Bad break / WED 9-1-21 / Young newt / Channel owned by Disney / Comedian Wanda / Soft murmur

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Constructor: Sean Yamada-Hunter

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (5:38 for me)

THEME: That's a Big If

Word of the Day: HOAGY (20A: Carmichael who composed "Heart and Soul") —

Hoagland Howard Carmichael (November 22, 1899 – December 27, 1981) was an American songwriter, musician, actor, singer and attorney. American composer and author Alec Wilder described Carmichael as the "most talented, inventive, sophisticated and jazz-oriented of all the great craftsmen" of pop songs in the first half of the 20th century.[2] Carmichael was one of the most successful Tin Pan Alley songwriters of the 1930s, and was among the first singer-songwriters in the age of mass media to utilize new communication technologies such as television, electronic microphones, and sound recordings.

• • •

Hi there, Tom Quigley here filling in for Vacation Rex again.  For my last review, I jotted down a series of thoughts before the puzzle was released.  Some of them hit the cutting room floor, as they didn't apply or I didn't feel strongly enough about them.  Two of those were "comments on grid design?" and "interesting word count?" which are frankly all I want to talk about today.  

Theme answers:
  • THATSABIGIF (19D: Exclamation upon seeing this puzzle)
I can tell you my actual "Exclamation upon seeing this puzzle" would not have fit in 19 Down, as it's only 3 letters.  I'm normally not a fan of stunt grids, or grids that attempt to form an image.  That said, I'll give it to today's puzzle that there's no mistaking the IF for anything else.  The NYT didn't need to break the bank on an animator to connect any dots for us.  So for a gimmick grid, I give it a thumbs up.
(that's a bi gif)

Now for the repercussions of creating a grid out of two giant vertical letters: word count.  Maybe not technically the overall word count, you'll have to wait for Rex to come back for those kinds of details, but look at ALL those 3-letter words!  31 of the 71 total words are 3 letters!  43.7%!!!  None of them really make me hold my nose, other than maybe OBE (41A: U.K. honour) over VIS (44A: Word on either side of "à").  To make a 9 stack of 3s without some truly awful fill is quite the feat.  

The wacky theme and the barrage of 3-letters might, but shouldn't, take away from the FIVE grid-spanning 15-letter downs, which are all amazing.  I almost wish you could somehow tie a bow around these and make them a theme...

  • HABANEROPEPPERS — Spicy, delicious 
  • ANDYETHEREWEARE — Feels like a very fresh, unique phrase for the NYT
  • SUNRISEMOVEMENT — Anyone not taking them seriously about the future of our planet needs to step aside, looking at you Feinstein.
  • BEYONDONESGRASP — Weakest of the quintet, still great
  • ENRIQUEIGLESIAS — Spicy, delicious

Signed, Tom Quigley, Serf of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:05 AM  

IF you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs because of 30 threes   
IF a goofy puzzle doesn’t really faze you,
    Whether solving on an app or on dead trees;   
IF you hear @Rex’s head exploding,
    Because he thinks this puzzle is no fun,
But you can keep yourself from just imploding,
   And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Melrose 12:05 AM  

Bad clue for 35A: eso = that in Spanish, esto = this.

jae 12:08 AM  

Medium. Just delightful, liked it a bunch! The long downs more than made up for the 3s. An excellent debut!

My biggest problem was not remembering how to spell the Japanese beer.

Anoa Bob 1:01 AM  

Well DANG! When I saw the clue for 35A "This, in Spanish" I was sure it would be esta, esto or este. ESO? Isn't that "That, in Spanish"?

This one is definitely a front runner for the ZANIEST grid design ever.

okanaganer 1:04 AM  

Hi Tom; agree with pretty much everything you said. A lot of threes, but yes, amazing it's not nearly as bad as it could be. And those long downs!! According to, they're all debut answers, except for good ol' Enrique and, oddly, the revealer.

I would like to see this same concept... but in lowercase. So: if vs IF. Fewer black squares! And the grid is already asymmetric, it would just be more so. (If you're gonna ditch symmetry, why not really ditch it!) And you could also move the letters farther apart, making that center stack 4s instead of 3s. Just a thought!

jj 1:44 AM  

Got a personal best today! Got a lot of those grid-spanners without crosser help. Only gift receipts and beyond one's grasp gave me trouble.

Unknown 2:30 AM  

Didn't notice the big IF, worked out 19D from the stack of sweet little 3-letters, and then spent a minute scanning the grid for theme answers before suddenly noticing the grid.

Shouldn't have been BEYOND ONES GRASP, but here we are.

Frantic Sloth 2:50 AM  

I believe ESO means "that", not "this". Unless you are standing in the grid at 35A and reading the clue over there...oh, now we're getting ridiculous, no?
Somebody Joaquin's Dictum this for me please!

Never mind all that - this was the best Wednesdee puzzle I've seen in a dog's age. What a gas! And it's a debut!

Five fabulous grid-spanning downs, but my fave has to be AND YET HERE WE ARE. It was the first thing that came to mind and I thought " can't be that fun, can it?"
Oh, yes it can!

But, wait! There's more! The real star here is the grid art answer at 19D. THATS A BIG IF. It certainly is and I just think it's hilariously goofy. My kind of goofy.

The fill is a thing of beauty, too. Well...with possibly, no definitely one three-letter exception, already noted.

But even that short stuff down the middle was above average and enjoyable all on its own.
It seems clear to me that realizing such a grid with all these long answers would require a PLETHORA of wee threes, this constructor took the time to polish it up all shiny. I, for one (bet I'm not alone) appreciate that.

Oh, hello, EFT! What rock have you been hiding under?

Congratulations on your NYTXW debut, Mr. Yamada-Hunter, and for creating a treat where I could get all ZIGGY with it! Hurry back!


chefwen 3:01 AM  

Very easy Wednesday, got my first long one as my second fill off of the H in ASH. Huge head start. The biggest challenge for me was trying to figure out how to spell ENRIQUE INGLESIAS, had to have a lot of help from the crosses. Also got a little hung up at 6D because I put down MBE for 41A which I was sure of. A dear friend of ours was awarded an MBE for the work she did with orphans when her husband was stationed in Bahrain. She was very proud of it. I guess it’s a Member of the Order of the British Empire. Confusing.

I don’t know anyone who SIPs ON a beer, it’ll get warm. Yuk.

Joe Dipinto 3:54 AM  

This, that —oh who cares, really? It's just some pronoun in a foreign language. It doesn't have to be right.

I liked it. Didn't mind all the threesies, cause the long downs were good.

Time for:
Song Lyrics That Make No Sense!
Today we feature the lulling tones of Bread from May of 1971.
If a man could be two places at one time,
I'd be with you tomorrow and today

Loren Muse Smith 4:54 AM  

So the theme is missing the wordplay that I love so much, but I tell ya, when I got the reveal, it made me smile. It’s just so simple and funny. Here’s the icing on the cake: MAN crosses it dead center, so you could say it’s in fact MAN, THAT’S A BIG IF.

