Super-hoppy craft brew / WED 7-21-21 / Raucous music style similar to boogie-woogie / The titular Nelsons of a classic sitcom

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Constructor: Alex Vratsanos

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging??? (no idea, honestly)

THEME: Double "Z"s (!?) — looks like there are four answers that contain double-Z words, and then this weird thing in the middle where two single "Z"s are left unchecked (i.e. without crosses), each of which appears to be nestled in one of the crooks of a large black-square "Z" formation, although I'm not certain it's actually a "Z" (more below). This is basically a high word-count themeless with some "ZZ" answers and some "Z"-ish architectural stuff in the middle :

The 'ZZ's:
  • GRIZZLED VETERAN (14A: Old pro)
  • BARRELHOUSE JAZZ (17A: Raucous music style similar to boogie-woogie)
  • OZZIE AND HARRIET (53A: The titular Nelsons of a classic sitcom)
  • NEAPOLITAN PIZZA (60A: Dish with tomatoes and mozzarella)
Word of the Day: BARRELHOUSE JAZZ (17A) —
Definition of barrelhouse

a cheap drinking and usually dancing establishment
2a strident, uninhibited, and forcefully rhythmic style of jazz or blues (
• • •

Neither fish nor fowl. Betwixt and between. A hybrid something-or-other. Felt like a cheap sneak-themeless. It's honestly just a couple of stacked 15s where those 15s contain "ZZ's, but honestly if you have a massive wordlist, your software can find such answers really easily and you can just test them out, and stacking just two 15s is not hard, and none of the "ZZ"-containing words are particularly interesting (JAZZ? PIZZA?). So you've got an oddly "ZZ"-restricted themeless puzzle, pretty much, with a high word count (unlike regular Fri/Sat themelesses, which have to be 72 answers or fewer), so we have to endure a Lot of not-great short fill. Then there's this business in the center, which is, frankly, a confused mess. You have two "Z"s again, but this time the "Z"s are alone—really alone—they're unchecked (i.e. uncrossed). I guess the idea is that the overall "Z" theme is supposed to act as a check, but in reality, LAPAZ and ZONES are really easy answers to get, so the uncheckedness is just weird; it's not really a significant puzzle element. And then there's the black-square "Z," which looks more like a "2" than a "Z," and maybe (??) this is the point, or part of the overall visual strategy, since there are "2" "Z"s in each of the longer answers. Maybe (???) the fact that a "2" and a "Z" look alike is part of the... joke? But I don't exactly get how all this "Z"-ish business in the center relates to the (mere) four "ZZ" words in the (basically themeless) grid. And if the black-square image is a "Z," don't you then have three "Z"s in the middle of the grid (the two unchecked letters plus the black-square image)??? And how is that relevant? The only thing three "Z"s signifies is sleep. I'm sure the NYTXW's house blog has "constructor notes" to explain (i.e. attempt to rationalize) all this, but honestly, if it needs explanation, the "theme" isn't working. The longer answers on their own are all fine, sometimes interesting, but this is a rather weak (and mildly confusing) attempt to thematize an essentially themeless puzzle.

I think the long Downs are actually the most interesting thing going on in the grid today. I've never heard of ORANGELOS (just TANGELOS) (2D: Hybrid citrus fruits), and I've definitely never seen MNEMONIZE (does it rhyme with "demonize" or "lemon eyes"?) (33D: Make easier to recite, as the Great Lakes via HOMES), but they are colorful and interesting answers that were not terribly hard to infer from crosses, and their partners (BIRCH BARK and SEA BREEZE) are no slouches either. TRIPLE IPA and DEJECTION also give the puzzle some non-thematic life. So, insofar as the grid shape allowed those answers to come into being, it was not all bad. But TERAOHM is just some overstuffed wordlist abomination, and most of the rest of the fill is short and unremarkable. 

The answer I struggled most with was BARRELHOUSE JAZZ, as I've never heard of it. I know the beer-barrel polka, but that is about as far as my barrel-related music knowledge goes. I had ALT-American at first (no idea why), so for a time I was trying to make sense of BARRET- something for that answer. The RAMONES add a nice additional musical element to the grid (37A: Seminal punk band, with "the"), but if you were going to add rock bands to your grid, you'd think (you'd really think) you might have done something with ZZ TOP. Now all I can think of is the thematic possibilities involved in ZZ TOP ... what kind of theme could that be a revealer for. We'll never know ... or, we will know, someday, please accept my ZZ TOP challenge, thank you.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. for those who aren't familiar, HOMES (in 33D: Make easier to recite, as the Great Lakes via HOMES) stands for Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior, and is probably the most famous mnemonic (in this country, anyway), though ROY G. BIV and "every good boy does fine" are worthy rivals.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Conrad 6:03 AM  

For once I'm with @Rex. This puzzle was a slog, and essentially a themeless.

Joaquin 6:07 AM  

Once again, I must disagree with Rex. He calls this a "themeless" when clearly the theme is the letter "Z".

A huge "Z" in the middle of the grid, two unchecked "Z"s tucked into the "Z" of the grid, and more "Z"s in the puZZle than you can shake a stick at. That, to me, qualifies as a theme.

OffTheGrid 6:34 AM  

Well, yesterday ROAN was a horse color, today it's a Speckled coat. I googled ROAN images and found nothing definitive. Perhaps only horse people really get the ROAN thing.

From yesterday:
I ventured onto the Grand Canyon glass deck but I wore a Depends.

@Pdxrains. I heartily second your hate of LED headlights and don't forget tail lights & brake lights. I have put on my sunglasses at night while sitting at a red light behind a vehicle whose LED brake lights are melting my corneas. Sad part is all these automotive LED's add NOTHING! And I think they look cheap.

oceanjeremy 6:43 AM  

My solve experience was like a challenging Friday (or an easier Saturday) for this one, except I guess the word count is too high as per Rex (this was not a constraint I was aware of for Friday/Saturday puzzles until just now).

And also the theme? Since Fri/Sat puzzles are themeless? Though I’m with Rex insofar as this doesn’t seem like much of a theme for me. More of a motif without a theme (in that “motif” is “repetition used to highlight the theme,” and here we have repetition with no discernible theme).

Did I enjoy it? Sure!

Did it singlehandedly lengthen my Wednesday average solve speed by a noticeable amount? Yes it did!

Do I think this puzzle really has a theme?


PuzFreak 6:50 AM  

And for the spaces in the treble clef, FACE.
For the bass clef staff, Good Boys Do Fine Always (lines) and your choice of All Cows Eat Grass or All Cars Eat Gas (spaces).

Lewis 6:50 AM  

Three of my favorite words start with Z, namely zephyr, zaftig, and ziggurat, and with friends like these, how can I not like an ode-to-z odyssey like this one?

I loved the quirky additions of ORANGELOS, MNEMONIZE, and TERAOHM, and the PuzzPair© of STAB and POKE. It would have been cool if DOZER crossed ZZZ rather than ZZ, but one can dream.

All in all, this was fun and perky. But I must get rolling. When I start the day with the end of the alphabet, I feel like I need to fill the rest of it up with everything else. Thank you, Alex!

mmorgan 6:57 AM  

I plopped down LA PAZ and saw the middle Z and said, ok, cute. But as Rex said, there was a lot of shimmer in many long downs.

Trey 7:06 AM  

Also, if you trace a line from one Z to the next through the puzzle you get an (imperfect) mega-Z

Z 7:09 AM  

Took the puZZle off the printer and immediately knew it was going to be The Greatest PuZZle Ever!!!

amyyanni 7:11 AM  

Hybrids are great in many ways. This was fun. Great start to Wednesday; put some pizazz in my outlook!

Jess 7:16 AM  

Well, I put in SEASONEDVETERAN, and never recovered. Woof.

thfenn 7:18 AM  

Lol, was just going to say "Z is going to love this". I thought it was a fun Wednesday. Didn't see the large black Z while I was filling it out on the app - talk about not seeing the forest for the trees. Definitely think not having ZZ Top in here is a lost opp - ZZTOPSVELCROFLY even is 15 wide. But lots of fun fill. Never knew I could MNEMONIZE something, or heard of a TERAOHM, but lots to like here. Like TRIPLEIPA and SEABREEZE. Talk about a great combination, and one that'd bring on some nice ZZZ...

kitshef 7:21 AM  

Lots of stuff today that sound like things, but that I’ve never heard of.

I know ‘mnemonic’, have never heard MNEMONIZE. I know ‘IPA’, but not TRIPLE IPA. I know ‘Ohm’, but not TERAOHM. I know ‘orange’ and ‘tangelo’, but have never heard of ORANGELOS. I know ‘house jazz’, but not BARREL HOUSE JAZZ.

