Curving billiards shot / TUE 11-23-21 / Agricultural giant founded in Hawaii in 1851 / Rapper fronting the heavy metal band Body Count

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Constructor: Eric Bornsteing

Relative difficulty: Easy (maybe Easy-Medium if your sports knowledge isn't that great)

THEME: PERSONAL FINANCE (20A: Sort of investment suggested by the ends of 3-, 11- and 29-Down) — the ends of those answers = BONDS, SILVER, and CASH ... I guess those are ... "sorts of investment"? ... it's all a bit nebulous to me; oh wait, I think maybe I just got it—those "sorts of investment" are all the last names of *people*? So they're ... PERSONAL? That's my best guess, anyway:

Theme answers:
  • BARRY BONDS (3D: M.L.B. record-holder for most career home runs)
  • ADAM SILVER (29D: N.B.A. commissioner starting in 2014)
  • JOHNNY CASH (11D: Singer profiled in the biopic "Walk the Line")
Word of the Day: ADAM SILVER (29D) —

Adam Silver (born April 25, 1962) is an American lawyer and sports executive who is the fifth and current commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He joined the NBA in 1992 and has held various positions within the league, becoming chief operating officer and deputy commissioner under his predecessor and mentor David Stern in 2006. When Stern retired in 2014, Silver was named the new commissioner.

As commissioner, the league has continued to grow economically and globally, especially in China. Silver made headlines in 2014 for forcing Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers after Sterling made racist remarks, later banning him for life from the game. (wikipedia)

• • •

Can't think of a theme type that's less For Me. PERSONAL FINANCE is a term I recognize, but it's very general in my mind. I don't know the term "PERSONAL FINANCE investment," but the clue says PERSONAL FINANCE an investment *type*, so I assume that's a legit phrase. I also don't see how BONDS, SILVER, and CASH make a sufficiently tight grouping at all. Cash? I admit to being totally out of my depth when it comes to financial instruments and things people invest in (beyond your ordinary everyday IRAs, stocks & bonds, mutual funds, etc.). People invest in ... Cash? I believe you, but I just ... *have* ... cash. Hidden in a lunch box, in case we have to run. Is this ... "investing"? Cosplay? Who knows. Anyway, I think of Cash as uninvested, actually, but maybe you are investing in the "Cash" of other countries? Sigh. You can see how much I care. Look, the revealer is completely unsnappy and the theme set is arbitrary. Also, I will be stunned if the "personal" aspect of the theme doesn't elude a good chunk of solvers. I feel like I only dopily stumbled into it when I had to write all the theme answers out. People's names are used as theme answers All The Time, so it's Bizarre that you expect the "personal" nameness of today's three answers to resonate clearly at all. Truly weird. And of course the "persons" involved are all dudes. It's the financial world, I expect patriarchy. At least the puzzle's not about B!tcoin.

The one good thing about the puzzle is the grid shape, which is bizarre in a good way. Those three long Downs all in a row seemed pretty harrowing for a Tuesday, and one of them is a proper noun, and a themer, that a bunch of solvers aren't going to know ... and yet the short crosses were all very easy, and so I can't see people getting hung up there too long, if at all. LAST IN LINE was a little hard to parse, but again, crosses make things clear (that's their job!). If this puzzle does nothing else, it gives me the opportunity to recommend that you see the movie "TRANSIT" immediately, if not sooner (d. Christian Petzold, 2018) (5D: Kind of visa for just passing through an airport). Watched it with my Monday night Movie Club last month, and it's one of the most beautiful, haunting, mysterious movies I've seen in a long time. A really thoughtful meditation on refugees, the problem of belonging, and the concept of Home. Now that I've done that ... not much more to say about this grid. The fill is weak in the short stuff, but not so weak that it made me wince. Those tiny, cut-off, isolated corners in the SW and SE are aesthetically displeasing, but they're only 4x4 and filling them is just a perfunctory exercise, so again, the harm done is minimal. I do object to the spelling of CZAR here (51A: Nicholas I or II). We all have a TACIT (!) agreement that the Russian ruler is spelled TSAR, whereas a governmental policy director is spelled CZAR ("Drug CZAR"). Otherwise, it's just arbitrary nonsense, spell it this way, spell it that way, cats are marrying dogs and pigs are flying etc. Boundaries are good for us. Please respect the TSAR / CZAR distinction. Thank you.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Conrad 6:16 AM  

Easy, breezy Tuesday for this sports fan who doesn't really follow the NBA so ADAM SILVER came from crosses. But I question the inclusion of BARRY BONDS, the "Who? Me?" steroid-swilling poster boy for achievement through cheating.

$$$$ 6:54 AM  

I found this: (Hope it helps)

What Is a Cash Investment?

A cash investment is a short-term obligation, usually fewer than 90 days, that provides a return in the form of interest payments. Cash investments generally offer a low return compared to other investments. They may also have very low levels of risk, in addition to being insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

A cash investment also refers to an individual’s or business's direct financial contribution to a venture, as opposed to borrowed money.

Lewis 6:56 AM  

I remember when my personal finance was coins in AJAR, but that’s another story…

This puzzle solved smoothly, except In the SW corner, where for [Behind, in England], my mind went to the owing money kind of “behind” and didn’t consider the patootic possibility, and [It doesn’t mean a thing] flummoxed me, but I wasn’t stymied for long.