I bet the pedant grumps who turn up their noses at taking words from one part of speech and using them as another part of speech (Bottom line, what’s the ask? I enjoyed the solve. . .) regularly take this conjunction IF and use it as a noun like this. Just sayin’.

Actually, the clue for GIFT RECEIPTS gave me all the wordplay I needed this morning. Brilliant.

I grimaced at “easy as PIE” sharing the grid with BEYOND ONE’S GRASP. I have people trying to show me how to use Google Drive, Google Docs, Canvas, Zoom, and eleventy hundred other things that they always assure me is simple. I have one administrator who, while showing me how to do something, touches my hand as I start to frantically write down the steps and says Breathe. Just watch me. You’ll get this. I’m kinda scared of her, so I obediently breathe as she bam bam bam uploads something from Google Docs to Canvas while all the clicks swim in my head. If she sees my hand go for my pen, she covers it again and shakes her head, smiles. Sheesh. I walk back to my room still utterly lost and too ashamed to tell her that her like-wow-man Zen method isn’t working for me. I’m feeling stupider and stupider, but the upside is that everyone is incredibly kind and patient, assuring me that as a newbie, I get a lot of leeway. That’s fine. Great. I get it. But the issue is that if I don’t correctly do something, then the plans I had for my class on Canvas don’t work, and I’m the one left standing in front of some grumpy teenagers while they wait expectantly for me to pivot on my feet and keep them engaged. She can breathe all she wants in the safety of her office. I’m out hyperventilating in the trenches.

Anyhoo . . . Thanks for the smile this morning, Sean. I got a kick out of it.

Anonymous 5:18 AM  

The gif is bi? And here I thought the gif was totally gay.

chance2travel 5:50 AM  

So if you spelled out my 3-letter reaction it would actually fit in 19D. But then the solve was actually quite fun.

I *am* curious whether the constructor/editor goofed on 35A or whether they were going for a slangy re-interpretation. Honestly I was in speed mode and just saw the clue as "Th-- in Spanish" and my biggest concern was whether it would end in "o" or "a". (While I'm staying in Italy I keep having to remember that "this" starts with "qu", "questo" and then "that" is "quello")

I'm also amused that this ESO answer will be among the main topics discussed in the comments.

I liked the 2 Japanese clues. "Tamago" is a great word to know for ordering food. Makes me want to get a bowl of ramen with that amazing marinated soft-boiled EGG and cold ASAHI.

@LMS - wondering if you can negotiate with the scary zen admin. Maybe she can show you the first time while you breathe, but then she has to do it a second time while you take notes.

Lewis 6:09 AM  

Yes! What an entertaining puzzle – and a debut, no less!

I don’t care that this went quicker than a typical Wednesday. I don’t care that there are 31 three-letter answers or that it’s a one trick pony. Because… what a pony! I’m wondering through most of the solve, what the heck is that exclamation going to be, then when I see it, what a big “Hah!”

Meanwhile, here are these vertical spanners and other long answers that, as crosses come in, become clear with big PINGS, and swaths get filled to my amazement and joy, with some fantastic answers like SUNRISE MOVEMENT, AND YET THERE WE ARE, and ZIGGY (all NYT debuts, by the way). Meanwhile, look at the skill involved in throwing those stacks together in a junk-lite way.

Way to bring us out of the box and deliver, Sean. May there be more tricks up your sleeve. This one pumped me up. Thank you, and congrats on your first NYT puzzle!

Conrad 6:14 AM  

@Tom Quigley, MY "Exclamation upon seeing this puzzle" was actually eight letters, starting with HOLY. I agree with Easy-Medium; I flew through the threes and got all but one of the long answers without looking at the clues. Lots of fun in the process.

@LMS: I bet DeMario could help you with your Google Docs / Canvas issue.

MMM 6:49 AM  

My wife who is a Spanish teacher also questioned that clue. Very curious if it is an edge case use of Eso, or an actual error.

GILL I. 7:26 AM  

SIA, ZIGGY and AXL walk into a bar and order an ASAHI to SIP ON. SYKES, the bartender, tells them "sorry, this is a BYO bar." "MAN, cries ZIGGY, what a BUM DEAL!" IAN, who is sitting in a little corner, tells them "DON'T YOU FRET... order the HOAGY with EGG POT PIE and a side of HABANERO PEPPER!" "DANG, yells AXL...LETS!" "What a DANDY idea ...." ENRIQUE IGLESIAS comes on the juke box and begins to BLEAT "BEYOND ONES GRASP" in his ZANIEST voice....BASSETT, the local hussy, COOs "THAT'S A BIG F" "What, pray tell, does the F stand for everyone shouts.....?" She, who is all knowing calmly says "What the fanny do I know...?" now I'll get serious. I look at the grid and said "Oh good give me a puzzle with a million threes and all I want to do is go braid my hair. But then it got fun. It did. Fantasy Island for me.
@Frantic....Si, amiga. ESO mean THAT. This should be esto. (sigh) Mistakes like this need to be ALL FIXED. Signed...THE PALE FACED PEW running up A TAB.

Son Volt 7:27 AM  

Definitely too many 3s - they weren’t ugly but just drag the solving rhythm down. I don’t mind the big IF - cute mid week trick. All of the long downs were solid and could form the core of a really good themeless.

THE PALEFACE has some yuks - but I always liked Don Knotts’ take in Shakiest Gun.

Enjoyable Wednesday solve.

amyyanni 7:28 AM  

Hi Tom, totally spot on review. Appreciate the Hoagy Carmichael feature.
Clever, different, and entertaining puzzle. (In elementary school, where we were seated alphabetically, I was behind Kevin Yamada. Noted our constructor is Sean Yamada-Hunter, and a tip of the solving cap to you.
As an inveterate note taker, I am solidly in your corner, @LMS.
Happy Hump Day to all who celebrate it.

oceanjeremy 7:29 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle — excellent long answers, and a concrete example that 3-letter answers don’t have to be dreck.

HOWEVER: I don’t understand the theme. Ok there’s a big IF in the shape of the grid, and the puzzle points out “THAT’S A BIG IF.”

So? What does the BIG IF have to do with any of the other answers? I might just be sleepy but I don’t see any other clues/answers that have anything to do with a BIG IF.

Meaning there is only one theme clue/answer.

Which, I’D SAY, means there is no theme — just one (very thin) gimmick.

I really enjoyed all other aspects of the puzzle, except the theme is not a theme. Can someone please tell me I missed something here, and this “theme” is actually deeper than just (1) one answer and (2) two letters spelled out in the shape of the grid?

Anonymoose 7:32 AM  

@Joe. Liked your comment on ESO. We'll be seeing that (or is it this?) shit all day from the foreign language police.

kitshef 7:36 AM  

Completely failed to see the grid art until I hit the clue for 19D, but I do like what it did for the grid with lots of long answers. The price, I suppose was a ton of threes but those were fairly well handled.

Better get used to SIA. That letter combo is mighty enticing to a constructor.