According Bolivia’s constitution, Article 6, the capital is Sucre.

thfenn 7:22 AM  

In addition to ZZ Top, Rex gets points for the grizzly adams pic labeled "Ozzie and harriet". Very funny this AM. But I'm easy to tickle today.

albatross shell 7:22 AM  

and BARRELHOUSEJAZZ, NCAA, BIRCHBARK, 4 spanners, WHIMS (I had cHIas for a while. They are fanciful, no?) Z-fest, Grid art, MNEMONIZE, HES, RAMONES and OZZIE AND HARRIET (A precursor to Curb Your Enthusasm as was The George Burns Show), GRIZZLED VETERAN. SWATHE. Even liked RETEE. Hello UTNE, my old friend. Good to see you once again.

With out even any fear of exaggeration that often fills these posts: The greatest Wednesday I ever saw. An understated praise. Done during a pretty good basketball game too.

I was determined to get it all correct before I filled in the last letter. Spent a halfhour checking and re-checking. Last change before entering the final letter was changing NEo to NEA on my pizza. I remembered I had made that mistake once before. Before I got any letters for the unknown city in Bolivia I was sure the last letter would "natick" me if an uncrossed letter can be a natick (an atick maybe?). But the Z-theme and Z-art gave it to me. Is that a cool construction. Not a question. No negatory possible. And symmetrically opposite the other uncrossed Z. A scarcity of POC.

Did not know NIA ANZAC ORANGELOS or either French word.

So not too bad at all.
Not a snooZefest.
Time to find a COT and dream of ZZZs.

fjmaynard 7:33 AM  

Living in the Great Lake State, I’ve never needed a mnemonic to remember their names. And HOMES doesn’t even put them in order. Fun fact, though: there is a brewery in Ann Arbor named HOMES. Hazy ales and Korean fusion food. Worth a visit. And, nothing on the planet has teraohms of resistance. Megohms is as high as it goes, practically speaking.

Son Volt 7:45 AM  

I see a Z theme here - call me crazy. Not overly erudite or sophisticated but it does form the puzzle. I had fun with it - liked GRIZZLED VETERAN and SEA BREEZE. USURP is on my Mt. Rushmore of favorite words.

TRIPLE IPAs are a little much for me - usually high alcohol and calorie bombs. TERAOHM measurements are not common but I’ve seen them with some high q dielectrics. To me that’s the scrabble word of the day here.

Saw the RAMONES so many times in the late 70s into the 80s. DEJECTION is an apt cross given the fact that all the original members are gone.

Enjoyable Wednesday solve.

Roberto 7:46 AM  

would have loved to see zztop in the grid.

pabloinnh 7:51 AM  

Had the same reaction as @joaquin (not unusual), that the theme was the letter Z and that OFL went off looking for something more esoteric. This was one of the few times I looked at the grid before I started and thought, hmmm, someone on this blog is going to like this one, and was not disappointed.

This filled in with almost no letups as I knew stuff like BARRELHOUSEJAZZ and KOBE and of course OZZIEANDHARRIET. Went around clockwise and finished in the middle. Zip Zap.

@off the grid--Agree with your assessment of LED headlights. The thing that bothers me the most is the idea that since the driver of the car equipped with these blinding things can see, the hell with everybody else. Charming.

My one nit would be that a COT is not a "sack". Nope, not at all.

Nice little Wednesdecito, AV. I went through it at an Advanced Velocity, and that's OK.

bocamp 7:52 AM  

Thx, Alex for a challenging and fun puz! :)

Tough unsolve.

Dnfed on KOBE / EZRA. I plopped in KOBI and didn't pay attention to IZRA, which would have been obvi had I taken the time to check the puz before filling in the final cell down in ORCA.

Nevertheless, a most enjoyable adventure thru Z-land! :)

@TTrimble yd ๐Ÿ‘ for 0

yd pg -1

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

GILL I. 7:55 AM  

Shall I start with 1A? Why did you leave out a perfectly good Q with SHAQ? need KOBE because, well why? need the KGB instead of the SSR?
I shall move along....
I wouldn't know BARREL HOUSE JAZZ from a barrel of monkeys. Oh, wait. I also wouldn't know a NEAPOLITAN PIZZA from a Venetian blind. Shall I continue? No?
Will someone please tell me this is Wednesday? I mean the PUZ was pretty good and all and yeah, I knew our @Z would jump for joy...or maybe catch a Frisbee or two, and the Z in the middle stood out like a bag of the DTS after the SOT drank the SEA BREEZE...but geezzze Louise, this was hard for the hump day.
I can't remember the last Wed. that I had to Google. TERA OHM and his SVU really made me feel like the extinct DODO.
Move along again. I got OZZIE AND HARRIET because I knew we were having a Z-fest. Then my mind wanders because that's what it does. I think I saw just a few re-runs because when I was about 13 I thought Ricky Nelson was awfully cute. He had yummy lips that were always puckered and looked like he needed chap stick. Anyway, I always wondered about his mom and dad. Harriet always seemed to wear an apron that never once got spaghetti sauce on it and Ozzie looked like he never took his tie off when he crawled into bed. I wondered if people in this country were really real. I mean my mom never wore an apron and her pearls when we sat down for dinner and my dad was always busy pouring drinks.
My RAZZ MA TAZZ runneth over.

Anonymoose 7:56 AM  

Do I find it annoying when people ask and answer their own questions? Yes.

Nancy 7:56 AM  

So, if you're breaking the "no unchecked letters" rule (and I didn't make that rule, btw, I'm only commenting on it in passing), you should have a damned good reason for it, right? Well, here's my problem. I don't see any reason for it at all -- "damned good" or not.

It wouldn't have bothered me at all -- except that I had ZEstS instead of ZEALS for "Passions" -- leaving me with tAPA?(unchecked letter) for the Bolivian capital. I couldn't remember either the capital of Bolivia or the money of Bolivia -- not remembering stuff being a particular specialty of mine.

But the other unchecked letter was an (obvious) Z and there were all those other Zs floating around, so I wrote in TAPAZ. Which jogged my memory of LA PAZ. Which enabled me to change ZESTS to ZEALS. So it all worked out fine in the end.

But is MNEMONIZE a word? Sort of like "monetize"? Google's accepting it, so I guess it is. But FWIW, I think it's awful.

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

It’s right to give credit where credit is due. I was expecting Rex to whine about SOT and UNPC again. Not even a PEEP. That he let those slide along with his letting NIP pass the other day without a discouraging word make me hopeful that he has matured a little.

Michiganman 8:00 AM  

@Z. I forget, are you from Holland or ZZZZZZeeland?

Mike Herlihy 8:01 AM  

The mnemonic for G-clef I was taught is "Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge", and F-clef "Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always". Gotta love fudge!

Z 8:08 AM  

Did a double take at 1A because I was pretty sure he was nowhere near Kareem Abdul Jabbar, but then realized the clue was not asking about the greatest Laker, just the guy with the most points as a Laker. I know many will put KOBE at the top of their all-time greats list, that’s what dying tragically and playing in a major media market will do for your legacy, but a reasonable argument can be made for him not even being a top five Laker, Kareem, Magic, West, Mikan, and O’Neal all being more dominant. Personally, I’d probably put him at #3 all-time Laker, and scream “recency bias” at anyone wanting him higher.

I read the constructor’s notes and Rex pretty much nailed the “theme.” I’d go with “motif” (a single or repeated design or color) rather than “theme” today. I spent the weekend with a bunch of GRIZZLED Ultimate VETERANs. We weren’t quite that high but Denver felt like LA PAZ and we played some ZONES defense, so it really felt like Vratsanos (oooh - auto-corrupt really doesn’t like that name) was doing an tribute puzzle to Master Nationals. But he wasn’t which is good because I hate tribute puzzles.

I can’t say that I’ve ever had a TRIPLE IPA. I don’t much care for the Double/Imperial IPA trend, let alone a TRIPLE IPA and the whole “turn it up to 11” vibe they exude. More Alcohol and More Bitter does not necessarily equate to “better” and there’s real potential to create just an unholy and undrinkable mess.

Caught a meal at the airport Monday and there was a boy giving the ‘Rents TERAOHM levels of resistance (free parenting advice - telling a crying child to stop crying has never worked in the entire history of humankind - distractions or just removing them from the situation are far better strategies). As I view these situations from afar I am always reminded of The Sex Pistols, don’t know what I want but I know how to get it.

Wondering how long before we get a question about Rex’s OZZIE AND HARRIET picture. I chortled.

Z 8:23 AM  

@Michiganman - That depends on how you define “from.” I was appropriately born in ZZZZZZeeland Hospital, but grew up in Holland.

Thanks to MNEMONIZE I now have this running through my head. You’re welcome.

Birchbark 8:24 AM  


Congratulations on your special day.

