Casino next to the Venetian in Vegas / THU 9-23-21 / Titular vampire in Anne Rice novels / Proto-smart phones in brief / Companion in Arabic / Feinted on the ice / Type of socialite officially discontinued in the UK in 1958 / 2018 sci-fi prequel

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Constructor: Simeon Seigel

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: BLACKS OUT (67A: Redacts, as sensitive information (suggested by three of this puzzle's answers)) — three Across answers have "sensitive information" blacked out; that is, black squares appear where letter strings representing "sensitive information" should be. The theme answers redact SSN, PIN, and DOB, respectively:

Theme answers:
  • SLEEPLESS NIGHTS (19A: Insomniacs have them) (redacted Social Security Number (SSN))
  • GOING UP IN FLAMES (38A: Failing spectacularly) (redacted Personal Information Number (PIN))
  • GROUND OBSERVERS (59A: Members of a wartime skywatching corps) (redacted Date Of Birth (DOB))
Word of the Day: en BANC (37D: Like Supreme Court hearings, with "en") —

In law, an en banc session (pronounced [Ι‘̃ bΙ‘̃]French for "in bench") is a session in which a case is heard before all the judges of a court(before the entire bench) rather than by one judge or a panel of judges selected from them. The equivalent terms in bancin banco or in bank are also sometimes seen. 

En banc review is used for unusually complex or important cases or when the court feels there is a particularly significant issue at stake. (wikipedia)

• • •

The concept is clever and not at all hard to pick up ... assuming you start at the top. If I'd started at the bottom, I don't know how long I'd've been flailing around, because GROUND OBSERVERS?? An entirely meaningless term to me. I had the puzzle completed and still had no idea what info was supposed to be "redacted" inside that answer for I'm gonna say a good minute or so. GROUN---SERVERS suggested absolutely nothing to me. I had the back end of the answer as SERVICE for a bit because that sounded more war-related. The only way I worked out what was hidden was by assuming the first letter was "D" and kind of fumbling through three-letter abbrs. in my mental rolodex from there. Let me tell you, having your final experience of a puzzle be a meaningless pursuit of three-letter abbr. embedded in a longer answer that barely qualifies as an answer, that will really kill any nice feelings you had about the puzzle. GROUND OBSERVERS: that was my "aha." More "a-huh." Lowest-quality themer should probably not come last. No, change "probably" to "definitely." So I like the idea, but the execution kind of undermined my happiness there at the end, plus the whole thing had this military vibe that I don't particularly enjoy, with the GROUND OBSERVERS and the Blue Angels and the U.S. Space Force in there somewhere. Plus the right-wing billionaire finance chair of the RNC (and casino eponym, apparently) who "resigned amid accusations of sexual misconduct including harassment, assault, and coercion" (wikipedia), whose name really brought the mood way (way) down for me. Once again, F*** all Tr*mpists, now and forever, seriously. Not even gonna write that guy's name out.

I got the theme early, as the insomniacs question was obviously missing elements after SLEEP, and then those missing elements ended up being in the first place I looked. I wanted SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, saw that SSN would run on the black squares, wrote in IGHTS on the other side, and then confirmed it with SARI etc. Done and done. Oh, looks like I took the screenshot before I'd even bothered to confirm the crosses on "-IGHTS"... cocky!

I think of the phrase as "going down in flames," but yes, you can go up as well, so I guess that's fine. I had trouble with PHYS.ED. since we called it either "gym" or "P.E." and PHYSED just looks weird in the grid and [Gym] doesn't exactly scream "abbr.!" Also had SAFE before SALE (like my answer much much better) (4D: Something that's no good unless it's closed) and RED before RYE (24D: Alternative to white). Surprised to see just one HIGH BEAM (11D: Flashy car feature?). Is one of your headlights out? I don't think I knew that ATREUS was Helen's father-in-law. I know that for a time she's with Paris, in Troy, and Paris's father is Priam, but whatever, he didn't fit. I know Agamemnon and Menelaus as the "Atreides," meaning sons of ATREUS, so ... I guess I did, technically, now that I think of it, know Helen's father-in-law. Weird how you can not know something you know. I guess POT LEAVES is supposed to be edgy, but that's one phrase where I don't think I'd say "pot." I don't know why every time the NYTXW mentions "POT" it makes me laugh and think "narc." It's like you're trying to get with the time, only the times are 50 years ago. Anyway, I'm a square when it comes to all drugs besides alcohol, so I'm probably not the best judge of this answer. I think I'm done now. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. "In May 2021, the Department of Justice ordered [the casino guy] to register as a foreign agent of China." (wikipedia).

I think I'm done falling down this particular rabbit hole now.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 5:58 AM  

Harumph! I’ve always used GOING down in FLAMES to mean “Failing spectacularly”. And when I say GOING UP IN FLAMES, I mean something is literally on fire.

But … most of Dr. Google’s sources say one can fail by going “up” or “down” in flames.

Sussing out the theme/trick was a bit tricky but once that was done the puzzle was on the easy side for a Thursday. And I thought this was a fun solve with a couple of NYT surprises: flip the BIRD; POT LEAVES.

bocamp 6:06 AM  

Thx Simeon, for this crunchy Thurs. offering!


Hit and miss, a little here, a little there. Eventually, successful.

Couldn't see the OB; only GROUND SERVERS. Fortunately, didn't affect the solve.

The SE was by far the hardest corner pour moi.

Liked the theme.

Another enjoyable challenge.

yd 0

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

Conrad 6:13 AM  

Super easy Thursday. We must be in for killer puzzles Friday and Saturday. I got BLACKS OUT before I read the clue and figured it would be about losing consciousness, but then I read the clue and thought, "Okay, that fits too." My only nit to pick is that I think you go UP IN smoke but down in FLAMES.

Anonymous 6:14 AM  

Not sure "BLACKS OUT" is a good look for the NYT...

Lewis 6:54 AM  

Right from the start, SS, bravo! This is the type of puzzle that rings my chimes. Few gimmes because so many answers yielded more than one answer or left me in the dark at first. A theme that kept me guessing for most of the solve, even after I got the revealer and thought, “Oh, those three black squares were hiding the word OUT” (but no). Not a single answer out of my wheelhouse, so it wasn’t a solve muddied by my ignorance. It was simply a puzzle through and through; even though I didn't feel greatly stalled at any point, it had me unpuzzling from start to finish.

Even simple clues, like [Gym} and [Alternative to white], tricked me out, so that eventually getting them brought much pleasure. And when I finally saw the theme motif and the importance of “sensitive information” in the revealer, that brought an “Aha!” to remember.

