Popular gem-matching app game / WED 11-3-21 / Hebrew letter that also names a part of the body / Noted anonymous street artist / Increasingly outmoded circus role / Charles who helped invent the mechanical computer / Agere sequitur action follows being Lat

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Constructor: Dan Harris

Relative difficulty: Medium, maybe skewing toward "Medium-Challenging" just because there's so much white space (for a Wednesday)


THEME: AFTERLIFE (54A: The great beyond ... or where each word in 17-, 24-, 35- and 45-Across might found?) — theme answers are made out of words that can follow "LIFE" in familiar phrases (life-long, life story, lifetime, LifeSavers, etc.)

Theme answers:
  • LONG STORY (17A: It might be made short)
  • TIMESAVERS (24A: Shortcuts)
  • INSURANCE FORM (35A: Paper to fill out when asserting a claim)
  • BLOODLINES (45A: Pedigrees)
Word of the Day: Charles BABBAGE (38D: Charles who helped invent the mechanical computer) —

Charles Babbage KH FRS (/ˈbæbɪ/; 26 December 1791 – 18 October 1871) was an English polymath. A mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer, Babbage originated the concept of a digital programmable computer.

Babbage is considered by some to be [the] "father of the computer". Babbage is credited with inventing the first mechanical computer, the Difference Engine, that eventually led to more complex electronic designs, though all the essential ideas of modern computers are to be found in Babbage's Analytical Engine, programmed using a principle openly borrowed from the Jacquard loom. Babbage had a broad range of interests in addition to his work on computers covered in his book Economy of Manufactures and Machinery. His varied work in other fields has led him to be described as "pre-eminent" among the many polymaths of his century.

Babbage, who died before the complete successful engineering of many of his designs, including his Difference Engine and Analytical Engine, remained a prominent figure in the ideating of computing. Parts of Babbage's incomplete mechanisms are on display in the Science Museum in London. In 1991, a functioning difference engine was constructed from Babbage's original plans. Built to tolerances achievable in the 19th century, the success of the finished engine indicated that Babbage's machine would have worked. (wikipedia)

• • •

I was put off this puzzle right from the start, and despite some nice moments, it never really got me back. The low word count was out of place on a Wednesday. I took one look at the grid and thought "what is a Friday or Saturday grid doing in my Wednesday puzzle?!" 72 words is themeless territory. I couldn't even tell which answers were the themers, and solving the puzzle didn't improve matters much on that front. Only the revealer gave me any sense of what was going on, or where the themers even were. I don't really understand why the 9s (LONG STORY, AFTERLIFE) are parts of 9 *stacks*. Aesthetically, I just don't like when themers don't pop, when they're put alongside non-themers of exactly the same length. Admittedly, this is a matter of taste, but I don't think the grid is improved by the stacks in the NW and SE. I know that by asking for the eradication of the weirdly giant stacks in the NW and SE, it *seems* like I'm asking for more short fill, but really I'm just asking for an overall better-built / better-conceived grid, one where the themers stand out more, and one where I don't have to suffer through weak stack crosses like ARTE or EER (crossing -EER?) or whatever FIL is—I would've thought short for "father-in-law" but no, it's a brand name (strike one) part (strike two), and the brand is notoriously, iconically anti-LGBTQ (strike three ... please enjoy this baseball metaphor, in honor of the end of baseball season—congrats to the Atlanta baseball team: ownership and tomahawk-chopping, fake-war-chanting fans can continue to shove it). The worst part about the theme, though, is that it's an old type and a boring type. There's no real joy for the solver here. What happens is, you finish your grid, and then you read the revealer clue more closely, and then you go "huh..." and then you just go back and plug "LIFE" in front of each theme answer word part, and you think "whaddya know, those do make phrases ... gee." Seriously, "gee" is the emotional peak for the solver. Also, I don't know if you even bother going back and mentally putting "LIFE" in front of every single theme answer part (I sure didn't—sounds about as exciting as filling out an INSURANCE FORM). 


Further further, the themers themselves are fairly boring (as they often are in this well-worn theme type, where you are pretty restricted in terms of your answers and those answers therefore tend to be phrases made out of very common words). The themers aren't that interesting on their own, they don't stand out visually in the grid, you don't even know *that* they're themers until you're done, and having to go back and re-encounter them to make sense of the theme isn't any fun. On the plus side, you do get a lot more longer answers than you do in a typical themed grid, and some of them pay off. Well, PIANO SONATA pays off. The rest are fine. TARGET AREAS feels pretty original. I also liked seeing BANKSY. I like how BANKSY's real-life identity is also in the grid—I remember how shocked I was this past summer when BANKSY finally told the world that he was, in fact, Hollywood's Haley Joel OSMENT. That guy wasn't even on anyone's radar. No one suspected. What a coup.


The wide-open grid would've been more welcome if the fill had been stronger. BPOE AUS ALTA EER ERR ARTE FIL CAEN ESSE ADSITE LEONI IVANV THU BSIDE OKRAS (plural?) TGI (an exclamation ... part?), this is the glut of subpar fill that you usually avoid in a well-produced, wide-open, low-word-count *themeless* grid. Trying to go low with a theme putting restrictive pressure on the grid is always dicey. I confess that my reaction is likely more negative than most because the clue on 1A: Popular gem-matching app game was nails on a chalkboard, every inch of it. I can't think of anything I'd like less. Also, I got comics artist GIL Kane confused with cartoonist BIL Keane, so my "gem-matching app game" (it hurts just to write that) started with a "G" for a while. GEJEW- something something. Cluing the ordinary word BEJEWELED that way is ... I mean, maybe the puzzle thinks it's fresh and young and modern or whatever, but all I see are beleaguered people hunched over their phones on the subway or bus or in class or whatever. "App game" evokes screen addiction and depression to me. Dystopia. Not the direction I'd think you'd want to take a bright, shiny, perfectly good non-app word like BEJEWELED. But maybe you enjoy app games. Maybe you're playing one right now. Well then our respective experiences of that corner will be very different. And that's fine. I am slowly honing my Crusty Old Man Who Hates Everything skills, in preparation for what I hope will be a long life of crustiness and hating everything (but secretly loving everything and just being very disappointed in the world). Bah! See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

106 comments:

Conrad 6:44 AM  


@Rex, no worries. Your Crusty Old Man Who Hates Everything skills are sharp, and have been sharp for as long as I've been reading this blog.

Lewis 6:49 AM  

Well, Dan can fill a grid – four theme answers plus stacks north, south, east, and west, the latter two being 11s! This is hard to do cleanly, and the grid is a touch shy of spotless, but there is great skill here, and the possibility of Dan becoming an upper tier constructor.