Yours truly,

Twangster 8:27 AM  

FWIW, barrelhouse piano (27,000 hits on Google) is much more of a thing than barrelhouse jazz (6950). Here's what it sounds like:

Barbara S. 8:45 AM  

I enjoyed solving this. And I think “Z” or “ZZ” was the theme, but frankly, I find myself unmoved by the “themed or themeless” debate. (Likewise, in relation to contemporary art, I can never figure out why people get so exercised by the question “But is it art?” instead of looking at the work and thinking about what it’s showing or saying.) Some definitional questions engage me. But not, apparently, this one. I found it of note that two of the double-Z answers also have double-Rs. I thought that added a touch of elegance. I was glad to see both @Z and @BIRCHBARK given their due.

I liked MNEMONIZE, and also the word “reduplicative” in the clue for DODO. It made me speculate on whether my name is reduplicative, or partially so, with its repeating “Bar.” So, speaking of definitions, the first one I found says “reduplication is a process by which the root or stem of a word, or part of it, is repeated,” so it sounds like I qualify!

ORANGELOS and SEABREEZE were refreshing answers. I guess the SEA BREEZE was made with my “penne(y)-ante vodka” from yesterday. Not too much repetition that I noticed: TRIP and TRIPLE IPA, and BONO and BONED. ZEALS was an unfortunate POC.

Mama Just Wants to BARRELHOUSE All Night Long.

Barbara S. 8:51 AM  

There are two excerpts today from ERNEST HEMINGWAY, born July 21, 1899. (He’s pretty fresh in my mind because of the recent Ken Burns documentary series.)

“Dying was nothing and he had no picture of it nor fear of it in his mind. But living was a field of grain blowing in the wind on the side of a hill. Living was a hawk in the sky. Living was an earthen jar of water in the dust of the threshing with the grain flailed out and the chaff blowing. Living was a horse between your legs and a carbine under one leg and a hill and a valley and a stream with trees along it and the far side of the valley and the hills beyond.”
“And another thing. Don’t ever kid yourself about loving some one. It is just that most people are not lucky enough ever to have it. You never had it before and now you have it. What you have with Maria, whether it lasts just through today and a part of tomorrow, or whether it lasts for a long life is the most important thing that can happen to a human being. There will always be people who say it does not exist because they cannot have it. But I tell you it is true and that you have it and that you are lucky even if you die tomorrow.”
(Both from For Whom the Bell Tolls)

Richard Stanford 8:55 AM  

@7:55 - I had SHAQ and the SSR to start too. And nothing else in that corner until I’d finished everything else and finally had to admit to myself that I had a problem!

G. Weissman 8:56 AM  

Joaquin @ 6:07 AM makes the hilarious claim that the letter Z is a theme. Good one, Joaquin! Also wondering how ONZE passes muster in an English-language crossword puzzle. That word has not passed into common usage in the U.S., as far as I know. How is a COT a sack? Is “encompassed by” really synonymous with AMIDST? TERAOHM? ANZAC? “Don’t make me eat that?”? This puzzle feels generated by a computer program rather than a human being.

TTrimble 8:57 AM  

I too thought "unchecked" letters were "against the rules" -- heck, I can't even remember 2-letter strings running across or down, much less 1-letter. (Thank you, Rex, for the terminology lesson.) I don't know how having Z's tucked away there is a plus for this puzzle.

On the other hand: there is no way that the figure in the center looks more like a 2 than a Z. A 2 is curved at the top, and doesn't enjoy the symmetry that a Z does, which is plainly evident in the puzzle.

The bottom half was a heck of a lot easier than the top. The 15-ers at the bottom were close to trivial (OZZIE AND HARRIET being immediate). As for the top: hand up for never hearing of BARRELHOUSE JAZZ. I had mEgAOHM before TERAOHM, so that messed me up for a while. (I just had to look up TERAOHM to see if there are any true industrial applications of the word. There are.) I don't know TV shows well, so SVU was also a while in coming, making GRIZZLED VETERAN harder to see, especially with the m instead of the T.

There's some nice stuff in there, some of which was pointed out by Rex. But he neglected to point out ANZAC, also nice. (His wife is a Kiwi, yes? I guess that'll be between him and her.)

And, not so nice stuff. (RETEE: not my cuppa.)

(Thanks, @bocamp. I have high hopes for td's as well.)

SouthsideJohnny 9:02 AM  

I kind of enjoyed this one, "quasi-theme" and all. Didn't understand the clue for PEEP (Nest protest) - It appears that PEEP is a synonym for "chirp" so that's cool.

I also enjoyed the spirited competition today - which went down to the wire as ANZAC edged UTNE in a photo-finish for made-up word of the day.

Piano Phil 9:04 AM  

Barrelhouse piano is right in my wheelhouse, along with boogie-woogie, but I’ve never heard the phrase BARRELHOUSEJAZZ. Frustrating DNF at UTNE/MNEMONIZE. Pleasantly surprised that nobody went on a ten-point Scrabble tile rant today.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

@8:56- You are way off base. Foreign numbers are commonly used in the Times Crossword. Look up UNO, DOS, TRES, CUATRO, etc. on Xword info. Also, there is an expression “to hit the sack” thus the punny NAP SACK clue.

Jwaan 9:10 AM  

I'm pretty sure I remember Pete Muller doing a ZZ Top theme for the MMMM a couple of years ago.

Barbara S. 9:11 AM  

@COT/sack people: "Hit the sack"

TTrimble 9:14 AM  

No, @Southside. Maybe you're kidding, but not made up. UTNE is a name. I'll let you look up ANZAC on your own.

Sir Hillary 9:28 AM  

Fun enough, and certainly qualifies as a theme. The unchecked Zs certainly seemed obvious enough to me. My favorite Rex comment is that the central black-square arrangement looks more like a 2 -- um, sure, if you write your 2s with a flat line across the top so they look like a Z.

@Z -- Frame this one. Few of us here will ever get as close to a tribute puZZle as this.

albatross shell 9:29 AM  

A 3 parentheses (parenthepodes) puzz.
Studied (up on) = BONED (up on)
Spaced (out) = ZONED (out)

So I was wrong. Parenthesis in CWs means add the parenthetical word or phrase to the answer in order to make the non-parenthetical word or phrase in the clue (with its parenthetical word or phrase) mean the same as the answer. Not nearly as muddy as I am making it sound.

So I bet you all knew this all the time and were just letting me discover it for myself. Much more satisfying. Thank you.

We will see if this is a consistent editing style.

The third use of parenthesis is in the parlance of this puzzle is a ROAN of a different color or a bleu PLAT spรจcial.

___ du jour (bistro special) = PLAT.

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

DODO was an immediate thought for 10A but this clue seems off. A bird with a duplicative name is DODO. Seems a bird with a REduplicative name would be DODODODO.

RooMonster 9:36 AM  

Hey All !
So, @Z is Alex? Sneaky, sneaky, @Z, putting in a "My meme" puz.
(I kid, I'm sure Z isn't Alex.)

Themed, themeless, who cares? Fun puz. Long time since we've had a puz with unchecked squares. It was Razzy. Snazzy, even.

Fell into the NEo for NEA trap, resulting in my one-letter DNF.

Even though Rex says it's easy to double stack 15's, I'm tellin' ya it ain't. Especially with each one having four Z's (or two pairs of Z's). Crossing those with double stacked 9's Down and coming up with any intelligible fill is tough. And those Downs were nice! (Technically three Down 9's, although the third one isn't stacked.)

So, a NEAT puz, nary a PEEP of negativity from me. We even get BONED for @John X.

No F's (I need to make an F puz!)

kitshef 9:39 AM  

From Merriam-Webster

Sack, definition 5b: BED
Cot, definition 2: a small usually collapsible BED

Think of 'sack' as in 'hitting the sack' or 'good in the sack'.

Nancy 9:43 AM  

@Barbara S (8:45) -- First of all, hearty congrats on your reduplicative name. I can't speak for anyone else, but as for me, I'm absolutely thrilled for you!

Second: While I agree with you on not caring much whether a puzzle is themed or unthemed, I'm afraid that I am someone who asks the question: "But is it art?" I'm sometimes driven to it, truly I am. And much too often, my answer is "Not bloody likely!"

While I recognize you, Barbara, as someone who will forget more about art than I will ever know, still, what would you say about THIS PAINTING -- seen on the 5th floor of the old Whitney by my brother and me, who had galloped (separately) through the Hopper exhibit as if on roller skates and arrived (separately) and ahead of the rest of the family on the non-Hopper fifth floor. I think its title was "Black on Black". And I do hope it was this one, since my research just now indicates a plethora of paintings called "Black on Black".

I turned to my brother and said "the emperor has no clothes." My brother turned to me and said "There's a sucker born every minute."

Mikey from El Prado 9:45 AM  

Pretty much a themed puZZle that solved like a themeless. I never tried to suss the theme throughout. In fact even after, I just saw all the Zs and the black squares “Z” and said ok, a bunch of Zs. But, really it was more than that with the double-Z fifteeners. And, I do think the black “Z” resembling a “2” was intentional. Wishful thinking perhaps.

