Enhanced tape format released in 1987 / SUN 4-3-22 / Whirling toon familiarly / 1974 spoof with the tagline "Would you buy a used secret from these men?" / Car part the Brits call a wing / Word meaning desire in a classic Sanskrit text / Inscribed with some ancient characters / About 98% of the human genome

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Constructor: Byron Walden

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Soft Options" — theme answers all follow the pattern S___ OF T___:

Theme answers:
  • SEA OF TRANQUILITY (23A: Apollo 11 landing spot)
  • SETS OF TONGS (32A: Items used by barkeepers, barbecuers and blacksmiths)
  • SANDS OF TIME (61A: Metaphor from an hourglass)
  • "SON OF TARZAN" (89A: Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, with "The")
  • STATE OF TENNESSEE (101A: Its motto is "Agriculture and Commerce")
  • SCHOOL OF THOUGHT (15D: Intellectual movement)
  • STARS OF TOMORROW (39D: Entertainers with bright futures)
Word of the Day: USFL (5D: Sports org. with the Pittsburgh Maulers and Philadelphia Stars) —

The United States Football League (USFL) is a planned professional American football league that is currently scheduled to begin play on April 16, 2022. The inaugural 2022 season will be played in its entirety in Birmingham, Alabama.

Although the league owns the old USFL trademarks, the new USFL is not associated or affiliated to the original officially. It is the fourth attempt to launch a league with the same name, after additional attempts in 1945 and in 2010. (wikipedia)

• • •

The big revelation of the day is: there's a new USFL!?!!? Wow, I knew I tuned out American Football, but I didn't know I tuned it out so completely. I finished this puzzle assuming the USFL in question was the old one, and I'd simply forgotten the names of the teams involved. But no. Brand spanking new. Starts in less than two weeks. The crossword puzzle is my newspaper now, apparently.

I am a longtime fan of Byron Walden puzzles, and this one has much to recommend it, but perhaps a bit too often the fill made me recoil a bit. Words that were more word-like than word-actual. LADE, I know. UNLADE ... erm, by inference, I guess, OK. GEYSER, yup. GEYSERED ... less familiar. WIRE I know, SAWS I know, WIRE SAWS ... are news to me. I do remember VHS, I do not remember SUPER VHS (though I like its moxie!) (35A: Enhanced tape format released in 1987). And so on. As for the theme, the theme is ... well, it's a theme. It's very, very simple, and that is OK with me. It doesn't exactly sparkle, but neither does it grate, or totally fall apart. It actually took me a wee bit to figure out how "soft" related to the theme. Is the SEA OF TRANQUILITY "soft"? SANDS are ... kinda soft? TRANQUILITY ... conveys softness ... somewhat. But then I realized that I was seeing OF in the middle of all the long phrases, and then I realized I was actually seeing OFT in the middle all the long phrases, and then I saw that all the long answers began with "S" and all of a sudden it made sense: not "Soft Options" but "S___ of T___ options." What is a "soft option?" I know it only from a throwaway line in the song "West End Girls" by The Pet Shop Boys. Ah, it just means "easier alternative." Mainly British. Which explains my ignorance. And the Pet Shop Boys.

I loved some of the mid-range fill in this one, but for every JUNK DNA (great) there was, I dunno, an EX ANTE (!?!?). I didn't just want to tear the SE corner out and rebuild it, I wanted to detonate it and leave it in rubble as a reminder to all future grids never to put EX ANTE (!?!?!) in your puzzle, for any reason, ever. What in the world? Crosswords already rely (over) heavily on Latin (ET TU ESSE INTER ALIA ETC.), I end up resenting deep dives into dead languages. And I *like* Latin. Studied it, even. Still, EX ANTE, yeesh and woof and start over. In that same corner, I think I also resented that it was GENX and not XERS, since XERS matched the clue better (99D: Kids of boomers). And then there were two proper names I didn't know, though I've at least heard of Joy ADAMS-N (81D: Joy who wrote "Born Free") ... I have tuned out politics So Hard that sincerely I had no idea who the current secretary of state was, first or last name (106A: ___ Blinken, Biden's secretary of state). I know, it's shameful. But it's not as shameful as the news itself, which takes days off my life every time I look at it. Annnnyway, luckily ANT-NY had to be ANTONY, so ADAMSON, so ... I survived that corner, barely. As for the rest of the grid, too often I was dealing with a lot of repeaters (OLEOLE ESTO ENTO etc.) or I was getting slightly held up by slight variations like AURAE (not AURAS), PST (not PDT), GUSTAF (not GUSTAV), and RUNED (not RUNIC). How is RUNED / RARA better than TUNED / TARA? Maybe TUNE is somewhere else in the grid; I haven't scanned [UPDATE: TUNE is, in fact, in the grid: 63D: Word with fine or signature]. but RUNED is awkward and RARA is Latin, so TUNED / TARA is a win-win imho. 

I honestly thought there was some kind of Jesus / Easter theme afoot here for a very brief moment when I got to the middle of the grid and saw SHROUD OF TURIN crossing (crossing!) JESUS-LIKE. That is a great, great cross, in that the image on the SHROUD OF TURIN is indeed JESUS-LIKE. If that cross had been perfectly symmetrical, it would've formed a perfect (Christian) cross, and that would've been freaky. As it is, the cross is slightly asymmetrical, so ... crosslike. Perfect for something JESUS-LIKE. Anyway, as far as I can tell, there are no hidden religious messages in this puzzle. But people can convince themselves of anything based on very little evidence, so if you see the face of Jesus here, fantastic, more power to you. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


egsforbreakfast 12:22 AM  

At first I feared that I would be Short OF Things to say about this puzzle. I’m like, right? I mean, there was a Smidge OF Toughness, but also a Shitload OF Trash. Combined with a Spate OF Tautologies, this made me Scared OF Today’s likely Slew OF Tantrums from the commentariat.

The real question for me is whether Kid Cudi or Lil Baby can do a RAD ART RAP.

I gave a little side-eye to 38A GEYSERED. But upon reflection, I think I can remember one of my step-uncles saying, “Yellowstone was great! We arrived at Ol’ Faithful just as she GEYSERED.”

I’m pretty discouraged that a college professor and nationally respected blogger on an intellectual topic would not know the Secretary of State because news makes him feel bad. Well, I guess you also won’t vote because choices are just bummers. I think I’ll just slit my wrists.

Nice Sunday puzzle, if a bit SOFT. Thanks, Byron Walden.

Zed 12:44 AM  

Exceedingly easy except for that whole didn’t actually finish correctly part. I’m sure I’ve heard the name Joy ADAMSON before, but it was nowhere to be found. GAMIN is not on my wordle starter list, the PANE is part of the window, not the dormer.* At least I recognized Ruby DEE, although considering AronSON even made me doubt that. Maybe if PANE had seemed a plausible answer ADA - SON might have given me GAMIN, but nope. DNF.

I looked up GAMIN post solve. If I’ve ever come across it it never managed to stick.

