Old Toyota coupe / WED 1-26-22 / Sacred Indian plant also called the strangler fig / Minecraft block made from gunpowder and sand

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Constructor: Michael Schlossberg

Relative difficulty: Medium (only because of the made-up, completely improbable "message"; otherwise, Easy)

THEME: "CONGRATULATIONS / ON PASSING YOUR / EYE TEST" (17A / 28A / 47A: "a message suggested by this puzzle's circled letters") — circled squares contain and are arranged like the letters found on a standard eye exam chart. That's it, that's the theme.

Word of the Day: OLAF Scholz (5D: German chancellor Scholz) —
Olaf Scholz (German: [ˈoːlaf ˈʃɔlts] [...] ; born 14 June 1958) is a German politician serving as chancellor of Germany since 8 December 2021. A member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), he previously served as Vice Chancellor of Germany under Angela Merkel and as Federal Minister of Finance from 2018 to 2021. He was also First Mayor of Hamburg from 2011 to 2018 and deputy leader of the SPD from 2009 to 2019. Following the 2021 German federal election, Scholz's federal government is a traffic light coalition composed of his SPD, the Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP). (wikipedia)
• • •

I don't understand making a puzzle like this, mainly because once you conceive of making the eye chart pattern with the letters ... well, there's nowhere to go. You can't use wordplay to get to those letters—they don't function as letters, they spell nothing, they just sit in a fairly arbitrary (if widely standardized) pattern. So what you're left with is this completely absurd message that neither your optometrist nor the person working at the DMV nor anyone would ever say. At an actual eye exam, you don't "pass," so that's out. At the DMV they just make you read a line on the chart, and trust me, they are not so excited about it that they would bother to congratulate you. In any case, solving this puzzle doesn't feel like passing anything, let alone an EYE TEST. I didn't pass that. I just solved a puzzle and some of its letters happened to be arranged in the pattern of an EYE TEST, a pattern that helped me precisely zero because who the hell knows the letters of the EYE TEST chart after that top "E"?! Now, PASSING YOUR / EYE TEST / UNADORNED (as in "naked"), that, that would be something worthy of congratulations! [this is another way of saying putting a long non-theme Across answer directly under your final theme answer is really visually distracting; it overwhelms the shorter answer and takes some of the punch out of it. Better to turn UNADORNED into a 4 and a 4, with the central square made black—if the theme is everything (and in this case, sadly, it is) then design the grid in a way that really sets off the theme. UNADORNED visually smothers the "punchline" of the "message"]

[14A: Blend of black tea, honey, spices and milk]

The puzzle feels a little bit like it was designed for anyone old enough to have driven a PASEO (36A: Old Toyota coupe) or seen "Bedtime for BONZO" in the theater (27D: "Bedtime for ___"). Except for ALTPOP, it stays in pretty familiar, slightly olden crossword territory, though some of the cluing keeps us reasonably up to date: e.g. OLAF Scholz only just took office, and TOBY Keith is ... still alive, presumably. Speaking of OLAF, I made a specific note to remember that there was a new OLAF on the crossword clue horizon and I *still* forgot his name today. Or, rather, I thought, "well it can't be OLAF, that's a Scandinavian name..." Wrong. Well, right, it is a Norwegian name, but apparently it's a name in lots of countries, so ... welcome, New OLAF. I'm guessing you'll be with us for a Very long time. Aside from the hesitation around OLAF, the only other slower-downer I hit today was BANYAN TREE, and only because I figured I didn't know what it was (3D: Sacred Indian plant also called the strangler fig)—I thought "plant" was going to refer to some kind of herb or spice. I don't usually think of trees as plants, though, of course, they are. I left that side of the grid alone, but while I was solving the *other* side of the grid, some background program running in my brain went "psst, buddy—it's BANYAN TREE." And *that*, I've heard of. Seen BANYAN in crosswords. May actually have *learned* BANYAN from crosswords. After that, the only challenge was piecing together the ridiculous theme "message," and that was not, ultimately, that difficult. 

I realized I'm never going to like SPITS clued as a verb (25D: Barely rains). Give me the roasting sticks or give me ... well, nothing. Cluing it in reference to rain doesn't de-salivate the answer, so, no, pass. Not sure why the PROM QUEENS clue (11D: These women "rule" the dance) wasn't something more playful and question-marky like [Women who rule the dance floor?] (that way, the phrasing is more natural and there's no need for the glaring quotation marks around "rule") Also, I think a. increasingly you are seeing PROM QUEENS who are not women (nonbinary and genderfluid people have "won" these "titles" in recent years), and b. schools are starting to do away with the heterosexist king/queen paradigm entirely. Still, I think PROM QUEENS is a good answer. It's a bright, original phrase, and it brings much needed pop to this otherwise fairly plain grid.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Chris Christie 6:03 AM  

Pretty sure someone else will say this before this comment gets moderated, but the circled letters are first lines of the standard eye chart in doctors' offices. So not entirely arbitary. Puzzle still sorta sucks, but not that way.

RI guy 6:11 AM  

The only thing I really enjoyed about this puzzle was the reference to 'banyan trees' because it reminded me of the great song Aja by Steely Dan.

Conrad 6:20 AM  

In recent years I have had detached retinas in both eyes. After three vitrectomy operations and one cataract procedure, one eye was blind and I had very restricted vision in the other. Eventually, vision returned to the "good" eye and when I passed the eye test the doctor congratulated me. So I can relate to today's theme.

Anonymous 6:40 AM  

More or less ok (but not good) if you ignore the theme.

Zed 6:45 AM  

Have I ever mentioned how much I loathe quote puzzles? I have? Alrighty then, I won’t bore you with another rant.

The Saturday Special at Z’s Placebo and Tentacle will be ASP BBQ. The drink special will be a Cleopatra.

Since Rex posts in the early morning, now, I had to post my Wordle in the Wild observations late yesterday.

OffTheGrid 6:47 AM  

I'd say this has been a very good M-T-W run of puzzles. For today's, I initially saw that connecting the circles would give an outline of a Christmas (or pine) tree. That was on my mind but nothing developed to lead me further in that direction. When the realization of the eye chart and the EYETEST hit me it was satisfying. As an aside, it would have been a good day for the NYT to make the circled letters stand out somehow upon getting the completion message. I really liked the clue for NET, Sports barrier ... or target. Obviously this puzzle rubbed @Rex the wrong way. I didn't really get his "UNADORNED" rant or his tear down of "CONGRAT........TEST". So what if it isn't a common spoken phrase. And the SPITS comments were over the top. I guess it reminded him of "moist". Nevertheless I appreciate his view of this and every puzzle. I feel like I learn things.

Third Grader 6:54 AM  

Seems as if this is a ten year old constructor's puzzle

JJK 6:54 AM  

Um, is it Monday? This puzzle was super easy, got all the theme answers from crosses while basically ignoring the theme itself. I get eye exams often, since I have various eye issues, and I certainly don’t remember the order of the letters on the chart. But that was irrelevant in the puzzle. But it was ok to have a Monday time on a Wednesday, although it feels unearned.

SouthsideJohnny 6:58 AM  

Interesting trip through the grid today - it seemed as though about 85% of it played Mon/Tues difficult. Of course there is no real theme to speak of, but I don’t get as excited about themes as some others do. Not surprisingly for the NYT, there’s the meta trivial section on the west coast there with the fig plant, the Simpsons reference, a LIESL and a clue for ERE (Lead in to “long”) that still has me baffled. Anyone stumped by that one as well ?

I’ve noticed that URDU seems to have worked its way into the regular rotation, so time to add that one to the 5x7 note card for future reference. It also appears as though the lovely and talented Ms. ANNE Hathaway may take the title of flavor of the month in the Celeb category.

albatross shell 7:05 AM  

Wah wah who stole my Wednesday puzz? Wah wah who complains about missing a Wednesday puzz?

Most of It filled in easy but I did have to jump around a bit more than normal to keep forward momentum.

Very dim memory of PASEO PERE PENNE and once again forgot LIESL. No idea of BANYAN TREE as clued, four crosses gave me the letter pattern to fill it in.

CONGRATULATIONS ONPASSINGYOUR went in amazingly easily for basically being unclued. So I appreciated that the "punchline" EYETEST was harder to see.

After EYETEST I had bit of clean up to do And then oh yeah the circled letters. Well obviously it must be N eye chart. No idea it was the classic eyechart because the letters were the same size and they were spread out and did not stand out. In this case if the letters had lit up or started flashing it would have been a real WOW.

So maybe all in all a wednesday after all.


kitshef 7:13 AM  

Two completely unnecessary, consecutive PPP clues centered on video games kinda sucked.

Probably should have run on a Tuesday, where it would have been easy, but not unduly so.

I HOP ON AIR LOVE is a nice column.

Tom T 7:17 AM  

One of those wheelhouse days, resulting in by far my personal best Wednesday time ( a good bit lower than my average Monday time). Lived among a lot of BANYAN TREEs in S. Florida, so that came easily.

Speaking of ASP (24A) @Z, the P in ASP is the beginning of a diagonal PSA which is palindromically (rhymes with comically) connected to ASP. PSA might be clued as 1) "Message for the common good" or 2) "Test for him, but not her."

Agree with Rex about the distracting visual of UNADORNED under EYE TEST.

pabloinnh 7:21 AM  

@Conrad-Well I certainly can relate. After a detached retina in my right eye, which couldn't be fully repaired, I started to develop macular degeneration in my good eye, which was both really scary and, I thought, kind of unfair. I get injections every eight weeks or so, which have returned my good eye vision to almost normal, and my damaged eye can read the big E at the top of the chart, so I get congratulations on a fairly regular basis too. Not a lot of fun, but things could definitely be a lot worse.

Wanted BAOBAB for the tree, because of SB, but the N disabused me of that notion and BANYAN went right in, because I've always thought they're a very cool-looking tree. Other than PROMQUEENS, and possibly UNADORNED, none of the answers in this one sparked a lot of joy. Nor did seeing an eye chart when I didn't need to (see above).

Well, it was a Wednesday, and a puzzle, and too easy for a Wednesday. Some thanks at least to MS. Make Sure you get your eyes tested regularly.

albatross shell 7:23 AM  

No you did not have to.
Not at all.

bocamp 7:25 AM  

Thx Michael, fun puz! Cute theme. :)


Solved like Mon-Tues.

YAY, I passed my EYE TEST.

Enjoy an easy one from time to time. :)


Two cell dnf down SE. If I'd've only sussed out the 'toon' … . Pleased to have come that close, tho. See you next Mon. :)

@Smith / @pabloinnh 👍 for 0's yd)
yd pg (3:57) / Wordle 3

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Zed 7:25 AM  

@Southside Johnny - URDU has been in regular rotation since the early 1950’s, making two appearances or more most years (none in 2018 was unusual) and 181 total NYTX appearances. Looking at the clues I wonder why the formerly common “Hindustani” clue has disappeared under Shortz. Add it to your card.

Anonymous 7:26 AM  


ERE is poetic for before, so ERE long=before long

kitshef 7:37 AM  

@SouthsideJohnny 6:58. "Ere" leads into "long" in the word "erelong". It is a weak clue, but defensible.

thfenn 7:52 AM  

I didn't have quite the same reaction as Rex but did find myself agreeing as I read, other than having no issue with SPITS. Lol, so maybe i liked it less than I thought I did.

Latte before DECAF left me needing to untangle the SE. And one-up before UPONE left me a little ugly in the SW, but it all resolved easily. RACY doesn't really feel to me like it's on the CUSP of indecent, but OK.

mmorgan 8:15 AM  

I never knew there was a standard eye chart letter sequence. Doesn’t that mean it’s easy to cheat?

Son Volt 8:20 AM  

Not a quote theme really since it’s not a real quote - not sure exactly what this was. I solved as a themeless - and actually thought there was some decent fill. BANYON TREE, PROM QUEENS and UNADORNED are all solid. Some oddball trivia that was unknown.

Best part of this was Rex’s Lords video.

Nate L 8:20 AM  

When the theme came into focus (ahem), I had a pleasant aha moment. After all,I have read these letters in this exact configuration at least two dozen times in my life yet had zero recognition. This reminded me of the recent puzzle where an answer was a line of the qwerty keyboard, yet meant nothing until the great reveal. It would have been ideal if the bottom line here corresponded to 20/20 vision. Alas, the 5th line of the Snellen eye chart corresponds merely to 20/40 vision (I can see at 20 feet what a normal person can see at 40). More like a "meh" than congratulations, I would say. Yes, an easy Wednesday but I got my moment.

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

I have to call this one easy: as of today, my best Wednesday time is faster than my best Tuesday time.

And, I suppose I have to acknowledge the existence of this standardized letter ordering but I'm really surprised that anyone outside of the optometry profession recognizes it. I've been going to eye doctors for many decades and had no idea. The ones I get now are different each time (randomly generated by the computer that projects them, perhaps?), or at least different for each eye.

amyyanni 8:31 AM  

Agree with Rex. Theme is deflating, left me flat. Also agree on spits. On the other hand, love it when the word sprinkles is used to describe rain. Makes me think of those vari colored things atop some ice cream cones, falling from the sky.

Suzette 8:35 AM  

Most prom queens are girls. Women seems a little creepy. Leave the kids alone.

Adam 8:40 AM  

I set my Wednesday record (yay!), but can't say I loved the puzzle. SPITS was annoying, and EMENDS, while legit, just gets on my nerves. LIESL is the sort of crosswordese that needs to just be verboten unless/until we have an actual living celebrity with the name. None of the fill or cluing thrilled me, to be honest. As for the theme, I ignored the circled letters, and basically had the phrase just from down crosses.

Zed 8:44 AM  

@albatross shell - It was required. Absolutely required. What would this crossword blog be if I withheld the knowledge that Brewdles exist from all of you? A cold, joyless, place where rain SPITs in our face like a quote puzzle, that’s what this blog would be without that information.

Wundrin' 8:49 AM  

@mmorgan. What might be the reason to cheat on an eye exam?

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

I’m with @Suzette. Calling girls “women” is kinda creepy.

Todd 9:01 AM  

Heterosexist king/queen paradigm? Wow Rex does live in a strange alternate universal. He is going to be even less fun, if that's possible when the Republican sweep back into power in the fall. Today took me half as long as yesterday. Felt too easy for wednesday after a Tuesday which felt too hard for Tuesday. Banyan Trees are common here in Key West but got it on the crosses.

Nancy 9:07 AM  

The most completely irrelevant use of annoying, randomly arranged, tiny little circles in any puzzle that's ever been published.

Perhaps the most "Who cares?" selection of a theme in any puzzle that's ever been published.

I ignored the tiny little circles entirely, of course, as I solved -- but that did not make this rather flat and lifeless puzzle any more compelling. It just made it considerably less annoying.

BTW, one of puzzledom's really good constructors, Bruce Haight, is an opthamologist. And I doubt he would foist upon the solving public a theme this feeble.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JonB3 9:17 AM  

@Conrad and @pabloinnh - I join the commiseration.

My detached retina and subsequent macular edema has put me through a course of drops and steroid injections. Not back to normal by any means. So, to monitor my progress, I actually have an eye chart on my fridge. Is it cheating that I actually looked at it after figuring out the theme? Filled in all the circles below 47A.

thfenn 9:17 AM  

@mmorgan and @wunderin, LOL, love the idea of cheating on your eye test. Some of us are desparate for those congratulations we get for passing. Others can't bear the stigma associated with near sightedness and would rather not see small print rather than be considered unable to do so.

GILL I. 9:19 AM  

Well, I don't usually enjoy a quote puzzle ut this one somehow fancied my tickle.
I'll start with the BANYAN TREE. I love those trees. I watercolor lots of them. If you've never seen one go google them. I'd give an EYE tooth to have one in my back yard.
I also LOVE RACY ATULATIONS. it will always FLOAT my bedtime BONZO.
Yes..this was easy but I actually didn't want it to end. Well, to end it came and I did my CONGRATULATIONS fandango tango dance. I knew we were talking about the eye chart. I spent many moons trying to cheat on the test only because I dreaded going back to my very sweet and cute eye doctor. I have what is called amblyopia. When I went in for cataract surgery he said he could fix my "bad eye." ie the one that can't see distance. I said "sure...why not?" my insurance doesn't pay for it and it will only cost $2,000 and change. It was worth it but I still need bifocals because I didn't want to dish out another out-of-pocket thousands and I don't mind the bifocals. And yes.....when I went in for my exam after surgery, I could read the chart and my cute guy did say the exact words Michael put in his puzzle.
I always have one of those hmmmm moments. Does anybody else mistake the Z for an S?

Unknown 9:20 AM  

Wordle 221 3/6


1 under par for the day.

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

@Wundrin’- The question wasn’t addressed to me but I can think of one reason. Some people want to drive a car despite being legally blind. If they can’t pass the eye exam they lose their driver license. This will dissuade many from driving.

TJS 9:23 AM  

IHOP<EDU<IPO<BBQ<ALTPOP<ASAP<NBC<SPF<TNT. Wow ! What a Wednesday ! This one was "upone" and even neater" than yesterday !

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

Can we (@Rex) please let men be men and women be women? It's not "sexist". Enough of this gender fluidity nonsense. You have a specific gender. It's only what you choose to call yourself, not a gender!

Unknown 9:28 AM  

Why would you want to cheat on an eye test?

puzzlehoarder 9:29 AM  

Easier than a Tuesday. Much of the fill was Monday level especially the cluing.

yd -0

pmdm 9:31 AM  

As I solved the puzzle, I thought to myself "Z will hate the theme." So thank you, Z, for not repeating yourself (unlike what I would say to Mike Sharp). Ignoring all the circled letters, I completed the puzzle as a themeless. Since I enjoy acrostic puzzles (sorry to repeat that) I enjoyed this puzzle.

A number of years ago, my eyes unusually got better to the point where the eye doctor OKed me to drive without glasses. (The NYS DMV ignored that information when processing my renewed driver's license, but I didn't want to drive without glasses. All I want is to avoid a ticket.) I guess I should have been congratulated after passing that eye exam. So I guess I would agree with pabloinnh.

And I agree with mmorgan also.

By the way, I prefer to see as good as a can, so it never occurred to me to cheat and memorized the letter progressions. That may be the norm, in which case it would explain why people don't bother to memorize the standard letter sequence. Now if there were a million dollar prize ...

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

Wednesday PR. Very easy. I was indifferent to the theme.

Karl Grouch 9:34 AM  

What @Rex said and more.

This was Monday-easy, should (not) have been published on August 8:

” International Ophthalmologist Day ” which is observed every year on August 8 is the birthday of the world famous ophthalmologist Svyatoslav Fyodorov, the day was chosen to honor Dr Svyatoslav Fyodorov, a renowned Soviet and Russian ophthalmologist who was born on this day in the year 1927.

Congratulations on passing your nay test.

Michael Page 9:35 AM  

Wundrin . . .
To get your driver’s license?
And in odd synchronicity, both LA and NY Times clued tree as a “plant’ on the same day.

KnittyContessa 9:35 AM  

I clearly failed the eye test. For the longest time I thought 51D said Ahead by a nun. 13 years of Catholic school and I couldn't figure that one out.

Unknown 9:37 AM  

Man, I thought it would be congrats on climbing mount everest! What a disappointment. I also had drag Queens. Another disappointment. As a 43 year old I knew bedtime for bonzo because that's what my dad said to us every night.

tea73 9:40 AM  

I hate message puzzles and I never see an eye chart any more. My ophthalmologist shows me one line at a time projected on a blank wall. Surprised Rex rated it easy as I did it in less than half my usual time, second fastest Wednesday puzzle ever. Faster than my Monday average even.

We've driven many a Toyota, but I'd forgotten there was one called a PASEO.

I've always liked the expression SPIT to describe barely raining.

Frantic Sloth 9:45 AM  

You can't just call it a "message" and fool me into gratitude that it's not a quote puzzle - variant or not.

Worse, "part of a message"? Not even the entire thing??
What is this - a cruciverbalist version of the old "what's worse than finding a worm in your apple?" joke? Get. Out!

Maybe my hackles are unfairly raised because recent eye issues have made it difficult to even read the grid, let alone enjoy such drivel. Maybe. But I doubt it.

And the fill? Some real yucko stuff here:

"Dear's rhyming partner" (NEAR) Maybe if BONZO stumped you, but come on.

"Borderline indecent" (RACY) - define your terms. Maybe your smut is my kiddy lit or vice versa.

And don't you just love SPITS? Especially as clued?
"Am I gonna need my umbrella today?"
"No, rhymes-with-NEAR, it's just gonna SPIT."

Halfway through, I gave up with listing a all the "borderline yucko" because it was all so Mondee easy.
What are you doing on my Wednesdee lawn?? Get. Off!

I don't want to hold the constructor responsible for any of this - or most of it, anyway. Was this the NYTXW editorial staff's "bring your kid to work and let them run things day"? Get. Lost!

And the play sucked, too. - Mrs. L


CDilly52 9:46 AM  

This puzzle reminds me of me from about 7th grade on. School was for the most part not terribly challenging in the language, humanities, social studies and art departments, and accordingly, I had a habit of what my mom called “Grand Mal Procrastination.” From my perch high atop Rearview Mountain I admit that my young ego enjoyed being caught up in anything but whatever assignment distracted me from my more exciting pursuits.

I relied, especially if the boring assignment required writing, on my ability with words and the fact that I truly enjoyed opportunities to express myself to get me through the last minute work with flying colors.

And of course the work wasn’t my best, and of course many teachers called me on it. My junior high instrumental music teacher even called me out one day while my posse and I were in the band room during study hall allegedly practicing. Mr. P came in while I was regaling the gang with how I wasn’t going to worry about Mrs. Roenker’s onerous essay about something or other. My 12 year old self would have said something about how I could always pull at least a B just by using well written sentences with big words, at which time Mr. P interjected “You are way too smart for your own good and some day it will catch up with and embarrass you.” And of course it did - in spades - but that is another story for another day.

My point here is that this easy puzzle reminds me of having an assignment due and deciding at the proverbial eleventh hour (or later usually in my case) to open up the notebook and check to see exactly what was required and discovering “Oh holy crap, bigger than I thought and it requires illustrations!”

Even during my lightening solve, I was thinking that the puzzle reminded me of having to just get something on paper that fits the assignment and will net me a decent grade and that, about halfway through remembering “Oh crap! It has to have a theme!”

No idea bow our constructor actually crested the puzzle or the theme idea. It looked to me just like some of my “almost clever” last minute efforts. The CONGRATULATIONS ON PASSING YOUR was tidily placed in the grid but on what? Aha! Circle random letters in positions that could resemble and EYE TEST and the proverbial Bob magically becomes your uncle.

Ah, Mr. Schlossberg, lest you think I am cruelly maligning your opus, far from it. I am certain your thought process in no way resembled the (admittedly seemingly unkind) description of my young self in high procrastinative dudgeon (have I ever mentioned that I might from time to time take liberties with words?). Your puzzle evoked memories of my youth, gave me a chuckle or two and I enjoyed it.

Very much. Thanks!

JD 9:49 AM  

Tough crowd. Had no idea that the eye chart was standardized so it was a fun little surprise when the a direct message from the constructor to the solver (talking to you Rex) came into view. Can't recall that happening before.

Until I had Lasik surgery about all I could get was the E.

Cheerful puzzle, Laden with Food. Chai, BBQ, Bibb lettuce, Penne, something from IHOP, Sonic, or a Deli. Have some Soy milk or an Altpop.

Tuesday was Wednesday hard, so Wednesday being Tuesday easy is fair. Not the constructors' faults. I thought it was great.

@Wundrin' you might want to cheat on an eye test at the DMV or to be a pilot. Really stupid, but the world never ceases to amaze.

@Suzette, An 18-year-old might think of herself as a young woman. I think it used to be young lady.

RooMonster 9:50 AM  

Hey All !
EYECHART. Har. Why not, to counter Rex's why?

Fun puz, timer tells me 10 minutes and change, so falls on the easy spectrum. L/R symmetry, with 41 Blockers. Clean fill considering the EYE-letters are basically locked in place.

Couple of EYETEST stories:
I've had glasses since I was about 6 years old. When I went to the Army, the Eye Dr. said, "take your glasses off and look at the wall." Ok, took them off, then he flicked a switch, and I saw a blob of light on the wall. Dr. says, "tell me what you see." I said, "a blob of light." He said, "that's it?" "Yes." "Really?" "Yes." Dr. "OK, put your glasses back on." When I did, Boom!, The first big E was staring at me! It took up the whole space. E! So I took my glasses off again, and made sure it was still just a blob of light. It was. Almost got kicked out because of my eyes. But they let me in, which in retrospect was great!

I was a limo driver for 14 years, till May 2020. Every two years you needed an EYE TEST. I was having trouble especially with my left eye on passing it. Although I see well with my glasses, it's still tough to see little details far away. So on my last test, I Googled an EYE chart, and memorized the letters I needed to pass! Thought I outsmarted the system, then Dr. threw a curve ball at me, and asked for the line I memorized backwards! Luckily, the ole brain decided to work, and I was able to get it!

So a bring back memories puz for me today. Good to know I'm still lucid. 😁

yd -2, should'ves 2 (Dang, prime missed QB) td too embarrassing so far...

Three F's (two circled!)

JBB94956 9:50 AM  

I’m glad you said that … I knew it was from some song, couldn’t remember which. And thanks to a Christmas gift from my wife, we’re seeing Steely Dan in May.

CDilly52 9:56 AM  

Wow, @Chris C 6:03 am! I have worn specs since I could walk, literally and after taking probably over 100 eye exams, I had no idea that the chart is standardized! Thanks.

RooMonster 10:06 AM  

See? Now you know why someone (me!) would chest on an EYE TEST.
You're welcome. 😁

RooMonster See What? Guy

Liveprof 10:09 AM  

Thank you @kitshef (7:13) for pointing out the lovely column: I HOP ON AIR LOVE. It made me look at the others. I was tickled by PATS SALTED EMU. And PROM QUEEN'S NO NO. How wonderful to consider that one.

Also, @thfenn (9:17): Would "the stigma associated with nearsightedness" be "stigmatism?"