This was a Puzzle. It got my brain wired and yielded much reward. My cup of tea. Great one, Simeon. More, please!

Loren Muse Smith 7:01 AM  

I saw that 20A was gonna actually be NIGHTS, but it took a minute to get that we would have some letters in the black squares. GOING UP IN FLAMES was tough ‘cause I (like @Joaquin and @Conrad) usually say GOING “down” IN FLAMES if something fails.

For that VASE? It’s not just the vowel sound that changes, but also the final consonant. No biggie.

I’m wondering if the switch to Portuguese for year will allow us to finally dispense with the no-tilde outrage?

The thought that there are EELs out there that can gulp a pelican is chilling. I looked into it, though, and they’re called that ‘cause their lower mouth section has a serious hinge that looks like a pelican’s.

The last to fall was RYE (Hi, @Lewis) because I had acrobat and then airobat. Oops. (Mom has pretty bad macular degeneration, and her Acrobat changed her life. It’s well worth the expense.)

Mom was a PE major, and apparently whenever Dad called it a PHYS-ED major instead, Mom was like, Them’s fightin’ words. It made her so mad. She said PE major was acceptable, but PHYS-ED major was snarky and derogatory.

Loved the ambiguity of the clue for ADORE. At first glance seriously fancy feels like it could be ornate or rococo. Seriously clean, then, could be scour. Seriously prompt could be poke or shove. Hah. Seriously faint could be keel over.


Michiganman 7:01 AM  

I'm pretty much with @Rex on this one. I dislike the use of black squares as if they were white squares. On top of that the resulting nonsense downs are unaccounted for. The NYT e-subscription version showed SSN, PIN, DOB upon completion, so I'm looking at RCASETA, PTONOPBS, ETC. The clue for BIRD was trashy, so many interesting alternatives. I live in Traverse City, MI, which hosts a cherry festival every July which draws thousands to our already tourist saturated town. It's a beautiful place on Grand Traverse BAY off Lake Michigan. Historically the Blue Angels perform every other year. If you've never been to a BA show you're not missing anything. Unless you like hellish noise and military worship. Their "invasion" terrorizes animals, veterans (especially those with PTSD), and lots of other people. There's nothing good about Covid but I can't deny enjoying that the 2020 festival and air show were cancelled. I enjoyed 43D, Whole lot/TON. I first took it to mean everything and put in "all". It actually meant it in THIS SENSE

Michael Page 7:02 AM  

Easy, but sloppy.

EN BANC doesn’t refer to important Supreme Court hearings: they all are heard by the full court. It typically refers to REhearing appellate court cases, where the full court votes to reconsider a decision by the original three-judge panel; a useful brake on important cases where the original randomly drawn panel has two votes from an extreme end of the spectrum.

And DUELER for duelist? Single HIGH BEAM?
[insert my standard responsel to Rex’s PC name banning here. Sure, WYNN is a piece of s**t. So was Idi Amin, but we put his name in puzzles. I guess it’s OK if the mass murderer can get you two vowels in a three-letter name.]

Michael Page 7:06 AM  

“Pelican gulper” refers to the eel’s ability to unhinge its jaw to open a much wider mouth; same trick the pelican uses as it crashes down on its prey. The pelican’s neck opens up into a huge spherical net that surrounds the fish and closes on it; there are amazing videos around taken from under water showing the technique in slow motion. No idea how they got the shot . . .

Zwhatever 7:07 AM  

“Members of a war time sky watching corps.” Huh? GROUN(D OB)SERVERS is something I only associate with United Nations Peace Keeping forces, not with the GROUN(D OB)SERVER Corp. Maybe because the sky watching corp stopped sky watching before I was born. Their very existence seems like the kind of thing known by somebody who uses the term AEROBATS.

πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰Let’s all sing loud hosannas that we got Portuguese for the ANO clue and so are saved the critical diacritical posts.πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

DEButantes were “officially discontinued?” What does that even mean? Or maybe the clue isn’t referring to DEButantes and it is DEB who was officially discontinued. We will miss you, DEB.

I wanted DUELER to be DUEList. Then I figured out what the crossword wanted and can only hear the word in Ben Stein’s voice. DUELER. DUELER. DUELER.

Ode to Identity Theft. Not exactly scintillating. So just one πŸ‘πŸ½.

Anonymous 7:16 AM  

What I dislike about this puzzle, aside from always thinking of a failure as going *down* in flames rather than up, and GROUND OBSERVERS just feeling like a weak phrase, is that not only is it a rehash of the theme of one of my favorite recent NYT puzzles -- where the revealer was REDACTED and the three-letter blacked-out bits were NSA, CIA and FBI (which was perfect!) -- but that that puzzle just happens to be the example puzzle the Times gives you to download as a PDF of the "submit your crosssword to the NYT" page. It's a pretty good puzzle on its own merit, but that just bugs me.

kitshef 7:21 AM  

I seriously believe the NYTXW editors have no ear at all for how people speak.

Exhibit A: “Are you giving me no choice?”

Exhibit B: GOING UP IN FLAMES. That is a thing, but failing spectacularly is GOING down IN FLAMES.

I wonder if Louis counts the double-S in SLEEPLE(SSN)IGHTS in his tally?

Zwhatever 7:21 AM  

@Michael Page - Like Supreme Court hearings looks spot on to me. Are SCOTUS hearings ever not en BANC?
Also, what’s with the Wikipedia pronunciation? Merriam-Webster gives me \ Àⁿ-ˈbÀⁿk \ which conforms to how I would say it. I have no idea how one is supposed to say that a with a tilde over it and can’t help but wonder if it isn’t some sly jab at the tildeless ANO.

Trey 7:23 AM  

Good puzzle, relatively easy for me. I really liked that the blacked-out letters for the three theme answers were different. My initial thought was "How many phrases can we make with SSN in the middle?"

My biggest struggle was in the SW corner. I had LAger instead of LATTE. Despite having ANO, GROUN, ADORE and DEKED, it made finding the downs a struggle because I was not sure which answers were in error. OUTRE gave me the break I needed.

Also had ANThillS very early on (and was very proud at that answer with no crosses), only to find out later that my happiness was misplaced.

