It's found near a trap / THU 8-12-2021 / Sch. with a campus in Narragansett / Michelle who was FIFA's Female Player of the Century / It was once sold medically under the commercial name Delysid / Home to the oldest continuously functioning university in the Americas (since 1551) / Channel with the slogan "Boom."

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Constructor: Jake Halperin

Relative difficulty: medium (slightly tipsy 3:45)

THEME: CALLS IT LIKE IT IS [What each asterisked clue's answer does, to correct a misnomer?] — each clue is technically correct, but not what we'd call it: the FUNNY BONE is actually a NERVE, etc.

Theme answers:
  • FUNNY BONE NERVE [Sensitive part of the elbow]
  • SHOOTING STAR METEOR [Oft-wished-upon sighting]
  • KOALA BEAR MARSUPIAL [Symbol of Australia]
  • PANAMA ECUADAOR HAT [Headwear made from jipijapa fibers]

Word of the Day: KEKE [Actress/TV host Palmer]
Lauren Keyana "Keke" Palmer (born August 26, 1993) is an American actress, singer and television personality. She is known for playing leading and character roles in comedy-drama productions, and her accolades include a Black Reel Award, six NAACP Image Awards, and nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award, a Daytime Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. An influential figure in popular culture, she was included on Time magazine's list of most influential people in the world in 2019. (Wikipedia)
• • •
It me yet again, occasional indie constructor Christopher Adams filling in for Rex while he's trapped in the JFK airport. The most I can say about JFK: at least it's not Newark. Hopefully he should be free from there and back home and blogging by tomorrow, but while he's off fighting evil airplanes or something, I'm filling in here.

Pretty straightforward theme for a Thursday, IMO; my usual gambit of filling in the first row and then trying all the downs off that wasn't too successful, but getting HOHO / HEH / OPUS / OCHOA gave me confidence that 20-A was SHOOTING STARS...which didn't fit, but most of the downs through the first half of that worked, and so it was easy to assume that the second word was changing. Those downs through SHOOTING gave me FUNNY, and when BONE didn't fit, that confirmed the changing words. Would've found it sooner if I'd looked at the reveal—the clue there really spells things out way too explicitly, IMO—but got there soon enough, and the bottom half went down pretty quickly.

YMMV on whether pedantic corrections / "well, actually..." is a fun theme or not, and probably that's the basis of your judgment here. With some tweaks, this could absolutely have run on a Tuesday or Wednesday, but I have no problems with this on a Thursday—to paraphrase Will Shortz, Thursday is only supposed to be harder than Wednesday; it doesn't have to have a gimmick necessarily. I would have liked to see the clues beefed up to be a little more difficult overall to make it more of a Thursday, but this was a fine puzzle, ignoring day of the week concerns.

renegades by x ambassadors—they're from ithaca, new york!

One thing I didn't notice until typing out the theme clues / entries was that the first three all change the last word, while the last changes the first word. This is, generally, something that should be avoided if possible, and I know Will Shortz likes to avoid that (revisions for this puzzle, for instance, changed it so that the theme change was consistently at the first word of each phrase). Ideally, all four theme entries would've followed the same pattern: either all at the end or all at the beginning; failing that, having two of each) is also fine since there's not really a pattern to break. But having three use the first word (and especially the first three, which sets the solver up to expect the fourth to also use the first word, only to get a c-c-c-combo breaker) is probably the least desirable outcome.

But like I said, I only noticed that while typing this up, and it didn't trip me up while solving: partially because having a reveal in the middle breaks up the theme pattern (even though it's not a theme answer, visually, it's in the grid in a spot where it interrupts those answers), and partially because by the time I got to the last theme answer, I'd already filled in the reveal and so dropped in ECUADOR HAT without thinking about theme details such as this.

i have no compelling reason from the grid to include this; it's just funny

Otherwise, I thought it was really nice how the theme answers were stacked—the constructor didn't have to do that, but it made for a bit of an interesting grid. And working in things like HIGH HEELS, TANGENTIAL, RENEGADE, SALVADOR (albeit too easily clued for a Thursday, but still fun), DITTO MARKS, and AT A GLANCE through two or three theme answers each made for fun moments while solving. I could have done without EQUI-, SYS, ALLO, URI (why not just make it BAD / ARI, for instance), etc., but overall this was more good than bad.

  • LADY ["___ Bird" (2017 film)] — Only pointing this out because it was a good reminder of this collab from way back when.
  • DELT [It's found near a trap] — Here referring to muscles: trapezius and deltoid. I suspect the crossing of DELT / LUNN [Sally ___ (English teacake)] will be a sore spot for many solvers; the clue for DELT is definitely one of the trickier ones in this puzzle, but you still want to make sure that those are crossed fairly and all.
  • ONE [Common typo for an exclamation point] — A keyboard key clue; if you don't press the shift key, you'll end up with a 1 instead of a ! and mess up your password and get locked out and (the horror!) have to call an actual live human being in tech support to get unlocked (as ! does).
  • KEKE [Actress/TV host Palmer] / AKERS [Michelle who was FIFA's Female Player of the Century] — I did not know either of these names before solving and had to fill both in from crosses. And you know what? I am glad to have learned about both of them. More fill like this in crosswords, please.
Yours in puzzling, Christopher Adams, Court Jester of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 2:32 AM  

Medium. I got hung up on the DELT/LUNN cross. The latter was a WOE and it took a while to grok the former. Otherwise mostly easy. Clever, liked it.

okanaganer 2:47 AM  

WooHoo! I'm happy tonight cuz the .puz link worked again. Reprieved another day!

I really liked the theme: factual corrections to common phrases. Quite a cerebral theme! But the fourth theme answer was a real clunker for me (and Jeff Chen too; quote: "The needle scratched across the record on this one"). I just couldn't figure it out at all until I read his blog: The first word changed, instead of the last.

"It's found near a trap" just had to be SINK (under every sink is a "p-trap", just so you know... home handyman trivia).

Christopher, I was gobsmacked by your X Ambassadors "Renegades" video. I just yesterday added this song to my phone, to play in my car via Bluetooth! Coincidence?

Loren Muse Smith 4:10 AM  

Christopher – grateful to you for stepping in on short notice. I agree with your comments on a puzzle’s Thursdayishness, but this one threw me; when “bone” didn’t fit, I smelled some classic Thursdayery afoot, like leaving a square blank. Like you, I would’ve figured it out sooner if I’d considered the reveal…

…which I wrote in as “tells” and not CALLS. Oops. That took forever to sort out.

I also misspelled it as “Equador” first, as is my wont. And “round” before RONDO.

Hard not to admire the 6 (!) H’s up in the northwest. Wowser.

