Onetime streaming platform of the 2010s / SUN 11-21-21 / Early online forum that popularized terms like FAQ and spam / Chess's Caruana onetime youngest grandmaster in US history 14 years 11 months / Stock ticker symbol for longtime clothing brand / Sister brand of Saucony and Stride Rite / Song title shared by hit singles for Ja Rule and Flo Rida / Member of a Turkic group

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Constructor: Adam Wagner

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (theme very easy, fill somewhat tougher but not inordinately so)

THEME: "Screen Sharing" — movie titles that contain other movie titles inside them (in circled squares), clued via the actor who appeared in both of them. Whole thing is tied together with a literal description of the theme: PICTURE-IN-PICTURE (116A: Modern tech feature for watching two programs on one screen ... or an alternative title for this puzzle):

Theme answers (why are the clues in quot. marks? I have no idea):
  • FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (23A: "Salma Hayek: 1996, 2002")
  • SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (31A: "Dev Patel: 2008, 2016")
  • OCEAN'S ELEVEN (50A: "Brad Pitt: 2001, 1995")
  • WEDDING CRASHERS (68A: Owen Wilson: 2005, 2006")
  • INHERENT VICE (86A: "Joaquin Phoenix: 2014, 2013")
  • THE GODFATHER, PART II (102A: "Al Pacino and Robert De Niro: 1974, 1995 (twice!)") (movie title "Heat" is repeated)
Word of the Day: HBO GO (103D: Onetime streaming platform of the 2010s) —

HBO Go is an international TV Everywhere video on demand streaming service offered by the Americanpremium cable network HBO for customers outside the Americas. It allowed HBO subscribers to stream selections of HBO content, including current and past series, films, specials, and sporting events, through either the HBO website, or apps on mobile devicesvideo game consoles, and digital media players. The service first launched on February 18, 2010.

In the U.S., HBO Go was deprecated following the launch of WarnerMedia's HBO Max streaming platform in May 2020; the latter includes all content available on HBO Go plus additional content from other WarnerMedia properties. (wikipedia)

• • •

Ugh, the rapid obsolescence of media properties. Could every constructor go into their wordlist and remove HBOGO, please. Replace it with HBOMAX, if that isn't in there already. I had no idea what that answer was, and even after I got it, I sincerely thought the answer was H-BOGO. Truly. Wasn't til I went to look it up that it suddenly occurred to me how to parse it. BOGO can mean "buy one, get one," so I figured that whatever "streaming platform" was involved here maybe had to do with ... online shopping? I dunno. I just know that answer is garbage now. Also, because I had -ATAR and reflexively wrote in QATAR at 102D: Member of a Turkic group (TATAR) when I saw the clue was something vaguely Middle Eastern, I had the last themer starting QUEG- for a while. Not great. Hmm, maybe I should back up. So, this puzzle ... conceptually, fine, yes, interesting. A very interesting set of themers with this very specific quality—title inside title, with a prominent actor starring in both titles. Great idea. Two problems. One, it was so easy to get the longer theme answer that I never ever had to pay attention to the circled squares. I just wrote in movie titles. They were all major titles. The hardest one to get was THE GODFATHER, PART II, and that's only because, as I say, I botched the first few letters of that one. So I can politely clap for the idea after the fact, but while I was solving, I just wrote in obvious movie titles and moved on. The worst thing about the theme, though, was that last answer, specifically HEAT HEAT. Just terrible. And what's worse is that it obviously believes it's the Best themer. It is pretty amazing that there are *two* actors involved in both films, but repeating HEAT is just nonsense. HEAT HEAT. That is what the squares spell. Gibberish. That's like spiking the football and it bounces up and hits you in the nose. HEAT HEAT. No no. But again, conceptually, it's all fine. Clever, even.

The fill was a lot less enjoyable. Some of this is because the NYTXW feels like it's very much in a rut, or a holding pattern. Or something connoting repetition. We just had PATOOTIE last week and now we have ... PATOOT? Both awful, frankly, but maybe we could at least space them out. Like ... way out. Years apart, preferable. And yeesh comically we have Another "Grey's Anatomy" clue (see yesterday's write-up for my longish discourse on that). And back-to-back days with IT ISN'T in the grid? I know that you can't really control for when and how fill will repeat, but answers and clue types are repeating themselves weirdly conspicuously of late. Groany clue for MORE (33D: What 2 is vis-Γ -vis 1). The opposite of aha. "That's it?" Irksome. "I CRY" clue (2D: Song title shared by hit singles for Ja Rule and Flo Rida) was slightly odd in that I have never heard of either of those songs, and the Ja Rule one only hit No. 40 on the Hot 100. Twenty years ago (!). Not exactly ... known. At least the Flo Rida one made it to No. 6. Much more respectable / crossworthy. EGAD with an "S" today, great :( What the hell is "IT'S LOVE"? I get "swoon," which you would say if you had a crush on someone or otherwise thought they were hot, but a. that sentiment is not "love," exactly, and b. "IT'S LOVE" is not a thing anyone would say ... about themselves? About anyone? We keep going to the supermodel well for names and wow do I wish we would stop but I am never going to win that battle. IRINA? (76D: Supermodel Shayk). Sure, IRINA, great. Shrug. Can't really make [Went after] be SET AT in any kind of straightforward, easy way. I SET AT ... him? SETAT is just mediocre fill, and no clue is going to make it nice.

No idea that one could be *a* CSI, since I assumed the abbr. stood for "Crime Scene Investigation," not "... Investigator." Apparently it can stand for both. How annoying, I mean convenient! CSIS, woof, that is rough fill. "AH OK," right next door, was awkward as well, though for different reasons. The gradations betwen UH OK and OH OK and AH OK just hurt my brain to contemplate. But technically "AH, OK" works. It's just that crammed in there with CSIS and the vaguely clued IOS (83A: Focus of some smartphone updates), "AH, OK" rankled a little with its inscrutability. The puzzle really lost my goodwill much earlier, though, with the FABIANO / BONK crossing. I had CONK (completely plausible for the clue), and who the hell knows the name of some chess kid, yeesh and double yeesh (15D: Chess's ___ Caruana, onetime youngest grandmaster in US history (14 years, 11 months)). I surmised that FACIANO was unlikely to be someone's name, and FABIANO felt very namelike, so I guessed right, but that's a horrid crossing. Aside from the pleasure of remembering a few movies, the only thing in this puzzle I enjoyed was EXOTIC FISH. That seemed an original answer. Vivid. Bright. Different. I can GO FOR that. The rest wasn't terribly enjoyable, though again, conceptually, I think the theme is really interesting—far better than your average Sunday. It just didn't play out in an entertaining way for me. 

Have a nice Sunday, everyone.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. 29A: Yellow belly? is ELLS because the "belly" (i.e. middle) of the word "yellow" is made of ELLS (i.e. L's)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


willzimjohn 12:20 AM  

DNF. Had "conk" for "bonk" (26-across, "conk" being also correct for "Bop on the head" and no idea who 15-down was) and also couldn't remember if it was "Ida" or "Ada" Lovelace and didn't know the supermodel in 76-down.

okanaganer 12:51 AM  

Rex is hilarious. He can be so witty and wise, and then suddenly he goes off the rails and is like one of those crazy guys on the street yelling at mailboxes. Which he kinda did in the last few sentences of the paragraph beginning "Ugh".

The theme was fun. The fun didn't really come from automatically typing in those familiar movie titles, it came from the revealer. I don't skip ahead, so there was a nice "aha" moment when I hit it.

I remember INHERENT VICE, a decent movie but the title was just plain weird. Evidently it is a thing in insurance risk calculation(??!!???). Tonight I remembered the movie but not that last word, and started typing INHERENT PERIL but ran out of room, so changed to INHERENT RISK, only to change again later. Insurance!!!

I actually finished with an error with FACIANO crossing CONK. Really a Natick, cuz Latin name, plausible?

[Spelling Bee: td (Sat.) 0.

@Barbara S, yd 8:15pm, nice for QB Sat., and is that 4 days in a row? Big congratulations!

And you are right on about the pangram being a doozie. In fact, here is a google ngram comparing three words which can be made from the letters. One of them is not accepted even though it is the most commonly used of the three (and in fact if you search Wikipedia for two other "accepted" words in this Bee, they redirect to this word).

My SB week, Sun. to Sat: 0, -1, 0, -1, 0, -1, 0. (regular?) The words I missed.]

egsforbreakfast 1:11 AM  

I pretty much agree with Rex on this one. Great theme idea, and it was surprising how many possible sets there are (see However, the circled parts didn’t matter to my solve, and the fill wasn’t good. To Rex’s list I would add 98D APRILS as cringeworthy. Also, the letter “I” used 3 times to mean “1” doesn’t seem very resourceful.

On the whole, this was a meh to me, but Jeff Chen gives it POW! There’s no accounting for taste. But is there some accounting for no taste?

Ken Freeland 1:17 AM  

Concur completely with Rex on this one, adding that the extremely high PPP quotient made it insufferable. Don't know how I managed to finish it, but somehow I did. What a slog!

Marcy 1:34 AM  

The answer to 66A sums it all up for me - & yes, you can triple it!!! Even the clue is ridiculous! And has anyone, ever, said they’re going to BONK someone on the head? Is that where bonkers comes from? As for the themers, most were so easy because they were the signature films of very famous actors! Where’s the cleverness or challenge in that? Just so unenjoyable on every level.

bocamp 2:52 AM  

Thx Adam; very nice Sun. puz! :)


Smooth solve, from top to bottom.

Inexplicably, had FROM DUSt TILL DAWN for the dnf. Once wore KEDS, so no excuse for this blunder.

Had a couple of good guesses: FABIANO was new to me, and BONK could have been cONK (hi @willzimjohn (12:20 AM)) or dONK. The 'B' just sounded better. Thot the Surface was a tablet, so wasn't totally comfortable with PCS / PEWS.

Bottom line: a fun, enjoyable Sun. adventure.

@puzzlehoarder πŸ‘ for latest 0

@Barbara S. / @okanaganer πŸ‘ for 0's yd

yd 0

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

jae 3:20 AM  

Easy-medium. No real problems with this one as I knew all the movies and didn’t run across any WOEs. Mostly liked it but @Rex makes some good points.

Anonymous 3:52 AM  

God help you if you're not Roger Siskel. You've got it coming up the 36A. But I went on, don't know why. Only to misspell CONARDS. OH OK.

Joaquin 5:35 AM  

Well, I thought this was just plain terrific and will go down as one of the greats. Of course, I am referring to how Cal HUMBLED Stanford in the Big Game.

I enjoyed the puzzle, too. Found it clever and fun. Not as much fun as watching Cal beat the spread by 29 points, but still fun.

And if your spirits NEED A LIFT, check out this GEM:

Ann Howell 5:56 AM  

It's rare that I get so bored with a Sunday puzzle that I just don't even want to finish it, but that's where I ended up with this one. The theme was only a tad clever and brought no real joy whatsoever... One of these days we'll get an amazing Sunday, but sadly not today!

Lewis 6:26 AM  

This is a wow theme to me. If someone had asked me, before I did this puzzle, how often there were two movies by the same actor in which the title of one was imbedded in the other, I would have been amazed if “once” was the right answer. And here we have six of them, and six more in the constructor’s notes! Remarkable! Great finds, Adam!

Oh, I did love [Yellow belly?] for ELLS, I did Get SHORTI, and I did smile at ASS over HAT.

But mainly, I’m still reeling over the theme, that this quirk in movie titles in an actor’s canon has happened so often. Is this an incredible universe, or what? Thank you, Adam!

Anonymoose 6:42 AM  

Well, my thoughts have been pretty well covered by others that this was a joyless slog. I couldn't even bring myself to read @Lewis today, though I mostly enjoy his upbeat views.

Karl Grouch 6:52 AM  

Enjoyed discoveringing the movie titles.
Clever theme, impressive finds.
Pity though that the whole connstruction smells too much of crossword software.

Son Volt 6:59 AM  

Hard pass here. Build a Sunday sized grid around around a trivia based theme - add more trivia to the fill and for good measure add plurals like CSIS and especially PHS?

This one can kiss my PATOOT.

Trey 7:09 AM  

Really liked the theme - tight, even with the two HEATs (which I was OK with)

So, @Rex - you either need to accept HBOGO and IRINA or stop complaining about fill used over and over. The more you limit the word lists, the more repetition you have to accept. Similar with cluing - you either accept repeated clues that veteran solvers have zero challenge, or you allow the constructors/editors to try to lush the limits on cluing. If we get rid of HBOGO, do we also have to get rid of all dead people, former car models, retired politicians, bygone rulers or all TV shows or movies not currently running? To me, HBOGO is fair (for now) but will lose relevance over time. As it was relatively short lived and not hugely famous, it will need to go away someday, but it was only a year and a half ago that it was replaced, so every solver in the world was alive when it existed in the US

Colin 7:13 AM  

Like many, I was impressed with the theme. To take the phrase PICTUREINPICTURE and then actually find such movies... Well, kudos. But this made for tons of PPP, and I needed to sleep on this, literally, to complete the puzzle. NE corner and the INHERENTVICE-USENET-ADA-IRINA section took me a long time.

Perhaps Adam is an animal lover? Throughout the puzzle, one finds such as DOG, ASS, OWL, FISH, LION, and GULL. There's a children's story in there, somewhere!

And finally, it's rare - and gratifying - to see any allusion to laCROSSE, which is my favorite sport.

To all: May you have much to be thankful for, and friends and family to be thankful with.

Anonymous 7:24 AM  

I can't wait to read @Nancy. She's not predictable, yet I fear for her wall.

TJS 7:44 AM  

Finished it. Hated it. The end.

SouthsideJohnny 7:52 AM  

I would have enjoyed some witty phrases or wordplay for the theme instead of “remember this guys movie and write it down” stuff, but it is what it is. Speaking of movies, I’m curious about the clue for 97A “Some dolls sold in a Universal Studios gift shop” - is it in fact referring to the movie ET (as opposed to using the term in general for any space creature that may have been featured in one of their movies) ? If so, how many people under age 50 remember that flick. I wonder how well it has aged and how it might be received by today’s pre-teen crowd.

It seems like there are more true clunky answers than usual - like CSIS (one of those quasi-real words/things that Shortz has a real fetish for) right next to AHOK which obviously is just needed filler. The trivial cross of the supermodel’s name with the name of a mathematician is kind of yucky in my opinion. So a PPP-infused theme with icky fill and more Grey’s Anatomy crap and this one dropped right into slogfest territory. Great if it’s in your wheelhouse.

TJS 7:59 AM  

Yeah, I'm waiting for Nancy too. And maybe @ Southside. I'm starting to think he might be Rex jerkig our chain.

ws 8:00 AM  

Are we not gonna talk about how USENET is not a forum, but rather a networking protocol? No? Only me? I’ll show myself out.

JD 8:12 AM  

The puzzle was an impressive feat of construction but the clues needed some editing. Short answers were especially burdened. That wouldn't be a big deal on Monday. It gives Sunday a sloggy feel.

Pair in gossip. Gossip Pair.

Accompanier Of Smoke. Grate residue. You can have smoke without ash. Ash, it's a throwaway answer.

When tripled, playful onomatopoeia for shooting laser beams. Laser shot onomatopoeia.

Utilize a policy for new parents, Say. Why the say? Or just Say bye and go?

Problems With Phonograph Records. Record scratch results. The problem would be a scratch.

Contents of college blue books. College blue book contents. Attempts (if you want to be devious).

Some dolls sold in a Universal Studios gift shop. 39-letter clue for 3-letter answer. Way out of town visitors. ETs, throwaway fill.

Historic trade ally of the Monacan people. Canal with a strange sounding name. Still long, less pedantic.

What tahini is made from. Tahini ingredient.

Pickup Line, clever. Pool Tester, concise and funny. Sunday needs more of those types of clues to flow.

Tom T 8:25 AM  

I agree with the "slog" characterization of this one. Worked my way thru it with no great spark. Had to make two or three guesses at the end (hello, TATAR & IRINA) but got them right.

Hidden Diagonal Word clue:

King James weed among the wheat

I'll admit this is a weird, Sunday themed entry, with a Friday or Saturday level of difficulty. It's not PPP, but it is biblical and esoteric, so one of those "either you know it or you don't" answers.

So here's a not very useful secondary clue: A vetch


TARE (100D, moving towards the SW. There's a nice string of 4 consecutive T's moving to the SE from the same point, which suits Tom T to a T.)

amyyanni 8:41 AM  

Interesting theme, even though I am not a big movie buff. Even I have heard of most of these. The embedded titles were revelations. (I did see HER and liked it a lot.)
CANNARDS caught my attention this morning. What a fine word it is. Feels as if it should be linked to Canada somehow.
Hope your Sunday is whatever you need it to be: relaxing, productive or winning (the latter for all the football fans).

pabloinnh 8:50 AM  

Well, I saw SLUMDOGMILLIONAIRE. That's it, that's the list (nope, not even THEGODFATHERII).
Add in the current TV series that I don't watch and the computer stuff and the super models and the chess players and I have to say that while this did not evoke the Wall of Nancy, neither did it educe the Joy of Lewis. Finished it because that's what I do, but not as much fun as usual.

Nice feat of construction, AW, but due to my knowledge base, it was Almost Wasted on me. Fortunately I am not in a hurry to do anything else this morning. Thanks for filling up some time doing what I (mostly) like to do.

Joe Dipinto 8:57 AM  

@Marcy 1:34 – don't you remember the annoying "bonk bonk on the head!" kid from "Star Trek"?

Colin 9:09 AM  

@Joe Dipinto, 8:57 AM! - YES! Thank you for that clip. Trivia: That episode of Star Trek also featured Craig Hundley (now Huxley), who recorded a couple of jazz albums with two young buddies as the Craig Hundley Trio, which I am lucky to have:

Donna Hoke 9:10 AM  

I didn’t hate doing this one but was utterly unimpressed by theme, to which my response was basically, “So you did some research.” There is nothing to solve when the answers are this straightforward.

My highest marks go to the clues; there were many that felt fresh.

Gio 9:21 AM  

Lion was such a great film based on the book, A Long Way Home, which I also loved. I read the book after I saw the movie because I could not get enough. I still don't understand why the movie is titled Lion. I think that was his nickname, but the title doesn't fit the film.
It is the only reason I know who Dev Patel is so I filled in those circles first.
Same with FRIDA. I knew that was going to be the shorter answer.
I liked it but what is HEATHEAT?

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

Very tedious slog for me. I’m very much not a movie buff and pay little or no attention to the actors in films. So the actor clues helped me not at all - it was like having a bunch of long answer clues that were just “movie titles”. I had to get half or more of the crosses on almost all of them. I had never even heard of INHERENTVICE and FROMDUSKTILLDAWN. As noted by others, even the fill was not that great. No joy in this one for me. If this is really the puzzle of the (upcoming) week, I don’t think I have a lot to look forward to.

— Jim C. in Maine

P.S. Please note I don’t mean to say that this is a lousy puzzle. The concept of “in one’s wheelhouse” is definitely what was going on here, and this puzzle was not in mine.

John H 9:44 AM  

Didn't much enjoy this but I did learn something. I previously thought that one is the lowest prime, since it can only br divided by itself and one. But the definition of prime is that there must be two factors and they can't be the same. So "'dos"' is correct at 74A.

Nancy 9:44 AM  

These actors have made so many movies and I should remember them all? The only movie I got with few crosses was SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, which 1)I saw and 2)Dev Patel hasn't made all that many movies. Occasionally I knew the encapsulated movie, but not the long one: I knew FRIDA, but not FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. I'm trying to remember if the encapsulated movies helped me solve -- but who can remember?

So many pop culture names to annoy me. So much techie stuff, too. HBOGO and IOS and USENET. And junk. PEW PEW??? APRILS? AH OK?

Some ugly clues. "Jerkwad" -- are you serious?

And will someone explain to me what "TO BE -elect" means???

And yet I kept going. Why, you may ask? Well, because it was way out of my wheelhouse and did constitute a challenge -- even though it wasn't a challenge to see how clever I am but a challenge to see how many teensy little IOTAS of perfectly useless information I could cough up. But I wanted to see if I could finish the damn thing. And I did.

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

As others have asked - where's the challenge in this theme? Once you filled in the obvious long answers, the circled letters were just an afterthought. I admire the work that must have gone into the construction of this, but ultimately it was not an enjoyable Sunday solve for me.

puzzlehoarder 9:50 AM  

I ended up with the cONK/FAcIANO dnf. While filling that NE corner from the bottom I was faced with the BONK/CONK dilemma. At that point I thought 15D was going to be LUCIANO. That was the reason I chose the C. When the L and the U didn't pan out I used the fill to come up with FACIANO. It looked wrong to me but for some reason I forgot all about BONK. That word has another meaning and I really got BONKed on this section.

This puzzle came across as construction by computer. I did enjoy hacking through the fill though. It's good exercise for the solving chops and I had much better luck with the rest of the unknown names.

I can perfectly understand people's disgust with this kind of fill. AHOK was so bad I didn't even give CSIS a second thought. However sections like that and the one around IRINA required a lot of hacking and that's what keeps the edge on the old solving skills.

The theme emphasizes the two different approaches to naming movies and the puzzles' title could have been "The long and the short of it" The problem with the theme is there are any number of short words you can cherry pick from those long titles and even if the shorter titles appeared intact it would still be boring.

yd -0

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

Some Chess kid??>

Fabiano Caruana happens to be the #1 rated American chess player, who played for the world championship in 2018.

Some respect, please.


Mitch 9:54 AM  

Would one of you kind souls mind explaining to this newbie to what you are referring by Natick and PPP? Thank you

Z 9:56 AM  

{Insert “I Hate PPP Based Themes” rant here}

What’s with all the weird weird duplications in the early comments?

INHERENT VICE is a very Calvinistic title.

My EXOTIC FISH were originally arcTIC FISH.

Did they really make 11 Godfather movies? Gotta keep up with the fast and the furious I spose.

@JD - re: the remakes: Yeah, I saw that. Apparently The Supremes could enunciate.

@ws - I know we have several computer and coding professionals around. For us lay people, though, USENET is the forum.

Most definitely not my cuppa but I assume others will like the modernity and the wheelhouseness.

PaulyD 9:56 AM  

FABIANO Caruana is an Italian-American grandmaster who recently played Magnus Carlsen for the world championship. Literally hundreds of millions of people worldwide know who he is. And FACIANO as an answer is absurd on its face.

@Joaquin - Beating the spread by 29 still doesn't make up for the fact you would have gone to The Farm if only you could have gotten in.

RooMonster 9:58 AM  

Hey All !
Thanks to movies, I 1)knew the Themers, 2) knew it was BONK thanks to another movie, Gone In Sixty Seconds . When Castleback goes into Otto's shop, the muscular kid (forget his characters name) grabs a big ASS wrench. Once Castleback leaves, Memphis asks him what he planned to do with the wrench. "I was gonna BONK him", said the kid. Too into movies? Nahhh.

Anyway, enjoyed the puz. Kinda strange the HEAT HEAT, but otherwise good. Got a good chuckle from @Lewis finding ASS over HAT! Awesome. Couple plurals here that hurt my ears. APRILS is one. Technically, you can talk about many APRILS of different years, but still. PCS and PHS. Fun stack in SW, ABEL TO BE AGOG.

Speaking of HEAT, there was a bar I hung out at in Milford, CT when I was younger that they filmed s scene from HEAT at. None of the Regulars were allowed in as extras, though. πŸ˜• Bar is no longer there. πŸ˜•πŸ˜•

Writeovers I can remember, aiRwars-FAREWAR, REair-RERAN (something in the AIR?), DaLeS-DELLS, SLUMlordMILLIONAIRE first, har on that, uno-DOS (thought one was a prime?), ertl-HESS, left IOTA_ like that, waiting on the S or an E, see also _MENDS, TENdOn-TENSOR (I know a TENDON isn't a muscle!)(IT ISN'T, is it?), hitME-ASKME, might be one or two more.

An overall enjoyable puz. Quick for me for Sunday. Gotta GO FOR now. Happy Sunday.


Zach Z 9:59 AM  

Anyone else have ELLO as [yellow belly?] for a while?

Z 10:00 AM  

@Mitch - Rex explains “natick” on the web page (you need to be looking at the web version, I think). PPP is Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns. These types of answers often fall into the “you know it or you don’t” category (“wheelhouse” v “outhouse”) so if a puzzle has a lot of PPP answers it make the puzzle really easy for some and really hard for others. Rex doesn’t explain it becomes it is a commentariat term, not a Rex term.

Unknown 10:08 AM  

The weird duplications in early comments are the byproduct of moderation: a stack of comments sit invisibly until the moderator approves them, while in the meantime others unknowingly make the same comments.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

Finished this in my usual time. Just felt much longer.

David Grenier 10:22 AM  

And here I was expecting a thousand word rant on how picture-in-picture has been around since the 80s and is not "modern."

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

Why are PCS "surfaces"? And what on earth is TOBE-elect? President-elect, etc.,sure. But TO BE? Thanks

George 10:27 AM  

absolutely hated this.

Z 10:28 AM  

@unknown - So you think the moderators caused discoveringing and Build a Sunday sized grid around around a trivia based theme?

@Zach Z - No, but I briefly considered EL EL.

Sure Sure, we should all respect some chess prodigy who is now past his prime. It would be rude of me to point out that chess is so important in the US that the NYT dropped its chess column 15 years ago, so I won’t. What I really want to know is how many book covers FABIANO has been on. πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ IT’S LOVE (swoon).

Mitch 10:52 AM  

Thank you so very much! I now see Rex’s def of Natick at

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

I’ll stop respecting chess prodigies past their prime when I stop hearing about frisbee games.
If only there were more humity in the world. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate?

Fargo 11:01 AM  

@ws (8:00am) Usenet was the colloquially-named forum where (among other things) the war between alt.tasteless and rec.pets.cats was famously and hilariously fought in 1994. One can argue that the art of internet trolling was firmly established on usenet.

Fargo 11:04 AM  

@anonymous (10:23AM) Surface is a Microsoft tradename for a line of their PCs. "-elect" is synonymous with "to be," as in President-to-be.

thefogman 11:08 AM  

It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it. And that someone is Rex Parker. He is spot on in his critique today. Even so, I really enjoyed the solving experience. Rex hated it. I loved it. Somehow life goes on…

Joe Dipinto 11:08 AM  

@Colin – I wasn't familiar with Craig Hundley/Huxley at all, his LPs were out of print when I got into jazz. It doesn't look like they ever came out on CD. He was only 14 at the time! (tomorrow is his birthday)

John Megna, who played the bonk bonk kid, went to high school in Queens near where I lived. He also played Dill in "To Kill A Mockingbird". And, oddly enough, he was in "Godfather 2" as the young Hyman Roth, but his scene was cut before the final release.

As for the puzzle, I got the Pacino-DeNiro, Hayek, Pitt and Patel films right off the bat with no crosses, as well as PICTURE IN PICTURE. I assumed the Phoenix inset would be HER but didn't know the other film. I don't really pay attention to Owen Wilson but I do remember the existence of both of those films. Some grating clues, as usual. I neither liked nor disliked it.

Haven't even had time for the Acrostic yet, so I'm off to solve that now.

'cause I've seen some hot hot blazes
come down to smoke and ash

Carola 11:10 AM  

Perhaps asking too much, but besides the PICTURE IN PICTURE aspect, I looked for some relationship between the two titles - e.g., DOG and LION, SEVEN and ELEVEN, CARS and CRASH, even HER and INHERENT VICE (Eve and the apple), but couldn't do anything with HEAT and FRIDA (who did, however, help me get the longer title, which I hadn't heard of). I liked encountering the LOWLIFES and PEGLEGS and Voltaire's take on TYRANTS.

Joe Dipinto 11:17 AM  


Elect, or not elect—that is the question...


OffTheGrid 11:22 AM  

Enjoy this KEDS ADSPOT

Jesse 11:23 AM  

As a person who isn't a big movie watcher, this puzzle was more challenging than the typical Sunday. It also wasn't that fun. Oh well!

Nancy 11:26 AM  

Nice, Joe! (11:17)

thefogman 11:30 AM  

Just a little survey here. I love solving the NYT Spelling Bee puzzle. But there are two kinds. There’s the print edition by Frank Longo that appears in the NYT Sunday magazine and there’s the online editon by Sam Ezerski. Both are the same puzzle but with different rules. Which one do you prefer and why? I personally prefer the print edition because it does not accept four-letter words which can really extend the word list. The downside to the print edition is you don’t get automatic feedback regarding whether the word you entered is acceptable (or not). Even so, I still prefern the print edition.

Diane Joan 11:48 AM  

Good way to start a Sunday. I liked it and the movies, for a change, came to mind readily. Nice to learn about the young chess grandmaster too. Unfortunately "ecocide" has been on my mind a lot lately, especially our constantly increasing carbon footprint as we go through our daily lives. On a happier note at least someone is getting a "hatful" of money! I'm counting my blessings today!

