Diner cry after a bell is rung / THU 5-5-22 / Student-led LGBTQ+ grp / Terence ___ noted expert on combinatorics and analytic number theory / Colvin civil rights pioneer who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus nine months before Rosa Parks / Like some horse bedding

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Constructor: Adam Wagner

Relative difficulty: Easy (Challenging for me because I am uniquely stupid)

THEME: [FIBONACCI] / SEQUENCE (37D: When preceded by [the circled letters], progression starting with 0 and 1) + [FIBONACCI] / SPIRAL (30A: When preceded by [the circled letters], natural shape said to be seen in 61-Across and 27-Down) — black squares are supposed to evoke a FIBONACCI SPIRAL (I think) and while at first I thought the circled squares were also supposed to evoke that spiral, I think those boxes simply contain the numbers (excluding the initial "0" and "1") that start the FIBONACCI SEQUENCE (i.e. [0], [1], 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55,  [89], [144], etc.)

Theme answers:
  • GOLDEN RATIO (11D: Numerical constant associated with [the circled letters])
  • SUNFLOWERS (61A: Classic van Gogh subject)
  • NAUTILI (27D: Certain cephalopods)
  • MATH TEACHER (17A: Someone well versed in this puzzle's theme)

In mathematics, the Fibonacci numbers, commonly denoted Fn, form a sequence, the Fibonacci sequence, in which each number is the sum of the two preceding ones. The sequence commonly starts from 0 and 1, although some authors omit the initial terms and start the sequence from 1 and 1 or from 1 and 2. Starting from 0 and 1, the next few values in the sequence are:

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, ...

The Fibonacci numbers were first described in Indian mathematics, as early as 200 BC in work by Pingala on enumerating possible patterns of Sanskrit poetry formed from syllables of two lengths. They are named after the Italian mathematician Leonardo of Pisa, later known as Fibonacci, who introduced the sequence to Western European mathematics in his 1202 book Liber Abaci.

Fibonacci numbers appear unexpectedly often in mathematics, so much so that there is an entire journal dedicated to their study, the Fibonacci Quarterly. Applications of Fibonacci numbers include computer algorithms such as the Fibonacci search technique and the Fibonacci heap data structure, and graphs called Fibonacci cubes used for interconnecting parallel and distributed systems. They also appear in biological settings, such as branching in trees, the arrangement of leaves on a stem, the fruit sprouts of a pineapple, the flowering of an artichoke, an uncurling fern, and the arrangement of a pine cone's bracts.

Fibonacci numbers are strongly related to the golden ratioBinet's formula expresses the nth Fibonacci number in terms of n and the golden ratio, and implies that the ratio of two consecutive Fibonacci numbers tends to the golden ratio as n increases. Fibonacci numbers are also closely related to Lucas numbers, which obey the same recurrence relation and with the Fibonacci numbers form a complementary pair of Lucas sequences. (wikipedia)

• • •

When I finally saw that those circled squares were gonna spell FIBONACCI, I thought "oh, we're doing this (again), are we?" I've definitely seen mathy constructors try to do something with this sequence before. I was not prepared for how hard the puzzle would be even after I figured out the basic premise (and filled out the circled squares). From the cross-referenced 1-Across, which meant that, well, I couldn't get 1-Across for a while, which meant I couldn't see "FIBONACCI" for a while ... to KORUNAS, which, dear lord, ouch, that is not a foreign currency I've ever seen in my puzzle or anywhere else in my life (4A: Units on Czech checks) ... to, well, so many things in the spiral part of the grid, including HINT, SECT, TOQUE, CLAUDETTE, DOLLIES (I had PALLETS), SLIT, SPOT, ORDER UP, NAUTILI (the plural!) ... I had to go the very heart of the spiral and work my way back out. The spiral part is so horrifically cut off from the rest of the grid (you can access it only via the narrowest of SLITs—the "E" at CLEESE/ETSY) that the spiral became a version of the thing I hate in highly segmented hard puzzles, which is to say a claustrophobic dead end. In the end, I just don't think the execution works here. That is, the black squares only kinda sorta evoke the SPIRAL they claim to evoke, and the circled squares ... wow, I really really really wanted to make them into a spiral. The puzzle seemed to want me to. SPIRAL, it said. I know it also said SEQUENCE, but I figured the SPIRAL was the SEQUENCE. So I tried connecting the letters, thusly:

... and then thusly:

... before finally realizing that while those letters spelled FIBONACCI, they didn't form a visual pattern; instead, they just appeared in the numbers associated with the FIBONACCI / SEQUENCE. The effect of it all, for me, was clunky and awkward. The puzzle is trying to do So Much, including cram in bonus theme answers, that the fill starts to buckle and the premise just doesn't quite come off, visually. It's kind of smugly in-group-y too, what with the TAO clue (42A: Terence ___, noted expert on combinatorics and analytic number theory), and then the MATH TEACHER answer, particularly the way that it's clued (17A: Someone well versed in this puzzle's theme). It's presumptuous. Are MATH TEACHERs well versed in it? All of them? I took math classes from many MATH TEACHERs until the age of 19 or so, and it's not like FIBONACCI came up a lot. Mostly never. I've heard about it way more in my puzzle-solving life than I ever did in math class. Is SCIENCE CAMP also supposed to be a themer? Like, people who went to SCIENCE CAMP will like this? I don't know. I like the unusual shape of the grid, and I was happy to learn CLAUDETTE (more people should be named CLAUDETTE), but the elaborate architectural stuff going on here just felt forced to me, and the joy of solving largely dropped out, though much of the joy drain came from foreign currency (KORUNAS) and (once again) laugh syllables (HAR) and EXCOPS (I see too many fascist "Blue Lives" flags on a daily basis to get any great pleasure from seeing COPS in my puzzle, ex- or otherwise) (33D: Many security guards), and finally STRAWY, which, as you can see in the posted grid, I refused to write in, even at the bitter end. I wrote in STRAW- and just ... no. Sometimes you have to take a stand against nonsense (45D: Like some horse bedding).

Is GSA "Gay Student Association"? Whoa, no, it's "Gender-Sexuality Alliance" and this is the very first I'm hearing of it despite working on a college campus for my entire life it seems. Did all of you know what those letters stood for? Weird to drop a newish initialism on people where there's no real way to determine what the letters stand for without guessing. It's an interesting initialism, way more interesting than General Services Administration (the typical GSA clue), but hard to infer the "G" and "S" even with context. Maybe the fact that "gay" and "student" were in the clue supposed to tell us "that's not what the G and S stand for," but still, I'd've been guessing. Looks like GSA can also be "Gay-Straight Alliance" ... just to make matters more confusing for ya.  COOL DUDE and ["Cat"] don't seem like equivalents. That is, coolness is not inherent in catness, which is why you can call someone a "cool cat" without its being absurdly redundant. Don't get me wrong, I really like the "COOL DUDE / REX" SEQUENCE, but ["Cat"] just seems like an off clue there. 

If you are a math person who really gets off on things in your wheelhouse, and this floated your boat, fantastic. I just couldn't groove on the wave it was laying down, man. (sorry, don't know what kind of -speak that is...). See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


BunnyR 5:40 AM  

I was left pleased with myself that I was familiar with the theme, though not from any math class I ever had, and, also, wondering how many people actually are familiar with it. Very esoteric. You either know it or you don't. Still, it was way better than a rebus!

I was sure you'd have something to say about strawy, and you didn't disappoint. Talk about pushing the envelope.

Joaquin 6:05 AM  

Compared to many of the folks I deal with on a daily basis I consider myself a math genius because I am able to make change without using a calculator. But this Fibonacci stuff is so far over my head that the Hubble telescope couldn't find it for me. Nevertheless, I was able to finish this puzzle in a reasonable time with no cheats. My TOQUE is doffed to Mr. Wagner for making this nerdy puzzle solvable by the math impaired.

Anonymous 6:13 AM  

I’m a math person and knew right away this was a Fibonacci themed puzzle. But I’m also claustrophobic so the puzzle did not do it for me

RI guy 6:20 AM  

Personally, I'd like to see 36A clued as "--- Parker, Will Shortz's bΓͺte noire.

BunnyR 6:20 AM  

Also, who lies about their height? Age, or weight, maybe, but height? What would be the point? You can pretty much see for yourself how tall someone is. I was trying to think of something one could physically do about their height, like high heels or elevator shoes. Never occurred to me that people lie about their height.