For the second day in a row, I’m going to list the NYT answer debuts -- six of them -- because they are excellent. Answer debuts are hard to come by, given how many puzzles have been published, and to have six that are so in-the-language is impressive: BEJEWELED, BLOODLINES, ILL TEMPER, INSURANCE FORM, MANIPULATOR, TARGET AREAS. Bravo on these, Dan!

I loved meeting the lovely BEJEWELED, GNASH, EXTOL, and BANKSY along the way, the latter because it triggered images of his gorgeous vivid work. I also liked the neighbors CORE and TARGET AREA(S). I would have liked more wordplay in the cluing, as I believe there should be a definite wordplay presence in the Wednesday puzzle.

It’s been an eventful week for me. Yesterday my steak matched my year of birth, today is my anniversary, and now I’ve been introduced to a constructor who shows wonderful promise. Thank you, Dan, for making this puzzle, and I hope to see more from you!

Anonymous 6:52 AM  

So we have eight words paired in 4 answers. Each word has a meaning if placed "after" "life". But I have a nit.

You can have life insurance or a life form. You can also have a life insurance form.

But life long story, life time savers, and life blood lines are not ENTITies, i.e. things.

I also really liked the puzzle. I thought it was great to have all those long answers on Wednesday. BTW, Wednesday, at 9 letters, is the longest day name. And the only one with 3 syllables

NB 6:53 AM  

Arnold Schwarzenegger is from AUT/Austria, not from AUS/Australia!

Anonymous 7:11 AM  

@NB. Welcome to the NYT Xword where abbreviations are what W.S. says they are.

Son Volt 7:28 AM  

Fun puzzle to work on - although more like Monday level toughness. Definitely an old school theme but well crafted - liked AFTERLIFE as a revealer. The MANIPULATOR - PIANO SONATA stack was solid.

Agree with Rex on the magnitude of the short, ugly stuff - ATMS, ARTE, ESSE, etc are all bad. Now that Halloween is over it’s full-on XMAS everywhere you look.

Enjoyable Wednesday solve.

kitshef 7:30 AM  

Just about lost me with a complete WoE at 1 across, then slowly started to win me back, a process that was completed with BABBAGE. Wound up feeling like it was an OK puzzle.

bocamp 7:30 AM  

Thx Dan, really enjoyed the challenge! :)

Med., except the SW.

Didn't know either BABBAGE or BANKSY, so that cross was a bit scary.

Had oodleS before OCEANS, so took some time to sort out that area.

Nice, crunchy puz; lots of fun! :)

@Eniale (4:04 PM yd) / @TTrimble (11:10 PM yd) ty both :)
___

yd 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 7:36 AM  

Easy. Fun.

Mr. Grumpypants 7:42 AM  

BOR-ING

Z 7:44 AM  

I am a Crusty Old Man who happens to have BEJEWELED Classic on his iPad. At 21, the game is now old enough to drink. So “fresh?” Not so much. I mean, come on, if it has “classic” in the name now you know it has been around since the Roman Empire.
I will never ever ever be a fan of PPP at 1A, nor of taking a perfectly good word like BEJEWELED and PPPizing it. So, not “fresh” and PPPed, so not a great start (although I put all the pearl clutching about “screen time addiction” right there with “comic books lead to juvenile delinquency” worries).

As themes of this type go this wasn’t the worst. The solve is pretty much an easy themeless solve and I prefer a themeless to most themed puzzles (good original themes are hard to come by). Rex is spot on regarding the “meh, okay if you say so” reaction to the theme set. What I didn’t realize until reading Rex is that the themers are, indeed, the weakest of the long answers. INSURANCE FORMS? Is there a better Epitome of Drudgery to be found? And it’s your central, marquee themer? Oof. While I liked this puzzle more than Rex, he’s correct that the themers and the attendant constraints are more weaknesses than strengths.

@Conrad - I see what you did there. 👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽

@NB - If the reference was to postal service I would agree, but since I don’t deliver mail I’m not overly concerned with confusing AUStria and AUStralia when I abbreviate.

amyyanni 7:46 AM  

This is an old-timey entry, but that's okay once in a while (Rex points out it's more than once in a while). Lewis aptly described the high points of the puzzle.
Judgment may be impaired a bit. Got the Booster yesterday, and forgot that last time, needed some ibuprofen the following day to function. Awaiting the kicking in of said drug.😞 Very worth the minor and short lived ache. So so so much easier to obtain than the 1st two! Happy Hump Day.

Anonymous 8:08 AM  

Easy. Fun. I’ve never played an app game. Except this one, I suppose.

Dr.A 8:15 AM  

What is BPOE? I just don’t get that answer. I mean -I GOT it, but I don’t GET it.

mmorgan 8:22 AM  

I started this last night and got sleepy and finished it this morning. I got AFTERLIFE last night but this morning completely forgot there was a theme at all until I read Rex. What I liked about this puzzle were the gettable but fresh-feeling long downs. And some others — I’m not a Disney fan but I liked IMAGINEER. Barely noticed any drecky fill. Never heard of BEJEWELED but it came easily and obviously from crosses.

But Rex gets an extra star for his write up today. A classic in its own time!

Lewis 8:32 AM  

Just read my comment over, and of course, "steak" should be "streak", though someone on another site who read it said, "You certainly age your steaks!"

SouthsideJohnny 8:33 AM  

Another of those all-too-frequent "out of the wheelhouse days" for me trivia-wise. Fortunately, my solving skills are improving to the point where I can bop-and-weave my way through the grid looking for that magical toehold to restart the domino effect.

It looks like a darn shame to me that they took a great term like BEJEWELED and turned it into a dark matter entry (and crossed it with BIL and EER no less). Similarly - BABBAGE crossing BPOE and BANSKY is absolutely the crossword equivalent of quicksand - sometimes there is just no way to fight your way through it and you hope that someone throws you a lifeline.

This is just a nit - but holy cow, there has absolutely got to be a better way to clue JAN and MARLA without resorting to the Brady Bunch and The Jeffersons - what purpose does that serve ? Probably about 1/2 of 1% of people under 50 will know those answers, and what - maybe, maybe 1 out of 100 of us older than that will know both of those straight-up.

It's interesting that Rex counts the size and placement of each theme entries, contemplates that grammatical appropriateness of each term (and their relationship to each other, et c) - and all I want is a grid that is extremely light on arcane and esoteric trivia (like dead popes and czars), and foreign and made-up words like CAEN and BPOE. Note - I'm not suggesting they should be banned, just used with a little discretion instead of in typical American bourgeois fashion ("Gee, this brandy is good, let's finish the bottle!").

pabloinnh 8:34 AM  

Yep, read the clue for 1A and thought, oh great, here we go. Knew BIL, as it's a name you see and say, "that's weird", but not JAN or EMO as clued. Thankfully, despair was short-lived.

Missed the theme while solving, and had to go back and read everything twice to get it to make sense. When I noticed the "each word" part of the revealer, the themers took on a much larger aha! factor. Impressive feat of construction there.

Outside of Ms. LEONI and EXALT for EXTOL, everything went in with a pleasing degree of smoothness. Liked all the long answers and will take some subpar fill as the price of all that.

The baseball season is over, which is always slightly sad. Try telling Europeans that an MLB team plays 162 games in the regular season, and more if they're good or lucky. Totally agree with OFL's mini rant about the chop and the war chant, and I'm glad the Braves won on the road so we didn't have to put up with either of them during the last game of the year.

Nice crunchy Wednesday, DH. Do Hope you'll be making lots more of these, and thanks for the fun.

Anonymous 8:37 AM  

BPOE is Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks. I had to look it up. Yuck to that clue and answer.

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

“Benevolent and protective order of elks”
Fraternal order

Can’t say l see a big difference between someone staring at a phone doing this puzzle on the bus,instead of playing a game.
This semi crusty old timer says if you don’t like Chick fil a,don’t eat it.
Do your campaigning and preaching elsewhere please.


jfpon 8:50 AM  

BPOE=Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks. Spinoff of Ralph Kramden's Racoon Lodge ;)

F. Flintstone 8:53 AM  

@ Dr. A (8:15)

Just a cheap knock-off of the LOWB

jberg 8:54 AM  

Exactly the opposite reaction to Rex -- I was cursing about 1A and 15A, asking how I could be expected to know these two proper names, until the answers finally emerged from the crosses and turned out to be a real word and a well-known slogan. That felt good. And then puzzling, puzzling, puzzling over what the theme might possibly be, then finally getting to the revealer and finding it was something totally unexpected. That was a nice moment.

On the other hand, TGI is worse than Rex thinks -- it's not clued as part of an exclamation, but as part of a restaurant brand name; the exclamation is "Friday," the restaurant is "Fridays," as clued. PATTy before PATTI, easily fixed; EXalt before EXTOL gave me a little more trouble. And then there was my sloppy lettering; I spent many nanoseconds wondering what a Life STORm was.

@Lewis, thanks for clarifying -- I was trying to think of a steak name with a number in it. Seriously.

@Dr. A -- Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks (not sure about that "the").

Jim in Canada 8:58 AM  

The plural of OKRA is OKRA.
I grew up in the South and I have never, ever, ever heard anyone put an S on it, not even those folks who put an S on sheep or shrimp and think it's right.

puzzlehoarder 9:01 AM  

The nicest thing about this puzzle was how it felt like a themeless until you got down to the revealer by which time the solve is virtually over. I had the illusion of solving a Wednesday themeless up to that point. It felt tough for a Wednesday but I finished in only a minute over my average even solving by phone.

The obscurity of 1A and initially striking out on the first three downs helped set up that perception of difficulty. This also allowed me to give the puzzle a pass on the OCEANS of short crosswordese

The constructor's generosity with quality material raised the level of the solve. A couple of unknown names stood out. Both BABBAGE and OSMENT have appeared only once before and both were in puzzles by non other than PB-1. Odd coincidence.

yd -1 the compound word that got away

Crunchy 9:06 AM  

@anon 8:48 - It's HIS Blog - I believe he can say what he likes and if you don't like it, don't read it. Advice from a fellow crusty fellow.

What's up with the Haley Joel Osment/Banksy thing? It's not real so I must be missing something.

Glen Laker 9:06 AM  

Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. A little surprised that Rex didn’t go ballistic on that organization.

Nancy 9:11 AM  

You really had to clue the lovely word BEJEWELED with an app game???

What on earth is an IMAGINEER?

To cross BPOE with BABBAGE -- all I can say is UGG.

Did you notice that there are four product names or companies in your grid: UGG, BENGAY, Chick-FIL-A and ATARI? Do you care? Are you getting an agent's FEE, perhaps?

Let's not even discuss JAN, LEONI, MARLA and OSMENT.

The kind of puzzle that makes me GNASH my teeth.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

BPOE X ESSE is a bit of a Natick IMO. As a younger millennial, I have never met a person in an Elks club, and was really looking for a pluralized Greek letter there (RHOS, maybe?). Only assumed the final E because of a very very cursory knowledge of Latin...

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

Super ordinary puzzle (neither good nor bad) other than the dumb cross of BPOE and BABBAGE. Is BABBAGE a commonly known word in crossword land?? I have never heard of it, and crossed with an unused acronym means it is literally impossible to work it out without either trying all 26 letters of the alphabet until my iPad congratulated me, or cheating on google. I don’t like. Puzzle where the only way to finish is to google…..

bocamp 9:20 AM  

One of my fave streaming series: The IMAGINEERing Story on Disney+

"The Imagineering Story is a 2019 documentary streaming television miniseries created, directed and executive produced by Leslie Iwerks. The series is focused on Walt Disney Imagineering and takes an in depth-look at the history and creation of the Disney theme parks and attractions around the world. The series premiered on Disney+ at the launch date of November 12, 2019." (Wikipedia)
___

td pg -3 (timed out)

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Tom T 9:29 AM  

Wow, I seem to be the outlier here. While working it, I was thinking this was one of the most elegant puzzles I have seen. Looking at it through the eyes of the other comments, I see all the reasons for the complaints (I guess). My solve was so focused on the LONG answers (TARGET AREAS, ENLARGEMENT, IMAGINEER, MANIPULATOR, etc.), that the short fill fell in place without my even noticing.

Diagonally speaking, in his complaint about EER over EER, Rex did not see that we have EER over EER connected with a diagonal EER!

E _ E _
_ E E R
_ _ R _

What a feat of construction! :-)

Maybe my solve was influenced by the happy glow of my Braves finally getting past their championship jinx. Look, I understand all the reasons people want to hate on the Braves franchise, and I would love to see changes made. But my experience with them began long ago (55 years) in a different time, when they moved to Atlanta and a 15 year old kid from Middle Georgia was introduced to the wonder of watching the great Hank Aaron play the great game of baseball. My heart was captured in a way that can't be undone. Last night I watched the game on a Zoom call with my two sons, one of them 5 time zones away in Germany and the other 3 time zones away in the other direction. It was a very good night!

In honor of the World Series, the hidden diagonal word of this grid is clued as follows: A good place for a double

Answer:


GAP (@32A, ascending to NE)

EdFromHackensack 9:33 AM  

BABBAGE and BANKSY is killer. what does Osment have to do with it? also, ADSITE?? UGG. did not like this puzzle at all

johnk 9:46 AM  

Wednesday has 3 syllables only if it's pronounced like no one does. Who says wed-nes-day? And then there's Saturday. How many syllables? Oh - 3, making it the only day name that most of us pronounce with 3 syllables.

johnk 9:52 AM  

What? You've never heard Beethoven's 32 Piano Tonatas? W.S. knows them all by hart.

Nancy 9:56 AM  

Too bad you corrected, Lewis. I was planning to say: "My, that's a REALLY, REALLY old steak! Are you sure you should eat it?"

(From yesterday's blog) How did I miss @Joe Dipinto's eyeglasses/carrots story and all the blog bon mots that followed it? I don't even want to try to IMAGINEER how much frustration that must have caused you, Joe. But it made me happy in a surprising way: I think I may have finally found someone more absent-minded than I am, and I never thought it was possible.

thfenn 9:58 AM  

This won fell a little short of fun, but I did briefly flirt with some alternative theme answers. THREATENINGSUCKS leapt to mind, and is long but true.

PIED for "multicolored" threw me. I wanted huED, and as a birder PIED rings black and white, but hey, there are two colors there so that's fine. Also went straight to strongman before LIONTAMER, but that got sorted pretty quickly. Did think AUS for AUStria was off, but kind of with @Z on that one.

rjkennedy98 9:58 AM  

The NW corner of this puzzle was brutal and awful. Way too much PPP which was totally unnecessary. Did not know 1A (although it is vaguely familiar). I assumed 15A was a name since it was clued as such. And I had no chance of actually getting into that corner because the downs were all PPP. BIL Keane, EMO Rap, JAN from the Brady Bunch, Tea LEONI. I haven't had to cheat on a Wednesday in a LONG time, but I had to for this puzzle.

Plus BPOE crossing BABBAGE and ESSE? Not very Wednesday-ish.

TJS 10:02 AM  

"in preparation for what I hope will be a long life of crustiness and hating everything (but secretly loving everything and just being very disappointed in the world). Bah!"

WTF does that even mean ???

"the ordinary word bejeweled"..."a bright,shiny,perfectly good...word like bejeweled".

PHD in English.

Crimson Devil 10:03 AM  

Congrats to Atl nine, long time coming. Only in baseball, team with worst record of all playoff teams prevails. Fitting tribute to Aaron-honoring season.
BABBAGE/BANSKY tough.

RooMonster 10:07 AM  

Hey All !
Started to write in CandyCrush at 1A, but ran out of room.

Hey Rex, OSMENT isn't BANKSY, I know because ... it's me! That's right, every day I take a 10 hour flight to London, spray some art, then take another 10 hour flight back, go to work for 8 hours, and do it all again the next day. And still solve the crossword and blog about it. Damn, I'm good!

Har. I always thought the name was BANskY, but OKRAS set me straight. One OKRA, two OKRAS. One Sheep, two Sheeps. That's right, when I can't sleep, I count Sheeps.

Puz has only 30 Blockers, nice wide open grid. That's a feature, Rex, not a bug.

Got a kick out of @Lewis typo, "Yesterday, my steak matched my year of birth". LOL! Took a second to figure out what he meant to say.

Not terrible fill. Nice for the openness. Every puz has dreck. Deal with it! 😁

Forgot about BPOE, and didn't know BABBAGE from CABBAGE, so had to Goog for Charles. Had a good time going, 12 minutes, and didn't want a DNF. Ah, vanity. Taking puz as a win, because ego points.

Another potential Themer, TIMES MAGAZINE.
Yes, no?

Three F's
RooMonster
DarrinV

Alicat 10:23 AM  

People in big cities no longer seem to join fraternal organizations but in small towns where entertainment is limited, Elks, Moose, Eagles clubs are where old timers go to put their feet up. In my little NW town, BPOE is sometimes referred to as Biggest P——s On Earth by young people. Oh well, we have lots of names for them too!

David 10:24 AM  

Hi. The theme relates to each word. So "life time" "life savers" "life blood" "life lines" etc

thfenn 10:25 AM  

@Tom T, nice baseball story and congrats to your Braves. I didn't have a lot of allegiances at play in this one, but nice seeing Atlanta complete a remarkable turnaround.

@Joe Dipinto, great eyeglasses story last night.

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

@johnk. Oops! My bad. Saturday, of course, has three distinct syllables. And yes, Wed-nes-day usually comes out Wends-day.

Loren Muse Smith 10:33 AM  

I’m embarrassed to say that it was waaay post-solve that I realized that both parts could follow LIFE. I never bothered to read the reveal’s clue. So I had a little secondary aha moment. Nice.

I took not one world religion course in college, so I have no idea what I’m talking about. How. E. Ver. . . I would assert that one of the main reasons we have any religion is to assure us that there is some kind of pretty cool AFTERLIFE.

I had a dnf ‘cause of that BPOE/BABBAGE/BANSKY area. I didn’t even try to guess. (Hi, @EdFromHackensack.)

CREEP crosses PSY, because let’s be honest. . . right?

CAMEAS is a dook. Like, a character in the Iliad. . .

So saying, he breathed great power
Into Cameas, and he, the people's shepherd,
Strode out through the front line of fighters, his bronze helmet flashing.


LONG STORY short. . . I’ve just been over this. Please understand that the name of the person I have never met has no bearing on what you’re telling me. Keep it moving, people.

I love the word “piggery.” I always forget that the suffix -ery can also mean a place. So, well, a museum could be an artery. Washington, DC – a gallery. Film archives at Disney – a celery. Hah. Oh, and one substitute teachers will appreciate – a seventh-grade classroom is a buttery.

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

A few different explanations of BPOE have been offered. Here is the correct one.

Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (no "the") Founded in 1868.

GILL I. 10:44 AM  

"A jostling crowd of BEJEWELED women pinching noontime flutes of champagne"....Andrew Rice..... Take that and put it in your matching app game.
BABBAGE, OSMENT and BANKSY walked into a bar. BENGAY, the barman, threw them out. Why? you ask. Because the unpronounceable Schwarzenegger (sitting in the corner) told them he was furious that people think he's from Australia (AUS) when he's really from Austria (AUT). Everybody got up, applauded and let him drink Budweiser for free. They even gave him that Chick who needed a FIL of GAIETY......He danced the fandango tango and everybody yelled......He's my MAIN MAN...

I didn't go back and mentally put "Life" in each theme. Why? you ask.....because my BLOOD LINES runneth over. I got the CORE CREEP at IMAGINEER and besides....MARLA kept hitting me in my SHIN.

Anonymous 10:44 AM  

Loved this one though it skewed a little easy. Instead of having Randi Weingarten speak at his final rally Terry McAuliffe just should have gone on stage and given his middle finger to the parents of school age children in Virginia. It would have been less subtle and the results would have been the same.

JD 10:46 AM  

Oh crud, I knew Banksy. Look up his work, it's fascinating and entertaining. But everything else (sans Erase) caused a DNF down that way.

Bejeweled has been around since the days I'd hear, "People over 65 should get the flu shot" on the radio and think, "Poor bastards." Three shots into it these days and still needing to get the "regular" flu shot.

@NB, I think Aus v. Aut matters. Sloppy. How many people work on a puzzle? Fact check! Especially because it will run again in a couple of days.

Whatsername 10:49 AM  

Kind of echoing Rex this morning in that I did not really warm to this. Had a big snafu in the SW triggered by BABBAGE/BANSKY and an even bigger WTF? at the theme. Somewhat my fault I suppose but I found the revealer confusing. Since the clue specifically says where each word might be found, I was looking for actual things that might be found in the AFTERLIFE. So I’m thinking why would there be INSURANCE FORMS in the Great Beyond?? Wouldn’t that be a matter for those left behind? And why would you need TIME SAVERS? I don’t know, it just seemed a bit muddled.

If you’re ever in Salisbury, NC, stop at the Chick-FIL-A and GNASH your teeth on some chicken prepared by my nephew. He started working for the company while he was in high school, continued through college and ultimately established the franchise there years ago. All political statements aside, he’s a good guy and it’s his pleasure to serve you.

Beezer 10:51 AM  

I cannot believe I was taken in about Banksy’s true identity! My mouth actually dropped as I read this and thought…how could I have missed this! After Googling (not too heavily) I THINK it might have been something to do with a Carson Daley show featuring both OSMENT and BANKSY.
I dunno…I whipped through this Wednesday in non-cheating (almost) record time and for that reason the puzzle gets a pass from my ego. And yes, I’m considering day of the week. I guess the white space was square within my wheelhouse.
Briefly considered filling in “marionettist” for “puller of strings” since I had MA and glad I waited. My guess whether use hands, levers, or strings, they are still called puppeteers!

Euclid 10:57 AM  

Haven't read the comments, so I expect I'm just piling on... BUT it is a fact that Ada is better known than Babbage.

Carola 10:57 AM  

Nice one. I thought the theme was a fine example of its kind: solid phrases with no pre-reveal discernible connection among them. I never get tired of this type: I find something so satisfying about snapping together the new phrases, one AFTER another. Plenty of other interesting entries in the grid, too.

Do-overs: Name trouble with LEONe, PATTy, OSMond; add me to the EXalt-ers; then there was the inexcusable MArionetter. Help from previous puzzles: PSY, BIL. No idea: BEJEWELED, MARLA, JAN.

albatross shell 11:02 AM  

I knew BABBAGE BPOE and always assume EMO is correct when no other answer hits me over the head. I would say BPOE is or was fairly common crosswordese. I think BABBAGE has been around the squares a few times too but has been replaced by LOVELACE of late.

I remember BIL as variously ted BILl or gil but am honing in on the TARGETAREA.

BEJEWELED (mules, as Dylan described, binoculared too) WANDA CAEN ALTA BANKSY OSMENT jAN and the V I or X of IVAN were my unknowns. Solved them all only to discover I had misspelled MANIPULATeR when the music did not play. Easy to spot when I saw GeT and thought could that be GOT and read the clue.

Hand up for RAdar before RALLY.

I did not mind
most of the short fill: PSY AXIS FEE UMP IMP PIED STY were all fine. ALI EER ERR EMO were to be expected.

Loved the airy open Wednesday. The longs were decent in there commonplacedness.

The theme took some thought and works perfectly as clued.
And the plurals and singulars were symmetrically placed. I do the word wrap (warp?) every day so it came quickly with a nice aha.

I also appreciated
MAINMAN BENGAY GAIETY.
That should have taken the sting out of FIL for Rex. Or maybe it was too closeted for his taste.

Euclid 11:06 AM  

Wasn't just piling on!! No one else noted and felt the need?? What happened to all those catholicly educated Xword solvers? Any who. They named a computer language ADA (yes, caps just like COBOL and FORTRAN), but so far as I recall, there's no CHARLES language, or BABBAGE either.

My Name 11:09 AM  

For one thing, Banksy is pretty well known as you can see from the posts here. For the other, Babbage was mentioned in one of the popular Chesterton's stories, the one about the empty book. Of course that doesn't mean you have to know them, but all in all I'd say this crossing is pretty fair.

Unknown 11:29 AM  

You got me. Yes, I immediately googled “Is Haley Joel Osment Banksy?” 😂😂😂

Frantic Sloth 11:29 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Cleaver 11:40 AM  

@10:44

Come back when VA goes hypersonic. Just like Jolly Ole England has been for months. Covid-Δ isn't the end. Not, as we already know, the beginning. The cold states are still climbing. So are some of the Red States, and it's not even cold there, yet. Other variants are out there that are just as bad. Just ask the Brazilians. Just ask the Russians (you know, The Orange Sh!tgibbon's (not my coinage, but I cleave) best friends. Some folks are just too stupid by half. If you bothered to check the Covid graphs in this here newspaper, you'd know all that.

mathgent 11:43 AM  

My talent (modest) for solving crosswords is recognizing words from the patterns I see from filling in crossing words. That's why I start by reading every clue and filling in the gimmes. So BEJEWELED wasn't a problem because I had BE?EWELED.

The clue for BABBAGE doesn't give him his proper place in history. His invention in 1820 is important because it was programmable. That makes him the father of software.

Today is as close to a pan as Lewis ever gets. He pats the constructor on the head and says that he has a lot of promise.

The only thing I got out of the puzzle was learning what jackpotting is.


v

Whatsername 11:45 AM  

@amyyanni (7:46) Nice to know about the booster effects. I had been wondering whether it would be as bad as the first two when Ibuprofen was not much help. For me, more like I needed a forklift to get up off the couch. But as you said, at least it didn’t last long.

@Jim in Canada (8:58) The plural of OKRA is OKRA. Thank you, that annoyed me too.

@Nancy (9:11) “To cross BPOE with BABBAGE -- all I can say is UGG.” I actually knew BPOA but BANSKY was a mystery. Different PPP, same reaction.

Joseph Michael 11:45 AM  

At 1A, this puzzle stuck its tongue out at me and it was hard to like it after that. Especially when it smacked me with BIL, EMO, and JAN as soon as I tried to work the downs instead. Thought 15A was going to be another obscure name and began to consider giving the whole thing a pass. But I stuck with it, BANKSY and all, and ended up forgiving the puzzle by the time I was done.

Though an oldie type of theme, it works well with the themers chosen and there are some nice long downs, such as MANIPULATOR and PIANO SONATA, to compensate for the OCEANS of less than stellar FIL.

The high point in the solve for me was figuring out the AFTER LIFE theme. Also liked the idea of BEN GAY spreading GAIETY about, perhaps in certain TARGET AREAS where ILL TEMPER is brewing among the LION TAMERS.

The low point of the solve was either putting an S on OKRA or trying to remember the acronym for that old ELKS club. Or maybe it was realizing that I’m expected to know the first names of a sit com character and a sit com actress from two shows I’ve never watched. Or maybe it was…okay, maybe I didn’t completely forgive this puzzle after all. It’s hard to past first impressions.

Frantic Sloth 11:47 AM  

I learned the name Charles BABBAGE around the same time Cabbage Patch Kids were all the perplexing rage. I don't think it's just a coincidence that answer went in immediately.
A haunted mind never forgets.

Solved as a themeless, did the post-revealer perusal, and then grokked the theme. Plus, all the themers were remedially highlighted once I hit the revealer, so that helped me spot them.


🧠🧠.5
🎉🎉.5

Barbara S. 12:01 PM  

What is it with cartoonists’ names lacking the conventional number of consonants? Rex mentions Gil Kane, the puzzle has BIL Keane, and I confused him with Dik Browne, creator of “Hi and Lois” and “Hägar the Horrible” (you know, owner of the dog Snert). I took dIk out pretty fast, though, when the word STORY started to take shape and I realized it was going to be LONG STORY. This is, of course, a theme type we’ve seen many times but I thought it was solid. Sometimes in puzzles like this I find some of the word pairings a little creaky, but LIFE goes smashingly with all of its partners, from LONG to LINES.

I hoped the puller of strings would be MARIONETTIST (hi @Beezer), but it was one letter too long. I liked LION TAMER above ILL TEMPER, imagining a very cranky lion making life as hard as possible for his hapless co-performer. I enjoyed seeing the AVANT-garde and BANKSY. Never heard of BPOE although I know of the existence of The Elks. CREEP is a skin-crawly word. Alternate clue for GO TAT: “Terse instruction to a lace-maker.” INSURANCE FORM is a little too close to home these days.

Good puzzle – all that white real estate was a little off-putting at first, but I was soon playing happily in the snow.

jb129 12:08 PM  

Didn't know Banksy so I didn't get Baggage (& the puzzle started out so easy) :(

Masked and Anonymous 12:11 PM  

Well, cool. Now I got choices, when referrin to OFL. Can go with the old dependable @RP, or now the large-crust version of @COMWHE [Crusty Old Man Who Hates Everything]. Too bad he didn't go with Crusty Old Dude Givin Everything Revulsion, or somesuch, tho.

A pretty lifely theme today, even tho it's a well-worn mcguffin. Puzgrid was full of 'tude, too boot. Only 72 words, as @COMWHE/CODGER has already be-crusted over mighty admirably. Wish they'd run this puppy on a Friday -- it would qualify on word-count, and would have that rare FriPuz theme in it, to assure an extra-great @COMWHE rant.

Anyhoo, I really liked the puz. thUmbsUp. It did put up a fight for a WedPuz at our house, but hey it's good for us to suffer. Fave themer: LIFEINSURANCE LIFEFORM. M&A gets the junk mail from such ENTITYs regularly. [World record number for splatzin yer name into one brochure = 11 times, so far.]

staff weeject pick: FIL. This would be a primo term for a puz entry that kinda looks sawed-off somehow.
Examples: TGI instead of TGIF. AUS instead of AUStralia [Gday, Governator]. ETC instead of ETCh.

Some nice sparkly encounters, along the solvequest route: ENLARGEMENT. PIANOSONATA. LIONTAMER. ILLTEMPER [yo, @CODGER].

Thanx for the LIFE belts, Mr. Harris dude. And congratz on yer fine debut. Keep em comin -- U could maybe be first on yer block to have a themed Friday NYTPuz, if yer themes start gettin a tad feistier.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


**gruntz**

jae 12:15 PM  

Top half easy, bottom half tougher. The SW was the nanosecond drain, plus I initially spelled OSMENT wrong. Very solid themers, liked it. Nice debut.

For future reference, SHIN is also one side of a dreidel.

Tim Carey 12:16 PM  

And the elites seem to like it that way.

Jean 12:19 PM  

Where did you ever get the idea that Banksy is Osment?

Masked and Anonymous 12:24 PM  

p.s.
BIL was of course also a great FIL example.

M&Also

Tim Carey 12:26 PM  

Exactly, but the puzzle elite like it that way... they do stuff like that to troll the newbies...

Karl Grouch 12:26 PM  

I beg to differ @Rex, this was the biggest asset of this puz:

https://youtu.be/xqmFxgEGKH0

But otherwise, as I always say,

No Pun, No Fun

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle for the most part. Liked seeing so much space on a Wednesday. Was bemused by BPOE. Charles's name eventually cropped up in my brainpan, so that was ok. But my knowledge of Latin ends somewhere around Carpe Diem so I was stuck futzing through vowels with my keyboard until I received my "congratulations" from the Times.

Early on I anchored on the TV part in Téa of TV and presumed the clue excluded movie actors, so now I have a bee in my bonnet about that cluing. Isn't there something unsatisfying about it? Sure alliteration is nice, but it seems like the clue is aiming for [Tee] of TV which would be a great clue, but we're stuck with [Tee-uh] of TV, which sounds blech.

Ok. I'm done screaming into the internet for the day.

Unknown 12:44 PM  

Check out 77 down in today’s Fireball puzzle! None of us will criticize it as obscure PPP.

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Hand up for not knowing (and not caring about) BANKSY. Too Cutesy.

Wanderlust 12:46 PM  

Umm, it’s his blog. You are the one who can go elsewhere if you don’t like it.

Unknown 12:50 PM  

Different varieties of okra could be okras. Marianeteer fit perfectly.

Z 12:53 PM  

Thanks everyone for making me feel all superior with my BABBAGE/BANKSY/BPOE knowledge. All three absolute gimmes here. I seem to recall that one of the big differences between the CRC and the RCA (the dominant Dutch Reformed churches in my hometown) was their stance on “lodges.” The CRC thought them evil, the RCA thought they were fine. Since Rex is not Dutch Reformed I can’t imagine why he’d gripe about the Elks.

@M&A - CODGER - 👍🏽👍🏽

@kitshef - Well, after a few days of being the person whose sense of humor was taken seriously, it looks like Rex has reclaimed the crown.

Teedmn 1:15 PM  

I had fun with this puzzle. Sure, it's a theme genre that's well-known, but for me, LIFE LONG and LIFE FORM were fun to see.

My SE gave me some heartache, as I EXalted 47D and would have bet money that Haley Joel OSMoNT was the correct spelling. I was still pondering whether AFToR LIFE could mean anything as I changed the o to E.

I momentarily wanted my go-to guy to be the MAIlMAN (more of a come-from guy). Overall, this puzzle gave no real resistance to solving. I'm just glad all of the downs in the NW were clued easily because the acrosses were WOEs as clued.

Congratulations, Dan Harris, on your NYT debut.

@Lewis, thanks for the laugh re: steak.

@M&A, great comments today, what with the @COMWHE/CODGER and be-crusted. And I'm trying to wrap my head around some random life insurance company knowing the name of @M&A. They probably know BANKSY's name too!

Wanderlust 1:16 PM  

As probably the only person on this blog who likes PPP in a puzzle, I am one of the 1 in 100 over 50 years old who knew both JAN and MARLA instantly. Watched a lot of sitcoms in the 70s. Knew right away that Jan was the only three-letter Brady, and I remember Marla Gibbs’ deadpan delivery as the Black maid of a newly rich Black family. (Best sitcom theme song ever, BTW.)

In other PPP, I wasn’t quite sure if it was BABBAGE or CABBAGE (and definitely didn’t know BPOE) but guessed right. Babbage sounds fascinating - and ultimately blameable for all those people on the bus scrunched over their BEJEWELED games (or crossword puzzle blogs) that crotchety Rex GNASHes his teeth over.

Technically a DNF for me because I typed in CHIN for the Hebrew letter/body part and didn’t check the cross to see EGGC until I failed to get happy music.

Liked it well enough - not the best Wednesday ever but fine.

TTrimble 1:30 PM  

Speaking of BPOE and the Elks, there's a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry has gotten himself kicked out of a country club, and he and his wife Cheryl are applying to another, which is very exclusive, WASP-y, wealthy, Republican, etc. Of course during the interview, they are making stuff up right and left (he drives a Hummer, went to Yale, first met Cheryl when they were volunteering for Reagan's campaign, used to play polo...). When asked what organizations they are involved in, he says, "I'm a Moose... uh... and an Elk".

Over the internet, one sees both TGI Fridays and TGI Friday's. So, which is it? I guess it's Fridays, but it (and I do literally mean it) sounds a little weird. OTOH, should one therefore say "Thank God They're Fridays?" No, that sounds weird too. I'm guessing they originally had the possessive Friday's and then somewhere down the line the apostrophe got dropped. Maybe Thank God There're Fridays?

OKRAS also sounds weird; when it comes to POC, it doesn't get much more "convenient" than that. To me it sounds like "corns", and I don't mean the hardened skin tissue. "Put some more corns and okras into that stew."

Do they really call them IMAGINEERS? Like Mouseketeers? Oh, Christ. At first I was wondering if I.M. Pei had anything to do with it. Anyway, it's new to me. And I don't like it.

Which is to say: crustiness is a shared destiny. In response to Rex's

"in preparation for what I hope will be a long life of crustiness and hating everything (but secretly loving everything and just being very disappointed in the world). Bah!"

someone asked "WTF does that even mean?" Well, it's simple, really. He (Rex) means, "I love humanity! Here's a kiss to all the world!*

It's people I hate."

td pg -1 (missing the longest word)

*Speaking of Beethoven.

mathgent 1:58 PM  

My favorite post this morning.

NB (6:53)8

Anonymous 2:13 PM  

@TTrimble:
Do they really call them IMAGINEERS?

don't know about present tense, but past, fur shur. saw some clip, probably tacked on some Disney WWC episode with Walt his own self flogging it. off to the wiki... yes, yes it is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Disney_Imagineering

okanaganer 2:39 PM  

A big me too for confusing GIL KANE.

I learned the word IMAGINEERS in Disneyland in 1973 and never forgot it.

The 2010 movie "Exit Through the Gift Shop: A Banksy Film" is really worth seeing. I'm one of the many who think it's a mockumentary (the makers denied it), because some scenes are just too weird. Like where the protagonist injures his leg and hires someone to transport him around in a wheelbarrow.

[Spelling Bee: yd pg -2, missed these words which are completely new to me. I'm on a bit of a QB drought now, 3 days.]

stephanie 2:42 PM  

@SouthsideJohnny i'd wager lots of people could come up with JAN, especially as "sure jan" became a meme and popular saying among The Youth. MARLA however...no. i had MAR_A and guessed, of course, MARIA thinking surely i was right until the cross (which was fair if crosswordese imho) proved me wrong.

stephanie 2:49 PM  

@LMS a celery! ha, good one. :D

Anoa Bob 3:02 PM  

Have I mentioned I likes me some OKRAS.

Yeah, that's an obvious plural of convenience (POC) but the ones that took the most shine off this puzzle for me were at the ends of 26D EXEC & 39A ATM (a two for one POC), 12D TARGET AREA (I always notice, not in a good way, when one of the long fills needs a convenient letter count boost in order to fill its slot), and 24A TIME SAVER & 45A BLOOD LINE. Those last two are themers and when such central, critical parts of the puzzle need POC letter counting boosting, it's a more serious threat to the puzzle's overall rating if you ask me.

The "app" clue for 1 Across seems kind of pedestrian for such a beautiful, evocative answer, BEJEWELED. Strikes me as more deserving of something like a line from one of the British Lake Poets recounting the look of dew dropped leaves in the early morning sun. App? Ugh.

stephanie 3:17 PM  

as a couple others have mentioned, it's TGI FRIDAYS, a restaurant chain, not "an exclamation part." the only reason i'm mentioning it a third (?) time is because when i typed it in, my brain immediately imagined rex kvetching about it instead of simply googling it first and lo, here we are. i guess i've officially read this blog one too many times XD

BEJEWELED only tripped me up because i always get that name, and JEWEL THEIF (a game i played obsessively when my parents got our first computer in...2000 probably?) mixed up. knew it was something about JEWELs though. and if you're going to be anti-app games then you had probably better also be anti-tv, movies, video games, books, music...perhaps even knitting, maybe whittling? naps? surely there's a lot in this life people can bury their heads in as a way to relax and tune out the world. some of it is truly mindless, other times not, and each has their benefit, imho. you don't have to enjoy all or any of it, but to make baseless assumptions about those who do is just a bit too crotchety for me.

i always forget how to spell haley joel OSMENT so i started with OSMOND, then OSMONT...then...well, you get the idea. made it to the finish line anyhow. and yes, rex got me - i immediately had to google "banksy haley joel osment" so *fart noise* to you, you win this round. ;)

the rest went along more or less swimmingly, but i got hung up in the center west. i had MA- for the string puller and really wanted something about a marionette. (hello, others!) gave up that idea when i remembered the word puppeteer, but it only got worse when i typed in MAN IN CHARGE (and also considered MAN UPSTAIRS). after knowing MAN was correct, i couldn't see for the longest time that it wasn't a literal or figurative MAN at all.

then, like others, i was expecting the fraternal letters to be a greek letter, and i don't know latin. it took me _ABBAGE to remember charles babbage, but i was certain of it. but that left me with BPO_ and that seemed wrong. eventually cheated and, as i solve on the website just typed in the alphabet until the E gave me the finish music. then i had to google BPOE to see what that was all about. reminded me that, as a teen there was this one sign i drove by a lot with friends en route from one house to another that said "F.O.P. lounge" by a nearly hidden driveway. i always wondered what that was and what was down there. my friends informed me it stood for "fat old pigs." they weren't wrong...

albatross shell 3:30 PM  

@Lewis
Sorry about streak. You must have been close to the 2000 mark. And now back to one. Or maybe you use the Hebrew or Chinese calendar. Or maybe try this one: what year will you be or were you actually the same age as the year of your birth?

BPOE, the Elks, or Best People On Earth were started in NYC by actors who wanted to drink on Sundays without paying extra taxes. They never claimed ancient bloodlines and gave up the marching and uniforms folderol. They did do an ocean of charity work in effort and cash donations.
They were not integrated until 1972. It was all Caucasian but non-sectarian. You needed to be an American citizen and say you believed in God. More nebulouslly you needed to be of good moral character. Women were officially able to become members in 1995. When other groups became acceptable is also nebulous. Women are often the last. Gay men after that? They are a self-described patriotic organization. They acquired a bunch of fancy buildings too.

There is a non-related Black Elks organization.

Brian 3:36 PM  

Very easy

bocamp 4:02 PM  

@okanaganer (2:39 PM)

Thx for the heads-up re: 'Exit Through the Gift Shop: A BANKSY film'. Currently watching it on Prime Video (Canada). It's also streaming on Tubi (w/ads). Pretty sure I'll remember BANKSY next time they show up in a xword. 👍

I missed those words last year. Added them to the List and haven't missed them since.
___

0 (2nd ot)

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Georgia 4:16 PM  

AKA "Best People On Earth!" to my Dad long ago.

egsforbreakfast 4:46 PM  

What a week! Yesterday my burger matched my wedding day, and today I got out of prison! (Sorry, @Lewis, just havin’ a little fun with your overly meaty comment).

And @Roo. I’m reeling from imagining having to cram 28 hours into each day. No wonder you’re so FFFFFFFFFing crazy.

Perhaps Rex should think of himself as a Horrid Old Guy With A Surfeit of Hate.

To make a LONGSTORY short, I thought the puzzle was a breeze and I finished faster than yesterday’s time. But it was good and clean and fun. Nice debut, Dan Harris.

NB 5:53 PM  

Austria is AUT as an ISO or IOC code.

macrotourist 5:56 PM  

If cluing BEJEWELED as an app is an attempt to keep up with the youth, the crossword has a long way to go—the average age of Bejeweled players is 48, and only 6% of them are under 21 (according to the developer, but as a twenty-something those numbers feel right to me). I'll believe they're angling for the youth demographic when I see FORTNIGHT clued as a video game instead of a time period ;)

Nancy 7:03 PM  

I laughed out loud at @Whatsername (10:49) thinking INSURANCE FORM was one of the things you might find in the AFTERLIFE. All I can say that, if that's what you find there, I'm not going!

Amidst all the PPP, I did know BANKSY -- but only because PBS (American Masters, I think) did a full-length special on him. I think that he, like Basquiat, may have started as a graffiti "artist". Now both make millions from a single painting. Not exactly a good message if you want to teach young people not to deface other people's property, I would say.

Anonymous 8:18 PM  

Austria can also be OST* (as it is in its native language), but in the NY Times it seems to always be AUS unless the Olympics are mentioned in the clue.



Villager


* Pardon me for the lack of umlaut.

Lewis 9:10 PM  

@albatross shell -- Oh, my streak is still intact. All the discussion is about my typing "steak" instead of "streak"...

David 9:24 PM  

Not only postal, watch any international sporting event and you will see Austria shortened to AUT.

Havana Man 9:26 PM  

what is an “adsite”? i work in the industry and have never heard that term. also, is AUS really a sub for AUT—i mean it is Australia not Austria….

stephanie 10:03 PM  

@Nancy well, most rich people aren't very good role models ;) also, basquiat died of a heroin overdose at 27 - addiction triggered by fame and wealth and the industry, so he didn't even get to enjoy all the millions his art made & continues to make.

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

LOL just checking in, you are still the wettest of blankets Rex

CDilly52 11:30 AM  

@Conrad. I agree, except poor @Rex isn’t (by my atandards anyway) even “old” yet! But his slills are certainly well hones for lne so relatively young.

MIEinMA 2:43 PM  

Re the Austria vs. Australia debate..
I believe that both countries are abbreviated AUS in English. As mentioned above, OST, with an umlaut on the O, is the German abbreviation. AUT is the French abbreviation of Autriche.

MGM

Ganzarsko 4:08 PM  

My wife was doing this puzzle and asked aloud "how is anyone supposed to know that?" to the hebrew letter/body part question, because she (fluent in hebrew) had put in "AYIN", which is both a hebrew letter and the hebrew word for eye - she assumed the "body part" part of the clue was also going to be in hebrew.

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