Cannabis strain named for its regional origin / TUE 1-18-22 / Lucy's empty-booth sign in Peanuts / Reform leader memorialized in the Stone of Hope for short / Really overdoing it in slang / Preceded in commenting on an adorable kitten photo say

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Constructor: Kate Schutzengel

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: THE DOCTOR IS OUT (63A: Lucy's empty-booth sign in "Peanuts" ... or a hint to 16-, 24-, 37- and 55-Across) — "DR" is taken "out" of familiar phrases, resulting in wacky phrases, which are clued wackily (i.e. "?"-style):

Theme answers:
  • TWO INK MINIMUMS (16A: Possible requirements for joining a tattoo club?)
  • ILL PRACTICE (24A: A healthy person regularly calling in sick, e.g.?)
  • UM MACHINE (37A: What a nervous public speaker sounds like?)
  • BEAT TO THE AW (55A: Preceded in commenting on an adorable?)

Word of the Day:
KUSH (70A: Cannabis strain named for its regional origin) —

Kush generally refers to a pure or hybrid Cannabis indica strain. Pure C. indica strains include Afghan Kush, Hindu Kush, Green Kush, and Purple Kush. Hybrid strains of C. indica include Blueberry Kush and Golden Jamaican Kush.

The origins of Kush Cannabis are from landrace plants mainly in Afghanistan, Northern Pakistan and North-Western India with the name coming from the Hindu Kush mountain range. "Hindu Kush" strains of Cannabis were taken to the United States in the mid-to-late 1970s and continue to be available there to the present day. (wikipedia)

• • •

Well if you're looking for a path to my heart, a "Peanuts" theme is one reasonably certain way to get there. This is a simple letter-removal theme, a wacky concept that is old as the hills but effective if done properly, with genuinely funny answers and a clever revealer. The revealer part, this puzzle has down. I'm less certain about the answers themselves, which seem like they could've used more brainstorming. TWO INK MINIMUMS would've been fine in the singular, but feels awkward in the plural (feels like the puzzle was desperate for a 14 to match the revealer's 14 and this was the best it could come up with). ILL PRACTICE is both awkward and depressing. I would've liked ILL SERGEANT better here, probably. "The practice of pretending to be ILL" doesn't really translate to ILL PRACTICE very smoothly. The main problem is that the concept just doesn't evoke a particularly funny situation. Maybe there's a wacky clue out there that can save it, but this ain't it. I do like UM MACHINE. A lot. Then there's BEAT TO THE AW, which has the best clue by far (55A: Preceded in commenting on an adorable kitten photo, say?), but also has the weakest base phrase. That is, "beat to the draw," while a real idiom, is far far less common and idiomatically snappy than BEAT TO THE PUNCH, or, from another angle, QUICK ON THE DRAW. It's not just the weaker of two base phrases, it's the weakest of three. If you're going to do something basic like "drop-a-letter" (or, in this case, two letters), then those themers really Really have to land. These answers kinda sorta land, here and there. So it's a very fine concept with only a so-so execution.

On first opening the puzzle my heart sank just a tiny bit because the grid is so choppy-looking. Just pockmarked in a way where all you notice is short answer after short answer after short answer, everywhere, all the time. Saturation. This leads to a predictable glut of crosswordese, which is rarely bad on an individual-answer basis, but which can be enervating in any significant accumulation. ADEN ATTA TWERE LEAS ELENA NAS ECO LEIA WWII OLIN ASP APBS etc. I'm not gonna notice a small handful of these, many of which are fine words, but they repeaters, for sure, and today they kinda come at you en masse. Would've been nice to have a little more sass or verve in the longer Downs. There are a healthy *eight* such answers, but there's not much sizzle there. I like the NW corner's HOW NICE / SWOONED ... those seem like a lively pair. But the rest are just OK. And SO EXTRA ... feels a little forced. The "SO" part anyway. I've heard of particularly intense or emotive people referred to (semi-derisively) as "EXTRA," but SO EXTRA feels like an odd hyperbole. EXTRA on its own pretty much takes care of the "overdoing" it. It tends to be a faux-diplomatic, understated assertion anyway. I don't doubt that people say SO EXTRA. I think I'm just opposed to gratuitous SO's (especially since there's already a "SO" in the grid (1A: "I feel pretty, ___ pretty" ("West Side Story" lyric)). 

[just pretend they're saying "KUSH," it's better]

I get that you want to put marijuana in your grid because it feels novel but I'm not convinced KUSH is better than PUSH there, if only because TSKS is such a dreadful plural. TSPS is at least something you see on a regular basis. I'm fine with KUSH in general, but less fine with it *here*. Never gonna like the standardized testing corp. as the clue for ETS (50A: Org. that creates the G.R.E.). Give me extraterrestrials or give me ... well, not death ... just give me extraterrestrials already. All the difficulty on this one came from trying to parse the wacky themers. Otherwise, everything was Monday-easy. This is a promising puzzle. I will spend the rest of the day thinking about Lucy, and there are worse things ...

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Tom T 6:41 AM  

Hidden Diagonal Word (HDW) clue for today's grid:

Tonight, for example (4 letters, answer below)

I was traveling yesterday and unable to hop in on WYVERN, which has been a family in-joke for nearly 40 years now thanks to a Thanksgiving night in NYC (where we lived the first two years of our marriage). We were celebrating the holiday with dear friends and someone suggested the "dictionary" game. (Person A writes down the Webster's definition of an obscure word; then the other players write their made-up definitions. Person A reads the definitions out loud and you get a point if you guess the real definition.) Some "Person A" found WYVERN, and the rest of us were clueless. Not a single one of us chose the actual definition, but a couple of us (understand there were several bottles of wine involved) fell for "A woven lampshade sold primarily in Azuma stores." When it appeared in the grid, my immediate response was to text my wife; it still makes us laugh after all these years.