Anonymous 6:29 AM  

Finished it. Didn’t enjoy it. Took NYS Regents exams in all the maths they offered and then took Calculus. Never heard of Fibonacci. Sounds like the only people outside of Math majors who would know him are from him coming up in a puzzle before. Enough PPP and positively arcane stuff. Puzzles seem to be all niche puzzles these days leaving out most of the audience while an ego trip for the constructor.

Chris from LI 6:40 AM  

I am a math person who really gets off on things in my wheelhouse, and I did not enjoy this puzzle. Not because of the math-related stuff, but for all of the other reasons you listed.

Nolaist 6:44 AM  

Strangely this was for me one of my fastest Thursday times ever. Got 19A:Many people do this about their height LIE right away so 1A was FIB and then I could see the Fibonacci Sequence and the rest was easy. Only CLAUDETTE / TOQUE took me a moment I do wish that the circled letters had followed the pattern, if they'd usedthe I in EPI it would have been better. Also having Bygone used in the clueing on 58D and 63A felt weird

OffTheGrid 6:51 AM  

Big improvement over recent Thursdays. I think @Rex went too deep in analyzing this one. It was more straightforward than his comments suggest. I am amused and pleased that he refused to enter the "Y" for STRAWY. I resisted but I pretended to ignore it while I entered YESTERYEAR.

Anonymous 6:56 AM  

I solved on the Times app, and I ignored everything except putting the correct letters in the boxes. Wound up finishing in slightly more than one-half my normal Thursday time, so I’d call this one easy.

Anonymous 7:04 AM  

Well, this music (not MATH) TEACHER knows a little bit about a lot of things, as Peggy Lee used to sing, and was tickled to recognize the Fibonacci theme. Didn’t bother counting the squares to make sure the circles were spaced out correctly — just trusted the constructor on that. I love starting my day thinking about the golden ratio. Not so happy to encounter STRAWY, an ugly nonword. And I didn’t even see the spiral until I was finished. A fun puzzle!

smalltowndoc 7:04 AM  

I liked the theme and the way the main theme answer was distributed among the first digits of its SEQUENCE. The SPIRAL layout, not so much. It’s not the right shape (it should look like the illustration in REX’s write up. And STRAWY?? No…just, no. I had "STReWn (?) at first.

kitshef 7:08 AM  

What takes this from being a so-so puzzle to a gem is the placement of the circles in FIBONACCI-numbered squares. What keeps it from going from gem to masterpiece is STRAWY.

mmbeitlermd 7:16 AM  

I thought it was gay-straight alliance.

Phillyrad1999 7:20 AM  

Would not qualify myself as a mat expert but did enjoy both the theme and the execution. Once I had FIB in the NW it was game on. Liked seeing GOLDEN RATIO. Wish I knew how to spell James Cordon’s name though.

JD 7:20 AM  

Knew almost immediately that we were into Fibonacci. Problem was that my entire educational experience with this topic, other than the other NYT Fibonacci puzzle(s?), was an exhibit I visited during an accepted students day when I took my son on a college tour. So, mathematician, nautilus (there was only one, it was a small college), spiral, maybe pinecone. It was 14 years ago.

Still, it was helpful. What I couldn’t get was the Golden Ratio, GSA, Corden, ACC, and Tao. And there I died, head all Strawy, new sympathy for the Scarecrow. Kidding. My brain wouldn’t have gotten me to GSA, Corden, and this guy Tao because I’ve never encountered any of them. Probably could have sussed out Golden Ratio with a little help, but alas.

I accept Strawy though because there’s an equally ugly but legit word “clayey,” as in clayey soil (has a high clay content and holds water), which has always annoyed me but there it is.

Overall, enjoyed the puzzle quite a bit.

Anonymous 7:28 AM  

Interesting that this is marked as challenging! It was my fastest ever Thursday - sub 10, when my average is closer to 25. Maybe being a European familiar with korunas and the lack of very US pop culture references in todays puzzle helped me out?

Anonymous 7:31 AM  

Completely agree with horse bedding, but i allowed myself to fill in the crosses. GSA is also Geological Society of America

Son Volt 7:31 AM  

Definitely a niche puzzle - but I didn’t find it Thursday difficult. Some odd fill - KORUNAS, STRAWY etc and some really nice stuff - SUNFLOWERS, SEQUENCE. Liked the clue for TOQUE Agree with Rex that the spiral results in a bunch of short mess.

Cool grid art - I can also see phi in there too.

CLAUDETTE, pretty little pet

I’m 50-50 on this one.

Anonymous 7:33 AM  

GSA: Girl Scouts of America.
STRAW*: Unforgivabe.

Anonymous 7:38 AM  

Most math majors are familiar with the Fibonacci Series. It’s not esoteric in the least.

Lewis 7:45 AM  

Oh, I loved the moxie of this ambitious and impressive puzzle. It also had enough bite to give me a most satisfying fill-in experience.

Two moments, especially, stood out:

• Sometimes something is so strange, so out there, so over the top, that I just have to like it… hello STRAWY! When I saw you, I became quite double-takey. In checking out this word, I ran into another long-ago NYT puzzle answer that I believe falls in the same genre of word – ARROWY, clued [Swift, piercing].

• What I will remember most from this puzzle, is learning about CLAUDETTE Colvin. After refusing to give up her seat to a white woman in a Montgomery, Alabama, bus, she testified in a case that went to the Supreme Court, a case that ended bus segregation in Alabama. Why wasn’t she publicized? Because during the proceedings of the case, she was pregnant and unmarried. All I’ve read is the Wikipedia article, but even that was eye-opening to me, introducing me to an important piece of civil rights history.

I’m most appreciative for the learning on top of a sweet solving journey. Many thanks for this, Adam!

Anonymous 7:50 AM  

I actually found this puzzle to be among the easiest NYT Thursdays I've ever completed, possibly the very easiest. Finished in closer to my average M/T time this week. Decent theme, but way too easy for a Thursday IMO.

Personally, I found a few of this week's puzzles so far to be of much greater difficulty than usual for M/T/W; I wonder if NYT is trying to compensate for something in making this one practically at the same level as the one from Monday or Tuesday?

amyyanni 7:52 AM  

Ditto @kitshef (7:08). Solved fairly quickly.

MkB 7:55 AM  

GSA as "Gay Straight Alliance" is a very standard thing these days (though some alternate versions likely derive from trying to be more inclusive than just "gay", but keeping the initialism), but it's more of a high school thing than college, which probably explains why it's unfamiliar to a lot of people.

Anonymous 7:55 AM  

Very easy puzzle for those interested in recreational math.

bocamp 7:58 AM  

Thx Adam, for a GOLDEN performance! :)


Lots of unknowns for me: GSA, KORUNAS, GOLDEN RATIO, CORDEN (had CORbEN which made GOLDEN hard to come by), SPIRAL (the shape of the central black squares twigged me for this one), STRAWY, CLAUDETTE, ELLE, NAUTILI.

Was surprised to have got this correct; almost packed it in, until GOLDEN bailed me out.

Nice challenge, and fun solve! :)

@RooMonster (9:47 AM yd) πŸ‘ for your Duo 33 yd! :)

@Geezer (10:02 AM yd) πŸ‘
yd's: pg: -4 (16.25) / W: 6* (whew!) / WH: 3 / Sec: 19/21 / Duo: 34/37 (still working on yd's Phrazle) 🀞

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

SusanMontauk 8:00 AM  

There was a Gay Straight Alliance when my daughter was in high school in NYC--she graduated in 2002. There has been an active one in East Hampton High School since around then. I know it has personally made life better for a lot of students.

Bradley Herring 8:00 AM  

back in my day (late 90s) GSA stood for Gay Straight Alliance, and it was more geared to high schools. They're definitely not new, dating back to the late 80s.

Harryp 8:02 AM  

I was happy to see this puzzle rated as Challenging, since it didn't play that hard for me. Of course if I were using pen and paper like I used to do, that Czech monetary unit would have been a real problem on the first letter being a C or a K.

Dr.A 8:05 AM  

I saw the spiral in the grid right away and it helped me a lot. Jus sayin.

feinstee 8:06 AM  

Can someone explain proper noun? Being tee?

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

That’s hysterical!