Reno retired 9:47 AM  

My favorite mnemonic for the math people is chief SOH CAH TOA

Reno retired 9:48 AM  

Sine equals opposite over hypotenuse

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

I was over 60 when I first encountered the mnemonic “HOMES.” It continues to boggle my mind that anyone in the USA or Canada *needs* a mnemonic to remember the names of the Great Lakes. (And it doesn’t even put them in order.)

EdFromHackensack 9:51 AM  

RETEE? wrong in alot of ways

Geezer 9:56 AM  

Okay, "hit the sack" is a term for going to bed. A cot is simple "bed". But that doesn't make COT and sack interchangeable. You would not say, "I bought a new sack" to tell me that you bought a new bed. You would not say to the motel clerk, "I would like a queen size sack". Nor would a man say, "My jewels are in my COT". This clue-answer combo is not close enough for horseshoes, hand grenades or crossword puzzles.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

@Anon8:00 --

I too expected negative commentary from OFL for "Sot" today and "Nip" a few days back. But no! Maybe he's trying to avoid negative commentary to his university-liberalism here?

pmdm 10:01 AM  

Sunday through Thursday puzzles normally include a number of entries that are somehow related to each other. Does it matter if the relationship can be called a theme or (a sometimes better descriptor) motif? It certainly does if you are fond of semantical arguments. Personally, I don't care what you call it as long as you acknowledge it. The relationship helped me fill in some of the boxes in the puzzle, which means there has to be some relationship there.

If your argument that there is no theme needs explanation, I question if your argument is working.

After passing by the start of the write-up, I find it to be quite fair.

By the way, the % alcohol in a Guiness Stout is lower than most beers (at least the ones I drink). Which show you that alcohol content doesn't correspond necessarily to one's recognition of heaviness in a beer. And while I enjoy hoppy beers, a fresh pilsner is fine by me on a hot summer day. I suppose there's a time and place for everything.

Unless you are like my friend, who is allergic to grapefruit. He HATES hoppy beers. Or at least refuses to drink them.

JD 10:04 AM  

With the word art, this is obviously a brilliant puzzle. Did first pass and genius that I am, thought, "This puzzle has a lot of Zs." But don't know what golfers do after a bad drive, couldn't get Hes (such an ugly word), didn't know On_e or or ____ohm, or SV_, and the Veteran part of the Grizzled thing took a while to see.

All this is to say that Barrelhouse Jazz took forever to get. Yet I did get it and DNF.

I consider Neapolitan Pizza to be one of the basic food groups and read Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Quartet, and yet still think it's Neopolitan. After all those Zs I died on an A. I'm really bitter.

BTW @Barbara, You might like those books. My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child. Deep stuff I think.

@Nancy, I think Ad Reinhardt was an abstract expressionist. That painting expresses my mood about this puzzle today.

@Birch Bark, Congrats! I grinned. @Z, I actually laughed.

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

It was so refreshing to feel like I was on the constructor's wavelength. I haven't had that feeling in a long time. With that having been said, part of this were challenging for me, but not the long acrosses. Thanks to other people's comments here, I appreciate this puzzle more.

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

This one was challenging but mostly smooth until an embarrassing mistake held me up at the ORCA/ANZAC cross. I had written NeOpolitan instead of NeApolitan, and consequently I had ANZO going down. Then I read the clue on 61A as being about a bird for some reason, leading me to disregard ORCA (despite its frequent appearances) and put in ORWA.(Maybe a bird I'd never heard of? Wouldn't have been a first.) Finally figured out that it must be ORCA, but then had ANZOC until I gave up and Googled the Australian holiday, revealing my silly spelling mistake. Oh well. Sometimes that's just how it goes!

jazzmanchgo 10:11 AM  

Sorry, but "Barrelhouse Jazz" doesn't cut it. Merriam-Webster may define "barrelhouse" as a "strident, uninhibited, and forcefully rhythmic style of jazz or blues," but any musician will tell you that in the real world, it's a kind of blues piano style, with elements similar to boogie-woogie but less structured and less symmetrical in form. The name "barrelhouse" comes from the old taverns where liquor was stored in barrels -- according to legend, anyway, a pianist might sit on a plank supported by two of these barrels.

Frantic Sloth 10:19 AM  

Okay. Other than double Z's in the themers and maybe a kind of giant Z grid art, I don't get this theme.
What am I missing?
I mean, I think the themers have some shine and can stand on their own, but is this it? How many times do we have to drag Peggy Lee from her dirt nap to respond to these mysterious meanings?

I'm hoping all will be revealed and I can resume my rightful status as bonehead extraordinaire for whiffing at the meatball-pitch point.

ORANGELOS? I know tANGELOS as the tangerine/orange hybrid what does that make ORANGELOS? ORANGE/...ORANGE hybrids??
Dat ain't right.
Just looked it up. It's an ORANGE/grapefruit hybrid. Well, that name is just dumb then. But, I'll grant those two words do not a snazzy portmanteau make. Try it. Blech.

Something about how LAPAZ and ZONES are placed within that big "Z" in the starting and the other ending with Z.
What can it all mean?? Are all the secrets of the universe mine to win if can crack the code? Or will it just be another stuffed panda? I hate these carnival booth tests - they belong at a Festivus celebration. ๐Ÿ˜•

The puzzle had some chew for me which is always tasty, so it was a fun solve. I just wish I didn't feel like it all went sailing over my head.

๐Ÿง ๐Ÿง .5

albatross shell 10:21 AM  

Hit the sack. Sack is any bed. Thus COT.

Shaq wasn't a Laker long enough. Jabbar was more dominant as a Buck. So subtract those 6 years. His whole career: GOAT status. Mikan because of his being the first dominating big man, maybe but otherwise no comparison. Magic compares well with anyone. West especially if you add his executive career. Otherwise a bit of a stretch. And you forgot Elgin. Kobe was dominating for a much longer time and a lifelong Laker.

Ethan Taliesin 10:22 AM  

This was thoroughly enjoyable and I loved the fill. So maybe the computer had a massive wordlist...that's good, right?

Good ZZ Top song to include, Rex.

SouthsideJohnny 10:23 AM  

@TT - Yes, I was being tongue-in-cheek. Those two words are too good to pass up - I was having fun with them.

jae 10:25 AM  

Tough. BARREL...was a WOE as was EZRA and ORANGELO, so it took some extra nanoseconds to sort out the NW. This was fun, liked it, but I’m going on faith that MNEMONIZE is a real thing (my spell check doesn’t like it).

Whatsername 10:27 AM  

What just happened here? Well like Rex, I have no idea. Was it themed? Were we playing scrabble today? TERAOHM? RETEE? MNENOMIZE? The only NEAPOLITAN food I ever heard of was ice cream. TAP water seems not so much a choice as it is what you get if you fail to make a choice. The best part of the whole puzzle was the big Z in the grid.

The last time I saw OZZIE AND HARRIET they were both looking a little PASTY. But I didn’t want to be UNPC so I didn’t utter a PEEP about it.

Paul & Kathy 10:28 AM  

"I'm sure the NYTXW's house blog has "constructor notes" to explain (i.e. attempt to rationalize) all this"

Sure, they're at the end of the Wordplay column, written by Rachel Fabi today. Why not read it once you're done with the puzzle?

JD 10:36 AM  

Oh Anon@10:08, Thank you. I feel ever so slightly less dumb.

Carola 10:37 AM  

I thought this was a TRIPLE delight, with the central grid Z that announced the theme (or motif, or whatever the best word is), the dynamite grid spanners, and the six 9-letter Down winners. For me there was something can't-put-my-finger-on-why pleasing about the pairing of GRIZZLED VETERANS with BARREL HOUSE JAZZ, and I enjoyed the juxtaposition of 1950s middle-American OZZIE AND HARRiET and "exotic" NEAPOLITAN PIZZA. I also liked the fillip of the parallel DAZED and DOZER.

Help from previous puzzles: RAMONES. New to me: that "mnemonic" could be turned into a verb, and that OHM can have prefixes. Two stutter steps: the S for Shaq before scanning across to EZRA; the n of nene before looking ahead to ORATE.

albatross shell 10:43 AM

Also definition in MW, Collins, and Oxford music dictionary pretty much the same: An early style of jazz characterized by boisterous piano playing, group improvisation, and a two-beat rhythm.

snip snip

JD 10:49 AM  

@Albatross, 10:21 am, You're right. Kareem among the GOAT herd. Yes on Logo man (who saw what a 17-year-old could be) and Magic (the wider picture of that little thing about "saving the NBA" with Bird). But there's no disputing Kobe's accomplishments. He was there before he died.

mathgent 10:58 AM  

ZZZ. That's a symbol for boring. Totally appropriate for this puzzle.

albatross shell 11:02 AM  

From Robert Mueller on Quorum
(Yeah not as spell binding as @Barbara S's quotes. I know.)

Let me try offering a source of such part, just to verify there is such a thing. The maker is

TT electronics plc and please look for the series 3812 which is offered up to 100 Tohm.