Otherwise barely a hiccough the whole solve. There are a couple of kealoas, NEAL or NEIL (it doesn’t matter how certain I am if the kneeler, I wait for the cross) and CECE/CiCi. But the crosses took care of those immediately.
Otherwise what Rex said about some of the fill. UNLADE did make me smirk. Sounds like some chastity grift, “Be UNLADE and Be Happy.” (Is that chastity grift still around or did people finally figure out that the out of wedlock pregnancy rate was higher for the “saving it for marriage” crowd?).

In other news: Schadenfreude your name is UNC tonight. Twitter is hilarious. Also, some guy’s “Guster is for Lovers” sticker in press row got one of my favorite bands randomly trending. Come downstairs and say hello.

*Yeah yeah - whatever - English and its nasty habit of using the same word for different things

okanaganer 12:50 AM  

Like yesterday this seemed to take a while. Many good themers like SANDS OF TIME and SEA OF TRANQUILITY. But SETS OF TONGS was pretty lame.

SHROUD OF TURIN: too bad the Pope was taken in. Almost certainly a medieval relic.


SUPER VHS takes me back to the 1990s when I was directing and editing promotional videos. We used that format, which was known as "pro-sumer", cuz halfway between pro and consumer. Shot the video on analog tape, then imported it to digital video files via a "capture card", and edited. Then exported the finished video back to analog SUPER VHS tape. Lots of opportunity for mistake, like when the client had a major showing and I somehow forgot to export the sound track. Silent video! One of my worse days. She was furious.

[Spelling Bee: Sat. 9 min. to pg; so far stalled at -2.]

Tim Gillam 1:13 AM  

I didn't remember the Secreatary of State's first name, only the first letter, because it's so much better as just A. Blinkin

Joe Dipinto 1:18 AM  


Correct, @Rex: TUNE is somewhere else in the grid. Incorrect: this puzzle has nothing to recommend it. It's boring as hell. SETS OF TONGS? You've got to be joking. GEYSERED? WEE UN? Again with the TAP TAP on the mic? ARRS means arrivals or arrangements; you need at least three R's, preferably more, to make it pirate-speak.

I did amuse myself by imagining JESUS LITE as the answer to 53a. You know, because the Shroud is faded. Also, 44d reminded me of this cartoon.

I miss those long-ago days when KHUFU used to appear in the Sunday puzzle. He must be rolling over in his little grave.

Anonymous 1:26 AM  

JESUSLIKE? are you for real? Sacrilegious during the Lenten season much?

Ken Freeland 1:27 AM  

Same problems as I had with this one, same naticks. There oughta be a law...

Frantic Sloth 1:46 AM  

A veritable romp compared to yesterday. The theme didn't send me and it seemed a bit simple for a Sunday, but the actual solve was fun.

SETS OF TONGS and STATE OF TENNESSEE have a green paint/eat a sandwich vibe, but the other themers were...there.
A couple raised eyebrows and doggie head-tilts at GEYSERED, UNLADE, and WEEUN, but they are legit so I'll allow.

@Zed 1244am @Joaquin's Dictum notwithstanding, I thought PANE clued that way was odd, too.

I'm boring myself to sleep, so see all y'all tomorrow!


chefwen 2:39 AM  

Unlike yesterday’s puzzle, this was a pleasure. Easy medium for me also.

One big hiccup was at 48A where I put in footED before BROWED. We have two pair of Laysan albatross nesting in our little sanctuary next door. One pair have the cutest, little chick who should be ready to fledge in a few weeks, the other pair are both female so their egg produced nothing. Watching them flying around is pure joy, it’s like a ballet in the sky. Mesmerizing.

20A REAR WIPER made me laugh.

Brian A in SLC 3:21 AM  

The NYTs app on my Android phone displays no notes or puzzle titles - so I deemed this puzzle's theme a "Bunch of Drunks." i.e. "S-O-T s". And I'm sticking to it.

As to the new USFL, this time around the ownership group doesn't include Trump and his anti-Midas touch. So maybe it has a snowball's chance in hell of success.

Finally, I'm a little gob-smacked that a college professor - of anything - does not know the US Secretary of State, in the midst of maybe the most pivotal point of the last 75 years in geopolitics. Probably explains a lot as to why Uncle Rex so freely sounds off about people and things he knows absolutely nothing about.

jae 4:12 AM  

Medium. Toughest part was the BROCHE/FEBREZE/HEAVIER section. A reasonably pleasant Sunday solve. Liked it.

@Zed - For future reference the female version of GAMIN is GAMINE...think Audrey Hepburn or Natalie Wood in “Inside Daisy Clover”.

Conrad 5:03 AM  

Smooth, easyish Sunday, which is good because I was pressed for time when I solved. A few minor writeovers like ENdO before ENTO at 140A. Got confused about my video timelines and was thinking SUPER8mm before SUPERVHS. Didn't get the S. of T. connection until I got here.

Lewis 6:53 AM  

This puzzle was crackling with creativity and, IMO, extremely entertaining:
• 19 NYT answer debuts, pouring freshness into the grid. That is one hellaciously high number.
• Four of the seven theme answers being extra lovely -- SEA OF TRANQUILITY, SANDS OF TIME, SHROUD OF TURIN, SCHOOL OF THOUGHT.
• Clues with zing, i.e., [Clearer in hindsight?] for REAR WIPER, and [Eligible receiver?] for HEIR.
• Satisfying and fair bite at the Sunday level, and trust me, Byron could have made this wrackingly difficult; if you’ve done a BW themeless you’ll know what I’m talking about.
• Very little JUNK DNA, that is, junky-don’t-need-answers, that make you sigh and go ugh.
• A theme that makes me try to come up with new theme answers. When a puzzle gets me trying to come up with new theme answers, it's the Sort OF Thing that makes it more special. Also, this theme took some thinking on my part to fully grok – the kind of thinking I relish.

This Sunday puzzle stood out from the crowd, IMO, and was marvelous to uncrate. Byron, in my list of fine constructors, you’re somewhere in the stratosphere. Congratulations on NYT puzzle #103, and thank you so much for it!

Colin 7:18 AM  

ARGS! The SE corner held me up for a while as well. New words for me also included GAMIN, NEOSOUL, and EXANTE. My wife describes lots of people as "wackadoodle" and so helped me with NUTS.

As for SUPERVHS: We used to record tons of TV shows (like Star Trek), and somewhere in our basement are boxes of VHS and SUPERVHS tapes of hundreds of episodes. Never to be played again, since we no longer have a tape player!

bocamp 7:34 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
mmorgan 7:55 AM  

This started out pretty hard for a Sunday, and then it got much easier, in one of those whooshes that just happen.

I thought Rex would make a stink about the fact that four of the themers start with S and end with something else (SEA, SON, STATE, SCHOOL) but three Starr and end with S (SETS, STANDS, STARS). So first I thought the theme was S…. OF T….. and then I thought it was ….S OF T…. Doing it both ways was confusing and inconsistent.

I didn’t have time to comment yesterday but I thought it was an incredibly challenging yet ultimately satisfying puzzle. But I also did enjoy Rex’s rant against it.

Son Volt 7:57 AM  

I haven’t thought about it much but there has to be better themers - SETS OF TONGS and STARS KF TOMORROW? Not a difficult Sunday by any means - once the pattern fell the themers made things easier. Liked SEA OF TRANQUILITY of course.

BROCHE, UNLADE, NODULE, GAMIN etc - I could go on. There is some questionable fill in this oversized grid that glommed the whole thing up. SOBFEST x BAD RATING reminds me of my wife’s movie selections.

Not sure I would define NEAL as a poet - MUSE and inspiration for others but limited in his own output.

This was a chore.

TJS 7:59 AM  

Got as far as "jesuslike" crossing "runed" and decided "That's enough for me". What a pile of garbage, Is anyone editing these anymore ? Seriously. Sets of tongs ? Unlade ? Can't wait for Lewis to...Oh,never mind.

bocamp 8:32 AM  

Thx Byron; another outstanding Sun. puz, as always! :)


Not on the right wavelength for this one for the most part, so the battle was on.

Another careless dnf at ARR / SAURON; had ARg / SAUgON. I think what I wanted was SAURgON. Always seem to get SAURON mixed up with Saruman, and then there's the 'g' from Aragon that subconsciously finds it's way in there. I cry uncle! lol

Oh, btw, I had cry fest before SOB FEST.

Otherwise, fair crosses pretty much bailed me out for such as EXANTE, ANDRE, KAMA, NUT, JUNK DNA, NEO SOUL, FAILED, FEBREZE, WEE UN, ADAMSON.

Loved KEEN EYE! (I need a couple) lol

Another wonderful solving experience; liked this offering very
much! :)


🀞 for the missing 2; I got down to -1 and may spend a few minutes on the wayward 6er before embarking on today's. Btw, Team BC went 2-2 and play a consolation game today.
td pg: 15:49 / W: 6* (almost didn't make it today)

Wordle 288 6/6*


Peace πŸ™ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Birchbark 8:47 AM  


NEAL Cassidy did write the occasional poem, heavy on the all-caps, but I don't think anyone would call that his strength. "Beat muse" would be a better clue: he inspired the Dean Moriarty character in "One the Road," and Allen Ginsberg's early poems included piles of odes about him. They all thought he was JESUS LIKE by Beat standards.

I wonder what happens when you ADD WATER to JUNK DNA?

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

Medium for me. We use the term EX ANTE all the time where I work (which involves a consideration of financial risk). It's pretty common.
Wordle was more challenging. 5

Gary Jugert 8:59 AM  

Ha. I didn't understand how the title applied and thought the theme was "phrases with 'of' in the middle." Looking back now, SofT might have helped in the middle.

I'd only heard of Edgar Rice Burroughs, but didn't know he was behind Tarzan, and now have discovered there were lots of Tarzan books. Has anybody read any?

Spent way less time on Google than most Sundays, so I enjoyed the puzzle.

Nits have already been stated by others. SETS OF TONGS?

I have enjoyed the tweets from #ACPT. Apparently the fifth puzzle was epic.

And from previous comments, it appears some treat Jesus as more than a mythological hero and American politics as a religion. I wonder how that's working out for their inner peace.

amyyanni 8:59 AM  

Easy. That's fine, as yesterday's left me questioning why do Xwords? Biggest issues were the albatross's brow and how to spell pirate speak. ( Had argh for a bit.)

SouthsideJohnny 9:00 AM  

Most of it seemed on the easy side, even for a Sunday. Would have loved it if they had replaced the EXANTE and maybe a half dozen of its compatriots (RARA, SAURON, GAMIN, . . .) who were clogging up what was an otherwise very sprightly and enjoyable grid.

There are quite a few theme entries with what seems to be minimal collateral damage to the rest of the grid, which is a bit unusual. I don’t think you can blame that whole SW section on the constraints imposed by the grid though - could be a wheelhouse thing, but I won’t be surprised if I am not the only one who struggled there.

Btw, yes, we see that you snuck GEYSERED in there as a joke (gesundheit). Remember, just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should . . .

Zed 9:16 AM  

@Frantic Sloth - “Dormer” was also a post solve look up and it turns out that a “dormer window” is also called a “dormer” because English users are so friggin’ lazy. Clarity be damned, those two extra syllables are just too much extra work.

@jae - Schwa=boy, long E=girl. Got it. It looks like “waif” is 400:years older and means essentially the same thing, so I’m wondering what connotation is implied by going with GAMIN. Looking at M-W, “waif” has a more homeless connotation while GAMIN can be chic. Oliver is a waif, Holly Golightly is a GAMINe. (These mid 20th century comparisons brought to you by the letter thorn)

amyyanni 9:24 AM  

Easy; good thing, as after yesterday, was questioning why do Xwords? Biggest issues were the brow of the albatross and the spelling of pirate speak (had argh for a bit).
Hope everyone has a pretty April Sunday.

kitshef 9:33 AM  

There is not a ton of bad fill today, but what there is seems particularly egregious. RUNED is especially bad.

JUNK DNA is a bit of a misnomer. Some if it does appear to have some role; it really must means DNA that does not directly code for proteins.

Expected a full-bore Rexrant today about the stale theme and some of the fill.

Pete 9:42 AM  

I thought people stopped using the term JUNKDNA some time ago. What was called JUNKDNA was DNA that didn't code for proteins, which is the stuff scientists were looking for. If DNA wasn't stuff they were looking for, it was termed junk. We now know that the so-called junk has effects on lots of things - what happens when, how genes actually get expressed, etc. It's why clones don't always look exactly like their source.

Is a SETOFTONGS a group of multiple tongs of different sizes or character? None of the farriers I've used have ever gone around with a set of tongs, but I didn't hire the elite farriers. Meat and potato farriers, that was my motto. If you need multiple tongs to pull the shoes from the furnace, you don't know how to use your tongs.

pmdm 9:45 AM  

If, a day after you solve the puzzle, you don't remember a thing about it, including the theme, I guess that puzzle is forgettable. Not in a bad way. Just nothing to make it stand out. So it seemed to me. Nothing to get excited about. Let us see how this coming week progresses, a happy week since it includes my wedding anniversary.

Nancy 9:54 AM  

"If I Natick on the LOTR/Pirate Day cross, I'm going to scream," I thought. But I was sure I hadn't. What "AR-" thing would you say on Pirate Day, after all? Don't pirates say "ARG"? Even if they spell it "Aaarrrgh"? Which gave me SAUgON for the entity who/that made the Ring. Now I wouldn't know SAUgON if I fell over him/her/it -- but then I wouldn't know SAURON if I fell over him/her/it either.


Moving right along to the albatross, where I had B???ED:

I thought he'd be either black-BILLED or black-BACKED -- but I know better than to jump the gun. Turns out he's black-BROWED. Who knew?

LIAR (100A) is clued with an absolutely wonderful quote. OTOH, the less said about RUNED, the better. RUNED would have RUNED the puzzle, if SAURON/ARR hadn't already RUNED it.