Anonymous 8:12 AM  

I was captain of our math team in high school and a math geek until college calculus. I kinda knew Fibonacci sequence basics. I agree that the solve was only half fun. The work that went into this puzzle is admirable, although the awkwardness of some of it diminished the overall effect. Especially STRAWY.

Anonymous 8:12 AM  

That’s hysterical!

bagelboy 8:16 AM  

@feinstee. I guess cause it props up a golf ball

SouthsideJohnny 8:16 AM  

I discerned the theme pretty early on but still didn't enjoy it much for many of the reasons Rex and others have already mentioned. Another example of a super-ambitious theme that pretty much sucks all of the enjoyment out of the rest of the grid.

The nonsense with STRAW and NAUTILI is the kind of stuff that only a WSS (Will Shortz SECT) member would enjoy - unfortunately they happen to also edit the puzzles, and thus we generally get servings of these crossword equivalents of canned peas multiple times a week - so it's pretty much just shut-up and eat your reheated waterlogged vegetables.

pabloinnh 8:23 AM  

I'm with all of you who read the clue and thought "STRAWY? Please don't be STRAWY!". But it was anyway. Sheesh. Also with anyone old enough to see GSA and think Girls Scouts of America. Hard to keep up with the various protest and support groups out there.

I went NE to SE and felt I had completed a whole puzzle when that was done, which is another way of saying "segmented" which I'm not fond of in crosswords.

kORUNAS was a WTF but my least favorite today is BATSIN. I know that there's a BAT in RBI but do we BAT in a runner? No. We DRIVE him in. Would have preferred _____the belfry, or almost anything else.

Also, FAMISH as a verb? Really? We'll all FAMISH to death?

Anyway, an ambitious puzzle but just not up my alley. Impressive construction, AW. Almost Won me over, but not quite. Thanks for some fun.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

It’s not proper noun, it’s propper noun.

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

I think what they were going for is Gay Straight Alliance.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

I really didn’t appreciate the inclusion of the noxious term “SIMP” here.

Unknown 8:35 AM  

Loved it. The theme was everywhere, in the shape, the examples, and in managing to spell the name on the numbered boxes that spell out the sequence. So well constructed. (And “strawy” is bizarre but I’ve used it, though despite having been out for 40 years i needed the crosses to get GSA). The golden ratio was a bonus. Wasn’t a math major but loved reading about this cool stuff when i was a kid. And if it gets some people to google Fibonacci and the golden ratio and learn a little about these beautiful corners of nature … .well, that’s kind of nice given the news of late.

Bass 8:39 AM  

BunnyR, from the memes I see go by most every guy not 6' or over lies about their height on online dating sites.

Count me as not a STRAWY fan for sure...

Z 8:40 AM  

@feinstee - that’s “propper,” not “proper,” and a TEE is used to “prop” a golf ball, making it the “propper noun.” (Hey - don’t blame me, I’m just explaining, yell at Shortz)

We already had the FIBONACCI discussion here. I believe @Frantic Sloth is the resident expert.

Chen did not give this his POW? I think that says more about the puzzle quality than Rex’s critique.

@BunnyR - It’s a short guy thing and a sports thing. The average American male is 5’10”, but the average claim is 6’. It seemed worse when I was younger, but maybe it’s just because by the time you hit 50 you realize all the height stuff is bull shit and guys just learn to be comfortable with however tall they are. (BTW - the average height thing was true the last time I looked - but the average claim thing was illustrative so don’t go quoting me)

Z 8:43 AM  

@Anon8:27 - Yep. I agree.

Proud Black Nerd 8:44 AM  

I loved this puzzle! I was intrigued by the spiral grid before I started and was happy tackle clues I've never seen before. I thought that it was clever.

JT 8:44 AM  


IrishCream 8:45 AM  

When I was in high school in the mid-1990s, we had a Gay-Straight Alliance, so that didn’t seem terribly unfair.

Is the Fibonacci sequence really so esoteric? I’ve encountered it in multiple math classes in high school and college (and I was not a math major) and it’s not that uncommon as in pop culture.

healingmagichands 8:54 AM  

Well I’m a little disappointed in all the hate towards the FIBONACCI SEQUENCE being expressed. I grokked it when I saw FIB and the excellent SPIRAL worked in the black squares. I’m a little surprised that the fact that both NAUTILI and the central disc in SUNFLOWERS are examples of the SEQUENCE found in nature has not been mentioned, which really increases the density of the theme, but maybe I’m expecting too much.

EJames 8:59 AM  

I am a math teacher of 19 years, and oh man...this puzzle was (obviously) made for me. I don't expect everyone to enjoy it, obviously, and KORUNAS was rough, but the rest of it...YES.


Rex, either you have some serious holes in your memory from your high school math years (don't we all?), or your math teachers hopefully didn't last too long. It's a big deal.

jberg 9:01 AM  

I got GOLDEN RATIO off the L, before I had filled in any of the circles, which sent me off in a completely wrong direction. E.g., I wanted philosopHER instead of MATH TEACHER -- fortunately, the crosses I checked were at the beginning of the entry, rather than the end, so I didn't put it in. And "euros," my first choice, couldn't be stretched to fill up 4A, so I left that out, as well. Eventually I had LIE (I admit it -- I used to be 6'2.5", and am reluctant to admit that I am now less than 6-1), which gave me FIB, and it was obvious what was going on.

Incidentally, I thought STRAWY was the best thing in the puzzle. @Lewis explains why. C'mon, folks, let yourselves loose and have a little fun!

But could one of you math types please explain to me how you make a spiral out of the Fibonacci sequence? I knew they were associated, but have never quite understood it.

Rube 9:04 AM  

For me, KORUNAS was the biggest gimme in the puzzle. Really well executed concept with cool, integrated clues/answers. A great puzzle except for the narrow entry point at 50. But CLEESE should not present a real problem

Liveprof 9:04 AM  

Yes, "propper" has an extra P -- as opposed to a silent P (as in swimming).

On "strawy," I'd like to accept it as a silly word. Can't we be silly now and then?

Thanks, Rex, for pointing out the number sequence in the circled letters. That was the icing on the cake for me. Great puzzle Adam.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:05 AM  

@BunnyR 6:20 AM - I think it may be mostly a guy thing. A guy thing among guys on the shorter side of average. Guys want to be tall. Some guys will "round up," as in, say they are 5'7" when they are really only 5'6-1/2.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:09 AM  

@Anonymous 6:29 AM - I learned about Fibonacci from my husband, who was a bit of a math nerd at school, and a poet, so he found the relationship between the numbers, the spiral shape, and nature to be both fascinating and beautiful. I could have put this reply elsewhere, but I relish the opportunity to write the words "my husband" right here. πŸ˜‰

Dave 9:09 AM  

I had immediate Da Vinci Code flashbacks - that was my first encounter with Fibonacci. Wasn’t much help other than filling in the circles, after immediately getting FIB (maybe that answer came more quickly to the vertically challenged).

feinstee 9:14 AM  

I still don't get it. What am I missing?

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

If you didn't know that a lot of people lie about their height...then you haven't dated men using the apps, lol. Got that one in a nanosecond.

feinstee 9:15 AM  

Thanks. Now I get it, and now I still don't like it. But I appreciate it

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:15 AM  

@mmbeitlermd 7:16 AM - Take it from a post-Stonewall era gay man: Yes, it is gay-straight alliance. I suspect it is not used much anymore, because the millennials and zoomers, for the most part, no longer think of sexuality in terms of gay and straight. Gender and sexuality are both fluid nowadays, and nonbinary gender is a ubiquitous concept among today's youth (who are rapidly becoming today's grownups).

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:25 AM  

@MkB 7:55 AM - I agree with you, except for the "nowadays" part. GSAs have been around for *decades*. Just to be sure, I checked that font of all worthwhile knowledge, Wikipedia: "The first gay–straight alliance was formed in November 1988 at Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts, when Kevin Jennings, a history teacher at the school who had just come out as gay, was approached by Meredith Sterling, a student at the school who was straight, but was upset by the treatment of gay students and others."

Martin Luther 9:25 AM  

“In sum, St. John’s Gospel and his first epistle; St. Paul’s letters, especially the ones to the Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians; and St. Peter’s first epistle are all books that show you Christ, and they all teach which is necessary and salutary for you to know, even if you do not see or hear any other book or teaching. It is for this reason that James’s epistle is in comparison a real strawy epistle, for it has no evangelical character about it.”

