Collection of 10 directives written by Vladimir Lenin / FRI 9-3-21 / Old automaker with the models Firedome, Fireflite and Firesweep / Citato in the work quoted Lat / Longtime mint brand that doesn't contain any mint / Conspicuously unfamiliar party guest informally / One punch kung fu technique / Words before Yes I cried yes I cried in Return of the Mack

Friday, September 3, 2021

Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley and Paolo Pasco

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging, maybe harder

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: APRIL THESES (47A: Collection of 10 directives written by Vladimir Lenin) —
The "April Theses" (Russianапрельские тезисыtransliteration:  aprel'skie tezisy) were a series of ten directives issued by the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin upon his return to Petrograd from his exile in Switzerland via Germany and Finland. Theses were mostly aimed at fellow Bolsheviks in Russia and returning to Russia from exile. He called for soviets (workers' councils) (as seen in the slogan "all power to the soviets"), denounced liberals and social revolutionaries in the Provisional Government, called for Bolsheviks not to cooperate with the government, and called for new communist policies. The April Theses influenced the July Days and October Revolution in the next months and are identified with Leninism. [...] The April Theses were first announced in a speech in two meetings on 17 April 1917 (4 April according to the old Russian Calendar). (wikipedia)
• • •

Hi. Hello. It's Rex Parker here (not my real name, but it seems to be working, so let's stick with it). I'm back from Minnesota, where I was helping The Girl (soon to be a 21yo woman, actually) move into her new living sitch, as well as seeing friends, going to the Minnesota State Fair, touring Minneapolis on foot, and planning our eventual move thereto ("eventual" is probably doing a lot of work here, but we'll see). Anyway, I think I was away on one trip or another for roughly half of August, but I'm back for the foreseeable future. So, the regular schedule is hereby resumed. Today's puzzle was an interesting one to start back on. Kind of threw me in the deep end, this one. Two experienced and notoriously challenging constructors teaming up for Friday pranks and shenanigans. Honestly, this felt a lot like *last* Friday's puzzle, down to the grid shape (high word count, lots and lots of short stuff, but with more than enough long answers to keep things interesting). And like last week, I got bogged down more than usual in this one. Lots of trivia in this one, more than a few answers out of my wheelhouse, and then just an overall tricksy, question-marky vibe. The good news is that the highs were superhigh—enough to make me genuinely, sincerely, audibly LOL at one point (just the one LOL, no LOLS, or LOLZ, as I imagined at one point). I took pictures (i.e. screenshots) early on, so happy was the puzzle making me. There were definitely a few low points, one of them very low, which kind of marred the latter half of the solve, but the top half was strong enough to make up for the bottom half and the overall experience was pretty decent. 

The answer that got me on this puzzle's side and kept me there came pretty early on. Not exceedingly thrilled to run into AL COWLINGS, tbh (3D: Role for Malcolm-Jamal Warner on "The People v. O.J. Simpson"), but I forgot all about him when a car drove through the puzzle blasting "Return of the Mack," my absolutely favorite pop R&B song of the '90s:

[20A: Words before "Yes, I cried, yes I cried" in "Return of the Mack"] 
(Sidenote: Not sure about the punctuation on the lyrics there:
Why is there a comma after the first "yes" but not the second?
Yes, I am complaining about punctuation in the NYT's rendering of pop music lyrics,
thanks for asking).

At this point, the odds that I would *not* like this puzzle were practically nil. It is hard to be unhappy with "Return of the Mack" running through your head. So by the time I worked my way down through "ON WHAT PLANET...?" and WAG THE DOG, I was well and truly hooked.

"Oh my God!"
"Here I am!"
"Once again!"
"Top of the world!"

Things got both less interesting and tougher for me toward the bottom of the grid, as I had no idea about the aircraft carrier meaning of HELLCAT, and if I ever knew what the APRIL THESES were, well, I forgot. But that's just Stuff I Don't Know. That happens. Not fun to get it in bunches, but some days are like that. What I thought was truly bad, so much so that it virtually derailed the solve, was OPERE (41D: ___ citato (in the work quoted: Lat.). Just ... pukesome. Lat. biblio. phrs. are never a good time (has anyone ever been happy to see, say, SEQ!?) but this one has the non-virtue of being very obscure. I wrote a Ph.D. thesis with an extensive bibliography, and in the course of writing said thesis I read a ton of books and articles, all with bibliographies of their own, and yet somehow the phrase "OPERE citato" remained unknown to me. I do "know" it (as you ... might?) as "Op. Cit." I honestly didn't know til this second that "citato" was what was the word being abbr'd there. All I know is OPERE is so execrable that I would've done a total tear-down to get rid of it. Maybe, maybe if it had been holding up the *top* half of the grid, I would've forgiven it more easily—if it gets me "Return of the Mack," I'm for it! But down here, in the BEER COOLER, it's a lot less welcome. I also have no idea what a MEDIA BLOG is. I googled it in quotation marks and am none the wiser. The Guardian and National Review both appear to have sections of their websites with that title, but ... it's rough on my ears. I think SLOTS should've had a clue indicating it was a shortening (of "slot machines," duh) (14D: Casino game that's 100% luck), and I think MINE! is a better answer for the clue than MORE! (12D: "Gimme, gimme, gimme!"). Not entirely sure about the "SO" on "SO LET IT GO" but there's a loose colloquialness about it that I kind of like. Overall, a nice welcome back for me.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 6:22 AM  

The Hellcat isn't an aircraft carrier, it's a carrier aircraft. Where's the editor when you need him?

Gio 6:24 AM  

The first Rex post I ever read was February 5, 2020, where Rex goes on a full page rant about AL COWLINGS. It was clued as Famous Ford Bronco Driver, which sent Rex into a memorable rage. I thought it was so over-the-top amusing, that I've read here every day since. I even sent a friend a copy of the blog that day, saying I started doing crossword puzzles and I found this blog, check this out, THIS GUY IS NUTS!
I just re-read it, and it's not as funny as I originally found it, but it's a wall of complaining. Which I sort of enjoy. At the time, I had no idea people criticized crossword puzzles like this.
This is why I knew AL COWLINGS.

willzimjohn 6:26 AM  

It was hard but I finished, so I liked it. I wasn't very confident several minutes in. Thought I would never get the ILANA-MARON cross as I didn't know either person but it seemes it was evident since I guessed correctly. A satisfying puzzle.

sf27shirley 6:41 AM  

Nine names is too many.

ncmathsadist 6:51 AM  

There was a blizzard of proper names. Ugh.

smoss11 6:54 AM  

The Hellcat was a WWII fighter not an aircraft carrier. Was this incorrectly clued or am I missing something?

Lewis 6:58 AM  

Hello, @Rex, and welcome back!

Well now. This one kept kicking sand in my face until at one point I felt buried; I couldn’t find a square to fill in with maybe four-fifths of the puzzle to go. I did have to scratch and claw to come out of the hole. It turns out that a fair number of the “I don’t know this!” answers, I actually did know in some deep dark corners of the mire of my mind.

This wasn’t a trudge, mind you. I was totally motivated throughout. But it was hard work, and now I feel cleansed. Thank you, you mighty two!

Highlights for me were the new clue for ONO, which has shown up 391 times now in the NYT, as well as the new and most lovely clue for REIN (379 times). Jeff Chen says there were a good number of answers that are not even on his word list – a testiment to the creativity of these constructors. In fact, my three favorite answers have never appeared in the NYT puzzle before: ON WHAT PLANET, WAG THE DOG, CLOSE UP MAGIC.

And I was delighted by the HAIRPIN clue.

Son Volt 7:04 AM  

Mostly fun - but I think it was trying too hard in some areas. Like Rex - don’t want to see AL COWLINGS or anything OJ related in the puzzle. Knew John but his daughter would have been more temporal. WAG THE DOG, APRIL THESES, STORAGE FEE are all pretty flat. Do like the Mark Morrison reference.

