1964 Tony Randall title role / SUN 1-16-22 / French trick-taking game / BILLE #3 1972 / Like the Balkans in the 1990s / Enclosure for a bike chain and sprockets / Furnace for calcium oxide production / Quint's boat in Jaws / One dingy Ernestine the operator's catchphrase on Laugh-In

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Constructor: Derrick Niederman

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium ("Medium" only because of "JUDY IN DISGUISE," my god, talk about a deep cut, you can't even name the band, no, no you can't, trust me, no one has heard from them since 1968)

THEME: "Playing the Hits" — "Hit" songs are clued by way of word "play": 

Theme answers:
  • "SHE'S NOT THERE" (23A: THE LADY VANI____ (#2, 1964))
    (The Zombies) (this is the best clue of the lot, by far: "SHE'S" is literally not there, i.e. it has disappeared from the end of the Hitchcock title, which is in fact about a disappearing lady)
  • "I'LL BE AROUND" (29A: BILLE (#3, 1972) (The Spinners) (standard cryptic cluing: "I'LL" with "BE" around (i.e. encompassing) it.
  • "THE POWER OF LOVE" (36A: xΒΊ (#1, 1985)) (Huey Lewis and the News) (variable "x" raised to the ... well, power of love, i.e. zero)
  • "DEVIL INSIDE" (60A: VAUDEVILLIAN (#2, 1988)) (INXS) ("DEVIL" is "inside" the word "Vaudevillian")
  • "LET'S GO CRAZY" (71A: LOST, E.G. (#1, 1984)) (Prince) (clue is an anagram of LOST, E.G.; "crazy" is standard cryptic crossword anagram indicator)
  • "JUDY IN DISGUISE" (93A: CHAN_E _PPEA_ANCE TO CONCEA_ __D MISLEA_ (#1, 1968)) (John Fred and His Playboy Band) (!?!?!?!?!?) (the clue phrase means "disguise" and the missing letters in that phrase spell out a famous Judy, namely GARLAND)
  • "RUMOUR HAS IT" (101A: TITTLE-TATTLE (#16, 2011)) (Adele) ("tittle-tattle" is "rumour," and it contains (or "has") "it" inside it)
  • "COME ON EILEEN" (110A: ENT I CEMENT (#1, 1983)) (Dexys Midnight Runners) (no apostrophe in "Dexys," weirdly) ("enticement" is a "come-on," and in the clue the "I" is "leaning")
Word of the Day: "JUDY IN DISGUISE" (93A) —
"Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)" is a song that was a hit for the Louisiana-based John Fred & His Playboy Band in late 1967. The song was jointly written and composed by Fred and bandmate Andrew Bernard. // The song features strings, brass, a sitar, piano, bass, guitar, drums, breathing sounds, and dissonant string sounds. Its title is a play on, and a mondegreen of, the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". (Fred thought the lyrics were "Lucy in disguise with diamonds" when he first heard that song.) // The other members of the Playboy Band did not like the unusual slow abrupt ending with Fred intoning the final line, "I guess I'll just take your glasses." (wikipedia)
• • •

-- Today is the last day of my annual one-week appeal for financial support. It has been a real joy hearing from so many of you this week. I'm proud of having made it 15 years, and (brain willing) I'm looking forward to 15 more. I'm genuinely thrilled to be a part of so many people's regular solving routines. I love that you all are able to see past my political outspokenness and personal idiosyncrasies and (I'm told) occasional "grouchiness" because you recognize that at the heart of this whole blogging endeavor is a sincere love for crosswords and the wide, weird world of people who solve them. I'm not the world's foremost authority. I'm not an objective explainer of things. I'm truly just some guy with a laptop and free blogging software who started yelling about crossword puzzles one day in 2006 and then, well, just never shut up. It was stunning to me that anyone showed up to listen, and it remains stunning that there are so many people who share my irrationally emotional attachment to the act of putting letters in boxes every day. Maybe the blog is educational, hopefully it's entertaining. Some days, even comforting. Your letters and cards and messages this week have been nothing short of energizing. When I tell you your support means a lot to me, that's not just a perfunctory platitude. It takes a lot of time and effort to maintain this blog, and all forms of support, financial and moral, are deeply, genuinely validating. I've gotten so many different kinds of feedback: short notes, long stories, occasional scoldings— what's clear is how much you all care, and how much you value not just crosswords but *community,* especially in These Challenging Times™. Look at these heartwarming messages! :)

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Here's the Sunday write-up ... 
• • •

[Actress Garr]
Well you can't deny that "JUDY IN DISGUISE" was a "hit" in its day, as it went to #1, but wow, has any #1 song sunk so far, so completely out of public consciousness as that 55-year-old song. I had the IN DISGUISE part and could remember only Elvis's "DEVIL IN DISGUISE," which obviously wouldn't fit. And ... John Fred & His Playboy Band!?!?! This is literally the first I am hearing of that band's name (I actually know the song, as I listened almost exclusively to oldies stations when I was in high school). All the other songs in this puzzle are familiar to me. Many are iconic. But "JUDY IN DISGUISE," hoo boy. Not at all coincidentally, the JUDY section of this puzzle was by far the hardest section of this otherwise easy puzzle. I had DIASTOLE instead of SYSTOLE at 88D: Rhythmic part of a heartbeat, and I have never in my life heard of NOPEST (99A: Brand of insecticide strips), and I have no idea who this JOANNA person is (93D: Protagonist in "The Stepford Wives"), and somehow *all* of those answers intersect or abut JUDY. Looks like NOPEST has appeared two other times, in 2012 and 2009. So I guess I have technically seen it before. But it left no trace. But let's back up, zoom out, and consider the theme as a whole. Uh, it's kinda crummy. Lots of subpar cryptic clues posing as word "play." The "JUDY IN DISGUISE" clue, unfortunately, has the most convoluted of the clues. I couldn't even see that the hidden JUDY was "Garland" because I thought the missing letter in the first word was "C," i.e. I was reading the clue CHANCE APPEARANCE TO CONCEAL AND MISLEAD. So that "JUDY" clue was truly doing everything it could not to endear itself to me. Didn't particularly like that it used the same missing-letters gimmick that the "SHE'S NOT THERE" clue used. I couldn't even see that the "I" in 110: ENT I CEMENT (#1, 1983) was "lean"ing because my software doesn't render italics in the clues. Luckily, I know the song "COME ON, EILEEN" exceedingly well, so my solving was not impaired. 

The word VAUDEVILLIAN is completely irrelevant to the answer "DEVIL INSIDE." The other clues at least make full use of the words they contain. Why is it VAUDEVILLIAN and not just VAUDEVILLE? [BILLE] (29A) is totally meaningless as a standalone entity. Sigh, it's all just a little too. Too twee, too cutesy, too bygone, too awkward. Also, I feel bad for people who are, uh, young, as some of these songs, wow. You have to have been there. Or be the child of someone who had been there. Do Millennials (and younger) know The Spinners? The Zombies? Do you all even know Huey Lewis and the News? I have no problem with any of these acts, or their songs, being in a puzzle, but since they're all themers, this one seems pretty generationally exclusionary. The songs are mostly in my sweet spot, but that won't be true for many folks younger than me.

RINGY? (52D: "One ___-dingy" (Ernestine the operator's catchphrase on "Laugh-In")). Ppfpfweewwfppppppfffft, speaking of "younger than Gen X," hey kids: remember Ernestine!? And her catchphrases!? Again, to be clear: love love love Lily Tomlin, no problem with her and her characters being in a puzzle, but this puzzle has already anchored itself really strongly in a bygone time. With *this* theme, I'd've tried to make as much of the rest of my puzzle current (or at least generationally neutral) as I could. But instead it's Ernestine and an old Santana hit (118A: "___ Como Va" (Santana hit)) and an even older Tony Randall yellowface role (97D: 1964 Tony Randall title role = DR. LAO), and not a lot of current stuff to balance those answers out. Otherwise, the grid seems reasonably clean, if not particularly scintillating (the grid structure doesn't leave a lot of room for longer non-theme answers. Outside of two long Downs (ABOUT FACE, KISSIMMEE), you get a few 7s and a few 8s and that's it. LIME KILN seems bizarrely arcane, albeit ultimately inferrable (109A: Furnace for calcium oxide production), and POULT (26D: Young chicken, e.g.) ... well, I had POULE, which is French for "chicken." POULT seems pretty technical. But, again, gettable. The problem today was simply that the theme clues were loose and bedraggled. And "JUDY IN DISGUISE" was a real head-shaker, even for me, a person who has heard the song before. I hope you found more to like than I did. I find that if I just focus on "LET'S GO CRAZY," such that the song starts playing in my head, I feel pretty good. Give it a try.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:25 AM  

As one may surmise, I am a strict adherent to "Joaquin's Dictum"**. But I must say, today's clues were some weird shit.

