One-named Greek New Age musician / TUE 10-12-21 / U-shaped stringed instrument / Counter Strike of League of Legends / Old dagger / Tip of a shoelace

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Constructor: Conor Sefkow

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: ALLITERNATION (37A: Portmanteau coinage describing this puzzle's theme) — two-word alliterative phrases where the first word is a nationality:

Theme answers:
  • RUSSIAN ROULETTE (17A: Game that has only a single round)
  • FRENCH FRY (23A: Single item seemingly always found at the bottom of a McDonald's bag)
  • DUTCH DOOR (49A: Entrance divided in half horizontally)
  • CHINESE CHECKERS (58A: Board game played on a big hexagram)
Word of the Day: YANNI (26D: One-named Greek New Age musician) —
Yiannis Chryssomallis (GreekΓιάννης Χρυσομάλλης, born November 14, 1954), known professionally as Yanni (About this soundlisten; /ˈjɑːni/), is a Greek-American composerkeyboardistpianist, and music producer. [...] His breakthrough concert, Live at the Acropolisyielded the second best-selling music concert video of all time. [...] At least sixteen of Yanni's albums have peaked at No. 1 in Billboard's "Top New Age Album" category, and two albums (Dare to Dream and In My Time) received Grammy Award nominations. Yanni has performed in more than 30 countries on five continents, and through late 2015 had performed live in concert before more than 5 million people and had accumulated more than 40 platinum and gold albums globally, with sales totaling over 25 million copies. A longtime fundraiser for public television, Yanni's compositions have been used on commercial television programs, especially for sporting events. He has written film scores and the music for an award-winning British Airways television commercial. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is what happens when you fall in love with your pun revealer—you love it so much that you can't give it up, even when the concept that it yields is dry as dirt. The answers are so easy, so plain, so blah, esp. the sad, lone FRENCH FRY, that really all you have is your tada moment of ALLITERNATION, and the only thing that made me think was, "Oh, so *this* is why we're doing this. Huh. Sounds like a nation where people litter a lot, but OK." As a stand-alone answer, I like DUTCH DOOR fine—it's certainly the most original of the themers. But this mainly feels like a Monday themeless with a groany joke in the middle—a joke that is basically a made-up word, which maybe is what's supposed to elevate this (difficulty-wise) from a Monday to a Tuesday, but it was really really really easy anyway. It was also really grim. I mean, this is a fine way to open your Tuesday morning:

Do you really need more cutesiness here in the clue (playing on the word "round," obviously)? You've already provided me with the image of someone shooting themselves in the head, I don't think you're making it better by trying to distract me with wacky wordplay. The grimness continues later on with more violent death, in the form of a LEAD PIPE, though that clue had the virtue of making me remember the board game "Clue," which I actually enjoyed as a child, so I didn't mind the grimness so much. Plus, you can imagine a LEAD PIPE in non-head-injuring contexts—not so true of RUSSIAN ROULETTE. The theme amounted to a lot of ordinary phrases with a non-word joke at the center. I think the theme "works," but that the results are meager. I will say that the puzzle didn't miss any obvious ALLITERNATIONs. I didn't check a complete list of world countries, but I did a mental world tour and didn't hit any good alternatives. So... thoroughness. That's something.

There's also a weird irregularity to the difficulty, in that the vast majority of the puzzle is sub-Monday-level easy. Fill as fast as you can read clues. I didn't fail to get a single answer at first glance until ALLITERNATION (not surprising, as it's not a word), and then I had a couple of minor need-to-check-crosses slow-downs with SOURCE (46D: Listing in a footnote) and PEACE (64A: Informal goodbye), but those were bumps I barely registered. But *then* I hit the SW corner, and since I didn't look at the LEAD PIPE clue early (would've helped), I ended up balking at a ton of stuff in there. No idea about E-SPORT, wasn't sure if it was LUTE or LYRE (43D: U-shaped stringed instrument), thought COCOA might be served at the ski resort (47A: Hot drink at a ski resort = TODDY), had to infer TOPO as I've never seen that as a stand-alone answer ever (62A: Map with elevation lines, in brief), and wrote in FEES before DUES (40A: Club charges). All that after having, as I say, encountering almost zero resistance in the rest of the grid. Massive imbalance. That's an editing problem, though, not a constructing one. There wasn't much to see in the fill. Felt kind of crosswordesey from the jump, starting with AM(which vowel will it be?}N RA and then SIS ALI INS NIELS ECO IRENE IWO across the top ... but then through the middle things are OK, until we touch down with a jarring THUD at SNEE AGLET (which sounds like a sleepy coastal New England town where spooky things are about to happen...). This really is a one-joke, one-note, one-moment puzzle. The rest is perfunctory. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


OffTheGrid 5:53 AM  

I can't believe @Rex omitted his old nemesis CHE from the rant. His comments today were rather (snow)flaky. I liked this puzzle. The theme was fine for early in the week, clever enough. Bothers me none at all that it was not very difficult.

Conrad 5:55 AM  

I found 35D, the most common answer in NYT crosswords, interesting. Right off the bat I guessed EtA, but was quickly corrected when ALLITEtNATION made even less sense than the correct answer. Easy solve, but I liked it a lot more than @Rex.

J.A. Kelley 6:49 AM  

Yesterday over 20,000 runners representing 104 countries and all fifty states, who were watched on broadcast and streaming media by people in almost every country in the world, ran four miles through the town of Natick on their way to the finish line of the 125th Boston Marathon, the oldest annually run and grandest marathon in the world.

Lewis 6:58 AM  

Hah! This took moxie, chutzpah! Making up a word and having it be the centerpiece of your puzzle! I say it’s a brilliantly audacious move, and a full salute to you, Conor, for doing this!

Furthermore, the theme is tight (I don’t think there are many or any other theme answers as good as these), and the puzzle taught me DUTCH DOOR, which I’m glad to have learned. Seeing that ERA is the #1 used NYT answer, I wondered where ETA (42A) stood – #13 (Hi, @Conrad!)– and just out of curiosity, OREO (#28). Okay, ONO and ENO are far out of the running.

I can’t believe that this is the first time FRENCH FRY has been in a NYT puzzle; also, I couldn’t help but wonder… Is TOPO POLO a relative of Marco?

This is one terrific theme and a most impressive debut. Thank you for it, Conor, and congratulations!

Joaquin 7:02 AM  

I saw the clue, “Most common answer in New York Times crosswords … “, and without looking to see how many letters I assumed the answer was “Oreo”. A fun clue - What was your gut reaction/guess?

Joe 7:06 AM  

Did it seem to anyone else that they used some very old clue from a crossword answer database for ELEMENT? Over 115? Why not give the exact number?

