Fearsome pteranodon of classic film / WED 11-17-21 / Serena's best friend on Gossip Girl / Colorfully named victim in the UK version of Clue / Major vegetable export of Nigeria

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Constructor: Anne Grae Martin

Relative difficulty: Challenging


THEME: YOGA POSES (58A: What the five formations of circled letters in this puzzle represent) — circled squares are shaped like, and spell out the names of, the poses:

Theme answer?:
  • AWARENESS (18A: Goal of some meditation)
Word of the Day: Honey Boo Boo (6D: ___ Thompson a.k.a. Honey Boo Boo) —

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo was an American reality television series that aired on TLC featuring the family of child beauty pageant contestant Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson. The show premiered on August 8, 2012, and ended on August 14, 2014. Thompson and her family originally rose to fame on TLC's reality series Toddlers & Tiaras. The show's name comes from a taunt that Alana hurled at another pageant contestant during her debut in Toddlers and Tiaras, but a sweeping misinterpretation from the general public resulted in Alana being referred to as "Honey Boo Boo Child" instead. The show revolves around Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson and her family's adventures in the town of McIntyre, Georgia. The reality series received predominantly negative reviews from television critics during its run. 

On October 24, 2014, TLC cancelled the series after four seasons when cast member June "Mama June" Shannon was seen with Mark Anthony McDaniel, a man who served 10 years in prison after being convicted of aggravated child molestation in 2004 and who is a registered sex offender. This prompted Shannon to admit to Entertainment Tonight that the father of her daughter Lauryn "Pumpkin" Shannon was not McDaniel as previously stated, but Michael Anthony Ford, another convicted sex offender who served time for sexual exploitation of minors after being caught on 'To Catch a Predator' in 2005. A number of episodes had already been taped for a fifth season, but none were released until TLC aired four of them as the two-hour special Here Comes Honey Boo Boo: The Lost Episodes on April 21, 2017. (wikipedia)

• • •

Ha ha. OK, so in 2015 Mary Sue Hayward and I co-constructed a puzzle with this theme and it was accepted by Buzzfeed but then Buzzfeed's crossword folded before our puzzle got published and so we had our puzzle returned to us and promptly did nothing with it. I have lots of different versions of the fill, so I don't remember which one was the final version, but anyway, it looked something like this:

LOL 9D "STTNG" = abbr. for "Star Trek: The Next Generation"—
pretty sure we redid that corner in subsequent drafts, though
you could get away with wacky stuff in the Buzzfeed crossword sometimes

The circles are a little hard to see in this screenshot, but there's a progression in ours, as you descend the grid, from DOWNDOG* through BRIDGE to CORPSE. Other poses can't be represented that well, as you can see in today's puzzle: CAT is an absurdity (just three squares, and it's shaped no differently from DOWNWARD DOG), as is COBRA. Those squares don't evoke their poses at all. CHAIR and BOAT are closer, but still too tiny to be really effective. You need a bigger canvas. Today's DOWNWARD DOG is the one pose that's on point. So obviously I like the *idea* of this puzzle. It's just that there's this cramming of too many poses in, and these formations end up a. not evoking the poses well, and b. really really compromising the fill by fixing theme material in virtually every corner of the grid. I can tell you that it is actually really hard to fill puzzles that have theme material on the diagonal. A Down or an Across themer is just a fixed answer; you get a few and you build the rest of the grid around them. But when you deal in diagonals or otherwise dispersed letters, now the theme is everywhere, and nearly Every answer has a limitation (that is, one fixed theme square in it) right from the start. If you look at today's grid, you can see that with the exception of some short stuff, the vast majority of all answers run through the theme in some way. Some of them run through theme material multiple times. This makes filling the grid very hard, and it's how you end up with cringey fill like ABSIT (!?!?!) (61A: ___ omen (Latin akin to "Heaven forbid")), which hasn't been in the puzzle for twenty years ... for a reason. 


The NW corner was the hardest Wednesday NW corner I think I've ever done, mostly because I refused to look at Allllll the cross-reference clues and wouldn't just move on and come back. No idea about the AUDEN poem (2D: "The Shield of Achilles" poet), wasn't certain about the vowels in ADUBA (17A: "Mrs. America" actress Uzo), and then the corner is super-isolated and the longer answers poking their heads in were not gettable so the only thing I knew for sure for a while was REN. Brutal. And it felt like this toughness in the cluing was Everywhere. And fussiness also. Is it KEA? Nope, LOA (15A: Mauna ___). Is it HOMEMADE? Nope, HANDMADE (21A: Like many items on Etsy). Is it YOWIE? Nope. ZOWIE? Still nope. It's WOWIE (16A: "Gadzooks!") ... huh ok. AWARENESS was absolutely brutal. So abstract, no idea. I guess it's supposed to be part of the theme??? So you've got two different theme elements running through there? Wow. That makes it thematically very dense through there. Solving this was a Grind. The UK version of Clue?? Really? (43D: Colorfully named victim in the U.K. version of Clue). And oof, the Honey Boo Boo stuff, why? Bygone child exploitation reality TV? ... and I'm supposed to know her *first* name? The vibe coming off that answer was ... well, what's the opposite of YOGA? Still, as I say, I do like the basic idea here. I just think the execution is a little inelegant. A bit of a mess. Trying to do too much. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