Many of the answers I have seen until now show doubt such things might exist but that doubt is based in just never having been involved in industries or research where high value resistors open possibilities to do jobs better. For example, ionizing radiation measurement has been done with ionization chambers in which the gas (probably mostly air) is ionized by a charged particle entering the chamber or production of a charged particle by collision of a gamma ray with the walls, or maybe sometimes the gas itself. This is not much charge but it can be sensed (as a current) for moderate dose rates. There are no doubt many other applications. I am surprised not to see answers from workers in these fields. Conversely, only a small fraction of electronics experts ever have any need for such “exotic” parts.

For information, there is one answer including “I don’t think I’ve seen anything in electronics rated for more than 50 Meg”. As I write there is a spool of 5000 0805 resistors with 100 megohms each. They may not be very common but they are out there. A few gigaohm ones are in catalogs ready to be ordered.

Worries have been expressed about contaminants. There is a good reason for such worries and the data sheets I saw from the above company show a standard solution, the resistor lives in a sealed package (the packages I have are glass but ceramics seem to offer competition for the construction). We were taught you do not handle these with bare fingers which could leave parallel resistive paths seriously shifting the resistance and making it unstable (with humidity and well as just junk sticking to the skin oils).

To sum up, if you want a 99 Tohm resistor you can buy one with quite decent performance but it will take some patience and effort. There is a well-known distributor for these products so maybe purchasing one is not too hard. Maybe! Because the OP is right, these are rare.

ghostoflectricity 11:07 AM  

This is without doubt one of the absolute worst puzzles I have ever come across in the NYT. "Zeal" has never existed in plural form. The hanging "z's" are pointless, as is the entire quasi-theme involving, or apparently meant to involve, the 26th letter of the alphabet. NW was a major time-waster, as I started with "SSR", "SEASONEDVETERAN," and "SHAQ" at 1-A, before figuring out the actual answers. The clue for "smog" was egregiously bad. Yes, smog is a "cost" of manufacturing (actually only one contributor to air pollution) but, thanks to the death-grip the reactionaries have on regulatory and environmental policy (and everything else) in this country, it is what the economists call an "externality," with the "cost" borne by all of us rather than by the smog- or pollution-producing company, something not at all connoted by the clue. UGH to this whole puzzle.

jberg 11:08 AM  

I liked all the Zs -- and, for those wondering, those unchecked spaces are needed to mmake the big Z by grid art; given that they have to be there, putting a Z in each one seems like the only good solution.

@Barbara S., let me add my congratulations to @Nancy's!

What I didn't like was the ridiculous fill. First, things you would seldom hear, like RETEE. or ZEALS in the plural. Then words which can be rationalized but are basically ridiculous, like TERAOHM and MNEMONIZE (though I see that both have fans here). Then words which may be perfectly reasonable, except that I don't know what they are, even when I get them. SVU? DTS? Does football have Designated Tackles, like DHs in baseball? I guess the grid was pretty constrained, but still.

@Kitshef, Bolivia has two capitals; the Supreme Court is in Sucre, the President is in LA PAZ. Not as many as South Africa, but a respectable try.

@Nancy, @Barbara S. -- sometimes an artist is trying to make you ask "But is it art?" Duchamp's "Fountain," for example. As for Ad Reinhardt, I'm not a big fan, but I think he's trying to take color field painting (such as Rothko's) to its (il)logical extreme. The actual paintings, as opposed to pictures of them, have lots of variations of texture and hue that you can get lost in, if you so choose. As I said, it's not my sort of thing.

@Z, enjoy your day!

JC66 11:11 AM  


Mazel Tov!



Frantic Sloth 11:11 AM  

Huh. For once, it isn't me. Help me - I don't recognize this part of the woods! Grandmaaaa!!

Conveniently forgot to mention my anticipation of @Z's reaction to all this. I went with "insufferable", but am disappointed (??) he was barely "insuff". ๐Ÿ˜˜
But then I opened the 824am link. And insufferable says "we're back, baby!"

@albie 722am I would go with "natish" for the dangling natick. But, that's me.

@GILL 755am ๐Ÿคฃ Your OZZIEANDHARRIET interpretation is spot on! Only, I tend to doubt it would be spaghetti sauce - probably more like ketchup.

@Michiganman 800am I think he's from New ZZZZZZland. Sorry. ๐Ÿ™„

@JD 1004am If it's any consolation, and it shouldn't be, I also fell in the NE-o hole, but it didn't count as a DNF because I cheat. ๐Ÿ˜

pabloinnh 11:13 AM  

OK, so bed=COT="sack".

The problem I still have with this is that we say "hit the sack" for getting IN a bed, like you put something IN a sack, but you always lie ON a cot.

For a more complete rant, consult @geezer above.

Douglas 11:17 AM  

How did we not get a prolonged rant on UNPC??? Is Rex going soft? Has he finally realized that his wokeness is annoying?

Joseph Michael 11:20 AM  

Finally, a Zorro tribute puzzle. I’ve been wondering when one would turn up.

But is it still a “crossword” if the words don’t cross?

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Got it anyway, but hated the clue on ORCA, since a "postal code" is a ZIP code, and I was trying at first to think what animal's name sounded like a couple of numbers. Only the fact that it would have needed to be some kind of abbreviated number and the crosses clued me that "postal code" meant something slightly different, which isn't clever enough to have been anything but a misuse of the term. Being a code used by the post office for a state and being a "postal code" are not quite the same thing.

This one was a total slog full of obscure and dated trivia and occasional nonsense words. Sure MNEMONIZE produces Google results but none of those results is anything like Mirriam Webster. Closest thing to a dictionary is wiktionary. Again, guessed it from crosses, but it was gross.

Cluing definitely felt like late week difficulty to me, not mid week.

td 11:25 AM  

I'm interested in both jazz and pizza.

Nancy 11:33 AM  

@jberg -- DTS stands for Defensive Tackles. As opposed to OTS, Offensive Tackles, (not to be confused with OTS for overtimes). You also have your left-right demarcations, as in LTS and RTS, LGS and RGS, LES and RES. (Though perhaps the latter are all just split ends now.) This should help you in innumerable abbreviation-riddled, football-laden future puzzles.

As for the different textures in the Black-on-Black painting -- yes, I got close enough to the painting to see that they were there, but I certainly didn't "get lost" in them. In fact, I was completely underwhelmed.

Newboy 11:38 AM  

So relaxed after a blue sky & SEA BREEZE week at the coast (Bainbridge Island) that I totally missed that obvious central letter until puzzle partner ORATEd, “lotta Z’s today.” Finally her comment reverberated against the existing PIZZA, OZZIE and JAZZ in the grid to make my VETERAN a GRIZZLED one and this one was done. Almost would have made sense to run on a Thursday? Gotta agree with OFL that Alex was stretching for some of the fill, but I can live with that by midweek.

What? 11:59 AM  

I’m imagining I proposed this “theme” to Shortz and was then barred from ever submitting again. But what do I know.

Masked and Anonymous 12:05 PM  

yep. M&A's first five reactions to this WedsPuz:

1. This puz is gonna be one big Z-fest.
2. @Z oughta like this.
3. Zorro!
4&5. SHAQ & SSR (yo, @GILL I.)

Not sure I'm sold on doin math in French with the clue numbers. (See 13-D) Thinkin I like it about an ANZAC's worth. [snort] -- Australian & New Zealand Army Corps meat, btw.

staff weeject pick: Z. Appearin today at both 24.5-D and 48-D. The rare wee-wee-weeject double-sightin.
Primo weeject quint-stacks above and below the grid's Papa Z, btw.

Thanx for the Z's, Mr. Vratsanos dude. Will let it go, as M&A is sure it'd be awful hard to come up with many double-U themers, I reckon. Altho … WELLEXCUUUUUSEME might work. Then there's MUUMUUSALE. Or maybe VACUUMSEALED … or …

Masked & Anonymo4Us

… this made m&e feel a little better, about that whole more Z's than U's thing:


bocamp 12:15 PM  

I too started with SSR, but the 'Q' in SHAQ didn't sit right for the down clue, so moved east to get AMISH and proceeded from there.


"Anzac Day (/หˆรฆnzรฆk/) is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served".[1][2] Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the First World War (1914–1918)." (Wikipedia)

The Adventures of OZZIE AND HARRIET was always a must watch, especially for Ricky Nelson's feature solos: The Adventures Of OZZIE & HARRIET - Who Is Betty? (11:49 in).