I liked that gym clues were in both upper corners, and the two references to the Star TREK Enterprise. I also liked the answer POTLEAVES and first thought of the @LMS photo a few days ago

Agree with @Michiganman that the NYT app filling in the missing squares creates apparent non-words - this decreases the visual appeal of the solve.

amyyanni 7:25 AM  

What @Michiganman wrote. Pretty much sums it up (maybe it's a perspective thing: I'm from Detroit), along with not getting 49 Across (CHAP). Can you chap your face? I will ponder that this Friday eve.

Trey 7:27 AM  

@Z (7:21) - there are times that the Supreme Court will have a single justice review a case and render a quick decision. I am not a lawyer and do not know the details, but I remember a time earlier this year where one of the justices made such a decision - I think that the case was referred back down to the appellate court to answer a question. So yes, all actions of the Supreme Court are not en BANC. I think that we are just more likely to hear about the formal hearings because they are the big decisions.

Son Volt 7:31 AM  

I don’t know - if the redacted letters are relevant for the across - they should be relevant for the downs too. This was disjoint for me. SLEEPLESS NIGHTS was neat and makes me think of Gram Parsons. There’s an old GROUND OBSERVERS post in Montauk - agree that it’s a little quirky as a themer here.

I only know ATREUS as Agamemnon’s father. Liked the HULA DANCE clue. AEROBATS crossing the singular HIGH BEAM dummies down this puzzle.

Decent solve - but lacking real punch.

Anonymous 7:35 AM  

Tr*mpists, militarism and also the racist nickname OLE MISS. A Republican trifecta today!

Twangster 7:58 AM  

I agree GROUND OBSERVERS was weak but this is no doubt because DOB doesn't come up in many common phrases. There's former pitcher PAT DOBSON but that doesn't traverse two words. Can anyone come up with a good one?

Kevin Uy 8:00 AM  

UTA crossing ATREUS was just brutal for me. Zero recognition of either.

Zwhatever 8:12 AM  

@Trey - It takes four justices to agree to “hear” a case, but once a “hearing” is granted the entire court “hears” the case. Yes, there are other actions individual justices engage in, but SCOTUS “hearings” are always en BANC. This is not true at the Appellate level, where most hearings are done by a three judge panel and only occasionally are appeals heard en BANC.

Chaiminded 8:34 AM  

My question: why does Rex get on his soap box of liberal rage over the inclusion of a clue like Steve Wynn and then give a pass to every foulmouthed,msoginust rapper when they are clued?

MaxxPuzz 8:38 AM  

Rex, spot on with the T***p comment! During its campaign in 2015, my wife overheard a woman tell another that she always carried a black marker in her purse. Whenever she saw a T***p poster, she blacked out the T !!!

G. Weissman 8:46 AM  

The point made by Michiganman at 7:01 AM is key: “the resulting nonsense downs are unaccounted for.” A basic rule of NYT crosswords seems to be that no rule applies if violating a rule affords (enough) solvers pleasure. In this case, the blacked-out letters need to be imagined as there in the puzzle (for the acrosses) until they don’t (for the downs). I’d say that you cannot have it both ways, only apparently you can.

jbh 8:53 AM  

Didn't think this puzzle was all that difficult; had it all done and never figured out GROUN 'DOB' SERVERS.

At first, had 47A: STAFF - misreading clue as some sort of musical term.

JD 9:02 AM  

Is the constructor English? That's the vibe I got. I'm watching Masterpiece on PBS, the curtain Blacks Out the light as the Debs dance and the Ground Observers observe, 'Leftenent' Smithe is twirling the woman he Seriously Fanc(ies) and all of a sudden we hear planes overhead.

It's JD bombing in the SW corner, a glide until that scene.

jberg 9:11 AM  

I thought this was a terrific theme, making use of the blacked out letters in an elegant way. Of course it they don't go with the crossing downs; if they did, the theme would no longer hold its meaning; that is to say, the single missing letters would not stand for some sort of confidential information. Much better as it is.

As for GROUND OBSERVERS, the Ground Observer Corps is the actual name of an actual organization, so Rex is completely wrong in saying that it "barely qualifies as an answer."

I didn't even notice that ANO was clued as Portuguese; but it's crossing OUTRE, which also needs an accent to be pronounced correctly.

Steve WYNN's fall from grace came in the midst of the debate over his application to open a casino here in the Boston area. It held things up, but unfortunately did not stop the process. So I knew the casino name, but held off because it didn't work with either ANT hillS or bee hiveS. I guess those little critters do build nests, but it's not a phrase one hears much.

And what is RYE doing here without its marina?

pabloinnh 9:13 AM  

Well, there is an advantage to being of a certain age. In our house we had a manual with silhouettes of various aircraft that was intended for GROUNDOBSERVERS during WWII. I remembered this after I had the whole answer filled in, as I wanted GROUP for a start, which of course didn't work, but then SERVERS showed up on the other side of the blanks, and on went the light in memory central. DOB didn't mean much to me as I was trying to make the middle of DOWNINFLAMES equate to something, which is does not. Finally sussed out the SSN from SLEEPLESSNIGHTS and got the big aha! that makes Thursdays fun and life worth living.

I was ignorant of Mr. WYNN's transgressions, so that didn't bother me, and after reading the comments I know more about BANC than I wanted to.

HUEVOS made me think of Imus and his Tres Huevos schtick.

Liked this thorny Thursday a lot, SS. Supremely Satisfying. Thanks for the fun.

jberg 9:14 AM  

@Z from yesterday -- yeah, I do that too with obfuscatory clues for eel, Ono, Eno, oreo, etc. But just thinking 'something French' seems a simplification too far.

floatingboy 9:16 AM  

Man, I think you let this one of real easy. There were some serious groaners in there, not to mention obscure stuff/tough clues. "Pelican gulper"?? "Type of socialite officially discontinued in the U.K. in 1958"? Response to rule-breaking: ITSNOTOK (blech); "Target with a toss"/PASSTO

Thumbs down. I always hate Thursdays, but this one I hated for not the usual reason.

Hartley70 9:28 AM  

I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle! SLEEPLE bounced around in my head for a pretty long time before I found IGHTS. The three themers were great and my very favorite was GROUNdobSERVERS. It made me think of those lovely Brits in helmets scanning the skies for bombers during WWII.
The fill kept me engaged because my first answer was often wrong. Yippee! NESTS for hills was good fun, as was AEROBOTS for AcROBOTS, and I loved SARI and OBI for wraps. Sayonara boa. SAHIB surprised me because Hollywood had me thinking it was solely Indian. Perhaps I was confusing it with memsahib. Thank you UTA for ATREUS. Sometimes it’s good to be a geriatric. STOOL was funny. DEKED was a mystery. I kept saying it aloud and remembering frat boys who’d pledged to dke, Delta Kappa Epsilon. I thought I’d been to enough Beanpots to know most hockey terms. It’s good to learn something new to start the day. Thanks a TON, Simeon.

