"Red Cube" sculptor with an eponymous museum in New York / WED 10-13-21 / Colosseo locale / Fashion designer and judge on "Project Runway All Stars"

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Constructor: Brianne McManis

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (proper nouns could cause your experience to vary wildly)

THEME: SEE / EYE / TO EYE (65D: With 70- and 71-Across, agree ... and a phonetic hint to this puzzle's theme) — four names that start with "I" and end with "I" ... so I guess when you "see" the names (?) you "see I to I":

Theme answers:
  • INDIRA GANDHI (20A: First and only female prime minister of India)
  • ISAMU NOGUCHI (32A: "Red Cube" sculptor with an eponymous museum in New York)
  • ICHIRO SUZUKI (42A: First M.L.B. player to enter the Meikyukai (a Japanese baseball hall of fame))
  • ISAAC MIZRAHI (57A: Fashion designer and judge on "Project Runway All Stars")
Word of the Day: ISAMU NOGUCHI (32A) —

Isamu Noguchi (野口 勇Noguchi Isamu, November 17, 1904 – December 30, 1988) was a Japanese-American artist and landscape architect whose artistic career spanned six decades, from the 1920s onward. Known for his sculpture and public artworks, Noguchi also designed stage sets for various Martha Graham productions, and several mass-produced lamps and furniture pieces, some of which are still manufactured and sold.

In 1947, Noguchi began a collaboration with the Herman Miller company, when he joined with George NelsonPaul László and Charles Eames to produce a catalog containing what is often considered to be the most influential body of modern furniture ever produced, including the iconic Noguchi table which remains in production today. His work lives on around the world and at the Noguchi Museum in New York City. (wikipedia)

• • •

The basic concept here is good, and that's a nice set of names. One name—ISAMU NOGUCHI—is a massive outlier, fame-wise, from the others. I mean, I have admired the man's work before and *I* forgot his name (esp. his first name—the last name came to me with a little prodding from crosses). His name alone increases the potential difficulty of this one substantially. But it's a worthy name; they all are (Isaac has got to be pretty chuffed this morning—he's a longtime solver). So conceptually, everything is fine, and the name set is fine, but there are small and big things that made solving this less than pleasant. The small thing is the revealer. First, the "see" part is weird to me, because I don't know what it's doing precisely. It seems to want to be part of the "phonetic hint," i.e. a "phonetic hint" for "C," the way that "eye" is a phonetic hint for "I." I double-checked the answers for some "C" angle, but nothing. So it's a weird red herring. Also, I don't really get how "see" works. Is the idea that I, the solver, am "see"ing the names? I am seeing the whole grid every time I solve, so ... sure, I guess on a technical level this is an accurate assessment of what I'm doing—"seeing" (?) an answer that begins with "I" and ends with "I." The phrasing somehow doesn't really feel like it sticks the landing, but maybe it's good enough. What's not good enough is the revealer *placement*. Nails + chalkboard. To have the first part come Down and cross with the back end of the third part, with the second part floating on its own off to the side, repeating a word that is in the third part!?!? What an inelegant mess. Is that redundant? Are there elegant messes? I believe there are. This is not one. I have a giant frowny face and a giant "?" written in the margin next to that revealer. It's like staring at a wreck.

The fill, too, was pretty disastrous. Felt ancient and awkward throughout. ESO OSSO and then CPL LAA ELS and then ILE UEY FT LEE HIT TO (all in the same corner!?). Lots more of that unpleasant short stuff. Then that awkwardly crossing / cross-referenced DE SAC / CUL, to say nothing of the ugliness of SCALIA and the NRA (I know it's not *that* NRA, but ... when I look at the grid, that's the NRA I think of). And somehow we're still doing NIP. The first time I ever heard that that word was a racial slur (abbr. of "Nippon," the Japanese word for "Japan") was during a conversation in college between a Thai student and a Japanese-American professor, and the exact context they mentioned was having (white) people say things "it's getting a little nippy in here" when Asian people were around. Like, pretending to make a comment about the temperature but really just being f***ing racists (as well as low-grade punsters). This was all news to me. But I never forgot it. Annnnnyway, if the grid had been more carefully filled through the middle, you probably could've improved on AAH and GAR *and* NIP. But it's not that carefully filled. It's just filled. And filling the fill is the bulk of what a solver does. So hurray for the decent theme, but the rest of the grid ... needs a medic.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. who are you people who "loathe" the heel (or, in this puzzle's parlance, END) of a loaf of bread? (67A: Like-it-or-loathe-it bread piece). I mean, you don't have to love it, as I do, but ... it's bread. It's just bread. What are you, four?

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Conrad 6:08 AM  

I lost some time to the famous Italian fashion designer ISAMUNO GUCcI.

puzzlehoarder 6:28 AM  

This was a Saturday level for myself and the extra solving time was greatly appreciated. I have lots of time ony hands as I'm currently in a hospital room recovering from a revision of my L knee replacement.l did Mon thru Wed on my phone last night. This always adds time as I find phone solving a hinderance but today's puzzle was difficult in and of itself. The U of TONNEAU was my final letter. As confident as I was of it I was still relieved to get the congrats. It's hard to say wether I truly recognized the word or if that was the only letter that made any sense. I favor the former as I didn't run the alphabet even mentally. Running the alphabet feels like a concession of defeat and if done using the keypad it's a dnf.

Depending on what we get over the next three days today's puzzle has a chance at being the hardest puzzle of the week.

Anonymous 6:33 AM  

Three of the names have an "i" within as well as the beginning and end. I wanted isamI for ISAMU

Dottie Parker 6:36 AM  

Regarding the heels of a loaf of bread: when making PB&J to be served as part of a meal for the homeless, we had to flip the heels to the inside of the sandwich. People would hand them back to us if they saw we had used the heels. I made 140,000 PB&J, trust me, I know this!

Lewis 6:36 AM  

Oh yay! More Wednesdays like this, please! With names or parts of names I didn’t know or wasn’t sure of how to spell in three of four of the theme answers, and with a decent number of clues/answers I couldn’t get right away, this puzzle gave me a nice sized hill to climb, gave me plenty of exercise so that when I finally got to the top I felt exhilarated – not exhausted, not feeling like I didn’t do enough, but just right. That sweet spot in crosswords, which can come on any day. And it did today.

This is a debut from one who has enriched the grid with lovely answers – every theme answer, plus CLEFT, MAURITIUS, CINCHES, TONNEAU, UPSHIFT, STEALTH, and SCHIST. There was some imaginative cluing as well, i.e., [Like cutting and pushing] for RUDE, and [They’re often used with people, but not pets] for LAST NAMES.

Not to mention the three lovely palindromes, OSSO, EVE, and EYE, the Japanese noodle (UDON) crossing the two theme luminaries with Japanese connections, and to augment the SKOR bar, the grid has a well disguised KITT KAT.

Lots to love, Brianne. An impressive debut (congratulations!) and thank you for this very sweet solve!

Anonymous 6:44 AM  

We called the END/heel the crust when I was young. I enjoyed this solve except for the messy SE. HITTO (right)?, MAURITIUS?, AIMEE (Mann)? I thought the revealer was fine, It just took me too long to SEE it, even though I had noticed the "I" names theme answers.

Tom T 6:45 AM  

Done in by the MAURITIUS/ILE intersection and by having to learn the hard way about the name of those pickup truck bed covers--TONNEAU. Who knew?! Not I!

Joe Welling 6:47 AM  

Isn't EVE the whole day before, or a poetic version of evening? Seems like the clue mixes two different meanings.

JD 6:54 AM  

There's a lot to unpack here. To really enjoy this puzzle it would've helped to be a Semi truck driver, with a tricked out pickup who's into Indian history, baseball, design, and fashion and eats like a cave man. It would also have helped to understand why something like Cul Du Sac goes around a corner upside down, as does the the reveal.

I'm not this person, although I would like to be. It would be a lot of fun.