@PuzFreak (6:50 AM)

Ditto on all the musical MNEMONIcs except 'All Cows Eat Grass' and/or 'All Cars Eat Gas', so thx for those. ๐Ÿฎ

@Trey (7:06 AM)

Good catch on the 'imperfect' mega Z. :)

@albatross shell (7:22 AM)

I think I'm gonna have to adopt your method of checking and double-checking before entering the last letter. I'm just too careless (sloppy) on my first go-thru. Otoh, I could take more time to check the crosses and deal with issues on the first go-around, obviating the need for time spent double-checking. One way or t'other … (or both). LOL

I had the same thot re: NEAPOLITAN. I've misspelled it before with the 'o' (hi @JD (10:04 AM) / @Anonymous (10:08 AM) / @Frantic Sloth (11:11 AM)), but managed to recall that previous gaffe to my advantage this time. Didn't quite offset the KOBI / IZRA blunder, tho, which I'd likely have caught, had I used one of the aforementioned methods. ๐Ÿค”

@pabloinnh (7:51 AM)

Same thot as you upon noticing the big Z at the outset. (hi @Z)

@Z (8:08 AM)

I'll go with all your picks along with KOBE. I'd add Elgin Baylor to the mix (hi @albatross shell (10:21 AM). Any of them could be #1, depending on the metrics used. Mikan and Baylor were among my faves back in the day. ๐Ÿ€

@Douglas (11:17 AM)

LOL, my first thot as well, upon seeing UNPC. ๐Ÿ˜‚

pg -5 (not quite as optimistic as you on this one @TTrimble) LOL

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

JD 12:15 PM  

Ahhhh @Frantic, That changes everything. It means that's the way it SHOULD be spelled. Even if the pizza originated in Naples, which should probably be Neples.

Mathgent, Wake up! Joaquin's dictum siting on Cot/Sack/Bed.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

Every Good Boy Deserves Favor

TERAOHM?? megaOHM, sure; that's in real circuits, sometimes.

another complainer about RETEE - you only do it to REdrive, and that's only when the ball is out-of-bounds, unplayable, lost. 'bad golf drive' just means 'not in the fairway'. geez. and I don't even play golf.

JBH 12:25 PM  

Northeast definitely the hardest section.

At first I had 1A SHAQ and 1D SSR. Then put 14A SEASONED VETERAN.

Fun puZZle!

JonP 12:43 PM  

I was 99% sure this would work out to be a ZZ Top theme and that I just wasn't seeing it.

That old David who rarely posts any more 12:43 PM  

Thank you ghostofelectricity at 11:07 for explaining that weird reality of the USA.

I'm quite convinced that, when the history of the decline of our great country is written, the Chicago School and Milton Friedman will loom large in the story. Not only did they give us the horrid idea of "externalities," but they also taught us, in the latter 1970s, that we are not citizens in a community but are, rather, consumers in competition with each other for government goods and services in a zero-sum battle for more stuff.

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Your cantankerousness never ceases to amaz(z)e. It's really remarkable.

Chip Hilton 12:45 PM  

Geez, over-think much!? Yes. It’s a big old Z, first thing you see when you look at the grid. All the fifteens have double Zs and inside the crooks of the big old Z are two marooned Zs. All in all, pretty darn cool. And, maybe Alex figured out the 15 stacks on his own, no computer help. How do you know he didn’t? Leaves me wondering: What color is the sky in your world, Rex?

Enjoyed this interesting Wednesday. I actually blocked on KOBE, running through Jabbar, West, and King James in my mind first. Speaking of hoops and kings, all hail the amazing Giannis Antetokounmpo! A worthy NBA champion and, by all accounts, one terrific human being.

BARRELHOUSEJAZZ - new to me. OZZIEANDHARRIET (and Dave and Rick) - a regular feature of my childhood. Even named a parakeet after Ozzie because the bird didn’t do much either.

Frantic Sloth 12:48 PM  

@JD 1215pm Agreed. Except "Neples"? In honor of @Barbara S's new-found reduplicative status...
Nope, "Noples". (It's a stretch, but all my quips are "yoga jokes" you know)

KRMunson 12:49 PM  

No comments on PASTYs? They’ve been a fav in my house for generations. Actually they are Cornish in origin.

Amy 1:05 PM  

Loved it.

Teedmn 1:05 PM  

I'm not going to say I found this boring because it isn't true, but I did DOZER off twice towards the end so I don't know how long this took, if it was easy or hard. I blame the ZZ's.

I blanked at 35A; with COR in place, could only think of CORRupt. Close to "rusted" but not quite.

Thanks, Alex, this was fun. And I never once thought the Z looked like a 2 until both Jeff Chen and Rex commented on it.

albatross shell 1:12 PM  

If people who rant about Rex PC rants, and rant about them even when he doesn't make them, never get tired why should he. Cause he is better than them, I guess.

@bo camp
I used that "system" today because I respected the puzzle enough to really want to nail it. Often I do not mind giving a puzzle a cursory check and then check more or use the sloth system. On Sunday often just react to no music by just pushing the check puzzle and work on the reds. Keep this between you and me.

JD 1:13 PM  

@Frantic, Flug, I misspelled the misspell.

Douglas 1:19 PM  

Ha- nice try on the burn there. Yes, the rant on the non-rant definitely makes one person better than the other. That makes total sense.

rjkennedy98 1:21 PM  

Very strange puzzle. I liked a decent amount of the fill, but I can't help thinking that basing a puzzle around a letter like Z is a bad idea. Maybe if the answers had something to do with Z other than just containing the letter twice I would feel better about it, but the whole thing felt artificial and empty. As Rex mentioned it appeared that the constructor had a gigantic word list, filtered it on having two ZZs and went from there. Themes should have some wit and character IMHO.

old timer 1:24 PM  

Pretty Easy, except I too wrote in "seasoned VETERAN' before realizing he was GRIZZLED. Of course I remember OZZIE AND HARRIET, probably the first TV show I watched every single week as a child. It was a little tame, even then -- but once I had a radio next to my bed, I was hooked on radio for life. I even preferred Jack Benny on the radio, and especially loved Suspense.

I have a special connection to Don Defore, who played Thorny on the original OZZIE AND HARRIET show, and was a regular Suspense actor too. He was my next door neighbor for many years -- though I was way to polite to ever ask about his work (our other neighbor founded Orowheat Bread, and his work did not seem interesting to a 7 year old). And for some reason, I never knew the DeFore kids, who were likely much older than I was. I did know the Mitchum kids, who lived across the street. It was a pretty exclusive neighborhood, and most of my neighbors had horses. We had a fruit orchard, instead.

GILL I. 1:46 PM  

@BIRCHBARK....Yay, you. Of course you're there and are canoe material......
@@Frantic and @JD. I seriously want to have a drinky poo with you two. I may never come home again! Oh wait, who will cook for my husband?

Donna 2:00 PM  


old timer 2:10 PM  

U know Naples was the Roman Neapolis, which means "new town". Did it get the name because it was a replacement for the ruined Pompeii? Or, since "polis" is Greek, was it named by the Greeks, who founded cities in the South of Italy, on the coasts? That I don't know.

Interesting fact: Our English names for Italian cities, including Florence, Venice, Naples, Milan, and Rome itself (but not Genoa, for some reason) are all imported from the French. I am sure the Anglo-Saxons had a name for Rome, but that also I do not know.

Son Volt 2:19 PM  

@old timer 1:24p - very cool. I didn’t watch the Nelsons much as my dad was not a fan but do remember DeFore as Mr. B on Hazel and in my favorite Christmas movie It Happened on Fifth Avenue.

Bad Mouse 2:26 PM  

@ghost... has it almost right. externalities are quite real, both in econ theory/practice and real-life. just ask anyone who's lived in Woburn or along the Love canal or Pittsburgh (here's a picture ) until they got their act together. climate change has existed for more than the last few years. geometric growth in populations, and a fixed resource endowment here on Mother Earth just means that what looked like a manageable linear creeping up of The Bad Stuff in the 19th and 20th centuries has hit the bend in the hockey stick. "To the moon, Alice!"

makes one wonder why the so-called Conservatives (political and economic) geezers are content to leave their kids and grand kids a burnt out cinder of a planet. what, exactly, are they Conserving? other than momentary personal wealth, of course.

as to who bears the cost. depends on the polluter's market power. for a monopolist, anyone who comes into contact with the externality, since the monopolist just dumps the bad shit into the public. in a purely Adam Smith-ian economy, only those who buy the offending product, since the cost of mitigating the pollution would exist (since the competitive market incurs all costs) in the Bill of Materials for the product. fact is, there is little to no 'free market' for anything these days, just more or less monopolistic/oligopolistic markets. ain't progress grand?

Richard in NM 2:46 PM  

King Paul Caught Oysters From Grey Sea was helpful in Biology class.

EASTAIPFASP (don't ask) saved my ass in Criminal Procedure.

Sam B. 2:56 PM  

Not sure if noted already, but there was a ZZ TOP puzzle done recently:

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

Who doesn’t come to a crossword blog to hear a dorm room discussion about pollution and climate change ? You guys must be sophomores !

pabloinnh 3:51 PM  

@Richar in NM=-

Hey, you reminded me of King Phillip Came Over From Geneva Switzerland.

