Beats me in textspeak / WED 9-22-21 / Member of the South Asian diaspora / Page NFL Hall of Famer turned justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court / Dweller east of the North Atlantic / Black hole for socks facetiously / Tiramisu topper / Ship built with help of Athena

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Constructor: Grant Boroughs

Relative difficulty: Very Easy

THEME: Crossword add-iCS —  -ICS is tacked to the end of familiar phrases to create wacky phrases, clued wackily ("?"-style!):

Theme answers:
  • DOT COMICS (17A: Much of Roy Lichtenstein's work?)
  • MATH CLASSICS (28A: Euclid's "Elements," Descartes's "La Géométrie," etc.?)
  • CARPENTER ANTICS (38A: Wacky shenanigans of a woodworker?)
  • FRYING PANICS (46A: Frights upon waking up from sunbathing naps?)
  • POP TOPICS (64A: Things that dad likes to discuss?)
Word of the Day: Roy Lichtenstein (17A) —

Roy Fox Lichtenstein (/ˈlɪktənˌstn/; October 27, 1923 – September 29, 1997) was an American pop artist. During the 1960s, along with Andy WarholJasper Johns, and James Rosenquist among others, he became a leading figure in the new art movement. His work defined the premise of pop art through parody. Inspired by the comic strip, Lichtenstein produced precise compositions that documented while they parodied, often in a tongue-in-cheek manner. His work was influenced by popular advertising and the comic book style. His artwork was considered to be "disruptive". He described pop art as "not 'American' painting but actually industrial painting". His paintings were exhibited at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City.

Whaam! and Drowning Girl are generally regarded as Lichtenstein's most famous works.]Drowning GirlWhaam!, and Look Mickey are regarded as his most influential works. His most expensive piece is Masterpiece, which was sold for $165 million in January 2017. (wikipedia)

• • •

Well that's two days in a row now that we've had a Very old-fashioned theme concept and very old-fashioned and fairly tired fill. You add -ICS to words to get new words. OK. How does that work out for you? Nothing is particularly hilarious or even funny about the results, and the core concept doesn't even have a real hook. There's no reason for -ICS, no pun on "I SEE" or "ICY" or ... I dunno what you do to get "-ICS" to be special, but whatever it is, this puzzle isn't doing it. The Lichtenstein answer DOTCOMICS has some liveliness and cleverness, but the rest just thud into place, and once you know they all end in -ICS, an already-easy puzzle becomes that much easier. Just an exercise in filling in boxes. The only themer I had any trouble with was MATH CLASSICS, because I was fixated on the Frenchness of the Descartes title and wanted it to be FRENCH CLASSICS, which obv wouldn't fit. Actually, now that I look at the themers in the bottom half of the grid, I'm not sure I looked at their clues at all. There was no need. The short fill was so easy that those longer answers eventually just came into view. This puzzle didn't even have any vibrant or fresh longer fill to at least add some character and interest to the solving experience. AMERICAN ... EUROPEAN ... is there some inside joke there? A continental identity joke? Maybe an immigration theme of some sort? Wait, is this a hidden "Perfect Strangers" theme!? You've got an AMERICAN named Larry APPLETON who now lives in Chicago and gets an unexpected visit from his EUROPEAN cousin, Balki, and then, as with this puzzle, wackiness ensues. Oh this is much better than the surface theme. Much better.

This puzzle was so easy that before I ever got a theme answer I got bored and set myself a challenge to see if I could go corner to corner, NW to SE, in an unbroken string, having to use crosses all the way. And voila!

Now as you can see, I had an error there ("All the SAME" instead of "All the RAGE" at 41D), but whatever, I still got there. Mission accomplished. 

This puzzle had a few OK moments. I enjoyed IDK (don't see that enough ... beats, say, IMHO, imho) and GAMEPLAN. But there's just too much gunk, ATEST and ASIT and ALLOF, and that's just the partials. You've also got an RRN (random Roman numeral) at MIII, and that's right next door to a plural scolding sound, TSKS ... it's rough all over. Some of this is clearly a product of grid design, where the (fixed) themers are forcing some very tough choices in the short crosses (both MIII and TSKS, for instance, run through *two* themers, so there really aren't a ton of great options there). I had no trouble with anything but ALAN Page, who ... yeah, let's just say my knowledge of Minnesota Supreme Court justices is limited. Limited to zero. Zero knowledge. ALAN Page rings a very, very faint bell (it turns out he's a really remarkable guy and kind of a big deal in Minnesota). I guess the "Minnesota Supreme Court" bit was to alert me that he was a Minnesota Viking. Yeah, that didn't help much. But it's a four-letter common name, it did no harm. What did do harm, though, was crossing AVI- with AVIATOR. You can't do that. Same root. AVIATOR already had AVI- in it. Look:
aviator (n.)

"aircraft pilot," 1887, from French aviateur, from Latin avis "bird" (from PIE root *awi- "bird") + -ateur. Also used c. 1891 in a sense of "aircraft, flying-machine." Feminine form aviatrix is from 1927; earlier aviatrice (1910), aviatress (1911). (
So now you're just crossing the prefix with itself. Awful. This puzzle should really get an editor. OK, bye now.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. Happy birthday to my dear daughter, who can now drink (legally). Or go to casinos, I guess, though that seems unlikely.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


H. Gunn 6:16 AM  

Even for a Monday, it would be very easy

Frantic Sloth 6:19 AM  

It seems the Mondee leapfrogged the Tuesdee and landed on the Wednesdee this week, because I flew through this one.

