Titular Disney protagonist of 1942 / THU 4-28-22 / Illinois city that was the first home of the Chicago Bears / Send beyond the baseline of a tennis court, say / Potato-stuffed pastries / Video game with rosebud cheat code that grants free money / Muppet whose self-identified species is Whatever

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Constructor: Pao Roy

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: 4-Down ... — in four long Down answers, the word "DOWN" is replaced with a DOWN-ward facing arrow, represented by an "I" over a "V" ... like so:

Theme answers:
  • [DOWN]WARD-FACING DOG (1D: Part of a sun salutation, in yoga)
  • GOT [DOWN] TO BUSINESS (4D: Cut the small talk)
  • TRICKLE-[DOWN] THEORY (7D: Concept in Reaganomics)
  • KEEPS ON THE [DOWN] LOW (10D: Handles discreetly)
Word of the Day: ANA Lily Amirpour (52D: Filmmaker ___ Lily Amirpour) —
Ana Lily Amirpour (Persianآنا لیلی امیرپور) is an English-born American film director, screenwriter, producer and actress. She is best known for her feature film debut A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, self-described as "the first Iranian vampire spaghetti western" that made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014, and which was based on a previous short film that she wrote and directed, which won Best Short Film at the 2012 Noor Iranian Film Festival. (wikipedia)
• • •

Ironic that I ended on ICK because I really liked this puzzle a lot. I like the weird way it unfolded. I was able to make significant progress even without seeing the theme, and then I hit a patch that made me go "whaaaaat?" It was like digging a tunnel and expecting eventually to come to the end but then on the way running into an alien skeleton. What ... is ... this? In this case, "this" was the "IV" above "LOW" in an answer I knew had to be about keeping something on the DOWN LOW. But DOWN wouldn't fit. And what the hell is with the "V" ... can that answer be anything but VIE? (50A: Struggle). The reason this was all so puzzling is that I had made it halfway through the damn puzzle with no obvious sign of a theme and no major trouble, so I thought I'd just fill in some normal-ish-looking answers and then find the connection at the end, or maybe ... my puzzle would do some kind of Thursday trick at the end, like, I don't know, levitate or start spinning in circles or change colors or something. How was I able to get halfway through this damn thing without any idea about the theme? Well, it all comes back to yoga.

Even if you have never practiced yoga in your life, you are likely familiar with the pose called "downward-facing dog" (or "down dog" or "dog pose") (in Sanskrit, "adho mukha svanasana"). Palms on floor, feet on floor, ass in the air, roughly.

And yes, downward-facing dog is part of a sun salutation. But you know what else is part of a sun salutation? Well, yeah, you probably do by now, if you looked at the partially-filled grid I just posted: it's UPWARD-FACING DOG. And UPWARD-FACING DOG fit! So I didn't blink. I just kept right on going down into the SW and counterclockwise around the grid until I ended up running into IVLOW (!?). Then I thought, "wait, what's the theme?" Then I looked at UPWARD-FACING DOG and thought, "OK, that's UP, this is ... DOWN ... somehow ... ooh, it's a DOWN arrow, so UP must actually be an UP arrow!" So I tried that, and that didn't work, and only *then* did I remember "oh yeah, DOWNWARD-FACING DOG is also available." The other two DOWN-arrow answers came pretty swiftly. The theme is simple and elegant and clever and because of the path I took to discovering it, it was genuinely surprising as well. No complaints.

I struggled very badly up front, and in retrospect it's at least a little clear why (the very first Across and Downs are "IV"-impacted). The worst mistake I made was non-theme-related: SEA / NERVE instead of ERS / VALOR. I did think "well that's a weird way to clue SEA ... why would you use the abbr. for "Seattle" when the ordinary word SEA is available?" Yes, why would you? I also had a catastrophic double-error along the west coast, as my dog with ARF (not GRR) and my "attachments" were IDOS, not PDFS (28A: Many attachments). Somehow I knew DECATUR, or could piece it together easily, and that helped me work my way out of that west coast mess. Outside of my initial encounter with the "IV" gimmick, nothing else in the grid gave me real trouble.

  • 33A: Enlightenment, in Buddhism (BODHI) — I know this from knowing something about Buddhism but I *know* it know it because I just watched "Point Break" (1991) for the first time, and the surfer / bank robber / life coach / gang leader played by Patrick Swayze in that movie is named BODHI
  • 41D: Muppet whose self-identified species is "Whatever" (GONZO) — I would've said ANIMAL, but there weren't enough letters. I like this clue. I like remembering the Muppets.
  • 49D: 46-Down, in French (SEPT) — I had the final "T," looked over at 46-Down, saw it had five letters, and figured, "ah, the old ETAT / STATE pairing. Classic! But ... how is Nitrogen a STATE? Oh well, your chemistry knowledge sucks, just trust the puzzle. Nitrogen STATE!"
  • 19A: Hosp. hookups (IVS) — OK, I do have one complaint about the theme, or related to the theme, and it's that this answer really has no place in the grid. You can't (shouldn't) use "IV" to represent DOWN and then also have standalone "IVS" in the grid. It's ... distracting. It evokes the theme, but it's not part of the theme, and it's not in a theme position. Better to scrap it. But this is an exceedingly minor point. An aesthetic blemish of small proportions. If "DOWN" had been in one of the Across answers, I'd've barked (ARF! I mean GRR!) about that too. 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Unknown 5:54 AM  

Solved it pretty easily but had no idea what the IV meant until OFL explained it. Whatevs.

Coniuratos 6:00 AM  

I immediately took a wrong turn and thought it was some kind of maybe-baseball-related "down and in" theme. Maybe inWARDFACINGDOG is a thing in yoga! GOTinTOBUSINESS certainly seems like a thing people could say!

So yeah, that didn't go too well.

Conrad 6:01 AM  

Easy-medium and enjoyable for me (but I hate rebuses, so any non-rebus Thursday gets points right off the bat). I tried solving without reading the clues for the long downs. That turned out to help. I got all of IV WARD FACING DOG and figured the clue would have something to do with yoga in a hospital. I Naticked at BODHI/ANCHO (I know little about Buddhism, never watched "Point Break", and all my cooking is suspect, let alone my Mexican cooking). But by then I had all the themers but 7D. Reading the clues then gave the MacGuffin which in turn gave me TRICKLE[DOWN], followed by happy music!

Anonymous 6:16 AM  

Finished in decent time without figuring out what iv had to do with down.

Joaquin 6:16 AM  

I figured out the down arrow trick quite early (unusual for me) but was totally Naticked at BOD_I/ANC_O. All-in-all, a very clever puzzle and fun to solve, a rare combination.

vtspeedy 6:26 AM  

Fun fun fun! The long down themers were easy except “down” wouldn’t fit. Left blanks where the “down” should be; knowing I’m in tricky Thursday world, like Rex says, trust the puzzle. Recognized that all the crosses were IV. Finished the puzzle quickly, no idea what was happening. Stared at it for a bit then DOH! Got it! A delightful solve.

Spencer 6:28 AM  

My solve doesn't usually track the blog often, but I had the exact same experience as Rex today, which always makes me feel better about myself. Except the clue I KNEW had to be right was "The Sims," and that got me to swap "UP" for "IV" in the clues. The Rosebud cheat was a game-changer...

OffTheGrid 6:38 AM  

Just checking in briefly to say this gimmick is just awful. I'm closing open tabs related to this puzzle and will try to forget it happened. One positive note. My day HAS to improve from here.

Anonymous 6:39 AM  

What is “keeps on the down low.” Who says that. Jim

Barry 6:47 AM  

Thank you, Rex! Your suggestion of 19A was insightful.

Anonymous 6:56 AM  

Solved the puzzle; had to come here to solve the theme.

Z 7:09 AM  

Since the I and V are used to make a picture of a down arrow doesn’t this qualify as a rebus puzzle per @Anoa Bob’s definition of the word?

What brought down the puzzle quality for me was the high PPP. This ended up at 35%, 24 of 69. I had an inkling at the EGAN/DECATUR/BODHI/GENESIS area that it might be leaning too heavily on PPP. None of it was all that hard for me, but I won’t be surprised if there are complaints today.

Also noticed, since I was counting, that this is a 69 word grid. An odd number of answers is pretty unusual. I am thinking that it doesn’t happen with rotational symmetry, and so this is a mirror symmetry induced phenomenon. Any mathematicians wish to weigh in?
Along the same line of thought, here is the quick trick for figuring out the word count: Start counting with the number of the last across clue, today it is 60, then count all the answers that are both across and down, today 1, 6, 13, 18, 21, 31, 41, 44, and 54. So 60+9=69.

Question: In CrossWorld is it always the month of ENERO? I have no idea what’s being celebrated, political kings or maybe the end of the Xmas season, but my entire thought process was “when,” “some sort of holiday,” “ must be a month,” “ergo ENERO.” Sometimes it snows in April, but in CrossWorld it is always ENERO.

Anonymous 7:10 AM  

Got the down arrows ok. But never heard of Gonzo (know many other muppets), Olga Tokarczuk, Ana Lily Amanpour or Jennifer Egan. And two of them cross. Is it me or is that too much obscure PPP? DNF.

Roberto 7:20 AM  

Agreed ancho bodhi two obscure foreign words crossing is not fair

kitshef 7:25 AM  

I can only imagine that Pao Roy wanted to keep Sam Ezersky company.

No, that’s not fair. This has much better fill and the themers are all valid. It’s just such a terrible theme. And having IVS at 19A was either a gross oversight or an awful idea, not sure which.

Having duMBo before BAMBI saved me from writing in UPWARDFACINGDOG early, and took my solve on a wild ramble with bits filled in all over the grid but flow.

I have never seen an ATM that gives $10 bills. I’m not saying there aren’t any, just that I’ve never seen one.

Oh, and then there is ANA crossing OLGA. Sure, ‘A’ is the most reasonable choice there, but those are two mighty obscure names to be crossing. I can also see folks having trouble with ANCHO crossing BODHI.

Anonymous 7:35 AM  

I don't agree with Rex that having the hospital IVS is a minor issue. To me, it's a lazy way of crossing the V in the theme with a short word. I think that portion should have been re-worked.

Harry 7:40 AM  

A bit of an easier time with this than Rex. Suffered the same pitfalls as @Coniuratos. Modestly frustrated that about a 1/3 of the cluing seemed "Monday-easy" (I savor the Thursday lead-in to the weekend challenge.)

About halfway through the grid I became fixated on, "what was this medical-themed "IV" theme about?" (and thought it bizarre that one of the crosses was IVS). Took far too long to see the symbol (likely because my wife has been undergoing extended IV-IG infusion therapy since October, with a long trek to go).

Things ultimately came together in what was a faster than usual Thursday win.

Anonymous 7:43 AM  

Gonzo is from The Muppet Show, not Sesame Street

Anonymous 7:50 AM  

I think this is my favorite type of Thursday theme. I enjoy it much more than the “common phrase with something switched, clued wackily” themes. This one took me longer than usual because none of the themers had obvious unique answers. When TRICKLE DOWN was too short and TRICKLE DOWN THEORY was too long, I figured it must be something else. When GOT TO THE POINT didn’t fit I figured it could be something else. With all the PPP it was hard to get enough crosses on the themers and knowing very little about yoga I guessed INWARD FACING DOG based on crosses. Fought with NA_ER for guts for an embarrassingly long time before I cracked it.

I sort of enjoy the lack of revealer on this kind of puzzle. Somehow makes cracking the theme that much more rewarding to me.

Twangster 7:54 AM  

I'm surprised (actually shocked) Rex lets the extraneous IVs at 19A across off the hook so easily, calling it a minor point. I assumed it had something to do with the theme, which I didn't fully grasp. Really detracted from the puzzle for me.

Lewis 7:55 AM  

After the grid filled in and I hadn’t figured the IV out, I was determined to not leave my chair until I did, and finally, when it hit me, there was that sweet bliss explosion of realization that comes to those who persist in Crosslandia, quite often on Thursdays, that hallelujah “Hah!”

Added to that are four palindromes (ANA, AKA, ONO, MA’AM), the biblical cross of GENESIS and SINAI, with ZION in the neighborhood, plus BAMBI / MIAMI / TSUNAMI and wannabe STERNLY, and the terrific grid down-arrow art.

And as your resident alphadoppeltotter, I must inform you that this puzzle has an unusually low number of double letters – under five – with four. This is the first time in more than a year that this has happened! (It last happened on 4/28/22.)

Thus a piñata of goodies to sweeten the day. Thank you, Pao. The arrows go down, but my thumbs are up!

JonB3 7:56 AM  

My yoga practicing wife suggested upWARDFACINGDOG for 1D which initially led me to thinking a topsy turvy theme where UP replaced DOWN in a down clue. The IVs squashed that theory quickly. A really nice aha solve.

American Liberal Elite 7:57 AM  

Took me a while to grok that IV meant down. Had no idea why until Rex told me.

Anonymous 8:02 AM  

Agree wit Rex on liking this one. Liked it. Theme did what it’s supposed to do - when I got it, it helped complete things.

Camilita 8:03 AM  

@Zed as for the PPP, the area I finished last was the Southwest, where ANA, OLGA, ZION, GONZO all meet.
Once I got it did not seem that hard, but if you read the clues, they all ask for a proper name. I couldn't come up with EMAIL for awhile so that made whole thing rough. I couldn't remember Gonzo, just what he looks like but not his name!

SouthsideJohnny 8:08 AM  

The theme was just a bit too gimmicky for my taste - have at it if you enjoy that kind of thing. Just a lot of work on the part of the constructor, editors and solvers for insufficient payoff in my opinion, although Rex spoke well of it and I suspect it will have quite the fan base here - so for taste there is no argument of course.

Looks like we had a bit of a PLP today (a Pot-Luck-Puzzle) with a little something for everybody. We've got our Muppets, some hieroglyphics (:-O), a Canyon in Utah, the requisite Nobel prize winner, a novelist, a Disney Character from 1942, Yoga, Buddhism, Don Quixote, Wordle, L. Frank Baum, Mole Sauce, Video Games with cheat codes, some honorifics, the Reagan administration, a bit of trivia related to the Chicago Bears and Caesar's palace . . . and my personal favorite - France and Nitrogen joining forces to hit us with a one-two combination.

Unknown 8:12 AM  

Knowing some yoga got me in trouble as well. Upward facing dog is also called forward facing dog. I decided it was some kind of Roman numeral Thursday trick...I liked it. Then I thought of up, and smelled irony with tickle up theory.

Fun puzzle, though I didn't find it as easy as some...

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

In 1977, the ATM at the SUNY Binghamton Student Union dispensed $5 bills. Very useful for students whose balances dipped below ten dollars. But five dollars went a long way at The Pub in the same building since happy hour drafts were 35 cents.

amyyanni 8:14 AM  

Fresh, lively, and rebus-free. Liked it. And since my little burb outside Atlanta is also DECATUR, got that easily. KISMET is a classic Broadway show/movie using Borodin's "Polovetsian Dances" from "Price Igor." One of the songs is "Stranger in Paradise."