That being said, the NYT puzzle feels like it's sparking out in so many directions at once, in the hands of so many different people, that it has no definitive personality anymore. A few of the new constructors show promise and have reappeared, but for the most part it seems like a grab bag almost every day. Are any constructors with any name recognition at all still submitting puzzles to the NYT?

Leon 7:09 AM  

The other MLB players in the Meikyukai are Hideki Matsui of the Yankees and Kaz Matsui of the Astros.

amyyanni 7:18 AM  

Appreciate the theme and relished the crunch in this puzzle. Know I've seen TONNEAU before, but wouldn't say it's in my wheelhouse. Also learned about SKIBUMs today. The challenges mean we are heading into the tougher puzzles (we hope!) Happy Hump Day, all.

John H 7:22 AM  

Is there more than one baseball hall of fame in Japan? 42A.

Trey 7:24 AM  

A little tough for me. Even though I had heard of three of the names, spelling them was not as easy. The crosses really helped here. Then I got to ISAMU NOGUCHI - never heard of him, not inferrable, and I was not even sure where the first name ended and the last name began until I read Rex. Still, the crosses bailed me out. Challenging puzzle for a Wednesday, but not late-week hard as the non-name fill was straight forward

oceanjeremy 7:27 AM  

I’m glad someone enjoyed this (cheers, @Lewis!) because I did not.

I solve the NYTXW because I love words, not because I want to play trivia games and showcase my knowledge of TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms). I disliked this for the same reason I immediately leave a bar when trivia night starts: I... well, I freaking hate pub trivia.

I just woke up and I’m groggy (I solved before bed last night) but my quick count tells me this is 32% PPP, and that’s by counting answers. Since every single themer is a proper name, the percentage of PPP by grid real estate has got to be exceptionally high (I wish I did not need to leave for work so I had time to calculate that for us). And two of those themers were complete WOEs for me.

And all for what? A supremely unrewarding theme revealer. Weak and not even groan-worthy. It felt almost insulting after the muddy slog through that mucky sludge of names.

Dear Constructors: If you’re working on a theme where every themer is a proper noun, just do us all a favor and stop. Crumple up your paper (or delete the file in your constructing software) and start the heck over.

In summary: Dreck. Trivial dreck, awful solving experience. Did not at all enjoy.

Son Volt 7:34 AM  

Nope - not for me. Use all your themer grid space for names and trivia and then add more to the fill. It’s the volume here not percentage of the overall. This one can suck my ball DE SAC. The revealer should have been SEE EYE TO EYE TO EYE given the internal I in three of the themers.

That said - nice to see NOGUCHI. When I worked downtown - it was always a pleasure to visit the halal cart in front of the Brown Brothers building and sit there and eat in front of that big Red Cube.

This was a rough one.

kitshef 7:35 AM  

Naticked at TONNEAU/ISAMUNOGUCHI. With middle initials as a possibility, figured ISAM _ NOGUCHI could be any letter. Tried a few letters there, none of which looked right, then gave up.

When proper names are your theme, on a Wednesday they must be truly famous. Since I’ve never heard of two of four today.

Anonymous 7:44 AM  

Tough one with all the proper names, agree with Rex that some more obvious than others. Disagree with Rex that there should be a ban on the word "NIP" because of one connotation, although having it in the same puzzle with proper names of Japanese ancestry is a bit dodgy. Dogs nip. The cold nips. Plastic surgeons nip and tuck. Started in NW and had "LAST RITES" instead of "LAST NAMES" at first, which is also something that people get more commonly than pets. Is SOD really a 'gardening supply"? SOD is something you place once. Gardening supplies are things like fertilizer and weed killer. BIRCH trees are lovely this time of year here in the Northeast.

Fellow Earthling 7:44 AM  

I loathe the ends of bread. They get thrown away in our house.

bocamp 7:49 AM  

Thx Brianne, for a very crunchy, challenging Wednes. puz! :)

Tough solve.

Another one of those that suggests undoability, and on a Wednes. no less. lol

Aside from CUL DE SAC, the top 3rd was easy (with one other exception mentioned below); not so much for the remainder of the puz.

Knowing ICHIRO SUZUKI, MAURITIUS and SCALIA was helpful, but not knowing ISAMU NOGUCHI nor ISAAC MIZRAHI made for nearly unmanageable GNAR POW.

And, trouble parsing the themer, SEE EYE TO EYE didn't help matters.

Finally it all came together in what seemed to be a reasonable solution, with the exception of the one unknown cell at the TONNEAU / ISAMU cross (I was thinking ISA MUNOGUCHI, which didn't help). 'U' was the only thing that seemed viable, so a guess on my last entry, and voila, the happy tune. :)

All said and done, a fun battle.

@Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz (1:41 PM yd)

No prob. When uncle G didn't return anything on Crowe, I twigged. Found Croce's 'Puzzle 664: Freestyle 602' easy-med. relatively speaking (= a tough NYT Sat.). If you haven't already done it, here's Zawistowski's 'Tough as Nails' Timely Themeless #3. (I couldn't suss out her 'seed' entry (think @jae may have missed that one too).

@okanaganer (5:44 PM yd) 👍 for 0 yd

yd pg -5

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Hartley70 7:51 AM  

@puzzlehoarder 6:28am, I’m sorry you’ve needed a knee revision. I remember how pleased you were with your surgeon’s technique and how well your initial surgery went. I hope you heal quickly and the PT isn’t too brutal.

Joaquin 7:56 AM  

Very fast and easy solve (for me), despite not knowing SCHIST about shredding gnar pow.

Beaglelover 7:59 AM  

The name Scalia is not ugly, Rex. Your name is ugly if you are a bigoted, narrow minded person who only admires like minded people.
Antonin Scalia was a brilliant jurist who interpreted the Constitution with a slant with which I disagreed. His name is not ugly!

puzzlehoarder 8:10 AM  

@.Hartley 70, thank you for your concern. That was the R knee that went well. This is the L knee which has plagued me for three years

Hartley70 8:14 AM  

EYE yi EYE! The last thing I do at night is put drops in them.
I really liked the theme. The three LASTNAMES were easily remembered but except for ISAAC, that cutie, the first names were a jumble until I found something that looked right. Good Spelling Bee kind of fun!
My stumbling block was the tortured CULDESAC, which is ridiculous because I can see one from my window and always call it that. I just couldn’t get dead end out of my head and it seems like there used to be more of them years ago. We must have better town planners today who approve those convenient little circles at the end with that frou frou French NAME, CULDESAC.
I’m putting this one in the stellar Wednesday category. After the last few weeks, it’s no longer a day that makes me sigh.

Zwhatever 8:16 AM  

A PPP based theme. Fill in my standard anti-PPP rant here. 24 of 76 for 31.6% doesn’t begin to tell the story because PPP typically doesn’t account for 4 12-letter answers. Although, I don’t really expect to see many wheelhouse type comments. All of these names are crossworthy, but none of them are exactly household names. INDIRA GANDHI was one once, but it’s been a few decades, and ICHIRO SUZUKI is close but modern baseball players just cannot be expected to be as widely known as even 20 years ago. Add in that all four are transliterations, meaning the vowels are just random, trying to approximate the vowel sounds of foreign languages into the American alphabet. Blrrrrgh.

The primary function of the END is to keep the slices from drying out, not to be eaten. I suppose if you’re using the loaf up all at once using the ENDs is fine. But if you’re like most people you end up with two pieces that aren’t rusk, but aren’t fresh either, and usually aren’t as thick as the rest of the slices. I never would have guessed that Rex was a bread-shamer.

Now you know. TONNEAU just looks like the kind of word that we might see on a Saturday with one of those not truck bed cover definitions.

Does anyone really doubt that if SCALIA had gotten the Grüden level of email scrütiny we would get similar results? To Rex’s point on NIP, the UDON crossing doesn’t help with the “we don’t mean it that way” excuses.

The very notion of a PALEO diet being sold as “healthy” cracks me up. I don’t remember the exact number but PALEOlithic life expectancy was something like 24 years. 🤣😂🤣

@Birchbark late - It’s in a weird location, but worth it. I’ll just point out that the menu says “sliders” because that’s what they serve.

@Stephanie late - Thanks for the Twitch lesson and also pointing out that I was confusing Eva Gabor with Mr. Ed. 😂🤣😂

Hartley70 8:17 AM  

Oops, sorry INDIRA, you were a gimme too. I have to stop posting before I’m fully awake.

Frantic Sloth 8:19 AM  

If you're gonna have a PPP-based theme, maybe cut back a little on it with the fill. Just a thought.
Or, you know, don't. Just another thought.

Knew all the theme names except the one crossing a word I'd never heard of before. ISAMU NOGUCHI and TONNEAU (is that another of @JD's law firms? "We specialize in slapping you around to knock some sense into you.") meeting at the U took some nanos to get.

Rex nails my consternation at the SEE EYE TO EYE and CUL DE SAC WTFery. "Inelegant" is...kind. But, I kinda admire the chutzpah.

Good chew for the Wednesdee and I enjoyed the solve overall. The names (except that one) were sardined in my wheelhouse, crowding the helm, so that helped. Oddly.


gaspode 8:20 AM  

I live down the street from the Noguchi museum in Queens and love the place... and it even took me a minute to get his name spelled correctly.

SouthsideJohnny 8:31 AM  

Crazy - not being overly familiar with the theme entries, I could only stumble my way around and hope that something appeared in the long acrosses that looked like a person's name. I took some real shots to the chin in doing so - never heard of MAURITIUS - I don't know if the dodo was something from when the dinosaurs were ruling the planet, or if it went extinct yesterday - forget about where it lived (for all I know it could even be fictional and MAURITIUS is another made-up-place). I don't believe INIDLE is a word, and if "not going anywhere" means "IN IDLE", well that's news to me (don't go the "IDLE is a synonym for neutral" route, please - IDLE is not a transmission setting, there is no "I" in PRNDL). .

It seams weird that a knight would wear one of those chain link shirt things instead of a full body armor (except maybe in a Monty Python parody). Gnar Pow? - okay - if surfing lingo is fair game, I guess ski bums are welcome as well. I was born and raised in Jersey and lived a stone's throw form FT LEE and even that was a stretch as clued.

I was a touch amused by OFL's post this morning - Justice SCALIA is persona non grata while Che Guevara gets a pass. Rex (like Trump) just doesn't realize when the things that he says sound so foolish that he has descended into self-parody. Good ole Rex, he's puppy-dog cute sometimes, lol.

Barbara S. 8:37 AM  

From yesterday --

Aw, @you guys, you were much too kind about the blog poem. And I loved your reaction – thank you. I had a few qualms about releasing it to its readership, but you made me glad I did. Thanks to @Joaquin and @Lewis for the limericks, to @jae for proving his limerick true by liking the poem “a bunch”, and to @kitshef for proving his true by asking penetrating questions. And thanks a million to all for the lovely words you wrote.

@kitshef and @Teedmn – I was blissfully mispronouncing @Teedmn’s blog handle and thought it scanned beautifully: “T-D-M-N.” Oh well. I appreciate @Teedmn’s “caesura” dodge. As for @RooMonster’s and @Anon. i.e. Poggius’s alleged “nakedness” (eek!), I did make a lot of compromises along the way. I called @Anoa Bob “Anoa”, left out the 52 from @CDilly52, shortened @OceanJeremy to “Ocean J”, etc. I felt these changes were necessitated by the strictures of the limerick form and my wish to make the most coherent, snappiest limericks I could. On the other side of the coin, I took a lot of liberties with rhyme and rhythm, too – in a lot of places I let content take precedence over form. Your limerick, @kitshef, plays the most fast and loose with rhythm because I wanted to use your tiger, seen through the prism of William Blake, in the first line.

Anyway, enough of all that. Writing the poem was an immense challenge and a labor of love. I tell you, my very thoughts took limerick form when I was in the most intensive period of writing it. I’ll post the link one more time in case anyone who didn’t see the blog yesterday would like to read the poem. Here is

There Once Was A Blog Named Rex Parker

Joaquin 8:38 AM  

Hey! If things get slow today, we can always relitigate the inclusion of NIP. And to add to the fire: Where I grew up (Central Los Angeles), using the same word as 34D (needle-nosed fish) was a vile racial slur directed against Black people.

For the record, my position is this: Context matters.

Howard B 8:41 AM  

Lots of names, fill and otherwise, crossing stuff like TONNEAU. Not ideal.
I'll say I'm unfotunately not on Rex's level of artistic knowledge, and I do love to learn these designers and styles; but just in this puzzle, that first theme name was entirely unknown. So yes, tough solve, but a lot of learning also happened :).

Zwhatever 8:41 AM  

@Beaglelover - No. SCALIA is the Roger Taney of of his era, and his name is sullied in the same way. Let’s not whitewash his deeds because he did them wearing a black robe instead of a white robe.

I noticed the UDON/NIP crossing and totally missed that we have two Japanese theme answers. How I missed that NIP is right below ICHIRO is on me. Oof. Sorry, NIP is barely defensible ever but is egregious in this puzzle.

Okay, now I’m just depressed that even with the efforts at the NYTX to be less of a white dudes club this puzzle still got published as is. Do I think it was intentional? No. It is still unacceptable.

Carola 8:42 AM  

A tough Wednesday for me and a DNF: like some others I ran into trouble at TONNEA? x ISAM? NOGUCHI. I knew NOGUCHI for his glass-topped coffee table and his Black Sun sculpture in Seattle but had too confidently remembered his first name as ending in -o. Which I wrote in, despite TONNEAo looking very unlikely. In retrospect: same thought as @bocamp 7:49 about the U.

Otherwise, fun to fill the grid with STEALTH, SCHIST, IN IDLE, UPSHIFT, HOLD 'EM, CINCHES, MAURITIUS.

@puzzlehoarder 6:28 - I was interested in your take on alphabet runs. When stymied, I'll do a mental run-through and have always considered that a "normal" part of solving, a step before admitting defeat (I agree with you entirely about the keypad, though: that's for after I've thrown in the towel). Must mull. Meanwhile, I hope your recovery goes well.

albatross shell 8:42 AM  

Well to my EYE its obvious why CUL DESAC (a warm-up) and the revealer SEE EYE TO EYE and perhaps even UEY and Take two and HIT TO right curl around each other in such a curiouser and curiouser self-referential knot.

No idea yet? Take a look at Rex's picture of of the Gouchi table or google it, you folks who think Rex a heel and are loathe to read him. Kinda built the same way, dontcha think? No? Well maybe its just me or maybe you all need some mind expansion.

How hard and how much fun was this puzzle for me? Late yesterday I said how much I enjoy hard to spell names NOT. But surprisingly fun anyway. I think @Trey said it. The names (and I'd add the knots) made it hard. The fill kept it from being Saturday hard.

Verdant Earl 8:54 AM  

Looking at the members, there are a lot more than three who played in the MLB. Video Nomo, Kaz Sasaki and Hiroki Kurado to name a few.

This Hall counts MLB stats as long as the players career began in Japan. So, for example, a player like Alex Ramirez who began his career in the MLB only has his stats counted from when he started playing in Japan. He's in, by the way. The only foreign born player in that Hall.

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

(1) Dang it, I was working on a "See eye to eye" puzzle where all the themers would contain the sequence "ICI". (Possible bonus entry: ICI = "the theme's here in France")

(2) What's PPP?

Aline 8:56 AM  

Nice to see a shout out to the late great Antonin SCALIA. We see his friend and fellow opera buff RBG quite often. Here’s to diversity !

Verdant Earl 8:56 AM  

Yes. The Yakyū Dendō is the other. Different rules for inclusion.

Carola 9:05 AM  

@Barbara S. from yesterday - I'm just catching up from yesterday's absence. Wow, you are something! Thank you for the wonderful paean to this motley assembly, which I, too, am very happy to have found.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Justice Scalia and Justice Ginsburg were great friends. Just watch the documentary RBG. People on this board could learn a lot from them.

Whatsername 9:35 AM  

If you’ve ever snagged a GAR on your fishing line (as I I have), you know it’s not one you’d care to take home and mount on your wall. However that is where I felt like putting this puzzle - on @Nancy’s Wall that is. Not to be RUDE, but since I don’t follow baseball, don’t know every art museum in New York, and have never watched Project Runway, this was a bit of a slog. I did think the revealer was clever and placed appropriately. Nice debut effort Brianne, and I hope to SEE more from you. This one just wasn’t in my ballpark so to speak.

When I check in at my veterinarian’s office, I do so with the first and LAST NAME of my pet. If I said my own name the receptionist would look at me with a blank stare like I’m some kind of idiot.

I was once a respectable downhill skier and have navigated more than one “expert” slope but I never heard of gnar pow which I assume is short for gnarly powder. For that matter, I never cared much for powder skiing although it sure beats crud when you wipe out in your onesie.

LAA? And UIE is misspelled. Harrumph!!

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:38 AM  

I read an article about ISAAC MIZRAHI in a recent Soundboard Magazine, a publication for owners of Steinway pianos. Probably the only place I would have actually read an article about a fashion designer. He trained as as pianist and singer, he claims his parents were quite relieved when he switched to making 'clothes'. A little hard to believe but okay. He's doing cabaret acts these days.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

It must be said. Those objecting to NIP are snowflakes. As noted by a comment earlier, NIP has a few different meanings. If one of those meanings is the clue, like today's "Chilly air", there is not a thing wrong with it. Period(or DOT).

You would have a strong case if the clue were, "Derogatory term for a member of a certain Asian nationality."

Nancy 9:44 AM  

If I'd been Brianne, after coming up with the theme and then realizing the number of unspellable Trivial Pursuit names it would take to create a puzzle around it, I would have slapped myself hard on the wrist and climbed back into bed.

I thought this was bloody awful!

I'm sure the I-to-I people are all very, very nice and interesting people and worthy of being feted and stroked and celebrated -- only not all together at the same time in one single puzzle. I imagine we all knew INDIRA; I have the great good fortune of having "Project Runway" as a guilty pleasure and therefore I knew ISAAC, too. The others: you might just as well as not clued those Acrosses and simply said in the clue: "No clue here today. You're on your own. Just rely on the crosses."

And yes, I did Natick on the TONNEAU/ISAMU cross. But I would have hated this puzzle even if I hadn't.

Unknown 9:44 AM  

TONNEAU was the head scratcher for me.

Otherwise, a fun themer.

Does rex not get it that constructors are clearly throwing in NIP and NRA just to push his buttons?

Diane Joan 9:46 AM  

I liked the puzzle and its interesting mix of accomplished people; although I could sympathize with the difficulty of correct spelling of proper names. Even "Final Jeopardy" doesn't require perfect spelling to get it right. I did learn "tonneau" and "ski bum" for "shredding the gnar pow" from the crosses. It's never a waste when you add to your word knowledge.

OldCarFudd 9:46 AM  

An interesting debut. I knew Indira, but had to get the other names from crosses. I wonder whether a definition has changed over the years. TONNEAU used to mean the back seat of an open car. A tonneau cover was a piece of fabric that was stretched over the opening when the top was up and the back seat was unoccupied, especially if there was baggage back there that needed to be kept out of the sun or prying eyes. Now, if this puzzle's clue is correct, tonneau refers to the cover, not the space it covers.

thfenn 9:47 AM  

Aside from getting held up trying to place Dodos in Australia, Tazmania, or New Zealand before the light bulb went off (on, really) for MAURITIUS (where I've been and where it's clear Dodos lived, DOH), I enjoyed this one, despite all the PPP/trivia.

LOL @JD, I drove semis, love baseball, read up on Native American history, and eat like a caveman (without knowing I had a PALEO diet) and hope to have a tricked out pickup someday. Fashion and design, not so much. Still, ISAMU NOGUCHI is the outlier, famewise? Slightly less familiar to me than India's PM and our baseball superstar, but not much. ISAAC MIZRAHI OTOH was entirely unknown to me, though I have every confidence that says more about me than him.

Thought INIDLE crossing ATREST was sweet. And enjoyed differentiating between pets and humans in terms of who uses last names. Not exactly how I have those two separated in my own head.

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

As a ski-bum-adjacent person, I can say the following:
- gnar is indeed short for gnarly but much more often used as a noun. One shreds gnar. Or one shreds pow. Shredding gnar pow? It's comprehensible, in much the same way as "me talk pretty one day" is comprehensible.
- @Whatsername, powder skiing on modern gear is ... ecstatic.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

Literally the same theme ran in avxwords.com in a puzzle by Evan Kalish earlier this year. Same revealer, mostly the exact same entries.

bocamp 9:56 AM  

'Love', not 'loathe' bread ENDs (heels); they just seem more substantial, and provide a bit of a changeup from the inner loaf.

Also, love the concept of 'take two and HIT TO right'. The idiom is applied outside of baseball, but as a baseball strategy, I take it to mean, be patient at the plate, wait for your pitch, and should you end up with two strikes in the count, be prepared to go opposite field (in the case of a righty) to right field.

I always think of baseball as the game of life. In the case of 'take two and HIT TO right', this can remind us to be thoughtful, patient, and unafraid to take the path less traveled.

@puzzlehoarder (6:28 AM)

🙏 for a speedy recovery!

Agree with you and @Carola (8:42 AM) wrt using the keyboard to run the alpha; however, I have no problem with doing some mental gymnastics when a word is unknown. In the case of TONNEAU, the 'U' was my first thot (French, perhaps), but I still had a look at the other vowels, including 'Y'.

pg -13 and finito

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

Wow, you NIP as a slur anytime you see it regardless of context people need to be less "woke". Are you angry at puppies? They NIP. Do you hate chilly air? It NIPS. Do you say "Snip it in the bud" instead?

Hartley70 10:13 AM  

The NOGUCHI red cube has a special place in my heart. I worked at 140 Broadway, known as the Marine Midland Building in those days. I adore outdoor sculpture installations and was thrilled to walk past it or rather beneath it multiple times a day. I was grateful to see it survive the ultimate horror facing it a scant two blocks away.

AisA 10:14 AM  

Sadly, the Leftist attempt to control the conversation by disallowing anything that doesn't line up with the agenda is present in crosswords as well. Interestingly, the former president or anyone associated with him has not appeared in any puzzle since he left office. The previous president appears constantly as do the members of his family. The bias is everywhere

RooMonster 10:18 AM  

Hey All !
ZANY placement of the Revealer. Rex overthinking another theme. A phonetic SEE EYE TO EYE, you SEE the Themers go from I to I. That's it.

Had my one-letter DNF today, stupidly, having rAIL for MAIL (insert whah-whah sound here). Haven't heard of ISA MUNOGUCHI? ISAMU NOGUCHI? ISAMUNO GUCHI? So the R there made no never mind, but should have gotten MAIL.

That little SE corner was a toughie. Is it UIE or UEY? HITTO as clued was a wha? FTLEE tough to see from F___E. Got all that correct, however.

All that doesn't mean I didn't like the puz. Who knew do many people went I TO I? Not I. (Normally put my "big smiling" face here, but for @Nancy thinking I want to bite her, I'll leave it out.)

We have a high school here named Garside. Maybe it was a LAST NAME of someone who did something for our quaint little town? (Well, quaint it was before they legalized gambling.)

SCHIST always sounds like a curse word to me. "Ah, SCHIST!" Har.