**Joaquin's Dictum: Clues are just hints; they're not definitions and they're not synonyms. So they need not be precise and don't need to apply in all situations. They're just "clues" to assist one in figuring out the answers.

Frantic Sloth 12:26 AM  

Thanks to Rex, I now know that there is a capital "I" in the 110A clue, and not a slash/virgule. This goes a long way toward making actual sense of the answer. πŸ™„

I enjoyed this one because I'm old and knew all the songs. Got JUDY with just a few letters, but could not tell you the name of the band. Even after looking it up, I didn't recognize it. That's just sad.

My stupid little nit was ILL BE AROUND. Technically, its clue says (to me anyway) BE AROUND ILL, so that's some punishing ride on the Joaquin's Dictum pony. Hey, it's my rodeo in my head and there it is.

Is there anything more disgusting than a well-used NO PEST strip? I think not. But, they're all the rage with the reclusive serial killer.
Then again, that's a low bar.

Good day.


Zed 12:46 AM  


Cryptic clues for a PPP theme with a cultural center somewhere around my high school years. Blrrrrgh. I’m sure some people will love this, but I’m not one of them.

Brian A in SLC 12:47 AM  

I don't know how this puzzle could be less than medium-challenging for many. The lack of commonality of structure of the theme clues left me quite befuddled - thought I had to be missing something.

Of course most of the theme answers were pretty easily inferable from the crosses. But as a relative xword newb, the discombobulating themers sucked out all the joy of solving.

Guess I need to learn to distinguish "cryptic clues" as a sort of theme?

Andrea 1:19 AM  

I finished it but didn’t understand any of the theme’s clues. I would’ve appreciated a little heads up for the crypticness

okanaganer 1:23 AM  

Yikes kinda an obscure theme because of the clues so convoluted. I'm very much of the era of most of these tunes, but still required an effort to get what was happening. Huey Lewis, INXS, Prince... not my faves, but hot acts in the prime of my youth so I know them.

Rex, JUDY IN DISGUISE forgotten band name indeed.

I have tried several times this week to contribute to Rex using Paypal only to end up with the message "Payment could not be processed; unknown error." Has anyone else from Canada been successful using Paypal with a credit card? Thinking maybe snail mail; I haven't bought a stamp... do they still make them?.. in years. And I will have to find paper, a pen, and an envelope... oh echos of my past!!! And are there still mailboxes?

[Spelling Bee: Sat pg -1, missing an 8 letter word. My 8 day QB streak in dire jeopardy.]

Joe Dipinto 2:15 AM  

Wordle 211 2/6


Well, I got all the songs with none or very few crosses in place, but I didn't really like this puzzle. It was a weird group of songs to comprise a theme. I too felt like JUDY IN DISGUISE is a huge obscurity at this point in time — plus, it took me ages to think of it because it didn't get to #1 on New York radio and I forgot that it did on Billboard.

I mostly agree with what Jeff Chen says at XWord Info. SHE'S NOT THERE and THE POWER OF LOVE are clued imaginatively. The others are so-so at best. I don't like "Bille" or "Vaudevillian" as clues at all. JUDY... has a good clue but it's inclusion as an answer just seems weird.

Other clue complaints: ENOTE has a ridiculous clue, and it's directly below the equally ridiculously-clued ONE (ON E). The PAGODA clue is the type of NYTimes clue I despise the most.

The Acrostic, otoh, was quite enjoyable.

You can depend on me to transport actor Jackman to that place. (No. 1, 1972 – by the 48d Singers)

Anonymous 2:22 AM  

The solve was easy, but figuring out what was going on with some of the theme answers wasn’t. Thanks, for example, for explaining about the I leaning for “Come on Eileen.” I got the answer for that easily enough, but didn’t realize what was going on with the clue.

Anonymous 2:29 AM  

I graduated from college in 1969, so "Judy in the sky...glasses" was easy, as well as the Zombies and Ernestine. As a chemist, "calcium oxide" told me "lime". So I found this to be the easiest NYTXW in months. I had veneer before luster, "snap on" before "staple" and "geini" before "djinn". Having "oni" instead of "ini" for 28A made it take longer to get 24 down.

Harryp 2:37 AM  

I was going to call the clues convoluted, but it was already used, so I will call the theme arcane. Most of the time I treat every puzzle as a themeless, and did so today. Most of the theme answers were unknown to me, but the Downs must have been exceedingly easy since I completed the puzzle in half my average Sunday solve time. No Ahas for me anywhere. Not impressed.

Aelurus 3:05 AM  

Lots of brow furrowing for a while. Song titles (many unknown to me) clued wackily, each in an individual unconnected way, and I finished without always knowing why the theme answers were correct.

Two favorites: 23A, SHE’S NOT THERE, and 36A, THE POWER OF LOVE (learned zero = “love” in tennis from crosswords). Both really clever.

But I’LL BE AROUND, DEVIL INSIDE, and RUMOUR HAS IT somehow reminded me of this classic brain teaser/rebus* (the "miss" should be in a smaller font size and centered beneath "standing"):


Don’t really know what to make of the last three:

71A, LET’S GO CRAZY, unless it’s just removing the “EG” and anagramming the remaining letters in front of CRAZY into LOST.

I thought the missing letters in the clue for 93A, JUDY IN DISGUISE, might spell out glasses but they don’t. Can’t figure that one; will read the comments before posting to see what I didn’t pick up on.

110A – This clue is no clue to me.


OH!!! Now I get it!! [She bounced around like a human exclamation point.**] The thing about JUDY IN DISGUISE is that on my iPad the fourth and fifth words appeared as one word without a space, CONCEA_ _ _D, so it was impossible to parse it and I might not have, even so. Thanks, Rex, for clearing up that muddle!

Also on the iPad, 110A showed up this way: ENT / CEMENT, where the symbol looked like a solidus or slash, not at all like a leaning capital “I,” rhymes with sigh. Hi, @Frantic 12:26 am - and I had the same nit too. Would it maybe have helped to boldface as in the other two clues with embedding: BILLE?

I’d still like to borrow @Nancy’s wall, though, if there’s room.

Faster than my usual Sunday but seemed much longer. There’s no joy in Mudville. I believe there’ll be walnut brownies baking in the oven for breakfast tomorrow (um...later today) while I read the rest of the comments.

[*a little misunderstanding between friends]

[**This description is a quote from a NYT article about a young female gymnast at the Olympics years ago. Such a wonderful image I always wanted to use it]

jae 3:07 AM  

Medium. I’m in the target age group for this one, id est JUDY IN DISGUISE was a gimme. A cryptic Sunday works for me, liked it.

bocamp 5:31 AM  

Thx Derrick; my kind of Sun. puz! :)


Got off to a speedy start in the top 1/4, but slowed considerably as I moved down, with the bottom 1/4 being the toughest section.

The only song I knew was THE POWER OF LOVE (and that from 'Back to the Future'), so the themers were a WOE and of no help.

By far the toughest area was the SW, with CHANUKAH, DJINN, DR LAO, RUMOUR, HERA & JOANNA. Fortunately, had attended a Little League game in KISSIMMEE back in '96, so that along with the SB accepted JINN/I were my saviors in the final analysis. The misdirect on 'Olympian of note', was brilliant; my final answer was HERA.

Speaking of DJINN, I knew there was a var. of JINN, and the 'D' finally came to mind. This enabled DR LAO and led the way to victory.