Anonymous 8:15 AM  

Puzzle was rather easy EXCEPT for the theme . Figured out the IV was substituting for DOWN but had to come here to get the connection.

pabloinnh 8:17 AM  

I'm with @Lewis in thinking this was the best AHA! moment in some time, It took me pretty much all of the themers with everything filled in, and an I and a V where the word DOWN belonged, and then I said "it's an arrow!". This will probably be the highlight of my day, if I discount the day-long presence of my granddaughter, since it's Thursday.

There was a young French teacher in my department whose self-given first name was BODHI, believe it or not, and I know ANCHO chiles, so no problem there. ANCHO is Spanish for "wide", which may help you remember it, and it's also the only five-letter chile that comes to mind.

Also we were just talking about all the Oz books, and I have read at least one where OZMA shows up, so that was easy.

Some crunch, a terrific gimmick, and a very satisfying solve. A Perfect Resonance for me, PR, for which muchas gracias. Muy bien hecho.

Amy 8:21 AM  

Luckily solved this online instead of my usual print, and so got the arrow thing in a nice side look at the ipad, my handwriting would likely have looked nothing like a down arrow…¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Irene 8:25 AM  

Great puzzle, and I disagree with Rex entirely: Having hospital IVs as a wink-wink throwaway is brilliant.

retdoc 8:29 AM  

One piece of construction I'm surprised not commented on (especially by you, Lewis) is the the downward arrows are all on the same diagonal. That had to be really hard to accomplish with the 4 grid-spanning themers!

Iris 8:29 AM  

Alternative clue for 19A: When you can keep anything down, use these.

Z 8:35 AM  

Re: The extraneous IVS - Two of the V’s begin words and the third is in OVERHIT, but what are you going to do, as a constructor, with -V-? Rex didn’t say this, but my guess is he didn’t slam this harder because he recognized that there’s not going to be an easy fix. It’s one thing to have something suboptimal and distracting that’s easily fixed and quite different when fixing it necessitates an entire new grid design. Going with I’Ve means changing SENOR which intersects with three words that intersect with another themer. Or oVa? That causes reworking crosses for three of the four theme answers. IVS is suboptimal, but it is no easy fix and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the cures are worse than the illness.

I got the “down arrowness” of the IV fairly early. I wonder if the fact that I have used “->” several times when commenting made it easier for me to recognize it.

@Gio - I got GONZO off the G, ZION from doing too many crosswords, and OLGA and ANA from the crosses. But I can see how that’s a wheelhouse solve for me despite not knowing 50% (75% really since ZION is a LFC) of the PPP in that corner. That’s the thing with PPP, easy if you know it, impossible if you don’t.

Z 8:39 AM  

@retdoc - 👍🏽👍🏽 - Great catch and now I’m a little bummed I didn’t notice that. The DOWNs go DOWN!

Nancy 8:43 AM  

I wrote this note to myself right above the puzzle:

"IV = DOWN. Why???????????"

After trying to figure out what kind of --WARD DOG (INWARD was the only one that fit, but it didn't sound very Yoga-ish...

After going nuts trying to reconcile ERS with 11A: nALOR? nALER?...

I finally saw the baffling "IV" thing crop up again at TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS. GOT DOWN TO BUSINESS now made sense. Then I looked for a revealer. When I couldn't find one, I wrote that note to myself. And then, after finishing the puzzle but not understanding it, I came here.

Do I think that arrow thing works and did I say "Aha!" when I saw the explanation? No, what I said was "GRR". The way I wrote in my IVs in no way looked like an arrow and I could have stared at the grid until the cows came home without understanding this puzzle. I think this is an extremely clever and imaginative idea that plain doesn't work. But maybe on an app the IV looks like an arrow???? Please let me know if it does.

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

Amirpour: an unusual name.
Tokarczuk, exactly the same.
There’d be no objecting,
But they’re intersecting.
I doubt that the Times will disclaim.

Stolen from the NYT Gameplay comments.

Son Volt 8:47 AM  

Neat trick and I like the look of the grid symmetry - but poorly filled. Contrary to Rex’s take - I know nothing about yoga poses. It felt trivia dense and Z’s numbers back it up. With the mirror requirement - we’re left with few longs. I did like ABRIDGE and SASHAY. The ANA x OLGA cross is brutal. The MIAMI trivia is interesting.

Questionable fill - but an enjoyable Thursday solve.

CDilly52 8:47 AM  

@Annymous 8:13 AM: Those were the days! At Illinois, $5 from those early ATMs could buy a decent burger and a pitcher of beer.

albatross shell 8:52 AM  

IVWARDFACINGDOG is obviously a canine seer seeing what awaits or at least a forward facing dog. I only noticed this from the comments. I did notice the IV formation substituting for down in KEEPONTHEIVLOW and realized what went before BUSINESS. And then realized the DOWNWARDFACINGDOG I wanted to put in at the beginning would now fit. Why I did not know. People with IVS are down on their backs? Proceeded to solve most of the rest of the puzzle but somehow couldn't see ABRIDGE too far. Too distracted by the trim braid lace discussions or just dumb or worn out by the time that was all that was left to do. I can't let this get me IV or 4lorn.

bocamp 8:56 AM  

Thx Pao; good, crunchy Thurs offering! :)


All kinds of chewiness and SAPOR in this one!

Not a walk in the park, by any means, but a worthy challenge, with a happy outcome. :)

Needed some BODHI, tho.

Caught on to the 'down' theme mid way thru, but still trying to grok how IV = down. [ok, got it (I think); it's an IV drip, and in each themer, the fluid has TRICKLED farther 'down' the tube]

Anyhoo, lots of fun; good workout! :)

@okanaganer 👍 for 6 in-a-row! :)
yd's pg -2 / Duo 33/37

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

Rachel 9:02 AM  

Medium-hard for me. I never understood the theme until reading the explanation here. I just figured out at some point that "IV" stands for "down" and that helped me fill in the remaining themers. I think the down arrow idea is a little weak. It's definitely not obvious.

JD 9:03 AM  

I'd like to thank Steely Dan for these terribly clever lyrics from the song Bodhisattva:

To sparkle in your China
Yes, I'll be there
Bodhisattva, Bodhisattva, Bodhisattva
Bodhisattva, Bodhisattva, Bodhisattva
Bodhisattva, look out

It's nice to know I can still access the important memories.

Also, here to complain about the IVS answer. Because of it, I sat staring for long time, thinking it was related to the theme, but wondering in what way it could be (picture a dog with that head-bent-sideways look). So I'm a bit IV on the puzzle, but only because I was too obtuse to see what was right in front of me.

Liveprof 9:05 AM  

Alternate clue for 13D: George Washington, but not Abe Lincoln.

On TSUNAMI: When her kids went off to college,.my friend Donna rented out a room in her house to a nice young man. He took a trip to Japan and was there when the tsunami hit. He was actually washed out to sea by it, but managed to survive with only a minor injury to one arm. When he was returning to the U.S., Donna asked me for advice on a nice welcome home gift for him, and I suggested she give him a hair dryer.

Todd 9:06 AM  

Three totally obscure names in the SW seems excessive. They came together for me when I got Dog, but I still don't think that is good construction.

RAD2626 9:19 AM  

I thought this was terrific from start to finish. Enjoyed the grid art that looks like a crossbow, the layout with the arrows progressing downward left to right and thought the SEVEN/SEPT surprise combo cluing was a hoot. All the cluing was imo very clever. Best Thursday in a long while. I must say no one in The Queen’s Gambit ever jumped up and yelled “I win!”

Take a moment and read the constructor’s comments on Jeff Chen or the Times blog. They are very interesting, gracious and - like the puzzle - thoughtful.

CDilly52 9:22 AM  

What I loved about this theme is that, like @Lewis, it confounded me. I worked my way through, largely ignoring the long downs and therefore the IVs failed to stand out. Until I hit the IVLOW, which was sitting there filled in from the Acrosses but suddenly was jumping up and down yelling at me to look at it 👀 !!