*Today's DOWNWARD DOG is obviously more spectacular than the DOWN DOG that we went with in our grid, but it's no less an abbreviation. You'll hear DOWN DOG *and* DOWNWARD DOG used all the time in yoga classes, but the full name is actually DOWNWARD-FACING DOG (you're gonna need a Sunday-sized grid for that one). The Sanskrit name, which you also hear, is Adho Mukha Svanasana.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

89 comments:

Conrad 6:30 AM  


Medium Wednesday. Solved it as a themeless, which it really was. I had less trouble than @Rex in the NW even though I didn't know the ADUBA person, primarily because CUTIE/PIE went in with no crosses. I agree that there are lots better choices for cluing ALANA. Avoided the WOWIE confusion because SWEDES went in first. The puzzle became easier after the North, with only one WOE, BLAIR.

Lewis 6:40 AM  

This one made my heart smile, as I’ve taught yoga for more than thirty years. I can verify that the basic shape of the poses as represented by the circles is accurate. All of these poses show up often in yoga classes.

This had to be tough to construct – so many constraints! – but I want to imagine Anne calmly breathing through the iterations until it fell into place, followed by a sweet savasana (final relaxation). The answers hardly seem forced, IMO, which shows great skill on her part.

When it hit me that the pose names were in the actual pose shapes – that elicited a huge smile/wow/brava moment worth the price of admission. Also, my ignorance caused some delicious knottiness in the journey, a very good thing. Namaste, Anne, and much gratitude for a fun solve and sweet start to my day!

Anonymous 7:00 AM  

LOL. If another constructor pulled the STTNG stunt, you would hear Rex's howls in the next galaxy. And I'm guessing say sorry is weak sauce too. Say sorry? Say your sorry is the phrase.

Megafrim 7:07 AM  

Guessing "Mr Black" for the Clue character led to a very basic step in wedding planning: GET A MATE.

Son Volt 7:23 AM  

Rough stuff - solved as a themeless after seeing all of the circles - no interest in the gimmick. The fill wasn’t much better - SIB, SIS, BRO cross referencing - add the CUTIE PIE cross and I checked out of this pretty quickly.

OOO, CMERE and all the other 3 and 4 letter garbage can kiss my ARSE.

I put this on the editing team - its not a fully developed puzzle.

Tom T 7:28 AM  

A Hidden Diagonal Word enthusiast's paradise this morning. This grid could appear as a word search on a placemat at a family diner! Here are clues for two 5-letter HDWs found crossing one another in the grid:

1. Touching items?

2. It's a mistake

(Answers below)

So many diagonal words, as noted above, including DOWN (part of the double diagonal themer DOWNWARD DOG) and BRA (tail end of themer COBRA). Here's a sampling of other HDWs on our placemat:

"O, GOD, MOM, did you SEE that TAN BOY, sip the ODD TEA? It made HIM PEE and SEEP GAS! So SAD!

Eww.

Ok, on to the two answers:

1. EPEES

EPEES is part of a truly elegant string of diagonal letters. Beginning with the S in the 42A block and moving NE, you get SEEPEEE, which in the NE direction produces SEE and SEEP and EPEE and PEE. Turn it around and move from NE to SW, and you get EPEE and EPEES and PEE and PEES. Diagonal gold! (You could add, EEE--Eastern Equine Encephalitis--for a touch of inscrutable crosswordese, but I'll admit that's going too far.)

2. ERROR (The E sits next to the S in the 42A block and moves up toward the NW, crossing between the S and E in SEEP.)

Thanks, Anne, for a fascinating grid in both the conventional and diagonal spheres.

Kid Phoneme 7:41 AM  

Little circles in a puzzle aren't my favorite, but this time, when I finally got the gist of what was going on, they were the thing that bailed me out and gave me an ENTRYWAY into the NW.

1a sounds waaaay more irate than SASSY to me. A bit of a freak out, really, but not a SCARE. I filled in ADUBA early but had no confidence in my spelling and deleted it.

The puzzle was tough in places, but the clues were cluey enough to get, say DR BLACK or NAIAD with a few crosses. (ABSIT, sounds to me like alternate name for CHAIR pose.

And I learned today O's in XOXO are hugs. Why is it hugs and kisses if the letter orders seems to represent kisses and hugs?

amyyanni 7:43 AM  

G'morning, just back from the NW corner, where I was lost for a bit ala Rex. Guessed on Auden, pshew, so made it out. Had Get a Mate instead of Set a Date for a while ☺️. Once I saw ARSE, recognized it but blanked on the clue. COBBLING is satisfying splayed out there. Perhaps it brings cobler to mind... and haven't had breakfast yet. Bright, amusing puzzle for Hump πŸͺ Day.
Laundry day for me.

GILL I. 7:44 AM  

I wasn't on the same horse as Anne. She was cantering.....I did a slow trot. But why? you ask...I wouldn't know a yoga pose if it came up to me and bit me in that Honey Boo Boo ARSE.
I looked and looked at all the names I didn't know. Why dear lord couldn't you at least clue REN with his friend Stimpy? ADUBA changed her name to ADISA....The only HERMAN I know is a Munster. Why do birds no longer MOLT? I'm going to go sit in a corner and wait for GODOT.
OOO.

