Nonsubmerging WW II menace / WED 11-24-21 / 1990s Indian prime minister / Blacksmith's waste / Original Veronica Mars airer / Self-deprecate then pause to get a reaction squeezed / Id checkers / Boeuf alternative / Vice president between Hubert and Gerald

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Constructor: Brandon Koppy

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium


THEME: PICO DE GALLO (59A: Topping made with this puzzle's chopped and squeezed ingredients) — ONION, PEPPER, and TOMATO appear "chopped" inside the first three themers, and LIME appears "Squeezed" (i.e. rebused) inside a square in the fourth themer:

Theme answers:
  • OMNIPOTENCE (17A: Absolute power [chopped])
  • PRIVATE PROPERTY (23A: Phrase on many No Trespassing signs [chopped])
  • TRASH COMPACTOR (37A: Waste minimizers [chopped])
  • FISH FOR COMP[LIME]NTS (49A: Self-deprecate, then pause to get a reaction [squeezed])
Word of the Day: ELIOT Rosewater (25D: Rosewater of Kurt Vonnegut's "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater") —
Eliot Rosewater
 is a recurring character in the novels of American author Kurt Vonnegut. He appears throughout various novels as an alcoholic, and a philanthropist who claims to be a volunteer fireman. He runs the Rosewater Foundation, an organization created to keep the family's money in the family. He is among the few fans of the novels of Kilgore Trout (another of Vonnegut's creations). // God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or, Pearls Before Swine, the first of Vonnegut's novels to feature the character of Eliot Rosewater, is also the one in which he is the most prominent. // The 1965 novel follows much of his life as the liberal son of a rich, conservative Senator from Rosewater County, Indiana who founded the Rosewater Foundation.Eliot Rosewater is convinced that he should spend the family riches to help the poor and uses the Foundation to this end, an idea looked down upon by his father. Norman Mushari, an opportunistic former associate of the Rosewater family lawyer, attempts to have Eliot declared insane so that the family wealth can be inherited by his new client, a distant relative to the east. This and other crises lead to a year-long mental blackout, after which Rosewater's favorite writer, Kilgore Trout, tries to explain to the Senator that Eliot's actions were sane and compassionate. // The New York Times called it "[Vonnegut] at his wildest best" and Conrad Aiken said that it's "a brilliantly funny satire on almost everything". (wikipedia)
• • •

Conceptually this is OK. It's got one real high point—that rebus square that sneaks up on you in the fourth themer. "Sneaks" may not be the right word, though, since the rebusness of that square is telegraphed pretty clearly (the square is marked with a circle *and* the clue tells you to "squeeze"). FISH FOR COMPLIMENTS is also just a lovely stand-alone answer, the best one in the puzzle, so any charm or specialness the puzzle has really rides on this answer alone. It's nice. And it's absolutely necessary, because so much of the rest of the solve was not so nice at all. Even the beautiful LIME square is immediately and tragically undermined by appearing (in the cross) inside the highly unpalatable S(LIME)BALL. Worse, since I solved that rebus square before I'd made my way all the way to the revealer and knew what was going on, I had a couple of other guesses for [Real dirtbag], both of which fit the S_BALL pattern, and one of which ... well, LEAZE was obviously not going to work, but for a few seconds there I was genuinely curious to see what the hell the puzzle was going to do with a CUM rebus. I now see that CUZZ (like LEAZE) would also fit but not really work there. So anyway, there was C, U, M in my salsa, briefly, so ... yeah, that's not ideal. But much much Much worse was the truly abysmal fill in this puzzle, which started early and Just Kept Going. The theme is dense-ish, but not enough to excuse the wince parade that starts with AINTI and then tromps across the length of the grid.  I kept stopping to take new screenshots of the wince moments, but there were too many. I took one at PORC and then *immediately* ran into another photo op at DERM.


I don't know what aspect of the grid forced so many awful fill choices. The theme, as I say, wasn't too dense. Maybe insisting that the puzzle have such a low word count (74 instead of 76 or 78) was the problem. It's nice to have *two* long Downs in the NE and SW, but if the cost is some kind of cascading fill disaster that spreads across the grid, then it's not worth it. All I know is that if the SCUM/SLIMEBALL fiasco didn't sour me on the puzzle at the end, the EBOAT (!?!?!!) surely did. I had "E" and I thought "well it can't be EBOAT, so ... wait ... wait a min- ... oh, no." The EBOAT (again, !?!?!!?) may be "nonsubmerging," but it definitely sank this puzzle to the bottom of the deep blue sea. The revealer at that point came almost as an afterthought: a nice idea while it lasted but SLIMEBALL EBOAT Game Over, Man.


Five things:
  • 15A: Bad record to set (NEW LOW) — I could've used this to describe the fill quality today, but it wouldn't have been entirely true, and anyway, I actually like NEW LOW as an answer.

[NEW LOW]
  • 27A: Including an unlisted number? (ET AL) — yes, this is a good "?" clue. I feel the need to praise them when I see them, as they so often go wrong.
  • 8D: Opposite of radial (ULNAR) — aside from being less-than-lovely fill, I don't quite get "opposite." Is it because the ulna is "opposite" the radius ... in your arm. "Alongside" seems more accurate. There are two bones in your forearm. One is the radius. So the ulna is the "opposite" one? When I search [ulna radius opposite] google tells me the ulna is "opposite" ... to the thumb. This clue wasn't hard. I just don't know about "opposite."
  • 11D: Id checkers (SUPEREGOS) — this one absolutely fooled me. Definitely read that as [ID (as in identification) checkers]. Plus it was hardish to parse with just those middle letters in place. One of the few areas of the puzzle that added some difficulty to the solve.
  • 29A: Comic cry of dismay ("ACK!") — It's from "Cathy" and only "Cathy," just say "Cathy." I get that you're kinda sorta trying to echo 56A: Cartoon cry of dismay but no one else in "comics" says "ACK!" really so just be honest. (I have this weird feeling I have yelled about precisely this issue before. ACK!)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

103 comments:

snabby 6:28 AM  

Bill the Cat from "Bloom County" said "Ack!" quite a bit.

Anonymous 6:28 AM  

Cathy may be the best known "Ack" but it's not exclusively hers.

Bill the Cat, or Bill D. Cat, is a fictional cat appearing in the works of cartoonist Berkeley Breathed, beginning with the comic strip Bloom County in the 1980s and continuing in Outland and Opus in the following decades. ....... the cat's most frequent spoken sentiments are "Ack!" and "Thppt!" - the former a result of his regularly choking on hairballs, the latter an approximation of "blowing a raspberry".

bocamp 6:33 AM  

Thx Brandon, for a very crunchy Wednes. puz! (hi Roo; it is Wednes. this time, right? :)

Tough+.

Floundered from the get-go. Way off Brandon's wavelength on this one.

Was looking for rebuses, and found one at FISH FOR COMP(LIME)NTS. Didn't know the 'topping', so was looking for more rebuses above.

Finally got the idea, and all ended well.