Happy Thanksgiving Week to all!

Photomatte 11:56 AM  

Does Picture in Picture still exist? I haven't seen that feature on a television set in at least 20 years. I can't believe it was clued as a "modern tech feature" when it was available as early as the 1990s.

Joseph Michael 12:13 PM  

I’m on the islet with those who enjoyed this puzzle and were impressed by the feat of finding a film within a film with the same actor starring in both. I guess it was just in my wheelhouse. For example, BONK was the first word that came to mind when I thought about a bop on the head. And though I have never heard of FABIANO, I wrote in his name intuitively off the F and B. Same was true of the film titles, even though I haven’t seen half of them.

Funny how Rex says that the theme is clever and then spends most of his critique tearing the puzzle to shreds. Did he once see a bad movie on HBO GO or something?

Favorite clue was the one for EXOTIC FISH. Also liked the Voltaire quote about TYRANTS. Seems apt in the current political climate. Least favorite clue was the one for PEW. (Did we really have to leave church and GO FOR shooting laser beams?)

Because the puzzle was easy, I was able to finish it before I got bored, which is what usually happens to me on Sundays. Thumbs up for Adam Wagner.

Masked and Anonymous 12:55 PM  

Neat theme idea, even if a bit devoid of the humor that can make a SunPuz less of a chore to solve.
Can't help wonder if this kind of theme idea could also be applied to song titles…

some of the fave sparkly bits, at our house: NOSIREEBOB. IWONDER. PATOOT. GOLIATHS. LOWLIFES.

Puz did have a lotta names that were of the mysterious ilk, at our house. They slowed my nanosecond response team down a lot more than the themers did. [Only tough themer, becuz unknown flick to M&A: INHERENTVICE. Kept tryin to parse that pup as: IN HERE +somethin.]

staff weeject pick: INA. Well-known opposite of OUTA. Better go-to INA clue: {"___-Gadda-Da-Vida"}.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Wagner dude. Well-researched theme. Appreciate yer effort.

Masked & Anonym007Us

harder than snot:

much eazy-E-er:

Z 12:56 PM  

Well actually … both iOS and Android have recently added PICTURE IN PICTURE functionality. Who knew? Well, I did because I once accidentally started it and had a hard time figuring out how to turn it off. I also think almost all new TVs offer some way to do PICTURE IN PICTURE and split screen views. Not that I ever use either, but I think it’s one of those options that are now so relatively low cost that they are just standard. It might take a little effort to figure out, but your tv can probably do both.

@anon - Here’s some humity just for you. (FYI - #17 in Black is a good friend but I didn’t know him when this was filmed).

Liveprof 1:40 PM  

One of my favorite NYer cartoons: An actor in Shakespearean garb who has forgotten his line is looking at the person below the stage who is whispering to him: "Or not to be."

As for today's puzzle -- it was all worth it for ASS over HAT.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! -- I am fairly new to this group, and am thankful for it.

Jordan Siff 1:53 PM  

Did anyone have ELLO for yellow belly, because that would be a “larger” belly of the word? I also really wanted TENSOR to be TENDON, which didn’t help either

Georgia 2:10 PM  

My laptop is a Surface Pro, I think it's shorthand for that??

Eniale 2:47 PM  

Liked CANARDS which we don't see that often; didn't at all like UNALERT; did two-thirds and then couldn't be bothered any more.
Agree about getting bored towards the end of a Sunday puzzle.


yd 0 with help; td pg -5.

Barbara S, okanoganer and became - congratulations as always; I live in awe.

G. Weissman 3:17 PM  

Writing in “Slumdog Millionaire” and then seeing that L I O N appears within that title gives me no pleasure and plays no part in my solve. I was hoping for some clever wordplay that would involve combining the names of films. No luck there. This was the kind of theme that surely entertained the constructor far more than the solver — at least this solver. The double H E A T was indeed a low point. Holy mackerel, thought the constructor, the movie title appears twice in another movie title starring two big names! What a coincidence. What are the chances? But who cares? The constructor does, that’s who. (And if you do, I’m glad somebody else got some enjoyment out of that.) The “yellow bellies” clue was the pits, imo. Two letter L’s in the middle of the word — that’s supposed to equal two “ells” in the “belly” of a six-letter word. Only in a crossword puzzle where the need for short fill means anything goes — foreign words, initials, shortened words, proper names, make up stuff like UHOK or AHOK, etc. For me this was an underwhelming puzzle.

CDilly52 3:54 PM  

This solve was gruesome. Just gruesome. Not only was I nowhere near the constructor’s wavelength, after slogging through a solve with no humor, few exceptionally clever clues, and a theme that for me is a gigantic “so what,”.I was too exhausted to sit and figure out what other movies embedded in the theme movies. And that is absolutely all I have to say. I need a drink!

Nancy 3:58 PM  

I was pretty negative about the puzzle today -- but going back to the comments and seeing how many people were waiting with bated breath as they anticipated the fall of my wall*, I realize that I may not have been quite negative enough. Meanwhile, my wall asked me to let you know that it is grateful for your concern. "I AM HUMBLED by their solicitousness" is what my wall said to me, but I was having none of it. "Let's have no more of your fake modesty, Wall," is what I said. "And just remember you had a closer call today than you might think."

Fall/wall/close call -- there's a lyric in there, somewhere.

Anonymous 4:02 PM  

Got correct answers (with my wife's considerable help) at potential Naticks of PCS crossing PEW, CROSSE crossing SAL, and NORAH crossing IRINA.

Got messed up by writing Due instead of DOS, so GOLIATH was a long time coming.

Never figured out what the circled letters denoted until reading Rex. I thought the point was somehow that Dev Patel became a millionaire after making SLUMDOGMILLIONAIRE.


GILL I. 4:31 PM  

FABIANO and BONK were already quite drunk and couldn't find their local bar. PATOOT was with them and guided them in the right direction. EXOTIC FISH was the bartender this evening and asked them what they wanted to imbibe. BONK said he's have the CONADS. FABIANO ordered THE GOD FATHER. IRINA (with the SHORT I) was at the end of the bar and yelled at them "TAKE A LEAVE you SLUM DOG, NO SIREE BOB, GO FOR the AHOOT.....It'll put some PULP on your AHOK and you won't need a DAY SPA".....Just be sure to clean your SWANEE you bunch of LOW LIFES.
But did you like this? you ask.
I need a drink.....

Anonymous 4:40 PM  

The president-elect is going to be the next president. The president TO BE.

Anonymous 5:16 PM  

An hour plus of frisbee? Oof. I’ll say two rosaries for you and a third for your pal #17.
In the fullness of time perhaps I’ll learn what this has to do with humility. But I doubt it.
By the way, you’ve got Calvinism cocked up. It isn’t inherent vice that deceives man (per Calvin) but that his nature makes vice impossible to resist. A cris I’ll difference which you’ve misunderstood. The good news, Calvin was wrong. So, no harm no foul.

What? 5:18 PM  

Ok, kept me occupied. Liked the misdirected fills. Didn’t like UNALERT. Is that a word?

Barbara S. 5:32 PM  

One-letter DNF on CuNARDS/uHOK. Aargh, just such a dumb mistake, but I can never remember CANARDS as baseless rumors, only as French ducks (quack, quack). And uH OK is just as silly as AH OK. Anyway, that wrecked a nice little 36-day streak of which I was quite fond – a small thing, but mine own. (Who said that? Ah, it's a misquotation of Shakespeare, As You Like It, Touchstone says of his fiancΓ©e Audrey, “a poor virgin, sir, an ill-favoured thing, sir, but mine own.” Poor Audrey. Oops, sorry – terrible tangent.)

I liked the theme with the embedded film titles. The only one that gave me momentary trouble was INHERENT VICE but I did remember HER (although I admit my first thought was “She” Γ  la H. Ryder Haggard).

I think my favorite thing about the puzzle was the inclusion of both PEG LEGS and POGO sticks – I’m thinking of the POGO sticks you bounce around on, not the kind you eat. Adding to the category of interesting and unusual wooden objects is also the CROSSE, the lacrosse stick.

Did anyone else find the pairing of “Goes to hell” and ROTS interesting? I’m not quite sure what to make of it. Some sort of strange, personally derived metaphor from our constructor.

@okanaganer, @bocamp, @Eniale. Thanks for the SB acknowledgement. Yesterday was not my fourth QB in a row, alas. I missed Friday at pg-3, which is precisely where I am with today’s (so far…).

Matt 5:36 PM  

I had a love/hate relationship with the puzzle that kept flipping polarity as o worked it. After the first couple of shtick clues I was "is that all there is?" Once the Times might not have had circles to give away the hidden embedded answers or clued them somewhat more difficultly (something like "Films about Brad Pitt going to a convenience store?" or "Sweaty sequel for Deniro and Pacino?" or "Selma Hayek's work day, per Diego Rivera?" Etc.

But bajeezus, Fabiano Caruana is the best chess player the US has produced in a generation! Maybe the Times should reintroduce the chess column if that wasn't the easiest fill in clue on a Sunday all year. And I give style points for any puzzle with NOSIREEBOB and CANARDS.


In the end I'm left feeling just a bit dissatisfied at how easy it was and just a bit too much of the fluff fill.

Matt 5:37 PM  

Not according to Spelling Bee, if memory serves...

TTrimble 5:43 PM  

I sort of enjoyed the thematic idea, and wondered how the constructor came up with it. I also thought the revealer PICTURE IN PICTURE was quite cute. I'll go out on a limb and guess that it was OCEANS ELEVEN/SEVEN that set the wheels in motion. That was for me the best of the batch; the other embedded answers were so short, except for HEAT HEAT where maybe I can see Rex's cavil (is it really customary for people to spell out e.g. THE GODFATHER PART II, as opposed to just THE GODFATHER 2?).

The themed answers were mostly easy. Second best I thought was FRIDA (which as a movie I really liked) inside FROM DUSK TILL DAWN.

Hardest for me was the NW where again I was once again confounded by my ignorance of rap, although it seems I CRY was obscure rap even by Rexian standards. (I found "I CRY" hard to intuit. As a standalone sentence it sounds weird, being shorter than the shortest sentence in the Bible, "Jesus wept." And TYPE A didn't exactly scream out to me as the answer to "driven". Tricky.)

PATOOT is fine. Channel Colonel Potter. Actually, it's part of my lexicon as well. "Pain in the patoot" just rolls off the tongue and softens the vulgarity of "pain in the ass" in a folksy and alliterative way.

I don't hear EGAD that much as it is; Rex's quibbling over EGADS seems like splitting hairs. I always thought that was short for "ye gods" -- which is actually listed as the etymology by Wiktionary -- but apparently the derivation of either is somewhat speculative. If we're talking about <a href=">minced oaths</a>, I'll go with zounds (God's hounds).

I agree with some others that Rex is being his provincial self by sniffing at FABIANO Caruano. In the first place, it seems like a somewhat easily inferred CROSS(E) -- even he admits that. And it's just another wheelhouse. Rex doesn't have to be rude about it: not just "some chess kid" (if that were all he was, Rex would have a valid complaint), but a distinguished powerhouse in that particular world. I'll bet he doesn't know who Ronnie O'Sullivan is either. Rex: it's a big world, outside your narrow interests.
It's okay to grant chess players a little something now and then (or throw them a sop, whatever).

EXOTIC FISH is outside my wheelhouse. But see, I'm not complaining!

I'm amused at myself that TENSOR took me so long. Yup, it's a type of muscle all right. But EGADS, that is a very common term within my particular areas of interest, for non-muscular reasons. TENSOR products, baby.