Liked BEER COOLER over UTICA - the home of Matt’s brewery. The Grumman HELLCAT was a carrier based fighter plane not a carrier. The clue is clunky - or just plain wrong.

Enjoyable Friday solve.

Anonymous 7:06 AM  

I wonder what a devout Quran follower would make of a genie that looked like "Jeannie" (Barbara Eden).

RJ 7:11 AM  

Lot's to love in this puzzle - "you lied to me", "on what planet", "wag the dog", and more. Agree with Rex on "opere" and wrote "mine" instead of "more". Most of the unknown PPPs were gotten from the crosses and a few guesses. Great way to start my staycation Friday.

@Rex rootbeer dance!

Dad 7:15 AM  

"Hellcat" is incorrect.

kitshef 7:17 AM  

Saturday ++ difficulty for me. A week’s worth of unknowns jammed into one Friday puzzle.
Never heard of TIM Robinson, nor “I Think You Should Leave”.
I recall the existence of “Return of the Mack”, but know nothing else about it.
Never head of a one-INCH punch, although that was inferable.
Never heard of Mark MARON or ILANA Glazer, so that cross was a guess, although ‘A’ was most likely.
Did not know APRIL THESES, half of which was inferrable
Don’t know Gustav HOLST
Did not know HELLCAT in this context.
Never heard of John RAITT,
Nor ADAM Kinzinger.
Never heard of any of those DESOTOs.

Is MEDIA BLOG a thing? Sounds like green paint, although admittedly the only blog I read is this one.

Recently we’ve been blessed with Colloquial Equivalency Clues that actually made sense – where the two colloquialisms really match and are both in the language. Today, they failed completely.

Lobster11 7:36 AM  

Sure, I'd go with "medium challenging -- maybe harder" IF I could've dropped in ALCOWLINGS and YOULIEDTOME right off the bat. I couldn't, so I'm going with "brutal." Too much trivia, almost all of which were WOES to me. Liked it otherwise, and somehow managed to finish without cheats, but yikes!

kitshef 7:36 AM  

There are a lot of things you can criticize about Will Shortz. There are mistakes, like the recent this/that fiasco (and today's HELLCAT). He’s overly fond of ‘!’ clues, like “Beat it!” to clue DRUM. He allows an awful lot of proper names – some puzzles feel like they belong in TV Guide. Too much Japanese food. And who can forget BEANER?

But one thing I really appreciate is that he tries to encourage variety in clueing. Pre-Shortz, here are the last seven clues for ONO:
Yoko ___
Yoko ___
Yoko ___
Yoko ___
Yoko ___
Yoko ___
Yoko ___

Then Shortz took over, and here are the next seven:
She wrote “Grapefruit”
Pop music’s Plastic ___ Band
“Double Fantasy” singer
Pioneer performance artist
Musician Yoko
Lennon’s lady
Plastic ___ Band

Frantic Sloth 7:37 AM  

Excuse me...can you please make all the PPP in your puzzle as obscure as possible? Thanks!

Come to think of it, how about more of the same for everything else? Okay? Great!

I know BEQ is worshipped around these parts, but whenever I see his name in the byline, I just want to turn around and walk out. No words necessary.
Yes, he's brilliant and accomplished and knows his stuff, but r e a l l y !

Wavelength? [insert derisive snort here] ONWHATPLANET??

And then to throw in EWE pointedly clued ("Animal whose name sounds like you?") as if it's pointing and laughing at us remedial kids? Not cool.

I love a good misdirect as much as the next fool, but every single one (and there seemed to be scads here) just flicked my nose and merrily scampered away like a cursed garden gnome.
Yeah, well it doesn't make any sense to me either!

Forget citing examples - too many.

At least I didn't quit or look stuff up, but 45mins on the Fridee is killin' me here! 😂 Quite the workout.


amyyanni 7:44 AM  

John Raitt had a great voice and appeared in a number of musicals. Also Bonnie's dad.
Liked this a lot. Agree, a plethora of names. WAG THE DOG is a cool inclusion.
Welcome back, Rex. Thought Colorado was under consideration as a future residence, no? TGIF, all.

Brad 7:47 AM  

To the bibliographic answer, those who have studied Latin will know that 'citato' cannot be used to modify 'opus,' which is in either the nominative or the accusative case. 'Citato' is either dative or ablative. Now, the clue specifies IN the work quoted, placing you squarely in ablative land. That leads to the ablative form of 'opus,' namely 'opere.'

Joaquin 7:47 AM  

Yep. The clue for 37D ("W.W. II aircraft carrier") has one word too many. There is also an armored vehicle that was used in W.W. II that was nicknamed the "Hellcat". Not to mention a pet I had some 40 years ago that was the cat-from-Hell.

GILL I. 8:01 AM  

With BEQ, it's simple....You either know ON WHAT PLANET he's on, or you are stuck on Mother Earth in a dark, dank, cave. I got stuck eating crow in a cave with some bats.
I'll start with 3D because I needed a drink. Man, I couldn't get Johnny Cochran out of my head. And then....I couldn't get "And if the globe don't fit, you must've quit." Who the hell was ALCOWLINGS? sez I...Oh...the driver. I sorta watched the hilarity of the trial.
I stopped counting the names I didn't know. Someone....please explain RANDO at 15A...If someone is conspicuously appearing at my party, I don't want his name to be RANDO.
APRIL THESES could've been June for all I knew. I had that Podcaster dude's name as MORON and thought: "Gee, if that were my name, I'd change it."
But did you get any of these? you ask. Well...I did get some of the long ones. I loved WAG THE DOG. What else? you ask....(sigh) I feel like a firedome DESOTO still rotting in my garage.

Ω 8:01 AM  

Hand up for the eyebrow arching so hard it’s nearly cracking. I thought maybe I was forgetting something, but as far as I can tell the HELLCAT is the plane and there’s no way to inflect or reparse “W.W..II aircraft carrier” to mean we are looking for a plane. @Anon6:22 is correct, make the clue “W.W.II carrier aircraft” and my eyebrows wouldn’t be hurting right now. Wondering if we are going to see a midday correction of the clue, again.

Otherwise pretty much what Rex said. From the “alrighty then, here we go” when I saw the byline to the Saturday time, to thoroughly enjoying 95% of the solve to one answer (clue, really) leaving a bit of a sour aftertaste. OPERE didn’t bother me too much. OP.cit., OPera, OPus, … so it was just the usual “what specific Latin spelling are we looking for” moment and OPERE looks Latiny enough.

Anyone else find it a wee bit ironic that a guy who has written a MEDIA BLOG for over a decade chafes at the term MEDIA BLOG?

Some RANDO showing up at the HS football PRO AM and then ESPN screaming YOU LIED TO ME has “Bishop Sycamore” written all over it. (unfamiliar with Bishop Sycamore? Google it and remember to laugh)

APRIL THESES over BEER COOLER looks like some sort of wry political commentary. Old Major should have had a BEER instead of making that speech.

Joaquin 8:07 AM  

Nobody ever said State Fair food was bargain-priced, but $12 for a rootbeer float seems excessive even for that venue. But ... maybe Rex's float was spiked - his float dance would seem to indicate that it could be.

Fellow Earthling 8:11 AM  

I hated every second of this puzzle. BEQ is at the top of my “puzzle constructors I don’t like” list. Maybe I’m just too much of a newbie at puzzles to get him. But it felt like waaaay too many proper names and obscure answers. Zero fun.

Conrad 8:16 AM  

bass before LEAD for the GUITAR at 17A
Like many others, Naticked at ILaNA (32D) crossing MaRON (38A)
APRIL THESES was a WOE, but getable
And, of course, I fell into the oahu/HILO and oreO/EGGO traps at 13A and 26D.