And there was fun. Money these days doesn’t excite me like it did in the coins-in-a-jar days, but sussing theme answers does, so the theme still held interest, especially since I didn’t know who the NBA commissioner is. For some reason, palindromes do as well, and this puzzle had three! (ABBA, NAAN, ERE.)

One more thing – a “that’s cool!” moment – when it hit me that after you ATONE for something, you feel better, more at peace, that is, AT ONE.

So you brought my brain to its happy place, Eric. Thank you for making this!

amyyanni 7:17 AM  

We just encountered ARSE,was it Sunday or yesterday? Preferable to Patootie, or a variant, no? Not a Bonds fan. Hoping Big Papi is voted into the Hall; he's on the ballot this year.
Not usually a grid person, but this one caught my attention. Liked it and the puzzle, although it was male dominant.
Last night, first frost of the season. Yes, got the porch plants inside. Now just have to keep them on the outside of the cats, who like to nibble on them and then vomit. In a repeating loop. Happy Tuesday.

Trey 7:19 AM  

Funny that a puzzle themed as PERSONAL FINANCE begins with a clue using “Money, Money, Money”. Kinda meta (but not Meta, as in Facebook)

Agree with @Rex that the theme was off. Puzzle was fine otherwise. Eight 3-letter answers, and they were fine until getting to the middle stack (TAS, AMT, CSI) - all abbreviations

Yd -17. Not on the right wavelength yesterday. Hoping today is better

kitshef 7:23 AM  

Very much on the easy side (knew all the people), thinnest of themes and BARRY BONDS. Not my cuppa.

Is there a rule about ayes versus YEAS?

And now I have WERECOWS on the brain.

Tom T 7:28 AM  

I have a 5 letter clue for you this morning to a really nice 5 letter Hidden Diagonal Word (HDW). Here's the clue:

Sully (answer below)

This puzzle seemed almost too "on the nose," to steal a phrase from creative writing--very little word play or misdirection; pretty much, "Here's a straightforward clue to a very gettable word." Seemed more like a Monday, except for the use of verticals for the themers.

Maybe it was a wheel house thing for me. I do follow sports, so BARRY BONDS (big eye roll on that one from this HANK AARON fan) and ADAM SILVER were gimmes for me. On the other hand, the only word in the grid with which I was completely unfamiliar was MASSE (the M was my final letter entered.

Here's the answer to the HDW clue:

TAINT (begins in the 49D block and ascends to the NW) You might have been thinking pilot or Hanks or movie?

pabloinnh 7:41 AM  

This played pre-Monday easy for me, got BARRYBONDS going down and wrote in PERSONALFINANCE going across and nothing else took much longer. I was disappointed that the BONDS clue didn't have an asterisk in it somewhere. Should have.

Side eye to ASHED and nice to see old friend MASSE, who has been MIA for quite a while.

Smooth enough, EB, but the extra-direct cluing puts this one right in the Easy Bin. Thanks for the momentary fun.

Son Volt 7:42 AM  

Didn’t like the segmented grid - I’m assuming a result of the interlocking themers? Walk the Line is fantastic. Liked the NOT A CHANCE x ON THIN ICE CROSS.

Overall clueing was basic and flat - brutal 3’s. Really thought we’d get pushback from Rex on the appearance of THUGS.

The only juice in this puzzle is from BONDS - clue should have had an asterisk.

Francis 7:54 AM  

I had oneSECOND instead of INASECOND and since I did not know either MASSE nor ICET that was tough.

Mikey from El Prado 7:58 AM  

I agree with others on BARRYBONDS… the cheater. I can only hope his last chance at the writers’ vote for MLBHOF induction ends up a big fat ‘no.’ I’m surprised that Rex, a big baseball fan, had nothing to say on this matter.

I have to disagree with Rex on the CZAR Thing. The ONLY place I see tsar used for the former Russian rulers is in crosswords. But, I suppose his point has some validity in that crosswords always spell it ‘tsar,’ except this rare instance.

Easy peasy as I’m a sports nut, which leads me to think that all three down themers should have been sports related. Sorry for that JOHNNYCASH, who I have always loved.

Mikey from El Prado 8:01 AM  

PERSONALFINANCE ONTHINICE…. I can only hope that’s not true.

SouthsideJohnny 8:34 AM  

Sort of a weird shaped grid today - it looks more like 7 or 8 partitioned 4x4 and 5x5 min-grids (and they each play Monday-easy). The only real challenge was stringing together enough crosses in the center to discern something that looked like a real person’s name - and confirming the last name of SILVER with an assist from the revealer. I’m very, very rarely in the “gee, I wish this one had more crunch” club, as Tues-Thurs are usually plenty challenging enough for me, thank you. However, once you have BARRY BONDS and JOHNNY CASH in place, this one is pretty much over and the fat lady is singing.

Nice clue for RENE, btw.

bocamp 8:40 AM  

Thx Eric, for this smooth Wednes. puz! :)


Excellent start in the NW, moved down the coast, over to the SE, and back up north to finish (appropriately) at FINALLY.

Interesting fact re: the ATOM.


Attempted MASSEs by us amateurs can definitely be a hazard to the felt.

Had tsAR before CZAR.

Very enjoyable solve, tho it didn't last very long. :)

@okanaganer 👍 for 0 yd / @Barbara S. 👍 for 0 Sun.