Ooh, looky there, KEDS and ZEDS. I like that.

If I might register a complaint about what seems a generally decent (and educational) puzzle, it's that the grid layout feels a bit choppy. I don't agree the cluing was overall bad. I thought the one for PEGLEGS was good. And the one for DILATES -- I had to pause to sort that one out, since it's so organ-specific. (Did anyone explain to @NANCY TO BE? As in president-to-be is the president-elect.)

SB: I've lost count, but 0 for the past 7 or 8 days. However, that's with keeping some tabs open. A gerund connected with a big Madonna hit caused me some difficulty recently.

I've been away. I'm not doing AM comments these days, but I find myself too tired recently to do even PM comments. Somehow the time change has messed with me *much* more than it has in the past.

TTrimble 6:01 PM  

Ah nuts, I meant to link to this in my comment, but botched the syntax ever so slightly: minced oaths. (Cf. EGADS)

Joe Dipinto 7:10 PM  

@TTrimble – I thought the same thing about godfatherly numbering. The sequels are always just referred to as "Godfather 2" and "...3", it seems to me. But the official titles were in fact "The Godfather Part II" and "...Part III", as borne out by the film posters.

Harry 7:19 PM  

Another cONK DNF. Actually, I stumbled all over this puzzle and caught a handful of errors after "filling" the grid. FAcIANO is a valid last name ... never questioned it as a first. :(

I don't fault the constructor; the theme was more than passable. But I didn't enjoy this one whit and it was a relief to reach for the "REVEAL" button.

Nancy 7:40 PM  

@Barbara s (5:32) -- He really said that?! If I'd been Audrey I would have broken off the engagement right then and there.

RooMonster 7:42 PM  

As yes, Ronnie. I've seen videos of him about 14 years old, and he was great then! After seeing all the newer games he's played, it's fun to see him as a teen.

Used to love the cartoon Darkwing Duck , where the home city they lived in was St. CANARD. Ah, memories of youth.
"Here comes, Darkwing Duck, look out! When there's trouble you call DW!" 😁

RooMonster Memories (I remember!) Guy

egsforbreakfast 8:20 PM  

Mean wall, back at @Nancy’s place.

Anonymous 9:13 PM  

not sure those fish are all that EXOTIC. seem to recall seeing the like in many pet stores.

only watched the original, and only for a while, but they did call each other "a CSI" in the dialogue.

odd factoid: the 'new' Las Vegas version has the Peterson character married to the Fox character, yet Fox either left the original show or was fired for a period of time.

TTrimble 9:43 PM  

Pleased you know of him. If ever there was a natural born genius, it's him. I didn't know a thing about the game in 1999 when we were living in England, but watching him on TV, I found him electrifying: in his pace, his table vision, his supreme self-confidence. I've since followed him a bit. Over a thousand centuries in professional match play! The fastest 147, in a little over 5 minutes! And after all these years, he is still world-class.

And despite the controversy that swirls around him, a worthy ambassador for the sport, a great encouragement to many.

Did someone already mention "Took a bow" as a fine clue for ARCED? Some nifty misdirection there.

Anonymous 10:10 PM  

My biggest foes were the names and the pop culture references.

Second biggest gripes all agreed with Rex - poor cluing and obscure words.

Biggest nit - the moon's gravity affects the Earth. Gravitational forces then influence the tides. So the force is gravity, the effect is on the tide.

Okoume 10:23 PM  

We lived in Milford,CT, for the last 15 years! Just moved in August

TTrimble 11:24 PM  

@Anonymous 10:10 PM
Yes, certainly, point taken. But there are nuances. By memory: the Earth's gravitational pull on a point of ocean directly between Earth and Moon is about 9 million times stronger than the Moon's.

Where the Moon's gravitational effects on the ocean become pronounced are about 90 degrees away from that direct point, especially: a line from the center of the Moon that is tangent to the surface of the Earth. At the tangency point, the component of the force due to Earth's gravitational pull in that tangent line direction is zero, so that the Moon's pull takes over there, and that pull draws the ocean waters closer toward the point between Earth and Moon, hence the TIDAL force. Over time, this (and to a lesser extent, the force from the sun) will slow the Earth's rotation, making the day longer over time.

Conversely, the tidal forces of earth on the moon has over time locked the moon's "face": we don't see the rotation of the Moon about an axis, rather we see only one face of the Moon at any time. Tidal lockings are especially recognized around the gas giants like Saturn.

So it would be much better to acknowledge that TIDAL force refers to a specific phenomenon that is recognized in science, instead of pretending that the phrase is incoherent enough to merit a nit.

Anonymous 12:49 AM  

Fabiano Caruana is not some chess kid. He is #2 in the world. May not warrant a clue, but not nobody either. Agree overall about this one. Not much fun, even if the chess clue was a gimme.

kitshef 7:46 PM  

Once every couple of years, following chess pays off in the NYT puzzle. FABIANO was a gimme for me. He is the last American to play for the world championship, and the first since Bobby Fischer (unless you count Kamsky in the 'split title' era).

The world 2020 world championship is being played right now (postponed a year, of course). Remember this name: Ian Nepomniachtchi. He may soon be the world champion. If he appears in a puzzle, I expect it will by by his nickname, Nepo.

Burma Shave 12:26 PM  




rondo 3:10 PM  

Well there's an hour I won't get back. Interesting phenomenon but surely discovered on the internet during somebody's deep dive down a rabbit hole.
Have seen one of the films in circles and one not circled, maybe trailers for a couple more, so not exactly mainstream.

And the Pioneer Press again had several incomplete clues. Not helpful.

@spacey and others sure to love ELLS and SHORTI. Real GEMS.

IRINA Shayk, yeah baby.

Basing a puz on PPP sure to alienate others. Too much trivia even for me.

Monsta 1:22 AM  

I’m just here to say Alison Moyet deserved way much more attention and appreciation for her fabulous voice. Thanks for posting a clip. She was Adele before there was an Adele.

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