Hadn't thought of that one in a while.

albatross shell 3:53 PM  

Love that handle by the way. Didn't the bones in your face smile just a little because SMOG is an "overhead" cost? No charge from TERAOHM either? Too bad. I'll go find a dump truck.

I am not a fan of TERAOHM.
Some one said no such thing on Earth existed. I was curious if that was true. You can buy multi-teraohm resistors.

RETEE is something Mr. Mulligan does all the time. Accurate and funny. Humor in cluing. Hot Damn. Not a quip puzzle. A quip clue. The meteor didn't kill them off too I hope.
Sorry everything after Damn was about SMOG, not RETEE. But if RETEE was clued What Mr. Mulligan does after a bad drive...

Yeah, well it makes sense to me. I will settle for "why should Rex be better" if you like. And I was riffing off your post but I did not really consider it a rant. Cumulative effect. You ended up getting the POKE.

albatross shell 3:56 PM  

I just come here to get laid

JeffE 3:57 PM  

Z's are always fun!

Barbara S. 3:58 PM  

@Nancy (9:43), @jberg (11:08), @Frantic Sloth (12:48 PM)
Many thanks for your congratulations on my newly discovered reduplicative status. It’s all so lovely and unexpected [wiping away a stray tear]. I shall treasure this day of revelation forever [sniff].

@JD (10:04)
Thanks for the Neapolitan Quartet recommendation. Those books have been on my radar since I stumbled on the TV series, which I have found fascinating and addictive. I’ve heard it said that the adaptation is true to the source material, but it must leave out so much. I look forward to diving into the books SOON.

@Nancy and @jberg
As with just about anything, the more you know about art the more interesting and comprehensible it becomes – yes, even the most challenging art of the last 50-100 years. I have no hesitation in calling Reinhardt’s work art. He was on a lifelong exploration of the limits of painting, both on canvas and in his writings. His work went through a progression from brightly colored, densely patterned, almost calligraphic, through increasing simplification until he arrived at the monochromatic black-on-blacks. But as @jberg says, they aren’t actually unmodulated monochrome – they have layers and veils and half-seen shapes and spaces. Reinhardt knew these works couldn’t be photographically reproduced, and that was part of his brief, as he thought all art had to be seen directly and in the flesh.

Once artists looked beyond depicting the outer world (through which we move), to the inner world (in which we think and feel), it was inevitable that they would experiment with pushing the boundaries of expression as far from the traditional as possible and into the new. Reinhardt never ceased talking about the absolute purity of abstraction. And no, it wasn’t a scam or a trick. It was his life’s work, the development of which you can trace through his career. Reinhardt is not my favorite artist – I wouldn’t hang a black-on-black in my living-room. But I think there’s no doubt about his artistic integrity and the authenticity of the creative journey he was on.

@Nancy, I’d love to stroll with you through MOMA, the Guggenheim or the Whitney – oh, the spirited arguments we could have! And we’d be sure to attract a crowd, as spectators of challenging art are always drawn like moths to flame in the direction of anyone who might be saying something remotely interesting. If I ever again get to New York, how about it!

Penna Resident 4:00 PM  

ha. i was going to rhetorically ask if anyone else started with SSR SHAQ and SEASONED VETERAN, knowing that no one else would do that. had to leave that corner alone for a while, then after filling all the other Zs i knew that second S having a Z sound was not consistent. so i have to disagree with those calling this themeless because the theme made me change that corner to Z words.

Frantic Sloth 4:09 PM  

@GILL 146pm ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ If only there weren't a law against it. What's that? There isn't a law against it? My money's on a new legislative land-speed record for enacting one soon after we get together. Then again, if @JOHN X is still legal in 26 states...

Z 4:40 PM  

Why do I feel like everyone is talking about me today?

@Albie and others re Greatest Laker - I don’t know how one actually compares a Mikan to a KOBE other than by variance from the mean of their era. And, of course, we don’t even really have the same advanced stats (heck, sometimes not even the same counting stats) so even doing that sort of comparison is hard. Nevertheless, just taking a look at the all-time scoring leaders in the NBA you see that KOBE is not as apart from the players of his era as Kareem and Wilt are from the players of their eras. Of Laker players (i.e. - players who played large chunks of their careers as Lakers) nobody is better than Kareem and Magic, KOBE comes in no higher than third.

@BIRCHBARK - We should email Vratsanos and demand he do a BIRCHBARK grid art puzzle.

@Roo - I looked at the constructor’s pic - I haven’t been that young in decades.

@Frantic Sloth - You clicked on it!?!?! This may be the only time in history where a Sex Pistols video could serve as a palate cleanser, so click on my earlier link. Mahna Mahna.

Anoa Bob 4:42 PM  

Started this one last night and picked up on the Z thing right away. Then along comes RETEE and it sucked all the ZEALS out of my solve buZZ. Decided to hit the sack and get some Zs.

I consider myself a GRIZZLED VETERAN crossworder so I soldiered on this afternoon and finished it but with one error; I had NEOPOLITAN PIZZA crossing ANZOC. Still looks okay to me.

With such an odd, biZarre even, arrangement of black squares, I thought there must be something else going on other than a Z fest to justify the flaunting of the "Crosswords must not have unchecked squares (i.e., all letters must be found in both Across and Down answers)" rule, per the NYT Crossword submission guidelines. Guess not.

And those 3s. If there were any solve ZEALS left, the plethora of 3s would have done them in.

The two POCs that stood out the most to me were 1) a long down hybrid fruit that was too short for its spot and 2) one of the Z themers.

Anonymous 4:46 PM  


I didn't say TERAOHM didn't exist, only that megaOHM values show up in common circuits. the only mention of TERAOHM I could find is in some test instruments. not likely to be found next to your Xbox.

"In general for common circuit use about 20 Mohm is the around largest you can commonly buy. "

and, No, that's not me.

Frantic Sloth 5:17 PM  

@Z 440pm And this may be the only time in history where I'd say "thank Gof for The Sex Pistols!"
Of course I clicked on it - I trust you implicitly. Is there a salve for that?

Smirkin 5:57 PM  

This might be a little bit nit picky, but the clue for 37A is wrong. They were never “The” RAMONES, just Ramones.

Anonymous 6:01 PM  

What is a triple ipa? Jim

A 6:40 PM  

Yay, a @Z tribute puzzle! Happy to see Rex gave a thumbs up to @BIRCHBARK! Thought @Z deserved more respect from Rex though. How is “ZZ” not the theme? A very simple theme. Although I think the grid-art Z actually is a wild card, and combines with the other Z entries to make the theme actually “ZZZ.” Which is appropriate since I couldn’t stay asleep last night and ended up being a late DOZER.

So we have a big Z slashing through the puzzle and no reference to Zorro? Zounds, it’s a travesty! Oh, wait, there is a NEAT STAB crossing - thanks for tossing us that Z-BONE, Alex.

Had to skip 1A. Knew I knew the name but it wasn’t surfacing. Buzzed around and found ONZE AMISH piled in their buggy. Then mozzarella caught my eye and the PIZZA was served. Too young for OZZIE AND HARRIET but after getting OZ— what else could it be. Things did get squirrelly in the west - didn’t know ORANGELOS, which are an orange/grapefruit cross. The name doesn’t suggest grapefruit, but I can see the difficulty: grapeange? orangfruit? grorange? The PLAT du jour was mystery meat, but I imagine this book explains it.

The real wild ride was before CORRODE I had oxidize, in my mind supporting the “Z theme.” Anyway, BIRCHBARK put me back on course, but I still only had —RR—-, so would it be —RRify or —RRige or —RRide? Wait, —RRODE, come on out, you little CORRODE, I see you there. ON VIDEO and done.

@pabloinnh, @OffTheGrid, those blinding headlights are a pet peeve. What happened to having to set your headlights so they don’t shine in other drivers’ eyes? It’s a real haZard.

With a tip of the HAT to the ‘down under’ reference, today’s composer is Hirini Melbourne, 1949-2003, who was instrumental in reviving interest in the Maori and their music. I like the name of his group, The Harmonic Resonators.

TTrimble 6:44 PM  

I've never used ZEAL as a countable noun before, and although it's listed as a Scrabble word, it may be that ZEALS is the plural of ZEAL only in the sense of a group of zebras (yes! it's called a zeal of zebras), which is not the sense given in the clue. A cursory look at online dictionaries didn't turn up for me any mention of ZEALS as "passions". Maybe I didn't look hard enough. (I don't feel like hauling out my hard-to-read compact OED.)

Do people in New ZEALand speak of their ZEALS?

td: 0

CreamyT 7:29 PM  

Cruised through it, then got stuck where a lot of ppl did - had NEoPOLITANPIZZA, had no clue what ANZAC was, and unfortunately was not familiar with the term "BONED" up on. I still had fun, despite some of the grid's awkardness. Solid Wednesday IMO!