Two F's

MG Porsche 10:29 AM  

My image of a TONNEAU (we said "TUNNY") cover goes back many years and is for sports cars LIKE THESE

Oddly, TONNEAU means barrel

TJS 10:43 AM  

@ whoever you want to be today, "Does anyone really doubt that if SCALIA had gotten the Grüden level of email scrütiny we would get similar results?"

Yes. And it's not worthy of further comment.

Joseph Michael 10:44 AM  

EYE tanked on the TONNEAU/ISAMU cross, but EYE didn’t really give a SCHIST.

Arthur Wenk 10:49 AM  

Mauritius even has a dodo on its national flag!

Mikey from El Prado 10:52 AM  

I had a pretty fast time despite feeling like I had no idea what was going on, and the themes didn’t come quickly (except INDIRAGANDHI). So, just an odd solve, but I liked it.

And, I’m with Rex…. I love the heel!

Newboy 11:05 AM  

Interesting debut Brianne. I absolutely hated that SE corner until I came to @albatross shell (8:42) that had me reconsider my reaction with jaw agape! Add in @bocamp’s links to other noteworthy grids I can check out plus @barbara s whose poem sparkled in yesterday’s commentariat and you can see why I return to OFL’s rant of the day. I may have to stop dissing early week solving if doing so makes me miss limerick Tuesday and other delights! At least today’s blog provides adequate fodder to occupy an afternoon when we’re finished NIPping off to our Meals on Wheels delivery. Everyday I find something to challenge and delight/enrage….including my efforts to articulate the EYE opening insights garnered from previous posters. Thanks for getting us started today Brianne; that alone smells like success to me.

@puzzlehoarder sending speedy recovery & successful rehab wishes

What? 11:08 AM  

Double ditto. Shortz claims he gets over 200 submissions a week and he publishes this garbage. I can only think it’s now a rule rather than an exception. Why he does this is a mystery. Time to retire?

Legume 11:16 AM  

What are you, four?

Could be worse. My 50-ish sister in law insists on trimming the crust from normal slices.

JC66 11:17 AM  


Let me get this right. Having NIP in the puzzle was OK until you noticed it crossed UDAN? That's some deep thinking, IMHO.

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

@Dottie Parker:
we had to flip the heels to the inside of the sandwich. People would hand them back to us if they saw we had used the heels.

I've not been homeless, but I've known folks (Pappy, rest in peace, among them) who've never seen a dentist and what teeth they still have tend toward black, rotting stumps. So, yeah, heels for such folks matter.

JD 11:23 AM  

@thefenn, LOL back atcha!

@Frantic, Your firm, "representing import/export in the fine coffee table market, and brie."

@Southside, I thought you were from Neptune Township.

@Whatsername, I snagged a gnar gar one time. It's true.

@puzzlehoarder, Knee replacement, God bless you. Speedy recovery. My cousin's orthopedic surgeon husband practically makes a living from our family's knees alone.

GILL I. 11:28 AM  

Oh...just great.....A Wed puzzle full of names I either don't know and certainly don't know how to spell. Well, I knew INDIRA because everyone know her, right?
I'm with @JD. I'm not this person! Why is TONN EAU even a word. Does the pickup truck carry a boat load of water? We have KITT and KAT a LAA and an AAH. They didn't bother going into any stinking bar. I'm afraid it smelled a tad on the FETID side.
My two fur balls have LAST NAMES. They are Curly and Moe Stooges.

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

TONNEAU covers were all the rage for the Ford Ranchero and the Chevy Whatever (can't be bothered to look it up; likely takes as long to type this excuse as to do the looking :) ). For those not in the know, these were 60s-ish vehicles built on a 'normal' car body (unibody), but designed as a 'pickup' style. Couldn't hold much in either volume or weight, but kinda popular. Led to today's cityboy rural Redneck wannabes driving around in F-150s and such downtown and at the grocery store.

Amelia 11:38 AM  


Went for the first time in maybe thirty years to the Noguchi Museum this summer and had a wonderful time. Fantastic exhibit on Christian Boltanski, one of my favorites, whose bio I discussed with the guide. Mother and (Jewish) father had a screaming fight in Paris during the war. Father storms out. Whole neighborhood thinks he's disappeared. Except he hasn't! The fight was staged, he's under the floorboards or something and survives the war. Christian is conceived in one of his shhhh trips out from the floorboard. Beautiful beautiful museum now accessible from the NYC ferry! 4 minute trip from my Manhattan stop to Astoria.

As for Rex and nip and Scalia and all the other identity nonsense he harps on day in and day out. You are looking at a Republican majority in Congress and the Supreme Court that will go on forever because your heads are turned in the wrong direction. They don't give a shit what your pronouns are. They just want to censor books that say they're racists. And prevent black people from voting. And they are. And they will. And they will control you from the media outlets they control.

You ain't cancelling them anytime soon. But keep it up.

mimo 11:42 AM  

Could see eye to eye refer to the long expanses (like seas) of the names that start and end with an ‘i”. That’s all I could come up with.

tea73 11:51 AM  

Could not see TONNEAU so DNF. While INDIRA GANDHI is plenty famous I only guessed at 17-across for the rest and SUZUKI only because of violin classes and cars not baseball. I wouldn't have known the first name for either of those either. Cute revealer, but the puzzle itself was not much fun for me.

Joe Dipinto 11:57 AM  

Crossing two Japanese names with HOPI and RITZ manages to insult Asians, Native Americans and crackers all at once. I demand the constructor be taken outside and shot. She's allowed a final meal of one end-slice of bread first.

Masked and Anonymous 12:05 PM  

har. Well, first of all, ISAO AOKI was clearly robbed, not gettin to join the theme's foursome. He's kinda like the King of the Eye-to-Eyers, in xword rodeos.

Had some severe nanosecond lags around the areas of SCHIST, TONNEAU, and MAURITIUS … along with around 2.5 of the themers. Ergo tough WedPuz, at our house. Knew INDIRAGANDHI off hardly anything, which helped out some. Also the M&A "when in doubt guess U" ploy worked well, to nail TONNEAU.
I suspect the Shortzmeister knew he might be servin up a hardball WedPuz -- since he didn't include any ?-marker clues at all that I can find.

staff weeject pick: EYE. Weeject theme participation respect is always a welcome gesture.
Primo weeject stacks in the NW & SE, btw.

Thanx for the gala I-ball, Ms. McManis darlin. And congratz on yer debut.

Masked & Anonym8Us

p.s. Thanx for the shout out in yer epic poem, @ Barbara S. darlin. A magnum of opus proportions.


egsforbreakfast 12:07 PM  

Electric car driver: Hey can I recharge my car on your CUL DE SAC?
Resident: Sorry, but this street has no outlet.

Try saying RICHES SCHIST rapidly three times.

@Barbara S. I spent yesterday fruitlessly looking for John X in various brothels and jails, so I missed your limerick until today. I loved it, and feel honored to be included in such a distinguished cast of lunatics. It got me thinking about how I have developed an image of how each of us looks and acts and that it would be so interesting to test that with a cocktail party (maybe at the Rye Marina, or perhaps in Natick).

I liked this puzzle, and most all of my do-overs were due to spelling errors in the theme names. It helped that I own a TONNEAU. Thanks Brianne McMannis for a nice debut.

Teedmn 12:09 PM  

47D took some time to come into view; I was all too willing to assume it was a vegetable in a Japanese recipe (or perhaps Thai.) "One who loves to shred some gnar pow : SKIBUM". Gnarly powder, I presume. Thought I thought shredding was more of a snowboarding thing. Nitpick much? Moi?

TONNEAU reminds me of the head-scratching term our Prius assigned to the sliding shade they provided that we can put in the hatchback to hide our belongings - landau, which M-W defines as "a four-wheel carriage with a top divided into two sections that can be folded away or removed and with a raised seat outside for the driver". I get the tie-in with the "fold-away top" but still a stretch for me. Since TONNEAU translates to "barrel", I consider that a similar stretch.

Brianne McManis, thanks for introducing me to a couple of new names (baseball and sculpting) and congratulations on the NYT debut.

Sandra D. 12:19 PM  

Much has been made of the friendship between Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Less well known was his relationships with the other Liberal members of the court. Justice Karan: “ He was as generous and warm and funny as a person could be. I just so appreciate all the time I got to spend with him," she said. "I miss him a lot." “ Justice Stephen Breyer said Thursday the Supreme Court will be a “grayer place” without late Justice Antonin Scalia. “He was a good friend,” Breyer said, adding that the other justices will miss him. Justice Sotomayor:
“ I am proud to name myself one of the seventeen Justices lucky enough to have served with Justice Scalia during his tenure with the Court… Of course, Justice Scalia and I did not always agree on these most difficult of topics. But, I think the general public would be surprised to know just how frequently we did agree. By my count, we heard 430 cases together, and we ended up on the same side in 315 of them. Seventy-three percent is not inconsequential… Justice Scalia spent his life defending and marking the constitutional protections in the Court’s criminal law jurisprudence, and it had meaning for him beyond the practical application on any particular case. His influence in this area will not be soon forgotten. Nor will his influence upon those of us fortunate enough to have known him.” I take their word over some guy on a crossword puzzle blog.

Barbara S. 12:21 PM  


Here's a get-well limerick for you:

Puzzlehoarder has problem-plagued knees
So bad that they cause him to sneeze.
It's a medical fact
(By science, it's backed!)
That puz-solving makes healing a breeze.

I hope you're back on your feet soon.

kitshef 12:24 PM  

@Arthur Wenk - the dodo is in the coat of arms, but the flag is just a simple quatre bands with no images.

EricStratton 12:32 PM  

Typical idiotic Rex commentary. I'm not saying Rex is an idiot, I'm saying some of his comments are. Scalia and NRA are "ugly" but on other occasions the use of Che or Mao is perfectly fine. Che and Mao are responsible for the deaths of millions and the oppression of billions. They are good fill, though. Scalia is one of the great legal minds in American history. You may not agree with him, but if everyone with whom you disagree is ugly, then you are the one who is ugly. The NRA is the country's oldest and largest civil rights organization. OK, you don't like the second amendment, but it's right there in the constitution. Pick up a copy some time. You might find it interesting.

jae 12:33 PM  

Mostly easy-medium except for the hard parts. Did not know ISAMU or TONNEAU but guessed right. Plus sorting out SEE EYE TO EYE after putting in Uie before UEY took some nanoseconds. I did know the other three which was helpful.

@Rex makes some good points, mostly liked it.

Karl Grouch 12:41 PM  

"An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind"

- Coretta Scott King

Whitey 12:41 PM  

More NIP and SCALIA, please. More diversity in language.

puzzlehoarder 12:52 PM  

@Carola, thank for your interest in my opinion and your wishes for my recovery. I do try to avoid running through the alphabet and I consider it a last resort. This usually happens when I'm trying to fill a final section. Often nothing works and I'm forced to look for a mistake. The crosses were rock solid today so I had to work with what was there. Deciding it was a vowel was easy. I did try to picture an A or an E there before the U just came up on its own and recognition kicked in. The intuitiveness of it gave that little bit of magic that out and out alphabet running would tarnish.

Wanderlust 12:55 PM  

That is utterly ridiculous. My personal disgust when seeing the name SCALIA is not an objection to the man, though I disagree with him on almost anything. I don’t like ALITO any better but I don’t have a reaction of disgust on seeing his name. My reaction to SCALIA is about McConnell and company’s inarguably sleazy tactics to deny Obama a chance to replace the justice with almost a year left in his term, then immediately replacing RBG with just a few months left in Trump’s. Maybe not a reason to keep SCALIA out of the puzzle (I disagree with Rex on this) but an explanation for why I feel such revulsion on seeing his name.

oceanjeremy 1:06 PM  

@Barbara S: just now seeing your epic limerick from yesterday!! Quite honored to have made an appearance. I gigglesnorted!

And really an incredible feat of meter and wit, well done!

I must confess I’ve had less time to comment and read of late, and I miss the repartee of this commentariat. I took a job starting in June with a massive salary increase, but no more full time remote work. Commuting eats up a ton of one’s time, so I’ve taken to commenting when I can then searching for mentions of my handle to see if anyone’s replied. I dearly miss the days I could read everyone in full, check regularly and engage, but will give this community as much of my time when I’m able. There’s always vacation days to look forward to. 😊

Anonymous 1:12 PM  

@Joe Dipinto:

See, now you're disrespecting a large cabal of Real Americans, by refusing to capitalize their name: Crackers. They'll get them thar shotguns and Elmer Fudd ya.

Wanderlust 1:13 PM  

Like many, I ran the vowels on TONNEAU and ISAMU and U, sadly, came in third. (I came in second…) never heard of the truck bed covering.

Other than that, I kinda liked it, but I am an outlier on this blog about PPP/ trivia. I think it makes a crossword more interesting, and I don’t freak out too much when I don’t know a name. I like learning things, such as that the dodo lived on Mauritius. Dodo is a very common crossword entry but I had no idea where it lived. (And I hear Mauritius is beautiful- I’m now imagining some Dodo Museum that I will love to visit.)

AIMEE Mann is one of my favorite singer/songwriters. I saw her in concert once, and she brought along a dude who sat next to her and chatted up the audience between songs. She introduced him by admitting that she is terrible at audience patter, so she was paying someone to do it for her. It was hilarious.

I am trying to post more so I eventually get a stanza in BARBARA S’s outstanding (And, I hope, living) poem. Lots of stuff to rhyme with WANDERLUST!

sixtyni yogini 1:17 PM  

Loved this one while appreciating 🦖’s careful scrutiny 🧐 of puzzle details.
(Asian, Indian, and sculpture related names right up my alley…. So sometimes one gets lucky 🍀.)

jberg 1:26 PM  

This fame thing varies -- I knew Gandhi and Noguchi right away (though I had no idea about the Big Red Cube), but I needed the Z for SUZUKI (that where kids start playing baseball with a tiny little bat, right?) and thought he might be ISAAC MIrashi. But it all worked out. What was worse was that I completely failed to notice that they all ended in I, even with the revealer. I dhould have thought about it a little more.

The first revealer I came upon was 70 D, EYE. It was obviously going to be EYE TO EYE, but how to avoid having duplicate answers in the grid? By making it TOEYE for the second; and then putting in DESAC to make that sort of thing seem normal.

I haven't played poker in decades, and the game in the puzzle came along more recently -- but I've never seen HOLD 'EM unless it was preceded by "Texas." Has that changed?

FT LEE would have been better clued as "NJ town with a scandalous traffic problem."

Pete 1:35 PM  

@BeagleLover - Scalia pretended he was a literalist, but did whatever he wanted to do. In the DC gun case he said that he did some research of 18th century writings and found that "bear arms" meant just taking your gun out into the woods, it had nothing to do with the militia. Therefor, the right to "bear arms" was independent of the "well regulated militia", and everyone could have as many guns of whatever type they wanted. Funnily, BYU did an exhaustive research of 18th century writings and found that "bear arms" was used almost exclusively in a military context. Guess which of the two, BYU or Scalia, provided an accurate, unbiased reading of the literature. Hint: BYU provided citations.

Scalia pretended he believed that jurists should only interpret the law as written, not make it. This didn't hold up so well when he gutted the Civil Rights Act, as recently renewed by an overwhelming majority in Congress. He said he didn't really believe they meant it. He didn't like the data they used. He thought that they had learned their lesson, that bigotry was a thing of the past. He just made things up so that the states could do whatever they wanted. As various Federal courts have found, they wanted to deprive as many minorities of their right to vote as possible.

To me, TONNEAU is a fancy word for the seating area in a car without a roof. I'm also old enough and grungy enough to never have had a cap for my pickup, and if I did have a cap, I would have called it a cap or a bed-cover and never a TONNEAU cover, or gof forbid, simply a TONNEAU. Now, most pickups are sold to people who will never throw anything heavier than their picnic hamper and maybe a wine cooler in the back, so what do I know?

KnittyContessa 1:43 PM  

I don't know how I finished this one. I knew NOGUCHI but not his first name. Crossing it with TONNEAU???? I had no idea how many words that was until I read the comments here. Never heard of it. Also, not a a sports fan so ICHIRO SUZUKI was a challenge. I had mAiM before HARM for the longest time. I always forget the alphabet soup of agency abbr.

old timer 1:56 PM  

All through the puzzle I was saying to myself, "Wow! This is just brilliant." I loved it. And at the end, asked myself, "Now what can OFL ever find to criticize?" He did, but it was his usual racist garbage. NIP indeed! I have long suspected @Rex is a racist at heart for the same reason I used to know that people who went out of their way to say mean things about homosexuals invariably were at least bi curious, and people who went out of their way to hate the Jews were themselves likely to be guilty of the same sharp practices they claimed Jewish businessmen were guilty of (Indeed the first rabid antisemite I ever knew was himself a fairly rapacious moneylender).

I did struggle before I somehow remembered MAURITIUS, which broke that part of the puzzle wide open. Plus, when I got TONNEAU, I could have kicked myself in the head for not getting it immediately. I certainly had not known Mr. NOGUCHI's first name.

I was glad to see ICHIRO today. You all know I am a Giants fan, but I do love the Mariners too. My oldest grandson, who lives in a Portland suburb, adores the Mariners, and indeed his father grew up in Seattle.

jrstocker 2:16 PM  

That TONNEAU/ISAMU cross...all the nope.

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

Saved for feeding the ducks with my granddaughters.

Hartley70 2:46 PM  

@MG Porsche 10:29. Yes! Our first car was a 1970 red MG with a TONNEAU cover. It made this entry pretty easy. We kept that car til the 21st Century for the nostalgia factor.

chance2travel 2:47 PM  

Roughly 50% over my usual Wednesday time.

The hideous HITTO crossing FTLEE (I'm not bitter, no way) was a hold up that I eventually got past after staring at HITer crossing FeLi- or FeLE- since you never know if it's Uie or UEY.

After those 4 minutes I was still staring at TONNEA- crossing ISA M-NOGUCHI (Or I guess it's ISAM- NOGUCHI). Not expecting a lot of French endings in my pickup truck vocabulary, I fell for the same trap as others mentioned. 3 of the 4 themers have an "I" in the middle. So DNF on TONNEAi and ISA MiNOGUCHI.

(Still ran the alphabet and still have my streak intact)

A 3:05 PM  

@Barbara S, thanks for applying your genius to that wonderful blog limerick! What a formidable undertaking - and your kind voice shines through. Loved the nod to the mods!

I found today easy, but I’ve been driving convertibles since 1990, so that TONNEAU which obscured things for some folks was smack in the middle of my wheelhouse. I did have a bit of trepidation about the SE, with HIT TO and ILE, but I remembered trying to figure out how to pronounce MAURITIUS. Googled and learned that MAURITIUS, Réunion ILE and Rodrigues comprise the Mascarene Islands. They look breathtakingly beautiful. I also came across the terrible story of 1600 children taken between 1963-1982 from Réunion to rural France to help repopulate declining areas.

Yeah, NIP. I love a nip in the air in the fall, but I can SEE some discomfort with it just sitting there crossing two Japanese names. Shortz could’ve tried harder - just trade UDON for UnOs (pizzeria) and you get PAn and sIP. Now I want to sip on an IPA at eating a PAn pizza at Uno’s.

@albatross, thanks for exposing that next level - add to that the fun touches like the symmetrical RICHES/CASINO and the so expressive FETID gives this one a sparkle not usually found on Wednesdays.

Missed his birthday, but Paul Creston was successful American composer. Some of his music seems dated, but I like this short Introit for orchestra.

Blue Stater 3:22 PM  

A morass of cheap tricks, compounded by excessive reliance on obscure Japanese names. Dreadful.

Another Anon 3:29 PM  

@Anon. Ford Ranchero and Chevy El Camino.

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

Speaking of RBG, “ In new memoir, Going There, (Katie) Couric writes that she edited out a part where Ginsburg said that those who kneel during the national anthem are showing 'contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life.' “ I hope they don’t cancel RBG.

Bax'N'Nex 3:56 PM  

Same. Didn’t hear “heel” til I was older and had moved out.

Bax'N'Nex 4:03 PM  

Fairly common to shorten it to “hold ‘em”. Probably should have had a “in brief” or similar notation.

Eniale 5:02 PM  

If you don't like to eat the heel, you can always use it for breadcrumbs (I've never bought Panko yet!).

Readers of the NYT can hardly have missed the ISAAC MIZRAHI pieces over the years. Any sculpture park fan throughout the country knows NOGUCH and Seattleites remember ICHIRO fondly!

So for me, not a hard puz today. I anticipate being floored tomorrow.

Betsy 5:03 PM  

Loved hearing Dave Mason. Thanks for remembering that title

Whatsername 5:06 PM  

@puzzlehoarder: Ouch! Hope you’re up and about again soon.

@Anonymouse (9:48) I’m sure the fresh powder enthusiasts found it ecstatic back in the dark ages when I was skiing on my antiquated equipment too. It was just never my favorite. Give me some nice packed powder (pac pow?) on a challenging intermediate slope any day.

@Joe D (11:57) I’m laughing out loud. It’s only out of respect for @Nancy that I didn’t put a big old ROFL emoji there. But I’m not sure you impose a strong enough punishment for such an egregious offense. Better find another END, then call @JD and make that a gnar GAR sandwich.

Nancy 5:27 PM  

@kitshef -- I feel so bad that you're going through even more knee surgery than you've already endured. It really doesn't seem fair. So if the puzzle provided the diversion you needed today, then it earns plaudits for that, even though I still didn't like it myself. Anyway, HEAL WELL AND QUICKLY, KITSHEF!!!!

@Barbara -- Thanks for clearing up the "Tiger, Tiger" mystery from yesterday. I was mystified as to what it had to do with @kitshef, but it just dawned on me that it might possibly be his avatar. (I can be a little slow and a lot unobservant.) So I took a peek just now, and son-of-a-gun, there's a tiger there!!! Who wouldda thunk? I swear to you I've never come close to noticing it before and I always read @kitshef's comments. Is there anyone else on the blog like me -- people who just don't notice avatars? It would put my mind at ease if there were actually others who don't.

Smith 5:31 PM  

@Barbara S. 8:37

Re yesterday, wow, just wow!
I haven't been around much (part time retirement job taking up too much time), so I was astonished to be included in your clever poem. What a true labor of love and so sweet and accurate about the blog denizens!

Nancy 5:54 PM  


I had @kitshef on my mind because of the Tiger. I'm SO sorry!!!!!!

Barbara S. 6:35 PM  

Cheers to @Carola, @Newboy, @M&A, @egs, @oceanjeremy, @Wanderlust, @A and @Smith.

@Wanderlust - I've been thinking it was one and done, but now you've got me considering other options. Maybe an annual revision? Hmm.

@Nancy - FYI, Other posters whose avatars are mentioned are @Anoa Bob, @Newboy, @Smith and, of course, @Teedmn.

Unknown 6:41 PM  

A lot of folks on this blog are putting down SCALIA as a justice, but the reality is (and I think one blogger mentioned this), when it came to 4th amendment jurisprudence, he was the Court's biggest proponent for protecting our rights against an expanded police state.

I may not have agreed with all his decisions, but I'd take SCALIA over ALITO or THOMAS in a heartbeat any day of the week.

Space Is Deep 7:40 PM  

DNF. Two Naticks.

Anonymous 8:09 PM  

Spent a lot of time figuring ISHIRO/SINCHES mistake. In general I was able to deduce names, but the spelling (miSrahi, gucCi) held me up in places. Tough but workable.

Unknown 8:25 PM  

Everyone knows this by now, but Scalia and RGB were besties. They traveled together and spent holidays together. We should all learn from their enduring friendship.

Wanderlust 8:53 PM  

Hope you do!

kitshef 8:53 PM  

@puzzlehoarder - best of luck for your recuperation. I assume I will be following you down that path 'ere long, so THEN @Nancy can wish me will.

For anyone who cares, I took that tiger photo in March of 2020, as all hell was breaking loose in the US and I was blissfully unaware travelling in India, where toilet paper was plentiful and cheap.

Nancy 8:54 PM  

@Barbara S (6:35) -- Of the avatars you mention, I know only @Anoa Bob's. And that's because he calls himself @Anoa Bob and his avatar is an anoa. If he called himself @Xword Bob, I wouldn't know his avatar any more than I know anyone else's.

@Teedmn's a pal. When she's in NYC for a tournament, we get together, have dinner and hang out. But do you think I know her avatar? Not if my life depended on it. (I just peeked, btw, and it seems to be some sort of flower. I guess I'll remember it now -- now that I've actually looked at it. Unless I don't.

I have no idea what the other avatars you refer to are. If you mentioned them in your tribute, I didn't pick up on the reference. I'm sure I thought that they -- whatever they are -- had been mentioned in a particular blog comment that I either never read or don't remember.

Loren is famous for changing her avatar daily in apt and humorous ways to dovetail in some way with a given puzzle. But I've never once noticed any of them on my own. Only when one or more Rexites mention her avatar that day do I go back and look. Sometimes I'm amazed that I missed it, but miss it I did.

The Cleaver 9:02 PM  

We should all learn from their enduring friendship.

What might that be?? Only Right Wingnuts have the God given power to rule??

GILL I. 9:17 PM  

Hey @Barbara S. See what you've done? Some of the oldies have come back to join us.....!!!! YAY...Now you have to add some more of your bodacious odes to the olds. insert a happy face emoji here, @Frantic.

albatross shell 9:57 PM  

I thought I saw a suggestion of plagiarism about this puzzle and based on another referenced puzzle by an anon in maybe late morning. It's gone or I keep scrolling by it somehow. Did anyone check it out? I was expecting some refutation or confirmation. Just crickets.

Thanks to @Newboy and @A for their reaction to my comment on the puzzle and the NOGUCHI table. Maybe I should have been less metaphysical in my description. CUL DESAC and SEE TOEYE answers form a pair of L's that could be joined at the S of SEE and the L of CUL and rotated to form the floor and table supports of the table. Looking at the table reminded me of trying to solve those areas. Both clues and table seemed self-reflective somehow and made my head hurt in similar ways. I thought the cluing seemed to call special attention to those two pairs of answers and there they were in the table. I was also thinking is this a Thursday on the wrong day again? If I put DEAD in the down and END across it does kinda work in a a THURSDAY sort of way. What if I put END in backwards? Is there a pun that makes it work? A literal DEAD END? Nope.

@Newboy seemed as amazed as I was. @A appreciative, but not a true believer. Well, I don't
think that's his style. I thought someone would tell me I live in my head too much. Anyone know how to ask the constructor if he saw or designed it?

I knew TONNEAU because I had one installed on my son's pick-up for his birthday. When he moved to Pittsburgh he really appreciated it, It's nice when one of those birthday presents works. There is a TONNEAU factory a couple miles down the road with a company store. When it caught on fire we were told to move inside and close the windows. We already had. The air was acrid.

The Swedish Chef 9:58 PM  

Since there's no baizbowl on the teeVee, I happened into the last few minutes of 'NOVA'; been sometime since it was a regular in my life.

Recently we discussed the wonders of cockroaches, some may recall. Well, next week's episode of the show is devoted to edible insects. Bon appetit.

andrew 10:22 PM  

Terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE puzzle!

Bad concept, names I wouldn’t remember if I heard of them in the first place, Pllus TONNEAU?

As unpleasant a crossword experience as I remember having. Don’t see eye to eye with Will on this being published any day of the week, let alone a Wednesday.

Smith 10:32 PM  

@Nancy 8:54

During the pandemic - the lock down part - it seemed as if AA Milne kept appearing in the puzzle almost weekly. I have somehow managed to hang into my childhood set of his books and one day I took a picture and started using it as my avatar. I'm amazed that @Barbara even knew that! But very touched that she included me in her poem.

A 10:47 PM  

@albatross, sorry, I’m guilty of over-editing. I originally had more enthusiasm (including a “Wow!”) in my reaction to your astute observation. I go back and try to use less words since I so often use too many. I was struck that you not only noticed the rotational relationship between the table and DESACUL and the revealer, but also tied in UEY and HIT TO right to boot. And then the Alice "curiouser and curiouser" - did the Dodo clue inspire that?

The other thing is, yes, I actually did investigate the “plagiarism” accusation. Wasn’t going to bring it up since no one else seemed interested. As you said, “crickets.” BUT yes, there is a puzzle at American Values by Evan Kalish from April 14, 2021. I did not buy the puzzle, so I don’t know how close a copy this one was. “Guest puzzle from Evan Kalish this week! Check out "Eye to Eye," a 17x17 gem at 2.5/5 difficulty.”

Anonymous 12:14 AM  


Getting offended that other people are offended isn't that helpful. It's just asking for attention.

albatross shell 12:17 AM  

No need to be sorry. I appreciated your comment anyway. Nice to know it got a wow even if edited and the extra shadings gave you some joy. Your posts do tend to be long but seldom ramble. I edit mine too but it is harder to tell.

No on the dodo but logic, reflection, circularity and humor often lead one to Alice.

Yeah, I'm to cheap to spend a dollar when some people here probably have access and can give us a report.

I did did not make some other observations so it wouldn't distract from my epiphany.

KITT KAT. SUZUKI crossing AUDI. RICHES and E-RICH. INIDLE ending at ATREST. ATREST CULDESAC the suggested dead END and FETID.

I am all for NIP being a usable word but putting it right below a Japanese name seems to be using it at a RUDE level.

And SCALIA twice removed from john BIRCH. Probably a fan in high school.

Anonymous 12:23 AM  

@Albatros - yes it was plagiarism. I bought the puzzle. The clues were not exactly the same but the theme answers were the same. The title of the puzzle was Eye to Eye. I say it’s a problem.

Mr. Alarm 12:42 AM  

Yes, oceanjeremy!

I too do the puzzle because I love WORDS, not 3-letter acronyms! You speak for MANY of us. Where does it!? Obviously, lazy texting abbreviations (LMAO, e.g.).

Words, words, words!! Don’t abbreviate, show me! Say one more TLA and I’ll scream!

rjkennedy98 11:04 AM  

Interesting puzzle filled with PPP. DNF on the in ISAMU. I have to say that ISAMU NOGUCHI is just about as an obscure a name as I can remember in the NY Times crossword as a themer. What percentage of people have heard of him? Maybe 0.5% of Americans. I think I recognize his table, but honestly it just looks like the windshield glass table famously ridiculed in Seinfeld.

Brianne M. 8:14 PM  

Hi, I'm Brianne, the constructor of this puzzle. This puzzle was NOT plagiarized! I originally created this puzzle in 2019, submitted it to the NYT sometime in April of 2020 and it was accepted in the summer of 2020. The NYT daily theme puzzles are on a +1 year delay. I always run my puzzle themes through cruciverb to check to see if they've already been done before...and I was seriously surprised that it looked like "eyetoeye" had never been done before. I've enjoyed reading your guys' comments and criticisms, but I felt like I needed to say something when you're starting to accuse me of something I'm not guilty of.

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