Eegads! Forgot to lead with an "Infantile Affectation Alert"! Hope no anonyholes, were harmed during the posting of this comment.
If so, SARI - not SARI


Tom Taylor 6:22 AM  

Question: isn’t NAPPED crossing a clue that has “nap” in it also a no-no? Surprised Rex didn’t remark on that one.

Conrad 6:26 AM  

Q: If you're an AMERICAN when you go into the bathroom and an AMERICAN when you come out, what are you while you're in the bathroom?


JD 6:39 AM  

This was the Mondayest puzzle that ever ran on a Wednesday. Working around a clever reveal might've Wednesdayed it up.

Poky, Inkpad, Yore & Dean almost cost me a DNF after what might have been a truly speedy solve leading up to them.

Poky is a great word, which I would've thought was Pokey if I'd ever written it down. My brain got stuck on a Chair's Superior being a Table. And Yore needed "with of" for me. Ink Pad was just cleverly clued and fun to get.

It took me as long to fill in that tiny block as it did the rest of the puzzle.

This was a throw back for sure (Ella, it's been a while). I See the younger me working it before waking up the kids, herding them to school, and driving off to conquer the universe. I See, I sigh.

bocamp 6:49 AM  

Thx Grant, for this smooth Wednes. puz! :)


A silky SARI this one was, which is right where I started. Worked the puz top to bottom, ending appropriately at TOE.

Was on Grant's wavelength all the fun-filled way.

Loved the MICS, SICS, NICS & PICS.

Wasn't the least bit POKY on this. Liked it a lot! :)

yd pg -4

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 6:55 AM  

I did the same diagonal thing.

Lewis 6:57 AM  

Another day, another debut! Congratulations, Grant, and kudos on your perseverance after a dozen NYT rejections.

I liked SIDE placed on the side. I liked the catchy ARI / AVI / ASTI / DESI / SARI. I liked your debut NYT answer of IDK, and I’m surprised it took so long to show up; I’m guessing we’ll be seeing more of it in the future. And I loved [Deal with issues at work?] for EDIT. There are also a three-word row and a three-word column where all the answers begin with A, which I think is highly unusual.

My grandson, about to turn 1, is named ARI, and his nanny-share buddy is named AVI, so my heart broke into smiles and a wow. Thank you for this puzzle, Grant!

Loren Muse Smith 6:58 AM  

After thinking about it a minute, I quite like this theme: it’s pretty tight imo. Grant found expressions ending in short words whose pronunciation doesn’t change when you add the ICS. I couldn’t really think of any other viable possibilities. (Macho manics is kind of a downer. Bucket of rustics, nah. Yule logics has a pronunciation change, as would, say, O’Malley’s Irish pub. . . never mind.) So my avatar doesn’t really work, either.

FRYING PANICS was my favorite. But I get a more cookingsome vibe there, having many a time added the chicken or onion when the oil was too hot. That splatter makes me jump back while maneuvering to get the skillet off the burner pretty fast, cussing the whole time.

“Letter” before INK PAD – bet we’re legion this morning. And “same” before RAGE.

I love seeing PFFT. Love that word.

@Tom Taylor – good NAP catch.

Cool to have the symmetrical EUROPEAN and AMERICAN - I didn’t sense any ulterior motive, just happy serendipity.

BarbieBarbie 7:05 AM  

43A had part of the answer in its clue. Edit Fail.

Zwhatever 7:07 AM  

@Tom Taylor - Since ART was in the puzzle they used “work” in the Lichtenstein clue and I noticed. And Then… NAPPED crossing the themer clued with a nap. I assume Rex just solved so fast he didn’t notice. Major suboptimality IMHO.

TSK and PFFT in the same puzzle is a spittle too far. As are ASIT and ASTI in the same puzzle.

I feel like we had gone so long without a RRN, or even a Pope +RRN, that MIII almost didn’t rankle. Almost.

SARI to DESI, …, Hmmmm. I guess we are fully over Mr. Lucille Ball clues.

@Frantic Sloth - 🤣😂🤣 - I’m reminded of something from this weekend. I was running a tournament. A guy I know fairly well committed a pretty clear foul. The person he fouled called it and the guy I know “contested” it. I saw my friend later and mentioned that it really is okay to not contest a foul. This led to a lengthy discussion on why he thought he didn’t foul the guy, and even an email follow-up where he cited the rule book. Just absolutely zero self-awareness that he was being a dick when he contested that foul call. What my friend really needed was a Penile Affectation Alert.

pabloinnh 7:15 AM  

I wish I'd thought of the "go diagonal" ploy to liven this one up. I liked the themers, but the rest of it was just too easy for anyone who has solved, what, five or six NYTXW's. I'm with @JD in finding POKY to be my favorite answer. Also I'm hoping that ESPANA without the tilde does not engender another ANO discussion. We've beaten that poor pinata to death.

At least M&A has an entire herd of moo-cows to choose from, so there's that.

Congrats on your debut, GB. I suggest you Go Beyond novice in your next one. Fun enough, wrong day of the week, but as Will Hunting discovered, it's not your fault.

Anonyhole 7:20 AM  

I respect @Frantic's mature response to her tormentors.

JJK 7:26 AM  

Monday on a Wednesday! But I liked the themers, especially POPTOPICS. Reminds me of my dear old dad, who had his set of favorite topics and would go on about them at great length and to everyone else’s groaning boredom. Rather refreshing to see the actual, proper term CARTOON instead of the slangy, silly word “toon”.

kitshef 7:27 AM  

Phenomenal theme. Often someone will have a nice theme idea but boot the execution. This is how you do it. The fill was sacrificed to some extent, but theme trumps fill.

EUROPEAN/AMERICAN pairing is excellent, too.

Yes, this should have been swapped with yesterday’s but that’s not the constructor’s issue.