I liked SOME OF THIS puzzle. But not all of it. The day we lose LOTR in the NYTXW will be the day I shout "ARR!!!!" (Whatever it means.)

Zed 10:02 AM  

We can’t be bothered to use all four syllables for a dormer window but will happily add unnecessary syllables for something like TONGS, making the single item a SET OF TONGS. Why? English! Why SET OF TONGS and not “set of scissors?” Gof knows!?!

Liveprof 10:02 AM  

Given the start of the baseball season this week, and the Jesus element in the puzzle, it would have been nice to see Jesus Alou in the grid, Alou being crossworld's favorite baseball family, of course.

Did you know they couldn't serve beer at Yankee Stadium all of last season? -- The Yanks lost the opener.

Missy 10:02 AM  

Jesuslike during Lent describing the Shroud of Turin and you find this sacrilegious???

DaS 10:10 AM  

Ugh. Guess it was ok. Best part was remembering the Pet Shop Boys. Loved West End Girls growing up. Don't question the Shroud two weeks before Easter. Now to the New Yorker. Finding their offerings more enjoyable of late.

Unknown 10:16 AM  

Pfft! Maybe if it had SONGS, so Son of God would have fit? Otherwise a random mishmash.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:19 AM  

@egsforbreakfast - RE not knowing the name of the current secretary of state, "I know, right?!"

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:22 AM  

@Ken Freeland @Zed - There oughta be a law? Against what? Knowing stuff?

RooMonster 10:25 AM  

Hey All !
Spirit OF Tomfoolery in this puz.

8 Themers, with two crossing in the center. NEATO.

Weird DNF in two spots. First was UNDER_O/_USTA_/SOB_EST. Wanted SOBrEST for SOBFEST, thinking it would be one word. Two never crept into the ole brain. GUSTAF should've been seen, but antsyness set in, and with having UNDERtO in, had GUSTAF as tUSTAr. You know, the Swedish area of Tustaris? So just filled in letters to get the Almost There to go back and see what was wrong.

Other one was JESUS_I_E. Looking back now, of course, it makes sense. But not at the moment. Crossed by two 'what in the whats" of SEL and KAVA, had no clue what it was. Had JESUSFACE for a while, after getting to _I_E, wanted JESUSSIDE (like a profile, har), JESUSTIME? So far off my radar, I had to Goog for KAVA before the ole brain clicked onto LIKE. Sheesh.

Rest of puz was slow and steady. Which is supposed to win the race, but not for me. Slow and steady to Antsyville wins the DNF.

Had FlaTTery for FASTTALK for a while, nicely messing me up down there. Googed twice in that wacky SE corner. Never heard of GAMIN meaning of waif. ADAMSON was ADdiSON pre-Goog.

A BLINKIN. Har. Like Mel Brooks' "Men In Tights" movie. Characters name was Blinkin (who was blind, btw. That crazy Brooks), another character said, "Hey, Blinkin", and Blinkin says, "Did you just say Abe Lincoln?" (Funny in two ways, as that movie was set in medieval times, way before Lincoln was alive)(and sorry if you didn't need an explanation for that.) 😁

Anyway, in case you're Sick OF (my) Tripe, I'll add it was a nice SunPuz with respect to the oft overlooked letter of my obsession.

yd -12 (including the P, oof), should'ves 9

Thirteen F's! (Eight in the Themer "ofs")

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:26 AM  

@okanaganer - I know I get curmudgeonly at times, but in this instance, I agree. About your writeovers, I mean. SPEED TRAP and BAD ACTING are real language. RADAR TRAP and BAD RATING not so much. No one says RADAR TRAP. And BAD goes better with REVIEW in this context than with RATING.

Mikey from El Prado 10:29 AM  

As a Pittsburgh native I am, alas, a die-hard Pirate fan. Rex, use you influence and get a minimum salary cap in MLB, so my team has to field something more than AAA-level talent! ARRS!

Anywho…. Several years ago my wife and I attended a Pirates-Giants game in San Francisco. A Giants fans yells to us from behind, “Hey Pittsburgh, what’s a Pirate’s favorite letter?” After we asked, she said, “The R! But they long for the C!”

TPrez 10:30 AM  

Ugh… hated it… had a few themers showing SOFT (____S OF T_____) in the middle and thought aha! But then no… solved in my usual Sunday time, but no aha moments, only one ‘ah that’s clever (clearer in hindsight - which was clever)… and no joy to be found anywhere. Just a slog of Latin and proper names. If two proper nouns crossing is a Natick, we need a name for a proper noun crossing Latin, for those of us who didn’t study Latin outside of what is picked up in common parlance and/or nytxw day to day… oh well

Teedmn 10:30 AM  

At least I knew who Sveriges kungen Γ€r, Carl den sextonde Gustaf, but there was so much in this puzzle that escaped me while solving. And ignorance of ANTON? and EX ANT? left my talent for discernment (obviously lacking today) as KEENEss (missing an N, duh). Ah, Sunday puzzle woes.

Lots of ERASing today - I thought 4D might be shOeS (well, wedge worked) and 29A might be SceNe something. I wanted milk from a goAT.

And I didn't notice the S OF T tying the theme answers together, even with the puzzle title pointing the way.

I laugh at my misinterpretation of 53A's clue - I thought it was asking what Pope Pius XII looked like - now how is anyone supposed to know that? Har, SHROUD OF TURIN, not the Pope.

Well, Byron, as usual, you gave me a workout, thanks!

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:34 AM  

@Son Volt - As a poet, I'm curious: Why would you not define NEAL Cassady as a poet? Do you mean you don't think of him as someone who wrote and/or published poetry? Or that you think he was bad at it?

L 10:39 AM  

❤️ West End Girls

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:40 AM  

@Birchbark - One has no idea how many poems he wrote, only how many poems he published. I do not think "Beat muse" would be a better clue, because the guy was in fact a writer, albeit, presumably, a very charismatic one whose personality seems to have had a greater literary-historical impact than his writing. I thought "Beat poet Cassady" was a fine clue for NEAL.

Sixthstone 10:51 AM  

I take slight issue with the clue for GENX. Millenials (aka Gen Y'ers) are typically considered the children of Boomers while GenX'ers are typically considered the children of the Silent Generation. Naturally, there is overlap in generations, but with the clue crossing a Latin phrase, it's a potential Natick without a clear answer in either direction. EXANTE "feels" better than EYANTE, but overall it's a sloppy section.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:53 AM  

@Nancy - I initially entered BeakED on a wing (sic) and a prayer that turned out to be 50% correct.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:55 AM  

@Zed - Presumably because they are different kinds of TONGS for each craftsperson. Worked for me.

Nancy 10:55 AM  

For those of you who get the Sunday Magazine, a big enthusiastic recommendation for BEQ's "Marching Bands". I did it yesterday and it gave me no end of pleasure. You feel as though you're juggling several balls at the same time -- there's so much to think about. And while sometimes BEQ can RUNE the experience by cramming in too much PPP, he doesn't in this puzzle. There's very little and what there is didn't seem especially obscure.

I absolutely love this puzzle-type and wish the Times ran more of them.

The Joker 10:58 AM  

My eyes glazed over and I fell asleep just reading the 100A clue.

Wordler 11:05 AM  

Today's had me a little worried but.....

Wordle 288 4/6


FWIW, I do "hard" mode.

sixtyni yogini 11:06 AM  

No patience for this one. No desire to finish.
Gotta be partly my mood and I shouldn’t have read the (pretentious?) NYTs notes. (First time for checking them.) Ugh. Glad I’m notπŸ¦– and responsible for a daily blog. πŸ˜‚
Congrats to those who hang in there.πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½
Haha zero πŸ¦–s bc I might not get back to 🧩 today.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:11 AM  

Oh, almost forgot, my one comment that is not a smug response to someone else....

Do folks know what a mondegreen is? It's when you mishear a lyric in a song, like the legendary "Scuse me while I kiss this guy." Well, I've always thought that, in the Pet Shop Boys song "Domino Dancing," the line "All day, all day" was OLÉ OLÉ (78A).

For those of you who did not see the editor's intro in the print magazine, it states, in part, that the constructor "learned the phrase 'soft option' from the 1980s Pet Shop Boys hit 'West End Girls'" (a connection that@Rex pointed out in his write-up). So I wondered if OLÉ OLÉ was a sly PSB reference on the part of BW, until I was just reminded (I'm sure I've discovered this before, then promptly forgotten it) that OLÉ OLÉ is a mondegreen for "All day, all day."

Yes, that is a totally random, irrelevant observation. Kinda my wheelhouse.

Sixthstone 11:11 AM  

Aside from my GENX complaint, I found this puzzle pretty boring. I'm surprised Rex didn't complain more. This feels pretty old to me. None of the themers have real flair even if some are well-known phrases (SANDS OF TIME, SCHOOL OF THOUGHT). A couple are particulary eat-a-sandwich (SETS OF TONGS ugh, STATE OF TENNESSEE). And a couple are super old: The SEA OF TRANQUILITY whose popularity peaked 50 years ago and SON OF TARZAN from 100 years ago. Granted they are both real, popular, historical things but certainly not modern or particularly relevant today. And then there is the SHROUD OF TURIN from 2 millennia ago. So the themers really range from ancient to old to dull. STARS OF TOMORROW is the only one that has some freshness to it. As the first commenter pointed out, it's pretty easy to come up with S..OFT themers. So the theme leaves me flat.

None of the fill does much better. We've got the mundane: COGS, WIPERS, and FORCEPS. We've got the odd forms of familiar words covered by Rex. We've got pretty unfamiliar foreign words and prefixes (ENTO, ESTO, EXANTE, BROCHE, RARA). Is there any real fun in this puzzle?

And finally, the puzzle didn't even offer much to eat or drink. Plain PASTA with NERDS for dessert. No thank you.

Ciclista21 11:23 AM  

Nice write-up, Rex. I love your use of Latin: ET TU ESSE INTER ALIA almost works as a valid phrase in Latin. But since you’ve studied the language, surely you know that TU should be TE, as the subject of the infinitive ESSE.

AND (I believed) YOU TO BE, AMONG OTHER THINGS, a connoisseur of correct grammar in crosswords.

Re SHROUD OF TURIN and JESUSLIKE — Yes, a nice crossing, and nice religious imagery at a time when candy Easter eggs are taking up loads of shelf space in the grocery stores.

But shouldn't the comparison could go the other way around? If the representation of Jesus popularized in Western European art is taken from the image on the shroud of Turin, then Jesus is Shroud-of-Turin-like.

Wanderlust 11:25 AM  

Rarely do I dislike two late-week puzzles in a row, but between Saturday’s ridiculously hard solve (first time I have cheated since I was a young pup) and today’s snoozefest, I’m feeling almost Rex-like in my curmudgeonliness. At least yesterday was SPICED up with some great cluing (that part of the difficulty I liked - not so much the WOEs like SPREZZATURA). Only the HEIRS clue made me smile today. So, BAD RATING from
me, though not yesterday’s SOBFEST.

Zed 11:31 AM  

@Mike in BedStuy - There is a Law, it is Poe’s.
Second, Mondegreens have come up here once or thrice.
C, SET OF TONGS can mean either one TONGS or three TONGS (see my links for examples from two very different human endeavors).
IV - We’re still waiting on Sisqo’s TONGS Song.

Beezer 11:34 AM  

@Roo, I thought of you IMMEDIATELY when I realized that OF was integral to the themers but also when I saw so many Fs not attached to the OFs! Roo puzzle Day!

I enjoyed the puzzle a lot and my only hangups we’re having WIDEENDS for way too long as well as JESUSSIZE πŸ™„.

@Sixthstone mentioned a complaint about GENX but I missed it. That’s okay because I’ve got one! I’m pretty much square in the middle of the Boomer generation and I know NO Boomer people (personally) that have GenX aged children. I KNOW there are Boomers on the oldest end of the spectrum that have Xers. Anyway, I put in GENY. Now that I’ve written this out I realize how stupid it sounds so…just forget it! 🀣

Masked and Anonymous 11:49 AM  

Since S+ OF T+ stuff ain't all that amusin, once U get past the SOFT-like part, this SunPuz didn't really sparkle much for m&e. Coulda been worse, I suppose. All the themers coulda been obscure SETS OF T+ stuff. SETS OF TBILLS. SETS OF TAPTAPS. SETS OF TENTACLES [yo, @Z]. etc.

What humor M&A did find seemed mostly to be in the more desperate entries, which I always luv. And there was some great raised-by-wolves material to be had. Faves included: ENTO & ESTO. PFFT. RUNED. WEEUN. EXANTE. OLEOLE. The mighty UNLADE. NEOSOUL. SOBFEST. ADDWATER. GEYSERED. JESUSLIKE. And, savin the best for last, REARWIPER [debutt word]. har. Bravissimo.

staff weeject pick: SRS. Plural abbreve meat. Only 12 weeuns to pick from today, btw. 13 U's tho … sooo … all is forgiven; good puz.

Thanx, Mr. Walden dude. fave TOOL: WIRESAWS.

Masked & Anonymo13Us

2 themes in one runt!:

Pete 11:49 AM  

@Zed - Do you know that in the creation story of blacksmiths, the last thing that god did just before his day of rest was to create the first TONGS? It has to be true, as without them, no subsequent blacksmith could create TONGS without first having a TONGS. True story. And god just called them TONGS. It was some uppity Philistine who created a SETOFTONGS to impress his neighbors that he had different TONGS for ice and for blacksmithing.

If we could have a decree that when we create "generations" the specification must span a minimum of 25 years, and be associated with some significant event, we wouldn't have all these stupid "are they Gen X or Gen Y or Millenials" conversations.

johnk 11:51 AM  

I had SETS OF TOOLS, leaving the NE unsolvable for a while. I've never heard of NERDS candy. WEEUN? ARR! TONGS but NO TONGS.

thefogman 12:02 PM  

The theme was so soft it wasn’t worth the effort. Why even bother?

beverly c 12:05 PM  

This took me slightly longer than usual, due to the SW, mainly. I was surprised to see JESUSLIKE, and wondered for a moment if today was Easter, and also wondered at the NYT doing a Christian puzzle. I guess that was on my mind because of the discussion over religious bigotry earlier this week. One person's myth etc. I also wanted “period of Lent” for the SHROUD answer, as I hadn’t cottoned to the theme yet. I vote for pairOFTONGS. REARWIPER and HEIR clues get two thumbs up.

The puzzle I didn’t get a chance to comment on was yesterday, which was a challenge for all the words (not reasons) Rex mentioned, except I was also unfamiliar with SPREZZATURA. But I will forgive that puzzle anything because after solving I laughed all day over the clue for SPRAYTAN — and the folks I shared it with laughed too.

GILL I. 12:10 PM  

You know what's really pathetic? I don't know how to spell FEBREEZE. I had to get up from my comfy chair and go look at my can. It's sitting right next to the REAR WIPER. I had to friggin cheat? PFFT......
I remember the first time I did a Byron puzzle. I don't remember what it was all about but I do remembered it gave me scrambled eggs brain. He still does that to me. Today, however, my eggs were a bit on the over easy side. Am I maturing gracefully?
I noticed the S___OF T___ early on. I immediately thought cool frijoles. I did, though throw a stink EYE at GEYSERD, his friend the EXANT and that Blinken Winken and Nod chap. I threw some PFFT's but they were mild. No need for FEBREEZE.
Loved JESUS LIKE. Every Christmas, my brother would dress up as Jesus and make me go as Mary with red hair and freckles. I also had to hold a doll that only had one arm and was missing hair. We sang O Holy Night and when we got to "Fall on your knees", my Jesus brother would belt out " Oh hear the angel voices" and then these lights he rigged on the ceiling would start blinking and he'd yell out "So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming. You could count on my dad to get up froths seat and make some martinis.
I have to go out now but I'll read everyone when I get back
A very sad day here in Sacramento......6 dead and over 10 wounded from a shooting spree in downtown Sacramento early this morning. I said a prayer hoping that The King of Kings pays us a visit.

Joseph Michael 12:27 PM  

Nowhere near as bad as yesterday’s puzzle, but Sort Of Tedious nevertheless.

In the Castle of Exciting Crossword Themes, Recurring Letter Patterns can be found somewhere in the basement near Word Ladders and Quips & Quotes. The constructor did find some nice themers, such as SEA OF TRANQUILITY and SCHOOL OF THOUGHT, but there’s just not a lot of fun to be had in hunting for a trio of letters, especially in a Sunday-sized grid.

I had thought for a while that these SOTS might have something to do with a drinking theme and anticipated a righteous Rex rant to condemn it, but, no, it’s just S and O and T again and again.

Hand up for ARGS before ARRS, but either way, it sums up much of how I felt about the Solving Of This puzzle.

Nancy 12:52 PM  

@Beezer (11:34) re "Boomer generation":

First of all, they moved the goalposts and unceremoniously kicked me and all of my lifelong friends of the same age out of the generation we had been a part of since childhood. They moved the goalposts all the way up to 1946, for heaven's sake, and told my friends and me who were born earlier in the 1940s that we were no longer Boomers. Leaving us with No Generation of Our Own. I mean we certainly weren't The Silent Generation: we ranged from toddlers to teens in the 1950s and neither toddlers nor teens tend to be especially silent. We certainly weren't The Greatest Generation: we were a wee bit young to be fighting in WWII. Who were/are we? Well, up until not all that long ago we were certified, genuine Boomers.

They seemingly kicked us out to make room for the newly defined "Boomers" -- people born all the way up until 1964. Which is ridiculous. What does someone born in 1946 have in common with someone born in 1964? They have absolutely nothing in common! One might just as well be from Venus and one from Mars.

Who has perpetrated this travesty? Who moved the goal posts when no one was looking? Why are so many much younger people trying to horn in on my generation. I mean to get to the bottom of this. I will not rest until I do.

But the biggest question of all is: Why is no one else talking about this?

JC66 12:55 PM  

DNF'd at the ARgS/SAUgON cross (not a LOTR fan).

thefogman 12:58 PM  

The trouble with this themer is the lack of a snappy revealer. The title (SOFT OPTIONS) clunks. Maybe a better title would help like: SOFT WHERE?

Tom T 1:17 PM  

Didn't get the happy music, but was able to correct it without cheats (as long as asking one's "Lord of the Rings fan" wife is not cheating. Like others, I had ARgS instead of ARRS. But I also had never heard of ARCO, I can't believe nobody has mentioned it after roughly 70 comments! I'm guessing one of my blog colleagues will clue me in that ARCO is familiar crossword-ese to those who have been solving puzzles longer than I.

One fun Hidden Diagonal Word (HDW) clue for today:

Acts like a unit of bread?


LOAFS (bad dad joke--LOAFS begins with the F in 49A, REFLEX, and moves to the NW)

Gio 1:26 PM  

I am a huge fan of Born Free. I have all the books here. I've saved the movie on my DVR. In 4th grade, around 1968, the song Born Free was my trumpet solo in band! I don't really play the piano but I can play that.
I also have the autobiography of George Adamson, which is a fascinating book. What a life he led!
I was surprised on Jeopardy a few weeks ago the question: What kind of an animal was Elsa in Born Free? was a triple stumper. It got me thinking about why.
Born Free was very famous in the 1960's and you don't hear anything about Born Free or the the Adamsons anymore. My Millenial sons know about it because I am obsessed, but their peers do not. This is normal for a lot of culturally historical topics.
Joy and George were both murdered, in separate incidences, in their old age.
If any of you enjoy reading autobiographies, My Pride and Joy by George Adamson was so interesting.
Wildlife conservation owes a lot to them.

Eniale 2:01 PM  

Any puzzle I finish is a good puzzle by my lights. Only hesitation was CECE/NERDS - had no idea if that would work till I looked at @Rex.

pg-1, still hoping. Got there in under 10 minutes too.

Ken Freeland 2:28 PM  

against naticks!! geesh!

Tom Q. 2:42 PM  

For Nancy: I have much the same "when did they move the Boomer parameters?" question -- though I always thought of it as people born 1945-55 (it was called the Postwar Baby Boom, to my knowledge, so '45 kind of has to be the start). But whenever they extended it to '64, I missed the memo. And, as you say, it's ridiculous: people born in '64 missed the entire Kennedy administration, which is kind of the beating heart of the Baby Boomers, and were barely old enough to be aware of Woodstock or the moon landing. Fie on sociologists changing definitions.

Like Gio, I was way familiar with Born Free and the Adamsons -- best-selling book, hit movie with Oscar-winning song. I think that qualifies for keeping it in the crossword canon, but the Rex rule sometimes seems to be, anything older than me is excluded. He'd have hated the crosswords I started on, back in the 70s, which still featured things like "hubba hubba".