"Jinn (Arabic: Ψ¬Ω†, jinn) – also romanized as djinn or anglicized as genie (with the broader meaning of spirit or demon, depending on source) – are supernatural creatures in early pre-Islamic Arabian religious systems and later in Islamic mythology and theology. Like humans, they are created with fitra, neither born as believers nor as unbelievers their attitude depends on whether they accept God's guidance. Since jinn are neither innately evil nor innately good, Islam acknowledged spirits from other religions, and was able to adapt spirits from other religions during its expansion. Jinn are not a strictly Islamic concept; they may represent several pagan beliefs integrated into Islam." (Wikipedia)

Really enjoyed this battle of easy and hard all mixed into one fine creation! :)

Another excellent NYT Acrostic today; as I did in the previous one, worked from the top fill, after first installing the answer to 'A'.

@okanaganer (1:23 AM)

PayPal worked for me, but then that's a credit card once removed. πŸ€”
yd pg -2 (tab'd) / W=4 (hi @Roo)

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

Anonymous 6:00 AM  

I never even tried to figure out the “word play.” The song titles just fell into place with the crosses. And, yes, those songs are in my “sweet spot,” too…except, of course, for Judy in Disguise.

Debbie Ann 6:40 AM  

Thanks for all you do, much appreciated. $ sent via venmo via Charles Haynes.

Trey 6:48 AM  

I was making reasonable time until I got near the end and was faced with so many PPP Naticks I was close to screaming. DR LAO crossing OYE? I know the song but not how to spell the word OYE. DR LAO crossing DJINN? I have heard of DJINN from some shows I have watched (I think The Witcher had a DJINN) but hearing it on TV and spelling it are different things entirely. JUDY crossing JOANNA? CRIPES crossing CHANUKAH? I am much more familiar with the Jewish holiday spelled with an "H" at the beginning and any emotion in quotes is subject to vagaries. Finally, there is AWW crossing WEEDY. I had AWs (my fault for putting a plural) but that gave me sEEDY which seemed like a perfectly good answer. That error took 10 or so minutes to uncover, When combined with all of the other squares that could have been in error, the end was a mess. Successful in the end, but a mess. @Rex is completely correct in that this puzzle skews old. I vote for too old.

LIME KILN was easy for me - there are lots of references to LIME KILN in the Philly area - one is preserved not too far from my house, and there is a town about 10 miles away with that name. Must have been big here in the past. However, with it crossing DR LAO, I even had to doubt my answer that I was sure of.

@Frantic 12:26 - I had the same impression about BILLE. "BE" is clearly around "ILL", so the clue is not only wrong but not even close enough to be humorous.

I appreciate the effort of the crostic-style clues, and appreciate the challenge. However, there were too many areas in this puzzle that required specific knowledge or were tough to infer from the crosses. Plus, I hate answers that are a sound (OOH, OHH, AHH, AAH, UHOH, OH NO, AWW etc etc) and dislike answers that are mild oaths that almost nobody says any more and theoretically could be other words with a similar sound - wouldn't CRIKES (as in a variation of CRIKEY) be something that someone may say?

Colin 6:52 AM  

This was a pleasant, quick solve for me. My wife wanted to help, and I threw her come clues, but the next thing we know, I'm done. I know JUDYINDISGUISE, and lots of other (old) one-hit wonders but am not so up on more recent music, so I appreciated this puzzle. I'll have to check out the "Two-For-One Crossword" Derrick previously published.

"I had DIASTOLE instead of SYSTOLE at 88D..." - DIASTOLE doesn't fit, so this is impossible. Rex, you must've written DIATOLE or DIASOLE or DISTOLE. We hung NOPEST strips around our house when I was a kid... if you think about it, it's kinda disgusting. Agree with Joe Dipinto that ENOTE was ridiculous.

Yeah, as a person of Chinese descent, I cringed at DRLAO (after writing in FELIX first, except I knew FELIX was not in any titles), but that was that era (think Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi); we've thankfully made some progress since.

mmorgan 6:58 AM  

I found this extremely easy — might be a generational thing. Got JUDY IN DISGUISE in half of a nanosecond, but I had no idea why COME ON, EILEEN (never heard of the song) was right till I looked at the print version of the clue. Oh. Wow. I didn’t know the newer songs but got everything quite quickly, with many enjoyable groans. That was fun!

Anonymous 7:05 AM  

My first answer for 63D, “Number twos” was “feces” rather than VICES. Come to think of it, I have used a slangier version of that word to describe some past Vices.

Todd 7:06 AM  

I set a personal Sunday best on this one. And I didn't understand the big clues. The crossfill was easy and I think most of the songs were in my wheelhouse. One issue, Citizen is not an upscale watch brand.

Unwiseowl 7:31 AM  

Millenial checking in just to say that I know all those bands, but Judy in Disguise was a total shot in the dark. Gotta say, though, it's lowkey a banger.

As someone who came across to Usonian puzzles from cryptics, this was pretty breezy all around, even when solving far too late at night.

That pun at 92 across is a real groaner though, isn't it?

Deb Sweeney 7:45 AM  

Weird puzzle. I did like She's Not There. I didn't really get the clue for The Power of Love until I read the comments. For both the puzzle clue and Rex's commentary I thought they were saying the "power" of "human love" is - nothing (cue soul-crushing cynicism and alienation). Oh thanks fellow solvers, it's only a tennis reference. Whew.

Carol S. 7:50 AM  

Coincidentally my two holes were the upper right hand corner and the lower left-hand corner. I wanted 18 down to be "seedy" and I didn't know the cross of Tony Randall's title role and Santana hit. Loved the puzzle otherwise.

Son Volt 7:54 AM  

This was brutal - overly easy to the point where I just used the given year to get the song themers. I’m not a fan of cryptics on their own and definitely not in my crosswords. No idea on JUDY initially - but recognize it after hearing it. The fill here was simplistic - I guess follows suit with the theme. Only funk was the DR LAO x DJINN cross.

I’ve seen OTELLO twice - first was with Domingo as a high school senior but didn’t really appreciate it - was more into Johnny Thunders at that point. Years later saw it with my parents just before they died and was blown away by Renee Fleming’s Desdemona. Life is all about context I guess.

I’ll take a hard pass on this one.

Adam 7:56 AM  

"She's Not There" was used on Glee, and there was the fantastic Nick Cave/Neko Case cover that appeared on True Blood, so I think it's been in the public eye recently (plus, loved the clueing on it). But as a GenXer, I'd never heard of "Judy in The Skies."

The other thing that threw me was immediately throwing BONO into the final down answer without a second thought.

SouthsideJohnny 8:34 AM  

This one would be great for a user group or convention for constructors - boy, you really have to be hardcore to be willing and able to dissect those theme clues and entries - just reading Rex’s explanations was giving me a headache. The crossword clues on this one were pretty good - very appropriate and even a touch on the easy side for a Sunday - however the burden of the trivial stuff combined with the cryptic nature of the theme were just to much for me to overcome - not enough crosses to parse together triple downs like the cartoon character, opera name and actress all crossing two theme entries in the North Central for example.

If you enjoy that type of detective work and this stuff is in your wheelhouse, should be a pretty enjoyable trip around the grid. The clue for ONE (Out of gas, informally) flew right over my head and still hasn’t registered - I’m guessing it’s pretty simple and an AHA moment is coming my way. Anyone have any thoughts ?

DJINN v.v. DRLAO sure appear like they are attempting to blaze a trail for a new category - like “Made up Cross” of the week or month. I wonder if there is anything ironic about one of the Stepford Wives crossing HERA. How cool is it that POULT is actually a word - it sure sounds like it could, and possibly should be, lol.

Tom T 8:48 AM  

A couple clues for Hidden Diagonal Words in today's grid:

1. The only word that rhymes with ear and heir

2. Persona non grata name

Hand up for a puzzle in which every answer seemed wheelhouse easy or "no idea" hard. But finished well under Sunday average.

I've never been particularly adept at visual wordplay stuff, so knowing almost all of the songs (except LETS GO CRAZY) and the crosses were my lifelines. You can't unhear that creepy spoken, "I guess I'll just take your glasses" at the end of JUDY IN DISGUISE (if you know the song). Like Rex and others, no recognition of John Fred and His Playboy Band.

Fun to see CILIA (50D) and ILIA (63D) in close proximity--they don't usually get to hang out so close to each other.

Is it just me, or has ATTN been getting more than its share of attention lately?

I'll be passing through KISSIMMEE later today, after the stormy weather passes through.

