British pop singer Lewis / TUE 9-21-21 / Subject of a famous 1937 disappearance / Onetime Supreme Court justice Charles ___ Hughes

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Constructor: Daniel Okulitch

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Tuesday*)

THEME: wacky law stuff — regular old legal phrases, clued wackily:

Theme answers:
  • PRO BONO ATTORNEY (17A: Advocate for U2's frontman?)
  • MOVE TO STRIKE (27A: Swing of a bowler's arm?)
  • MOTION DENIED (49A: A little tied up at the moment?)
  • CLASS-ACTION SUIT (65A: Attire for gym period?)
Word of the Day: GOJI (35D: Berry touted as a "superfood") —

Gojigoji berry, or wolfberry (Chinese枸杞pinyingǒuqǐ), is the fruit of either Lycium barbarum or Lycium chinense, two closely related species of boxthorn in the nightshade familySolanaceaeL. barbarum and L. chinense fruits are similar but can be distinguished by differences in taste and sugar content.

Both species are native to Asia, and have been long used in traditional Asian cuisine.

The fruit has also been an ingredient in traditional ChineseKorean, and Japanese medicine, since at least the 3rd century AD. The plant parts are called by the Latin names  lycii fructus (fruit), herba lycii (leaves), etc., in modern official pharmacopeias.

Since about 2000, goji berry and derived products became common in developed countries as health foods or alternative medicine remedies, extending from exaggerated and unproven claims about their health benefits. (wikipedia)

• • •

Surprised this made the cut. This is some straight-up 20th-century corn. The most basic recipe there is. All you have to do is assemble phrases from literally *any* field in symmetrical fashion in your grid. You know, four or so answers of 8 or more letters in length. Then, just write some wacky "?" clues where you imagine the phrase means something else, something ridiculous. That is all. Done and done. It's the lowest theme bar of all. The theme ends up riding entirely on the theme *clues* (the interestingness of the answers is usually irrelevant), and those are usually groaners at best, tortured monstrosities at worst. Today it's a bunch of legal phrases, so there's no real interest there. I guess they'd be fine answers in a themeless puzzle; they're solid long answers. But it's not like you're exactly happy to see any of them, or like any of them feels particularly original. And then there's the clues ... which are awkward and forced in the case MOVE TO STRIKE and MOTION DENIED, pretty good in the case of CLASS ACTION SUIT, and, in the case of PRO BONO ATTORNEY ... well, that one had no shot, because the answer itself should've disqualified it entirely from this puzzle. One thing you'll notice about the other three themers is that when the clues wackify the answers, they take the alleged meaning of those answers Entirely Outside The Realm Of Law. That is what you're supposed to do with a theme like this—you hide the nature of your underlying theme by making the clues point elsewhere; today, that means no legal frame of reference, and 3/4 of the clues get that right, but the PRO BONO ATTORNEY clue *can't* get that right because it's got ATTORNEY in it and you can not not not redirect the meaning of attorney away from law. It is an impossibility. If PRO BONO had been the entire themer, bang, you're in business. [Wild about U2's frontman?]. Perfect. But here you have to frame the whole thing legally, putting the awkward "Advocate" in the clue. It just doesn't work. Understand the nature of the theme you're dealing with and craft your puzzle carefully rather than just saying "close enough, who's going to notice?"

The fill is also last-century and has nothing to make up for the stale theme concept. IONIA SAYST, AARP SIRI, ABO OBIT, and on and on. Overfamiliar threes and fours OVERRUN the grid. NEWSOM is timely because of that catastrophic and embarrassing attempt to recall the California governor last week or whenever it was (52D: Successor to Brown as California governor), but otherwise there's not much else here to make you sit up and take notice. Also, the worst clues, and hardest clues, for me, were the ones where someone thought it would be a good idea to shoehorn more legal stuff into the puzzle. That's how you know someone's anxious that the theme isn't substantial enough—you get clues like 55D: Onetime Supreme Court justice Charles EVANS Hughes. Died in '48, never heard of him, isn't even the first "Charles Evans" that comes up when you google (that would be a medical facility on Long Island called the Charles Evans Center). Do you need EVANS to be legal this bad? On a Tuesday? And the clue on NEED, oof, so awkward (37D: Lawyer, for a defendant, typically). I had no idea what that clue wanted, or what all those commas were doing, or ... anything. When I got NEED ... eyeroll, sigh, etc. Other sticky spots for me: RETORT and REBUFF before REBUKE (4D: Sharp talking-to); total blankness when confronted with the clue for ALDO (42D: Global shoe retailer) (I know ALDO as the titular proprietor of the pizzeria I went to in my childhood; the shoes remain theoretical to me); AONE before ARCH (5A: Primary). I also "get around town" IN A BUS, so that's what I went with for the (awful prepositional phrase) IN A CAB (51D: How many people get around town). Speaking of the bus, mine will be here in a couple hours, so I gotta go.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. Happy Earth, Wind & Fire Day (and thus happy birthday to my best friend, who doesn't do crosswords :)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 5:28 AM  

Yeah. No.
Right off the bat, PROBONOATTORNEY took up residence in my craw and is not leaving without an eviction.
Does it really need to be said? It's pronounced Bah-no not BO-NO when referring to the U2 frontman.
For a moment I thought "okay, maybe this is a play on sounds..." but, of course it wasn't. Just some courtroom/law lingo used otherwise. Wheee.

It's not really a bad theme, actually. Pretty good for the Tuesdee and the themers themselves are impressive even if the "joke" falls flat for me.

It's just too bad the very first one sorta got my hackles up.

The fill wasn't too bad either, so that's quite an accomplishment these days.

At least sloP ITCH stopped by.

And look - somebody put MESSI in the corner again! Patrick Swayze is spinnin'.


AliceMorgan 6:18 AM  

Hi everybody! I have been reading this blog for years, but this is my first comment. I honestly don’t have much to say about the puzzle – it was fine – but I do want to commend Rex as well all of you quirky, (wacky?) wordy, wonderful people for your comments and observations on language and beyond. This little corner of the internet is a calm little respite from the many stressful issues of the day and I love to see everyone agree to disagree about words in a friendly way. Many thanks to all of you!