Challenge for the day: come up with a better clue for MIII.

Son Volt 7:29 AM  

Looking for something with a little more bite than this midweek. I’ll double down with Rex on the AVI cross and the North Atlantic mess - and I’ll add MIII. Nice to see the ROMEO quote and liked MATH CLASSICS.

Rough week so far.

amyyanni 7:35 AM  

'Wacky' usually implies some degree of affection, e.g., that Wacky Samantha Bee, guest what she did now? Except when Rex uses the word to describe a theme, it's basically trashed. 🤔
Liked this more than Rex did. Easy Hump Day is welcome this week, this first day of fall. Happy Birthday, Rex's DD.
Met Judge Page at a legal conference in MA when I was getting ready to move to Bemidji. "They drive on the lakes there in the winter!" he advised. Very lovely man. Also writes kids' books, I believe.

TheMadDruid 7:47 AM  


GILL I. 7:51 AM  

POKY and PFFT walk into a bar. One is EUROPEAN and the other is AMERICAN. TSKS, the bartender, doesn't care cuz he's from ESPANA and everybody loves each other.
Nice little misplaced puzzle. I like old-fashioned.... i'm old fashioned even though my shoes aren't....
I have FRYING PANICS all the time. I worry that my mise en place will burn and Anne Burrell will yell at me while I'm contemplating my Worst Cooks in America debut.
Speaking of debut....nice job, Grant.

Trey 7:52 AM  

AMERICAN and EUROPEAN are on the wrong sides of the grid - since the clues are geographic, it seems as if the answers should be geographically correct also.

Overall, liked the puzzle. I agree with @Rex that DOTCOMICS was the best of the theme answers, but I also thought the others were reasonable.

mmorgan 8:15 AM  

Nice puzzle, sure it’s easy, but it was a pleasant way to spend however much time I spent on it. I think that when Rex’s review is only mildly negative (as it is here) he didn’t really hate it that much.

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

So to recap. A referee with a self-avowed streak of arrogance calls a foul on a player he calls a friend. The putative friend disagrees, and as he is entitled by the rules, contests the call. For his trouble, the friend not only speaks to him condescendingly at the event, but several
days later smears the player and belittles him all edging his friends behavior emanates from less than satisfactory genitalia.
Wow. Z’s right about one thing. There’s a dick in this story fo4 sure.

Ira Sy 8:23 AM  

@kitshef - Challenge accepted "Tom Cruise film sequel"
Still has roman numerals, but as part of a movie title.
Enjoyed this puzzle. Completed with mostly across clues, very few downs.

David Cantor 8:25 AM  

Yay ALAN PAGE, one of only two defensive players in NFL history named MVP (also Lawrence Taylor, a Hall of Famer and jurist who received the presidential medal of honor.

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

Did anyone else start with OLIVE at 52-down?

Maxx 8:28 AM  

I actually just did a puzzle in the past WEEK with IC added somewhere in the answers! Exactly the same gimmick. Plagiarism?

Zwhatever 8:37 AM  

@Maxx - Given the timelines between acceptance and publication it’s unlikely.

@anon - Well, that’s certainly one way to interpret what I wrote. Not one shared by the other team or, in fact, with my friend’s own team (whose captain self reported the play when doing spirit scores).But you do you.

TTrimble 8:44 AM  

Yes, indeed: fastest easiest Wednesday in many a moon. That said, the theme was zany and fun and didn't need a sixth "... or a hint for 17A, 28A, 38A, 46A, 64A".

One nice thing is that in all but perhaps MATH CLASSICS, the addition of -ICS utterly alters the meaning. No connection between COM and COMICS, for example, and this is why the wackiness succeeds. Regarding PANICS: ultimately this traces back to the Greek god PAN. There are lots of complicated details about PAN, including a connection in people's minds between the god and pan- meaning "all" (as in "pandemic"), and the fact that his death is (apparently!) proclaimed in a famous story told by Plutarch (The Great God Pan Is Dead), and there is also the fact that the depiction of the devil as a horned beast with hooves may based on the pagan Pan. The Wikipedia article has these and many other fascinating details.

The symmetry between AMERICAN and EUROPEAN wasn't a bad touch.

IDK about you, but IMHO and contra Rex, I see IDK more than enough, LOL.

Do they eat a lot of APPLE pie with cheddar cheese in APPLETON, Wisconsin? Some totally random facts:

-- Harry Houdini (born Erik Weisz) was born in Hungary but grew up in Appleton, WI. Changed the spelling of his name to Erich Weiss which probably would have fit in better with the local demographic.

-- Willem Dafoe is from Appleton. Who knew?

-- The 70's TV series Apple's Way was set in Appleton, but that's Appleton, Iowa.

Gotta get a start on my day. See ya!

dbyd -1
yd 0
td 0 (another easy puzzle to go with the xw)

Frantic Sloth 8:46 AM  

Agree with others that DOTCOMICS was the best of the themers.
And @Loren 658am sagely (😉) points out the pronunciation aspect of the themers in her own inimitable way.

@Z 707am 🤣🤣🤣 Was he from Ypsilanti?

So, @anonymous 820am What'd ya think of the puzzle?

@Mods This day is already shaping up to be a turgid rerun of yesterday. May I respectfully suggest that you keep a close eye out? I'll do my part and remove myself from the equation.

Until tomorrow, peeps.

Unknown 8:51 AM  

I'm just not a fan of ELLA or the roman numeral answers . . .
And I didn't really get the AMERICAN/EUROPEAN thing, if it was a thing.
But I did like the theme, although I think we cal all agree this was easy peasy for a Wednesday.

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

I hope there aren't any "punch in the face" worthy posts today. HAR!