@Trey (7:19 AM)

You've got true grit; hang in there! :)

yd 0*

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

jberg 8:46 AM  

Hey, 8 mini puzzles for the price of one big one, with occasional links between them. What a deal! I'd invest in that.

I'm guessing maybe as a state employee Rex gets a pension, so has no need to manage an IRA. The team that advises us on ours is advising us to put more of it into CASH as they think the stock market is propped up artificially by all the quantitative easing from the Fed. But my interpretation of the theme was that these are the types of investments that are likely to be in your PERSONAL portfolio (unless you're really into soybean futures and credit default swaps).

The clue for 64A might as well be "Roman emperor." Very few emperors were not "reviled." A similar point could be made for 1A - I had no idea who sang that song, but 4 letters? It's ABBA.

As for ADAM SILVER, I know a political scientist by that name -- was on 2 panels with him last week -- but no idea about the NBA commissioner. But yeah, fair crosses.

Anonymous 8:47 AM  


Nancy 9:05 AM  

I had ADAMS----- and spent much of my time on this puzzle wondering if there was such a person as ADAM STOCKS? It would have been better if there had been, since a lot more people keep their financial holdings in stocks than in SILVER, I would think.

And even when I had the "R" from ERE, SILVER did not immediately spring to mind. So that gave me something to think about -- always a good thing, especially on a Tuesday.

I also learned that chess began in INDIA and that HERA is the goddess of marriage. I thought she was the goddess of the hearth.

I do have a few nits -- probably much the same as yours. Those Russian rulers are TSARS, not CZARS. But much worse is ASHED. "I ashed my cigarette," said absolutely no one ever.

BTW, my WALL, which has ears and has been listening in just now, is telling me to tell you that it quite liked this puzzle. It was given a place of honor crossing one of the theme answers; it was given an adorable clue (I got that right off the bat with no crosses, Wall!); and it has survived to live another day. Because nits aside, this was a pleasant puzzle to solve.

Mike Herlihy 9:05 AM  

As with @pabloinnh I thought this was super-easy. I wasn't even thinking about trying for speed but came within 3 seconds of my fastest Tuesday time.

Z 9:09 AM  

Damn you Rex! Now I have to go invest some time in this Caroline Rose person. Love that song even though everyone in the video looks like they are 16, maybe 17 tops.

As my money guy often implies, every asset is an investment and the question (from a PERSONAL FINANCE perspective) is what kind of return one gets on it. So, yeah, the cash in the lunchbox (which makes almost as much interest as the cash in my savings account these days) is an investment with a low return.

As @amyyanni (probably unintentionally) points out, the whole BARRY BONDS thing isn’t as clear as it seems. Did Big Papi use PEDs? As definitively “yes” as BARRY BONDS did. That is, all the circumstantial evidence says both of them did but we don’t have any proof beyond what our eyes and 100 years of watching the game tells us. That is, a 26 year old player whose best WAR* was 1.0 and whose cumulative WAR over 6 seasons was 3.0 doesn’t suddenly became an age 27 player whose single season WAR is 3.4 and manages to have an age 40 WAR of 5.0. Age 40 players don’t have 5.0 WAR.
So why does Big Papi, obvious PED user, get to be still revered and BARRY BONDS gets demands for asterisks?

Oh yeah, the puzzle. Strong TUEZZ vibe. Those two mini puzzles in the lower corners are perfunctory. The ABBA clue was a nice touch, but where is Pink Floyd? Then there’s the whole existential crisis implied by the ATOM clue (99.9% of matter is nothingness? What would Sartre say?). And 1,000% agree with Rex on the whole gof damn tsAR v CZAR thing. Finished that perfunctory corner, saw that I had tHAP in the puzzle, and had to waste precious nanoseconds to read the clue (Bloke) and writeover my tsAR. Blrrgh.

*WAR or WARP are advanced statistical constructs that attempt to show how many Wins Above a Replacement Player a particular player contributed during a season.

sixtyni yogini 9:27 AM  

Usually I hate themes related to economics - boooooring (to me) but BOND, CASH and SILVER made it fun, clever.
Loved this one.

RooMonster 9:36 AM  

Hey All !
It's Tuesday! LOL.

Not too much to say about TODAYs puz. Nice "double" Themers, as in, both words come into play instead of only one with the Revealer. If that makes sense. Mostly SOLID fill. A few TAS, but overall good.

Mad at my brain for having _CET and not seeing ICET immediately. The TSAR/CZAR thing for me has become write in __AR and wait. Like Mauna __, __a or some others.

yd -5, with two that the ole brain should've got right away.

*SB sidenote, if not into SB, feel free to skip this part 😁*
It seems I do SB different than most of y'all. When I open the app, I do it until I either get to G, or until around 6AM when I start the puz. (Get up around 5AM, leave for work at 8AM), and I don't look at the "Hints" tab to see how many words, lengths, how many left etc. I used to get to G, divide that number by .7 to get approximate QB number, and kinda figure out how many words I needed. But, now I don't do that, and I do SB until time to leave for work, and that's it. On off days, I will work on it all day. Trying to make myself feel better for "lots of words missed" days!

Two F's

Pete 9:49 AM  

Between 1920 & 1990, Nicholas II was a CZAR and a TSAR in equal measure. Since then he's been mostly a TSAR.