Always enjoy a challenge. I made this one much harder than it should have been, but very much enjoyed the battle, nevertheless. :)

Liked it a lot.

Rocky Marciano was my all-time fave boxer. Used to listen to all his fights on the radio in the early '50s. Didn't know his given name was ROCCO.

@jae / @ Z

Found Croce's 662 med++. (equiv to a very tough NYT Sat.). Having spent a few weeks in India, came to love, not only the people, but also the cuisine, including 54A. Fave clue/answer: 13A, 'much more than a passing fad'. I think I know where you had the prob in the SE, jae. I struggled there, but got a last min. stroke of inspiration. See you next Mon. :)

@okanaganer ๐Ÿ‘ for four in a row!

@TTrimble, you must be nearing 10 in a row, right?
___

yd 0*

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Karl Grouch 6:35 AM  

I wanted to praise the puzzle but then I read Rex..

I have to admit that he's right, in his own exaggerated and dogmatic way.

I still feel though, that a big thumbs-up is in order because of the novelty and cleverness of the theme.

Well done, Mr Brandon Choppy!

Conrad 6:36 AM  


I didn't get off to a great start since I associate SLAG (1A) with steel mills, not blacksmiths and I didn't know SHOOP (1D) or LAMAR (2D). Other hangups were eeK before ACK at 29D and the Lululemon purchase at 12D (I thought they sold furniture and initially guessed Sofa{something}. In retrospect, @Rex is right that the LIME rebus square is telegraphed pretty clearly, but that's in retrospect. While solving it sure sneaked up on me! One for you, Brandon!

Lewis 6:57 AM  

Ah, this one sparkled with wit.

Wit in the theme – “chopping” up the theme answers with the circled letters, squeezing that lime, to make the recipe more visceral. And wit in the cluing, in those glorious clues like [Id checkers], [Included in an unlisted number], and the magnificent [More than right … or seldom correct?].

Plus, there was – appropriately, given the theme – some lovely bite in the solving to overcome. Give me a fun theme, wit, and some thorny bits, and I will be filled with thanksgiving and anticipate new arrivals with your name on top. This was a terrific experience for me, Brandon – thank you!

Adam12 6:58 AM  

Foreign spelling, low word count, obscure names, ridiculous fill (eboat (?)), somewhat clever theme and a random rebus. All on a Wednesday. I don’t disagree with any of Rex’s points but I don’t get how this Thursday appropriate puzzle rates “easy medium”. I actually enjoyed the challenge but Rex’s appraisal makes me feel less smart than I thought I was.

Harry 7:11 AM  

There are times where I'm thankful we have @Lewis as a counter to Rex. This is one of them. This was a unique and delightful romp. Don't get me wrong; I'm appreciative of Rex's finer sensibilities when it comes to construction. But he can be such a killjoy at times ...

SouthsideJohnny 7:20 AM  

I appreciate the cleverness of the theme. This one had a few extremely tough areas - could only take a guess at ULNER (and didn’t even know how to spell it) which is crossed with the trivial Indian politician RAO (not the same guy that makes the great meatballs). Some of the other trivia is kind of out there as well - I have definitely heard of Rocky Marciano, had no idea if his real name was Robert, Floyd, . . . ROCCO - and cabinet secretaries and other government “czars” are always potential snooze material, this one is no exception. Seeing ACK in the grid is a bit of a WoE as well - so as usual, I can hold my own on the crossword stuff, but struggle with the PPP, even when it is relatively benign.

kitshef 7:21 AM  

By one measure, at least, the hardest puzzle on any day of the week in over a decade.

Normally a DNF for me means 1-3 squares incorrect or blank, but today, the entire top central defeated me. Had OMNIPOTENCE crossing ONO, with SO COOL and EWE penciled in, and gave up without getting anything else.

Also, apparently I have no idea what PICO DE GALLO is, as I always assumed it would have chicken in it.

Johnny Mic 7:24 AM  

Am I weird for never hearing of SAL soda? My mother-in-law convinced me it was PAL, which does seem to be an old timey soda. Apparently SAL soda is old timey baking soda? Other than that I enjoyed this, I don't dispute Rex's gripes, they just didn't ruin my fun.

Anonymous 7:36 AM  

Did this on the app in dark mode and couldn't see the circles. Had no idea what the theme was.

Roberto 7:41 AM  

How is it acceptable to have lie and lies as answers

Tom T 7:43 AM  

Hidden Diagonal Word clue for today:

Hides (5 letters)

This one gave me fits! Couldn't grasp the "chopped" parts of the theme. Wanted more rebuses. Finally got that when PICODEGALLO fell, but still totally lost in the north central chunk of the grid. All I had was SO COOL and the OMNIPOTENCE themer.

I suppose I was being OBTUSE! But that was finally the breakthrough and then it all fell into place.

Crunchy challenge! Liked it.

Answer to the HDW clue:

PELTS (begins with the P in TRASH COMPACTORS and moves NW)

Anonymous 7:46 AM  

This ran to "Easy" for me. Unlike most days I could write in proper nouns without a hitch. 22A, 2D 3D, 11D, 26D, etc. all in my wheelhouse. Still don't know what a 57A is, however.

Karl Grouch 7:52 AM  

@Harry 7:11

https://youtu.be/WTqVanXWylM

Son Volt 7:54 AM  

Had fun with this. Theme was a little flat but liked the LIME trickery. Bug’s AINT I a stinker is a fantastic way to start in the NW - then it flows to OBTUSE over NEW LOW x SO COOL - all great fill.

No idea on Lululemon but crosses were fair - in fact I agree with Rex on the overall ease of filling this one in - most clues like 25d were too descriptive. Intending to ingest more than my usual SODIUM tomorrow.

Enjoyable Wednesday solve.

amyyanni 7:56 AM  

Relished this longer than usual solve on T'giving Eve. Got the theme but the north center stack was very resistant. Share Rex's skepticism over the clue for ULNAR. OTOH, clues for OBTUSE & NEW LOW are delightful.
Another chilly morning, cats both snoogly on the bed. Poor girls adapting to non-Florida weather. I am reveling in NOT DRIVING anywhere today. Spent too many tense hours on the NJ Turnpike in the dusk/dark with some sort of precip in the air & my windshield & the road.
Best wishes to all, and Godspeed to all the travelers!

Trey 8:00 AM  

Mixed puzzle for me. The highs were very high and the lows were very low. Liked the theme and the single rebus (yes, it was telegraphed though, making it much easier). Some clues were fantastic, as noted by others. ET AL and SUPER EGOS stood out for me as very, very clever

EBOAT? On a Wednesday no less? Never, ever heard of one of these. The 3-letter fill was highly weighted towards abbreviations. Too many short answers of poor quality - that kind of thing is what kept this puzzle from being great.

As noted by others, ACK! Is famously from Bill the Cat. Not sure how @Rex could not know that

Yd -3. Much better than my recent past

Z 8:10 AM  

First, where’s the cilantro? Second, I did this immediately after I did the weekly Gorski with a much more traditional Thanksgiving food theme, so (no fault of the constructor) this one appearing the day before the big meal felt off. Third, PEPPER? By itself the word evokes ground black PEPPER or maybe PEPPERcorns. My PICO DE GALLO has serranos. I really liked the puzzle, but not the recipe nor would I have run it today.