Answers to the HDW clues:

1. TEAR (begins with the T in LET'S GO CRAZY, moves NW)

2. MUD (begins with the M in RUMOUR HAS IT, moves NW)

Zed 8:51 AM  

@Adam Lipkin - you can’t mention the Nemo Nick cover and not link to it. I saw somebody describe this version as “Polka Industrial.” I don’t agree but I just love the notion of a Polka Industrial group. In other news, Gogol Bordello playing Friday at Z’s Placebo and Tentacle.

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

Same problem as @Trey. Had sEEDY for a long time. Looked perfectly plausible.

Songs were easy. Theme clues were not. Too many of the other clues way too Mondayish. On balance did not enjoy the solve. If feCES had been 62 Down “Number twos” answer I would have quit - maybe forever.

Stupac2 9:01 AM  

As Rex alluded to, these themers were a complete struggle for me as a millennial. Besides the Adele song I haven't even heard of any of them. Zero chance to get anything besides "well let's make words out of it". I get that it could be hard to do, but puzzles like this should really include more material that you don't need to be 60+ to have experienced in its time.

kitshef 9:02 AM  

I very much enjoyed the little puzzles, although during the solve I think they all came from crosses before I got them from the clues, except for DEVIL INSIDE.

Shockingly, I know all of these songs and love most of them. Stunned to realize that RUMOUR HAS it is now over a decade old.

Wordplay has video of all the songs, and I enjoyed revisiting them. The have video of Lily Tomlin’s Ernestine, to boot!

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

So far out of my wheelhouse. But I eventually fought my way through it, except somehow I read the puppy clue as plural (probably because of "pics") and wrote in AWS. What a thing to be defeated by.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

Not a bad puzzle for an old fart like me, but now I have that stupid JUDY song stuck in my head.

Wanderlust 9:19 AM  

Taking Rex’s advice to keep some very good songs in my head after this mixed bag of oddities. Aside from JUDY IN DISGUISE, which I’ve never heard of, and POWER OF LOVE, which I’ve never liked, these are all pretty great songs. (Some other good ones referenced elsewhere, such as OYE Como Va and the I’M A followers.)

Anyone else confidently type in TALLAHASS … for the Florida city, and then say WTF?

Since @LEWIS warned us he may not appear today, I’ll offer my favorite clue of the day as “clears for takeoff” for DEICES. Also liked “slugger from Louisville” for ALI, “big club in Vegas” for ACE, and “out of gas, informally” for ON E. The latter three all nice examples of how clever cluing can save otherwise dull three-letter fill.

Apropos of nothing, so glad that Novax has been ejected from Oz.

Alexander 9:21 AM  

I had the same issue with 110A. I was trying to decode what the hell “Ent divided by cement” means.

Jess 9:22 AM  

How is "songs clued cryptically" a theme?

Wanderlust 9:22 AM  

Read it as ON E instead of the number. Does that help?

pabloinnh 9:23 AM  

I'm with the folks who ignored the clues and went for the song titles. Also, my printer decided to cut off the very last vertical column, so I began by writing in things like ALCAPON, which couldn't be right, but was kind of funny. Drew all the little boxes by hand and proceeded apace.

Also a generational wheelhouse thing. I was at school in Madrid in 1967-68 when JUDYINDISCGUISE was all over the place, and every time we heard it someone would say--hey, there's that song about your girlfriend! Well I married Judy in 1970, so it still resonates.

I'm with @JoeD on ENOTE. What's the first note of that song? I think it's an ENOTE said no one ever. Yuchh.

Otherwise fun enough and I found it pretty easy. Nice job, DN. just Didn't Need the themer clues. Thanks for the fun.

PS-Gave up on the Pats at halftime, wisely. At least no one can accuse them of cheating. I think the Bills could have beaten the NFL All Stars last night. Good luck to them.

amyyanni 9:27 AM  

Congrats on Wordplay award!

amyyanni 9:39 AM  

Fastest Sunday in some time. Admittedly in the target age group. The DRLAO reference is cringeworthy, sadly.
Rainy, maybe snow later. Never saw potential amounts listed as they are here. Up north, weathercasters use spans, e.g., 4 to 6 inches. Last night the local map was festooned with exact predictions: 2.7; 1.9, etc. The 1.9 is especially amusing.🀷‍♀️

sixtyni yogini 9:41 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beezer 9:41 AM  

Aargh! Cross my heart on my living bra I got so fubarred with JUDYINDISGUISE because I was still young enough to mangle lyrics when Lucy in the Sky (with Diamonds) came out…YES…for awhile I sang out Lucy in disguise…with diamonds. I KNEW the Judy song but now in my old age still managed to conflate the two for a bit.

Otherwise, except for DEVILINSIDE I worked this as a SEMI-themeless because I just don’t have the patience for cryptic clues. Luckily I knew the songs so I finally completed the puzzle despite my “crypto phobia.”

Keep “a wearing’ those wingtips”…

sixtyni yogini 9:41 AM  

Thought this was going to be an easy slog — until the brakes hit at the SW corner.
Theme clues were strained and obscure (except first ones) — so it was just annoying.
So annoying.
Only 1 πŸ¦– for this 🧩

RooMonster 9:46 AM  

Hey All !
NOPEST read as one word is my word for this puz. NOPE, NOPER, NOPEST. Couldn't figure out how a few of the Themers worked. That JUDY clue looked like the first two words were connected, so I was looking for one long word for CHAN_E_PPRA_ANCE, not coming up with anything. Also, having never heard of the JUDY song, I decided to go with LADY IN DISGUISE. Which led to my DNF. Agree with Rex, that was one tough section.

My grid ended up Acrosses LADYINDISGUISE, RUMORHADIT, NUTEST, HERA, and Downs LUANNE, ATD. CRIPES! Lots of crossed out letters when I hit Check Puzzle, 6 of them.

DR LAO was also a who? DJINN I knew from previous puzs, but also from the TV show Supernatural. Great show. Had the WY___ of WYNNE, almost wrote in WYETH. Har. RESECT was a new word here. Thankfully REBA was a lock, or more letters would've been crossed out.

A Q short of a pangram. Looked real quick to see if I could squeeze one in, no luck!

Gotta watch my Steelers get their butts beat tonight. Oh well, at least they've kept their streak of 14 years without a losing record, and actually made the playoffs. "Playoffs? Playoffs?!" Har.

yd -10, -1p, should'ves 5 (come on Sam on a couple of those words)

Four F's

pmdm 9:51 AM  

I known absolutely none of the songs. At first I thought this puzzle had a movie theme. At some point in the solve, I just accepted the puzzle as a wordplay puzzle. As such, it deserves praise from me. The "wordplay" aspect actually helped fill with some of the themed entries. This is one of those puzzles which justifies keeping Shortz on as puzzle editor. Others may disagree, and I think a PPP theme is unfortunate. But, as I mentioned, I solved the puzzle as a wordplay puzzles and totally ignored the PPP. Or at least tried to.

Susan 10:01 AM  

Yeah, I understood the first one, and I knew we were looking for song titles. But I had no idea what any of the other theme clues meant until Rex explained it!

Rube 10:05 AM  

Me too

Todd 10:09 AM  

Stupac2, Now you know how us older people, I'm 59, feel when there are obscure rap artists clued who's names are close to a random letter scramble.

Rube 10:10 AM  

There is absolutely no such thing in music as ENOTE. yes the 3rd or mi tone is e, but note is just stupid. E natural if you must, but e note is not a thing.

Teedmn 10:11 AM  

DNF on the common error, sEEDY vs WEEDY. All of those weeds and the lettuce and radishes that have bolted, with their sEEDY heads waving in the breeze - describes my garden to a tee.

I see I wasn't the only one to hear JUDY IN the skies, back in the day. And @Aelurus, I had the same problem with CONCEA_ _ _ _ being one word so the clue "CHANcE APPEArANCE TO CONCEAlled MISLEAd" was misleading to say the least and not leading to GARLAND.

My favorite clue was X to the O power even though I didn't readily connect 0 to the tennis score.

This puzzle could be taken as quite macabre - THAWED HUMAN[E] remains unearthed, ugh.

Thanks, Derrick Niederman, I liked this Sunday puzzle.

