Bygone Mach 1 breaker for short / WED 5-11-22 / Former L.A. Laker Odom / Jazz piano style played by Fats Waller and Mary Lou Williams / Island like Kiritimati / Tot's mount / Windy City rail system in brief / 1908 boxing film for which De Niro won Best Actor / Banjo spot in song

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Constructor: Michael Paleos

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: PARTY ANIMALS (57A: They're always ready for a good time ... or a description of 18-, 25-, 35- and 49-Across) — familiar names / titles / items that sound like animals partying:

Theme answers:
  • ROCKING HORSE (18A: Tot's mount)
  • WILD TURKEY (25A: Jim Beam competitor)
  • DRUNKEN CHICKEN (35A: Chinese poultry dish marinated in wine)
  • RAGING BULL (49A: 1980 boxing film for which De Niro won Best Actor)

Word of the Day:
LAMAR Odom (52A: Criticize harshly) —
Lamar Joseph Odom (born November 6, 1979) is an American former professional basketball player.[2] As a member of the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA), he won championships in 2009 and 2010 and was named the NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2011. [...] Odom played on the United States national team, winning a bronze medal in the Olympics in 2004 and a gold medal in the FIBA World Championship (later known as the World Cup) in 2010. // Odom was married to KhloΓ© Kardashian from 2009 to 2016. During their marriage, Odom made several appearances on the reality television show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. He and Kardashian also had their own reality series, KhloΓ© & Lamar. (wikipedia)
• • •

Wow, almost got the third appearance of AM-N RA in four days, but instead we get the near-miss RAMONA (44D: ___ Quimby, Beverly Cleary heroine). Close call. Too close. I really like this theme, but unfortunately I didn't see the theme until the very end. The part before the end—you know, the part where you put all the letters in the little boxes—that was a lot (lot) less enjoyable. The puzzle really lost me, fill-wise, right about here:

Well not there exactly. A little earlier than that, when I wrote in ELI and before I'd really acceded to the singular WILE, which I very much did not want to do. Not sure why singular WILE is so grating today. It's not like it hasn't appeared in puzzles before. But it has big singular-KUDO energy for me now. If you asked me to name a [Illusionist's skill] I could name a dozen things before I'd name WILE. In fact, I'd never name WILE, because as far as I know I have never ever used or even thought of that answer in the singular (outside of the occasional crossword). GUILE sounds more correct than WILE. WILE is the first name of an animated Coyote or (to me) it's nothing. But seriously I was done before that, with ELI, after having slogged through TOG (another only-ever-see-in-xwords) and IDNO and SEETO and ARI and AEONS and INCAN and even with the very promising DRUNKEN-something waiting for me to fill the rest of it in, I felt fatigued, early. 

Then came ATOLL TTOP IOS UTICA ESTEEMS and by FOGEYS (apt!) all the solving joy felt like it had been bled out of me. I liked ONCE OVER, but I got almost nothing else from the top of the grid except exhausted. And then I get down to longer answers in the SE and I get ... NET SALES? That answer makes ESTEEMS look spicy. Just the dullest collection of common letters you're ever gonna see in an 8. AMEN NOS ENT DAS in the SW ... it all feels like gross crossword negligence. Here you have this very clever and (by its very nature) lively theme, and you just bury it in this gelatinous goop ... this SBARRO-esque, INEDIBLE fill inundation. Keep the theme, in its entirety, strip everything else out, start over. Then, you might get somewhere. Don't do this to your clever theme. Don't bury it in cold gravy.


The puzzle is oversized and yet I never felt the extraness because it was so incredibly easy. The second Monday-level puzzle in a row after a pretty non-Monday Monday ("MONDAY, MONDAY" being a potential theme answer that the *Sunday* puzzle somehow neglected to include, but that's really truly neither here nor there). The reason it's 16-wide is to accommodate the 14 that sits at the center (the puzzle's best answer). 14s can't sit dead center in a standard 15-wide grid, so here we are. It's a reasonable, not uncommon accommodation. I like how different all these "animals" are—a toy, a bottle of whiskey, a plate of food, a Scorsese film; it's a really nice, varied assortment. Again, the main reason I'm mad at the fill is because the theme is so good, whereas the fill HARASSES you, looking like something that the cat EGESTS. I'm definitely exaggerating, but not a lot. I think I'll stop there. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 6:46 AM  

Let’s just be thankful the clue for 53 across wasn’t “____ Ra”.