Lewis 9:36 AM  

@kitshef -- He does.

Richard Stanford 9:38 AM  

Same here. If it was on paper I’d have failed on that last square - not much difference between running the alphabet and using Google in my book.

Lewis 9:47 AM  

By the way, if you, like me, are a Patrick Berry fan, his puzzle in the latest hardcopy New Yorker is worth getting your hands on, IMO. He is still at the top of his game, making spotless grids combined with his master's touch in cluing. This one is Saturday level.

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

Wow, Rex, you actually think the country is better now with your boy? Delusion at its highest.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Since when is the lender in debt? The editor has confused the characteristics of the MORTGAGOR and the mortgagee.

pmdm 9:58 AM  

Even without realizing that the "blacked out" letters amount to something, I liked the puzzle. Too bad there isn't a more elegant way of presenting the grid. At least, I could think of none.

Z: Sometimes a SCOTUS justice recuses themselves. Normally, for a case they were involved with prior to appointment or because of stock holdings. Even if such a case is technically considered "en banc" I'm not sure I wouldn't bend a bit to allow a different term (perhap "en banc except ...". Then again, it's only a crossword puzzle.

puzzlehoarder 9:58 AM  

This was a great Thursday for me. I really felt like I was solving a good Friday. When I printed out the grid it looked like a themeless puzzle. I wondered which of the two eight letter entries in the NW and SE stacks would be part of the theme. Did it have stacked themers?. Turns out it's hidden grid spanners. Lots of fun enroute to getting there.

I never really thought about the symmetry of YELLOW and GOLDEN before. I was pretty fixated on the latter and it made me question BAWLS. I guess you could say it took, wait for it... BAWLS to figure that one out.

I had a technical issue in the SE that pushed my solve into Saturday territory. You know those white lines you can get when you print things at halftone? Well one of them cut right across the t of the word toss in the 52A clue. My print out clearly read "Target with a loss." That made Target look like a noun. When the crosses gave me PASS TO I was left wondering if this was some unknown card game manuever. It was the only part of the puzzle I wasn't 100% sure of. Paper can have its disadvantages too.

Did anyone else think of "Bulls On Parade" when they filled in 39D? I love that song.

This was like a good Friday with a Thursday bonus snuck into it and I really enjoyed the experience.

yd 0

Tuesday's pangram was one of your tougher ones to suss out.

Whatsername 10:06 AM  

Well I didn’t find this easy, more like medium to hard, especially the NW. Needed help with the Greek in-law and couldn’t parse INITIATE to save my POT LEAVES. If I received an invitation for to become “a “new member” of Mensa then I would be referred to as an INITIATE? Alrighty then but seems OUTRE to me. I may suffer a SLEEPLENIGHT or two over that one. It was better than OK though, and I ADORE how the themers each had a hidden sensitive data entry. Very cleverly done.

My neighbors have a huge YELLOW LAB named Boone. He is a big softy and will clean your face if you get too close to his side of the fence. It’s funny to OBSERVE my little five-pound toy poodle YAMmer away at him. On the other side of that fence of course.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

@Z: In the UK, debutantes were formally presented in court to the reigning monarch as part of the "season" in London (Royal Ascot, Henley Regatta, Wimbledon, etc.) The practice was stopped by Queen Elizabeth II in the late 1950s.

Carola 10:12 AM  

I'm going to channel @jae and say "Liked it!" I found it just-right tough, and engaging all the way. I got SLEEPLE[ssn]IGHTS right off the top, leading me to think, Oh heck, a pushover of a Thursday theme - but not so. Each succeeding BLACKOUT was harder for me to see, so it was very gratifying to discover the [pin] and, finally, [dob].
@Trey 7:23 - Me, too, for assuming we'd just have to write in the [ssn]s.

AERO BATs flying around are one thing; it's the moribund ones we've found lying on our kitchen floor a couple of times that are worrisome. Off they go to the State Lab for a rabies test. The "notification" process is, "If you don't get a phone call from us, you're fine." They make it more exciting by not being able to tell you how long you need to wait before you know you're not getting a call.

Nancy 10:15 AM  

Wow, was this ever great!!! And wow, was this ever hard!!! It's always hardest when the trick themers vary, one from another.

I figured out what was going on at SLEEPLE[SSN]IGHTS, as I screamed "Aha!!!" from the rooftop. Much later, I saw the PIN at GOINGU[PIN]FLAMES. Another loud "Aha!!!" But I had to come here to learn what was going on with GROUN[ ]SERVERS. I thought maybe they were "Ground U.N. Servers"? U.S.? I had no idea. I never once thought of OBSERVERS. OMG: DOB!!! How clever!!!

Brilliant in both conception and execution. The cluing is as sly and devious and difficult as it can possibly be. And you'll never guess where I almost crashed and burned:

daYSpa has the same pesky "YS" as PHYS ED. I kept thinking of "gym" as a place and not as an activity. I wanted DUELER and I wanted PDAS and neither fit. I could only think of TIED for "neither won or lost". DREW was quite beyond me. And what was the three-word "pelican gulper" beginning with a "P"? All seemed lost...

And then, miraculously, PHYS ED catapulted into my mind and, voila, everything came together.

I live for puzzles like this one!

DSM 10:16 AM  

Agree with both of you. Serious Natick territory. Neither is famous enough to require anyone to have heard of one, and that cross - there are several plausible letters that could go there. Some three letter European name? Una/Uta/Uma/Ura? Or others? Sure.

RooMonster 10:19 AM  

Hey All !
Wondered at first why so many connected blockers, as in, there is usually a white square - say at the D in GROUNDOBSERVERS - to break up the, well, block of blockers. Then, "Ah, a letters-in-the-blockers theme. Nice."

Wanted BLotsout first, too short. Then redacted, again too short. Dang, what is it? Ah, BLACKSOUT, which to me is more "forgets part of your life from drinking too much" than "redacts". Can be either. I do like what was BLACKedOUT. Also like the NYT puz site filled in the letters in the Blockers upon completion.

Mind must be slowly getting worse, as this puz was a little toughie for me, and also today's SB. I seem to miss many common words in SB. Ugh. yd was -3, all words I should've got.