And most of you must be unfamiliar with Chaplin, as The GAMIN is the name of the Paulette Goddard character in Modern Times.

Sharon/AK 3:00 PM  

A bit depressing to see an easy medium rating and have a number of commenters agree.
I found it difficult all the way through.
The last two or three theme answers were easier once I caught onto the s...of t... Before that was looking for softness.

@Rex Loved the last sentence of your write up.

@Joe DiPinto Thanks for the laugh at "Less lite, because...."

@TJS if you saw "Jesus like" CROSSING " runes", no wonder you thought the whole thing a pile of junk.

Gruff 3:07 PM  

AARRGH! The constructor and editor should be made to walk the plank for the "ARRS" clue. No self-respecting pirate would say "ARR". There were other valid cluing options (such as flight info. category). However, because I am perhaps the only person on the planet who has not read Lord of the Rings or seen the movies, I went with Saugon to cross with "ARGS". Shiver me timbers and avast ye landlubbers!

Liveprof 3:13 PM  

Alternate clue for REAR WIPER (20A):

"Parent of newborn, often."

bocamp 3:16 PM  

@Eniale (2:01 PM) πŸ‘ for pg time; 🀞 for your -1

I've a 5er to find, and a 6er from yd 🀞
Peace πŸ™ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

pabloinnh 3:29 PM  

Seemed like a good old-fashioned Sunday to me. It took two or three themers to get the S of T connection but that subsequently proved helpful for an S or a T or the F or an of. Not exactly "fill in the blank", more like "get one cross and fill in the blank", or, pretty easy.

Outside of EXANTE (Huh?), everything was either known by me or easily inferred, with the exceptions of the music genre and the rapper. Too current, I suppose.

Anything JESUSLIKE always makes me think that people saws it and said, yep, looks just like his photos. (Poe dictum recommended.)

@Gary Jugert--I've read some of the early Tarzan novles, which are rich in purple prose. ERB thought Tarzan was a hunk.

Nice Sundaying Sunday, BW. Always like your stuff. Be Welcome in my inbox any time, and thanks for all the fun.

Smith 3:44 PM  

Hello from Germany, where I have to do the Sunday puzz on my phone, yikes.

My main comment is that surely future scientists will determine that there is no JUNKDNA, only DNA they haven't figured out yet.

Also, SETSOFTONGS, srsly? And pirates say arrgh! not arr, which sounds like the answer to a clue like "what a musical stylist does, briefly" or something - Pablo would know what I mean.

Beezer 3:50 PM  

@Nancy, I feel your pain! My sister is 11 years older than me (1944) and she is considered the Silent Generation (according to new sources). Since my father didn’t pass the physical back in the day (today he would have) my sis was actually born DURING the war. I would call shenanigans on the whole thing too but I think they (the collective “they”) decided to judge it on “population explosion” factors which they may have decided came later than immediately post-war…dunno. I will say (and I do NOT want to anger you) being born in 1955…I do have a lot in common with a friend of mine born in 1962, even though she was a babe when JFK was assassinated. I totally agree you guys were SCREWED!
I think some of my earlier blather, followed by embarrassed contrition is that most of the folks I know had their children later than previous generations. That wouldn’t be the case with ALL people, and that is why I decided I was out of line with my blather.
And yes. I was quite a surprise to my family in 1955…(Well, the surprise would have been in later 1954).

Beezer 3:56 PM  

@Nancy, a postscript. You said, “why is no one else talking about this”? Sad to say but probably you are in a slot of years where the birth rate was relatively low. Lol…coupled with the fact that some people wouldn’t care in your cohort! I totally get why you would be…ticked off.

Smith 4:00 PM  


Pair of scissors...

SFR 4:03 PM  

SHROUD OF TURIN is missing from OFL's list of Theme Answers. Is this his way of finding out who's paying attention?

pmdm 4:08 PM  

Mike in Bed-Sty: One of the problems in translating lyrics into other languages is the problem of avoiding mondegreens. For whatever reason I remember this one. Janacek wrote an opera (the libretto in Czech) which, at the end, a group of prisoners release a bird they have nursed back to health in the prison. As the bird takes off, they exclaim "Sky Csar." Without supertitles, audience members might wonder "Skies are what?"

Beezer 4:19 PM  

@GILL I, I laughed out loud at your FEBREZE cheat! You know what? If you thought of that spray can, I think looking at the can for spelling is NOT a cheat! Sorry all my posts are late today but I’m the internet maven in my marriage and spent a lot of time “troubleshooting” today!

Smith 4:24 PM  


My sentiments exactly, but from the other end. In college I was counseled out of my preferred career path because "all the Baby Boomers are there ahead of you", at a time when Boomers were described as 1945 to 1955, which accurately describes my husband, but not me or my brothers, the youngest of whom was born in 1962, 13 years after DH. Completely different experiences growing up.

I used to think they started in 1945 because, post war. Makes sense. My inlaws were married adults in 1945, my mother was still in high school. She was 18 when my husband was born. Point is, she and my dad were basically too young to be parents of boomers...they were teens during the war.

So I had the same reaction when suddenly they changed it to 46-64, why such a long span? And I recently saw something that referred to "Boomer I, 1946 - 55" and "Boomer II, 56 - 64".


Anonymous 4:28 PM  

I see that sometimes the Baby Boomer Generation is defined until 1965, not 1964. My wife was born in 1965, so that makes me feel better that we are from the same generation (I was born in 1959).

mac 4:43 PM  

Failed due to JESUSsIzE leaving me with SEs and zAMA. KAMA sutra never crossed my mind, figured it’s some random word. And don’t know poivre or much other French so I was out of luck.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 5:06 PM  

@Ken Freeland @Zed - I get the Poe's lawfulness of it all, but...I guess I'm just a big fan of the natick. I think it's fair to have the occasional obscure entry whose crosses don't help very much. Separates the men/women/nonbinary adults from the boys/girls/nonbinary children.

Carola 5:23 PM  

Byron Walden on a Sunday?! My heart leapt up. It wasn't at all as devilish as I'd expected (and, secretly, hoped), but why be diabolical on a Sunday? For me, lots of fun to solve, with the pleasures of STARS OF TOMORROW, SANDS OF TIME, SHROUD OF TURIN, SEA OF TRANQUILITY + smiles for SOBFEST and JUNK DNA.

I noticed that for the SHROUD OF TURIN, the related answer JESUSLIKE is paired in the grid with BAD RATING. It kills me how everything gets rated these days - natural wonders, monuments, works of art. I checked TripAdvisor, and indeed the Museum of the Shroud of Turin has 17 one-star reviews, although to be fair, the main complaint is that the shroud is not actually there.

Maybe . . . 5:26 PM  

I don't get 98 A "Taking a bow at the symphony?" is ARCO. Could someone please explain? Thx.

MetroGnome 5:41 PM  

"Battery parts" are TESTS??!!

jazzmanchgo 5:47 PM  

"ARCO" means "played with a bow," as opposed to "pizzicato," which basically means "plucked with the fingers."

Anonymous 5:50 PM  

Generation labels are crap. So contrived and meaningless.

Pete 5:58 PM  

@Maybe - ARCO is the musical command to play your stringed instrument with a bow (as opposed to plucking it).

jazzmanchgo 5:59 PM  

Cassady wasn't known as a poet. He wrote prose (mostly letters, although his partial autobiography "First Third" is considered a Beat classic), and when he was in full gear, his endless speed-raps could definitely be considered spontaneous poetry. As far as I know, the only remnant of his written poetry that exists is the title of the 1969 short film "Pull My Daisy" (also considered a Beat classic -- narrated by Kerouac) which was taken from a poem that Cassady co-wrote with Kerouac and Ginsberg.

Anonymous 6:00 PM  

@Maybe. Google "ARCO"

Gorelick 6:04 PM  

CeCe Winans has won 3 Grammys today

jae 6:12 PM  


ARCO - a direction to players of stringed instruments meaning “with the bow”. Also a west coast gasoline brand.
ACRO - a prefix for a phobia
ORCA - a killer whale
CORA - Downton Abby character
AROC - a misspelling of a classic Chevy Camaro

jazzmanchgo 6:34 PM  

Actually the "Winans" clue was a bit tough, because CeCe's brother BeBe is also in the group. I just left the "e"s in there until one of the downs revealed a "C" to me.

jberg 6:40 PM  

@mmorgan, I'll see your complaint and raise. What is there about the title that indicates you should find SOFT by skipping over some letters? Maybe there is something there, but no one has mentioned it so far. Whatever the reason, the added S to make SOFT without skipping seriously detracts from the theme.

Almost DBF, but I finally figured out that I had to change the G to S in AARg (which should be AARGH, anyhow). And I almost went with JESUS LIFE when FACE wouldn't work -- just didn't occur to me that I was looking for an adjective, and somehow, to my great embarassment, it also didn't occur to me that the Sanskrit classic was the KAMA Sutra, so I was reading the clue as 'random word in a language I know very little about.'

Fortunately, I've read LOTR maybe 15 times, so I was solid on that R -- but my batteries were either electrical objects or artillery for way too long.

In the end, I enjoyed the puzzle, though not as much as yesterday's.

@Maybe and others -- in a musical score, when the violins have been playing pizzicato (plucking the strings with their fingers) the notation "ARCO" means to go back to using the bow. ARCO is Italian for bow.

Who are the "they" who assign precise starting and ending dates for generations? It's absurd if you look at it too closely -- the last person born in one generation will be a few seconds older than the first person born in the next. The idea that the troops came home after the war and immediately fathered a lot of children creating a baby boom makes some sense -- but even 1955 is too late for that phenomenon.

Nancy 6:41 PM  

@Beezer and @Smith. Whoever put someone born when I was born into "The Silent Generation" couldn't conceivably have been alive in the 1940s and quite possibly not in the 1950s either. It's so ignorant of the formative things that were happening in the world during our formative years.

(People's "formative years", btw, do not include kindergarten.)

I was 19 during the year of the freedom riders protest in the south. I was 21 during the Cuban Missile Crisis and 22 when JFK was assassinated. Not a single year of my college life was spent in the 1950s. Betty Friedan's pioneering book, "The Feminine Mystique" came out when I was 21. I was around 23 when The Pill was invented. There was nothing "Silent Generation-y" about my contemporaries. We lived through cataclysmic times and most of us participated to a greater or lesser degree. Only someone to whom the 1940s and 1950s seem as much like ancient history as the Renaissance could possibly categorize us in that way. Probably someone young enough to be my child.

But what bothers me most is the sense of something being taken away that we once had. Because whatever the books say now about either 1945 or 1946 being the early end cut-off date, while we were growing up, we were called Boomers. Truly. Trust me on that.

jberg 6:42 PM  

Wait -- I almost forgot @chefwen's revelation that albatrosses have same-sex couples. I fear this is going to upset the schoolchildren of Georgia.

Zed 6:49 PM  

@Smith 4:00 - There you go ruining a perfectly good rant with facts.

@SFR 4:03 - Despite claims to the contrary OFL is not, in fact, perfect.

@MIBS - Nah. If I wanted a random letter guessing game I’d play Wordle in hard mode. @Gio’s obsession aside, the ADAMSONs’ 15 minutes are up so the crosses should be fair.

@MetroGnome - Have you ever gone to the doctor for a battery of TESTS?

I agree with @anon5:50 - they’re crap. They are a perfect example of what Kurt Vonnegut called a granfalloon.

Anoa Bob 7:01 PM  

I too balked at putting in 53D JUNKDNA. To me that's like saying Junk Stuff of Life. The clue was even more biologically illogical: "About 98% of the human genome". I would think that anyone with just a rudimentary knowledge of biology would see the absurdity of the clue and its answer.

And while I'm at it, whenever I see 44D CLEANSE clued as "Juice regime", I suspect, at best, misinformation and, at worst, quackery. And I lean heavily toward suspecting quackery. Same goes for DETOX. Not only are there no controlled studies published in peer reviewed scientific journals to support these claims, there is no biological or physiological basis for them. CLEANSE, DETOX, there's your JUNK!

Thanks, I feel better now.

Unknown 7:21 PM  

Never thought about it. I was born in 1941. What the heck am I?

JC66 8:01 PM  

@Unknow 7:21

The Silent Generation

Unknown 8:34 PM  


Well, I"ll be.

Thank you.

I shall remain mute henceforth.


Joe Dipinto 8:52 PM  

According to Wikipedia, the Silent Generation was originally considered to start with those born in 1923. That makes perfect sense because Marcel Marceau was born that year.

Burma Shave 4:25 AM  


it's TRU the SANDSOFTIME move ON,


spacecraft 8:33 PM  

I thought when SEAOFTRANQUILITY jumped into my lap that this was going to be a walk in the park. Until I got to the East, where the park turned nastily into a jungle. Getting WEEUN was a Herculean task; then there's "Order, in a way" for HAVE?!? Took a while to recall that most famous of all time movie line for an extra, "I'll HAVE what she's having." There'll never be a challenger for that one. Plus "Battery parts" for TESTS. Really EXTENDS the boundaries of fairness.

Finally, the JESUS_I_E thing. Those crosses are absolutely brutal. A French word--not that well-known--and a Sanskrit (!!) word nobody's even seen without the word "sutra" behind it. I wanted JESUSfacE, but what's EDaTING? Oh, there might be a real word here: dating on the internet! But alas, the clue doesn't fit. Took me the rest of the afternoon to come up with JESUSLIKE. Dare we think Mr. Walden might not be a believer? Whatchyou mean LIKE, heathen?? [Just ribbing.]

And after all that, I didn't actually get the theme till coming here. So did I solve it? Only my hairdresser knows for sure. Easy but for the area mentioned, which was SUPER-challenging. Annoyingly so. Par.

thomas 9:56 PM  
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