As for the missing DRs in today's puzzle, only a diagonally obsessed creature like myself would notice that there were 4 themers missing DR, but only 3 diagonal DRs (clustered together in the SE corner of the grid). But not to worry--there is also a diagonal MD! So, the doctors are in! :-)

Agree with Rex's analysis of the theme answers.

Hidden Diagonal Word answer:

DUET, in recognition of the new film version of West Side Story (begins with the D in 32A, CEDE, and moves SE). Perhaps a puzzle editor would insist on rendering the clue as "Tonight," for example.

OffTheGrid 6:47 AM  

My observations are similar to those of @Rex but I feel less generous as regards the theme. It felt very forced, with long convoluted clues with inadequate payoff. I counted 54 entries of 3 or 4 letters. The only clue I enjoyed was Library area/STACKS. It reminded me of the times when I was a lad helping my dad move books around in the college library where he was librarian. He would then give me a dime to get an ice cream cone at the nearby student union. I felt really intimidated by those college age people, though they were very nice to me.

Conrad 6:48 AM  

Monday-easy. I avoided reading the themer clues and got the answers from crosses. Only overwrite was the kealoa TutS before TSKS for the admonishments at 62D.

Ben B 6:55 AM  

OUT crossing OUT in the SE seems pretty bush league, disqualifier almost.

Anonymoose 6:56 AM  

A major kealoa for me is always NE(I or A)L, or its variation ONEAL vs ONEIL

FWIW, a third NEIL singer is Sedaka

Unknown 7:07 AM  

Surprised Rex did not comment on the egregious dupe of OUT. THE DOCTOR IS OUT crossing TIRE OUT. Unecessary and bad.

Wordler 7:08 AM  

The pickings were slim for a 5 letter word from the puzz to use in Wordle. I chose one that I knew might be challenging. It was, but I succeeded in try #5.

Brian A in SLC 7:16 AM  

Tidy little theme, I guess I'm a little less demanding than Uncle Rex, I liked it fine! The clue for "ill practice" is kinda awkward. Maybe cluing with "rehearsal"? A lousy marching band rehearsal? Somebody out there can stick the landing.

Thanks Kate.

Unknown 7:21 AM  

Nice debut, Kate. There fun.

kitshef 7:25 AM  

I liked seeing MIST over the LAKE with the FOWL and a TREE next to it.

I did not like SO EXTRA. I repeat: stop taking definitions from the Urban Dictionary. I expect the people who aren’t confused by it are rolling their eyes at the NYT trying to be hip.

Trey 7:27 AM  

When I went back and read the themers after the solve, I read the second one as "I'LL PRACTICE" which may have been perhaps a better answer from a clue standpoint, but then it would have been the only theme answer to change its pronunciation from the initial phrase. So while it may have fixed one issue, it would create another.

Really liked UM MACHINE. I was OK with the others. The plural in the first one is fine by me. My recollection of Peanuts is that most of the time that Lucy's booth was shown, she was there and the sign showed THE DOCTOR IS IN. Maybe that is just selective memory, but the phrase seemed off when I typed in the answer.

Brian A in SLC 7:49 AM  

Is that the gimmick now to add a twist to Wordle? Your first word must come from today's puzzle? I started with "adieu," still took me five attempts.

The Joker 7:56 AM  

I thought K CUP was lingerie related.

And what's a TEA MUSA? Is that a Japanese thing?

Z 8:03 AM  

Not much to say on this one that Rex didn’t already say, beyond Shortz really really doesn’t care about dupes.

@kitshef - By the time any new slang makes it to the NYTX it is no longer hip. Still, I liked it. SO EXTRA is a phrase that the first time you hear it used you know exactly what the user means and can think of three or four other people from your own life who fit the description.

@OffTheGrid - I didn’t believe you so I checked You were wrong but not the way I thought. 21 three letter words and 34 four letter words for 55. OUT of 78. Oof.

@Trey - I had the same quizzical resistance to OUT instead of “in.” I’m sure that over the years THE DOCTOR IS OUT appeared several times, but THE DOCTOR IS in seems more canonical.

SouthsideJohnny 8:07 AM  

As usual, I killed the real stuff and most of the crosswordese and struggled with the trivial and made up stuff. I did not know that HUTCH also referred to an animal coop, so that at least was a teachable moment. My knowledge of weed is limited to knowing that Sativa and Indica are two common strains (varieties? - I’m definitely not a stoner) - will put KUSH on the index card for future reference.

The SW was tough as well - I’ve been to SXSW, see it all the time in Xwords and can still never remember the exact name. Add in TWERE and ADEN and that section was pretty challenging. I never heard of NEWSIES or the ELENA babe (dude?) but the Tuesday crosses came to the rescue.

I wonder what percentage of solvers over the age of, say 50, missed the clue for TOTO ?

mmorgan 8:16 AM  

I did most of this, including the revealer, but not the themers, last night — because I hadn’t figured out the gimmick. Came back this morning and saw the gimmick and easily finished, and thought, well, meh. Then I saw the revealer — which I’d forgotten about — and immediately changed my mind. I don’t disagree with Rex on the particulars of the themers, but given then revealer — well, this is very nice!