Nancy 9:02 AM  

It's not Grant's fault that this puzzle was run on a Wednesday where it certainly doesn't belong. Maybe if it had run on a Monday, I would have been pleased enough by the wordplay -- always welcome in my house -- that I wouldn't have cared that the puzzle played very easy or that the theme answers didn't make me laugh.

Constructors should themselves laugh as they're conjuring up their themers. If they do, they're probably creating something that will amuse others. If not -- maybe back to the drawing board?

But, as a debut, this puzzle shows a lot of promise. The wordplay is original and the grid is almost completely free of proper names and crosswordese. Had there been some challenge and some longer, crunchier answers in the rest of the grid, I might have been a happy camper.

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

Like the AVI/AVIATOR cross. Don’t care if it breaks some silly crossword convention. Timely Ryder Cup clue. Starts this Friday. Go USA. Know MACS are raincoats to Brits from two Beatles songs. Very strange.

bocamp 9:08 AM  

🙏 for civility and temperance.

@TTrimble 👍 for 0

td 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

TTrimble 9:18 AM  

@Frantic Sloth
"Turgid", har! All we need is for someone to (mock) threaten a punch in the penis, and we'd be all set.

Unknown 9:21 AM  

I’d like to think that their was a bit of a Ryder Cup intent to today’s puzzle. For non golfers, the Ryder Cub features 12 AMERICAN golfers vs. 12 EUROPEAN golfers. It’s being held this week in Sheboygan, Wisconsin which is just an hour"s drive from APPLETON. Also, 65d being PGA with the explicit Ryder Cup clueing.

RooMonster 9:37 AM  

Hey All !
No an ICSy puz for me, found it rather lively. Got a chuckle out of POPTOPICS, at first only thinking of hotTOPICS, even if hotTOP isn't a thing. Got that mall store stuck in the ole brain. Ever go into a Hot Topic store? Weird stuff, maybe an EMO shops there...

@Trey 7:52
Just turn the puz upside down. 😁

@Ira Sy 8:23
Imagine if Mission Impossible II were the answer, holy moly, Rex would've had a stroke!

Nice debut, only a dozen rejections? Child's play. 😂 Har.

Three F's

andree r 9:43 AM  

One of many where the theme was irrelevant because the crosses were so obvious. This seems to happen very frequently in the NYTimes.

old man 9:45 AM  

Ugh. I don't think demeaning one of the great Pop Artists of the 20th century is clever or lively at all. Looking on Google, I see it's all over. I guess that's not surprising since there's no Art education in schools, and Art is so little understood the SJW kids even can't tell a figure from an allegory in classical statuary. To them it's what it looks like, not what it means. It's sad, not clever.

When did we learn l x h = A? fourth grade? Fifth? Who knew we were studying calculus?

Is "I'm on" the new "oreo?"

tea73 9:47 AM  

I'm a fan of add a letter or add a syllable. There seem to be endless possibilities. These were fun.

Agree puzzle was easy. Did it in less than Monday's time and only a little over half Tuesday's time.

Karl Grouch 9:53 AM  

Rude impro?
[Without tactics*]

* "Although some believe the word tact is short for tactics in phrases like "change tact" or "try a different tact," the correct word in such contexts is tack.
Tack in "change tack" and "try a different tack" means "a course or method of action especially when sharply divergent from that previously followed.”

Tack developed this meaning from its nautical applications. In sailing, tack can refer to the direction that a ship or boat is sailing in as it moves at an angle to the direction of the wind; or to a change from one direction to another direction; or to the distance traveled while sailing in a particular direction.

Tack developed the "course or method of action" meaning near the end of the 17th century; within 100 or so years, the phrase "change tack" was being used with the figurative meaning it has today.
While there is also a long history of people using tact where tack belongs, the use is widely shunned by usage guides, which means you might want to avoid it."


OffTheGrid 10:05 AM  

I can't say it bothers me but all five themers were clued as POC's. Singular clues would have worked just as well (theme-wise). Then the trick is adding IC instead of ICS.

Whatsername 10:19 AM  

Pretty good although super easy Wednesday. And - GASP! - another debut. Yes it’s been done before but I thought this was done pretty well. Whether a movie or a book or a Crossword, if it can be described as “wacky,” it OFTEN makes me a little TESTy but this was not bad at all.

I have suffered an invasion of CARPENTER ants in a couple of my window frames and I’m here to tell you their ANTICS are not amusing.

Supposedly there’s some crossword rule involved (TSK TSK) but AS IT happens, I kind of liked it AVI crossing the CLASSIC AMERICAN AVIATOR. Then there’s TARA all cozied up with MAC and ALAN in MATH CLASS. GASP! That little POP TART.

@Frantic (6:19) Have I ever told you how much I love your Infantile Affectations? You’re a treasure. 🙃

Nancy 10:25 AM  

Re yesterday's blog: The weather was great yesterday, so I left the house at 11, didn't return until 6:30 and never saw anything written after 10:30 a.m. until just now.

OMG -- look what I missed!!!

One commenter threatens to slug the NYT puzzle constructor in the face for being an opera singer. Seems that said commenter hates opera. That's not how someone with a beautiful voice should use that voice, opines the commenter. At which point a white knight and self-styled savior of opera singers steps in. Seems he saved Beverly Sills from being run down by a cab in Philadelphia. He threatens to slug and seriously injure the first commenter should he follow through on his threat to punch out the opera singer. Wow! Is this colorful commentary or what?

Moral of the story? Miss half a day of Rexblog comments at your own peril.

Bruce R 10:26 AM  

I guess I'm the only one that cringed at PASTAS.

Mikey from El Prado 10:27 AM  

A Wednesday PB… faster than my Monday this week, and less than half of yesterday (couldn’t get any traction).

I disagree with Rex’s criticism of AMERICAN/EUROPEAN. That was nice symmetry.

Carola 10:32 AM  

Cute and clever. I missed a reveal, but then thought that perhaps ANTICS was serving double duty, as the shenanigans clued and as indicating the "just having some fun with words here" theme. With the pairs SARI-DESI and AMERICAN-EUROPEAN, I was hoping for a Continental match for APPLETON - obviously not part of the constructor's GAME PLAN.

Shirley F 10:38 AM  

Seems to be quite a lot of grouchiness in the comments today! So here's an amusing vignette. This relates to yesterday's puzzle, and the GOJI berry.

We rented DVDs about 8 years ago of a show that had run only for two seasons called "Men of a Certain Age." It's a comedy-drama about three good friends in their 40s going through various challenges of middle age, and is brilliant. Ray Romano created and starred as Joe, who's going through a divorce and trying to reconcile his life with his dashed dream of being a golf pro. He picks up his friend Owen (played by Andre Braugher) to drive to the hills for their walk. Owen lives in the shadows of his former NBA-playing father for whom he works at a car dealership, a job he hates, but he's married with three kids. He gets in the car grumbling because (if i'm remembering right) his wife has him on yet another diet. He says he's starving and sees that Joe is munching on nuts. Joe genially invites him to have some. As Owen takes a mouthful Joe says they aren't nuts but goji berries and they're very healthy. He doesn't even have time to finish the sentence before Owen is gagging and spitting and swearing. In the same genial tone Joe goes on, "Yeah, they taste terrible."

Trey 10:42 AM  

@Unknown (9:21) 0 excellent point about the RYDER Cup and the AMERICANs and EUROPEANs - I had noticed the aptness of the RYDER answer when solving but completely missed this connection

mathgent 10:45 AM  

One of my favorite parts of calculus is seeing that the area under a curve can be found by integrating the function represented by the curve. I'd give an example but I'd have to draw a graph. You can find some nice examples on the internet.

Hard to get excited about the puzzle.

Trey 10:46 AM  

@oldman (9:45) - calculus would be used for finding the area under a curve

Anonymous 10:53 AM  


Everyone who was anywhere near Penn's School of medicine in the late 1980's early `90's knows Willem Dafoe was from Appleton. Why? because his brother Donald, who looks ( or did) just like him, was a surgical resident there. And a good one. Did transplant work.

I'm no savior of opera singers. I just helped Sills out that one time. ( in fact one block from HUP--where Donald Dafoe would be in a couple of years.)
I would however act if I saw someone punch someone for loving opera.

TJS 11:03 AM  

Wow, that Ryder Cup mini-theme is a good catch, Unknown 9:21.

@David Cantor, please remember to close your parentheses. I would hate to think that someone could go through life thinking that Lawrence Taylor was a member of the judiciary.

Well, @Nancy, now I have to go back and see what all the fuss was about. Between the @Frantic and a Day at the the Opera, sounds like I missed a classic comment session.

Eldreth 11:10 AM  

what do dbyd, yd, and td stand for?

Joe Dipinto 11:22 AM  

What is this puzzle, a Henry James novel?

American Tara Appleton falls in with European society on a trip abroad to España. Over cocoa, the tart Lady Ella Incash introduces her to Alan Carpenter, a self-styled "Romeo" with a gameplan to use all of Tara's money to start a frying pan-and-pasta business. Wackiness ensues.

Joseph Michael 11:26 AM  

I C you, puzzle, and like what I C: a fun theme for a fine Mwondsday.

Especially liked FRYING PANICS among the themers and the AMERICAN / EUROPEAN balancing act among the fill. ALSO liked POKY and the clue for DRYER. Least favorites: IMON (again?!?) and MIII (wha?)

I wonder what goes on in the GASP AREA at the top of the grid.

Crimson Devil 11:31 AM  

Love onomontopias (sp?) and PFFT is right up there.
PASTAS sorta cheap, IMHO. MIII too.
Wasn’t it NAPpy that got Imus busted?
Good seein Purple People Eater turned jurist, and Yogi-endorsed YOO-Hoo.

Barbara S. 11:31 AM  

I liked this and thought both CARPENTER ANTICS and FRYING PANICS were funny. Two observations about Roy Lichtenstein: 1) although in reproduction his works could be mistaken for single panels from comics, when you stand in front of them, you’re astonished by the scale: 6 feet by 6 feet is not unusual. 2) His dots have a name: BEN DAY.

Like @Lewis, I noticed the large number of answers beginning with A: 19 in all. And like @Anonymous (8:28), I dearly wanted “oLive” for “the other reindeer.” I thought the words that crossed AMERICAN were interesting: AWARD (Grammys, Emmys, ESPYs!), MOTOR (auto industry), ENEMY (history of military involvement), STAR (movie industry), AVIATION (airline industry), CLASSICS (Melville, Alcott, Baldwin), then I’m not sure what to make of AIM AT (the politics of division?) or ANTICS (examples from both politics and entertainment spring to mind). I regret that I couldn’t come up with a parallel analysis for EUROPEAN. I liked the emotion in the puzzle. Let’s start with REACT, then you have GASP, RAGE, PFFT, TART, STERN and TSKS.

@kitshef (7:27) RE: MIII

1) Julie Andrews warbling “the name I call myself”
2) Roman schoolboy’s possible miswriting of 8
3) Self-diagnosis of heart attack* while falling off a cliff

* Myocardial Infarction

jae 11:41 AM  

Easy. A tad meh.