Carola 10:16 AM  

Easy to solve, with a theme that seemed more "weak tea" than a nicely spiced CHAI. Highlights for me were learning the term strangler fig for the BANYAN TREE, the floor-ruling PROM QUEENS, the pairing of YAPPED and SNEERS, and the unexpected SPITS, which I don't recall having seen before clued in connection with rain and which resulted in some pondering. To the question, "Is it raining out?" (the "out" being required in my nook of the Midwest), the answer, "Just sprinkling" means that I can go to the mailbox without any protective gear, while "Just spitting" conveys some unpleasantness, enough that I'd think about a jacket.

@CDilly52 from yesterday - I'm glad you enjoyed the loaf!
@Gill I. from yesterday - Thank you for the tip about the French apple cake - it looks delicious and definitely doable.

jberg 10:18 AM  

What made this one a little harder is those black bars separated only by theme answers -- so until I got the theme, I had to keep starting over.

@mmorgan, you've put your finger on a real problem. Since the purpose of an eye test is not to pass, but to get the best prescription, I frequently find myself telling the doc that I can read a letter, but I'm not sure that I could if I hadn't memorized that line already. She does have ALT lines in her quiver, but doesn't always change them.

My sympathy goes out to all those of you with serious vision problems. I've had cataract surgery for both eyes, but still need bifocals to drive (if I want to be able to read the dashboard; otherwise I'd get a speeding ticket for sure). But so far macular degeneration and retina detachment are only things that have to be watched closely, not perceptible problems.

I've seen many strangler figs, and a few BANYAN TREEs, but never realized that the latter were a kind of fig. My impression was that they had their own trunks, with lots of aerial roots that had become secondary trunks -- but that was just an assumption, I never looked closely. Anyway, that made me resist that answer until I had a lot of crosses. BTW, they have to call it a plant, because TREE is in the answer.

I only have an after-dinner coffee if I think I've had too much wine, and then it's a double espresso. What's the point of a DECAF?

And while we're on culinary topics, only part of the asparagus STEM is edible; the base isn't. That's why the old etiquette was to pick it up with your fingers and bit off pieces from the top down until you got to the inedible part, which you would put back on your plate.

But enough of this. I'm going to get dressed and go look for bald eagles.

JD 10:24 AM  

@CDilly52, We could've been best friends in school. Essay test in the 11th grade on a short story I'd forgotten to read. There were questions about a wolf and the moon and what they represented so I improvised. The teacher's comment was, "Interesting perspective." Got a B.

Had to read Their Eyes Were Watching God in college and I hated it. Same deal there. The author's name came up in a puzzle recently. Last week I stopped at a neighborhood library box and there was the book. Finished it a few days ago. Now thinking it might be one of my favorite books.

I rue my slacker ways. About 10 years ago I retook geology, psychology, and anthropology classes at the local community college in atonement.

What? 10:31 AM  

Not a bad themeless. A stupid theme.
I’m constantly amazed how many clunkers find their way past Shortz. He recently closed shop for all of December to deal with a backlog of submissions. One would imagine then that he would have a plethora of crosswords with actual themes to choose from.
My NYT crossword anthologies totally over 1200 and I’ve never come across such a weak “theme”, correction, no theme.
Maybe this is the beginning of themeless Wednesday.

Beezer 10:32 AM  

As I worked this puzzle my this puzzle one of my first thoughts was that @Rex would have some choice words to say about PROMQUEEN. As I was finishing the puzzle I thought, this puzzle is a Monday and that @Nancy’s paper would be thrown at the wall. Rex went a different direction than I thought he would with PROMQUEEN but I tagged @Nancy sans the paper hurling.

I loved the inclusion of BANYANTREE. A fabulous book called The Overstory goes into great detail about the “creation” of a banyantree…it needs a particular type of wasp to bore into a fig trees fruit, lay eggs (and die within) with its progeny escaping and depositing the eggs on (I think) a mulberry tree. @Gill, get yourself a fig tree, a host tree, and some fig wasps for your backyard banyan!

Nancy 10:40 AM  

@jberg and re: DECAF (after dinner).

I used to order DECAF espresso after dinner in good restaurants that offered it. But I got tired of lying awake in bed until 4 a.m. afterwards. I then started giving waiters the Third Degree: "Is there really, really, really no caffeine??? Cross your heart and hope to die???" Then I started asking waiters for their phone numbers.

"My phone number, Senorita???"

"Yes, your phone number. If I'm up tonight, then you're up tonight!!"

Finally I just gave up and stopped ordering DECAF espresso entirely.

Whatsername 10:51 AM  

How do you take a quip/quote/comment/message theme and make it worse? You add circles. Seriously.

While I hate this type of theme in general, this one also left me feeling oddly … offended. I think partly because I felt like the puzzle was throwing the punch line in my face. In a sense of “ha ha the joke’s on you, dummy.” And partly because a dear friend recently lost vision in one eye due to a condition called wet macular degeneration. I don’t know. I’m sure it was not intended either way.

I appreciate the effort and the offering of something a little different but this one isn’t going to make my greatest hits list.

Joseph Michael 10:53 AM  

The idea of being SPIT on by clouds is a disturbing way to start the day.

Are all eye charts actually the same? If so, I am going to try really hard not to remember this sequence of circled letters. If there is one test I do not want to cheat on, it’s an EYE TEST.

Wanted PETS for 6D until that ship cargo said otherwise. But if one PATS you on the back, are they “caressing” you? That seems a little creepy, especially if it’s your football coach telling you what a good game you played.

Liked learning about the strangler fig, which is sometimes known as ISONTO and best served SALTED over PENNE alla vodka. You can get it at your local DELI unless you cheated on your eye exam and can’t find your way there.

Phil 10:55 AM  

Prom queen sexist? Relax

jae 10:57 AM  

Very Easy. I’m not that fond of quip/quote puzzles and this one was a tad meh.

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

Goddamn quote pukers!!

And, by the bye, I've been going to the same eye doctor for a couple of decades, I've never seen that 1950s style eye chart. Never. What I get is a projected random set of letters, from big to small; different set for each size. So this stupid 'theme' is senseless.

Why would you want to cheat on an eye test?

see @9:21

Smith 11:05 AM  

@mmorgan 8:15

I had the same thought, but considering how many of us have never noticed that the eye chart is standard it probably doesn't matter, plus it makes for consistency for eye docs.

McD 11:09 AM  

Fastest Wednesday ever for me. 6m32s so probably still slower than Rex on a slow Wednesday. I can't read and type much faster though and I'm at a solid 50 words per minute no errors which used to mean something when you had to type on a manual typewriter. I can't imagine being faster if I solved on a printed out version. And I agree with Michael Schlossberg that "ratite pack" is a hilarious clue but only now that I've looked up the meaning of ratite and learned something emu today.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

@Joseph Michael:

Here in North Appalachia:
Q: How's the weather?
A: It's just spitting out. Nothing to worry about.

Smith 11:15 AM  

@CDilly52 9:46

"From my perch high atop Rearview Mountain" 😄😄🤣🤣

PS my mother used to say that I got As without doing any work, while my next sibling stayed up all night to get Bs. That sibling became extremely successful, however, while I kept right on coasting!

But happy...

Canon Chasuble 11:15 AM  

"... of coconut palms
and Banyan Trees
and coral sand
and Tonkinese"

Oscar Hammerstein II, from "South Pacific"

And of course I wrote eye EXAM instead of eye test,
which made all subsequent answers impossible.

Legume 11:20 AM  

Eye test? I've always been puzzled about the utility of said. My eyesight is around 20/400, naked. But the only thing I can't distinguish if I happen to drive off without my spectacles is exit signs on the highway, from a mile away. I can certainly see semis and even Yugos and their tail lights. Of course, when I get my self-driving Tesla, even that won't matter.

Mary McCarty 11:21 AM  

Re: Rex’s rating “Medium”, and everyone’s comments on today’s puzzle: shouldn’t a “medium” land somewhere close to your “average” speed? This one was under my average Monday time, and I played it like a Monday: fill in first line of Across clues, then only Downs from then on. But enjoyable ‘coz for once, I knew all the PPPs.
P.s. on 6D: isn’t that what got Cuomo and Biden in trouble?

GILL I. 11:26 AM  

@pablito...My mother (out of the blue) became almost blind from retinal detachment. She couldn't drive or do much of anything. She came to live with us so that I could care for her. Luckily she had a wonderful EYE doctor. She told Mom that she'd need an operation (laser, which was a newish technique back then) and she'd most likely get her vision corrected. It did. A life long user of glasses, she no longer needed them. Her vision eventually became 20/20. My eye doctor has told me that they are now working on eye transplants and we will probably see them very soon. Isn't progress wonderful? Now if only we can get everyone vaccinated....!!!!!
@Beezer 10:32. I'd love to grow a BANYAN TREE. First of all, they need a ton of space and mine is all used up...and second, they like warm climates. Sacramento can get up to 110 in the summer and as low as the 20's in winter.
I saw my first tree in Miami where they can flourish. I fell in love with them. Sice I can't own one, I might as well make paintings of them....

LeeB 11:34 AM  

Super easy - All time fastest complete time for a Wednesday. Definitely felt like a Monday puzzle.

Whatsername 11:43 AM  

The question of why would anyone want to cheat on an eye test made me think of my [rhymes with NEAR] departed uncle at his 90th birthday party. When it was time for his big speech he listed a few of the downsides to being 90 and brought down the house with his closing line: “I’m kinda bent over, I can’t hear much and I don’t see too good . . . but thank God I can still drive.”

@CDilly (9:46) I learned a painful lesson about procrastination my sophomore year. The American history teacher assigned each student to write an essay about a particular President. We were given a due date far in the future and told that each person would be reading his or her essay in front of the entire class. This particular teacher always did things alphabetically A to Z, once in a great while going backwards. So since my last name started with K, I figured I could wait until the readings actually started and still have plenty of time to get mine done. To my horror, that spiteful woman started in the middle! So instead of reading my presidential essay before the entire class, I suffered the spectacular indignity of having to admit I hadn’t even begun. Believe me, I learned far more from that humiliation than I did about the any of the Presidents.

tb 11:44 AM  

Why are people posting their wordle scores here? What does that have to do with the crossword puzzle under discussion?

Who cares about you wordle scores? One poster even posted his wordle score without even referencing today's puzzle.

Enough already.

Masked and Anonymous 11:50 AM  

Cool, different theme idea. Like.
Only thing: If I'da known the theme mcguffin earlier, I coulda written in row#1 usin *real* big letters, followed by slightly incro-mentally smaller letters, as I progressed downward thru them lower rows.
[Did at least go ahead and write in row#15 usin ridiculously small letters, so that was kinda fun.]

E/W symmetry is always a nice plus, especially with an all-weeject row at #4.

staff weeject pick: EDU. With a giant E splatzed in after the solvequest, to help accent the theme.
fave fillins included: PROMQUEENS+NONO. YAPPED. URDU. Also really liked @RP's notion of tackin of UNADORNED onto the theme message.
Inspirational WedPuz … M&A now really wants to do a PROM QUEEN'S NONOS runtpuz.

Last time M&A visited the DMV, it was durin a slight pandemic surge. So they had changed things up, to be more extra-sanitary, such as with their eyetest. The gal had m&e stand back a coupla feet, and then she held up a piece of cardboard with some letters written on it. Probably wouldn'ta even needed my eyeglasses on, to pass that vision test version. [They were different letters than on the standard chart, tho. But nuthin RACY.] She also held up a color test cardboard sheet, with blocks of the colors red, yellow & green on it. I congratulated her on the aptness of their colortest choices.

Thanx for yer visionary puz, Mr. Schlossberg dude. Hard to beat anything that's got a strangler fig in it.

Masked & Anonymo6Us

pabloinnh 11:53 AM  

Hola GILL I-I started with a torn retina and overdid some physical things, detached it, had an operation, didn't quite fix it, had another operation. I live near a very good medical center and I have a wonderful doc who assured me he did everything he could, and I believe him. Anyway, as I had heard of people regaining full vision after surgery, I asked him when I could expect that to happen, and he basically said "never". When I need to I just wear glasses with an opaque lens and that eliminates the two-different-images thing. An eye patch would be way more swashbuckling but it just isn't me.

So, en fin, mucho ojo con los ojos!

egsforbreakfast 11:56 AM  

I think we better resign ourselves to the fact that there is only one LIESL, and she’s AVONtrapp. Actually, LIESL has appeared 10 times in the Shortz era, always clued pretty much exactly like today.

I wonder if you could take an EYETEST at an IHOP. Then, along with “Congratulations, on passing…” you could be rewarded with a Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity.

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

don't they live in swamps?? let's go see. nope, thinking of mangrove.

well!! first off, they're parasites!
"a fig that begins its life as an epiphyte,[2] i.e. a plant that grows on another plant, when its seed germinates in a crack or crevice of a host tree or edifice."


"The Florida strangler fig (Ficus aurea) is also native to South Florida and the Caribbean islands, and distinguished from the above by its coarser leaf venation."

the wiki

so now we know where the clue came from. we could also name it the DeSantis fig strangler. ya know, like the Boston Strangler?

Hartley70 12:07 PM  

Glaucoma and cataracts here and I haven’t been able to see the BIG E without glasses since I was twelve. Aging Rexites could fill the waiting room in Dr. Bruce Haight’s office it seems, but we’d have a lively conversation while there.
I don’t think those old timey eye charts are in use much any more. How did I not realize they could be memorized? I would have vastly preferred walking into walls to wearing glasses in seventh grade.
Aside from the mild annoyance at those seemingly random eye chart letters in the grid while solving, on reflection and to the constructor’s credit, I probably won’t forget this Wednesday puzzle.

albatross shell 12:08 PM  

Here is a Daily Mirror story about a successful eye test cheat:
World War Two eye test trickster pilot who memorised eye exam chart dies aged 94
Wallace Norman Adam knew his poor vision would stop him joining the RAF so cheated the eye test and went on to become an accomplished pilot.

There is a pilot movie that had a pilot cheating on an eye test. My memory says Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable set in South America. Test Pilot does not seem to be it and I cannot find the right one if it is not Test Pilot. Any help out there?

Yes it definitely pushed your I cannot resist button.

I think your inner spring has busted and your inner halo is tarnished. Glad to see you are staying relevant though.

mathgent 12:13 PM  

I think Rex missed the idea of the theme. When it says that you've PASSED the eye test, it doesn't mean that you gave all the right answers. It means that you've worked your way down the grid and have "passed" the eye test. Passed in the sense of "gone by."

I was part of a research project for a new eye injection a while back. I would take follow-up eye exams every couple of weeks. There were eye charts in the waiting room. That's when I discovered that most letters aren't on the chart. No Q (it's an O), no S (it's a Z), no K (it's an F).

We vacation in Maui every year. There's a great Banyan tree by the harbor in Lahaina. They brought it over from India in 1873. It's 60 feet high and covers 2/3 of an acre. It's supported by several wood appendages growing out of the ground that look like trunks.

No crunch, no sparkle, but I kind of liked it.

Zed 12:15 PM  

@tb - I do it to annoy people who complain about people posting Wordle Scores.

Wordle 221 3/6*


You’re welcome.

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

The definition of petty.

"... I do it to annoy people"

JD 12:28 PM  

@Z, Thank you anyway.

Nancy 12:29 PM  

Me, too, @Z

Wordle 221 3/6


Anoa Bob 12:32 PM  

Apologies to all who are named LIESL but it looks like whoever came up with that one needed an EYE TEST.

Liked BANYAN TREE. Saw one in Guatemala that was so "ginormous" (bigger than 4D BIG) that it looked otherworldly, EERIE even, like something from an acid inspired surrealist dream.

Yeah, the UNADORNED under EYE TEST looked like it should be part of the theme, maybe referring to one of those that use Es in different orientations rather than sequences of letters.

My reaction to PROM QUEEN had nothing to do with the appropriateness of a "woman" vs "lady" vs "girl" clue. I noticed that it was a letter short of its slot at 11 Down and needed a POC assist to fill the bill.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

Prom queen is sexist. So is Prom King. What else could they be? Sex is a requiremnet of the title.There's nothing wrong with sexism per se. In fact, the refusal by some people to rcognize sex as absolutely crucial has led to a bizarre wotld in which some people calim men mentruate, and give birth and that some women have a penis. Talk about anti-science.

GILL I. 12:35 PM  

@pablito 11:53...I'm not a nag.....
Get a second opinion if you can. Go to New York or Boston. Ask around for the name of a renown Ophthalmologist. They are doing SOOOOO much for eyes these days.
My Mom was miserable for a year. She was told there was no hope or very little... She found a new eye doctor who took wonderful care of her.
It might be worth the trouble?
Arriba, abajo, al centro y adentro ,,,,,

albatross shell 12:39 PM  

Here is a Daily Mail story about a successful eye test cheat.

World War Two eye test trickster pilot who memorised eye exam chart dies aged 94
Wallace Norman Adam knew his poor vision would stop him joining the RAF so cheated the eye test and went on to become an accomplished pilot.

There was also a movie with a pilot memorizing eye charts. I thought it was with Gable,and Tracy and set in South America. The actors would make it Test Pilot which it seems not to be. Can I get some help out there?

I guess the mods are getting faster on the trigger or my first try did not get home. @mods: I understand and am not complaining at all.

Yes I see how that must have pushed your cannot-resist-button.

Unknown 12:39 PM  

@Z. You are correct. You're annoying.

thfenn 12:55 PM  

Me too
Wordle 221 5/6

Lol, maybe need to rethink my strategy. But only my 2nd bogey after 12 holes.

mathgent 1:06 PM  

My favorite comment this morning.

Phil (10:55)

SouthsideJohnny 1:12 PM  


Wordle 221 5/6


Boy did I make a mess out of this one - shanked my drive behind the trees, barely got my second shot onto the fairway, then I missed the green and had to up-and-down for a bogey.

Zed 1:39 PM  

@albatross shell - So did your first comment make it through after you said it didn’t make it through? Earlier this week (Monday) I made a post midnight comment that appeared with the original time stamp and then again about 7 hours later. As far as I recall I hit “publish” once and only once. Why would my comment just randomly appear a second time? The wonders of Blogger.

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

As usual, you've missed the key point. Myrna Loy, and Myrna Loy alone, is the only thing to mention when it comes to Test Pilot.

Hawks is vastly overrated, but if you insist on bringing up a picture of his featuring planes, there's only one that matters: Only Angels have Wings.

misterarthur 1:45 PM  

Snellen or Monoyer eye chart?

JC66 2:30 PM  

Wordle 221 4/6*


tb 2:39 PM  

@Z and Nancy, bless your hearts!

And by the way to all you right-wingers, Rex did not use the word sexist referring to PROM QUEEN, he use the word heterosexist; not the same thing.

Tim Carey 2:43 PM  

I also had DRAGQUEENS, because Drag Queens do rule! On the dance floor and everywhere!

Wordler 2:59 PM  

Only one letter verified after 2 words. Two letters on the third try with one of those in the right spot. Still managed a bogie. Interesting little game.

@Z. Love your sly humor.

Smith 3:24 PM  

@Z et al

Me, too

Wordle 221 4/6


Now that's really process of elimination...

Smith 3:28 PM  

Have I commented about the puzzle? Easier than yesterday. Not quite record time for a Wednesday tho.

How about some CHAI LADEN URDU?

The eye test thing didn't bother me, but I think it's weird to have all those circles that are not helping you solve, unless you have memorized the eye chart, but the puzzle was easy enough that I don't think that would add much...

sixtyni yogini 4:18 PM  

Puzz did have a lot of dated answers, and def. easy for Wednesday.
But mildly enjoyable, and I thought eye chart letters was kinda fun also.

Unknown 5:51 PM  

Am I the only one who liked this puzzle?
I sussed out the theme very quickly, and I think rex missed the whole humor behind the joke: of course no one "passes" the test!
But I can tell there are some real sourpusses here lurking about this blog.

RooMonster 6:31 PM  

@Unknown 5:51
I liked it! CONGRATULATIONS to us!


albatross shell 7:35 PM  

I posted the first version and checked at about 1208 but when I refreshed at 1220. Your 1215 comment was there but I did not see my 1208 comment. I scrolled back up and down a couple times. I either missed it or it wasn't there. Either is difficult to believe. Posted my rewrite figuring my comment was moderated. Some minutes after that I found my first comment but not my second. I refreshed occasionally until 107 and my second comment nor any new comment had appeared. I was going to delete it when it showed but gave up to do other stuff.

The point was a movie with a pilot who was cheating on an eye test. Loy was not a pilot. Gable was. Tracy worked on panes somehow.
I think some of Hawks' westerns are overrated. Not Red River. It is hard to over rate a director who made 2 of the greatest screwball comedies of all time, Scarface, To have and Have Not, and co-produced, co-wrote the screenplay and co-directed The Thing from Another World. Then there is your fave Only Angels and Come and Get It. His influence on many directors is fairly apparent. His range was mostly limited to comedies and action adventure dramas.

The point was: is that the movie with the eye charts or not?

Joe Dipinto 8:18 PM  


Anonymous 8:20 PM  

Very easy for a Weds. No stumbles. Didn't use/need the circled letters, not that it would have helped. Near record time for a Weds.

A first for me, I had to use all 6 tries (average 3-4):
Wordle 221 6/6*


SavKnight 9:03 PM  

Does anyone say EYE TEST? Isn't it EYE EXAM? Was that just me?

TJS 10:39 PM  

@joe d. Wow. I wish I knew how to do that. I would have been doing a version of that every day.

albatross shell 10:43 PM  

Wobbly Wordler.
See no color needed.
No yellows today. A first for me. The correct answer was the only one I could think of that could be right. This has not always been the case. Usually it is not. It has been every time I hit 5 or 6 attempts. Getting it in one or two is all luck most of the time. Three has always been too if you count a lucky first or second word or your third word is not a unique. That is the only one that exists.

If wordle words are selected more or less randomly then luck is a major factor. If not, you may eventually catch on to how common a word must be, how many or how often multiple double letters appear, etc. That may have some effect on strategy.

Do they repeat words? If no: Fanatics keep a list and never guess a word that have used before except for specific reasons.

Computer geeks. Set Big Blue or its recent equivalant to work. It could find the best way to fail least and the best way to average the lowest score.

There are many word strategies to use. Hard to say the best over all or if there is only one best. My tactics have been to start with common consonants and common vowels. Try to to position vowels or consonants in the word next while eliminating other vowels and consonants. Then with only lesser used consonants left there shouldn't be too many guesses left. Of course using a minor consonant can speed you on your way if you choose the right one. I like to use at least two of a, i, e in my first word and a ough word on my second if no paydirt on the first word. If an an i hits on the first then I want an n or a g on the second. Probably it would take 50-100 times to test out any general strategy. Put in answers that eliminate the most answers if you hit nothing. Don't forget Y and watch for the double letters because of their strange double letter rules. My last wordle post except for the truly bizarre.

Or just have fun. Put in some rando word and have fun working from there. Why not?
One day I put in QUITE. It worked OK. Or maybe replies to others.
Hey I've only played 10 games.

Zed 10:58 PM  

@albatross shell - A friend says he always starts with adieu. That certainly does a nice job of giving you a leg up on your vowels. I’ve gotten lucky with quota and query and waste. I think tomorrow I’m going to try zebra first. Or maybe something from the puzzle. 15A and 61A in the Thursday puzzle both look like good first words.

Speaking of, It’s an @Lewis/Jeff Chen Collab tomorrow.

Leslie 11:00 PM  

Thursday puzzle--if anyone sees this tonight--I don't know what the protocol is--but there is a mistake in the NYT version in 35 across--drove me crazy. Checked with xwordinfo and now am relieved to find I am not crazy.

Zed 11:14 PM  

@Leslie - There’s no way to discuss without spoiling the puzzle so you’re going to have to wait until tomorrow. I had no problem with 35A beyond not immediately remembering that the answer was from Donne.

Joe Dipinto 12:23 AM  

@TJS – Cut & Paste is the name of the game, baby. How else do you think I've been getting excellent Wordle results every day?

Wordle 2,467,853 1/6
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 YAYME!

Wordle 2,467,854 1/6
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 AGAIN!

Wordle 2,467,855 1/6
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 WAHOO!

Wordle 2,467,856 0/6
↑ for this one I just thought of a word and stared at my phone, and after five seconds the phone cracked apart and yellow and green and black and white confetti starting spewing out in every direction!

Tom P 12:10 PM  

Like Rex, I thought the NE corner was extremely challenging. Unlike Rex, I totally enjoyed the solving experience.

Canon Chasuble 12:13 PM  

Except for my total hangup at "remote", this puzzle was fun to do. For once, I understood the puzzle's theme completely as soon as I saw the musical repeat signs in the Newspaper version. I know the word "rodomontade" is not Shakespearian, but I was taught, pretty early on, that the character of Parolles practiced this all the time
perhaps,especially, in his Virginity Monologue at the start of "As you like it."

thefogman 10:13 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
spacecraft 10:17 AM  

Sometimmes @OFF can be a real Debbie Downer. I thought this puzzle extremely clever, with EVERY LETTER of the standard Snellen EYETEST perfectly in place, yet no drastic fill mishaps. With DOD ANNE and honorable mention Catherine ZETA-Jones, I'm gonna give this baby an eagle.

thefogman 10:19 AM  

You have to give the constructor credit. It couldn’t have been an easy task to make everything fit together in perfect symmetry. Was it worth it? Even though I didn’t LOVE it, I think CONGRATULATIONS are in order for pulling off the feat.

Burma Shave 11:43 AM  


The PROMQUEEN'S gown was RACY,
"It IS a NONO', she GOT warned.
then with NO dress ON I'm UNADORNED!"


Diana, LIW 1:44 PM  

But what is the eye chart trying to tell us? Anything? Anyone...anyone?

Oh...it's standard? Who knew? Now I can cheat on my eye test. Heh heh heh.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoaster 5:17 PM  

You can get a pretty clever theme out of this ON PASSING YOUR EYE TEST, then recognizing the symmetrical eye chart. (Too late, I remembered the Toyota PASEO.)


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