Trey 7:52 AM  

Agree that the NW was very challenging for a Wednesday. The theme letters in DOWNWARDDOG really helped me make progress here by showing me ENTRYWAY, even though I already had SASSY, REN and CUTIE. The cross of AUDEN and ADUBA was a technical Natick for me (went with an R first before the D)

Many 3-letter answers, but these were relatively clean other than MPS, DET and OOO, IMO (get it? Another 3-letter abbreviation)

Solid puzzle, but not really Wednesday material - Thursday or Friday by perceived difficulty but my time would make it an easy Thursday. I think that the difficulty of the NW corner was out of proportion to the rest of the puzzle, and primarily due to AUDEN and ADUBA

Adam Jaffe 7:53 AM  

I'm thrilled to see that Rex is a fellow Sufjan Stevens fan!

Dr. Ants 8:00 AM  

This is an unusual case where I disagree with Rex on the difficulty in the direction of it being much easier for me, relative to my average, than a typical Wednesday (~35% faster). However, there is one square that was brutal, and it's indeed in the NW corner - the ADUBA/AUDEN crossing. Not being familiar with either of those proper nouns, that consonant could have been so many things (and I guessed wrong).

mmorgan 8:01 AM  

I’m never a fan of circles in my puzzle, but as a long-time yoga practitioner, I liked this a lot. And, okay, while CAT and COBRA may have been a bit of a stretch (oof!), they clearly evoked the poses and worked for me. And sure, there was some (for me) obscure short fill, but it was all easily gettable from crosses. Namaste.

SouthsideJohnny 8:06 AM  

Good insight from OFL today as to how the ambitiousness of the theme can impose constraints that really hamper the quality of the remainder of the grid. I guess that may contribute to situations like the NW with AUDEN, ADUBA and REN all stuffed into one small section. Similarly, add in stuff like ABSIT, KONDO, CMERE WOWIE, NAIAD and you have drifted so far from reality that you are practically in an alternate universe. I guess it is fine if you are into that kind of stuff; for me it becomes a snooze fest when you are just using cross after cross to parse together segments of answer after answer that are only words in the loosest definition of the term. The collateral damage caused by the requirement to include a theme 5 days a week is taking a toll on the quality of the puzzles, IMHO.

pabloinnh 8:13 AM  

I got enough of the top filled in to see that DOWNWARDOG was there and shaped liked the DOWNWARDDOG pose, and that is the end of everything I know about yoga. The rest of it played out as a themeless sprinkled with unfamiliar females, viz., ADUBA, ALANA, and BLAIR.

Didn't know the poem but a five letter poet ending in N said AUDEN, especially with the U from CUTIE.

Took forever to parse AWORD as two words. Not an expression I use or hear very frequently, as in never.

And to continue our earlier theme of words mispronounced since we've only seen them in writing, it took me forever to learn that CROAT is a two-syllable word. Hmm, I thought. Doesn't rhyme with goat. Interesting.

OK Wednesday, AGM, if not really my thing. Alternating Great Moments and WOES for me, but crunchy enough for enjoyment. Thanks for the fun.

bocamp 8:14 AM  

Thx Anne, for this crunchy Wednes. puz; well done! :)

Med+.

Had trouble getting a foothold; it was hit and miss all the way.

Not knowing much about YOGA POSES, along with circles rather than gray cells, made it tougher than it should have been. This was definitely a case of the theme actually being useful in the solve. I finally saw DOWNWARD DOG (which is one YOGA POSE I recall from past xwords). This led to getting YOGA, which broke open the tough SW corner.

Even tho the themers were hard for me to pick out, thot they perfectly described the intended shapes.

Enjoyed the challenge, as always.

Very much liked this one! :)

@okanaganer (1:48 PM yd)

I missed that one last year, put it on my List, and missed it again dbyd. Also missed two others from the List and one no-brainer: here. :(

πŸ‘ for your 0 yd
___

yd 0*

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Fellow Earthling 8:19 AM  

I’m a yoga teacher and thought the shapes were accurate, too (like Anne up there). It was nice to see a theme so close to my heart. I didn’t notice any overly sticky spots and sailed through pretty easily. I had EGADS for WOWIE but the downs straightened me out quickly.

PaulyD 8:21 AM  

Only a little slower than a typical Wednesday for me, which I attribute completely to my inability to come up with a four-letter synonym for TASTE for 30 Down.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

LOL. Rex mistakes libel for slander in his twitter feed. Luckily his job and hobbies don't involve words.

bigsteve46 8:27 AM  

17A: Miss America actress Uzo
20A: Kylo___ of Star Wars
6D: ___ Thomas AKA Honey Booboo
33D: ..as best friend on "Gossip Girl"
43D: Colorfully named Victim in the UK version of clue

Now keep in mind for that last one that's its the UK version of clue, not the one you and I might have played a few times in our lives.