Ironically, my finally noticing the theme occurred simultaneously with my filling in I WIN and hearing my happy music. But what, no rebus? And IV doesn’t stand fir “down,” . . . dies it?

So, like Jennyanydots the Gumby Cat, I had to sit and sit and sit and sit. When I finally saw the “arrow,” I truly enjoyed the AHA! of epiphany.

This was just pure fun. Not so much during the solve, because it seemed rather pedestrian, and my snarky self was getting ready to be all righteously indignant as I finished up. But having had the wool pulled so skillfully over my eyes thus enabling the truly festive “Aha moment” marks this as such a special puzzle for me. Full marks, Pao Roy. I can hear my Gran’s chuckle and her hand clap that was the very rare sign of a truly unique, surprising, creative and exceptionally enjoyable solve.

pmdm 9:31 AM  

I, for one, disliked the amount of PPP. And I understood (eventually) that IV translated into down, but never realized why. For those two reasons, this puzzle gets a thumbs down from me. Perhaps a nice effort, but a fail for me nevertheless.

Z, have you never done a puzzle that included mayo in it, as in cinco de mayo? True that the Spanish word for January is always used for a five letter Spanish month even though there are 4 other possibilities (none with as friendly crossword letters I think), but I have seen mayo in puzzles a number of times I am sure. Doesn't make seeing enero once again any more pleasant.

DrBB 9:35 AM  

Easy for me as I got the theme pretty early on. Not sure exactly when--I think it was when the crosses ensured 10D **had** to be KEEPSONTHEDOWNLOW, which forced me to confront how Roman numeral IV could possibly stand for... oh, wait... AHA! Great aha moment but lost a bit of zest just bc the rest of the puzzle went so fast after that, what with four (IV???) full length marquee answers that filled right in. Still, a nice trick and a lot of fun, not too challenging for a Thurs.

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

My trouble was that I had ADOBO instead of ANCHO and so at the end I had three blank squares that I kept thinking had to be rebuses or maybe even IIV as a longer “down.” Finally came to the realization that ADOBO’s a sauce, not a pepper, and ended two minutes past average.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

You should have seen Point Break before now.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

Zed, I agree that fixing IVS would be hard, but I think my general philosophy is that, if the NYT wants to be considered to be the best crossword puzzle place in the world, accepting suboptimal puzzles because it's hard to fix them is not helping them towards that goal. The best place should send that puzzle back to be fixed.

Unfortunately, I think many editorial decisions have made it clear that the editorial team is relying on their prior reputation and coasting a bit. In the long run, that will cost them.

RooMonster 9:48 AM  

Hey All !
Put a nice post (well, everyone thinks their posts are good!) through the desktop computer, and it went away because the page needed to be refreshed. I. Hate. When. That. Happens.

I usually comment on my phone, but yesterday, I got Duo 33/37, so I saved the page, wanted to post results, but when I clicked on the saved page, it reverted to today's Duo, and my results were gone. So a lot of aggrevation this morning at all things computery.

Had DOWN in a Rebus in each I square, wondering how it worked in the Acrosses. Plus, that extraneous V. What in tarhooties is that crazy V doing there? Finished puz, the Almost There! message popped up, so hit Check Puzzle, and all my DOWNs were crossed out. "Hmm", says I, "what if I change them to I's?" So I did, and got the Happy Music. Then I saw the "arrows". "Oh, neat!" and then got a better appreciation for the puz, as I wasn't jiving with it with DOWNV's everywhere. Silly brain never caught on. 😁

Unsure if anyone's commented on this, bit each "arrow" goes progressivly DOWN, and they are in DOWN spots. An extra little layer.

@Mary McCarty from YesterComments
Unsure if you my late post, but my guess is 8/28/1888.

yd 4 (-1P), should'ves / Duo 33/37!

One F

Joe Dipinto 9:53 AM  

All those Roman Numeral 4s in the puzzle, and then ROME in the bottom right – this is becoming a fixation.

I like the assortment of verbiage in this puzzle. The whole thing works very well, except for those IVS at 19a. The constructor should have figured out a way to lose them.

🟪 ← dueling theme songs for today → 🟨

(Today's Phrazle was the easiest one yet, but I contend that there should be an additional word at the beginning of the phrase.)

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

The theme/rebus is IV. I didn’t see arrows. It’s an IV drip that descends from left to right.

Gary Jugert 10:03 AM  

I knew there were missing DOWNs, but never figured out why IV replaced them, especially after the IVS answer. I thought maybe the Roman numeral 4 (but after yesterday's hullabaloo I didn't linger over Caesar's math).

Mostly on Thursdays I try not to weep and try not to hate the puzzles. Then they give you Reagan and Ono in the same puzzle. Awful.

Still, let's yay some:
Wordle CRAZE
Always love a ROME reference
BARKS and GRR in the same puzzle
GONZO love that guy

So little crosswordese, yet so few really inspiring answers from quizzical clues. Looking forward to tomorrow.

crayonbeam 10:06 AM  

I not only enjoyed discovering the theme, but I'm delighted that Rex finally saw Point Break! Would totally read Rex's movie and book review blog.

Beezer 10:09 AM  

This was a very satisfying solve for me. I’m sure that part of it was that the PPP was in my wheelhouse (or inferable with a cross), but MAINLY because I spent more than my usual 15 seconds figuring out that the IVs were arrows…yay me! I actually started out with “how does a Roman numeral four relate to “down.” D’oh!

@Conrad, I agree with @Zed that this is a rebus puzzle. Actually, to me, it is a classic rebus since the IV represents an arrow. It just takes up two squares instead of one.

@anonymous Jim…”keeps on the down low” means exactly what the clue said and it is a phrase often used in my experience.

@Kitshef…yeah, the ATM clue threw me at first too. Seems like within the last few years I was forced to stop at a highway convenience store to get cash (for the TOLL BOOTH (lol) and was surprised it dispensed tens. @Anonymous 8:13, back in 1977 my friend and I would take $10 from what we then called the MoneyMover TM before hitting the town. My boyfriend (now husband) would tease us and say…you should take out at LEAST $40…we thought he must be rich! Turns out we were just stupid for paying a $1 fee to get ten bucks.

Lewis 10:13 AM  

Correction from your d'oh-prone alphadoppeltotter. The last unusually low double-letter puzzles was not today, as I stated earlier, but rather 4/18/21.

EdFromHackensack 10:14 AM  

Naticked at the BODHI/ANCHO cross, that was brutal. Guessed wrong , and “H” was not even a contender. I don’t understand how you could complete thus puzzle and not “get” the theme. TRICKLEDOWNTHEORY was disastrous for some states as tax cuts to corporations resulted in a lot less revenue... education budgets suffered as a result.

TJS 10:15 AM  

The "IV" thing aggravated me while doing the puzzle and the PPP kept popping up every time I got on a mini-roll, but once I finished, I was able to recognize the skill involved in this. Some great fill, and the cluing was indirect but pretty much on target. Nice job, and I have no idea how Monday was anyones' POW.

"IVS" as an entry didn't bother me at all, but if it had been a down answer, that would have been another story.

So shoving your ass up in the air is a "sun salutation". Those crazy Yogis...

Nancy 10:18 AM  

@Lewis: "After the grid filled in and I hadn’t figured the IV out, I was determined to not leave my chair until I did."

If I'd done that, @Lewis, I would have eventually starved to death :)

@Joe D -- I didn't think it was the easiest Phrazle so far by any means, but my first guess was fortuitous, letter-wise, and so I had my fourth "2" in a row. (I've been mistakenly calling them "birdies", but @mathgent reminded me yesterday that they're "eagles".) I'll post today's game for those who care in my next post.