Z 8:18 AM  

**Wordle Alert**
@Brian A in SLC - I mentioned yesterday that I tend to use a word from the NYTX (a fairly common practice). Yesterday I used ”sitar” and got “shire” on my second guess. I saw someone else’s grid where they got sh-re on their second guess and still took 4 guesses. Knowing the I was very fortunate. Today I didn’t go the NYTX route and it took me four. This is the first time that I got a yellow free grid (for non-wordle players (is there such a person) yellow is right letter wrong spot).
Wordle 213 4/6*


It looks like Wordle is giving somebody the finger.

bigsteve46 8:31 AM  

What are these colored blocks in some people's comments? (Like in Z's 8:18 entry). Like Little Anthony, I am used to being on "the outside looking in" but please, some good Samaritan, clue me in!

amyyanni 8:34 AM  

Congrats. KATE; great debut puzzle. Yes, agree with Rex, the Peanuts theme is welcome. As a child thumb sucker with a blanket, my favorite character was Linus. At least once when mom washed and hung my blanket on the line to dry, I was found standing by it, patiently fingering the satin on the edge, sucking my thumb.
And my mom would have been 100 today, 1 day after Betty White, RIP.

thfenn 8:36 AM  

I thought this was a great Tuesday. Like @kitshef, MIST over LAKE with FOWL and TREE seemed sort of elegant, as did STACKS crossing SHIM, at least as clued. TENURE crossing ILLPRACTICE ought to whip up some controversy (I dont think it is). Hadn't heard SOEXTRA, but like it, for @Z's reasons. And having it cross SXSW got a grin.

RARE for "uncommon" didn't sit right, but that's the birder in me. As for DR. Lucy, the clue did say "empty-booth", so still lots to love there.

Hiccup today was TAo, and wondering why I'd never heard of a HoTCH, but the chimes rang soon enough. Fun puzzle.

Son Volt 8:51 AM  

Cute theme - clunky fill. Favorite part was the HOW NICE/SWOONED stack. I guess TEAM USA is temporal after seeing the Olympic commercials this past weekend. Hmm - ETS and TENURE together.

“It will be Summer eventually…Will tint the pallid landscape as ‘TWERE a bright Bouquet”. As a physics and calculus geek Dickinson has always been one my secret pleasures. She is the queen of the quaint, subjunctive contraction so 56d was nice to see.

Enjoyable Tuesday solve.

jberg 9:00 AM  

I thought the plural of minimum was minima, but lists MINIMUMS first, so OK. But (DR)ILL PRACTICE? A drill is a practice, isn't it?

ASIDE from those points, the theme was fine, with a great revealer. Not much more to say.

Z 9:06 AM  

@bigSteve64 - Click Here and good luck.

SouthsideJohnny 9:06 AM  

**Wordle Alert**

Wordle 213 4/6


I’m right there with @Z - still a limited sample size, but it looks like we may be playing a par four today. I’ve gone with the trick of using all new letters in attempt #2 - so far so good. Did miss out on potentially getting the finger from Wordle though.

TJS 9:11 AM  

I was trying to figure out how "So extra" would be understood, and then I came here to read all the wordle and diagonal word comments.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

Some would call the theme answers "wacky" or "funny"; I would call them "cutesy," especially BEATTOTHEAW. Doing today's puzzle made me realize how few cutesy puzzles are in the NYT, and how much I appreciate that. I hate cutesy!

bigsteve46, the colored squares are from Wordle, a Mastermind-like word game. Google it and try it -- it's fun! (Z, I think you are a lucky guesser! I had the first three correct, and it still took me three tries to get any of the last two.)

RooMonster 9:18 AM  

Hey All !
I basically said the same thing as Rex when I first looked at the grid, "Holy Moly, Blockers everywhere!" Maybe it seemed like more than there actually is because of the three block Blockers at the edges. Regardless, there are 40, with 38 being normal max, so not too terrible.

Liked the theme, led to fun Themers. Real surprised Rex didn't lose his oatmeal over the OUT/OUT dupe, especially with one being the Revealer. Some nice Longer Downs.

SOEXTRA is too too. I WAS HAD in the ole brain wanted to be IVE BEEN HAD, then I BEEN HAD, but both too long. Had SbSW first for SXSW (D'oh head slap on that). Laughed when I got TIC after my first fail parse of YesterPuzs ARCTIC. Not getting HUTCH as Rabbit holder. Can someone explain so I can have another D'oh slap?

wood first for TREE, thinking too much on that. ATTA brain. Har.

Off to Wordle.

yd -4 (missed the pangram 😒), should'ves 2

Two F's

Nancy 9:25 AM  

I'm feeling really smart because I guessed the revealer -- without reading the clue -- based on TWO INK MINIMUMS and ILL PRACTICE. I had to roll those answers around in my mind for a while before realizing that the DR was missing. And immediately I thought: THE DOCTOR IS OUT. Well, I am, after all, a huge "Peanuts fan.*

This was an unusually hard Tuesday for me because of the SW. Thought it would be POp, not POW (well, it's a balloon, for heaven's sake); because SXSW could have been any random four letters in the alphabet; and because SO EXTRA might just as well be spoken by a Martian, for all I know about it. When and where are these weird new expressions coined these days and why am I never around when it's happening?

And I could not come up with I WAS HAD. All I could think of was I'VE BEEN HAD, which didn't fit.

