Puccini aria popularized by Pavarotti / THU 4-21-22 / Maker of Z-cars once / Fish with long snout / Car whose logo features a coiled green serpent / Catastrophic weather event potentially caused by a meteor crash

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Constructor: Max Chen Lauring

Relative difficulty: Medium (hard before you get the theme, but then easy *because* you got the theme ... so Medium)

THEME: SOLAR / ECLIPSE (30D: With 41-Across, a celestial event ... or a hint to four squares in this puzzle) — four black squares must be interpreted as representing the letter string "SUN" for the answers that run into and out of those black squares to make any sense. Thus you have four "SUN"s which have been "eclipsed" by black squares, i.e. four (symmetrical!) SOLAR / ECLIPSEs .. 

Theme answers:
  • SAYSUNCLE / MISSUNIVERSE (4D: Surrenders / 20A: Annual pageant winner)
  • DATSUN / "NESSUN DORMA" (22A: Maker of Z-cars / 13D: Puccini aria popularized by Pavarotti)
  • SUNNIS / MEGATSUNAMI (56A: Followers of the largest denomination of Islam / 34D: Catastrophic weather event potentially caused by a meteor crash)
  • PLAYERSUNION / GOESUNDER (57A: Labor group for athletes / 45D: Receives an anesthetic, perhaps))
Word of the Day: "NESSUN DORMA" (13D) —

"Nessun dorma" (Italian: [nesˌsun ˈdɔrma]; English: "Let no one sleep") is an aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini's opera Turandot (text by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni) and one of the best-known tenor arias in all opera. It is sung by Calaf, il principe ignoto (the unknown prince), who falls in love at first sight with the beautiful but cold Princess Turandot. Any man who wishes to wed Turandot must first answer her three riddles; if he fails, he will be beheaded. In the aria, Calaf expresses his triumphant assurance that he will win the princess.

Although "Nessun dorma" had long been a staple of operatic recitals, Luciano Pavarotti popularised the piece beyond the opera world in the 1990s following his performance of it for the 1990 World Cup, which captivated a global audience. Both Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo released singles of the aria, with Pavarotti's reaching number 2 in the UK, and it appeared on the best selling classical album of all time, The Three Tenors in ConcertThe Three Tenors, which includes José Carreras, performed the aria at three subsequent World Cup Finals, in 1994 in Los Angeles1998 in Paris, and 2002 in Yokohama. Since 1990, many crossover artists have performed and recorded it. The aria has been sung often in films and on television. (wikipedia)

• • •

Hello, hello. It is good to be back with you all and especially good to be back with, let's see, electricity, heat, running water. Also, functioning wifi, but I'll tell you, wifi means very very little compared to power and heat and water. I wasn't sitting around going "I miss scrolling the internet! Where's my Netflix!" I was, rather, going "it is dark and cold, this very much sucks. Guess I'll read a book by flashlight" (fittingly, and in no way ironically, I finished John Darnielle's DEVIL HOUSE during the blackout—highly recommended). Thanks very much to my regular guest blogger Malaika for filling in yesterday (as the power outage stretched into its second full day...) and thanks very Very much to Avery Sandstrum and Sammy Saperstien* for hearing my early-morning cry for (blog) help on Tuesday morning and coming to the rescue. Their write-up was a godsend (and delightful).  But now I'm back from my time in the cold and dark, and what do I have waiting for me as I return to the puzzle-blogging chair but a puzzle whose theme is THE DISAPPEARANCE OF LIGHT AND WARMTH. Cute, puzzle. Very cute. Actually (and now sincerely): Cute, puzzle. Very cute. As you can see in the grid screenshot above, my final answer was "I LIKE," and I kept the clue (67A: "Thumbs up from me!") in the shot because it felt like the first time where a screenshot could also function as a review. "Thumbs up from me!" Succinct, accurate. I realize that my "SUN" images look more like "stars" but, well, SUNs are stars, I'm told, so ... just use your imagination. I struggled maybe a little more than usual trying to turn up the gimmick today. Needed exactly one COSMO to get my brain on track—ironic, as in real life I have had a dry April (so far! the blackout really tested me!). From there, I made a bunch of crosses work until it was clear (from the "-" clues on the latter halves of the theme answers) that there was some kind of black square gimmick. I went from wanting the pageant winner to be MRS. [Something] to realizing it was MISSUNIVERSE, and there it was, the black hole SUN. Here's the moment I nabbed my first SUN:

Things went easier after that, though the cluing was ambiguous / tricky throughout, and though the SUNs ended up being symmetrical, I had no way of knowing that as I was solving, so everywhere I got even a little stuck, I felt like I was tiptoeing through a SUN minefield, trying to find the SUNs before they destroyed me. I thought they were hidden pretty ingeniously today, inside some unexpected places. "NESSUN DORMA"!!!? Wow. I wonder how many solvers just stared at those letters wondering how they made ... anything. What I like about "NESSUN DORMA" is that it is a crossword staple ... as a clue for ARIA. In fact, ARIA clues were how I learned that "NESSUN DORMA" even existed. And here it is on full display in the actual grid. Nice crossword life arc for "NESSUN DORMA." I had never heard of a MEGATSUNAMI, but it's a highly inferrable word, so no real problems there. I like that "NESSUN DORMA" crosses DATSUN because DATSUN eventually changed their name to ... NISSAN. I actually drove a NISSAN DORMA in high school ... made a funny high-pitched noise ... 

Fill-wise, things occasionally get dicey, but not in any way that made me mock cry out in mock pain. I am not (at all) a fan of SIKE (18D: "Only joking!," to a texter). Is this even real? You save one letter by writing SIKE instead of PSYCH. I don't get it. I mean, I get it, but I don't get it. Beyond that, there's a reasonably high level of crosswordese today (SONE EFTS ELIE IDYL AONE NOEND ERNE ERES ASST ESPO SLAV DER GAR ORONO ... wow, more than I thought), but I guess I was reasonably tolerant of the overfamiliar stuff because the gimmick was strong. Funny how a solid, well-executed theme can make you forget about fill deficiencies.

[I thought, "Why not clue SIKE as that former Browns QB?" but it turns out
I had his name wrong ...]

Five things:
  • 23A: Hoover rival (ORECK) — I knew this was about vacuums (as opposed to, say, presidential contests), but I wrote in DYSON. Fun fact: I went to Bullard High School in Fresno, CA. There was also a Hoover High School in the district. So we were definitely "Hoover rivals." And like vacuums, we sucked (jk we were great, I just couldn't lay off the vacuum thing, my apologies, I've been cold and without power for days, forgive me)
  • 28A: Like the "5" of "5 & 10" (LESSER) — kids, there used to be things called "5 and 10 stores" (or "five and dimes"). You call them Dollar Stores today, and they are Far, Far Less Charming. Woolworth's was a kind of five and dime (or so I infer from the Nanci Griffith song). The point is, this is what I was thinking of. But no, we're just dealing with the numbers themselves. Far, Far Less Charming (but tricky!)
  • 34A: Repellent spray (MACE) — me: "DEET!" (which is not even a spray, but an ingredient *in* a spray...)
  • 9D: Grp. established by 1992's Maastricht Treaty (THE E.U.) — There are few answers I like the look of *less* (in the grid) than THEEU. It's like a minor character in a bad scifi film. "THEEU, Klargo, Myxx ... bring in the earthling, and then ... release the space dragon!" (I said it was bad)
  • 35D: Spiderlike (ARACHNOID) — when a young arachnid turns up at the bar without his wallet, he becomes ARACH NO I.D. It's science.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


OffTheGrid 6:07 AM  

I strongly suspect I'm not alone here. This was dreadful.