@Z - Big Papi used PEDs? Is that why ARod said about him "I've never seen a good player become a great player so quickly"?

Chicago Chica 9:50 AM  

I liked it.

RooMonster 9:54 AM  

Well, whaddya know. Talking about SB, and I get QB! YAY ME! So I expect all you SBers to get the Queen today, as it must be easy if I got it so quickly!

RooMonster Bee-ing Guy

Karl Grouch 10:03 AM  

It seems that @Rex is siding with the scholars of Slavic studies.
Here's what I gleaned on the web:
"Despite being identified as the primary spelling by the Merriam-Webster, Oxford American, American Heritage, and Random House English dictionaries, tsar appears to have held its own against czar for the past century in the Google Books database of U.S. publications.

A usage note under the entry for czar in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, fourth edition (2000) offers perhaps the best explanation of this seeming anomaly:

The word czar can also be spelled tsar. Czar is the most common form in American usage and the one nearly always employed in the extended senses "any tyrant" or informally "one in authority." But tsar is preferred by most scholars of Slavic studies as a more accurate transliteration of the Russian and is often found in scholarly writing with reference to one of the Russian emperors.

To the extent that tsar continues to be at least as common as czar in U.S. books, AHDEL suggests, this may reflect the strong preference of Slavic studies authors for tsar. Presumably, if the Google Books database were to add newspapers and (more) magazines to its scanned holdings, the influence of Slavic studies scholars' preferences on the reported overall popularity of tsar versus czar in the United States would be much diminished".

So there you go

Barbara S. 10:12 AM  

A brief drive-by to thank @albatross shell for his message late last night. I’ve been having a difficult morning (seriously ill cat), and I looked at yesterday’s comments and found “Barbara S. May you rot in hell.” I started to laugh and my husband looked at me, quite surprised, and asked what was so funny. I said, “Someone on the blog told me to rot in hell,” an answer which he found even more perplexing than the laughter. Anyway, @albatross shell, you couldn’t know, but thanks for injecting some much-needed levity into a tough situation.

bigsteve46 10:15 AM  

I'll add my two cents on the Bonds "cheating." It's nothing new in baseball. Babe Ruth took what were then called "pep pills"; in 1970's and 1980's it's estimated more than half of the players used and abused various types of amphetamines. Doctors have been prescribing God-knows-what for athletes for God knows how long. The numbers rule; with some nod to the usual old-fashioned variables like the size and shape of different ball parks, support and lack of same in the line-up, etc. What the guy ate or drank or inhaled or injected? It doesn't matter to me - especially since only a few guys get caught anyway.

By the way, the comparison between Bonds and "Big Papi" is very apt. I suspect Papi will breeze into the HOF even though Bonds was a far superior player in virtually every respect.

Anyway, its only 128 days until "Play Ball 2022!!"

This 'n' That 10:17 AM  

@Mikey. I noticed too, that two theme answers are sports related and the third one not. Then I thought of it as an executive(SILVER), a musician(CASH), and a juiced athlete(BONDS).

Other: I sweat not TSAR v. czar. I put in the AR and move on if I don't yet have a clarifying cross. There are other common examples of this. BLUEly none comes to mind at the moment.

OH NO! I just noticed ICE appears twice. Now I hate this puzzle.


You wind up 65A if your 20A goes bad.

puzzlehoarder 10:17 AM  

I slept in a bit today having stayed up last night watching a video of Johnny Cash's last live performance. Well worth it. His name was the one thing that stood out about this puzzle.

yd -0 I know "confunction" isn't a
word but it ought to be.

bocamp 10:23 AM  

Currently watching 'I Walk the Line', with Gregory Peck, Tuesday Weld and Estelle Parsons. It starts off with JOHNNY CASH's titular song.

@RooMonster (9:36 AM) 👍 for QB td

LOL, yes I do occasionally lose track of the days. No wonder today's xword seemed easy! :)

You've chosen a very tough path to QB. You're definitely a 'true grit' kind of guy. I don't think I could do it without having a definitive goal. I check for the number of pangrams/answers and points needed for both genius and QB. I don't look at the bar graphs for word count/length, tho.

td pg -5 (with some time left on the clock)

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

jae 10:29 AM  

Easy-medium. I did not know ADAM SILVER so the middle section was the last to fall. Pretty smooth but SILVER seems a bit of an outlier as something that is usually a part of PERSONAL FINANCE. Liked it.

Joseph Michael 10:33 AM  

“Oh, bleah!” means DARN? That’s news to me. So is the fact that the first checkmate happened in INDIA.

Have to agree that this is not the most exciting theme in the world and I can’t say I know many people who are sitting on a lot of SILVER. I kept wondering where the stocks WERE. Then I saw COWS on top of OVEN and was reminded of yesterday’s MYSTERY MEAT.

The grid looks like a maze with a CZAR waiting in one room, NERO in another, and Bob DOLE in another. Was glad WHEN I FINALLY escaped. Which wasn’t very hard since the difficulty level of this puzzle was somewhere near ZERO.

Heather W 10:35 AM  

I’m not a prude, but I feel like I’ve seen ARSE and ASS way too often in the past week. It’s beneath you, NYT.

Carola 10:38 AM  

Hats off to the constructor for turning the (for me) snoozeworthy topic of PERSONAL FINANCE into theme gold, with the three persons and their three investments. I got the idea from JOHNNY CASH, then backed up to complete BARRY BONDS; I needed crosses to see ADAM SILVER.