Nancy 10:19 AM  

Phrazle 25: 2/6
🟨🟪🟪🟪 🟪⬜ 🟩🟩🟩 ⬜⬜🟨⬜🟩🟪

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

Liveprof 10:21 AM  

Sorry, forgot to identify myself.

Alternate clue for 13D: George Washington, but not Abe Lincoln.

On TSUNAMI: When her kids went off to college,.my friend Donna rented out a room in her house to a nice young man. He took a trip to Japan and was there when the tsunami hit. He was actually washed out to sea by it, but managed to survive with only a minor injury to one arm. When he was returning to the U.S., Donna asked me for advice on a nice welcome home gift for him, and I suggested she give him a hair dryer.

Beezer 10:22 AM  

@Nancy, because the computer app is in typed cap letters, it looks like an arrow kind of like using two dashes and a caret sign sideways ( —> )

Teedmn 10:25 AM  

What a fun, breezy Thursday puzzle! Although it took me longer than it felt it did, not sure why. Perhaps I spent more time scratching my head over why TRICKLE DOWN didn't work than I remember.

Odd that the word CHAPS was my real start to this puzzle (B'NAI went in first but I didn't pursue that further). I confirmed CHAPS with OZMA and TRICKLE and spread out from there. I started noticing IVs in the long themers and realized IV was replacing the word DOWN in the theme answers but it took until after I filled in the grid before I saw they were DOWN arrows, clever.

GOT DOWN TO Brass tacks didn't fit. And a brief panic when my very last sector was giving me an OMG feeling - I don't know OLGA, ANA, GONZO and can't think of ZION...but I cleaned it all up.

Pao Roy, thanks for such a fun solve, and I look forward to solving your AVCX puzzle also.

Mary McCarty 10:26 AM  

@RooMonster, re: yesterday’s “assignment”: kudos to you! 8/28/1888 takes 23 “digits” No wonder we switched to Arabic numerals.
Now, just to rile all you folks up: I wanna puzzle where IV stands in for “four”, or better yet, “for”. I can only imagine the outrage!

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

Being a half a year in to my NYT crossword puzzle journey, I’m still quite new to the rebus element. It is certainly something I expect as a potential in a Thursday or Sunday puzzle. I “finished” today’s puzzle thinking the “V” squares should have been the rebus “V/Down” i.e. “V” for the across and “Down” for the down answer, but was scratching my head as to what the “I” above represented. Another trick learned - reminiscent of the first time I learned that answers could be “hard c” or “soft c” for how clues are pronounced or “nouns” when two random nouns are listed as clues. Frustratingly fun.

Scott 10:31 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott 10:32 AM  

IVs drip down a tube! That’s what I took for the conceit, not that the I over the V form an arrow.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

You know what is a down sign? V That's a down sign. A universally accepted down sign. Look at the directional arrows on the keypad of the device you're using right now. Do you see anything that looks like

| ( this is the vertical line, not an I btw)
or something that looks like

You want a true down arrow effect, why not

There's an arrow that can begin to take pride in its shaft.

Also, as the DOWNWARDFACINGDOG is a sun-salutation, one would assume that is properly performed with a distinct positioning in relationship to the sun. So, does the sun get the most dramatic view of the downward facing dog, or is the dog bowing to the sun?

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

Started with upward facing dog hahahaha

Joseph Michael 10:35 AM  

Impressive construction and a fun solve. What’s not to like (other than ANCHO crossing BODHI)?

And OMG. Isn’t it obvious that IVS (19A) is actually the revealer? All four themers are situations that could lead to hospitalization and an IV hookup. Pao is warning us that if you ever try to keep it on the down low that you got down to business and thought about the trickle down theory while you were doing a downward-facing dog, you had better be prepared. There could be an ambulance siren heading your way.

Carola 10:36 AM  

I loved how a DOWNer could be so much fun. Three of the long phrases came to mind quickly (not the DOG), but obviously were too long to fit. Since the phrases shared "down," the question was how to squeeze it in, and it took me a good while to find the answer (until I had the Vs of OVERHIT and VIE). Like @Z, I often use --> as an arrow, so that perhaps made the IV easier for me to visualize. Like @retdoc 8:29 I loved how those IVs marched down-down-down the grid until reaching the ultimate LOW in the corner. What a puzzle!

@SouthsideJohnny 8:08 - I really enjoyed your PLP.

Trinch 10:38 AM  

With Rex’s anti Roman numeral rant yesterday, the concept must have stuck in my mind as I pondered what his reaction would be to what I thought was the theme of the day. Apparently IVward wasn’t a cute way to say “forward” and it took me far too long to unravel that mistake as I tried to make a modicum of sense to the other themes.

Whatsername 10:44 AM  

OMG! ICK! GRR! WTF? These three-letter entries were all in the forefront of my mind as I was solving. Oh wait, no. That last one wasn’t in the puzzle but it was definitely in the forefront of my mind. A very well constructed crossword as far as the process of crosses and downs aligned as an AID to help fill in the blanks - with the notable exception of 44A. I do love a video game at the critical juncture of a theme answer that I already don’t understand.

I could not see the TRICK here no matter how long I tried to SIT BY and stare at it with my sight seers (excellent clue). I just GOT my EYES checked two days ago and IMHO those IVs don’t look like arrows. At least not the way I form the letter I, which is to say with a top and a bottom as God and my first grade teacher, Mrs. Georgia Johnson - who would’ve reprimanded me STERNLY had I been so lazy as to just draw a straight line - intended. Nor do the cross images in the grid which according to the constructor notes, are also supposed to look like arrows.

After skimming comments I know I’m in the minority today but I’m on the same page as @Nancy and that’s good enough for me. This one didn’t HIT the wall but only because there was no arrow marking the spot.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:51 AM  

@Beezer 10:09 AM - regarding DOWN LOW, I agree, it means just what the clue said and is not an uncommon phrase. I would add that the phrase "down low" in origin is (was?) argot in Black communities for men who have sex with other men but are not public about it. Another word used for this phenomenon is, in fact, "discreet." In that usage, it serves a similar function to the idea of "the closet" in gay white male culture. Given this etymology, I wonder if it may be the case that "down low" has migrated to general usage in some linguistic communities, but not others.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:57 AM  

Never got the IV cum ⬇️ thing, but solved every entry, like some others who commented earlier. I don't think ANCHO and BODHI were unfair, as a cross or otherwise—It's another instance of knowledge seeming obscure to those who do not know it, while for others it's just plain old knowledge. Now, mind you, neither of them came easily, but they did come eventually. I enjoyed this puzzle, even though I was irritated by not understanding what was going on with "IV" and "DOWN."

jae 11:02 AM  

Easy-medium. BOHDI was my only WOE (Satori I know), except for maybe ZION as clued. I kept wanting Bryce. It took me a while to grok the theme which is a good thing. I finally caught on at Reaganomics. Fun and clever Thursday, liked it a bunch!

...Xwordinfo tells me that the thing at the top center of the grid that I thought looked like a down arrow is meant to be a down arrow.

Z 11:09 AM  

@Anon9:45 - While I don’t think the NYTX is consistently the best puzzle on any given day, I also don’t think it is possible to avoid all suboptimal entries in any puzzle (except for maybe Patrick Berry puzzles). Today we have a nifty theme idea that is suitably puzzling. Pulling it off, and with the descending arrows, forced this compromise. If “fixing” this one three letter answer weakens 3-9 other entries is it really worth it? To use a sports analogy, this is like having your team win the game 5-3 and complaining about it not being a no-hitter. Yes, a no-hitter would be better but I’m still happy with the win. Now, lower the PPP and we’d have had a 5-0 shut out.
TBF - if the theme is a type we’ve seen six Tuesdays in a row and isn’t particularly challenging to fill then the fill better be spotless or I’ll be in complete agreement.