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:27 AM  

@feinstee 8:06 AM - I.e., it props up a golf ball.

mathgent 9:29 AM  

The Fibonacci sequence is not an important topic in mathematics. It's not even an important topic in Number Theory, the branch of mathematics in which it belongs. So it's not surprising that some people who have studied quite a bit of mathematics haven't come across it.

I just pulled out a recent Number Theory textbook and the topic isn't even cited in the index. But the Fibonacci sequence has a number of intriguing properties which number theorists have explored quite thoroughly. A journal that was published for a few years dealt exclusively with Fibonacci numbers.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:29 AM  

@pabloinnh 8:23 AM - As I like to say, "Apparement, oui." As per Merriam-Webster:
1: to cause to suffer severely from hunger
2 - archaic: to cause to starve to death

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:30 AM  

@Anonymous 8:27 AM - Agreed.

Nancy 9:31 AM  

On the one hand, a relentless foray into "hipness" or "coolness" or whatever it's supposed to be. "Cat" means COOL DUDE? ORDER UP is what you say after a bell is rung? What bell? Where we eatin'?

On the other hand, there's some serious "mathiness" going on. Mathiness that sailed right over my head. I have no idea what a SPIRAL SEQUENCE is, but at least the grid art did look like a SPIRAL. That may be the only time that grid art has ever helped me solve a puzzle.

I had GOLDEN for one of the math clues and the only mathy* answer I could think of was GOLDEN MEAN. I wrote it in before seeing it was one-letter too short. GOLDEN MEAN, GOLDEN RATIO -- they're all just words to me.

*STRAWY is a complete joke. If you can use STRAWY, I can use mathy.

Also, I have a very, very, very, very personal aversion to the clue for 19A. (And, by extension, for 1A.) No further explanation will be forthcoming.

This was not a "Nancy puzzle" in any way, shape or form. Pun intended.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:33 AM  

@IrishCream 8:45 AM - Agreed on both counts. GSA is not an unfair entry. And Fibonacci sequence is that really so esoteric. As I say ad nauseam on this blog: cultural capital. Folks gotta get up on their Bourdieu.

Mikey from El Prado 9:33 AM  

Paisley, either side your hand when making a fist, etc.

And the universe in general…. Entropy is nature’s Fibonacci sequence as everything becomes larger and more complex over time. Just look at the world in which we live.

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

Boy, this was fun! I totally missed that the FIBONACCI circles were in the actual sequence #s, that was genius. Otherwise I wasn't tripped up at all by the circles, it was clear that they simply spelled (and numerated) the sequence. Looking for a spiral or other pattern didnt even occur to me, as the grid itself is the spiral.

Gary Jugert 9:35 AM  

Pretty fun puzzle and I learned a few things worth investigating. When the grid opened up, I thought, "Oh no, another Thursday gimmick," but it was a fair well-made instructional romp. Spent less time on Google than many Thursdays. Surprisingly little crosswordese for so many short answers.

Had to look up:
Korunas, Claudette, LDopa and Nautili

I don't know how I would have run into any of those in real life.

GSA (just random initials from crosses)
EUR (bet an editor wrote that clue)
STRAWY (wow, just wow)

Yay! So many...
ADD SALT (how fancy restaurants get fancy)
CORDEN (he's wonderful)
COOL DUDE (my cat is a cool dude)
REX (a lefty puzzle blog with whining righties)
TOQUE (thank you crosswordese)
CLEESE (another guy I love)
DOLLIES (superior to hand trucks)
SOIREES (love the word, hate the events)
ORDER UP (love it)
The three stack across at the bottom. Wow.

Not a single Lonely NYTXW Editors Tee-Hees (LNETHs). So grown up today. Anticipate a double potty-mouth puzzle tomorrow.

Off to find an English translation of Liber Abaci.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:35 AM  

@healingmagichands 8:54 AM - Shocked but not surprised at all the anti-Fibonacci sentiment. I too got it early on from 1A FIB + 17A MATH TEACHER. By the time I got to 30A SPIRAL, it was in the bag.

suemac 9:38 AM  

I enjoyed the theme of the puzzle and all of the different aspects it incorporated . I was mildly annoyed by some of the stuff Rex mentions. But any joy I got from the puzzle was obliterated when I got to STRAWY. I MEAN, COME ON!!! STRAWY? My mouth can’t even say it. Just horrible. I’m actually mad now.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:38 AM  

Really enjoyed this puzzle. Gives me a good opportunity to ask this learned crowd: Can anyone explain the phrase "“hut to peen” that Captain Jack McCarthy used to utter on his morning cartoon TV show in the 1960s? I've scoured the internet, but it appears to remain a mystery. The full catchphrase, if it helps, was "Hut to peen and smooth sailing."

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

Like prop up a golf ball I think

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

Agree it’s a bit of superficial (and stereotypical) to think that generally math teachers would be hip to the coolness of the Fibonacci Series, it’s still a throughly delightful puzzle.

RooMonster 9:44 AM  

Hey All !
Dang, lots of comments already! Haven't read 'em yet. Ain't nobody got time for that! 😁

Very impressed by this construction. Rex said "puz trying to do too much". I say "Yay! Lots of theme!"

Consider: unsure how many iterations this grid went through, but Adam decided to put in a SPIRAL using Blockers, and still had to add some Themers, getting in Long ones like MATH TEACHER, GOLDEN RATIO, SUNFLOWERS, SEQUENCE. Plus NAUTILI and SPIRAL. Then he decided to put FIBONACCI into the grid in the actual corresponding SEQUENCE numbers, ala 1-2-3-5-8-13-21-34-55. Which locked in FIB at 1A, with no way to change it. Had to work around that, plus an 11 Themer up there. The Blocker SPIRAL necessiting many 3's, which came out surprisingly clean, since they crossed the Long Themers. Holy moly.

Had my one-letter DNF, but since puz was tres cool, not even caring about that. Had CaRDEN/STRaP. Shoot, close enough for me, ID SAY.

REX popular lately. Got a RUE, my French alias. Har.

So, very COOL, DUDE. Difficult construction, and also fun to solve. How was this not the POW? C'mon Jeff!

yd -6, should'ves 3
Duo 37/37 (whew!)(missed 1-3-4-6-10) I was one letter off for a first guess get! Dang!

Two F's (But an important one, doing double duty!)

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

Here's the rest of the bit that you so shamelessly stole from Wengert.
( Also, Luther was wrong about, well, just about everything)

“Note a few things here. First, Luther placed James alongside the other New Testament authors, who (unlike James) he calls saints. Second, his main point of contrast was that these books ‘show you Christ.’ This was really Luther’s only criterion for judging Scripture, so that in contrast he said about James that it has ‘no evangelical character about it.’ By that he meant it preached law, not gospel. Third, he used the word ‘straw’ not as some sort of strange German insult but as an echo of Paul’s picture in 1 Corinthians 3:12 about building on the foundation of Christ with either straw or gold and precious stones. James builds on the foundation all right, but he uses only straw, in contrast to the gold standard of John, Paul, and Peter.” (3)

Max 9:52 AM  

The Golden Ratio is critical to a lot of classical architecture. It is the most visually pleasing proportion of length to width in a rectangle, and generates lots of other guidelines fir design. I learned about Fibonacci Series in high school math (but not the Golden Ratio). My daughter learned about both in an Architecture class, and my architect wife used Golden Ratio in specifying the windows in a house we’re building. I loved it!

Nancy 9:53 AM  

Phrazle 32: 2/6
🟨πŸŸͺ⬜⬜ πŸŸͺ⬜ ⬜🟩⬜🟨🟨⬜🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

Your ending come t about "waves" is Donald Sutherland-speak from the movie "Kelly's Heroes". "Negative waves, man, Negative waves...". I liked the puzzle.

Unknown 9:59 AM  

I found the puzzle to be a pretty typical Thursday in terms of difficulty. I sussed out the Fibonacci connection pretty quickly. But the circled letters relating to the numbers? Genius!

Most of Rex's gripes boil down to how hard he found many of the clues, but for the sheer creativity of this puzzle and its construction, I can live with a "STRAWY" and the name of the mathematician who I never heard of before.