If I could add to @Roo Monster's comment (9:36):"Nice 'double' Themers, as in, both words come into play instead of only one with the Revealer" - I also think that this is a nice variation of the more usual "double" theme phrases, where both words can be used with the same third word to form a new phrase.

Do-over: tsAR; help from previous puzzles: MASSE; no idea: ADAM SILVER.

Whatsername 10:42 AM  

I’m getting caught up after a road trip for my bro’s 65th birthday TODAY and a bit rusty so appreciated this easy breezy Tuesday. A rather dull theme subject but liked the clever twist on the names.

Not a fan of the MLB SCENE, so my BARRY was into BANKS at first. And it seems to me best way to hit a ball for a home run would be SOLIDLY OVER the WALLS.

Had the pleasure of seeing JOHNNY CASH in several PERSONAL appearances and I always felt I got my money’s worth. He was a performer who definitely gave a good return on your investment.

Anonymous 10:44 AM  

So why does Big Papi, obvious PED user, get to be still revered and BARRY BONDS gets demands for asterisks?

for the simple reason: BONDS was surly and obnoxious to everyone, esp. sports reports, while Big Papi was a nice guy to everybody. vinegar and honey and all that. also, not that I follow the Red Slobs all that closely, still NE born and bred, I don't think Papi stole any records from pre-PED players.

as to the puzzle/theme: they're all, what the econ types call, stores of value (not really investment instruments, except, of course, BONDS) and they're personal just because they finish a person's name. sometimes the obvious is just the obvious. would a Person hold meaningful amounts? just ask the gold bugs, Rand, and silver hoarders. they all live in the wilds of Cold Red States, thinking they're escaping Covid-Δ. yeah, riiiiiiiiiiight.

Anonymous 10:44 AM  

@Heather W:
I’m not a prude, but I feel like I’ve seen ARSE and ASS way too often in the past week. It’s beneath you, NYT.

beneath all of us. :)

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

Anyway, its only 128 days until "Play Ball 2022!!"

you know they say about chickens and counting? they ain't got enough brain to do it! if the Cold Red States continue to defy logic, good sense, and science, Covid will be screaming higher when pitchers and catchers are supposed to report. don't believe? go look at what's going on in Germany and much of EU. just as last time, we get what they have, just a couple of months later. the only saving grace is that this time around, it's pandemic among the unvaccinated. good riddance.

GILL I. 11:02 AM  

I realize I'm probably the only person on this blog that doesn't give a rats ARSE about sports anymore, ergo...I have no idea who M.L.B, N.B.A. or how best to hit a ball for a hoe run. I always thought Mickey Mantel was a musketeer.
Oh, wait....were talking FINANCE here. Didn't someone famous say it was the root of all evil? Was that you, @Rex? I like money...who doesn't....I'm not a great investor but I dabble in gold and Eric couldn't come up with anyone named Gold? Maybe fit in Ryan Eggold? No? Does anyone know him?
My little Hadley Rose and I have fun sticking coins into one of those money jars that tell you how much money you have. I tell her that when we fill it, I'll buy her a Mercedes....
Now I'm off to buy some Lummi Island Wild salmon for our Thanksgiving feast. No turkey this year. We've had our share of turkey's and none of us want to eat one. I wish I could find some French pate foie gras.

bocamp 11:05 AM  

@Barbara S. (10:12 AM)

🙏 for your kitty

@puzzlehoarder (10:17 AM) 👍 for -0 yd

td pg -2* (will work on it later)

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Peg Padnos 11:19 AM  

Me, too. I actually recognized i
ICET as the actor who plays Detective Tutuola on law and order SVU.

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

@Anon 10:50. I totally agree with you about the unvaccinated ("good riddance"). They should be denied a hospital bed when they get COVID. Give 'em the meds. and send them home. I am a compassionate person but have none for those idiots.

Masked and Anonymous 11:22 AM  

E/W symmetry on a TuesPuz. A primo investment.

staff weeject pick (of only 8 choices, mind U): TAS. Better fresh clue: {Sat back, without the relax part??}.
Nice weeject stack in the puzgrid center, btw. Don't see the lil darlins there, very often.

Lotsa cool fillins, includin: NOTACHANCE & LASTINLINE, from the neat central 10-stack. ONTHINICE, too boot. Best U-tilization: UTIL/THUGS.
fave Ow de Speration: ASHED.

Solvequest was pretty easy, in our masked neighborhood. Got JOHNNYCASH offa nuthin. Took a few crosses, to suss out BARRYBONDS, tho. M&A has tended to enjoy the college sports more than the pro ones, lately.

Thanksgivin might be kinda different at our house this year. The oven just conked out on us. :(

Thankful for today's puzfun, tho. Thanx, Mr. Bornstein dude.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


NH 11:25 AM  

As Woody Allen tells it, the Russian Revolution began when the serfs realized that the czar and the tsar were the same person.

Unknown 11:30 AM  

No disrespect to ABBA, but money money money group will always be the O’Jays.

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

Adam Silver does not pass the breakfast test. In the venial pursuit of lucre, Silver has allowed himself to be a hostage of the murderous Chinsese regime. China is litteraly engaged in genocide and because the Uighurs have, essentially, bo cnapion in the West, The west turns a blind eye to the most grotesque attrocitues. It's sickening.