@kitshef: do yourself a favor and check out The Plantes by Gustav HOLST. Well worth the investment of an hour or so.

Rex Parker 8:22 AM  

You’re welcome 😇

Rex Parker 8:23 AM  


Ω 8:28 AM  

I hate to burst anyone’s bubble (“YOU LIED TO ME” they all cry) but the RhoRhoRho* comes in at a NYTX typical 21 of 72 for 29.2%. And it ain’t particularly modern, either. Bonnie RAITT’s dad, a 25 year old hit song lyric, an upstate New York city, Yoko ONO. OONA Chaplin (the younger or the elder? They didn’t go GoT on us so this could be the elder), the comedian with a world famous 12 year old podcast. There’s actually only 3 answers that are clued in a way to suggest it is the 21st century (Marc MARON, ADAM Kinzinger, and TENET). This is just typical NYTX RhoRhoRho that skews ever so slightly younger.

*RhoRhoRho is Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns as a percentage of the puzzle. anything over 33% will give some subset of solvers especially difficult solving experience while making the puzzle unusually easy for others.

bocamp 8:29 AM  

Thx Brendan & Paolo for an excellent, crunchy Fri. puz! :)

Med.+ unsolve.

Slow and steady got the job done, except for a careless error at the APRIL THESES / OPERE cross where I hadn't read the clue for 47A carefully enough to avoid going with THESIS instead of THESES. Was out to lunch on OPERE, so an 'I' or an 'E' was equally woeful.

Nevertheless, a most enjoyable challenge, and grateful I didn't have more than the one incorrect cell.

yd 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

TTrimble 8:46 AM  

I never look at the name(s) of the constructor(s) until after I've solved the puzzle, but now I see BEQ who is often mentioned here, teaming up with Paolo Pasco. I didn't find it easy, but enjoyed crossing the finish line.

Nice to see Rex in a good mood -- his bad moods being so often over the top bad. I continue to be amazed that he so easily finds his footing first thing in the NW; for me it was HOLST followed by a wait-and-see if it was LOLS (who writes that?) or LOLz -- Y'ALL seemed likely but I did not know the lyric for 20A. Then I pecked around in the east (which direction for me connotes 0 radians, not 0 degrees; more in a moment) starting with MOMS and MARON and continuing thence. I didn't know OPERE either, always just assuming it was "opus" or "opera" and not the ablative (or is it dative?). But hey, learn something new, and it's on me (similarly, on Rex) if I had never bothered to look it up before. He doesn't have much grounds for complaint, except that maybe he's appraising it from a constructor's POV and considers OPERE a shitty thing to foist on the audience. But I mean hey, it's a Friday: we deal with it.

An edge of annoyance with this would-be pandering to "the mathematicians". Why? It's a little hard to say. SET theory I was not expecting to see (I thought of pET theory first). That by itself is not annoying. It's that coupled with 0^o (zero degrees) whose answer is SINE that makes it sound more dorky than sophisticated. There's a subtle trap. When mathematicians hear talk of the SINE function, they're not thinking in terms of this Babylonian invention of degree measure, unless they're conversing with students who aren't used to radian measure yet. If I heard someone bandying about SET theory, I might be very pleased to continue on that level, but if I heard that same person change the subject over to the SINE function in terms of degrees, I'd suspect they were pretending to know more than they do. So, a slight eye roll at the constructors.

Now who's being over the top?* Don't answer. But it reminds me of a fellow parent from my daughter's dance studio who always wants to talk math with me. (N.B.: he's not a mathematician.) On some level it's sort of sweet and touching, and he seems dorkily enthusiastic, but he does go on a bit, and there's an underlying vibe that he thinks I'll enjoy talking with a fellow speaker of my language and that his conversational gambits will be interesting for me. I'll play the "yes, and" game for a while, but it soon gets tiresome. My wife asks me, "why does he talk about math all the time?" I don't know.

DINOS in CHINOs. I'm thinking now of the Flintstones' DOG named DINO, which rhymes with CHINO. Clearly, I need more sleep.

Is it AL COWLINGS or A.L. COWLINGS? For me, some RANDO name from the past that is impossible to cough up without assistance from crosses. Was he in the vehicle with O.J.? And does Rex actually remember all this stuff? (Then again, I'm bad with names.)

*SO LET IT GO, did I hear you say?

dbyd -2 (should've had them)
yd 0
td 0

Keith D 8:51 AM  

@Z, I assume today’s blog will forever put an end to your assertions that Rex doesn’t read the comments…

Mark 8:53 AM  

I don't know what it means to say that table salt is made of IONS. When it's on your table, salt is crystals of NaCl, not ions. Only when dissolved in water does it split into Na+ and Cl- ions. That is, "table" salt is not made of ions, except in the sense that everything is. Like HELLCAT, this should have been better.

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

Ditto @franticsloth
What a load of obscure ppp garbage
No sparkle, no aha moments, just obscure slog.
Ditto anonymous 6:22 re: Hellcat
Still waiting for a puzzle with 0 ppp, just real English words.

Ω 9:03 AM  

@TTrimble - Personally, I think foisting any and all bibliographic abbreviations and Latinisms on the solving audience is suboptimal, so that’s how I read Rex - “Hey constructors- don’t do this to your solvers!” As for the SINE clue, it is just one of the factoids (SINEtoids? Like Altoids without any mint) the cluer trots out to vary the cluing. Seems like there are about 4-6 SINEtoids in heavy rotation.
AL COWLINGS was the driver of the Bronco in that infamous broadcast live chase scene. Former crossword staple Lance Ito seems to have disappeared from the cluing rotation so it’s a bit of a non sequitur to see this blast from the OJ Murder Trial make an appearance.

pabloinnh 9:03 AM  

Don't you love it when someone's favorite band/song is someone/something you've never heard of? Neither do I. "Return of the Mack" sounded like an obscure Broadway play and when I finally figured out "YOULIEDTOME" it sounded like an obscure line from said play, and a line that did not deserve to be memorable. Big sheesh there for me.

NW corner was the brutal part of this one. I went through DENIM, KHAKI, and TWILL before even considering CHINO or LINEN. CHINO is OK, but LINEN pants have never graced my closet. OAHU and MAUI were not much help either, and CLAD took forever too. Needed pretty much his whole name to remember ALCOWLINGS.

OTOH, we did have a BEERCOOLER and I had a dear friend from UTICA. Liked John RAITT instead of the more obvious Bonnie, one of my all-time favorites.

Hand up for knowing the difference between a plane and an aircraft carrier. I mean, really.

So more of a feeling of "Well, I finished it" than "Boy was that fun". Tough stuff, BEQ and PP. Brought out Every Quadrant of Poor Pablo's thought process and was about as rewarding as finishing a sink full of dirty pots and pans.

Liz1508 9:04 AM  

Not one ounce of enjoyment. Too many proper names and obscure/incorrect clues. A real mishmash. Is it 100% luck when the casinos can set the payout percentage? Just wondering.
Very smart constructors don’t always equal good puzzles imo.

puzzlehoarder 9:04 AM  

Nice Friday puzzle. It offered a medium level of Saturday resistance. Partly this was due to the incorrect clue for HELLCAT. Luckily I'm familiar enough with WW II history to suspect the mistake as soon as the HE____ was in place. I blame the editor. Both of the constructor's are top notch and this was just the kind of puzzle I expected when I saw their names.

MARON was a gimme and I have some familiarity with ILANA. The piece of crosswordese I need to brush up on is OPERE. I had to reread the clue for 46A and change THESIS to THESES to get the congrats. By the time I recognized what the answer for the 46A clue should be I'd forgotten that the clue was plural. Part of the problem with OPERE is that four of its previous seven appearances in the NYTXW we're on Sundays which I am sure I didn't do. I just never cared for Sunday puzzles and avoided them for years, however, they are a real trove of crosswordese. I enjoy that stuff probably more than the average solver and I now do them regularly.