And reading rex's complaints made me appreciate the past seven weeks when I avoided reading him.
Back to vacation land.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

easiet thurday in forever. got the theme just by looking at it, and new golden ratio would pop up somewhere

Carola 10:01 AM  

Medium here. I was helped by recalling previous puzzles with a FIBONACCI theme and photos of natural examples (e.g., NAUTILI) that crop up now and then in publications. Still, it offered some nice Thursday resistance (KORUNAS, the long Downs) and lovely answers (YESTERYEAR, GOLDEN RATIO, CLAUDETTE). I enjoyed working it all out, but wondered at the end why the circles were distributed so randomly - a blot on the puzzle's construction, I thought. So, another day where I'm grateful to @Rex, for enlightening me on a part of the theme I'd missed and helping me appreciate what the constructor has accomplished.

re: GSA - Familiar to me, as family members of two generations have benefitted from the organization's support in both middle school and high school.

re: LIE - @BunnyR 6:20, I"ll just add that there's also what I'll call "second-degree height inflation": when describing our son to acquaintances, my husband regularly adds a couple of inches to his height. 6'4" LOL.

re: ADD SALT - Dissatisfied with the no-knead bread recipes I've tried, I Googled "Why is no-knead bread tasteless?" The answer is, not enough salt. New recipe with ADDed SALT in progress, final rise. Unfortunately, it turns out that I failed Loaf Shaping 101.

Joe Dipinto 10:07 AM  

"I'm unna order up some-a that there Fibonacci with Nautilus Sauce – do they add salt to the water before they boil it? Well if they do I don't wannit then. Makes it too strawy, kinda like a hula skirt. Gimme the Korunas with Sunflower Seeds instead."

Yeesh. Did not care for this at all. More proof the Times puzzle is spiraling out of control.

Phrazle 32: 2/6
🟩πŸŸͺπŸŸͺ⬜ πŸŸͺ⬜ 🟨⬜⬜⬜🟨🟨⬜🟨🟩🟨⬜

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩


Peter P 10:08 AM  

Easy-ish Thursday for me, pretty much exactly between my fastest and average Thursday times. I figured out the theme at the third clue. (It helps that I knew KORUNAS off the bat, having lived next door to Czechia for over five years. Yay! Finally some life experience helped out with a puzzle.)

I'm slightly surprised by how esoteric some people find Fibonacci. I'm an English major and I've known it probably since the sixth or seventh grade. Maybe it was from watching a lot of Nova or similar science-y shows as a kid (they love to show how Fibonacci sequences show up in nature), but the seem to come up often enough in my life. Computer science students would also probably be well aware of them, as they are sometimes used in lessons on recursive algorithms.

Agreed that STRAWY was awful. I let out an audible groan, muttering to myself "please, don't tell me that's the word."

Overall, the puzzle experience was okay, but the grid felt really choppy with the spiral flow of it, and felt more like a number of mini-crossword puzzles than one cohesive unit.

beverly c 10:10 AM  

I liked noticing the spiral but thought at first that the puzzle was too full of niche answers I didn’t know. Wrong! I didn’t need to know them. After a bit it began to flow and Ta-da!!

Count me in with The DaVinci Code introduction to Fibonacci.
The GOLDENRATIO was familiar due to learning a bit about ancient (and not so ancient) monuments and architecture. It makes structures aesthetically pleasing.

Thanks Rex for pointing out the significance of the circled numbers! I’m impressed.

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Strawy oy vey Cmon!!!!

James 10:21 AM  

Incredibly impressive. Glad you pointed out that the FIBONACCI letters landed right on the Fibonacci numbers. Wow wow wow

Whatsername 10:23 AM  

Theme was totally lost on me since I’m no MATH TECH. If you are, then you probably thought “COOL DUDE” and loved it. As for me, I ignored the circles and did my best with the look-here-now-look-there clues which always rankle. Putting those things aside, I had no problem solving this one, finding a little resistance in the NE and SW while gazing at the grid art and debating whether a SUNFLOWER is really a SPIRAL.

A lot learned here: (1) GSA stands for something besides General Services Administration. You go kids! (2) ETON can be an article of clothing. (3) CLAUDETTE Colvin preceded Rosa Parks and (4) STRAWY is apparently an actual word. Keoloas abound: ADEN/Oman, HAR/hah, ELUDE/evade. Really liked [bygone] ERA crossing YESTERYEAR and the clever HINT for TOQUE. It took a trip to the DEAR old memory bank to find that one but a sweet AHA moment ONCE I got there.

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

@mathgent - The Fibonacci Quarterly journal is publishing even now https://www.fq.math.ca/index.html and https://www.fq.math.ca/list-of-issues.html (under a pay wall) One interesting trivia is that successive Fibonacci numbers give an approximation for converting miles to Kilometers. Like 55 mph is roughly 89 kph. July 2, 2021 crossword puzzle clue 29 D gave credit to the original discoverer. Fibonacci was originally invented/discovered while constructing poetic meters

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

Yeah, I had a big problem with "strawy," too. Shortz Is getting to be too clever by half.

lodsf 10:34 AM  

I wondered when the Girl Scouts of America (GSA) started advocating for gay rights. Figured I’d find the answer here and I did. Thanks Rex!

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

I thought GSA stood for Girl Scouts of America!

bocamp 10:37 AM  

Pretty sure I 'was' 5'11 3/4", but both Navy & US driver's license ID's got rounded up to 6' (Canadian DL has me at 183 cm). Anyhoo, I've shrunk a bit in my twilight years, but I'll go with the governmental FIBs. lol

Flinched at STRAWY, but had no choice. Now, I'm agreeing with those who thot it was 'fun'.

@Nancy & Joe πŸ‘ for Phreagles (I'm still trying to get mine from yd)
td pg (9:58) / W: 5*

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

Eric 10:39 AM  

I, for one, enjoyed this puzzle as much as any I can recall. I solved counter-clockwise, meaning I approached the puzzle as a circle instead of a quadrant with four corners. That alone made it special.

Nancy 10:39 AM  

When it's not necessary to do so in the solving of a puzzle, it's almost a point of honor for me not to take the trouble of threading together whatever words are formed by the sequence of letters embedded in tiny little circles.

So that when I didn't bother to thread them together today, I missed the word FIBONACCI entirely. I therefore missed the conceit of the entire puzzle.

But it turned out not to matter because I would have missed most of the theme anyway. And that's because I don't know...

*Which numbers are FIBONACCI numbers. The letters went in the appropriate squares? Who knew?

*How FIBONACCI numbers relate to a SPIRAL SEQUENCE (whatever that is).

*How FIBONACCI numbers relate to a GOLDEN RATIO (whatever that is).

Thanks to @Mathgent for letting me know that some people who are much mathier than I am don't know any of the above either.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  


kitshef 10:41 AM  

Fun coincidence: in last night's pub trivia one of the questions was to name the two two-digit numbers that are both prime and part of the Fibonacci sequence.

PHC 10:46 AM  

Saw the grid, saw the spiral, thought “Fibonacci? Could it be that straightforward?” So, for a Thursday relatively easy, particularly because I’m in Czechia often enough to have CZK lying around the house. I was only slowed down by the cognitive dissonance of using the Czech-language noun (koruna rather than crown) with the English-language plural. And I needed a pair or so of crosses to work out just which mollusk (and which plural form) to use for NAUTILI.

People lying about their height? Has everyone forgotten the storm-in-a-teacup about Trump’s medical exam, where he was suddenly an inch taller than previous records (thereby escaping a BMI that would rate as “obese”)? Yeah, sure people lie about their height.

Initially had EXCONS for security guards. Can happen. Shrug.

Having a spiral in a grid is almost necessarily going to make for a closed-off section. I think some of the clues were kept a little easy to make up for it. Still, I found the middle to be the hardest part.

Tom T 10:50 AM  

I get that "propper" is supposed to be clever crossword cluing and fun wordplay (both of which I enjoy). However, the tee doesn't prop up a golf ball--it holds it or raises it or supports it. But I suppose "supporter name" wouldn't work. So, find another of the hundreds of ways to clue TEE. (How about: Phonetic syllable required to turn proper from an adjective to a noun?)

Well below my Thursday average time, but I did have to sleep on it after getting it mostly done last night.