Long time reader. Agonizingly 11:46 AM  

There's a Kumon Education center one floor below my office, and from people I know who've sent their children there, they do a wonderful job helping those with reading comprehension issues, taking them from well under grade level to above grade level. I've become friends with her, and can probably arrange for private (you really don't want to be an adult in a class of 3rd graders when you can't read at the 3rd grade level) lessons at a reduced rate.

This would be appropriate to, well Anon 8:20 for instance. Z writes "I was running a tournament". From that Anon 8:20 imputes that Z was refereeing said tournament.

@Anon 8:20: It's possible, but not what Z said, so you really can't make an argument based on that assumption.

Z writes "the person he fouled called it", Anon 8:20 writes "[he] ...calls a foul on a player he calls a friend"

@Anon 8:20 - You now have Z calling the foul, which was called by the fouled player, not Z. Again, for all you or I know, Z was sitting on the sidelines, sipping a IPA watching the old folk make fools of themselves.

Anon 8:20 ". A referee with a ... calls a foul on a player he calls a friend. The putative friend disagrees, and as he is entitled by the rules, contests the call. For his trouble, the friend not only speaks to him condescendingly at the event, .."

@Anon 8:20 - When you're writing, clear antecedents are recommended and basis for assertions are recommended. Who's the friend who speaks condescendingly? The friend of the referee (who's not a referee, but we're talking sentence structure here, not the previously mentioned inability to read and understand accurately)? The one who contests the foul, the same friend who speaks condescendingly? Who the hell is the friend? How do you know he spoke condescendingly at the event? What the hell are you saying?

@Nancy - @Gio said they wished they were an international opera star, but absolutely could not sing. Pete made a joke to Gio, not the constructor that it was good he wasn't an international opera star, lest he feel obligated to punch him. Gio's not being an international opera star, being incapable of being an opera star, and Pete's awareness of that, makes Pete's threat moot. Everyone under the sun understood that, save for our precious @Anon 8:20, who pretty clearly is a violation of Hanlon's rule, as no one can so consistently misrepresent what others have written due to ignorance rather than malice. Even our White Knight who saved Beverly Sills understood that, but just wanted to tell his "I saved Beverly Sills" story. No one threatened anyone. No one is going around punching opera singers. Further, I bet you would have loved Beverly Sills in musical theater on Broadway with a more natural singing style that screeching in Italian at the Met.

egsforbreakfast 11:50 AM  

I can see several possibilities for getting rid of MIII by substituting “Former NYT food critic Sheridan” and going from there.

Does anyone else remember the villainous Crabby APPLETON from the Tom Terrific CARTOON show? His theme ditty started “My name is Crabby Appleton, I’m rotten to the core”.

Good debut puzzle, Grant Boroughs.

Eniale 11:52 AM  

I wonder if it shows some deep sense of inferiority that I'm grateful for an easy Wednesday, instead of kvetching about it? I'm always happy to finish a puzzle in half my usual time, even given a couple of write-overs like AWARD instead of prize.

And the reason I'm posting so relatively early for a West-Coaster is that during a not-sleeping-much night I started the SB, usually a no-no.

pg -7 so far. And it did get me sleepy again. Ongoing congrats to @ttrimble and @bocamp for their customary prowess.

JC66 12:00 PM  

@long time reader

Well said.

A 12:01 PM  

Uh-oh, another untilded N. Here’s a proper ESPAÑA, with a Cañi to boot.

True, this wasn’t perfect, but at least it felt like it was done by a human. Someone yesterday, maybe @Gio?, pointed out that that fill had been done by a computer. Today we were treated to some interesting features:

-unique AVI/AVI, ART/ART, ALA/ALA crossings. Guess that first one breaks the rule, but still nice to see AVIATOR.

-the symmetry of AMERICAN and EUROPEAN.

-the crosses WON/AWARD, RAGE/RAP and the awesome PFFT/SNAFU.

When I saw the ends of the two middle themers I thought “that’s going to be tricky to fill” with the constraints of -I-I, -C-C (the toughie), and -S-S. Sure enough, that turned out to be the weak spot, but I didn’t feel compelled to hold my nose.

CARPENTER ANTICS are abserved chez A, and if I could ever fall asleep at the beach I’m sure I’d have plenty of FRYING PANICs. If I want a tan I have to get it in ten minute increments. Fortunately I’ve always hated sunbathing - I’ll take the surf over the beach blanket anyday.

If we need another way to clue ALAN, there’s always Hovhaness. The sound of the trumpet in this is haunting.

Nancy 12:07 PM  

@Longtime Reader -- FWIW, I mostly hate opera (because of all the recitative, natch) and, like you, would much rather hear singers sing musical theater material, the American Songbook, folk music, or just about anything else. But I wouldn't slug anyone over it.

I knew all those posts yesterday were in fun and I thought I responded to them in fun as well. Surely you didn't take my comment seriously, @Longtime Reader.

ArleneWKW 12:27 PM  

This is the first time I’ve completed the puzzle without checking answers before completing it (not counting a Monday puzzle several months ago.). I am thrilled and liked this puzzle very much!! 🐶🐶🐶

mathgent 12:30 PM  

My favorite post this morning.

Barbara S. (11:31)

Rob 12:32 PM  

This was a fairly easy solve. As a Notre Dame Alum I liked seeing Alan Page as a clue, side note: Twitter recently rejected his request for a Verified account.

kitshef 12:36 PM  

@Ira Sy - that's really good.

@Barbara S - my first thought was Julie Andrews singing as someone slips an ice cube down her back.

Then I tried to do something like "Biloxi's state with no letter addenda", but unfortunately that yielded MIIII (Mississippi without the Ps or Ss). If anyone ever wants to put MIIII in a puzzle, feel free to use that clue.