Highly segmented grid.

Theme resulted in many word fragments.

As Rex often says, "WHY?". This could have been a decent rebus. Why not do that?

The waaaaaaaaay too cute graphic after completion? AYFKM?

American Liberal Elite 6:41 AM  


Lewis 7:00 AM  

Max credits Will for making him redo places in the puzzle to make it better. I have gone through that myself, and it always made the puzzle better. I still don’t know how the editing team does it – handle the myriad submissions, and massage puzzles, lightly or strongly as needed, that come out every day. Every. Single. Day. But I can tell tell you from experience that they do not mail it in on either front. I can tell you that they’ve actually looked over in detail every puzzle I’ve sent in, and worked to refine every one that was published. The Team is remarkable.

On another front, in his notes, Max credits a puzzle by Tracy Gray and our LMS as his inspiration for this puzzle. Bless you, Loren!

kitshef 7:06 AM  

Complete Natick at N_SSUNDORMA and ELI_. Only avoided a second Natick at ORONO because ORONO has appeared in puzzles enough times to sink in. Went with ELIA. ELIE would have been my second choice, but ELIO, ELIU and even ELII were all in play.

Which raises the question of what we mean by “popularized”.

Really, same issue as yesterday. Great idea for a theme, three rock solid themers, and an overreach on the fourth one.

Anonymous 7:07 AM  

Although the National Weather service administers the U.S. Tsunami Warning System, a MEGAT[SUN]AMI (34D)is a geophysical or oceanographic event, but it’s not “a weather event.”

Tom T 7:10 AM  

Given the origin of Rex's Natick terminology, I can hardly imagine a more Natick-y Natick than ORONO crossing SONE & ALFAROMEO & DORMA! Wayyyy too many vowel options going on in there, leading to the end of a streak.

Also tripped up at the THANOS/ESPO cross. Between ESPO and ORONO, one must imagine this puzzle played easier for a New Englander than for this Southerner.

Started it last night; totally flummoxed by the "-" clues. woke up realizing there must be some black square shenanigans going on. Figured it out with MISS UNIVERSE.

Still a struggle after that--perhaps the least on my wavelength PPP ever (MILA< ELIE, THANOS, ESPO, ORONO, that aria, AZIZ, EOLIAN). Toss in SIKE and ERES as text abbreviation and foreign language roadblocks, and it all spells a Thursday toughie.

Enjoyed the challenge!

bocamp 7:11 AM  

Thx Max, my kind of Thurs.; crunch to the 'max'! :)

Tough; an epic battle!

Was beginning to wonder if I'd ever catch on to the dark square trick. Finally twigged way down GOE SUN DER. Then it was a matter of finding the others.

Ending up guessing the 'E' in NES SUN DORMA.

Got the happy music and all was well. :)

Love this kind of Thurs. challenge, even when it takes twice the time to complete!

@puzzlehoarder 👍 for latest -0's! :)
yd's: pg -4 / WordHurdle: 3 (avg 3.5 over 31 solves) / Daily Duotrigordle #49: 34/37

Phrazle 17: 2/6
⬜🟪🟩⬜🟨🟨🟨 🟩🟩🟩 ⬜⬜⬜🟪⬜
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

Peace 🙏 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Gary Jugert 7:14 AM  

Delightful. The fill was great and the theme was really great.

SAYSUNCLE was my favorite.

The SUNS didn't come out in my head until I'd nearly finished the puzzle. There were so many times I filled answers that made no sense using crosses and I said, "Well, I'm gonna need Rex to explain these," but then the sun shone and all was bright in Crossword Land.

I had a Datsun pickup once. It was sophisticated like a riding lawnmower, but way less safe.

smalltowndoc 7:24 AM  

I enjoyed this very much.

Lewis 7:24 AM  

I got the ride I hope for on Thursdays, with bumpiness early on, big flash at uncracking the theme, and a brain-pleasing hard-work journey through smart cluing. At first that cluing kept much of the grid from me, then somehow, I seemed to hitch a ride on Max’s wavelength, and when I uncovered the SOLAR ECLIPSE reveal, the curtains parted, then kazaam, a sprint to the finish.

Nice little faunal presence, with FAWN, EFTS, GAR, LAIR, YOKE, and TIGRE. I like that the rebus squares are symmetrical. I did have to vowel-guess at the cross of Saab’s first name and the aria, but there was so blasted much that I liked about this puzzle – the clever theme, cluing, rub – that having to guess at one square felt like a nitty nothing.

I had to listen to the aria to remember it (Jeff Chen has posted a marvelous video on XwordInfo), and it brought tears to my eyes.

Max, your notes make it clear that you put a lot of work into this, made many iterations before settling on this one. Thank you so much for that. For me, it paid off handsomely in a very rich experience. Bravo!

Conrad 7:37 AM  

Hand up for the aria/SAAB Natick, but it was DAT[SUN] that gave me the theme.

Question: Should there have been a "for short" or "informally" in the 1D clue? Because isn't COSMO an abbreviated form of COSMOpolitan?

Todd 7:46 AM  


The way the graphics show little suns eclipsing on the Times app is pretty cool

Son Volt 7:49 AM  

Cute - I liked the ECLIPSE graphic post solve. Nothing overly elegant with the hidden string trick but it works. Liked the NESSUN DORMA cross the best.

Overall fill was a little funky - thought the short stuff strained. EOLIAN is pure crosswardese. I LOATH things like THE EU, EFTS and SONE. Other side eyes also made this a clunky solve. I’ve never had a pink drink.

Big fan of Josh Brolin’s THANOS but never ESPO.

Decent theme - could have been better implemented.

Joaquin 7:52 AM  

My nomination for the worst word in the English language: SIKE.

My reaction upon learning this is a real word: Yike!

TJS 7:59 AM  

I can see where people might have really liked this, I didn't. Maybe if "sike" hadn't been a. Total bullshit , and b. In the worst possible location, I might have gotten into the spirit of this thing. Instead, I think it sucked.

Dr.A 8:20 AM  

I found it super easy to figure out where the “sun”s were because the next clue down or across would have a -

Z 8:25 AM  

Ah, the letdown caused by unfairly high expectations. I saw the SUN at MIS(S UN)IVERSE and wanted the down to be a (MOON) causing a SOLAR ECLIPSE. This was before I saw the revealer. Loren, Lewis, Mighty Masked One, - can you all get on this?

A fairer complaint is the plethora of moldy oldy crosswordese. ELIE Saab, ORONO Maine, EOLIAN, GAR, ESPO, and the absolute Queen of Ese, NES(SUN) DORMA crossing three, Three!, potential natick at vowels (ELIE, ORONO, and GOYA). Which raises the question of what we mean by “popularized”. Perfectly said, @kitshef.
Anyway, excessive M.O.E. (Moldy Oldy Ese) lessens an otherwise good puzzle. Don't be a stooge, constructors.
(sidenote: saw on Twitter the claim that "crosswordese" is poorly defined. I think it is just misused. "A word that appears in crossword puzzles at a higher rate than it appears in non-crossword settings." e.g., I have seen GAR outside a crossword maybe twice in nearly 60 years of reading)

ELIE Saab and Eero Saarinen marry and have a child and name it...?