@pmdm - A little hyperbole never hurt anyone. You did inspire me to check. The last 16 NYTX “mayo” clues have been some sort of mayonnaise reference (15 times) or the Mayo clinic (once). On Tuesday, March 15, 2011 we got Month after abril (with the appropriate capitalization no less). Then a lot more mayonnaise clues with a couple of clinic clues and a County in Ireland clue (in 1997)… You have to go all the way to Thursday, September 29, 1994 for the only Cinco de _____ clue in the NYTX. Pre-Shortz it was mostly the clinic, the actress Virginia Mayo (who?), and a whole lot of the Irish county. In other words, “mayo” has been clued as the month only twice in the history of the NYTX. I’m a little surprised by this. Also, my favorite of all the “mayo” clues is It’s not held when it’s used. {All the cluing info is from xwordinfo.com}

Gruff 11:10 AM  

BODHI crossing ANCHO is OBSCURE crossing ARCANE.

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

@kitshef 7:25

This is Smith of AAMilne books avatar normally but I seem to be unknown today.

A month or so ago (in US) I had to take an insanely long detour, so I was in a town where I wasn't familiar with the ATMs, so I randomly chose a bank and the ATM *asked me* which bills I wanted. I knew I had to leave a tip so I asked for 4 5s and 2 10s and the machine delivered!! Definitely not the usual experience. My bank and most ATMs only give 20s.

In Germany you get a mix of bills, although recently my husband ended up with 2 100 Euro bills, ugh.

beverly c 11:12 AM  

Yay! for this puzzle. I was stuck on the west, thinking maybe several poses of the Sun Salutation were stacked in 1D with the down implied. The PPP over there didn't help. Finally I got a break with TRICKLE but still not seeing the trick. I'm unfamiliar with rosebud in that context, but getting the SE corner gave me THESIMS and I saw the arrow! Hurrah!

@TJS I agree, nice indirect cluing. Crazy yogis!!

sixtyni yogini 11:21 AM  

Similar solve to 🦖.
The IV thing was clearly a sub for down, haha but didn’t know why/didn’t get the symbol.
Good one!

GILL I. 11:24 AM  

Where do I begin?.....
I had my moments: I GAPED and gawked at BODHI. I let out a little GRR at 20D because while Don Quixote is a SENOR, he was known as "Hidalgo." Then I got to a moment of wanting to ICK: I had my first IV moment at 1D. I had IMAGE and VALOR firmly in place. IV...move along and ignore it for a while. I filled in the WARD FACING DOG (lightly) not seeing where we were going here. Then I wondered what the hell does that IV stand for...Is it an UP/DOWN thing? What does IV have to do with it? Do I need to replenish my blood?
Fits and starts...from IMAGE to I WIN. Should I know the BAMBI clue? Or remember OZMA or even THE SIMS in a "rosebud" cheat code? Did my heart THROB at remembering GENESIS and SINAI? ONO...we have ONO again. The beat went on.
It took a little respite from the puzzle..a get up and pour more coffee...a "put on your thinking cap" moment. Do I invite OZMA EGAN and OLGA to my party? No...but they can come to my bar and sit next to GONZO.
When I finally finished (with a couple of phone calls), I began to admire. Yes....Even though I've never heard the term: KEEPS ON THE (down) LOW...I did like this zany idea. It must've been a DOG to construct. However, in the end, I let out a little BARK of satisfaction. I even managed to wag my tail.
Interesting and different Thur. I think i'll remember this one.

egsforbreakfast 11:24 AM  

One weekend in 1979, an early model ATM in Cambridge Square, Our Fair City, MA, dispensed to a student an amount greater than requested. His receipt, however, stated the requested amount. There was no such thing as social media, or even IM in those days. Nevertheless, within a few hours, there was a long line, which included me, waiting to use the magic ATM. I think I got an extra $40, which was more than chicken scratch for a student on a tight budget. Soon, the machine ran out of money, and was never known to perform its magic again.

OMG I love the SAPOR of KNISHES ONICE that this puzzle conjures up for me.

Like many of you, I “finished” and then stared, asking why IV=down. Finally saw it, and felt like Dorothy when she steps out of her house in Oz. Lovely puzzle. Thanks, Pao Roy.

gdaddywinz 11:25 AM  

Fun puzzle. My wife's comment "take from the poor and give to the rich" when she saw the Reaganomics clue steered me to "trickle" right away and not long after saw that "V" was part of "down". She also got ancho quickly.

Beezer 11:30 AM  

@Mike in Bed-Stuy…yeah, I knew that and it may have been due to an L & O episode, and almost mentioned it but was afraid it would muddy the water. Seems like that is termed more like “he/they are on the down low,” though I could be wrong?

Masked and Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Primo theme idea. Different. Like.
Had serious solvequest trouble in the area around the start of the first themer, as hadn't figured out the Down arrow mcguffin yet. Finally got AWAITS and replaced my DUMBO with their BAMBI. This led to gettin enough of the second themer to figure out the Down arrow thing. (Was already lookin for somethin suspicious, since this is a ThursPuz, after all.) Then puzlife was worth livin, once more.

Tough moana crosser, at BODHI/ANCHO, as many nice folks here have already moaned and grred about. M&A guessed ANCIO/BODII. Wrong again, M&A breath. Had a slight prob also at KNISHES/SEPT, but walked away from there with only a slight nanosecond singe.

staff weeject pick: IVS. Valorous use of an alternate IV meanin.

PuzGrid design notes:
1. Looks a little like a Down arrow, at the top center. Another valorous addition.
2. Day-um. M&A just yesterday said that one don't see them six-black square mutated Jaws of Themelessness often, and here they are (splatzed into top gridcorners) for the second day in a row. Sheesh. Grr. OMG.
3. E/W symmetry. Always like.
4. Down arrows in themers march steadily *down* the grid, as U progress eastward. Scenic.

Have heard tell of the yoga pose, somewheres. Not cuz I've ever done yoga, tho. Most dogs I know prefer the rub-my-dog-belly pose, btw.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Roy dude.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Anonymous 11:31 AM  

IV for “down” beat me. I was doing so well and then quit because I feel sick and I knew it was down and got stumped. Bummed out because I was getting all the right answers and had no idea what IV meant even after I put them in.

puzzlehoarder 11:32 AM  

This was a little tougher than average for a Thursday. It took me awhile to figure out that the word DOWN was represented by the letters IV. I solved on paper and I capitalize my Is so that they look like the Roman numeral for the number 1. That pretty much eliminated any chance I had of figuring out what the reason for the IV substitution was. I just thought it had to do with IVs being gravity fed.

@ JD, I was wondering if someone would mention the Steely Dan song.

td -0, yd -0, dbyd -0

shaaronak 11:41 AM  

Altho I had not noticed it while solving, I think Rex's criticism of using "ivs" could have been stronger.
Because. One of the lovely things about the theme was the way the ivs meaning down move down as you look across the puzzle. Having that non-theme related iv sort of spoils that effect.

Other David 11:47 AM  

Just started the puzzle now. Not surprisingly, Voodoo Economics fits 7D.

Bad Mouse 11:57 AM  

The only time I recall 'on the down low' was an L&O episode, and the meaning was specific: a Black married man with one or more 'boy friends', aka in the closet.

Let's go see what the innterTubes say... yes, and yes, the wiki agrees.

Although, one might interpret the clue, 'handles discreetly' with a literal interpretation of 'handles'. If you get my drift. Which fits with the obit of a sculptor (female, as it happens) whose principal work was casting of rock persons' erect short arms. If you get my drift. Cynthia Plaster Caster. Today in dead trees version.

