Late media columnist David / THU 8-19-21 / 1970 John Wayne film / Operatic daughter of the king Amonasro / Extraneous computer programs that slow down a system / Home to the golden pavilion known as Kinkaku-ji / Vaping device informally

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Constructor: Oliver Roeder

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: CEREAL BOX (36A: Life preserver? ... or a hint to six squares in this puzzle) — an "OAT" rebus (where "OAT" (a cereal) appears inside its own box six times):

The Oats!:
  • CUT-THROAT (2D: Dog-eat-dog) / MOATS (32A: Castle defenses)
  • CROATIA / GOATEE (7D: Facial feature named for an animal)
  • HOUSEBOATS (30A: Mobile homes of a sort) / UNDER OATH (12D: Sworn)
  • FIT TO A TEE (52A: Be perfectly sized)/ BLOATWARE (43D: Extraneous computer programs that slow down a system)
  • COAT-OF-ARMS (46A: Heraldic symbol) / LOATHSOME (40D: Repulsive)
  • THE GOAT (60A: Best ever, in sports slang) / OATES (61D: National Book Award winner for "Them," 1970)
Word of the Day: Robert FOGEL (52D: Economics Nobelist Robert) —
Robert William Fogel (/ˈfɡəl/; July 1, 1926 – June 11, 2013) was an American economic historian and scientist, and winner (with Douglass North) of the 1993 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. As of his death, he was the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of American Institutions and director of the Center for Population Economics (CPE) at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. He is best known as an advocate of new economic history (cliometrics) – the use of quantitative methods in history. (wikipedia)
• • •

Kind of a one-note puzzle ... ... ... (yeah, you get it)

Seriously, there's just one OAT in the box, first of all, which is, let's say, unlikely, and then there are only oats, no other cereals — should've been called OAT BOX, not CEREAL BOX. Then of course "Life" is not a great cereal to use in the revealer of your one-oat puzzle because while it is made by the Quaker OATs company and was at one point made primarily of OATs, it now contains wheat flour, corn flour, and rice flour, and is marketed as "Life Original Multigrain Cereal." But as someone who once made a SLICED / CHEESE Thursday puzzle where all the cheeses involved were not, in reality, sliceable, I can't complain too much about the fact that Life doesn't match up that well with OATs. It's clearly here solely for the groany pun in the revealer clue. Was the entire puzzle built around that pun? Was that the ... germ ... of this puzzle? (sorry, wheat pun, wrong venue). It's not a great payoff. Mostly I found the theme overly simple and rote. I found the first OAT easily—had CUT, knew it had to be CUT-THROAT, and then just waited to find out which part of THROAT was going to be shoved into a rebus square. Once I got OAT, I sort of hoped that other grains awaited, but then I hit the CROATIAn GOATEE, and that dream died. OAT OAT OAT, straight down the line. There was some fun going on the Easter OAT hunt, I guess (never knew where they were going to pop up), but the only OAT answer I really liked was THE GOAT (stands for Greatest Of All Time, in case the term is unknown to you). Seems like BLOATWARE is the most original, but that term means nothing to me, so it was hard to be too excited about it. Except for MOILS (oof), the grid seems solid enough. Ironically, there just wasn't enough life (!) in the theme for me. So upside-down to have the Tuesday and Wednesday themes excite me more than the Thursday.

This puzzle was definitely harder than yesterday's, but adjusted for day-of-the-week expectations, it was still very easy. Didn't struggle anywhere, despite the fact this puzzle unleashed a hell of a lot of proper nouns. Only two of said names gave me any trouble: with LOGAN, I already had LOGA- in place before I ever saw the clue; with FOGEL, things were definitely harder. Not a household name, or (in LOGAN's case) a Boston airport or ... I don't know, a Run ... anyway, not a recognizable name, so I needed every cross and even at -OGEL I half-assumed the answer would be VOGEL (by far the more common name). That HIREE / FOGEL / MOILS section was the only one that caused any perceptible slow-down today. Again, as with yesterday, I mostly read clues / filled in answers, with very little intervening "hmmm" time. 

Puzzle felt very dude-heavy. About twice as many men as women in this thing (five women, ten men—if you count John Wayne). It's not the count that matters so much here as the prominence of the names. Lots of unusual / marquee names for the guys (THE ROCK! Full-named AL GORE!), whereas the women are the kind of ordinary, incidental crosswordese you'd accidentally pick up during the filling of any grid (TERI PEET AIDA NINA). Joyce Carol OATES is the exception here, but her name is actually the tiniest of the lot today, and anyway, it's not exactly new to crosswords. There was just a FORTUNE / FOGEL / "Succession" / dudes-with-$$$ vibe to this one that wasn't really my thing. And I'd've changed DOUG Jones to DOUR, not so much because I particularly dislike the former Alabama senator as because I like the word DOUR. And again, the puzzle just did not need yet another guy's name. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 7:04 AM  

I love that moment on Thursdays when the trick becomes clear, when the tension that comes with trying to detect it dissolves, and then it’s a matter of filling in the squares. That “aaah” moment came early on for me today after filling in the second cereal box, and I thought it was going to be a smooth ride home.

But no. The crossword devil got his jollies when I filled in KOREA instead of KYOTO, and CLOSE instead of CEASE, and the upper and lower middle areas fought me hard. That was sweet, because unravelling thorny areas brings me great pleasure. They both eventually succumbed, delivering two more sweet moments.

More joy came with the sing-song OGLE over FOGEL, the double-E fest in the lower two rows, DOGIE in the grid near the [Dog-eat-dog] clue, the DRUM literally up, and the second A-train in recent days, with YUMA / CROATIA / NINA / ORTEGA / ALFA / NASA / AIDA.

Thus, a very positive solving experience. Thank you very much, Oliver, and WTG on your debut!

Loren Muse Smith 7:06 AM  

Ok. So I sniffed out the trick really early and felt all smug, knowing that the revealer would be “oat squares” – I could have sworn that it was Quaker Oat Squares. Nope. It’s Oatmeal Squares. Oops.

“Could be” has the same number of letters as MAYBE SO. And my Hoover rival was a “Shark” before ORECK. Bet I’m not alone there.

I love THE ROCK, especially when he costars with Kevin Hart. There’s probably some reason I’m supposed to have ditched Kevin, what with the Oscar host dust-up and all, but I swear, I could watch him for an hour just sit there and shift expressions with his face.

I didn’t learn until a couple of years ago that it’s loathe (verb) –

I loathe Harvard beets.

But loath (adjective)

I’m loath to attend a John Cage concert.

GALORE is cool in that it’s one of the few adjectives that Always goes after the noun it’s modifying. Sure, lots of constructions can have a post-nominal adjective:

I live in Houston proper
I need someone trustworthy
We need to fire the person responsible

But these adjectives can be used before the noun, too. There aren’t a lot that have the constraint of being only post-nominal - emeritus, akimbo, incarnate, extraordinaire, aplenty, to name a few. I’ll wait while you jot all this down.

I have never heard the term BLOATWARE, but how can I not think of the various pieces of bloatwear I keep for the morning after wolfing down two big greasy, salty soft pretzels on the heels of a couple of low carb, low salt weeks. I swear I blow up like a tick in a matter of minutes.

Lewis 7:07 AM  

By the way, @rex, note that the rebus squares make a circle of sorts, and according to Oliver's notes, that was on purpose, to represent a cereal bowl. (I didn't catch this either!)

puzzlehoarder 7:11 AM  

This was a little over my average Thursday time which was surprising given how the NW corner was Monday easy along with it's rebus. Of course this was only the first"BOX" and the resistance was a bit stiffer for some of the subsequent ones. It looks like these random OATs are in a ring like a Cheerio and hence the whole CEREAL thing. Nothing truly difficult here. My GENY/GENX write over slowed down my getting the revealer not that I really care to know the theme anyway.

king_yeti 7:26 AM  

two Goats was a nono for me

pabloinnh 7:27 AM  

Caught on at CUTTHROAT/MOATS, then like OFL wondered if other grains would be involved, or just the OAT box. OATS all the way down, as it turns out, which made the themers pretty easy.

My knowledge of rappers and economists is still sadly lacking, but the crosses were fair.

Didn't know a thing about Amanda PEET but just saw her on Colbert, so a happy coincidence there.

Somehow the idea that a "goat" has gone from someone responsible for a loss has morphed into the Greatest Of All Time always amuses me.

I'm wondering if "the men who MOIL for gold" are going to join today's discussion. I remember some extensively quoted Sam McGee the last time this one appeared.

Congrats on a fine debut, OR, Fun for me, if a little too speedy for a Thursday. Hoping you come up with some Other Rebuses with a little more chew.

Frantic Sloth 7:32 AM  

Well, I guess having a winner three days in a row wasn't in the cards. Not a fan of this PPPRebus, and found the going a little tough for the Thursdee.
Equation-wise: dueling wavelengths + PPP glut = Sloth down! Finished, but took longer than the average Fridee for me.

Tired theme (and didn't we recently have something about cereal boxes?), mid-grid revealer (not as Gof intended) and it thuds. Ouch.

It's a NYT debut, though and I guess slack must be granted - to a point. Sometimes it just seems like new constructors have a tendency to over-rely on PPP. Or do I imagine this? There was that one time that I was wrong.

Minor Miracle: Noticed(!) ALGORE GALORE and wonder whether crossing them would be better or worse.

I can never see DOUG now without uber-cringing. And YUMA is too close to emu for any level of comfort.

Nothing against Dwayne Johnson (I find him mostly likeable), but learning that THE ROCK is the "world's highest-paid actor in 2021" made a little piece of me die inside.


amyyanni 7:40 AM  

Pleasant enough puzzle. Somehow made it this far without learning of the Rialto Bridge. Apropos of nothing, did just discover the poem "From Blossoms" by Li-Young Lee, and recommend it if you've a moment today.

chance2travel 7:48 AM  

This puzzle is so timely with my current month-long stay in Italy.

I go to a CAFE every morning for a cappuccino, even though here it is spelled "caffé" with 2 fs. Caffé actually refers to the coffee, the drink, but is used interchangeably for the the coffee shop, also called a"bar" or "caffeteria."

CAFE crossed ALFA Romeo at 39A, which is a car I will never own. The company is based in Milan and ALFA is an acronym for "Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili" or "Anonymous Lombard Automotive Factory" (Started by an "anonymous" group of investors". On Sunday I passed through Milan on my train to Turin from Florence.

Then 37D I got BARI, which I need to visit sometime, leading me to the RIALTO bridge which I crossed several times the weekend I arrived. There's actually room to walk on it again, vs my last visit in 2019.

Side note - my niece visited me in Japan in 2015 and one of her Must-Dos was to see Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto which she called "Uber Pretty Temple"

Buona giornata tutti!

Unknown 7:49 AM  

For a Brit: brutal.

OffTheGrid 7:49 AM  

I don't hate the rebus but am not the biggest fan. This was perfect for my taste. The one note rebus is fine with me. The OAT crosses were all real words without the letter string nonsense that sometimes occurs. I also enjoyed the ALGORE GALORE anagram. I don't notice, let alone actually count, gender representation in crosswords. Sure hope that doesn't mean I'm a misogynist.

Zwhatever 7:57 AM  

That OHIO clue threw me. I know from experience that I-75 meets I-70 near Dayton. And I know that I-70 meets I-65 in Indianapolis. And I know that the only north-south interstate “between” those two points is I-69. So many wasted nanoseconds ensued until I remembered that I-71 and I-75 are one for a bit in northern Kentucky until they split again in Cincinnati and realized that I-71 is one of those odd numbered “north/south” freeways that are actually more southeast to northwest. Post solve map investigation confirmed that I-70 and I-71 meet in Columbus, Ohio. I-69 north of Lansing, MI is the worst violator of the “odds are N/S, evens are E/W” rule, but I-26 out of Asheville, NC is a close second. I’d put I-71 third on my list of rule violators.

That MOILS/FOGEL crossing seems ripe for causing more than one DNF. Right with Rex on just about everything. Realized the rebus was going to happen at CUT-THR(OAT), disappointed there was only one cereal grain, only slowdown was Texas with the KYOTO/FOGEL/OHIO/MOILS mash up. Two writeovers today, el paso before ORTEGA and CRaB before CRIB. I disagree about THE G(OAT). It’s a meaningless claim that’s sort of fun to use to expose fans’ ignorance and biases, but has already gone from wired to tired. Bring back THE G(OAT) as the player who takes the most blame for a loss.

@LMS - I find it interesting that we fire the person responsible but praise the responsible person. Which reminds me, Rex had a Twitter poll last night about “interesting,” three or four syllables. The early results were very close to 50-50.

Zwhatever 8:08 AM  

OOH, Four has surged ahead. I agree with a replier who says it depends on the cadence of the sentence.

BTW - I posted a link to the Sufjan Stevens 2006 appearance on Austin City Limits late yesterday. It was a truly amazing performance. If you have an hour to watch and listen I recommend doing so. I do not believe that a certain musical instrument about which he wrote a short short story makes an appearance.

bocamp 8:16 AM  

Thx Oliver, for this challenging Thurs. puz! :)

Tough unsolve.

Not on the right wavelength for this one. :(

Dnfed at RIALTO / MOE.

Nevertheless, a good workout and some stuff learned. :)

yd 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

GILL I. 8:16 AM  

Sorry,'re Twist on OAT didn't float my boat.....Names GALORE and even AL GORE couldn't stop me from wanting to smoke a cigarette.
I wanted to dance the fandango tango..instead I tripped all over the floor. I got the OAT thingie at CUTHR[OAT} M[OAT}. Then I looked at your reveal CEREAL BOX and let out a little groan.
I have never heard of a BLOATWARE (it sounds like what you do after eating your wheaties) and if ever I were the best in sports, I wouldn't want someone to call me THE GOAT.
My one smile, though, was seeing the RIALTO bridge. The first time I went to Venice, it was in October and it was raining and there were very few tourists. It was magical; it was nearly empty and I almost had the shops all to myself. I went back in the summer and vowed never to return. I really feel sorry for the people that actually live in Venice.

mmorgan 8:17 AM  

Didn’t know FOGEL and I thought the “goat” was the loser in sports (as in the hero and the goat) and I didn’t catch the acronym and since GOAT(ee) was already used in the puzzle I didn’t expect to see it again, and I didn’t know MOI_S, so that little section did me in. Otherwise it was pleasant enough but felt a tad off-kilter. Or maybe it was just me.

Son Volt 8:23 AM  

Not the most sophisticated deception but good, clean fun. The two-way themers were nice - especially the apt cross of the THE GOAT and OATES. Most of the mid length fill was solid - liked THE ROCK and RIO LOBO.

The RIALTO Bridge is beautiful - but Ponte Accademia is the real deal.

Enjoyable Thursday solve.

Andrew H 8:25 AM  

What does PPP mean?

Hambone 8:38 AM  

Twenty-nine proper nouns is too many.

JD 9:09 AM  

Glad to see @Frantic back but I'm in the @Pabloinnh camp on this one.

"It's Oats all the way down." Good one! Got the rebus right away* but then soo many Oats all the way to BlOatware/Rialto where I folded. Malware was all I had and it wasn't working.

*Away. Inspired by LMS to figure out what Away is actually doing after right and dug up a definition of Fast. Right fast?

@Z, Thanks for the Sufjan concert. You and @JoeD made me a fan. My daughter pointed out that two of his songs are on the soundtrack of Little Miss Sunshine, one of my favorite movies. Oboe finally paid off.

TTrimble 9:20 AM  

Felt straightforward, and the theme was very simple. I have come to expect a harsh review from Rex for this sort of puzzle, but he seemed relatively forgiving this morning. That's good!

New to me is IMARETS, and the fact that David CARR had passed.

MOILS -- oof indeed. (See, @SouthsideJohnny -- people do use the word!)

That's all for now. See ya!

dbyd pg -3 (lost my tab)
yd 0
td 0

oceanjeremy 9:24 AM  

I love a good rebus, love a cereal theme, but NO. By my count this is over 37% PPP (29 answers out of 78 clues).

That’s too many. It’s impossible to fairly cross that many. This is a BAD PUZZLE. Should’ve torn it up and started from scratch.

rjkennedy98 9:25 AM  

If you know the names, this is an easy puzzle. If you don't, this was one hell of a slog (as it was for me). Even names that should be easy were clued more difficultly than they needed to be. This pronoun heavy puzzles are the least enjoyable puzzles to solve, and can create a huge difficulty curve for newer solvers, and its totally unnecessary.

kitshef 9:26 AM  

UM, NO pretty much sums it up for me. When all the difficulty comes from proper names, it’s just not fun. Character I’ve never heard of on a show I’ve never heard of LOGAN, Late media columnist I’ve never heard of CARR, Econ. Nobliest I’ve never heard of FOGEL, Italian city(?) I’ve never heard of BARI, rapper I’ve never heard of MOE.

Clue for 47D Pose. That’s fun. A short clue with multiple possible interpretations, and you have to work it out. That's how you add difficulty without names.

Frantic Sloth 9:28 AM  

@Andrew H 825am PPP stands for Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns. It's @Z's coinage and he sometimes breaks it down to a percentage of the grid. Supposedly over 33% gives some subset of solvers difficulties, but I personally start to fidget around the 30% mark. If we're good, @Z might be persuaded to work the figures. 🤞

jberg 9:33 AM  

No Robert Service from me today, but how about a little Milton:

"That strain I heard was of a higher mode,
But now my OAT returns...."
[I'm not sure about that line break.]

Unlike everyone else, apparently, I got the theme at GOATEE/CROATIA; but not until I rejected the possibility that the facial animal might be a mole, and the patriarch a LOmAN (like Willy). I don't mind a monocereal approach, nor do I care that Life is made of other ones -- as I've said many times, I like it more when the revealer isn't too literal. What did bother me was 'FITTOATEE.' It would have been OK if not for the five thousand puzzle appearances (an approximation, @Lewis probably knows the exact number) of TOAT tout court. (@Loren, please appreciate the bilingual adjective placement!) I filled it in as far as FITTOAT and had no idea what to do with the two remaining squares; had to wait for the crosses, made harder because of confusing Kool MOE Dee with Mos Def.

Otherwise a fine puzzle. Is UMNO a debut entry?

But ah, the travel memories. I've never been to CROATIA or THE ROCK of Gibraltar, but have been to Venice and Kyoto (several times, my university used to have a relationship with Ritsumeikan University there). Our hotel in Venice overlooked the RIALTO marketplace, just west (I guess) of the bridge. After crossing it a couple times my wife, who had just recovered from a broken neck, was daunted by the crowds and the steepness. Fortunately, we'd bought 1-week vaporetto passes, so we'd cross the river by getting on it for one stop.

@Loren, here's LOTH to Depart missing its A, as well.

oceanjeremy 9:34 AM  

@Andrew H 8:25 AM: “PPP” is, I believe, “Place names, Pop culture, and other Proper nouns” (might not have that exactly correct — but that’s the gist). It’s an acronym coined by the commentariat here on Rex’s Blog. I believe it was “Z” who began using the term, and monitoring the average percentage of PPP.

I can’t remember Z’s rule of thumb for how much PPP is “acceptable,” but it’s either 28% or 33%. And today’s puzzle is 37% — just inexcusable, in this solver’s opinion. Nothing that trivia-heavy should see publication.

I think it’s a weakness in constructing, a crutch, and it makes for a horrible solving experience on the other end.

pmdm 9:35 AM  

Strange puzzle whose PPP threw me but didn't really get me upset. Not quite as auspicious a debut as yesterday's But as a fan of the rebus puzzle surprise, especially when the rebus squares are irregularly located, I'm happy enough.

Z: As one who lives in lower NYS, I have always been perplexed with I-84 being an E-W highway. And I will be perplexed when NY 17 fully becomes the E-W I-86. And of course there are many small sections of the interstate highway system in which the naming convention does not hold. I am quite annoyed that the Trans-Manhattan Expressway and the Cross Bronx Expressway (1-95) run E-W.

Whatsername 9:35 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
MarthaCatherine 9:36 AM  

I DNFed at the MOE/BLOATWARE/BUM area that included the rebus, which my pea brain could not suss out. When malWARE didn't work, my synapses shut down. Dang. The rest of the puzzle seemed quite easy.

I say IN-TRESS-TING. Never, regardless of the cadence or context, say IN-TER-ESS-TING. Maybe it's a regional thing (grew up in the DC area). I always liked the fact that Spock was in the three-syllable camp. How could someone so rational and objective be wrong?

I'm with those who have noted that it used to be the worst thing in the world to be a goat ("He's going for it! The game depends on it! He's going to be a hero or a goat!") but now it it the greatest thing. It turned on a dime. They could have gone with BOAT (Best) and preserved goat as the personification (or hircinification) of shame and defeat.

tb 9:45 AM  

According to Gore Vidal the three most dispiriting words in the English language are Joyce Carol Oates.

Whatsername 9:50 AM  

I’m the first one to sing the praises of a Thursday with rebuses but not when they’re drowning in a sea of Proper Names and Places GALORE. And especially not when those Propers are things like BARI and FOGEL and RIALTO crossing. UM NO. If I had stronger scruples, I would’ve thrown this one against Nancy’s Wall and gone on with my day. But I hate not finishing a Crossword and I really hate not finishing a Thursday because it’s my favorite. So Google it was, the ultimate BUM out.

Dwayne THE ROCK Johnson is the highest paid actor in the world? What? Will wonders never CEASE? No wonder I haven’t been to a movie theater since … well never mind.

BLOATWARE is that cute swimsuit you bought with the fluffy ruffly blousy top that’s supposed to hide those extra bowls of CEREAL underneath and looked okay in the dressing room but once it got wet you look more like you’re wearing the BOX.

I was about to say where’s @Frantic this week but then, poof! She’s baaaaaack. Let us all give thanks.

Nancy 9:55 AM  

Rule #1 in my book: If you've come up with a nice rebus, don't muck it up with a grid full of proper names. Because for anyone who struggles with many or most of those names, that's going to be pretty much all they remember about the puzzle.

I saw the rebus immediately at CUTTHROAT/MOATS. The rebus was in many ways the least of my problems. (Although I missed it completely at the THE G.O.A.T/OATES cross.)

Here are the Hoovers I know. J. Edgar. Herbert. Dam. I don't know any Hoovers who are rivals of ORECK, whatever that is.

I didn't know LOGAN, THE ROCK, FOGEL, or OATES. My wheelhouse names (but maybe not yours) were NINA, CODY, CROATIA, DOUG, AL GORE, RIALTO, CARR and RIO LOBO.

How "old-style" is MOILS for "works hard"? The Stone Age? The Bronze Age? The word for "works hard" is TOILS -- and don't you ever forget it. I resisted and resisted and resisted writing in MOILS, but RHYTHM forced me to.

The themers were well-chosen and I should have liked this rebus a lot more. But in the end, mostly what I'll remember are the proper names.

RooMonster 10:18 AM  

Hey All !
BLOATWARE? If you say so. Heard of MALWARE and ADWARE, but the BLOAT is new to me. Is that the GOAT of the -WAREs? Or maybe ala @LMS, what you wear when your body balloons. BLOAT WEAR, coming soon to a store near you!

FITTOATEE shoved in there. Looks frightening. At least it garners an F. ��

If a great player has facial hair around his mouth, is he The GOATEE GOAT? Asking for a bearded friend.

GENX is technically correct as clued, since it didn't say "Cohort immediately before millennials", but still deceptive! I was like "CEREAL BOy?" Is that CAPN Crunch's son? Har.

THE ROCK highest paid? Wow. He's a good actor, don't get me wrong. But, still. He must have a great manager. He was (is) successful in Wrestling, now as an actor, will he run for some political office next? You heard it here first, y'all. I'll take royalties later.

MAYBE SO was a maybe so for me. As in, had it in and took it out about three times. Meta?

BUM. Clued today as Dispirit. Could also be "___ a cigarette", "Something you plop down on?", "No good one?", "Disparaging name for someone on the street", " The rear of Brian?". Many meanings of that word.

Always liked RHYTHM as a word. Vowelless, sort of. Sometimes Y! Why isn't it RHYTHEM? Or RIYTHM? Weird.

UMNO sounds like a Computer Brand. "Hey,that new UMNO I got is a great computer!"

Was ESO BESO originally named MAY BESO?

Ok, getting silly. Time to go.

Three F's

Zwhatever 10:19 AM  

@OceanJeremy has it mostly correct. Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns. At 33% we see the wheelhouse/outhouse effect, much as we are seeing today. If the PPP is in your wheelhouse the puzzle is super easy. If it’s not you end up throwing the puzzle into the outhouse because it’s so hard (said another way, some subset of solvers will find the puzzle especially hard). Unless @OJ beats me to it I’ll post my list later today. BTW - the 33% is based more or less on observation from when I first noticed the effect and kept a daily tally. Nothing better than being spectacularly wrong to goad one into figuring out why.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

@Nancy. Hoovers really suck, which is why the brand is a popular choice for a vacuum cleaner.

jae 10:24 AM  

Easy-medium. I caught the rebus quickly and only got bogged down in the FOGEL area. I used to hitchhike up and down I-71 to see my college girlfriend. Yesterday was our 55th anniversary.

Cute Thursday, liked it. Nice debut.

J. Gilchrist 10:27 AM  

How do you construct this puzzle and not work MIKEY into it somehow? Baffling.

RooMonster 10:28 AM  

@Me, earlier
Done in by auto-correct again! Although "The rear of Brian?" is quite funny, it was supposed to be, "The rear of Britian?"

RooMonster The Rear Of Crossworld Guy

Lewis 10:31 AM  

@jberg -- 67

Frantic Sloth 10:34 AM  

@Z 757am Did you write this "The Californians"?

@JD 909am & @Whatsername 935am I'm gonna be in and out for a couple weeks, so there's no tellin' when I'll reappear. Kinda like herpes.

@MarthaCatherine 936am I believe Mr. Spock used the 4 syllable version: fascinating. 😉

My first and lasting experience of anything "GOAT" was Charlie Brown. This newish incarnation provides a certain irony-by-antithesis form of delight for me (is that repetitively redundant?), but my heart belongs to CB.

If you have T-Mobile as your carrier and have ever bought a phone from them, you are excruciatingly aware of BLOATWARE. Rumor has it. 🙄

Chris 10:36 AM  

@Nancy.The Hoover company invented in the vacuum cleaner. Vacuums were sometimes refered to generically as "Hoovers." As for Oreck, they've been around a long time too and are ubiquitous in commercial settings. Also advertise a lot for the last several decades, but then you might have to read a magazine or turn on the TV.

egsforbreakfast 10:43 AM  

I got fairly nicely into the ALGORE RHYTHM of this puzzle, even its BLOATWARE . I didn’t get much pushback from the PPP, and even had time to wonder whether KID ROCK is stronger than GAL ORE. And since we’ve got THE GOAT in the puzzle, I should point out the juxtaposition of 26D and 34D to make CARR REAM. I guess Jordan doesn’t get Oliver Roeder’s vote.

I miss the unique perspectives of John X ( as well as John XXIII, but that’s a different thing). Hope he pops up here soon.

Easy, but enjoyable puzz. Thank you, Oliver.

MetroGnome 10:44 AM  

When the "reveal" clue/answer is a friggin' coded brand name ("Life Preserver" --> "CEREAL BOX"), then the entire puzzle is schitthouse-worthy.

Frantic Sloth 10:44 AM  

@Roo 1018am The ROCK's political aspiration rumors have been on the lower rumbling register for years now. If history is any indication, I'm hoping "rumors" is the operative word here. 1028am Wasn't "The Rear of Brian" a Monty Python movie? 😉

Joseph Michael 10:48 AM  

Funny to think of Rex rage googling the ingredients of LIFE CEREAL.

One might say that Oliver has SOWN his OATS by constructing this puzzle. Found most of it fun to solve except for that bad batch of names near the southern border: KYOTO, FOGEL, TERI, and OATES with a dupe GOAT thrown in for extra measure.

I like THE ROCK and he’s not bad to look at, but if he is the highest paid actor of 2021, Western Civilization may not be long for this world.

Liked AL GORE and GALORE winking at each other across the grid and love the word BLOATWARE which I had never heard before.

Is cereal something you have at ATE AM?

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

Hoover and Oreck are brands of vacuums.

TJS 10:57 AM  

@tb, I thought it was Mailer.

@Z, I thought for sure we would get more of your ridiculous anti-Jordon diatribes, but No ! I feel cheated. What about Gretsky, that bum ?

Greatest hitter, Williams. But greatest player ? Hmm. Ruth ?

Put me down on the hate side for this puzzle.


mathgent 11:00 AM  

Rex at his worst. Complete and utter nonsense.

I love it when Nancy and I can dance around the rebus Maypole together. Sadly that didn't happen today, even though the puzzle was excellent. Too many proper nouns for her. I didn't know seven of them, but I got them all comfortably from the crosses.

Oliver Roeder seems to be a fascinating guy. His personality shines through. On Jeff Chen, he has a nice take on crosswords being a "potent democratizing force."

I can't think of one negative thing to say about the puzzle. Delightful, from start to finish.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Didn't know a thing about Amanda PEET

One thing in life that has always puzzled me: She Who Must Be Obeyed gets on me for watching 'L&O' re-runs rather than current equivalents; which said are sadly bad in comparison. Yet it's a no brainer, and fully accepted, to run only, and I mean under pain of death, the Grateful Dead channel on the car's SXM machine. Can you explain that? Anyway, the channels that do this have a typical meme: see them before they became famous, and Amanda PEET is one such. Not that I know anything about her being famous now, since I watch almost nothing au courant. Some sports the exception; not, however the Olympics.

MOIL is homonym for mohel, at least in sort of English, and quite twingy for those of us on XY side of things.

well, next state over, I-95, which is 99% E-W, is labelled N-S. at least someone figured out that the numbers should typify direction to some extent.

Dyson before ORECK, if for no other reason than the former is High End while the latter is Walmart. Hoover, if it still exists, was nearly top-line, fighting it out with Electrolux, if it still exists.

BLOATWARE, for those who've been around the PC block a few times, is a passle of 'free' applications one gets with most new PC's (driven by M$ and Windoze). Same thing with phones. They fill up storage, and often are auto-loaded by the OS, thus starving the applications you intend to run.

Carola 11:13 AM  

A fun one. I, too, saw we were into OATS early, but there were still some tricky squares that eluded me on first and second pass and kept the hunt interesting (CROATIA, even FIT TO A TEE, which I'd entered square-by-square as FIT TO A T). Loved the idea of LOATHSOME BLOATWARE - no kidding! 66A also got a smile: after reading the clue, I thought, "Don't tell me it's going to be MOILS" - but yes! A great word, and nice that it gets to be used somewhere.

Help from previous puzzles: IMARET. No idea: CARR, LOGAN, THE GOAT, FOGEL, MOE.

@pabloinnh - A "Hats off" from me, too, for "OATS all the way down." :)

@chance2travel 7:48 - Sono gelosa! We have plans to return to Rome for a month in fall 2022. Vediamo! Meanwhile, I enjoyed reading about your experiences.

Tale Told By An Idiot 11:14 AM  

Proper Houston has the ladies who lunch; Houston proper includes the whole other bunch.

TJS 11:17 AM  

@Joe D, just went back to the later comments from yesterday and caught the Sufjan Stevens passage you provided. Great stuff. "Cleaning our kitchen for a living" was my fave also. Now I will have to check out @Z's link. Thanks to both of you.

JC66 11:29 AM  


Agree with you on the PPP ruining what could have been a fine rebus puzzle.

I'm surprised, based on your background in the book publishing business, that you aren't familiar with Joyce Carol OATES.

Hope the puzzle didn't ruin your park time today. 😂

Anonymous 11:35 AM  

Rex says "I like the word DOUR".

DOUR = relentlessly severe, stern, or gloomy in manner or appearance.
"a hard, dour, humorless fanatic"

When people show you who they are, believe them the first time. ~Maya Angelou.

Well, yes - that does make sense.

johnk 11:38 AM  

After I saw the theme at MOATS x CUTTHROAT, I wanted more grains to appear, but I guess this must be a gluten-free puzzle.
I found GOAT x FOGEL quite grueling.

Judith 12:02 PM  

Rex... my kids' favorite snack as toddlers.. Cheerios... made from oat flour... generic is Oateos... shaped like little life-savers. Still finding zip bags of them in old purses and under car seats!
p.s. you make our day!! every day!!

PhysGraf 12:27 PM  

Mainly easy with the exception of the lucky guess on MOILS. I was going to suggest a "Superbad" clue for 52D but alas per IMDB, McLovin spelled his name FOGELL. Is having both GOATEE and THEGOAT acceptable? I knew both but hesitated due to their sameness.

jb129 12:27 PM  

No, Rex - it wasn't easy.

mathgent 12:28 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

Loren (7:06)
pabloinnh (7:27)
chance2travel (7:48)
tb (9:45)
Carola (11:13)

Adam 12:30 PM  

The proper expression is "FIT TO A T"--which fit perfectly across and which I entered as such. The OAT made me think that it had to be a themer, but "FIT TO A TEE" is incorrect, and frankly ruined the puzzle for me. If you're going to use an idiom, use it correctly. (It's said that it refers to a T-square, but it's definitely not a tee shirt or any other tee.) Even once I put OAT in its square/box I was wondering what would go in the last two squares across.

I threw in the L for MOILS/FOGEL and as I'm solving on paper got no indication that I was right until I came here, but that was a Natick.

I agree with @Rex--I liked Tuesday and Wednesday far better than today, although for different reasons.

Unknown 12:46 PM  

Like many of you, the MOILS/FOGEL was a stinker. I was stuck on TOILS.
And I had BACI/CIALTO which felt like a bit of a Natick.

I did like BLOATWARE and UTENSIL, but the sheer number of proper nouns overwhelmed the puz for me. I don't know where the 33% rule came from - I sort of feel it was plucked out of the sky - - - When I construct a puz, I try to keep it well under 20%

Zwhatever 12:48 PM  

@TJS - I have nothing against Jordan. That he’s not a top ten all-time great isn’t his fault. He’s probably not even top five of the eighties (Bird, Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, Thomas, and Erving come immediately to mind as better in the 80’s, there are probably others). He’s definitely the greatest player of the 90’s, but that is damning with faint praise. LeBron, especially, has won championships with much less talent surrounding him against better competition. Heck, if I were drafting a team of people in the Association in 1985 I’d have Jordan on my board after Barkley. 😎😎

PPP Analysis
@Ocean Jeremy was too kind. I came up with 34 of 78 for 44%. There are a couple that could be argued aren’t PPP, so maybe “only” 32 of 78 for 41%.

The List

YUMA, Arizona
NINA Totenberg
DEEDS (Monopoly clue)
Buffalo Bill CODY
THE ROCK (Dwayne Johnson)
NOHO “nabe” as in “neighborhood”
ALFA Romeo
DOUG Jones
Amanda PEET

EYE of Ra
LCD tv screens (this one is iffy - is it really “pop culture?”)
RIO LOBO (movie)
ELS (the other one I vacillate on - ELevated trains are not PPP in and of themselves, but the Chicago EL seems pretty pop culture to me)
TOM Waits
David CARR
FORTUNE Magazine
Kool MOE Dee
Robert FOGEL
Joyce Carol (OAT)ES

Zwhatever 1:02 PM  

@unknown12:46 - Some Saturday I went on and on about how good a puzzle was and how free of pop culture it was. Later that day @OISK (where has he been?) complained about the excessive pop culture in the puzzle. I counted it up. I had said something like 7, it was more like 45%. Whoops. I then spent some time counting it up every single day and checking the comments. >33% there would be wheelhouse/outhouse comments. <33% not so much. As @Frantic Sloth has observed, 30% is a reasonable cut-off, especially if the PPP isn’t diverse.
As for your under 20% claim, the NYTX only very rarely gets below 20% I don’t keep records, but I’d say the median has to be in the high 20’s. This is sometimes accomplished by clues like the one for DEEDS, which we can’t necessarily blame the constructor for.

Older history - I chose “PPP” in angry homage to @Lewis’ PPP - Post Puzzle Puzzlers, that he stopped doing because people actually complained to Rex. I always assume those are the same mjopic people who think MJ is THE G(OAT),*

*See what you’ve done @TJS

old timer 1:10 PM  

At first this one seemed hopeless, with all the PPP that I did not know. For instance, who knew what island NASSAU is on? But the crosses did provide enough cues in the end. And really, folks, who does not know RIALTO from at least The Merchant of Venice, required reading in so many high schools? Of course anyone who has been to Venice has crossed the RIALTO, often many times. For many tourists it is the *only* bridge they cross, though there are three others, including, blessedly, a new Calatrava bridge near the railway station.

If this puzzle is a failure, it is because the constructor failed to include Mairzy Doats (and Doazy Doats, and little Lambsy Divy), I wonder if he tried?

I loved HOUSEB OAT S, and the well clued CR OAT IA, but cast a side EYE at C OAT OF ARMS. A COAT OF ARMS is not an heraldic symbol, though it will contain many such. It is the finished product.

Jeopardy fans are very well aware of Ken Jennings, officially the G.O.A.T. I would have liked him as a host, but then he hardly needs the money.

Masked and Anonymous 1:13 PM  

Lotsa SEstern trouble spots for the nanoseconds. KYOTO/TERI. TERI/MOILS. MOILS/FOGEL. FOGEL/THEG(OAT). THEG(OAT)/(OAT)ES. day-um. Oh, wait -- and then there was BARI/RIALTO. RIALTO/BL(OAT)WARE. Maybe toss in MOE the rappin non-stooge. dubble day-um.

Kinda extra-liked the CEREALBOX revealer and its {Life preserver?} clue, tho. OAT is a bit of CEREAL. [check] Each of them OATs is crammed into a single BOX. [check] All the OAT-y BOXes trace out a kinda circular shape, like a life preserver's shape. [dubble checkmate].

staff weeject pick: LEB. Hard to beat desperate country abbreve meat. Better clue: {What comes after the A, in France??}. (Cuz if yer gonna have a smidge of Ow de Speration, M&A says go all in for it.)

Oh, yeah … and then there was LOGAN/NASSAU/CROW ATE YAH.. Not as tough on the nanoseconds as those other nat-ticks, but … still, them clues were killers, at our house. Cute G(OAT)EE clue, tho.
Maybe on some of these LOGAN-type names of mystery, they could drop an extra hint.
Example: {___ Roy, patriarch on HBO's "Succession" … and rhymes with slogan}. That'd sure of helped.

Thanx for helpin us all feel our (g)oats today, Mr. Roeder dude. And congratz on yer fine debutpuz.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


Uncle Mookie 1:13 PM  


bocamp 1:31 PM  

Loved Amanda PEET in "The Whole Nine Yards."

Add OAT flakes to my snack mix.

@Z (8:08 AM)

Thx for the Sufjan vid yd; what a talent, and very easy to listen to! :)

Also, INTERLAKEN and Interlochen are now firmly implanted.

@TTrimble (9:20 AM) 👍 for yd & td's 0's

Sorry about your lost tab; I know how that feels. :(


Congrats on your 55th yd! 🎉

Finally got around to Croce's Freestyle. Pretty much as you described it, but couldn't get 'clearance' on 1A, so a one-cell dnf. Nevertheless, a most enjoyable hour, give or take. See you next Mon. :)


Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

JD 1:53 PM  

@Z, I'll argue for the greatness of Larry Bird all day long. Work is stressful right now so to relax the other night I watched a 1986 Celtics v. Philly game on YouTube just to watch him in action. Crazy, I know. But even Larry Bird might disagree with you, if only half-heartedly. And it's obvious that the round mound of rebound didn't have the leadership qualities it took to make a championship team. The record speaks for itself. So does the need for the Jordan Rules.

TTrimble 2:09 PM  

In other news, on Tuesday I visited Clark University with my daughter, and heard a student hailing from Natick actually pronounce the damned thing. It's with a long a! "Naitick".

In my head, I'd been mispronouncing it the entire time.

@Frantic Sloth
Nice to see you back!

Anonymous 2:09 PM  

I was at grad school at Chicago in the 80s, so know FOGEL. Even so that section hard with MOILS (i wrote over TOILS) and the voweless RHYTHM threw me off.

Nancy 2:18 PM  

@JC66 -- I didn't even realize until your 11:29 shoutout that the OATES we were talking about was Joyce Carol. My bad, I guess. But the title "Them" wasn't familiar to me and sounded more like something that Stephen King, Isaac Asimov or Ray Bradbury might have written. You know -- a novel about evildoers amongst us...or unfriendly aliens looking for trouble...or swarms of very unpleasant and repulsive insects.

This book actually came out while I was an editor at the Literary Guild. So I at least should have known the title and author, but I didn't. It must have been discussed at one of our Friday Editorial Meetings, even if I wasn't the one reporting on it -- but I have absolutely no recollection of it at all.

(No, I'm not in the park today, @JC66. The humidity is about 110% and the dew point is about 97 and I almost died merely walking a half mile each way along Third Avenue to pick up my new eyeglasses. I wasn't even tempted to venture over to the park and walk home that way. Too far out of my way. I just wanted to get back to A/C.)

TJS 2:23 PM  

@Z, is "mjopic" 3 syllables or 4 ?

EdFromHackensack 2:24 PM  

yes, I saw Amanda PEET on Colbert the other night too. so that came easy. BUT I was surprised this was rated as Easy by Rex. It took me awhile! when I finally got the theme at LOATHSOME/COATOFARMS I was afraid that the rebus would include assorted other grains, not just OAT. was relieved it didnt. Then I entered (in pen!) FITToatt and that loused things up a bit for me. THEROCK is the highest paid actor??? Egads that says alot about our culture right there. Succession is a great show, give it a try. had tOILS before MOILS. in all, I thought it was a great puzzle, though NO easy !

okanaganer 2:29 PM  

Way way way way way way too many names! In some areas about 75% of the answers are names. HINA CODY LEB ALGORE. LOGAN CROATIA ORECK AIDA NASSAU. Completely sucked any joy out of it for me.

Anonymous 2:29 PM  

Isn't the south center so much beyond Natick as to be all the way into Framingham?

OHIO (tricky if you're thinking of a city somewhere in the midwest)

are all on the relatively obscure side (Ohio and Oates are of course well known, but clued exceedingly obscurely).


Whatsername 2:40 PM  

@Z (12:48) I’m no expert and therefore wasn’t going to argue with anyone, but I agreed exactly with your count at a whopping 40+%. So thanks for that confirmation.

tb 3:00 PM  

@TJS, Per Christopher Hitchens it was Gore Vidal. I don't think Mailer was that clever.

Adam 3:23 PM  

It’s the Chicago ‘L’, not the ‘El’.

Anonymous 3:35 PM  

How somebody, ANYBODY, can criticize this baby is beyond me. . . It's criticism purely for criticism's sake. . . "Life id not really an oat cereal" >>>> SHUT UP ALREADY!!!

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

all the way into Framingham

ah, yes. home of the Round Mound of Zound, aka Shoppers' World. well the original, at least. is it still there?

Anoa Bob 4:16 PM  

Never could get much of a RHYTHM going with this one, what with the glut of proper nouns. I did, however, like RHYTHM and KYOTO reminded of a visit there in the 80s. I was working in Tokyo and rode the Shinkansen (bullet train) down. In contrast to the constant lurching and noisy click-clacking of the Tokyo area trains, the ride was smooth as silk and eerily quite. The city was picture postcard beautiful with many temples and gardens. In the spirit of that KYOTO visit, I've composed a haiku poem:

Great shame on Crosswords
Put three letters in one square
And call it rebus

Unknown 5:14 PM  

I too loved the KYOTO clue since I was there in 1984. TERI/FOGEL/MOILS were just a lucky guess for me. Like Rex, on a simple rebus like this, I like my OAT squares randomly placed. Thanks Oliver, great puzzle, congrats on the debut!

thfenn 5:16 PM  

Took me all day to get a chance to do this, and while I agree the PPP was high I loved it. Far from easy - no traction until the SW, so my first OAT was the coatofarms/loathsome cross, but when it clicked it was fun. Took forever to get the reveal because I went with David Corn, not Carr, happily thinking of Mother Jones and sadly noting I must have missed his passing, and Life wasn't registering as a cereal just yet, so the reveal was one of the last pieces to fall in place. Thought the clues for HIREE, TOM, and other short fill were clever. Do think the EE after FITTOAT is just wrong. But nevermind. This played just like a Thursday should, IMHO.

Stephen Minehart 5:22 PM  

I had to finish this bad boy with a little technique I call "Googling". Didn't know TERI Polo or Robert FOGEL, and the more I thought about MOILS, well that had to be wrong because that's just "toils" with an M, yet meaning the exact same thing, couldn't be right, could it? Oh well. ALGORE and GALORE in the same puzzle for no obvious reason, that's something.

Bill L. 5:27 PM  

They have taken away my heritage, but they didn’t get my GOAT.

JC66 5:33 PM  

@Anoa Bob

Since you're a crossword maven and puzzle constructor. it's hard to believe that you can't accept the fact that some words in xwordland (i.e. rebus, natick, etc) can have different meanings than in the real world.

Bonnie Jo Pappas 5:43 PM  

Would’ve loved to have read RP’s critique if instead of DNC, Al Gore, and Doug Jones we had RNC, Mike Pence, and Tommy Tuberville. Democratization indeed.

Anonymous 8:24 PM  

@Bonnie Jo 5:43- Rex would’ve had a total meltdown at the very mention of Mike Pence. Inclusivity is awesome as long as you agree with me.

The Cleaver 9:09 PM  

Inclusivity is awesome as long as you agree with me.

“I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election, if I win.”
-- The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) 10/20/2016

albatross shell 10:07 PM  

Had to google a few things. Progress was still slow until I saw the theme. Then went theme searching. Once the theme fell in an area the rest filled in without too much trouble. Names GALORE. Did Fogel produce something that works? For what?

Thrash for beat crossing THRESH briefly.

Liked both mobile home answers.

Them sounds like a dispiriting book from the plot summary.

G.O.A.T. and GOATEE seem sufficiently different for me. The former contains no goat at all. The G.O.A.T. is distinguishable from the goat in writing but not orally or in crosswords. Question: what reasonable choice for the GOAT had the greatest (or worst) other goat moment in their career? I have no idea.

Did anyone agree with Rex about OAT being singular hurting the theme? I liked Rex's life CEREAL less than CEREAL BOX but wonder if the puzzle might be better w/o a reveal. Nah.

stephanie 11:50 PM  

the problem with an easy (for me) wednesday was that my brain was not sufficiently primed for thursday. there were (at least seemingly to me) a TON of proper nouns and i didn't know any of them. when i had gone through all the clues i looked at a mostly empty grid and thought, damn, this is abysmal, i'm never going to finish this. i did at least figure out the theme fairly quickly, and for me on thursdays, that's the most satisfying & biggest part of the battle, so that was a small win.

but then, slowly but surely, i made it. i openly admit to gratuitous use of google, but every answer i typed into the grid as a guess and subsequently googled came up correct so that was pretty cool! i did use a lifeline in the form of asking my partner sitting behind me what the computer clue was, which i never would have gotten on my own. i did have ROGUE before DOGIE but "URREG" didn't seem right, and the ol' brain took way too long to get to TROD - all i could think of was TROT.

ultimately very satisfying since i went from "ugh i can't do this" to a completed puzzle with almost no "what the hell is that" reveals (MOILS), and i personally enjoyed the theme and little boxes of OATs.

oceanjeremy 12:28 AM  

Right you are! All the more reason I should leave the PPP analysis to the resident expert, @Z ;)

Looking through your list I did not count:
- NOHO: Here’s that wheelhouse blindness! I’ve lived in NYC for 19 years, so this didn’t even register as PPP. I must acknowledge that it 100% is. Oops!
- LCD: I figured this didn’t count as pop culture or product. It’s a referential description, not sure I’d even call it “trivia”
- EYE: Should’ve counted this but didn’t, not sure why.
- DNC: Apologies to our non-US solvers, but this still seems fair game to me. However I can see how it’s “trivia” and not wordplay.
- ELS: Similar to NOHO (even though I’ve only been to Chicago once, for four days, and it was almost 30 years ago when I was an adolescent).

This error on my part only further hammers home the point of my invective judgment against this puzzle. Bad. No. Constructors should not do this. And editors shouldn’t allow them to.

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

Wanted "Beat" to be ROUTED and "Separate seed from" to be THRESHOUT but then couldn't figure out where the H from THRESH went or what the YTHT after ROUT was supposed to be.... turns out I had TOILS instead of MOILS (a word I've never seen before).

Clay 5:01 AM  


Burma Shave 12:17 PM  


even some LOATHSOME DEEDS for
to have SOWN my wild OATES.


spacecraft 1:32 PM  

DNF for one square: #16. I had no earthly idea what went in there. NINA?? That's where Dalmatia is?? On a ship??? And what's DNC? A true natick. Didn't even have a wild guess.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

Pisser infestation made this puzzle miss the mark. Rejected.

Diana, LIW 3:05 PM  

Fresh blood is not SERUM. Just wanted to let you know. Really messed ME up. Ha! Even after I got the Rebus.

Can't trust Thursday.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Diana, LIW 3:06 PM  

Ummm, @Spacey - Democratic Notional Committee - the Blue politicos???

Lady Di

rondo 3:08 PM  

@spacey - DNC = Democratic National Committee, for the 'blues' of the blue states. NINA Totenberg longtime NPR reporter.

thefogman 4:07 PM  

Pretty good. Almost ruined by the MOILS-FOGEL crossing. I guessed correctly but that was a mean little Natick which I’m sure ticked a few puzzlers off.

Don 8:55 PM  

This puzzle was not easy!!! Sigh.

Geome 9:39 PM  

Note to The Cleaver...The orange shitgibbon (not your coinage but you grieve) has long since left the building.
Apres lui, le deluge...

tonyd 1:20 PM  

Nobody commented on why a Mobile home is HIREE. Apparently it's an obscure company that I've never heard of but that still doesn't explain the clue

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