Hidden Diagonal Word (HDW) for this grid:

Clue: Cut short

Answer: CROP (begins with the 1st C in ACC, 39A, and moves to NW)

Smith 10:56 AM  

@kitshef 7:08


TJS 10:57 AM  

I have no idea how Mondays' puzzle could be rated better than this one. Could Chen be just as motivated by personal relationships when rating puzzles as OFL ? The theme density in this one is amazing.

I spent one quarter of my solving time with "Please don't let that be 'showy' rattling around in the back of my head.

Are "T tops" really considered convertables ? Riding in one or the other is not anywhere near the same experience.

I guess Fibonacci never appeared in any of those comics Rex was reading in college. Maybe if he had been a Mutant Ninja Turtle.

Joseph Michael 10:58 AM  

As soon as I wrote in MATH TEACHER I knew this puzzle wasn’t for me. I guess math lovers deserve a crossword now and then, but it added up to a “0” on my Fibonacci Funometer.

Johnny Mic 10:59 AM  

I had the same problems with a lot of the fill that everyone else has, but as a MATH TEACHER (high school) I couldn't help but enjoy this one. Especially well timed during teacher appreciation week. Also, while I've never explicitly taught anything relating to the Fibonacci sequence other than using it as an example to demonstrate the idea of a recursively defined sequence, I do agree that it's the sort of thing math teachers are all aware of. There has been a GSA in every school I've ever taught at so that was a gimmie. I smiled, I felt seen, it worked for me.

jae 11:02 AM  

Easy. Got the theme just looking at the empty grid so this went smoothly. Interesting theme with aptly placed circles, catchy grid art, delightful puzzle, liked it a bunch.

@Nancy from yesterday πŸ‘

Nancy 11:04 AM  

I love, love, love your coinage of the word "Phreagle", @bocamp.

Smith 11:07 AM  

@ Nancy 9:53

That's amazing!!

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

I am definitely not a math person but certainly familiar with the Fibonacci sequence and I’ve always been a fan of the chambered nautilus. Found this very easy for a Thursday… and agree that strawy isn’t a word- ever.

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

I am definitely not a math person but certainly familiar with the Fibonacci sequence and I’ve always been a fan of the chambered nautilus. Found this very easy for a Thursday… and agree that strawy isn’t a word- ever.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

FIBONACCI has been a daily influence in my life since I was 4.

TJS 11:10 AM  

Just read the comments. Looks like "showy" might be in the running for "five faves of the week".

Forgot to mention earlier : Hope Rex never has the need to call for help from those "Blue Lives...fascists".

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Best part of this whole experience for me was the picture of a fern fiddlehead that Rex included. Worst was guessing where Doug Emhoff went to school.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

A HEP CAT is a COOL DUDE. For a long time.

sixtyni yogini 11:13 AM  

Okay, loved loved loved this one!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

What art person doesn’t know the Fibonacci sequence? And the Golden Mean? (Da Vinci man!) Very few!

Then there’s the design and unity of the theme found throughout the puzzle. Didn’t check but it wouldn’t surprise me if the clue theme related numbers followed the sequence. 1,1,2,5,8,13,21

Always hated math, but thanks to tik tok and crosswords, am beginning to find math fun rather than scary!

Here’s to ARTS - AND - SCIENCE!


And for fellow nerds out there, I’m thinking I saw Mandelbrot’s set once in a NYT 🧩, but if not. Hope to soon. πŸ€—

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

Also, who lies about their height?

As a Russian recently said: "Putin is 5 foot 6 pretending to be 5 foot 7." So, yeah, people do. More than a few actors (male division) have been "helped" to appear taller than their counterparts (female division) over the years. Stallone is short, for one. Same for Cruise.

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

One time I agree with Rex on the assessment of the difficulty (the parenthesis included of course). Lovely puzzle. Thank you Adam Wagner.

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

FIBONACCI is highly overrated, as one number theory student has said. unlike much of higher math, it is merely descriptive. as in descriptive statistics isn't really statistics.

sixtyni yogini 11:24 AM  

Ok, checked the numbered clues follow the sequence starting with 1,1, and ending with 55.
Haha this is Geek heaven! πŸ˜‚
Thanks to Adam - you made my day.

egsforbreakfast 11:27 AM  

I can’t FIB or LIE. My MATHTEACHER was so SECT SEE that we had a few TRIALDATES. IDSAY be COOLDUDE, but I’d SOON have to just SIMP ERA bit and begin TOQUEer THE whole thing. IHADTO!!!

I think STRAWY is Australian for “stray”. Sounds like it to me anyway.

Ambitious theme/grid art. It proved too easy to provide an Aha moment, and too constraining for much thrilling fill. I liked the whole effort because it was interesting. Thanks, Adam Wagner.

Uke Xensen 11:27 AM  


Whatsername 11:34 AM  

@Joaquin (6:05) “I consider myself a math genius because I am able to make change without using a calculator.” More than once at a fast food drive up I have told the befuddled cashier to just keep the change. It saves time.

@Lewis (7:45) Thanks for the information on Claudette Colvin. What a brave woman she must have been.

Wordle warning: If you haven’t done it yet, today is a real bear. I see many streaks being broken.

Bad Mouse 11:36 AM  

Pretty sure I 'was' 5'11 3/4"

So, was that before or after your annual haircut? And wimins have, from time to time, sported coifs that add as much as a couple (or even more) inches to 'height'; think early Angela Davis.

LenFuego 11:39 AM  

This was a masterpiece of construction. Can you imagine setting out to design a grid with every letter in FIBONACCI landing on a box numbered with the Fibonacci sequence, and then throwing in an amazing spiral and fitting in all the themes answers. I love thar there are no Fibonacci numbered boxes that don’t include the spelling of his name. The whole thing is truly amazing. Bravo.

Emil 11:47 AM  

Sorry to language nitpick, but the Czech currency, officially koruna českÑ, has two plurals, neither of which is "korunas." For 2-4 the plural is "koruny" and for 5+ it's "korun." If you want anglify our money then call it "crowns." Also, the whole Czech/check joke should be bounced. I can say that ;)

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

Someone wake me when this puzzle is solved.

johnk 11:57 AM  

Except for STRAWY, I enjoyed this little math test.

David Payne 12:05 PM  

Finally a puzzle where I know the esoterica! I was able to fill in the circled letters immediately after seeing FIB, and got SEQUENCE and SPIRAL right away. I knew TAO and GSA, and KORUNAS from a Prague vacation.

This was my fastest Thursday solve ever.

Lewis 12:05 PM  

Some here have found the word STRAWY
Affronty and even guffawy
But lookups confirm
It’s a validy term
It’s inapty to call STRAWY flawy

Masked and Anonymous 12:06 PM  

Gotta agree with @mathgent -- M&A took oodles of college math classes, and I don't believe the subject of Fibonacci Numbers ever came up. However, the patio area at the Dali Museum in St. Pete has a neat giant Fibonacci spiral laid out in its surface.

Coolest thing about the puz was the puzgrid design, plus splatzin the F-I-B-O-N-A-C-C-I letters into the appropriate Fibonacci-numbered be-circled squares: 1 ,2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5, 3+5=8, 5+8=13, … etc.

Spiral puzgrid layout did make the solvequest path a bit unusual. M&A got kinda dizzy.

staff weeject pick: THE. Cuz this is clearly THE weeject of the litter. honrable mention to HAR, of course.

Agree with @RP ... that there COOLDUDE + REX row was sparkliest.

no-knows: KORUNAS/ where Emhoff went to college [but guessed the crossin "U" correctly]. How to spell CORDEN.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Wagner dude. Liked this little number.

Masked & Anonym007Us


Anonymous 12:14 PM  

Was elated to see Terence Tao in this puzzle. He is, by far, the greatest mathematician of our time.

LenFuego 12:25 PM  

Wow, Lewis. Can we all agree that if the inclusion of the word STRAWY is what it took to spawn Lewis’ limerick, it was well worth it. That is the user comment of the year!

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

Nautilus shells are just plain old spirals, they don’t actually follow a golden ratio, in fact most supposed natural examples don’t. I will die on this hill.

pabloinnh 12:46 PM  

Further proof that it's a poor day when you can't learn something.