So I had to rely on a themer that wasn't obvious at all. BEAT TO THE AW saved my bacon in the SW -- for which I'm very grateful. A cute and lively theme that offered a bit of resistance. Enjoyed it.

mathgent 9:26 AM  

In basic training, the recruits practice drilling so I guess that drILLPRACTICE is a thing. The themers are OK but they don't zing.

Crossing OUTs in the SE didn't annoy me. I didn't notice them. But it is inelegant and the puzzle doesn't compensate by having a lot of sparkle. Actually, there's very little sparkle. Only three red plus signs in the margins.

From what I've read, Wardle, the programmer who invented Wordle and continues to tun it, doesn't plan to monetize it by having ads or licensing. My wife and I and a lot of our friends are doing it every day. We're enjoying doing it, comparing results, and bragging about getting twos. I got today's in 4.

Nancy 9:35 AM  

*Is there anyone here too young to have every read a "Peanuts" strip? If so, you have hundreds of warm, funny, delightful hours ahead of you and I envy you. It's not only the very best thing that ever happened in the world of cartoons -- it's also one of the very best things that ever happened in the world of pop culture. Charles Schultz was a genius.

And for heaven's sake, don't watch those pathetic TV versions with the obnoxious squeaky cartoon voices. They take all the magic out of the strip and reduce it to the merely ordinary, if not worse.

bocamp 9:41 AM  

Thx Kate; fun puz, nice job! :)


A bit on the tough side, esp since I entered Scimp instead of SKIMP; obviously, I was thinking ScrIMP. Didn't give ENOW thot to LAcE, so finished with a dnf. Did manage to find the error after an extensive search.

Cute theme; did manage to suss it out after some head-scratching.

God Bless MLK! πŸ™

NEWSIES was newsies to me.

"Newsies The Musical is a musical based on the 1992 musical film Newsies, which was inspired by the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City. The show has music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, and a book by Harvey Fierstein based on the film's screenplay by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White. The musical premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse in 2011 and made its Broadway debut in 2012, where it played for more than 1,000 performances before touring." (Wikipedia)

Other newsies: SO EXTRA; ELENA & KUSH (hadn't heard the term used for cannabis, but having lived in Afghanistan, knew the range, so inferred the answer right away).

Had The USA before TEAM USA.

Pleased to have recalled the following from previous xwords: KCUP; SXSW; NAS.

Another semi-challenging, but rewarding adventure. :)


Wow! as you indicated, Croce's 676 was a doozie (and then some). Spent the entire day on it, and when I got the thumbs up after installing the final letter at 1A / 1D, was gobsmacked! See you next Mon. :)

Brian A in SLC (7:49 AM)

Adieu is always my first Wordle entry (for obvious reasons).
yd pg-1* (tab'd) / down to pg-1 for last Sat.'s (possibly missing the same word as @okanaganer & @puzzlehoarder) / W=4 (wrong guess cost me a 3/6)

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

Nancy 9:45 AM  

**Wordle Alert**

I used your go-to first word today, @mathgent, and I also got it in 4.

Wordle 213 4/6


JD 9:47 AM  

The Fowl, the Mist on the Lake, an Ice Floe, the Achy Tree. The winter of our discontent with SXSW, Twere, and So Extra. Soextra, the Wyvern of Tuesday. Ask your Doctor about Soextra.

But that Aside, there are things in this puzzle I love. The incredible Elena Ferrante, my childhood alter ego Lucy Van Pelt, Toto from my favorite childhood movie. I've finally remembered Aden. Decades of Aden and I have it down pat. I love that ETS has been given new life with a fresh clue.

This was cheery. Yet Tsk isn't wordless. It's an interjection like Aha. They're words. Tsk Tsk NYT. You can no more clue Tsk as wordless as you could clue Nod as Verbal Assent. I'm just whining.

Very nice debut puzzle. But it seems like I've seen this constructor before.

@Frantic and @JoeD, Har and double har! How did I miss JoeD's hilarity? I'm an idiot. I'm a slouch.

@Z, I remember once saying that slang is over when it hits the Disney Channel.

Nancy 9:55 AM  

@bigsteve (8:31) -- Here's the secret of the colored squares. Now you, too, can Wordle! If you want to share your results without giving anything away, just click on "Share" after you finish the puzzle. The link will saved and you can post it on Rex by pressing Ctrl/V.

Barbara S. 9:59 AM  

I’ll add two, undoubtedly worse, themers:
1) Guy imitating Jon Hamm in his best-known TV role?
2) Alabama leatherworker’s tool?

I mostly agree with Rex that the theme type was tried and true, but these themers weren’t as funny as one would wish (with the exception of UM MACHINE). I did like the revealer, though. And it wasn’t the easiest theme to think up answers for, as my small foray indicates. Anyway, all encouragement to Kate Schutzengel to continue realizing her potential in many future puzzles.

Library area/STACKS reminds me that yesterday someone emailed me a list of amusing library signs. Some I remember:

“Dinosaurs didn’t read. Now they are extinct. Thank goodness the Thesaurus survived!”
“Alternative facts can be found in our Fiction section.”
On a library card: “Pleasure your shelf.”
Sign outside a library: “Cold? Check out a book! You’ll still be cold but you’ll have a book.”

[Wordle: For the first time, got no letters correct in my first two attempts. But solved it in 5.
SB: yd G-1. Couldn’t get the pangram, but should’ve, as @Roo would say.]

1) DON APER (too short, I know)

pabloinnh 10:01 AM  

A good start, but the opening letters of the first themer were not leading anywhere, so I dropped down, had some kind of __LPRACTICE, which became MALPRACTICE, which was repaired soon enough, saw the missing DR and filled in the first themer properly and said a muted aha!

