Protagonist of the O.C. / FRI 11-19-21 / Pioneering brand of caffeine-free soft drink / Phrase popularized by Long John Silver of Treasure Island / Eponymous instrument inventor Adolphe / Smaller than usual endearingly / Vast poetically / Sheik's peer / Presidential monogram of the early 1800s / Black sorority with 3000,000+ members in brief

Friday, November 19, 2021

Constructor: John Hawksley

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: GTA (47A: Popular video game series with cars, for short) —

Get That Ape!
Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is a series of action-adventure games created by David Jones and Mike Dailly. Later titles were developed under the oversight of brothers Dan and Sam HouserLeslie Benzies and Aaron Garbut. It is primarily developed by British development house Rockstar North(formerly DMA Design), and published by its parent company, Rockstar Games. The name of the series references the term "grand theft auto", used in the United States for motor vehicle theft.

Gameplay focuses on an open world where the player can complete missions to progress an overall story, as well as engage in various side activities. Most of the gameplay revolves around driving and shooting, with occasional role-playing and stealth elements. The series also has elements of the earlier beat 'em up games from the 16-bit era. The games in the Grand Theft Auto series are set in fictional locales modelled after real-life cities, at various points in time from the early 1960s to the 2010s. The original game's map encompassed three cities—Liberty City (based on New York City), San Andreas (based on San Francisco), and Vice City (based on Miami)—but later titles tend to focus on a single setting; usually one of the original three locales, albeit remodelled and significantly expanded. The series centers on different protagonists who attempt to rise through the ranks of the criminal underworld, although their motives for doing so vary in each title. The antagonists are commonly characters who have betrayed the protagonist or their organisation, or characters who have the most impact impeding the protagonist's progress. Several film and music veterans have voiced characters in the games, including Ray LiottaDennis HopperSamuel L. JacksonWilliam FichtnerJames WoodsDebbie HarryAxl Roseand Peter Fonda. (wikipedia)

• • •

Well, things started out easily enough:

After that, I tried to run the Downs—actually, I had tried to run the Downs first, which is usually what I do when confronted with 3- (or 4-) stacks, but that got me nowhere, so I just peeked at the Acrosses first. Anyway, I went after the Downs and still did not make much headway. Got most of the way Across the grid with only ELI and ELEANOR in place. Then I hit the NE and things picked up ... they also got a whole lot uglier:

Anything "poetically" is usually a disaster, but for some reason ENORM feels Particularly disastery. They don't mean "poetically," as no "poet" would use that word. It's deeply olden. I think I see it sometimes in the poetry *I* teach (medieval, early modern), and I'm sure it had legs through the 19th century, but no one would touch that word in the 20th and after unless they were quaint or ironic or just bad. Something like 'NEATH or O'ER I can tolerate, "poetically," as those are just contractions, usually used for the sake of maintaining metrical regularity. But ENORM—you love to see it ... in Coleridge, maybe. Not so much here. And now. "Poetically" is true enough, but "obsoletely" is more accurate ("obsolete" is Merriam-Webster's word, not mine). Crossing HARKS, ENORM really, uh, throws things back. Not in a good way. This is the trouble with these stack grids—an olden form themselves, much in fashion when (usually) men thought them to be showy accomplishments (and technically, architecturally, they were, esp. before constructing software). But when you stack long answers, oh, the crosses. That's where things can go very wrong for you. The ones today are OK, but you can really hear the creak with ENORM IFA and HOTTO (which I was stunned to find out was the real answer—I figured that since it was so obvious an answer to the clue (2D: "Too ___ Handle" (Netflix)), no way it was right. You could at least tell me what the Netflix series is *about*. If you're gonna give me junk fill, at least, I don't know, educate me ... something).

None of the marquee answers are that hot. ETHNIC RELATIONS is a phrase, I guess, but it gives me weird vibes. Like, you'd only use the phrase if things were going very bad. Don't love it. I NEED A HUGE FAVOR is a thing you would say, sure, but I got I NEED A and saw that FAVOR was gonna be the ending, and then thought, well, I NEED A FAVOR works, so ... now I just have to find a random adjective? Coulda been BIG or GIANT. The whole phrase doesn't snap the way I want it to, somehow. HATERS GONNA HATE already feels very dated. I think it's been dated since ... when did Tayl*r Sw*ft use it in a lyric? When was "Shake It Off"? Anyway, it was by definition dated when she used it, so it just didn't have the currency (or POP, I guess) that maybe it was supposed to. 

(2014! LOL even older than I thought!) (P.S. this song is catchy, no
T*ylor sl*nder intended)

The abbreviations were also pretty dire today. Grand Theft Auto is very famous, but that doesn't make GTA great fill. And JQA, yeesh. No one knows him that way. We have to endure a lot of monograms in this crossword life, and yes, I've had to endure this one before, but I shouldn't have to. All so you could get what? A "Q"? And DAD JOKE? Not worth it. SHIVER ME TIMBERS is nice, as is "IT HAPPENS..." and FUN SIZE. But in the end I don't think the marquee answers are snappy enough, or the resulting fill strong enough, to make this really Work. I'm judging this one by Friday standards, which are the Highest Standards, so just know that it's ... it's fine. But there wasn't a lot of joy here. If you want to do a truly wonderful triple-stack puzzle (just one stack, not two), try this one by Claire Rimkus (for free!) over at the Just Gridding blog. Really lovely.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. no idea RCCOLA was caffeine-free and really really had no idea it was "pioneering" (6D: Pioneering brand of caffeine-free soft drink). To me, it was always a fictional soda no one drank because they were too busy drinking Coke or Pepsi like normals.

P.P.S. I told you (see yesterday's write-up for more on the recent SASS wave):

P.P.P.S omg I only just realized that [Sheik's peer?] (53D) is a pun and oof that one hurts. Gotta go sheik it off (sheik it off)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


David Fabish 6:13 AM  

I actually really liked this puzzle except for one glaring issue that I'm surprised RP didn't point out: NEED crossing NEED in the SW. That kinda ruined it for me. Other than that, it was (I believe) a record Friday time for me, because two of the long answers on top and two on the bottom fell in place almost immediately.

But SHIVER ME TIMBERS, there was NO NEED for that issue in the SW.