Slightly easier than yesterday’s puzzle, so they should have been switched.

The ESO thing is really bizarre. THAT from the revealer leads right into the ESO cross, which is a nice feature, obscured by the error.

OffTheGrid 7:36 AM  

My 19D answer was F***! Now what?!

I must confess, though, I liked this puzzle more than I wanted to.

feinstee 7:53 AM  

That was really bothering me and then had me questioning my 9th grade Spanish...

Becca 7:54 AM  

I was shocked at how much I liked this puzzle. Saw that IF and all those 3s, groaned, prepared for a slog. It was sparkly and delightful! I managed to avoid doing too many of the 3s by focusing on those great long downs, and really had a lot of fun solving.

Toshiro Mifune 7:59 AM  

Asahi means “Morning Sun” in Japanese.

Ω 8:01 AM  

This or that? This is the question?
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of bad clues.

‘Tis a hard clue to defend. The best I can come up with is “this” and “that” are mostly interchangeable. They aren’t when proximity is an issue, but this is actually relatively rare. I took a gander at M-W’s sample usages and for the majority of them you can use either “this” or “that.” Still, we do have two words and they aren’t the same and so does Spanish. Seems like a gaffe to me.

Some things I continually find irksome: Potterizing a perfectly cluable word like NIECE; ZIGGY (for personal reasons - the existence of this nickname for my two brothers is another reason I go by Z); Telephone keypad letter clues; defunct businesses; ONES.
Some things that made me smile, or at least smirk: The clue for S.T.D. being non-standard; The clue for EARTH; A good debate over who the actual King of Latin Pop is - I’ll open with two nominees, The idea of naming a yacht Ρ Ρ Ρ (it’s a combo Greek Alphabet / Crossworld Pun), All the great long downs almost making the plethora of terrible threes (or is it a shitton?) worth it.

I think we should start referring to annoying pop culture clues as “rho rho rho” to really confuse new readers. Seems like we answer the “what does PPP mean?” question at least once a week anyway, why not make it more convoluted?

Anonymous 8:01 AM  

I have an INNIE but I drive an Audi.

Anonymous 8:03 AM  

BYO...? Bring my own what?!

Ω 8:07 AM  

@LMS - I agree with your admin on the note-taking, but she made a different error. The new user needs to be the one with their hands on the mouse and keyboard. In a week you’ll be wondering why it felt so complicated, but the key to understanding what’s happening with the programs is actually doing it.

TheMadDruid 8:13 AM  

@TomQuigley If you wrote out your initial response rather than merely thinking of initials it would fit perfectly! I noticed it and wondered if the puzzle maker was BEQ.

janet 8:15 AM  

Esto puzzle and Desiderata first thing. Heaven!

A. Sarris 8:21 AM  

Now THAT's a review.

No picking at nits. No getting lost in the weeds. No missing the forest for the trees. No tooting one's own horn. No tilting at windmills. No killing the messenger, And most important: no reliance on cliché phrases. lol

Just an honest appreciation for the puzzle as a whole, while highlighting a few key things that help it work and noting the a few other things that don't.

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

Delightful novel puzzle.

TTrimble 8:21 AM  

This was a fun Wednesday, and not too hard. A DANDY effort from the constructor, I'D SAY.

Just now I read AS PIE as ASPIE. I didn't know that Asperger syndrome is no longer used as a separate diagnosis, as of DSM-5. The term ASPIE is often casually used by people who identify with that diagnosis, but I think it might be considered IFfy or inappropriate applying that term to others.

Did anybody else try raw DEAL before BUM DEAL?

The incredible final scene from the final episode of Six Feet Under features SIA as the singer.

yd 0
td pg -2

bocamp 8:30 AM  

Thx Sean; what a fantastic Wednes. puz! Loved the BIG IF!:)

Easy-med. solve.

Felt very much in tune with this one.

Worked the west and east thirds, then finished with the two long central downs and THAT'S A BIG IF.

A most enjoyable trip. :)

@TTrimble (5:18 PM yd)

👍 for 0 dbyd

I finally packed it in, much to my chagrin after seeing the 8er I missed. :(

yd 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

mmorgan 8:32 AM  

What a weird, weird puzzle. I think I liked it, but I’m not sure.

@Gill — ha, nice!

pabloinnh 8:37 AM  

Upon seeing this puzzle, my reaction was "hey, there's a word in the middle" (I hardly ever notice grid art). Also, "someone's going to count all those threes, so I won't have to (and of course someone did).

As others have said, more fun than I thought it would be, although filling in a ton of three-letter answers is a little like playing "Chopsticks" on the piano.

Yeah, ESO is right and ESTO is not. Words matter, even in other languages.

Didn't know SUNRISEMOVEMENT, and I get the IGLESIAS folks mixed up, but ENRIQUE was obvious so no real problem there.

Agree with @LMS about being shown how to do something new on my laptop. Watching my son the web architect do something even remotely complicated makes me cross-eyed.

@Joaquin-Great stuff. Wish I'd thought of it.

Very nice and surprising Wenesdecito, SY-H. Seems You Have a real future in this. Thanks for all the fun.

SouthsideJohnny 8:39 AM  

I enjoyed the east and west coast immensely. Didn’t at all enjoy the drive through the trivial highway (FREEWAY ?) down the center. RHO, IAN, ESO, OBI, EGG, MIR - I was able to slog my way through it, but that much PPP in such a geographically concentrated area is a real buzzkill. I guess we can overlook that as an unfortunate consequence of the unique grid design.

To me, the Dolphins are the fish, as in Squish the Fish. I wonder if anyone who posts here penciled (or perhaps INKed or typed) in THE PALEFACE just from the clue.

Mikey from El Prado 8:51 AM  


See how that works?

I liked the puzzle… unique, the big longs overshadowed the multitude of threes. This puzzle (esta crucigrama) just worked.


Anonymous 8:52 AM  

10 demerits for Tom Quigley for the wiggling GIF

RooMonster 9:11 AM  

Hey All !
Big Har on THATS A BIG IF, because DANG, THAT IS A BIG IF! Thought there'd be more F's around, but there's enough for me. Besides, the BIG F makes up for that. It takes Twelve blockers to make it!

So, cool for the BIG F. Also, neat to have DANG and RHO (almost ROO 😁). Puz made for me? (As if I someone important!)

No offense to those non-seers of THE BIG IF, but... How could you not see it? As soon as you look at the puz, Bam! BIG IF! Then you say... "THATS A BIG IF". 🤪

Yes, 31 threes, but look at the Long Downs! Plus 5 15's. (Would've been 6, but the F made the grid asymmetrical with its appendages.) Neat Scrabbliness in East-center, with a Q, Z, X.

Nice puz, Sean. Not IFFY for me. 😁

Five F's + a BIG one.

jberg 9:18 AM  

I shrewdly waited for crosses to decide ESO/a, but confidently filled in HABANERa PEPPER, subconsciously under the influence of "Carmen." Good thing the two didn't cross at that square.