Anonymous 7:02 AM  

Primary = arch????

bocamp 7:12 AM  

Thx Daniel for a very crunchy challenge! :)

Tough going.

Didn't think I was going to make it; lucked out! Phew and whew!

Don't recall a Tues. this hard, but being always prepared for a battle, wasn't disappointed.

Vaguely recalled WERTHERS, but not knowing LEONA Lewis left me with the choice of an 'E' or an 'I'. Guessed right.

Not familiar with SSI, but was pretty sure of MESSI, so that worked out.

Biggest challenge was the central east coast, esp. not knowing GOJI.

Liked the legal theme, altho had trouble with the DENIED part of MOTION, which contributed to my woes in that area.

At the end of the day, a success and another excellent, enjoyable puz. :)

yd 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

GILL I. 7:12 AM  

Holy tomato...this was a Tuesday? I mean I liked it and all but I get my mind wrapped around a fairly breezy day of the week and instead, I found a bit of a tornado.
Where is this going? says I.....AHA! it's one of those sneaky little phrases that get twisted around in the nethers. I like that. I do agree with @Rex on just having PRO BONO and not adding ATTORNEY but I don't care. I smiled and thought cool frijoles.
I always get MAMBA confused with Mambo. Can one dance with a snake? Hey look....PALL mall is next to JOE camel. Anyone got a light?

Welcome@AliceMorgan....Come visit us often, please. New blood always welcome. I might just nag you to get a little avatar, though.

Lewis 7:13 AM  

Wow, another quick study who got into solving crosswords less than two years ago, got bit by the construction bug, and here we are.

This is a semordnilap-rich puzzle, with NORI, STAT, SIRI, BAN, STAR, ROOM, TUBA, MAPS, and TAPS. You can also throw in crossword-answer-worthy PITA, ODE, CAVE, and ORCA. There are a couple of names as well.

I also liked the cross of MOVE TO STRIKE, and OMIT.

Today’s puzzle was made by an opera singer turned court jester, whose punny theme put me in a “Hah!” mood, always a gift. Thank you, Daniel.

kitshef 7:16 AM  

Pretty clever theme that probably should have run on a Wednesday thanks to the likes of NORI, SSI, LEONA and ALDO. Fill generally holds up other than the NE corner, sayst I.

But as is so often the case, it was The Simpsons to the rescue on EVANS … Homer: “Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. What great men he would join: John Marshall, Charles Evans Hughes, Warren Burger … mmm, burger”.

Son Volt 7:19 AM  

Punny wordplay about our esteemed legal system - I’m with Rex on the reach. Note my objection.

amyyanni 7:22 AM  

Hi Alice, glad you joined in and agree, puz was fine. Agree with Rex on 37 down, and I was a public defender for years. Plus defendants can opt to represent themselves. Reminds me I used to ask clients sometimes which was worse, going to court or the dentist...and I'm off to the latter this morning. What about a dental based puzzle?

Amy 7:23 AM  

Easy, zippy, i liked pro bono even with the pronunciation difference which didn’t bother me as this is chiefly a medium of letters. Fast solve. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

amyyanni 7:28 AM  

Came back to thank Rex for the reminder: I love Earth Wind & Fire Day! "Do you remember the 21st day of September?"

Unknown 7:28 AM  

These are puns at their best! Fun puzzle, Try getting out of the other side of bed, Rex.

Steve 7:39 AM  

Can someone explain the answer “need”

Joe Welling 7:41 AM  

My nit with this puzzle: OBIT is not clued as an abbreviation. I don't accept that OBIT has become a word in its own right. Outside of crosswords, it's not even a commonly used abbreviation.

Trey 7:41 AM  

Arch enemy is your primary foe

Trey 7:44 AM  

SSI - social security income

Joe Dipinto 7:59 AM  

Well it's hard not to turn into a fanboy when a puzzle is constructed by a world-class BASS/baritone (check him out singing "Don Giovanni" at XWord Info). But I did like the theme answers here, Bono notwithstanding, and at least it felt like it was made by an adult, which is often not the case these days. I didn't mind the extra legal references. And of course any puzzle with JOE in it...

Other musical trivia: We just had MARCONI in the grid the other day and now we get MAMBA, which brings to mind Starship singing "Marconi plays the mamba!" (instead of mamBO) in "We Built This City".

Anyway, here's a little more of Daniel O. as Don Giovanni.

SouthsideJohnny 8:02 AM  

I share Rex’s dissatisfaction with the theme - agree that it does seem too forced, but that’s ok, at least it was fair and ultimately, Tuesday-appropriate difficulty wise. The real downer for me was getting stuck on WERTHERS crossing LEONA (SAYST was no help, as SHALT would fit just fine). Always a bummer for me to plug and chug through the entire puzzle and end up with a DNF on two crossing trivial entries. I guess it is my lot in life - accept the fact that knowledge of (generally arcane) trivia (such as the middle name of a Supreme Court justice from the Truman administration) or other alleged “popular culture” is considered a presumed prerequisite by the NYT editorial staff, or I need to get another hobby.

Zwhatever 8:08 AM  

Today it's a bunch of legal phrases, so there's no real interest there.
Everything else Rex said was filler.

Nice to see Elvis taking up a video spot. I realize Rex was going for a lawyerly pun, but I’d have still gone with one of the actual music videos they made for the album.

@Frantic Sloth - I’m thinking nobody puts MESSI in the corner because he has SLOp itch.

@Joe Welling - Merriam-Webster says OBIT had been a word since the 15th century. Damn Kids these days.

LEONA Lewis - I vaguely recognize the name. The linked video has 288 million views, so I’m guessing famous enough to be crossworthy.

linac800 8:09 AM  

Long time between doing the puzzle and finding a moment for a comment. Time slightly below Tuesday average - pretty straightforward once I figured out the first theme answer. Pleased to recall WERTHERS from the nether regions of the neuron stack. As usual needed lots of crosses for names - not my forte although MESSI was a gimme. Living in the EU football is paramount ⚽️ not 🏈.