Anonymous 12:36 PM  


isn't there some beef betwixt two (or more) atheletes over the moniker, Tom Terrific? and, yes, I recall it. I'm old as dirt. olde enough to have read both Tom Swift and Tom Swift, Jr. books. found the former in my grandpa's attic in Petersham, latterly of my father and uncle. there were a bunch of other 'boys books' from the 30s and 40s, but I can't remember the titles/heroes. then, of course, Grosset invented Jr. in my early teens. some how or other they managed to find Victor Appleton, II to write the Jr. books in the style of Appleton and the original Tom. it's amazing what corporate America can accomplish.

Doug 12:58 PM  

Beatles Forever!

Teedmn 1:36 PM  

If my error had had its way, Rex would have had much more to complain about than a mere TSKS plural. The 39D clue reads "Sound..." but I think I was reading 37D's "Sounds..." while filling it in, so I took it as a plural and put in PFFs. Now that would be egregiously pluraled. CARTOON came along and said "PFFT, you idiot".

Totally easy today, as most agree, not because of the theme but the fill. APPLETON (neighboring state, hi @Carola and @chefwen) and ALAN Page, natch. He's retired from both benches now but still a beloved figure. There was a 10K race I used to run around what's now Bde Makaska (lake) and Alan Page was often seen standing on a corner cheering on the runners. And the runners often reverently called out to him (I was too out of breath.)

Grant Boroughs, nice debut, congrats.

Masked and Anonymous 1:56 PM  

My fave themer was MATHCLASS-ICS.

Better MIII clue: {Just mail it in, oddly??} = MIII*. [yo, @kitshef]

yep. The debut constructioneers are really poppin up like daisies in springtime, nowadays. Makes U wonder how many extra submissions the Shortzmeister is gettin to process. More {Deal with issues at work?} = EDIT. Less time for ping pong, I fear.

This was a pretty easy WedPuz, at our house. APPLETON was an easy get, as we go to a watercolor class every year at a lodge overseen by Lawrence Univ. The DESI clue was a bit tough, tho.

staff weeject pick: IDK. Kinda deducible, with an extra sprinklin of solvequest nanoseconds. IDK does not appear in the Official M&A Help Desk Dictionary. When M&A tried lookin up IDK there, the closest it could come was EID, which IDK either.

Thanx for the debut constructor cubics, Mr. Boroughs dude. And congratz on finally makin the bigtime.

Masked & Anonymo1U

* Odd letters of MAILITIN = MIII.


Anonymous 1:58 PM  

In fact, Page used to cheer the runners on while playing the tuba, or euphonium. Some big brass instrument.

Whatsername 2:04 PM  

@Long time reader (11:46) I’d post one of those GIFs of people applauding if I knew how but this will have to do: 👏👏👏👏👏

James Stevens 2:16 PM  

David Cantor at 8:25. LT may have received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, I dunno or what for, but it surely wasn’t the Medal of Honor.

jberg 2:36 PM  

There's an interesting hint to Rex's method of speed-solving in his comments about wanting French CLASSICS, viz., he doesn't read the clues. He glanced at it, noticed some French words, and leapt ahead, specifically not noticing that the clue started with "Euclid's." I guess if you want speed it can work.

Scientific note: socks are not eaten by the dryer, but by the washer. If you run too big a load, a sock can get pushed over the edge of the tub and slip down under it. I've seen this confirmed once, watching a repairer fix my washer. There's really nothing a dryer can do to a sock other than melt it or burn it up.

Further fun fact (just looked up): MAC in this sense is short for Mackintosh, with a K -- despite the fact that the mac is named for its inventor, Charles Macintosh (sans K). Wiki doesn't know why.

Linguistic quibble: MIII as clued is not an RRN, since it is specified, not random. I don't know if that's any better; it's sort of cluing "three" as "3."

I liked the theme; I would have liked it more with a clever revealer, but I can't imagine what one would be, so I'll take this.

@Unknown -- thanks for the Ryder Cup info. My wife and I drove past Sheboygan on I-43 last Monday, and there were signs at every exit for "Golf Event Parking" and "Golf Event Shuttle." We were visiting my brother, an avid golf player, in Sturgeon Bay, but he couldn't tell us what it was.

I'm here late, due to an early medical appointment, so I'd better stop rambling on and ramble on.

pbc 2:38 PM  

ALAN Page achieved some Twitter fame recently when he noted he'd been denied a blue check mark because Twitter ruled 'the evidence provided did not meet our criteria for notability.' Some random pop star from today is deemed notable, but a guy who was a first ballot Hall of Famer in the NFL, who earned a law degree during his playing days, who spent his NFL retirement working his way up the legal ladder and was on the Minnesota Supreme Court for a dozen years, and who set up a foundation that has provided scholarships to 7,000 students of color? Nah.

linac800 2:46 PM  

A quick slide through this one on par with my Monday average. Nothing remarkable, but the usual pleasant reaction to the happy music at the end.

I’m sort of in the Lewis camp - this is a pastime that I truly enjoy, gets my day going, and enables me to synchronize the neurons before the challenges that unfold during the succeeding hours.

I’m hard pressed to pick nits, but continue to marvel at the eagle eyes that many bring to their critiques.

yd pg -5
td pg -3 in the allotted but highly segmented 30 min

👍 to @bocamp and @TTrimble for their success

okanaganer 2:48 PM  

I was prepared to object that a dweller west of the North Atlantic was CANADIAN. But looking at Wikipedia, it stretches way down to the equator. I had always thought of it as being only in the northern latitudes. (Thinking of the Titanic and WW2 naval battles, I guess.) You learn something every day.

I do like the Ryder Cup tie in!