My only other problems were remembering that it was a MOVEMENT, not a coalition, and DArn before DANG. I think I would have been happier if there was some motivation for the IF -- like, after SUNRISE MOVEMENT, having more climate-related long downs, and a revealer at 19 D of "Can we stop climate change in time?" But I was happy anyway.

What with ENRIQUE, ZIGGY, & AXL all piled up together, I thought for sure this would turn out to be a pangram, but there's no J. Rex would have liked that.

Andrea 9:20 AM  

I don’t think it’s correct to treat language with such disdain (ESO, ESTO, who cares?! It’s foreign!). There are many, like me, who love words and love wordplay in any language (Spanish is my mother tongue but I’ve been doing the NYTXW for about 20 years now) so it really bothers me when terms or spelling (slang excluded) are not correct. THIS in Spanish can never be ESO; the distinction is clear as the air right now over CDMX after torrential rains, and anyone who won’t care for the difference doesn’t respect the language.
That, to me, is sad and a sign of utter laziness on the editors part.

Wm. C. 9:26 AM  

@Anon8:03 --

Bring your own BOTTLE!

(Hey, there's not going to be an open bar at MY party!) ;-)

JD 9:27 AM  

@Joaquin, Har! Just remember, "It is not the critic who counts ... the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly and who can say That's A Big If and I can put it smack down the middle."

I think this constructor might be a little crazy, which means I love him. Grid art, which usually has all the visual elegance of a game of Pong, finally worked.

Favorite line from a recurring argument:

How could this happen!

I TOLD you this would happen.

What are the chances?!

And Yet There We Are.

The threes were fine with me. Boomers will know the OBE (Order of the British Empire) because the Queen bestowed the honoUr on each of the Beatles and John Lennon sent his back.

@LMS, Click are just steps. Don't be afraid to say, "Oh thanks but I need to write this one down. Now what was that first click again? Uh huh, then?"

Keep your head up. This probably isn't what you're looking but keep Goggling.

rjkennedy98 9:33 AM  

Surprised how positive everyone is about this puzzle. There were soooo many 3s. The longs were great, but there were just a handful of them. The gimmick (a big IF) was a single trick, and nothing else. Just a single answer that has no relevance except for the black squares. I did like AND HERE WE ARE - a very nice long.

Carola 9:47 AM  

A delightful, different Wednesday. Unlike most others here, I can't say I ACED this one; I found it on the hard side (maybe because I tried Acrosses only on my first pass), but same here on all of the praise for the fun of the IF and the treat of those never-ending Downs. I also loved the puzzle's breaking the chains of crossword symmetry and would be happy to see the NYT's puzzle powers open the gates to more of them.

@oceanjeremy 7:29 asked, "What does the BIG IF have to do with any of the other answers?" I spent some post-solve time on the same question and could only come up with a personal caution: "IF HABANERO PEPPERS, then emergency room" (severe chili pepper allergy). I'll admit that I was hoping for a few more IFfy connections.

DANG and DANDY reminded me of the pair Goofus and Gallant from Highlights for Children; I thought we might get an anecdote from @Gill I :)

pmdm 9:57 AM  

I looked at the grid a bit before solving. My pediction (it wold be a bad puzzle) was quite wrong. My prediction (experienced solvers will hate it) seems to be mostly wrong. And while I had a prediction as to what Sharp would say about it, he did not air his opinions today.

Perhaps if the grid were oversized (two more boxes across), there would have been a lot less 3 letter entries. Not that I consider 4 letter entries all that much better. The large number of down entries for me justified the smaller entries.

Chefwen: I don't like my beer warm, but I do prefer it at room temparture as opposed to ice cold. As with red wine, you can taste the complex flavors better. If I were to drink simpler beers (some would say American style beers), I think I would prefer them ice cold, since they have little taste to lose. In my opinion.

Sir Hillary 10:08 AM  

I opened the paper and immediately steeled myself to hate this puzzle, but it totally won me over, despite the preponderance of 3s and a few dodgy entries (ATAB, DEF, ASPIE).

-- With the US Open upon us, 1A brought to mind ASH Barty, who is right atop her fellow Aussie SIA Furler.
-- Who knew that four pieces of crosswordese (ANDY, ETHER, EWE, ARE) could be joined into a nifty 15?
-- I would love to see MSU clued as "NCAA's Bulldogs" as a harder clue, given how many Bulldogs there are.
-- I enjoy the only three ZIGGYs I can name: Stardust, Marley and the comic strip character in @LMS's avatar who looks exactly like a blobfish.

Nancy 10:08 AM  

Well, yes, that's exactly what I thought when I looked at the grid. You, too?

And then I wondered what the IF theme would be and how it would be carried out. Would it be song titles like "If I Were a Rich Man", "If I Had a Hammer", "If You Were The Only Girl in the World", and, of course, "If I Loved You"?

I put my constructor's hat on. How would you clue it? Would you clue it with something like "What a carpenter might sing when he's misplaced his tool kit"?

I decided to stop thinking entirely and instead go see what Sean did.

When I saw THAT'S A BIG IF, I laughed out loud. An obvious revealer hiding in plain sight. I got it just off the THA, btw, meaning it was a very apt phrase.

Was it worth the tradeoff of what seemed like 106 three-letter answers? Not really. I would have made it a 16x15 grid so that the center section would have been 4-letter answers, not 3-letter answers. To all you grid-makers and grid-analysts out there: Do you agree with me?

Dimand 10:26 AM  

Rose Granger is NOT Harry Potters niece. She is the daughter of his two best friends

Nancy 10:27 AM  

Very nice, @Joaquin!

Ω 10:30 AM  

@Andrea - To be clear, nobody here thinks it doesn’t matter. Even @Joe Dipinto’s comment is best understood as a backhanded swipe at the editors messing up that clue. I can usually finagle some sort of justification for a clue causing consternation and even I can do no better than “it’s a gaffe.”

Mary McCarty 10:34 AM  

The NYTimes app I use did have “That…” for ESO at 35A, rendering all those this/that comments mysterious, except for @Andrea at 9:20. I also have great respect, admiration, joy and wonder at words, and agree that it’s a sign of disrespect and laziness not to care if you’re using them correctly. So, does anyone know how/when puzzle edits are made?

Whatsername 10:37 AM  

EASY AS PIE this was not but I appreciate something besides the same old Wednesday. Kind of a themeless with a zing if you will. Thank you Sean! An outstanding debut! I had some quibbles but DONT YOU FRET because the ESSENCE of your BIG IF was solid. And I wish you the greatest success in your immunotherapy studies.

The two sides were polar opposites for me. The east just DANDY but that west, heavens to ETSY! Start off with an foreign beer and add a device or a chart or whatever it is that measures a food I never eat, then cross it with a pop singer I never heard of and a film from before even I was born and you’re DEF way BEYOND my GRASP. Oh yes, and LETS not forget to throw in a Harry Potter clue just to twist the knife. DANG!!