I do the weekday puzzles at 05:30 CET over my coffee and home-made muesli, and then it’s off to work. Usually only get to Rexblog at about 10:30 Eastern so the details of the solve fade after over 12 hours.

But I love the commentary on this blog - every day an opportunity to learn something new!

@bocamp: 👍 for 0
yd pg -1
td p -12 until I can find another 15 minutes or so 30 min daily time limit.

mmorgan 8:13 AM  

Fun from me, a pleasant and serviceable Tuesday. Some of us actually liked the 20th Century. Some parts of it, anyway.

OffTheGrid 8:13 AM  

@Gill. luckySTRIKE is near your PALLmall and JOEcamel.

This was a nice gritty Tuesday. I liked the theme a lot. It was fun. That's all I NEED.

Tom T 8:13 AM  

Confident the day will come when the correct spelling of OCCAM will be the most likely solution for me.

mathgent 8:20 AM  

CLASSACTIONSUIT was the only good one. I had forgotten how BONO is pronounced and the other two were clunky.

I've been doing these things too long. No crunch for me. There were so many gimmes that it was easy to guess the entries I didn't know. My only pause was at GOJI.

NEWSOM shouldn't feel proud for beating the recall. His own campaign didn't claim that he was doing a good job.

Joaquin 8:25 AM  

"This is some straight-up 20th-century corn."

Well then ... I guess that makes me a straight-up 20th-century guy. I enjoyed the daylights out of this puzzle. A perfect Tuesday, in my book.

Unknown 8:39 AM  


I suggest another hobby

Anonymous 8:41 AM  

@Frantic Sloth

Complaining about the sound of BONO is pretty rich coming from someone with the daily infantile affectation of "Tuesdee", etc.

Sticks in my craw!

JD 8:49 AM  

I'm thinking that maybe the Marvel universe has at long last wiped out all Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones entries. Great. Fingers crossed . Now if we could just get rid of Marvel. But it's there at 1A so moving on...

At Xword Info notes, the constructor says that pre-covid he hadn't ever completed an NYT puzzle. Impressive leap. Some resentment there until I watched the video of him performing the finale from Don Giovanni.

With that and the incantation Stern Abo Mamba Sake I was enchanted.

Cue Bass with Tuba and Organ, get some champagne from the bottom corner and all's well that ends well on a Tuesday. Except for Need, and worse, Aunt. Which family member won't thatpp clue be used for.

Carola 8:50 AM  

Cute enough for me. I especially liked MOTION DENIED, although...maybe being tied up isn't, in fact, so cute. Then I'll MOVE on to the definitely cute CLASS ACTION SUIT. I liked the cross of MOVE TO STRIKE and REBUKE (perhaps from the bench) and got a laugh out of IN A by the Green Paint Cab Co. Now off to check out our opera-singing constructor....

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

I agree with others: this challenging for a Tuesday.

One small quibble on 27A MOVE and 49A MOTION. Both come from the same word, the Latin moveo ("I move"), with the mot-root showing up in the past participle motus ("moved").

Anon. i.e. Poggius

TTrimble 8:59 AM  

I didn't find it so much of a challenge as others do. Threaded through the middle diagonal running NW to SE, starting with NOAM. From there, for the most part, the answers filled themselves in, with a few exceptions: GOJI is new to me, and I put in "ShalT" before SAYST (which hits me now as a logoddity). I didn't know LEONA.

When will I ever learn? My first association with The Avengers is not a comic book but the British TV series. I really couldn't give a damn about the comic book.

SUIT seems like funny word for the school-issued shorts, tee, and jock strap that we used to hafta wear in middle school gym period.

In spite of BONO, I agree with @Joe D that it wasn't at all bad. Although I do not thank JOE for bringing up We Built This City. Everything about Starship was annoying: that song, this band photo (scroll down until you find a mustache and a tongue; the album cover sucks bad too), the devolution from Jefferson Starship (and before that Jefferson Airplane)... And now I read that Bernie Taupin had something to do with those lyrics. Wow.

yd -1 (haven't given up)
td 0

JD 9:05 AM  

I object to the personal attack from anon with the jammed craw and ask that it be expunged lest he keep jamming it all day long.

kitshef 9:06 AM  

@Trey 7:44 - It's Supplemental Security Income. And no, I did not know that but looked it up after the solve.

pabloinnh 9:20 AM  

Well, the PROBONO part of 17A was obvious, but the MOVETOSTRIKE was tortured. We went bowling as a family for years when I was growing up and no one ever said "There goes Dad, looks like a real MOVETOSTRIKE!". I mean, really.

Agree with OFL that NEED was another stretch. WATER for humans would have been a much better clue, and it even sounds familiar.

ALDO is ALDO ray, LEONA is LEONA Helmsley, INACAB is eatasandwich, and I don't know what the hell GOJI is, but if it really is a "superfood" I'd better find out.

CEDE before CAVE was my only bad guess in this whole thing. The bass in our doo wop group is an attorney, and even he tells some good lawyer jokes, so I'll give the theme a pass. (Definitely not my favorite though, sorry Dave.)

Okay for a Tuesday, DO. I Didn't Overthink anything and I'll always look favorably on singers. Thanks for the fun.

Frantic Sloth 9:32 AM  

Hmmm. I always thought it was Eartha Day. Guess I could just fayKitt from now on.

Like others, I did find this chewier than the average Tuesdee (more on this later).

@AliceMorgan 618am Congratulations on taking that first step! (It do take nerve.) Thanks for the upbeat message and I hope you won't let the avatar police (❤️@GILL 😘) deter you from returning!

@Amy 723am Good point. You might be right and I might need to stop "hearing" the answers in my head. Then again, that can come in handy for some themes... what to do? 😉

@Anonymous 841am Funny you should mention that...once upon a time, I thought about ditching the "ee" because I was so over it. Then I read a comment - by anonymous - snarking at the practice. Et Voilà! It's here to stay! Thank you for reinforcing the need for its use beyond the original, formerly temporary purpose...again.