SharonAK 3:59 PM  

@Tom Taylor Why in the world would it matter to have n"nap" crossing an answer whose clue had 'nap" in it? WHY?/? Whaat does that have to do with anything about solving the puzzle?
Who makes up these insane "rules'? If indeed that was one before you just created it.

Anonymous 4:14 PM  

Weirdly, I solved a puzzle with nearly this exact theme a couple days ago. I think it was on the website? Even shared two of the themers, being MATHCLASSIC and FRYINGPANIC. Weird.

Unknown 4:17 PM  

Loved the puzzle, Grant, thank you! Unlike @rex, I felt the theme was LOTS of fun and was easily worth the price of some strained fill. I found each of them pretty amusing and the theme helped me finish, which I did in 10 minutes, a record wednesday for me when solving with thumbs on my phone! Thanks, enjoyed it a lot. --Rick S

bocamp 4:36 PM  

@linac800 (2:46 PM)

Thx for the 👍

I've a one-hr. limit, so guessing we'd be in roughly the same boat at 30 min. Your efforts (and those of others strapped for time) are highly commendable. :)

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Zwhatever 4:51 PM  

@SharonAK - That answers should not appear in clues has been a “rule” for as long as I’ve been doing puzzles. I put “rule” in quote marks because it is more of a convention than a hard and fast rule. And, it is usually easily avoidable. “Nap” has lots of synonyms so it would have been easy enough to make sure it wasn’t in the clue.

@pbc - Twitter has repeatedly shown itself to be ill-prepared for the role that’s been thrust upon it. The “coveted” blue checkmark and the idiosyncratic and arbitrary way it gets bestowed has been fodder for much criticism. That it often reflects a racial bias has been long established.

@jberg - I think that Rex comments on not reading entire clues regularly. There’s a lot of clues that I elided over as well, often “translating” some verbose clue into “four letter cookie” or “is that Eno or Ono” or somesuch. In my case, it is not to help me solve quicker.

@Long Time Reader - Ah, an astute reader. No IPA, although that’s never a bad guess. But, yes, I was actually checking the game score in order to update the score online. Ten teams playing 5 to 7 games over two days to determine the five who qualify for the regional tournament with not a referee to be found. My fitbit says I walked 9 miles on Saturday and 7 on Sunday, which is about how much I put in when I’m playing a tournament.

Joe Dipinto 6:55 PM  

@Long time reader 11:46 →
There's a Kumon Education center one floor below my office, and from people I know who've sent their children there, they do a wonderful job helping those with reading comprehension issues, taking them from well under grade level to above grade level. I've become friends with her,

Okay, I have to stop you right there. Who is "her"? It doesn't refer to anyone you've mentioned so far in your post, and it isn't clarified anywhere later.

When you're writing, clear antecedents are recommended


Long Time Reaer 8:56 PM  

@Joe Dipinto - You're quite right, and my heartfelt apologies for the mental trauma I've caused you, wondering who the mysterious "her" is. As late as it is, let me clear it up now. I originally wrote something about the director of the center being a lovely woman, and ... her... I deleted most of that (whether she's a lovely woman or not is immaterial), but didn't fill in who the "her" is was referring to. As you pointed out, this was a mistake on my part.

I hope this explanation relieves some of your continued distress with my post.

albatross shell 9:08 PM  

I took all the base words to be plurals (DOTCOMS e,g), and thought we were only inserting IC. I was expecting a revealer answer with ISEE. I thought we just had that in a puzzle with that answer. Turns out it was September 7. Time flies when you don't remember much.

@longtime reader. I thought I read the comments yesterday. I somehow missed the opera fake fight. Thanks for the summary.

Rex usually misses the last half of a clue, not the first half. Maybe he thought Euclid was French?

Alan Page was one of the Purple People Eaters and pretty much a all around good guy. Judicially I think he tended conservative. Politically probably a Republi (IDK for sure). Definitely not a Trumper, but Trump did award him the Presidential Medal of Honor. Probably Page is more conservative than Rex usually likes. So the everyone seems to like him quote.

@Bruce R
PASTAS didn't bother me at all. Should it? IDK.

AVI-AVIATOR didn't either. IDK why.

NAPPED crossing a theme answer clued with naps bothered me after it was pointed out here. As Z pointed out just put in snoozes for naps, and/or clue NAPPED in its textile or cooking meaning. So easy.

I knew how to spell POKY because The POKY Little Puppy was one of my favorite books. Get distracted, goof off, get rewarded.

Anonymous 9:44 PM  

Joe Dipinto FTW. Again.

Teedmn 10:19 PM  

@jberg 2:36PM, re: socks, I can confirm that socks in a top loader washing machine can be washed over the edge, never to be seen again; I discovered this when doing a DIY repair of said machine. But we now own a front loader and still experience missing socks. Does anyone have a theory besides “Black Hole”?

The whole NAPPED vs. “naps” in the 46A clue went over my head because I missed the “clue” reference. I went looking for the offending duplicate NAP in the grid, and was incredulous that anyone was complaining about the reverse NAP in both 46A's and 58A's answers. Oops.

Joe Dipinto 10:46 PM  

@Long time reader – your explanation makes sense, of course, but it's a bit ironic that the mishap was in a post telling someone else to write clearly. Nighty-night.

Nick 2:58 AM  

Agree it was misplaced on a Wednesday but I really enjoyed it. Carpenterantics had Disneyesque possibilities. Would definitely watch that cartoon.

GILL I. 10:07 PM  

Just checking to see if I can get through.......

GILL I. 10:25 PM  

Dagntions. I had the funniest post this morning about ANO and Rio and its big O and it got eaten up in the nethers. Can you guess what I said?

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