Nabokov's longest novel / TUE 1-11-22 / Rhyming descriptor for Obama / Spelling of "BH90210" / Threepio's Star Wars companion / Some old tape players briefly / Festive French season / Precipice of exposed bedrock

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Constructor: Ross Trudeau

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (not hard, really, but names can slow people down, and there's a lot of white space here, so the puzzle might run a little slower than usual)

THEME: COUNTRY STAR (26D: Grand Ole Opry performer ... or a hint to 17-/18- Across and 23- and 36-Down) — each theme answer is a STAR whose first name is a COUNTRY:

Theme answers:
  • AMERICA / FERRERA (17A: With 18-Across, Emmy-winning "Ugly Betty" actress)
  • JORDAN PEELE (23D: Oscar-winning director of "Get Out")
  • INDIA ARIE (36D: Grammy-winning singer of "Little Things")
Word of the Day: INDIA ARIE (36D) —
India Arie Simpson
 (born October 3, 1975), also known as India Arie (sometimes styled as india.arie), is an American singer and songwriter. She has sold over 3.3 million records in the US and 10 million worldwide. She has won four Grammy Awards from her 23 nominations, including Best R&B Album. [...] Arie released her debut album Acoustic Soul on March 27, 2001. The album was met with positive reviews and commercial success. "Acoustic Soul" debuted at number ten on the U.S. Billboard 200 and number three on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Within months, without the concentrated radio airplay that typically powers pop and rap albums, Acoustic Soul was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), selling 2,180,000 copies in the U.S. and 3,000,000 copies worldwide [...] While Arie and the album were nominated for seven Grammy awards in 2002, they won no awards, losing in five of seven categories to Alicia Keys. She closed the ceremony with a performance of her song "Video". Arie performed a duet with jazz singer Cassandra Wilson on the song "Just Another Parade" for her 2002 album Belly of the Sun. // Arie followed the success of her debut on September 24, 2002 with the release of Voyage to India. It debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of 109,000 copies and topped the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, with the RIAA certifying it Platinum. At the 2003 Grammy Awards, it won Best R&B Album, and the single "Little Things" won Best Urban/Alternative Performance. (wikipedia)
• • •
. Happy Newish Year! 2022! I hope you are holding up during these cold, dark days. It's early January, which means it's time for my annual week-long pitch for financial contributions to the blog. Every year I ask regular readers to consider what the blog is worth to them on an annual basis and give accordingly. 

2021 was an important year for me, as my blog (this blog, the one you are reading right now) turned 15 years old! [noisemaker sounds!!!!]. That's a lot of years old. For a blog, anyway. 15 is also a pretty important crossword-related anniversary—maybe the only important crossword-related anniversary. The standard US crossword grid is 15x15, and now Rex Parker is also 15! Rex Parker, spanning the grid to give you the constant variety of crossword commentary: the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat (dum dum dum DUM!) The human drama of ... OK now I'm just channeling Jim McKay from the '70s-era introduction to "Wide World of Sports," but I do hope this blog has provided some insight, some entertainment, some commiseration, some solace, some sense of regularity during what are obviously pretty tumultuous and often lonely times. I hope it has enhanced your solving pleasure, giving you something to look forward to even (especially?) when the puzzle lets you down, and someone to celebrate with when the puzzle is wonderful. If it's also given you someone to shout at in disagreement, that's OK too.

A lot of labor goes into producing this blog every day (Every. Day.) and the hours are, let's say, less than ideal (I'm either solving and writing at night, after 10pm, or in the morning, before 6am). Most days, I really do love the writing, but it is work, and once a year (right now!) I acknowledge that fact. As I've said before, I have no interest in "monetizing" the blog beyond a simple, direct contribution request once a year. No ads, no gimmicks. Just here for you, every day, rain or shine, whether you like it or, perhaps, on occasion, not :) It's just me and my laptop and some free blogging software and, you know, a lot of rage, but hopefully there's illumination and levity along the way. I do genuinely love this gig, and whether you're an everyday reader or a Sunday-only reader or a flat-out hatereader, I appreciate you more than you'll ever know.

How much should you give? Whatever you think the blog is worth to you on a yearly basis. Whatever that amount is is fantastic. Some people refuse to pay for what they can get for free. Others just don't have money to spare. All are welcome to read the blog—the site will always be open and free. But if you are able to express your appreciation monetarily, here are two options. First, a Paypal button (which you can also find in the blog sidebar):

Second, a mailing address (checks should be made out to "Rex Parker"):

Rex Parker c/o Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton, NY 13905

I'll throw my Venmo handle in here too, just in case that's your preferred way of moving money around; it's @MichaelDavidSharp (the last four digits of my phone are 4878, in case Venmo asks you, which I guess it does sometimes, when it's not trying to push crypto on you, what the hell?!)

All Paypal contributions will be gratefully acknowledged by email. All snail mail contributions will be gratefully acknowledged with hand-written postcards. I. Love. Snail Mail. I love seeing your gorgeous handwriting and then sending you my awful handwriting. It's all so wonderful. Last year's thank-you postcards featured various portraits of my cat, Alfie, designed by artist Ella Egan, a.k.a. my daughter. They were such a hit that I asked Ella to design this year's thank-you postcard as well, this time featuring both my cats. And this is the result. Behold this year's thank-you card: "Alfie and Olive: Exploring the Grid":
We went back and forth on whether she should add more black squares to make the grid look more plausibly fillable (that's a Lot of white space), but in the end we decided not to crowd the jumping (or hanging?) Olive with more black squares, and instead just to leave the card as is, with the idea that the cats are exploring a grid that is ... under construction. Anyway, this card is personally meaningful to me, and also, I believe, objectively lovely. I can't wait to share it with snail-mailers (and oh, what the hell, if you are a PayPal / Venmo donor and you want one too, just say so in the message). Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just indicate "NO CARD."  Again, as ever, I'm so grateful for your readership and support. Now on to today's puzzle...

• • •

I was enjoying this one just fine without really noticing what the theme was supposed to be. Even after moving through the revealer, nothing was clicking (I didn't really stop to think about it), so I just plowed toward the end assuming (correctly) that I'd just look back when I was through and all would be revealed. The very last answer I put in the grid as the FERRERA of AMERICA / FERRERA—actually, the last answer I wrote in was STAVING, but then I checked the crosses and realized that I had misspelled FERRERA as FERRARA (thank god IRA was not a plausible answer for 12D: Wrath (IRE)). At that point, looking at AMERICA / FERRERA, I thought, "huh ... weird to have a non-theme answer take up that much real estate"; then I went back and looked at the clue on COUNTRY STAR and had a very genuine, very satisfying "Aha!" moment. She is a theme answer! And so was JORDAN PEELE and INDIA ARIE! Man, I was *wondering* why INDIA ARIE was showing up with her full name all of a sudden. Usually she just shows up as ARIE, but yeah, today, makes sense to show up all formal-like—special occasion. Seriously, it feels so good to look at a revealer and think "Ohhhhhh!" and not "... huh?" or, worse, "pffffft, really?" And to have each "star" be from a different artistic universe (TV, movies, music), and to have none of them be actual COUNTRY STARs (well, not yet, anyway), and to have all of them be winners of the major awards in their fields (thus justifying the claim of "STAR")—it's all really elegant, really tight, really satisfying. There's not much competition at this point, obviously, but this is definitely my favorite themed puzzle of 2022!!! Very clever indeed. And this is one time I didn't mind the puzzle doing a little bit of self-congratulation: TUESDAYS are so rarely filled with NICE IDEAs.

Not only was the theme on point, but the fill held up very nicely despite the abundance of very short answers and the demands of multiple long stacks (or whatever a stack is called when it's made up of Downs and not Acrosses). Today's grid has mirror symmetry (as opposed to more typical rotational symmetry), and this is almost certainly to handle AMERICA / FERRERA. You could've done this puzzle with AMERICA in the first Across and FERRERA in the last Across, and then the other themers (11, 9, 11) positioned symmetrically in conventional thematic format (i.e. running Across), but it's much nicer to keep Ms. FERRERA in something closer to one piece, with her name parts side by side. Also, the grid just looks cooler this way. Mirror symmetry grids are a nice visual change of pace. 

Trouble spots ... hmmm, let's see ... well, the names might be trouble spots for some solvers. Names are often an all-or-nothing proposition, manna to those who know them, poison to those who don't. These were all known to me, and all of them seem objectively famous—true, my sense of INDIA ARIE's fame comes primarily from crosswords, but looking over her wikipedia page, you can see she's had a very accomplished 20+-year career. The name that got me today, briefly, was MUFASA, which is a name I know, now that I look at it, but my first guess was something like MAHASA (still haven't gotten around to seeing "The Lion King" ... maybe this decade?). I had ADELA as my "Word of the Day" not too long ago and *still* forgot whether her name ended "E" or "A." ADELA Rogers St. John or ADELE Rogers St. John?—The eternal question, one that will never be answered ... or, one that has a very definite answer that I am simply doomed to forget. 

I had some trouble getting EDIFY (34A: Enlighten), which meant I was a little slower than I wouldn't liked getting those long Downs in the bottom middle. It also meant that after getting ANNUS (which I had written in as ANNUM at that point), I had the first "N" at 35D: Half of a double helix, but instead of writing in DNA STRAND, I (very unhappily!) wrote in ONE STRAND, with a mental note of "Oh, come on! ONE STRAND!? That's awful. You can't do that!" And, turns out, the puzzle didn't do that—another pleasant "aha" moment. Had one other false outrage alarm at 1D: ___ Tour (PGA), where, after getting the "P" from PROTONS, I wrote in ... PRO. "You can't cross PRO with PROTONS, that's weak, that's ... oh, that's not actually the answer, nevermind." I remain opposed to the transliteration of R2D2's name, despite abundant precedence, so ARTOO made me briefly frown, but otherwise there was no pain to be found. I even enjoyed the poker clue (56A: Come over the top, in poker (RERAISE)), despite my complete lack of interest in poker and all its related clues (sorry, ANTE). I liked it because I nailed it off the first letter; it always feels good to hit an answer solid like that, especially when it's outside your area of interest.  So things were good all over. FUDGSICLE good. And on a Tuesday, the day most likely to go wrong (or "Tuez," in common parlance). This puzzle did not Tuez. Hope you liked it half as well as I did. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Conrad 6:23 AM  

My experience very closely paralleled OFL's. I know india.arie only from Crosswords, ADELe before ADELA for Ms. Rogers St. John, and although I wrote it in correctly, spent a few nanoseconds pondering whether it's FERRERA or FERRaRA. Didn't know Jordan Peele, but got it from crosses. Never heard of RERAISE, but it does Google. Overall a nice Tuesday outing.

Lewis 6:44 AM  

Well, this first-name-as-country puzzle had to be made; it’s simply a theme that certainly deserves a puzzle, Tuesday probably being the perfect day. Credit Ross for picking it out of the ether (NICE IDEA!), then doing a slam-bang job with it, making a grid with some delightful answers like OUTCROP and FUDGSICLE (a NYT puzzle debut answer) and some lovely clues, like that for TUESDAYS. Not to mention coming up with the perfect reveal.

Lots of first names, about a dozen, by my count, aside from the theme answers, which gives the puzzle a casual feel, like I'm among friends.

I did have a classic crossword solving moment, with [Bulgaria’s capital]. I saw the clue and immediately thought, “I don’t know this. I’ve never known this.” The answer was blank, but when I filled in the F, my brain shouted SOFIA! Classic! Surely this scenario has happened to some of you, no?

The sweet grid design, one never done before in the NYT, helped make this a bit out of the ordinary. Top quality and entertaining Tuesday, IMO. Thank you for this, Ross!

Trey 6:56 AM  

Loved this puzzle! NICE IDEA! What a joy with TUESDAYS on a Tuesday. Great cluing for PBJ, TORI and TUESDAYS. I also liked the answers ARE YOU ALONE, and the pairing of Billy DEE Williams and ARTOO. Also, the neighbors of TERN and ORIOLE.

Does ANNUS pass the breakfast test?

Should YAO Ming be clued as "former NBA star"?

Lots of PPP for a Tuesday, especially if you are unaware of certain people. Not knowing AMERICA FERRERA would leave a huge gap in the puzzle. ADELA was unknown to me, and I can never remember the spelling (or is it Spelling?) of INDIA ARIE, or PEELE vs PEaLE.

Interestingly, yesterday I was thinking for a few moments of words that I have learned only through the crossword, and SOFIA was one of the first to mind.

kitshef 7:14 AM  

NICE IDEA, but not appropriate for TUESDAYS. Easier than most Mondays.

I don’t really know who two of those three people are, so for a long time I was thinking that the answers would be actual country music stars. I do know who JORDAN PEELE is, but was prepared to find out he had done some country music songs that I hadn’t heard about. It was not until the entire grid was filled in and I was thinking things over that I realized what the actual theme is.

Hiccups today: Immediately went to Dew Tour for 1D, so needed to fix that. Also misremembered MUFASA as MUsAfA, but fortunately fALEM didn’t make sense.

Jim Spies 7:22 AM  

Good puzzle. Chemist here, I actually outsmarted myself and put "cation" in for 1A instead of PROTON, and took a few seconds to realize that wasn't right. Knew America Ferrara immediately, so that change PRO to PGA, and I was off. Had a small struggle with how to spell FUDGSICLE, really want an E in the middle. Good puzzle.

Son Volt 7:34 AM  

Surprised Rex liked this trivia fest. I know INDIA ARIE - but are the other two themers really STARs? The equal length non-theme downs didn’t help the grid here.

AL GORE, Disney, Star Wars etc bordered on TV Guide material. Who exactly decided on the NO DRAMA slant for Obama? Is NOEL one or two syllables? ANNUS was kind of goofy right in the middle there.

Nowhere near as elegant or enjoyable a themed puzzle as last Tuesday that Rex claimed was stolen - or last Wednesday’s Optimist/Pessimist offering.

TJS 7:50 AM  

No, it did not Tuez, it sucked. Every time it started to flow in reverted to the namefest it refused to get away from. I can accept simplistic on Tuesday, but aggravating ? No.

On the other hand, someone beat Alabama. Yay.

bocamp 7:52 AM  

Thx Ross; nice, crunchy Tues.! :)


A bit tougher than the usual for a Tues. Close to a Wednes. time for me, and I'm happy with that.

AL GORE would have made a great president, but has become an ever greater advocate for the health of our planet. 🌎

Liked this puz very much! :)


Agreed re: your assessment of Croce's 675; a terrific workout, as usual. One cell silly dnf at the cross of Biased fans / "Speaking" alt. You can probably guess what letter I inserted, lol. See you next Mon.
yd pg -1 (tb'd)

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

thfenn 7:59 AM  

It's 7:42 and I'm only seeing up to @Lewis' first, so there must be an hour's worth of comments missing. Will come back for those. Thought this was a fun Tuesday, tho sure feels like a high PPP percentage. For me, it's not whether it's ADELe or ADELA, it's whether it's ADaLA or ADELA. And therefore, whether it's PEELE or PEaLE. Didn't enjoy having to untangle that in order to complete the puzzle. The NE was tough, with 'and' before NOR.

Part of why I enjoy crosswords, and this blog/commentariat, is the way puzzles often spark a personal theme that resonates. Today's had nothing to do with stars that have first names that are countries, tho agree that's a fine idea. For me, today's was about birding, in Scotland, and getting some edification on the impact of climate change on bird migration. That's all in here too.

Andrew S. 8:09 AM  

I also had ONE STRAND at first. But that’s because my inner science geek refused to write DNA because a single strand is actually an RNA STRAND.

mmorgan 8:09 AM  

Oh. I thought these were country music starts I’d never heard of.

Trinch 8:13 AM  

Ugh. I had RNA strand for half a double helix and that sucked up way to much time to overcome.

amyyanni 8:20 AM  

Sweet solve! Not an Opry fan, so when I saw that clue, thought I might have a tough time, so pleasantly surprised. Agree with Rex.
Happy Day here in GA. Looking forward to seeing lots of smiles (socially distanced) on my run this morning. UGA won the championship last night, first time in 41 years.

OffTheGrid 8:29 AM  

@thfenn. There is always a delay after @Lewis. My hypothesis is that he's a moderator and he goes out for breakfast after he posts. When he gets back he reviews and releases the comments submitted during his absence.

@TJS. I went to bed after the 1st quarter and finished watching this morning on ESPN On Demand. Great game! Great finish!. I really enjoyed all the mingling after the game between players and coaches from both teams. Sabin was actually smiling when he was chatting with the Dawgs' coach. Glad the TIDE ebbed.

BTW, I liked the puzzle. Cute theme. The PPP made it a bit tough but not overwhelmingly so.

SouthsideJohnny 8:41 AM  

I'm sure it's a combination wheelhouse/PPP-aversion thing, but I can't remember how long it has been since I was less interested in an early week offering than this one. I have absolutely no interest in parsing together JORDAN PEELE and MUFASA (in the same section no less) simply from crosses. I never heard of AMERICA FERRERA (and wish it were still so). I had never heard of the term OUTCROP so the NE basically played like a meta trivial quiz with FERRERA, ISIS and SOFIA and ADA (with the entrance guarded by the esteemed AL GOR(acle). Obviously not my cup of tea, but props to those that enjoy this type of thing.

Ok, so I tried to post this yesterday, but it got caught up in the early morning technical difficulties - I remarked that all of the jawing back and forth about CLEAN COAL (or the lack thereof) reminded me of the recent light bulb situation:

Q: How many crossword solvers does it take to change a lightbulb in RexWorld ?

1 to change the light bulb and to post that the light bulb has been changed.

14 to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light bulb could have been changed differently.

7 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs.

7 purists who use candles and are offended by light bulb discussions.

16 to argue over whether it’s ‘lightbulb’ or ‘light bulb’.

Another 6 to condemn those 16 as stupid.

12 to tell THOSE 6 to stop being jackasses.

2 industry professionals to inform the group that the proper term is ‘lamp’.

5 know-it-alls who claim they were in the industry, and that ‘light bulb’ is perfectly correct.

3 to post meme’s and gif’s.

9 to post that this page is not about light bulbs and to please take this discussion to a light bulb page.

11 to defend the posting to this page saying that we all use light bulbs and therefore the posts are relevant here.

16 to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this technique and what brands are faulty.

7 to ask if the brands of light bulbs used are worth the money.

9 to tell them that if they like the light bulbs, buy them.

5 People to post pics of their own light bulbs.

2 to post URLs where one can see examples of different light bulbs.

4 to post that the URLs were posted incorrectly and then post the corrected URLs.

13 to comment “Me too” about nothing in particular.

5 to post to the page that they will no longer post or are leaving because they cannot handle the $!%cking light bulb controversy.

6 to report the post or PM an admin because someone said “$!%cking”

4 to say “Didn’t we go through this already a short time ago?”.

12 to say “Do a search on light bulbs before posting questions about light bulbs”.

1 to bring politics into the discussion by adding that (insert politician of choice) isn’t the brightest bulb.

8 more to get into personal attacks over their political views.

5 admins to ban the light bulb posters who took it all too seriously.

All the while, @LMS will remain above the fray and regale us with colorful prose and witty commentary on a topic that is actually of interest.

Ultimately @Z will weigh in with a well-thought out, researched and documented explanation of both sides of the great light bulb controversy, point out factual errors being propagated by those on both sides of the issue and offer a definitive summary and conclusion.

And finally, 1 late arrival to comment on the original post 6 hours later and start it all over again.

Z 8:43 AM  

I read Rex’s “not yet” as a sub-tweet of Gwen Stefani. Why Gwen? Why? Sheryl Crow I understand, there’s always been a folklorist/country undercurrent to even her poppiest songs. But how do you go from this to Blake Shelton duets? How? And don’t give us all that “I’m in love” BS. You can marry a COUNTRY STAR without selling out to the worst big COUNTRY has to offer. I mean, maybe bring a little Lucinda Williams edge if you’re going to do COUNTRY music.

Best call back in this puzzle, and the entry that really upped my appreciation for Trudeau, was including NO DRAMA Obama in a puzzle with JORDAN PEELE as a themer, perhaps still most famous for the Obama Anger Translator skits. (@Son Volt - I mean, everyone. The guy was the Jackie Robinson of presidents and these skits are as much a dig at racists Americans as poking fun at NO DRAMA Obama)

As a general rule I don’t like puzzle themes built around PPP (that’s Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns to new readers), but if they were all this well down I might be convinced to change my opinion…, Nah.

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

Surprised Rex didn’t gripe that America isn’t actually the name of a country.

Lily Alice 8:52 AM  

"I did have a classic crossword solving moment, with [Bulgaria’s capital]. I saw the clue and immediately thought, “I don’t know this. I’ve never known this.” The answer was blank, but when I filled in the F, my brain shouted SOFIA! Classic! Surely this scenario has happened to some of you, no?"

@Lewis, exact same thing, down to the F.

My only real trouble spot was surrounding RERAISE. One of those words that sounds okay but looks weird, and I did not have Sofia-like inspiration for it, though I have heard it before.

I think a donation by snail mail might be worth it for the snail mail reply alone. I am close to three letter carriers, and I decry the lack of personal mail to them all the time, as they are too young to remember when it was ordinary.

A Moderator 8:53 AM  

Sorry for the approval delays. The queue was not refreshing the way it normally does. I restarted the comment approval page and it seems to be working now.

Nancy 9:15 AM  

It's Tuesday, and, after yesterday, I am so grateful to have a puzzle that doesn't insult the solver's intelligence with mindless slam-dunk clues. But this is Ross, and he doesn't do that. Whatever day he's assigned, he's going to give his audience some actual thinking to do.

You might think, because of all the names, that this would be a puzzle I wouldn't like - but you'd be wrong. Some names I found pretty easy and all were fairly crossed. Mostly I liked the cluing -- a bit oblique for an early week puzzle. The TUESDAYS clue (9D) was great; the SALEM clue (63A) was interesting; and the TORI clue had me trying to "spell" BH90210.

Thanks, Ross, for giving me a better-than-average Tuesday. Maybe --though without needing to give up any of your late week puzzles -- you could do some future Mondays too?

OffTheGrid 9:17 AM  

@Lily Alice. You caused me to recall the mailman from my childhood. We kids called him "Doc" (don't know why) and he carried a bag of candy with him. We each got to pick one item, bubble gum, little Tootsie Rolls and the like. Also, it was my job to take my mother's outgoing letters and cards to the corner drop box.

RooMonster 9:34 AM  

Hey All !
@Southside Johnny 8:41
What're you trying to say? 😂 (I Did get a kick out of that!)

Is the grid design supposed to look like Barack Obama? Har.

"COUNTRY" STAR. Clever. 'Ignorant Country American' here, I know of Jordan, I actually think I know where it is (Upper Africa?), but for some reason, never think of the COUNTRY connection when I see JORDAN PEELEs name. Weird. That "Get Out" movie was pretty good, kind of weird, but better than his second one, "Us", which was out there in terms of the "other" Us-es existing. Waiting for his third movie. Actually, ARE YOU ALONE would be a good title for his next movie.

An odd DGS run in FUDGSICLE, thought I had something wrong before figuring out that answer.

In my best Butthead (from Beavis & Butthead, 90's MTV fare) " Huh huh, he said ANNUS." 😁

If you ask your Amazon assistant to repeat "D" for an hour, is it an ALEXA DEE SPREE?

I'll see myself out.

yd -5, should'ves 3

Three F's

Jim in Canada 9:35 AM  

I see folks saying this was "easier than a Monday."
MAYBE, if you're familiar with the plethora of proper names.
If you aren't, this is a Friday.
I have never heard of AMERICA FERRERA and until I got to the revealer, I wouldn't have ever thought that someone named AMERICA would be a thing.
Then crossing FERRERA with SOFIA (which I also didn't know) was brutal for a Tuesday.
I figured out FUDGSICLE but had to try at least three different spellings before it would fit. Anyone not familiar with that brand name is going to have a very non-Tuesday experience trying to parse it.
My last beef is "Brand X" - for me, that means the obscured "leading national brand" that some upstart product is attempting to beat in a taste test or some other such thing. It's never, ever, EVER a GENERIC brand.
I'm glad Rex liked the puzzle. Hell, I'm glad Rex likes *A* puzzle.
And the puzzle itself was fine, it just wasn't a Tuesday.

Nancy 9:44 AM  

**WORDLE alert** -- I typed in the correct word on my third entry. "Wordle" called my feat "Impressive".

Okay, I'll stop now. But now all you SB people know how the other half lives. The difference is that y'all have access to Wordle, but I don't have access to SB.

Rivers 9:59 AM  

@Southside, you win the internet for the week! Classic and so true. But you missed one.

5 people who tell completely irrelevant stories about their dogs.

Yes, I have that same experience on occasion of not knowing something and THEN I DO! Totally terrific feeling.

I knew almost none of those people so this took a while. And I admire those here who say "now I've learned something." Oh sure, says I. So have I, but the brain cell holding that nugget will take a vacation as soon as it’s needed.

Fun puzzle. Now let me tell you about how my dogs trapped a skunk in the garage . . .

burtonkd 10:00 AM  

Rex is particularly (peculiarly?) cheerful this new year. It reminds me why I come here - he shines light on the puzzle, points out pros (even non-existent ones) and cons without the bile and over the top politics. I hope this continues...

@Southside, very funny - did you pull that from somewhere? Many of those don't correspond to this blog (i.e. GIFs), but you finished off spot on. This reminded me, unfortunately, of Fox bloviators making fun of the "pig-tail" energy efficient lightbulbs, thus politicizing one more thing that could be for the general good. OOPS, I just committed the 4th offense from the end, and await 8 people to tell me why I'm an idiot...

Solid Tuesday. I'd like to thank previous puzzles and this blog for INDIA.ARIE.

@Son Volt - wheelhouses: Jordan Peele is a much bigger and better known star to me than the other 2. Recency, Oscar>Grammy, etc. Your mileage may vary.

Resisted FUDGSICLE - it feels strange without an E after the G

Hands up for a slight twitch upon spelling ARTOO. Hands up also for ANNUM as in per ___

Bunch of numbers for crunching: rawDATA sure seemed good and still does. A DATASET has already had some sort of collating, no? Not complaining, just justifying - not sure which is more annoying, sorry.

5 straight vowels made AREYOUALONE a little challenging to suss out, but eke it out I did.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

I thought the theme was a yawner, but the puzzle as a whole was fine as a themeless. Also, I would have wanted at least one more theme example rather than just the three that were used.

EdFromHackensack 10:03 AM  

Geez had AortAL in for far too long for ATRIAL Also I was solving a Very dark photocopy of the newspaper page with a pen that is running out of ink crammed into the backseat of an Accord with 2 other people - 5 in the car altogether - as we drive to my great aunts funeral, I was all bundled up as if was 15 degrees out but the driver had the heat cranked to about 80. Oy vey

Patrick 10:08 AM  

Jordan Peele had a sketch show (Key and Peele) on Comedy Central that was fairly popular and produced a few viral clips, to break it out of the "only comedy nerds know this" category.

More recently, he directed Get Out (probably the thing he's most well-known for among the crossword solver demographic) and produced and narrated the 2019 Twilight Zone reboot (which went about as well as all the other Twilight Zone reboots, but it had a marketing budget, I'm including it).

America Ferrera is probably most well-known for Ugly Betty, which ran for four years, but she's been the (a, really) lead in NBC's Superstore, which just finished a six-season run.

Of the three, India Arie is probably the least relevant, except for the fact we've been reminded of her every couple weeks for nearly two decades now.

pmdm 10:10 AM  

Have I ever said I dislike Ross's puzzles? Probably for most of his puzzles. This one was no exception. I am not interested in PPP and did not bother to complete this puzzle, very rare for an "easy" Tuesday puzzle (easy only if the PPP is in your wheel house). 30 letters not filled in! I often say the NYT needs to publish all types of puzzles such that you will be guaranteed to hate some. So this was one I hated. Sorry.

Mikey from El Prado 10:11 AM  

Not sure how I ended with an average Tuesday time with all those PPPs (around 20?), some of which I was not familiar. That said it was a nice grid and good revealer.

mathgent 10:15 AM  

I like AMERICA FERRERA a lot. Pretty face, good actress. She's been active since Ugly Betty but I haven't seen any of her recent stuff.

Twenty-four Terrible Threes with very little sparkle to compensate.

I remember FUDGSICKLES fondly. I'll look for one next time I go to the market.

One of the best rivalries in tennis history was PETE Sampras v. Andre Agassi. An all-time great server against an all-time great returner.

Frantic Sloth 10:16 AM  

This puzz has no idea how to Tuez.

Aside from having a theme based on PPP (happens a lot it seems - was this always the case, I wonder? Eh. Can't be bothered to find out), which luckily didn't stymie, it was smooth and relatively easy. Enjoyed it.
That country-shaped grid art added a nice touch, too!

Why no Chad Everett?

Never have that ADELA/ADELe issue because she was a frequent guest on Merv Griffin's talk show.

And now, as the last modicum of pride I had left completely evaporates, I bid you good day.


@Z from yesterday I stand happily corrected. 😁

Whatsername 10:19 AM  

I’ll take PPP for 1000. Not my cup of trivia, especially since the only themer I vaguely knew was AMERICA. And I know it wasn’t but that seems like 30 years ago. Had AORTAL in place of ATRIAL and would’ve sworn there are two Es in FUDGSICLE. I know who CAM Newton is but no idea about dabbing. Had to Google that one.

@Son Volt (7:34) I don’t know who coined it, but the former POTUS has long been known as “No Drama Obama” because of his ability to stay calm no matter the circumstances.

Doug Garr 10:21 AM  

I liked this puzzle, too, and had fun solving it. Then I noticed the author was a classmate of my son's in high school. The poker clue "over the top" now makes me smile. The kids played Texas Hold 'Em in the hallway during lunch hour. I mean all the kids were poker nuts. Not sure if Ross played, but I'm betting he did. In fact, I'm all in.

Malsdemare 10:22 AM  

Oops! I was signed into the wrong account. For those who might care, @Rivers is @malsdemare.

JD 10:22 AM  

In case anyone is wondering, there's no director by the name of Joe Dan Peele* and Toei doesn't spell anything. Loved the clue Spelling of "BH90210". It took a minute.

Wonder if the hopper has been cleared of the Edify and Zahn puzzles?

@Jim Spies, Cations first, which made me feel smart because I have no idea why I know that, and then dumb when it was wrong.

I've only heard Outcrop as Outcropping. Can't figure out if both are both nouns and verbs.

Thanks to The Queen for her Annus horribilis. Might've otherwise spelled it with an O.

@Southside, Nice ethnography.

@Nancy, Get out your pencil and paper. Today's SB is TIADFRC. You probably know the rules from Sunday but just in case, unscramble it (letters can be used more than once), all the words must contain a C.

*Thought he might be from Indiana like Larry Joe Bird.

Carola 10:34 AM  

I finished the puzzle thinking that I could file it under "decades of solving pay off," with its cast of characters who have shown up in so many puzzles that they were auto-fill today: INDIA ARIE, AMERICA FERRARA, ISIS, ADA, TORI, ANYA, ZAHN, YAO, ADELA. That made it a fast solve, and only after reading @Rex and commenters did I take time to appreciate the cleverness of the three-COUNTRY theme and the play on STARS. Other treats for me, besides the FUDGSICLE, were NO DRAMA, ARE YOU ALONE, and the TUESDAYS clue.

Whatsername 10:35 AM  

@Southside Johnny (8:41) 🤣🤣🤣 I actually saw your list yesterday morning before the technical snafu and planned to go back and read it but of course then it was gone. So, very glad you reposted it.

Joe Dipinto 10:38 AM  

Can we have a fudgsicle vs fudgicle argument today? Please please please?

I bet more than half the solving population believes that Jordan Peele won an Oscar for directing "Get Out" now.

Trey 10:42 AM  

@Andrew - you can have single DNA strands during the replication process. There are also single-stranded DNA viruses. The difference between DNA and the RNA is the base pairs. RNA has uracil and DNA does not

LightBulbGuy 10:45 AM  

“Pigtail” light bulbs or CFLs have been almost completely replaced with LED bulbs

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

I've never seen fudgesicle spelled fudgsicle. Just one nit to pick.

Beezer 10:49 AM  

I totally understand why many folks don’t like puzzles with a heavy dose of proper names but I confess I bask in an aura of “I am SO with it” when the puz is in my wheelhouse. Of course the feeling is just the opposite for me when I am clued to call up symphonies, cantatas, etudes, fugues, and whatnot.

For those of you unfamiliar with India.Arie you should listen to the song Rex posted. Her singing is delightful and smooth. Hey, I learned about her in the very early aughts from my daughter. I’m not THAT with it when left to my own devices.

I always enjoy Ross Trudeau puzzles!

Joseph Michael 10:49 AM  

With the exception of MUFASA, I knew who all of these people are and was able to solve the puzzle, but for me there are too many names to make this as enjoyable as OFL seems to think it was.

Liked the clues for TUESDAYS and TORI and the memory of FUDGSICLES, but that pretty much sums up the fun factor. Oh, well, as Scarlett said, tomorrow is another DEE.

Nancy 10:51 AM  

Absolutely hilarious, @Southside Johnny (8:41)!! So true and so much fun to read.

@JD -- Many thanks. Are the rules the same as Sunday -- 5 letters or more for each word? And what's the "Genius" goal today? And is there something higher than "Genius"? (Not that I'll get there, of course.)

Masked and Anonymous 10:54 AM  

Lotta names I didn't know very well, includin the themers. Seemed like a cool idea for a theme, tho.

Liked the E/W puzgrid symmetry, and all the little coves of weejects. For staff weeject picks, will call it for PGA & GPA, who symmetrically decorated the upper two corners.

Lost many precious nanoseconds in the SW, not knowin the interlockin names of JORDANPEELE/TORI/ADELA/MUFASA/ALEXA. The ALEXA name sounds like one I've heard of before, but didn't care much about at the time. Did know PETE, ZAHN, and LEX, thanx goodness.
That, after racin thru the NW corner, and thinkin this would be a real easy TuesPuz. Wrong again, M&A breath.


Thanx for the fun challenge, Mr. Trudeau dude. Would accuse U of name-droppin, but AMERICA FERRERA did skid Across the grid, rather than Down like them other two.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


jae 11:08 AM  

Medium-tough. I’m still getting used to the NYT app so maybe this was really more of a medium. Smooth grid, solid Tuesdayish theme with a couple of fine long downs, liked it.

JD 11:09 AM  

@Nancy, 136 for genius and you can have 4-letter words. 97 for the merely amazing.

Frantic Sloth 11:11 AM  

@SouthsideJohnny 841am Hilarious! But, I think you may have counted wrong. 😘

@Z 843am Thanks for the K&P retrospective. I am so Luther.

I believe I've seen it spelled both ways, but until a recent-ish epiphany, have always pronounced it FUDGE ickle. Thank you and you're welcome, @J-Dip.

BTW, Wordlers, thanks for introducing me to another obsession. 🙄 And the race to offer a "cheat" app/extension for unlimited Wordles each day (instead of just the one) has already begun. 🙄🙄

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

'half of a double helix' is, by definition, RNA STRAND. geez.

Aunt Hattie 11:15 AM  

A big LOL to Southside Johnny for his so apt list of commentarians!! I think there might be more...

JD 11:27 AM  

@Nancy, There's something for getting all the words but I can't say that here because others might be disappointed that I revealed a hint.

Really sorry if I did that with the genius things SB'ers!

Jill 11:37 AM  

Jordan Peele won an Oscar for original screenplay for Get Out. It was nominated for multiple awards, and he is still actively making horror films.

JC66 11:53 AM  


This site will give you everything you want to know about SB.

Also, if you get The NY Times delivered daily, you also get all Digital Access including the games and puzzles. So you can access SB and the crossword puzzle on your computer. Just call 855-698-1157.

CDilly52 12:00 PM  

What fun!! Thank you so very much Mr. Trudeau for the best early week puzzle in a long time. Some very tough names for me, but after a few letters, (or in the case of AMERICA FERRERA (last name only) I recognized them all. Made the same mistake as @Rex FERRaRA and eas saved by IRE and I wasn’t the least bit angry about it! In fact, this puzzle was a joy. Nothing GENERIC, NO DRAMA, no STAVING off nausea or IRR from junk answers and some new names to EDIFY ME. The experience was a joyous Tuesday solving SPREE!

GILL I. 12:05 PM  

Holy enchiladas slathered with Habanero peppers. This was TUESDAYS???? Dios mio, my mouth is still burning. The names, the names....Look up MUFASA...maybe it's a ZAHN from that OUTCROP on the MESA...
So...moving on:
FERRERA, PEEL and ARIE walked into the bar. They immediately espied their worse enemies sitting in a corner booth. CAM, TORI, ANYA and ADELA didn't even bother to look up or to even smile.
ANNUS was the bartender and he was in a MOROSE mood and wanted NO DRAMA that evening. Trying his very best, he thought he'd whip up a FUDGSICLE and lace it with RUM. Did anyone like it? you ask. No...especially the DNA STRAND group that included all the ITTEAMS. Their ATRIAL was exuding some sort of strange noise. ANNUS was worried and thought that AL GORE would yell out: It's "An Inconvenient Truth," everyone! Live with it and move on.....The evening was disastrous. PETE got up from his bar stool and yelled to REX (who had been quiet all evening - something he never did) : "YOUR MONEY IS ON THE WAY"....REX, the owner of the bar, wasn't too keen on letting his patrons carry IOU's, but he was in a good mood for a change so he got up and told everyone: " Look, I know some of you weren't exactly thrilled tonight, so drinks are on me." Everyone still sitting at the bar, got up and cheered. wasn't a complete failure after all. Who doesn't like free drinks?

Unknown 12:05 PM  

@Southside Johnny: That was truly brilliant. Thank you! One of the truly funniest things I have ever read here on this blog. JOHNX (remember him?) on his "funniest days" doesn't even come close.

@Nancy: Please please stop griping about easy Mondays. They are meant to be easy, Don't be such a snob. Maybe take a day off and come in on Tuesdays.

As a HATEREADER (rex's made-up term?), I certainly won't be giving him any $$, but it did inspire me to look for a local charity that brings positivity and joy into the community.

And for today's puz: I really have no idea who INDIAARIE is, but I see her name in puzzles from time to time (which makes sense, given all her vowels).
I did like the theme, and obviously that put a lot of constraints on the puzzle, but overall the surfeit of 3-letter words was an unfortunate thumbs down for me. Likewise all the proper names. The ADELA/ALEXA in the same corner was unfortunate. So a very nice theme marred by clutter made for the rare puz that I sadly did not enjoy.

Beezer 12:14 PM  

Please help on the Wordle thing! I downloaded what was called Wordle yesterday and got what looks like a giant Boggle square. I feel sure this is NOT the Wordle because it has 50 levels and is definitely NOT a “once a day” thing. Thank you in advance!

mathgent 12:23 PM  

My favorite comments this morning.

pmdm (10:10)
Trey (10:42)

JC66 12:23 PM  


This may help.

JC66 12:26 PM  


Your credibility has taken a hit by not including @Southside today.

The Joker 12:28 PM  


CATFART is not on list td.

egsforbreakfast 12:32 PM  

@Southside. I loved your enumeration of commentariat types. You might have forgotten to mention a few:

1 to complain about using a foreign language term like “light bulb”.
1 to tell a raucous and non-sensible story that begins “so two light bulbs walk into a bar…….”
1 to announce that she’s never heard of light bulbs and has no interest in learning about them now.
1 to point out, with seemingly great disappointment, that there are no Fs in Light Bulb.
1 to wax rhapsodic about the subtleties of this particular light bulb change and the heretofore unnoticed fact that the changer has managed to produce an impeccable result while reverse-threading the light bulb.
3 to just be general wise asses about the whole thing without contributing anything of significance, such as the fact that you can’t have a LIGHTBULB without GUILT.

On another subject, where’s Cuba Gooding in this puzzle?

On the whole, I liked it for a day that always comes 48 hours before Thanksgiving. Thank you, Ross Troudeau.

Z 12:35 PM  

@Joe Dipinto - Interesting. JORDAN PEELE directed Get Out and won an Oscar for Great Out but didn’t win an Oscar for directing Get Out. I guess “Best Original Screenplay” is too long for the clue? But you are right, I assumed from the clue that he won Best Director.

INDIA ARIE has won four Grammys, has done a Target ad, has had pretty famous collaborations with Adele, Santana, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, and several others. She appears more often in puzzles than other comparably famous singers because she has good letters, but it seems to me that most of us have probably run into her name outside of Crossworld.

Beezer 12:36 PM  

Thanks JC66!

Unknown 12:38 PM  

The clue for DNA STRAND is very misleading., bordering on just wrong. The double helix *is* a DNA strand. One half of it is called "single-stranded DNA" or "ssDNA." Also, to respond to a few commenters, RNA is not simply a single strand of DNA...they're different structures altogether, with the Uracil base of RNA replacing the Thymine base of DNA. Both single-stranded DNA and double-stranded RNA exist in nature, mostly in viruses.

Joe Dipinto 12:40 PM  

In case The Wordle Is Not Enough (new 007 movie), try one of these to get your fix.

Z 12:45 PM  

@Beezer - You’re not alone. That app is older than the current web-based game. @JC6612:23 has posted the proper link.
I do enjoy Wordle, although it’s really more of deduction game than a word game. Really it is just a version of Mastermind™️ with letters rather than colored pegs. I doubt Blogger can handle Wordle results but here is mine from today - let’s see if it actually shows up when I hit publish.

Wordle 206 4/6*


old timer 12:58 PM  

I did not care for this one, because none of the names were in my wheelhouse. Except for ADELA Rogers St Johns whom I know because of Final Verdict, her biography of Earl Rogers, her father who was a famous criminal defense lawyer in L.A. Still, I managed to finish it.

Which is more than I could do with Sunday's Split Decisions, a puzzle that is normally a breeze, but I was stuck right in the middle and could not solve without looking it up online.

jae 1:01 PM  

One of AMERICA FERRARA’s recent projects was directing the Netflix series “Gentefied”. It is definitely worth a look!

TJS 1:13 PM  

@Nancy, I have a feeling your not missing anything by not being able to access SB. I found the judging of word/not a word so arbitrary that I abandoned it very early. Plus the fact I'm working my way thru the Friday and Saturdays of the archive gives me all the word fix I need.

@Southside, forgot to give you kudos yesterday and then it was gone ! Great job.

Anoa Bob 1:14 PM  

I had always associated spelling contests with the ANNUal Scripps National Spelling Bee where contestants must be 14 years old or younger, so I was perplexed when the SB posts first started showing up on this crossword puzzle blog comment board. I was wondering how can full grown adults find enjoyment in that kind of grade school type exercise?

A couple of comments today suggest an answer. SB participants get the opportunity to be called a "Genius" on a daily basis. That's it, right SBers? Why else when your communication devices will automatically do spellcheck for you? (My spellcheck tells me on a daily basis that I'm moron!)

SS Johnny, here's another for your list: 1 to throw stones at other commenters' remarks. Hope you have safety glass in your house.

What? 1:18 PM  

And some viruses have double stranded RNA.

KnittyContessa 1:19 PM  

@SouthsideJohnny best post ever! Thanks for the laugh!

Beezer 1:30 PM  

Thanks everyone on the Wordle info! Hah! Because I tend to NOT read directions carefully (in my personal life-not work) I fubarred my first two tries (we shan’t go into the fact I thought the example was a clue) but still managed to get it done in six. @Z…I figure in retirement I need to exercise any logic/deduction brain cells I have left so this perfect! I can’t wait until tomorrow when I can solve while understanding the rules!

okanaganer 1:30 PM  

@Jim Spies 722am: hand up for CATION.

I didn't mind the theme, but there were just way too many names all in all. By my figuring, there are only 2 answers that are not crossed by a name. The lower left is just a giant mass of names. And why oh why does an answer like CAM need to be clued as a guy I never heard of?

[Spelling Bee: yd 0; QB 4 days straight!]

[Wordle: yd 5 the hard way. Only 2 non grey squares after 3 words!]

Wordle is the new SB. Yay Wordle!

Doc John 1:32 PM  

To add to what Unknown above said:
I really didn't want to have to enter DNA STRAND for that answer. While it is true that there are single-stranded DNA viruses, in usual language, the entire double helix is considered a "DNA strand." One side of a double helix (at least in the area of the gene in question) is called the sense strand, while the other is the anti-sense or nonsense strand. That doesn't apply to the entire strand, though, as genetic information may reside on either side of the strand.
As for the differences between DNA and RNA, it's not just thymine vs uracil, but the root molecule is different: DNA uses deoxyribose while RNA uses ribose.
All that said, I just rolled my eyes and entered DNA STRAND.

I also confidently entered cations. Then erased it shortly thereafter.

Smith 1:49 PM  

New PR for Tues, 2 min 37 sec.
See clue, write answer. Weird ones filled themselves in, sorry no idea AMERICA FERRERA. Or I guessed. Looking at you, RERAISE.

Thx anyway!

Nancy 2:11 PM  

@Unknown (12:05) --

I hardly think that a person who thinks that even Monday crosswords should respect people's intelligence is a "snob." I think that what actually is snobby is the condescending, patronizing idea that some solvers are just so dumb that they need clues like "Police officers" for COPS and "Finale" for END.

For many years before joining this blog, I didn't do Monday puzzles or Tuesday puzzles either for that matter. I started doing them only to "earn" the right to write a blog comment that day. What I discovered is that not all Monday puzzles are mindless and some in the last year have been relatively good -- good enough that it would have been somewhat of a shame to miss them.

I think it's far better to stretch novice solvers a bit than to bore them to death. It's not "snobbery" -- it's genuine respect for the latent abilities of other people and the fact that they can rise to the occasion if you'll only give them an occasion to rise to.

okanaganer 2:11 PM  

Hey I found the Share button!!!
Wordle 205 5/6 yd:


Wordle 206 3/6 td:


Anonymous 2:12 PM  

Settle down dna, rna, double helix pedants. Nobody really cares.

Hear ye, Hear ye! Breaking News! 2:16 PM  

Some words actually have commonly understood usages other than precise scientific ones, and they are equally valid.

BEE-ER 2:22 PM  

@Anoa. It's clear you don't know how the Bee works. It's nothing like a spelling bee in grade school.

Lyn 2:23 PM  

Way too annoying. 13 proper names? One play, 1 book, 1 song, 1 film title. Three characters. Two places and Alexa. Did the English language run out of actual words?

JD 2:26 PM  

@Anon 2:12, You would have a better chance of being correct if you spoke for yourself.

@egs, Add: 1 to show up and be an _hole. Wait, make it 2.


@TJS and @Nancy, I agree with TJS's assessment. I do it anyway and just see how far I can go. So many ridiculous "words."

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

I did the wordle yesterday and today after all the blog buzz. I may do it again but I was kinda sorta unimpressed.

Douglas 2:41 PM  

How did we not get an epic rant about how America is not a country? I feel cheated!!! Also, why no diatribe on the inconsistencies of the themers, with one spanning two answers and the others only one? On a normal day that would put this puzzle in "worst ever" category.

egsforbreakfast 3:01 PM  

@JD 2:26. I’m asking in all sincerity if I am the ___hole in your post?

sixtyni yogini 3:01 PM  

America Ferrera! Ugly Betty! Two of my all time favorites. What a great start for a fun puzz!

Thanks, 🦖 for an interesting, informative review - today and for the past year.

🦖🦖🦖🦖 rating for 🧩
🦖🦖🦖🦖🦖 for 🦖
👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 For commenters

Frantic Sloth 3:09 PM  

Oh dear Gof! PLEEEEEZE let's not start posting our Wordle results! You can't go anywhere anymore without its insinuation. 🤣🤣

@Z 1245pm That's exactly how I described it to Mrs. Sloth, although she's never played Mastermind™. I think it's a combination of Mastermind™ and hangman.

@JD 226pm 👍

I'm not Frantic Sloth 3:16 PM  

Wordle 206 4/6


chance2travel 3:29 PM  

My new hobby is reviewing the raging debates of the commentariat

35D DNA or RNA -> DNA is a double helix "molecule" consisting of 2 strands. So the answer is correct. Note, half of DNA molecule cannot be an RNA strand, because even though they share 3 proteins out of 4, they different on the last one. No foul.

37D FUDGSICLE -> I really wanted it to be FUDGeSICLE, but in the same way that I always try to spell judgment as judge-ment. FUDGSICLE is the trademarked name by popsicle. No foul.

23D Oscar-winning director -> ok, he directed get out AND won an Oscar...for the screenplay. No foul here.

17A AMERICA as a country. Since "clues" are just that ("clues") and people frequently refer to the USA as America, this is acceptable crosswordic license. No foul.

Happy Taco Tuesday!

Anonymous 3:32 PM  

TUESDAYS do not always come 48 hours before Thanksgiving, there are about 51 every year that don't.

Z 3:36 PM  

@Barbara S - Do you still have your ode handy?

@Frantic Sloth - If we post our Wordle graphs we should also have to describe what they look like. Today mine is the Sears Tower. And isn’t it properly spelt “puhleeeeeze?”

I’m also hoping either @TTrimble or @mathgent can explain why the “hard mode” is harder. For the people who haven’t played yet, you guess a five letter word and the program lets you know which letters are in the answer but in the wrong spot and which are in the right spot and which are not part of the answer. In hard mode you have to use any info you got in the next guess, whereas in “easy mode” you could just guess a completely different word. Why is that easier?

Z 3:43 PM  

@3:32 - 🤣😂🤣 - Are you accusing Shortz of not paying his syntax? Yes, if one wanted to be clear the clue should have read “what 48 hours before Thanksgiving always is,” but if you expect clues to be clear and always to be current with their syntax you’ve chosen the wrong hobby.

Frantic Sloth 3:44 PM  

@Z 336pm I usually spell it that way, but didn't want to give to impression that I was serious. Somehow misspelling seems to accomplish that...right?
And I'm just gonna go ahead and say mine looks like a Tetris loss.
There are hard/easy modes??

Anonymous 3:51 PM  

Wordle is no fun for me. I'm psychic and always get the word first try. Oh, well.

FWIW, spellcheck rejects wordle.

Douglas 4:00 PM  

@chance2travel - just because people refer to something that is incorrect doesn't make it acceptable. My point is that minor mistakes typically make Rex fly off the handle, and this one slid by. That's all. I think many people come here for the entertainment value of Rex's rants, whether they agree with them or not.

Unknown 4:24 PM  

Played Wordle, 3 tries, boring. Please don't comment here about your success.

Wow, SSJohnie - who knew you could be funny?

Joe Dipinto 4:37 PM  

Yeah, let's pile on @chancetotravel! No one said the 23d clue was wrong. I observed that it probably caused most solvers to come away with an incorrect impression.

That is called a "comment". This is the Comments section.

GILL I. 5:34 PM  

@Nancy 2:11.....Primo response
You are gracious, witty, and so good at putting keys to blog response.
I, for one, (there are many) would've felt deprived of your fun daily blog contributions had you ever given up. I'm used to getting a bash now and then, but I just fluff it off my shoulders. I'm glad you do the Monday/Tuesday and tell us like it fluff need apply.

Nancy 6:24 PM  

Love, you @GILL!!! (But you already know that.)

L Euler 6:29 PM  

@Z - TTrimble has received (by snail-mail, I didn't want to publicly humiliate him here) a 6-month suspension from commenting on mathematics related issues here. This is based on my last foray here, when I called out someone for telling me I was wrong when I said that topologically, we're all TORIs, that in fact we are all tubes. He got caught up in an ancillary discussion involving tear ducts and pathways involving the nostrils. That discussion, while accurate, missed the point entirely, as topologically speaking, tubes are TORI, and I was correct in calling my antagonist an idiot, and he should have known that and not gotten inserted himself into the discussion.

L Euler 6:30 PM  

@Z - p.s., TTrimble is a gentleman who acknowledged his error and accepted his punishment with equanimity.

puzzlehoarder 6:39 PM  

The only section that wasn't typical Tuesday was trying to spell FUDGSICLE and sussing out RERAISE, HES and even SET. For whatever reason I really had to slow down and think there.

yd -0, dbyd -0

albatross shell 6:42 PM  

Not entirely unentertaining (@Southside) but I had to force myself past the halfway mark and then skipped the rest. Admire your endurance though.

I'm a bit confused about the long delay. @7:59 saw the @7:42 post, thus the delay when he sent the post was at most 17 minutes. Wait times in the morning are usually shorter but waits between 15 to 30 minutes on occasion do not seem unusual. And yes a few times an @Lewis post has preceeded the delay as has a yours truly post. I have often wondered if moderators have a zoom conference or union meeting somewhere around 8am or 10am because of how often delays happen around that time. I notice a moderator did jump in today so presumably the delay did last a good while. Now I better change this subject or @Southside will point out this post is 4 times too long and it wasn't funny at all.

The puzz:
Above average difficulty because JP was the the only COUNTRY STAR I knew with the aid of just a few crosses. Other PPP were not much better. This resulted in a long for a Tuesday solve. But very satisfying to get done. And except for the PPP it was very nicely put together. I was going to discuss if the extra N would be enough to save discomfort for the Breakfast Test crowd but @Trey beat me to it. Not knowing Latin I was expecting ANNoS or ANNii since ANNopodes would need a rebus.

I also noticed that ENDS was next to ANNUS and wondered if ERODED TORI EDIFY AL GORE's ANNUS ONSIGHT DATASET and if it was RERAISEd.

I also nominate for best short tautology of the year the answer IS IS.

brian 6:42 PM  

Naticked at the 8D/18A intersection. There were so many names in this puzzle and it wasn't fun to solve.

Stephen Minehart 7:18 PM  

I liked the interesting symmetry of the grid and the theme answers...something I never would have noticed before reading this blog. Thank you Rex for this forum.

Mr. Benson 10:41 PM  

“ARTOO” was written on Star Wars cards in 1977, so it’s legit. Canon, so to speak.

RooMonster 1:08 AM  



Lily Alice 11:20 AM  

@OffTheGrid my youngest son is a mailman now, and also a young friend of ours became one at his recommendation. I'm always telling them old people stories about how nice it used to be, knowing the mailman and feeling a sense of community about it all. They enjoy their jobs, but it sounds completely different from how it used to be!

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