Boston Blackie 12:00 PM  

Our Fair City

Ah the days when Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers reigned over Harvard Square. Does the window still say, 'Dewey Cheatem and Howe'?

jazzmanchgo 12:08 PM  

I shamefacedly admit that I knew BODHI from a long-ago Grateful Dead lyric ("Copperdome Bodhi drip a silver kimono / Like a crazy-quilt star gown through a dream night wind") that motivated me to look the word up. I've never forgotten it.

"Keep it on the low" is still a pretty common figure of speech in the Black community, and a lot of people still remember that it originated with "on the down low," as explained above.

Too many damn names in the SW ruined my enjoyment of this, overall.

pmdm 12:08 PM  

Thanks for the research, Z. I'm too lazy. I am a bit surprised because I do remember Mayo coming up a bit, but never clued as a Spanish month? I am really surprised that the "clue crew" did not insist on taking the heat off Enero. Especially since mayo should be easier and thus more early week friendly to newer solvers than Enero, which as a person who took French in school (and Slovak in grammar school bu force!) never heard of until I started doing crossword puzzles.

Forgive me if you aren't supposed to capitalize Spanish months. The subtleties of foreign language capitalization escape me. Even after being organist for Spanish religious services for a long time.

Perry 12:08 PM  

FFS! Really?!? A visual pun. I expect Thursday's theme to be annoying, but this is just stupid and pointless. I finished without knowing the theme, being helped or hindered by the theme, or enjoying the theme.

Grouch 12:16 PM  

This kind of way too cute S**T is proof that a new editor is needed.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Reagan and Trickledown theory = increase in children living below the poverty line. Offensive.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Anoa Bob 12:37 PM  

I join those who got the puzzle filled in but still didn't see how IV related to the missing DOWNs. Having IVS at 19 Across made that even less likely.

I remember the TRICKLE DOWN THEORY and understood it to mean that the more rich people there were, the more wealth would TRICKLE DOWN to the poor. Any of yous out there ever tried to survive on a TRICKLE of anything?

Zed @7:09, it's not my definition of rebus that is so at odds with how it is used for crossword puzzles. It's the Classical Latin definition "with or by way of things" from the Latin res "thing" and especially how rebus is used by language scholars to describe the process of going from simple pictographs and hieroglyphics to abstract letters of an alphabet, as detailed here.

Ferguson 12:39 PM  

Terrific puzzle with a good amount of thought required. Started out with trying the word FOUR in place of IV but soon gave up on that idea. When it became obvious that DOWN was the word needed it was very easy to finish. I must admit I did not get the arrow thing till I read Rex’s comments. Oh well it was still a fun solve.

bocamp 12:59 PM  

Final conclusion: IV represents both an 'down' arrow and the gradual flow of liquid down the IV tube, as shown in the themers.


"Term which literally means ‘awakening’, but which is commonly translated as ‘enlightenment’. It denotes the awakening to supreme knowledge, as experienced by the Buddha as he sat under the Bodhi Tree at the age of 35. Technically, the experience of bodhi is said to consists of seven elements known as the ‘limbs of enlightenment’ (bodhyaṇga) and is achieved when the Four Noble Truths are correctly apprehended. According to the earliest sources, Arhats.Pratyekabuddhas.and Buddhas all experience the same awakening, but over the course of time the awakening of a Buddha came to be seen as especially profound (see saṃbodhi). See also satori; kenshō." (Oxford Reference)

@RooMonster (9:48 AM) 👍 for Duo 33! :)

@Joe / @Nancy 👍 for Phrazle 2's! :)

@puzzlehoarder 👍 for recent -0's! :)
td pg: 2.04 (-1 in under 30; missing a hiding 4) / W: 3* / yd Phrazle: 3

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

Anonymous 1:09 PM  


Anonymous 1:30 PM  

They have a word for "... men who have sex with other men." Why not use the term instead of the circumlocution?

burtonkd 1:52 PM  

IV = Roman Numeral 4 led me to a wordplay "forWARDFACINGDOG". Looked for puns on II = 2 (to, too), etc. but that didn't pan out. On the down low was a 100% positive for me and the arrow just jumped out with Lewis' AHA!

@Zed - in Spain xwordlandia, it is always Winter: in France the saison is always Summer.

okanaganer 1:55 PM  

Nice Thursday surprise! I got the IV thing when I noticed there was a pair in multiple long downs. Very impressive Pao!

BAMBI again. Ten years ago I raised the fence in my back yard to 6 feet to keep the deer out. It worked until about a month ago; they figured out how to force their way through the lilac which has been getting thinner (along with every other plant in this warming drying zone). Yesterday I chased the same deer away 4 different times! I no longer like Bambi.

[Spelling Bee: yd 10:14 to g with 3 pans, & final pan at 18 min. QB later on for 7 day streak!
I was shocked that OFFENCE was rejected; I guess Sam prefers it with an S. According to grammarly: "Offence and offense are both correct. Offence is the spelling more commonly used outside of the United States. Offense is the spelling more commonly used in the United States". Google Ngram shows them about even.]

Anonymous 1:55 PM  


It didn't start, or stop, with Alzhiemers Ronny. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/art-laffer-minimum-wage-trump-b1863428.html

Laffer, of course.

Georgia 1:56 PM  


Anonymous 1:59 PM  


just think: constructors and Shortz in collusion have the entire shift-top-row to foist on us. or did they already use '#' for HASH?

interalia 2:20 PM  

I got IVFACINGDOG early and then read it as "forward-facing" as in Roman numeral 4 (and then thought "I don't think that's a yoga thing; I'm ready for some Rex snark.") So that made everything extremely confusing, and I just filled in the rest around the theme answers & came here for an explanation instead of looking at the clues again and ... y'know, thinking about it.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 2:29 PM  

@Beezer 11:30 AM - No, not wrong, absolutely right. That's how it would be used in a context where you were talking about someone's sexuality. But the term then gained wider usage in the sense clued in this puzzle. The clueing with "handles" suggests the idea here is of someone keeping quiet about a transaction of some sort, like a loan or a favor. I'm suggesting that is not the original usage, but that it came to be used that way by extension.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 2:33 PM  

@Anonymous 1:30 PM - Which word are you referring to? Gay? Homosexual? The term "men who have sex with men" originated, in my experience, with CDC reporting on cases of HIV infection and AIDS in the 1980s. The reason they needed that tern is PRECISELY because of the "down-low" phenomenon, and other similar sociocultural phenomena, like men having sex with other men in congregate settings (e.g., prison) while clearly not being "gay" or even "homosexual" in the traditional sense.

Newboy 2:46 PM  

Great Thursday here. IV was a real upper when I finally got down to it….and only a dozen squares were left before the penny dropped. A perfect example of why a puz without circles for the PINBALL would have been much more fun a while back. Some little glitches like eNO before ONO was an obvious oh no that made the long down even more mysterious since I will never remember BNAI spelling in that adjacent stack. Most fun I’m likely to have today, or at least until I scroll back to enjoy all the wit and wisdom I’m expecting today’s grid will evoke from the commentariat 🎯

Anonymous 2:57 PM  

I was certain I’d figured out the theme: Roman numerals! IV-ward facing dog was forward facing dog, so IV, or four , stood for the word “for”. Easy peasy!

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

Men who have sex with men is not a term it is a phrase. One designed to obfuscate. It is, as I asserted, a circumlocution.

Anonymous 3:31 PM  

People who want to keep things on the down low (on the DL).

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

That’s a beautiful observation.

Photomatte 3:41 PM  

"Oh, that's Bodhi. They call him the Bodhisattva. He's crazier than you, Johnny. He'll take you to the edge, and past it."

"Fear causes hesitation and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true."