The rest of it was smooth enough and my "how does the missing DR work as a revealer" was answered well enough.

Congrats on the debut, KS, and I hope you Keep Submitting puzzles of equal or greater fun value. Thanks for this one.

Z 10:01 AM  

**More Wordle Discussion**

@Anon 9:15 - At guess four I had 7 consonants and 3 vowels eliminated as possibilities for the last two letters and several others that were extremely unlikely, so that guess wasn’t all that lucky (but I’m not too proud to say that it was still a little lucky). But if I had the first three letters earlier it might still have taken me four or even six guesses. I play “hard mode” which means I can’t do the “entirely different word to eliminate letters” strategy, so getting the first three on the first try actually would make it harder to suss out. It would have taken five guesses to get to the 10 eliminated letters I had after three guesses today.

T.J. 10:02 AM  

I’m surprised that nobody has commented to say that SOEXTRA is certainly its own phrase in modern slang. Sure, you can call something “extra” but it is far more common to include the hyperbolic ‘so’

Brian A in SLC 10:05 AM  

When I was a school kid in the 60s, "drill practice" was standard terminology for practicing our marching band routines. I believe it is also a standard term for military marching practice? But I never served, maybe someone else knows better than me.

GILL I. 10:21 AM  

The thing that made me mad as a hatter was not being able to see DR. through my looking glass.
I shall elucidate:
I fell through my rabbit hole when I got to 59A. Yes, I did. But why? you ask....SO EXTRA can actually take a flying leap into a mysterious birthday cake. Then you give me SXSW crossing that "fowl" word and I'm toast. ON A TUESDAY of all things. Why isn't Alice coming to my rescue.....I had to look up those words. The IRONY, the SHAME...TSKS and a tasket.
So I come to my all time favorite Peanuts and my alter ego Lucy andI knew THE DOCTOR IS OUT. She had the IN/OUT signs all the time. OUT was the only thing that fit. SOOOOO...I went back up to my attic of despair to try and find out what these whackadoo phrases really meant. I mean I was finished with the puzzle and had no idea where I was supposed to DOCTOR in the theme answers.
I shall elucidate further:
If ever you dare to enter my mind, you'll find a maze of confusion. A bane of my ASP. I tend to go hither and yon with ideas and most times they don't work. Today, I actually cleared up the MIST, looked hard at ILL PRACTICE and voila....the DR made her entrance. All's well that ends well.
I agree with @Rex on being less certain with some of the phrases and being a bit older than the hills, but in the end, I rather enjoyed using my brain for a change.
If this is a debut, then I say hip, hip, hurrah to Kate. I hope to be able to figure you out in the near future...

Joseph Michael 10:26 AM  

The revealer went a long way toward making me like this puzzle. Congrats on the debut. Fun stuff.

Thought TWO INK MINIMUMS was the best of the themers, though the pluralization is a little wonky. Didn’t know there is such a thing as a drUM MACHINE and don’t think of public speakers as machines, so that one was lost on me.

A little disheartening to see that Descartes has now been replaced by Billie Ellish.

Still trying to figure OUT OUT when it became ok to use dupes in the grid. It’s SO EXTRA.

YES I CAN is what an isolated Obama supporter might say.

Whatsername 10:29 AM  

We’ve had OH SO many debuts in the last year that I am getting to where I can recognize them pretty quickly. This one reeked of it.
Also another day of OUT and OUT duplicates … and SO on and SO forth.

What on earth is a [DR]UM MACHINE? I asked myself as I sipped my freshly brewed KCUP coffee. And what is ETS? And 42D is slang for overdoing it? In that case I’d have to say this puzzle had a lot of SO EXTRA black squares and short entries.

Isn’t the more common expression I WAS ROBBED? Or IVE BEEN HAD? I cry FOWL, as ‘TWERE.

Frantic Sloth 10:33 AM  

One thing about this puzzle made me smile - the revealer.
The theme? Ambitious and tortured.

The less said about the fill, the better. And the Lady Macbethism in the SE didn't help.

Hate to rag on a debut, but there it is.

Not even Peanuts could save this.


Anonymous 10:35 AM  

I'm off to the dentist this PM, so I'll ask him how often he has DRILL PRACTICE. not often, I guess.

GILL I. 10:43 AM  

AH...JD 9:47....My amiga and compadre. I take forever to type and I see we have the same alter ego's in Lucy. Koinky dinky?*
* If anyone can make up words, I will do the same.....

JD 10:47 AM  

**Wordle Alert**

Fearing a Wordle backlash here, I haven't shared and will try not to again. But oof.


johnk 10:48 AM  

In this New York Times Crossword blog, must we play Wordle? Seems SO EXTRA. How about if you Wordles start your own blog?

jae 10:50 AM  

Medium. I caught the dropped DR early but the reveal was delightful. Liked it. A nice debut.

ELENA was a gimme as we recently watched “The Lost Daughter” on Netflix. Olivia Colman was excellent, but the movie was not our cuppa.

Carola 10:52 AM  

Talk about needing the reveal! I had no idea what was going on with the TWO INKs, the ILL, the UM, and the AW, and checked crosses a dozen times. So, I WAS HAD, in a good way. A tip of the hat for the cleverness of UM MACHINE and a laugh for BEAT TO THE AW.

@kitshef 7:25 - Thank you for pointing out that image at the top of the grid.

Masked and Anonymous 10:56 AM  

Seemed like an ok MonPuz to m&e. Unusual, in that the puzgrid was entirely missin a pretty common letter. [Hint: "ood rief!"]