- Jim C. in Maine

ZZ Top (no relation) 6:48 AM  

Following the rationale of the tweet in @Rex's blog, these items from today that should not be in NYT Xwords.

Eric ___, 1980 Olympic speed skating gold medalist/HEIDEN. 42 years ago? Give me a break!

The last RAMONA Quimby book is older than the last TTOP made.

king_yeti 6:54 AM  

At least it ended quickly

Zed 7:01 AM  

I didn't notice the AMON inside the RA of RAMONA but I did note AMEN as I filled it in. It is walk like an Egyptian week.

I did this last night. Right there with Rex on the theme and the fill didn't grate here the way it did for Rex, so I liked it more. This is an old argument, and I'm generally with Rex that polishing the fill is important lest it distract from a great theme, but I didn't get that queasy esey feeling while solving like Rex did. Looking at his write-up, he's right, it is uneasily esey. Still, for me, today it didn't grate.

As for T-TOP - It is totally irrelevant when the last one was made. Visit the Woodward Dream Cruise and you will still see lots of them. Some people do crosswords for fun. Others tinker with old cars. De gustibus and all that.

kitshef 7:08 AM  

A lot of oversized grids lately. Not sure what that’s about.

MIGs predate the Cold War, and are still being produced today, thirty years after it ended. That’s an odd clue, is what I’m saying.

And technically, INCAN is an adjective. You can talk about an INCAN artifact or the INCAN civilization. But an individual person would be an INCA.

Michael Paleos likes his movie stuff. We get REMAKE, DUSTIN Hoffman, RAGING BULL, Willy Wonka, CODA, and Star Wars.

CatherineL 7:11 AM  

Any sales person knows that your key stat is NEW sales not NET sales.

Lewis 7:14 AM  

What I liked most was the tight and clever theme. Brilliant, actually, coming up with these phrases that tie bacchanalian descriptions and animals, farm animals at that. I haven’t been able to come up with another, and so far, neither has anyone else. Big big bravo on that, Michael!

I also like how KNEE is right in the middle of LEG, as it should be, and that my two favorite answers LOOSE END and ONCE-OVER are bonded together. I also wish to note that ROCKING HORSE is a NYT puzzle debut, and it’s hard to believe that it’s never showed up before.

By the way, there is an answer in the grid that tells what the PARTY ANIMALS are having.

Your puzzle left me smiling, Michael, lifting my day. Thank you for this!

Anonymous 7:17 AM  

When OH WHEN will the NYT accept that the koala is NOT a bear?
And when will Rex acknowledge the error?

Phillyrad1999 7:20 AM  

Liked the theme. A little heavy on the xwordese. Don’t ever remember seeing WILE used as a singular and if so its rare. So a little forced.

Anonymous 7:29 AM  

Just to say I really enjoyed BOING

Laura 7:37 AM  

Yet again, an overly easy puzzle. Only clue in the puzzle to make me smile was banjo spot.

After all the work of making a puzzle, why not throw in a few clues to make us laugh or wrinkle our forehead. Perhaps even Rex could enjoy pedestrian words with good clues.

Son Volt 7:53 AM  

Fun theme - liked the overall fill more than Rex. The Kicken CHICKEN is my go to bourbon - nice to see in the puzzle. Seemed like lots of trivia but it was fill-in type easy. AEONS, TOG etc are rough.

Still have my Whiteface trail map autographed by the great Eric HEIDEN, his sister and both Mahre brothers from ‘80. Saw the US - Sweden game but not as smart as my brother who went back the following week for the Russia game.

The RAMONA x CRETiNS cross is so obvious

Enjoyable Wednesday solve.

bocamp 7:55 AM  

Thx, Michael; perfect Wednes. puz! :)


Moved quickly thru this one, starting in the NW, down and around, and ending with a bit of a head-scratcher in the NE.

Had ChEEK before CREEK, and knew neither the piano style nor the drink. Soon got it sorted out. (whew!) Turned a fairly easy solve into a bit of a poser.

Had to work a bit to grok the totality of the theme: adjectives for PARTYs + names of animals. Very nifty! 🐴 πŸ¦ƒ πŸ“ πŸ‚

Had just finished watching a segment featuring fowl diseases on the PBS Evening News.

Fun adventure; liked it a lot! :)

From yd:

Apple's iPod Touch Is Discontinued, Ending the Music Player's Legacy.