Is this what the NYT Crossword has devolved into? I'm glad I've got the rest of the paper to escape to. I also kind of doubt this pathetic pandering to what they think is a younger and hipper crowd is going to work.



sixtyni yogini 8:45 AM  

YOGAPOSES bring AWARENESS
🧘🏼‍♂️🧘🏼‍♂️🧘🏼‍♂️🧘🏼‍♂️🀸🏽‍♀️🀸🏽‍♀️🀸🏽‍♀️🧘🏼‍♂️🧘🏼‍♂️🧘🏼‍♂️🧘🏼‍♂️

❤️πŸ€—πŸ§©πŸ€—❤️

πŸ˜‚Yoga maniacs (like YT - haha) will say the puzz would be better (impossible?) if the poses named were in Sanskrit. πŸ˜‚

What a treat today, and very fast for me (which would be very slow for πŸ¦–)

Thanks. Loved it.
OOOOπŸ’‹OOOO


Another Anon 8:48 AM  

@Anon 7:00. That would be "Say YOU'RE sorry is the phrase." (Not your)

Z 8:56 AM  

to wound the autumnal city.
So howled out for the world to give him a name.
The in-dark answered with the wind.

AUTUMNAL has been a favorite word of mine ever since I first read Dhalgren. Now it’s out again. Maybe I’ll understand it this time. Well, I “understood” it every time I’ve read it, just never the same way twice.

Oh, the puzzle. Yeah, what Rex said. Impressive that the fill is as good as it is but, Boy Howdy, do I have aching eyebrow muscles from the sudden painful arching induced by ABSIT omen. Did you know that on Mauna LOA they DM while on Mauna Kea they only IM? It’s true. The eyebrows had already arched at the Honey Boo Boo clue. I didn’t know about any of the sex offender stuff in that Wiki clip Rex posted, but the ads for that show always looked exploitative to me. The clue sent me back to my teaching days where a student missed school and upon her return was so very proud to have been gone to be on Jerry Springer. The episode was about women who had slept with their daughter’s boyfriends. She was so proud of herself. My question was “How did Springer’s staff find you?” Anywhoo… The Honey Boo Boo ads always elicited the same creepy feeling and so warned me off the show.

Creepy reality TV vibes aside, there are quite a few good words today. OBDURATE, ENTRYWAY, SET A DATE, PAUPER, so I still give this a πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½ despite having no idea who ADUBA Uzo (or is it Uzo ADUBA?) is.

@Gill I Late - That was my fault. I mentioned that a certain novel was liked by that certain person.

Nancy 9:05 AM  

No, no, no. Not SASSY. NASTY! Very NASTY in my book (1A clue).

But I didn't write it in because there are no "freak outs" beginning with "N".

So now, where was the help I needed in the NW -- what with the unknown ADUBA, REN and even AUDEN, as clued. (Though that last one's on me). Sort of thought it might be HOMER writing about Achilles, though I didn't write that one in either.

And what on earth does "LET'S TALK A WORD" mean? Is that even English? I ws thinking there might be a LET'S TALK AWARD -- possibly last won by Joan Rivers.

So, did the *artfully* arranged YOGA POSES give me any much-needed toeholds? Surely you jest. First of all, I don't really know my YOGA POSES and even if I did, they seemed all but invisible to spot in the tiny little circles. I write big letters in dark ink, for one thing. My vision isn't what it used to be for another, and glasses can only do so much. And then (as I've so often mentioned) I'm spatially challenged -- unlikely to notice hidden patterns and that sort of thing. So the grid art was no help at all and I could have used some. Not only in the NW but in the SE with the unknown DR BLACK and KONDO.

I bet I found this a much tougher puzzle than you did. I like a real challenge on a Wednesday so that aspect of it I enjoyed. But the grid art, as always, did absolutely nothing for me.

Trey 9:12 AM  

Say “you’re sorry” - sorry, had to point that out

JD 9:13 AM  

One of the few grid art puzzles where the art actually depicts the thing. It's as close as this medium can get. It couldn't be any better.

Handmade things from Etsy, Pie with some Stash tea, Auden Alice Twain, Awareness, Tao. Gin. What's not to love?

Obdurate and Autumnal roll off the tongue.

Beautiful puzzle. Loved it.

Nancy 9:15 AM  

Even though the YOGA POSES did nothing much for me, my good friend -- YOGA instructor and practitioner @Lewis -- is happy today and so I am quite overcome with happiness for him.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

I liked MAMBA crossing COBRA.

SIB SIS BRO

@Nancy. "A WORD"~"Let's talk..."

thfenn 9:32 AM  

One disaster after another for me. Starting with mixing up hugs and kisses. Continuing with no PPP resonance. Ending with no yoga awareness. Awful performance, mine.

TJS 9:36 AM  

Oh, Rexie, I don't think it was a good move to compare your composition to todays puzzle. Just listing the three letter fill in your effort is an indictment. My fave was "MSS" and "AAA" combining to arrive at "MAN", but there are loads of others. Would have loved to see how "ONEHOP"and "IHAD" was clued.

This puzzle, on the other hand had an excellent flow, Never got the feeling of any forced desperation in the fill. One of our better Wednesdays of late, imo.

And with "cutie" pie and "yeahyou" as gimmes, "Auden" and "Stunt" kinda jump out at ya, so how hard could that first corner be?