Why are there no great E-BOAT movies? The USS Silversides serves as a museum in Muskegon, MI, and if u-BOATs are comparable in size than let me tell you every u-BOAT movie you’ve ever seen makes them seem far roomier than they actually are. I guess claustrophobia makes for better movies than acrophobia.

Having said that, I don’t think the fill is quite as awful as it felt to Rex. SHOOP and LAMAR were not a typical NYTX start so felt fresh as PPP goes (I know, the song is nearly 30 but this is only the third time it has appeared in the NYTX, all in the past two years). I like AMOEBA with the full OE, SLAG HAIR feels very Pandemic Era appropriate, SUPER EGO’S SPORTS BRA evokes, well, the next streaming hit, and KALE SALAD CRAZINESS pretty much sums up my reaction every time it appears on a restaurant menu. Overall I think the positives outweigh the negatives. But maybe that’s just because I never considered ScumBALL as an option (I don’t remember now if I had seen the revealer or sussed out the theme, but I do remember having the rebus before having either crossing answer).

bocamp 8:13 AM  

"ROCCO Francis Marchegiano (September 1, 1923 – August 31, 1969; Italian pronunciation: [markeหˆdส’aหno]), better known as Rocky Marciano (/mษ‘หrsiหˆษ‘หnoสŠ/, Italian: [marหˆtสƒaหno]), was an American professional boxer who competed from 1947 to 1955, and held the world heavyweight title from 1952 to 1956. He is the only heavyweight champion to have finished his career undefeated.[2] His six title defenses were against Jersey Joe Walcott (from whom he had taken the title), Roland La Starza, Ezzard Charles (twice), Don Cockell and Archie Moore." (Wikipedia)
___

pg -4

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

mmorgan 8:19 AM  

I loved AINTI (for all its layers, from Bugs Bunny to Sojourner Truth). ETAL and SUPEREGOS were pretty nifty too.

Z 8:24 AM  

BTW - Definition 4 of “opposite” over at Merriam-Webster says, being the other of a pair that are corresponding (see CORRESPONDING sense 1a) or complementary (see COMPLEMENTARY sense 2) in position, function, or nature
It always surprises me a little bit when people who love solving crossword puzzles get locked in on single meanings when the joy of crosswords is playing around with words and meanings.

puzzlehoarder 8:28 AM  

A Saturday tough Wednesday for me. I hacked away at the fill until I realized that the theme was the easy part. ACK? EBOAT? SHOOP? All was clear in the end.

yd -0

pabloinnh 8:29 AM  

I liked the concept and the execution, although somehow i wound up in the SE corner and was trying to fill in some kind of SBALL without having read the "squeezed" part of the across clue. Boy, did that help.

I was also wondering why you would FISHFORCOMMENTS before LIME showed up. Turns out you don't.

Rosewater is one of my favorite Vonneguts. I've read them all more than once and I have been looking for this one at the library for some time and it's never there. It includes his message to newborns, which is a welcome and that 'there's only one rule I know of, gddamit, you've got to be kind.".

Thanks for the fun, BK. Best Kind of a Wednesday, and further thanks for not including cilantro in your ingredients, as I'm one of those people with a food allergy that makes it taste exactly like Ivory soap.

Anonymous 8:47 AM  

65a is incorrect. The drug was mescaline, not LSD. They are not the same, as anyone who experienced both could attest to.

Anonymous 9:02 AM  

@Pablo. Tell us about your Ivory soap tasting. Har!

Unknown 9:22 AM  

@ Harry 7:11
"At times"??
Rex's rants really drain all the pleasure of solving for me.
I pretty much only come here every few weeks or so now, just to see if someone has adjusted his meds.
Why rex does the daily puzzle is a mystery, since he clearly derives no pleasure from it. Unless he just likes to carp. It would be nice if there were an alternative NYTXW blog where the author was actually a nice person. . . . .

@ pabloinnh Is it an "allergy?" I've heard it's a pretty common taste reaction, but I don't think it's an allergy per se.

Liveprof 9:23 AM  

I must be obtuse, I found this to be a tough slag. But I enjoyed the nods to the Sixties: LSD, Hair, Spiro, and Vonnegut.

GILL I. 9:37 AM  

@pablito....You've actually eaten Ivory soap?
I had a hate/love relationship with this puzzle until.....I saw PEPPER all chopped up on a cutting board. I yelled MON DIEU! Will I like this? you ask....Well....let me try and guess what the reveal is and then I'll let you know.....
It's PICO DE GALLO with that little squeeze of (LIME).....!!!! GILLI liked it...she did. Just in case you didn't already know,, it translates to roosters beak. I would never eat a rosters beak so I call it "Salsa Fresca." We have it all the time in our little abode but I put avocado and some of @pablito's Ivory soap in it.
I had a climb up the mountain with this difficult Wed. It started with SHOOP. It continued down the highway with things like BET and LAMAR and UPN and all the other three letter thingies. I kept wondering if this was really today. It was. Another put the puppy down, get up, walk around, go to bed, wake up and try again.
I did. It was different. Then I got sad with words like OBTUSE, ANAL, SUCKER, TOIL, TWERP, SPIRO and NEW LOW.
So.....Happy Thanksgiving.....We're off....

George 9:49 AM  

@Adam12 -- What, exactly, does "Easy/Medium" MEAN, for Rex? Is it supposed to be relative to something, and if so, what? This Wednesday puzzle took me 18 minutes, I was totally stuck a number of times.

@Kitshef -- Totally with you on this, and was stuck exactly where you were. Even worse for me, because for some reason I had written "Omnipotency", lol! So had no idea how to parse "Cote in a coat", but thinking that it ended with Y was not helpful. But yeah, I had to google the Indian Prime Ministers to get out of the North. That RAO / ULNAR cross was really something.

@Rex -- "Comic cry" alludes to a specific comic -- Cathy, with Ack; "Cartoon cry" alludes to a specific cartoon -- The Simpsons, with D'Oh

pmdm 9:55 AM  

I know that to expand the universe of crossword puzzle constructors a touch of kindness is required and the ability to accept an offering you find sub-par. And while today's puzzle does not represent a new low for me, the amount of PPP that fell outside of my wheelhouse turned me off quite a bit. The puzzle concept was great. The revealor, for me, was not (although I loved the rebus square). So a reluctant thumbs down from me. Very reluctant.

RooMonster 9:56 AM  

Hey All !
ACK! That's the sound I made in the North Center. Omaha stake? Huh? Couldn't get either 6er there, and the Downs not helping at all. Wanted either elO or whO for 5D, dang, should've known ONO, BET, again, can't grok that one, TWERP, wanted crEeP, ULNAR, another one I should've known, but the ole brain kept fighting me, even EWE wasn't coming, unsure what a cote is, looked it up, and it said something about it being for birds.

So, DNF. Hard DNF. Did get the rest.

What is PORC? Rex knew it right off. I wanted PORk.

@bocamp
Har! I thought you'd think it was Thursday because of the Rebus. ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿ˜

Hopefully no KALE SALAD on anyone's dinner tomorrow. ๐Ÿ˜

yd 0!

Two F's
RooMonster
DarrinV

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

Amanita muscaria is what he took in Altered States not LSD

jberg 9:59 AM  

I really struggled with this one -- I couldn't think of any of the theme answers, and didn't know what '[chopped] meant. I thought maybe there was some kind of anagram there involving the circled letters, but that didn't really make sense. Finally I got PRIVATE PROPERTY and realized they were just straightforward answers, after which it became a lot easier.

Also, I knew very few of the proper nouns, including 1D and 2D, which made it really hard to get started. I didn't know that song was from HAIR either, but 4-letter musical, OK. (Rent is too recent, and anyway I had the A. Fortunately I didn't think of CATS.) And is/was there really a network called UPN? I guess so, but I needed all the crosses for that. Luckily, I knew Annabelle Lee (all the night tide I lie down by the side of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride, in her sepulchre there by the sea...such a cheerful poem.)

Here's a hint for future solving: if a guy has an Italian surname and is called "Rocky," then ROCCO is a pretty good bet.

To all of those citing Bill the Cat -- sure, he says ACK! but not as a "comic cry of dismay." For that matter, I don't think anyone except Homer Simpson says DOH, but so what?

So at the end, I enjoyed it. And I was motivated to look up E-BOAT, which was pretty interesting.

Ethan Taliesin 9:59 AM  

NOLIE and LIES both? Actually, I don't even understand the clue for LIES..."Golfers concerns"?


I had LEE (like lee of the wind, leeward, etc) for the golf clue because I didn't think LIE would be used twice, never mind it didn't make any sense to me. Of course that made ELIOT ELEOT, but I maybe thought that was some weird made-up variation, and better than using LIE twice.

Golfers concerns? Like Trump lying about where his ball went? Maybe I'm thick this morning and there's something more to get, but I don't get it. I don't get golf, that much is true anyway.

Hartley70 10:01 AM  

EBOAT drove me nuts. Granted I wasn’t alive, but U seemed to be star of stage and screen. Otherwise I enjoyed this puzzle and the cute little LIME rebus made me smile. Mexican food might be a good choice tonight in light of the days of turkey ahead!

Peter P 10:06 AM  

This ran on the easy side for me for a Wednesday and finished in an average Tuesday time. I remember Salt-and-Pepa's SHOOP clearly from freshman year college, and it's still a song a hear every so often. I did have trouble in the north center. Guessing ONO unlocked the area for me after initially trying "ELO"(which was a guess that didn't fit the clue, but when I saw the final O filled in, that's the first three-letter musical answer I could come to. Why my mind went there first, I don't know, as ONO is a crossword staple.) But it fought me a bit, as I had "ohCOOL" before SOCOOL."

@Zรฟ - I agree that PEPPER on its own does evoke peppercorns rather capsicum but do note that the clue also includes "chopped", and there's only one type of pepper you chop.

I was kinda hoping to see a sneaky "ceviche" in the puzzle, since we have our onions, tomatoes, peppers, lime, and a fish from FISHFROMCOMPLIMENTS.

Overall, a pleasant Wednesday. Everyone, enjoy your Thanksgiving! It's my favorite holiday by a mile. Low-key, no presents, lots of food. I have great memories being an expat in Budapest in the late 90s, early 00s, and planning and cooking Thanksgiving dinner for all my friends. Truly the day I looked forward to the most any year. I still remember the first Thanksgiving when me and a friend scoured the vendors at Lehรฉl tรฉr trying to find a whole turkey using our limited Hungarian ("van egรฉsz pulykรกd?") and the vendors looking at us like we were crazy. What in the hell would you want a whole turkey for? Eventually, we just settled on a bone-in breast and all was good.

Nancy 10:07 AM  

When SHOOP and LAMAR came in -- or more ACKuratedly didn't come in -- I was ready to send this puzzle thwACK/splat against the wall. But then the wonderful "squozen" LIME appeared and I was, well, charmed -- and ready to forgive the puzzle anything. Proper names mushed together. POCs (ZEALS! RUMS!) Even ACK instead of EEK.

That single LIME rebus is funny. And I love a puzzle with a sense of humor.

I also love the phrase FISH FOR COMPLIMENTS. It's great on its own and it's an inspired place to hide LIME. SLIMEBALL has a certain je ne said quoi as well.

I think the inspiration behind this puzzle outshines the execution-- which has its hiccups. But basically I ended up liking this.

rjkennedy98 10:22 AM  

Really enjoyed this theme, although as others have pointed out, it was not obvious what the topping being made was from the recipe. I was assuming PEPPER meant meant peppercorn. And as pico de gallo to me always includes cilantro, it never came to mind. I actually though it was some weird Italian peppered tomato like you'd put on a BLT. But eventually I figured it out :).

Also, the clue for SUPER EGO was just fantastic. One of my favorites from the last few weeks.

mathgent 10:23 AM  

Advice to those who are disheartened because Rex didn't like this superb puzzle. "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

The clue for FISHFORCOMPLIMENTS got two red plus signs in the margin, a first.

I struggled in the top middle. If the clue for RAO had been "Founder of legendary NYC restaurant," I would have been all right. Also, I thought that cotes were just for birds.

Two cartoon sounds and neither of them is "eek."

Absolutely wonderful puzzle. Crunchy, sparkly, clued smartly. What a lovely Wednesday treat.
.

jae 10:32 AM  

Mediumish. It took a few nanoseconds for the LIME rebus to sink in. The theme was clever and delightful but I’m kinda with @Rex on the fill. Liked it.

Joseph Michael 10:53 AM  

Crossword cry of dismay. “What’s with all these #%*!@&%€! names?”

Martha 10:56 AM  

Dear Unknown@9:22

Your comment is the nastiest comment that I have ever read on this blog and I have been reading it for the past decade. Rex seems to be a very nice person. Your comment makes you seem to be the exact opposite.

What? 11:02 AM  

Don’t feel bad. That’s Rex’s point.

pabloinnh 11:03 AM  

@unknown-Don't really know if it's an actual allergy or not, but I've heard it described that way, so that's what I go with to avoid it when eating out.

@anon, @Gill I--If you were a preschooler with an intense interest in language, and if a guy a couple of years older than you lived next door who did fascinating forbidden things like smoke and use lots of profanity, and if you tried out some of that profanity on your father when he told you to stop eating mashed potatoes with your fingers, then, thanks to your mother, you would know what Ivory soap tastes like too.

Tim Carey 11:05 AM  

Yes. I died there as well. Only had ONO and SOCOOL crossing OMNIPOTENCE. So. Sad.

addisondewitt 11:06 AM  

Thanks to this puzzle I now realize that every time I’ve gone into a Chipotle and asked for PINCO DEGALLO the person behind the counter was thinking me an idiot. And I thought I was so smart using the authentic term for the “mild salsa.”

Whatsername 11:10 AM  

Flew through this, then ACK! Hit a big pile of SLAG when I got to the SW. LIE and LIES?? No idea what SAL soda is. And I love PICO DE GALLO but had big trouble spelling it. In general, this puzzle left me feeling OBTUSE and like a real SUCKER for struggling with it as long as I did. DOH.

TJS 11:12 AM  

Rex is a living indictment of our higher education system. It's one thing acquiring a PHD in English without ever having read The Great Gatsby, but teaching a course on comics without a familiarity with Bill the Cat is unforgivable.

Decided a few ywars back to cook, with major help from my Canadian girlfriend, a traditional Thanksgiving dinner down here in the Dom. Rep. Our guests were a Dutchman and his Russian girlfriend and A married couple from Poland. None of them had ever eaten turkey in their lives. They ate only the dark meat, wouldn't touch the white. My friend and I were eating leftovers for days. Have a great holiday up there, everyone.

Z 11:26 AM  

@Gill I - Avocado? My Guacamole recipe is basically my PICO DE GALLO recipe proportioned down and then mixed with avocado.

@Peter P - You’re correct, but that isn’t how it looks in the puzzle. We have the ingredients in the puzzle and the directions in clues, so it looks like the ingredient is PEPPER. And I see I’m not alone. It’s okay, but definitely suboptimal for me.

@Ethan Taliesin - How and where a golf ball LIES on the ground impacts how a golfer hits their next shot.
Since LIES and NO LIE are different words, the dupe bothers me less than than the triple ups we recently saw.

@bocamp - 661 is still incomplete on my clipboard. 662 was a medium Saturday for me.

@Roo - PORC is what you get from French pigs. “Boeuf” is what you get from French cows.

@George - The difficulty ratings are relative to the day of the week. So compared to all other Wednesday puzzles this one is slightly easier than average. So a “challenging” Monday puzzle is going to be easier than an “easy” Wednesday puzzle. Saturday puzzles are the most difficult.

Regarding LSD, the clue doesn’t indicate that it was the central drug to the plot, only that it was a drug in the movie. Cheating? Maybe. But still okay.

Hand-up for wondering about the eating habits of everyone who makes the Ivory Soap comparison. Do a blind smell test and I think the difference will be obvious.

Masked and Anonymous 11:33 AM  

Cute choppin and especially squeezin of ingredients theme mcguffin. The aha moment kinda escaped M&A, as had no idea what PICODEGALLO was. [The Puzeatinspouse has informed m&e that we have probably had some of it in a restaurant, at some remote time in the past.]

staff weeject picks: ACK & DOH. Yer double cartoon cries. And nice weeject stacks in the NE & SW, of course.

Thankful for AMOEBA, as it allowed M&A to finish out the PICODE+/DEB/ROCCO-not-ROCKY area. Was pretty bogged down, there … until I read AMOEBA's most friendly clue. Splatzed it right in, offa nuthin.

fave fillin was RUGBY, for some weird reason. Kinda also drawn to CRAZINESS and SUCKER.

Thanx for the cookin lesson, Mr. Koppy dude. SOCOOL to learn that Gallo has a pi-code.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


**gruntz**

RooMonster 11:37 AM  

@Z
Oui oui! Thanks.

RooMonster Frenchified Guy

Carola 11:44 AM  

Thank goodness it's not such a struggle to actually make PICO DE GALLO in the kitchen. It was an enjoyable struggle, though. Seeing the chopped vegetables early was my lifeline in getting the first three theme answers and then the delightful squeeze of LIME. Still, I really had to fight for the long Downs and rassle with the tricky clues and quite a few unknowns. Fun to match wits with this one.

Help from previous puzzles: SAL. Do-overs: eeK, eSE. No idea: SHOOP, LAMAR, ELIOT, UPN, EBOAT. Me in a nutshell: OBTUSE x BET: I get the "stake" part, but Omaha?

Tori S 11:56 AM  

My mom and I were parallel solving this one while procrastinating on Thanksgiving prep, and now we're just occasionally yelling "EBOAT?!?!?!" angrily across the kitchen.

Z 11:57 AM  

@albie late yesterday (well, early this morning) - So what you’re saying is “czar” is profane?*

I love that Wikipedia gives three possible etymologies for PICO DE GALLO.









* Sometimes I just write things to amuse myself, like comparing the ts/cz debate to questions of religion and spirituality.

KnittyContessa 11:58 AM  

The first themer I got was chopped ONIONS. I thought for sure it was going to be a Thanksgiving puzzle. I was a little sad I didn't find any celery or sage in the mix.

SAL soda?

JD 12:02 PM  

Now that I know that @mathgent struggled in the top middle I don't feel so bad. I thought, "He'll get Obtuse and I was obtuse."

I liked E-Boat. Sure, we all know U-boat but now we know that new fact. So Cool.

@Z, That would be a great, great guacamole recipe.

@pabloinnh, Har! Did it have the desired effect of discouraging foul language once and for all? I certainly hope not.

bocamp 12:22 PM  

@puzzlehoarder (8:28 AM) ๐Ÿ‘ for -0 yd / @Trey (8:00 AM) ๐Ÿ‘

@RooMonster (9:56 AM) ๐Ÿ‘ for 0 yd

You're kinda right, but after yd's gaffe, I knew better: I was doing a somewhat weird Wednes. on a Tues. eve, that should have been a Thurs. It's been that kind of a week. ๐Ÿ˜‚

@Zรฟ (11:26 AM)

"661 is still incomplete on my clipboard."

Meaning it's tough or you just haven't got around to finishing it?
___

pg -2*

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Geome 12:22 PM  

A note to bocamp: Please find synonyms for crunchy....You've beaten that poor word into the ground.
One of the things I most enjoy about solving the puzzle is reading the comments section, but as the Times puzzles appear a month later in syndication in my local paper, should I make a comment it would be read by the very few who are also belated solvers.
I decided this morning to post my suggestion to bocamp even though I won't get to today's puzzle for another 5 weeks when it surfaces in my local rag.

jb129 12:23 PM  

I started out loving this puzzle & since it's Wednesday, knew I'd work through it. Especially since it started out so well & I know chopped & squeezed ingredients in a sauce.

Wrong. I had to cheat.

beverly c 12:32 PM  

Thanks for the recipe! I saw the squeeze of lime early, since I was getting nowhere up top. That opened the puzzle up for me.
I use cilantro (minced). Would that have been abbreviated?

The Swedish Chef 12:34 PM  

@Roo:
Hopefully no KALE SALAD on anyone's dinner tomorrow. ๐Ÿ˜

The in-laws just insist on that stuff. To make matters worse, they refuse, absolutely refuse, to cut out the spine, thus leaving chunks of wood, which no amount of cooking (which renders the leaves stinky mush) can penetrate. I suppose if you've a 20 year old's set of teeth, you can masticate such junk. Not so much at 70.

Nancy 12:46 PM  

@Ethan T (9:59) -- The LIE you have is both a very common golf term and a matter of real concern to even the best golfer. On any given round, a golfer may use the word as often as 36 times (if they're a good golfer) or an uncountable number of times if they're a hacker like me. It means how your ball sits -- on the fairway, in the rough, behind a tree, in the trap, or perilously close to the "water hazard" otherwise known as a lagoon. Do you have a #$%$#& downhill LIE or a @#$%^%$ uphill LIE or worst of all a %^&^%$# sidehill LIE. It has nothing at all to do with prevarication. (Until later on, perhaps, when you tell people later that you had a double bogie on the hole where you had a 12. Or stopped counting entirely.)

@Jberg's (9:59) a more curious person than I am. He didn't know EBOAT and looked it up. I didn't know it either and took the puzzlemaker's word for it. Also, @Jberg -- the passage of Poe that you cite may be a downer, content-wise, but there is so much music in it! Did Poe have a terrific ear or what? I sort of don't care what a poet actually says if he says it sonorously enough. And vice-versa.

**Cryptogram Alert** (BTW, that's not a Cryptic crossword; it's a Cryptogram which is a puzzle that consists of de-coding substitute letters in a phrase.) The one today is a doozy. The kind I usually skip (I skip 80% of them if they seem too hard). Didn't think there would be a toehold -- then found one. You can too -- but it's a real challenge to 1) find it and 2) get that word. Highly recommended for those who like that sort of thing. It will keep you busy while the turkey is roasting.

mathgent 12:49 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

bocamp (8:13)
pabloinnh (8:29)
Gill I. (9:37)
Carola (11:44)
Tori S (11:56)
JD (12:02)

JBB94956 12:56 PM  

This is my birthday so I was hopeful, and did most of it with ease but I died in that upper center - obtuse etc.

Phil 12:59 PM  

Omaha is a quite popular holdem genre poker game. High/Low most common version
If not inclined to google then:

4 cards down to each player in LIEU of 2
Must play on 3 and only 3 community cards dealt up .

pabloinnh 1:07 PM  

@JD-Hell no. I think it skipped a generation--my older boy is now 40 and I have never heard him swear. Maybe he does, but not around his parents.

@Z-A quick look at the internet shows that the soap taste has a genetic cause and is present in 4-14% of the population.

Teedmn 1:15 PM  

For me, the bottom half of this puzzle was the hardest. Lots of trouble finding footholds below the TRASH COMPACTORS and RUMS. I finally got through the CRAZINESS and finished, with no problem on the squeezed lime.

I would also add cilantro to my PICO DE GALLO because, yes, it does kind of taste like soap smells, and I like that! Odd taste may be genetic - my mother loved original Coca Cola, but she once told me it smelled like mold. Huh.

@kitshef, PICODEGALLO does have POLLO in it!

Thanks, Brandon Koppy, I had fun slicing and dicing this grid.

bocamp 1:25 PM  

@Geome (12:22 PM)

You're probably right! Crunchy just seems such a good descriptor of chewy xwords, which present lots of food for thot. Nevertheless, I'll try to be more selective. Thx for the suggestion! :)
___

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Ethan Taliesin 1:35 PM  

Thanks for the golf meaning of lie.

Barbara S. 1:39 PM  

Two words in the puzzle hit a little too close to home today: FATAL and GRIEVE. I wish the news were better, but yesterday we lost our resplendent red tabby, Spike. Many thanks to @bocamp and @albatross shell for their hopeful wishes. Spike was perhaps not quite fearless enough to live up to his name, but he was a crack mouser and ratter, a student of laser beams and all reflected spots of light on walls and floors, a jungle-explorer, a river-wader, with meow-projection to rival Pavarotti in his prime. My husband says that we pet-fanciers measure out our lives, not with coffee spoons as ELIOT had it, but with the lifespans of our companion animals, who walk with us for those distinct ages and stages of our journey. There’s no need to flood the blog with condolences. I know everyone here has experienced loss, of this kind or another. RIP, Spike, forever in our hearts.

Right, the puzzle. Well, I’m not a cook. Might as well get that out of the way first. I had the vaguest of vague notions that there was a dish out there – a sauce, a stew? – called “something-something-grande?” That’s how far away I was from knowing PICO DE GALLO. Let me hasten to add that I’m aware of salsa. I’ve consumed it on numerous occasions, although I don’t recall ever having made it. So although I got the themers without too much trouble, the revealer needed all the crosses I could find. And SODIUM, ROCCO, CHOKE and DEB all put up something of a fight.

But it was that north-central section, which others have mentioned, that nearly led to my downfall. For the longest time I was too OBTUSE to see OBTUSE, I wasn’t thinking along the right lines for NEW LOW and I’d totally forgotten Mr. RAO. Then there were BET, ULNAR and EWE – and what the heck were sheep doing in a home for doves? Aargh. I did eventually sort it all out without cheats, but it took an hour! ACK! And DOH! (BTW, M-W says COTEs are enclosures for small domestic animals and especially pigeons.)

SLAG is such an ugly word and an ugly substance, but I’ll always remember many years ago seeing the nighttime SLAG pours at the nickel mine in Sudbury, Ontario. Glowing rivers of light flooded down a hillside, but apparently cascaded through thin air if it was full dark and you were viewing from the right angle. (You’re going to conclude – correctly – that there wasn’t much nightlife there.)

yd 0 (whipped through SB, and then got stuck on a four-letter word for much longer than it had taken me to get all the rest.
td -17 (better get to work)

jae 1:41 PM  

@bocamp - Given your experience in India you might enjoy "A Suitable Boy" by Vikram Seth if you haven't already read it. Its set in the early 1950's when Nehru was prime minister. Warning -- It's over 1300 pages long.

My problem in the SE was attempting to pluralize something that should not have been pluralized.

Peter P 1:57 PM  

Hopping on PICODEGALLO musings: for those of you who like it a little spicier, try the Yucatecan version called xni-pec ("shnee-peck.") The name translates to "dog's nose," which is an interesting parallel to PICO DE GALLO's "rooster's beak." In the case of xni-pec, the story I was told as to its etymology is that it makes your nose wet like a dog's (from the heat.) Basically, the recipe is the same as PICO DE GALLO, just use habanero peppers as the chile component, and swap out the lime juice for sour orange juice. Sour oranges, also known as bitter oranges or Seville oranges, can be difficult to source in much of the US. I've only been able to find them at one place here in Chicago. You can find bottles of sour orange juice in many Hispanic groceries around here, either Goya or Badilla brand. While that does in a pinch, I prefer using a ratio of 2:1:1: of freshly squeezed lime:orange:grapefruit. Most recipes seem to only go with the first two ingredients but, in my opinion, it misses the important bitter component that reminds me of grapefruit juice. Or just use fresh bitter oranges if you can get them. I'm not really a fan of the bottled stuff except for marinades. This stuff is addictively delicious, but you have to have a decent heat tolerance.