Frantic Sloth 9:38 AM  

@TTrimble 859am It's as if Grace Slick woke up (from whatever kind of "sleep") in a music studio with those people and just kept hanging out.

@JD 905am ❤️ Sustained! 😉

Gio 9:40 AM  

I always wish that I was born a professional opera singer. I think it has to be the world's best job. Can you imagine all the places you travel to a people you meet? And fun you have putting on the show? I'm very envious of that lifestyle. Maybe in my next life. I can't sing a note. It runs in the family- they told my Aunt that she could be in the church choir only if she promised not to sing.

I was a bit shocked reading the statement from the opera singer constructor that he couldn't make a puzzle until he found about about Wordlists and AutoFill. Not that I have ever made a puzzle, but it "sticks in my craw" a little that you can write 4 themers and have a program AutoFill in the rest.
It appears that is what he did. He has no need for a career constructing crosswords, and should stick with his day job, it's the world's greatest!

Hartley70 9:41 AM  

@JoeDipinto 7:59am, Thank you for the link. Good Grief! What can’t this man do?

Nancy 9:47 AM  

What a nice surprise. Clever wordplay combined with a bit of crunch on a Tuesday. My cup runneth over.

For a brief moment I was afraid that the theme answers would all be based on proper names ala PRO BONO ATTORNEY. Who is MOVETO and just how good a bowler is he, I wondered? But happily it was just plain old (and not proper at all) MOVE TO STRIKE.

I tried to picture a group of gym rats performing bench presses clad only in CLASS ACTION SUITS. Nice!

And some of the clues were very un-Tuesdayish as well. Cluing ARCH with "primary" -- why you could probably do that on a Friday. Certainly on a Thursday.

I liked this one a lot. In fact, that's two early week puzzles in a row that I've liked. As I say, my cup runneth over. In fact, it has completely OVERRUN.

bocamp 9:48 AM  

@AliceMorgan (6:18 AM)

Welcome aboard! :)

@Joe Dipinto (7:59 AM)

Thx for Daniel's vid; very impressive performance! :)

@linac800 (8:09 AM)

Thx for the 👍 and 🤞 on your -12.

I was relieved to get p just minutes before the clock ran out. There was one word I doubt I'd've gotten.

@TTrimble (8:59 AM) 👍 for 0

🤞 for yd's -1

@kitshef (9:06 AM) - tip o' the hat for being the first to clarify SSI:

"The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides monthly payments to adults and children with a disability or blindness who have income and resources below specific financial limits. SSI payments are also made to people age 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial qualifications." (SSA website)

td pg -4 (1 hr. limit) (p of 0 = 5%) = (probability of QB)

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

Pretty uninspired week so far. Neither puzzle was bad, per se, but I'm surprised either of them got accepted.

RooMonster 9:55 AM  

Hey All !
The aggravating TuesDNF. Ouch. Had WoRTHERS spelt thusly, without a tickling of the ole brain on IONIA (which now I can slap myself, as I do know that!). Finished with LonNA/InNIA/WoRTHERS. Got the "No, Moron, But close!" message, went back, hit Check Puzzle (which by my previous utterance, makes it a DNF, or more precisely, FWE (Finished With Errors [not my coinage, but I cleave {😂}]), and it crossed out the O and N. Hmm, says I, put in a U for WuRTHERS. Wrong some more. Scratched the head, tilted it about 30°, finally saw IONIA, then WERTHERS. Dang.

But, for a TuesPuz theme, it wasn't Sueable. Or Risible. Or didn't need a Lawyer. Bad law stuff, I know. Thought it appropriate for a theme on a Tuesday, is what I'm sayin'. Know what I'm sayin'.

At least Covid provided tons of new puz constructors. I am old school, started constructing BC. #Humblebrag
What's that? You never had a puz published?
BC is Before Covid, btw. In case you didn't know, or never heard that. Seems common knowledge now. But I do know esoterica, seems more than common stuff. Am I rambling?

Had JOE first, but then wanted ACAI for GOJI (first time hearing of said Berry), which had me SC__ for the fish, and thought SCOD was a new COD variant. LOLOL at SLOp itch making its comeback.

No F's (C'mon Daniel, stop OMITS them!)

GILL I. 10:00 AM  

Ay, Chihuahua, Daniel.... I could dance a MAMBA Samba with you and Don Juan. I would omit the snake oil and just slither in delight. What a terrific voice.....

Karl Grouch 10:02 AM  

Objection sustained

Hartley70 10:07 AM  

I think this puzzle was appropriately placed on a Tuesday. I liked the “courthouse” long themers and I don’t mind wacky clueing, although the bowling reference was a little strange.

All the fill was fair. I think LEONA is a much bigger deal in the UK where she won a tv talent show. The names Reuben, Clay or Fantasia probably don’t bring a voice as quickly to mind there as they do here. I hate to think that the ever expanding Marvel Universe is adding the crossword world into its gravitational pull. THOR I got but please don’t make me watch those movies! And yes, I too thought of Diana Rigg and Patrick McNee first when I saw “The Avengers”. It’s an age thing, but weren’t they swell?

Bravo to the constructor, but please don’t quit your “day” job. What a marvelous voice!

Mr.cheese 10:07 AM  

I agree that the theme is meh …. But the clue for “motion denied” was very entertaining.
I too, don’t have an avatar and don’t know how to get one. Help, anyone?

Taylor S 10:13 AM  

Why not my version of "September"? You have something against pretty white girls?

Nancy 10:18 AM  

Forgot to say that, when I had GOJI, I didn't want to accept it. There's only one xword health berry as far as I've always been led to believe and that's the ACAI. Of course I also wouldn't know the ACAI if it jumped up and hit me in the face, not being much of a berry person, but in xword land it sprouts up everywhere. Is this a first for the GOJI?

Oh, and I didn't know WERTHERS either. I've been counting. There are exactly 287 candy brands I never heard of and only learned about in recent New York Times crossword puzzles. So if the NYT crossword were to get a lot of cavities in the next few years, it has no one but itself to blame.

