "nice catch" on "dorado".

Anonymous 9:21 PM  

I’ve never seen an answer that included something other than letters or numerals. Has anyone seen this done in a NYT xword before?

Unknown 9:42 PM  

"but there's a point at which that personality starts feeling like a rut."

Hmmmm . . . . yeah.

Zygotic 9:48 PM  

@Anoa Bob & @TTrimble - Beating a dead horse, but I disagree and most especially that there is anything to be embarrassed about. The “Rebus Principle” is all about how written language evolved, so anybody studying it surely understands and appreciates that words also evolve and take on new meanings. This is similar to my “all lines are not straight” retort last night. Just because a word has a specific narrow meaning in one context doesn’t mean everyone else refrains from using the word in a variety of other meanings. That a “pick-up line” isn’t a straight line does not mean that it is not a “line.”

Why St. ANN’S was easy here. I know, wrong spelling, wrong city, wrong continent, but still I got it without the wasting of any precious nanoseconds, so I’ll take it.

JC66 10:00 PM  



Well said.

TTrimble 10:19 PM  

Definition of rebus

: a representation of words or syllables by pictures of objects or by symbols whose names resemble the intended words or syllables in sound also : a riddle made up of such pictures or symbols

Anonymous 10:22 PM  

A bit late in the day, but the whole argument about 'rebus' is kinda silly, IMHO. The game show 'Concentration' is the rebus exemplar. You have to be a geezer to know what that means. In the context of this brand of crossword, the term is accurate. In this case one could, if so motivated to, draw a (round) radio button with AM on top with a horizontal line in the middle then FM at the bottom. That is a 'true rebus'. I'd wager that 99.44% of 'rebus' entries over the years qualify to that definition. IIRC, the official solution, next day, has on occasion had some sort of graphic 'drawn' in the square. A 'true' rebus, that.

Why all this agita?

A 10:31 PM  

@Carola, thank you for the Schubert. I hadn’t listened to it in a long time, but I remembered its impact.

Philippe Sly has a fantastic voice and I particularly liked the sick creepiness of his Erlkonig. I’d prefer a more reassuring father (pretending to his son the evil is not present, rather than shrugging it off), and the child should be in mortal terror.

To me the star of this performance is Maria Fuller. See her completely outstretched arms and the relaxed way she produces the repeated octaves. Not cramped and taut like most of the mere mortals who are unlucky enough to have this in front of them. More than that, she is actually an equal, a soloist every bit as much responsible for the emotional content as the vocalist.

Here’s Jessye Norman in a stylized video. She conveys that mortal terror I was talking about.

And, of course, the gold standard of Schubert lieder.

Now, some music for Rex:

Contemporary classical ART SONG: Cerrone “Swept UP Whole”

Broadway - WELL, WELL…

ODE Record’s Lou Adler produced this just this year: Merry Clayton, Beautiful Scars

@Joe Dipinto, I had to look up Monk’s Underground album cover. PS. Nice catch on the “It’s Too Late” anniversary!

JC66 10:37 PM  


Words can have more than one meaning.

i.e. NATICK is a town in Massachusetts but has another meaning in Xword land.

BTW, I think @Anoa would have less of a problem with us using REBUS the way we do if it didn't end in S. 😂

Richard Stanford 10:44 PM  

I’ve always seen it as mic, and I’m no spring chicken. Mike feels like a transcription of the sound of the word, where as mic is actually a shortened form of it.

Anonymous 10:48 PM  

Not a fan of today's crossword. I don't get around to solving it until about 9 pm the day of, and its the last thing i do before i go to sleep. I could tell early on that there were squares with multiple letters per square, but didn't have the patience to figure it out. Perhaps the theme of the puzzle might have lent a clue, but the theme goes away when i start the puzzle and i don't always look before i start solving.

Wellmet 10:48 PM  

Very very clever rebus as well as challenging puzzle that I was gratified to solve

TTrimble 10:53 PM  

If a group of people wants to assign their own meaning to a word for the internal purposes of that group*, then that is perfectly normal and of course I wouldn't stand in the way. My last comment simply copied out the definition as found in the online Merriam-Webster. My comment to @Anoa Bob before that recognizes that the current application is not how most people would understand the word.