Merci bien, t'es beau tu sais.

bocamp 12:49 PM  

"A Gay–Straight Alliance, Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) or Queer–Straight Alliance (QSA) is a student-led or community-based organisation, found in middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities. These are primarily in the United States and Canada. Gay–straight alliance is intended to provide a safe and supportive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and all (LGBTQ+) children, teenagers, and youth as well as their cisgender heterosexual allies.[1]" (Wikipedia)

@Nancy (11:04 AM) 😊

@Bad Mouse (11:36 AM)

Haircut first day of boot camp pretty well made that a nonissue for me. πŸ˜‚

@Lewis (12:05 PM) πŸ‘
td WordHurdle: 5

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

JD 12:54 PM  

My husband lied about his height in reverse. At 6'7" he was too tall to be a helicopter pilot in Vietnam but the doctor must've have had vision problems because he looked to the side, coughed and deemed him passably short enough.

SharonAK 1:04 PM  

@ Lewis
Thanks for the fun limerick.
Liked the puzzle. Liked the looks of the grid when I saw it. Think I first heard of Fibonacci sequence in a children's book about 15 years ago, but have seen references to int off and on since so caught the them idea pretty quickly. But had not noticed that the circled letters were on the sequence numbers. That makes it better.
@LenFuego, Agreed.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

@egs does it again!!

I've read/heard that submariners have to be 'short'. And, I'd guess, not claustrophobic.

Whatsername 1:14 PM  

@Lewis (12:05) Sheer brilliance! Bravo! πŸ‘

Anonymous 1:22 PM  

Math teacher pile-on here. I have never met a math teacher who wasn't hip to Fibonacci numbers. Most are also into pedantic takes on the misuse of the sequence, as in this puzzle, where the nautilus shell is invoked as a Fibonacci container. It is not. Sunflowers and pine cones, yes.

A 1:44 PM  

On my way to printing the puzzle I found this: 5 minutes that will make you love the horn

Didn’t have time to post yesterday, but the best part was @Nancy’s inspired post! Great way to repurpose a so-so puzzle. And you’re right - time to roll up our sleeves, not roll over. @The Cleaver, thanks for sharing that article - particularly alarming words from the Texas attorney regarding same-gender marriage and “homosexual behavior.”

Loved today’s romp. Know FIBONACCI from music and Chambered NAUTILI. SUNFLOWERS too.

Liked the repeated words HINT HINT and HAR HAR. If 40A had been clued [When repeated, expression of dismay from 63A] so we’d have had DEAR DEAR, for a Monty Python mini skit. HAR, now I’m picturing John CLEESE in a mini-skirt.

I occasionally watch CORDEN’S show, and now I know how to spell his name. He’s a TRIP to watch when he gets going.

I admire the chutzpah of STRAWY. You go, Adam!

bocamp 1:50 PM  

@Nancy & @Joe

Blew my string of Phreagles (yd's puz); sussed out the 2nd word, but had this for my 1st word. Did manage to reverse my course for a 3. :)

Btw, I'm showing a 3 ltr & a 6 ltr for td's. By the looks of your results, I must be in another dimension. lol [looks like I somehow missed today's (#32) and jumped forward a day] Very STRAWY! πŸ€”
Phrazle 33: 2/6
πŸŸͺ🟨πŸŸͺ ⬜⬜🟨🟨🟩⬜
🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

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

DrBB 1:57 PM  

Thought it was Fibonacci series, and that didn't fit, so it slowed me a little. KORUNAS though, sheesh. Old Continental currencies are some variation on Crowns, but still, that's a weird spelling.

Totally with Rex on STRAW-Y. I spent a good part of the puzzle refusing to fill that in and muttering "Please don't be that, please please please," with each successive cross declaring "Oh it's that all right," and I finally had to do it just to get the completion in the online version. But I felt dirty afterward.

okanaganer 2:15 PM  

Like @Rube 9:04am, KORUNAS was a gimme; somehow remembered it from my visit to Prague 35 years ago. And @Emil, correct plurals of foreign words is rarely a thing in the NYTXW. Just add an S to anything, and move on. MAITRE D'S and BETE NOIRES, anyone?

Agree STRAWY == ugly. (Although since STARRY is legit it's ok I guess, but I still don't like it.) I was kinda hoping it would be STRAWN (like DRAWN).

One notable typeover: for 30d "Some shindigs" had SOCIALS. When I went to Winnipeg for university, I realized what we in BC had always just called "parties", prairie people called "socials". Also at wedding socials, you're supposed to give money, not gadgets. Prairie people very practical!

[Spelling Bee: yd 11 min to pg, stalled at -1, missing this word.]

A 2:53 PM  

Looks like Phrazle is putting out more than one a day. @Nancy and @Joe shared #32, @bocamp #33, and mine was #34:

Phrazle 34: 1/6
🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩

Felt good after #31 took me 3. That one really needed more cowbell.

Pdxrains 3:11 PM  

Easy? I guess for the MENSA crowd? Jeez. I'm a degreed engineer and DNFd on this beast. Never heard or a NAUTILI or TERRANCE TAO. Plus all the hard three letter shit like ACC. OOF

Anonymous 3:21 PM  

I would think that GSA used to mean Gay-Straight Alliance in a lot of places, but has shifted to Gender-Sexuality Alliance to be more inclusive of people who identify as transgender or nonbinary. My daughter is a member at her high school. Still, every time I hear her use the acronym, all I can think of is the General Services Administration. Which shows my wonkiness, I guess.

ML 3:36 PM  

Of course, I have no shame. But you ? He who is without sin….

Joe Dipinto 3:50 PM  

@A – That's not fair. I missed 33. Maybe it's going to follow the Fibonacci numbers now. Next up: Phrazle 55, then 89...

bocamp 3:53 PM  

@A (2:53 PM) πŸ‘ for your PhrACEle! :)

@okanaganer (2:15 PM)

Missed that word, too, and it's in my Word List. :(

Your 'socials' for 'shindigs' reminded me of a great book: Box Socials by W.P. Kinsella.

"It's supposed to be the story of Truckbox Al McClintock and the year he almost got a try-out with the St. Louis Cardinals but it's really about the Norwegian and Ukrainian families who live in the Six Towns area (there are really seven but not all are towns) near Edmonton, Alberta." (by Art on Goodreads)
td pg -1 (looking for a 5er) 🀞

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

Nancy 4:18 PM  

More than one Phrazle a day??!!! My cup runneth over! (Now there's a good Phrazle that's never been used, btw.) Thank you for letting me know, @A. I didn't think of the phrase that gave you your ace -- hearty congrats!!! -- and had to settle for another Phreagle.

Phrazle 34: 2/6
⬜⬜ 🟩🟩🟩 🟩⬜⬜🟩 🟨🟩⬜⬜

🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩

Nancy 4:30 PM  

I ran out earlier to enjoy today's spectacular weather and, after coming home, I scrolled up through the comments from the bottom up. (I often do that.) I was on the verge of missing Lewis's lovely STRAWY limerick, so thanks to those who called it to everyone's attention.

Z 4:34 PM  

I love Fibonacci Numbers. That’s a different issue than whether this was a good puzzle. Other uses of it as a puzzle motif seem to have been better, but I am not sure about that.

@TJS - Not all law enforcement officers are right wing extremists, but the ones that are all have those blue lives matter paraphernalia. And you know that it is really just an attempt to change the topic from police killing black men. Where’s your BS Detector?

Anonymous 4:36 PM  

I didn’t realize this was a common lie. Hard to hide as you point out!

Anonymous 4:57 PM  


Unfortunately, the logic is unambiguous: bigotry and education are inversely correlated; education and being hired as a police officer are inversely correlated - therefore police officers have a higher correlation with bigotry. To be fair, kind of, there were times when it was OK for WASP cops to beat the crap out of Irish and Italians and Germans. A significant part of the Radical Right are both anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic to this day.

The whole 'parents rights in education' stuff amounts to: I ain't got no education, and I'll be damned if my kids are going to know more than I do. Everything they need to know is in the Bible or the Klan.

okanaganer 5:09 PM  

@bocamp thanks for the Kinsella book recommendation... our library has it, so I put it on my list!

Lots of Ukranians around Winnipeg too. In fact, from Wikipedia:
"In 2016, there were an estimated 1,359,655 persons of full or partial Ukrainian origin residing in Canada (the majority being Canadian-born citizens)... giving Canada the world's third-largest Ukrainian population behind Ukraine itself and Russia".
In Manitoba they are 14.5% of the population (180,000)!!

[SB: td 4:50 to pg, currently also at -1; missing a 5, probably the same word!]

Joe Dipinto 5:44 PM  

Hey @A, I got it too.