And speaking of lucre. No one of any intellect, wisdom or learnig ever said money is the root of all evil. What that wise man the wisecare above misquoted was a verity: the love of money is the root of all evil.

mathgent 12:09 PM  

RENE Descartes was a philosopher but I'm more impressed with his work in mathematics. We graph functions on a plane, naming each point with a pair of numbers, the x-coordinate and the y-coordinate. They are called Cartesian coordinates after him because he pioneered the idea.

Sometimes a dull puzzle stimulates some intriguing commentary, making it worthwhile. Alas, not today.

Kath320 12:10 PM  

If Barry Bonds is an answer in your crossword puzzle, you need to insert an extra space for the asterisk he will always have associated with his name...

Tim Carey 12:19 PM  

Carolyn Rose. Money. Perfect.

Anonymous 12:22 PM  


While I carry no water for Silver, it has to be remembered that (almost?) all of these Pro Sports 'Commissioners' are mere employees of the Owner Cabal. They have no independent power. IIRC, the last/only one who did went by the very odd name of Kenesaw Mountain Landis, first commissioner of baseball, and may be of any Pro Sport (don't know)?
"His firm actions and iron rule over baseball in the near quarter-century of his commissionership are generally credited with restoring public confidence in the game."
"Landis was given full power to act in the sport's best interest, and used that power extensively over the next quarter-century."
the wiki

Not so much today.

mathgent 12:24 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

Lewis (6:56)
Anonymous (11:39)

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

A good cash investment nowadays is a US Savings bond indexed to inflation. It currently yields over 7% (but the rate changes every 6 months)

Son Volt 12:27 PM  

BONDS is revered by his SF fan base as much as Papi in Boston. The general public tends to like Papi more because the media has always painted him as a decent guy - quite different with BONDS. As a Yankee fan - I always liked BONDS because of his father.

We really have no idea the extent of PED use in the 90s - but the outed ones including Papi, BONDS and ARod will not be elected to the HOF anytime soon. The sad part to me rests with BONDS who was a first ballot guy before he started using.

old timer 12:28 PM  

I had no memory of ADAM SILVER. Of course I remembered BARRY BONDS. Jefferson Starship claimed, "We built this city on rock and roll." Which is an exaggeration, maybe. But BONDS claimed they built the Giants' park on him, and that is totally true. The park (now called Oracle, but for many years, the phone company won the naming rights) was deliberately designed so that no one but BARRY BONDS would regularly hit homers there. I looked at the list, and his "splash hits" into McCovey Cove greatly outnumber those for anyone else.

Yet the relationship between the Giants and BONDS has been somewhat strained due to his alleged use of PEDs. It's true many others used them back in the day, but they were not violating any rule when they did -- those drugs were all available on prescription, and you can bet the team doctors were happy to oblige. BONDS, if he used them, did so in violation of MLB's rules.

As for CZAR vs. star, the ts is closer to the Russian pronunciation, but the cz is there to respect the word's origin, which was, of course Caesar. You could also clue CZAR as "Bulgaria's ruler of old." In fact, the last CZAR is still alive, and served a term as Prime Minister after the fall of the Marxist regime.

rjkennedy98 12:48 PM  

There were so many off aspects to this puzzle.

BARRY BONDS is the home run king only if you ignore his obvious cheating. He could've been clued many other ways.

In baseball, "SOLIDLY struck ball" usually refers to a ball that squared up like a line drive (normally for an out), its rarely if ever a term used to describe home runs.

PERSONAL FINANCE is not a "Sort of investment". PERSONAL FINANCE is a field dealing with managing your assets. And, as part of investing you may own CASH, but CASH is not an investment.

And referring to SILVER as an investment is also very icky. The people that sell gold and SILVER are some of the scummiest people out there. If its such a good investment, why are you taking money to give me your gold?

Normally I don't vibe with @Rex's rants, but "At least the puzzle's not about Bitcoin." felt very appropriate for this puzzle.

Z 12:50 PM  

@Heather W - it’s beneath you - Did you mean that literally or figuratively? 🤣😂🤣

@Anon10:44 - I think you’re right and I think that’s wrong. If a HoF voter can’t separate on field performance from personal animus they shouldn’t be voting on who gets in the HoF. But it was 1987 when I realized the the BBWAA having the vote for anything was a joke, so I’m not surprised. I think there are fair arguments to be made to keep BONDS out, I just think they apply to a lot more players from 1994 to 2010 or so than we want to admit, and then it becomes a discussion of where is the line.

@Pete - Probably, which is a fine example of “Pot, meet Kettle.” To be clear, we don’t actually have any proof that either did PEDs beyond “the eye test” unlike what we have on Mr. Rod. Also, to be fair, going from a WAR of -0.1 to 3.4 has more precedent than have a WAR of 5.0 at age 40. With some athletes we might believe it’s just advancing understanding of staying healthy and an insane level of commitment in doing so (Tom Brady), but I don’t think anyone has ever looked at Big Papi and thought to themselves, “there’s a guy committed to taking care of their body.”

@Anon11:39 and @Anon12:22 and @Anyone Else interested in a discussion of China and Sports - This podcast episode might interest you.

Boston Blackie 1:06 PM  

but I don’t think anyone has ever looked at Big Papi and thought to themselves, “there’s a guy committed to taking care of their body."

that's cruel.

Teedmn 1:08 PM  

I had to laugh at the constructor's notes, over at, saying that he thought Nate SILVER might be too obscure but most people might be expected to know who ADAM SILVER. Ha ha ha ha ha. I was glued to through the last administration and election (not so much anymore) and I have never watched an entire NBA game so there!

I tried to give @M&A a bonus U at 36A when the T___Y had me splatz in TrulY but it truly did not go with FINALLY above it.

Thanks, Rex, for pointing out how PERSONAL referred to the people as theme answers. I wasn't making that connection and it helped a teensy bit to make the theme a tad less dry.

@kitshef, I just figured out where you got WERECOWS, nice!

Thanks, Eric Bornstein, this was a nice grid.

Perry 1:21 PM  

I too objected to CZAR. I think that TSAR and CZAR are both correct English spellings (it is a transliterative spelling, after all), but I thought we had an agreement in NYT Crosswordese that the word for the former line of Russian potentates was always spelled TSAR.

Teedmn 1:29 PM  

I guess Eric didn't say we should know who Adam Silver is, just that we'd all know what the NBA was as opposed to FiveThirtyEight. But that alone is not helpful in guessing ADAM SILVER. I'd have stuck with Nate.

Anonymous 1:43 PM  

Yeah Bonds played by the rules. Well, except for that pesky felony convistion for obstruction of justice.
As for Bonds getting perceription for his PEDs: har! Good one. Wait, you were srious? Let me lauugh even harder.

No need for a podcast. The moral answer to China is not to do business with it. Yep, stakeholders-whether theuyre owners or shareholders-- will be angry. let them be. Cooperating with evil is never, ever acceptable.

Z 1:49 PM  

@BB - 🤣😂🤣- As someone with a similar physique and a much smaller bank account, I think we both can handle it.

@Teedmn - With DREW in the same corner I assumed it was a small ode to Gary Larson. As for the SILVER’s, since most mainstream media from Fox to MSNBC has a tendency to report on politics more as if it were a sport than as politics I’d say it is six of one, a half dozen of the other. Note that 538 was bought by ESPN in 2013 and devotes as much energy to sports as it does to politics.

BTW - Just because only one person has mentioned the dupe so far don’t think lots of people didn’t notice. I prefer my puzzles neat.

Z 2:03 PM  

@Anon1:43 - Like I said, you might find the discussion on that podcast interesting. Or not. Up to you. It’s just a thoughtful discussion, not any sort of evangelical “here are the answers to these dilemmas.”

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

But Z, my point is that there is in fact an answer.
No China no how.

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

If dealing were a dilemma I'd listen. But it's nothing of the kind. There's only one right course of action. And the whole world knows it. It's just that money or more properly, the love of money ( Hi Gill) has corrupted so many people, that the world is willing to pretend China is some kind of complicated issue requiring the wisdom of Solomon and a degree from Wahrton to understand. Thats nonsense. It would be laugable if the Chinese regime weren't enslaving, stelizing, raping , impisoning and possibly trying to exterminate a whole ethnic group.
Anyone paying attention to what Chian is doing in the Soiuth China Sea and the Straights of Tawain is under no illusion but that the PRC is the world's gravest threat.

Anonymous 2:43 PM  

For once I fully agree with Rex. I still don't get the clue to PERSONALFINANCE. I eventually filled it in as the only possibility once I had sufficient crosses.

To me, personal finance is your budget. What's your income, your spending, your savings?


SFR 2:47 PM  

Three of the long themers may be the uprights and crossbar, with the fourth themer being the trajectory of the ball for the extra point ... which I will claim for this insight.

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

Two cents worth on czar vs. tsar. In the Russian spelling of the word, the first letter is definitely that letter which is transcribed as ts, and which is usually if not always pronounced just like a ts. And the Russian word is definitely pronounced tsar.

On the other hand, in the US we pronounce the word as zar, and as pointed out czar is the more common spelling.

So it sounds like in crossworld, both spellings are acceptable.


tea73 3:06 PM  

Hand up for knowing Nate SILVER and not this ADAM guy. Luckily the puzzle was easy and I knew all the other sports figures though I don't follow sports.

My favorite money song. Pink Floyd's Money

Super easy puzzle. Cute theme. Of course CASH is a way to invest your money, just not a very good one especially if inflation is an issue.

CuppaJoe 3:37 PM  

I’m not a sports fan but I will always remember cutting out of work early to see Barry Bonds (before *) hit a grand slam or two, or was it three. It was almost as good as seeing Rickey Henderson steal a base. I also had mixed emotions seeing Bonds come up on the grid.

oldactor 4:07 PM  

Does anyone remember when two Texas Billionaire brothers tried to corner the Silver Market? The price for silver sky rocketed. I ran into my fencing instructor one day and he told me he had bought a slew of silver coins that were going up fast. When silver tanked he had sold his coins about a week before. I asked how did he do and he said they bought him a beach house on the Mexican coast. Talk about timing!

jae 5:15 PM  

@oldactor - If I’m remembering correctly the soaring silver market was a part of the plot in Updike’s “Rabbit is Rich”. There was a passage where Harry was physically toting bags of silver coins down the street to his car.

okanaganer 6:11 PM  

Rex, Rex.. I was quite happy to see CZAR for a change. Ceasar, Kaiser, Czar... Anonymous is quite right that the Russians pronounce it "tsar", but we all know that English doesn't care how native speakers pronounce things.

[Spelling Bee: td 0. I got to pg-3 right after lunch, then got stuck. Did some shopping and vacuuming, then sat down and immediately got the last 3 in about 30 seconds. QB 4 days in a row!]

pabloinnh 6:55 PM  

@jae 5:15--I had the exact same thought reading @oldactors's post.

Memorable book, memorable scene.

The Cleaver 7:34 PM  

for pity's sake PERSONAL FINANCE is a *pun*. how often does that happen? how many pills does Carter have?

as to China, etc. the answer derives from Bretton Woods (the wiki is your friend). tldr; Uncle Sugar blackmailed the Allies and the ex-Axis countries into accepting the Almighty Buck as the International Currency. and, as a result of that, all those 2nd and 3rd world countries turned themselves into Wage Slave States in order to export to Uncle Sugar in order to get Almighty Bucks so they could buy all manner of imports from all manner of countries. eventually, Big Bidnezz figured out that such currency manipulation, not productive efficiency, made it cheaper to make widgets in China, et al.

next, go look up Big Bidnezz lobbying to have the Almighty Buck de-valued, thus making their exports cheaper. either way, Joe Sixpack loses.

who would expect The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) and Liz to agree on something? have a snooze -

Anonymous 7:38 PM  


Not the first time it's been tried. The Hunt Brothers. Too lazy to wiki, I'm gonna guess they didn't spend time in The Grey Bar Hotel.

albatross shell 8:03 PM  

@Barbara S.
I gambled on you enjoying the humor. Never occurred to me you would be down and that would make it even better. May the God of your choice bless your cat and your house.

Despite the derision extra esses receive here, it seems many here would have been happier with the themers being BARRY'S BONDS, JOHNNY'S CASH, ADAM'S SILVER. PERSONAL! INVESTMENT without stretching the imagination too far.

I enjoyed ASHED because there were so many complaints about ASH recently. Serves them right.

If drug cheating were punished maybe the Astros wouldn't have stolen signs. Shoeless Joe probably got screwed. Bonds and others will probably skate. Maybe jury nullification will keep some out while they are alive. Bonds was a HallofFamer before he cheated. Doesn't matter. If baseball had heeded Christie Matthewson 1919 might never had happened. Lots of difficult moral decisions to be made.

Thanks to this blog for spotting so many gems in a seemingly staid puzzle. WERECOWS my favorite.

What did I learn?


Anonymous 9:07 PM  

Old Actor,
Nah! The Hunt Brothers surely did try to corner the silver market. But….their malfeasance raised the price of silver from about $6 to Around $47 an ounce. Now, I’m no numismatist but just how many “silver”:coins would a soul need to have enough money to buy a beach house even in Mexico? Setting aside no country has minted pure silver coins in ages, I’m guessing if the fencer did in fact have coins of pure silver in sufficient numbers to approach buying something as expansive as say, a VW, he would have more value, by chance given the sheer number, in a couple of rare coins irrespective of the price of silver.
If you’re story is true, that is, you were told that tale, you wer put on. If something else, we’ll, Barry Bonds could always use a pal.

Anonymous 11:11 PM  

Old Actor,
Assuming your fencing buddy had silver dollars
, which weigh about.96 ounces ( we’ll set aside that they’re not pure silver) and that he paid nothing for his trove and sold said trove at the height of the market (in other words the luckiest swordsman in history) he would ve needed more than 100, 000 coins to buy a $96, 000 property. Of course, silver dollars aren’t all silver so in fact he’d have less than 96K.
I know lots of people. Hoarders and coin collectors both. None has 100,000 of anything. But, yeah, your story rings true.

Z 11:47 PM  

@Anon 9:07 - Well, unlikely but not completely implausible. If the person had invested $5,000 before the prices went up and sold at the high point they would have come away with roughly $35,000, more than enough for a beach house in Mexico in 1980. My guess is that @oldactor’s friend made enough to make buying that beach house possible, so was only embellishing a wee bit.

@Villager and others - TS has been mostly the Russian ruler and CZ mostly for American usages as in “drug czar” in crosswords. Sort of a tacit recognition that the TS is closer to the Russian pronunciation. CZAR isn’t wrong, it’s just cluing it by an actual tsAR was annoying, a violation of a sacred compact between cluer and solver.

@Anon 2:18 - 😏 - Ignorance is bliss, I guess. Here’s a shocker for you: You are commenting on the internet so I know you are doing business with China. Do you drive a car? Wear clothes? Eat? If you do any of those things you are trading with China. Let us know when you’ve stopped doing business with China… oh, wait, that would mean you stopped using all computer products so you won’t be able to tell is. Quite the dilemma.

albatross shell 12:49 AM  

There is no compact, sacred, profane, divine or common. And if there were it would be broken for any reason of convenience (RoC). Any fill that fits, any thing you can get away with. Just like art. Yeah I know you know, but those poor folk you lead astray ...

Anonymous 1:37 AM  

@Anon 11:11 huh?

If silver is $47 an ounce, 2,000 ounces = $94.000. If a silver dollar has 0.77 ounces of silver, then he’d need ~2,500 coins...not 100,000 coins.

I also don’t think a beach house in Mexico cost $96k in 1980...

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