Any other nominees?

SouthsideJohnny 8:26 AM  

That was pretty brutal if like me, you're not very adept at sussing out themes. I'll definitely be black and blue in the morning. I'm going to guess there will be even more of a dichotomy than usual between the love-it/hate-it opinions today.

The opera title was pretty extreme, although probably no more unfairly so than a theme full of sports-related PPP.

One thing that is unforgiveable (at least in my opinion) is the crossing of EOLIAN/SONE/ORONO - omg, the grid already looks like a bunch of gibberish without the benefit of computer-assisted graphics, why the need to pile on and on like that ?

So congrats to the constructor and editors as this was obviously very difficult to pull together. Hopefully the payoff and level of overall satisfaction is commensurate with the investment of that much time and effort.

amyyanni 8:37 AM  

Glad you're back on the grid, Rex. Wasn't delighted today, but perhaps I just need a second cup of coffee. I too had a Datsun in my twenties. Going to look up The Eolian Harp.

chuck w 8:59 AM  

Knew Eolian Harp, but spelled it wrong (aolian), so "sact" made no sense. My first car was a Datsun B2-10, and I used to go to Pavarotti concerts in Chicago. He always ended with the beautiful aria, "Nessun dorma." Hammed up the last line, "Vincero" (I will conquer) by holding the middle syllable forever. It was wonderful.

pabloinnh 9:15 AM  

Caught on at the MISSUNIVERSE/SAYSUNCLE cross and since the other SUNS were indicated by a -, this became pretty easy but lots of fun. Couldn't see TSUNAMI for a while, even though there was a band formed when I was in college called the TSUNAMIS, back before this word became so current.

As a fairly decent tenor, I have tried to sing along with Pavarotti on NESSUNDORMA more than once. I think I would have a better chance of hitting a major league fast ball at my age. I always think "maybe this time". Nope.

There was a Woolworth's Five and Dime in my hometown, which was my idea of a department store when I was a kid. Last I knew it was still in business.

And, ahem, I believe the word is AEOLIAN. I blame Coleridge and his editors.

A very nice Thursday indeed, MCL. May Countless Likes come thy way in the wake of this one, and thanks for all the fun.

EdFromHackensack 9:24 AM  

Easy once the SUN rose. Had the same Natick as everyone else. Had eel before GAR . Enjoyed this puzzle, thanks Max

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

Never owned a Datsun, because I'm a True American and bought American made cars, keeping Americans employed.

Nancy 9:40 AM  

Okay, I know something's missing and it's hidden in the black squares and now I just have to figure out what it is. Aha -- it's SUN! (I got this early, at the MISS UNIVERSE/SAYS UNCLE cross.

Will everything be SUN? Or will there be a MOON and a STAR to contend with? Must find out. Nope, there's another SUN at TSUNAMI. Yay!!!! Now there's only SUN to figure out. But what four-letter kind of TSUNAMI are we talking about? Is there more than one kind of TSUNAMI? (MEGATSUNAMI came in almost dead last.)

I'm going to cheat on you, unfilled squares that will turn out to be THANOS and MILA. Just see if I don't! I'm having too much fun with this puzzle to have to quit on it because of "Marvel" Comics and "Family Ties". But I didn't have to cheat. I changed AcmE to AONE and suddenly was able to see ARCHNOID and CERTAINLY. And MACE at last came in; I'd wanted a four-letter bug-spray ending in "E", and you try to find one! MACE is a lot worse than a mere "repellent"; I think the damn stuff can actually kill you.

Max, you have so much talent and this is such a great theme with such an apt revealer. I loved most of the puzzle. So why did you have to muck it up with MILA and THANOS and AZIZ and ELIE as clued. And what on earth is SIKE? An excellent puzzle that could have been even better without the pop culture and textspeak.

Bark 9:44 AM  

Considering the theme, I thought I'd mention that it's being predicted that a total eclipse of the sun will occur two years from now, during this month (April 8, 2024). It should be visible from the New York Times offices, Pleasantville, and elsewhere in North America, and parts of the Mexico and Canada — weather permitting.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

The joke you should've made regarding vacuum cleaners is this one:

What's the difference between a hoover and a Harley?
The hoover has the dirt-bag on the inside.

RooMonster 9:50 AM  

Hey All !
Tough in spots, couple of Natick places testing out my patience. But c'mon with the NESSUN DORMA thing crossed by a very ambiguous ELI_. So far, no one is real familiar with NESSUN DORMA, so my lack of sophistication doesn't factor in that that cross sucked. I'm sure you guessed that I guessed wrong there. 😁 Had it down to A or E, picked A, figuring NAS SUN DORMA sounded more languagey than NES SUN DORMA (obvi thinking it was a three-word title, not a two-worder.) Ugh.

But then got my happiness back by (of all things) reading Rex. He was quite funny today! Really wish he'd stay on "comical" mode, and not on "snarky" mode as per usual. As I know and y'all know, power outages suck ass, but shoot, if it gets Rex to be funny... Har.

I liked the SUN/SOLAR ECLlPSE animation in the Blockers at completion of the puz. But I'm easily amused.

This was probably tough to fill, as all four corners are rather large. If you factor in that the Blockers are actually squares with letters in than, you'll see it's a lot of white space, and a lot of long answers to fill cleanly. I always cut constructor slack on -ese when filling big spaces.

I LIKE this one. And I STATES that WILLINGLY. 😊

yd -3, should'ves 1
Duotrigordle, Ouch.

Two F's

Carola 9:54 AM  

Lovely puzzle and review. Like @Rex, I caught on to the ECLIPSE in the NW, when a rebus "SUNI" in the first square of 21A to make Miss Universe work, couldn't account for a missing UNCLE. I felt a bit of opera lover's gratification at NESSSUN DORMA - which made up for a whole lot of pop song and rap references that always leave me with a blank stare. I thought it was a beautifully constructed puzzle.

Nancy 9:58 AM  

@Dr.A (8:20) -- That, of course, turns out to be the solving secret. I did the same thing. It was really helpful!

Whatsername 10:02 AM  

I LIKE this a lot - sun, moon and stars. A little bit of a challenge until I figured out the trick and especially so since I was looking for a rebus. But then the fill was so well done that the rest was fairly easy.

Despite the fact that Rex says NESSUM DORMA is a Crossword staple, I don’t remember ever seeing it before. But then again I didn’t know SIKE either. If I sent you a text saying I’m only joking, it would say JK.

Welcome back Rex! Glad you have abundant light and warmth again. Winter power outages are the worst. Being in the dark is one thing but being in the dark AND cold is downright scary. After 6 days of that during our last midwest ice storm, I converted my wood burning fireplace to ventless gas logs. Never again!

Beezer 10:07 AM  

Wow, for the second time I can remember I woke up in an alternative universe. My experience was pretty much what @Rex said, got the hidden sun image early, plopped in SOLAR ECLIPSE and was off to the races. When I was done, I thought THIS was VERY clever, and wondered what @Rex would think…surprise!

Luckily I knew ELIE Saab, so I didn’t get naticked on the cross with NESSUNDORMA, but I can see how that would be a problem. Also, I didn’t go for SIKE either but text speak sometimes seems to be about alternate phonetics more than saving letters, ie thanx. Why? I don’t know.