Can't believe Rex just watched Point Break for the first time! (the original, not the soporific, sophomoric remake from a few years ago). I can quite that movie all day long 😀😀

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

Ugg. Never heard of downward facing dog, spaced out on the canyon, didn’t know Ana or Olga. That corner could have benefited from some work.

Count me in as one who thinks IV dripping down is the theme - hence the IV fill elsewhere as the reveal.

Matt P 3:54 PM  

Great puzzle! One of my fave Thursdays yet. Like Rex, I sussed out BODHI from Point Break, but got the theme from KEEPSONTHEIVLOW. (I tend to try and figure out as many of the across answers in the grid before I attempt the downs.)

Emile O'Touri 4:05 PM  

Sigh.Another day another gimmick theme.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 4:28 PM  

@Anonymous 3:25 PM - Merriam-Webster defines "term" as "a word or expression that has a precise meaning in some uses or is peculiar to a science, art, profession, or subject." As I explained, men who have sex with men (abbreviate in medical and psychosocial literature, among other contexts, as MSM) has a precise meaning, and came into use to avoid terminology that did not accurately describe the people to whom it was being applied.

Beezer 4:38 PM  

@anonymous 3:25 (and maybe earlier)…what is your damned point or are you just mean-spirited? @MIB-S (or anyone else) should not even need to respond to you. Circumlocution? Whatevs, as have some have said today…

Anonymous 5:26 PM  

That re-knowned economist, Will Rogers, at least according to the wiki, authored the term:

"The term "trickle-down" originated as a joke by humorist Will Rogers and today is often used to criticize economic policies that favor the wealthy or privileged while being framed as good for the average citizen."

Z 6:30 PM  

@Mike in Bed-Stuy and @Beezer - Why? I mean, they state that they don’t understand what “men who have sex with men” means. How much more explicit do they need it to be? (don’t answer that, this is a family blog)

albatross shell 6:33 PM  

I thought on the DOWN LOW was old. I still think it meant keeping something secret before it was used as a black non-queer man on man sex term. Just a guess. I think I also was confusing it with on the QT (quiet) which actually is an older term.

On the DOWN LOW is also know as on the DL which could be known as on the 5 fifty (550) instead of on the IV.

meaning down is a tad askew and needs to be connected but does make this a traditionally defined rebus puzzle within the limits of a letters only keyboard.

I don't get the rebus haters but they are welcome to express their opinions.

Thanks to all who make this blog increase my enjoyment of of nearly every puzzle every day.
Not to be mawkish or anything.

Aelurus 7:58 PM  

Confusion, consternation, and concentration - just loved it! Started out with DOWN as a rebus in each square for the answers containing the word down and removed them when I always had an extra empty square and nothing worked crosswise. Like Rex, I worked with what worked in the puzzle for quite a while.

Finally finished in the SE with my third time** removing the wrong tense (I WoN before I WIN) and finally realizing all the down IV iconographies were arrows. So a rebus after all (hi, @Zed 7:09 am). Then alAMo became MIAMI resulting in THE SIMS. And the app was happy.

Thank you, Pao Roy, for the fun and the long-time-to-get-there aha! Agree with @Lewis and @pablo that it's the best aha moment in a while.

@Nancy 8:43 am - I use the NYT Crossword app on my iPad a lot and there is a decided visual space between the I and the V below it, so not looking very much like an arrow, really, because they look very much just like two capital letters. I think you need the optical aha!, which, as @Zed mentioned, might be easier if you've ever typed a bar and angle bracket to make an arrow. (Hi, @ Beezer 10:22 am, @Whatsername too 10:44; boy am I late to commenting and reading y'all today, so I think I'll just stop and post this)

@CDilly 9:22 am - Wonderful description of the solve!

@Joe Dipinto 9:53 am - First paragraph, LOL

**The others were 4D GeTs before GOT and 10D KEEP before KEEPS.

Anonymous 10:21 PM  

I solved this in the car today, too late now for a long comment. I thought of upWARD dog, but I had IMAGE already. Inward dog? No. It was all made harder because I put little bars at the top and bottom of an I so I’ll know it’s not an L. Finally the light dawned, and I was happy.


Anonymous 11:50 PM  

I thought the I V’s were just that IV drips dripping down the long down answers until I got to TRICKLE, knew it had to be DOWN but the letters couldn’t be made to fit. Then I knew it was a substitution theme.

Bob 12:49 AM  


Mike in Bed-Stuy 8:19 AM  

@Zed 6:30 PM @Beezer 4:38 PM - Oh, they understand what it means all right. And they don't need it to be more explicit. What they object to is the fact that it is a non-pejorative, clinically descriptive term that does not imply moral corruption or any other kind of value judgment. But I'm sure you (Zed) realize that, and I appreciate your comment.

johnk 2:23 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle, but hello "Editor"! Neither Biscayne National Park nor Everglades National Park abuts the city of MIAMI. The clue reads "Only U S. city bordered by...". A city is a city, not a metropolitan area. I lived in the MIAMI metro area for many years, and over half of them in the City of Miami. I drove an hour to the Everglades N.P. from the city line. And to get to Biscayne N.P., one needs a boat.

thefogman 10:35 AM  

The gimmick was a bit tricky to get at first but once it was solved there was no more prizes in the Cracker Jacks box. ITSOK I guess but I thought Rex would have judged it more STERNLY.

thefogman 10:55 AM  

PS - Where’s our cranky curmudgeon? And who’s this pleasant chap posing as Rex lately?

Burma Shave 12:08 PM  


MA'AM THE TASK requires MOIST encasing,


spacecraft 12:24 PM  

Unusual-looking grid; I wondered whether that itself might be part of the theme. Looked for a revealer clue...in vain. Hm. Plunged in with the lone gimme BNAI, spreading out from there. Soon, though, when the tennis thing had to be OVERHIT, I was staring at a most improbable pair within 7-down, VT. My first thought was: this entry is to be read from the bottom up, and includes something about TV. Didn't jive with Reaganomics. Hm again.

Plotzed around some more in the SE, and it soon seemed obvious that 7d ended with the word THEORY, which of course shoved me into the answer...but not enough space. At the same time, I had wanted KEEPSONTHEDOWNLOW for 10d--but again same problem. I had two obviously correct phrases with a blank space and a V where "DOWN" should be. Et voila! A really different rebus, using letters to draw a figure. Cool! Plus, there's your Thursday rebus, right in the slot. ITSOK, a place for everything, etc.

Keep this on the DL, but I know about BAMBI Woods, DOD (Damsel of Dallas}.
Drove the green, then 3-putted:


Oh, the puzz. Yeah, for sure, birdie.

rondo 12:36 PM  

@foggy, maybe it's OFL not focusing on time anymore?
But let's get(down)tobrasstacks, pretty good for a Thurs-puz.
A lot of 'corner' letters make up BASKET MOVING.

Another wordle birdie

Diana, LIW 12:47 PM  

You know me and names. Putting DUMBO in the BAMDI spot can cause a lot of frustration. I know.

BUT...I got the "trick" DOWN pat.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

EightAndEight 4:32 PM  

For the last Across (60A) I initially wrote IMIN. Just saying ;-)

Anonymous 4:34 PM  

I will admit bodhi is arcane, but I bet 99% of blog commenters here have eaten at Mexican restaurants, and most likely more than once. And many dishes come with mole (I love mole),so it's not a bad idea to know what's in the food your eating.

thefogman 4:58 PM  

I would have replaced 19A (IVS) with IVY and clued it thusly:: 1968 Mamas and the Papas hit: For the Love of ___ and a hint to 1, 4, 7 and 10 Down.

Diana, LIW 5:39 PM  

Good one, @Foggy

Lady Di

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP