Order from on high / TUE 8-10-21 / Cart pullers / Scrabble or cribbage / Actor Patel / High piano tone

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Constructor: Anne Grae Martin

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (5:21 for me)

THEME: LITTLE RED (63A: Phrase that can precede the starts of 17-, 25-, 40- and 50-Across)— the first word of each theme answer can follow "Little Red" to create a new phrase from history and/or culture.

Word of the Day: F-ZERO (56D: Nintendo series with high-speed racers) —

F-Zero[a] is a series of futuristic racing video games originally created by Nintendo EAD with multiple games developed by outside companies. The first game was released for the Super Famicom in Japan in 1990, and along with North America’s Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991; its success prompted Nintendo to create multiple sequels on subsequent gaming consoles.[1]

The series is known for its high-speed racing, characters and settings, difficult gameplay, and original music, as well as for pushing technological limits to be one of the fastest racing games. The original title inspired the creation of games such as Daytona USA[2] and the Wipeout series.

• • •

Hello there, Tom Quigley here in my first time as substitute for Rex in the final days of his vacation.  In college I had a recurring dream where I accidentally signed up for a class that I was wholly unqualified and unprepared for, and wouldn't realize it until it was time to take the final exam.  Reading each day's recap over the last few weeks has brought me right back to those stressful nights.  Now here I am amongst seasoned veterans, crossword constructors, classical pianists, and solvers who's times put mine to shame, all to review a puzzle that was completely out of my wheelhouse.  Anyway, to quote Chairman Mao, "Let's get this freakin' party started!"

Theme answers:
  • BOOKSMART (17A: Educated, but not streetwise)
    • Little Red Book, or Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung 
  • HENBERRIES (25A: Eggs, in diner slang)
    • Little Red Hen, an American fable first printed in 1874
  • SCHOOLHOUSEROCK (40A: Kids' educational TV series of the 1970s-'90s)
    • Little Red Schoolhouse, a general term for a one-room school
  • WAGONWHEEL (50A: What turns on a farm vehicle)
    • Little Red Wagon, either another name for the classic Radio Flyer, or a 2015 Miranda Lambert single
Overall this was a nice puzzle, and any of the following gripes are strictly "me problems," but I wonder if I'm alone. When it comes to Little Red things, the list is Riding Hood and Corvette, with today's theme answers pulling up the rear.  My first thought was "isn't it supposed to be little BLACK book?" before the reference clicked.  Little Red Hen is something I've never heard of, though reading the synopsis it appears to be the polar opposite of the Little Red Book, which is some nice symmetry.  Google results for Little Red Schoolhouse make it seem like every small town in America lays claim to the original, and Little Red Wagon by Miranda Lambert was more popular than the actual wagons we all had as kids.  

The theme answers themselves are all strong, though I don't usually think of wagons as "farm vehicles," and there's a classic country song sitting right there for the taking.  The fill was solid, I don't think I cringed at anything other than TUDES (57D: Sassy behaviors, in slang), which just has an unsettling mouth-feel.

  • LEFT (54A: Exited) — Reading this clue as "Excited," combined with no knowledge of F-Zero, added a solid 20 seconds to my time.
  • SETS (70A: Some volleyball actions) — Congratulations to Team USA for winning gold in Women's Volleyball and Women's Beach Volleyball, now let's all get ready for the Winter Olympics in less than 6 months!
  • RAHEEM (Character with a boombox in "Do the Right Thing") — RIP Bill Nunn

Signed, Tom Quigley, Serf of CrossWorld
Happy Birthday Dad!  

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:02 AM  

I’ve spent a lot of time on the road and have eaten at hundreds of joints that would classify as “diners”. Never once have I heard uttered the term HENBERRIES. Do short-order cooks actually say that? If so, why? Are they trying to advance from short-order to longer-order cook?

jae 12:04 AM  

Medium-tough. Did not know FZERO and like @Tom misread Excited for Exited which resulted in a nanosecond deficit in the SE. A solid and smooth Tuesday, liked it. A fine debut.

It’s August 10th and my iPad app which uses .puz is still working.

Shawn 12:44 AM  

For some reason the wording on AAS didn’t strike me as needing the plural, so I sat unfinished for far too long (AEC should have been a giveaway, I realize)
Still humming after seeing The Green Knight last week, so the DEV Patel inclusion was a nice moment

Graham 1:13 AM  

I think ONE UP at 15A is misclued — that’s not remotely what it means. And since there’s a nice colloquial meaning (to outdo someone), why choose an incorrect definition to clue it?

egsforbreakfast 1:34 AM  

No OOHs and AAS for this this one, but it was clean and well-executed for an ““insert the same phrase before different words” type of puzzle. Given that it was also a debut for Anne Grae Martin, I’m all CHARGEDUP!

okanaganer 2:26 AM  

Tom, you are 100% correct about RIDING HOOD and CORVETTE. But the former would be impossible to format as "word + other word", I guess.

My favorite answer in this puzzle is George EZRA. If you haven't heard him, listen on Youtube... he looks like a high school boy, but his voice is major league. Eg: Blame It on Me.

chefwen 3:20 AM  

Tom, did the same thing with EXITED and excited, that was my last area to fill.

HEN BERRIES made me smile, never heard that before. We have five sweet chickens who present us with lovely eggs every day, I’ll start calling them that.

Fun Tuesday.

Andrea 4:04 AM  

Excellent write-up, Tom!
Raise your hand if you also insisted on reading the clue for LEFT as “excited” ✋🏼

Loren Muse Smith 6:15 AM  

Tom, no need to fret anymore – you know have an excellent write-up under your belt, and I hope Rex calls on you again to substitute. Here’s where you completely won me over: ‘and any of the following gripes are strictly "me problems," but I wonder if I'm alone.’ Now That’s how to talk about what you didn’t like without being nasty. Bravo.

Hand up for “excited” before “exited.” (Hi, Tom, @jae, @Andrea, @chefwen.) What’s worse, for 62D, I misread it as “Chinese coating,” I swear. I almost filled in “won” thinking who knew that that little flavor miracle was a filling (ton) covered with a won. Oops.

@Joaquin – I had never heard of HENBERRIES, either. It feels more scatological than victual.

Hard not to notice the GRAD, A PLUS, SMART area up top.

WAGON was timely because after I told Mom that she had to use her cane even in the house, she said I’d have to get her a little WAGON so that she could transport the laundry from her room to the washer. I think this was her attempt at throwing some TUDE, but I just pointed out that if she would agree to use her walker instead, she could put the hamper on its seat – bam, problem solved. But then I backed down and assured her I could be on laundry transporting duty. I go to bed almost every night feeling guilty that maybe I’m not patient enough.

68A is also timely. I made Tater Tots yesterday, but not OREida. No siree Bob. WEee had to get the FOOod Lion brand, and generics just don’t compare. They didn’t brown well and, well, they had that “unsettling mouth-feel.” (Hi again, Tom.) I’ll get generics for a lot of things, but not Tater Tots, Rice Krispies, or Saltines. Spend the money.

One last timely thing: SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK. . . This school where I’ll be working doesn’t run the way normal schools do, a huge concern keeping these kids in very small groups to avoid fights. I was asking my mentor (Laquesha W, a sharp, experienced, smart-as-hell veteran) what a typical day looks like, and she said, Well, the buses pull up, and they’ll spend 10 or 15 minutes ROCKing them, trying to get them to fall over. Then they’ll throw ROCKs and break a couple of windows until we get that under control. I was taking this all in when she grinned and said she was just yanking my chain. Man oh man she doesn’t know that I can prank with the best of them. Laquesha? You payin’ attention? Game. On.

(I knew I loved her after this exchange:

Me: You’re telling me that my lesson plans will be handed down to me from on high? I don’t have to prepare them myself?? This is an unbelievable gift! Like I have to make dinner and when I get to the kitchen, all the ingredients for the meal are already there! I just have to cook it!
Laquesha: And season it.)

Lewis 7:04 AM  

Anne, you had me at PLINK, a gem that I haven’t thought about in ages. Also, I love to try to figure out the theme before getting the revealer – that’s fun for me because something in me loves unpuzzling – and it’s a win-win because if I do figure it out I feel triumphant, but if I don’t, it’s a great feeling to appreciate the wit that outwitted me. And today I was most wonderfully outwitted.

That cross of SAUNA and WAX seems like an accident waiting to happen.

Anyway, this was a lovely and impressive debut. Congratulations, and thank you, Anne, for brightening my day!

pabloinnh 7:13 AM  

Strangely enough, I read "exited" as "exited" and put in LEFT instantly. If some of you have a recurring problem with this sort of thing, you might want to try an eyeball injection. Seems to work for me.

I've heard HENFRUIT and CACKLEBERRIES but not HENBERRIES. Also I thought that the "Not, I, said the little red HEN" was fairly famous but not for our friend Tom, I guess.

Thought this was just about right for a Tuesday, mostly familiar with everything with a few unknowns needing crosses. Good stuff.

John H 7:17 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
amyyanni 7:20 AM  

HENBERRIES new to me, too. Thanks for the write up Tom. "Spaceman" Bill Lee penned his own Little Red Book back while pitching for the Red Sox. His encouraged independence. Fun times. As was the puzzle and comments this am. Good day, all.

pabloinnh 7:26 AM  

Oops--forgot to thank AGM. Well done, AGM. Another Great Morning, and thanks for all the fun.

Son Volt 7:28 AM  

Pretty neat puzzle - a lot of the fill is weirdly odd to me but was satisfying in the end. Theme was cute - didn’t help much along the way but it worked. I’ve known a lot of BOOK SMART engineers who become lost on job sites - my favorite themer. Knew George EZRA - not pleasant to my ears. Read Exited without the c and put in LEFT right away. Didn’t know ONE UP or F ZERO.

I would have ditched J Lo for Sotomayor at 2d to create a natural SCOTUS cross.

Enjoyable Tuesday solve for me.

kitshef 7:31 AM  

Constructor seems to have gone way out her way to cram in the PPP. REEF can be clued lots of ways; why use a kid’s movie? WIDOW is a nice, ordinary word; why force a Marvel comics clue? See also ORE, PUSS, HAUL.

And then you have the complete abandonment of the SE corner, with TUDES, FZERO, ISUZU, ILKS.

Finally, there are some things that are excellent later in the week, but not on a Tuesday. Exhibit A: George EZRA.

Sgreennyc 7:37 AM  

You mentioned him in your introduction. Little red book refers to the book of revolutionary aphorisms by Chairman Mao.

Joe R. 7:54 AM  

Oh, the highs and lows of 1A and 1D. I started off with a feeling of happiness, thinking about RBG and all that she did to improve people’s lives in this country. And then to go from that to the vile, treasonous wretch Marco RUBIO, a man who has devoted his professional life to denying millions and millions of people the most basic of rights, well, that was a U-turn I was not prepared to handle. RBG would be rolling in her grave to know that her name had been crossed with that man’s.

@Graham - maybe you haven’t played a video game in the last 40 years? ONEUP (or rather, 1-UP) has meant an extra life in video games since the appearance of the 1-UP mushrooms in Super Mario Bros. If you search Wikipedia for 1-up, you get taken to the section of a page on lives in video games that talks about extra lives. I don’t know what you think ONEUP means in video games, but it most definitely means an extra life.

Zwhatever 8:00 AM  

When the first google hit is a crossword cheater site I begin to doubt the thingness of an answer, but then I added “slang” and discovered HEN BERRIES is southern slang (and apparently something one hears wear I now live, all though I missed it), so I guess it is legit. The images shared make its meaning clear.

No particular problem with ONE UP as clued. I’m more familiar with power UPs, but I can see how that term for an “extra life” could come to be. A quick google search turned up all kinds on video-gaming related things so clearly somebody has been using the term.

Are WAX and getting an X into the puzzle really worth SPEX? I lean towards no. SPED/WAD are okay and don’t make that X feel forced. SPEX is like “tec,” something relegated to occasionally appearing in crosswords after ever so briefly having once been in the language. If I see it spelt out ever now I see SPEcs.

Hand up for wondering where my car was. Finest ode to a one-night stand in all of musical history. There may be an equal out there somewhere, but nobody has bested Prince, yet.

@LMS - OMG - I have no idea why they do what they do and I get your reaction, but I always always always worry about an admin who thinks they know better than the teacher what should be in the lesson plan. There was a big push for this in the aughts, but fortunately other inanities prevented anyone seriously doing it. I’m sure it can be done right, but my visceral reaction is to worry.

@TTrimble (yesterday) - Personally, game show hosts are fungible. I’m with you that the apotheosis of a game show host was a bit much. I have the same reaction to how some treat crossword editors and basketball stars. Can’t we please give a person their due without turning them into some sort of trivia demigod? Anyway, I don’t think they did the guest host thing for this reason, but the whole “who will replace Trebek” drama has been great marketing. Look at how much free print and media saturation they have received. I’ll watch Jeopardy! just as much as I ever did (a couple of times a week when I’m not doing other stuff) no matter who the host is. As is often the case, the process has been more fascinating to me than the actual outcome. And I will be curious to see how the successor succeeds. All though, pondering this has me revising my thought that they are doomed to fail. This interregnum may have served the function of making expectations more realistic and will give the new person a better chance of being accepted.

*Yes, those were intentional. I hope it was alright.

mmorgan 8:05 AM  

@Graham - I haven’t played video games in decades but I recall some game when my kids were little (Mario something, original Nintendo) in which (I think) 1UP would appear when you won an extra life.

bocamp 8:16 AM  

Thx, Anne for a challenging, crunchy Tues. puz! :)

Hi Tom; enjoyed you write-up. Hope to hear more from you in future! :)

Just north of med. solve. Felt more like a Wednes.

Great start in the NW, but the rest was hunt and peck.

Hadn't heard of HEN BERRIES; like it!

Just not on Anne's wavelength, but that's part of the fun of xwords. Stuff to be learned. πŸ€”

@Nancy (6:13 PM yd eve)

Watching that vid, I had the same warm-fuzzies, as you. :)


Pretty much echoing your experience on Croce's Freestyle #635; thx for keeping me in the loop. See you next Mon. :)

yd 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

GILL I. 8:21 AM  

The place where I used to get my car washed had a little diner in the waiting area. The hash slinger was this very old, funny man, who taught me some diner lingo. Eggs were his favorite. I learned about cackle berries and Adam and Eve on a raft but HEN BERRIES is new to me. When I learn something useless on a Tuesday, I'll dance the fandango tango.
OOH look....RUBIO is standing on top of an OXEN ASS. Kidding...don't want to start a Cuban/American big ears, little hands, war.
I liked all of this. I liked Tom Quigley and hearing about his final exam dream. My dreams always involve trying to find a clean bathroom.
I liked seeing the A PLUS GRAD in the SCHOOL HOUSE with CAPN HAGAR. I was never BOOK SMART.
This is a debut? Nice job, Anne. I'm even betting @Rex would've enjoyed it.

SouthsideJohnny 8:26 AM  

It has been a long time since I crashed and burned this badly on a Tuesday. Never heard of HEN BERRIES - diner slang connoted some sort of shorthand that you might say to a line cook, lol. Seems counter-productive to have the slang term with more syllables than the original (Obviously, I have no clue re the context). Add ONEUP from a video game, SUCRE and an unknown to me EZRA in the same section, and it became readily apparent that I was in trouble with this one.

Similarly, we are treated to FZERO (?) crossing a Japanese river (ISUZU) atop a revealer that totally did not register (never heard of Little Red any-of-those-things !). Throw in a something from Finding Nemo along with the DEV dude and it was crystal clear that today’s trivial entries are so far from my wheelhouse that we may not be able to spot them absent some assistance from the Hubble Telescope.

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

One up refers to the mushroom from the original mario games.

jberg 8:51 AM  

I have three children, born in 1971, '73, and '76, so they would have been the right age -- but somehow I never knew that SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK was a kids' show. Up to now I'd always assumed it was a music show, kind of a cross between MTV and Your Hit Parade. Solve 'n Learn. I did enjoy the puzzle, and the theme was neat. Whether The Little Red Hen is the opposite of Mao is a complex question. LRH ends up eating the whole cake because nobody would help her make it -- sort of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his work," a la Marx's description of the first stage of socialism. But what she wants is for everybody to work together, which is a lot closer to Mao. So you can see it as a cautionary tale for the lazy or greedy.

Someone has to point out that while SEC is, indeed, a French word meaning "dry," when printed on a bottle of sparkling wine (the only place you are likely to see it), it means "slightly sweet." The dry ones are labeled /BRUT. Oh, wait -- maybe 21A was supposed to be AAA, and AEC means "dry" in Bulgarian? Somebody please check!

@Z I always write SPEX for glasses, and specs for detailed measurements -- though that would spoil the pun in this drinking song.

@Loren, I've gone to two plays at that theatre (in your avatar); the first time I had a seat in the stands, which are under a roof. The second I decided to go for what they claimed was the better experience, a groundling ticket. It started to rain about 10 minutes before the performance; the show (Marlowe's Edward II) went on, while they sold plastic ponchos for two pounds. I felt truly authentic.

Misreadings: yes for Chinese before cheese, no for excited before exited.

Keith D 9:13 AM  

Another great puzzle. We seem to be on a bit of a roll. And, so far, nobody has whined or complained about RUBIO being in the puzzle (not to be confused with shots at Rubio himself, which seems like fair game). Nice!

Nancy 9:33 AM  


Not at all. My answers were FREDO, ISURU and ODE-.

Doesn't ODE-IDA have a certain ring to it? A certain je ne sais quoi?

I do not consider this an ignominious DNF, btw. I consider it a nominious DNF. "Nomin" as in the Latin root for "name". As in a ridiculous triple criss-crossing of proper names.

As I am often wont to do in such circumstances, I am pronouncing this puzzle "Solved!!" Take that, Puzzle!!

And now a word about the very odd HENBERRIES. When you're working in a diner, time is of the essence and you have to move fast. Why would you substitute a cutesy, made-up three-syllable word to replace a one-syllable word like "eggs"? It takes three times as long to say and there's a really good chance that the most recently hired employee won't know what on earth you're babbling about.

JD 9:41 AM  

Welcome to Little Red Crossworld where all the women are A Plus, the children have Tudes, and the men are Under Par. Farmer Ezra Hagar and the Widow Plink are about to tie the knot. This late blooming relationship started when the pair met at the Hen Berry Diner carrying their Little Red Books and discovered a shared love for the sayings of Chairman Mao. Let's just hope that interest and their mutual obsession with F-Zero X will be enough to carry them through the golden years.

Still to come this week, a puzz without Acai. Kidding! That will never happen.

1UP, "An object that gives the player an extra life (or try) in games where the player has a limited number of chances to complete a game or level."

I was so Exited when my daughter rented a theater last month for a private showing of Black Widow for her birthday. I finally got to see a Marvel movie (I lied about the Widow Plink but this actually happened). There were a lot of explosions and people punching one another. My hearing didn't recover.

@Gil, I used to buy my bras at my carwash. There was great little boutique inside. I miss that place, but the lines were always too long.

@Keith D, the day is young.

Barney 9:41 AM  

Anyone else notice that the button to download the .puz file was next to the print icon earlier this morning, but it now has been removed?

Apparently, it's not exactly a burden (to the NYTimes) to create a .puz file. Is it an automated process? How else would it have been there but now is missing.

Oh... and if you go directly to the URL (https://www.nytimes.com/svc/crosswords/v2/puzzle/daily-2021-08-10.puz), you can still access the .puz file.

This decision depresses me. Does anyone know if there is a .puz option for LATimes puzzles?

Karen G. 9:43 AM  

Another great puzzle. We seem to be on a bit of a roll. And, so far, nobody has whined or complained about RBG being in the puzzle (not to be confused with shots at RBG herself, which seems like fair game). Nice!

Mikey from El Prado 9:44 AM  

Well, in my sixty years on this earth I have never heard the term HENBERRIES. I have had my diner experiences…. “What’ll it be sugar? SOS, a large stack or just a cuppa joe? Hang on a sec darlin’ I need to dump my cigarette ash.” But, somehow I missed the hen berries suggestion. I need to hit more diners I ‘spouse.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

I had the same exact problem with 54A, reading it as Excited. Being of the age such that the Atari 2600 was my gaming console of choice, I had no idea on 56D either and started to run the alphabet. After 15 seconds or so I re-read the 56A clue.

Also had AWES for 50D, which slowed things down a bit.

Never understood diner slang. Never heard it in the wild - only in movies and on TV shows.

pmdm 9:46 AM  

Pleasant puzzle with just (for me) the correct amount of challenge on a Tuesday. Fantastic debut puzzle, in my opinion. Hope to see a lot more from this constructor.

And now concerning the previously accepted comments.

Wear for where? Hope that was a spell checker issue.

I watched the early games of Jeopardy! that were rebroadcast this year. Trebek simmered down a bit after a while. I expect the guests hosts would also. As in the post regular season playoffs for most professional sports leagues, I would prefer eliminating only a fraction of the guests hosts a little at a time and see how the survivors settle in. Realistically, unless the new host is absolutely horrible, will continue to watch the show. As will most of those I've spoken with who watch the show.

RooMonster 10:01 AM  

Hey All !
Agree with the what-in-the-world are HENBERRIES people. Maybe Southern Virginia? Maybe @LMS? (Nope, just read her post.) (Oh, and that wasn't a dig at @LMS, it was a dig at where she used to live. πŸ€ͺπŸ˜†) So, it officially doesn't exist. (Har) Someone out there probably heard of it or said it.

LITTLE RED WAGON was also an exhibition Dodge A100 drag racing truck, circa 1965. I'm sure @Nancy would've known that.

40 blockers, courtesy of the "cheater" squares after GRAD/before SETS. Normal max is 38. Which is 19 blockers in each half, ala top half and bottom half (when you're using Normal Symmetry.)

Held up a tad in NE, with having ONtaP for ONEUP. Figuring that EZRA was probably correct, even though don't know who that is, but StIZING made no sense, although SaCRE could've been right. Erased the wrong ta, saw ONEUP, and Bob's your uncle. Hi Bob! Har.

Three X's, but must've got them one after the other, cause it seemed they were everywhere to me. Huh, only three.

PLINK! Piano tone, or Tiddlywinks cup noise? And when was the last time you played Tiddlywinks? With SPEX on? Listening to DURAN DURAN? SUCRE Bleu!

But a neat theme for a TuesPuz. Rex would've railed "Another beginning word theme? When will these stop? Will says he gets tons of submissions each week, and this is what he runs? Off with his head! And get off my lawn!" 😁

Nice puz, Anne. Made me feel all SMART BERRIES. Yabba Dabba Do with the ROCK WHEEL.

Two F's

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Was in a chatroom yesterday that had multiple folks in it. I mistakenly received a misdirected private message full of exclamation marks intended for someone else, and I replied with "Interjections! Show excitement or emotion!"

That led to a rather lengthy discussion on SCHOOLHOUSEROCK.

The first episode in the series was "Three is a Magic Number" and premiered on the ABC show Curiosity Shop in a primetime airing. The show was produced by Chuck Jones with music by Mancini, and was an attempt by the commercial networks to compete with Sesame Street.

The Curiosity Shop version is longer than the eventual Schoolhouse Rock version, and isn't available on home media. You can find it on YouTube though.

bocamp 10:04 AM  

@jae (12:04 AM)

Just curious, are you using Puzzazz, Across Lite or another app on your iPad that uses .puz?

pg -2

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

mathgent 10:07 AM  

Nancy is legendary for hating proper nouns in our puzzle. Not only does she hate them, she refuses to allow them into her fleshy database even after seeing them multiple times. ISUZU was in just a few days ago and ORE-IDA is a frequent visitor.

The unfamiliar propers did gang up on me, though, in the NE. I had to guess at ONEUP, SUCRE, and EZRA. I don't recall having seen them before.

I was trying to remember what sci-fi writer the HUGOs are named after. He was actually the editor of a sci-fi magazine.

Not a bad puzzle. A little sparkle but 21 Terrible Threes.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

UGH!!! is it fair to say crossword puzzles are built on language? And that some of the best of them use word play, or other examples of just how wonderful and versatile language can be?
Why is then that on blog devoted to crossword puzzles we have so many folks with neither an ear for or an appreciation of language?

Adam and Eve on a raft is fantastic use of language. Adam and Eve whence man comes are the eggs, the source of so much life. Using raft as a subistute for toast is poetic. Believe it or not, even the Plebes who work in diners understand the value of metaphors, symbols and fun. Sure Adam and Eve on a raft is longer than two eggs on toast. But not by much. Don't believe me? Time it yourself. It took me 1.46 seconds to say Adam and Eve on a raft. two eggs on toast. took me 1.29 seconds far from taking three ties as long as someone above asserted. And be certain the times ar real. I recorded them both and put each on a timeline I have up. One was indeed 50 frames the other 45 .
Last, and I understand that it's anecdotal, but ii have worked as a short order cook ( not at a diner, but the grill and the fryer served the same stuff). The person who claims to know about how prized speed is at diners has , I'm wiling to bet, never worked in a diner. or as a short order cook.

Trrimble last night,
Game show hosts need intellectual heft?

Unknown 10:19 AM  

My goodness, SouthSide, what kind of a childhood didn't contain a lite red schoolhouse, where you read about the little red hen and played with a little red wagon? I feel for ya.

Nancy 10:23 AM  

@mathgent (10:07) -- Well, it's nice to be "legendary" for something, I guess. I might prefer to be legendary for something a bit different, but in this world, you gotta take what you get:)

Crimson Devil 10:23 AM  

Tom: I, too, have had that dream re: exam in forgotten course. And, I’ve read that it’s a common one. Dunno why: way above my pay grade.

Michael G. Benoit 10:32 AM  

Anyone else miss Rex complaining about SPEX?

mathgent 10:38 AM  

Nancy is also legendary for her charm and wit.

Joseph Michael 10:42 AM  

Congrats on the debut, Anne.

Favorite themer is BOOK SMART. Favorite word is PLINK. Also like the way that DEVIL sneaks down into the word EVILS.

Would not order anything in a diner that the folks in the kitchen think of as HEN BERRIES. The image I’m getting is anything but appetizing and definitely does not pass the breakfast test.

As for that LITTLE RED WAGON, I don’t think it will get very far with only one WHEEL.

Carola 10:43 AM  

I found this a pleasantly tough-ish Tuesday with a nicely done keep-'em-guessing theme. At least it kept me guessing all the way to LITT and counting the remaining spaces. Besides the solid theme phrases, I liked the energy of CHARGED UP paired with SEIZING ON and ABC over SCHOOL

Memory Lane alert: when I was growing up, my mom would sometimes liken herself to the LITTLE RED HEN (justifiably, except that she shared the fruits of her labors); I look back now with chagrin at what a shamefully idle layabout I was as a teen, given a pass on household responsibilities because I was BOOK SMART.


@JD 9:41 - I loved your post.

Nancy 11:00 AM  

Aw. shucks, @mathgent. So sweet! Now I'm blushing.

David 11:15 AM  

One up was quite commonly used to mean extra life in 90s video games

Jill 11:25 AM  

Black Widow just came out and is current - like playing in theaters and on Disney+ now - so that clue isn't forced. Isuzu was in a puzzle a couple days ago and is clued as both a river and a car, so I don't think that one is so bad. FZero is probably tough for people that didn't grow up with Nintendo/didn't pay attention to their kids' Nintendos, I will give you that one. Total gimme for me though.

Whatsername 11:26 AM  

Liked the puzzle overall and the theme made me go all “OOH, isn’t that sweet.” I liked APLUS on top of BOOK SMART but didn’t really care for SPEX or THREE as an afternoon hour because you know, it could also be an early morning hour. Briefly had a visual of RBG driving a LITTLE RED ISUZU.

Being a farm girl, I’ve gathered many eggs in my lifetime. Never once have I heard anyone on or off the farm call them BERRIES. Sounds to me more like something the HEN LEFT behind when she got done eating her feed.

Thank you Anne and Tom. Nice job both of you, and kudos on your debuts!

Unknown 11:29 AM  

Always "The" Bronx, as in Ogden Nash's poem -
The Bronx
No thonks.

Masked and Anonymous 11:51 AM  

Scrabbly little TuesPuz dickens. Includin 3 K's and 3 X's and 2 Z's. Had some serious Scrab'TUDES.

Kinda liked the fill-in-the-blank revealer's style.

staff weeject pick: RBG. She's Notorious.

fave sparkly stuff: CHARGEDUP. TUDES. UNDERPAR. PLINK. BRONX. The 25-D {U-___} clue.

EZRA/SUCRE/ONEUP was the main nanosecond sinkhole. Otherwise, pretty quick solvequest, at our schoolhouse.

Thanx for the little red smarts, berries, rocks, and wheels, Ms. Martin darlin. And congratz on yer fine debut.

Masked & Anonymo9Us


camilof 12:01 PM  

ONE UP! ONE UP! ONE UP! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUx66ZEDjnQ

Also: Ok, Karen (G.)

Are there only 50 comments because Rex is on vacation or because so many people have rage-quit the NYTimes puzzle?

GILL I. 12:11 PM  

So @JD buys her bras at her carwash....
@Nancy is legendary.....
And Mario Cuomo just resigns....

Can this get any better?

I want to go out and order a couple of HEN BERRIES on rye from a funny hash slinger.

albatross shell 12:13 PM  

Long weekend at MyK's family reunion held this year in Michigan. Motel in Adrian (College town with a lot of boats and bulldogs, one named Bruiser). Food and games in Brooklyn (town in Michigan?). It felt a bit like northern Ohio. I stopped at the National Historic Site in Monroe Mi. Nice minature settlement there and a full-sized 25 foot tall longhouse. I bought a copy of the River Raisin National Battlefield Park War of 1812 journey towards understanding Driving Tour: Discover the History you were not supposed to know. Also note it is not the Raisin River. A kerfuffle of note on these pages at times.

Mondays and Tuesdays seem to be more than fill in the blanks lately. And not merely limited to PPP. Yesterday it was partly theme related. Today it was the two long downs not being obvious combined with not knowing ORE EZRA SEC FZERO ONEUP and being slow on TUDES and WAX-SPEX. And no idea on HENBERRIES of course. Doable, but slowly here.

@Z 800 am
Too obtusey for me in that footnote. The only thing I was thinking might be intentional was your use of "wear" and I couldn't see why.

A stuttering hidden ROO today.
Me, the looking Roo in all the wrong places guy.

GILL I. 12:15 PM  

Goops...Make that Andrew.....Too many Marios on my mind....

Gypsyboom 12:15 PM  

I had the same reaction!

Whatsername 12:24 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joaquin 12:45 PM  

@LMS - "And season it." Hard for me to imagine anyone better at "seasoning" a lesson than you. Looking forward to hearing more stories from your classroom (I'm not supposed to have salty foods, but salty stories are still allowed).

Del Taco 12:53 PM  

Fun puzzle
SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK brought back warm memories.

Zwhatever 1:07 PM  

A @Barbara S Update:
Hi Z,

Still kickin'! We've had to move out of our leaky house and decamp to the wilds, and so far have been unsuccessful at getting back online. But I miss my Rexfamilia a TON, and hope to be back blathering about NYTXW ASAP. Thanks for asking and please give my regards to all.


albatross shell 1:10 PM  

@me 1213pm
That's...looking FOR Roo in..., you dummy.

Douglas 1:10 PM  


Oldactor 1:13 PM  

Bras at the carwash! Reminds me of a local business that has a sign: Fresh Shrimp and Window Tinting

snowmaiden 1:14 PM  


Keith D 1:18 PM  

@Karen G 9:43am, I may be obtuse, but I’m not sure what the point of copying my post but substituting RBG for RUBIO was. Perhaps you can enlighten?

bocamp 1:21 PM  

@Z (1:07 PM)

Thx for the @Barbara S. update. Good to hear from her. 😊


Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Teedmn 1:23 PM  

This was fun. I had one write-over at SaCRE but then I remembered it was related to sugar (sorry @M&A, didn't mean to down the U count.)

My multi-focal contacts allow me to focus like I could when I was 10 years old so "exited" posed no problem. However, said contacts make driving at night impossible so I have to bring my glasses if I'm out after dark. I'll take the reading ability over far sight any day.

@Joaquin, your first comment made me laugh long and hard. Longer-order cook, indeed!

Anna Grae Martin, congrats on the debut, it was very cute and SMART.

@Roo, I finished the weekend blogs last night and I have to offer my condolences. My heart goes out to you and your family, so sad to hear.

JC66 1:27 PM  


Thanks for the @Barbara S update.

Crimson Devil 1:27 PM  

Love signs. A fav of mine “Ears pierced while you wait”.

Miriam 1:35 PM  

Hi Tom

Just wanted to say that I still have a similar dream like you’ve had about the forgotten class, even though It’s been decades since I’ve been in college. Your fears were unwarranted. I thought you did a good job with the write up. I liked the theme but hated all the proper names. I also never heard the expression hen berries although I spent many years working in diner like restaurants. Maybe it’s a common expression in only a part ofbthe country.

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

@Keih D- Don’t feed ‘em.

A 2:31 PM  

SourPUSS here, ready for duty. Maybe if yesterday hadn’t been so good, I'd have like this one more. But it was, and I didn’t. Too much PPP, including some totally unneccessary like U-HAUL, WIDOW. Mostly just not enough reward for the annoyances, starting with the disappointing number of POCs I’m sure @Anoa Bob will enumerate. I’ll just look at them and heave ACAI.

Is SEIZING ON a PPOC? (present participle of convenience)

I’d like to put SPEX and TUDES (both POCs, if you ask me) into a SAUNA and SEAL the door. Don’t care how many cries for HELP or SOS signals I hear.

Where I’m from people didn’t use the word SMART to reference BOOK learning. Sadly, I was not in the street SMART crowd.

Ok, the pileup of GRAD, APLUS and BOOKSMART is cute. Same with SUCRE BERRIES and CAPN Crunch.

In addition to the ever recurring ACAI, we got a nod to the -ight puzzle with EIGHT, REEF was foreshadowed by yesterday's CORAL, and DURAN DURAN strangely echoed SIRHAN SIRHAN.

Nice bonus how we all talked about Katharine Hepburn a couple of days ago and here she is in the clue for RKO.

OOH, THREE is an “Afternoon hour”? FWD means “Send on, as an email: Abbr.” I was bored and ready to be done, but the optimist in me saw excited before I found the exit.

My dog thinks PLINK means she’s going out to fetch the paper. When I disarm the security in the morning, it makes a LITTLE PLINK. She hears it and paws at the door. Which now needs painting.

Ok, enough stream of unconsciouness. It’s Ian Anderson’s birthday! I learned he has a ‘Guide to Indian Food” on jethrotull.com. (mmm - have to get Mr. A to check that out and expand his culinary repertoire) He also had a PUSS who was mesmerized by his flute. I wonder if it liked this.

bookmark 2:48 PM  

When my mother travelled to China in the late 1980s, she bought me a souvenir copy of Mao's Little Red Book. And it was a red book about 2 inches square with some of Mao's quotations. A gift that I still treasure since it came from her.

sanfranman59 2:59 PM  

@Barney (9:41am) re LAT .puz files ... they're available through Cruciverb.com. I think you may need to register with the site in order to access them, but I'm not 100% sure of that. I know you don't need to pay for their premium subscription that gives you access to their puzzle database which allows you to search clues and answers.

I was surprised and happy to discover that today's NYT .puz file was available there today. We'll see how long that lasts. I hope I'm not letting the cat out of the bag to prying eyes from the NYT here.

tea73 3:13 PM  

I love diner slang. I'd never seen HENBERRIES before either. But I think a whole puzzle of this stuff would be great.
Bridge Party = Four of anything
Bad Breath = Onions
Burn the British = Toasted English muffin
City Juice = water
Cowboy with spurs = Western omelette with fries
Drag one through Wisconsin = with cheese on it
Drown the kids = boiled eggs
Fish eyes in glue = Tapioca pudding

Unknown 3:35 PM  

@Carwash Bra fans, Right! It seemed crazy at the time too.

kitshef 3:45 PM  

NYT has not only taken down the .puz file for today's crossword; they have done the same for the nearly 20 years of archived puzzles. Certainly no effort was needed to leave what was already there alone, so the claim of refocusing resources would not apply to the archives.

Unknown 3:59 PM  

I found the NE corner to be the sticking point today: the EZRA/SUCRE/ONEUP combo was especially tricky, not helped by the PTA vs. PTO dilemma. But overall I liked this.

I'm truly enjoying this round of guest bloggers.
And did not miss for one second what was sure to be a one-paragraph Rex rant about RUBIO.

I, too, never heard of HENBERRIES, but it made me chuckle. And made me wonder about some of you who never heard of a term before and just sort of reflexively think it must have been made up for the sake of the puzzle.

Anonymous 4:03 PM  

Diner slang is dumb and too cute by half.

Zwhatever 4:46 PM  

@pmdm and @albatross shell - Spellchecker karma because I was being too cute with “all though?” Mental Homophone Fog because it was early? You decide. I just scrolled up to my post to catch up and the typo practically screeched in laughter at me. Damn words and their sense of humor.

It’s been about a week since I emailed @Barbara S so I was relieved to hear from her and knew many others would appreciate the update. Yet another reason to “go blue” and include an email link in your profile. That and the ability to delete embarrassing typos.

Anonymous 5:34 PM  

@Keith D- Just spitballing but my read on Karen’s ineloquent comment is that if it’s fair to take shots at Marco RUBIO then it’s fair to take shots at RBG. Why anyone would try go after either of them on a crossword blog is beyond me but I’ve read stranger things here.

Anoa Bob 6:33 PM  

My maternal grandparents still had a working farm when I was growing up in rural Tennessee and chickens and their eggs played a big part in our lives. Never once heard HEN BERRY used for what we just called "egg". I would bet that phrase has military roots. I remember from my Navy days colorful terms for common foods such as "shit on a shingle" and "foreskins on toast", so HEN BERRY, though a bit tamer, could easily be a military mess hall phrase.

A @2:31 PM, I did notice the generous help the grid got from the POC (plural of convenience). The POC that always stands out the most for me is when it's a themer, as happens today when HEN BERRY needs a two (!) letter count boost in order to fill its designated slot in the grid.

Making HEN work in parallel with the other themers is tough. There's a 10 letter slot that must be filled and there aren't that many 10 letter phrase, with or without a POC, that begin with HEN. Two that came to mind from my chicken and egg enriched youth were HEN "scratching" and "cackling", but they're too long. HENPECKING fits but maybe the tough-to-cross "p_ck" sequence ruled it out.

When I see a black square hanging out all by itself, kind of loitering there in a corner, I wonder if that day's offering is a debut construction. The kinder and more generous critic, such as moi, call these, along with the one after 4A GRAD and before 70A SETS, "helper" squares because they simply take up additional space and make it easier to fill grid areas. The less kind, hard-cheese-in-the-big-city type critic would call them "cheater" squares. I'm not one of those ILKS.

CDilly52 6:52 PM  

@Joaquin. I have to thank you for triggering another excellent memory. I actually spent two years as a short order cook at the student Union at a state university (which shall remain nameless) and cooked about three million or so eggs during breakfast rush and never, either back in the kitchen among folk who were lifers in the food service industry, or coming from patrons (students, faculty and miscellaneous others who stopped in mostly on Thursdays to get a big slab of my locally famous coffee cake), or at any other time in my many part time food industry kitchen jobs - I am not even close enough to being nice enough to actually serve food-have I ever heard the term HEN BERRIES. Never. Ever. (For our dear @LMS and all other teachers among our numbers, my sincere apology for that horrible run-on sentence!) I did hear “cackleberries” once.

My rather extensive diner experience includes working kitchens in three and eating breakfast at diners in 38 states. My husband and I loved diner food and we loved breakfast. Wherever we traveled, (usually by the back roads) we searched for the local diner, and kept a list with ratings. William Least Heat-Moon’s book, “Blue Highways” gave us the “calendar classification system” for rating local diners: one to three wall calendars (the kind all the banks and funeral establishments give away in December). The diner in this story is a three calendar establishment. Nothing but the best homestyle cooking.

The memorable use of “cackleberries” was uttered by an old farmer in Grand Junction, Colorado. It was in a favorite place of ours downtown near the courthouse, in small towns the location of many, many great diners.

Early one October morning, an overall-clad farmer, clearly unhappy stomped through the dining room balancing a huge stack of open flat egg crates, the gray ones that hold 5-6 dozen eggs and have no lids. Well they have lids, but when we see them, it is usually next to a short-order cook plowing through them at the speed of light during the breakfast rush.

Anyway, this was a memorable event because the farmer was yelling to “George” as soon as he (the farmer, not George-sheesh-my writing today!) backed through the front door balancing this wobbling and precarious stack. “George” was just somewhere back in the kitchen, but the place is small and our angry farmer was not using his “inside voice” as he yelled, “Dammit, George, the !$#*%ing back door is still locked! Do you want me to scramble these nice fresh cackleberries before they are ordered?!” Then he looked around and noticed the few early diners present. With utmost care and skill, he raised the lip of this huge wobbly stack to the brim of his straw cowboy hat, tipped it, looked around the restaurant making eye contact with the diners and quietly said, “so sorry folks, please excuse the intrusion and enjoy your breakfast.”

Eggs were forever cackleberries to us, and we have no idea the name of the diner now, because it became “George’s with the locked back door.” If you enjoy trips on those roads less traveled, read Least Heat-Moon’s book. And go have yourselves a “yellow blanket on boards with easy diggins.” That’s scrambled eggs on toast with gravy.

Oh, and I enjoyed this easy but fun puzzle.

dadnoa 7:04 PM  

Great post, Tom, you’ll be a seneschal in no time with stellar write-ups such as this one. We struggled with excited vs exited, too….added waaayyy more than 20 seconds to our times. Thanks for filling in.

Joaquin 7:04 PM  

@CDilly52 - So glad I jogged your memory since it resulted in the telling of a great diner story.
Thx for sharing!

Keith D 7:07 PM  

@Anon 5:34 - agreed. And, if someone wants to go after RBG, fill your boots - and good luck with that.

@ Anon 2:06 - good advice.

Nancy 8:41 PM  

One of the pleasures of today's blog was learning the ins and outs of diner lingo and how inventive it can be. @tea73 and @CDilly52's posts were especially colorful, and there were some interesting examples on Wordplay as well. I filched one of those comments; I doubt the poster will mind too much:

With all the comments about diners and children's books, it brought back to mind a book our son just loved when he was young: "Frank and Ernest" by Alexandra Day. Along with the titular bear and elephant who ran the diner, we learned the lingo of the diner staff as they communicated in classic shorthand. "Burn one, take it through the garden and pin a rose on it!" (Hamburger with lettuce and tomato, finished with an onion)

Anonymous 8:47 PM  

I've heard henberries - but find "who's times" confusing.

Anonymous 10:05 PM  

Makes me want to start a chicken farm called Hen Berries.

mmorgan 11:09 PM  

Sshhh. Don’t tell anyone but https://www.nytimes.com/svc/crosswords/v2/puzzle/daily-2021-08-11.puz gave me the,AcrossLite version for Wednesday. So nice. Shhhhh……

JC66 11:42 PM  



thefogman 10:07 AM  

Pretty good. A bit of junk fill but not tons. Not an APLUS, but a solid B.

Burma Shave 11:23 AM  


CAP'N EZRA was BOOKSMART you know,
couldn't get ONEUP for ONEONONE.


spacecraft 6:11 PM  

Never heard them called HENBERRIES. Have heard "cackleberries," that's it. What wonders me is that the simple, one-syllable word "eggs" wasn't good enough.

Now THERE's the way to start your puzzle out: with the notorious RBG, our DOD. I mean, if you have to have a vowelless acronym, she's your gal.

I had just a bit of trouble figuring out what the revealer was; not used to thinking on a Tuesday. So, points for that. Once it came, it produced a sizeable aha! moment. Good job--and much, MUCH better fill than yesterday. Birdie.

Diana, LIW 8:20 PM  

oops - forgot to post.

Years ago during a summer break in college I waitressed at a Howard Johnson's on the New Jersey Turnpike. The 11 pm to 7 am shift. Breakfast was a big part of the end of our shift. I NEVER heard the term HENetcetc. Of course, Howard Johnson's had their own "lingo" we were supposed to learn. These hurricanes remind me of the one that shut us down that summer one night. When the lights came back on, the entire parking lot's worth of folks came in ALL AT ONCE. Oh the humanity. Lots of eggs.

Diana, Lady Waiting on Tables

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