Pete 10:20 AM  

@Gio - I for one am thankful you're not an Opera Singer, as you should be as well. If you were an Opera Singer I would feel compelled to punch you in the face should we meet. I don't know if you're a man or a woman, if you live like a pauper in order to save money to feed starving orphans, have donate halve your kidneys and liver to save the lives of others, I wouldn't care. The fact that you had chosen to use the gift of your voice in a manner that physically pains me and millions of others would merit you a punch in the face.

Whatsername 10:34 AM  

This was a great puzzle and I really enjoyed but found it very tough and tricky for a Tuesday. I can blame myself for some of that since I took a couple days off and I’m possibly a little rusty but I cringe for new newer solvers who may get discouraged by this level of difficulty so early in the week. That’s certainly no reflection on the constructor though and I offer my thanks and congratulations on this very well constructed debut.

If I saw NORI or GOJI on a menu I’d probably order some SWISS SAKE to go with it for all I would know about either one of them. Didn’t mind that so much as I did 42D. I - the owner of umpteen pairs of shoes - didn’t know of ALDO although I was relieved to see that it didn’t turn out to be Nike. However, for my money THE global shoe retailer is Zappo’s. Free shipping and free returns. Can’t beat that.

If it really is a MYTH that bulls don’t like the color red, I don’t want to be the one to test that theory. I grew up on a farm. With bulls and cows. And it’s been my experience that they don’t care what color you’re wearing if they decide TO STRIKE.

Oh for the good old days when ARM RESTS were the only thing airline passengers battled OVER.

jae 10:36 AM  

Very tough.

WOEs - WERTHER, ALDO (very vaguely familiar)
Erasures - açaí > GOJI, Lured > LED ON, BAr > BAN, Cede > CAVE
Answer that NEEDed pondering - NEED tough! Legal puns mostly worked for me, liked it a bit more than @Rex did.

Joseph Michael 10:43 AM  

Wow. This was surprisingly hard case to crack. Can’t say that the theme is terribly exciting, but I did like CLASS ACTION SUIT and the opera clips of the constructor. Bravo.

Kudos as well for having a berry answer that is not AÇAI.

Two low points in the puzzle IN A CAB.and the tortured clue for NEED.

Funny to think of SIRI and ALEXA as “rivals” Do disembodied voices have it out for each other? Siri: “ARE, TOO.” Alexa: “AM NOT.”

Whatsername 10:46 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Georgia 10:56 AM  

A defendant needs an attorney. A stretch to continue the lawyer theme, but overall I found the puzzle clever.

JMG 11:01 AM  

Super food is always “açaí”. Never heard of “goji” so got hung up for bit until the crosses kicked in.

Lyn 11:03 AM  

Thank you for explaining. I had no clue.

Georgia 11:04 AM  

"We Built This City" was fun to sing in my old Rocks choir (yes, I'm a nerd), at which point I learned it's listed as Rolling Stone Magazine's #1 Worst Song of the 80's.

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

If Pete punched you in the face, I'd flatten him. And he'd stay flattened.
I have a record of rescuing opera singers.
In the fall of 1984 I put my arm out to stop Beverly Sills from getting creamed by a speeding cab at the corner off 33rd and Chestnut in Philadelphia. She was shaken, but gabe me an appreciative nod as the light turned green and we crossed the street.

Tim Carey 11:21 AM  


Tim Carey 11:31 AM  

Well not to take away from anyone's accomplishment, but it is the software tools that suggest the words to put in the puzzle. Puzzle construction has become easy enough that amateurs can now make NYT worthy puzzles.

Zwhatever 11:45 AM  

@Taylor S - Maybe next week.*

@JD, @Karl Grouch, & @Frantic Sloth - Comments like that is why I know the word fremdschämen and I kind of like that it sits there marinating in its jealousy and callowness.

Did somebody mention Grace Slick? Or maybe Candy Slice?

@Mr. Cheese - Do you have a Google Account? That’s step one.


Suzy 11:50 AM  

Well, call me 20th century, because I thought this puzzle was just fine. Just enough light crunch for a rainy Tuesday morning.
Thanks, Daniel!

Malsdemare 11:51 AM  

Well, this is scary. I finished the puzzle, which was fine, and read y'all's comments, which were also amusing, informative and wowing (our constructor's voice).

And then I checked Facebook before heading off for a workout. And what appears on my facebook feed is an ad for WERTHERS. Cue the creepy music.

Whatsername 11:59 AM  

@AliceMorgan (6:18) Hi and welcome! So glad you took the time to join the conversation this morning and hope you’ll come back again.

@Anonymous (7:02) I did not see a direct response to your question but apologize if this is a repeat. ARCH = primary in the sense of an arch enemy.

@TTrimble (8:59) As a shy and awkward young high school freshman in girls’ PE CLASS, I wore what we called a Gym SUIT. It was a red one piece romper type garment with either a snap or a zip front and cuffed shorts. But unfortunately, our little rural school district had no funds to provide these for us and our parents had to buy them. This budget shortfall resulted in a very painful freshman year for me as I was forced to wear a hand-me-down from a cousin who attended another school. Not only was my suit a different color than everyone else’s, it was a also different style altogether which stuck out like a sore thumb and made my skinny 13-year-old self the subject of more than a little teasing. It was excruciating but thankfully the next year my mother took pity on me and saw to it that I got a brand new one identical to all the others.

A 12:02 PM  

There’s the Rex we’ve come to know and love. Hey, Mikey, somebody steal your favorite cereal? He’s not wrong about the advocate/ATTORNEY misstep, but to open with “Surprised this made the cut” and proceed to trash it as “the lowest theme bar of all?” Guess I’m not as jaded as I thought I was, cause that bar just got raised. Caught myself chuckling more than once - looking at you, NEED.

Speaking of which, I enjoyed the zingers late yesterday from @Roo & Company, and @albatross was waxing POOetic. Thanks for the chuckles, y’all.

Very surprised at Rex’s rating too - I was going as fast as I could ink it in. Had to come back to a couple that I blanked on, like WERTHERS, but everywhere I looked there was something I knew. Hah - even EVANS! Why on earth do I know that?