Nancy 10:25 AM  

Why are you doing this to me twice in four days, WS? You can't have fun -- i.e. wordplay -- with song titles that no one's ever heard of. I got the pun of THE LADY VANISHES -- mainly because I know the movie. I had no idea there was a song.

What's worse is crossing all this pop culture arcana with even more pop culture arcana: DR LAO (I cheated); JOANNA (I cheated -- giving me JUDY IN DISGUISE instead of laDY IN DISGUISE. I thought that JOANNA was going to be leANNA. It's all the same to me.) KISSIMMEE is probably something the educated person should know, but I had to feed KISSI into Google to get the "M"s. So I "solved" this thing with 3 cheats.

Most obscure non-pop culture answer: 109A. I'm supposed to know about a "furnace for calcium oxide production"? Did you?

So two PPP-riddled puzzles (Thursday and today) as a trade off for two delicious, non-PPP-riddled themelesses (Friday and Saturday). That's a 1:1 ratio -- and much too high a price to pay in my book.

(I can promise y'all that next Sunday's puzzle will NOT be a trivia-fest. You heard it here first.)

CPG 10:39 AM  

On account of fraud concern, my credit card company will not process a charge in another county without a call to authorize the tranaction.

GILL I. 10:49 AM  

Ay...@Rex. you take the fun out of DJINN. For a while I stopped doing the Sunday puzzles because they bored me to tears. I was up very late last night and decided to give this one the old college try.
But did you like this? you ask. Why yes....I did. I had fun trying to remember the goody songs I used to listen to while dancing in a cage in Madrid.
Do you know how many ways you can spell CHANUKAH? According the the OED there are 24 variants. Imagine that! I had CARNIVAL at first but I think that's only 5 days or so but, you know, the festivities continue even though you're supposed to be fasting.
What was your favorite answer? you ask. I loved KISSIMMEE. @Tom T 8:48. If you get a chance, go to Old Town. I love that area and spent lots of time CANOE[ing] on its neighbor, Lake Tohopekaliga. Don't you just love these names?
Like my friend @Nancy, I cheated on JOANNA. But why? you ask. Because the crucial across LIME KILN kicked me in the # two area. CRIPES...and I was doing so well.
Did anyone else have SIT IN instead of LIE IN? I went to one peaceful protest [just before Covid]. It involved organizations supporting gender based peace and safety. Lots of women marching around...no LIE INS nor SIT INS. Just a bunch of smart and funny women doing what we do best....
Oh...I also liked SEA BEE. One of my first "loves" was a SEA BEE. I have a picture of us when we went to Disneyland. Two weeks later he was sent to Vietnam. I never heard from him again.
I did enjoy your puzzle, Derrick. I thought is was different and clever. I'll take seconds, please.

Berkeley 10:53 AM  

Interesting that OFL's woke sensitivities don't seem to be triggered by DRLAO

Paul 10:59 AM  


Anonymous 11:05 AM  

Plausible is still wrong.

Sioux Falls 11:07 AM  

Also as others DNF due to AWW vs AWS -- weedy vs seedy.

Totally agree with @Frantic Sloth about BILLE. The answer should be BE ALL AROUND. Makes no sense as ILL BE AROUND. And like Rex thought the first missing letter in the JUDY IN DISGUISE clue was a C and not G. But being a person of a certain age I didn't need the clue ... I had UISE and knew the song.

JD 11:08 AM  

Fittingly, south of Cripes I had no idea what was going on. There's an astounding number of things in the puzzle that I've either never known (Eileen) or long forgotten if I did know it (Judy), which I'm not sure I did.

thefogman 11:11 AM  

I do cryptic crosswords so I appreciate really tough but clever hidden meanings in clues. But some of these are still head-scratchers even after reading Rex’s explanations. Good concept, but I’m afraid the cluing was not up to par. Instead of feeling elated i feel spent now. Please do not do this again!

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

@Nancy. The song is SHES NOT THERE. "SHES" is missing from The Lady Vani____. i.e. NOT THERE. The Lady Vanishes is not a song.

Arnold 11:13 AM  

@Todd - You missed Tupac2's point: He wasn't alive to experience any of these songs. Not Alive. You may not listen to any current music, but that's your choice, as you are alive, and were alive when they had their day in the sun. Actual impossibility is not the same as choice.

@Nancy - Do you like the fact that concrete exists? That mortar exists, so that we can build with stone and bricks? That high quality steel exists? That glass exists? Then you should appreciated lime in all its manifestations, particularly after it comes out of LIMEKILN as CaO. Do you know why appearing on stage is called "Being in the limelight" That's right, before electric lights they used to illuminate stages with Ca0 heated to high temperatures. LIMEKILNs have been critical to our civilization for many millennia.

Paul & Kathy 11:18 AM  

I listen to the oldies station all day on the radio while I'm working and Judy In Disguise is on the playlist. Had no trouble with it.

Bottom of the puzzle was easier than the top, but I thought it had a lot of odd clues. Still finished with a below-average time. I'll take it

thefogman 11:20 AM  

PS Has anyone here tried the WORDLE word game yet? (Just google it)… I’ve played three games so far and had success every time. First time in five tries. Second and third time in fou tries. It’s a pretty good game. Too bad you can only play once every 24 hours…

Leslie 11:21 AM  

Hello all. Sorry Lewis isn't here to give his positive take on this puzzle. I loved it. Sundays have been so boring lately--just a slog. The clues here were all multi-layered. I didn't know the songs but they were inferrable; knew the Lady Vanishes from the movie; x zero = power of love, and so on. I in italics = I lean. Clever!

Smith 11:21 AM  

What Rex said. Had carlanDISGUISE due to same error c for g. Not sure I would have gotten it even if I had the g. Asked DH who is closer to the demographic (HS grad 1967) but got nothing. Having no idea on the Stepford wife's name I was sunk. All the other titles were super easy, even, like others, COMEONEILEEN off 2 letters.

Good-bye, Sunday, off to the acrostic.

Wordle 211 3/6


Ann 11:24 AM  

Vaudevillian works if you think of a villain as a devil

Smith 11:26 AM  


Super looking forward to your puzzle next Sunday!

Anonymous 11:27 AM  


Most of those references are to state road 152, which everyone calls the Limekiln Pike.
If you were lucky you might have used the Limekiln Pike to get to Hilltown Pike and hunt pheasants back in the day.

I love that your baseball-first attitude invoked NFL All-Stars. In the NFL
they’re called All Pros. But of course, All -Star is worlds better.

Shane on you! Judy in Disguise is waaaaaaay better than Lucy in the Sky.

Smith 11:29 AM  

@wander (9:19)

"Apropos of nothing, so glad that Novax has been ejected from Oz."


Anonymous 11:34 AM  

odd, so it seems, that in my dead trees version, 60A and 101A have DEVIL and IT in bold, thus giving away the answer??? it's subtle in my printing, so I didn't notice it for awhile, but when I did, I expected these letter sequences were a hint to some other letter sequences. and the I sure does look like a slash.

at least DR LAO wasn't (or, was it??) as racist as that Mickey Rooney role.

EIRE/ERIN kea/loa, again.

battle of the SEXES??? I thought that was won by the grrrlllss ages ago.

KnittyContessa 11:41 AM  

I, too, had AWs/sEEDY. The clue for 16A is plural - PICS. The answer should be plural, no?

I loved 23A, such a clever clue. The rest I couldn't figure out. I knew all the songs so it was easy to fill in.

Zed 11:47 AM  

@Jess - If you ask me it’s not.

@Anold - Uh,… I posted a link to SHE’S NOT THERE that was most definitely recorded after @Stupac2 was alive. But that all these songs probably have recent covers is beside the point. I do not disagree with @Stupac2. These themers don’t skew dead, but they most definitely skew AARP. I don’t understand why the NYTX keeps publishing so much that is exclusionary. I don’t much want a PPP theme at all, but can we get just a little broadening. Maybe add an aria and a rap tune and maybe something by Lorde or Olivia Rodrigo? How about some Wes Montgomery or Sarah Vaughn?

@Berkeley - Pointing out that it was “yellowface” wasn’t enough for you?

@Gill I - Just 24 spellings you say? So a kealoakealoakealoakealoakealoakealoakealoakealoakealoakealoakealoakealoa. I just waited for the crosses.

thefogman 11:49 AM  

Hi Rex! If you’re reading this maybe you can consider putting up an explainer for “Kealoa” like you did for Natick. It’s a good one!

