Berry farm eponym / THU 10-21-21 / Clueless about current trends / French city nicknamed the capital of Flanders / Scoreboard numbers when a baseball team puts up a picket fence / Word in a Shakespearean incantation / Type of angular momentum in physics

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Constructor: Michael Lieberman

Relative difficulty: Medium (tough to get that first themer, possibly ... then easy)


THEME: What lies beneath ... — theme answers are all phrases that follow a "___ UNDER ___" pattern, where the "under" is represented literally, i.e. the first part of the phrase is literally found under the second part:

Theme answers (all these answers are Downs, so you're going to have to tilt them using the power of your imagination ... or, you know, just look at the actual grid, above):
  • "living under a rock" becomes AROCKLIVING (3D: "Clueless about current trends")
  • "crack under pressure" becomes PRESSURECRACK (17D: "Choke")
  • "drink under the table" becomes THETABLEDRINK (8D: "Take more shots than")
  • "testify under oath" becomes OATHTESTIFY (24D: "Give a sworn statement in court")
Word of the Day: Jimmy COBB (9A: Jazz drummer Jimmy) —
Wilbur James Cobb (January 20, 1929 – May 24, 2020) was an American jazz drummer. He was part of Miles Davis's First Great Sextet. At the time of his death, he had been the band's last surviving member for nearly thirty years. He was awarded an NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship in 2009. (wikipedia)
• • •

Clever theme, though once you crack it, man those themers are easy to get. I spent half my time (probably) on that first themer, particularly the latter part of it, over there in the west. I don't remember exactly what tipped me to the gimmick, but once I did, I was able to fill in all the other themers except the PRESSURE one (seemed like you could do a lot of verbs under pressure ... break, maybe? Anyway, I waited for crosses to help me). Oh, no, now I remember what tipped me. I had A ROCK and no idea what was going on—I thought maybe the puzzle was going to be inventing weird words, and that the A- was a prefix meaning "not" (as in "amoral"), and then, well, god knows what the imaginary word was going to be. But I couldn't get enough of the latter part of the themer for a while because even though HIVE and WIN were right, I couldn't confirm them with crosses. Totally forgot William SHAWN, whom I always picture in my head as Wallace SHAWN (from "Princess Bride," among other things), and there was no way I was going to get PIXIE from 32D: Kind of short cut, so I just flailed a bit. The key, it turns out, was getting 27A: Things you saw while asleep? (LOGS). Didn't get it at first pass, and didn't relook at it for a while, but when I finally did, I had -OGS, which clearly made the answer LOGS, which gave me L-V-N- after A ROCK, and then the theme concept jumped out at me. "Living under a rock." LIVING under A ROCK. Got it. That was pretty much the struggle in its entirety today. 


I know that the puzzle is going to make use of brand names and mostly I don't have a problem with that, but somehow splashing PRIME VIDEO across the top of my grid really put me off. No shilling for awful exploitative monopolies run by narcissistic sociopathic multi-billionaires. So no Facebook either. It's bad enough that the puzzle is basically a full-time Apple advertisement, you don't have to go making depressingly ubiquitous corporations your marquee fill. Also repulsive: PALIN, but I'm somehow not as disgusted by her as I am by someone with actual power. She's a clown, and a bygone one at that. I wouldn't put her in a grid, for any reason, but if you think you need her, go ahead, I guess. I did a puzzle with DJT in it yesterday and that wrecked the solving mood far far more than PALIN did here today. GO FOR A WALK has big EAT A SANDWICH energy, but I think it actually holds up as a stand-alone answer and seems less like a random phrase the more I stare at it. TAKE A WALK works better, but ... It's fine. It's also good advice. GO FOR A WALK


Do people outside California really know KNOTT's Berry Farm? (34D: Berry farm eponym). I know it only (literally, exclusively) as a theme park in southern California that I went to maybe once as a kid. That is all that I know about it. Is it really a farm? Is it really crossword-famous? I have no idea. I just felt bad for millions of solvers as I wrote it in easily. Seems like a pretty regionally niche answer, but maybe I'm wrong. I don't think anyone actually says "AH, ME" (38A: Words said with a sigh) and wish that answer would go away permanently, as ADIT and ESNE and other crosswordese we don't need anymore have done. Speaking of crosswordese, GBS is George Bernard Shaw, kids. Back in the day, literary monograms were all the rage. You'd see TSE and GBS and RLS and EAP riding around the grid in their CIERAs and their ALEROs just whooping it up ... Kind of pushing the outer limits of monogram content today with GBS *and* RBG, but shrug, oh well, small answers, no big deal. My last answers were LOOTS / OAR—Double misdirection! The "sacks" (in 47D: Sacks) weren't paper and the "bank" (in 52A: It may be used to get away from a bank) wasn't full of money. A double aha to end the solve. Happy to finish this one feeling something other than PALE and WEARY. Enjoy your Thursday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. the "Shakespearean incantation" is "Double, double TOIL and trouble / Fire burn and caldron bubble" (from Macbeth). Maybe like me you (mis-)remember it as "Boil, bubble, TOIL and trouble." If it got you the right answer, that's all that matters.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

132 comments:

Conrad 5:40 AM  


I knew it was Thursday so some trickery had to be afoot. Looking at the grid, it became apparent that the trickery was in the long downs. So I solved without looking at the long down clues. Whatever letter looked like it should go in there went in there, and I had to make a few corrections to make words, but I didn't get the theme until I read Rex. My biggest hang-ups were the crossing pair PARKOUR and RAGER. I know the words, at least to some extent, but they didn't pop out at me from the clues. Overall, easy-medium.

David Sinclair 5:46 AM  

Parkour…huh…learned something new today.

Trey 6:02 AM  

Lots of wrong answers early on gave me added trouble. Asia for IRAN, ester for SPRAY, zeeS (hi @Z) for LOGS, erAs for STAT, rOIL for TOIL, and Bae for BEY

Learned about PARKOUR today. Loved the clue for ATM (Place to get paper with plastic)

Lewis 6:38 AM  

Clever puzzle in clue and theme. Lovely Thursday-level resistance. A sweet aha at getting my first theme answer, and getting that answer helped to get the others, but it wasn’t so helpful as to fill in the rest of the puzzle with a splash – I still had to work – and that is a good thing.

Some sweet tricky clues (I especially liked [Kind of a short cut] and [Accompaniers of knights]) and the theme answers were all vibrant. There were even a couple of palindromes (LIL and AMA) and – rare in a grid – a five letter semordnilap (LOOTS).

All the above makes for a most involving and entertaining puzzle – the kind I seek out and am so grateful for afterwards. Thank you, Michael – this was one of the excellent ones!

Joe Dipinto 6:55 AM  

→↓


I'd have sworn that Knott's Berry Farm is a vendor at the Union Square greenmarket. But no, we have Mountain Sweet Berry and Berkshire Berries. And Roxbury Maple. I guess if it were a real farm, it would be too long a drive from California every week anyway.

Nothing wrong with GO FOR A WALK; however, to me it implies more than just stretching your legs. Going for a walk is a bigger deal than taking a walk. You might take a walk to the corner store, or take a walk around the block, but those activities are too short to be considered going for a walk, which requires a bigger time investment and involves a greater distance.

But anyway, I liked the theme, though I sort of feel like UNDER should have been in the grid on its own (not sure how you would clue it), to tie the whole thing together. But maybe not. I'll stare at it a little more. After I go for a walk.


M
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Michigan Man 7:03 AM  

I knew about Knott's Berry Farm when I was a young lad (50's) and had never been out of southern Michigan. My aunt travelled and brought us jams and jellies from KBF.

Joey 7:10 AM  

William Shawn was Wallace Shawn's dad, so Rex's association of the two is apt.

Unknown 7:12 AM  

Great puzzle today, thanks Michael! Just hard enough for a real challenge but not impossible. Loved the theme, couldn't figure it out with OATHYESTIFY but AROCKLIVING finally allowed the light to dawn. Like Rex, last letter was the O in OAR and LOOT. fun solve 👍 -Rick

kitshef 7:23 AM  

I really have to wonder what the constructor (or editor) thinks BOOTY CALL means…

This week started off very poorly, and has been getting better. This is definitely the high point so far. Themers are rock solid, the few WoEs (YVES, COBB, SHAWN) well crossed.

To answer Rex's question, never lived within 3000 miles of California and I knew KNOTTs Berry Farm, although I entered it initially as KNOTS, which led to rEGrEss before NEGLECT, one of only two overwrites today (one before TEN being the other).

amyyanni 7:25 AM  

Took forever to grok the theme. Fair and fun challenge. Did know Knott's Berry Farm, but I went to Disneyland as a kid and remember that place for some reason. The jam, perhaps?

Son Volt 7:30 AM  

Lots of fun here - agree with Rex that the difficulty level diminished after I saw the trick at LIVING UNDER A ROCK. I’m assuming the long down themers makes it harder to fit in decent long acrosses but we get the sparkly OK CORRAL and the GO FOR A WALK - BOOTY CALL stack. PRIME VIDEO Is flat.

Knew PARKOUR from an NPR show about free running. Learned NORA. Liked the original VU version of PALE Blue Eyes - REM’s not so much. Check out Escovedo’s cover for something a little different.

Enjoyable Thursday solve.

mambridge 7:31 AM  

PARKOUR? AMA? RAGER?

Andrea 7:50 AM  

A very fine puzzle and just the right amount of Thursday challenge.
I knew KNOTTS BERRY FARM because my best friend growing up in Mexico (having way more money than me) did all the USA traveling common in those days: Disneyland, KBF, Yosemite, San Antonio (just for shopping), etc. I was forever so jealous…

Parkour was a gimme for me. Ever since I discovered it through an online video, I’ve been in awe at the dexterity of these athletes. Sooooo much fun to watch!

Tom T 7:56 AM  

Very familiar with KNOTTs Berry, but NOT sure why--seems like they ran a lot of national tv ads "back in the day."

Totally unfamiliar with PARKOUR, so that was the final area to fall.

Needed Rex to understand the theme. Made for a more challenging solve.

Two hidden diagonal words to highlight in the grid today:
1) Texter's "That is crazy!" (3 letters, East sector)
2) Young guinea fowl (4 letters, North sector--more of a Friday/Saturday word)

thfenn 8:08 AM  

My son is pretty good at PARKOUR so that was a gimme and sparked some fun memories. But struggled with much of this, and the theme. AROCKLIVING just wouldn't come together. The others slowly fell into place leaving me trying to figure out what was going on, but the words themselves and enough to do with the clue and each other to leave me fairly certain they were right, just not understanding why. Not AROCKLIVING, and had to read the wordplay blog to get it.

If "you up?" is a BOOTYCALL I'm in serious trouble.

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

I have to wonder whether 7:23 poster knows what a BOOTY CALL is. Clue made perfect sense.

Peter P 8:14 AM  

@kitschef -- Perhaps I'm being whooshed, but what's the objection here to the clue-answer pairing of "BOOTY CALL"? "You up?" is kind of stereotypical prelude to a booty call.

Definitely on the easy side for me. OATHTESTIMONY was my breakthrough phrase and once I had OATHTES down, the rest fell, along with all the other themers, minus the second half of PRESSURECRACK.

Zoroastrianism is an interesting religion (if you're into those sorts of things), with only about 100K followers left, as you have to be born into the religion -- they don't have conversions. It's been an influence on Christianity, particularly the dualistic nature of God v Satan and heaven v hell. If you enjoyed Dante's "Divine Comedy" (particularly "Inferno") have a look through the Zoroastrian Book of Arda Viraf, in which the afterworld is described. It's quite telling that only about 6 paragraphs/"chapters" are used to describe heaven, and 84 to describe hell, its sinners, their sins, and their torments. Some wickedly graphic stuff, there.

KNOTT's Berry Farm I, a Chicago boy, know very well, though I couldn't for the life of me tell you why. Did they used to advertise a lot on TV? I know as a kid I always thought it was KNOx Berry Farm, but somewhere in teenagerhood I was disabused of my misheard notion.

pabloinnh 8:14 AM  

Had the same experience as OFL in getting the first themer, mostly because I was thinking today is Wednesday. Wow, that's a great answer, I thought. What's it doing here on a Wednesday? Unearthing the others was way easier, but lots of fun. BTW, this is my idea of an actual rebus. so there's that.

Hand up for knowing KNOTTs Berry Farm, even from the wilds of Upstate NY, although I never knew about the amusement park aspect and imagined it as a place where one could buy lots of berries which struck me as an odd reason for it to be so famous.

PARKOUR was just becoming a thing in my last years of teaching high school, and my students teased me for being unaware of it, so I knew that one eventually, even if I started with PARKING.

My original name for our singing group was the OK Chorale, which was rejected.

Very smooth solve for me, NORA and COBB being the only real unknowns, and I can never spell UMAMI, but everything else went it quickly enough to make me sorry that it didn't take longer, as I was enjoying myself.

Excellent Thursday, ML. Mostly Loved it. Thanks for all the fun.

Z 8:21 AM  

Wait. Is that true? Wallace SHAWN’s father is the SHAWN in the puzzle. Seriously? Talk about skewing dead. I’m not entirely convinced that magazine editors are crossworthy to begin with. I thought it was my general ignorance of gossip culture* that caused me not to know this famous magazine editor. Nope. Turns out I didn’t know him because he stopped being editor 34 years ago and he died 30 years ago. I was mollified about the clue because it is The New Yorker and this is the NYTX. But now? When the more broadly famous son is 77? I don’t know why we would choose to use a magazine editor clue.

@kitshef - Between BOOTY CALL and PALE Blue Eyes we get more extramarital sex then we normally see in a decade in the NYTX. And the BOOTY CALL clue? As subtle as an eggplant emoji. 🍆

Oh yeah, the rest of the puzzle. I see that it is a good idea, but somehow when solving it the cleverness of the theme was more annoying than clever. My first themer fully complete was THE TABLE DRINK and it just looks like bad dialogue from a bad movie where the hero is drunk and says this in a way that is supposed to make us laugh. Wasted many precious nanoseconds staring at it and the OATH TESTIFY before the penny dropped. It was more of an “Oh. Okay” moment than an “aha” moment for me. That’s really not a critique of the puzzle, sometimes a clever idea doesn’t quite work for everyone. Unfortunately, I finished struggling in the SHAWN section, so that is my enduring memory of the puzzle.


*I feel like we only hear about magazine editors if their magazines are controversial (Hef or Larry Flynt) or if they do something controversial. Your everyday competent editor putting out a quality product? We never even know they exist.

jberg 8:32 AM  

No idea about NORA, so it stood there as NO_A for a long time. I sorta wanted clOCK LIVING, but a) it didn't make sense, even after I understood the theme, and b) IRAN was a gimme. That was the last square to fall.

Risotto recipes tell you to STIR once, when you add the stock, and then no more-- so the clue is legit, but deceptive.

I liked LI'L crossing LILLE. Not so happy about TEN in the grrid and 10 in a clue; very avoidable, it could have been clued as 8, 12,240, or what you like.

I knew KNOTT's Berry Farm, I think primarily from Mad Magazine during the 1950s; it took me a minute to remember that it wasn't KNOx, though.

SouthsideJohnny 8:32 AM  

Enjoyed the clue for PIXIE, nice to see UMAMI pay a visit (makes me think of seaweed), always up for a BOOTY CALL. Terrible clue for NORA after the recent visit from the lovely Ms. Ephron.

Rex ranting about Amazon strikes me as really funny. The guy is rich cuz he started a business that millions (a billion worldwide ?) use and enjoy. Mr. Sharp, you live in and benefit from a capitalist society in a representative republic. Get used to it, big guy. Sometimes better to keep your mouth shut and be thought foolish . . .



Peter P 8:42 AM  

@jberg - the risotto technique I’m familiar with involves constant stirring and small additions of stock.

Nancy 8:47 AM  

Skipping right to the bottom line: I loved it! (More about my DNF later.) As far as the delightful theme is concerned, I stared and stared at AROCKLIVING until my "noodle container" began to bulge uncomfortably. And then I had it! Whereupon all the themers to come would not only actually make sense, but would now be guessable with very few crosses, if any.

Ah, but that DNF...

There's only one answer to the "urban obstacle course activity" when you live in NYC and that's PARKing. And that's what I wanted there. But it had to be an OATH that you TESTIFY under, so what to do about that blasted "O" that gave me PARKO--? Then UMAMI came in and I had PARKOU-. What on earth? I guessed PARK OUt -- as in coming out of a parking space? I had no idea. This gave me wrong answers in the other two places where I had absolutely no idea: ANI for the "Reddit Q&A" (Huh???) and tiGER for the "blowout". Why not? I can't keep up with most of the new slang and thought that maybe people were going around saying: "Boy, that was a real TIGER of a game!"

This was, you might imagine, not my favorite section of what I thought was an excellent, enjoyable, and very colorful puzzle. If the DNF had cost me the $100,000 First Prize, I might criticize the puzzle for that one section, but it didn't and so I won't.

Chef without a funny hat 8:56 AM  

I don't know if @jberg is goofing with us, or being serious. You toast the rice and have to stir it constantly before even adding any stock. If he is serious, I would wager good money that his "risotto" tastes like wallpaper paste.

bagelboy 8:58 AM  

For us olds, Knotts Berry Farm was a frequently mentioned in Johnny Carson's monlologues. I only know it from that.

Rube 9:00 AM  

Like rex took awhile to get theme...I solved 90 pct before it clicked. As for Knott's, I think Carson used to mention it occasionally over the years.

Also, again, I agree politically with the anti PALIN sentiment but in a xword? Who cares. It was a good clue and answer. This is section C of the Times, not section A. Lighten up.

thfenn 9:01 AM  

LOL, so "you up?" IS a booth call. My work team runs from 3 hours behind to 8 hours ahead of my own time zone, so am just going to have to stop prefacing some work chats with that question...

Joaquin 9:04 AM  

While the clue for 60A ("You up?" text, maybe) is perfect for the answer, my surprise was finding BOTTY CALL in the NYT crossword. Seems like "The Gray Lady" has dyed her hair purple, put on a dress with a thigh-high slit, and is galavanting about town with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

Re: Palin: to repeat, please cool it with the politics! I do the puzzle to avoid politics!

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

The BOOTY CALL clue had “maybe” in it. It did not suggest that all “you up” texts are booty calls. Sheesh.

Nancy 9:17 AM  

On a topic unrelated to today's puzzle...

I believe this to be the most powerful, timely, and critically important political speech of my lifetime.

That's not hyperbole -- and I would feel remiss if, having heard it, I did not share it with the blog. Which brings me to a question: why are people of this mind and temperament and character seldom the ones to become president?

RLH 9:18 AM  

I've tried but cannot figure out what "WoE" means from the context of the comments in this blog. Can someone enlighten me? Thanks.

bocamp 9:23 AM  

Thx Michael, for this challenging Thurs. puz! :)

Med++.

Another great start in the NW, only to struggle mightily thereafter.

Always welcome a fair battle, and this was an excellent one.

Finally caught on to the 'under' theme at PRESSURE CRACK. That took much of the PRESSURE off, so to speak.

Head was in a bit of a SPIN at the SHAWN cross, knowing neither, but making the only viable choice for the 'S'.

Biggest challenge was the PARKOUR / RAGER cross. Thank goodness for knowing AMA and UMAMI, otherwise that section would have been even more difficult.

Vaguely recall visiting KNOTT'S Berry Farm somewhere around 1949 or so. Putting a penny on the railroad track to get it flattened was the only thing I can remember.

Definitely, an invigorating adventure; liked it a lot! :)

@TTrimble 👍 for 0 yd

@okanaganer (6:01 PM yd)

Those things are sooo good. I'm now sitting with Pavlov's dog, salivating 😋. Ironically, the word I missed has to do with a different kind of condition than Pavlov's.
___

yd 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

mathgent 9:33 AM  

Wonderful. Sixteen red plus signs in the margins including the four themers. Learned PARKOUR (sorta, hope that they'll be some more comments about it later).

According to Wikipedia, the shootout took place near, but not in, the OKCORRAL. Wyatt Earp was helping his brother Virgil, the marshal of Tombstone. Also helping were Morgan Earp, also a brother, and Doc Holliday. Three outlaws were killed and Virgil and two of his small force were wounded in the 30-second gunfight. Wyatt wasn't hurt. Wyatt is buried in a cemetery in Colma, just outside of here.

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

Not a Reddit user, so AMA was the last thing I entered. Had to Google it to find out what it meant.

Do they not sell Knott's Berry Farm jams and jellies in supermarkets anymore? I don't buy them personally these days (too much sugar), so I generally fly past that section of the aisle, but I know they were on the shelf when I was a kid, and I grew up in the middle of the US. They used to advertise on TV a lot back in the day as well. Maybe all of that was regional?

It seems that the food brand is now owned by Smuckers. Didn't know that until today. I knew the amusement park had been bought out by Cedar Fair, but somehow missed the news about Smuckers acquiring Knotts.

Peter P 9:46 AM  

@Joaquin - I would have to go back and review, but the NY Times puzzle is the only one I do, and I feel like there have been a sprinkling in the last few years of slightly salacious answers/clues (by the standards of, say, 1850.) "Booty call" did not seem to me to be particularly stick out as odd to me. (A cuter clue-answer pair came up in December 27, 2020's crossword, with the clue being "Booty call?" and the answer being "butt dial." A year before that KINK was clued with the straightforward "unusual sexual preference," so it's not like the crossword completely avoids this topics or suggestions of these topics.)

RooMonster 9:55 AM  

Hey All !
Took the ole brain until the end to figure out the theme. Finally got it after having all the Themers except AROCKLIVING. Finally figured out HIVE (why that held me up so long is a mystery), then saw it was LIVING under A ROCK, said ,"OOH, is that what the dealio is?", revisited the other three Themers, and Bob's your uncle. Saw what was happening after that. Let out a "Heh, neat." Revealer not required.

Always thought KNOTTs Berry Farm was in Pennsylvania. Not sure why. We (as in I grew up there) had someplace, hmm, let me Goog it ... ah, Knoebels Park. Maybe the K's threw me. Maybe my brain sucks.

Took a school trip to Knoebels one time. On School buses. It was a fun time, I think. Really, the only memory I have is buying a bag of Red Hot candies (those hard round candies) and crying after sucking on the first two, but then they stopped being so hot, and ended up having the entire bag before returning to the school! (My mouth was probably numb.)

Got a chuckle out of PRIME VIDEO clue. Not only do we now have to watch out for Amazon as either a place or an e-site, now they throw in Stream. Dang English.

GOON! Awesome.

Gonna take my PINKY TOEs and GO FOR A WALK (off a short pier.)

Two F's
RooMonster
DarrinV

Peter P 10:00 AM  

@Chef without a funny hat - I don't know if I would say it tastes like wallpaper paste, but more that they's not making a risotto so much as just rice. Now, for all I know, there may be some new-fangled technique that has proved to supplant the traditional one and produces the same results -- cookery is evolving and a lot of what we have learned (like only flipping a steak once while grilling) has been shown to be either incorrect, unnecessary, or incomplete.

But the traditional risotto technique involves short-grained starchy rice (Arborio is the most famous of the these, but Carnaroli is even more highly regarded, and Vialone Nanon rounds out the most common three types of rice.) You don't wash the rice. You cook some chopped onion with butter and/or oil, you coat the rice with this mixture by sauteeing it together in the pot, then you add your liquid(s) about a half cup at a time until they are absorbed, then adding more, stirring throughout the process.

Part of the point of the stirring is to rub the grains against each other and help them release more of their starch, so you get a nice, creamy result. Don't overstir, as it can get gummy, but you are activiely stirring much of the cooking time. The traditional method does not have you pour in your stock, cover, and walk away for twenty minutes. That's just called "rice." That's not "risotto."

But, if there's a way like that that produces similar results without all the fuss and stirring of a traditional risotto, I'm all ears. Regardless of whether there is a method like that or not, the clue-answer pair is fine, as traditionally risotto does require active stirring through the whole cooking process.

Whatsername 10:00 AM  

Mostly solved while ignoring the theme, then looked at the finished product and saw it at 3D. Really more of an AH than an aha moment. Clues for ATM and LOGS were killer and ROUND crossing DRINK was a nice touch.

I think the term SPIN would be a serious understatement of what happened when PALIN was first unleashed on the masses. And PARKOUR would be a good way to bust a KNEE or CRACK your SKULL. Oy BEY!

LIL PINKY sounds like someone who might get a BOOTY CALL. In fact I think I saw her at a STAG party the other night on PRIME VIDEO.

CRG 10:02 AM  

I hate to be that guy (not true; I love being that guy), but the correct spelling of the smallest digit is pinkie, not pinky.

Wm. C. 10:03 AM  


I went to Knotts Berry Farm over Christmas Break on my senior year in college. A fraternity brother and I were in Air Force ROTC and got a plane ride from one of our ROTC instructors from NY to an AFB in St Louis, then another from there to Colorado Springs, where we stayed overnight at the AF Academy. Next day a flight to Edwards AFB in CA, and then from there a short flight to LAX, where our pilot was picking up an AF General on his way to Edwards from somewhere across the Pacific Ocean.

In LA, we went to stay at the house of our fraternity at USC, where one of the brothers had a part-time job at KBF, where he got us in for free. I'm not sure whether I had ever heard of KBF before that, but we had fun there. We also got a free day at Disneyland from another brother. After that, another brother who lived in San Diego drove us there on his way home, and we got a ride across the bay to the SD Naval Air Station, where we stayed overnight. I think that in all it took us 7 days to cross the country, with free room (and Board, mostly!) all the way.

Next morning we got on a Navy P3A Orion (a 4-engine turboprop sub-hunter capable of about 450 mph airspeed, and of staying aloft without refueling for something like 15 hours, necessary for the loiter-time over the ocean while hunting enemy subs), all the way east to Patuxent River NAS, just east of W-DC, where we overnighted again. Next day we got on P3 going up to Maine (we lived in the Boston area, so we figured on bus rides home from there), to pick up some Lobsters for that night's PRNAS Officers' Club buffet. (Nice use of taxpayer money, huh?) But when we told the pilot that we lived in the Boston area, he got on the radio and got landing permission at Weymouth NAS, about 25 miles south of Boston to drop us off. (Nice also, huh?)

Anyway, then a bus ride home. A ten-day cross-country trip and back. Total out-of-pocket cost each? Twelve dollars!

And all this story to you, just to fill in a reference to KBF! ;-)

Mikey from El Prado 10:13 AM  

In a sad way, THETABLEDRINK came right away, opening it up for a fast solve. But, I guess winning that game is better than losing,

Speaking of sports, PARKOUR was also a new one for me.

I wonder if there’s a sport combining both. Be a bit dangerous.

Carola 10:15 AM  

I remember when, years and years ago, I first encountered the phrase "hold in abeyance" and had no idea what it meant; I looked it up, understood, but still wondered, "When would a person ever use that phrase?" One answer, I've learned, is: on Thursdays. I thought of it this morning when faced with with AROCKL.... and told myself to remain calm, have faith, and soldier on until all became clear. That took a while: all the way to PRESSUREC???K, followed by the enjoyment of completing the rest. I liked the 2 + 2 pattern of the theme answers - two physical objects to be under (A ROCK and THE TABLE) and two more abstract that you're "under" in a different way (PRESSURE, OATH). Fun to solve, all the way.

Bring out the smelling salts: I'm still reeling from BOOTY CALL (i.e., that it's in a Times puzzle).

I lucked out on most of the names: NORA, KNOTT, OK CORRAL, SHAWN, GBS, LILLE, No idea: COBB. Help from previous puzzles: AMA, BEY.

@pabloinnh 8:14 - I love your OK Chorale!

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

Rex asks, "Do people outside California really know KNOTT's Berry Farm?"

Yes, Rex. Yes, they do. Never been there, would never go there (hate theme parks and all constructed fake environments), but yes. It's been a visible part of popular culture for decades.

@CRG: Got any proof? Because if you Google "pinkie toe," you get page after page of "pinky toe."

Glad to have these two annoyances off my chest. Geez.

Nancy 10:35 AM  

@pabloinnh -- I love your OK Chorale too!

JD 10:37 AM  

Was so focused on those long downs that I overlooked the high quality of the rest of the grid. Prime Video and Potholder, Go For A Walk and Parkour. Shes Knees, and Cobbs not Ty anymore.

And you can learn so much from crosswords. Recently I learned that people give sex toys as gifts to the bride to be, and today I learned that it may have started with a late night text for sex known as a Booty Call. Later the couple gets a crib for a gift and don't get the sex toys out for a long time.

Come here to learn William Shawn and Wallace are father and son. Remember when The New Yorker was good? @Z,the first couple editors are legend.

Really enjoyed that fine middle west block of Spin, Hive, Axis, Win. Some nice cluing there. Window Components for Tabs was good too. Way to elevate the little words.

Michael Lieberman, good stuff.

@William C., love your story

Unknown 10:42 AM  

Fun fun puzzle. A little on the easy side for a Thursday, but still very enjoyable. All the themers are good. I had a few erasures. DRINK before ROUND. BREAK UNDER THE PRESSURE before CRACK UNDER THE PRESSURE.

I also had BOIL before TOIL. In my brain it is "Boil, boil, toil and trouble". But its actually "Double, double toil and trouble". But "boil" is also a word that is repeated in the full chant.

I dropped in GO FOR A WALK with no crosses off "Stretching ones legs". I always remember Harold Bloom talking about he couldn't read JK Rowling because of her continuous use of the "stretching ones legs" cliche. "If someone can't simple write go for a walk they aren't a real writer".

For "Something used to get away from a bank" I thought it might be ATM, but of course that was already in the grid, clued under "Place to get paper with plastic". I guess a an oar can also be plastic and can be used to get paper, toilet paper if you went canoe camping and want to get back to the real world.

TJS 10:43 AM  

wallace Shawn more famous than his father, William? Uh-uh. One is legendary in his field. The other known for playing a small part in a great movie, and possibly for a major part in one of my top 5 worst movies I ever got talked into seeing, "My Dinner With Andre".

@Nancy, identical solving experience here.

@Joe, right, and I see what you did. Yay,me.

So "You up" is a "Booty Call" ? Guy meets an attractive 40-something lady in a bar, they have drinks and conversation, and at one point he mentions he always thought a 3-way would be interesting. She replies "That's a possibility" and eventually they head back to her place, where she walks over to the staircase and yells "Hey Ma, you up?"

Bill Devins 10:43 AM  

I used to follow this blog faithfully years ago, but it sucked up too much of my time. I checked it out today because, although I solved the puzzle readily, I did not UNDERstand the theme until I read it here. The last letter I put in was the “R” in “Nora”, and my successful completion noticed flashed. I couldn’t figure out why!

Rex, your commentary this AM was entertaining and informative - excellent! Some of your best work, I thought.I miss you guys. Best to ACM.

Bill Devins

jae 10:51 AM  

Medium. Just about right for Thursday. Took more than a few nanoseconds to catch the theme and the center-left section was pretty crunchy, so medium.

Lots of non-theme sparkle, liked it a bunch,

Ken Freeland 10:53 AM  

my sentiments exactly.... these are naticks waiting to happen... whoever heard of these words?

nunya 11:07 AM  

Ditto

Peter P 11:13 AM  

@CRG - I agree that "pinkie" is the preferred spelling, but "pinky" is an acceptable variant, as well. Words can be spelled in more than one manner.

@TJS - Context matters. "Yo bae, you up?" is quite possibly a prelude to a booty call. It doesn't have to be, hence the "maybe" in the clue, but one of the stereotypical associations with that phrase is that it's suggesting a bit of hanky panky. Lots of innocent phrases mean more titillating things in certain contexts, which I'm sure you know, so I don't understand the comment. See also, "Netflix and chill."

Joseph Michael 11:27 AM  

Best puzzle of the week. I’ve seen this type of theme before, but, as they say, there’s

the sun
nothing new

and this was a really good version of literal answers. Liked all four themers and the struggle it took to figure out what was going on. It all fell into place with THE TABLE DRINK (surprised that Rex didn’t freak out about this one) (maybe he was too distracted by the megalomaniac multi-billionaire) (or Sarah PALIN).

Puzzle also offered some fun bonuses, such as BOOTY CALL and PINKY TOE and the clues for PIXIE and ROOKS.

My only snag was the cross of PARKOUR (new word for me) and RAGER with AMA offering zero support. That section of the puzzle grabbed me by the collar, shook me around and

the bus
threw me

toddh 11:27 AM  

I love it because these are all roughly current terms. I’m 32 and I know what a Reddit AMA is (ask me anything), I’ve watched a parkour video on YouTube: they’re pretty neat (parkour dogs are also fun and cute), and a Rager is/was a pretty common term for a college party that gets out of control with the drinking.

Nancy 11:33 AM  

Me, too, @TJS! I was talked into seeing "My Dinner With Andre" too, and I found it absolutely excruciating on every level and in every way. Perhaps the most boring and the most pretentious and the most self-delusional ego-trip of a movie ever made.

beverly c 11:37 AM  

Was I surprised to get the happy music!!? Yes I was.
I made blind stabs at AMA for RAGER and to complete NORA and then tada!
So finally the ROCK hit me and I realized the trick. Fun!
I knew PARKOUR but parking is hilarious for an alternative.

Nancy 11:42 AM  

I just remembered to ask: Why is the answer to "Incredible!" WAN??? I wanted MAN!.

It's going to bother me all afternoon. I'll pick up your answers when I get home much later today.

sixtyni yogini 11:43 AM  

🦖, don’t you think RGB 😍(tho only iinitials) outweighs…. 🤡 Palin?
(Maybe with a different clue : McCain’s running mate minus the L would work for me…)



MichiganWoman 11:48 AM  

WOE = what on earth.

PG version of WTF.

Anders 11:49 AM  

Reminded me of a well-known anecdote about a postcard addressed only to

WOOD
JOHN
MASS

which allegedly got correctly delivered to one John Underwood, Andover, Mass.

Newboy 11:50 AM  

TOIL (and trouble as well) today. First time in a while that Rex had to explain the “under beats over” theme….probably why my Gentlemen’s Seminar on Probability coworkers were so eager to toss chips into the pot for a ROUND of Low-ball Poker. Just didn’t get it this morning. And I whiffed on several cleaver clues as well….LOGS in particular. Didn’t help much either when Boot Hill fit so well at 18A; with that NW albatross dangling over (not under this time at least) my breast, I was truly lost asea as the grids so often prescribe. Finally defeated at the R in NORA where the theme intersects with a Comedy Central that’s so far from my wheelhouse that I’d need both life vest and rescue boat to get me outta that hot water….is there a personal Natick?

So,

Thanks Michael for a brilliant puzzle that double, double teaches humility. I hope others were as thrilled & frustrated as I was today. Back topside to see commentariat.

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

What's the deal, Rex? No love for 'YSL'?

jb129 12:07 PM  

Never got the theme, but hey it was fun trying.

(Never heard of Parkour?????)

Doc John 12:10 PM  

The whole PALIN mess would have been been avoided had they clued it with the much more deserving Michael of Monty Python fame.

As for KNOTT's Berry Farm:
Yes, Rex, it was a farm. In fact, it's where boysenberries were invented. I'll leave it up to you to find out why they're not then called Knottsberries.
KBF began because Walter Knott's wife, Cordelia, started a chicken dinner restaurant. It grew to be so popular that Walter constructed a ghost town for the guests to have something to do while waiting for their table. The park then grew from there.
And yes, KNOTT's is known nationwide because of their jellies and jams, although Smucker's now owns them.
Another interesting fact: the granddaughter of Walter Knott, Cara, was murdered by a rogue CHP officer while on duty. Read about it here.
Finally, check this out for some virtuoso PARKOUR.

Pete 12:18 PM  

@Kitshef - you up?

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

@Peter P - There's a chance, just a chance, that TJS made a joke. A pretty funny joke.

Wanderlust 12:24 PM  

Hear hear! So well said.

PhysGraf 12:30 PM  

Knott's Berry Farm is often featured in TV and film. I just watched an episode of Arrested Development that mentioned it so luckily it was fresh in my mind.

CDilly52 12:30 PM  

Me too! I didn’t even realize there was a theme until the very end. Must have been THE TABLE DRuNK!

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

I suppose “hi” could be a prelude to a booty call too, as could just about anything else, if that’s really how we’re supposed to interpret this clue. I feel this is setting the bar pretty low though. I’d almost prefer someone’s just confused about what it means, or that I’m still misunderstanding it, because it’s such weird cluing.

Liz Taintor 12:34 PM  

Thank you for sharing this link, Nancy. It's a great speech. If only the Republicans would listen and act accordingly.

Wanderlust 12:42 PM  

Loved the puzzle but took me a ridiculous length of time to grok the theme. Got OATHTESTIMONY pretty quickly but did not get the undering there at all. My brain: “oath… test … testimony… some kind of progression?” Finally got it when I saw AROCKLIVING, which was my favorite themer. Everything fell quickly then.

Knew PARKOUR right away because stepson is amazing at it. He was teaching classes at a gym when he was 16.

Hard time keeping BAE and BEY straight, and that held me up with CRACKPRESSURE.

I feel like I finally figured out UMAMI this summer. I garden, and this has been the year of eggplant (still going strong in October), so I have been putting it in everything. It seems to define UMAMI for me, more than the clued tomatoes and mushrooms. I cannot describe it, but now I get it.

Eggplant is a good segue for BOOTYCALL, as @Zwhatever noted with his emoji. If my BOOTYCALL days ever existed, they were way before texting. I suppose you could have dialed someone on a landline and whispered “you up?” but I can’t remember ever having placed or received such a call.

@Nancy thank you for the link to Angus King’s speech. He is so right. And a much better political use of this space than debating whether or not Sarah PALIN can be in a crossword puzzle.

kitshef 12:42 PM  

I have been seriously misinterpreting texts from our choir director.

johnk 12:51 PM  

AHME

kitshef 12:53 PM  

@Nancy 11:42 - 56D is "Incredible!" and yields OOH. 58D is "Ashen" and yields WAN.

Anoa Bob 1:01 PM  

"If you are in a bad mood, GO FOR A WALK. If you are still in a bad mood, GO FOR Another WALK." Hippocrates

bocamp 1:04 PM  

"PARKOUR (French: [paʁkuʁ]) is a training discipline where practitioners (called traceurs) aim to get from one point to another in a complex environment, without assisting equipment and in the fastest and most efficient way possible. With roots in military obstacle course training and martial arts, parkour includes running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, plyometrics, rolling, and quadrupedal movement—whatever is suitable for the situation." (Wikipedia)

@Doc John (12:10 PM)

Thx for the vid; amazing PARKOUR stunts!

@Nancy (9:17 AM) / (11:42 AM)

Thx for the Senator King vid. :)

Btw, 56D "Incredible!" is OOH; 58D Ashen is WAN.
___

td pg-1

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

mathgent 1:11 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

Chef... (8:56)
Joaquin (9:04)
Peter P (10:00)
Joseph Michael (11:27)

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

@Doc John- There is no “Palin situation”. There is a childish blogger who feels his safe space has been invaded when he sees the name of a person of whom he disapproves. Boo hoo.

old timer 1:13 PM  

PARKOUR I do not know, because under A ROCK I am LIVING. In fact, I never got the theme at all, but now that I know it, it is very clever indeed.

One of the classic KBF ads touted their boysenberries, and a little girl would ask, "Girlsenberries too?" I am so old, I remember when there was no Disneyland. And when all the amusement parks and places in the LA area were deemed too raffish for children, or for most respectable folks. The exception was Knott's Berry Farm, which had a fine "ghost town" and rides guaranteed to delight most children, and so it was quite common for families to drive all the way from Brentwood or Altadena down the old Anaheim Telegraph Road, or later the Santa Ana Freeway, for a fun day, and a rare treat. Oddly, they survived Disneyland for many years, partly because it was a good deal cheaper and didn't take all day to enjoy, but also because the jams and jellies were so first-rate that folks went to stock up half a year's supply.

I lived in England for a while. For the most part, ROUNDS were not bought, as they often were in American bars. The exception was if you drank with the same folks every night, or most nights, you would tend to sit together at a table, and each person would buy a ROUND of pints (or half-pints for the ladies) in turn, and when your group of four or five had each had their beers, chances are it was closing time -- 10 or 11 p.m., depending. As a Yank, I felt very honored when the group of locals I liked to sit with first let me buy a ROUND.

But at most pubs, you tended to go to one, have a couple of pints, and move on to the next, because some had better beer, some better food, and some more interesting publicans behind the bar.

TJS 1:17 PM  

Find out what time the bars close. If the call comes later, it's for djibouti.

Chris A 1:18 PM  

On STAT x TOIL, I had SBAT x BOIL - an equally correct answer (SBAT = Stolen Base Attempts, and it's BOIL, bubble, toil and trouble).

I think that's the first time I've seen that happen, where my "wrong" answer is as "right" as the right answer (though admittedly, the "right" answer is more correctly in-the-language.)

Masked and Anonymous 1:20 PM  

Nifty theme idea. Nifty themers. thUmbsUp.

didn't-knows: NORA. PARKOUR/RAGER/AMA.
sparkly extras: PINKYTOE. OKCORRAL. PIXIE. SKULL.
staff weeject pick: RBG. Cool clue. Cool lady.

After fillin in A?OCKLIVI?? up in the NW at 3-D, the precious nanoseconds stared with m&e in bewonderment, tryin stubbornly to figure out what was goin on. Clearly it was a themer, as its clue was in italics. And all such italicky-clues were for real long Down answers. And who is this "Awkwafina" person? Finally, the "under" concept clicked, and then the ahar moment, and we was off to the solvequest races again.
Next stoppin point: That mysterious PARKOUR garage area. Was parked around them parts, for quite a spell, too.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Lieberman dude.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


**gruntz**

rjkennedy98 1:23 PM  

Fun fun Thusday puzzle. It played easy for me (more like a Wednesday).

I had a few erasures. I put down BOIL instead of TOIL since I misremembered the MacBeth witches chant. I also thought it was "Boil, Bubble, Toil, and Trouble". Turns out the full chant does have multiple boils in it, so I was kind of right.

I had DRINK instead of ROUND, BREAK UNDER PRESSURE instead of CRACK UNDER PRESSURE, and nearly ATM instead of OAR. An ATM is used to get away from a bank in a way. Of course it was already in the puzzle at that point. Strangely, an OAR can be a plastic item used to get paper (toilet paper if you are canoe camping and trying to get back to a normal bathroom).

I also dropped in GO FOR A WALK without crosses off of "stretch one's legs." I always remember Harold Bloom saying he had to put down Harry Potter because the book's repetitive use of the cliched "stretch one's legs" so annoyed him, he couldn't read any farther. "Any writer," he said, "who can't say 'goes for a walk' isn't a real writer."

Overall, I really enjoyed this puzzle and its well executed theme.

Teedmn 1:23 PM  

Not knowing Awkwafina is NO_A had me solving like @Carola, staring at A_OCKLIVING and thinking I would never get it, no, just wait, it'll come. Finally, the sun burst through the clouds.

I had a SPicY cologne first and from OV, thought cricket segments (they're talking about the game, right? Yes, I know but...) might be OValS.

I envy people who can PARKOUR. I first learned about it from, coincidentally, this New Yorker article.

I've subscribed to the New Yorker for 40+ years. In high school, we had to sell magazines to raise money for prom and the New Yorker was one of the offerings. I'm not a very good salesperson - I think most of my sales were to myself. So William SHAWN was a gimme (and I watched "My Dinner With Andre" twice, I liked it.)

I liked this puzzle and thought the 27A clue for LOGS was quite clever. Also the 7D clue for ATM and the 32D for PIXIE. Thanks, Michael Lieberman.

puzzlehoarder 1:23 PM  

First day of post-op PT so I'm late to comment. Saturday level solve for me. Switching around words on common phrases makes them difficult to recognize.

The puzzle opened up once I got 8D. All the themers we're obvious after that. Filling in 24D allowed me to recognize PARKOUR. Prior to that I was thinking along the line of #Nancy. The word "urban" in the clue really threw me off the scent. Even with UMAMI in place I thought PAKrUn?

Two Sundays ago AMA was a dnf today it was a gimme.

RAGER was tough because it's clue had me thinking of a lop sided score.

Even with the help of the themers the middle west and the SW corner put up resistance. However all was clear in the end.

yd -2

rjkennedy98 1:25 PM  

Also, I am positively shocked how many people haven't heard of Parkour. Its famous enough that a whole Office into is dedicated to it.

Georgia 1:39 PM  

They sponsored some popular show long ago. I knew it easily and grew up strictly east coast. I only know it as jam, not a park.

Georgia 1:41 PM  

You are right!

Chef without a funny hat 1:41 PM  

@Peter P (10:00AM) I can't vouch for the technique as I have not tried it on my own, but a properly trained chef once told me that in professional kitchens they add liquid, shake the pan and put it in the oven for a couple of minutes to adsorb (then repeat) in order to eliminate the need for a line chef to babysit it constantly throughout the cooking process.

Grouch 1:42 PM  

Parkour is lame. In addition to its pretentious name, it's just another made up "Look At Me!!" so called sport.

Georgia 1:42 PM  

Rice recipes are to stir once only. Risotto requires constant adding of stock and stirring.

Georgia 1:46 PM  

On my puzzle, 58D clue is "Ashen."

Joe Dipinto 1:51 PM  

@pablo 8:14 – it's probably just as well about your chorus name: a Google search brings up a slew of performing groups calling themselves "The OK Chorale". (I also seem to think it was the name of a P.D.Q. Bach composition.)

@Pete 12:18 – that SNL clip is hilarious.

Wallace Shawn + Carole Kane + YVEtte StevenS

LorrieJJ 1:52 PM  

The absolutely best demonstration of parkour is the opening sequence of Casino Royale ... I was completely sold on Daniel Craig as 007 from that moment on.

Peter P 2:04 PM  

@Anonymous 2:21. Yes, I caught the joke (and, yes, it was funny), but I thought the joke was underscoring the criticism. If I misunderstood, I withdraw. I can't always read intent well in a textual context. I can't quite tell is some people are surprised by one of the predominant meanings of the phrase "you up?" or not.

GILL I. 2:08 PM  

Well I felt like a toad sitting on a stool looking for some wax worms that I could lick. All of you Mensa's just smiling like a Cheshire gato, thinking this was a nip of apple pie. I'm thankful I could at least come here and have this thing explained to me.
OK...so it got explained. Well, do you like it now? you ask. NO! Mrs. McGoo did not. I'll tell you why....Oh, yes...please do, we'd love to hear it.
Didn't know NORA from Awkwa whatever. Never heard of PARKOUR. Didn't know that COBB, SHAWN GOON guy. The only BOOTY CALL I can think of is something the Kardashians would pay to have injected in their nethers. I spell my small digit pinkie....and the list continued. THEN, THEN I had no idea what the theme meant. Not a clue. NADA, NIX, RIEN, NIENTE, NYET.....
Well, now that you vented, do you feel a bit better? NO!

Georgia 2:10 PM  

On my puzzle, 58D clue is "Ashen."

albatross shell 2:13 PM  

Despite naticks names and unknowns this was an excellent puzzle. I sure got caught in some of the KNOTs. KNOts before KNOTT. stale before WEARY. HomE (domestic Queen?) before HIVE. But it was queen that made me think ROOKS and BEY and BEE that made me think HIVE. How twisted is that?

Looked up SHAWN. Still ended up with PARKOUt (illegally blocking a parking space?) and tiGER (some hairdo that looks
wind blown?) and AMi (at least its a a type of question). I knew that was why no happy music. Checked here for to see PARKOUR. Started to look it up and as I typed the first R, I remembered what it was and that was my first reaction to the clue. Just had no memory of the name for it. French and Spanish- see my post late yesterday.
AHME. I should have seen RAGER.

No idea why AMA. Doctors I suppose.

@Zzatzo
THE TABLE DRINK, if that was a complaint I disagree. If that was an observation, I don't understand why it wasn't a better aha moment for you. Out of nonsense, meaning. But yes to each his own. The piano has been drinking, not able, not me.

Lyn 2:55 PM  

My problem is with "Tombstone site, once." Tombstone is still a town and the OK Corral still there, albeit a tourist attraction with gunfight reenactments. Sort of like Knott's berry farm was once just a farm. They're both still there.

A 2:56 PM  

What fun - a nifty puzzle with a topsy-turvy theme and an enjoyable @Rex review. I love the way he talked himself into liking GO FOR A WALK. Almost as much as I loved realizing I had forgotten PALIN. And that he “felt bad for millions of solvers as I wrote it in easily.” KNOTT was a gimme for this born and bred deep southerner, but I have no idea why. I do know why I got PIXIE - my cousin had the most adorable PIXIE cut when I visited her one summer so I got one too. It was not adorable on me and I hated it. Grew my long hair back and learned my lesson: just because something works for others does NOT mean it will work for you. Ugh.

Anyway, cool puzzle. Noticed an unusual number of Ps and Ks, even sharing entries. PARKOUR, PINKY TOE, PRESSURE CRACK. Mind your Ps and Ks? No, that’s not a thing.

Had OLD before ODD (What 10 is not) and was trying to get something like “give a HOLLER” for the help clue.

If I knew NANO means an actual billionth I’d forgotten. I feel empowered, somehow.

I was sure the “Amazon streams” misdirect would go in the direction of the rivlet. The electronic kind is more top of mind for most now. Times change.

Malcolm Arnold, British composer who is famous for his soundtrack for “The Bridge On The River Kwai,” was born 100 years ago today. I’ve played his “Three Shanties” dozens of times, but the incredibly artful playing on this recording makes the most of the first movement, based on “What do we do with a drunken sailor.”

PS. From yesterday, @Nancy, you’re welcome - hope you like it and Irene Adler will be one bit of PPP that will make you smile. ;-) @Aelurus, glad you enjoyed Esperanza Spalding. I can’t say which is my favorite album - she has so much scope it’s as though she’s more than one person. “Little Fly” is from the third album, Chamber Music Society, so you could start there, but you’re going to want more. To see how she progresses, check out one of her first two albums, Junjo or Esperanza, which are more conventional but show how great she was at a young age. She just gets more adventurous from there, and her many talents shine in all of her work.

okanaganer 3:24 PM  

Even in western Canada we knew KNOTTS back in the day; went there in 1973 but don't remember anything. Unlike Disneyland!

Hands up for BOIL and trouble, which left -BAT for "No. on the back of a baseball card". Which had to be: @BAT or [AT]BAT! Rebus stuff? But no.

Wow that lower right corner is ugly. Surely could have been done better.

[SB yd 0; final word was 9 letters and a tough nut to crack.]

Z 3:43 PM  

William is more legendary than Wallace? Inconceivable!

Z 3:53 PM  

@Albatross Shell - I didn’t get the under part at THE DRINK TABLE, so I was just looking at nonsense in the grid. When I did get it TESTIFY under OATH my reaction was still colored by that “there’s nonsense in the grid” feeling. Intellectually, it’s a creative theme. It just didn’t land here. It happens.

Anonymous 4:12 PM  

PALIN could have been less offensively clued as “Idle’s partner?”

l'americaine 4:26 PM  

I knew about Knott's Berry Farm because of the bygone Camp Snoopy at the Mall of America in Minnesota. Definitely obscure but Smucker's did sell the Knott's Berry Farm preserves in stores so it may be more widely known than I think.

pabloinnh 4:50 PM  

@JoeD--Interesting about The OK Chorale being so pervasive. I hadn't thought about it when we were trying to come up with names, and at the time it struck me as inspired. Apparently it struck a lot of other people in the same way.

BTW, we settled on "Full Circle", which I have since heard applied to various other things, including a semi-local nursery. Hard to come up with new stuff, I guess, unless you're naming an IPA.

thfenn 4:51 PM  

@Nancy 9:17 Thanks for the Angus King speech, hadn't heard it yet. He does do Maine proud, and I hope it's not lost on anyone that he's an Independent.

Smith 4:57 PM  

Late as usual. Medium for me, under average time. Took a minute to see the theme (on phone no puzztitle) but got it at THETABLEDRINK.

Funny for 4a wanted ovenmitt and took forever, so to speak, to remember the old POTHOLDER.

Liked it!

Joe Dipinto 5:00 PM  

@rjkennedy98 – I'm sort of surprised that this is PARKOUR's first puzzle appearance, and sort of not surprised. I remember seeing a whole barrage of articles and newsclips about it when it first started to catch on (10-15 years ago?). It seemed like it was going to become popular, but then I didn't really hear about it anymore. So today my reaction was "Oh yeah, I remember that— are people still doing it?"

Smith 5:04 PM  

@mambridge 7:32

No idea about AMA but my last letter in was the A in RAGER, which sounded like it might be something.

In suburbia PARKOUR seems to be known as Par Course...

Smith 5:05 PM  

@Pablo early

😆🤣 OK Chorale!!

thfenn 5:09 PM  

@Pete 12:18 LOL, very funny SNL clip, and @Joe Dipinto 1:51 thanks, hadn't occurred to me to click on it. Too good.

Anonymous 5:18 PM  

I had to look up NORA, COBB and SHAWN but I still don't understand EFTS = little salamanders. Are they really called that? And LOGS as in log files you audit afterwards?

Steve M 6:28 PM  

A puzzle only puzzle nerds could like

albatross shell 6:33 PM  

@anon 518pm
Yes they are. But how many have a need to call them by name? I assume you are not the anon with science obsessed mom who was passionate about diurnal.

albatross shell 6:46 PM  

@anon518
Know nothing about audit files. I assumed sawing logs as in cartoons when one is snoring. That's how I got it after getting _OG. Even if that was wrong I got it right.

Eniale 7:05 PM  

Naticked on RAGER and AMA. I know we've had the Reddit ref before, but memory doesn't always serve. And I put in PARcOUR right away, only to have to overwrite when I got CLINK.

pg-8 td. They say there's a 10-letter word but I couldn't come near it.

Anonymous 7:09 PM  

Re Angus King speech: - LOL. Susan Collins and Tim Scott called the Voting Rights bill a partisan power grab.. As far as King being an Independent, that’s a double LOL. He caucuses with the Democrats thus a de facto Democrat, much like Bernie Sanders, who was an “Independent “ until he wanted to run for President and had to switch parties.

Nancy 8:03 PM  

Thanks for straightening out WAN for me, @kitshef and @bocamp. Mystery solved. This is the one problem with solving in pen and having large handwriting: I often have the clue number in the grid enough covered up that I misread it. Today I read 56 when I should have read 58.

My eyesight also isn't what it used to be. Those numbers are SO teensy-tiny, aren't they?:)

albatross shell 8:09 PM  

Anon 709pm
The bill sets a floor of fair voting standards for all states. So what in it is unfair to anyone? If the other side wasn't consistently targeting voters who vote primarily democratic and now trying to give state houses and election officials the ability to overturn elections on partisan political votes such laws are more important. Yeah I know: state's rights for state wrongs. Oops sorry. You are the anon who hates politics here. Right?

Glen Laker 9:16 PM  

Apparently you’ve been arockliving.

Bruce Fieggen 9:35 PM  

My favorite PARKOUR video:
https://youtu.be/0Kvw2BPKjz0
Maybe one day the puzzle will only have liberals clued and Rex will be happy.

Unknown 12:17 AM  

I am with you. I read two newspapers a day, two books a week, BBC on line, etc and I have not only not seen the term, I don't have any idea what it means. Talk about a fish with a bicycle

RooMonster 12:37 AM  

@Z 3:43 Wins the internet!
LOLOLOL!

RooMonster I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means Guy

Joel Rosenberg 6:24 PM  

Thanks, Rex, for the video of Wally Shawn from “The Princess Bride.” Shawn was also in many other memorable films, including two by the great Louis Malle: “Vanya on 42nd Street,” and “My Dinner with André,” co-starring André Gregory. Best of all was Shawn as the Grand Nagus Zek in TV's “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

Still better is that Wally (Wallace) Shawn is the son of vintage New Yorker editor William Shawn (31-Down: "...editor of The New Yorker for 35 years"), whom you mention in passing.

The New Yorker magazine has been precious to me for almost as many years as The New York Times, and most of that time with William Shawn at the helm. In addition to his publishing many a premium writer like E. B. White, Hannah Arendt, John McPhee, J. D. Salinger, and Jane Kramer, Shawn was so often willing to publish gifted unknown writers, giving them their start in illustrious literary careers. This includes a longtime dear college friend of mine, Lawrence (Ren) Weschler, a master of nonfiction narrative essay and widely published commentator on politics, human rights, the arts, performance artists, and whimsical museums. Shawn employed Ren as a staff writer for the magazine for over 20 years. He also held the magazine to a strict regime of flawless copy-editing and forbade the use of any profanity or sexual references in articles or cartoons (a policy since abandoned under other editors).

Under its current editor, the learned and justly esteemed David Remnick, the magazine still soars. But the era of Shawn was a golden age, and deserves respectful comment here for the benefit of your readers and solvers. Anyhow, thanks for the Wally clip. It's great fun, as is the whole of "The Princess Bride."

spacecraft 11:42 AM  

Happy T-Day from Syndiland! Wow, it's barely mentioned anywhere on the page, and not at all by OFC: the natickest natick that ever came down the Natick Pike! (Is there such a road?) I refer to the crossing of 30 across with 26 down. We have AM_/R_GER. HUH?? And the clues: Reddit Q&A and Blowout. HUH???? Neither this crossing, nor either of its clues, made the slightest whisper of sense to me. I was convinced I'd screwed up somewhere in the neighborhood, but it all checked out. So, I figured, probably vowel. By this time my head hurt, so I just wrote in "A" and let it go. This didn't bother anybody? I guess I must be 3-down.

The rest of the puzzle was pretty good, I thought. Started in SW with GBS/FOE/GOFORAWALK. Worked over to the SE where I made TESTIFY, which fits the clue perfectly--but what were those four empty squares doing above it? After doing the center and seeing _____BLEDRINK, I got it. And then, of course, OATH. Nice.

Who am I to argue with Queen BEY? DOD. It's cute that we have OVERS to go with all the unders. Par: O/U? I guess under; it's not the constructor's fault I'm so clueless. Birdie.

Burma Shave 11:43 AM  

PALIN SASS?

No BOOTYCALL FOE me, I'll GOFORAWALK,
that ONE'S WEARY you see, SHE sleeps like AROCK.

--- YVES COBB

rondo 2:11 PM  

@spacey - I'm so with you on the AMA/RAGER cross. Even the R to end PARCOUR, so that tiny area was WTF to me.

PALIN WAN, PALE OAR WAN. GOON GOFORAWALK. Yeah BEY BEE.

Happy T Day to all.

Diana, LIW 2:31 PM  

Well guys, AMA (ask me anything) and RAGER (I used to work with college students) were in my wheelhouse. Easily.

But

I was doing so well...until I wasn't.

Fun theme for a Thursday.

I gotta go eat!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

thefogman 2:33 PM  

I really enjoyed this one. Who could ask for anything more?

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