@Anonymous 7:07…if a meteor causes a MEGATSUNAMI, I’m not sure how that cannot be a “weather event” since weather forecasting is done by METEORologists.

Unlike @Rex’s stars at completion, the NYSE app showed a delightful round sun going through the eclipse into total blackness. FUN!

Nancy 10:08 AM  

@pabloinnh (9:15) -- What if you were to lower the key of NESSUN DORMA a half-tone or so? I bet there's an app that would do that for you: there seems to be an app for just about everything. Then maybe you could sing it? Perhaps not well, mind you, but well enough to at least say that you sang it.

Another Anon 10:09 AM  

@Anon 9:34. Too bad you didn't buy a Pinto.

pmdm 10:11 AM  

I liked the concept very much but would have preferred to avoid the entries with a dash as a clue. That gave away the game a bit too much. For example, 65D clued as "German article" and 52A as "charged atomic particle" would have hidden the theme entry. Or something like that. But it certainly would have been tough to include three other similar entries. If one were to accept Nancy's suggestion and decrease the numbers of theme entries to three, maybe it could be done. Any takers?

Thanks to those who composed comforting comments concerning yesterday's procedure. Since I often drink 3 pints at a time, two installments of 32 ounces of a liquid that tasted like lemon-line gatorade was easy to drink. And the effet was hardly discomforting. Much worse to lose your electricity, as Sharp well knows. Once again, thanks.

jberg 10:13 AM  

OK, I'll admit it - I got the theme from NESSUN DORMA, which despite my being an opera fan who has seen Turandot performed, I know only from crosswords. I guess I should listen to it when I get back from my dental appointment.

The theme was fun. Also fun was trying to guess what ending to put on 35D. ARACHNid was too short; ARACHNean didn't seem like a word. So I needed AONE to get -NOID.

I do live in NE, so yes, ESPO and ORONO went right in. My only other problem was Rose before REDS, trying to avoid the POC.

Nice to have a theme that wasn't given away by the clues.

Anonymoose 10:19 AM  

The worst puzzle form is the "Quote" puzzle where 4 or 5 or 6 entries are parts of a quip.

The second worst is when there are imaginary letters in the black squares. Please stop!

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:21 AM  

Anonymous 9:49 AM - Actual LOL. Good one.

Wanderlust 10:22 AM  

The Oreck/Sike cross really sucked. (Vacuum cleaner, get it? Oh never mind.)

Seriously, that cross almost naticked me as I’ve never heard of the brand or the text expression. Luckily, K made the most sense.

I liked the theme. Hated the fill. The cross noted above, for one , but also so much that was either obscure or crosswordese: the ERNE swooped down and snatched the EFTS. THEEU is awful, EOLIAN was new to me but I didn’t mind that - I probably should know it.

Surprisingly for someone who knows next to nothing about opera or fashion, I had no problem with the NESSUN DORMA/ELIE cross. I remember the aria from Pavarotti, and the time that he was scheduled to perform it at some big event but got sick - and Aretha Franklin sang it instead. Wow. I had no idea she could sing opera too.

Actually, that spot was where I grokked the theme I knew NES could not be an aria, and remembered Pavarotti/Franklin. Except I thought it was NESSUm DORMA, so it didn’t really help me figure out the SUN theme until getting SOLAR ECLIPSE.

Nice to see the Ukrainian SLAVs next to their welcoming neighbors, the POLEs. I can’t believe the constructor/editors did not clue MILA Kunis as a Ukrainian actress. Missed opportunity. I also would hve liked to see ACT UP clued as the amazing activist group that accomplished so much to combat AIDS and homophobia.

Beezer 10:27 AM  

@Roo, I totally agree with what you said about comic v snarky Rex! I really enjoyed his write-up! I liked The thing “kids, there used to be something called a 5 and dime”…but what surprised me is that HE is old enough to remember Woolworths! Seems like those have been gone forever…

@Nancy, I just had a gut feeling you would enjoy the puzzle because it reminded me of one of YOUR puzzles where something was hidden in the black squares. SIKE is a bit “out there” but MILA Kunis and AZIZ Ansari are fairly well-known.

Finally. Man. Is it just me or is Wordle much harder since the NYT took it over. Today it was sheer luck that I managed to get it in four. Actually, I was kind of losing interest in it so I guess this kind of rekindles the challenge!

Suzy 10:28 AM  

Thank you, Max! Great Thursday puzzle, tough, but clever and reasonable.

Re OFL— happy, witty, kind Rex= fun! The other Rex= not.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:30 AM  

SIKE was a new one on me, as it was for many here. I, too, only knew JK. But it was immediately clear to me (1) what the etymology of SIKE is, and (2) how it is different in usage from JK. SIKE is textese for "psych," as in "psych someone out," i.e., mess with their head, bait and switch, etc. So, while JK simply means that you don't mean what you said, and you said it to be funny, SIKE means, in a way, "The joke's on you!" It's more of a "Gotcha" that JK. Make sense? Like, I had a boyfriend once who went around the office telling his forensic social work colleagues that members of the deaf community were now using the word "deef" instead of "deaf" as a kind of transgressive reinscription, sort of like the feminist use of "womyn." Of course, he had totally made that up to mess with their heads. Once they'd fallen for it, or belatedly figured it out, he might have exclaimed, "Psych!" and if he was texting, he might have texted "SIKE"

kitshef 10:31 AM  

@Beezer 10:07 :)

pabloinnh 10:34 AM  

@Nancy-That's a good idea, and maybe I could start with a half step, then another half step, and so on, until it became possible. By then I'd probably be down a third or so.

And to everyone bemoaning what happens when you lose power in the winter, take a moment to remember all those guys out there in the weather trying to restore it. That's what my Dad did for more than thirty years as a lineman for the power company. Also, as far as I know, he never spent any time searching in the sun for another overload.

Joseph Michael 10:43 AM  

When I finally figured out the theme, I immediately put on my SOLAR ECLIPSE glasses and tried to avoid staring at the four themer squares.

I LIKE CERTAINLY sums up my reaction to most of this puzzle, especially the theme. Took quite a while to figure out what was going on. It was MISS UNIVERSE who treated me to a MEGA aha! that led to the rest of the solve.

One themer that feels a bit off is SUNNIS which ends up with the 56 in the middle of the word instead of at the beginning. Perhaps the 56 should have been eclipsed along with the SUN?

If SIKE is supposed to be textspeak for PSYCH, I am more than disappointed. I thought for sure that it was some kind of texter acronym I had never heard of, like “So, I was kidding, everyone.”

Terri 10:57 AM  

Not very fair for those who use pencil and paper to solve. How do you write letters in those black boxes?

mathgent 10:59 AM  

I feel less and less part of the group here. I was so impressed with this puzzle and most of you seemed negative, even among those who don't hate rebuses.

The theme was ingenious with the criss-crossed themer in the middle. The SUN is blacked out. Virtually the definition of SOLAR ECLIPSE.

Despite the pressure of meeting the demands of the theme, it still had a goodly amount of sparkle. And it didn't need to fill the grid with a lot of threes. There were only four! One of the fewest I can remember. About nine of the three-letter slots were filled with parts of the long entries which included SUN.