Birchbark 9:06 AM  

Of course OPERE was the highlight.

The words before "Yes, I cried, yes I cried" -- I thought it was "yes and his heart was going like mad." But those words precede the unpunctuated "yes I said yes I will Yes."

A screenshot early and even mid-solve would show lots of unconnected pockets of answers, nothing coherent enough to gain traction. But not frustrating. I didn't mind not knowing so many proper nouns, slang, etc. There was just enough in the crosses to know it would fall when the time was right, and so it did.

Rube 9:22 AM  

So once again as is the case with so many puzzles with lots of ppp, it comes down to who you are. For me, RAITT is a huge gimme, YOULIED... is totally obscure, and I should have gotten COWLINGS faster than I did.

Much substandard stuff like HELLCAT, but thats the challenge isn't it?

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

Agree with others,hellcat is an aircraft,not a ship….
Interesting combination of current stuff I don’t know of,(fluxus,..the Mack,tenet,Tim Robinson)
and old timer things(desoto,raitt,oona)
Overall,not fun for me,too tough.

pmdm 9:38 AM  

Seemed to me that there the puzzle contained more PPP than it did, but in all I prefer that to more rain, so I give the puzzle a questionable thumbs up.

Hope all who blog here were not adversely impacted by the torrents of rain from the hurricane (or the tornados touching down in rather unusual places). I remember driving to Watkins Glen on a day it suffered from flash flooding a few years ago, and the highway in front of the motel I stay had turned into a lake. Quite dangerous.

And for those further west, stay safe from the fires.

Nancy 9:40 AM  

I immediately thought 1A would be CLAD, but I couldn't confirm it with any of the Downs and didn't write it in. Is "Gah" DOH? I wouldn't have thought of them as being the same thing. Never heard of a RANDO, never heard of a one-INCH punch (better than a haymaker if you're on the receiving end, right?)

Since I've never felt that I'm on BEQ's wavelength, I knew I'd probably have to cheat. But it was only on TIM Robinson -- which I was about to guess anyway. Everything else I got cleanly, albeit with great effort.

ONO and OONA are in the same puzzle? Is that a first?

Since I never expect much in the way of correct grammar from a pop song lyric, I was predicting that 20A would be YOU deaD TO ME. I was so happy when it wasn't.

Best answer: WAG THE DOG. Best clue: "Line from a bit?"

Did any of you remember AL COWLINGS? And to think I devoted practically my entire life that year to watching the trial. The name came back to me only once I'd written it in. How quickly we forget. Okay, not "we". "I".

Too many names. Is it MIRON/ILINA or MARON/ILANA or MYRON/ILYNA. I forgot to look. Which shows how much I care. Still -- a good, crunchy puzzle that made me work.

Ω 9:40 AM  

@Keith D - I don’t read the Wall Street Journal. But sometimes something pops up from them on my Twitter Feed and I click on the link and read the article (that happened yesterday- although I might have gotten pay-walled*). Does my clicking on and reading a single article once every 10 months mean I read the Wall Street Journal? And really, why does it matter? If you really want to say something to Rex posting it here isn’t going to work. But he puts his email address right there on the blog and he’s actually pretty good about responding.

@Liz1508 - The “payout percentage” for flipping a coin is 50%. Whether or not any specific throw comes out “heads” is still “luck.” I take your meaning, though. The house always wins because their payout percentages are never 50-50. So whether or not I win is a matter of luck. Whether or not the casino profits is not. Which is why I have never understood the appeal of casinos. Poker I get, because there’s a combination of skill and luck involved. But casino games are just an application of the Skinnerian variable rate or reinforcement to generate profits for the casino.

*Which reminds me - I still can’t believe these outlets don’t do a per article fee. I’m not going to subscribe to the WSJ. But I’d happily pay a buck once or twice a year to read an article of special interest to me. Seems like a potential revenue stream newspapers are ignoring.

TTrimble 9:48 AM  

Yeah, I get all that. But

(1) I regard Latinisms as neither better nor worse than PPP or rap artists or O.J. accomplices or whatever. Just another item in the big grab-bag of knowledge that some people will know and some won't. A little harkening back to the standards of the Maleska era is entirely okay. Also, I don't mind learning something new about something I've seen for most of my life.

(2) Speaking of Latinisms, "___ qua non" would also be possible. Among other things. As to your comment: sure, obviously. I was describing my own emotional reaction (as people do here) to that particular coupling. Please feel invited to reread it that way, that the two clues put together carry a whiff of dorky pandering to math nerds.

In case it wasn't clear: I'd be nuts to insist that the NYTXW start saying "radians" instead of "degrees". Hope no one thought that was my myopic point.

TKL 9:52 AM  

Born and raised in Minnesota but longtime New Yorker. I sent my NY born and raised daughter to Carleton -- symmetry! Anyhow I do miss the best State Fair in America. Glad you got to enjoy it!

Brian S. 10:00 AM  

Same here. I kept thinking”Hellcatbis the plane carried, not the carrier”

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

Keieth D,
No one believes Rex doesn't read the comments. Tortured claims to the contrary are hardly persuasive. Funny, but in a sad sort of way.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

@Z. The RHO RHO RHO thing is too cute by several hundred per cent.

@TT. I don't buy your complaint. You seem to love an opportunity to wax pedantic.

thfenn 10:07 AM  

OK, so the usual 'yippee I did a friday' from me, and nods/hands up on the hellcat issue and denim/khaki first etc (tho Pablo while linen trousers wrinkle I'll just say I love mine), and yes to "too much PPP" tho thanks @Z for correcting my mistaken impression. But what hits me today is "Is that really Rex?". I mean, his MEDIABLOG kind of 'sounds' like him, but not really, and he's responding to comments??? (!!!).

jberg 10:08 AM  

I finally threw in the towel and looked up that Warner guy. He seems to be a prominent actor, but not one in anything I've ever seen, and I usually don't know actors names anyway. That let me see SLCA, CHINO, and that it was not a one-kick punch. I should have seen NEO anyway, but didn't. And when I finally looked up Mr. COWLINGS, I realized that those falls were not on a Hawai'ian island, but on baLi. DOH!

Then (or rather previously) IN sum had given me bass GUITAR, and I figured the elided pronoun would be he- or we'LL. Only after fixing all those could I work out the line from "Return of the Mack" (never heard it -- is it a song about a truck?) I didn't know RAITT either, but was on the verge of guessing it, thinking he might be Bonnie's ... son?

Amazingly, although I would have said I've never heard of him, I got Marc MARON from the R.

Also amazed that @Rex and others use op. cit. without knowing what is being abbreviated? How do you remember the difference between op. and loc. cit. then? OTOH, I had 4 years of HS Latin and wrote in OPERa. The last cross fixed that.

I did think HELLCATs were planes, but finally put it in. Thanks to all of you who explained what was wrong.

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

Re: sine

Think Horace--specifically the 24th ode from his third book.
Quid leges sine moribus vanae proficiunt.

Or think Penn. Leges sine moribus vanae.

Unlike some folks, I think Latin is pretty nearly optimal. Greek is better.
I don't know what a Latinism is. Does anyone?

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

Went to the Great MN Get Together on Wednesday as well. Glad you enjoyed it.

RooMonster 10:13 AM  

Hey YALL !
Was that your Go To Happy Dance, Rex? Extra points for the flourish of the spoon! 🎶Happy Happy Joy Joy - I got a Root Beer Float 🎶

Not completely terrible, as these two constructors are usually hand-rubbing diabolical in their clues. Only had to cheat for TENET, as not up on recent movies. Did realize I wanted to see it after I Googed it. But, memory like mine...

Nice stacks of Longs, starting in Row 3, with a 10, an 11, and a 12. (And its symmetric partner, of course.)

RANDO is informal for Random Person. You know, we American English speakers love shortening words. YALL knowwhatimean.

Liked it, seemingly impossible at first, but with the Check feature to ferret out wrongness, plus the ever-helpful WWW to look up anything that's ever happened or has ever been done all time, well, puzs don't stand a chance.

HELLCAT is also a 707 HP Dodge Challenger, which @Nancy would know immediately. (Har!) I kid @Nancy.

One F

MetroGnome 10:13 AM  

AL COWLINGS is too "offensive" for our sensitive natures, but Vladimir Lenin is simply a historical figure. Okay, sure. Makes sense.

Nancy 10:14 AM  

Re "Casino game that's 100% luck"* -- as far as I'm concerned, they ALL are! Which is why I don't gamble. Roulette: the wheel will do what the wheel will do and there's nothing you can do about it. Craps: the dice will do what the dice will do and there's nothing you can do about it. Even Blackjack -- yes, you can bet intelligently or you can bet stupidly, but in the final analysis the cards will do what the cards will do and there's nothing you can do about it.(Although I do know there are "card counters" who can skew the odds in their own favor, only now -- with 7 decks or whatever --, the casinos have pretty much eliminated the card counters.)

*My father did, however, agree with this clue. He instructed my mother never to play the SLOTS and when at age 16, I was going to be in Vegas for three days, he told me before I left never to play the slots either. It's not that he thought the gambler stood any real chance in the other games; it's just that he felt that SLOTS were a real sucker game.

TTrimble 10:15 AM  

@Anonymous 10:01 AM
Assuming that's the case, sorry to intrude on your turf.

Joe Dipinto 10:20 AM  

HOLST crossing ON WHAT PLANET. Yeah, okay, we get it.

jae 10:21 AM  

Toughish. More like a medium Saturday. Fortunately some of the PPP was familiar...HOLST, ILANA, TIM, MARON (he was excellent in the Netflix series “Glow” which apparently is not coming back)... I had that “I might not solve this” feeling for a while, which is a good thing.

A fine crunchy Friday from a pair of PROs, liked it a bunch.

MetroGnome 10:25 AM  

. . . and oh, by the way: "Mack" is a well-known and longstanding street term for "pimp" (not so subtly implied in the song's lyrics: "So I'm back up in the game / Running things to keep my swing / Letting all the people know /
That I'm back to run the show . . . ") So where are our "woke" sensibilities hiding this time?

jazzmanchgo 10:32 AM  

@Nancy -- I know a woman who's a former FBI special agent. She's told me that before she acquired some health problems that made travel difficult, she often went to Las Vegas to gamble, and because of her background, the mobsters who run the casinos knew her very well. They made sure to guide her to one of the few slot machines in the house programmed to pay off well and often (yes, it can be done, and it's a service reserved for "special" guests). She won big money every time she went.

Carola 10:32 AM  

Tough. I was more relieved than happy to finish, such delights as ON WHAT PLANET and CLOSE-UP MAGIC being outweighed by the ton of things I had no idea about. Still, I appreciated the nice touch of crossing HOLST with the reference to PLANET (@Conrad 8:16) and the parallel MEDIA BLOG and SIDE SHOW; and it was fun to write in KRILL and PRUDENT, know that my memory could come up with John RAITT, and correctly guess OPERE.

@Son Volt 7:04 - Thank you for pointing out BEER COOLER over UTICA - when I was in high school, "Going to UTICA" meant going out drinking at the so-named Wisconsin crossroads sprinkling of dwellings where there was also a tavern. I never went, being too nerdy and dorky and, I guess, sensible, but even now when I hear UTICA, I think BEER.

Help from previous puzzles: MARON, RANDO, and SET as clued. Do-over: bass GUITAR. No idea: AL COWLINGS, YOU LIED TO ME, ILANA, HELLCAT (nice crossing the DOG phrase), and APRIL THESES.

Gio 10:47 AM  

Ha! First time Rex responds to a post here in years, and it was mine!
That made my day!! Those of you reading on PC, he didn't put @Gio but it appears as reply to my post.

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

Gio —

I didn’t read Rex’s blog for the February, 2020, puzzle you mentioned, but I remember doing that puzzle. I would not have gotten ALCOWLINGS today but for that earlier puzzle,

Nancy 10:55 AM  

@jazzmanchgo (10:32) -- Maybe I should join the FBI?

Mary McCarty 10:56 AM  

Reverse Rex’s takes on the rap song and OPERE, and you’ve got my review. What x-word fan doesn’t know OPus and OPERa, and getting the final -E from WE’RE is just a tiny delay. The Return of the Mack OTOH is something I could be happy never having heard.
WAG THE DOG is a great answer, but the clue is off (tho not any as much as HELLCAT’s, sufficiently noted here that I’ll definitely know it next time). WAG THE DOG refers to a diversion that is *significantly less significant* than the issue being obscured or diverted-from. Because it’s the *tail* doing the wagging. Clue should have included something to that effect, otherwise it’s no different from “whataboutism” or just plain ole spin.

Hartley70 11:00 AM  

Thank God for RAITT. Otherwise I was sure I’d misplaced my mind in the night. I’m much relieved to read that Rex et al found this challenging too. BTW, @Rex, did ya hang with @George? I miss him here.

I loved most of the long answers once I had enough crosses to see them. But DOH..., ALCOWLINGS and APRILTHESES. were too tough to be fun. WAGTHEDOG was cute but I feel like it was a movie I didn’t see. But @Gill, RANDO was my favorite answer! I’d like to sit next to him, please.

Whatsername 11:06 AM  

Yikes! This seemed like it WENT AFAR and away at trying hard to be difficult. Just finished my coffee but after that workout, I feel more like I’m ready for a cold one out of the BEER COOLER. LOL.

I enjoyed the Minnesota Root Beer Shuffle and feel honored to bask in the glow of not one but two visits from 0FL this morning.

ADAM Kinzinger and I, WE’RE on a first name basis. He emails me regularly. Usually to say I WANT MORE money.

Y’ALL have a great weekend, ya hear.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

I don't believe a word you wrote. And if it were true your friend would not only be a cheat, but guilty of several felonies.

JD 11:10 AM  

My solving experience is based on the things I don't know, sort of know, know too much about, and can or can't puzzle out. They each can elicit varying degrees of emotion on a scale ranging from resentment to joy. Hell Cats was sort of a know as in, "Not a plane? Or a plane and a carrier? Ok."

Set Theory is a thing I know of, but nothing about. Sort of know?

For the rest of thing I was wading waist deep in the joy end of the scale. Lead Guitar, You Lied To Me, On What Planet, Sole Tit Go, Close Up Magic, April Theses. Joy at Wag The Dog because I loved the movie. How can you pack that many great answers close together between those little black-square steps? Ran up and down throwing in letters.

Clever cluing too, like Lead Guitar. Oh you kid.

Had the same thought as @Nancy with Oona and Ono and at Casino Game thought, "All of them?"

@Z, Are you sure you want to can PPP? I get it, but this could have a New Coke affect.

JC66 11:16 AM  

Agree that the clue for HELLCAT is off; the carrier was called a FLATTOP (and it fit).

Teedmn 11:22 AM  

HELL no, this was not easy. I put 3 times my usual Friday solve time into it and had to leave, come back, cross out most of 20A, most of the NW and start over. (CHINO might have been jeaNs?) Finally, I saw TIE UP for 5D, IN ALL fell and then I knew what planet I was on. But phew, I was worried there for a moment - I cheated last Saturday and I was NOT going to do that again but really, one quarter of the puzzle was unfinished and that hasn't happened since the early aughts when the puzzles were harder and I was a newbie at solving.