I had one writeover - had the O of TEMPO and the IED at the end, and OccupIED fit. NEWSOM in the news to the rescue.

Well, OFL almost made me forget about my objections - a lot of the cluing and fill was really boring. TAPS, HIRE, ALOE, SNEER (again), JOE, STAT, NOR. Actually “average JOE” made me smile, maybe because it reminds me of old black and white detective movies. Or JOE Friday, but he wasn’t your average JOE.

Nice TUBA/BASS cross, with the bonus IN A CAB. You don’t want to take your TUBA on the bus.

Loved writing in GOJI - it was the miracle berry before ACAI, but we never see it because who needs those letters?

Very imaginative music composed in 1915 by Gustav Holst, born on the fall equinox in 1874. Japanese Suite Op. 33 This piece is new to me - what fantastic orchestration. Now this guy nows how to create great themes and make the most of them.

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

Anon 8:41,

You still read Frantic sloth's posts? That's your problem right there.

Whatsername 12:09 PM  

@Mr.cheese (10:07) As @Z pointed out, the first thing you’ll need is a Google email account. That will allow you to establish your profile and link to this blog. If you need help with that, just wave your arms in the universal panic signal and many here will be happy to assist. Once that’s done, selecting your avatar is the fun part.

Mr. Cheese 12:12 PM  

@z - yes I have google acct which I never use

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

some appear to find 8:41's comment off-putting, irritating, or impolite. Others, me for example, find it penetrating and spot on. No one seems to find it awkward or embarrassing. And awkwardness/embarrassment which are the essential elements of fremdschamen ).You continue to misuse the word. There's even a German word for people that do that: Narr.

LenFuego 12:20 PM  

This one played like a Friday for me … I slotted my time to breeze through like a normal Tuesday and ended up about 5X my Tuesday average time. I mean, lstuff I never heard of (GOJI, LEONA Lewis), stuff I barely heard of and was unsure of (ALDO shoes, NORI, Charles EVANS Hughes, WERTHERS, IONIA, SAYST), and tough clueing. And so much of that was in the NE and E… that area just murdered me, in part because I was sure AÇAÍ had to be the superfood berry.

Still, put me down for being entertained by PRO BONO ATTORNEY. I’m not proud I liked it, but I did.

Unknown 12:22 PM  

What's with the guy describing how he'd physically attack another commenter? Can we get that off the site?

sharon ak 12:30 PM  

@rex Last century? Siri was released in 2011. Have I been in a 100 year coma?

old timer 12:36 PM  

Until I got down to GOJI-Land, I thought the puzzle was absurdly Easy. And I'm with OFL in thinking the theme borders on Lame, as in, (leg) MOTION DENIED.

I am definitely not with OFL on Charles EVANS Hughes. For one thing, he was a first-rate opinion writer, whose thoughts reflected a great deal of good sense. But more interestingly, he was the only Chief Justice who had served as an Associate Justice, and then left the Court, only to be appointed Chief many years later. The reason? He ran for President in 1916 against Woodrow Wilson. He felt it would be improper for a sitting justice to run for a political office. Of course he wanted to be back on the Court, but it wasn't until 1930 that he got his wish. He was always a strong supporter of civil rights for Blacks, but opposed many of the New Deal programs, until 1937 when he and another Justice switched positions and upheld the major FDR programs enacted in the mid-Thirties.

I'm not quite ready to share ARMRESTS with potentially unvaccinated people on planes. But I hope the day will soon come when this is no longer an issue.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

You mean Pete who said he'd punch Gio in his post of 10:20?
Surely you don't want to squash the speech of anon 11:06 who was proposing a response on Gio's behalf if such a thing were to happen.
That poster was proposing defense not attack. You see the difference between the two, right?

Masked and Anonymous 12:41 PM  

Got everything figured out in this feisty TuesPuz except for WIRTHERS/LIONA. No complaintz, tho. Bring it, Shortzmeister. [snort]

staff weeject pick: SSI. Has a potentially real cool clue: {Some fed. assistance}. Tack on the double-? at the clue end, tho. Cuz then U can play on the SSI in aSSIstance.

Sparklier-than-average stuff: WERTHERS. ARMRESTS. Only thing is, somehow they lose a smidge of their sparkle, when the longballs are all plurals. Kinda liked the mysterious-to-m&e GOJI, also.

Speakin of which, ORGAN is a neat enough word, but then the constructioneer had to fill in G??I, which has limited TuesPuz-level choices. GOBI might be ok. And there ain't many N??D words, neither. NEED & NERD. Before U know it, ORGAN has given rise to GOJI. Sooo … if U don't like GOJI, blame it on ORGAN.

Thanx for the legal fiction fun, Mr. Okulitch. And congratz on yer debut.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


sharon ak 12:43 PM  

@Joedeplpinto Thank you for the link. Beautiful way to start my morning. (which it is here on the far west coast)

Lewis - Did you notice tuba crossing bass?

And by the way, thank you for the list of fave clues yesterday. I enjoyed being reminded of them =- they were all favorites of mine at the time.

old timer 12:46 PM  

Back again to share memories of the Jefferson Airplane. When I first saw them they were a very good band, even though Grace Slick was the star of another band, the Great Society. When the Airplane's female lead singer left to have a baby, Grace got the job, and never looked back. But somehow, while all the other famous bands, the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver, Big Brother got better and better, the Airplane got worse and worse, with a few exceptions in the Starship era. So when Starship came up with "We Built This City", all the old time fans like me were delighted. It reminded us of glory days of the late Sixties. And by God, the musicians who had started out in (or near) the Haight-Ashbury really did build San Francisco as a musical powerhouse.

(OK, Quicksilver didn't get better. They started at the top, and to many of their fans, just kept on being first-rate.)

Jim Finder 1:01 PM  

I don’t get what’s wrong with the Bono clue/answer. Can anyone explain?