Trey 9:38 AM  

@Nancy 9:05 - "Let's talk" is the same as "A word..." with the latter often said in the tone of a question, as in "Can I have a word with you?"

JD 9:41 AM  

@Nancy, We might look at someone and say, "A word, please." That means, "Let's talk." It seems to come mostly from those with authority in the situation.

CDilly52 9:52 AM  

This one makes up for slogging through some less artistuc offerungs of late, and is one of the most elegant feats of construction I’ve seen in the NYT in a long time. Congratulations Ms. Martin for providing a challenging and thoroughly enjoyable Wednesday solve!

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

anyone care to explain where SHOOT comes from on today's mini?

TJS 9:57 AM  

Okay, all you Anons that are into correcting our grammatical errors, I guess I will try to beat you to the punch. In my post, I should have written "todays' " and "were clued", not "was". Sorry, Miss Crabapple.

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

nm it's rock paper scissors

Newboy 10:06 AM  

Well, I was truly puzzled today. Knew REN from previous grids and mayhaps will meet him on my iPad/Netflix at some future moment of boredom beyond belief. Guessed AUDEN since I was nine years old when that book was published and probably missed it. Even with those filled in it was time to hand the iPad to puzzle mistress master beside me and refill coffees! egad! Certainly not WOWIE.

jae 10:20 AM  

Tough. The NW was the last to fall for me too. I really liked ADUBA as Crazy Eyes in OITNB and someday I hope to remember her full name.

ABSIT was a WOE and OBDURATE seems more of a late week word.

Cute and reasonably smooth, liked it.

Nancy 10:23 AM  

Thanks to all who explained A WORD to me, the clearest explanation of all being @JD's at 9:41. "A word, please" really helped nail it for me.

marykathleen 10:25 AM  

I disagree with Rex on this one. I've done yoga for years and the poses made by the circles are spot on (and superior to Rex's example). It was a joy to discover! Lewis, I agree with you... for a yoga lover this was a hoot.
Namaste

LMGJ 10:27 AM  

I never seem to be on the same wavelength with Rex in terms of how difficult a puzzle is. This was oddly in my wheelhouse today, a full 2.5 minutes under my average Wednesday time. Although I'm slightly ashamed to admit that I know AUDEN not from his work, but because when I was a teenager, I read a YA novel where the main character was named after the poet...

PhysGraf 10:55 AM  

I also had "Get a Mate" and like that answer better.

EdFromHackensack 11:06 AM  

Honey Boo Boo??? wtf. the NYT puzzle has really gone downhill. I have grown to accept rapper references, but Honey Boo Boo? really, Will should be ashamed. Hated this puzzle. Had to google AUDEN which I hate to do, but I just wanted to get this out of the way. worst puzzle of the year.

mathgent 11:07 AM  

The anagram of DIANA at 53D reminded me of the six-part documentary on the princess which ended Sunday on CNN. Very well done. It traced her life in thousands of video clips. New to me were details about her love affairs after marrying Charles. It also explained well how coldly she was treated by the Royal Family. A much different picture from what was shown in The Crown. My only knock is that they devoted too much time to talking heads, particularly one obnoxious journalist in a suit.

Cute theme. Fun finding the poses. Pretty dull otherwise.

Anoa Bob 11:09 AM  

Yesterday we got ASHRAMS and today we get YOGA POSES. Just a coincident or...? I've noticed other puzzle-to-puzzle connections recently and tend to believe they were scheduled with those connections in mind.

eddy 11:10 AM  

I find it a little sad that commenters find Uzo Aduba so obscure. She was absolutely terrific as the therapist in HBO's In Treatment, Season 2. I understand she was great in Orange is the New Black, as well, although I missed her in that one.

I've been running above my average time for at least two weeks now, just about every day. Possible explanation: I am experiencing early onset senility; I have brain fog from Covid, which I don't think I've had; or I am more patiently plodding through the puzzle, less likely to resort to Google. Hate doing that, but a person can't know everything.

Bill MacGillivray 11:17 AM  

The Shield of Achilles is well worth reading (again). The pairing of the design of the shield with the horror of actual war is gripping and the final: [Achilles] "who would not live long" still packs a shot every time I read it.

Whatsername 11:19 AM  

Like my dear friend @GILL, I wouldn’t know a YOGA POSE if it bit me on the EDGE of my ABSIT although I do vaguely recall DOWNWARD DOG from an episode of Sex And The City where Samantha (naturally) was INTO it. While I can appreciate the complexity of the construction here, it didn’t make this any less of a slog. Not to be OBDURATE but that NW corner? Good grief! I might could do three proper names in a tight little spot like that if even one of them was commonly known.

Had no idea yams come from Nigeria. Always thought they were pretty much the same as sweet potatoes but come to think of it, I’ve never heard of a YAM PIE either.

Lewis 11:21 AM  

I heard long ago that GODOT was a yoga pose in development, an awesome pose, it was said, but it still has yet to arrive…

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

for whatever reasons the cobra/mamba crossing and the 't' of croa't' potentially sinking the 'boat' pose seemed inelegant.

EdFromHackensack 11:24 AM  

anyone have sAwyER before PAUPER?