Bad brain aside, enjoyed puz. Did anyone see PSYCHED at 1D for PYHSED? Psyched me out. Hey brain, ITS NOT OK. 😁

One F

Hartley70 10:27 AM  

@Lewis 9:47am, I so agree on the New Yorker Berry puzzle. He is just so smooth and skilled even when he ramps up the difficulty level.

jae 10:32 AM  

Easy. Dirt before DOPE and LAger before LATTE were it for erasures.

I’ve just recently started to use the NYT iPad app because Acrosslite went away. When I finished the puzzle the app filled in the redacted squares. I’m would have much rather figured those out for my self. Is there a way to disable this feature (draw back)?

Clever and reasonably smooth, liked it.

mathgent 10:33 AM  

I liked it a lot. Great fun finding the phrases with their middles blacked out. Only after I finished did I check to see what letters had been hidden. That gave me another little pang of joy.

Old solvers may get a kick out of seeing UTA at 58A. She used to be in a lot of the puzzles when I started solving.

"ANO janeiro" is a thing?

"Pang of joy." I think that I got that from Lewis, our Poet Laureate.

Upstate George 10:37 AM  

An obi is not a wrap, it is a sash tied around a wrap, typically a kimono.

Dan 10:38 AM  

To Anonymous, 9:57 AM...

According to Webster, Mortgagor is defined as:

a person who borrows money for buying property : a person who takes out a mortgage in order to buy property

JC66 10:47 AM  


If you still want use AcrossLite, email me and I'll forward @kitshef's instructions.

Eldreth 11:04 AM  

According to their own website the Queen Charlotte’s Debutante Ball continues to this day. The only thing discontinued was the presentation of the debutantes at the Royal Court.

Georgia 11:09 AM  

I thought the same, really grappled around that area, but just looked it up. Whoops, the mortgagee is the lender, the mortgagor the borrower.

The Joker 11:17 AM  

I'm confused. Which is it? Watching the sky? or Observing the ground?

Eldreth 11:19 AM  

Hi again - still trying to find out what dbyd, yd, and td stand for in this blog. Help, please.

Newboy 11:31 AM  

Liked it even with the right wing slant & other BAWLS noted above. Also would encourage anyone who finds Monday puzzle experience lacking in gusto to heed @Lewis’s recommendation of New Yorker. This week’s Puz was Berry Berry good. Most Monday grids are well done with adequate crunch to fill a morning hiding from Idaho’s remarkable Covid response! And the cartoons and writing are gravy on the spuds.

Wellmet 11:34 AM  

Great puzzle that made me work very hard to crack the “code.” A nice sense of accomplishment upon finishing. Who could ask for anything more!

Zwhatever 11:41 AM  

@Anon10:16 - Thanks. The clue seems, well, vague.

@pmdm - What makes SCOTUS different is that a subset of eligible judges never acts for the court. In the Appellate Courts the three judge panel is SOP. Even if Thomas actually recused himself every time he should the Court would still be hearing the case en BANC.

@Mortgage Confusion - Yep. Do the mental flip of who is the actor and who is the receiver in the case of a mortgage. It is the title holder granting the mortgage in exchange for the $$. Yeah yeah, that sounds backwards to me, too. Still.

@Upstate George - Think of a boa constrictor “wrapping” its prey. An OBI is a “wrap” in the same way. Hey Hey. Don’t roll your eyes at me. I didn’t write the clue, I’m just explaining.

UmA Thurman and UTA Hagen. Not quite on the level of Yoko Eno and Brian Ono, but they will be appearing in a crossword puzzle near you soon. Isn’t there somebody out there named Ulu who also pops up from time to time? I’m sure @M&A knows.

Chip Hilton 11:41 AM  

Hmmm . . . Do I count this as 100% if I got all the white squares correct, but went with GROUN-Dre-SERVERS? I mean, Dr. Dre must be a redaction target, am I right? No, of course not. Truthfully, I didn’t pay any attention to the black square letters and only learned of the fact that they had a meaning relative to redacting by reading Rex. Careless, on my end. Clever, by the constructor.

We always called gym class PHYS.ED.

Joseph Michael 11:43 AM  

I found myself GOING UP IN FLAMES at the crossing of AEROBATS and BANC, and I completed GROUN SERVERS without knowing what the redacted letters could be, but I must say that I ADORE this puzzle. Thank you, Simeon, for a great morning workout.

It’s a clever repurposing of the black and white squares with each themer offering a different example of sensitive information. Had some great aha moments in the process of figuring all that out and was sorry when it was over.

Liked IT’S NOT OK and the clues for BIRD and EEL. Was GLAD to see that the ANO in my grid has a tilde over it. And, yeah, I could have done without the ANT NESTS and the BELCH, but thought the puzzle was classic.

A 11:48 AM  

Man, am I GLAD I broke tradition and used a pencil today! Wasn’t RKO also an electronics company? I think it’s closed a DEAL. A SALE is made.

The other good thing about using pencil is that, midway through, I took a black marker and filled in the redacted letters that I knew; not because I thought it would help with the solve, but just ‘cause my teeth were itching from not seeing them. Et voilΓ ! Oh, SSN/PIN-ish types of sensitive! The dark ink makes SSN, PIN, and DOB stand out from the rest of the puzzle and it looks DOPE.

My final entries were CHAP, which conjured fond memories of winter camping, and unfortunately, UmA. Didn’t know UTA or ATREUS. After all that hard work, a dnf. Fie on thee, foul Natick! IT’S NOT OK.

Finally OBI and SARI found each other. OBI SARI SARI

ADORE seriously tickled my fancy.

Why clue GLAD, SON, YELLOW LAB and SILO with PPP? PPP ON PARADE. I BELCH in your general direction. A NO, A big fat NO.

Oh, hey, look at that; I had another mistake: AERIBATS/SILO. Oopsie-daisy. I started with AERIE—. When that B went in I looked askance at AERIBATS but figured it was just another made-up name. At any rate SOLO is ALSO UNNECESSARILY CLUED AS PPP! Just for that, I’m going to use my eraser on SiLO. So there, SOLO.

DREW is just not used that way. “did you win or lose? No I drew.” PFFT. Same with POT LEAVES and DUELER. PFFT and rePFFT.

Much to complain about, but in spite of all the slop, I came away, how did @lewis put in, with my brain wired. So I guess I like the theme, but wish for better execution.

There’s another composer Stravinsky: Soulima, daughter of Igor. Her Music for Children is a series of easy piano pieces, none longer than half a minute. She combines simplicity, invention, and descriptiveness into utter charm.

old timer 12:06 PM  

This really was a clever puzzle. I got the missing SSN early. But why was this important? I had to get to the end to find out. That is the way it's supposed to be.

Also a crunchy puzzle, in that few of the answers were immediately obvious, as our dear @Lewis pointed out.

Did get me thinking, though. There must be a million people who could find out my SSN if they really wanted to. Certainly any burglar could just by peeking at my old tax returns. And my DOB is there for anyone with a computer to look up. For that matter, anyone who has joined has likely revealed their mother's maiden name (not used so much anymore, I think). What no one but me and maybe my wife knows is my PIN, not that the account my ATM card is tied to ever has much money in it.

That's why they have security questions, asked if the banker or broker has even the slightest doubt about a transaction. So please, folks, don't reveal the name of your childhood pet, or anything else you might have chosen as the answer to a common security question.

As for GROUND OBSERVERS, my mind immediately flashed back to WWII Britain. The role of civilian observers is highlighted in many a BBC show.

Masked and Anonymous 12:12 PM  

fave theme answer: 38-A's GOING U.

@m.b. Z: There is evidently some film director named ULU Grosbard. Also, ULU is an Eskimo short-handled knife. ULU don't show up in the crosswords near enough, but is a near-guaranteed one of the followin, when it does:

staff weeject pick: UTA. Kinda neat, that she could abbreve [sorta like black-out] her name as: UTA H.
honrable mention to RYE, whose clue caused a major nanosecond breach, due to M&A goin with RED, instead, for the error.

Lotsa longball debut entries in this rodeo: AEROBATS. ANTNESTS. ITSNOTOK. BLACKSOUT. HULADANCE. POTLEAVES. YELLOWLAB. Only one that put up a fight at our house was AEROBATS.

This puttin stuff in the black squares theme idea ain't new, but blackin out the sensitive info is kinda a neat new slant on it. Sooo .. liked it.
Did have fits with SLEEPLE, until I finally spotted that {--} clue [blacked-out clue?] for IGHTS.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Seigel dude.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


jb129 12:17 PM  


bocamp 12:19 PM  

ALLELE = longtime SB gimme.

Had AMIG _ and waited for the cross … always a possibility of AMIga.

@ puzzlehooarder (9:58 AM) πŸ‘ 0 yd

Agreed re: Tues. p.

@jae (10:32 AM)

Possible work-around: before filling in the last cell, take a screenshot. Then avert your eyes when filling in your final entry. When you hear the happy tune, locate your screenshot for further review … or follow up on @JC66's (10:47 AM) offer re: @Kitshef's hack, and ditch the app. lol

@Eldreth (11:19 AM)

Sorry, saw your post yd and was remiss in not replying. :(

SB (Spelling Bee) results: dbyd = day before yesterday; yd = yesterday; td = today. :)

My result for td is pg -7: p = pangrammatic (finding all possible pangrams); g = genius level (one level below a perfect score); -7 = number of words not found; a '0' indicates all words found and results in the QB (Queen Bee) honorific. See @puzzlehooarder's (9:58 AM) score of yd 0.

@A (11:48 AM)

As always, thx for the vid links. Today's would be perfect for the granddaughters. 🎹

td pg -7 (missed so many td; knew them all, just couldn't pick 'em out of the crowd before my timer went off) :(

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

Joe Dipinto 12:21 PM  

I wonder what's on the other side of the Venetian Casino. The Luz Casino, maybe.

I don't particularly like the clue for 40d. Breaking the rules usually would elicit a more official-sounding rebuke than IT'S NOT OK, it seems to me. I'm picturing a situation more like:

"So, what are you working on right now?"

"Well, since it's my first day on the job, I thought, to be helpful, I would edit all your documents to include your PIN and SS number under your signature. I can always redact them before I send something out. I hope that's ok."

"It's not ok. You're fired."

UTA Hagen reminded me of this. If you've never heard it, it's very funny. Probably everyone in it has been a crossword answer at least once.

mathgent 12:29 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

Anonymous (10:06)
Nancy (10:15)

oldactor 12:43 PM  

@Z: Ulu Grosbard was a fine director who died in 2012. He directed me for an audition for Lincoln Center rep. I didn't get the job until about 10 years later.

JC66 12:48 PM  

Surprised no-one's complained about GROUND appearing in the clue for 44D (cover some GROUND) and in the answer to 38A (GROUNDU).

BTW, I wouldn't have noticed except for yesterday's kerfuffle.

The Cleaver 12:49 PM  


was a film studio. why Radio, I've no idea.

as to OFL's triggering on Right Wingnuts: they've been busy running a slow motion coup, so yeah, it's important.

Frantic Sloth 1:03 PM  

Late start due to early morning excursion. Blech.

Quick and dirty today, as was the solve/theme. Always suspicious of everything can be an asset on the Thursdee.

@Loren 701am I'm gonna need some help with your avatar today - anyone? DUELER? (Hi, @Z!)

Hand up for GOING down. Um, IN FLAMES.
I'm with @Conrad 613am and UP IN smoke, down IN FLAMES.

@jberg 911am Re: RYE. I know, right?!

@Lewis 947am Is that hard copy PB puzz the same one as the digital? If so, I did it and heartily concur!

@JC66 1047am Will those instructions work on an iPad? (I got the Chrome extension for my laptop, but can't have extensions on iPad.)

I kinda like the word SLEEPLE. It means "people who are asleep". Obvi.

JonP 1:04 PM  

Yep. Total Naticks, both of them. And I thought the rest of it was basically easy-medium.

Frantic Sloth 1:04 PM  

See? Early rising=discombobulation.


Zwhatever 1:46 PM  

The Berry puzzle in the 9/27 issue of The New Yorker was available online on 9/20. FYI - the 9/17 online puzzle was also a Berry.

@M&A - Your UTA H. observation reminded me of the Twitter consternation yesterday over a NYT Tweet that made it seem that the Aussie rockers were going to make decisions about booster shots. “A C.D.C.” looks a lot like AC⚡️DC when scrolling through a Twitter feed.

@M&A and @Old Actor - Ulu Grosbard looks like a Saturday level answer to me. But I do feel like either he or the knife has been in a puzzle not that long ago. The real question is whether or not he ever owned such a knife, because Ulu’s ulu most definitely needs to make its puzzle debut soon.

@jberg and @Frantic Sloth - Truly shocking that we got such a white bread clue.

@JC66 - Especially given that that particular play on words is already overused in clues.