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

@ Anonymous 9:34am - I've owned 1 Alfa Romeo, 1 Audi, 1 BMW, 1 Fiat, 1 Kia, 3 Porsche's, 3 Nissan's, 1 Renault, and 1 Triumph - keeping American dockworkers employed.

Perry 11:08 AM  

My only quibble with the cluing is that a MEGAT(SUN)AMI is not really a weather event. As such, I had a hard time getting it b/c I was, you know, trying to imagine a weather event, like maybe an extended winter or something similar. Otherwise the puzzle was fine and better than the usual pointless Thursday theme.

Canon Chasuble 11:10 AM  

For this writer, at least, who once worked with Pavarotti, Nessun Dorma was key to it all. First of all, it was Pavarotti’s “theme song” and so his most famous number, and secondly because Puccini never wrote a tenor aria the title of which had only 3 letters. Thirdly, it became known known to soccer fans all over the world because it was used as the signature tune to every television broadcast of every match played in the 1994 World Cup.

Masked and Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Welcome back, Rexmeister.

Hard to beat a black square eclipse for hidden rebus hi-jinx. Good ThursPuz theme. Shame to hide all them real pretty U's, tho.

Figured out the theme mcguffin right after I looked up the NES(SUN)DORMA aria name, to keep the NE corner (M&A startin place in the puz) goin.
Had kinda suspected some kind of a continuation across black squares theme, when I spotted them telltale { - } clues.

staff weeject pick: Sigh. Only 4 true candidates, today. MeaGeR. Tempted to go with the { - } pups: NES. MIS. CLE. ION. NIS. SAY. DAT. AMI. GOE. DER. But nope, too many of em. Gotta go with SUN.

NES(SUN)DORMA/ELIE was a bit of a moana, at our house. ARACHNOID/THANOS also got a bit tense, nanosecond-control-wise.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Lauring dude.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Anonymous 11:40 AM  

Another anon,
Your snark is not only offensive, it fails utterly to understand almost everything about automotive engineering. Fact is, the pinto was a very good car and its design top-notch.
Don't believe me? See for yourself.


beverly c 11:41 AM  

I found this puzzle fun, despite not getting the cross at THANOS/ESPO. I also enjoyed the graphic eclipse.

Since retiring my husband has taken a bigger role in the kitchen, and whenever he cooks Italian food (at least every week or two) he sips red wine and plays an Italian playlist which is mostly opera. Puccini is his favorite opera composer. I've grown quite fond of NESSUNDORMA, among other pieces. It's lovely to work a puzzle and enjoy the aromas and SONEs wafting from the kitchen.

Count me out with SIKE.

jae 11:41 AM  

Mostly easy except for the SW. I caught the theme at SAYSUNCLE but had trouble with MEGA TSUNAMI which inhibited momentum in that corner. Plus SIKE??? So, medium works for me. Fun puzzle with a cute graphic in the NYT App. Liked it.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

anon 11:06,
Which Alfa?

egsforbreakfast 11:42 AM  

I like that MISSUNIVERSE starts with a COSMO, but shouldn’t she be shelved on account of having been owned by the Orange Shitgibbon? It’s been reported that he would ACTUP and FAWN over the contestants while they had to pretend not to LOATH him.

ILIKE this puzzle. It seemed real tough until I got the gimmick, and then it didn’t. I finished in about my average Thursday time. Thanks for a fun solve and a great theme concept, Max Chun Lauring.

Gotta run. THEEU.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

@Terri. E-solvers couldn't enter "sun" either. All imaginary.

johnk 11:58 AM  

My solving pleasure was ECLIPSEd by the Saab story aria and Eternal Bruin PPPs. SIKE would've sucked too, but I don't live in a vacuum.

Z 11:58 AM  

@mathgent - I liked the puzzle well enough, but spent most of my comment on what seem to me to be its flaws. I’d put it in, say, the 66th percentile of Thursday puzzles.

I just checked xwordinfo.com, NESSUN DORMA has been used to clue ARIA for 6 of its 399 appearances, last in 2017 and then in 2012 before that. Rex does lots of crosswords so I suspect he has seen it more recently elsewhere. For me, all those example clues do not stick. All those I read as just “four letters, something in quote marks {usually in something that looks Italian} that could be a title, does ARIA work?” I could count the Aria titles I know on one hand and have five fingers left over.

@pabloinnh - When was the “last I knew?” As far as I can tell all that remains of Woolworth’s in the US is FootLocker. My hometown had a Kresge’s and a Woolworth’s and I remember eating fairly often at the Woolworth’s lunch counter. Last I knew the restaurant that took up a huge piece of the space that had been Woolworth’s in my hometown closed after 25 years, so the Woolworth’s has been gone for at least 25 years.

@Anon9:49 and @Mike in Bed-Stuy - Besides the Harley riders who comment here, I’ve known quite a few in real life, including one of my School Social Workers, a 5’4” woman, bilingual (native Québécois), held an MSW, started multiple programs including one for students living through divorces (6th grade year is a big year for divorces for some reason) and another for LGBT students.
In other words, I mostly found the joke not funny.

Elizabeth Sandifer 11:59 AM  

Two cars, a college town in a state I haven't been to since I was eight, an opera, and a fashion designer all in one corner, all proper nouns totally outside of my wheelhouse. All fair, but man, that's a *lot*.

pabloinnh 12:21 PM  

@zed-"The last I knew" was in 2004 when I had to spend quite a lot of time in my old home town because my mother died in August and my father in September. The store of my childhood, which never had a lunch counter, BTW, was still open and still said "Woolworth's" in big block letters on its upper story. It's entirely possible that the connection to the company was long gone, but that's how folks still referred to it.

puzzlehoarder 12:25 PM  

My first inkling of the theme came in the NE. When I saw DAT next to a black square I knew I was either dealing with a black square rebus or a turning entry. FAWN and EFTS we're obvious but the final vowel of the Saab name was a mystery. That's when I saw the rising SUN at 13D. What could be more Japanese than that.

I expected to find rising SUNs throughout the puzzle. So much for that. At the end I had to come up with some other vowel for 13D and I chose an O. Mostly this was due to EERO as I was convinced the Saab name must be something Nordic and isn't that what EERO is?

Crosswordese is one of my least favorite aspects of puzzles. If 26A had simply used a Wiesel clue I'd have had no problem but this is the start of the late week so they of course dip a little deeper.

Never heard of NESSUN DORMA. If I see one more video of a tenor with his mouth wide open wailing Veeeen-say- rooooooo I will puke. Someone remind these millions of fans that Italian opera is a punchline.

SIKE? We just had TRYNA how much worse is it going to get. I don't want to know. I've said this before but I really hope I live long enough to see millennials develop arthritic thumbs from all the gibberish they spent their youth texting each other.

Notes to self: ELIE Saab is contemporary and Lebanese and the Saab auto is not a name it's some kind of acronym (so is DAT BTW). Like I said I don't really like crosswordese.

Now for the Spelling Bee. At least that uses actual words. Or should I say at least those chosen by Sam Ezersky. That's another millennial that needs to get off my lawn.

Joaquin 12:35 PM  

@mathgent (10:59) - Don't give up on this ship. I'm right there with ya on this one (and often feel like the Lone Ranger on others).

And though we may sometimes disagree, I always enjoy your posts - so keep on keeping on!

GILL I. 12:48 PM  

Well...let's see:
I felt like Ping, Pang and Pong preparing to sing "A Pocketful of Sunshine." Will there be some Hope or Blood or maybe even Turandot?
Interesting Thur puzzle. The SUN PHASE of my resolve just so happened to be during an intermission while I belted out NESSUN DORMA... to no one in particular. Someone clapped and I felt happy. Someone booed and so, I felt deflated.
THANOS was the loudest booer....Hiding behind the curtain was ELIE Saab with her sob story. I felt icy cold.
Blame It On the Sun! someone shouted. I couldn't. Why? you ask. Because the SUN Also Rises And I can't help but think: "You're not a moron. You're only a case of arrested development."

Hey...did I miss some fun yesterday?

Chip Hilton 1:08 PM  

Loved it! Surprised at the number of commenters who didn’t recognize NESSUNDORMA. That’s where I had my theme break through. It helped that I owned a truly dreadful DATSUN B210 eons ago. My stumper was EOLIAN Harp, which only appeared thanks to crosses.

@Terri- Sorry, but that’s really a minor gripe, IMO. I paper & pencil it, too, and my #2 Ticonderoga shines through . . . a little.

Anonymous 1:12 PM  

I've known plenty of Harley riders. For the most part they're harmless poseurs. But there's a massive percentage who fit the dirt bag description to a T. But they all share the same bad taste-- that hunk of junk joke they ride. Even Sonny Barger acknowledges that fact and lamented having chosen that mark instead of BMW for the Angels.
Funny thing is Harleys were once nifty bikes. In fact, the Glenn Curtiss museum has some of their bikes when they were still lithe, nimble and relatively fast machines. Coincidentally the museum is less than hour from Rex's front door.
Anyway, the joke is funny precisely because its so true.


Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Pintos were actually great cars and their design was perfectly fine. The fact that so many people so misunderstand the pinto saga is a fine example of midwits perpetuating ignorance.

Read for yourself.


Eniale 1:36 PM  

I found this Thursday puzzle mostly just fine - which means I need easier puzzles than most of you guys. Only Naticked on ESPO/THANOS. But SIKE???

When hubby and I married in '61, our first together-car was a dear little white ALFA; whenever I see that logo I smile fondly.

@puzzlehoarder, I hope you've enjoyed SB; too many words today but pg was achieved.
@bocamp, thumbs up for yesterday pg-4; I found 3 words in the answers later that I had to add to my list.

bookmark 1:54 PM  

When I taught five classes of high school English in SC in the 1980s and 1990s, one year I decided to show my students Pavarotti's rendition of "Nessun Dorma" before we left for the Christmas holidays. I will never forget the stunned looks on their faces. They were mesmerized. After the holidays, some told me they bought the CD for their parents for Christmas. I later heard from some of these parents of how thrilled they were to receive this gift. I loved reliving this memory today.

okanaganer 2:24 PM  

Rex, I'm sorry but we're going to have to make these power outages a regular thing, because your writing afterwards is so funny!

The only winter power outage I've ever dealt with was a planned one (why in the winter?) that lasted about 12 hours. After dark I ended up sitting in my car, running the heat, listening to the radio. No problem! (but only for a few hours.)

This was a great theme, but the joy was lessened for me by not one but TWO Natick crossings: SIKE / ORECK, and ELIE / NESSUN DORMA; I've never heard of any of those four. Tough!

@Bark 9:44am, good tip! That eclipse is going to hit a number of cities with totality: Dallas, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Buffalo, Montreal. Nowhere near me, but they never are.

[Spelling Bee: yd 6:50 to g, then p at 9:40 (unusual!). Stalled at -1, missed this.]

Anonymous 2:28 PM  


you do know, don't you, that even 'assembled in USA' cars are 80% parts made outside the USofA?

"But you may be surprised how little it takes to be considered really American: just 55% of the total value of the car parts is enough to qualify. And, because the data comes from reports mandated by the American Automobile Labeling Act of 1992, there’s additional hidden confusion. The legislation lumps together parts and content from the U.S. and Canada, so the strictly U.S. portion could be less."

well may be not 80%, but not 100% USofA either.

Anoa Bob 2:41 PM  

I think that it's some kind of coded message from the COSMOs that the moon casts the same size image to an earth bound viewer as the sun even though they are vastly different in actual size. Or maybe it's just a coincidence. Either way it makes a total SOLAR ECLIPSE an awesome event.

This theme may be a couple of years early because there's a major total ECLIPSE that will traverse a large swath of the USA on April 8, 2024. Easiest and cheapest way to watch the partial phases is with a pinhole viewer. Lots of info about those on the net.

Cool theme but I did notice that one of the it-follows-SUN clues at 56 Across wasn't just a - like the others but had a written out clue, "Followers of...". This inconsistency could have been avoided if all the SUNs were in the interior of the grid instead of having two on the edges. Maybe the degree of difficulty was too high to just get this theme to work at all and that wasn't an option.

@oldactor, hey neighbor, ¡Feliz cumpleaños!

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

the problem with Hogs: it's an engine that hasn't materially changed in more than 100 years; the cylinders are made from a bit better alloy these days, but that's about it. I recall that Harley attempted an additional engine, smaller and one lunger years ago, but it failed. let's go see...
"The only four-stroke single-cylinder motorcycle during this period was the Sprint series produced from 1961 to 1973. The last appearance of the single-cylinder motorcycle was in 1978 when the SX 250 model exited the product line. "

in the early 1900s, many cycles sported narrow V-twins for a simple reason: simpler design (well, primitive) and simpler to make. Harley hasn't grown up.

bertoray 2:54 PM  

Ba Dum Tsh. Rimshot for OFL's ARACH NO ID groaner.

sixtyni yogini 2:55 PM  

Loved this 🧩.
Fun in the sun. 🤩 in the ☀️!
Like 🦖, noted the nits but don’t care.

Joe Dipinto 3:14 PM  

I like @Rex's idea of a car called the Nissan Dorma.

@Wanderlust, Aretha stepped in for Luciano at the 1998 Grammys. I saw Pavarotti in "Turandot" at the Met a couple of months before that, and while he sounded perfectly fine, he was barely mobile at the time. He had to be supported onstage by one of the chorus members, and he stayed near the edge of the proscenium to "park and bark" his contributions, and then was quickly whisked into the wings. Later I saw it again with a different tenor, who scurried all over the set in what was obviously the intended staging.

Also, as an aside, I don't like the ending of "Nessun Dorma" when it's sung as a concert piece. In the opera, it transitions with no break directly into the music for the next scene, so there's no disruption of continuity (making it an awkward spot for audience applause, which it always gets, but so be it). When performed as a stand-alone, a fortissimo final cadence is tacked on that sounds like what an Awards Show orchestra would play to hustle a verbose winner off the stage.

Phrazle 18: 2/6
🟪⬜ ⬜⬜⬜🟨🟨⬜🟨⬜ 🟪⬜🟪🟨

🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

Just by the way, the solar eclipse on 4/8/2024 will not be total in the NYC metro area. You will have to go west or north for totality. Plattsburgh is about the nearest place with totality.


burtonkd 3:25 PM  

@Nancy - with all due respect, and pabloinnh knows this, but singing Nessun Dorma in a lower key disqualifies it as having been sung. The whole point is the dramatic high B as the penultimate note. In terms of popularizing it, Pavarotti was on a concert bill with Aretha Franklin. When he had to cancel, she stepped in at the last minute. Not impressive that a female could hit the notes, but mighty amazing of her to have a piece memorized outside of her genre. For those Naticked by NESSUNDORMA, put on a recording and I'll bet it will be familiar. It used to be on the life exam.


Rex's power outage (nice @amyyanni, with the off the grid pun) left him in a more relaxed, jovial, zen state than any of his vacations:)

I think this was in my wheelhouse. SIKE was new to me.

Anonymous 3:34 PM  

"Only when considering the narrow subset of rear-impact, fire fatalities for the car were somewhat worse than the average for subcompact cars. While acknowledging this is an important legal point, Schwartz rejected the portrayal of the car as a firetrap."
the wiki

Which does support the belief that the Pinto was a bad car. May be not a 'firetrap', but not well engineered, either. Looking at the 'narrow subset', is a gratuitous remark, since that was exactly the situation under investigation; comparing Pinto's total safety experience to all class's total safety experience is, of course, bogus. Figures don't lie, but liars figure.

Beezer 3:37 PM  

@pabloinnh and @Zed, thanks for your last Woolworth sightings. I think they disappeared in my neck of the woods before that but maybe it just seems that way. I do know that as a kid I was automatically drawn to any place that had a soda fountain and lunch counter with stools! And (as put by @Rex) kids…I mean ice cream sodas, not “soft drinks.” Also REALLY good malts and milkshakes.

Anonymous 3:37 PM  

Benjamin Braddock drove a bright red Alfa. well, and then rode a bus.

A 3:57 PM  

@Rex is back, and with a fun review! I LIKEd the puzzle too! Loved that my favorite opera composer, Puccini, got a themer. That man knew how to reach into your chest and rip your heart out. I will say, I’m not the biggest fan of operatic singing, so my favorite version of NESSUN DORMA is on a recording called “Puccini Without Words” by the Cincinnati Pops. Excellent arrangements, some done by my current Music Director, who used to assist Erich Kunzel.

Some years ago I played in the Alabama Symphony with Pavarotti as soloist. Nessun dorma was a given. But the stage hands had a story that at a previous performance of Pavarotti in Birmingham he ripped his tux - here’s an account from a local music club:
“Among the outstanding programs of 1978-79 were the Moscow Philharmonic and Luciano Pavarotti, who had the misfortune of splitting the back of his tuxedo coat while taking a bow. Resourceful stagehands mended the split with black electrical tape, and the unabashed tenor continued his concert.”

Today’s birthday composer is American Randall Thompson (1899-1984). In honor of @Rex’s star/SUNs, here is Choose Something Like A Star. Accompanying the music are Hubble photos.

Anonymous 3:58 PM  

Five and Dime threw me - tried so hard to make "Nickel" work...

Anoa Bob 4:19 PM  

I had a Ford Pinto station wagon in the 80s when I was living in the Philippines. I really liked that car. It had a wide wheel base and low center of gravity so it handled well. It had a peppy little four banger engine and a stick shift. The guy I bought it from was selling it because he thought it was woefully underpowered but he had not learned to keep the engine revs up by down shifting when trying to pass or go up a hill. I was sad to sell it when I left the P.I.

I also had a 1960 Corvair Van for many years. It had a bumper sticker that read "Ralph Nader slept here"!

Anonymous 4:19 PM  

I want to see a crossword puzzle where the correctly solved grid has vacant white squares. No? Why not? How would that be any worse than black squares WITH letters?

Grouch 4:23 PM  

Harleys are actually a lot like opera. Both are mostly just annoying noise.

Nancy 4:39 PM  

Oh, of course I know that @burtonkd (3:25) -- but why shouldn't @pabloinnh get to sing NESSUN DORMA if he really, really wants to? Why are opera people such stick-in-the-muds about original keys when Broadway people aren't?

Look, growing up, we had a lot of Broadway show albums and I learned early on that I could sing along with Mary Martin and even more easily with Ethel Merman and even (don't laugh) with Ezio Pinza and Paul Robeson-- an octave higher in both cases, I think. But I couldn't sing along with Julie Anderson, Florence Henderson, Shirley Jones or Barbara Cook in "Candide". I couldn't even think that high.

Would you have denied me the change to sing "I Could Have Danced All Night" or "I Loved You Once in Silence", @burtonkd?:) Should I have gone to my grave without once singing "Many a New Day" or "The Heather On the Hill"? Should my entire repertoire be limited to "You Can't Get a Man With a Gun" and "I"m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair"? (And also "Ol' Man River", which, believe it or not I can sing in Robeson's key, but an octave higher.)

I've been choosing my own key for songs I want to sing during my entire life and have been much the happier for it. I want to extend the same privilege to my pal, Pablo-- even when he's singing opera.

Bass 4:53 PM  

Generally a fan, although I found it very challenging until I figured out the sun. NESSUN DORMA was completely unknown to me as was EOLIAN.

My biggest complaint though: 5 across and 8 down could easily work one of two ways... SPLAT across and ATVS down (the "right" way), and SPLUT across and UTVS down. "Splut" to me is a very valid word, and the big thing in off road vehicles (other than actual trucks) is UTVS (i.e. side by sides) not ATVS, so even had I been able to suss out Nessun Dorma I would have DNF'ed on the north.

jcal 5:01 PM  

I am certainly old enough to remember 5 and dime stores (as I think they were called). So my initial fill was "nickel" as in "nickel" (it fit) and dime. I figured it out eventually. I immediately knew the Puccini aria - by this time a pop standard - but couldn't understand what could be a three letter solution - and then I got it! With, I admit, the help of Miss Universe.

I want to compliment Mr. Lauring - this was one of the most fun "Thursdays" in a very long time; delightful to solve and figure out. And clever too. Thank you!

Hartley70 5:06 PM  

I loved this Thursday! I had the theme at NESSUNDORMA and I am amazed that so many were unfamiliar with it. It’s ubiquitous but I melt every time I hear it sung. So there was the theme, so cute it’s hard for my teeth not to hurt, and then boom! The digital visuals of the solar eclipse blew my mind. I put this puzzle right up there with the best of Thursday’s offerings, even though SIKE is just plain dumbass.

Barbara S. 5:22 PM  

I’ve missed you guys! I’ve been just as busy as stink but I’ve been doing the puzzle every day, although not always getting the chance to read the blog. But today! It was a terrific day to drop back to blogland. Rex kicked it off with the Nissan DORMA and the THEEU, Klargo & Myxx trio. (And I liked the hapless spider, too.) Then there was @Gary Jugert’s dicey DAT(SUN) pickup, @Joaquin’s SIKE-Yike! poem, @Zed’s list of the Saab-Saarinen kids (he forgot ONO), @Anon (9:49)’s dirtbag, @Roo’s coining of the word “languagey”, @Beezer’s METEORologists, @pabloinnh’s un-Campbellish father, @egs’s cheery, parting THEEU, and @puzzlehoarder’s pithy message to Sam Ezersky. Add @bookmark’s heartwarming NES(SUN) DORMA story and @A’s account of Pavarotti’s electrifying performance in Birmingham. I’m a huge opera fan and I’ve had that wonderful aria on repeat in my head all day. I loved today’s celestial puzzle (despite getting naticked by ORECK/SIKE). But I loved you guys more!

burtonkd 5:28 PM  

@Nancy - It's not just being sticks in the mud - part of the thrill of opera is the extending of the human voice to the limit of its possibilities. Composers choose notes because there is a certain character to the voice when singing them. There is also a certain "olympics of the voice" aspect: see "Ah! mes amis..." with 8 high C's for tenor. There are of course, some arias from different time periods that can move around, and companies will have transpositions on hand in case of vocal trouble on a particular night. Eyebrows will be arched, and side-eyes will be glanced...

Of course, anyone is free to sing anything however they please on their own.

Much of the American Songbook can be transposed to suit, although many do have "standard" keys. Plus, singing in an actual production of a classic Broadway musical, one would be more likely to be asked to sing it in the original key.

Bad Mouse 5:46 PM  

@Anoa Bob:
I think that it's some kind of coded message from the COSMOs that the moon casts the same size image to an earth bound viewer as the sun even though they are vastly different in actual size.

No coincidence. Just further proof that the Intelligent Design wackos rule.

Chip Hilton 6:13 PM  

I just saw the neatest SOLAR ECLIPSE on the evening news. Film of Phobos, one of Mars’s potato shaped moons, eclipsing the Sun, taken by a camera on the Perseverance module, situated on Mars! Boy, that’s a lot of commas!

pabloinnh 7:58 PM  

I must say I am touched that @Nancy has good suggestions for me on how to sing such a demanding piece, but I have to say I share @burtonkd's take on why that would be less than the real thing. A little like dunking on an 8' basket. I wish I could throw a baseball 100mph or run a sub 5 min. marathon, and the fact that someone can actually do those things is what I find awe-inspiring. Like the voices of innately talented and classically trained singers. Just wow.

OTOH, I did sing at a nursing home tonight, a lot of John Denver and John Prine and Bob Dylan, and while our audience was not large, they were wonderfully attentive and grateful to have something a little different to brighten their day. I bet Pavarotti feels good about making people happy too, so at least we have that in common.

Escalator 8:09 PM  


What do you call a deer with no eyes?

I have no eye deer.

Badda bing…….

egsforbreakfast 8:53 PM  

@pabloinnh. Please provide a citation for the runner of the sub 5 min. marathon. SIKE!!!

albatross shell 9:18 PM  

So ya'll knew GOE? Lookin' it up I guess it's GasOxygenEther. How come no indication of shortening in the clue?

Yes GOE filled in from crosses. I knew THANOS and EFTS. I went salamander hunting in glacier-formed vernal pools last Friday. I looked up O RON O (MY FAVORITE 50's song. SIKE!) and changed NaS to NES when the fatman didn't sing and ISIF. I Say I Finished. So there.

And only did that because when decibel didn't fit I put in tONE. My drivers license giving me the S and the ONE coincidentally being correct.
So post solve I find you can fill both my ears with what I don't know about measuring loudness or perceived loudness anyway. One sone equals 40 phons at 1000 MH. But one is logarithmic and one is linear. But both are perceived loudness measures. Decibels I knew but conversion a bit iffy. Actual v. Perceived a bit iffy too. Any sound engineers here? But hey, 200 decibels will burst every blood vessel in your body. Then you don't need to know anything else.

Welcome back Rex. Welcome back Barbara S. Missed you both.

CS 12:20 AM  

Really late to comment but I just finished online, which I almost never do and it was absolutely adorable to see the sun eclipsing in those squares. SO in an event as rare as a solar eclipse, I agree with Rex!


-- CS

Z 12:29 AM  

@Albatross Shell - It is GOE(S UN)DER.

CDilly52 12:43 AM  

It is so dang late and I won’t bore anyone with my tale if woe and stumbling around with “solver’s snow blindness” and not having enough time to sit down and concentrate on this puzzle but finally with my petite toehold smack dab in the middle getting (and practically whooping with absolute relief and delight) at the base of the center RENT TO and the. Right next door the literal ☀️ came out with GOE ☀️ DER! Makes me laugh now that I was so frustrated that I I (an opera fanatic (hubs and I went to the glorious Santa Fe Opera 27 summers in a row) blew right past the Pavarotti gimme! I think I just quit reading any of the top. Again, the snow blindness. And of course SIKE would have caused a DNF but I, fortunately the answers in the NW (once my vision cleared) allowed me to be one who STAYS ALIVE thanks to MIS ☀️IVERSE, and my old ORECK (almost tossed in Dyson in honor of my shiny new wonder-sucker).

Quite a Thursday. Too right today @Rex - tough until it wasn’t. And shout out to the ever-clever @LMS for her inspiration!

Joe Dipinto 12:57 AM  

Daily Octordle —Friday's— is broken. Rather hilariously, maybe even intentionally. I took a screenshot but I won't link it (yet). It's very "Star Trek: TNG".

albatross shell 2:10 AM  

Oh. I forgot that was a themer. SIKEd myself. Hah!

Kathy D. 6:03 AM  

Fun puzzle, once I figured out the gimmick.

My grip: No Woolworth's, no Five and Dimes around. So it's a mystery to try to buy just plain old thread to sew buttons on and sew hems. Or to buy a pair of scissors. Or just a number of things we could easy find at a Woolworth's of Five and Dime store. Those stores had everything around my apartment.

So that was a loss, and it also means for the most mundane of necessities, we have to order through the big A or a rival. It's absurd to have to actually place an order for a mundane neccessity. My vent for the day.

Oh, for the days of yesterday, spending an afternoon in a Woolworth's.

Avantajkodu.com 6:28 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
thomas 9:47 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
spacecraft 12:02 PM  

For me, easy to grab the mcguffin--but the fill: yikes! It;s a virtual name-stuffer, including a super-unfair natick at ELI_/N_AS etc. Not even tens...ONES will know either one of these. I kid you not, I drew a letter out of the Scrabble bag; it was an E.

Can't we clue SIKE as a theater set backdrop? Why introduce more ridiculous slang?

At least a decent DOD: MILA Kunis. OK theme ruined by the fill: bogey.

Got one of those strokes back right away:


Burma Shave 12:09 PM  


an AONE ACT, ELITE - no worse -
'cuz after SECTs she'll STAY.


rondo 2:43 PM  

CERTAINLY not my favorite type of puz. Somewhat LESSER I'd SAY. Grabbed the same E tile as @spacey for that last square.
What the last Gibb brother does: STAYSALIVE
MILA Kunis, yeah baby. Hope the rest of her family has escaped Ukraine.

Different route to the wordle birdie:

Diana, LIW 3:57 PM  

Names AND a rebus. Oh Joy.

Diana, Looking for a Crossword

DaveR8R 8:30 PM  

Lol, owned nothing but Nissans and infinities since 82, save a caddy, a mistake.

wcutler 1:08 AM  

I LOVED this puzzle, was so excited to have finished it. I was hoping you all would have liked it as much, but at least Rex did, and reading his review was fun too.

On the west coast in Canada, we have a lot of dollar stores in my neighbourhood (well, around three within six blocks, one very large), so we can buy all those things @Kathy D mentioned, but I did grow up with Woolworths (not here in Vancouver) and I miss it too. Oh-h for a malted shake. At least we can get milkshakes at Denny's on the way to Seattle. They have several locations, but the name escaped me. Did you even think you could ask Bing to see Restaurants Washington State along I-5 and get a listing of all restaurants by exit? https://www.i5exitguide.com/exit-services/washington/i-5-restaurants-diners-and-fast-food/

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP