Wryly humorous / TUES 8-31-21 / Yard sale caveat / Grassy South American plain / Mocking smiles

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Hey, everyone! It’s Clare for a Tuesday crossword on the last day of August! Hope everyone had a great month and is staying safe. I keep turning on the news and see cars evacuating, and it’s hard figuring out whether it’s in Northern California (where I currently am) or if it’s in the South, where Hurricane Ida hit. All I know is emergency responders are absolute heroes. 

Now, for something a tad more uplifting, on to the puzzle...

Eric Bornstein

Relative difficulty: Average
THEME: Food puns...

Theme answers:
  • WING NUTS (18A: Good snack for a pilot?)
  • TOUGH COOKIES (24A: Good snack for a gangster?)
  • BARGAINING CHIPS (39A: Good snack for a flea market dealer?)
  • FIRECRACKERS (51A: Good snack for an arsonist?)
  • EYE CANDY (62A: Good snack for an optometrist?)
Word of the Day: SENECA (6D: Roman philosopher who said "Life is never incomplete if it is an honorable one. At whatever point you leave life, if you leave it in the right way, it is whole") —
Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger, usually known as Seneca, was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work, satirist, from the post-Augustan age of Latin literature. As a writer Seneca is known for his philosophical works, and for his plays, which are all tragedies. (Wiki)
• • •

Overall, I thought this was a good, clean Tuesday. The food-related puns for the theme were fine and clever enough. I remember from a young age being told on the soccer field that I was a TOUGH COOKIE; on another note, if someone ever called me EYE CANDY, I’d probably smack them! There wasn’t a real “aha” for me, as we’ve seen this type of theme a fair amount before. But it was well-executed. And it was nice for the sake of making my solve slightly easier that the first part of the theme answers was pretty intuitive based on the identity of the snacker in the clues. 

My favorite part of the puzzle was some of the words that we just don’t see that often in a puzzle. Like: LITHE, DROLL, BRISK, LLANO, VANISH. I thought the best word in the puzzle was PLETHORA — there’s just something about that word that rolls off the tongue and looks pleasing. I also liked both the clue and answer with C-SECTION; I did have some trouble getting the answer because the clue 41D: Delivery option successfully duped me into trying to think of something mail-related like “overnight” or “one day.” So when I got CHIPS at the end of 39A and SASSY (45A) and was confident that they were correct, I was puzzled for a bit longer as I worked out what could start with “cs.” 

I also enjoyed how the puzzle played with proximity by having related answers near each other — i.e. SETH (12D: Brother of Cain) and ABEL (16A: Brother of Cain) crossing each other, along with RADAR (55D: Speeder catcher) and STOPS (56D: Pulls over, as a speeder) being next to each other. With the former, though, I did the downs first and originally put ABEL instead of SETH in at 12D (instead of 16A), which made me spend some unnecessary time working my way out. 

There were a couple things I wasn’t wild about in the puzzle. In particular, I say NO NO NO and not OLE OLE to 22D and 14A. The repetition feels a tad lazy, as you could use as many of each of those words as necessary to fill space. How many OLEs is too many — or not enough? Having AEIOU (3D) crossing OLE OLE cemented my annoyance. I also didn’t like having both I BET (32D) and I BEG (26D) in the puzzle. 

As a whole, I still thought this Tuesday puzzle ended up being a pretty good solve.

  • 60A as DONUT reminds me: Go get your two free Krispy Kreme doughnuts! They’re giving out two donuts (from 8/30 to 9/5) to people who are vaccinated. 
  • The answer TOE TAP (68A) had me standing up to try and see just how much of my tap dance routine to “Singin’ in the Rain” I could remember from when I was six. (The answer is about half of it!) 
  • I remember watching GLEE (19D) when it first aired, and it’s been funny to see old clips and realize how absolutely cringey it truly was. 
  • This is a total side note, but I’ve been bingeing (and loving) “Ted Lasso,” so I have to recommend that everyone immediately go and watch — it’s a phenomenal show!
Stay safe!

Signed, Clare Carroll, OLE!

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


egsforbreakfast 1:18 AM  

Clare pretty much nailed my take on this puz. Some nit picker might point out that the CANDYin EYECANDY is pretty much the same meaning, whereas NUTS, COOKIES, CHIPS and CRACKERS aren’t used in the same sense as they are in the theme phrases. Far be it from me to be such a pedant. Also, 44A. raises a divisive question in my mind as to whether “Horned farm animal” or Michael Jordan is really the GOAT!

On the whole, a very enjoyable Tuesday. Thanks, Eric Bornstein.

Frantic Sloth 1:19 AM  

Found this one to have a little more bite than the average Tuesdee. But it was "good, clean" fun as Clare said.
The silly punny themey was okay if uninspired, but I have a question:

Who is the lonely DONUT a good snack for? Lady deers? Julie Andrews? Homer Simpson?

Seems like it wasn't invited to play with the other snacks which is just rude, IMHOPancakes.

Oooh! Pancakes! Favorite snack of Mr. Tumnus and other mythical woodland flute-playing hybrid beings, of which there are a PLETHORA, I'm sure.

Great. Now I'm gonna be needing a pastry or twelve tomorrow. 🙄


Luke 1:36 AM  


okanaganer 1:55 AM  

I totally agree that PLETHORA is a wonderful word. Looking it up, it's (of course) from Greek; initial English use: "a supposed medical condition marked by an excess volume of blood causing swelling and a reddish complexion" (Merriam-Webster). Nice! Pairs well with ANATHEMA ("cursed").

"Car maneuver that might leave skid marks" had to be DRIFT! Took a while to correct the downstream damage from that... WRYLY instead of COYLY, etc.

Piano Phil 2:19 AM  

Good puzzle for a Tuesday. Just enough “I’ll come back to it” mixed in with the Mondayish obvious ones to keep it interesting.

chefwen 2:31 AM  

EYE CANDY next to LIBIDO was kinda creepy, but other than that it was a fun puzzle. Easier than Mondays.
Pretty sure I won’t be snacking on any WING NUTS soon, hard on the teeth..

Loren Muse Smith 4:07 AM  

I loved being shown the food take on stuff like FIRECRACKER, WING NUTS, and BARGAINING CHIPS. I would have lived the rest of my life not noticing that, and I’m the better person for it. Those three were my favorites since they’re so far removed from their gastronomical meanings.

I also appreciated that the five Eric chose are naturally something you’d offer someone as a snack. Want some NUTS? CRACKERS? CANDY? So something like a good snack for a furniture salesman - COUCH POTATO wouldn’t work as well. I don’t think we have someone over, notice they’re hungry and say Want a potato? That’d feel weird.

Hard to think of others. Good snack for a gossip columnist – skinny dip. For the morning commute helicopter guy – traffic jam. But again – I don’t think I’d ever say Want some jam? to a guest like it’d be a snack.

I was briefly startled when I misread the clue for DONUTS as “Fancy cat maneuver that might leave skid marks.” A clue like that will flat wake you up. My sister who lives, lived, in Salt Lake City is en route here. Gonna live right around the corner. She will stay with Mom and me until her apartment is ready, and she has two cats. I had been fretting that the cats would be all over the countertops and tables. Throwing the specter of cat skid marks into the equation is chilling.

Took me a minute to get 7D, and when I did, I laughed. Bravo!

Clare – NO NO NO didn’t bother me at all. Neither did AEIOU. And I’d probably pay someone 50 bucks to call me EYE CANDY. But I’m old.

jae 4:13 AM  

Toughish, partly because I initially thought the theme answers needed to be singular to match snack...and also because I had Smirks before SNEERS...and also @Clare because mixing up SETH and ABEL.

Cute and smooth, liked it.

Conrad 5:39 AM  

I want to thank whoever came up with the word PLETHORA. It means a lot to me.

Eric NC 5:41 AM  

Totally agree that Tes Lasso is worth watching

chance2travel 5:48 AM  

Also had a similar solving experience as Claire, but through in axe before CAN.

After the solve I realized I had no idea what a DEMI-john is. Maybe a half-bathroom? Oh, it's a container that holds 4-60 L (1-16 US gal) of liquid? Apparently from the french dame-Jeanne (Lady Jane) seemingly named after the Queen of Naples visited a glass blower in Provence. During a demo, he accidentally made a bottle much larger than usual.

DEMI-johns are also called carboys, which also wouldn't make any sense, except it apparently comes from the Persian qarabah.

I'd like to see carboy in a puzzle. Maybe there's even a theme?

I'm headed to the Uffizi museum today to see the LITHE MAIDEN in Botticelli's Birth of Venus. Ciao e buona giornata!

Lewis 6:36 AM  

[Good snack for an astronaut?] – SPACE BAR

Yes, when a theme gets me trying to think of more answers, it’s fun (Hi, @Loren!). ON top of that, all the theme answers are lively, and among the other answers are the lovely LITHE, DROLL, LLANO, PLETHORA, and even GLUG (Hi, @Clare). It was also sweet to see the semordnilap SPOTS abutting the palindrome RADAR.

So, much spark and involvement. A crackerjack Tuesday, Eric. Thank you for this!

SamStone 6:56 AM  

I agree that this was a fun Tuesday puzzle. I particularly liked the various overlapping clues. The only stumble was that I didn't immediately link "flea market dealer" to one who you bargain with, but I guess that I haven't been to enough flea markets!

Anonymous 7:02 AM  

So the world cup cry is OLEOLEOLEOLE (OLEOLE "repeated")



I almost quit this but it got better. Theme was amusing.

GILL I. 7:09 AM  

Oh my....I love EYE CANDY. I'm still young enough to drool over Cary Grant and Omar Sharif - even though they are both dead.
This was fun....I had a bit of a GO AT with Elizabeth Warren. Guess what? Pocahontas didn't fit in her little OAKIE slot. HEY...Did Trump ever cough up the million he promised to charity?
I COYLY looked up LIBIDO and I now know that Mae West was called "The Statue of LIBIDO."
I remember the first time someone called me DROLL and I thought it was an insult - like being called the most boring person on this earth. English! what a language!
I wish I had a NEW DO. My favorite hair cutter is still in Mexico playing with her EYE CANDY boyfriend. My hair grew about 20 inches over our pandemic and I finally gave in to a new hairdresser. I asked her to cut off 4 inches STRAIGHT across. She feathered my hair and only took off an inch. Does Freud have a name for someone like that?
@Frantic....let's TOE TAP to a few DO NUTs....Hah!

amyyanni 7:21 AM  

Hi Clare, super review; thank you. May need more puzzles today as the tail wisps of Ida are going to make it a soggy, stay inside kind of day. The cats are ready for it and ready to share their lounging places.

Son Volt 7:24 AM  

Snack puns can be fun - most of these were. Tidy puzzle otherwise. Didn’t mind OLE OLE but doubling down on NO NO NO is a little much. LLANO in the SB yesterday. Wasn’t keen on the cut above - NEW DO entry. Liked LITHE and TOE TAP. Does a BRISK wind or walk have to be cold?

Not a lot of bite - but an enjoyable Tuesday solve.

kitshef 7:27 AM  

Extremely hard for a Tuesday.

Anybody else put in TOUGH Cannoli first?

Good snack for a cleat manufacturer? Stud muffin.

PaulyD 7:42 AM  

This was a lot of fun, even though I lost about 30 seconds laughing uncontrollably after I reflexively filled in OTOE to the Elizabeth Warren clue, then re-read it.

bocamp 7:45 AM  

Thx Eric; fun Tues. puz! :)

Hi Clare; thx for your review and shoutout to emergency responders! 🙏

Med. + solve. Seemed more like a Wednes.

Got all of the NW right off, but slow and steady thereafter.

No major hangups.

Enjoyed the theme. :)


A most enjoyable few hours spent on Croce's Freestyle #640. It was med.++ for me; dnfed on the airbrush / fear of success cross, but felt fortunate that was the only wrong cell. See you next Mon. :)
yd pg -1 (tabbed) (looking for an 8er)

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

JD 7:49 AM  

This is a heck of a circus here. Tough Cookies, Wing Nuts and a Maiden upstairs and downstairs a Donut, a Vat, some Eye Candy, and a Libido. Woo.

The Oakie in the middle is thinking, "Wing Nut, Screw it. Where's my Goat?"

What would this solve have been like without the puns? Different fun. Think I might've enjoyed it even more.

I got curious. Harry R. Kellogg secured a patent on the Wing Nut in 1933 and it's now held by the Central Screw Company. You can't make that stuff up. I bet he would've loved the metal clasp envelope.

@Gill, I don't know what Freud would've called your hairdresser but I'd call someone else.

SouthsideJohnny 7:56 AM  

As I post this, a pretty glowing review from our guest host, and overwhelmingly positive comments thus far (with which I agree). A neat parlor game would be to try to guess what (and how far down) Rex would have had to have excavated in order to unearth something to be angered/upset/dismayed/annoyed/insulted/triggered or otherwise emotionally scarred for life by.

I tend to agree that that AEIOU and OLE OLE in the same section appears a bit careless, but that may be more “familiarity fatigue” on my part as they have both made multiple appearances lately (I’m guessing a newer Tuesday solver may have a different experience with those).

SIA just looks weird - don’t know anything about the artist and I’ve pretty much given up on the one-namers (unless of course Cher or Madge drop by to say hello). Props to OUEF and TOBAGO as well - two examples of foreign entries that actually pass the “Common Usage” criteria that Shortz himself espoused but which is frequently flaunted (staring silently at you Maori).

FearlessKim 8:00 AM  

Another one for your list: DEMI(god) crossing MAUI :D

pabloinnh 8:02 AM  

We've been doing a Saturday flea market for the last few weeks and the only real BARGAINING I've done was with a lady from Mexico. Gave me a chance to dust off my Spanish, at least, so that was fun.

I thought this one was a very nice Tuesday. Side eye to NEWDO, hand up for thinking I'd put ABEL in the wrong place, still waiting to hear my first SIA tune, but how many three-letter one-named singers are there?

My only nit is GLUG. Not really a drinking sound for me, it's the sound made when you dump out a nearly full bottle of something and it goes GLUG GLUG GLUG until it's empty.

Good on ya EB, for a fun time. Easy But fun, for which thanks.

TTrimble 8:02 AM  

Much easier for me than yesterday's; an enjoyable solve. Thanks for the review, Clare!

I too like PLETHORA. In my field there's something called a "plethory", a portmanteau of PLETHORA and theory, which has been occupying my research recently.

Not much more to say; have to attend a virtual conference now.

dbyd 0
yd pg -1
td 0

MarthaCatherine 8:08 AM  

The word plethora always makes me go hmmmmm. The origin is interesting, but the pronunciation is odd and its usage makes the speaker sound a bit pretentious. People who are into epistemological heuristics might use it. As would both fledgling and superannuated personages endeavoring to sound erudite.

That said, it's a great puzzle word.

Zwhatever 8:15 AM  

AFL-CIO in the puzzle with BARGAINING CHIPS had to be intentional.

Pretty much what’s been said: Good enough Tuesday theme, with some eyebrow arch inducing fill.

@egs - LIBIDO in the puzzle gives us the obvious answer, horny farm animals are always the G.O.A.T., no bull.

I ran across the ABEL clue first, so no stumble with SETH.

I hear Rita is more famous than her brother PLETH.

DeeJay 8:22 AM  

Ted Lasso: Season 1, genius; Season 2, second cup of tea, same bag.

Zwhatever 8:23 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zwhatever 8:24 AM  

@MarthaCatherine - Or people who want to inveigle by pointing to the plethora of parsimonious politicians in the other party. A parsimonious plentitude attitude as it were.

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

@Lewis prompted this.

Good snack foe a Stoner Gymnast? HIGH BAR

Anonymous 8:42 AM  

Great review, Clare.

Andrew H 8:55 AM  

Elizabeth Warren near LOAN was also a nice proximity clue, as she’s fought against predatory payday loans and the forgiveness of student loans. It was interesting reading about her upbringing this morning to help me with her clue. She was an OKIE whose family struggled to live paycheck to paycheck. Regardless of what you think of her politics, she’s an example that at one time anyone could climb the political ladder.

Andrew H 9:01 AM  

Elizabeth Warren near LOAN was also a nice proximity clue, as she’s fought against predatory payday loans and the forgiveness of student loans. It was interesting reading about her upbringing this morning to help me with her clue. She was an OKIE whose family struggled to live paycheck to paycheck. Regardless of what you think of her politics, she’s an example that at one time anyone could climb the political ladder.

bocamp 9:10 AM  


I'm with you on Ted Lasso; esp the last couple of episodes. (hi @DeeJay (8:22 AM))

Another PLETHORA fan here.

@TTrimble (8:02 AM) 👍 for 0

yd (still pg -1) / td 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Nancy 9:13 AM  

Hey, you want to end up in cement shoes, sleeping with the fishes? Just try calling Don Corleone a "TOUGH COOKIE" and see where that gets you. I found this clue/answer pretty laughable, but not in a good way. This might have been better clued by Lauren Bacall or Rita Hayworth in a Forties film noir.

I found WING NUTS a pretty odd answer too. And is a "flea market dealer" one of the world's great bargainers? Quite penny ante, I'd think.

Also, why are we giving snacks of any kind to an arsonist? Let him starve, that's what I say. Especially during fire season.

Am I being SASSY here. Yes. A lot sassier than someone who says "Oh, no, you didn't!" Someone who simply says that has completely failed my sassiness test.

Good wordplay should either give you a good chuckle or a good "Aha" moment. Preferably both. This puzzle, alas, gave me neither. But it's been fun to write about.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

Andrew H,
LOL. Fauxahontas is not worthy of admiration or emulation. Her campaign for president was so poorly run, she lost her home state.
There's a good chance she won't be in the Senate after the 2024 election.

burtonkd 9:24 AM  

I heartily second the recommendation for Ted Lasso!
@DeeJay - to borrow your metaphor, Season 1 a teabag of a flavor you've never tasted. Season 2 fresh teabag, just not the novelty it was - but every bit as good.

Loved the misdirect for CSECTION, figured CS had to be wrong for a while.

Are LLAMAs from the LLANO?

Nancy 9:31 AM  

Oh, goody -- just what Rexworld needs: a PLETHORA flame war. Put me solidly in the camp of those who love and often use the word -- it rolls so trippingly off the tongue. And it has a certain je ne sais quoi* that phrases like "a lot of" or "a great many of" don't have. Like others, I was happy to see it in the puzzle today.

*I also like using "je ne sais quoi" which also has a certain je ne sais quoi.

RooMonster 9:36 AM  

Hey All !
Neat food pun puz. Everyday phrases that use Snacks but that aren't snacks. Or something. Trying to get CheeseBall to form into something, but the ole brain is refusing access.

Why does the INTERN clue have a "say"?

OUEF - Is that pronounced "weef"? Oof. 😁

Not a NO for NONONO to me. If it fits, it ships!

EVITE/VAT could've been ELITE/LAT. I almost put in the L, but then read the clues!

EYE CANDY, gonna call someone that today, then try to avoid the slap. 😁

Two F's

Joe Dipinto 9:44 AM  

Why weren't the snacks placed inside a piñata?

Whatsername 9:44 AM  

Free Krispy Kremes you say? OLE OLE!! Worth getting jabbed in the arm twice. Speaking of which, do I get a DONUT for each shot? NAH, probably not.

I liked this fun little Tuesday. One tiny misstep was mistaking the four-letter film FAME for the TV series. CAN’t recall EVER seeing either one. Didn’t give me any trouble but I did not like the clue for TENTS. NO NO NO, they don’t lean so much as they cover. And I’m still trying to figure out how a cut above is NEW TO. But HEY, really nothing to SNEER at today.

rjkennedy98 10:12 AM  

@Whatsername I believe the answer was NEW DO (as in a new hair cut). And it was TENDS not TENTS.

Malsdemare 10:15 AM  

Before I read any of y’all, I have to second Claire about “Ted Lasso.” Ted is my treadmill buddy and an absolute delight. In fact, I bought a Firestick for our large screen not-very-smart-any-more TV so my partner can watch (TV doesn’t get AppleTV). Ted is particularly perfect for the treadmill because each show is 30 minutes, which means I have to do 60 minute workouts instead of the lazy 45-5- I’d been doing.

I liked the puzzle though I was stuck for the longest time trying to suss out my error. Turns out that there’s no such thing as BARbAININGCHIPS—my big drink was a GLUb before a GLUG.

Okay, now to see what the rest of the world thinks.

jberg 10:23 AM  

A bit tougher for me, because I had the I in 18A and confidently wrote in AIR..... No idea what network carried "The Office," or that might have helped. So I actually toyed with the idea that it was HBO, and that hEaDO was slang for a haircut. But aIrGNUs (a flying snack for lions) didn't fit, so I finally saw the light.

I didn't think TOUGH COOKIES was as good as the other themers, because the cookies in question refer to actual cookies, in kind of a remote way. I mean, I don't know the derivation of the phrase, but I don't think there was any other kind of cookie at the time (pre Internet). But maybe that's true of EYE CANDY too.

When I was growing up, OKIE was offensive; but maybe Merle Haggard rehabilitated it.

Newboy 10:28 AM  

Double delight from Eric’s grandpa-worth pun puzzle & Clare’s reactions to puns, puzzle and life itself!

Carola 10:39 AM  

Loved it. I thought the theme answers were inspired and just-right goofy. PLETHORA added polish, and NEW DO and C-SECTION some welcome solving vexation. I enjoyed LIBIDO as speaking to a different sort of appetite than the one for snacks.

Do-overs: ABEL in the wrong place, bBC. Help from previous puzzles: SIA. No idea: RYAN, EDDIE.

@Eric Bornstein - LOL for this one. Thank you for the fun.

Whatsername 10:46 AM  

@rjkenhedy98: Thanks! I ended up with that T on the end because I initially had TILTS. No wonder it didn’t make any sense. 😄

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

I once tried to play GLUG in a game of Scrabble. It didn't end well for me.

I don't know if anybody tracks such statistics, but I believe the clue on 6D is the longest I've ever seen in any crossword.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

This one sucked oeufs for me. Clues felt as if autopilot was engaged, followed by a hodgepodge of fillers. As ever, appreciate the effort, but don't feel this is NYT-worthy.

Joseph Michael 10:53 AM  

Good puzzle, good writeup, and OLE OLE to Ted Lasso. I’m still on the first teabag and loving it.

Found the solve a bit tough for a Tuesday. Didn’t know Elizabeth Warren was an OKIE or that a fancy car maneuver could be a DONUT. Wanted GULP before GLUG and GROW UP before BEHAVE.

FIRE CRACKERS is inspired. Makes me want to burn something down just so I can have a few.

Does SIA drive a KIA?

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

Should CSECTION not have an indication that it is an abbreviation?

Zwhatever 11:02 AM  

@Anon 10:47 - 😂🤣 - I stopped reading after, “Roman philosopher.” Not that I disagree with the sentiment, but it is a sentiment hardly unique to SENECA. Besides, I knew the quote was not going to help with the answer in any way comparable to having that SE already in place. Personally, this is my quote of the month, Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.

Whatsername 11:05 AM  

@Luke (01:36) Assuming your “WTF “ was a question, I didn’t see where anyone answered. AFL-CIO stands for American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, an alliance of labor unions formed in 1955.

Richard in NM 11:14 AM  

The proper soccer (or fútbol) cheer isn't really "olé," nor is it "olé, olé," but rather, "olé [pause], olé, olé, olé."

SteveHikes 11:27 AM  

I got a big laugh out of this one!

Kevin 11:32 AM  

Any idea what the longest clue on a NYT puzzle has been? That clue for Seneca has got to be in the top few spots. My app had to reduce the size of the font just to fit it into whatever system the app uses.

The Joker 11:41 AM  

@Z(11:02). Your 2nd thought is deep.

This isn't theme pattern correct but, Good snack for an arsonist? S'mores.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

@OFL (for the day):
I thought the best word in the puzzle was PLETHORA — there’s just something about that word that rolls off the tongue and looks pleasing.

some famous writer, forget who and too lazy to confirm, said the syphilis is the nicest word in English. anyone recall who?

So the world cup cry is OLEOLEOLEOLE (OLEOLE "repeated")

now, what beer is that the advert tag line for? (ending with a preposition, naturally)

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

I mean, I don't know the derivation of the phrase, but I don't think there was any other kind of cookie at the time (pre Internet).

again, too lazy to confirm, but a tough cookie, in the era before excellent dentistry, meant that a hard one could break a tooth on such, so a person so personified could break your face. just a guess.

Masked and Anonymous 11:59 AM  

Hey! But what about runty lil DONUT? Others are hollerin NONONO and OLE OLE. DONUT is squealin out THEME ME, THEME ME. Ain't nuthin to it but to DO it, and so far it ain't gettin done.

Just need a better, theme-like clue for DONUT than {Fancy car maneuver that might leave skid marks}.
1. {Good snack for a beauty parlor operator}.
2. {Good snack for a wedding planner}.
3. {Good snack for a music teacher?}.
4. {Good snack for an ABBA member, right after singing "I Do I Do I Do"??}.
5. {Good snack!!}.
(Your preference for amount of clue desperation may vary.)

Mostly an easy solvequest at our house, except for two minor nanosecond snaggers:

* Had {Leans} = TILTS, instead of TENDS, for way too long. This led to SENICA, which looked sorta ok to m&e. And NEWTO looked like a reasonable phrase, altho I wasn't seein how its clue was workin. But eventually there was LONONO, which made M&A stare in desperate disbelief, as the nanoseconds ticked by, sayin nanonono …

* 41-D gave M&A serious SASSY hesitation. Cuz if I entered SASSY, then 41-D was gonna start with CS+, which didn't look right. Nonono again, M&A breath.

staff weeject pick: ENO. Would make a primo themer starter, for an all-new theme: {Wrong! All wrong, Brian!"} = ENONONONO. JLOLOLOLO would also be neat. Not so much JLONONONO, tho. But, I digress.
fave fillins: PLETHORA. VANISH. GLUG.

Thanx for the snacks, Mr. Bornstein. Real good job. Pass the DONUTs, please.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


old timer 12:12 PM  

Good puzzle. Much better than yesterday's and as Easy as a Tuesday should be.

I loved EYE CANDY. I have a good friend and neighbor who is very smart and was very ambitious in her younger days. When I met her, she was good looking, but hardly EYE CANDY, and I was shocked when she told us all, at some party, that her best paying job was having been a cocktail waitress when she was 21, at some high-flying bar that catered to well-paid businessmen. I think we all did a double take, and tried to imagine her 12 years younger, and said to ourselves, "You know, that is really quite possible. She probably was a knockout in her younger days."

OLE is a funny word. If you go to a bullfight in Spain, every successful pass is met with thousands of spectators all yelling a single OLE in unison. But if you go to a futbol match, it is always double: OLE OLE, and means "Yay team!) It can be triple, OLE, OLE, OLE, which mostly means, what a good thing just happened to me. Same variation in meaning for NO. Single it simply means NO. Double, it means "don't do that" or "don't say that", often addressed to a child. Triple, it means, "This can't be happening to me" or, "Woe is me".

I don't think I've ever eaten a WINGNUT, though I think FIRECRACKERS do exist as a snack. But by far the best themer was BARGAINING CHIPS.

I used to use COMET as a cleaner. Didn't it get banned at some point? Some sort of bad review in Consumer Reports, anyhow. I switched to BON AMI.

Joe Dipinto 12:13 PM  

The gangster is the TOUGH. The COOKIE is a snack for him. TOUGH COOKIES are not gangsters.

OffTheGrid 12:18 PM  


jb129 12:25 PM  

A fun pretty easy Tuesday

Unknown 12:56 PM  

"The slang use of "cookie" to mean a person, "especially an attractive woman" is attested to in print since 1920. ... According to The Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms, a smart cookie is “someone who is clever and good at dealing with difficult situations.”

The first appearance of the now standard ‘tough cookie‘ is just after the end of World War II, but how the ‘tough’ became welded to the baked good is unknown. Also unclear is how the term then came to describe both sexes when it had previously been only applied to women."

Teedmn 1:26 PM  

For 41D's clue, my brain went straight to childbirth - with CS in place, I was about to change 41D to Caesarean, (didn't count it out ahead of time) but aASSY wasn't gonna happen. Seconds later I got the Caesarean equivalent, yay.

I wanted the 46A island to be TOBeGO; glad I knew the union of unions.

I join @Z with having splatzed in SENECA off the SE and never noticed how much real estate the clue took up. Seems like, whether honorably or dishonorably lived, a life is being judged by the living. The dead couldn't give a rat's aASSY whether it was "whole" or not.

Eric Bornstein, I enjoyed your Tuesday puzzle immensely, thanks!

mathgent 1:33 PM  

A barrel full of monkeys. I had a ball.

We're in Maui for a couple of weeks. I just learned that it (not Oahu) is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands. 727 sq.mi. to 526.

Nancy hangs out with a different crowd in NYC than I do on this coast. We consider saying PLETHORA to be pretentious. We much prefer "shitload."


mathgent 2:10 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

Piano Phil (2:19)
chance2travel (5:48)
DeeJay (8:22)

A 3:54 PM  

Tasty puzzle, tasty review. A PLETHORA of innuendo; LITHE MAIDEN, COYLY ABUT, SASSY LIBIDO, EYE CANDY GLEE….

But what I’m interested in is GILA.
gila monster (n.)
"venomous lizard of the American southwest”…. from Gila River, which runs through its habitat in Arizona. The river name probably is from an Indian language, but it is unknown now which one, or what the word meant in it. (from etymonline.com)

For the Navajo people, the Gila monster was the first medicine man to walk the Earth in full possession of a wide variety of divining powers. (from livescience.com)

Some years age, while researching Alaskan names for a Malamute puppy, I found the word qila, a spirit to whom a shaman would put yes or no questions during a ceremony. The pronunciation of the consonants is made at the back of the throat - if you try it, it sounds a little like “giya.” A thing called a qila-stick is used in the ceremony, which is widespread and predates professional shamanism. Perhaps GILA and qila are related?

Now for a VAULT. The Sanskrit “kila” is a three-sided spike that is used to pin down spirits or obstacles so you can work with them. Seems very like the North American shamans’ “qila.” Are they all related? Is the “Indian” language GILA comes from actually Sanskrit?

It isn’t Igor Stravinsky’s birthday but he wrote this tasty prelude.

tea73 4:30 PM  

I disagree about the word PLETHORA, I cringe every time I see it, because it is so overused by high school seniors in their application essays.

I liked the doubled OLE and tripled NO. We've seen both before, but it always tickles me when the constructor goes for it.

For some reason I've only seen EYE CANDY to describe delicious men rather than women, so I am a fan of the word.

Nice puzzle.

TTrimble 5:18 PM  

Truth be told, having the PLE part, I tried thinking of something more Latinate like "plenitude" before I hit on PLETHORA, which is of Greek origin. (Also, I thought of "pampa" before LLANO. Good SB stalwarts, both.)

Another good word of Greek origin in the same semantic neighborhood is "myriad".

yd 0 (at last!)

Hartley70 5:31 PM  

@mathgent, LOL!! I’m more of a shitload girl myself if I’m being honest.

Anonymous 5:32 PM  

@tea73. So, a plethora of plethoras?

Sarah Radcliffe Gross 6:01 PM  


albatross shell 6:17 PM  

And still there was fun to be had. ASIS crossing the flea market clue.
VANISH crossing the airplane clue. NEWDO crossing the pilot clue. Decent fun nailing down the snacks. Some good fill. Maybe not a plethora but enough.

DROLL. Exactly what type of humor is that? Not quite slapstick. Gaggy or dry? DROLL Stories. Oh that was a DROLL film. Want to go? It had them TOE TAPping. First known use 1623. And wow, its a noun and a verb too. Never knew that. From the Dutch for imp via French. I liked it as a kid and still like it. Well I'm guess I'll just droll outta here.

Anoa Bob 6:20 PM  

I BET you a DONUT that BARGAINING CHIP was the impetus for this theme. At 14 letters all that it needs is an S to become the snack bar centerpiece.

Comparing today's 36 black square puzzle to yesterday's 38 shows how a reduction of just 2 squares opens the grid for longer fill. With a five-themer in place there's not much wiggle room left and I'm thinking 36 may be about as low as you can go without some really bad fill. Even here some fill flirts with badness. Maybe 34 black squares works best with a four-themer puzzle.

The consensus word of the day PLETHORA crosses two themers on its downward journey so that makes it a real BARGAIN for that slot.

If I win the DONUT BET I want to be paid with beer. If someone ask me what the worst-for-your-health snack is, I would rank the DONUT near the top. But there are many, many worthy competitors so it would be a tough call. Beer, on the other hand, is whole grain goodness.

Yes, I did notice the letter in the lower, rightmost square.

Zwhatever 6:50 PM  

@mathgent & @Hartley70 - Due to inflation the correct term is now “shit-ton.” As in “a journalist just used ‘lead’ instead of “lede” on Twitter and I ended up blocking a shit-ton of grammar nazis.”

JC66 10:27 PM  

Hey @Roo

I think you're gonna liken tomorrow's puzzle.

stephanie 10:34 PM  

@okanaganer DRIFT! that's the word my brain was looking for but couldn't find. i actually thought DONUT would be wrong, as it was only jammed in my brain folds as a result of 🎵doin' donuts on my neighbors lawn...🎵

stephanie 10:36 PM  

@Conrad badum TSH!

stephanie 12:26 AM  

damn, seems my comment gotten eaten by blogger. rip. of course, it was the one time i don't ctrl+c before posting.

ah well, i'm too tired now to try to re-write it, though mercifully today's response was short and not particularly interesting. i will however take this opportunity to re-post a link to my most favorite SIA song though, buttons:

and reiterate that it really blows my mind it was released nearly twelve years ago. time is moving way too fast.

crazyloon 11:10 AM  

carol is lame, yawm

Jax H 11:31 AM  

I have with Clare on "plethora." I think it's the most obnoxious word on the planet and overuse in legalese.

mack zayn 5:44 AM  
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mack zayn 5:45 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
spacecraft 9:56 AM  

DEMI as a prefix for john or god is just plain half. As a prefix to Moore, however, it turns (literally!) into EYECANDY and becomes DOD.

If you absolutely have to have the vowel string in your grid, try to keep it away from the NW. It's never good when we start our solve with an "Oh, NONONO!" Some elements of this one deserve an OLE...okay, maybe two, but not as fill. The theme is kinda cool, especially that last one. 68a reminds me of a line from "Fast Times..."

Whatever happens, your TOEs are still TAPpin.'


Burma Shave 1:21 PM  


I CAN say my LIBIDO IS dandy,
she acts SASSY and COYLY enough,


Diana, LIW 1:32 PM  

Since I, like some others of you, do not time myself, I rarely start in the NW. I just review clues and find something I know. Or, something Lambo knows.

And Lambo and I both know food. So this EYECANDY was a quick snack for us. Not too difficult to chew on.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

thefogman 1:38 PM  

Good snack for computer geeks? Bits and Bi(y)tes…

leftcoaster 2:32 PM  

Simpler and easier than yesterday’s in both theme and fill.
Didn’t know that Elizabeth Warren was an OKIE by birth.
Not that it really matters.

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