JC66 2:06 PM  

Never heard of PICODEGALLO, so the puzzle played CRUNCHY (hi @bocamp) for me.

SharonAK 2:15 PM  

@Roberto 741 am Are you serious or was that a joke I didn't get. They don't even have the same meaning.
@ Etrhan t. Apparently you also do not know the meaning of lie as used
the way, direction, or position in which something lies.
"he was familiarizing himself with the lie of the streets"

I would object to your objection even if there was not a totally different meaning. I see no problem with using "lie"meaning falsehood twice when one use is in the expression "no lie". and the other in third person (or plural) I find wordplay fun in repetition
and keep wondering where these "rules" come from that some of you keep thinking have been broken.

fiddleneck 2:15 PM  

Nancy’s’ 12:46 comment is priceless!

bocamp 2:22 PM  

@mathgent (12:49 PM)

Glad you liked the ROCCO excerpt. :)

@Barbara S. (1:39 PM) ๐Ÿ‘ for 0 yd

Sometimes those 4s can be the toughest.

@jae (1:41 PM)

Thx, got the audiobook teed up. :)

@JC66 (2:06 PM)

Good one! ๐Ÿ˜‹
___

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Anoa Bob 2:42 PM  

I was hoping OFL or one of yous commenters would help me understand what the four theme entries, OMNIPOTENCE, PRIVATE PARTY, TRASH COMPACTOR & FISH FOR COMPLIMENTS, have to do with the reveal, PICO DE GALLO, but, alas, I remain puzzled about that. They seem like four words/phrases that have no connection to each other or the reveal other than having the the ingredients gratuitously scattered inside them. Seems a bit arbitrary to me.

I'm sure most of you smart cookies already know this, but in case you're unsure, it's pronounced "PEE koh day GUY yo". And if you are ever in Guatemala, try some GALLO Cerveza (beer). It's been brewed continuously since 1896 (not the same batch!) and it's pretty tasty stuff, especially after a long day in the tropical sun exploring a Maya ruin like Tikal.

You know who does not define rebus as a crossword puzzle with multiple letters in one square? The NYT Crossword Puzzle, that's who. In the 23 times that rebus has appeared in a NYTXW grid, it has never been clued that way. It has always been clued as a "picture puzzle" (5 times), a "Concentration [the game show] puzzle" (3 times) or some variant of those.

Today's grid is a quick lesson on what to do if one of your theme entries is too COMPACT and a letter short for its designated slot. Just plop an letter count boosting S on the end. How easy and convenient is that?

Anonymous 2:57 PM  

FWIW

Omaha hold 'em is a community card poker game similar to Texas hold 'em, where each player is dealt four cards and must make their best hand using exactly two of them, plus exactly three of the five community cards. Wikipedia

Unknown 3:24 PM  

I came here just to point out that Bill the Cat from "Bloom County" says "Ack!" all the time, and was pleasantly surprised to see that the very first two comments addressed this omission. Hopefully Rex sees them! Thbbft!

albatross shell 3:38 PM  

My thought was @bocamp must have been right yesterday because this one surely must be a Thursday puzzle.

I was stuck the same as @kitshef until I thought of BET for stake and remembered Omaha as a poker game. Never played it though. Then OBTUSE TWERP SOCOOL etc.

Much I didn't know and looked up post solve. RAO SAL PICODEGALL0 (thanks for the translation @GILL) SHOOP (but it sounded right) EBOAT Lululemon.

For those who haven't looked up EBOAT yet:
E-boat
E-boat was the Western Allies' designation for the fast attack craft of the Kriegsmarine during World War II; E-boat could refer to a patrol craft from an armed motorboat to a large Torpedoboot.Wikipedia

Knew SUPEREGOS by noticing the small D in the clue. Knew ROCCO was likely but thought it might be ROCCa or some other minor variation.

S(LIME)BALL only improves the puzzle. What is wrong with Rex? It adds color. And Radial and ULNAR are opposite each other Rex. What's the problem. See @Z for details. I do not mind DERM either. Better than MPEG any day of the week. The only thing I didn't like in the puzzle was KALESALAD but not because it was in the puzzle.

I had cataract surgery on my right eye on Monday and seem to be doing fine. Sleeping a lot and limiting reading and typing. Left eye mid-December. Hoping for fewer typos.

@Barbara S.
Condolences for Spike. Cats and Dogs are tough losses. They are all so special. I am living without pets now. Happily so, despite the love I had for mine and some that were not mine. Enough of my day is taking care of myself and MyK. Maybe if I lived alone I would feel differently. I do not think so.

Z 3:49 PM  

@JD - Nothing conditional about it, plus super duper easy to throw together. The only variable is how much serrano to add and whether or not to seed them.
@Peter P - Habanero is too overwhelming hot for this type of salsa, I think. It overpowers all the other flavors and all you are left with is a runny nose.

@bocamp - the central section and the NE corner are laughing at me, the rest hasn’t been too bad.

@pabloinnh - Be wary of the internet. Although this finding provides evidence that genetic variation in olfactory receptors is involved in cilantro taste perception, common genetic variants explain only a very small part of the difference — a half percent — between 23andMe customers for this trait. Now, this is not what I would call a scientific study, so take it with a soapy grain of salt, but if anything I would think the bias of their survey tool would be the other direction.

Geome 4:03 PM  

Sorry bocamp. Did not mean it to come across as criticism. My point was that if so many puzzles are "crunchy", do any stand out? Suggested substitutions: chewy (as you posited), challenging, having heft, rewarding, satisfying, fulfilling...wait a sec, 'crunchy' is perfect!
I stand corrected!

The Swedish Chef 4:17 PM  

Speaking of soap in one's eats... turns out there are, at least, two kinds of bay leaf in your megamart. Most often labelled just as Bay Leaf, other times as either California or Turkish. The California/unlabelled version is generally huge, a couple of inches long and a half-inch wide in the middle. I used to get them as Spice Islands; very bright and beautiful, but... . Then saw a "Good Eats" episode in which Master Chef Brown tells us that California Bay tastes like Vicks Vapor Rub (or to be kind, eucalyptus). Got out my stash, took a good smell. Yup. Dang. The alternative is Turkish Bay. A spicy aroma/flavour that one might actually want in one's stew or sauce. A bit harder to find, but either find some, or skip it.

Pdxrains 4:18 PM  

Agree 100%. This was practically Thursday level hard! Easy median my foot!!

albatross shell 4:20 PM  

TRASHCOMPACTORS do not minimize waste. They minimize the space the waste occupies. Recycling, reusage, wise usage composting and such minimize waste.

Anonymous 4:40 PM  

@albatross shell:
They minimize the space the waste occupies.

Quite true, although it proved useful, in a way, in "Goldfinger".

GILL I. 4:40 PM  

Writing this on my laptop as we navigate the highways and byways going to turkey land...except we're not having turkey this year....just salmon and a bunch of other goodies.
I'm sad some of you have never heard of PICO DE GALLO. @Teedmn gave me a big guffaw with her POLLO insert...so there's that.
@Z...I only put some guac in mine when I slather it on a PORC tortilla. Seriously, folks...@pablito may have had his mouth washed with cilantro Ivory when he swore at his parents, but try making it (with cilantro) and put it on some creamy (yes...creamy) scrambled eggs.
Please get back to me when you've tried it.