Phrazle 34: 1/6
🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩

It says the next one is coming up at midnight.

Beezer 5:45 PM  

Ok. I was out of pocket all day and doubt whether anyone will see this but I really enjoyed the puzzle today (during lunch) and like many resisted STRAWY. Great limerick @Lewis!

I tried Phrazle for the first time today and how can you explain this other than ESP?

Phrazle 34: 1/6
🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩


I presume this is THE Phrazle that people are doing? I have too many puzzles in my life as it is!

Colette 6:08 PM  

LOVED this puzzle! Was an English & French major, but still heard about Fibonacci numbers (that's how I remember it) many times. Started to put in Golden Rule, because I could not remember Golden Ratio. Apparently, Golden Rulio is not a thing. Corrected it eventually. What amazingly clever construction! Because of that, I can forgive strawy.

Thanks, Rex, for pointing out that the letters of Fibonacci follow the sequence. I'd thought they were randomly placed.

And thanks, @Lewis, for that fabulous poem. Loved it also!

Greatly look forward to more of AW's puzzles.

Anonymous 6:13 PM  

My STEM-based brain had a lot of fun with this puzzle! And after making a quick pass through all the clues I got to work in the center and mostly solved it in the shape of the spiral outwards which made it quite fun. As a queer geologist, to me GSA can either be Gay-Straight Alliance which I had in my high school (about 10 years ago, so I don’t know if the name has been updated since for broader inclusion), as well as the Geological Society of America. My history can sometimes be a bit rusty, so crosswords with more math/science clues always appeal to me a bit more, and I found the circled letters being the actual numbers in the Fibonacci Sequence itself to be super satisfying

jae 6:24 PM  

My grandson is a freshman in Computer Science and Engineering at UCLA. Last quarter his calc class was taken over by Terrence TAO after the original professor had medical issues. My grandson knew about TAO from his high school AP courses is a “fan”. He was thrilled to have TAO as a professor and said he was an excellent teacher....and yes, he got an A.

Anonymous 7:36 PM  

He was thrilled to have TAO as a professor and said he was an excellent teacher.

That combination is as rare as hen's teeth, esp. in STEM classes. When I was at Clarkson, when it was still just a College, the full professors did everything they could to stay out of a classroom. One exception was Buffalo Bob Smith, who taught only freshman physics (Sears and Zemansky) and grad students. Smoked like chimney and covered all the blackboards (yes, before the White kind) each meeting. A 50% on a test was a C. (Once took the TAs to task for getting an answer wrong on one of our tests. Ouchie.) And you were happy to get one.

Anonymous 8:06 PM  

I was an English major and now I’m a psychologist but I took one look at this grid and thought “oh cool it’s gonna be about the Fibonacci sequence.” I learned about the Fibonacci sequence at the Chicago Science and Industry museum so no math majoring was involved. Mostly I’m commenting because I have to say this: lying about one’s height is totally a thing. Ask almost any post-menopausal woman her age and the answer probably hasn’t been true for about 10 years. For example, I swear that I’m 5’6” and you’d probably believe me but I’ve been an inch shorter than that for quite some time :(

Lewis 9:13 PM  

@LenFuego, @Bocamp, @SharonAK, @Whatsername, @Nancy, @Beezer, @Colette -- Thank you all for your kind words re the STRAWY limerick. It makes me very happy that you found it enjoyable!

albatross shell 9:17 PM  

Just loved that FIB at 1A starts the FIBINACCI SEQUENCE with 1,2,3 after the 0,1 or maybe just the 1. Dealer's choice?

1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55... .

Adding the 2 previous numbers produces the next number.

The golden rectangle is a rectangle with one side of length a +b and the other side is length b and where (a+b) is to a as a is to b. That is:
(a+b)÷a = a÷b and both equal the golden ratio which equals 1.631... an irational number that goes on forever.

This connects to the FIBINACCI sequence because the ratio of the Nth number of the FIBINACCI divided by the (N-1)th number of the sequence approaches the Golden Ratio as N approaches infinity.

I cannot easily describe how the spiral is drawn. Lucky for you.

My college math teacher was L. E. Sigler who translated FIBINACCI's book into modern English. He was a lover of Italian opera, food, people and pretty much all things Italian. Hell of a nice guy too. I attended an event honoring him for his translation. He had unfortunately died before it was published. It was a landmark book in the history of math. Calculations without abaci actually.

Liberace was actually a fan of recreational Math and took his stage name from the book's title, Liber Abaci. Maybe he was a member he was a member of the Gay Straight Alliance being at once flamboyantly gay and totally closeted simultaneously. He was also most beloved by America's heartland.

Amazing puzzle. Drenched in theme. The grid. A theme grid. Down with symmetry. Circled letters theme. Themers popping out all over. Sure it costs a bit in separate sections and a few obscurities. STRAWY. Its in the freakin'dictionary. Get over it. What more do you need. And I put in STRAWs just to avoid it. But when I put in YESTERYEAR it was who cases about STRAWY. Get over your selves. This wasn't a nice respectable theme. Polite and in the right places. This was all out dedication. Your laments are washed away by a maelstrom of passion. Your shoes got wet. I am so sorry for you.

Anonymous 9:18 PM  

I wouldn't say Blue Lives is JUST an attempt to change the topic; Law Enforcement Officers risk their lives every day. But you're right in that the slogan doesn't rightfully honor Black Lives Matter too...

Doug 6:27 PM  

I usually come here because I have just finished a puzzle and didn't get it. Today I came because I found the puzzle too proud of itself and suspected you wouldn't like it either. I needed the validation of your invalidation. It just goes to show there can out-groups even within the nerd community.

thefogman 10:04 AM  

DNF because I went with an O for KORoNAS and did not know 7D was USC. Impressive theme feat, but the fill was contaminated with the worst three-letter flotsam since YESTERYEAR. Also the cluing was sub-par in SPOTs For example, OIL (25D) Word with snake or salad. Snake yes. Salad no. It should have been snake or motor.) I won’t LIE or FIB. IDSAY the gimmick needed a bigger grid or a big red light from the editor. ORDERUP a better one tomorrow please.

thefogman 10:18 AM  

PS - DEAR REX was right about STRAWY - and that’s NAUTILI.

spacecraft 11:56 AM  

I was deeply impressed. The letters of FIBONACCI landing on every clue number in the SEQUENCE. The SPIRAL black-square shape! TWO examples in nature!! Plus the MATHTEACHER!!! Then the GOLDENRATIO!!!!! (You see, IHADTO start ADDing !'s.) And yet people want MORE?

I smiled as SOON as I saw the grid. One unaccompanied "jaw of themelessness." And that curlicue. Thought: I bet this is all about...well, you know. Cross-referenced the 1a and 19a clues, which instantly confirmed my suspicions. Last square filled was the U of USC; cmon, what else could it be? Thus all crosses were fair for that Czech money. No DOD, just DOLLIES in general. STRAWY? To make all that other stuff work, why not? Birdie.

Hard to pick a Wordle starter today; guess I'll have to use TOQUE. It'd be wild if that Q lit up! But it does have three vowels. Starting a birdie string:


Burma Shave 12:18 PM  


SOON HAD no DATES for jollies,


rondo 12:33 PM  

I took a lot of math courses and do not recall the name FIBONACCI ever being mentioned, ergo I forget what it is about every time it comes up. Maybe now it will stick.
Wordle birdie today. Average score of 3.6 tries after 35 attempts.

Waxy in Montreal 2:36 PM  

Though I majored in Math, wasn't familiar with the Fibonacci Series or Golden Ratio until reading Dan Brown's bestseller The Da Vinci Code about twenty years ago. Though the novel itself is a bit of a potboiler, have been fascinated by these mathematical relationships ever since. Kudos to Adam Wagner for designing this puzzle for those who care about numeracy as well as literacy.

Diana, LIW 8:22 PM  

I'm fine with math, but didn't know of the FS until a friend who is a math teacher (at the university where I used to work) discussed it with me one day.

What I'm not fine with is cats having slits for eyes. Unless you have really, REALLY disinterested cats, one of the great things about them is watching their eyes get black as night when they are interested in something. Anything. Especially when they are around their person. So maybe I'm biased. But I have some big-eyed cats.

That's all.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

thefogman 10:50 AM  
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thefogman 1:14 PM  
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