Mr. Jekyll & Dr. Hide theme mcguffin. Runtpuz just did that kinda missin-stuff dealie, yesterday. So, its gotta be a so-extra-good idea. fave themer: UMMACHINE.

staff weeject pick: MLK. One day late, but close. And welcome here, any old time.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {Academic job security} = TENURE. Had crossword answer written in ink security.
Non-ECO-friendly clue today, btw.

No-Knows: KUSH. SOEXTRA. NEWSIES. ELENA. Thought SOEXTRA was kinda funny-apt, to go with OHSO.

Thanx for the fun, Ms. Schutzengel darlin. And congratz on yer debut.

Masked & Anonym007Us


Frantic Sloth 11:04 AM  

@JD and @GILL Move over and give me a seat on that Lucy bench. Although, not so sure about alter ego in my case.

I should think the big, green and yellow blocks would provide sufficient warning, but

***Wordle Alert***

Wordle 213 6/6


Getting that second letter at the start was kind of a nightmare. 🀯

Maybe . . . 11:15 AM  


JD 11:21 AM  

@Gill, Now I LOVE you even more! And yesterday I missed an entire hilarious comment from @JoeD that I echoed.

@Whatsername, A Drum Machine is that thing that makes the unimaginative background pounding that ruined modern music.

Beezer 11:33 AM  

The puzzle seemed fairly easy due to the crosses and my favorite was UMMACHINE even though once I got the revealer I thought “WOE is a drum machine”? Well, I know now.

@JAE, The Lost Daughter was also not my cuppa BUT I had read Ferrante’s trilogy that started with My Brilliant Friend and thought something MUST be amiss. I looked at the plot of the BOOK on Wikipedia and every character was Italian and lived in Italy, plus the resort was in southern Italy (not Greece). The character played by Ed Harris didn’t even exist in the novel (did you wonder what his purpose was?). I do not want to take away from the actors or director (Maggie Gyllenhall has received kudos) but this is why I rarely watch a screen adaption of a book I have read.

Frantic Sloth 11:36 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
egsforbreakfast 11:55 AM  

I liked that MUM appears directly below MINIMUM. Somehow evokes the relationship of the Queen and the Queen Mum for me.

IWASHAD reminded me that where I grew up, restaurants were required to post a sticker in the restroom (presumably applicable to the employees), that read : WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE RETURNING TO WORK. Almost invariably, certain modifications got made by urchins like me, so that it read: WAS YOU HA D BEFORE RETURNING TO WORK. Pretty funny to a 12 year old.

Pretty much agree with the good theme/so-so execution crowd. But a very promising debut for Kate Schutzengel.

GILL I. 12:03 PM  

BUT OF COURSE, @Frantic 11:04. We'd make a gruesome threesome. My funny bone would be tickled to death. Can you imagine canning and selling laughter?

Z 12:10 PM  

We have pretty much shamed the grammar police into silence. I nominate the fun police be shamed into silence next.

jb129 12:15 PM  

The first time I didn''t finish a TUESDAY (it is Tuesday, right?). Yikes (shit)!

While I enjoy meeting new constructors, I'm kinda looking forward to the "older" ones.

mathgent 12:25 PM  

My favorite comments this morning.

Son Volt (8:51)
jberg (9:00)
Nancy (9:35)
Barbara S. (9:59)
Beezer (11:33)

Big Red 12:28 PM  

@johnk 10:48 One thing you could consider is just simply skipping over the Wordle posts. That way you will never have to read about something that you are not interested in, at least as it pertains to that particular topic. You may have noticed - almost every Wordle post contains a very distinctive multicolored chart, so they are pretty hard to stumble upon by accident. Of course, there are plenty of other posts that go off the rails topic wise, so you may be advocating for a heavy handed moderator presence to remove or reject all posts that he or she does not believe to be sufficiently on topic. It would be a pretty substantial adjustment to the overall nature of the board. Would you also advocate someone censoring Rex’s daily screeds about almost anything and everything that he disagrees with?

pabloinnh 12:28 PM  

For those wondering where the separate Wordle blog is, it's right next to the SB blog.

And if you are unfamiliar with DRUMMACHINES, you are probably equally unfamiliar with Autotune. In either case I am deeply envious of you (@JD--Amen._

Gemini Dawn 12:31 PM  

Just too too hip for anyone past 45, I would think, and even that may be stretching in. As a senior approaching 80 I found the clues so extra hip. Would someone please explain "crust" rather than "cross" over the mantle? And amidst all the currency, then throw in an archaic contraction? Twere was the editor? Time for some kush. Which I got.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

Why do some wordle folks post the squares? Because you can? They convey no useful information to anyone without the letters.

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

Why would anybody take pride in shaming someone? That's sociopathic.

JC66 12:41 PM  


Think the earth's CRUST and mantle.

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

FYI the word mad in the phrase mad as a hatter doesnt mean abgry but crazy. The reason hatters were charcterized as a crazy bunch of folks was the high rate of mercury poisoning among hatters. It's also called Korakoff's syndrome.
Anyway, thought you would like to know.
If I'm coming off as a know it al, please tell me. There are too many on this board as it is.


Anonymous 12:44 PM  

@Gemini Dawn. The clue has to do with with layers of the earth. Outer layer is CRUST with the mantle below it.