On my phone, it’s easy to type a question mark instead of an exclamation mark, and the result can be calamitous. You think you sent the message I’m really not mad at you! when in fact the message received was I’m really not mad at you? Game changer.

“Sound of a snicker” – serendipitous. Mom isn’t supposed to eat a lot of sugar, so I try not to flaunt my sugar intake. Yesterday we were watching Downton Abbey, and I got up to get a seltzer, or so I said. I tried to be really quiet as I got a mini-Snickers bar out of my stash, but at the first tiny little wrapper crinkle sound, Mom said, Are you getting something to eat? Busted. Even with her hearing aids, she struggles to hear things, but not candy wrappers, buddy.

“YMMV on whether pedantic corrections / ‘well, actually...’ “ – I didn’t see a lot of Cheers episodes, but wouldn’t Cliff have been all over any kind of misnomer like this?

I’m gonna assume that the clue for FLEA is a sly little wink to the theme. No one sells fleas at a FLEA market. But the fact that the name could (possibly) come from French marché aux puces, meaning that the used clothes and stuff you bought could actually have fleas. . . maybe not? I’m started to get dizzy sorting all this out.

I really liked sitting here in my après-solve reverie thinking of stuff like Grape Nuts, pineapple, Rocky Mountain Oysters. And then I wondered if entrée is considered a misnomer. Like how long are we supposed to try to stay true to its French meaning?

And as Americans, we can be surprised by the savory-not-sweet Yorkshire pudding and weep with relief that Spotted Dick is indeed a misnomer stateside.

Del Taco 4:24 AM  

Fun puzzle

okanaganer 4:35 AM  

@Loren, I have to say your return to this blog is major(ly?) welcome. Please keep commenting.

Conrad 6:02 AM  

What @okanaganer said.

I struggled to find a toehold in the early going. I resisted HAR at 22A because of the nearby presence of HOHO and HEH. How many laugh sounds can one puzzle have? Three, apparently; four if you count both syllables of 1A. The first answer in which I felt confident was ONE, the exclamation point typo at 25A, a mistake I make all the time1 That gave me ORCA and kept me out of @LMS's teLLS... trap.

OffTheGrid 6:44 AM  

This was fun. Star didn't fit of course. I got METEOR with the help of a couple crosses. A bit of a fuss has been made about the change up in 63A. I did not notice, but anyway the answer had to be (Panama) HAT. But I did know that Panama was not the "right" name. I did not know what it was. I entered HAT and kept working. Now I suppose theme patterns can be important but it didn't strike me as a big deal today. And besides, don't we like our Thursdays to be a little tougher?


REEF not far from ATSEA
( )BONY above NERVE
LIMA appeared as a city after I considered it for the "one in a pod" clue, as a bean.

pabloinnh 7:03 AM  

Very nice review, Christopher. My solve process followed yours almost exactly and when that happens it makes me feel smarter than I am, so thanks for that.

Nice misdirect on the "vocal" prefix, because I wanted something to do with a voice and the EQUI was not that. Good aha! there.

DIP out? Boring meeting, guess I'll DIP out? People say that? The things I learn.

Wanted LEGIT forever, even though LICIT makes frequent appearances in SB. The things I forget.

The TELLS vs. CALLS beginning to the revealer is interesting. CALLSITLIKEITIS makes me think of baseball and umpires, specifically the legendary Bill Klem who was credited with the explanation, "It ain't nothin' till I call it.". Contrast this with "I call it as I see it" and "I call it like it is" and you can get into some heavy duty metaphysical discussions about the nature of reality, if that's your idea of a good time.

Nice Thursday indeed, JH. Not as tricksy as some but still lots of fun. Just Hope you keep coming up with similar diversions, and thanks.

thfenn 7:04 AM  

Well, I didn't think this was too easy for a Thursday, but maybe my completing it still means it was. Got the bottom two themers and the reveal before the top two, and the reveal helped me with the solve, so it all worked fine. Noticed, but didn't care, that the last themer had the first part corrected - will strive to find that irksome as I get better at these. Thought the long downs where fun and challenging, though TANGENTIAL and SALVADORE did go in quickly. Got very hung up at DELT and LUNN, having started with BAIT, but it all eventually fell into place, and seeing we were talking about muscles, not "things to catch stuff, animate or inanimate" got an AHA. Fun Thursday.

Lewis 7:16 AM  

Yes! No sprint today, but rather an immersion in what felt like a sea of question marks, first finding footholds, then figuring out the theme (that moment came with a very satisfying oho), then working out the theme answers, and finally chipping away at the remaining white islets.

That is, I was solving from start to finish with hardly a mindless fill-in. This is balm to my brain. I come out of a solve-fest alert and alive. And so I’m grateful for the skill that made this happen, and you royally rolled it out here, Jake.

Highlights for me were the gorgeous TANGENTIAL, the lovely PuzzPair© of LIMA and POD, that backward BRO crossing BUD, and that world-class [Help wanteds?] for ABET.

Was “guinea rodent”, “pea legume”, and “German horn” on your cutting room floor, Jake? No matter. You made, IMO, terrific choices for this puzzle. Big thumbs up.

amyyanni 7:25 AM  

In the "calls before tells" group. Clever theme: liked it a bunch.

Son Volt 7:45 AM  

Solid offering - theme is a little loose but fun to get. Fill didn’t exactly shine - but it was fair and had some movements. Side eye to the entire SW corner - was able to back into it with the giveaways - LADY and SALVADOR but I can already hear the coming gripes. Lots of misdirects - liked DELT and LEOS. Kesey and Owsley Stanley often referred to Delysid.

Decent Thursday solve.

Z 7:49 AM  

My first thought was Cliff Clavin (👋🏽@LMS), all though “Well, actually” is alright, probably even better.

“Traps.” Boy oh boy the nanoseconds, every single one of them as precious as the one ring, wasted pondering the many possible meanings of that word. Golf, plumbing, hunting, Star Wars, finance (because Sally bUNN sounds like it could be a tea cake and DEbT is a trap - but “found near?”)… I was continuing through the alphabet and as I thought of L for DELT I had a “damn - that’s tricky” moment.

Well, now I know why I was trying to come up with what the HAT of ECUADOR HAT was replacing. I didn’t “notice” the infelicity last night, but it took me awhile to realize it was a Panama HAT not an ECUADOR scarf or something. 3-1 is definitely suboptimal.

@pabloinnh - Ah, yes, the eternal epistemological question as seen through the prism of baseball. How do we know a strike is a strike? This young batter is rather famously pondering this very question. Clearly the umpire provided the answer, “Because I said so.”

“Thursdayery” is most def my favoritest new word. Tuesdays are gonna tuezz but that’s okay as long as you give us enough Thursdayery.

TTrimble 7:57 AM  

Heh -- I saw "medium (slightly tipsy 3:45)" and thought, "oh, Rex is back." (But actually, that might be better than Rex could muster, tipsy or not.)

Lots of little missteps on the way. "Teal" before AQUA, "quoTe" before DITTO, "ulNar" before FUNNY, "mEted" before DEALT. I wondered about "gaiA" before RHEA, and "aTvS" before UTES. I thought the puzzle was fair and Thursday-level in difficulty (and pretty high in quality), but my eyebrows are still twiddling a little over some of it.

For example, HIGH HEELS for "Grate pains?"? All I got is that grates in the sidewalk might be pains in the heel if you're wearing HIGH HEELS. So is it that HIGH HEELS is the object if "grate" is the subject and "pains" is the verb? I dunno, it just reads a little FUNNY.

Actually, I guess that was my only question. Well done, Jake Halperin.

mmorgan 8:31 AM  

Even with all the HOHO, HEH, and HAR (HAR), I found little joy in this — except for being able to use AcrossLite once more time, though with much trepidation that any day now they’ll pull the rug out with no notice. (I’m assuming they had the AL versions prepared for a week or so and just left them sitting there in the ether without providing any specific links to them after the 10th. Sigh.). I also had “tells” for awhile, having never heard that phrase start with CALLS. The “technically correct” answers were interesting, but they didn’t have any zing to them. At least for me.

mmorgan 8:37 AM  

However, despite my overall lukewarm response, I really liked the clues for ABET and HIGH HEELS. Nice!

floatingboy 8:39 AM  

In the immortal words of In Living Color's "Men on Films": Hated it!

Rube 8:43 AM  

More like this. Stupidly writing Olla instead of ALLO slowed me down a bit but that's on me

bocamp 8:57 AM  

Thx, Jake; crunchy and challenging Thurs. puz! :)

Med++ solve.

Another great start in the NW, only to be slowed by another hit-and-miss adventure thereafter.

The only real stumbling point was not knowing EQUI or LUNN and having all kinds of trouble grokking, 'it's found by a trap': D__T. Finally sussed it out, so a happy ending to a fairly tough puz. :)

Really liked the theme once I figured it out, post-solve.

Overall, another very enjoyable experience! :)

@TTrimble (4:24 PM yd) 👍 for 0

yd 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Nancy 9:02 AM  

"It's found near a trap." DUST? DIRT? DENT? DEBT?
"Lead-in to vocal." AQUI? IQUI? EQUI? UQUI?
The "Sally____" teacake? SUNN? RUNN? NUNN? BUNN?
(I like BUNN, but I sure don't like DEBT.)

I left those two squares blank. And now that I see that DELT is the answer to "It's found near a trap", I am really, really cross. I mean, how unfair as a cluer can you get? Who calls that muscle "a trap"?

But I did like the theme a lot. It teaches you some things that are interesting and worth knowing -- in the event that either you didn't know them or (as in my case) you'd never really thought about them.

So we have a puzzle featuring misnomers. I wonder if it's ever been done before? It's certainly a cute idea.

Mikey from El Prado 9:03 AM  

Great to read LMS posts again, AMTHGF. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. I cannot come close, but alas I are an engineer. Perhaps I should have my wife, an English teacher/librarian and the most well read person I know, write posts for me. Something to consider when she retire next year, when she’s not reading or gardening.

One thing we do have in common, LMS, is our misspell of Ecuador. I should be ashamed as I own a genuine “Panama” hat from Montecristi, Ecuador. A superfino… and super soft… can roll it up and all that jazz. A true work of art.

This one was a toughie for me despite getting the theme right off the bat. Just took working through some slow spots. In the end I thought it a pretty good solve! Thursdays make ya think.

puzzlehoarder 9:13 AM  

I finished this puzzle without realizing that 63 A was part of the theme. To me it was just an odd looking piece of what seemed like green paint. That goes to show how little I pay attention to themes and also just generally oblivious.

Speaking of oblivious I was really struck by how other than SALVADOR all the names today were unknown. That's not unusual for a late week puzzle. Most of the time they could just use the word name for a clue and it would make no difference. OCHOA I was able to recognize off of the OC____. That entry has had a lot of use lately. The "House" actor I can picture but his name was a complete blank. Just little speed bumps to work around. LUNN almost doesn't count as a name and I'm long overdue on becoming familiar with it.

Like a number of people the L of DELT was my last letter. It was a good misdirect. DELT as a muscle is very common, trap, not so much.

GILL I. 9:14 AM  

Oof a la oof. CALL SIT LIKE ITIS sounds like the same people who named a HO HO a Ding Dong.
Pray tell...I'm supposed to know Obama's Secret Service code name? Were the same people who named HO HO the same who came up with RENEGADE?
The rat got smelled when I got to the reveal. Oh....a misnomer. Back upstairs and fill in that SHOOTING METEOR. My FUNNY NERVE never laughed so hard....HEH and a HO HO to you, too.
But did you like this? ask. Well...yes and no. I liked figuring out the misnomers du jour. Did you know that Bombay duck is a fish? Or that glow-worms aren't worms or that strawberries aren't berries. I know...just shut up.
What I liked is that I actually finished this....even though I didn't know some of the names that I won't bore you with.
OH...I also liked seeing SAKS. Remembering my sister and me visiting the store after a days romp at Rockefeller Center. We would drool at the clothes and shoes we couldn't afford then go find a nearby deli and order a pastrami on rye.

Unzelig 9:20 AM  

Medium (stone cold sober 10:15) Never heard of Michelle AKERS or KEKE Palmer before either. Less (fewer?) fill in crosswords like these please.

TTrimble 9:36 AM  

Lots of people refer to traps in the context of working with weights, although "trap" singular might be more rare. And Sally Lunn is reasonably well known, although I think it might be more popular in the South than the North. (My mom used to serve it up.) Anyway, I didn't find those unfair.

Why didn't we see the corrective to "Starfish"? Well, maybe that doesn't pass because it's one word. But go to a maritime museum, and I can almost guarantee that the docent will sedulously instruct you that actually it's not a fish, and that now the accepted term is "sea star". I guess another reason it wouldn't pass is because: what would be the alternative? Star echinoderm? Doesn't quite snap, crackle, and pop, does it?

JD 9:55 AM  

Not in the Calls or Tells camps. Alone, I guess, in the Call It WHAT It Is camp (@mathgent is gonna a field day with this one and the famous dictum).

As far as I can Google, Call It Like It Is means to make a judgment call, as in, "it ain't pretty but I'm going to say it."

Except for the unfortunate Hat themer (I'm just gonna call it like it is on that one), the others are anatomy, astronomy, and biology. These are the scientific realities of anatomy, astronomy, and biology (hat reality is a different thing and wouldn't it be Ecuadorian).

I've gone over all the arguments against what I'm saying, and find that I agree with myself 😀.

Other than that thing that held me up (What?!), loved Trap and thought Vocal was Epic.

@Unzelig, I just read Pauline Kael's 1983 review on the movie Zelig the other day. Is this a coincidence?

rjkennedy98 9:55 AM  

This grid was very hit and miss for me. I was able to grock the theme fairly quickly and got SHOOTING METEOR and FUNNY NERVE fairly easily. Many of the corners were also very easy, but there were a few that had fill that just was not in my wheelhouse. I didn't know Obama's code name was RENEGADE, nor had I heard of DITTO MARKS (I think that most millennials have never heard of them), and of course there was AKERS, KEKE, LUNN.

Still, I greatly enjoyed the theme. There was plenty of nice cluing on the short fill. My favorites were for ABET, ORCA, LSD, SASS, LEOS, and ONE.

jberg 10:00 AM  

Wow, I'm amazed that I finished without looking anything up - which I came close to doing a few times. It shouldn't have been so hard, but I misremembered the golfer's name as OCalA, and then OCenA, making it tough to see either HUGH (whom I've never heard of) or SHOOTING... The market had me going, too -- first it was for meat (a term you hear a lot in academia as a metaphor for looking for a job at a big conference), then FREe, which was almost right but left me trying to think of a French greeting starting with E ... eh, but then what? And I can't be the only one to have tried Tool before TEST. Speaking of which, I also wanted EkG, a much more common name, before ECG. And I was a good sport with a good spirit before I joined the TEAM.

And those trap hangers about -- first I wanted sink, but saw it wouldn't fit; then I put in hoLe (as in golf), finally saw EQUI and DAFT, but couldn't see TANGENTIAL until I was bludgeoned into it by multiple crosses.

So it was a nice challenge, happily surmounted, and left me wondering what a titaness not "of myth" would be.

@Loren, is your avatar meant to be an ironic comment on the cultural stereotype of a Japanese company choosing the brand name "Jose Ole?"

jberg 10:01 AM  

But I shouldn't complain too much about that Japanese company; apparently its founder is responsible for the discovery of crossword regular UMAMI.

jberg 10:04 AM  

@albatross shell from yesterday -- My apologies! That was a memory failure; I was thinking of @JAE.

Chaiminded 10:18 AM  

The puzzle was fine and pretty easy-but I'll take Newark over JFK anytime. Just sayin...

Nancy 10:19 AM  

Oh, heavens. The word "equivocal"!!! Nothing to do with anything vocal at all! Thank you, @pabloinnh. I missed that completely. My bad.

But would the E from EQUI have given me DELT? since I don't hang around gyms, I don't lift weights, and I don't give nicknames to my muscles, I doubt that I would have figured out DELT if I had all the time that elapses between one SHOOTING METEOR and the next.

Frantic Sloth 10:48 AM  

What kind of inflammatory condition is CALLSITLIKEITIS?

I'm in the teLLS camp and bringing the s'mores fixins, so follow us!

Took me until @pabloinnh 703am to realize EQUI-vocal wasn't some kind of chorus term. And why I'm admitting that in public is anyone's guess, but put your money on "jamoke".

The DELT/LUNN crossing had me running the alphabet in my head (at the "L") until I reached duhdom. 🙄

I enjoyed the misnomer/nomer-ness of the theme, but didn't realize what the ECUADORHAT itch was until I came here. Didn't ruin anything for me anyway. Fun!


Carola 10:54 AM  

Medium for me, too, not so much because of the theme but because of some unknown names and some dastardly clues. I'd have liked a trickier theme on a Thursday and felt that the HO HO, HEH, and HAR + FUNNY were overselling the humor, but was won over by the KOALA MARSUPIAL, both because of the dearness of the creature and the fun of writing in MARSUPIAL. I thought the long Downs were very good..

About that DELT: I knew Sally LUNN and also had the D and T, but repeated vowel runs did nothing for me...until some with-it synapse made the connection to an abbreviated "lat" seen in a previous puzzle and I realized we were in muscle territory. It took @pabloinnh's comment, though, to unveil EQUI - thank you!

Do-over: Legal before LICIT. Help from previous puzzles: OCHOA, HUGH. No idea: KEKE, AKERS.

@Christopher - I really enjoyed your write-up.

Abs of Steel(wool) 11:08 AM  

The last letter I put in the puzzle was the D D’Orsay DELT because I really don’t think of DAFT as “preposterous” but I figure that’s my bad so I plunked in the D anyway. Success! But not really because I thought what on earth is a DELT!? I’m embarrassed to say I googled DELT scrolled down a bit and cried DOH!!
So @Nancy, while I am familiar with the shortened versions of various muscles ala pec, ab, lat, quad,etc. the trap threw me as most workouts don’t refer to concentrating on a single muscle. I feel your pain!

Whatsername 11:16 AM  

ALLO. Wasn’t easy but it was interesting. I learned there’s a teacake that apparently one CALLS Sally LUNN when ONE is in Britain and a TV person named KEKE. Loved the little section with the ORCA and the REEF AT SEA. Maybe they’re off sailing to ECUADOR or SALVADOR or maybe even LIMA.

I can’t possibly let 1A pass without a favorite old joke: How did the Hostess Cupcake get pregnant? She fell in a box of Ding Dongs.

I know, it’s not exactly a RIOT but it is sort of FUNNY. Oh well. HAR and HO HO anyway.

albatross shell 11:22 AM  

A simple Emily Litella "Nevermind" would have sufficed. @TTrimble was on the ball and straightened it out for both of us.

The puzzle was a damn good Thursday. Amusing and tricky. Maybe I just had a bad day but it played more like a Friday or easy Saturday for me. Being able to suss the theme is the only thing that gave me any purchase at all. I clawed through only to make such a hash out of northern California, I surrendered. I had two for ONE, wEed for NEAT, bErg for REEF. Trying stuff like HIGHHorse for grate pains. This despite having thought of REEF and ATSEA when I had all blanks. If I actually wrote them in I might had finished. I rejected ATSEA because that should be on the main or so I thought. Number one rule of crosswords? Don't get attached to stretchy guesses. Start over. FLEA POD ONE were all gettable if you don't have a bunch of junk in the way.

*I had to look up that name. Strangely she looks a bit like RBG. I thought maybe it was the church lady but that was Dana not Gilda, but their characters look alike too.

albatross shell 11:29 AM  

And yes I was in the "Tells it" camp. I think Rex might have ranted about it. Howard Cosell memories abound.

Newboy 11:29 AM  

“ “ “ @Carola today.

Another day on the trampoline bouncing from corner to corner & all about, falling flat on my face before rebounding to finally stand well-balanced atop Jake’s grid.

mathgent 11:33 AM  

Cute theme featuring misnomers. SHOOTINGMETEOR seems a little off, however. I would have preferred one of Lewis's. "Guinea rodent," they aren't pigs. Or "German horn," French horns were invented in Germany. But not "Pea legume" because pod is a synonym for legume.

CALLSITLIKEITIS is legit I guess because it comes from the title of a recent popular song (which I'm not familiar with).

Like Nancy, I didn't know that "trap" is short for the trapezium muscle. Unlike Nancy, I will remember it the next time it turns up.

Joseph Michael 11:45 AM  

This was hard, but liked the theme, especially SHOOTING METEOR, and a lot of the fill, especially DITTO MARKS. My main woe was the trap clue crossing the teacake clue. Ended up with DEBT and BUNN thinking that maybe there was some kind of a DEBT TRAP. Seems like a good term for something that comes with steep unexpected costs. “Don’t buy that old LIMO, SALVADOR. It’s a debt trap.”

A 12:03 PM  

Sure, I’ll vote medium - about 10x Mr. Adams' time. Not counting the extra half hour to understand ABET. HEH.

REEF is back with SASS, and didn’t we just see CNET?

Some unknown PPP, some inelegance (DYERS), but balanced by the clever theme and some thoughtful cluing. I did get Sally LUNN - is that from having it in Williamsburg in Jr. High? Anyway, thanks, Jake, for not cross cluing RENEGADE and ENVOY with UTES, your puzzle would have ended up on @Nancy’s wall.

Coincidentally, I am looking at the RENEGADE as a potential next vehicle - more comfy for my Malamute. Manual transmission, 4x4, sunroof. Just not sure if I can give up the convertible.

I am sure the clue for 3D is too long - HIGH HEELS are just a PAIN. No grate needed. Hard to believe people still wear them voluntarily. All men should have to do this.

Pat Metheny turns 67 today.
Grab your Ecuador hats - there will be Better Days Ahead.

Z 12:12 PM  

I never considered "tell" because teLLS IT LIKE IT IS is what Rex does, a different thing altogether from CALLing IT LIKE IT IS.

-Ziff Zlavin

Joe Dipinto 12:15 PM  

Telling it like it t-i-is: I did not care for this puzz. But I wanna play the board game with the Magical Feather and the Sword of Cathuledor and the Don Quixote card. Thanks for posting that vid, Christopher. Too funny.

Frantic Sloth 12:20 PM  

@Z 1212pm No s'mores for you, then! 😜

Ethan Taliesin 12:30 PM  

Good write up. Good time. I appreciate you don't overuse the exclamation point like some guest bloggers. Also happy you don't fill up space fishing for pity or (or validation or admiration, maybe) by broadcasting how tired you are from working so hard. Also nice you don't try to spice things up by sharing "fun" little facts about you or your life.

ECUADORHAT was my favorite answer.
From wiki:
--"Straw hats woven in Ecuador, like many other 19th and early 20th century South American goods, were shipped first to the Isthmus of Panama before sailing for their destinations in Asia, the rest of the Americas and Europe, subsequently acquiring a name that reflected their point of international sale—"panama hats"—rather than their place of domestic origin."

Had to google an interview with KEKE to find out how to pronounce her name. It's Kiki.

jb129 12:44 PM  

I dunno - maybe I've lost my "knack" or maybe I just wasn't into this constructor's head -

Anyway, I had to struggle a lot - too much to try & so I didn't finish.

Tomorrow's another day.

jae 1:00 PM  

I meant to add that my first thought on trap was golf so I put in rake before I checked the crosses.

Master Melvin 1:00 PM  


bocamp 1:06 PM  

Hi Christopher; good to see you again, and thx for your take on the puz! :)

'slightly tipsy': was ready to welcome @Rex back. lol (hi @TTrimble (7:57 AM))

Had 'tells' before CALLS (hi @LMS).

Got suckered by the 'ambiguous' clue for EQUI (hi @Nancy / @Frantic) and thx @pabloinnh for the unEQUIVOCAL heads-up. 😂

@Z (7:49 AM)

Classic 'strike' CALL; what a beaut! ⚾️

@A (12:03 PM) wrote:

"HIGH HEELS are just a PAIN". That vid was so 'right on'! 👍

SB Stuff Alert


You mentioned a few weeks ago that the NYT was implementing a Spelling Bee forum. I finally had occasion to search for it today. It's a fine site, indeed, and it's hosts (Isaac Aronow andDoug Mennella) and commentariat are awesome! I wouldn't recommend visiting it until after finishing the day's SB, tho, as there are spoilers galore. Nevertheless, worth a visit. :)


Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Joe Dipinto 1:06 PM  

Sorry, I meant the Sword of Cthulhudor.

Unknown 1:07 PM  

@Ziff Zlavin, From what I've found, Call it like it is and Tell it like it is mean roughly the same thing, an opinion of something that may be potentially unpleasant hear. Neither of them mean to properly relabel something as it actually exists.

Teedmn 1:09 PM  

Thanks, Christopher, for pointing out the error potential at the DELT/LUNN crossing. My memory dug out Sally dUNN for the teacake and then, with DEdT in place, I tried to change it to Sally bUNN but DEbt made no sense for the 5A clue. I finally sussed out the trapezius for the LUNN.

And the point about the inconsistency of the fourth theme answer is well taken - when I filled in ECUADOR HAT, I wondered what it was normally called. Was it popularly known as an ECUADOR ascot? HAR.

I was grateful (great "grate" clue for HIGH HEELS!) that the clue for 41D was easy - I struggled a bit with this puzzle and having one long down that filled in easily was a boon.

Jake Halperin, nice Thursday, thanks.

old timer 1:15 PM  

I seem to have left the L in LUNN out. But had I noticed the omission I'm sure I would have gotten it. Like every visitor to Bath, I have seen that house where Sally LUNN buns are sold, and like most, went in and tried one. My advice: Don't bother. Stick to scones with your tea, and toast with your breakfast. Or croissants, which these days you surely can find in a city as large as Bath.

Do go, though. Read Persuasion first, and then do your best to find the Gravel Walk, where Captain Wentworth and Anne finally renewed their love. And have a look at every hidden away nook and cranny of the old town, as well as the more well known sites. It's a real plus to stay, as I last did, at a hotel near Milsom St., but when I first went there with my wife, we stayed in Wells, also a charming place with its Bishop's Palace and surrounding moat.

Masked and Anonymous 1:29 PM  

OK, sooo -- even tho the NW corner was clearly done just for laughs (HOHO, HEH, and the mighty HAR), I thought this was a pretty neat ThursPuz. The theme was definitely tricky at first, since FUNNYBONE wouldn't fill in the allotted blanks. Dittomarks for SHOOTINGSTAR.

Precious nanoseconds elapsed by, while M&A sought out and contemplated the revealer, and eventually the M&A brainbone latched onto the "misnomer" mcguffin given in the revealer's clue. Then all the themers became moo-cow semi-eazy-E, except for the dreaded ECUADORHAT. Probably because its clue didn't mean squat to m&e, even for PANAMAHAT.

Sooo … near ThursPuz difficulty, for sure. To cement the deal, coulda left out the revealer. Put a fifth misnomer-themer in that puzgrid-spanner at 40-A, instead. Now U are talkin good'n'rough rodeo, dudes and darlins.

Now to convince U of M&A's theme-editin semi-brilliance, he just needs to come up with a 15-long replacement themer. No sweat. Will get back to U, on that.*

staff weeject pick: ONE. Due mostly to the clue for its crossin ORCA entry, which has a "one" in its text. Neat. It's kinda like then there's a one in the one in a pod.

Feistiest clues: {It's found near a trap} = DELT. {Grate pains?} = HIGHHEELS. They definitely helped make my nanoseconds think this was an extra- spunky ThursPuz.

Thanx for clearin things up on them misnomers, Mr. Halperin dude. Jipi-japa-jake job. Put up a fight, at our house, and we ended up with a no-bonus-score DENT/NUNN combo.

*Dim and Anonymous

p.s. 6 U's today, btw.

also sorta hard:

KnittyContessa 1:33 PM  

Christopher thanks for including the video. Hysterical!

I too initially had EQUAtOR which left me stumbling for quite a while. Also Tell before CALL. Neither seems to really be the appropriate phrase for this puzzle.

Never ever heard the term DIP out. Do people really say that?

Loved the clue for HIGHHEELS.

TTrimble 1:43 PM  

td 0 ending on p of pg (hard to see)

Nancy 1:58 PM  

@bocamp -- When you have a Home Delivery subscription to the NYT -- despite the fact that not subscribing for the last 40+ years might have enabled me to purchase a yacht with the money I saved -- it does not entitle you to an online puzzle subscription. And without an online puzzle subscription, you have no access to SB -- other than the SB that appears on Sunday in the Magazine. So even though I found that site for you and others, @bocamp, I have no use for it. Sigh.

You are so right, @A, about HIGH HEELS. They were invented by the same person (male, of course) who came up with the revolting idea of binding women's feet in China. And both inventions lead to exactly the same results. Horrid, unnecessary pain. The inability to find any pleasure in walking. Mincing, unnatural steps that make women look helpless and fragile and therefore appealing to a certain type of man. And finally -- the sheer inability to run away from said man should that ever become necessary.

After barely enjoying a single minute of my high school prom because I was in so much pain from those ridiculous prom-type HIGH HEELS with the absurdly narrow stiletto-type heels and the cramped pointed toes -- you know, the cheaply-made shoes that you dye to match your dress and never wear again -- I vowed to never give into such fashion pressure again. It was the last pair of really HIGH HEELS I ever wore. First came the dressy pumps for as long as I could manage those. Then came the more casual pumps (the heel even lower and thicker and more room in the toe box in the front.) And then, finally, came the dressy-ish loafers and the sneakers when I knew I would be doing a lot of walking. But by then it was the 1970s and the dawn of feminism. Instead of being laughed off the street and not allowed into the best parties, I found I now had a surprising amount of equally liberated company.

I have always felt that liberating ourselves from high heels was a much more important development for women than [supposedly] liberating ourselves from bras. Which is why one movement has really lasted and the other one hasn't so much.

JD 2:00 PM  

@Z, I'm the unknown above! For some reason came up as Unknown. The known unknown.

bocamp 2:01 PM  

@TTrimble (1:43 PM) 👍 for 0


Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

TTrimble 2:27 PM  

And now 0 for dbyd, which I'd left open. Whew!

JT 2:52 PM  

T Trimble - High heels are a pain to walk in if you're walking over a grate.
I have never ever heard anyone use the phrase "dip out."

bocamp 3:02 PM  

SB Stuff alert

@Nancy (1:58 PM)

I forgot you don't have an online subscription for the games. I bet you'd be an ace at the SB. Anyhoo, was just basically thanking you for the heads-up when you mentioned the upcoming NYT sponsored SB forum a few weeks ago.

If you do want to have some fun with the SB, you could go here. If you're unsure a word is acceptable, scroll down to the bottom of the page to see "Valid dictionary words not in today's official answers".

@TTrimble (2:27 PM)

You're on a hot streak! 👍

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

Usmcrgreg 4:13 PM  

I like to call it as I see it and tell it like it is. So I’m calling ECG a foul ball. Rescue 51 never sent an ECG to Rampart!

Dan 4:20 PM  

I check the blog many days when I don't have the patience to hunt down the final typo that's keeping me from victory. Today, I had to comment to commend your Aunty Donna video.

Thanks to Rex and guest bloggers for letting me keep both my crossword habit and my sanity.


Anonymous 4:30 PM  

IMO, this was too stupid to be a Thursday puzzle. The "revealer" told me zip, nada, rien. I felt almost a visceral dislike for the whole thing.

From what I know (and I could be wrong), a FUGUE is also a "repetitive musical form." Feel free to correct me.

"Grate pains?" has to be one of the very very worst clues I can imagine (I'm female, and have gotten the heel of my shoes stuck in grates, but that's would NEVER be the first association I'd have with those words).

Anonymous 4:40 PM  

I have dozens of friends in the UK (and they live in all different areas: Glasgow, Belfast, Furness, Hull, London, Chichester), and I've NEVER heard "Sally Lunn" until this puzzle.

Z 5:06 PM  

@Nancy - I believe digital access, including to Games and Cooking, are included with home delivery.

@JD - Tis better to be the known unknown than the unknown known.

Gah! Target is trying to turn a little snippet of this song into Emu music. I share it here so that you have an opportunity to hear it before Target makes hearing that snippet unbearable.

Anoa Bob 5:47 PM  

Finding themer candidates for this one looks daunting. Not only must one find misnomer phrases---can't be a whole bunch of those out there---but the resulting corrected phrases must have matching letter counts. The themers that we get did have a hiccup here and there (A SHOOTING star is a METEOR, no SHOOTING needed in front of METEOR; as noted, three themers with the last part corrected, one themer with the first part corrected) but I thought the clever and entertaining theme made up for that.

I remembered from my mistake the last time that the South American country appeared in a grid that it's spelled ECUADOR and not EQUADOR.

An anthropologist friend once told me that wearing HIGH HEELS is a way of raising and presenting ones hindquarters and is a sign of reproductive readiness, if not eagerness. She said is is a form of mammalian lordosis, a way of showing sexual receptivity. I think in humans, wearing HIGH HILLS is more ritualized and stylized and comes in degrees from the staid low and wide to the more risqué tall and thin, but I think she was onto something there.

The theme was catchy if a bit bumpy and there was some nice fill, RENEGADE and TANGENTIAL being my favorites, and AT A GLANCE has a nice, unforced, in-the-language feel to it. Given the constraints, four, long tough-to-come-up-with themers and a spanner reveal, I thought the puzzle was first rate.

Nancy 5:50 PM  

@bocamp -- Thank you for the SB link. It makes no difference to me if I do the SB puzzle the day after it appears. All I need are the 7 letters; I don't have to look at the solution ahead of time. So this link will serve the same purpose as the NYT link you have to pay for, I should think. Here's what I just did: I went to your link, highlighted the address on the upper left of my screen (the URL???) and sent the link to myself. I don't know if I care about this kind of puzzle enough to make it a daily habit, but now I have the option and we'll see. (I sometimes take the Sunday SB to Central Park with me, and find it mildly diverting if not wildly exciting.)

For the Sunday SB, you get a point for each word and 7 points for each word that uses all 7 letters. Is the scoring system the same here?

TTrimble 6:01 PM  

Scoring works differently. 4-letter words are worth 1 point, but 5-letter words are worth 5, 6-letter words are worth 6, etc. In addition, you add 7 to the word score if all seven letters are used.

I have a love-hate relationship to SB. All the hate is Sam Ezersky's fault. Yes, my tongue is partly in cheek, but in all seriousness I think some of his word choices are DAFT, with some very common Scrabble-acceptable words left out and some really weird-ass words in. Sometimes words get added, sometimes they get taken away. It's a really capricious and haphazard operation he runs. Your wall may well acquire another layer of ink.

CDilly52 6:19 PM  

Wow, what an odd solve. I flew through this very thankful for my dear friend Richard whose dapper sartorial visage with bow ties, suspenders (way before they were all the rage), seersucker suits in the summer and his pride and joy ECUADOR HAT in the summer made him an icon around the courthouse. He looked just as natty the rest of the year, and has an amazing hat collection, but his “summer (or “Matlock”) look was Richard to a proverbial “T.”

Anyway, it was from Richard that I learned of the jipijapa plant and that the classic, authentic white straw hats are from ECUADOR. I’ll never forget the day he returned to the office after a South American vacation with his pride and joy. He came into my office and said he brought me something I was going to love-a new word: jipijapa. Right he was. I not only loved the word, I thoroughly enjoyed his description of the artisanal weavers he and his wife Peggy were privileged to watch on their trip and that he came home with an authentic hat, the classic straw boater.

So with that little piece of the theme nailed, none of the rest of the puzzle was at all difficult, except the little block at the middle of the W edge. Because I put teLLs IT LIKE IT IS, and never considered that the answer could possibly be otherwise, that little chunk just sat. . . and sat . . . and sat. You see, I “tell it like it is,” and “call ‘em like I see ‘em.” Even looking at my finished puzzle and repeating the CALLS IT . . . phrase repeatedly, it still sounds impossibly discordant. Just wrong. It’s obviously a personal problem.

Fun puzzle. Absolutely Thursday worthy. And for those of you who learned of the jipijapa palm, wasn’t that fun to add to your lexicon?

Smith 6:26 PM  

SB ALERT, sorta

We were out of the country (what a concept) for a couple of weeks and I was kicked out of Games entirely.

Now I've got it back but there's no Doug on Deb Amlen's column, anyone know why? Missing the Bee-ers...

Also, @Nancy, you are *absolutely* entitled to a Games subscription with your home delivery. 100%. There's something you have to do to link your home delivery to Games, but I've had it forever; and once I was back in the USA I was able to make it work. Lemme find the link again and I'll post it.

Smith 6:31 PM  

@Nancy and anyone else who is a home delivery subscriber having trouble with Games:

"All Home Delivery subscribers get access to unlimited articles, podcasts, videos and more on and the NYTimes app (iOS and Android), including New York Times Games and NYT Cooking."

Sorry not sure how to make link blue (doing this on phone); just copy, paste & follow directions!

Buena suerte!

bocamp 6:58 PM  

@Nancy (5:50 PM)

yw :)

The link I provided will produce the current day's SB info; however, I see from at least two of the posts that your home delivery edition apparently includes digital access to Games and other extras. (see: @Z (5:06 PM) / @Smith (6:26 PM))

@Smith (6:26 PM)

I think this NYT site may have replaced it: Spelling Bee Forum.

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

Nancy 7:05 PM  

You are SO nice, Lisa (6:31)!!! But...

The Sunday SB that I've been doing over the last few years doesn't allow any word shorter than 5 letters. The inclusion of 4-letter words at this point would probably annoy me and feel to me like cheating.

I take @TTrimble's 6:01 warning to heart. I don't need a "love-hate" relationship in my life. I don't need to feel angry over what words are included and what words aren't by the puzzle Editor. And certainly my beloved Wall has been tried and tested beyond all endurance already. My funds have been depleted enough in repeated payments to the building handyman. I've also, of course, had to pay for supplying the plaster and the paint.

And, off-blog, @mathgent has warned me that he found SB more of a headache than a pleasure and quickly stopped doing it.

So, I think I'm going to be good to myself and forgo the daily SB. But thank you all for all the offered assistance.

Joe Dipinto 7:20 PM  

The Basic subscription to the Times does *NOT* include the Games. I can install the Games app on my Android and it will give me a 6-day free trial, but after that I would have to pay an extra monthly or yearly fee to continue to receive it. This has always been the case, and it hasn't changed.

The Basic subscription gives you online access to articles only, along with paper delivery. The All-Access subscription (more $$) gives you other online stuff including the Games.

@anon 4:30 – FUGUE would also fit the clue "repetitive musical form", though it's repetitive in a different way than a RONDO is. A rondo keeps going back and repeating the same section, with other sections interspersed. A fugue starts with a phrase played by one voice, which is then picked up by another voice starting on a different note; and then picked up by a third voice...complications ensue.

Stephen Minehart 7:28 PM  

I am not a speed solver. My current Thursday average according to NYT is 31 minutes and 5 secs. Today I clocked in at 1 hour 13 minutes and 11 seconds. So, I'll just put it our there that I had some trouble. The straight west killed me, because "Tells it like it is" seemed immutable. I mean, that had to be right, so the five blank squares stayed blank throughout the day as I gave my subconscious deep brain time to work on it, checking back every so often, but nope, nothing. Until I decided NEAT must be be right, and then it came together. But I say, "Tells it like it is" is much more common.

Smith 7:48 PM  

@bocamp 6:58

Well, I found that site, but none of the regulars are on it... like if you came here and no LMS, Z, Pablo, M&A, Roo, you...

Smith 7:50 PM  

@Joe 7:20

But do you get home delivery? That seems to be the key.

@Nancy You're most welcome!

JC66 7:52 PM  

@Joe D is right. Getting the Times home delivered provides full internet access as well (except for puzzles and games, which is an additional $20/year).

bocamp 8:21 PM  

@Joe Dipinto (7:20 PM) / @JC66 (7:52 PM))

Thx for clearing up the 'subscription' issue. Sounds like @Nancy is happy with the Sunday SB, anyway, so non-zero-sum game. 😊

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

Anonymous 9:00 PM  

Same as most - Lunn/Delt was the last square. Did you notice the Delt/Dealt pair? Also noticed the atsea/reef pair. I thought 'Allo' for the French greeting from the old Britcom 'Allo, Allo' but didn't really think it was a legit word until the crosses came through - 'Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once'

Joe Dipinto 9:33 PM  

@Smith – yes I do get home delivery. I see the statement you quoted, under #2 on the Digital Subscriptions page, but it's just wrong. You don't get automatic access to Games And Cooking just by virtue of being a Home Delivery subscriber. You need to be paying for the All Access, rather than the Basic, subscription. That must be what you have if you've been getting digital access to the Games all along.

Z 10:36 PM  

@Joe Dipinto - Contact support. They rolled all-digital access into home delivery a few years ago.

I am so happy that I find spelling annoying so am at no risk of getting sucked into a love-hate relationship with Ezersky. I will occasionally get sucked into sudoku until I come to my senses and stop. The same with kenken, but the local paper doesn’t carry that particular time suck.

Joe Dipinto 10:37 PM  

I cannot stop laughing at that board game video. I'll have to check out other skits from that show. Thanks again, Chris.

The Sane Asylum 11:09 PM  

Proud of X Ambassadors as an Ithacan and great friend of Sam’s and Casey’s Mom Margaret Harris, a gifted cabaret-style singer in her own right. Here she is singing “Georgia” on stage with her boys Nice shoutout!

Anonymous 11:24 PM  

@Joe Pinto: Thank you for details on FUGUE vs. RONDO. Given the clue, seems like either one would have been appropriate (but of course only one would "work" in this grid).

bocamp 12:05 AM  

2. Is Digital Access included in Home Delivery subscriptions?

"Yes. All Home Delivery subscribers get access to unlimited articles, podcasts, videos and more on and the NYTimes app (iOS and Android), including New York Times Games and NYT Cooking. You can receive digital access by connecting your Home Delivery Subscription to an account at" (NYT About Subscriptions page)

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

Okoume 7:15 AM  

29D! :) I come for Rex, stay for Loren.

kitshef 8:18 PM  

Second great puzzle this week (adding to Monday's). My only nit, and it's a big one but dwarfed by the overall excellence, is the clue for DIP.

amykatesouth 10:43 PM  

I've read the post and most comments and I *still* do not get "delt." In fact, I Googled the clue and found this blog because I thought it might be a mistake somehow - for "pelt." Because trap leads to pelt. But trap leading to deltoid muscle??? I don't get it.

repetitive musical form 10:49 AM  

Hey I'm in the puz! RONDO shows up every year or so.

@amykatesouth - trapezius muscle

Awfully funny start in the NW with HOHO HEH and HAR.
Two seeming gimmes down south Tease and Licit wasted many precious nanoseconds. Apparently it is LICIT to TAUNT. And let's work on not having such obscure PPP.

I've seen Lorena OCHOA in person. Yeah baby.

More difficult due to those southern inkfests. Superior to a rebus.


spacecraft 11:02 AM  

Trap = trapezoid, another muscle. But that cross gave me the willies, as well. I spent three years in Merrie Olde, and never heard of those Sally-whatevers. I figured probably BUNN, which leaves a perfectly good DEbT crosswise. But how did any "trap" square with debt?? I just left it blank for a while and went on.

I found this one hard to get through, in retrospect probably harder than it should've been. When I look at the finished grid, I say, "Of course. What else?" But during the solve...not so much. My biggest mistake was reading the clue for 29 down as a row of asterisks instead of the DITTOMARKS they were; in defense I cite the tiny typeset used for the clues in my stingy paper. So for the longest time, I thought 29-down was the linchpin of the whole deal!

Stalled mightily after only the NW and NE corners, still ignorant of the McGuffin. Took a flyer on SALVADOR and things began to open up--and no, that's NOT too easily clued for a Thursday, Chris.

I did not know KEKE Palmer, but after a post-solve Google, she's my DOD. There's a lot of [clue for NEAT] in the fill, and the theme, now that I understand it, is cool as well. Birdie.

thefogman 11:06 AM  

I enjoyed it but it by no means was “medium”. Easily a Saturday-level difficulty with all the vague and cryptic I liked the theme but the reveal (CALLSITLIKEITIS) was a bit of a letdown. Still good overall.

Burma Shave 11:29 AM  


with that LADY TEST and try IT;
when in the ACT, grab KEKE SASS.


repetitive musical form 11:40 AM  

@spacey - I don't recall ever filling in 'spacecraft' in a puz, but I'm sure there have been instances of 'Carl'.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

Pisser infested and devoid of any enjoyment. Rejected.

leftcoaster 3:00 PM  

To CALL[s] IT LIKE IT IS: A pretty DIPpy puzzle, IMHO.

spacecraft 6:17 PM  

@repetitive musical form: Not the craft specifically, but SPACE has appeared several times--and once, even SPACEY, not clued as Kevin. Story behind my handle: first day after induction into the BPOE, I walked into our local club on a bright summer afternoon with sunglass clip-ons, which I raised once indoors. One member--who has since become a good friend--immediately started looking around the street outside. When a fellow Elk asked what he was looking for, he replied "Where this guy parked his spacecraft." I've been that ever since.

Diana, LIW 8:31 PM  

Not the best Thursday theme ever, but as @Rondo said, better than a rebus.

Had to do some checking, so I'm with the "Saturday" difficulty crowd. But a fine puz, overall.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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