Silk road city near the East China Sea / SUN 7-4-21 / Proposed portrait for the $20 bill / Mongolian shelters / Complete set of showbiz awards for short / Old-style copies / One-named winner of the 2021 Grammy for Song of the Year / Jess's best friend on TV's New Girl

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Constructor: Howard Barkin

Relative difficulty: Medium-ish (11-something?)

THEME: "I've Got a Feeling ..." — familiar phrases clued as if they were some specific type of person's  (or cat's, or horse's, or genie's) emotions:

Theme answers:
  • GUARDED OPTIMISM (22A: Upbeat sentry's emotion?)
  • CULTURE SHOCK (37A: Bacteriologist's emotion upon a new discovery?)
  • HIGH ANXIETY (55A: Novice window-washer's emotion?)
  • COMIC RELIEF (76A: Jester's emotion after the king's laughter?)
  • UNBRIDLED JOY (90A: Wild horse's emotion?)
  • CREATURE COMFORT (110A: Cat's emotion while sitting in its human's lap?)
  • BOTTLED-UP ANGER (15D: Evil genie's emotion?)
  • GROWING CONCERN (49D: Farmer's emotion during a dry season?)
Word of the Day: NINGBO (69D: Silk Road city near the East China Sea) —
 (Chinesećźæłą[...] formerly romanized as Ningpo, is a major sub-provincial city in northeast Zhejiang provincePeople's Republic of China. It comprises 6 urban districts, 2 satellite county-level cities, and 2 rural counties including several islands in Hangzhou Bay and the East China Sea. Ningbo is the northern economic center of the Yangtze Delta megalopolis, and is also the core city and center of the Ningbo Metropolitan Area. To the north, Hangzhou Bay separates Ningbo from Shanghai; to the east lies Zhoushan in the East China Sea; on the west and south, Ningbo borders Shaoxing and Taizhou respectively. As of the 2020 Chinese National Census, the entire administrated area of Ningbo City had a population of 9.4 million (9,404,283). [...] Its port, the port of Ningbo–Zhoushan, spread across several locations, is among the busiest in the world. The port of Ningbo-Zhoushan has been world's No. 1 busiest port by cargo tonnage and world's No. 3 busiest container port since 2010. (wikipedia)
• • •

I didn't really notice the theme much, which I guess is better than being super-annoyed by the theme, so there's that. It was just ... some "?" wackiness. I dunno. Phrases, imagined as if they were different kinds of phrases ... you're familiar with the type, by now. The themers all seem fine as stand-alone answers, but whatever humor or wordplay was going on, whatever laughs were supposed to be generated, just went by me, and maybe that's for the best. This type of mild-chuckle / reimagined phrases with "?" clues-type theme isn't really my thing. If it is your thing, then I think this iteration of that thing is done reasonably well. Again, nothing in the theme material made me squeal or wince. But, again, I honestly didn't pay much attention to the theme clues, because I didn't have to. It was enough to register that wackiness was going on, and then to look for key words that might clue me into what familiar phrase might be the answer. I can tell you that many of the themers felt very hard to get, but that was largely because I just couldn't get the crosses to come together to make any kind of coherent phrase. Felt like I was about 1/3 of the way through the puzzle before I was able to put even the first themer together. Got everything *around* GUARDED OPTIMISM and CULTURE SHOCK without actually getting the, because the crosses (and some adjacent material) just wouldn't compute. BGAME EDS (I had SRS; 36A: Some H.S. yearbook staff) ROUSED ETD (I had ETblank; 4D: Airport info, for short) ... and then *especially* OUT TO WIN (23D: Relentlessly competitive), A CINCH (!!?) (11D: Easy as pie) and EULOGY (32D: The Gettysburg Address, e.g.). Those last three, ouch, I had most of the letters in place and still couldn't see them. The theme clues were of limited value. If anything, they confused matters. Anyway, themewise, there was no great feeling of coherence. It was there, it was fine. This is also mostly how I felt about the fill. I got absolutely zapped by a couple of proper nouns I'd never heard of, but otherwise, it was all perfectly fine. Highly competent. A very plain and inoffensive Sunday overall.

The toughest themer for me to come up with, though, was probably COMIC RELIEF. This is because NINGBO!?!?!? Boy howdy, I did not know that one. Have never heard of it. I am routinely humbled by how many giant cities there are in the world that I have never heard of. In NINGBO's case, even after looking it up, I'm not sure how I would remember it. All the top-level info about it on the wikipedia page seems to be about commerce and shipping and what not. Not particularly memorable stuff. And it's so close to Shanghai (which of course I have heard of), that it seems like part of one megalopolis on the East China Sea more than a distinct city (which, technically, it is: the Yangtze Delta Megalopolis). But that's just what it looks like to me, now, on a map. The eastern seaboard of the U.S. probably looks like one amorphous megalopolis from certain vantage points. Anyway, NINGBO is certainly big (27th largest city in China, 9+ million people in its greater urban area!), so I can't say it's not valid. It's just not particularly internationally famous, as Chinese cities go, so I needed every single cross. And then I couldn't figure out OCT. (70D: What "10" might mean: Abbr.), and I had DENY instead of DEFY (67D: Oppose), so I was staring down the barrel of COM--RELIEN, oof. And that answer was sitting under AMES, another proper noun which I'd also never heard of (which was around the corner from BARTY, which, yes, another proper noun, another ???). So mainly I found this hard, even though the clock said "pretty normal, actually." And again, beyond the frustration of not knowing some proper nouns, I didn't have much of any feelings about this one. It holds up. No real highs or lows for me. There it is! Could've been worse! Good day! Have a reflective, contemplative, rejuvenating 4th of July. Peace.

[88A: One-named winner of the 2021 Grammy for Song of the Year] (H.E.R.)

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:07 AM  

Easy. Tom Swiftyish puns work for me. Liked it.

Major WOE: NINGBO. Fortunately I knew the wine prefix from many previous Xwords.

Jeff at Xwordinfo said you’re not missing much if you didn’t watch “New Girl” (Jess’s friend CECE 40a). I would strongly disagree. First, 2 words - Zooey Deschanel. Second any series that brings back Darlene Love to sing Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) on Christmas Eve, two years after her last appearance on Letterman, has got a lot of class!

Frantic Sloth 12:22 AM  

This theme was more enjoyable than most. I needed to put some thought into the answers, even though they are common terms or phrases on their own.

Aside from a slight nose-wrinkle on the singular CREATURECOMFORT (wanted that "s", but since it's not wrong, I'll allow it) they were all winners in my book.

And I always prefer a healthy amount of themers going in both directions. This should be standard on the Sundees' larger grids, IMHO.

However...there was no UNBRIDLEDJOY for me. I enjoyed it okay, but felt a little off from the constructor's wavelength. It's not necessarily a difficulty thing, either. It's kind of like an itch I can't reach or my own internalized version of "Noises Off".

To make matters worse, I had the dreaded refuses-to-solve-the-way-Gof-intended-one-letter-typo-to-hunt-down issue at the end of it all. And, of course it was at the end of the grid.
This is entirely the fault of the constructor and Will Shortz.
Everybody needs to be fired. There. I said it.


Ken Freeland 12:24 AM  

The theme, such as it was, was the only clean part of this puzzle. The fill was absolute drech! OBELI(??),YURTS,BOBATEA,naticks galore and PPP up the gazoober. I still have no idea what the BTS is, but assuming it to be an abbreviation of some sort, why? The answer is certainly no abbreviation.... this is obscurantism at its finest.

Howard B 1:01 AM  

Glad you enjoyed it! ;). By the way, BOBA TEA is quite tasty. One of the beautiful things about daily crosswords is if you don't like one, there's another tomorrow!

Rfisch 1:18 AM  

re: Ningbo (or Ningpo): This was the name of a ship in You Only Live Twice, a James Bond Movie. That's how I recognized it.

NpPro93 1:36 AM  

Kit-Kat bars famously come in packs of four; Twix, on the other hand, can be found in TWOS

NpPro93 1:47 AM  

Kit-Kat bars almost always come in packs of four (unless we're talking about miniatures, which we shouldn't be).
Twix, on the other hand, are rather famously found in TWOS.

Robin 2:02 AM  

It didn't matter whether the rest of the puzzle was any good or not. Once I hit 105A and entered the answer, well s*, that's stupid! Seriously harshed my solving buzz for the weekend, because I finally got Queen Bee a couple days ago for the first time ever. And whether the theme was good, I no longer cared.

So many Qs about this cluing, so it would be good to know whether it was the original or was rewritten by an idiot. Which is to say, what was Will Shortz's part in this mess? Active, passive, or just ignorant?

Whatever. And also WTF.

chefwen 2:41 AM  

I absolutely loved this one, thank you Howard. I liked all of the theme answers. Being the “crazy cat lady” CREATURE COMFORT was my favorite. Unfortunately, the feral kitty who adopted us is not a lap sitter and God forbid you try to pick her up, but she is a head butter and is learning how to purr.

I wish all Sunday’s puzzles were this much fun.

Randall 2:49 AM  

Eh, BTS aren’t really obscure. To the question, they’re a K-pop band, and although it’s *technecially* an acronym, BTS is their official name I’m pretty sure, or at least everyone calls them that.

okanaganer 3:35 AM  

Hands up for the Kit Kats in FOURS. The image in Wikipedia agrees. Of course several decades since I've had one, and in Canada too, if that makes any difference.

Also finished with an error at NUMS crossing UBELI. You know, "num num" == yummy? Modern slang, not my forte.

Lewis 6:33 AM  

Some random observations:

• The Libra in me was quite satisfied with the balance of negative and positive in the theme answers. Negative: SHOCK, ANXIETY, ANGER, CONCENT. Positive: OPTIMISM, RELIEF, JOY, COMFORT.
• High-energy words glittered the grid: RABID, ZANY, ROUSED, JUICED, VIGOUR, ELAN.
• I learned that WHEEL OF FORTUNE is a tarot card, and I’m guessing I’ll remember that.
• Amazed at how [Really play that saxophone] could only be WAIL, for me. Man, did that answer slap down fast.
• With emotions as the theme, I figured LOVE would show up, but later, when I tried to think of a theme answer that would work with that, nothing came up.
• Whenever OBELI crosses my world, that Beatle song automatically starts playing in my head. Life goes on.

All in all, a lovely tour through the grid. Yesterday, Kameron Austin Collins said in his notes that he likes his (themeless) puzzles to feel like slice of life, that crosswords are the only type of puzzle where you can see so many answers from so many disparate areas. That’s what Howard’s puzzle today felt like, with visits to so many corners of our world. Thank you for making this, Howard!

Colin 6:33 AM  

@Rfisch, 1:18 AM: You and I both!
(6:20: You will see the ship Ning-Po)

@okanaganer 3:35 AM: My reasoning also, "Num num".... You're not the only one!

I found the theme pleasant enough, not totally wacky and not one of those "how did the constructor come up with THAT?"-brilliant. Even WS says "But don't judge."

Happy 4th of July, all!

The Joker 7:02 AM  

I just entered LABELLED and I'm so upset I may not be able to finish the puzzle. On the day we celebrate independence from the British Empire we have a British spelling of a word. Ruined my day!

Son Volt 7:33 AM  

Well crafted no doubt - just thought the overall fill didn’t hold up well in a Sunday size grid. It was a chore by the end of it. Theme was cute and dense. Liked UNBRIDLED JOY and CULTURE SHOCK - side eye to the clunky GUARDED OPTIMISM.

Lots of trivia - and not the good kind for me at least. BUGS BUNNY x SWEDEN was cool as was DEEP CUT and TUBMAN. You can keep most of the rest. Surprised we didn’t get a CLAPTON rant from Rex.

Definitely cleaner than the typical Sunday slog we’ve seen lately.

amyyanni 8:05 AM  

In the 4/Kit Kat Bars camp. This was spritely. Ran out of steam in the SE. The DIVA VIGOURously eluded me for AGES, so it seemed. Otherwise, Sunday fun. Happy 4th! One of my favorite holidays. Hope yours is a good one.

Joaquin 8:07 AM  

I thought this puzzle was fine - less a fill-in-the-blanks and more of a challenge than many recent Sunday offerings. But ...

I really hoped for ("expected", really) a July 4th theme, especially since this is the first national holiday in some time that we are all able to celebrate.

mmorgan 8:26 AM  

Pretty much What Rex Said -- same hangups and delays, etc. -- except he seemed to like it a bit more (or dislike it a bit less) than I did, and that virtually never happens.

Carola 8:43 AM  

In the real world I'm not great at reading other people's feelings, so I enjoyed this "there's one right answer" setting, trying to guess the feeling from minimal crosses and then nailing it down. Like @Son Volt 7:33, I thought UNBRIDLED JOY and CULTURE SHOCK were the winners. And it was fun to see the ZANY BUGS BUNNY pop up. Re: CREATURE COMFORT - a very good friend is a recent widow, and when her cat P.J. is on her lap, I think the feeling goes both ways.

Help from previous puzzles: EGOT, NSYNC, MR T. No idea: CECE, AMES, BARTY, HER, OBELI, BYE, DEEP CUT, NINGBO, BRIMLEY, and TEEN IDOL as clued,. Hardest for me to see: ACI?CH. Hardest for me to get: OMEN - I realized I had no idea what the singular "auspice" meant, only being familiar with "under the auspices of...."

Barbara S. 8:59 AM  

Dang. DNF because of NuMS/uBELI, a trouble spot mentioned by both @okanaganer and @Colin. I seemed to be on the hunt for a mistake for a long time after getting the “almost” message and I couldn’t find it. That spelling looked so reasonable for both words. I’ll try to retain this as a lesson – but it’s so easy to forget from one puzzle to the next.

I wasn’t sure that all of these actually are emotions (I’m looking at you, OPTIMISM and COMFORT) but I think for our purposes here, we can let that slide. I also thought the in-the-language quality of the expressions varied greatly from right-on (COMIC RELIEF) to a bit cobbled together (GROWING CONCERN – isn’t the expression, meaning something else entirely, GOING CONCERN?). I think a more common expression with the word UNBRIDLED is UNBRIDLED lust! But maybe that’s just me.

Original clue for AMES. I enjoyed looking up the beautiful AMES Building and being reminded about Romanesque Revival, specifically Richardsonian Romanesque. It’s a pleasing style with its decorated round arches.

pabloinnh 9:02 AM  

One of those big puzzles that I started at 1A, got nowhere, and finished more or less at 1A with BOBATEA, which I wanted to be BUBBLETEA. Not knowing the TAROT deck is something that often interferes with my solve.

Hand up for the NUMS guess, which gave me a technical DNF, but I didn't care, as I very much enjoyed the themers and their clues. More work than Sundays have been for a while, which is a good thing.

I took a graduate course in comedy with a terrific prof who included BUGSBUNNY in his discussions. He said that Bugs had the proper comedic response to life, which is "What's up doc?". My favorite BB quote has always been, "I don't ask questions, I just have fun.". Works pretty often.

And NINGBO has nine million + people? Where have I been?

Nice job, HB, and thanks for stopping by. You share the first name and most of the last name of my uncle, so that's a plus, at least for me.

Barbara S. 9:03 AM  

Today’s excerpt is courtesy of NEIL SIMON, born July 4, 1927.

“FELIX. I can’t stand it, Oscar. I hate me. Oh, boy, do I hate me.
OSCAR. You don’t hate you. You love you. You think no one has problems like you.
FELIX. Don’t give me that analyst jazz. I happen to know I hate my guts.
OSCAR. Come on, Felix; I’ve never seen anyone so in love.
FELIX. (Hurt) I thought you were my friend.
OSCAR. That’s why I can talk to you like this. Because I love you almost as much as you do.”
(From The Odd Couple)

Nancy 9:06 AM  

The best kind of wordplay puzzle. You can't get the theme answers without at least some crosses, but once you have some crosses, they're easy to guess because the phrases are both very aptly clued and completely in the language. Best of all, they're fun to guess. So I found this puzzle very entertaining and enjoyable.

All my complaints come from the non-theme parts of the puzzle. I don't get NOMS for delicious food. Who has ever said that? Where were they when they said it? What on earth drove them to use such an odd word? And why wasn't I ever there to hear them?

In addition, there were my two Naticks, which might have been avoided if I hadn't been too annoyed to even try to guess. I didn't know the INGBO city and I knew that 69A wouldn't be anything as straightforward as a bOOK. What would it be? Some app or website I didn't know, natch. Because of Wii and Wiki, I'm thinking wOOK/wINGBO -- but I didn't write it in. Turns out it's a NOOK, which actually exists not in cyberspace but IRL (you can buy one at Barnes and Noble's) -- and I never once thought of it.

My other Natick was ?OBA TEA/? GAME. I never heard of the tea, which could have been any letter of the alphabet. And what's a "subpar athletic effort"? Is it your B GAME? Your C GAME? Your D GAME? Maybe even your Z GAME? zOBA TEA sounds quite convincing, doesn't it?

If I'd guessed on the two letters I left blank, would I have been right? Why bother? It's much easier to just pronounce the puzzle "Solved!!!" as is my wont in such Natick-y instances and then go out [finally, finally!] into the beautiful sunshine.

bocamp 9:09 AM  

Thx Howard for an excellent Sun. puz; LOTSA fun! :)

Med solve.

Dnf at NOM / OBELI cross.

Had YUM to start with, but that wasn't gonna work with NO CLASS, so switched to 'Birdie NUM NUM' (Peter Sellers - The Party). Didn't know OBELI from UBELI, so that was that. :(

Nevertheless, muchly enjoyed this one! :)

Rooting for Harriet TUBMAN all the way.

@Nancy (8:21 PM yd)

Thx, again; well worth the watch! đŸŽ„

Riding With The King ~ B.B. King & Eric CLAPTON

yd 0

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

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

I enjoyed this one … despite being totally unfamiliar with Ningbo and Barty.

TTrimble 9:20 AM  

Neat to see Patton Oswalt weigh in (he's absolutely right of course), and I'm impressed that he remembered the name of Nick Nolte's character Jack CATEs. No way I could have coughed that one up.

Aside from that glaring error and possibly a candy bar error as well, I agree this seems competently done. (Oh, look, Howard Barkin is here. Nice job! But let me say I find BOBA TEA a little weird, texturally). The themers worked just fine, except possibly for the nit @Frantic Sloth found, but that wasn't a big CONCERN for me. Disagree with other comments about the dreck level: @Randall is right that BTS is one of the biggest acts in the pop music scene today, succeeding NSYNC in the pantheon of TEEN IDOLs -- IIRC they are much to Clare Carroll's TASTE. YURTS btw is fine. OBELI is a little tricky, I admit.

I am rather more familiar with that paradox of ZENO having to do with Achilles (and not some ZANY hare like BUGS BUNNY) and the Tortoise. As always, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has some really good info on Zeno (that would be Zeno of Elea; there's more than one Zeno, dude). And speaking of philosophy, I was about to comment yesterday that I found IDEALISM A CINCH, but then decided against saying so for some reason.

Amusing cluing for TAROT (Wheel of Fortune's place).

***SB Alert***

Late reply to someone's query of yesterday: you're asking about a shorthand mostly used by @bocamp and me. The "pg" is short for "pangrammatic genius", meaning that Genius level was attained and every pangram of the day was found. The -17 means 17 words left to go. So when I truthfully write

yd pg -2

that tells you how I did on yesterday's (yd's). (One of the ones I missed I could have sworn I tried.) Also, for "today" (td), it's

td pg -2

and this puzzle looks doable, i.e., I have some GUARDED OPTIMISM that I'll reach QB (Queen Bee).

Dolly M. 9:29 AM  

Great puzzle. Happy Birthday America đŸ‡ș🇾. Have a great 4th.

glennkenny 9:32 AM  

Also: The SFPD is not Eddie Murphy’s org. in “48 Hrs.” (105 across). It’s Nick Nolte’s. Nolte is the cop who gets Murphy furloughed from prison to track down the bank robbers on a killing spree. So as to underscore this fact, Nolte refers to Murphy almost throughout as “convict.” Yeesh.

Monty Montague 9:35 AM  

Two things: first, I thought this puzzle was delightful. The theme was clearly there and tight, but not over the top. It was the right mix of sections that fell right in line and ones that required some work. As I've said before, that's why I do the puzzle. It is what makes a crossword infinitely more enjoyable than a suduku. The possibility that you might come to the limit of your knowledge and have to find another way (crosses).

This brings me to my second point, reference so many comments here. Just because you don't know something doesn't mean it is not common (BTS as an example). In a perfectly constructed puzzle we should all have a thing or two that is completely foreign to us, especially because that probably means it was in the wheelhouse of someone else.

Bonus fun fact: the double KitKat is the more popular seller (it also debuted in 1930, so not new). Anyone with kids or Halloween enthusiasts will confirm that fact. Also, international travelers will concur that those crazy flavored double KitKat bags are all the rage at the duty free (green tea or Wasabi anyone?). Happy independence Day!

TTrimble 9:42 AM  

SB: QB. It's very doable today.

Ted 9:53 AM  

I'm here to agree that Kit Kats come in fours.

You can tell me that they're also sold in twos, and I believe you, and I've probably seen it. But the vast majority that I've seen and bought and eaten were in fours.

The only "twos" I've seen were in the mini Halloween candy variety bags, where EVERYTHING is smaller than normal. Those include tiny little boxes of gummy candy Dots, but we don't say that Dots are sold in tiny little boxes, do we?

Nancy 9:56 AM  

Glad you enjoyed it, @bocamp. For those of you who missed my post late yesterday, I recommended a movie that many of you will not have seen and that you can Tivo. DEETS on yesterday's blog.

SouthsideJohnny 9:58 AM  

Definitely an “Alternate Reality “ vibe to this one - almost like the clues and answers relate to a different planet, never mind just another country. DEEP CUT is actually a thing, I have no doubt - as is BOBA TEA, YURTS, PIU (if you say so on the last two), DUN, DOCENT ?, BARTY . . . And on it goes. Just a relentless onslaught of really irrelevant, trivial, otherworldly trivia.

Just when I was grudgingly accepting the fact that I will need to embrace clues in languages from the European mainstays like French and Spanish, through to Southeast Asia and even Africa (or wherever Swahili is spoken near you) all the way to the dead Latin . . . Oh well, I’ll keep my head up - at least I can say that I knew what PIU and YURTS mean for the 15 minutes I was awake (contemplating the meaning of DOCENT) before today’s s cure for insomnia (oops, I mean the Sunday Puzzle) kicked in and I dozed off.

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

I finally concluded that NOMS/OBELI was the least unlikely combination. OBELI must be Latin since it's plural, and sounds a bit like obelisk. Nams, nims, nems, and ubeli all sounded less likely than noms and obeli.

But it's a ridiculous pair of entries for any day except maybe a Saturday.


JD 10:04 AM  

Bottled Up Anger, what we saw in the last episode of I Dream of Jeannie when Barbara Eden burned her bra and told Larry Hagman to shove it. A little Comic Relief kids, it's fun to be old.

Lotsa Good here. Boba Tea and Yurts and EGOTs. Olay! BYOB, it's the 4th of the July.

I'd like to complain that asking for the plural of Obelus is unfair but since I wouldn't have known Obelus I guess it doesn't matter. Odd, because that's the kind of worthless info I can usually recall. Mired under it for a while. Struggled mightily at Air Bed because I call it an Air Mattress.

We had a hamster named MacGyver. The thing about hamsters is, they don't want to be your pet. It finally made the big break. Hope he found what he was looking for.

Loved seeing Ignatius J. Reilly. Fell in love with him when he cleaned up the filing at his new job by throwing it away. Forgot he was Obese. Toole committed suicide a decade before it was published. His mother fought so hard to have it published and then it won the Pulitzer.

“A firm rule must be imposed upon our nation before it destroys itself. The United States needs some theology and geometry, some taste and decency.”
John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces

Those who tried to overthrow the foundation of democracy have a few things to think about. But they're the Supreme Court and they can do what they want I guess.

Hey, Apricot(s) are in season! That's Good too.

@Z from yesterday. I responded late. Was helping yet another friend downsize. People, your kids don’t want your stuff. Get rid of it now.

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

You’ve got to be kidding me. Patton a Oswalt desperately wants to be that guy. Why else tweet but to point out his own superiority?

Chris 10:24 AM  

SB query @TTrimble: You seem to imply that it is possible to know that you got all the pangrams without either making QB or waiting until tomorrow. If that's true, please share.

Zygotic 10:25 AM  

Who, exactly, is Eddie Murphy’s character in 48 Hrs. working for? Hmm? The mob? No. The bank robbers on a killing spree? No. Maybe for that bar? No. Oh, yeah! I remember! Nick Nolte recruits him to help out the SFPD. Nowhere in the clue does it say that Murphey’s character is employed by the SFPD. The clue just uses the possessive, which is accurate.

As to the great Kit Kat™️ controversy, aren’t there TWO wafers, each wafer breakable into four pieces, in the typical Kit Kat™️ package? Google images is no help. All I found was a single image of a “King Size” Kit Kat™️ package that said “two bars” on it. Somebody needs to run out to the nearest candy vendor and buy a Kit Kat™️ and open it up. I think what comes out of the package is two bars, each with the four ridges everyone is thinking of. But I’m hardly certain.

Zygotic 10:37 AM  

@JD - Re: yesterday- We have all been there. It is funny how we’ve collectively just dropped the period convention for things like H.R. Not being up on H.E.R., I was momentarily confused by the “One-named” in the clue today. If you write it with the periods, H.E.R., I think you are expecting me to say it as three letters, “H - E - R,” not as one word, “HER.” Wikipedia helpfully explains that H.E.R. is pronounced “her.” It’s moments like these where I want to raise my shaking fist to the sky and bellow “can’t we all just agree on a single convention?!?” But, of course, the answer is “no” because People.

Sixthstone 10:38 AM  

I'm pretty much with Rex on this one. It was a fun, well-constructed puzzle. The theme was a solid B--the answers were nice, but I didn't find any real humor in the clues. They all seemed pretty literal--jester=comic, cat=creature, etc. Fine, but no ahas.
Editing was pretty bad as many have noted (SFPD and TWOS). C'mon NYT, you can do better. Axel was actually part of the Detroit PD if I recall correctly.

If you haven't heard of BTS and BOBA TEA, you just haven't quite caught up to 2021 yet. I'll blame it on Covid. BTS is huge, and boba tea joints are about on every corner these days. It's so common with my kids, it's just called "boba" now.

Like others I struggled with NUMS/UBELI, but something pushed me to an O there, so finished after all.

Happy Independence Day!

ow a paper cut 10:42 AM  

Ningbo, Bobatea and BTS were new ones on me. Still enjoyed it.

More than you want to know 10:46 AM  

About Kit Kat bars

Kit Kat Bars

Mary McCarty 10:59 AM  

@Lewis: kisses from a baby lab?"………puppy LOVE

APRICOTS: wish I could post a pic of this year’s batch of jam…one & a half trees’ worth sweetly BOTTLED UP into jars. Most beautiful color of the summer is a pot of apricots bubbling on the stove.

RooMonster 11:02 AM  

Hey All !
Good puz, fails in the editing. I always thought why do the editors change constructors clues. Let the clues be! That said to agree with those who say two of the clues are just flat out wrong. 1) KitKats are in Fours, not TWOS. Jeez. Twix are TWOS. Don't the editors watch TV? Twix is famous for its "pick a side" ad, whereas KitKats are famous for their "break me off a piece of that KitKat bar", which shows a block of Four KitKats. 2) Eddie Murphy's character in 48 Hrs. was NOT in the SFPD. He may have been arrested by the SFPD, but he was a criminal in the movie. Now don't go trying to lawyer it up and say he was temporarily in the custody of the SFPD, ergo in the org., cause that ain't gonna fly.

Anyway, I did enjoy the puz. Got a chuckle out of Howard B's post at 1:01AM. Rex not completely hating a puz, but with nits to pick = Rex liking the puz. 😁 Themers were fun to discover. Eight total, with two Downs, so all over, which themers should do!

Finished, got the Almost There!, too impatient to look for wrongness, so hit Reveal, found it crossed out five letters! Dang! Had NuMS/uBELI (cause NuMS sounds righter than NOMS, but did register OBELI in the ole brain once I changed it), evES/DeFOE/VIvOUR (VIVOUR sounds like a word!) SCe/ePANEMA (what the heck is SCE, I thought 🙄), ALOPEnIA/nECE (maybe thinking of Niecy Nash?)

Sure, some iffy fill, but that comes with the SunPuzGrid making. We got YURTS,too! Been a while for that. Nice puz neat theme, leave clues alone. Har.

Four F's

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

never can navigate OENO and OneO. need to drink more wine.

I appear to be the first to voice disgust with 'eating stuff' commercials on the teeVee. why do food megacorps think that listening to stentorian gnashing will make us want some? and do real people eat burgers and such like cows chewing their cud? just askin.

Jon88 11:35 AM  

@RooMonster: One more for your list. TMC is to film buffs as McDonald's is to foodies. (20-Down) TMC is The Movie Channel, and most of their movies are less than classic. Turner Classic Movies, on the other hand ... well, it's right there in the name.

Missing Persons Bureau 11:41 AM  

Has anyone heard from John X recently? Did he volunteer to go over to Afghanistan and single-handedly keep the Taliban at bay after Biden cashed in his chips and left?

thefogman 11:44 AM  

“It could have been worse” So true. Sadly, that’s about the best we can expect from the NYT Sunday crossword these days.

Michiganman 11:56 AM  

@Z. I had the same thought on the "48 Hours" clue. On to KIT KAT business. I occasionally grab a KK in the grocery check out line. It is a single piece designed to very easily break into 4. I do not claim that a 2 part version does not exist.

OffTheGrid 12:06 PM  

IMO (and who else's would it be) this is the best Sunday in a while.

Jill 12:09 PM  

I really hated the Nobel pursuit clue for SCI. The prizes are in chemistry and medicine/physiology; there is no "science" prize.

egsforbreakfast 12:10 PM  

Did anyone else notice that if you squint at the grid it looks like mitochondria during cell division?

AIRBED did double duty today be crossing ORGY and UNBRIDLEDJOY.

Shouldn’t Rex have ranted a bit about BBGUN being in the grid? It’s a slippery slope from there to bump stocks and semi-automatics.

Pretty good and fair puzzle for me except NOMS/OBELISK. Call me a NOMbSkull.

Liz T 12:31 PM  

Go to No spoilers, it just gives the stats.

TPM 12:32 PM  

Agree... Came here to say this

bocamp 12:36 PM  

Learned about NINGBO.

Enjoyed BOBA TEA at the local Vietnamese restaurant in Vanc., BC.. BOBA, along with baba are also legit SB words. :)

Kit Kat: four finger or TWO finger bars. (hi @Monty Montague (9:35 AM))

"The traditional bar has four fingers which each measure approximately 1 centimetre (0.4 in) by 9 centimetres (3.5 in). A TWO-finger bar was launched in the 1930s, and has remained the company's best-selling biscuit brand ever since.[8" (Wikipedia)

@Robin 2:02 AM 👍 for SB

@okanaganer (3:35 AM) / @Colin (6:33 AM) / Barbara S. (8:59 AM) / pabloinnh (9:02 AM)

Nice to see I'm in good company re: 'num num'. Here's a link to 'The Party' and Peter Sellers 'Birdie Num Num'.

@Anonymous (10:02 AM)

Like your thinking re: OBELI; wish I'd've given that one more thot. đŸ€”

@Nancy (9:56 AM)

Thx, again, for sharing. Excellent movie, indeed. :)

@JD (10:04 AM)

Amen to 'downsizing'. Been working on it slowly but surely over the past few years.

@Z (10:25 AM)

Bang on re: Murphy's role with the SFPD.

@Sixthstone (10:38 AM)

I was tempted to go with the 'O', but NOM was 'pushing' back too hard, and Peter Seller's 'Birdie NUM NUM' was too much of an earworm. 😂

@More than you want to know (10:46 AM)

Thx for the vid; always enjoy seeing how things are made and processed.


BFF just emailed this: Gaither Vocal Band sings The National Anthem

@TTrimble (9:42 AM) 👍 for SB td

td pg -8

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

OffTheGrid 12:40 PM  

Here's my PUZZLE SONG for today.

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

What I learned today (putting the world in perspective edition):
Ningbo, with 9 million + citizens, is the 27th largest city in China.
It is larger than any city in the U.S.
For comparison, the 27th largest city in the U.S. is Portland, Oregon.

Happy Independence Day to all!

BEE-ER 12:44 PM  

@Chris re:SB. is a gold mine of SB information. Check it out.

JC66 12:54 PM  

@Barbara S 8:59

I wasn’t sure that all of these actually are emotions (I’m looking at you, OPTIMISM and COMFORT) but I think for our purposes here, we can let that slide.

They work for me because the puzzle's title is "I've got a feeling."

I've felt both optimistic and comfortable, sometimes at the same time. 😂

KnittyContessa 1:02 PM  

What a fun Sunday! I loved the themers. I laughed out loud at a few. Overall a very pleasant Sunday except.... NuMS/uBELI. Yep, I did it too.

For some reason, when I read the KitKat clue I thought TWOS but they are fours. I think I was thinking Twix.

Tom Nawrocki 1:26 PM  

The clue needed to be simpler, just "Org. in '48 Hrs.'" That would have been correct! Also, there's no Nobel Prize in science, and "B Game" is not a thing. Otherwise, a nice puzzle, although I'm disappointed there wasn't an Independence Day theme, especially since the holiday is literally today.

rjkennedy98 1:29 PM  

Another Sunday slog fest. The theme answers were all nice, but the rest was mostly dreck fill, especially the bottom half which had OBELI, YURTS, SCI, IT TEAM, and a bunch of crosswordese. My favorite non-themer was ALOPECIA, especially due to Arrested Development

I also agree with the poster who wondered why we couldn't get a Independence Day themed puzzle. I guess we only get puzzles for woke holidays now.

Frantic Sloth 1:32 PM  

@bocamp 909am and @Nancy from 821pm yesterday
Thanks for the movie recommendation. Always up for an undiscovered (by me) classic on TCM! DVR is set.

@JD 1004am How do you always, always (well, "usually always" 😉) make me literally LOL?? What's so funny about a runaway hamster, fugitive from fondling? I have no earthly idea, but claim me as a victim once more.
Also, recently I've come to understand my mother's absolute obsession with downsizing in her later years. It was a madness which I now share, but am utterly unequal to the task. 😕

@Z 1037am People suck. 'sWhy I prefer other animals.

*** My Stance on the Great KitKat Wars of 2021 Alert ***

KitKats. Originally 4 bars. Now also 2 bars in snacky size. As if.

Newport Carl 1:53 PM  

I had a lot of fun. Figured the themers out early. KitKat komes in two's, Nom,nom. I don’t know why Klapton keeps appearing. Mark Knofler is the greatest rock guitarist, bar none. Thank you Howard Barkin. Happy 4th!

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

Actually, Independence Day is only metaphorically today.

A 3:09 PM  

Thanks, Howard Barkin, I’m happy to say this is a Satisfactory Sunday -not too easy, not too hard. I was sometimes slow but never MIRED.

So UNBRIDLED JOY is great, but what is UNGUARaED OPTIMISM? Wrote ETa and didn’t correct it when I got around to ——OPTIMISM. Wouldn’t have noticed except Rex mentioned ETD.

Just watched Ash BARTY yesterday - great player. Before seeing the clue, I had BART-, thought “ooh, Ash BARTY’s in the puzzle” then looked for the clue. Misread the tiny print, went to 64a instead of 84a, and thought “huh, guess there’s a BARTY hockey player - wonder if they’re related.” Oh, SWEDEN.

Mini deodorant theme - B’s and O’s abound: OBEY OBELI OBIE OBESE BYOB BOBA NINGBO BOTTLED.

Someone is really rubbing in the repeal of the “Don’t repeat words in a puzzle rule” with UPTO, INTO and ASTO. If they’re OUT TO WIN me over, it’s not going TO work.

Don’t really think of COMFORT as an emotion. The title does say Feeling, though, so…

I’ve watched a MEGADOSE of cute MALAMUTE videos so my first reaction at 102d was NOM NOM. Found the one (Don’t worry, the relevant part is only 20 seconds in.) It helped that I half-knew OBELI, which shares a root with OBELISK.

While others pick nits about action flicks and candy bars, how about that clue for DAUB? I think of DAUB as being carefully applied, not sloppily. Also, is there a Friday gift-giving convention I’ve been ignorant of all my life?

LOTSA interesting puzzlemates in this. These tell quite the story:

Happy 7/4/21! Be grateful you don’t have to sing this national anthem.

Anonymous 3:11 PM  

@Newport Carl:
Mark Knofler is the greatest rock guitarist, bar none.

well, only metaphorically. he plays a banjo three-finger style. not very rock.

Bad Mouse 3:33 PM  

I guess we only get puzzles for woke holidays now.

You're right. We should celebrate Jeff Davis's birthday, to honor all those poor dirt farmers who supported the CSA and fought for it as they aspired to, one day, be rich enough to own them some slaves.

TTrimble 3:37 PM  

@Frantic Sloth
"People suck." Absolutely. They're the worst.

Anybody else do the Acrostic today? Looks like an interesting book.

Ellen S 3:43 PM  

Haha, all the complaints about the the Proper Nouns in this puzzle, yeah there were plenty I never heard of (CECE , NINGBO, others), but I got them okay from crosses. It was yesterday that felled me.

JD 3:53 PM  

@Frantic, It's an actual true story and the kids named him MacGyver because he kept getting out. He spent all day running on his *#$& hamster wheel to stay in shape for it.

@Newport Carl, It's the more cross friendly letters Lapton v. Nofler, which coincidently was also a liability case that made it all the way to the Kentucky State Supreme Court.

pabloinnh 4:56 PM  

@TTrimble-Did the Acrostic this morning and had your same reaction to its source. Always fun to finish one you think you have no shot at.

@JD-I have a friend who lives out in the woods who used to raise pigs. Had one named Houdini once, for the same reason.

bocamp 6:03 PM  

@TTrimble (3:37 PM) / @pabloinnh (4:56 PM)

Just starting it now. These always take a day or more, so I just take it in stride. đŸ€ž


You were right about the SB, but took me the better part of the day to get the final one. :)


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

Cookie Monster 6:10 PM  


Petri 6:25 PM  

This is the first Sunday I've ever completed correctly on the first go, no looking anything up, and magically no typos. I was almost certain a few things were wrong, so having that congrats pop up was damn near a magical moment. A bunch of things that felt like total guesses, like OBELI, PIU, ALBA (we usually Elba instead), and of course NINGBO. But apparently the crosses were fair, if not a bit tricky. Now to bask in the joy of this achievement, and hope it's a good sign for the rest of the week.

Newboy 6:58 PM  

Thanks to having tween & teen grandsons the NOMS were a tasty treat unlike many commentariat above. I’m liking Rex’s assessment of “Highly competent. A very plain and inoffensive Sunday overall.” Not a fan of Sunday’s grids as I have whined too many times, but as others have said including entries like NINGBO, PIU & OBELI are truly WTF moments that rob the theme entries of their dad joke delight. (I confess that a few chuckles did escape, but there were no coffee spewing onto the iPad moments.) As a way of avoiding the continuing heat this grid did service of merit, so thanks Howard & hope you’re enjoying a cool libation or three this celebratory day.

bocamp 6:58 PM  

@Cookie Monster (6:10 PM)

Thx, C.M.; just NOMmed an apple as I read that excellent article about how you coined the term. I won't be forgetting it soon. 🍎

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

Barbara S. 6:58 PM  

@OffTheGrid (12:40)
Enjoyed listening to Boston's "More Than a Feeling." Did you read any of the posted comments? Two I particularly liked were "This band was so good they named a city in Massachusetts after it" and "I named my cat Boston because he's more than a feline."

@JC66 (12:54)
I'm happy to agree.

@Cookie Monster (6:10)
I *may* be willing to let go of some of my annoyance with NOM knowing that it originates with you.

bocamp 7:16 PM  

@Petri 6:25 PM 👍

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

Sandy McCroskey 7:34 PM  

I started in the bottom half and got BOTTLED-UP ANGER from just the A and G—which helped a lot. A few of the other themers helped too. Overall, was pretty easy.

Cristi 8:06 PM  

Yes! (I liked the puzzle, and I guess I now like not knowing anyone who says NOMS. I’ve walked the earth and never heard the word spoken—or OBELI for that matter.) I’m crying natick on that one. It’s a case where one word should help you get the other.

Joe Dipinto 8:16 PM  

Doing a drive-by to drop off a Sunday song:
Creature comfort goals
Can only numb my soul
And make it hard for me to see
My thoughts all seem to stray
To places far away
I need a change of scenery

The puzzle was a bit subdued, excitement-wise, but at least it didn't aggressively try to be trendy and relevant and smug. So generally I liked it. I never really thought of Bugs Bunny as having a Brooklyn accent. He just sounded like...Bugs Bunny. But Wikipedia says he has one so it must be true.

And: Around these parts that drink is called BUBBLE TEA. I thought "bubble" might be an Americanization of BOBA, but apparently they are alternate names for the same drink. BOBA refers to the tapioca pearls, BUBBLE refers to the regular bubbles that form in the tea. So says Wikipedia, so it must be true. Anyway, it *is* really good. I always get it at the East Wind Snack Shop along with the pork dumplings.

It took me ages to get even a single word into the Acrostic yesterday. To my irritation I was blanking on the answer at T, only to sit up in bed and blurt it out loud just as I was falling asleep. Maybe I just needed the shuteye, because this morning the fog lifted on the rest of it.

TTrimble 9:07 PM  

@Joe Dipinto
It took me a while to call to mind the answer to T, partly because what was getting in my way was a persistent memory of Invisible Man (but that's of course by Ralph Ellison, not Richard Wright). I was born and raised in the answer to I. I am quite confident I've never seen the answer to J before today, but as a word I'm finding it very attractive.

Regarding BUGS BUNNY, you might find this of interest. He was born (apparently) under Ebbetts Field -- a claim I've seen in a number of places, and Mel Blanc provided him with a Flatbush accent.

CDilly52 9:08 PM  

This was a good Sunday in my book. While I admit to being a bit of a Sunday NERD who enjoys the occasional silly or pun filled theme, my absolute favorite Sunday is a theme like this one with themers going both across and down and accessible theme answered spelled correctly. and gimmick-free.

Liked the solve.

Irishmaineiac 2:46 PM  

Yes, two bars.

Joe 4:38 PM  

Subpar athletic result = B Game? Never, ever, heard that one. A GAME for top performance? Sure. Crossing that “B” with an obscure tea got me.

Robert Berardi 6:11 PM  

BTS is a lot of things, but they’re not obscure. They’re the most popular musical act in the world. They have the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 right now.

kitshef 8:57 PM  

Definitely held my breath at BOBA TEA/B GAME cross. Could have been C or D there, for all I know.

Diana, LIW 1:51 PM  

Uh oh. Mr. W went to Iowa State, so not getting the AMES building will be discussed later.

Which, of course, led to a dnf in the Middle-Eastish part of the puzzle.

The rest "felt" pretty good. Oh well.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

spacecraft 7:48 PM  

somehow I just KNEW the thing you read just couldn't be BOOK; that would be too simple. And the city? Who knew? Not me. But I'm guessing that the letter N is used a lot in Oriental names (I seem to remember a "Ning-Po" from somewhere), and NOOK looked ay least halfway believable, though I never "read" one. So N for Natick. Whew!

The rest was fairly easy to get through. Theme was fine, with nice execution. One, the one with the horse, I had to change on the fly: thinking UNBRIDLED FURY, I screeched to a halt when I saw only three squares after the first word. So FURY became JOY. Better for the horse, too.

A hero many times over, Harriet TUBMAN wears today's DOD sash proudly. Honorable mention to the girl from IPANEMA. Birdie.

Burma Shave 11:32 PM  


with RELIEF and UNBRIDLEDJOY she'd learn,
that MEGADOSE of HORMONEs grew wood,


Unknown 10:33 AM  

Alopecia--that word doesn't come up in conversation every day even for those of us'alopecia-ed' up the ying-yang

miker 6:09 PM  

Twix come in twos and TMC (The Movie Channel) isn’t for “film buffs”. That’s TCM (Turner Classic Movies) you’re thinking of.

Lily 1:51 PM  

I am shocked that Rex did not comment on the horrible NATICK at 74D, 79A, 84A, and 88A. Three proper names and an obscure reference from a literary novel. Not nice at all.

Added to Ningbo. Come on.

puzzlegod 11:32 PM  

Puzzle was fair and nice. go drink some boba tea and calm down, @Nancy.

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