"The iPod helped to change the music industry after it was announced in 2001. Now the last of the company's portable music players is coming to an end." (CNET)

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

Anonymous 7:56 AM  

Koalas are not bears!!! Why not use any other clue that doesn't perpetuate this misconception.

Diane Joan 8:04 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. It was about the right amount of difficulty for a Wednesday and had a nice fun theme. Solving it was a good way to start the day!

W. Strunk 8:06 AM  

While not incorrect, I found the clue for 59D (Communication method...) a bit strange.

ASL is a language. Why not just call it a language?

The comments are better than the outside 8:08 AM  

Oversized grids are a necessity because there are a finite (mathematically) number of 15x15 grids. WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF THEM!

Even with rubbish such as TTOPS and obscure rapper, non white trans Paraguayan authors of how to birth boulders at home in the garden without using fentanyl.

Anonymous 8:10 AM  

Thought 39D, pitching statistic, referred to baseball, giving me NETSAVES. Not sure if that is a real statistic, but it should be!

Orthopedic Surgeon (Ret.) 8:12 AM  

@Lewis 7:14

KNEE is in the middle of the LOWER EXTREMITY, sitting on the top of the LEG


SouthsideJohnny 8:15 AM  

TOG and HIE are the outliers today - at least the RONALDO dude is reasonably well known. I kept wanting ITHICA where UTICA went. Tried ELS instead of CTA but the crosses would have none of that - I got the misdirect but had NEW SALES instead of NET so that Windy City Three-Cross tied me up for a while.

I did not know that STRIDE is a musical style, but it sounded plausible. TTOP seems to show up at least once a month, and most appearances give rise to a disparaging comment or two here - I just accept it as crosswordese at this point. In fact I would much rather have TTOP than ENT has clued (save ENT for the guy who treats your sinus infection).

Now I'm off to consult with uncle Google to hopefully learn about ancient Minos and its resident CRETANS.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

Theme is charming. RAMONA Quimby made me smile; was a big fan as a kid. EMINEM, BB KING, EMO, and a banjo on my KNEE are a fun assortment, no? Very happy to have my dental cleaning behind me (yesterday), and also because Alex Cora shaved his beard, which is a baseball thing. Happy Hump Day.

JD 8:35 AM  

Been doing the puzzle for Aeons and according to Xword Info, it’s shown up regularly since 1995 but swear I’ve never seen it. A big problem because I kept thinking baseball for Cardinals and couldn’t understand _RI. Feelin’ like an eejit.

OTOH, why name a football team after a bird? Eagles, ok. But Cardinals? Sure they can get aggressive during mating season, but still. Birds to describe a half ton linebacker? If I keep harping on this and retyping Cardinals and ARI maybe I can start my own blog. Goin’ for the SRI.

But the theme was great, they usually aren’t, so I give this maximum party favors (you out there girlfren?).

Agree with @Zed on TTops. Husband had a ’57 Chevy and I saw TTops at car shows but let’s admit the owners were mostly Fogeys.

Nancy 8:43 AM  

I had my own ideas for what the revealer might be:



But PARTY ANIMALS is so much better. Though I doubt I'd ever invite the RAGING BULL back again.

Having one WILE is sort of liking having one KUDO. In fact, I'll offer you a KUDO for your terrific illusionist's WILE.

An odd way to clue STRIDE and I've never once heard of that jazz piano style. Also, I tried to spell FOGEYS as FOGIES, but that's on me.

A colorful puzzle with a lot of BOING to it. I enjoyed it.

kitshef 8:49 AM  

@W Strunk 8:06 – the L in ASL stands for Language, and it is considered bad form to include part of the answer in the clue.

pabloinnh 8:55 AM  

Read the clue for 1A and thought BLOWSIT? and sure enough, there it was, and the rest of the puzzle wasn't much harder. Didn't object to the answers so much as the overly straightforward cluing.

Sorry, but Captain Hook is Cyril Ritchard. Dustin Hoffman is Ratso, and that's that.

Fond memories of Eric Heiden zipping around the track in front of the Lake Placid high school. Nothing like having the Olympics in a small town.

Like others, I really liked the theme and found the fill to be mostly meh. My favorite thing this AM was reading OFL's description of one unfortunate section of the puzzle as "the dullest collection of common letters you've ever gonna see". Can't say I've ever thought of a crossword in that way.

So too easy for a Wednesday, great theme, Minimally Puzzling, but thanks, MP, for some fun.