Peter P 5:20 PM  

@The Swedish Chef -- I'm not sure Turkish bay leaves are hard to find. I thought they were the standard. Certainly, the McCormick bay leaves (probably the most well known) are from Turkish-grown laurel trees, according to their website. Oh, and I found a label that says "Hand-selected from Turkey for robust flavor." If you get your spices from Penzey's, the basic bay leaf is Turkish, as well (and simply labeled as "bay leaves.") The Spice House ones I have are specifically labeled as "Turkish Bay Leaves." Spice Islands seems to be an outlier, and they advertise on their website as "We source our Spice Islands bay leaves from California, known for strong bay leaves with a more concentrated aroma and potent flavor. They're so potent, in fact, that we recommend using 1/3 of a leaf in recipes that call for a whole leaf." In my experience, "bay leaves" are typically of Mediterranean origin, and Spice Island's wording and substitution suggests Turkish bay leaves are the norm, not Californian. I've never had a bay leaf that smells at all like eucalyptus (more normally, they smell like not much of anything at all. First time I had a bay leaf that smelled like anything was when I friend sent me fresh leaves from her laurel tree in Washington.)

Jeff B. 5:21 PM  

I found this puzzle hard but fun. Biggest problems were ACK, ULNAR, and most of all, EBOAT, but liked the long answers, especially SUPEREGOS.

pabloinnh 5:22 PM  

@Z-You'reright, of course. I always take Uncle Google and The Wiki with a degree of skepticism. I do know what cilantro tastes like to me, and have met several other people who have the same reaction, so there's that.

@Barbar S- So sorry about Spike. Came back this morning from our third trip to the vet with our 17-year old. Waiting for test results but we're afraid that our days with him are not going to be that many more.

jbh 6:00 PM  

A fine puzzle!

Loved the 'squeeze' of lime. Got Slimeball right away and figured "Id checkers" was NOT identification since the 'd' wasn't capitalized.

The north-center was impossible for me. Had OHCOOL instead of SOCOOL. Had no idea what 'one in a cote with a coat was' - since it obviously wasn't DOVE or any other bird. Etcetera. A lot of things I couldn't figure out all in one little area.

But what about ____ reminder? "ASA"...? Did anybody else think that clue was kinda lame?

bocamp 6:10 PM  

@Geome (4:03 PM)

๐Ÿ˜Š
___

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Z 6:25 PM  

@pabloinnh - ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ - I won’t foist any cilantro on you if you refrain from trying to slip any peas past me.

okanaganer 6:53 PM  

Running late today... the first time in many many months I have not done the puzzle in the evening before. I am NOT an early riser; it seems harder in the daytime! I struggled a bit, and missed the neat "squeezed" LIME trick until @Rex said.

[Spelling Bee: td pg -3 so far. A bit of a slog! After a few days in a row with no goofy words, today we have several of them. I will keep trying for a while.]

pabloinnh 7:52 PM  

@ Fair enough, but I hope you don't give up on whirled peas.

Z 8:47 PM  

Apparently Rex was reminded of Bill the Cat. This showed up as a retweet around 7:00 tonight.

OISK 8:59 PM  

I flunked as well. Thought MPIV might work. Never heard of pico de Gallo. For a Wed. this was a new low.

Son Volt 9:08 PM  

@ Pablo and Z - cilantro is a vile weed. However - much like Pablo’s ivory soap punishment - I spent many nights in my bedroom after trying to hide my mushy peas in a bunched up napkin in the basement.

We all have our issues.

ghostoflectricity 10:43 PM  

Re: hallucinogen(s) referenced in "Altered States." The film is very loosely based on the experimentation with psychedelics and sensory deprivation conducted by Dr. John Lilly and his associates in the 1950s and 1960s. Ken Russell, the director of that film, later discussed his own research (including his own drug experimentation) into Lilly and his work in his own autobiography, also titled "Altered States." The drugs in the film are not specified by name but it is known that Lilly used a number of drugs, including LSD, in his research. However, the previous commenters on this thread are correct- the intense experiences undergone by the film's protagonist, portrayed by the actor William Hurt, are under the influence of an indigenous plant or fungus which Dr. Jessup (Hurt) ingests in the form of a broth or liquid given to him by indigenous shamans. LSD does not, so far as is known, occur in nature. I forget what the appearance of the source plant or fungus is (I saw the movie only once, over 40 years ago), but if it is a mushroom, it is either one of the species of the Psilocybe or Conocybe genera, whose active psychedelic alkaloids are psilocybin and the closely related psilocin, or else the familiar toadstools known as fly agaric or Amanita muscaria, a very different (and highly poisonous if used carelessly) fungus whose active psychoactive compounds are ibotenic acid and muscimol. These compounds have a very different chemical structure than psilocybin, which chemically is closely related to LSD (which as I said earlier is not known to occur in nature and has only been synthesized in labs, though LSD's precursors can be derived from the ergot funguses common as fungal contaminants of grain crops in Europe and are thought to have caused psychotic episodes in medieval Europe).

In either case, the writers are correct: Dr. Jessup's most transformative (and most dramatic or melodramatic in terms of plot progression) in the film "Altered States" are NOT due to LSD and the crossword clue is deeply mistaken.

But someone also mentioned mescaline, the hallucinogenic alkaloid in peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii) and several other species. The drug experiences in the film are almost certainly not that- the peyote worshippers and their specific rites and practices are not referenced in the film at all. In any case mescaline, which is chemically closely related to a number of psychedelics and entheogens known as substituted amphetamines due to their chemical relation to (non-hallucinogenic) amphetamines. This group includes the well-known MDMA ("molly," "x," "e," "ecstasy," and a number of other nicknames).

One other drug that the "Altered States" drug is NOT in the now well-known ayahuasca, derived from a vine indigenous to the Amazon region in South America, and which has become a trendy "transformative" experience for hipsters and New Agers over the past two or three decades. Since Jessup's experiences occur in Mexico and then back in his lab in the U.S. and South America is not referenced in the film, it is not this either. The main hallucinogen in ayuahuasca is dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, which was a trendy drug for some in the '60s counterculture over a half century ago. DMT and other related tryptamine drugs are chemically closely related to LSD as well. Apparently a similar compound occurs naturally on the skin of certain frogs (having evolved as an adaptation against predators) and has led to a trend among some hipster types for "frog licking" to get into a tripping state. Whether or not this works I don't know, but it sounds like the banana peel smoking and sunflower seed and nutmeg-consuming fads of the mid-1960s engaged in by some in an effort to get cheap LSD-like experience.

Bill the Cat 5:58 AM  

You do know me Rex Parker !

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

Eew, can’t decide which is creepier.Rex’s strange mien, or Z’s strange obsession w Rex.
Deeply weird. X 2. iMHO

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