GHarris 1:11 PM  

Just two points. This was another example of how those doing the puzzle online have an advantage (unfair?) over those working on paper. I first did the latter and had no idea about whether the candy and the singer took an i, e or o. I went with the i and would have found that I had a dnf. Then I put it online and got the admonition of close but no cigar, switched vowels and got the congrats.
Defendants “need” a lawyer. C’mon all parties should be represented. We all know the old saw, he who represents himself has a fool for a client.

relicofthe60s 1:19 PM  

I’m always amazed by the things Rex, an educated man with a Ph.D., doesn’t know. Charles Evans Hughes is a pretty famous guy. He was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, governor of New York, the Republican nominee for president in 1916, and secretary of state. He’s someone you should have com across in a high-school history class. Or do they not teach American history in high school any more?

Joe Dipinto 1:32 PM  

@old timer – I loved "We Built This City" too! It was nothing like the Airplane, it was pure pop, but it sounded great on the radio. The best part was the insert that stations would customize with their own local DJ's spiel. WCBS in NY created 3 or 4 different ones using the old WABC jocks.

Anonymous 1:36 PM  

Another vote for ACAI. Get with it.

Crimson Devil 1:44 PM  

…and move to strike.

mathgent 1:45 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

Frantic Sloth (5:29)
old timer (12.36)

Zwhatever 1:49 PM  

@Mr. Cheese - Do you see "Choose your Identity" below the comment box? Pick the first box. It will make you sign in to your google account. After you post your name should appear in blue. Click on your name and edit your profile. You can change your nom de blog there as well as pick an avatar. Bonus - You won't have to prove you're not a robot anymore.

@12:19 - 😂 - Fremdschämen is when we feel awkward embarrassment for you because you don't understand that what you are doing is awkward and embarrassing. We all realize that you don't understand how awkward and embarrassing you are being.

I thought @Pete was making a comment about opera through the use of hyperbole and that @anon11:06 both understood this and used the comment to "brag" about rescuing Beverly Sills. Granted, the "punch you in the face" thing is a little outré these days, but people thinking @Pete was serious somehow seems a bit much. Is this a generational reaction? Like people seeing Ralph Kramden saying "why I oughta" and thinking he actually would hit Alice when we all understood that he would never (even while knowing there are men who would)?

Crimson Devil 2:06 PM  

Enjoyable tough Tues puz. Learned NORI, LEONA, WERTHERS, GOJI, ALDO, OCCAM.
NEED was a stretch.
Re NEWSOME, Heard CA spent 300 M on recall; as has been said, pretty ‘spensive French Laundry dinner!

Joe Dipinto 2:34 PM  

@Jim Finder – the issue isn't actually with PRO BONO, it's with ATTORNEY, which, as @Rex explains, has only one, legal, meaning, and can't be repurposed into anything significantly different for the clue. (@Frantic Sloth did point out that BONO the singer is pronounced differently than BONO the freebie lawyer, but I think that's neither here nor there for the theme's aim.)

Anyway, I see Rex's point, but it really didn't bother me. You could also argue that the meaning of DENIED in themer #3 doesn't change; it means prevented or stifled in both clue and answer.

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

Anyone else feel embarrassed for me when I say Frantic Sloth's post wasn't my cuppa?

I say Z is speaking for everyone. Doesn't that gall you? Seems to me the people of this board are more than capable of speaking for themselves.

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

Might be late on this (didn't read all the comments)...

"The fill is also last century" -- except Siri wasn't invented/introduced (especially as Alexa's rival) until 2011.

"Understand the nature of your blog and craft it carefully rather than just saying 'close enough, who's going to notice?'


jberg 3:04 PM  

Hi everybody, and welcome to @Alice Morgan. We got back from our trip to Wisconsin (61st HS reunion) just shy of midnight, so I've been busy deleting emails, and did the puzzle a little late. Nice to be home! (But the trip was great, too.)

This was a bit of a letdown, because I looked at the first clue and thought that if the advocate was working gratis he would be "PRO BONO PRO BONO." That didn't quite fit, but I was hoping for something along those lines, and it turned out to be very different. I thought the theme was OK, though.
(@Jim Finder, the problem with the answer is that it is a legal term clued as a legal term; ideally it should be a legal term clued as something entirely different, like all the other theme answers. Didn't bother me, but I see Rex's point.)

My maternal grandmother was very proud of her family history, belonged to the DAR (and insisted that my mother, who had no interest, take the qualifying documents with her when she moved out), and claimed descent from John Alden/Priscilla Mullins and many others including Charles EVANS Hughes. I was never convinced, but it helped remember his name. (In my own defense, my other set of grandparents both immigrated as children).

I really didn't like starting with a clue that required not only knowing who the Avengers were, but who played what role in the fictional organization. But I got over it. What made the puzzle hard for me was that I kept being blocked by the theme answers, so I had to start over - as opposed to working from crosses -- several times.

OCCAM/CAVE crossing -- missed opportunity to clue the latter with another philosopher.

It's always been my opinion that people complaining that opera singing hurts their ears have never actually listened to opera singing, perhaps relying instead on deliberate parody by Margaret Dumont.

Well, I've got lots to do, so I'll be moseying along.

Anonymous 3:22 PM  

Yes, arch = primary in sense of "arch enemy"--but also in sense of archbishop, etc. It's oOne of those words which have different meanings based on two entirely different roots (I think there's a name for this, but I don't know it.) *Arch* as an architectural term comes from a Latin word for *bow*, because of the curvature. Arch as in *primary* comes from the Greek word for ruler, archos. While typing this it hit me that *architecture* itself comes from the non-architectural meaning of *arch*. The architect is the "primary" or chief (archos) worker (or *tectos*).

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Anonymous 3:31 PM  

Wait. Charles Evans Hughes isn't the first search result when he searches for Charles Evans?
This Calls for a strongly worded letter to the Times.
Hold on. I just searched for Rex and Rex parker didn't come up first in my search results. It's almost as if the last name is critical. Who'd a thunk it?

Even better. Aldo is theoretical because he's to him because he's never seen it personally. Using that logic, any town in, say, Spain that I never heard of would be theoretical. Wow. Just wow Rex. Get a hold of yourself. Take an epistemology class. Have another drink. But please, get help. that

Anonymous 3:41 PM  

the only Avengers I know or care about are Steed and Mrs. Peel.