Does ESO really mean this or does it mean that? Spanish is not my second language and those always confuse me. Also I’ve always thought it was BYOB. I mean if it’s just BYO how are you supposed to know what to bring? A date? A dish? An ex? Some POT? Asking for a friend.

I took an AIR TRAN flight from Branson, MO to Raleigh NC in 2009. It cost $99 each way and was one of the most pleasant flying experiences of my life. Punctual, courteous service and actual room for leg MOVEMENT at an affordable price. So naturally, they’re out of business now.

ironst8 10:37 AM  

@rjkennedy98 Oh, thank goodness -- I thought I was the only one who could not stand this puzzle. Yes, I appreciated the long downs, but all the 3-letter words were such a drag! I don't often comment here, and when I do I am to be positive, but I'm just so surprised to find myself in the minority today when I cam looking for commiseration!

Newboy 10:44 AM  

DAmn @Gill that tale so early deserved an OBE, & that opening poem was DANG good too @Joaquin

THATS A BIG IF was my first entry, but man did MAN almost unman me

Thanks for stepping in so artfully as reviewer Tom; hope you enjoyed your visit to the manor house while his lordship is away.

And thanks to Sean for a fine debut grid with his xwordinfo link of more to come. We enjoy the fruits of your hobby, but don’t give up your day job! We need all the research breakthroughs we can get.

Nancy 10:48 AM  

I agree completely with @JD's excellent advice, Loren. Of course you're going to write things down if that's what you need to do to remember the stuff. Just turn to the administrator and say: "This is what we analog types do: we write things down."

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

If Ursula Andress came walking out of the surf in "Dr. No" with an outtie, what would you stare at first?

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

So naturally, they’re out of business now.

Nah. They just sold out to Southwest.

Well, this ( ) source lists 'The Fish' first for nicknames.

Whatsername 11:09 AM  

@Joaquin: Priceless!

GILL: You outdid yourself today. 🤣

@Z (8:07) “the key to understanding what’s happening with the programs is actually doing it.” Amen brother, amen. You could show me 10 times but I won’t retain it as well as I do if I just dive in and learn from my own mistakes.

Thanks to Tom Quigley (any relation to Matthew?) for guest reviewing today. Nicely done.

TJS 11:11 AM  

@TTrimble, thanks for the clip, glad I didn't miss anything.

Noticed that the review said nothing about enjoying the solve. Some nice longs, but I couldn't wait for this to be over.

johnk 11:14 AM  

A different take on the IF would have been WHAT IF, where the black squares would be ignored. That would have done away with all those 3s. That's what I thought it might be, as I started my down fill in the center and east and saw RHO IDS without reading the clues. So I expected that 20 across would be HEMOR with a clue like "Anal fixation." Then Carmichael got me off my butt.

Big J 11:16 AM  

My reaction upon seeing the grid was WTF! AND, if you spell it out, IT FITS!

albatross shell 11:25 AM  

I did not fill in THEPALEFACE with no crosses, but I knew he was a dentist out West with "injuns" in the mix. I needed the TH to jog my memory.

My memory must need some rehab because this one played very hard for me contrary to everyone else. Slowest solve this week and harder than a normal hump day. Things that were just beyond my knowledge or consciousness. For example Rose's name. I knew the band, a couple songs, what he looked like, how he dressed, and that the first letter was A and that it was a 3 letter name missing a vowel that I thought was a 4 letter name until I saw it in written form. Similarly I knew the space station was _IR. I was thinking R or I. Finally thinking of M let me close down the central highway or perhaps suicide alley. Do they exist any more? Do the youngsters know that term?

I did stumble on to an interesting potential alt-answer for Difficult to understand. I had ---iNx---------. The i was a wrong Greek letter. The x from Sex for health class topic. So I saw sphiNx. And was expecting sphinxian remark or sphinx's riddlers or sphinxlike something. What a great answer. Then it fell apart very quickly. Pshaw, as in so sad this time.

MAN THATS A BIG IF. Good eye. I missed that too.

I saw the BIG IF right away but my first reactiom was No symmetry. Followed by but only for the BIG IF.

While [solving I again thought of] My Guitar Gently Frets.

I did finish without any cheats. But a struggle all the way.

Nancy 11:29 AM  

@jberg -- I laughed out loud at your "Carmen"-influenced HABANERa PEPPERS. It made me wonder how you could sing about them in an aria. So with apologies to Bizet and to Oscar Hammerstein who wrote English-language lyrics for the movie "Carmen Jones", here goes:

You go for me and I'm taboo.
But if you eat me I will run through you!
And when I do, you cannot sue:
You ate me just because you wanted to!
I warn you now before you chew:
You are the master of the things you do.
So heed my words, so wise and true:
You cannot blame me when the bill comes due!
So when you're sitting in the loo,
And when you're cursing me, I say to you:
You went for me when I'm taboo --
That's love! That's love! That's love!

TJS 11:30 AM  

@A.Sarris, my question is how long you would return to the site if all you were getting was a dry recap of the puzzle ? And how many of our commenters would remain loyal if we did not have OFL to start the ball rolling? As much as I disagree with Rex, this week has definitely been missing that "Oh, this will be a good one" anticipation of Rex going off.

@Gill, one of your best today.

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

"Said I didn't have much use for 'em, never said I didn't know how to use 'em."
-- Matthew Quigley (the bad guy expires)

Crimson Devil 11:42 AM  

One fine Wednesday puzzle.

What the...? 11:50 AM  

@Dimand, he is married to Ginny, which makes her his niece.

Joseph Michael 11:53 AM  

Grid art is usually BEYOND MY GRASP— I just see little black and white squares where others see faces and animals — but today’s BIG IF stood out as clear an EGG at SUNRISE. My first reaction was “DANG. This is gonna be bad.” But the puzzle won me over with it’s long downs and sense of humor. Congratulations, Sean, on a memorable debut.

Also enjoyed Tom’s review and especially the BI GIF.

Great clues for GIFT RECEIPTS and INNIE.

Biggest challenge: trying to remember how to spell INGLESIAS.

A few observations:
- The answer for 4D could have been the clue for 33A.
- SIPON is a DOOK.
- Probably no one today would make a movie called THE PALE FACE.

albatross shell 11:57 AM  

The Potter clue is correct through Harry's wife, Ron's sister. Aunt to Rose.

Northwest Runner 12:04 PM  

This and that. It's 9 am PT right now and the clue has been fixed (on the web site). When I did the puzzle a couple hours ago as others have noted, it definitely said "this."

Doc John 12:04 PM  

Nice puzzle but it was basically a big themeless.
All I really came away from this with was:
“Tell me about your big but, Simone.”
-Pee Wee Herman
(I know, it’s a but and not an if and yet there we are.)

Frantic Sloth 12:18 PM  

@GILL 726am 🤣🤣🤣 You're in the rarest of form today!