Gary Jugert 8:56 AM  

Oh fiddles-ticks @Rex, this was a way better puzzle than your review indicates.

The theme answers were great. The theme revealer was perfect, and look at all these sneaky thematic also-rans:

BLOWS IT: When the stereo pops the circuit.

TTOP: Your mullet friend's ride with the keg.

EMO: What you'll be listening to when your sweet-ums ditches you at the party.

INEDIBLE: The guacamole on the ceiling, but you still taste it just to make sure.

HARASSES: It's a party, you know, somebody needs to start a fight. Or go home offended.

CRETANS: You don't invite your smart friends if you want a good party.

BLAST: Somebody M-80ed (verb) the mailbox.

AMEN: You, the Sun God, the porcelain altar, 3 am. You know, religious fervor.

KOALA: That stuffed animal in your friend's bedroom you just can't leave well enough alone.


BRR: The cute one's attitude toward you.

WAKEN: How you gonna send home the dude you don't know sleeping in the tub.

POW: Double theme! The uncorking and the fisticuffs.

T SHIRT: I'm with Stupid πŸ‘‰ is always a wearable party.

ESCALATES: What 911 is gonna hafta do based on your stupid neighbors... those 14D.

And finally, in this epic tour of all things WOOHOO, the crowning achievement of the Lonely NYTXW Editors Tee-Hees (LNETHS) sitting down there with the subtlety of my cat on a business Zoom meeting sits... take a breath... BOING.

This puzzle is pure RAWK. Even the ELIs are welcome (if they bring Ramona).

Gary Jugert 9:01 AM  

Wait. Wha?? My life is a lie. Then what are they?

Liveprof 9:04 AM  

Leaping lizard
Cool cat
Hot dog
Steamed clam (maybe better not to invite him)

EdFromHackensack 9:04 AM  

Eric Heiden is fair game . He won FIVE individual Olympic gold medals. He set 15 world records. He was an amazing athlete and went on to complete med school at Stanford.

Nancy 9:15 AM  

Phrazle 45: 2/6
⬜🟩⬜⬜⬜ 🟨πŸŸͺ 🟩⬜ 🟩🟩🟩 🟩πŸŸͺ⬜πŸŸͺ

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩

Rachel 9:24 AM  

I loved this theme! The only thing I didn't like about the theme is that it made me sad because drunken chickens aren't actually partying or having fun, they're dead after having lived heinous, tortured lives (animal lover here). But still loved the theme.

I was thrown by INCAN, because that's an adjective. The people are Incas or one Inca. So I had INCAS first and then had to change it. I was also confused by the clue for ASL. The name of it literally includes "language," it's a language, so why clue it as some not-quite language?

I know some people think RAMONA Quimby is outdated, but I remember reading some of those books as a kid and just yesterday I thought about one of the Ramona books, out of the blue, for the first time in years probably, so it felt like a fun coincidence to see it in the grid today.

RooMonster 9:25 AM  

Hey All !
Where's the Roo Monster? Har.

Fun puz. Caught the 16 wide grid right away. Gives hope the ole brain is still functioning sorta correctly. 😁

Fun Revealer. Actually haven't heard of DRUNKEN CHICKEN. Haven't seen it on Chinese food menus. But not a big wine guy, so probably for the best.

Got a chuckle out of HARASSES, after @albatross' funny post YesterComments (late)(I think it was @albie...)

Had a KOALA (bear πŸ€ͺ) as my favorite stuffed animal when I was a tot. Still have it in a box in a closet somewhere. That thing is 45 years old!

Had a BLAST (was that the word @Lewis?) solving this puz. But a BOING in my step.

Great onomatopoeia, BOING.

yd -11 (eek), should'ves (only) 6
Duo 36, missed 1-6-11-23

One F

Hartley70 9:31 AM  

This was a cute Wednesday, although it was clearly on the easy side. My only delay was trying to make STL work for the Cardinals, then forging on to various university initials. ARI was an Institute at first glance until I realized Arizona. If I was going to shorten ARIZONA I would never omit the Z. The Z is everything.

Liveprof 9:32 AM  

High horse

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

Utica is known more for the beer than the college.

Tom T 9:35 AM  

Hand up for NEwSALES before NETSALES.