After I finished, I saw who the constructors were and got my LOLS - har, no wonder I found it tough. BEQ tends to use PPP I don't know and Paulo is always doing CLOSE UP MAGIC in his grids.

Still, a DNF at APRIL THESiS crossing OPiRE. The way the 47A clue was written, with collection being singular, had me thinking the 10 essays created a single thesis. Oh well.

Loved the clue for 28A - Filter feeder's fodder certainly trips off the tongue nicely.

Thanks BEQ and Paolo Pasco! Tough Friday!

dramawritcomp 11:28 AM  

Still recovering from the shock of coming to the blog yesterday morning and finding no blog. Welcome back, Rex. Glad you had time for a root beer so good it made you want to dance. Remember that root beer the next time a crossword puzzle upsets you, which will probably be tomorrow.

Today’s puzzle was a TOUGH COOKIE. Stumbled through the grid with nary a letter in place. Finally got some traction in the SE and worked my way back up from there. Got all but the E in the OPERE/THESES cross. A lot of the solve was due to lucky guessing. MARON? ILANA? KRILL? HOLST? RAITT? I did enjoy ON WHAT PLANET and RANDO.

EWE LIED TO ME. Was that the song Rex was dancing to at the State Fair?

thaw 11:29 AM  

you are correct. incorrect cluing or word order slipup. 'aircraft carrier' instead of 'carrier aircraft'.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Thank you Mr. Parker, for you work and for inciting a drool that only comes from State Fair Food! The thought of anyplace but inside a small room is pure heaven. Lucky you!
Many thanks to Brad @7:42. Veritatem fratribus testari.

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

A possible theory on Z's term Latinism.
He's often mocked answers which call for a pope. He derides them as random popes. But that's a cover. I know he's actually fan. How?
Today is the feats of St. Gregory I. One of only three popes who get the honorific "Great" after their name. ( Leo I, and Nicholas I are the others)
In any event Gregory was a former Prefect of Rome who became a Benedictine monk became the Pope. Out of the ruins of the ancient Roman world, Gregory the Great drew the blueprints for medieval Christendom, re-orienting western civilization to the precepts of God.
Anyway, that's one theory about the term Latinism. There's no way the erudite Z used the word Latinism on the feast day of both a pope and quintessential Roman saint. Thanks for the reminder Z!

Donnie Jarold 11:39 AM  

Streak breaker. Did not like.

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

On no planet is a Grumman F4F Hellcat an aircraft carrier.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

I fear the editor failed us. 37D should read:

37. W.W. II carrier aircraft

jb129 11:56 AM  

Too much of a struggle for me. What's Krill?

Glad you're back, Rex. Now they can bash you again!

Masked and Anonymous 12:02 PM  

Feisty FriPuz. BEQ almost always serves up some names and music-related stuff that I ain't hip to. And whoops he did it, again. No biggie, I just Google the daylights out of the puppy. Still had some fun. The clues alone were worth the price of admission.

fave fillin: R AND O.
staff weeject pick: DOH. Hard to beat a good, solid {"Gah!"} clue, right outta the puz chute.

Thanx for gangin up on us, and for all the LOLS, BEQ & PP dudes.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

p.s. Welcome home, @RP. Minnesota is indeed a cool place. Part of M&A's northern roots. Probably woulda eventually moved to Minneapolis, if I hadn't married a southern belle. Go Twins/Vikes. btw: Are Y'ALL offerin $10k bounties on any of yer fave xword entries, yet? [shiver]


Whatsername 12:03 PM  

@Z (9:40) Re the per-article publication FEE . . . exactly! And that is my reaction every time I encounter one of those annoying pay walls. “NO, I don’t want a subscription but I would pay a nominal charge for this one article if you’d give me that option.” Seems obvious to me.

@Nancy (10:14) I had the same reaction as you did to the clue for a SLOTS. What casino game is not 100% luck? Card games like poker do require skill but the outcome is still pretty much dependent on the luck of the draw.

@TTrimble (10:15) LOLS!

PhysGraf 12:19 PM  

RANDO = Unknown "random" person

Masked and Anonymous 12:28 PM  

The Quigleymeister has done an astonishin number of NYTPuzs [189]. And quiet a few NYTPuz collaborations [19], too boot. One that surprised m&e to learn about was a 21 Feb 2004 hook-up that gave him Patrick Berry Usage Immunity, for every single entry in the puz.

M&A Archives Desk

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

@Metrognome = Sorry to step all over your faux outrage, but mack means seduction / chasing after women. Back to the Mack means simply to go back to chasing after women.

David 12:51 PM  

Deeply unpleasant —an onslaught of missed cues and the kind of obscure, uninteresting PPP that feels like a personal insult.

What? 12:51 PM  

Re SLOTS. I remember something about Craps where you can bet with the House. How does that work in the casino’s favor? Anyone?

albatross shell 12:59 PM  

RANDO. Random person, perhaps one of the nameless masses. I think some of the folks who never heard of it this time also never heard of it last time. But I would never demean people with memory lapses (cuz I never met a name I couldn't forget) or with a prejudice against learning certain things (cuz there some things I would prefer not to remember but that is much harder for me).

HELLCAT be it plane, woman, or devil's spawn is a great answer. How can you blow the clue? I didn't really mind but still.

Did I ever tell you how much I enjoy Rex's old paperback covers? I hope so. The review today had a cherry on top and at the bottom. The inbetween was OK, but who cares with the HELLCAT and the film clip.

Took me too long: ROAD REIN (loved both clues) NW corner (had to solve from the NE corner west and get ONWHATPLANET to get the correct fabrics) DINOS SINE ONO IONS

Stuff I got qUickly or with few or no crosses: WAGTHEDOG (I don't see it as stale atALL) SIDESHOW, SE CORNER, PETE ADAM CLOSEUPMAGIC OONA LEADGUITAR, NE corner, STORAGEFEE, mideast.


Touch of green watercolor: BEERCOOLER (UTICA added a splash of chartreuse) STORAGEFEE (got it off the easy FEE so pleased me anyway).

Would of liked MyRON ILyNA but knew the A was more likely so tried it first. Final letter.

Anonymous 1:02 PM  

You can't bet with the house in craps.

This is made very clear on the table itself. Look for the words “bar 12" next to both Don't Pass and Don't Come. That means that when you make those bets and a come-out 12 is rolled, you have your bet returned but do NOT win your bet.

Compare that to how the house fares against a Pass/Come bettor. The house gets paid on a come -out 12. There is no “bar 12" on Pass/Come.

Even though that's the ONLY difference between a player making a Don't bet, and the house against a Do bettor, it makes ALL the difference. If it were not for "bar 12″ on Don'ts, the player would have an advantage over the house, which would be unacceptable to the casino.

old timer 1:11 PM  

This was, as a character in one of the Rumpole shows once said, a "Royal balls-up" for me. I had to look up TIM Robinson and the notorious AL COWLINGS. I figured he was Black, and obviously not Cochran or the bumbling black assistant DA, but I totally forgot who drove the Bronco. Now if you to ask me about all theM other minor characters in the OJ saga, I would have an answer for you, but COWLINGS could have been Joe Bleaux for all I remembered. The lesson of that trial, for me, is that when the cops behave like criminals, sometimes a guilty man is acquitted -- if he has a good lawyer, at least. The other lesson: If, in that era, the scientific evidence was questionable, you really wanted Barry Scheck as your lawyer. He gave the very best closing argument in the trial. And a very good man, too -- director of the Innocence Project, which uses science to get wrongful convictions set aside.

My last answer was SLOTS. I had Lotto for a while. Slot machines are 100% luck in any given play, but not luck at all in the long run. They will give the casino a predetermined percentage of wins, depending on the configuration of the wheels. And I seriously doubt any casino has a machine intended to give the customer an edge. Slot players are a determined bunch and talk a lot among themselves, and if such a machine existed, word would get out. You can win at 21 with strategic betting and card counting, but if you want an enjoyable experience, I recommend craps. You can play for a couple of hours and not lose much, and if you are lucky, you can play for 45 minutes and end up ahead, betting with the house. I've done that once or twice.

Matt 1:21 PM  

"F6F", "Grumman of yesteryear" "Midway flattop flier" "Aidcot rap" "Shakespeare's Katherine, for one", so many good clues available for HELLCAT. Maybe the clue was supposed to be "WWII carrier aircraft" and a zealous proofreader transposed it? I know I'm piling on but this was an opportunity missed.

Masked and Anonymous 1:31 PM  


The older slot machines had real reels, where you could see several symbols on each physical reel, after each spin. Once upon a long ago time, while stayin overnight at the MGM Grand, M&A actually played a SLOT there long enough to map out each of its reels, and thereby figure out the house's odds. Not too bad … it came out with a 96% expectation. [U'd get 96 cents back on each $1 investment, over time.] Math majors like M&A can get pretty nerdy, at times, with nuthin better to do. And it was only a nickel SLOT, as I recall.

Newer SLOTS seem to be all electronic, with no physical reels. Kinda hard to trust that kinda setup.

@What? -- yep. As others have mentioned, the Don't Pass Line looks like U R bettin with the house at the craps table, but that "Bar boxcars" escape clause gives em their edge right back.
Lotsa folks do bet the "Don't Pass", tho, when Rodney Dangerfield is the shooter.

M&A Help Desk

Doc John 1:37 PM  

Not one of my favorite Fridays, and I'm usually really happy with BEQ's offerings. Lots of nice and interesting fill but a couple things ruined it for me:
I'm surprised that Rex didn't point out the huge MARON/ILANA Natick, as well as the cold/COOLER clue/fill mix.
This square in the Mississippi area:
(I suppose it was the OPERE that really did it. Seriously, WTF?)

Tim Carey 1:39 PM  

That's where I quit... I had the L, the G, and the A so the answer was lead guitar, but A GUITAR IS NOT A SOLOIST. A soloist is a PERSON not an INSTRUMENT. The main difference between Weds and Fri is BAD CLUES.

Doc John 1:40 PM  

And seriously, no reference to SIDESHOW Bob?

Ω 1:43 PM  

@Anon10:01 - Personally I’d have gone with “too annoying by half” but I’ll take “cute.”
@JD - I figure it’s a good inside joke for three days max.

@Anon11:34 - You caught me. I absolutely have all the feast days memorized and at my immediate disposal for sly allusions. 🤣😂🤣

@TTrimble - ____ qua non is definitely in the rotation. FWIW, I’ll take bibliographic abbreviations or full terms over RhoRhoRho any day of the week.

@MetroGnome - What @Anon12:31 said. The “pimp” meaning is out there, but isn’t the more common one or what the song is about (as the clue should have told you)

Anonymous 1:44 PM  

Scheck's a creep. He's a great advocate. But he's an immoral creep.
How he got the Simpson jury jury to believe a vast conspiracy had rendered the DNA evidence hopelessly contaminated is one of jurisprudence's great mysteries. Setting aside those wild nutty conspiracy theories, he flat out mispresented factualmatters regarding the DNA evidence ( and other things). That the State was derelict in challenging Scheck says more about them than it does about Barry Scheck.

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

Hmm, looks like someone didn't get it. That is ego.

AC/DC 2:14 PM  

@TTrimble, ALCOWLINGS is also A.C. Cowlings which I could NOT seem to give up until I decided the falls had to be at HILO. I swear I tend to remember him as A.C. during the Bronco footage. Anyway, as I rapidly went through the comments I didn’t see anyone else say they made my mistake (or is it?).

Phil 2:16 PM  

thought UMA Thurman and OOmA chaplin were identical phonetically. So those personal name crossings did me in.
OOMA crossing ILANA?? crossing MARON??

Rube 2:19 PM  

You are right...
as long as 100% = pretty much.

Rube 2:22 PM  

Oh my most definitely can bet with "the house". you can bet don't pass which wins when the shooter craps out. Of course the payout is less than the mathematical probability would indicate because while you can bet with the house that doesn't mean you beat the house

mathgent 2:27 PM  

Hated it. I had to look up ALCOWLINGS to finish. And very little fun.

@M&A(1:31). I did the same thing you did with a slot machine once and came to the same conclusion. Their take was not excessive.

It took a long time to figure out the composition of symbols on the three reels. Casino employees came up to me sitting at a machine with my clipboard and inquire. They didn't mind.

I didn't understand the clue for 28A. I learned that KRILL are a type of fish called "filter feeders" because of how they get their food.

mathgent 2:41 PM  

Why did I need a (big) cheat to solve? I just counted up my mystery clue-entries. 25 out of 72. 20 or more is my usual limit.

mathgent 2:46 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

Joaquin (8:07)
Mark (8:53)
M&A (1:30))

JeremyS 3:04 PM  

Absolutely Naticked at OONA/OPERE. An O would have been about my 5th guess for that letter.

Anoa Bob 4:27 PM  

Any puzzle that comes with its own BEER COOLER can't be all bad. But there were some rough edges here and there. The 34 black squares, pinched-off corners and a PLETHORA of shorter stuff put a damper on my solve buzz. Couldn't help but notice the reliance on the plural of convenience (POC) to get it filled, especially the two for one POCs at the ends of SLOT/LOL, GENIE/DINO and USER/SR. The committee is still deliberating about the POC status of the CERT/WET ending.

So some nice stuff, with ON WHAT PLANET ABUTting Gustave HOLST being my favorite. But all the names had me thinking O NO. That ILANA, MARON, OONA, OPERE get together was especially tough. Kinda made EELER look good. And don't Y'ALL agree that AL COWLINGS is beyond the pale for any day of the week?

Ω 4:46 PM  

@Tim Carey - metonymy. Like calling someone in an orchestra “First Chair.”

@JeremyS and others - Remember OONA Chaplin. They (there are two of them - no - really - two of them) are the Yoko Ono’s of the Chaplin family.

@mathgent - Aren’t KRILL eaten by “filter feeders,” like whales?
@jb129 - small sea creatures. I think whales eat a prodigious amount of KRILL each day.

@Everyone’s favorite Anon - I’m pretty sure everyone who visits regularly knew it was you from the first sentence when you showed that you confused the complaint about random roman numerals with some imaginary complaint about popes. I’m sure some were wondering where you’ve been (mods got your tongue?) but I think the overwhelming sentiment was a sense of relief at your absence.

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov 4:50 PM  

Rex's posts as read on the PC are in chronological order. On a phone there is a reply prompt. When you read the comments on the phone, the reply is entered right under the comment you replied to.

Gio 5:15 PM  

@Z Anon Troll had not posted in a bit because he was busy getting ready to celebrate. It is , after all, the Feats of St. Gregory today and it's blasphemous that you didn't know that. We have Papa Great Greg to thank for the superiority of Western Civilization.

MarthaCatherine 5:38 PM  

This one had me cheating and cheating and cheating (I'm so ashamed). Google was my friend today. And even with that...

At every site that presented the lyrics of Return of the Mack (which I'd never heard of and I don't know if Mack is a pimp or a player), the words preceding Yes, I cried, yes I cried" (with or without the extra comma [or missing comma]) were "I'd die for you."

Which fit. So.

Who is the greater sinner here? Myself for cheating and depending on an unreliable source? The lyrics provider for being incorrect in their presentation of the words of this (apparently famous) song? The puzzle author for including a completely incorrect clue? (HELLCAT? HELLO!?) Can anyone provide the proper lyrics?

Cheaters never prosper. Lesson learned. Take the DNF and go home, Martha.

DGD 5:46 PM  


foxaroni 5:50 PM  

Didn't Maron Rando play Don Corleone in "The Godfather?"

By coincidence, I watched "Tenet" last night, so that was easy. I have never heard, seen or read the word Rando used anywhere at any time. And, I hope to never hear, see or read it again.

A big DNF on this puzzle.

Raphael 6:01 PM  

The nice thing about 0 is that it's the same in degrees or radians :-)

Anonymous 8:49 PM  

Well, not entirely. But, yeah, mostly.
Unhappy with Western civ? Head to China. Or Afghanistan.

albatross shell 8:55 PM  

I didn't say it but when I finally saw COWLINGS I had AC in fora time. 4 or 5 fabrics in that corner too.

BDL in PS 9:28 PM  

According to my Google maps Waianuenue Falls is on the island of Kauai. There is a Waianuenue Avenue in Hilo, but no falls.

Unknown 9:38 PM  

Putting aside the percentages that Z comes up with (based on I'm not sure what), there did seem to be a lot of proper nouns, and of course, if the names are long, they take up a lot of space and control a lot of the XW territory and have a big impact on the perceived difficulty of the puzzle.

The MARON - ILANA cross just seemed unfair.

I liked WAGTHEGOD and ONWHATPLANET, but they were not enough.

Anonymous 9:43 PM  

Lots of PPP I didn't know, especially since I'm not a consumer of current media (although, as has been pointed out, many of the PPP answers were far from current, but no less obscure)

As an aerospace engineer and history buff, was confused by the 37D clue and answer since I knew HELLCAT as a plane, but not a carrier.

And no, slots are not random. The house can select the payout, which means they are not random. And nowadays with computers controlling them) they are explicitly not random.

But other than the names, I fond most of the fill easier than yesterday (don't know why, but Thursdays are my worst day of the week (more so than Friday and Saturday even)

stephanie 10:32 PM  

welp, can't win 'em all. or even solve more than the ME & SE on my own today, apparently. if the PPP gods were with me yesterday, they took today off. which is bound to happen of course. this puzzle frustrated me because i just had that sense that if i could get my brain to work, the answers would be things i know. but now looking back over the puzzle, a lot of it has me like "nope, never would have got that" or "huh? i guess..." (CLOSE UP MAGIC)

got jebaited with the long fills - actually knew most (except APRIL THESES - even with google and wikipedia i came up empty until the crosses gave me enough to guess) and thought that would help me, but alas they did not. (return of the mack is a classic!) even when i caved and went to google for a few answers after 2+ hours, somehow they didn't help me with any crosses at all, making it all the more frustrating. eventually i prevailed, open-book-test style in just over 3 hours but...yikes. definitely had MINE before MORE and agree it would have been a better answer. ("gimme" to me says you haven't gotten any yet, but i can see how that's not the only read.) the bowling clue was lame, and the "N" from my "MINE" guess kept me away from seeing the obvious LEAD GUITAR for far too long. didn't know the congressman or the broadway actor so it was basically a lost cause up there on my own. MEDIA BLOG is bad. i wanted something like FANDANGO. definitely had a DOH moment at UTICA since just yesterday i guessed that very town incorrectly. today was the day and i had no idea until very, very late in the game.

i remember when i was a kid, my mom always had CERTS on hand, and somehow we learned there was this "trick" you could do where if you crunched them up in the dark you could see little neon green sparks. (this was before the internet so i'm not even sure how this info was acquired.) we did it the bathroom at home in front of the mirror. it was true!

also from the mom memory bank, dr. DESOTO was one of my most favorite books as a kid, and i even had the book on tape that my mom graciously played for me countless times any time we went somewhere in the car. just bought a fresh copy for my bff's new baby.

stephanie 10:40 PM  

@Z you're forgetting ilana GLAZER, costar and cocreator of broad city :)

stephanie 10:52 PM  

@Nancy exactly my thought process when filling in SLOTS and why i don't gamble either, or see the appeal. my partner's coworkers go down to the casinos all the time though, and once i got a free brandy new crockpot out of the deal, an unwanted casino gift of some kind. that's the kind of RANDO luck i'll take instead.

stephanie 11:02 PM  

think very tiny shrimp. i actually had ALGAE first, as i happened to be watching an aquarium while i was solving and was thinking too small.

stephanie 11:09 PM  

@MetroGnome and "pimp" doesn't always mean a literal pimp. many men have fancied themselves "pimps" simply meaning they think of themselves as "alphas" that get a lot of women (or like to try). you really thought you got 'em but your attempt fell way short. rip.

the mack daddy'll make ya JUMP JUMP, the daddy mack'll make ya JUMP JUMP, kriss kross will make ya...

Dave S 12:33 AM  

I tend to not think of myself as that much older than Rex, as we usually share cultural references (and it drives me nuts when he complains about the use of ones he doesn't know). But now I know I'm old, since Return of the Mack rang no bells, not when I read it, not when I listened to it, not when I read the Mark Morrison bio, not ever. OTOH, "actor John of Broadway's Carousel" jumped right into place. But the answer to the Mack clue still came together when I had enough crosses, and all in all it was a very good, pretty well challenging puzzle. I liked the Lenin answer and (especially) "show of hands", along with the appearance of rando, which came with not too much trouble. So maybe I'm not sooo old, or maybe the term is already as outdated as I am.

ALPAPilot 4:59 AM  

World War II aircraft carrier that is seven letters and starts with H? That would be the USS Hancock CV-19. Gah! Doh Aww?????? Maron? above Oona crossed by Ilasna??? Raitt? This is all just crap. It's a crossword, can we not leave out the gutteral utterances? I guess no one cares any longer.

Robert Berardi 9:59 AM  

A couple years back I took a ferry to the Isle of Man. I vaguely expected to hear some kind of traditional Manx music, but, stepping ashore, I was pleasantly surprised to hear “Return of the Mack”.

MetroGnome 10:28 AM  

@Stephanie -- I understand that perfectly. I have no problem with "Mack," "Mack Daddy," or any other vernacular term like that. But a lot of our virtue-signaling purists get their undies in a knot every time a word, phrase, or reference occurs that could even remotely be considered offensive. That ws my point -- where are the self-righteous finger-waggers when we [don't] need 'em?

stephanie 12:17 PM  

@MetroGnome i guess my confusion stemmed from your assertion that the lyrics prove he was talking about returning to his career as a literal pimp. but if the entire comment is just satire, something that you're saying one of these "virtue signaling purists" would say and not something you actually believe, i misunderstood & my reply was misplaced.

personally i haven't seen many of those comments (in my admittedly and comparatively limited time here) - although i have seen the perhaps adjacent "i don't like this and i'm offended because things that appear in the crossword from outside my realm of knowledge are newfangled and beneath me" types. the "what has this world come to" pearl clutchers. thankfully a very very small margin tho.

there was also that time recently rex said he couldn't stand to see any more clues related to the military (i believe this was about "fire power"), that was pretty funny. and i don't understand the outrage-lite over al cowlings either. (it's fine if you think the clue is obscure PPP and dislike it for that reason, but being personally offended about seeing the man's name i don't get.) there are certainly names i wouldn't relish seeing in a crossword, but with the number of PPP clues in a standard puzzle i think you'd be hard pressed to find and use only flawless examples (especially when taking into account historical figures). the cluing more than the answer would be the determining factor for me.

Mickey Bell 7:01 AM  

Marion’s podcast is great.

Hosebagman 5:40 PM  


And crossing them is downright rude!

Unknown 10:22 AM  

Not familiar with the song, I listened/watched the insert with Return of the Mack. And it seems to me the clue was correct. The singer sings Yes pause I cried pause yes I cried.

Claire 10:59 AM  

I entered Myron, and figured Ilyna could easily be a name.

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