@Z 891am Well, if even you can't "lawyer out" a defense of the ESO fiasco, what hope is there? I guess the @J-Dip resolution will rule for today. Unless, anyone wants to interpret the whole thing in the spaz-assed way I did....nah -that's a bridge too far. But I'll die on it because I'm, you know, me.
Oh, and yeah - if "rho rho rho" your boat floats... row with it.

@Anonymous 803am BYO - Bar. (See @GILL) 😉

@TTrimble 821am ✋ raw DEAL. Thanks for posting that link. Forgot how wonderful that series was - don't ask me how! That scene still kills me. No pun.

@Whatsername 1037am, et. al., I assume the BYO-type party has more to do with the "host" just providing the space and you bring your own "whatever you want". I've seen this in the wild, so that's my interpretation.

The way people learn should be respected if your intention is to teach them and not just make the lesson easy on yourself. IMHO, good teachers have many alternative methods in their repertoire. Personally, I can't write fast enough to take legible notes, so I prefer the hands-on method. I'm not beyond a "just let me do it!" outburst.

jb129 12:26 PM  

Ironst8 & rjkennedy98

No you're not in the minority - add me to the list ("souldn't stand this puzzle).

Yesterdays was easy - today's puzzle was annoying. Just my opinion.

anónima 12:26 PM  

copo de nieve

Masked and Anonymous 12:30 PM  

Primo debut! This theme was really dIFferent. Be-gridart-ed puzgrid unsymmetry is really dIFferent. M&A really likes really dIFferent. thUmbsUp.

And look at all them precious weejects! Like an ant colony of the lil varmints. A nine-stack column crawlin right down the middle. 3-stack infestations in the NE & SE. A bonus 3-stack over the Big F. day-um.

While we're on the wee sub-ject dept.:
staff weeject pick = ESO. Stupendous mis-direct, on its clue. xwordinfo.chen has already took the liberty of changin its clue, in their solution version of the puz.

All this muss/fuss can be semi-easily avoided in the future, IF we all ban together, and change the STD ESO puzclue to be non-espanol. [Gov. Greg Abbutt has already introduced such a law in Texas.]
M&A possible suggestion: Elect someone new as governor who has a clue.

Oh -- and also ... M&A alternate ESO clue suggestion: {Consistently central element of Aesop??}. And there we are. Still think Spanish is a neat lingo tho, btw.

Many ESO-lent debut longball answers, of which GIFTRECEIPTS was the M&A fave, as it has a little extra IF-iness to it. Also liked how three lil F's abutted the Big F, in various spots.

Thanx for bein so fresh, Mr. Yamada-Hunter dude. And congratz on yer fine debut. [Just a J short of pang-rammin us to bits, btw. Next time, maybe go with JALAPENOPEPPERS?]

Masked & Anonymo4Us

p.s. Luv yer school stories, @Muse darlin. Next time, after the whirlwind techie tutorial, say "Got it!", followed by recitin a completely messed up recap. har


mathgent 12:34 PM  

oceanjeremy (7:29). I'm with you. After solving, I went to Jeff Chen to see where the ifs were. There are none. The big if in the grid just refers to 19D. Well, lah-dee-dah!

Very weak theme, a shitload of threes, very little sparkle, and yet I didn't hate it. It had spunk.

My favorite HOAGY Carmichael song is Stardust and I see that David Bowie called himself Ziggy Stardust.

mathgent 12:39 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

Joaquin (12:05)
Anonymous (8:03):

Frantic Sloth 12:42 PM  

@mathgent 1234pm In honor of Ed Asner, R.I.P. - One of my all-time fave sitcom lines. 😉

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

BYO(B) simply means bring your own booze but let's make it a big thing!

bocamp 12:57 PM  

Hi Tom; thx for the excellent write-up. Loved the bi gif! :)


pg -1

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Hartley70 1:04 PM  

This was totally breezy and such fun. It had me at first glance when I saw the IF, and that obvious revealer gave me a BIG laugh. I’m a fan of colloquial long answers and IGLESIAS and PEPPERS were gimmes so I would rate this easy on the difficulty scale, but give the constructor serious brownie points for entertainment value. My favorite clue was for GIFTRECEIPTS. They just don’t get much better than that!

A 1:09 PM  

@Joaquin, great rIF on Kipling! “IF” hadn’t entered my mind, even though just yesterday I quoted part of it to a horn student. Which, btw, was the first time I’ve ever done so - spooky.

AND YET HERE WE ARE got me started laughing, but I’ll be snickering all day at @Z’s yacht’s name and @jberg’s Carmen Pepper!

Yes, the 3’s were a bit of a slog. I was looking for the BIG letters to figure in some of the crosses, but guess that was too BIG an ask. BUM DEAL, MAN. But congrats to @Roo for the BIG F and the 5 little ones!

AX LEFT - lumberjack drill sergeant’s command?
AX LOBE - Van Gogh obsession?

@Loren, do as @Z says. When my computer whiz brother tried to show our mom how to get started with hers, he did it like your administrator and she was lost. Later, luddite me scribbled a few key instructions, then sat her down and had her do it. In no time she was buying noni juice online.

This is fun IF only for the introduction by one of the performers. “YET” SUNRISE (MOVEMENT 1) Notice they’re not using any SCORE PAPER.

Hartley70 1:11 PM  

Sorry, Dimand 10:26am, his best friend Ron is also his brother-in-law.

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

I'm surprised so many people found this easy. I finished the right half quickly, but the left half had me stumped at various points, especially the NW corner. Didn't know HOAGY or EFT, without which I couldn't figure out ASAHI (when it comes to Japanese beers, I only know Sapporo off the top of my head, even though I think I've seen ASAHI in the puzzle before) or GIFT RECEIPTS. I even had _ _ _ TRECEIPTS, but the clever clue was apparently BEYOND MY GRASP.

bertoray 1:14 PM  

This puzzle evoked memories of one from a few years back that had a big LIE spanning the grid. Its theme had untruths for answers, as in the three letter answer for "Four legged feline." which would have been DOG.

Mhoonchild 1:14 PM  

@Loren Muse Smith Your comments about tech support reminded me of this ad from long ago

Anonymous 1:15 PM  

have you never been invited to a party? BYO = Bring your own,,, whatever you are drinking. C’mon.
Very surprised some of you left wing liberals do not have a PC prob w/ THEPALEFACE. I'm sure Rex would have harped about it.
The theme was weak. Just ONE clue in the theme really. Finished no errors so I guess I liked it. GIFTRECEIPTS was brilliant. Harry is married to Ginny, Ron’s sister as we all know. Washington Square Park is NOT contained by NYU, btw.

Hartley70 1:17 PM  

Sorry, Dimand 10:26am, his best friend Ron is also his brother-in-law.

Teedmn 1:28 PM  

Well I managed to make this puzzle a tad hard because of my early misstep of SIP at for 2D. This left Hae__ and ItN__ for 20A and 24A and had me thinking I needed to fit that BIG IF into the answers somehow. This had me tiptoeing through the acrosses and working mostly with downs which weren't all slap-in obvious.