Trey 7:08 AM  

I so much wanted Settlers of Catan for 58A (Board game played on a big hexagram), but that would have been a hexagon, and as Catan is not an officially recognized nation, it would have stretched the theme a bit

Really liked the clues for OPTICIAN and RUSSIANROULETTE (speaking of which, Katla on Netflix is a very interesting series about strange occurrences in a small Icelandic town devastated by a local volcano spewing ash in the region)

Did not know that AMeNRA had another spelling, but the crossed theme answer fixed that error

Frantic Sloth 7:13 AM  

At least the lookie-loo clues were highlighted.

A tad off my wavelength, so faux difficulty for the Tuesdee. I wonder if the rest if the week will hold this course. Fingers crossed!

13A The first EMAIL was sent in 1971 and I just received it last week.


@GILL from yesterday I ask myself and others about la cucaracha all the time. Best guess is that they're here to outlive us during the nuclear/pandemic/climate change Holocaust. For what reason? Hell if I know.

Lewis 7:15 AM  

Correction to my above comment: ETA is #9, and OREO is #40. Those who are curious about other words, there is a list of the top 100 in the comments on WordPlay.

Son Volt 7:20 AM  

Solved as a themeless for the most part - stared at ALLITERNATION for some time before making the leap. It is clunky at best. I liked DUTCH DOOR and always like to see the beautiful BANFF in a grid. I use TOPO’s everyday.

Not bad - but just a flat Tuesday solve.

amyyanni 7:32 AM  

A Tuesday Tussle with crunch. And cousin will be so happy to be included (26D).
Watched the Marathon yesterday morning, then stayed up late celebrating the team from 20 miles east of Natick. Bliss.

kitshef 7:33 AM  

Tight theme. There are a few currencies that fit the pattern, bust most are pretty obscure. Probably the best is Russian ruble, but Russian roulette is a better answer.
Greek God.
Swiss Steak.

A bit easy for a Tuesday.

CS 7:34 AM  

I thought this was fine fun for a Tuesday (see what I almost did there :-D) and enjoyed learning about the most common crossword answers (thanks @Lewis for the reference).

Guess my random bits of knowledge served me well on this one (knew Yanni, Topo, for example) but mostly it was just a pleasant little romp while waking up with a large mug of coffee.


Zwhatever 7:34 AM  

Sitting here having my morning coffee, having read about UNC dealing with student suicides (poorly, but most institutions do) over the past few days, reading all kinds of depressing stories around National Coming Out Day, that first themer was grimace inducing. Just an “Oof! Really?” start to the morning.
@OffTheGrid - I don’t think Rex has ever ranted about CHE Guevara. That’s @Gill I’s issue, and it centers more around cluing him positively rather than him appearing in the puzzle, as I recall. No, Rex’s rant is about the NRA. Which ties to RUSSIAN ROULETTE nicely because what the NRA is busy hiding is that the mostly likely person to die from a gun is the gun’s owner, the next most likely person is someone in the gun owner’s family. Happy Tuesday. Suicide and Murder all around.

The FRENCH FRY clue is right out of the independent puzzle vibe. You often get that sort of personal feeling from the cluing. If you have been to McDonalds you’ve experienced the FRENCH FRY in the bottom of the bag phenomenon. That clue did manage to get a smile from me. For the ERA clue an indie might add something like “word I’m tired of cluing.” Somehow I find that less off-putting than the self-referential “Most Common” clue we got for ERA. Besides, I refuse to believe that the right answer isn’t Oreo.

@J.A. Kelley - The day Natick crossed NC Wyeth the clue was something like “city at mile X of the Boston Marathon.” It really should change its name to “The Natick Marathon.”

SNEE hasn’t been around much lately. Merriam-Webster and Lexico do not have entries. Wiktionary and Collins call it “obsolete” with Collins calling it chiefly British. There’s a related word in DUTCH having nothing to do with DOORs. If you put in the google machine you will get a lot of people not famous enough to be in crosswords. In short, an entry only Maleska could love and.

Zwhatever 7:50 AM  

@Joe - Is there an exact number? Or just a current number that is being argued over?

@Trey - E, O, and U are all definitely in play. I thought maybe an A was an option, but apparently we’ve kept it to three commonly used spellings.

The Top 500 Answers in the SHORTZ ERA

No, I don’t know why the final word in my first post is “and.”

SouthsideJohnny 8:11 AM  

I absolutely love the fact that they made up a word and used it as their theme. It is so NYTXW ! ! !

Like Rex, the SW was the real problem area for me with TODDY, ESPORT and TOPO (and AUTO SHOP is no gimmie). Apparently, an E-SPORT is where a bunch of people watch a bunch of other people play video games, which sounds really, really boring.

Siva Ram 8:28 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joe Dipinto 8:29 AM  

Pop me a cork, french me a fry
Crack me a nut, bring a bowl full of bon-bons
Chill me some wine, keep standin' by
Just entertain me, champagne me
Show me you love me, kid glove me
Best way to cheer me: cashmere me
I'm getting hungry, peel me...
...a grape

Russian, French, Dutch, and Chinese are not the names of the countries, so alliterNATION doesn't quite stick the landing. Alliternational?

Whatsername 8:43 AM  

Thought this was a fine puzzle and a good concept which was well executed. I liked the theme entries and difficulty level was on the easy side other than the revealer. Since it’s a word that does not even exist, it’s already tricky. Then the two proper names at 24D and 26D made it more so which I think might be a bit discouraging for new solvers on a Tuesday. Still, that’s not the fault of or a criticism of the constructor or his neologism. A fine debut overall.

BANFF National park is spectacular,. Thank you for that, Canada. Some of the most awe-inspiring scenery on this continent IMHO.

64A made me think of @bocamp, our regular extender of PEACE. And thank you Mr. B for reaching out with those sentiments every day. It’s a pleasant reminder to take a deep breath and a gentle nudge to lean toward the better angels of our nature.

bocamp 8:50 AM  

Thx Conor; wonderful Tues. puz with some nice surprises to ponder. :)

Med. +

Basically two puzzles: all easy except ALLITERNATION and the SW corner.

FeEs, before DUES; wasn't sure of lutE or LYRE (ok, so a LYRE is similar to a harp); wanted cOcoa before TODDY; didn't think of E SPORT nor TOPO. All of the aforementioned contributed to my woes in the SW.

Thanks to fair crosses, it all finally came together.

Very enjoyable Tues. challenge! :)


Funny, you just never know with Croce's Freestyles. The 652 was by far the easiest I've encountered. The only holdup was in N. Cali. Took some time to sort out that patch.

yd pg -1

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Zwhatever 9:00 AM  

@bocamp - How do you feel about Crowe’s 664? I’m staring at an expanse of white with no clue where I’m even going to get a toehold. I had the same feeling with a recent Tough as Nails, but once I found a toehold it turned into a typical Saturday Challenging puzzle. Hoping for the same with this one.

rjkennedy98 9:08 AM  

I knew Rex would hate this puzzle (and I didn't care for it much either). I don't need to think about RUSSIAN ROULETTE first thing in the morning, and the "one round" joke landed with a THUD for me.

As for difficulty, I found this puzzle a bit on the hard side for a Tuesday, mostly because of that SW corner where I put down FEE instead of DUE, COCOA before TODDY, and LUTE instead of LYRE, which took some erasures to fix up.

> an E-SPORT is where a bunch of people watch a bunch of other people play video game

Its not really much different than watching people play football, or swim, or golf, or anything else. The top players in the world are truly world class and can be very enjoyable to watch. A few years ago I got into watching StarCraft online (briefly) and the best players there average 400 actions (click, key press, ect) per minute. They are truly freaks of nature. Additionally, like theater, you get to see everything that is going on whereas the players can online see their map. I did use to think its ridiculous, but now I've come around.

One thing is a different is that there is way more money watching people casually play video games. Twitch is a top 10 or 20 website in the USA (depending on measurement), and it is dedicated to live streaming video games. I honestly don't get what makes people want to sit and watch a stranger chat and casually play a game online.

Nancy 9:10 AM  

I'm stubborn. I keep feeding ALLITERNATION into Google, hoping for even one tiny hit. But Google is stubborn too. It keeps feeding ALLITERATION (the real word we all know and love) back to me. It just won't accept ALLITERNATION. So there!

Question: Has a NYTXW ever before been built around a revealer word that doesn't exist? After I send this post, I'll go back and read all of the crossword bloggers -- Rex, Deb and Jeff -- to find out what they think of this strange state of affairs.

So I suppose it's Conor's own portmanteau? Well, it's a free country. If Conor wants to create his own portmanteau, I guess he can.

If I hadn't put in feES instead of DUES for the club charges, I would have found this really easy. But FEES kept me from seeing AUTO SHOP -- which kept me from seeing ALLITERNATION. With just the LIT plus NATION, I kept wanting POLITICAL something-or-other. Can you blame me? After all I'd never heard of ALLITERNATION. Had you?

Some other questions:

Why is DINE IN the answer to "Not get take out"? When I get take out it's precisely because I am going to DINE IN. Unless, of course, I'm taking the take out to eat in Central Park.

How does a DUTCH DOOR (which I've never heard of, btw) work? It's divided horizontally? Do you have to pole vault through the top half?

This was a very strange puzzle, methinks.

Teedmn 9:11 AM  

All those late 70's club nights in Minneapolis, dancing to the band Chameleon, and we never knew we were listening to a future world-renowned new age musician. YANNI.

I stared at ALLITERNATION, knowing it was wrong, and never picking up the NATION thing. Gah, did someone hit me with a LEAD PIPE?

I really liked the clue for OPTICIAN, "Professional you might need to see?"

Congrats, Conor, on the debut and thanks for the Tuesday puzzle.

Mikey from El Prado 9:11 AM  

DUTCHDOOR made me think of a ‘Dutch’ date, more familiarly “going Dutch” in that both terms refer to a split of some sort. Is there some meaning of Dutch that refers to dividing or splitting? I assume not, and this is a mere coincidence. As for Dutch oven?… oh, well, never mind.

BTW, we have a Dutch door and a Dutch oven, but rarely go Dutch on dates. One bank account settles that.

Did not know that NYT Xword trivia about ERA. I’m curious as to the frequency of longer words.

albatross shell 9:13 AM  

Well, no Rex, RUSSIANROULETTE did not ruin my midnight snack. In fact I liked all the theme answers. DUTCHDOORs always amused me in cartoons as a tot. Jeez, I guess they still do. Maybe I should put one in as the back door.

ALLITERNATION made me think of cAtLITtERNATION. Yesterdays mole cure?

As many hidden ROOS as F' today.
The backward ROO (IN DOOR).
The homophonic ROO (RUE).
The kanga ROO leaping over the rhyming Lucy LIU (LIU-LOO cross pretty good following the extended Paar pun last night).
The backward with reversed letters ROO (in ERROR, also known as the stretch ROO).

Fun getting LEADPIPE with no crosses and CHINESE CHECKERS with only the I in LEADPIPE unless it was the other way around.
It also had the most common continent in NYTCWDs ASIA.
The most common airport abbreviation ETA.
And many others.

A fun Tuesday. Quite enjoyable. Fun to solve.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

Not quite thorough, I came up with India Ink and Canadian Club

EdFromHackensack 9:33 AM  

I agree w bocamp- easy except for the made-up long revealer. Can’t see how Rex could rate this an “Easy” overall though. Thought 14A would be ARC, it kinda was. Never heard of 54A. I thought Bohr’s name might have been NIaLS... prevented me from getting ELEMENT for a minute. We were planning on going to Lake Tahoe in 2020, then CoVid hit. last time we were there we saw Barry Manilow at Caesars for my wife’s 30th Bday (don’t laugh, he put on a great show)... she is 56 now, so it’s been awhile! Enjoyable puzzle, thanks Conor.

RooMonster 9:34 AM  

Hey All !
Well, a puz theme centered around a non-word. Interesting.

Why isn't OOXTEPLERNON on the Top 500 most answers list?

AMENRA, with the E. That's it. The O, U ones are made up. Wait, do I sense a theme..?

Sad SB update - yd -15 - which is why I don't usually add it to my posts! Used to be good at Jumbles and such. Can the ole brain just not see stuff after a while?

@Nancy from YesterComments
LOLed at your screed about emojis. Unfortunately, they are here to stay. New ones seemingly pop up all the time. I admit I tend to use them exceedingly at times. But for me, they let me convey something more thoroughly than if I just wrote the sentence. Like an extra oomph.

I actually like emojis better than the initialisms out there - IIRC, YMMV, etc. (YMMV) Har.

Good puz, despite the non-word.

Three F's

jberg 9:37 AM  

Lucky for me, I didn't use India Ink to fill in AMoN RA (I know, that doesn't quite work). But it was fun getting RUSSIAN ROULETTE from the R. As for ASIA as a region? Seems overly understated.

Know your instruments: a LYRE is (sorta) u-shaped, with the strings on the inside of the frame; a lute is vaguely like a guitar, but with a bigger and rounder box, and a lot more strings. If it has a really long neck, then it's a theorbo.

Hikers say TOPO all the time; I don't know about other fields.

But enough of that -- for some reason, I'm suddenly craving Italian Ice.

thfenn 9:40 AM  

I was a little surprised to learn ERA appears in only 6% of the puzzles as I feel like I see it more often than that. Also had Ono and Eno in there first, as, I guess, my aprons get more SpoIlED than STAINED, and while I thought it was fun in the end I just couldn't see ALLITERNATION for a long time. Had more do-overs than a normal Tuesday (rose before BEET, revolver before LEADPIPE, sEeya before PEACE). PEACE as an informal goodbye? I mean, sure, I get lots of email signoffs with PEACE, sometimes a wave, or even the old much loved peace sign, with "PEACE", but its never struck me as an informal version of "goodbye" - more of an alternative to goodbye. And I'm a little embarrassed to admit that DINEIN didn't emerge as the opposite to take-out. Let's not sit in a restaurant, let's get some take-out and eat-in. Works for me.

@amyyanni (and @pabloinnh and others), very happy Boston turned into Tampa Bay's WATERLOO - a thrilling ALDS. Am hoping we get (and beat) Houston in the ALCS and the Dodgers in the WS.

thfenn 9:45 AM  

@Nancy, completely agree on DINEIN (just hadn't seen yours when I wrote mine). And yes, another hand up for feES before DUES.

Barbara S. 9:46 AM  

For the most common answer in NYT crosswords, I stuck in EEL with very little thought. The puzzle does have a strange fascination for those long, sinuous fish. But I see EEL’s down at #19. Maybe it can slither its way up over time.

Since the solve, I can’t get “Latin lover” out of my mind, even though it doesn’t work as a themer. Belgian Blue? Too obscure – it’s a breed of cattle. Anyway, I liked the puzzle more than Rex did. I did balk a bit at RUSSIAN ROULETTE. RR always brings to mind that scene in “The Deer Hunter” – shudder. I never knew that those “half-doors” (as I would inaccurately have called them) are DUTCH DOORs. Here’s one in a 17th-century Dutch painting.

Like @Nancy, I thought “Not get take out” was an odd clue for DINE IN for precisely the reason she gave. Nice to see good, old SNEE. Alternate clue: Dagger owned by Captain Hook’s henchman. Appropriate to have BEET and STAINED in the same grid – word to the wise: mop up beet juice from white counters immediately. I’ve seen AGLETs compared to telomeres in the study of DNA, specifically chromosomes. The idea is that in the same way that AGLETs keep shoelaces from coming apart, telomeres on the ends of our chromosomes keep them intact and healthy when we’re young, but tend to break down with age, allowing chromosomes to unravel. I’ve also seen the comparison debunked.

“Where model workers can be found” fooled me. I was thinking fashion shows and wanting “runway” or “catwalk”, both too short. I also made the common DUES/fees ERROR. I put in cOcoa for TODDY (Hi @bocamp and @rjkennedy98) – both will warm you up in the ski resort, but the TODDY’s effect is longer lasting. Hey Rex et al., a mnemonic for the LYRE/lute conundrum is that “lute” contains a U and so does “guitar", which it vaguely resembles. I’ve never been to TAHOE but I can attest to the beauty of BANFF. I first saw the Rocky Mountains of Alberta from a cross-Canada train when I was 7 and they made an indelible impression.

CDilly52 9:56 AM  

@JA Kelley 6:49 AM. and what a thing of beauty that is each year. So thankful for a marathon with nothing newsworthy but the historic race itself.

CDilly52 9:59 AM  

@Joaquin - I immediately (without looking for number of letters) went for ERR. Seems as if I cannot skip more than a day without it!

JD 9:59 AM  

Yanni Stan, a tiny country in the middle East no one's ever heard of, not even its citizens. Iwo Eco, an also ran in the New Orleans parade song competition. Lye Lyre.

Cali, Meted, and Era crossing Alliternation held me up on the way down for quite some time because the revealer. was. in. the. middle of the themers and the N was confusing me (sideways staring like a dog). It even had me doubting Yanni (is he really your cousin @amy?) Also, I really wanted the most common answer to be Eno (I just thought of Eno marrying Ono in Orono and I have to type it). Did a little mental happy dance when I finally got the treat.

Loved Niels crossing Element. Loved the clue for Auto Shop although I always call it the garage and it cost me $1,300 last week. Loved Alliternation, it's a joke son, laugh. Ghoti was sort of a made-up word too. Think different.

CDilly52 10:03 AM  

@Son Volt. I work with folks who used TOTOs and have never heard one referred to as anything but a TOPO in its usage. The only time I encounter the full word topographical is when the TOPO is being explained to a first time user.

Blackhat 10:08 AM  

13 letter answer that is not a real word....we have a new world champion of Naticks!

bocamp 10:31 AM  

Giving ALLITERNATION more thot; I like it! All the crosses were fair. I had EtA before ERA, but with a bit of imagination, the 'R' was apparent.

@Whatsername (8:43 AM)


@Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz (9:00 AM)

Re: Crowe's 664; can you point me to it? :)

pg -5 (no more overtimes. I mean it this time! lol)

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Hartley70 10:32 AM  

I love a cute DUTCH DOOR and just installed one in my barn. I go out and open it just for fun. I’d like one in the kitchen, but alas, I don’t live in a country without bugs or birds or bats for that matter. RUSSIANROULETTE didn’t upset me. Since I solved in the night and had already watched the evening news, the breakfast test didn’t apply.
I wanted ENO for the most common answer, although I thought OREO deserved the title even without that final O.
I was sure of YANNI so that took care of the N in the creative revealer. I found it playful and that occasional attribute makes me love the NYTXW even more.

tea73 10:36 AM  

Cute puzzle, I could not see AUTOWORKERS until I had all the letters in. I think of lutes as pregnant guitars.

One of my first architectural projects was for a kitchen addition. The original kitchen had a DUTCH DOOR and my client was adament about reusing it. They are good for letting air in while keeping critters either in the house or out of the house.

Barbara S. 10:43 AM  

There’s no easy way to say this: I’ve written a poem about the blog. It’s an…[ahem]…EPIC POEM, at least as regards its length. It was written in May and June (with a few revisions since then), so it’s a kind of snapshot of the blog at that time. And, Dear Blogger, you may be in it. Fifty-one people who were posting in the comments section in the spring enliven the pages of this…composition. How did it come to be, you ask? I wrote it for my own amusement, in dribs and drabs, whenever I had an idle moment and there was a pen or keyboard handy. I never seriously entertained the notion of showing it to anybody (except my husband) and it’s been in deep storage since the summer, gathering electronic dust. And probably would have stayed there for all eternity, but for Rex’s announcement the other week that it was the blog’s 15th anniversary. Well, one thing led to another, and I offer it here for your perusal. I hope it will give you a chuckle, won’t insult you, and will allow you to conjure a cast of familiar characters.

Note: I live in worry that I may have erred with some people's pronouns. If I have, please let me know – privately, on email, if you prefer – and accept my apologies.

Without further ado –
There Once Was A Blog Named Rex Parker

Unknown 10:46 AM  

The only thing "grim" about today's puzzle was Rex's typical negative shtick.
I'm always a bit incredulous when folks start complaining about answers like RUSSIANROULETTE, but if there's one thing I've learned from this blog and the comments, it's where the term "snowflake" came from. So thanks for that, I guess.

Today's puzzle was clever, perhaps a tad on the easy side, but the SW gave me a surprising bit of bite.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

I'm pretty sure ALLITERNATION was the pangram in the Spelling Bee a couple of weeks ago.

Pete 10:51 AM  

I'm guessing this puzzle is by a noob, and so they might be 13, but if not I suggest that they watch The Deer Hunter and re-think the clue for 17A. It's like saying all books are about Jack and Jill and a Hill.

Ask anyone in Detroit if LEADPIPE is a harmless artifact of an old board game.

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

I don't think anyone has pointed out that TOPO is short for topographical. The elevation lines also indicate amount of change in elevation. The closer the lines the steeper the gradient.

jae 11:00 AM  

Medium. Top half easier than the bottom, plus it took some staring to grok ALLITERNATION after changing EtA to ERA. Cute and clever with some nice long downs, liked it a bunch. A fine debut by a fellow San Diegan who’s attending the same university as my grandson.

@boocamp - I finally gave up and cheated on the Stella Z. puzzle and I’m pretty sure you know why.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

"Where model workers can be found?"

AUTOSHOP?????????? not even close. auto shop is the 'major' that a failed GED student has in 'high schools' called, variously, Trade or Vocational, wherein poor people bring in their sick cars to be fixed for much lower cost than even the neighborhood gas station.

if the implication is: 3D printing establishment, baloney.

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

@Pete. I know "The Deer Hunter" but I don't get your 10:51 comment.

bocamp 11:16 AM  

@Barbara S. (10:43 AM)

You're a jewel! 💎

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Joaquin 11:20 AM  

A poster named Barbara (plus “S”)
Posts a limerick that’s filled with finesse
From “@A” to “@Z”
And a verse about me
I’m glad I’m included, I confess


There was a young man
From Cork who got Limericks
And Haikus confused

WestofNatick 11:22 AM  

Just wondering the relevance of the beautiful shot of John Candy to the puzzle or this blog.

bocamp 11:28 AM  

@Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz (9:00 AM)

I'm wondering if you meant Croce's 664, which would be his Freestyle 602 from the April archive? In any event, I'm on it. If there is, indeed, a Crowe's 664, I'd love to give that one a try, too. lol

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

JD 11:30 AM  

@Barbara, That was absolutely grand. What a crew, and you nailed it so well. ❤️

@Pete, The Deer Hunter came immediately to mind.

@jae, Engineers who design for the built environment use Topos. I would imagine architects and rescue crews use them. There must be many more users, I'm sure.

@AllNotAWorders, Again, Alliternation is a joke, a funny aha!

Masked and Anonymous 11:33 AM  

Tarnation! Made-up revealer portmanteau pun. Hard not to get a hoot out of that, at our house. Desperate but funny. And likeably different.
Coulda gone with RUSSIANDRESSING instead of RUSSIANROULETTE, I reckon. Hate on the M&A, to lose that extra U, tho. [Which is why SWISSARMYKNIVES would thus be totally unacceptable there.]

staff weeject pick: ERA. Congratz to it for its sterlin regularity. Neat to have a NYTPuz-related clue, also.

AMUNRA should clearly be the preferred spellin.

fave sparklers: WATERLOO. AMUNRA. BANFF. LEADPIPE. AGLET [cuz we used to have a cockatiel that specialized in chewin our shoe aglets to bits].
Learned somethin new with ESPORT, too boot.

Thanx for the fun, young Mr. Sefkow dude. And, tarnation! -- congratz on yer debut.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


Joseph Michael 11:40 AM  

Congrats, Conor, on your debut not only of a puzzle but also of a word.

This was really easy — got RUSSIAN ROULETTE off the R — until suddenly it was really hard. Having “fees” before DUES and not remembering my old Clue weapons made the SW a tangle of impossibilities, especially with TOPO lying in wait. TOPO???

Thought the most common NYT answer was ETA until it showed up elsewhere in the grid. It was when I switched to ERA that I finally began to DETECT the elusive ALLITERNATION.

Same reaction as @Nancy about the clue for DINE IN. When I “take out” food, I usually bring it home. And I don’t think of munching on FRENCH FRIES as “dining.”

Surprised that Rex wasn’t triggered by the NRA hiding in 2D.

Bad Mouse 11:41 AM  

I know what a topographical map is. And even a topographical globe; you know, the ones with the nobs on. Never heard anyone call either a TOPO.

Son Volt 11:48 AM  

@WestofNatick 11:22a - I assumed the UNCLE Buck reference was tied to 50d.

Teedmn 11:49 AM  

I can only imagine how many awe-struck comments @Barbara S will garner today, all well-earned. That is truly an epic poem (and so kind to all, even the Anons.)

I had to laugh when I tried to make Anoa's pee-oh-cees rhyme with socks. That's pocks, ahem.

TJS 11:57 AM  


Why not "weekee" for Chrissake.

Trey 11:59 AM  

@thfenn and @Nancy - DINE IN is a real term. In COVID, many restaurants offer "Carry out or DINE IN" options, meaning you are eating at their establishment rather than in your own home

Unknown 12:05 PM  

@Bad Mouse 11:41 Perhaps you haven't spent much time with avid backpackers. TOPO is a very common term. No one calls it a "topographic map."

@MaskedandAnonyomus 11:33 RUSSIANDRESSING does not fit the theme.

bocamp 12:12 PM  

@Anonymous (10:48 AM)

Good one! alas, one too many unique letters, tho. :(

@jae (11:00 AM)

boocamp 😂

How did you really feel about Stella's puz! lol

If we're talkin' about the same line (my guess is, we are), then it's something I would say on appropriate occasions at one of my fave local restaurants of yore. I'd just never seen it in print. Googled it, and there are two very distinct pronunciations.

Currently working on Croce's Freestyle 602 from April.

@Anonymous (11:01 AM)

I'm one of those 'poor' people who took their old Toyota to the secondary school AUTO SHOP for repairs. They always got the job done.

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Joe Dipinto 12:13 PM  

@Barbara S. – And you alphabetized us! That was great!

thfenn 12:15 PM  

@Barbara S, that was brilliant! A lovely anniversary gift for the blog and a fine tribute to all here that make it so much fun to read.

Thought of The Deer Hunter as well, still in my own top ten.

Frantic Sloth 12:20 PM  

Thought I was out for the day, then @Barbara S drags me back in! Girl, I always knew you were a goddess and now we have proof in writing. Brava! ❤️

Charles Young 12:21 PM  

“someone shooting themselves”
Yikes! - the grammar police

RooMonster 12:22 PM  

@Barbara S
That was amazing! I'm awed. There aren't enough "big" words to express how cool, neat, boffo that poem/limerick mash-up thingie was!

If you haven't seen it yet, go Right Now to @Barbara S's 10:43 post, and click the link. You'll love it.

RooMonster Gonna Be Smiling All Day Guy

Mine was awesome!

TJS 12:23 PM  

Thank you,@Barb S, great work. Like @Juaquin, I'm glad I made the cut.

x 12:26 PM  

Like most of the commenters here, I finished this puzzle in practically no time at all, and went to the trouble to post here just to let everybody know how smart I am.

PhysGraf 12:33 PM  

Definitely guessed ENO for 35d but alas it was not to be. STAN seems to be getting a lot of play lately at the NYT and elsewhere. I'm guessing we will continue to see him show up for a long time to come... probably decades after the usage has become extremely passe.

chance2travel 12:46 PM  

One of the benefits of solving the downs first is that I never saw the following:

Have a great Tuesday!

Masked and Anonymous 12:49 PM  

@Unknown: Oops. yep. RUSSIANREPUBLIC? Keeps both U's, so better anyhoo. Might be a bit too nationalistic, tho, I'd grant.

M&A Aliterate Desk

old timer 12:50 PM  

When I went for a long walking trip in England 40 years ago or more, I took along the Ordnance Survey maps for most of Yorkshire and Northumberland, and you could have seen me poring over them at many a remote country pub. But are they TOPO maps? My first experience with them was in the Sierra, on the two occasions when my best friend from kindergarten took me and a couple of his friends to Mineral King, and the Rae Lakes, and the USGS TOPO maps were worth their weight in gold.

Thanks for the poem, @Barbara S. I spent a long, long time, almost an EON, reading it on my iPhone. I bet I am one of many who had to read every word, just to see if I was mentioned. And I was, and so was my favorite imaginary pub, the Placebo & Tentacle.

JonP 12:52 PM  

I had the E, so I thought it would be ETA. But then that popped up at 42A, so I knew it had to be something else.

That answer "worked" in that it was the key to unlocking the theme. But upon filling in the R in ALLITERNATION, I actually said out loud: "Oh hell no."

Lewis 12:58 PM  

@Barbara S

Without even a whisper of crass
You captured our fam’ly en masse
‘twas a masterly trick
Your snapping our pic
With astuteness, elegance, and class


Adam S 1:10 PM  

Other possibilities:

Spanish Steps
Canadian Club
British Bulldog (better answer for a UK crossword, since its also a well-known playground game there that combines tag with all-in wrestling)
Chinese Cabbage (checkers is better)
Belgian Beer
India(n) Ink

@nancy's comments reminded me of my efforts to find themers to match the grid-spanning revealer ITSAFREECOUNTRY. Its a great revealer but the only ones I can find are CUBALIBRA, THEUSOPEN, and WILDTURKEY (arguably also LIBERIA, but that feels in a different category). Unfortunately, mirror symmetry with a triple stack of 10s down the middle is beyond my construction skills, so if anyone can think of any others all thoughts are welcome.

Chanel 1:12 PM  

Great puzzle. Let’s Go Brandon.

GILL I. 1:18 PM  

@Barbarita con su ese....I'm going to download your fantastic "ode" to our bloggers and frame it. YOU are a señora con "palabras que te hace sonreir y bailar."
@Zizzer ZZ...Hah! It was our puzzle master, Erik Agard who clued CHE as a hero. It made my pants go up in flames. You had to be there!.
@Frantic. About the only thing I can think "good" about a cucaracha is the noise it makes when you squish the little bastards. They make the sound of my favorite Kettle Brand Potato Chips with Sea Salt and Vinegar when you chomp down on them.

Oh....the puzzle. @Rex was my twin in the SW section. Same mistakes, How about that? But did you like this? you ask. If it's a debut, then, why yes.....But it did have some oldie moldies here. We all know the SALSA BEET IWO living in ASIA with the AGLET ASP. But, we get a new word like ALLITERNATION and all is good in Glocca Morra.

GILL I. 1:22 PM  

PS...@Nancy I left you a new emoji to ponder from late yesterday..... Did you get it? A Pig and a Cock walk into a bar.......

Unknown 1:29 PM  

Tho not mentioned, I loved the poem, Barbara S!

Joe Dipinto 1:32 PM  

@Bad Mouse 11:41 – coincidentally (since you're a mouse), there was a mouse puppet that used to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show in the 1960's named TOPO Gigio. It was created by a puppeteer in Italy, and somehow came to Ed Sullivan's attention and he had it on his show a bunch of times. Someone did its voice, and it would interact with "Eddie", as it called Ed Sullivan. God, I hated that puppet. Hate hate HATED it.

The Blog 101 Team 1:37 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Zwhatever 1:41 PM  

Dang Typos - @bocamp - Correct. The April 6 Croce puzzle. Finished. Toehold in the SW. Last letter in was the most NE letter. Solve time? < ∞

If you’re looking for a challenge Croce and Zawistowski ( deliver on a regular basis. That April puzzle has been sitting on my clipboard for, well, 6 months, just waiting to torture me. In case you’re wondering, the PPP isn’t usually too high, but the breadth is almost always greater than what you see in any print puzzle.

Off to read some poetry.

Whatsername 1:43 PM  

@Barbara S (10:43) Well what can I say? Good heavens woman! Simply stated, we’re all in the presence of a genius. And a brilliant poet. I feel so honored to have been included and flattered by your kind words. You are a treasure. 😘

kitshef 1:45 PM  

Barbara S. - what a poem! I'm wondering how you pronounce Teedmn? To me, it's 'teedmin', and I can't get that to scan. And Roo seems naked without his Monster (and Poggius without his Anon i.e.).

Bad Mouse 1:58 PM  

@Joe Dipinto:

You caught me!!! He's (I think he was a he) a great-great-great cousin thrice removed. And I don't speak any Italian, alas.

Zwhatever 1:59 PM  

@Barbara S - 👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽

Am I remembering correctly that in the opening of Green Acres “Lisa” is seen standing at a DUTCH DOOR?
“Go Dutch” plays on the stereotype that the Dutch are cheap. Wikipedia claims this is from the era of English/Dutch rivalry.

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

are we sure that DUTCH DOOR isn't another Pennsylvania Dutch screw up??? you know, more of dem furriners who won't talk United States????

RooMonster 2:03 PM  

And there's nothing worse than a naked RooMonster!


Frantic Sloth 2:06 PM  

@GILL 118pm "They make the sound of my favorite Kettle Brand Potato Chips with Sea Salt and Vinegar when you chomp down on them." ¡Ay, Dios mio, I hope you mean the potato chips! 😘

albatross shell 2:09 PM  

I thought of British Brexit which is a duplication of British or Britain. Thought of changing the revealer to fit that clue. That failed but led to LOS ANGELES ANGELS which led to a revealer of REDUNDANCITY. Bet Rex would dislike that puzzle too. Just need 3 more now.

Speaking of the repetitive, I am missing @TTrimble too. Did he say he was going to be gone for a while? Someone did.

@Babara S
Thanks for the inclusion and for seeing all at their best. I was happy you included the mods too. I hope they notice.

albatross shell 2:30 PM  

I do not know if they kept the same opening every year. Gabor is in opens sliding double doors in Manhattan and Albert is pitchforking hay in front of closed double DUTCH barndoors. The American Gothic pose at the end seems to be in front of house windows. Here:

Anonymous 2:32 PM  


could be worse. could be a 'Palmetto Bug' which are about a foot long version. found mostly in moist Red states.

Anonymous 2:38 PM  

Although considered disgusting in Western culture, cockroaches are eaten in many places around the world. Whereas household pest cockroaches may carry bacteria and viruses [aha!! that's where Covid came from!], cockroaches bred under laboratory conditions can be used to prepare nutritious food. In Thailand and Mexico, the heads and legs are removed, and the remainder may be boiled, sautéed, grilled, dried or diced. In China, cockroaches have become popular as medicine and cockroach farming is rising with over 100 farms.
-- the wiki


Anonymous 2:43 PM  

OK. so this part I'm not making up (Palmettos aren't really foot longs, they just seem that way): according to the wiki, this is the longest roach - at 3.8 inches long, Megaloblatta longipennis

now, that's a name to die for.

JC66 2:56 PM  

@Barbara S

Loved the blog poem (It would have been great even if you hadn't included me). I can't imagine the effort involved.

Thank you.

GILL I. 3:06 PM  

OK so I practically lived in Mexico and I've eaten fried grasshoppers, a worm or two from my favorite mescal - even tried a stink bug but I've NEVER HEARD of eating no cockamamie cucaracha.
In Flordia, the palmetto is called cheese. Smile.

okanaganer 3:12 PM  

Hey!!!! I made the poem!!! And @Barbara S, you made my day!!!

[SB: yd pg -1... an 8 ltr "word" I should have gotten.]

Eniale 3:20 PM  

@Nancy: I thought most portmanteau words were composed ad hoc; I wouldn't expect to find them in any dictionary.

Easiest Tuesday in quite a while. Fun, though, to reminisce about playing old board games (well, they weren't that old back then) with mother, father and younger sister.... Once the cat got ahold of one of the marbles from the Chinese checkers, and wouldn't give it up, so that was that for that game.

SB yd pg -4; td pg -6.

Colette 3:30 PM  

Barbara S. Amazing, amazing, amazing poem! I think YOU should have won the Pulitzer for literature!

Liked the puzzle, and knew Rex wouldn't. But couldn't believe I had a DNF on a Tuesday! (Oh, the public humiliation.) Could not see my error. Had ERR instead of ERA, which led to a STRIPED apron and reputation, rather than STAINED ones. Never heard of a STAN fan, so STAP sounded just as good. Always something new to learn. Tomorrow is another day.

Whatsername 3:41 PM  

@WestofNatick (11:22) The relevance of John Candy . . . UNCLE Buck perhaps??

@Joe Dipinto (1:32) Same here on that stupid TOPO puppet. It was beyond weird.

Bad Mouse 4:25 PM  

@Joe, @Whats...

So what's your take on another weird contemporary, Señior Wencess who made a living with a hand that talked?? "S'ariiight!" Lived to 103!!!

A 4:25 PM  

I’m starting to read the comments while enjoying some truly lovely, relaxing, at times inspiring music by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. Was going to just post one movement but I just have to share them all: Serenade in a minor, Royal Scottish National Orchestra. It was written in 1898.

I grew up in a house with a beautiful DUTCH DOOR - I always thought it was genius. You get your choice of a door or a window, and keeps the dog in (or out) but the cats can come and go as they please. Or just sit on the sill.

Agree with Rex about the easy-peasyness of most of this, but ruby, not BEET, was my first thought for the epitome of redness. And with ARC stuck in my brain for the eyebrow/rainbow shape, that one needed the cross for the H. Hello. Not enough coffee.

Besides the eyebrow ARCH at the single round game, when I saw ASH and TAHOE in the grid, my thoughts went to the CALI FIRES (SERIF).

I predict ETSY will overtake ERA once we get far enough into the ETSY ERA.

BIDED and RAPT walked into a bar, and didn’t come out for a week. Their KEG was METED out in TSPS: 11,904 PER KEG.

Shortz got a bit sneaky with his repetition today: yesterday SAM and TIO, today UNCLE.

AGLET is new to me - sounds like a British surname. Miss IRENE AGLET used TECH to DETECT the murder weapon: the LEAD PIPE in the AUTO SHOP.

Besides the themers, Conor included Canada, Scotland, Egypt, Greece, and all of ASIA. Nice trip!

Another composer/jazz saxophonist whose name fits the travel theme - Emile Parisien. Rex might think it grim but if you like killer clowns and jazz, check out Le clown tueur de la fête foraine.

jae 4:31 PM  

@Barbara S. - Cute and very clever, liked it a bunch, made me smile.

Joe Dipinto 4:54 PM  

@Bad Mouse – Conversely to my hatred for Topo Gigio, I LOVED Señor Wences. He never failed to crack me up.

Zwhatever 5:33 PM  

@albatross shell - Dang. Now I’m going to have to watch an episode of three and see if there’s a DUTCH DOOR on set or if my memory is just making it up. May Gof save my soul.

okanaganer 5:44 PM  

[SB update: td 0. Nice and quick! For a while I was stuck with one 8 letter word (what is it with these 8s?) and somehow dragged it out of my memory. It's the last 8 alphabetically; 3 double letters; good one to remember.]

Tale Told By An Idiot 6:32 PM  

@Barbara S. What a wonderful poem! You obviously read us with as much care as you give to your writing for us and I think that might be rare. Although I have told no tales recently, I still read you all almost every day and one of these days hope to get back to mining the puzzles for fanciful stories. Thanks all for the entertainment and enlightenment.

Teedmn 6:51 PM  

@kitshef, I pronounce my blog name exactly as you stated, as the MN stands for Minnesota. I looked up the “rules” for limericks and the first Google hit said that lines 1, 2 and 5 have seven to ten syllables. If you drop in a caesura after my name, I think it flows perfectly.

Geoff H 7:55 PM  

I was so sure on my first pass before I got the theme that 58A had to be SETTLERSOFCATAN.

Anonymous 8:41 PM  

Alliternation? Really. That was approved? That's about as interesting as ERA being the most popular answer. Who in the world says TOPO? No one I know. I don't know why people complain about Maleska when Shortz is so bad.

Birchbark 8:42 PM  

@Teedmn (9:11, 6:51) -- It will be hard to move off of Teedem-en, but I'll try.

And rethink the legendary YANNI too. I had no idea he hailed from the swank Twin Cities night-club scene until reading your Mpls. memories. I first listened to his music in 1994 on a CD player in the kitchen of a farmhouse outside Watertown, SD over Thanksgiving. Guessing it was a safe bridge-building gambit on the part of my future mother-in-law, perhaps the second time we'd met. It was a good kitchen to sit and talk in, and the music seemed to fit.

@Barbara S. (10:43) -- What a pantheon of good people you've captured in EPIC limerick poetry. I am very happy to be there, and described in terms well worth sharing with my mother. Of many favorite lines, I loved the "Tyger! Tyger!" kickoff for @Kitshef -- endorphins similar to a good puzzle's unexpected reveal. And near the end, the surprising late-week-crosswordese beauty of "The skein has been knitted and purled." Thank you.

Now about the McDonald's-centric orphan FRENCH FRY: Today over lunch, not knowing what I wanted but wanting to clear my head, I got in the car and drove the 10 minutes from my suburban office into downtown Minneapolis. Then I just drove around the warehouse district, financial district, etc. thinking about the hundreds of above-average options but really just driving around thinking. After a while, I got back on the freeway and, owing to too-long meandering, decided on an Arby's a half-mile down the service drive from the office. I saw a sign that said "Try our new Krinkly FRIES." As your basic sandwich-only type, I was intrigued.

I ordered the Gyros meal, light on the sauce, with a bottled water. When I opened the bag, they had given me Curly FRIES. My fault, I hadn't specified. But I was really invested in this business of pairing Krinkly FRIES with the Gyro and bottled water. So I went and explained and offered to pay, and they swapped the Krinklies at no cost.

At the end of that perfect lunch, there at the bottom of the bag, a lone Curly Fry. I did the moral calculus and decided it would be good to eat it, but no need to say anything to the Arby's management. And it was very good. I am not afraid to compare it to finest lagniappe Commodore's Palace New Orleans.

Proof that the journey to an end matters. And proof that McDonald's may own the quantity of orphan FRIES, as the clue today suggests, but to Arby's goes the quality.

GILL I. 9:02 PM  

@Birchbark 8:42. My friend and I just got back from a delightful hike in the beautiful Auburn hills. I'm about to make her my famous (ahem) lasagna. I read your post and LOVED it. Why? you ask...well...I really don't like fast food at all. I'm not being a snob - it's just usually too salty stuff for me. Except Arby's.....Just today I was talking to my husband (after watching "Food Network") that I miss having their roast beef sandwich. It was always ooey gooey soft and delicious....Never had their curly fries but...thanks to you, I just might try them....

Nancy 9:32 PM  

I've been out all day and am just catching up to Barbara's terrific and epic poem. I say "catching up" and not "caught up" because by the time I read it in its entirety, the day will be over, tomorrow's blog will be up, and perhaps no one will know how much I like it.

Barbara -- you've really been paying attention to all of us: our (very) assorted quirks and habits and families and puzzle preferences and writing styles. It's flattering to be read with such keen attentiveness and to be captured so cleverly and amusingly. Thanks for doing this. It must have taken...forever.

Anonymous 9:35 PM  

now damn it, they're FREEDOM FRIES!!! and even more important now that the Dems are persecuting those brave Patriots who visited the Capitol to take it back for Real Americans.

albatross shell 9:47 PM  

@Barbara S.
My favorite rhyme in the poem (that I have noticed so far) is PoCs-socks, maybe because I always pronounced it pee oh cees.

Also you might think I chose my blog name just so it would be perfect for a limerick. You would not be far off since three of the factors that went into it were were rhythm, sound, and humor. What I did not realize at the time, having never participated in a blog with made-up names before, is what a pain in the ass long or weirdly spelled names are. I apologize for that. Rookie error. To all folks lurking and thinking of joining: Find a short name you like. Luckily I don't have to type mine anymore. Didn't know that either.

Birchbark 11:22 PM  

@Gill I. (9:02) -- You had me at lasagna, especially after a good hike. And the Arby's Roast Beef Sandwich -- it is rare to find a sandwich that so exactly delivers on its promise.

As for the orphan Curly Fry, to my palate one was probably enough. It was the right fry at the right time, and for that I will ever be grateful.

Zwhatever 12:27 AM  

If ever you are in Detroit, Green Dot Stables has the epitomical french fry.

Birchbark 12:41 AM  

Wow -- Venison chili cheese fries and Faygo pop. I'll be in Southfield in a couple of weeks for work and if possible will make the side trip.

stephanie 1:13 AM  

@rjkennedy98 i watch twitch all the time. though not just video games, i also watch cooking streams, crafting streams, art streams, live music, irl of my favorite streams that's nice to have on is a stream that's just a live view of one family's two aquariums, and they play instrumental music in the background, and viewers can play games in the chat. on wednesdsay night they play an audio book for a couple hours. it's great background for the crossword! actually, one of the streamers i follow does the nyt crossword on her stream, but i never watch that portion because i don't want spoilers :) and back when the nhl was on haitus due to covid, i got to watch a few of our bruins get together and play fortnite!

anyway, twitch is awesome for a number of reasons. if you're wanting a video game but not sure you'll like it, you can check out real gameplay by a real/regular person. that's how my partner started in on it. but most streamers build up a community. it's nice to chat with people and enjoy the game (or whatever the stream content is) together. each community is unique. many streamers have great personalities and they're fun to watch and interact with. the FPS type games can be exciting to watch, or funny. some of the streamers are pros or ex-pros and they're really talented. there are also things like tournaments or charity streams. i've watched smaller streamers reach charity donation goals they never thought they could and seen some real emotional moments. i don't know, there's just something for everyone i feel. if you watch a stream and feel bored and disconnected, that's just not the stream or the community for you.

stephanie 1:20 AM  

@Nancy (& @thfenn, @Barbara S, and others) when you go to a restaurant (at least around these parts) there are two options: take out or dine in. so you can choose to take your food and go home, or dine in the restaurant.

dutch doors are great if you happen to share a yard with mr. ed.

stephanie 1:37 AM  

liked the theme, although the revealer didn't exactly roll off the tongue. always loved playing CHINESE CHECKERS with my dad. learning to play i saw the pattern that could be made to make a nice road for yourself and your marbles. only then...i would set it up exactly the same way every time! XD my dad is a good sport. had COCOA which i then changed to CIDER and finally, finally saw TODDY. the LEAD PIPE was my favorite weapon in clue. i don't know what that says about me. but i can still feel the little bent metal pipe in my hands. the plastic coil of rope was just so lackluster by comparison.

anyway, @Barbara S, your epic poem was wonderful! very glad i stopped by to read today indeed.

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