TPrez 11:52 AM  

So early on I had POUL with TRY in the last square as a rebus. AHA I thought! It’s a rebus puzzle. Well when you have a fairly open board, and you’re thinking rebus, lemme tell you it gets very messy. Had to do a lot of deleting about halfway through when I was just utterly stuck. Ended in a fairly normal time however, so the puzzle must have been easier than normal - something that might have been reflected in my time had I not gone down the [rabbit] rebus hole…

Nancy 11:55 AM  

It's NOT about one's generation, folks. I was no better on the songs from the Sixties than I was on the songs from the Eighties. It's about what you were listening to back then.

I never listened to pop hits on the radio. I listened to Broadway show music; to folk music -- both traditional and contemporary protest songs; and to the American Songbook as sung by Sinatra, Ella, Barbara S. and Barbara C.

So I didn't know one single song here. Not one. My dislike for these kinds of song title clues is very nondiscriminatory. It spans generations.

@Arnold (11:13) -- I'm sorry I badmouthed LIME. I apologize to everyone I inadvertently hurt or insulted. I promise that it won't happen again.

What? 11:58 AM  

I knew none of the songs. None. And it’s not generational (I’m 85), it just reflects my taste in music.
BTW, I finished the puzzle 100%. Says something about how decades of doing NYT puzzles leads to a certain useless skill.

A2JD 12:00 PM  

I worked at a 50's style diner in Marina Del Rey in the early-2000's and it had a jukebox that was loaded with hits from the 50's through to about 1990. Thanks to that, I easily knew Judy in Disguise

Jeff 12:00 PM  

All my life I thought it was Judy In the Sky’s.

Jesse 12:06 PM  

I just want to say, as a long time bike mechanic, "gear case" is not a thing on bicycles. The closest you might come would be an internal hub but that is quite different than the cluing in the puzzle.

egsforbreakfast 12:07 PM  

When Rex said that no one will know who did Judy in Disguise, I smugly thought, “well I know. It was The Sir Douglas Quintet.” Wrongs, Bozo. Although they did have a bunch of hit songs from the same era including Mendocino.

Several math related dead ends that cost me some nanoseconds:

36A. X^o. We’ll, I know that any real number raised to the power of zero is ONE, so I tortured myself over this brilliant insight until it’s brilliance ebbed.

110A ENT / CEMENT. I figured that this fraction could be simplified under normal algebraic rules to 1 / CEM. Pretty darn helpful insight if you’re looking to up your solving time.

Other than a few diversions like those, I thought it was pretty easy and enjoyable, with some nice cluing like the one for SAAB. Thanks, Derrick Niederman.

dumbnose 12:10 PM  

Same here.

bocamp 12:15 PM  

Even more impressed with this puz, now that I've taken the time to decipher the cryptic clues. Last nite I had just filled in what made sense according to the crosses, not knowing any of the songs save one. Imo, this creation is another example of fair crosses and excellent clueing/editing. :)
td pg-2 / W=4

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

Wanderlust 12:15 PM  

I was going to post sometime that although I love Wordle, I don’t get the point of posting your grid. But yours made me think, “why did this person get two letters placed right, then not use them in their second guess?” And that made me see a new strategy of entering entirely new letters for the second guess just to find more letters that are in the puzzle. I assume that’s what you did? It means you can’t win on the second try but increase your odds of winning on the third. Might try it tomorrow.

Carola 12:20 PM  

Balance sheet for me. Positives: Engaging theme idea; managed to complete the grid. Negatives: Crucial typographic elements of the theme clues very difficult to see in the mag; all songs unknown except for SHE'S NOT THERE.

Anonymoose 12:21 PM  

1. @Knitty & others. pics is plural but Reaction is singular and that's what matters. Hence AWW before AWs.

2. @Smitn & @Wanderlust. Seems Mr. Djokovic* stepped on his own (tennis) balls.

3. My favorite word today-TWIT*

Joseph Michael 12:26 PM  

I liked this a lot — at first. Thought 23A was clever and found most of the fill interesting. As I plodded through the lower half of the grid, however, I began to like it less and less and then really disliked it by the time I got to the end.

CRIPES. DR. LAO with his LiME KILN? A DJINN from KISSIMMEE? JUDY IN DISGUISE? COME ON, I LEAN? This was a SAAB story indeed. Now please excuse me, SWEETIE, while I try to go find my wheelhouse.

The Joker 12:26 PM  

WORDLE hint. All the letters in today's word are in the Xword.

Todd 12:35 PM  

Arnold, I wasn't alive when Plato wrote the Republic either but I don't find clueing it an issue. There are literally hundreds of oldie stations and channels on satellite radio. These songs are available and played today, probably more so then 20 years ago given Sirius radio. But Stupor2 has no more interest in them than I do in rap songs. It is exactly the same thing. Sometimes it's in your wheelhouse, sometimes it isn't. Complaining about it is whining. In this case Millennial whining.

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

"gear case" is not a thing on bicycles

makes no sense to me, either. but... I recall seeing, mostly Brit I think, 3-speed bikes where the entire drive (chain, front and rear sprockets) is in encased in a metal guard. but that was years ago. whether anyone makes them these days, I dunno. my guess is that Brits, through at least the 60s were too poor to have cars en masse, so used bikes. also true in much of Europe pre- and post-WWII. let's see if I can find a pix. yes, yes, there is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gear_case note the first pix - European bike.

satellite73 12:50 PM  

Same. Came here to read the explanation.

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

possibly TMI -

turns out that Europeans, largely living in centuries old cities, and thus cramped for roadway space, still use such bikes. they even have their page on the wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utility_bicycle#Fully_enclosed_chain_guard

JC66 1:06 PM  

I'm 82 and solved this sucker in average Sunday time without really understanding most of the clues for the themers since all the songs were well known to me. I went to Wordplay last night after finishing for clarification.

I don't understand @Rex's rant about John Fred & His Playboy Band since not knowing the group that did Judy In Disguise doesn't preclude one from knowing the song.

Doctor Work 1:26 PM  

"Judy in Disguise" is on my playlist of songs I listen to literally all the time, so yes, I've heard of it, and yes, I knew who sings it. It's not that obscure. Plus, it's a catchy tune.

CDilly52 1:28 PM  

JUDY IN DISGUISE??!!! Really? Talk about oldie and moldy; even I had to scour the very back of the very last drawer in the bottom drawer of the very last cabinet of my aging file room for this one. Thankfully, my PONS remains operative and directed my little librarian to the dusty area of my cranial (and metaphorical) library to fins it. Had I only taken tge time to fill on the blanks, ‘twould have been a piece of cake.

All that grouchiness aside, this was really pretty easy. I found the cluing a bit bumpy in spots from an apparent attempt to make the clues more difficult perhaps.

Frankly, I enjoyed yesterday much more (although I discovered that I forgot to hit “publish” when I was finished commenting) largely because of the breadth of the clues from Pooh (“Oh bother” being a family saying), to the fairly recent Super Bowl MVP whose name completely escaped me. Sports addict that I am, pro football is at the bottom of my favorites list. I admit to ignoring the NFL playoffs unless my son-in-law or I have a favorite team on contention. Thanks to my love of birding and the pandemic, I easily got EAGLE OWL, ZOOM BOMBING and EMUS. All that to say Saturday was tight, interesting and fairly easy compared to today, at least for me.

Today just felt choppy. The theme construction seemed inconsistent, without a cohesive tone to the clues themselves (which I suppose created the -possibly editorial? - need for the parenthetical references to the hits songs and their years), but that’s just one crabby old woman’s opinion.

Not the best or worst Sunday lately, but didn’t give me any goose bumps.

Arnold 1:31 PM  

@Todd - The Plato comparison is total BS. Plato is forced down our throats bye the Dead White Men's Classics industrial complex 24x7. The comparison you made is to popular songs of a given time. Judy in Disguise had its 15 minutes in 1967. Now that I listen to it I remember it, but I haven't heard it since 1967, probably because it hasn't been played since then, but it was played a lot in 1967, which is why I recognized it. Someone not born yet wouldn't recognize it. I don't know why you don't recognize songs that are played in regular rotation today, but it's not because it's physically impossible for you to do so.

Joe Dipinto 1:41 PM  

@amyyanni 9:27 – if your post is addressing me, which is what it looks like in mobile mode, I have no idea what you're talking about. (But thanks!...I guess.)

daveyhead 2:00 PM  

Judy in Disguise was by John Fred and His Playboy Band, but I’m a music savant (the only kind of savant, I’m afraid). Agreed that it was very difficult.

donomom 2:11 PM  

Saw the Zombies Odessey and Oracle album tour a few years ago, that was a real trip back in time! And honest to *whatever,* Graham Nash was in the audience. Good times.

Kevin 2:17 PM  

As someone born in 1987, this was... difficult

Unknown 2:23 PM  

I still cant figure Number twos and vises.
I have a vise on my workbench.....is it some sort if vis a vis

Kath320 2:26 PM  

Sometimes it's good to be old...

Masked and Anonymous 2:30 PM  

Lil puzs within ginormous puzs .. liked it. fave: COMEONEILEEN [even tho I don't know the song at all].

JUDYINDISGUISE also cool, as it brought back these memories:
* Hangin out with several friends, back in the early 70s.
* Young lady friend hears "Judy in Disguise" playin on the radio.
* M&A informs her that it is by "John Fred and His Playboy Band".
* She says back "No way, that can't be right. I bet you five bucks it's not by 'His Playboy Band'!"
* M&A takes the bet.
* The next day, M&A shows her a copy of the "Judy in Disguise" 45 rpm record, which M&A happens to own. QED.
* Just a few years later, M&A and the beautiful young lady wed.
* Today, she had quite a reaction, sittin next to m&e, seein JUDYINDISGUIDE in her SunPuz. har
* Yesterday, she got an "Impressive" ratin, from Wordle. But, I digress.

staff weeject pick: ONE. 1969 hit for Three Dog Night. Also, clue reminds M&A of "Running ON Empty" by whatshisname. … Jackson Browne? yep. [Betcha five.]

Thanx for the extra-fun fun, Mr. Niederman dude. Nice job.

Masked and Anonymo12Us


JC66 2:40 PM  

@Unknown 2:23

It's VICES, as in VICE President.


Great story.

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through the Sunday puzzle. Electric word puzzle it means it's special and that's a mighty big thing. But I'm hear to tell you there's something else: Rex Parker's blog. A blog of never ending crankiness. He can always find a fault, day or night.


tkincher 2:58 PM  

One dubious benefit to growing up in a small town with only one decent radio station that exclusively played oldies, songs like "Judy in Disguise", "In The Year 2525", "Downtown", and "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves" are indelibly etched in my brain, whether I like it or not.

600 3:11 PM  

Is no one else bothered by the clue for 31A, "He gave Starbuck's orders"? I got the answer easily--but what is that apostrophe about? Ahab gave Starbuck orders. Why Starbuck's orders? Am I missing something?

Geezer 3:12 PM  

Like @Carola the only song I knew was SHESNOTTHERE. I decided to check out the other seven. Of those, the only one I had heard was JUDYINDISGUISE. On top of that I never heard of Dexys Midnight Runners or John Fred. Gof knows I'm old enough so I think this has a lot more to do with music interests than age per se.

Anonymous 3:17 PM  

@tkincher. I grew up in a small town with only one radio station period. WBSE. We had fun saying that it meant We BullShit Everbody! Har!

Masked and Anonymous 3:17 PM  

Correction: " … JUDYINDISGUISE in her SunPuz". Not JUDYINDISGUIDE typo, as in my first msg.

BTW: Today, PuzEatinSpouse got Wordle in a mere two guesses. This earned her a "magnificent" ratin. (What've I always toldya, babe?)

M&A's One-Wordle Theory: If U solve Wordle on yer first guess, U get a ratin of "Luckier Than Snot". But does anybody know for sure? Just askin.


Zed 3:22 PM  

@Jesse & @Anon re: GEAR CASE - If you were of an age that you once had a bike with a banana seat (and maybe even a sissy bar) because they were cool then the idea of a GEAR CASE would have barely made you waste a precious nanosecond entering the answer. I’m guessing neither of you ever even considered owning a Schwinn Stingray. Again, this puzzle skews old.

Tim Carey 3:22 PM  

That's what we pay him for...

Zed 3:32 PM  

@Wanderlust - Wordle Hard Mode makes you use the correct answers you have. Playing that mode my guess distribution is 0,0,3,3,3,2. My working hypothesis is getting it in one or two is purely luck, and getting it in three is most likely luck. Only at guess four do solvers have enough info to ever really figure out the answer. Double letters seem to increase the difficulty.
Wordle 211 5/6*


@600 - Starbuck’s orders as in the orders Starbuck received. “Who gave Starbuck orders?” “Starbuck’s orders came from AHAB.” (just explaining, not endorsing)

Barbara S. 3:55 PM  

I feel we should all be lauding Arthur WYNNE (17D), creator the crossword puzzle. He was a Brit who moved to the U.S. when he was 19. He invented the “word-cross” puzzle (as he called it) for the Sunday “Fun” page in the New York World on December 21, 1913. The change to “crossword” was apparently the result of a typesetting mistake – ah, my friends, on little hinges swing big doors. At one time he was a violinist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Could it be that his musical background was a factor in his crossword puzzle invention? Why do I say that, I wonder. I’m thinking of the musical score and the black and white grid: the black squares as rests, the white boxes as notes, the whole with an interlocking structure and a kind of internal rhythm.

Well, lots of rhythm in the musical themers today. I was terribly hit and miss in my knowledge of the song titles and terribly slow in completing the puzzle, but complete it I did with no look-ups. I listened to all the songs I didn’t think I knew, and found to my surprise that I did know some of them but had paid too little attention to the lyrics, let alone the titles. Stand-out in this category was COME ON, EILEEN. I dabble in cryptic solving so I got some of the themer clues, but completely missed (29A) BILLE, and THE POWER OF LOVE and JUDY IN DISGUISE clues.

Heartwarming comment from Rex today about us. I’ve always thought he was a sweet guy under his sometimes over-the-top passions.

I’m just tearing up the town with Wordle now. Got it on 3/6 today. Woo-Hoo! SB is a more mixed bag. Yesterday was “partial-PG-5” (blergh) but today is “0”.

@Nancy (11:55) Thanks so much for your kind endorsement of my singing. Though how it is that you’ve ever heard me is a mystery. Listening device in my shower maybe? ;-)

Smith 4:06 PM  

@wander 12:15

That's the strategy here, your mileage may vary. Unless you get a lot of correct letters on the first try it's hard to picture getting the word on the second try. This way I have more information.

Michael Rosenthal 4:13 PM  

I outsmarted the puzzle and instead of JUDY IN DISGUISE I put LUCY IN DISGUISE (as in WITH DIAMONDS). I thought the pun literalized the disguise, and the year (1968)seemed about right. I think this is a MUCH better answer that the correct one, and since it was a darling I couldn't kill, it kept me from finishing the puzzle. I can't believe nobody else did this.

Tita 4:26 PM  

@Gill, @Trey... Plenty of LIMEKILN Roads in these parts of CT.

Love the JUDY stories today.

@Joe D... With only this to start
I knew what the last 4 needed to be. Still needed all 3 guesses, but it's the closest I've come to winning in 2!

I do love this kind of wordplay. SHESNOTTHERE was my favorite.
Thank you Mr. Biedermann.

Nancy 4:36 PM  

I thought I was losing my everlovin' mind, @Barbara S., when I read your 3:55 comment. I was scrunching up my brain -- what on earth did I say about Barbara's singing at 11:55 today???? I don't remember that! (And it was only a couple of hours ago that I posted; have I gone completely gaga?) I was really ready to have the men in white coats come and take me away. The sooner, the better.

In the throes of both rabid curiosity and total despair, I rushed back to read what I wrote. And I cracked up. You are too funny, @Barbara S!!! And yes, I should have spelled the divine Ms. Streisand's first name "Barbra" -- something everyone in the world knows, but I completely forgot.

You got me good today, @Barbara S.! Kudos.

stephanie 4:50 PM  

@Wanderlust my partner and i share our grids with each other each day and i find it interesting to see the difference in how our brains work. i take longer, and tend to eliminate lots of letters but then go from 0-2 correct letters to the right answer. he takes less time, but guesses more readily. i've considered @Smith's strategy, but i simply can't give up the possibility - however remote - for getting a correct guess on the second try. anyway, the grids are interesting in terms of how people solve, i think.

stephanie 4:51 PM  

@KnittyContessa i started with AWS, but changed it to AWW when i saw "reaction" was singular.

stephanie 4:58 PM  

@600 it makes sense grammatically, but also i think they were going for the ~subtle misdirect~ by likening it to coffee orders from starbucks. (lots of people often overlook punctuation or not-quite-right spellings in clues like this.)

Aelurus 5:05 PM  

@Teedmn 10:11 am - Wonder why the spacing was difficult on the iPad; it is the NYT crossword app, after all, at least on my iPad.

@Nancy 10:25 am - Thanks for the reminder - will be nice to look forward to a Sunday puzzle!

Bubbabythebay 5:26 PM  

@Okanoganer. I had no issues with PayPal using the cc on file

stephanie 5:31 PM  

the themers stymied me for a long time so i left them alone. then i got SHE'S NOT THERE (which is one of my favorite songs, and the zombies are a great band) and it made sense with the clue so i thought, okay, now i've cracked the code, let's fill in the rest. unfortunately...no. i'm 38 and i know all these songs, with the exception of JUDY IN DISGUISE.(or maybe i know it - i didn't bother to listen to it - doesn't ring any bells anyway.) like rex i saw CHANCE as the first word in the clue so even if i had untangled the missing letters, CARLAND wouldn't have helped. all i was missing was the D so i thought okay, it can be JUDY, JULY, or JURY. for some reason i thought all three seemed equal, and my brain was still playing "judy in disguise with diamonds" not helping matters as usual.

a couple tidbits from the memory bank: huey lewis and the news were big and became big again when american psycho was in its heyday. come on eileen saw a second life in my lifetime when the band save ferris covered it - back when ska was the genre du jour. bonus: i knew RINGY DINGY immediately because, much like alistair cookie, it was a staple on sesame street when i was a kid! never knew it had another source, but i should have known since sesame street was always good at providing a chuckle for both the kids and the parents (or grandparents).

anyway, thanks to rex for the explanations - after the first clue i had to answer the rest based solely on "i know these songs" as the clues themselves dwindled rapidly in helpfulness. even here i had to read rex's explanation for LOST, EG about eight times before i finally understood it. the kind of cluing that didn't seem clever or fun or even hard, just needlessly convoluted. the vaudeville one still has me like ??? is that the best they could come up with? and, like others, i started doing word math to try to figure out ENT divided by CEMENT. i was like, alright, the ENTs would cancel out so...the answer is...CEM...something? oddly i did actually read the clue as ENTICEMENT at first pass but my brain dismissed it as an error on my part in scanning the clue.

if i had one non-themer nit to pick, it would be "CUTEY." sorry but, even in crosswords, it's CUTIE.

glad to see several people enjoying wordle, been enjoying it daily with my partner and nice to have another spot to share in since i'm sure his enthusiasm over it will wane sooner than mine! :)

Wordle 211 4/6


Aelurus 5:43 PM  

@Barbara S 3:55 pm - Wonderfully put about the crossword invention – it is rather like a word rhythm anchored in its grid. And thanks for mentioning Rex’s new comments today. I’d gone directly to his puzzle writeup and am glad I went back to read them. Indeed, heartwarming; I think it’s clear we would all miss this blog, and the people in it (and those who tend to it), immensely.

600 5:49 PM  

@Z--I WAS missing something! Thank you. I see it now, but could not see it before--except the intentional misdirect. That I saw,@stephanie.

Anonymous 6:23 PM  

Why do you say 3/6 or 4/6? Why not just 3 or 4?

Rusty Trawler 6:57 PM  

I just stopped by to add my E NOTE rant to the pile.

E NOTE is not a phrase that has been uttered by any human being ever. C NOTE? Sure, that's an actual thing, with a different context.

E NOTE is like saying K LETTER or 5 NUMBER. Nonsense.

pabloinnh 6:58 PM  

re. song stuff--

Some nice memories and connections today, but I think I'm still the only one that can still say Judy's in dis guy's house.


Edward 7:06 PM  

THIS. WAS. AWFUL. Too cryptic to be clever. Had to solve all of the themers by solving the downs.

Barbara S. 7:26 PM  

@Nancy (4:36 PM)
Hah! I'm sorry to make you doubt your sanity (completely unintended), but you gave me an opening that I just couldn't resist.

@Aelurus (5:43 PM)
Amen to missing this place and its denizens if it ever (shudder) disappeared.

@Anonymous (6:23 PM)
I have no idea. I'm just copying everybody else! No, actually, I do have an idea. It's the format Wordle uses if you copy your results to your clipboard.

Joe in Newfoundland 8:56 PM  

Another rant. "Give me a G note, a nice bouncy G note".

Anonymous 9:47 PM  

Lots of doubles - CILIA/ILIA, EVES/EEN, CUTEY/SWEETIE. SW killed me. DRLAO crossing DJINN and RUMOURS (Brit.Sp.) stuck me (never hear the Adele song) Agree that there were a lot of antiquated answers. I'm a generation somewhere between JUDYINDISGUISE and RUMOURHASIT. I'm glad he explained the BILLE clue, because I googled BILLE and saw it meant ball or marble and thought that what the clue meant by ILLBEA'ROUND'

Anonymous 9:47 PM  

some days ago, some objected to describing Naomi Osaka as either 'a legend' or 'legendary'. too lazy to dig it up, and didn't pay all that much attention at the time. but she's playing now on the TV at the Australian Open. the text came up that she's won 4 slams, 2 US Open and 2 Australian, if I read it correctly. and I got to wondering if she's the youngest player to reach 4. haven't found that list yet, but there's this, from the wiki:
"She became one of only three players in the Open Era to win her first four Grand Slam finals, alongside Roger Federer and Monica Seles."

as good as legends, be a legend.

sasses 10:09 PM  

Played wordle today. Success in three tries. Not easy for me.

cmurthi 12:20 AM  

Read as “I’ll (stop) ‘be’ (is) around (previous thing)” giving B ILL E. Standard cryptic crossword n misdirection.

PatKS 3:51 PM  

Its vices as in vice presidents.

Indypendant 12:32 AM  

I had “aww” and “weedy” in the northeast corner, as Rex did, but my NYT reveal said it is “aws” and “seedy.” IMO both work but “w” is favored as the across clue suggests singular.

Unknown 10:41 AM  

oh golly thanks.Id not have got it

Diana 12:11 PM  

Still don’t understand theme’s clues even after explanation because they are all over the place in clue design. Fortunately didn’t need to understand them to complete the fill

Burma Shave 2:02 PM  


for THEPOWEROFLOVE that ONE finds."
That COMEON for SEXES what EILEEN found


rondo 2:25 PM  

Trying to make sense of the clues in my paper was pointless. And the I was not leaning either.


Glad I knew all the songs.

spacecraft 4:55 PM  

"Yellowface," really, O Fearless ONE? Is that YOU uttering a particularly egregious racist epithet? YOU??? COME ON, explain yourself.

I remember JUDYINDISGUISE, complete with band name, but only because I never could figure out how so talentless a group could hit the big time. At least they didn't last; I vaguely recall a lame (sorry) attempt at a follow-up that sold, like, three copies. Not until now did I realize it was a takeoff on the Sgt. Pepper tune. Why would I, since the songs were SO dissimilar, in beat, lyrics, and most of all, TALENT? Ugh! There's no comparison.

As a sometime solver of Brit-style, or "cryptic," crosswords, I enjoyed today's offering. Yes, "CRAZY" can mean anagrammed, "I hear" can mean "sounds like," etc. Fun stuff. Bends the old axons & dendrites along different paths. It's like lubrication for your brain's engine. Bring on more. Birdie.

spacecraft 11:07 PM  

P.S. And yes, I remember that John Fred's guitar looked like a toilet seat. How appropriate.

Unknown 11:29 AM  

I knew John Fred and the Playboys because I heard them. They appeared on the Tonight Show at the time.

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