Newboy 12:52 PM  

I’m with @Gill this morning, so I stopped reading there. SW gave a shrug, but otherwise straight forward. Hip, hip, hooray! Nice to see a new constructor’s byline, so Congratulations Kate! Finally drank the Koolade of Wordle thanks to @Z giving a link & repeated commentariat inserts. I can see a curious addiction?

Wordle 213 4/6


jb129 1:04 PM  

Let me amend my post @ 12:15 - what I should've said is "the ones I'm more familiar with" - sorry.

Wordie - so now I'll never leave the house!

okanaganer 1:20 PM  

For Lucy's sign I had PSYCHIATRIST- which didn't quite fit. I totally forgot about the DOCTOR IS OUT sign.

I'LL PRACTICE could be a response to "How can you get better at it?"

[Spelling Bee yd 0; dbyd pg -3!! had a mental off day and missed these words.]

Smith 1:22 PM  

***wordle alert***

Wordle 213 2/6


As @Z has pointed out it is partly luck and partly what you use for your first word.

A 1:31 PM  

Mostly agreed with Rex, though not as big a Peanuts fan. Never thought about it, but it’s probably because I was taunted for being an UM MACHINE as a child. Didn’t need meanness from a comic strip. Faves were Peppermint Patty, Snoopy, Woodstock and, of course, Schroeder.

Kind of liked BEAT TO THE AW. Just say “adorable kitten” and I say AWw.

MCS crossing drUM MACHINE, more of an eww.

MUM under MINI MUMS - cute little flowers. Could’ve easily done without that EXTRA MUM, though: MUM/Mop, IMAC/IpAd, ECO/adO, TENURE/sENoRa and MIST/MISs. Getting the 2nd OUT OUT of the SW corner is harder.

Had to laugh at the clue for SHIM, as most of the bookcases in our 1939 home need at least one.

Got SXSW because my niece has performed there. I didn’t go to that but I did get to see her sing as Dorothy while holding TOTO in a basket.

OUI, today’s birthday composer is French: Emmanuel Chabrier, b. 1/18/1841. (@amyyanni, your mom was in excellent company!)

Most famous for his orchestral piece EspaΓ±a, he had little formal musical training and was a lawyer with the Ministry of the Interior for 20 years. He quit to pursue composing full time after hearing Wagner's Tristan und Isolde.

Britannica calls him a “French composer whose best works reflect the verve and wit of the Paris scene of the 1880s and who was a musical counterpart of the early Impressionist painters.

Chabrier was closely associated with the Impressionist painters, and he was the first owner of the celebrated A Bar at the Folies-BergΓ¨re (1882) by his friend Γ‰douard Manet.”

Here are two selections, one maxi, the other mini. (EspaΓ±a could be the midi.)

Overture to Gwendoline
If I didn’t know this was by Chabrier, it’d take a lot more guesses than today’s Wordle (5 - zero on 1st try).

These songs, though it might still take a couple of guesses, are unmistakably French and OH SO enchanting:
Jacques Jansen, with Jacqueline Bonneau, Four songs by Chabrier

Z 1:57 PM  

@Anon12:31 - They convey no useful information to anyone without the letters. That’s the point.

@Newboy - Unlike other addictions we are limited to one sip a day.

@Big Red - Exactly. Personally, I don’t understand why SB is so popular, but others love it and their sharing has never bothered me, and even when it does that’s more on me than them.

Alicat 3:31 PM  

Puzzle was fun and recognizing many of my favorite people/things made me join in @Gill's fandango: Maria (west Side Story), Elena, Eco, Lucy, Toto, the Coen bros, SXSW, and Kush. Thanks, Kate.

Anonymous 3:41 PM  

...but what the hell is a "drUM MACHINE?!"

JD 3:49 PM  

@Anon12:31, What you can see in people's Wordle graphic is a bit of the way they were thinking, how lucky they got, and how many tries it took. By his third try, @Newboy had his first and last letters, thought about how he could move that letter in the yellow square based on what letters he had left and bang, he had it (or some similar thought process).

Z 4:12 PM  


RooMonster 4:25 PM  

HUTCH = Rabbit holder?
No one answered me before. Feeling left out. 😁

Tough Wordle today. Got it in 5.

RooMonster Needs A Clue Guy

JC66 4:42 PM  

Hey @Roo

Rabbit HUTCH.

GILL I. 5:09 PM  

@Anony 12:43....Why thank you, amigo/a....I knew it had some crazies in it but I was really thinking of Johnny Depp and his role in "Alice in Wonderland." I know he was a bit bonkers, but I loved him in that role.
By the way @Frantic. I think my three centavos got lost or maybe the moderators got tired of me. But I hope this goes through since I couldn't think of a better threesome to cheer on TOTO and Lucy. Are we able to can laughter and maybe sell it?
Adios amigos, companeros de mi vida.....

RooMonster 5:37 PM  

Aha, thanks @JC66.
No head slap, as I don't think I've heard of one of those. Not a Rabbiter, here.
Or a Ribbiter. 😁


Unknown 6:04 PM  

@ Roo Monster: Perhaps just go to an online dictionary, where you might even see a picture of a rabbit hutch.

Brilliant puzzle. Loved Peanuts as a kid, and somewhere I have a letter that Chas. Schulz wrote back to me. I think he lived on One Snoopy Drive in Sebastapol? Santa Rosa? Somewhere in NoCal.

re: Wordle, just throwing it out there: Why do any of you care what we think of your WORDLE prowess? I take it for granted that *all* the folks on this blog are pretty proficient with the English language. So here it is: "Yes, you're very smart." Enough now. Thank you.

sasses 7:22 PM  

Charles Schultz established a museum dedicated to Peanuts on the second level of a skating rink in Santa Rosa CA. He frequently worked there.

albatross shell 7:27 PM  

Lucy Van Pelt.
Master of undeserved smugness.
Picks mercilessly on her little brother.
Undermines and belittles the least confident.
Chooses the weakest to challenge and ridicule.
Obssessed with those with more talented than herself and tries endlessly to insert herself in their lives at the expense of their art.
Is "the crabgrass in the lawn of life".