Lewis 6:28 AM  

Well hello impressive debut! A pair of triple stacks cleanly crossed, difficult for any constructor, with most of those spanners bursting with POP. Not to mention that those spanners are each crossed twice by lovely longs (answers of eight letters or more).

One of the best crossword thrills is slapping in a grid spanner with few squares filled in, when the brain flashes on the answer, often with a huge “Hah!”, and maybe even a bow-down feeling if that answer sizzles. I had this double-wow twice today with SHIVER ME TIMBERS and HATERS GONNA HATE.

Regarding the latter, I love it as a built-in answer to any overly picky critics that might comment on this puzzle. As for me, John, you can substitute LOVE for HATE both times in that phrase. Fantastic first NYT puzzle, sir – fantastic puzzle period! -- and I am certainly going to remember your name. Congratulations, and an enthusiastic thank you!

Conrad 6:34 AM  

I agree with @Rex's Medium rating. My first hangup was MeRge instead of MARRY at 7D. Then I wanted the "familiarly" part of the 8D clue to make it ELlie... something. That led to trouble in the midwest because I didn't know the "Whip It" band, wasn't familiar with the Dali quote and somehow "Funky" in the 27A clue didn't suggest ODORS to me. But the rest of the puzzle fell into place easily and I had a good time.

Roberto 7:05 AM  

BTW the jqa was there to complete the pangram according to the constructor. I know Rex is never impressed with that

Michael 7:09 AM  

This was a record-setter for me - under 6 minutes, better than half my Friday average and shaving a couple minutes off my old record. Got SHIVER ME TIMBERS and HOTEL CALIFORNIA instantly, and although I'm normally an "all the acrosses then all the downs" guy having that many solid starts made it impossible not to switch to the downs and work from there.

Was surprised by a couple of answers - I loosely filled in FUN SIZE and NIKON from one or two crosses and was surprised when everything else fell into place around them. Only trip up for me was DAD JOKE - I had BAD JOKE, and DUBS as "Outfits" made enough sense that it took a little for me to work out why the website wasn't marking it as finished (if you dub someone something, you give them that title, like outfitting them with a name - it's a stretch, but it worked just enough that it didn't feel wrong).

Frantic Sloth 7:13 AM  

From the beginning, I had a false smart.
When grid-spanning triple stacks fall like dominoes, something's up. And it ain't my IQ.
That's one thing I know.

End result: I liked this one. Of course. And don't agree with most of Rex's nits, though I imagine GTA and maybe even JQA might give some solvers fits. Nits fits.

This post brought to you by E-NORM.
E-NORM, for when you need to fit in on social media. Want to be part of the INGROUP? Take E-NORM and everything you do, say, and share seems perfectly...NORMal.


There's a puzzle from the archives that's making me nuts: April 22 2009 is one where a picture of a sailboat materializes when you connect certain circled letters. ABCDEFGH, and I are the circled letters, and it's clear how ABCDEFG, and H are used, but where does the "I" come in?? Try as I might, I don't see it.

oceanjeremy 7:20 AM  

I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, probably because (like @James Fabish) it was damn near a record Friday for me (about 15 seconds slower than my record Friday). Everything fell into place very quickly up top and middle. Didn’t get much resistance until the bottom, and even that I broke through very quickly.

Disappointed I didn’t see the “NEED/NEED” cross in the bottom of the grid (also pointed out by @James Fabish). That is a glaring error.

Otherwise I wasn’t bothered by the fill as Our Fearless Leader was. Even JQA fell in quite easily for me and made me chuckle.

I suppose I’m falling prey to “It was easy for me so I liked it” — which is something akin to “Flattery will get you everywhere,” a phrase I use whenever I encounter effusive praise. A personal weakness, a vanity? Yes. I’ll try to work on that.


Not even easy, was a fill in the blanks exercise

All spanners were easy, but 17A is gratuitous

Son Volt 7:30 AM  

Had fun with this. Top stack with the Eagles was basically a gimme - helped the entire flow. Thought the mid-length stuff was decent - FUN SIZE, NO NEED, BRIARS all solid. Some pop trivia that was flat - LEVIS, AROD etc. The Mach 1 clue is a little off but we’ve seen it before.

RC COLA brings back fond memories and always makes me think of moon pies and NRBQ.

Enjoyable Friday solve.

amyyanni 7:30 AM  

Thanks for pointing out the pangram @Roberto. Unlike Rex, that impresses me. As did the puzzle. JQA seems legit to me, and even though I am not a video gamer, I have heard of GTA. Fun Friday; congrats on your debut, John.
Now for a weekend dilemma: The French Dispatch or tick...tick...Boom. TGIF, Enjoy your day.

albatross shell 7:35 AM  

Sheik's peer? AGHA. I see a direct answer. I hear shake and see pee-r. I know what you shake when you pee. Is there a connection to the answer? Is there a pun or just a whiff of a suggestion of a pun?

bocamp 7:35 AM  

Thx John; excellent Fri. puz! :)


Got SHIVER ME TIMBERS right off, which set the stage for many of the crosses.

The rest was not as easy, but it all came together for a successful solve.

SWABbed many a deck in the Navy.

Praying for improved ETHNIC RELATIONS throughout the world. πŸ™

Learned about Adolphe SAX in a recent xword.

"Antoine-Joseph "Adolphe" Sax … was a Belgian inventor and musician who created the saxophone in the early 1840s, patenting it in 1846. He also invented the saxotromba, saxhorn and saxtuba. He played the flute and clarinet." (Wikipedia)

Love Steph Curry's dedication to bball, talentwise, as well as his work ethic.

Thot 'gauntlet' for 45A, then GLOVE came to mind immediately, which opened up the whole lower section.

Very enjoyable voyage! :)

@okanaganer (4:38 PM yd) πŸ‘ for 0

I missed this one dbyd.

yd 0*

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

Tom T 7:46 AM  

Those triple stacks created several long diagonal letter strings, including two separate strings of 7 consecutive vowels (EEIOIAI & AEEEEOI), yielding a somewhat larger than usual Hidden Diagonal Word (HDW) count.

Here's your HDW clue for today's grid:

License to drill? (abbrev.) -- 3 letters, answer below

A fast Friday solve for me, well under average, helped by the gimme HOTEL CALIFORNIA clue. Hands up for bAD JOKE before DAD JOKE.

Answer to the Hidden Diagonal "Word?"

DDS (I know, I know, a dentist's degree does not equate to a license to practice dentistry. I just couldn't resist the 007 wordplay. So, try not to WHINE or VENT at my "clue faux-pas ENORM.")

Ted 7:47 AM  

Crushed this. Easy street for me.

I think RC Cola as a brand pioneered a caffeine free soda, but RC Cola itself was caffeinated most of the time.

oceanjeremy 7:49 AM  

I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, probably because (like @James Fabish) it was damn near a record Friday for me (about 15 seconds slower than my record Friday). Everything fell into place very quickly up top and middle. Didn’t get much resistance until the bottom, and even that I broke through very quickly.

Disappointed I didn’t see the “NEED/NEED” cross in the bottom of the grid (also pointed out by @James Fabish). That is a glaring error.

Otherwise I wasn’t bothered by the fill as Our Fearless Leader was. Even JQA fell in quite easily for me and made me chuckle.

I suppose I’m falling prey to “It was easy for me so I liked it” — which is something akin to “Flattery will get you everywhere,” a phrase I use whenever I encounter effusive praise. A personal weakness, a vanity? Yes. I’ll try to work on that.

Fellow Earthling 8:03 AM  

Everyone drank RC Cola when I was growing up in Chicago. I looked it up and I guess it’s a Chicago thing.

Peter P 8:07 AM  

Record Friday time for me here, too, coming in at my average Tuesday time. Was a bit intimidated by the triple stacks before I hit OK on "Ready to get started?", but the two top fell immediately, three quarters of the crosses went in, and off to the races. Fun, breezy Friday. I enjoyed it, but I like my Fridays with a little more teeth.

As for RC Cola, here in Chicago, RC Cola is still a staple of many old school pizza and hot dog joints. A lot of pizza places near my house still have the deal where you get a free liter or two of RC with your takeout order. A steak sandwich/kebab place I was at last week had not only RC Cola but Diet Rite on their menu.

Regular RC Cola is not caffeine free. Diet RC isn't, either. Diet Rite (which was also manufactured by the RC Cola Company back in the day) is. I had to look this up on Wikipedia and Royal Crown's web page, but they did create the first caffeine-free cola with RC100 in 1980. So the soda was called RC100, but I guess the brand is RC Cola, and the clue works.

Trey 8:08 AM  

Love the long stacks - good fill and very gettable with crosses. The three-letter fill was too often abbreviations, but that was more than acceptable given the excellence of the rest of the puzzle.

Best answer - HATERS GONNA HATE. Best clue - Digs near a flower bed, say

Trey 8:18 AM  

@Rex - drank RC Cola occasionally in our house growing up because it was cheaper than the name brands of Coke and Pepsi. We had that, DietRite, Shasta and Tab. I am not sure if any of these are still around, and maybe they were only popular in the South, but RC Cola certainly existed in the real world. What else would hou drink while eating a Moon Pie?

JonB3 8:24 AM  

41D: INcROwd before INGROUP.

JD 8:25 AM  

The poetic Bigly and Gigan didn't work with the easy California so it had to be Enorm. Why all the gnashing over Enorm? C'mer Enorm, JD loves you.

How can this many grid spanners and long downs be so smooth and simple? Except for, ironically, the Fun Size block. Bad stuff happened there. Can't talk about it. Too painful.

But I like that we can use Fun Size on things other than little candy bars now so I still walk away happy.

Back to Hotel California, it made me wonder what colitas is. It appears to be small cannabis buds. Oh that warm smell.

@Frantic, I was planning to send out an APB today if you didn't show up. πŸŽ‰

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

Not a Friday record for me, but just over 8 minutes. If ever there was a time I was on a constructor's wavelength, it was this morning. Four of the six 15s went in without any help from the Down clues.

Only 17A and 59A required assistance from the crosses.

Insecure 8:35 AM  

The girl I was with last night told me mine was FUN SIZE. Could that have been an insult?

Anonymous 8:45 AM  


Elle54 8:50 AM  

Also found this super easy for a Friday!

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

"Sheik's peer" could be a pun in that it sounds like the name of a certain fairly well-known playwright. But does that alone justify the question mark? I can't see a connection to the actual entry.

Mikey from El Prado 8:58 AM  

I liked it…nice debut! I had INcROwd at first, but that was remedied thanks to the somewhat easy, but elegant, long acrosses. CHILIVERDE reminds me to say that here in New Mexico we have our own cuisine unique to Mexican. It’s chile with an “e.” Comes in green or red (both are the same plant/fruit). When asked if you want green or red on your, say, enchiladas, the answer is green or red or Christmas! And the plate is smothered with your choice. I usually get red for breakfast (e.g. huevos rancheros),or carne adovada, green with lunch (enchiladas, rellenos), but for dinner… Christmas, which has green on one side and red on the other.

pabloinnh 9:04 AM  

Hand up for the top two spanners going in instantly, and the rest speedily.

I did discover that while a DADJOKE and a BADJOKE may be equal, DUBS and DUDS are not (hi @Michael).

INCRWD before INGROUP slowed the bottom stacks, but not for long.

Still don't get the clue for AROD as written, VERDE as an answer for "green" should have been more obvious, and I usually see FUNSIZE applied to candy, and incorrectly at that. FUNSIZE candy should be twice the size of the usual, not half. C'mon.

ITHAPPENS made me think of the way less elegant __ITHAPPENS, which you sometimes see on bumper stickers. although not on cars of people I'd want to meet. My friend the Buddhist says their equivalent is "suffering is". Now that's better.

Easy breezy Fridecito, JH. Lets all Join Hands and celebrate your debut, and thanks for the fun.

Lewis 9:16 AM  


JD 9:16 AM  

@Tom T, Licensed to drill, good one!

@amyyanni, Diehard Wes Anderson fan here. I think The French Dispatch won't be in theaters for very long.

@Ted, eta al, RC in western Pennsylvania.

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

SASS is really getting a workout recently. I think this is the fourth time it's been in the puzzle in a month.

Z 9:19 AM  

Saying this was in my wheelhouse would be suggesting that it was more difficult than it was. Yes, everyone’s favorite song about Hell was a flat out gimme. Which got me enough downs to see SHIVER and the north was finished before I took a sip of coffee. Then down the east coast, saw through the “Digs” attempt to misdirect, had no problem with HUGE, and rolled up the west coast. Solved on paper so I don’t have my time, but it felt like a Friday PR for sure.

I liked the Dali quote, so that made up for ENORM and even JQA (which didn’t bother me until I found out it’s only in the puzzle to get the pangram - that’s not a good reason). DEVO crossing DRUGS brought back memories. Are we not men? Also, I love me some CHILI VERDE, probably going to get out the slow cooker and make some tomorrow. Yum. About the only PPP that wasn’t a flat out gimme was the O.C. person, but I had -YAN in place before I saw the clue and the R was confirmed by Gilda.

Liked this much more than Rex, but it may just be the easy bias others have mentioned.

@Frantic Sloth - Just draw a line from the H to the I to make the boat’s deck.

@albatross shell - Think of the Bard of Avon to hear the pun.

JB 9:22 AM  

Can someone explain sheik's peer to me? Don't see the pun. Seems pretty literal to me. Does Duncan Sheik have a peer named Beverly Agha or something?

Hartley70 9:25 AM  

This was a very fast Friday solve because the north and south stacks were familiar and slid easily into place. I’m always happy to have a dose of fun inserted into the long answers and today’s puzzle obliged. I too noticed the NEED/NEED cross but that doesn’t disturb me. If anything it would make the answer more difficult as one seeks to avoid the duplication. A speedy Friday is a beautiful thing when it’s not boring in the least!

Z 9:30 AM  

@Anon 8:51 - I think the sole purpose of the “?” is to draw attention to the pun. I don’t think there is any relationship between Old Bill and that “sheik” and “AGHA” are roughly peers, one political and the other religious.
@JB - William “sheik’s peer.”

Having DAD JOKE in the puzzle along with this clue is pretty meta if you ask me.

Richard in NM 9:39 AM  

CHILIVERDE?? No, no, no; a thousand times no. It's Chile Verde.

Frantic Sloth 9:40 AM  

Hand up for INcrOwd before INGROUP.

@JD 825am Never fear. Frantic Sloth is here. πŸ˜‰ Plus, you could always email me.

@Lewis 916am Thank you for the link! But, being me, I still don't see which clue/section of the boat involves the "I". There's:


The "I" is not included in any of these, yet it is circled. Am I supposed to read HIDE across, as in the boat is hidden? Sorry to be so dense. You're very kind to indulge me!

@Z 919am Thanks for the tip, but I could draw the boat. See above for my issue.

RooMonster 9:41 AM  

Hey All !
Just couldn't remember GTA, no matter how much I yelled at my brain. So, had cONGo for TONGA which got me GARDEN APoRTMENT. Har. Two-letter DNF. And a video game called GcA.

Neat middle phrase: FUN SIZE DAD JOKE.

Got the pangram primarily in the middle three rows.


Good FriPuz. Fill good, considering the triple stacks (trips, if you will.) Someone explain why ELEANOR is informally? Wasn't that her name?

yd -1 Closest in a while.
td no rarify? C'mon Sam!
There's been words lately that haven't been included. Anyone else notice?

Three F's

Richard in NM 9:55 AM  


Hey, @Mikey in El Prado. Just saw your post. We gotta spread the word.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Gee, thanks for othering people who are allergic to caffeine!

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

@anonymous 8:45
According to this article from the Vancouver Sun, Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother's Day, insisted that the apostrophe in the holiday's name be placed between the "r" and the "s," indicating a singular possessive, "for each family to honour their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world."

jae 10:21 AM  

Easy and easier than Wednesday’s. My only problems were not carefully reading a couple of clues and maLL before TILL. Pretty smooth with a fair amount of sparkle, liked it. A nice debut.

TJS 10:22 AM  

Fun Fact (or not).
I looked up "early modern poetry" after Rex mentioned it. Turns out it refers to stuff written in the 16th and 17th century.

I remember being shocked by the violence in Grand Theft Auto when my kids started playing it. How naive of me. I actually got hooked on some game they had where you flew a helicopter around and blew up Saddam or something. At the end you landed on the White House lawn and George Bush and Barara came out and shook your hand. That's right, that was me ! Saved the world for all you Gen Zers or whatever you are.

Wow ! @Lewis comin down on us "overly picky critics". Who's at the other end of that continuum ?

bocamp 10:25 AM  

The 'sheik's peer' pun flew right over my head; no prob getting AGHA, but gotta pay more attn to the '?'s. So, bad DAD JOKE: who is Shakespeare? AGHA.

@RooMonster (9:41 AM ) πŸ‘ for -1 yd

Yeah, I still try 'rarify', and get rebuffed by rarefy every time. lol

td 0

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

Nancy 10:25 AM  

If only I could ever remember that a gauntlet, as in "throwing down the gauntlet", is a GLOVE. Growing up, reading all those 18th and 9th century novels, I never once asked what a "gauntlet" was. It was just some important gizmo that you threw down when you were issuing a challenge.

And if only I hadn't been so sure that "the cool kids" were the IN cROwd. That sat there forever, bollixing up the entire bottom of my grid. What was dARTMENT? What was -----AHwGFAVOR? If I'd had IN GROUP I would have finished this puzzle much sooner.

Re 37A: Is that the worst DAD JOKE you've ever heard or what?

Something that's "smaller than usual" is a FUN SIZE? Really? I've never heard the term and can't imagine when and how it might be used. For a doll house, maybe?

Don't know what the Cowardly Lion is or what ZEKE is either or how the two are related.

ETHNIC RELATIONS is a little green paint-y for me. There may indeed be such a thing but's it's not exactly a phrase that's in the language.

This one was challenging for me and very colorful -- what with SHIVER ME TIMBERS and HATERS GONNA HATE. I struggled a bit, but I really enjoyed it.

Carola 10:25 AM  

SHIVER ME TIMBERS! What a great start to a puzzle with a bang, especially with the HOTEL CALIFORNIA right behind. I enjoyed the way the puzzle came down to earth in the last two rows with a corresponding utterance and location: the tame I NEED A HUGE FAVOR and modest GARDEN APARTMENT. I also noticed the parallel ETHNIC RELATIONS and HATERS GONNA HATE. Alas.

Help from previous puzzles: DAD JOKE (known to me only from crosswords). No idea: GTA, RYAN, DEVO.

Newboy 10:36 AM  

POP? Nah, Rex’s “ there wasn't a lot of joy here” was my experience. Usually I find more resonance with @Lewis, but today’s appreciation seems a bit forced though any debut deserves applause. INcROUWd should be the only answer for 41d and there’s my final WHINE today though the list could go on well past the FUN SIZE.

DvH 10:43 AM  

That's where I got stymied! Couldn't see past bad joke...and I'm a dad! Yeesh!

Jesse 10:45 AM  

RC Cola is the best. They also "pioneered" using cane sugar rather than HFCS (as in, they never switched over).

Brian A in SLC 10:46 AM  

Where I grew up in the 60's - Eastern Kentucky - RC Cola was common as dirt. Maybe it's pretty much a regional thing.

Unknown 10:47 AM  

Great puzzle John! For this amateur puzzler, it was just right, no googling required. For us US history fans JQA is perfect! How many people do you know who would rejoin the house of representatives for decades after serving as president, mainly to continue to hammer away at the need to end slavery. Loved the long answers, especially HATERSGONNAHATE. THANKS πŸ‘-Rick

Beezer 10:48 AM  

As per @Z I went immediately to Wikipedia as I had a notion (wrong) that Royal Crown Cola might have originated in Canada. It was apparently developed as a “generic” store brand to avoid the cost of the Coca Cola syrup. When I was growing up in “the Midwest” it was considered a non-embarrassing cheaper alternative to Coke and Pepsi for slumber parties, etc. I learned about the southern working man’s lunch of RC and a MOON PIE! Yuck, ick, and ugh!

I very much enjoyed the puzzle for all the wheelhouse/appeal to my vanity reasons above. For some reason, I NEVER catch the things that supposedly screw up the puzzle’s perfection. But then again, I pretty much NEVER catch the things that make a puzzle extra-brilliant either. Also…prior to FDR, did the press initialize the US presidents’ first, middle, and last names and did people even know the middle names? Well. They DID know JQA’s due to his father…(yes, @Z, I’ll see if I can find the answer to that in W) πŸ˜‰

jberg 10:49 AM  

Like everybody else, apparently, I got SHIVER ME TIMBERS from the clue I checked a couple of crosses, saw HOT TO, and I was off an trotting. That gave the whole puzzle a nice feeling for me.

The bottom stack was tougher. I got HATERS GONNA HATE, but then I was I NEED A HUG... and was grubbing around in the dirt for suitable adjectives to fill out the blank. And then I was really grubbing around in the dirt, expanding my GARDEN plot and trying to figure out how to say that in 15 characters. But SOUND WAVE and that French rat (or is that Spanish) in the SE straightened things out for me.

PICA is having quite a run lately, as well as SASS.

I often wear Tees with my sandals, and never wear TOGAS at all. But I could see DAD JOKE and ODORS (well, you can't see an odor, but you know what I mean) and eventually figured that one out.

And I learned what a mizzenmast is! I've heard about them most of my life --- starting with Horatio Hornblower, I think -- but always thought mizzen was just a nautical slurring of 'middle,' in the same family as cap'n and bos'n. Crosswords are so educational!

Z 10:56 AM  

@Frantic Sloth - What letter do you have at 51A/D? I’m wondering if that’s the problem.

@Mickey in El Prado & @Richard in NM - When I googled CHILI VERDE uncle Google asked if I meant CHILe VERDE. I’m agnostic on the I v E question because spelling happens and an argument can be made for reserving CHILe for the country (I’m not saying I accept that argument, only that it can be made), so I only mildly winced at CHILI VERDE. What got me was calling it a “stew.” It’s a “stew” in the same way a taco is a sandwich. If it can be served on a plate rather than in a bowl, like all good CHILI VERDE is served, than it has lost its stewness.

@Anon10:17 - Personally, I think we should celebrate all mothers everywhere but apostrophe S seems to be the accepted usage.

Whatsername 10:57 AM  

This did not seem that easy to me but I’ve had a bit of brain fog from a head cold the last few days so maybe it’s the DRUGS I’ve been taking. Anyway that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I did think this was quite impressive for a debut … and a pangram to boot. I’d say we have good reason to look forward to more from young Mr. Hawksley.

Can’t say I cared much for ENORM. Doesn’t SOUND poetic so much as it does painfully slangy. Right up there with a adorbs and whatevs. Meh. And all this time I’ve been feeling guilty about my FUN SIZE Halloween candy stashed in the cabinet. Now I find out I should actually be thinking of it endearingly. What a relief!

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

The Sheik thing sounds like a Will Shortz "Aren't I clever?" kind of clue. Anyway, I'd bet more people have Sheik rhyme with BEAK than BAKE. This and ENORM are the only clunkers in today's very nice puzzle.

Joe Dipinto 10:58 AM  

@F-Slo – The I is there to close up the drawing, that's all. Realistically the line from the H goes back to the square with the D and reconnects, but they used the square right before it as the end point so you could put your pen down. (No need for the I to connect back to the A as shown on X-Word Info.)

Karl Grouch 10:59 AM  

I think that the proper term is INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS.

On a more serious note, the Sheik(h) is very chic, as for the Ag(h)a I Khan not really say.

Beezer 10:59 AM  

@Nancy…I can relate to your gauntlet talk! Then there is “running the gauntlet” which really is “gantlet” EXCEPT nowadays “gauntlet” is acceptable for the GLOVE or the flogging line. Nancy, I’m going to guess you don’t get trick or treaters at Halloween because most folks buy bags of FUNSIZE candy bars to put in the kiddos bags.

nyc_lo 11:00 AM  

I’m old enough that I don’t usually mind if a puzzle seems a like a moldy oldie. But this one was a little too fusty, even for me. I mean, how long has it been since we even had to think about long-distance rates? And yeah, ENORM needs to go away. Tired of seeing it, enormously. And since when is calling someone by their proper first name informal? Maybe if you’re the First Lady, I guess. I think “familiarly” would have been more accurate clueing.

Finished with an easy-medium time, but there were far too many “ugh, really?” moments to really enjoy the ride.

Karl Grouch 11:02 AM  

@z 10:56
Chili is not fron Chile

\ ˈchi-lΔ“ \
variants: or less commonly chile or chiefly British chil​li
plural chil​ies also chil​es or chilis or chiefly British chil​lies)

Masked and Anonymous 11:04 AM  

Pangram. Two NEEDs. Stuff I was gonna mention, but already well covered. I'll just add-mention that the two NEEDs didn't really matter all that much, to m&e.

Enjoyable themeless FriPuz. Not too hard, not too easy. Some cool fillins, splatzed in here and there. Some faves included: FUNSIZE. SHIVERMETIMBERS. WHINE/WHIG. ITHAPPENS. DRUGS clue.

staff weeject pick: JQA. Key component in the tiny Twerkletter Zone with the JKQX.

Thanx, Mr. Hawksley. And congratz on yer fine debut.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Lewis 11:10 AM  

@frantic -- But look at the picture of the boat on that link in Jeff's site. H goes to I, which goes to A, which goes to D, which goes to E. I don't know what the heck you call that little extra triangle breaking up H-E, but there it is.

Ray 11:10 AM  

You'll want to check out THIS SHEIK

CDilly52 11:16 AM  

Quite a feat of construction! And as I write, I continue to get over my shock at bow easy this was. I was 13 seconds from my Friday record, and expected the extreme opposite.

For a debut, I enthusiastically forgive minor nits and am happy to say those are the only kind I found. What I found especially artistic, is the breadth of fill. Just when I think I will be stumped by some current answer (the “OC” character and video game reference to name two) our constructor mixes in many other “oldish” or dare I say overused (hello ROTI, STEPH) fill to help. Overall, I do not recall having the degree of white knuckle trepidation followed by elated shock that I experienced with this solve!

And I enjoyed the roller coaster emotions.

Ethan Taliesin 11:19 AM  

Read SHEIK as SHREK and put in OGRE as his peer.

Joe Dipinto 11:25 AM  

@F-Slo – Look at at outline in RED under the constructor photo. The drawing has to *stop* somewhere, that's what the I is for.

ghkozen 11:26 AM  

New Friday record with this one. Loved CHILI VERDE and HATERS GONNA HATE (which I didn’t know was a phrase at all before Taylor made it one—sorry Bommers, it’s ours now and its current and it pops.) Didn’t even see much of the fill Rex complains about. Threw in SHIVER ME TIMBERS and HOTEL CALIFORNIA with no crosses, which really set the stage for the rest of the puzzle. Moved down through IT HAPPENS, another great phrase I use constantly, and off I went!

Z 11:30 AM  

@beezer - Interesting. I didn’t realize that Dr. Pepper and Keurig had merged.. It looks like they are trying to corner the “not Coke or Pepsi” market.

@Karl Grouch - I don’t think I ever even implied that “CHILe” is from CHILe.

@earlier Karl Grouch - the clue used “cultures” so “international” doesn’t apply. For example, New Mexican cuisine is culturally different from Taco Bell™️.

@nyc_lo - Calling anyone by their first name is “informal.” I, too, was wondering what Mrs. Roosevelt’s nickname was so was surprised at ELEANOR, but it is technically accurate.

RatGMAN 11:30 AM  

RC COLAwas HUGE in the south in the '60s, when I was stationed in NW Florida. Break time saw lots of RC COLA and MOON PIES!

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

does anyone ever say "shiver me timbers" anymore?

"in crowd' would have made more sense than "in group".

mathgent 11:36 AM  

Jeff Chen noticed that the first two letters of 1A fit neatly on top of 3D.

Great seeing STEPH Curry at 29A. He has a good chance to being MVP again this year if his ankles can withstand his being knocked down twenty times a game.

I'm happy that I don't notice things like NEED crossing NEED in the puzzle. It seems to be a big downer for some of us.

Good puzzle but light on sparkle for a Friday. Only eleven red plus signs in the margins.

Photomatte 11:37 AM  

Lots of long Acrosses today, but none were that difficult. It's always nice to look at so many potential land mines and discover they're all quite visible. I was dismayed to find the oft-used expression "haters gonna hate," however. It's such a Millennial thing to say: whenever someone disagrees with you, or doesn't like what you like, that person is "a hater." Really? What an ingenious way to stay inside your own bubble.
Just my two cents :-)

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Are we almost done with this boat drawing business?

jb129 11:38 AM  

I liked this puzzle except I didn't get "fun size" but all in all a fun puzzle

Karl Grouch 11:50 AM  

Chile out man, I was only trying to make a joke

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

Did you ever watch The Wizard of Oz?
That will explain the Cowardly Lion/Zeke relationship.

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

Also Fun Size in relationship to Halloween candy.

egsforbreakfast 11:57 AM  

Perhaps there was confusion in the cluing, and Sheik’s peer? Was actually meant to be the clue for 53A A ROD.

58A Opening statement of an appeal? had me stumped for a while. First I tried I NEED AN enorm FAVOR. That didn’t work out well, so I tried I NEED A fun size FAVOR.

NEED crossing NEED could have been avoided by cluing 43D Carson’s response to McMahon’s “how many things you got up your sleeve, Johnny?” query. NONE ED.

Smooth and easy Friday. Nice debut, John Hawksley.

Joseph Michael 12:00 PM  

Impressive debut. Liked the triple stacks a lot, especially HATERS GONNA HATE and GARDEN APARTMENT as clued. Loved the quotes from Dali and Ebert. Also enjoyed the concept of FUN SIZE. Nice rationalization for getting stuck with the small one instead of that ENORM one over there.

Speaking of ENORM, the clue doesn’t indicate that it has to be a contemporary description. So relax, Rex. If classic poets used it, it’s still poetic. And what’s with the WHINE about “(usually) men” building triple stacks? That remark seems wrong in so many ways.

The clue for 27A seems off in that I don’t think of ODORS as “stuff.” And the NEED dupe deserves a TUT TUT. But overall the puzzle was an enjoyable solve. I look forward to more from this constructor.

SouthsideJohnny 12:12 PM  

Very surprised to see Rex rate this one as Medium - it was the easiest time I’ve ever had on a Friday. I actually game within just a few squares of finishing unassisted, which have been a first on a Friday for me. Unfortunately, I DnF’d on a one letter cross of a video game and an island somewhere in the South Pacific. Naticked by the cross of a trivial question and a foreign name or place - what a surprise ! ! !

mathgent 12:21 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

Michael (7:09)
Mikey from El Prado (8:58)

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

I'm confused about why men having thought of stacked crosswords as a major feat in the past is a problem right now. I'm a woman and I don't understand what Rex is trying to say. It's still a big deal. Why can't it be a big deal? Is he saying it's too easy because of crossword-constructing software?

Nancy 12:34 PM  

Normally I don't applaud anonymous comments, but Anonymous 11:38's droll query cracked me up. It's delightfully phrased and I was sort of wondering the same thing. Why not come out of the shadows, Anon 11:38, and give yourself a nom de blog. Who knows -- you might quickly become a Rexblog all-star.

Now to Anon 11:50 -- probably not the same Anon as above. I don't want to cop to how many decades ago I saw "The Wizard of Oz" (it was many, many) and I therefore have no idea what you're talking about. Or wouldn't, except that someone on the Wordplay Blog just explained the "Lion"-ZEKE connection to me very, very clearly and carefully. So now I know. I don't remember at all, mind you, after all these years, but I do know -- thanks to someone on Wordplay named Daniel.

oldactor 12:41 PM  

@Nancy: Did you ever see "Wizard of Oz"?

What? 12:43 PM  

ELEANOR vs. Mrs. Roosevelt.

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

@nancy I thought that comment at 11:38 was kinda rude. Let people draw their boats, Anon!

Nancy 12:52 PM  

Thought for the day: If you need someone to do you a huge favor, would you in a million years say "I NEED A HUGE FAVOR"? How high-handed! How peremptory! How diva-ish! Shouldn't you instead be asking for the favor rather than demanding it? As in "Could you possibly do me a huge favor? I'll be eternally grateful!"

It's even worse because the phrase is clued as an "appeal". This is no appeal; it's definitely a demand. And the only person who would phrase it that way would be someone who wields real power. Someone who no one would dare to turn down.

(This clue bothered me a lot more than the NEED/NEED thing, btw.)

rjkennedy98 12:53 PM  

GTA to me is one of the few actually decent abbreviations I've seen in a while. Its almost exclusively how people actually refer to Grand Theft Auto, which isn't just "famous" but at one point was the most lucrative piece of entertainment media in all of history.

Crosswords I guess are the only place where you are expected to know the first name of the 2pm CNN host who averages <300K viewers, but GTA is a bad and obscure abbreviation. Very strange set of people who do these.

Teedmn 1:08 PM  

"Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum" didn't fit at 1A (and I have no idea if Long John Silver popularized that) so I had to splatz in HOTEL CALIFORNIA to get my start.

I had two wrong answers that held me up - RC COLA went in early so I decided we had mariLee and rosaLee for names. Why wouldn't ELEANOR fit when she clearly fit the clue? Oops.

And yes, I joined the IN cROwd group.

Never noticed the knocked NEEDs in the grid, har.

And I liked the clue to SASS, "Be wise to" leading me in a different direction altogether.

Thanks, John Hawksley, and congratulations on your debut.

Smith 1:13 PM  

@Jberg 10:49

Horatio Hornblower πŸ˜πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜„! Wow, that was long ago!

Frantic Sloth 1:26 PM  

Geez. I forgot to congratulate Mr. Hawksley on his debut - and an impressive one at that! Looking forward to more.

***Boat Stuff Alert***
Please feel free to skip!

@Z 1056am I have an "i" at 51A/D. What am I - stoopit? Don't answer that. 🀣

@J-Dip 1058am "No need for the I to connect back to the A as shown on X-Word Info." Exactly. I'd take it a step further to say not only is there no need for the "I", not appearing in any of the clues makes it a grid interloper.
The HULL (E-F-G-H-E clue) goes right through the I and the D, which are between H and E, making the "I" unnecessary.
@Lewis 1110am Also don't have any idea what that little "triangle" is supposed to represent - especially since it isn't clued anywhere! 🀣
@J-Dip 1125am I guess I just considered the drawing stopped/closed when the HULL line was drawn.

I appreciate all the help from you guys, but I'll die on the hill of "Unclued Circled 'i' is just wrong".

And at the risk of @anonymous's 1138am or anyone else's head exploding, I think we can stop now. Or continue via email if anyone wants.

***End Boat Stuff***

And now, I'm out. Gee. Try not to miss me too much. πŸ™„

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Maybe a Chicago thing, but most southerners know the ideal snack was "a moon pie and an RC Cola." I never knew RC was caffeine-free and I'm not sure it was.

GILL I. 2:05 PM  

Late to this party that put a bit of okra gravy on my grits.
Well why did you say that, you start, you had me at SHIVER ME TIMBERS. I went to Long John Silver exactly one time. I can't remember where we were driving to, but my husband and I were starving. It was the only restaurant in town. I ordered a shrimp taco. The shrimp was shriveled, the taco looked like it needed some serious ETHNIC RELATIONS and the lettuce needed a HUGE FAVOR. Don't even get me started on the ODORS.
On to the puzzle. Should I talk about my new way of thinking? No. I had so many errors. I'll just tell you one. My caffeine-free soft drink at 6D was REDRUM. Please don't ask me to explain. SO...I will tell my pal @Nancy another Dad Joke. Feel free to be one of those HATERS GONNA HATE....:
"Did you hear about the chameleon who couldn't change color?
He had a reptile dysfunction.
Z.....Ahhhh. The great debate on chili vs chile debate. We've had this before and it's always fun. The Brits always spell it chilli with two L's. Why? you ask. Because you have to be a lover of some anglotopia and words they say like: "Pop your clogs" and " Bob's you uncle" and "Loo" and the "Gobsmacks" of this world. Anyway, If you travel to any Spanish speaking country, they will always spell it "chile" with an E because any sane person made by the prophet god knows you would add peppers in your stew and they are always spelled chile. There...does that make it clear?

Peter P 2:20 PM  

RCCOLA was probably big in Chicago because their (or at least "a") Royal Crown bottling plant was here on the Southwest Side on 47th and California. Used to drive by it every week when we drove to my grandfather's house in Back of the Yards.

Anonymous 2:36 PM  

It's 2:33 here in the East, and I can find no comment (or OFL commentary) to justify the 'pun' assignation to 53D. AGHA (variously spelt, of course) is a peer of a Sheik. Is there some smutty connection to some smutty meaning of AGHA of which many of us are not aware?

Anonymous 2:38 PM  


Snack?? One of my bosses (RI born, NV raised, TX schooled) allowed as how that was a Southerner's breakfast. Explained the foul dentition of such folk. Not, barring some unknown export activity, explaining the same condition of Brits.

Barbara S. 2:47 PM  

Talk of RC Cola immediately awakened this earworm thanks to Nancy S. (Why does she steal the "A" at the end of the first one? And what's a mad, mad taste, anyway?) The "escape, come on over" part of the lyric suggests that RC was trying to woo Coke and Pepsi drinkers. Good luck!

And talk of Long John Silver suggested "Fifteen men on a dead's man chest" (regrettably much too long), so @Teedmn (1:08 PM) and I were thinking along similar lines.

SB: QB Tue, Wed and Thu! But not doing particularly well so far today :(

pondie 2:47 PM  

@Frantic, There is a note above the ship puzzle grid that says to connect circles A through I after solving. I had to scroll up to see it.

Eniale 2:49 PM  

Crosses helped me along a whole lot, but I DNFed on ZEKE and FUNSIZED - yeah, yeah, the Wizard of Oz was on every year, but I can't say I watched with full enough attention and for that matter I bet my son wouldn't have been able to help on that one either.

And the pronunciation of SHEEK was drilled into me early on so I didn't get the so-called pun without an aha moment. Yes, another bADJOKE.

yd pg -3; td pg and still hoping.

Old Robert 3:06 PM  

My fastest Friday ever. Fluent in pirate helps. Yarr.

Old Robert 3:07 PM  


Kenny Mitts 3:33 PM  

I invented a cocktail consisting of RC Cola and Crown Royal. It’s called a palindrome.

Z 3:42 PM  

@Karl Grouch - Oops. Went right over my head.

@Gill I - reptile dysfunction - Now that joke I got!

Harry 3:50 PM  

Having nailed the first two across clues in a flash, this might have been a record Friday solve time ... except I was convinced that bADJOKE was the intended fill. DUbS should have clued me in, but I was oblivious. DNF.

Joe Dipinto 5:39 PM  

ENORM: Character on "Echeers". Customer of Esam and Ewoody, friend of Ecliff. Married to Evera.

Unknown 6:03 PM  

Good timing on “Rinks” with the US Olympic trials finals starting today, and the Canadiens starting their tourney tomorrow!!

DGD 6:44 PM  

Ted said earlier that the clue was referring to the fact that RC Cola had the first decaf cola on the market. Followed by everyone else.

Anonymous 7:09 PM  

This is a direct quote from Michael Sharp’s Twitter “ Feeling less bad about teeing off on white supremacy every chance I get. "But sir, this is a 'Beowulf' class..." I KNOW, I WROTE THE SYLLABUS, DYLAN. FOCUS!" Parents please steer clear of Binghamton.

Anoa Bob 7:39 PM  

I spent the night in HOTEL CALIFORNIA in Todos Santos, Baja CALIFORNIA del Sur, Mexico, on a trip down to Los Cabos. I thought how cool is this? Before leaving I got a Tee shirt with a drawing of the HOTEL set in a desert scene. I was crushed, crushed I say, when I found out that in the song it is actually a fictional HOTEL set somewhere in Southern CALIFORNIA. Anybody want to buy my Tee? It's hardly been worn.

Here in Tex-Mex Land it's spelled CHILE and pronounced "CHEE lay". I'd guess that the final E was changed to an I as it traveled north. There's probably a name for that kind of thing, where spelling gets changed slightly as a word or phrase in one language gets incorporated into another language.

I seem to remember, dimly as through the mists of time, that a bottle of RC COLA had Royal Crown imprinted somewhere, maybe on the cap. I also remember [see above disclaimer] an RC COLA and a Moon Pie being part of a standup comic's routine but I'm not sure who it was. Maybe the Nashville standup from long ago, Brother Dave Gardner.

I never thought of BRIARS as "shrubs" as clued. I took a quick peek and found out that it is a "scrambling shrub". That's a new word for me so I liked that.

Geoff H 9:18 PM  

I once saw HATERSGONNAHATE clued somewhere as “Swiftian tautology” which I thought was great, I wish I could remember where.

Anonymous 9:30 PM  

I don't believe that all RC Cola is caffeine free, just that they were the first to offer that option.

And as for Rex, what a f-ing elitist statement that all of us should be drinking Coke or Pepsi just because they are the largest brands (albeit not healthy), and then chastise us for eating McDonald's or Wendy's because they, too, are the largest brands (albeit not healthy). One McRib a year wont send me to an early grave, nor will an occasional RC Cola.

Lately my kids have been really into trying store brand colas to see which ones are best and comparing them online. I guess I should be telling them that there are only two acceptable options, and with anything else they are losers.

Anonymous 11:46 PM  

I agree the answers aren't snappy enough, but in fairness to the author, it's incredibly hard to stack three 15 letter words on top of each other like that. I can't imagine the number of possibilities you have to go through. I've written a dozen or so puzzles for my family and even 8 letter words stacking takes serious skill, in my humble opinion.

albatross shell 11:58 PM  

I believe the SHITHAPPENS was
intentional. Thanks to all who showed be sheikspeer. Best comment was it was actually the clue for AROD. Or maybe it was a BADDAD JOKE.

Yep. Warn all white supremacists not to send their kids to college towns. Now if we could keep them off crossword blogs too. And you make assumptions not in evidence. And if you do not like Rex why read his Twitter stuff and then repeat it here. Just to show off your trollicity. We already admire your accomplishments in your chosen field.

Why not read what he really wrote? I believe there are as many cola varieties as genders.

Mark Newstetter 2:05 AM  

Easter egg? Combine the first two letters of 1 Across ( S H ) with 3 Down for the enhanced answer to 3 down clue.

Mark Newstetter 2:05 AM  

Easter egg? Combine the first two letters of 1 Across ( S H ) with 3 Down for the enhanced answer to 3 down clue.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Fun! Friday! Disagree with all of the bits that @Rex chose to pick.

kitshef 11:13 PM  

The only thing that surprised me more than @Nancy not knowing The Wizard of Oz is learning that AROD has fans.

I really enjoy Rex's Taylor Swift video. Dance can be beautiful, artistic, moving. Or it can be jumping around having fun. The video illustrates both.

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