I leave it to others to draw their own conclusions. I am not interested in pursuing this further, and now regret having said anything at all.

*Cf. Humpty-Dumpty.

Ed 11:03 PM  

GAAAH! Yet another puzzle where there is no clear way to enter it into the app to get it “right.” I put an AMFM in the rebus. That made sense. But no, it will only accept AM. How the hell am I supposed to know that? I’m 100% correct in the entire grid, but your stupid app can’t deal. I hate this kind of crap.

A 11:41 PM  

I think @JC66 is onto something. For those in @Z camp, rebus is now rebuZ. The @TTrimblers are calling it rebus abuse, or rebuse. Either way @Anoa Bob can't call fouls. Anyone know how to set up an online poll?

TTrimble 7:18 AM  

Hee-hee! Actually, in the past, I've gone with the crowd and called them rebuses. (As a mathematician, I'm entirely familiar with the process of repurposing a word for some specialized purpose.) "Abuse of language" is also a piece of math jargon, used whenever strictly speaking there is some slight inaccuracy or stretching of the precise definition but the meaning is understandable. But for those unused to the phrase, it probably sounds harsher than it should, and I should have considered that before trotting it out.

Nancy 9:28 AM  

I think I've solved the big "you-can't-use-the-word-rebus-to-mean-THAT" contretemps:

Just turn REBUS into an acronym. It will stand for:

Really Eccentric Baffling Unusual Square.

You're all most welcome.

jb129 12:27 PM  

If I'm repeating my post, my sorry - not sure the first one went through. So I gotta repeat myself because of the constructor.

So like I said this was a teeny bit harder than Robyn's usual puzzles, but, as usual, I LOVED IT. Especially Epipens.

Robyn, I would never give up on your puzzles as long as you show up. Especially on a Friday.

Thank you!

GG 5:21 PM  

I still don't know how to make AM/FM or AM\FM or AM-FM fit in one box. I "got" the puzzle fairly easily but could never get it to acknowledge

cindylkaplan 10:32 AM  

Love your name ☺️

Brooklyn Roasting 3:01 PM  

This is awesome.

AimlessInLA 11:43 AM  

That was putting it too strongly, but the old spelling "mike" does make a lot more sense considering the way English spelling usually works. There's already a name Mike pronounced exactly the same way. Mic looks like it should be pronounced like Mick.

thefogman 10:31 AM  

I tuned in to the gimmick right off the bat so this one was pretty easy for a Thursday. Clap for the WOLFMAN. He gonna rate your record high. Clap for the Wolfman. You gon' dig him 'til the day you die…

spacecraft 12:22 PM  

Got underway in the SW, where I found the McGuffin. Now the revealer clue made sense, and the solution proceeded forthwith. I can't imagine anyone sticking stubbornly to the NW until they get it; in my view today's is totally ungettable unless you have the key.

The Grey Lady is becoming ever more predictable: Thursday is rebus day. So be it; all is fair game (until I say otherwise!?). This one was cute, but it must have been quite a challenge to come up with four entries that push an F up against an M. WOLFMAN was a must. His bit in "American Graffiti" is unforgettable.

Today I didn't make a BOOBOO, but I kind of agree with the OFC rating of challenging until you get it. I was a lost soul for a couple minutes. Give it a birdie. If we can sub Abdul in for Poundstone, PAULA can be DOD.

P.S. Hooray! He finally woke up! I just bought a new alarm clock, the syndilinker can have my old one.

Burma Shave 1:10 PM  




Anonymous 2:50 PM  

Death to the rebus, particularly today's. Too clever by half.

Waxy in Montreal 4:06 PM  

Would have finished this one way quicker had I not become addicted to DR(AM)BUIE instead of TI(AM)ARIE at 21A. Otherwise TREY simple for a Thursday.

leftcoaster 5:09 PM  

Got the AM/FM rebus themers and the revealer RADIO, symmetrically placed in the five sectioned-off parts of the puzzle. Good...

...but in the NW section, didn’t get with BOOBOO or the Nashville-to-Louisville direction.

Otherwise found it clever and on the tough side.

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