I can hardly imagine 3 Lucys getting together. But you 3 would have a good time. So something's cockeyed.

Put me down as Snoopy. Best friends: Schroeder, Pigpen, and the birds.

I liked the themers and the reveal. Unfortunate plural in minimums. Would be better singular. Two oink minimum if you need a DR changing to O theme with a farm sound.

Not including the aforementioned themer and not counting the sodiums and the alfs and the play name the only plurals are TSKS and STACKS; the latter I would definitely give a pass. No doubles. One -ED. Several abbreviations or the like.

Easier than yesterday here.

Has anyone read the Dickinson book at Sunvolt's link?

Austin's mom 7:38 PM  

I start heavy on the consonants. Today, WHIRL. Got it in four

Austin's mom 7:43 PM  

Wordle is the new online daily word puzzle. 2.7 million people and counting. These blocky images tell people how your solve went while not giving away today's word

Austin's mom 7:47 PM  

If you select "hard mode" you are barred from this all new letter trick. Anyone reading and/or posting at this blog seriously needs to be in hard mode.

Austin's mom 7:57 PM  

Exactly. There is only one word a day, and with tge blocks you share how your solve went withou giving away today's word.

My friend C. could not work today's Wordle because she stumbled upon the answer somewhere, which bummed me out because I was sure I had outsolved her today.

GILL I. 8:43 PM  

@albatross shell 7:27...
Lucy Van Pelt : she dispenses sound advice for just five cents and looks out for her brothers Linus and Rerun. She's confident, strong and positive she'll make a great president or queen one day. Her biggest weakness is her unrequited love for Schroeder.......
You're welcome to join our table if you fit the bill?

albatross shell 10:02 PM  

I dunno what bill I need to fit, but I enjoy good food, drink, stories and companions.
I willingly pay my share but don't want to be stuck with the whole bill.

I'm sure I remember times when her business was more con than cure and her advice useless.

President Lucy Von Pelt. Just what the doctor ordered.

puzzlehoarder 10:10 PM  

An average Tuesday barely noticed the theme.

yd -0, The pangram was the hardest part.

Teedmn 10:24 PM  

Both my co-worker and I had the same error in 10D which held us up sussing out 16A yet no one on the blog has commented on having a similar answer. He and I both read the clue as referring to a fireplace “mantel” and thought the family CReST was ensconced there. Made it hard to see MINIMeMS. I guess everyone here is better at recognizing the various mantle spellings.

Z 11:06 PM  

@Teedmn - @Gemini Dawn also asked about CRUST. I wasted several precious nanoseconds thinking of a fireplace as well, but I did suss it out before trying CReST.

@Roo - I didn’t realize you were asking a question earlier today.

CDilly52 1:48 AM  

Fun, easy and a theme that works. One that also confused me for longer than it should have. I was solving so quickly that I didn’t go hunting for the reveal when the first and second theme answers failed to make sense from a thematic standpoint. And to be fair, I love a theme that isn’t obvious. This one delivered as I failed to connect the wacky and “DR-less” phrases to a common “ on-wacky” and “DR inclusive” phrase even after the reveal. At least for a hot minute.

And as a life long Peanuts fan, this one also hit a high note. Lucy is a favorite. So, good Tuesday!

CDilly52 1:50 AM  

My daughter a d som-in-law recently relocated to Santa Rosa and are regaling me with all things Charles Shultz, but I hadn’t heard this one yet. Thanks! I will pass it along.

Merry Benezra 7:54 AM  

A Wednesday puzzle on a Saturday.

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Aster Anthony 8:28 AM  
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thefogman 10:04 AM  

Bravo Kate on her debut. I felt there were two strong themers and two weak ones. TWOINKMINIMUMS and UMMACHINE were great. ILLPRACTICE and BEATTOTHEAW not so much.

spacecraft 10:48 AM  

This puzzle is certainly an example of 24-across. Theme idea is cute, but the themers seem really forced. Then there's the fill.

I will not enumerate. It is enough that the grid contains ATTA, and I will never give a par or better to any puzzle so contaminated. Score this one a crooked nummber, say a quadruple-bogey.

Burma Shave 11:32 AM  


YESICAN and I won't SKIMP -
THE MINIMUM TO disregard,
with OUT TENURE OFT a shrimp.


Diana, LIW 3:31 PM  

For a moment I thought we'd get some kind of TWOTWO puzzle. Oh well. At least we're not begging on our knees for forgiveness. (see spellcaster info, above)

If you saw my cat, you'd know you were BEATTOTHEAW many, many times.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, with the cats

leftcoaster 4:49 PM  

Missed seeing the tacit DR’s in the themers, which made the theme seem pretty weird for a Tuesday puzzle. So be it.

Filled it all in except for SwSW instead of SXSW. That left me with
the undecipherable SOEwTRA. Awk!

rondo 6:10 PM  

Sort of like how a four-by-four pickup may be abbr. 4X4, South by Southwest is SXSW. Huge weeklong arts/music festival.

What about OUT crossing OUT? No rules anymore?


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