Nancy 7:47 PM  

@Barbara S (3:58)-- You're on, Barbara! I welcome your invitation with much anticipation and hope that you do manage to "get back again" to NYC. Since you're a Canadian, I had no idea you'd ever been here in the past. If you've mentioned it at some point on the blog, I either missed it or have forgotten it -- forgetting things being something I'm extremely good at.

Interestingly enough, my two best NYC museum experiences by far were at the Met with another Barbara S (or at least she was an "S" prior to marriage). One of my closest friends, if not my closest, Barbara had been an art history major at Smith. Her knowledge was wide and deep, her enthusiasm contagious, and she brought a warmth and personal touch to her comments that were not available over the headphones I'd been talked into renting from time to time in the past. Of course I knew she'd be a great museum "docent" -- we'd travelled to Europe together and, when I told her I enjoyed the art in Rome and Venice a lot more than the art in Florence and that if I saw one more Madonna and Child I was going to scream, she explained to me that that was because I preferred the High Renaissance to the Low Renaissance and then provided interesting reasons as to why she thought that was my preference.

Your (well-earned) reward for shepherding me around a museum will be drinks and hors d'oeuvres at my place (about 7 blocks from the Guggenheim). You may find you need a drink or two:) Where art is concerned, I'm a bit of a philistine, as you probably have already surmised. Also, weather permitting, we can take a stroll through part of Central Park which is a stone's throw away from the Guggenheim.

Looking forward to it, Barbara. Come soon!

Bad Mouse 8:14 PM  

@3:07- I’m a rising senior not a sophomore wiseass.

Anonymous 8:21 PM  

What happened to having to set your headlights so they don’t shine in other drivers’ eyes? It’s a real haZard.

one of the justifications, at least when I first got the license, for sealed beam headlights was that they were harder to fiddle with and were set at manufacture, of course. in my state at that time, you had to have a 'safety inspection' twice a year. among other things, they checked the headlights for accuracy up/down and left/right. they also pulled a wheel and brake drum (yes that long ago) to check that drum and shoe were less than worn through. we've had Subarus for a while, and switching out a bulb isn't much of a pain. a Honda CRV was a total pain.

A 9:43 PM  

@Nancy and @Barbara S, please oh please oh please have someone document your tour and make a video! (@Frantic, @Joe D are you listening?) Then share it with those of us who wish we could've been there with you!

@albatross, thank you for nailing down the parenthesis problem, mud and all - I had intuited the insinuation but remained ignorant of a real rule.

Z 9:55 PM  

@TTrimble - In Crossworld every noun is a countable noun. For example this website uses the example of “milk” as an uncountable noun, but there are all kinds of milks, Whole, 2%, chocolate, goat. The same logic can be used to justify ZEALS, I have a ZEAL for Ultimate and Crosswords among other ZEALS. This logic drives many people nuts, but Shortz and team don’t seem to care.

@Anon/Jim - IPA is a beer style, an India Pale Ale. A double IPA has a higher percentage of alcohol and more hops. A TRIPLE IPA will generally be 10% ABV or stronger.

@Smirkin - Yep. I don’t know if this is the official website, but elsewhere on the interwebs agree with you.

@Frantic Sloth - I was surprised nobody else had gone The Muppets before me. MNEMONIZE works really well as a mondegreen lyric.

Bruce Fieggen 9:57 PM  

So nice to see ANZAC. My father owned a vintage Armstrong Siddeley limousine when we were growing up in Melbourne and every year we had the privilege of driving a GRIZZLEDVETERAN of Gallipoli in the ANZAC parade. Each year he took one of us kids so I got to meet him. What an honor.

Dan M 11:49 PM  

I always remembered it as Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, which is fine unless you're talking about the doggo type of Good Boy.

1ghzwiz 12:13 AM  

LEDs run on a fraction of the energy. They reduce the weight of the wire harness dramatically which adds to better fuel efficiency And the are 25x more reliable than the old auto lights .

albatross shell 2:25 AM  

See the post at 733am. That is what I was replying to. Although he did add a practically in his final sentence. He seems to be in your boat. I went looking on google to see if he was right. I found a discussion. The more informed people in the discussion said they actually used teraohm resistors and where and what they used them for. Which is the reason the word is in dictionaries. So no problem with the answer. Then you send me a link of the same discussion I quoted from. Why? I already read it. And I am suppose to think someone in that discussion is you and that somehow it will change my mind. Why. Just stop.

Kobe played at least 6 more years as a Laker and scored many more 1000s of points. Greatest doesn't necessarily mean dominance compared to the rest of the league in their era. That can just mean rules and styles and accidents of fate can change things a great deal. Mikan forced rule changes and was the Bird Johnson Jordan Russell Chamberlain of his time. Big strong agile men were rare. And when the shot clock came in people think it hurt his game. As did the widening of the lane. Kobe is arguably the greatest Laker. I do not want to put him ahead of Johnson cause Johnson was magical. Kobe merely great. I would say Kobe is at worst third. Longevity is a factor. Interesting factoid: Baylor had almost as many points as the other non-Kobe Lakers did and is first in rebounds. Really we are not disagreeing about much here.

jsp 10:19 PM  

@Smirkin is absolutely correct

Unknown 10:32 AM  

Yes, but can't they be made in such a way as to not be blinding to other drivers?? Thereby making our roads less safe??

thefogman 9:20 AM  

This puzzle is screaming for a clue with Zorro as the answer. Mark of _____ symbolized by the dark squares in the centre of the grid. Not bad. But it could have been better with a Zorro reference.

thefogman 10:13 AM  

PS - And replace 27A LAPAZ with ZZZZZ. Sleeping, as indicated in comics.

spacecraft 11:20 AM  

What "2?" Anybody who doesn't immediately see a large Z at first glance needs his eyes examined. This helped with the solve; the moment I saw the Nelsons I wrote in OZZIEANDHARRIET, and knew that the other 15s were probably going to contain Z's as well. Noting the two uncrossed (okay, unchecked if that's crossword constructorese) squares and seeing Bolivian capital, I knew Z went into both of them. This was a big help south, where I had _ONED, and probably would have needed to run the alphabet (!) to get ZONED.

There may be such a thing as an ORANGELO--but don't try to play that in Scrabble against me. I'll challenge and win. I do not know about MNEMONIZE; the Scrabble dictionary doesn't list words of 9 or more letters. To say the least, it's a preposterous word. Ditto TERAOHM. They were really reaching on this one. Perhaps this drive should have been RETEEd.

On the plus side, there's some diverting longer fill, so points for that. DOD has to be HARRIET Nelson: she did give us Ricky. The so-called "rules" get broken all the time (the grid shall be 15x15...except when it isn't), so no deduction for the pair of lonesome Z's. Par.

Geome 12:54 PM  

Barbara S: Love all your excerpts and commentary but fear a little for Nancy and her upcoming museum adventures with you.
Your comments on art struck a decidedly 'precious' note, and - as for your assertion that you'll draw a crowd whilst holding forth in public - decidedly cringeworthy.
I hope you are right, and that your comments will be illuminating and that Nancy - and the masses - will be held in thrall whilst being edified, but I can't help but be reminded of the pedantic professor played by Michael Sheen in Woody Allen's (can you still reference him in Rex's blog?) Midnight in Paris...
That having been said, I wish you both well, hope my fears are for naught, and that it turns out to be a wonderful adventure for you both.
Just remember, a little humility goes a long way...

Burma Shave 1:09 PM  


'til he BONED up on HARRIET


Anonymous 1:14 PM  

Surprised at the hate this one generated. Seemed a workable, enjoyable Wednesday puzzle.

rondo 1:21 PM  

A lot of Zs, like many posts to this blog (by the self-proclaimed arbiter of right and wrong).

Take your TRIPLEIPA and ANY other IPA or craft brew for that matter. Gimme a Lager or Pilsner that takes some time and skill to brew.

NIA Vardalos, 'nuff said.

Think I'll catch me some Zs.

Diana, LIW 1:24 PM  

Wondering if we were sailing the Seven Zs this morning. But I guess that wasn't exactly the intended pun.

Then...I was hoping for some kind of double/triple pangram, but letters were missing.

Anyway, those thoughts occupied me whilst solving, and solving was not difficult.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Diana, LIW 1:27 PM  

Hey @Spacey - mnemonics are memory devices - I used to teach memory techniques as part of a course on learning. Pretty standard down on Memory Lane.

Lady Di

thefogman 3:56 PM  

EGBDF = Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge & “FACE in space” are both mnemonics used to teach names of the musical notes on a treble clef scale…

Anonymous 5:59 PM  

The seat of the government and executive capital is La Paz.

spacecraft 7:09 PM  

Oh, I know mnemonics; how about WAJMMAJ for the first 7 presidents? The verb form, MNEMONIZE, I suppose is inferable enough, but it's still--IMHO--preposterous. I've certainly never seen it written or heard it spoken.

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