CT2Napa 11:37 AM  

It seems to me that there have been many puzzles constructed by women this year, including today's. But OFL, who in previous years gave us an almost daily count to show the very low percentage, has not been commenting on this at all.

Ethan Taliesin 11:44 AM  

I'm beyond impressed that the positioning of the letters in the yoga poses spelled out reproduce the actual yoga pose shapes. Quite an incredible feat of crossword construction. DOWNWARDDOG especially. Wow.

Joseph Aduba Michael 11:50 AM  

Glad to see that this was rated “Challenging” because that’s how it felt to me with all of those names and Britishisms. So now I’m supposed to have played “Clue” in England? My bloody ARSE, governor.

Remembered Mr. Nine-Nine-Nine Cain as “Herbert” at first and couldn’t understand why that wouldn’t fit into those six boxes. Crossing the answer with a body shop brand, a sit com character, and a Mark Twain character didn’t help.

However, as my AWARENESS of the theme dawned, everything relaxed into place and I ended up enjoying the puzzle for the stretches it put me through. Also liked the crossing of SET A DATE with Mr. GODOT for whom we are all still waiting.

Masked and Anonymous 11:56 AM  

M&A don't know squat about yoga poses, so learned a lot, today. Come to find that I nearly always employ a tried-and-true yoga pose variation:

*
****

I call it the CHAIR W. OTTOMAN pose.

Lotsa other stuff M&A didn't know much about: ADUBA/AUDEN [guessed the crossin D ok, tho]. ABSIT. KONDO. MAACO. ALANA. Took many precious nanoseconds, to get to know em all.
Also didn't know DRBLACK, but that one was a pretty easy get, due to a powerfully friendly clue.

staff weeject pick: OOO. A primo, well-rounded weeject. Cutie-pie weeject stacks in the NE & SW, btw.

fave sparkler: AWARENESS. Clued up like it might have somethin to do with yoga, maybe? [As per @RP's ?-mark themer mention.] I know that the CHAIR W. OTTOMAN pose has made M&A very aware of classic schlock movies, f'rinstance.
AUTUMNAL is awful nice, too boot.

CMERE … har

Thanx for the twists and turns, Ms. Martin darlin. An almost themeless WedPuz, with circled diagonal yoga bonuses -- U musta suffered, constructin this puppy. But it turned out real good.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


**gruntz**

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

been doing yoga for years, and never did a CHAIR or BOAT pose. (consults Sivananda book: it's on Amazon, but the link is yuge) Nope, neither. so there.

some sources offer CHAIR yoga for the particularly immobile. haven't (had to) done that either.

tea73 12:03 PM  

I've got the British version of Clue in my basement and I don't remember DR BLACK.

Many thanks to my high school English teachers who were Anglophiles. We read a ton of British poetry including Auden. Here's the poem. Yes, the last line packs a punch. We read it while the Vietnam War was in full force.

The Shield of Achilles
W. H. Auden - 1907-1973

She looked over his shoulder
For vines and olive trees,
Marble well-governed cities
And ships upon untamed seas,
But there on the shining metal
His hands had put instead
An artificial wilderness
And a sky like lead.

A plain without a feature, bare and brown,
No blade of grass, no sign of neighborhood,
Nothing to eat and nowhere to sit down,
Yet, congregated on its blankness, stood
An unintelligible multitude,
A million eyes, a million boots in line,
Without expression, waiting for a sign.

Out of the air a voice without a face
Proved by statistics that some cause was just
In tones as dry and level as the place:
No one was cheered and nothing was discussed;
Column by column in a cloud of dust
They marched away enduring a belief
Whose logic brought them, somewhere else, to grief.

She looked over his shoulder
For ritual pieties,
White flower-garlanded heifers,
Libation and sacrifice,
But there on the shining metal
Where the altar should have been,
She saw by his flickering forge-light
Quite another scene.

Barbed wire enclosed an arbitrary spot
Where bored officials lounged (one cracked a joke)
And sentries sweated for the day was hot:
A crowd of ordinary decent folk
Watched from without and neither moved nor spoke
As three pale figures were led forth and bound
To three posts driven upright in the ground.

The mass and majesty of this world, all
That carries weight and always weighs the same
Lay in the hands of others; they were small
And could not hope for help and no help came:
What their foes like to do was done, their shame
Was all the worst could wish; they lost their pride
And died as men before their bodies died.

She looked over his shoulder
For athletes at their games,
Men and women in a dance
Moving their sweet limbs
Quick, quick, to music,
But there on the shining shield
His hands had set no dancing-floor
But a weed-choked field.

A ragged urchin, aimless and alone,
Loitered about that vacancy; a bird
Flew up to safety from his well-aimed stone:
That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
Were axioms to him, who'd never heard
Of any world where promises were kept,
Or one could weep because another wept.

The thin-lipped armorer,
Hephaestos, hobbled away,
Thetis of the shining breasts
Cried out in dismay
At what the god had wrought
To please her son, the strong
Iron-hearted man-slaying Achilles
Who would not live long.


I'm not much into yoga... (uh oh hearing the pina colada earworm!), but I recognized all the poses except BOAT and a few actually helped with the solve. I like it when the theme is helpful, so that was a plus.