The requests for the Spelling Bee Decoder Ring are becoming as frequent as requests for explanations of terms like PPP and DOOK. It seems to me that open SB discussion would be far less obfuscatory*, but no. People had to complain about, OMG, people writing about a different NYT puzzle in the comments and now we get the mysterious codes and people asking about the mysterious codes. What is so hard about not reading comments about things that don’t interest you? I cannot imagine being the least bit entertained by the SB, but clearly others are and want to write about. Please feel free to do so in a way that doesn’t confuse new blog readers. It’s not as if they are spellcasters offering to solve your marriage and herpes problems.

*Blogger thinks it is an actual word. I’m as surprised as you.

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

Is it really a faux pas to have the same word in one clue and then in one answer for a totally unrelated entry? Seems OK to me.

Zwhatever 1:58 PM  

@Anon1:46 - With one change, here is what I wrote yesterday:
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. “Ground” has lots of synonyms so it would have been easy enough to make sure it wasn’t in the clue.

The difference today is that the clue writer fell in love with their oh so not original “ground cover” pun so didn’t bother to come up with a different SOD clue. Too bad that they didn’t notice POT LEAVES in their grid and go with some sort of “rolled grass” pun.

A 2:14 PM  

HAH! RKO wasn’t so far OUTRΓ‰ after all, in a way: RKO Pictures was an American film production and distribution company. In its original incarnation, as RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. it was one of the Big Five studios of Hollywood's Golden Age. The business was formed after the Keith-Albee-Orpheum (KAO) theater chain and Joseph P. Kennedy's Film Booking Offices of America (FBO) studio were brought together under the control of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA)… (Hi, @The Cleaver!)

@Z, thanks for the awesome Stiller clip. I hate DUELER less now.

Thanks, Anon 10:06. DEB was my first choice, but only because I only read the first line of the clue - “Type of socialite.” Serendebity? Oh, also good get by @Eldreth.

@JD, great question, and great story!

@Roo, got a kick out of your BLACKSOUT OBSERVation.

@bocamp, yw - hope they like them!

@Frantic, thumbs up to SLEEPLE.

Thanks for all the MORTGAGOR ’splainations, but I was still skeptical until I read this article from

bocamp 2:19 PM  

@Z (1:46 PM)

Thx for your SB 'code' comments. :)

Considered them, but, speaking only for myself, I'll continue as is. No prob responding to the occasional query, putting the the answers in context.

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

oisk17 2:26 PM  

Finished puzzle, but not correctly, it turns out. Don't speak Spanish, so I had Huivos instead of Huevos ( of course I should have known) and service instead of servers, so "grounded service." Did not realize the connection to PIN and SSN, either. Atceus seemed an unlikely Greek name, but didn't look to change it. (Atreus.) So a fail, on my part, but disliked this puzzle before I checked it. Too many weak clues, pointed out already by others. Obi as a wrap? It's not OK.

The vile intolerance among fine intelligent people for political views not their own is very upsetting. Most of us come here to talk about the puzzle, not about why WYNN is a bad guy, or why we should all hate Trump supporters. I can't be the only one posting here who voted for him...

Anonymous 2:29 PM  

Please keep your asinine left-wing opinions out of your review. . . Concentrate on your asinine nitpicking instead.

Anoa Bob 3:07 PM  

I'm so GLAD for all yous who didn't have to endure another round of tilde-less ANO fulminations. You've suffered enough already, poor dears.

One of the "idiot" lights on my car's instrument panel tells me if my headlights are on HIGH BEAM.

Is UTA becoming a little MUSTI for contemporary xwords?

MarineO6 3:35 PM  

Too easy for a Thursday.
For those concerned about the communist leanings of the blog author as well as many of his fawning sycophants, one must remember hate is all they have. Facts have no home with them.
It’s a sad thing when it comes down to that but unfortunately that’s the BLUF.
I am always amused that some of these ‘Americans’ feel the need to advertise their loving intentions by posting ‘Hate Has No Home Here’ signs on their homes…if one has to advertise their alleged lack of hate, you know it definitely has a home there.
If I didn’t hate them so much I’d feel sorry for them. πŸ™„

Tom T 3:35 PM  

Wrong number of letters for grid, but I suppose you could have:

Clue: Gluttony


Carola 4:08 PM  

@jae 10:32 - A recent suggestion to me in the comments from @beezer helped me, and perhaps will help you here. After I could no longer use the Puzzazz app on my iPad, I started solving the puzzle in the "Games" section of the New York Times app, the one where you get the whole newspaper. At @beezer's suggestion, I downloaded the separate NYTimes Crossword app, a stand-alone one just for the puzzle, and I like it much better. When solving this puzzle with that app, the blacked out letters do not appear in the completed grid. I just went and "reviewed" the puzzle in the Games section of the regular NYT app, and there the letters were. Sorry to be so long winded, but the stand-alone Crossword app might be the answer for you.

The Cleaver 4:32 PM  

why we should all hate Trump supporters

because they tried to overthrow an election The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) lost by 7 million votes? and they're still at it?

Joaquin 4:32 PM  

@Marine06 (3:35) - I this supposed to be irony or are you serious?

First you allege, "... the blog author as well as many of his fawning sycophants ... hate is all they have."

Then you self-own by saying, "If I didn’t hate them so much I’d feel sorry for them."

In the words of the ancient philosopher, "What's up with that?"

Hartley70 4:55 PM  

RKO made me think about movie musicals and reminded me that Jane Powell died this week. She lived quietly here in town. Her last musical was at RKO in 1958, “The Girl Most Likely”, but not much could top “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” for me. UTA and Jane are always at the tip of my fingers, even if the rap stars escape my grasp.

Steve 5:04 PM  

DOB is a line before SSN on many forms

Steve 5:12 PM  

Agree with a lot of comments here. Going DOWN in flames. No Wynn. No Ole racists. Also ant nests? Never. Obi? I guess it technically wraps around. But it doesn't really wrap any more than a ribbon wraps. And shouldn't 31a be EUA MINERALE? Loved 21a and 53a and fine with 49a. 8d is clued correctly. QE2 did officially end then presentations in 1958.

TTrimble 5:29 PM  

@Marine06 3:35 PM
Lighten up, Francis.

Right now, we need to get out of the pandemic. As long as you and I and everyone else are doubly vaccinated and applying common sense measures like masking up inside and maintaining social distance, we'll get through this, and I won't worry myself over who you voted for in 2016 and 2020.

(I tried posted on the puzzle earlier, but Blogger ate my comment. There were some trouble spots like the father-in-law of Helen and AEROBATS, but otherwise it was an ordinary Thursday. I liked it.)

The Cleaver 5:54 PM  

Right now, we need to get out of the pandemic.

the Red states are, being fucking morons, dragging out the end to this pandemic through their stupidity and venality; they seem OK with killing off thousands of their own to attempt to besmirch Biden. and uneducated, sick, poor, shit kicking, White people have convinced themselves they're the superior race? the Blue states are, so far at least, getting by. if USofA Blue states could do what Canadian and Australian provinces do: close borders to stupid states, Covid would be put away so much faster.

never forget: The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) and his boot lickers will do anything to destroy the country on a Democrat's watch. McConnell just said that the Pubs will never raise the debt limit, but there's ample video of him asserting that his Pubs would never, ever allow the USofA ro default by not adjusting the debt limit; during The Orange Sh!tgibbon's (not my coinage, but I cleave) reign, of course.

MarineO6 5:59 PM  

TTrimble…everything I said was serious, but in a lighthearted vein. Wasn’t Francis a mule?
Fortunately I have not, nor will I ever be, vaccinated against the shamdemic.
And I have had ‘Covid’. Or as I called it at the time, a cold.
And I have never worn a mask.
So as long as I continue in those practices, no-one in the country will be safe. πŸ™„

pmdm 6:08 PM  

Mr. Dipinto: yes, it iis very, very funny. Reminds me in a way of Borge's humor when he played with words. But for the pandemic, I would stop by our bar and buy you a drink for the link. Maybe when I'm in the area ...

The Cleaver 6:37 PM  

I have not, nor will I ever be, vaccinated against the shamdemic.

thanx to fucking morons like you, 682,000+ of your Fellow Americans are dead, dead, dead. you must be so proud of yourself and ilk.

TTrimble 7:00 PM  

(Last comment.) Yup, just as I figured. Many who think like you, big tough guys, have wound up on the evening news, speaking from an ICU bed on which they will soon die, gasping and in pain, now suddenly sorry for not getting vaccinated, and imploring others to do that. Others have passed on their Covid germs to their children or relatives who become very sick and who die or will suffer permanent consequences. Sad.

I mean, even Trump is now encouraging you to get your vaccinations.

The sad thing is that the USA made freely available, relatively early on compared to other countries, vaccines that epidemiological studies have shown to be effective, and yet these Typhoid Marys are letting them go to waste because of some fucked-up conspiratorial mindset and sheer truculence, and continue to put the rest of the population at risk while these strains have time to mutate and spread. We had an opportunity to put this behind us.

I don't get it. The same people will routinely vaccinate themselves and their children against other diseases. But somehow *this* vaccine must be different, the product of evil geniuses and Democrats. The stupidity is breathtaking.

Basta! I come hear to talk about puzzles and games and words and share what interests we have.

jae 7:25 PM  

****boring alert***** the following is a discussion of how to work around the demise of Acrosslite (.puz files)

@kirshef & JC66 - I think you are referring to the “scraper” program, which was talked about a while back, which turns puzzles it finds into .puz (Acrosslite) files. Unfortunately you need Chrome to run it and my iPad is too old to download Chrome. However, your comments gave me an idea. I’m running Chrome on my desk top and I downloaded the “scraper” program and it worked beautifully on the NYT puzzle I opened up to solve on the Times puzzle website. I then saved the Acrosslite puzzle the “scraper” program created to a folder on my desk top and attached it to an email to myself. I opened the email on my iPad and copied it to the Crossword app I’m using. Boom! Back in business. Thanks for getting me to think about this more.

JC66 7:43 PM  



Great job on the work-around.

Maybe you could email @Frantic to provide her with this. She solves on an iPad, too, and is looking for a way to solve in AcrossLite.

MarineO6 8:03 PM  

The Cleaver and TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTrimble……..


Dudes…you obviously didn’t read…I had the fake virus which affected me no more than a common cold. No ICU for me. And the only reason I knew I even had it at all was a routine blood test for a physical.
Hopefully however, you and your leftard ilk will contract it and die.
Just sayin’.

You all are too funny.

albatross shell 8:32 PM  

2 definitions from M-W by which an OBI might be considered a wrap.

wrap noun

: a single turn or convolution of something wound around an object

[count] : a piece of clothing that is wrapped around a person's shoulders, waist, etc.

okanaganer 9:29 PM  

@jae and others... the Scraper plugin is also available for Firefox.

Plus you can download other puzzles with it!

Joe Dipinto 9:30 PM  

@pmdm – well I cannot partake of real drinks anyway, so feel free to buy me an imaginary drink at your leisure.

Lewis 9:35 PM  

@frantic -- I don't know if the hard copy puzzle is also online at The New Yorker, but 1A clue (in the hard copy puzzle) is something about Tokyo's Imperial Palace.

pabloinnh 9:51 PM  

To all of you responding to @Marine06, I would remind you of Mark Twain's wise advice-

"Don't wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it."

Vance Martin 9:53 PM  

As a local in Hawaii, I was so pleased to see an appropriate clue for HULADANCE - i’m so sick of things like Waikiki Wiggle. Hurrah!

TTrimble 10:30 PM  

Thanks, and point taken. But actual pigs are wonderful and highly intelligent creatures. :-)

Nancy 10:43 PM  

That is the funniest clip I've ever seen, @Joe D! I'll say so again on tomorrow's blog at an earlier hour. Thanks for linking to it!

Frantic Sloth 10:52 PM  

@Lewis 935pm Yep - that's the one! Thanks!

Frantic Sloth 11:01 PM  

@jae 725pm Never thought of emailing it to myself! -Or- did I just realize that once it's downloaded to my AcrossLite library, I can access it on the iPad? D'oh.

Ayn Rand 11:06 PM  

@TTrimble, @pabloinnh, @The Cleaver

You cannot win an argument with @Marine06. He was one of my best students here at the the Institute of Profound Empathy and Understanding

Monty Boy 1:42 AM  

Way, way, way too late, but maybe for the syndics in a few weeks.

My little town in Montana had a raised platform with a roof (think tree house) that was used by the Ground Observer Corp in WWII. It stayed there until the mid 50's. I was told that even then some folks used the station to see and warn of incoming missiles from Russia. Not sure who they would call and what could be done about it, but there it is. Ground Observer Corp did exist.

Oh and the puzzle? I didn't get the trick until I finished and the blank squares had white letters in it. Frustrating that the white squares had non-words. I guess I'm slow on the uptake.

brendal 1:15 PM  

I hate puzzles like this one.

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