Love how @Lewis so often connects us to hidden gems, like today's clever discovery concerning "what the PARTY ANIMALS were having." Clearly they were having a SBARRO pizza with EMINEM cookies for dessert. It was the POW (party of the week) for those guys! One might even say they had a BLAST. :-)

Speaking of hidden gems, the Hidden Diagonal Word (HDW) of the day answers to this clue: Where Charlotte and friends keep their eggs"

Answer: SACS, which can be found in the NW, running parallel to "Country-mate of the KOALA, familiarly" -- ROO. (Yet another diagonal appearance for @RooMonster.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:44 AM  

@ZZ Top (no relation) 6:48 AM - Re: "The last RAMONA Quimby book is older than the last TTOP made." Discovering Beverly Cleary was one of the happiest moments of my young life, and she is welcome in the puzzle any day of the week, as far as I'm concerned, as are Henry Huggins and Ramona and Beezus Quimby and all the rest.

Carola 9:47 AM  

Nice one! I was expecting a reveal that would feature a farm or Old MacDonald, so couldn't have been more surprised when the PARTY ANIMALS flashed into view. Loved it! And I liked the addition of BB KING to give the gathering some class. Also liked LOOSE END, ONCE OVER, ESCALATES, STRIDE as clued.

Re: Eric HEIDEN - Fun to read the reminiscences of @Son Volt and @pabloinhe. Eric and his sister Beth were neighbors; the warming house at our community ice-skating rink is the HEIDEN Haus, so their memory is alive and well here.

Whatsername 9:52 AM  

I’ve never been known to have a WILD PARTY but I do love my ANIMALS so really enjoyed this theme, especially the DRUNKEN CHICKEN part. How appropriate and a real KNEE slapper. Found myself RAGING at the PPP In the early going but as I progressed the crosses cleared things up and all was forgiven. Then nearly blew IT by having the wrong side of the ARI/STL keoloa which left the NW as open as a TTOP until I finally saw I needed to move my team out of St. Louis and head west.

The phrase PARTY ANIMALS always conjures a vision of my pets having a BLAST when they’re home alone, especially the cats who act like they can’t wait until I leave. I liked SENATES over REST which seems to be what they do best, that is when they’re not bickering OVER some imaginary LOOSE END.

@Nancy (9:15) Looks like you’re back to ROCKING the Phrazle solve. Now I have renewed courage to give it a go after my humiliating smackdown yesterday PM.

I’ve been missing @GILL who has not graced us with her presence lately. And @Frantic too. Hoping all is well with both.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:54 AM  

@Anonymous 7:56 AM - How about "Frequently misclassified marsupial"?

jberg 9:56 AM  

The theme is good, but as I see it 3 participles and one adjective is not ideal. Maybe necessary; if @Lewis can't think of another themer there may not be one. I didn't notice that WILD TURKEY was part of the theme until coming here.

Fortunately, I've ridden the CTA many times; otherwise I'd have stuck with NEw SALES.

After the theme, the most fun part of the puzzle was thinking about 'chewable calcium.' I finally realized that it must be for people who take calcium as a supplement but can't swallow the gigantic pills, but all kinds of weird images drifted through my mind first.

The clue for DAS bothers me; what's next, "____ Grapes of Wrath?" A better clue, though still horrible, might be "Russian assents."

@Zed, thanks for the Bangles clip. My daughter was a fan, so I've listened to them a lot, but never once saw them, either live or on TV; never knew what they looked like.

@Gary Jugert -- they're not even mammals. Well, I guess they are now (they weren't in my youth) but they're still marsupials, more closely related to kangaroos than to bears.

Fifi 9:59 AM  

A koala is not a bear. It is a marsupial.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:04 AM  

I think I learned both TOG and HIE from solving crosswords, and this time did not bat an eyelash at them. Nice to be reminded of the eponymous-ish 1969 debut album "Chicago Transit Authority."

pmdm 10:04 AM  

The constructor mentions that almost the exact same reveler appeared about a year ago in a NYT crossword puzzle. I don't remember it, and even if I did it would not have spoiled this party by a long shot. And Judging from the comments here, it did not intrude on the solving experience.

I reacted to this puzzle a bit in the middle of the road. Liked the theme, not so much the fill. A bit more basic than most Wednesday puzzles. I guess all in all a positive reaction.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:07 AM  

Am I the only one here who immediately thought of an expletive phrase ending in UP as the entry for 1A?

Mike in Bed-Stuy 10:16 AM  

@pabloinnh 8:55 AM - "Benjamin, I am getting pretty tired of all this suspicion. Now if you won't do me a simple favor, I don't know what."

RDuke 10:27 AM  

As I recall from my jazz class in college, stride was a piano style that was popular after ragtime but before boogie woogie.

Joe Dipinto 10:37 AM  

My first reaction was, Don't you mean "Raving Bull"? There's no movie with that title of course, but a RAVE is a party:

a lively party or gathering involving dancing and drinking.
"their annual fancy-dress rave"

What does RAGE have to with partying, except as a bad ending for a night of escalating wild, drunken revelry?

Phrazle 45: 2/6
⬜⬜πŸŸͺ⬜⬜ 🟩🟩 πŸŸͺπŸŸͺ 🟩🟩🟩 ⬜⬜πŸŸͺ⬜

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

It took no effort whatsoever to see that the claim that Rocking Horses have not been sold for 20 years is totally false. There are many on Amazon and elsewhere.

Anonymoose 10:40 AM  

@Mike in Bed-Stuy.

You asked, "Am I the only one here who immediately thought of an expletive phrase ending in UP as the entry for 1A?"

You are not alone.

Masked and Anonymous 10:47 AM  

Somebody oughta ASK KOALA to the PARTY. [At least he's got his own BLAST goin on, upstairs.]

Primo theme. And all the puz's U's are in the themers!

no-knows: RONALDO. RAMONA.
fave spellin: AMUNRA.

staff weeject picks: BRR signin in, SST signin out. Luvly weeject stacks in the NE & SW, btw.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Paleos dude. Darn good job.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

p.s. Yay! Both m&e and the PuzEatinSpouse had the same Wordle puz final solution today. Hopefully the days of Weirdle are over and done. Would celebrate by startin each future Wordle solve with AMUNRA, if I could.


Newboy 10:49 AM  

Yep, Wednesday cute

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

Nitpick: Word of the day should be (52D: Former L.A. Laker Odom), and there is no 52A.

F. Frick 10:51 AM  

@ Anonymous (8:10 am)

EVERYTHING is now a statistic in sports- most of them not only useless and meaningless, but uttery ridiculous. as well.

The last time a left-handed starting pitcher threw a slider to a right handed batter with the count 2-2 and men on first and third with one out during the sixth inning of an American league day game in the second of a three game home series under overcast skies that started after a 40 minutes rain delay that was hit to deep left field to drive in one run while the other runner was thrown out at the plate was July 18, 1961.

At least your stat has the advantage of actually meaning something.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

@Joe D. said, "What does RAGE have to with partying........?"


Most commonly, a RAGER is a house PARTY, college PARTY, high school PARTY, where attendees consume excessive amounts of drugs and alcohol.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

@Anon 10:38 I know, reading is hard, but the tweet was about 16 (sixteen) across, TTOP, not 18 (eighteen) ROCKINGHORSE.

Joe Dipinto 10:59 AM  

Responding to myself at 10:37 –

But on second thought, the sequence does suggest a timeline, ending up

Anonymous 11:11 AM  


jae 11:18 AM  

Easy. My only hiccup was spelling RONALDO correctly after erasing ROdrigO. Delightful, liked it a bunch!

sixtyni yogini 11:31 AM  

Monday, Monday!
Agree, but it’s not a complaint. Just don’t want to fool myself into thinking I’m getting REALLY good at this.
Haha, and thinking that we may be getting set up for a real stumper.πŸ˜‚

egsforbreakfast 11:41 AM  

Patron: Hey barkeep. Make me something I’ve never had.
Bartrender: Have you ever DRUNKEN CHICKEN?
Patron: No, what’s it like?
Bartender: Well, it’s an INEDIBLE, CHALKY substance that EGESTS easily if you just BLOW SIT for a while.
Patron: Wow, who drinks something like that?
Bartender: FOGEYS, INCANS, people that are just doing it for a laugh. I call ‘em HAR ASSES. By the time they leave, my LOO SEEN D worst of them.
Patron: I think I’ll just have a WILD TURKEY.

Nice theme, easy fill. Thanks, Michael Paleos.

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

F. Frick (10.51). Meaningless sports statistics, so annoying. Nice job burlesquing them.

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

OK, is it NET or NEW sales?? depends on the context. for the individual salescritter, NEW is what matters. for the Bean Counters, NET is what matters. there have been scandals for decades, if not centuries, over salescritters getting paid, bonus or otherwise, on bogus NEW sales that never consummate. that's why Bean Counters always, always want to know NET, since that's what's compared to expenses to figure out profit (or, Lord help us, loss). The clue "Pitching statistic?" is ambiguous as to context. so there.

"He was a white-American abolitionist. Stephen Symonds Foster was born in Canterbury, New Hampshire. His parents Sarah and Asa Foster had twelve children; Stephen was the ninth. The family attended the local Congregational church and took part in Canterbury's anti-slavery society."

the banjo, all too often, associated with minstrelsy. so, Pablo, since NH is such a small population state (42nd as of today), you must be related. at least only one or two degrees of separation?

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

Streaming sites should be a favorite for the week IMHO.

Joe Dipinto 11:59 AM  

@Anon 10:54 – Thanks. As a verb it's actually all the way at the bottom of the Oxford entry online –I missed it.

dadnoa 12:22 PM  

As others have commented, Koalas are not bears. Rex probably overlooked this as 55A was past his “awful fill” moment. NYXword needs a science fact checker!

Anonymous 12:32 PM  


pabloinnh 12:33 PM  

@Anon 11:46-Interesting stuff about Stephen Foster, especially since "My Old Kentucky Home" was just in the news in the NYT, where it was described as a song with deeply racist roots.

If I'm related to the Fosters it would have to be by marriage, since I grew up in the wilds of the Adirondacks in NY. My wife's family on both sides goes way back in NH, so I suppose anything is possible. Canterbury in famous for its Shaker settlement, by the way, but if there were nine children in the Foster family they clearly were not members.

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

if there were nine children in the Foster family they clearly were not members.

You'd better explain that to the group assembled. I once had a business relationship with Shaker Computers, in Latham.

TJS 12:43 PM  

@Son Volt. Loved the "Kicken Chicken" for Wild Turkey. Ever heard of "A Brick O'Rickey" ?

bocamp 12:45 PM  

"The KOALA or, inaccurately, KOALA bear (Phascolarctos cinereus) is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia. It is the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae and its closest living relatives are the wombats." (Wikipedia)

Hush Little Baby Don't You Cry (compliments to americanenglish

Hush, little baby, don't you cry; Papa's going to sing you a lullaby.

Hush little baby don't say a word; Papa's going to buy you a mockingbird.

If that mockingbird won't sing, Papa's going to buy you a golden ring.

If that gold ring turns to brass, Papa's going to buy you a looking glass.

If that glass begins to crack, Papa's going to buy you a jumping jack.

If that jumping jack is broke, Papa's going to buy you a velvet cloak.

If that velvet cloth is coarse, Papa's going to buy you a ROCKING HORSE.

If that ROCKING HORSE won't rock, Papa's going to buy you a cuckoo clock.

If that cuckoo clock won't tick, Papa's going to buy you a walking stick.

If that walking stick falls down, you'll still be the sweetest little baby in town!
td pg: 5.25 (0 in 30 give or take) / Wordle: 2* / WordHurdle: 3 / Globle: 8 / Worldle: 2

Phrazle 45: 2/6 (my initial offering)

⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜ 🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 πŸŸͺ🟩🟩⬜
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩

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

Joe Dipinto 12:55 PM  

Goodness knows!

Phrazle 46: 1/6
🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

okanaganer 1:14 PM  

Yes this was very fast! I didn't even notice the wider grid. I really liked the theme; unlike Rex I didn't let the few ugly bits spoil it for me. Besides, it had STRIDE jazz and BB KING!

45 down EGESTS is a classic kealoa: EJECTS, EVICTS, etc.

@bocamp yesterday... I didn't even know Jim Cotter was from Kamloops! Several times a BC curling champion.

[Spelling Bee: yd probably at least 40 min to pg; I forgot to restart the timer. bocamp you were much faster than me! But got to QB eventually, and enjoyed some interesting new 'x' words.]

Masked and Anonymous 1:25 PM  


From the Official M&A Help Desk Dictionary:

"usage: In nontechnical contexts, koala bear (as opposed to koala) is widely used. Zoologists, however, regard this form as incorrect on the grounds that, despite appearances, koalas are completely unrelated to bears."
"Also called NATIVE BEAR in Australia."

Sooo… {___ bear} = KOALA clue is ok, and not ok. QED.

M&A Help Desk

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

And scoreboards usually have ARZ, not ARI. Usually. Just say “MSNBC host” or something and stop making us think three-letter fill might be STL

A 1:56 PM  

Had a “ROCKING HORSE” when I was a kid. Technically it didn’t rock because it was on springs (BOING) but it sure was exhilarating to a four year old.

Agree that WILE is not the first thing that comes to mind, but getting ‘sleight of hand’ to fit would require an illusionist’s skill.

Finished with NEwSALES - forgot to check the cross.

Did this one late last night and had much the same experience as others: wait AEONS….then POW!
Phrazle 44: 2/6
πŸŸͺ🟩⬜🟩 🟩🟨πŸŸͺ⬜⬜🟩πŸŸͺ ⬜🟨πŸŸͺ⬜πŸŸͺ⬜⬜

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

Took this one in STRIDE.
Phrazle 45: 2/6
⬜⬜⬜⬜πŸŸͺ 🟩🟩 ⬜⬜ 🟩🟩🟩 πŸŸͺ🟩🟩⬜

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩

Happy Birthday to English composer Judith Weir(1956). Her “Airs from Another Planet” from 1986 for wind quintet and piano is playful, lyrical, and full of cool textures and harmonies. At the opening I thought I was hearing feedback but it’s stopped horn doubling the piano. Very tricky to play. Hand stopping can make the already-slippery horn even less accurate, plus you have to transpose down a half-step. This is an excellent ensemble!

pabloinnh 1:57 PM  

@Anon-12:43, and anyone interested-

The Shakers as a religious sect believed in celibacy and forbade procreation, the Fosters clearly did not fit that description.

Fun fact-I've played a high school sectional soccer game at Shaker High School in Latham. Small world.

bigsteve46 2:44 PM  

There is nothing wrong with the answer KOALA for a clue that is stated "_____ bear." It is referring to a term of common usage not a zoological fact. If the clue was "____________ hat" and the answer was PANAMA, that would also be okay, too, even if the hats commonly described that way are made in Ecuador. This is a word usage puzzle, not a encyclopedia or text book.

Ann Lee 2:45 PM  

@Pablo..., @Anon-12:43 - They could have been foster children. We Shakers are quite benevolent.

CDilly52 3:00 PM  

I am right there with OFL on WILE, ELI and AEONS - and a bunch of others. Could be just day two of post-booster malaise (which I absolutely have, but the ague has abated), but I completely lost my “wavelength visa” in various places and just sat there without any vocabulary. Go figure. Bunch if things I didn’t know, like EMINEM’s name or what on earth Death Cab for Cutie is (although the guess was easy) and I got the theme answers right away and the reveal was excellent. We didn’t have a “the last words of” for a change, all of the theme answers applied. Nice job, Michael paleos! And since it is Wednesday, I was hoping for a good theme and POW, right in the kisser!

Max 3:07 PM  

Actually koalas aren’t bears because they don’t have the right… koalafications

Son Volt 3:40 PM  

@TJS - can’t say I’ve heard of A Brick O’Rickey. WILD TURKEY has also been called The Dirty Bird by some - but that’s too pejorative for such a wonderful bourbon.

Gabi 4:26 PM  

Language is the L in ASL, so it can’t be in the clue.

Anonymous 4:32 PM  

Koalas are not bears. The NYT surely knows this.

OffTheGrid 5:05 PM  

@Max 3:07. NICE!

Geezer 5:09 PM  

KOALA? Just grin and bear it. It's ok.

Nancy 6:26 PM  

There are a number of people here with a phlair for Phrazle. But there's only one who seems to be blessed with "second sight".

With zero letters to work with and with a configuration of spaces that could be just about anything at all, how do you do it time after time, Joe?????

Joe Dipinto 7:06 PM  

@Nancy – well I've only had three Phraces out of 35 games. I don't like guessing random combinations of words, so I try to think of something that *could* be the answer to use for a first guess, even if it takes me a long time. I don't always come up with anything, or if I do it often isn't right, but today it was.

I can offer a hint, as it turns out, for Phrazle 46: anyone who's stuck might want to peruse the Times's Food Section. I was just reading through it, and the solution shows up in it somewhere. :-)

Anonymous 7:40 PM  

@anon 4:32- and Guinea Pigs aren’t pigs, they’re rodents. So ____pig is an unacceptable clue for Guinea ? Sheesh.

Nolaist 9:13 PM  

@Max thanks for making me groan/smile

Anonymous 1:50 AM  

Last BrontΓ« sister book even older!

Anonymous 3:08 AM  


Anonymous 8:47 AM  

You just made a party of a puzzle a riot and a half!!

Anonymous 4:46 PM  

Flawed analogy. “Guinea Pig” is the name of the animal, not “Guinea.”

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