For instance, with BE at the start of 7D, I thought BEwildering[ly?] Later with SP on the bottom, I just scratched my head.

Finally I started looking at across clues and all of them fed into perfectly ordinary answers. So I looked again at 20A and 24A. HOAGY was obvious and that gave me INNIE (interesting clue). Har, no problem.

Re: HOAGY Carmichael - My neighbors, when I was a kid, had an album that seemed to be slated towards kids and was sung by HOAGY Carmichael. But I have had no luck finding that album or any information about it. Since I was between 9 and 11 years old, I wasn't likely to have looked at when it came out or who wrote the songs. I remember the cover had someone swinging with a cloud-studded blue sky, and one of the songs is "Two Sleepy People" (which I've found does exist but not on an album such as I remember.) And another song with a lyric line I remember as "Swing high, swing low, over the ground and up we go..." which also gets no Google hits. So if anyone knows what I'm talking about, I'd appreciate hearing that I'm not mis-remembering a portion of my childhood.

Sean Yamada-Hunter, congratulations on the NYT debut and thanks for the fun puzzle.

@Joaquin and @Nancy, nice work!

JRN 1:31 PM  

That is the first clear error I recall in a Times crossword. Plenty of questionable stuff over time, but dead wrong? A first for me.

JC66 1:35 PM  

Hey @Roo

Knew you'd like it.

@Anon 1`:15

THE PALEFACE was made in 1948. Ancient history.

This map and other online support the NYU/Washington Square clue/answer.

Joe Dipinto 1:49 PM  

@Andrea – if it wasn't clear, @Z is correct: I was poking fun at the editors' (imagined) response to complaints about the ESO clue.

I don't think it's that huge a deal really – ESO and ESTO and their variations are in the puzzle constantly, so it's not surprising their meanings would get mixed up at least once. Still, maybe they need more proofreaders.

Anonymous 2:05 PM  

Mr. Yamada-Hunter,
Kudos! What a terrific puzzle. So many sparklers. No ands ifs or buts, you're going places. Thanks for a great Wednesday.

Surprised no one's mentioned Hoagy Carmichael's role in the Best Years of Our Lives since it was on TCM last night.

willzimjohn 2:12 PM  

And yet, here we are...

Stephen Minehart 2:19 PM  

Not knowing either my Japanese beers or my 1930's songwriters, I felt Naticked at the ASAHI/HOAGY cross. Otherwise, I'm a just a little on the negative side of neutral with this puzzle - maybe the fresh long answers make up for all those three letter words, maybe not. Not quite fun for me.

alohagirl 3:37 PM  

Harry Potter is Rose Granger-Weasley’s uncle bu his marriage to Ginny Weasley.

Joe Dipinto 3:38 PM  

@teedmn – this looks like a version of your Hoagy Carmichael album. "Two Sleepy People" is on it as well as "Swing High". The song audios don't work at this link but you can get them if you search each individual title.

@Anon 1:15 – as an alum I can attest that just about every building facing onto Washington Square Park is either a classroom facility, dormitory, student lounge, or administrative office under the aegis of NYU. So in a geographic sense the park is "contained" within the campus.

tea73 3:45 PM  

I normally hate grid art, but the long clues were so good, including the revealer that all is forgiven. Quite a bit of popular music in the puzzle - I don't listen to any of them, but the names were all familiar. Thought it was a great puzzle.

Regarding @Loren Muse Smith's issue. I think sometimes you just have to blurt out that something doesn't work with your learning style. I agree with @Z that actually having your hand on the mouse would be much better. but sometimes even that is not enough for me. I found that I learned nothing by just listening to a lecture, but the act of writing notes actually stored the info into my brain. I cannot do driving directions beyond three oral steps (at best), but if you give me a map I'm good. I'm mostly a visual learner.

Masked and Anonymous 3:54 PM  


@Nancy darlin: Well, yep, U could make the puzgrid 16-wide. Kinda hard to center the marquee THATSABIGIF answer then, tho. Maybe U could then have another themed answer of the same length next to it?
Also, I suspect fillin that resultin 9-long stack of 4's down the middle might get pretty challengin. Especially if ESTO had to be one of em.

Do like yer exquisite 106 three-letter answers proposal, tho. U really dream big.

@Tom Quigley: Primo blogsub writeup, dude.

M&A Constructioneerin Desk

Ω 4:03 PM  

Is there any clearer proof of error than having corrected it?

Whatsername 4:04 PM  

@Frantic (12:42) Loved the “spunk” clip. That was from the very first episode when Mary was interviewing for the job. I read in MTM’s autobiography that the scene didn’t start out that way at all. When they did the first run through it was a clunky disaster but then when they hit upon the rhythm of her being a step behind on answering the questions, the enduring hilarity ensued.

@Anonymous (12:53) “ BYO(B) simply means bring your own booze but let's make it a big thing!” Or we could just have some fun with it.

@Anonymous (2:05) And I watched that movie last night (for the umpteenth time) but still didn’t make the connection.

albatross shell 5:29 PM  

Is it some form of irony that folks who complain about all the 3's, also praise AND YET HERE WE ARE? Or is that AND YE, THERE WE ARE?

And how the little stuff adds up here. HOAGEY (of Stardust fame) BOWIE of ZIGGY Stardust fame) and each having a movie named Stardust. Thanks to all who noticed.

So please do not think you always know us so well. You obviously do not have access to our special private amendments. Section 6, rule 3: Give Hope an exemption. Or at least a chance.

Does that mean you had your Fill oF eFFs?

Smith 5:34 PM  

@LMS early this am

Some folks just don't understand the need for others to *write s%$# down* if we want to remember it. I'm actually very tech savvy, but I'm also a writer down. Try sticking to your guns, er, pencils, as you smile sagely and say, "Remember, we have to differentiate and accommodate all learning styles. This is mine."

Before I was a teacher I had a job where, in order to keep track of something, I had made a stack of index cards, had them on my desk, working through them, and some administrator boss type person came and *took them away*. Literally. Not sure what the point was supposed to have been.

Now semi retired, working part time, *not* as a teacher, I do whatever I want. Your day will come. Meanwhile, bless you for spending so much productive time with teenagers!


Akira Kurosawa 5:45 PM  

“Otoko wa damatte Sapporo Biiru” (“If you are a man, drink Sapporo Beer without a word”.)

Mifune was a spokesperson for Sapporo.

MetroGnome 6:06 PM  

Sorry to come on like a Potter geek, but 43 Across is flat-out wrong. Rose Granger-Weasley was NOT Harry Potter's niece. Her parents were his two best friends -- no blood relation at all.

albatross shell 6:19 PM  

00ps Hoagy.

Jazzmanchgo 6:24 PM  

Unless I missed something, no one mentioned Hoagy Carmichael's most famous composition -- here played by the inimitable Ben Webster.

Anonymous 7:05 PM  


one has to wonder how many folks get antsy when they notice, at 40, that they have to write stuff down??? is it Alzheimers??? for myself (not that anyone cares), I noted as a teenager that my neurons were more devoted to the logic engine than the storage engine. that's when I stopped worrying. Now, what was the question?

Frank 7:08 PM  

That’s a big WHY.

burtonkd 7:16 PM  

@chance2travel - INRE this or that: thanks for reminding me of the aria from Rigoletto "Questo e Quella", (probably soon to be cancelled).

sixtyni yogini 7:36 PM  

yall have said itall.

TTrimble 7:39 PM  

@TJS 11:11 AM
You're welcome? Hard to read that as other than a sneer, one based on very little information. I hope I'm wrong. Shaking my head if I'm right.

@Frantic Sloth 12:18 PM
Wasn't it, though? It'd be neat if they gave it another run, as they sometimes do for The Sopranos.

(Hand up as a fellow fan of Ed Asner [RIP], both for his work and for much of what he stood for.)

Teedmn 8:23 PM  

@Joe DiPinto, thanks so much! I was able to listen to “Swing High” for the first time in almost 50 years, mostly how I remembered it. Hoagy's discography on Wikipedia doesn’t even mention that album, go figure. Wonder how much else is missing?

Ω 8:57 PM  

@MetroGnome - Your correction has already been corrected.

Peyton Todd 9:35 PM  

Can anyone explain to me how EARTH could possibly be the answer to Anybody home? Claiming that an STD will kill us all? That we're all still here, but only for now? What am I not seeing?

Twangster 10:12 PM  

Missed opportunity to post the Kinks "Don't You Fret"!

NY Composer 10:17 PM  

Loved it. Haven’t said that in many weeks. And yet here we are.

Ω 10:46 PM  

@Peyton Todd - You and 7 billion or so other people have a home, it’s EARTH. EARTH is home to anybody and everybody. Yeah Yeah, “anybody’s” woulda been clearer but then it’s a puzzle, innit?

stephanie 11:05 PM  

there was a bunch of PPP i didn't know clustered together (SUNRISE MOVEMENT, OBE, MIR, THE PALE FACE, AIRTRAN) and i thought for awhile that might sink me, but i finished at about my regular time and without any help from google or phone-a-friend so that's pretty cool! i really wanted to finish this by myself because i knew the long fills would be get-able, and i did. hooray for me. satisfied.

GIFT RECEIPTS and EARTH both kind of annoyed me - true, a gift receipt doesn't have the price on it, and it is something you keep, but it is not a keepsake. so that was a bit of a stretch. and true, earth is home to anyone doing the crossword, but...idk, is there more? am i missing something? again, seems like a stretch. "EARTH TO..." was what i really wanted. alas.

hello again SIA, didn't think i'd be seeing you again so soon. after yesterday, "buttons" got stuck in my head so hard i had to have alexa play it a few times today.

ol' HOAGY and i have the same birthday. whaddya know.

stephanie 11:13 PM  

@Loren Muse Smith i have to say, i'd tell that administrator to back off. you know, nicely. or not. everyone learns in different ways. for me, writing things down helps me commit it to memory, and knowing i have it written down just in case i forget, many times allows me to not need the notes in the first place because i feel confident and secure. plus, this way i don't have to annoy people by asking the same questions over and over.

i feel for @Lisa/Smith too! of course no organization of folx has only perfect members, but the irony of people working in education acting that way really chaps my cheeks!

stephanie 11:35 PM  

@Frantic, @Whatsername & others re: BYO - i agree with the sloth! :) you can bring your own booze, bring your own beer, bring your own chair (moving in/out parties or impromptu backyard parties), bring your own meat (grill is on, bring something to throw on it - we used to do this a lot)...really lots of different BYOs i've seen over the years.

stephanie 12:02 AM  

@MetroGnome your uncle is still your uncle if he's married to your aunt (your father's sister). no blood relation necessary. in fact, better that there's not in that case. see what i'm sayin? ;)

Joe Dipinto 8:25 AM  

Is it today or is it still yesterday?

mmorgan 9:23 AM  

9:23 AM EDT on Thursday… anyone minding the store?

Hartley70 9:26 AM  

My guess is somebody lost power last night, so yesterday for a while longer.

Ω 9:43 AM  

OFL was tweeting from the airport on Minnesota this morning, so I'm guessing a guest blogger forgot. Purely a guess, though.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

can any kind soul PDF to me todays puzzle 9/2/21. NYTs did not deliver today. we had a massive IDA storm last night thanks!!! Mike

Nancy 9:54 AM  

I found the Thursday puzzle enjoyable. With any luck, eventually I may even get a chance to tell you why.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

I received the PDF from a very kind fellow-solver. THANK YOU Mike

Frantic Sloth 10:22 AM  

Yeah. Gotta go. I liked it too...reluctantly. But that was on me. Maybe comment from the dreaded cell phone later on.

Frantic Sloth 10:25 AM  

My guess is on Rex thinking he was returning today, so forgot to get a guest for today. It's an age thing, methinks. 😉

TJS 10:30 AM  

@Z, just go ahead and write the damn review. It'll be closest to Rex anyway and you won't have to say "What Rex meant was..."

TJS 10:31 AM  

BTW, Southwest sucked.

Joe Dipinto 11:05 AM  

While we're waiting for Thursday to start, here is the best thing bar none I've read about the sinking of the USS Jeopardy, from past winner Arthur Chu (you remember, the guy who horrified viewers by jumping around the board looking for Daily Doubles rather than politely taking each category in order).

jberg 11:34 AM  

If the designated guest lives in New York, they probably did lose power. We had only minor damage here in Boston, but they were devastated.

jb129 11:34 AM  

On a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday I wouldn't care. But toward the end of the week?

So who f-d up?

Arden 11:35 AM  

Where’s Rex? Liked the puzzle and got all the theme answers but DNF on people’s names and teams

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

did the NYT make any dead trees issues today? none at home or local newsstand. albeit a shithole county in CT.

egsforbreakfast 11:52 AM  
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Benjamin Sakcs 12:18 PM  

Fun puzzle today. Curious to hear Rex’s take.

A 12:38 PM  

Weird. Maybe guest blogger lost power due to weather. You'd think if they forgot they'd have been reminded by now. Also been wondering why Rex took off - didn't he say he just started in-person teaching? Not being a twitterer I'm out of the loop.

600 4:52 PM  

@Z--I'll bite. What is PPP?

I visit the page frequently. Don't know how it's gone over my head till now, since you say it comes up once a week. Don't really like this feeling of being an outsider.

600 4:59 PM  

Forgot to say--I do the puzzle online. The clue for ESO was correct. Of course it matters whether clues are correct, foreign language or not.

I enjoyed this puzzle. Didn't really get "STD" till I came here, so thank you, @Z, for writing it with the periods in your comment.

Ω 6:31 PM  

@600 - Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns. Examples today include SIA and AIRTRAN, both potentially obscure to different sorts. Or better, the kind of person who finds HOAGY Carmichael easy might be challenged by SIA, and vice versa. At 33% of answers you will see lots of “easiest ever”/“hardest ever” comments.

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