Oddly, I did this quite a bit faster than my average Wednesday, despite not knowing lots of stuff, at least of the first pass or two.

Blue Stater 12:04 PM  

And, of course, STET does not mean "[do not delete]." It means "let it stand" -- that is, let the original text remain and disregard the [erroneous, one assumes] editing. An elementary mistake that any copyeditor would have caught, but WS apparently won't let the Times copydesk at the puzzles. Then there's the Latin phrase "Absit omen." I'm not a classicist by trade, but my Latin, particularly for phrases like this, is pretty good. Never, never ever, heard of it. This one just stank to high heaven.

Lewis 12:05 PM  

@anon 12:00 -- Neither CHAIR nor BOAT are in the 12 poses of Sivananda, but you'll find them widespread elsewhere.

Carola 12:13 PM  

Medium for me: a very slow start followed by a quicker pace once I'd seen the CAT and the peak of the DOWNWARD DOG. Recognizing the POSES meant making quick work of CHAIR and COBRA, but I had to wait for every cross in order to get the BOAT. I liked the cross of SASSY x YEAH, YOU and pondered ABSIT next to YOGA POSES: a CHAIR pose combined with core strengthening?

Do-overs: go Ape before SCARE, ADUBo, OBDURAnt, SEDumS. No idea: BLAIR, MAACO, DR BLACK, RODAN, ABSIT.

jb129 12:16 PM  

Don't know yoga poses. So I blew off the circles & enjoyed this challenging (for a Wednesday) puzzle.

Wanderlust 12:19 PM  

HANDMADE ENTRYWAY SEDGES are all the rage in interior design these days. You really should get some. And is that HERMAN, COBBLING AUTUMNAL YOGA POSES over there?

This one was actually pretty easy for me and I'm not even into yoga. No real difficulty in the NW either. Very impressed with the architecture here, especially DOWNWARD DOG. Rex, trying to pass his grid off as superior, says DOWN DOG is used as much as DOWNWARD DOG but I'm not sure I believe him. Can anyone who does yoga confirm or deny?

Looking at poses I do not do, CHAIR and BOAT look painful. I think I could do the others.

My disappointment with the puzzle was that there wasn't a single clever clue involving wordplay or misdirection. Those are a highlight for me. What? You disagree? Well then, IT'S ON. YEAH, YOU.

johnk 12:22 PM  

Yesterday, I posted that NYT crosswords are my daily mind YOGA. Today was a stretch, I supPOSE. I found it medium to easy, even though I had no AWARENESS of ADUBA, Kylo REN, ARI Grande, ABSIT, Marie KONDO, ALANA Thompson, BLAIR, or DR BLACK.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

What a slog. Too much pop culture esoterica for this 74-year-old.

mathgent 12:38 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

pabloinnh (8:13)
tea73 (12:03)

Joe Dipinto 1:07 PM  

Why do B-R-I-D-G-E and C-O-R-P-S-E have their letters separated? It's totally unnecessary and bizarre. Last I heard, your body parts remain connected to each other when you do yoga poses.

And then there's the sorry fill of SAY SORRY (wtf?), LOLAS, LENTS, TEN AM, and, my God, SHOOTER! SHOOTER, can you believe it? I'm so sick of these constant promos for the NRA. ONE HOP, wtf is that? Like Hop Sing, from "Bonanza", a quintessential Asian stereotype? HOP should be banned from all word lists.

Then there's the scrabble-fucking with the X AND Z, symmetrically placed no less —woo-hoo, I guess we're supposed to be impressed. The less said about STTNG, the better. You can tell this puzzle was constructed by a man —you know how? Because MAN is in the grid. No wonder Buzzfeed folded its puzzle rather than publish this DUD.

Just bein' real with ya, bro. GOT TO be real.

Teedmn 1:08 PM  

Like @Nancy, I was not seeing the clue for 1A as SASSY. And like Rex, I only had REN in the NW for quite a while. It didn't help that for 32A, I tried OBSTINATE and didn't notice the N was missing. And for hugs, I had OOs, not the full tic-tac-toe of OOO, so A_siD was not saying, "Let's talk" to me. Looking at the circles and seeing DOWNWARD DOG led to ENTRYWAY and was my entry to cleaning that all up and filling in the NW.

I figured that someone was trying to esTimATE the costs of the wedding, 42A (and worked with what I thought would start with mR. at 43D.) ARSE set me straight there.

Knowing nothing about yoga meant that I assumed the circles approximated the pose shapes (and is confirmed by @Lewis) so I found this puzzle amusing and a bit of a Wednesday challenge. Thanks, Anne Grae Martin!

Old Robert 1:12 PM  

Any puzzle that includes RODAN is working for me.

JC66 1:17 PM  

@Joe D

Love it!!!

Whatsername 1:30 PM  

@Ed from Hackensack (11:24) HAND up for having SAWYER before PAUPER. Also misread the clue for 12 down as a “member of the farm” and briefly had TOM at 4D (with TESTY at 1A).

GILL I. 1:59 PM  

@Joe Dip....I'll dance the fandango tango with you any time... :-)

okanaganer 2:05 PM  

I'm not a yoga guy but the theme was fine. However I was majorly irked by one horrible section, the 32 33 37 - 48 area. Out of 9 answers, 6 are names! RODAN, BLAIR, UTAH, UCLA, ARI, HERMAN. That is really bad.

Well 2021 is drrraggging to a conclusion; here in BC we were hit by massive rains over the weekend which kinda wiped out a few small towns. Plus road washouts which have closed all the highways to the interior, so now our stores are running out of food. First the heat dome, then horrible wildfires, now this.

[Spelling Bee: yd 0; pretty easy if you're into science.
@bocamp... I was surprised I got that last one on your dbyd list. Now I have to burn that food into my memory.]

Joe Welling 2:06 PM  

I'm with Joe Dipinto. Was Rex trying for "dismembered CORPSE"?

SharonAK 2:27 PM  

Was surprised at how many regulars did not know Sen. I knew it immediately entirely from how frequently it has appeared in crosswords. Other wise agree that there was unusually obscure PPP and personally found the Honey Boo Boo source unpleasant.
LOL "get a mate" Basic step , indeed.

Austin's mom 2:45 PM  

Me too! Especially when clued as "flesh out" some wedding plans, our answer seems to fit the bill exactly

LenFuego 4:03 PM  

Nothing brings out Rex’s natural obdurate Richardness like when his jealousy kicks in. Comparing this grid to his grid is like comparing Charles Atlas to the wimpy guy in those old print ads.

That Richardness forces him to badmouth the smart decision to have the pose squares be contiguous rather than his weird skipping of squares in his grid. It forces him to pick on the fill, which given that this puzzle includes 28 squares of poses (plus YOGAPOSES in one answer, not two, plus AWARENESS if you want to count that crossing two of the pose squares!!!!) vs the 17 squares in Rex’s grid (which is the exact same size), is more than adequate, and even entertaining (e.g., CUTIE and PIE cross referenced, and including all of SIS, BRO and SIB). (Somehow he has the audacity to criticize, rather than applaud, that the puzzle is “thematically very dense”.) It forces him to fail to praise a single one of the novel clues and answers (e.g., YEAH YOU for “Response to “Who, me?”). It forces him to overlook or fail to mention that the grid includes six women, usually a subject of his attention.

The only thing his ego will allow him to acknowledge as good about the puzzle is “I do like the basic idea here”, since he had the same basic idea.

What a little-minded post by a little-minded man. I feel so sorry for him.

Trey 4:24 PM  

Laughing soooo hard right now

Smith 4:40 PM  

@ Pablo 8:13

Wahington (to Hamilton): A word!


Smith 4:46 PM  

@ Anon this am

Rock, paper, scissors

Smith 5:04 PM  

@ Tea73

Thx so much for posting that

Smith 5:13 PM  

Well, I was glad ofl rated this challenging. Definitely medium+ for me. So never heard of this particular REN, plus πŸ‘‹ for 1A clue seeming stronger than SASSY. Lucky I knew ADUBA.

Overall thought the puzzle had an OBDURATE EDGE. Knew the YOGAPOSES but working the rest still felt loooong.

Until tomorrow!

Anonymous 6:30 PM  

Yes, having sawyer before PAUPER was my single biggest problem. Finally decided it couldn't be YOGAy____, and racked my brains and finally came up with PAUPER.



Villager

Unknown 7:01 PM  

@JoeD

Spot on!!!

pabloinnh 7:12 PM  

@Smith-4:40

Sorry I don't recognize the quote. "Hamilton"? (Still need to see that one.)

To me this sounds like Washington has recognized a charades category, and should be looking for more information like noun? verb? adjective? how many syllables? and so on.

Some day I'll catch up.

egsforbreakfast 7:37 PM  

I’m late to comment after a 12 hour drive back from a wonderful Celebration for a deceased buddy. While reading through all of the day’s posts, I was composing an incredible, insightful critique of Rex’s yoga puzzle, but found that @Joe DiPinto had already written it. Right on, bro.

I should add that I liked Anne Grae Martin’s puzzle today quite a bit.

JayPeeEss 8:05 PM  

AUDEN/ADUBA is a Nattick. Not happy about that corner either.

Nancy 10:09 PM  

Well, when you don't read Rex, occasionally you miss seeing him get skewered by some of your fellow Rexites. It was only when the umpteenth post went up praising @Joe D's comment and a post went up praising @LenGuego's (and I hadn't known what either of them were talking about other that it was some sort of put-down of Rex that I didn't understand) that I then went back to read Rex...and belatedly saw his similarly themed puzzle that never got published. (I can see why.)

Joe's comment was very, very funny and Len's was very, very acerbic and both landed a lot of punches that seem entirely fair. Well done, you two.

Tim Carey 10:40 AM  


I'm coming to the conclusion that the difference between Saturdays and Tuesdays is that Saturday cluing is just bad. You can pretend that it is "challenging", but these are just bad clues.

kitshef 9:57 PM  

Weird solving experience. Found it very easy overall, despite a ridiculous number of WoEs for a Wednesday (ADUBA, AB SIT, BLAIR, Negroni, ALANA, DR BLACK). The theme helped a lot, though.

Most of the pose depictions are pretty good, but not CAT. CAT would be more like:
O
O O
OO O

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