JC66 3:51 PM  

Welcome back @Poggius. It's been a long time. Where ya been?

Pete 4:07 PM  

I assure you that I find Anon 11:06's hypothetical threat to my hypothesized threat towards GIO, which has already been proved impossible, well, not very threatening. As with so very, very much around here, Z has to step in and explain the very obvious. Gio had already said that they were a horrible singer, so my comment was moot to operatic singer related other than I don't like operatic singing. I used hyperbole to make a little joke. If Gio genuinely feels threatened I am apoplectic in my remorse, but I kind of doubt it.

@Anon 2:46 Yes, yes I do feel embarrassed on your behalf for your previous comment re @Sloth. I feel embarrassed for you for your 2:46 comments also, and likely thousands of previous comments I would attribute to you but for your refusal to use a unique identifier for yourself. I have a suggestion to make about how you could resolve the shame for you actions you will likely one day feel for having wasted so very, very much of your time coming here and complaining about the people here, but it involves cliffs and that might be too outré these days, and we can't have that.

@Jberg - I've listened to plenty of opera. I've been to enough top tier productions to understand why people love it so. I can see the beauty and majesty in it. I simply abhor it.

Anonymous 4:52 PM  

Wow! It's a good thing you can't really punch someone in the face over the interweb. Why does the blog even have moderators? The bar is very very low.

Dan 5:02 PM  

Not sure if someone else already mentioned this... but it looks like SNL came up with the Pro Bono joke first.

Somehow, that clip just came up in my algorithm today. Not sure if it knew the connection to today's puzzle or not!

TTrimble 5:34 PM  

@Joe Dipinto 1:32 PM

Well, your knowledge and depth of appreciation of music surely dwarfs my own, which makes your comment feel almost like a REBUKE of my 8:59 AM, but "it sounded great on the radio" does prompt me to ask: what is/was your day job? I assume it is/was in music, but whether as a producer, performing musician, sound engineer, maybe some combination of the above, or something else altogether, it's hard for me to tell.

I can certainly imagine someone with expertise in sound production making that sort of comment, no matter how schlocky I happen to find that particular song. Decades ago I was close friends with someone who is a renowned sound engineer in Richmond, VA, and you've just reminded me of things he might say, on a technical level.

pondie 6:51 PM  

Am I the only one in Rexworld who has heard Daniel Okulitch in person? He sang Willy Wonka in the world premiere of Peter Ash's The Golden Ticket at Opera Theatre of St. Louis in 2010. I heard several dress rehearsals and 3 performances. He and the rest of the cast were quite wonderful. The opera, meh.

Anonymous 6:55 PM  

Wait, the constructor is an opera singer?

Is anyone aware that WERTHER is a moderately frequently performed opera by Massenet?

Coincidence or not?


giorgio 8:58 PM  

Supplemental Security Income

Joe Dipinto 9:00 PM  

• It wasn't a rebuke, I was responding to @old timer who said he reacted favorably to the song when it came out.
• I'm not a producer or sound engineer. I studied music growing up, it was my college major, I play keyboard and sing. My career was in the copyright/legal end of the publishing side.
• "It sounded great on the radio" means exactly that. Some songs just do. I would in fact probably reserve the description for something whose component parts seem schlocky but the whole somehow works perfectly. After all, Beatles or Aretha Franklin songs sounded great on the radio, but it probably wouldn't occur to me to describe them that way.

Here's another example: "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies. Or Karen Carpenter's voice: tailor-made perfection for radio airplay. I'm sure I could come up with some examples outside of pure pop but I'm too tired right now.

Joe Dipinto 9:15 PM  

@Villager (Anon 6:55) – Holy crap, good catch! I totally missed that. "Werther" has a frequently recorded tenor aria.

Anonymous 10:42 PM  

for those who collect CD versions of olde LPs, you'll often encounter a 'bonus track' that's labelled something like, "radio play mono mix". generally, rolled off topend and highly compressed DR. what with the 'loudness war' going on in the current CD world, it's bizarre that the music business has so quickly destroyed the extended DR of the CD/SACD over olde LPs. guess most folks don't notice DR at all.

Thane of 13th 1:19 PM  


thefogman 10:16 AM  

This is a debut puzzle. Rex is spot on with his criticism but it should be aimed at the editor. It’s nice that Will Shortz is giving new constructors a shot, but he shouldn’t be giving the green light to just anything, at least without some surgical aditing beforehand.

spacecraft 12:03 PM  

I practically could have signed my own name to OFC's rant; in particular that convoluted, opaque, ridiculous clue for NEED. There's no NEED for all that on a Tuesday--and along with my ignorance of GOJI and ALDO, it very nearly caused a DNF. Yeah, I MOVETOSTRIKE that clue, for sure. The point that the constructor felt the NEED to pad his weakish theme was telling.

There are plenty of DOD candidates--any of several ANNs, Linda EVANS--but today's sash must go to pioneer Amelia EARHART. Difficulty: well, easy until getting to that east area, then yikes! When the berry wasn't ACAI I was totally lost. For a Tuesday, why not edit it to GOBI, ALEE and BEE? Okay, maybe that pushes it back to Monday, but it's definitely too early in the week for GOJI.

One point OFC didn't cover: There's both a MOVE and a MOTION. Those are a little too close for comfort, IMO. While I don't wish to discourage newbies, this fellow NEEDs to work on his game. Bogey.

thefogman 2:07 PM  

EDIT; editing not aditing

Burma Shave 2:08 PM  


Neither LEONA NORI took ACTION TO MOVE it inside,


leftcoaster 3:27 PM  

The MAMBA, a deadly snake lying in wait, ready to MOVE TO STRIKE and kill the NORI / CRAY in the middle North. Egad!

The theme is fine, but I REBUKE the NORI seaweed and the unhinged CRAY.

Diana, LIW 5:51 PM  

Hey - I wish I could take four (or 5 or 6) phrases from some genre, put them in a puz, and create a crossword around them. I am still in awe of ANYONE who manages to construct one of these.

And I did find the "legalese" mildly amusing.

And I did not know GOBI, but managed to miss a dnf.


Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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