Eight pts. / WED 5-4-2022 / Diez menos dos / Elder Levy in "Schitt's Creek"

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Constructor: Eric Bornstein

Relative difficulty: Easy (7:28 while typing w one finger)


THEME: Embassy staffer... or a hint to the long answers? ATTACH E — Common phrases made wacky with the addition of an E

Theme answers:
  • People who acknowledge when they've been verbally bested?-- TOUCH(E) TYPES
  • Ruins a shiny fabric, as a pet might?-- GOES ON THE LAM(E)
  • Bad advice from grandpa?-- PASS(E) JUDGEMENT
  • Managed to stomach a cracker spread?-- GOT DOWN PAT(E)

Word of the Day: DAME (Maggie Smith, for one) —

The Order of the Ermine, founded by John V, Duke of Brittany in 1381, was the first order of chivalry to accept women; however, female knights existed for centuries in many places in the world prior to this. Like their male counterparts, they were distinguished by the flying of coloured banners and generally bore a coat of arms.

One woman who participated in tournaments was Joane Agnes Hotot (born 1378), but she was not the only one. Additionally, women adopted certain forms of regalia which became closely associated with the status of knighthood. (Wiki.)
• • •

Welcome back to another Malaika MWednesday! I solved this puzzle while snarfing a bag of Flamin' Hot Limón flavored Doritos and I do not have a great spice tolerance and the citric acid / spice / MSG has destroyed my mouth and I am writing this while sucking on ice cubes and coughing up a lung. (Absolutely worth it.) Hope y'all are doing well! Suggested music while reading this post is this cover (starts at 1:17), which I put on as soon as I got to the "Schitt's Creek" clue. I'm emotionally fragile today (I'm about to lose some rights + I just read all of "Conversations with Friends" in one sitting), and I did tear up listening to it.

I liked this puzzle! For me, add-a-letter themes work best when (1) The entries are actually funny, and (2) There's a revealer that ties things together. This had both! The last one about PATE got an audible chuckle out of me (or maybe that was just Doritos powder entering my esophagus and getting choked back out). The revealer works perfectly (nothing "phonetic" or stretchy about it). It's also a nice touch that the Es are all added in the same way (to the end of a one-syllable word), and and pronounced the same way (turning the word into two syllables).

(My one slow-down-- and this is embarrassing because whenever I say that I am unfamiliar with a word one of y'all in the comments calls me unintelligent-- is that I thought an ATTACHE was a briefcase?? Like, what? Did I invent this completely?? At one point I literally thought the entry was ATTACHE based on letter patterns and I was like "But no, it can't be. That's a suitcase.")

The iffier pieces of fill were all stuff that I've learned by now (like ANAT and OCTAD), and we got those super fun "colonnades" of side-by-side nine-letter answers in the corners-- LET'S PARTY is a great entry, and cluing it as [Bacchanalian cry] is so deeply, Times-ly pretentious that I actually tip my imaginary hat to Will Shortz. Sometimes you just gotta lean into the stereotype. 


I have a question about Crossword Clue Grammar. For something like [Castle material] cluing SAND, when do you need a qualifier? I expected this to be [Castle material, sometimes] because not all castles are made out of SAND. Even in this puzzle, we get [Numb, as a foot] for ASLEEP (rather than just [Numb]). Is there a rule? Or is the idea just that one is harder than another, and on a Saturday we get more of the vague clues and on a Monday we get fewer of them?

Bullets:
  • JETTA (Volkswagen compact) — I don't think I will ever be excited to see the name of a car model in a puzzle. Also, I don't think I will ever know the answer of a clue that describes a car model.
  • GAL (Eight pts.) — I thought for sure this was an abbreviation for "points" rather than "pints" although I see now that PTS is in the grid (clued as "points") which should have been a giveaway
  • ANA ("S.N.L." alum Gasteyer) — Are y'all watching "American Auto"? It's not quite as good as "Abbott Elementary" or "Superstore" (they will sometimes fall into the "Oh This Was A Joke On Twitter Let's Make It A Joke On Our Network Comedy" trap) but still very good! Ty White, my DMs are open. Me and my friend have a theorem that Workplace Sitcoms are always funnier than Friend Group Sitcoms because the characters can be more crazy / mean / dramatic and you don't have to justify why they all stay friends.
  • ALAN (Computer scientist Turing) — Always nice to see him in a crossword! Legend.
xoxo Malaika

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

124 comments:

jae 12:06 AM  

Easy-medium. OCTet before OCTAD cost me enough nanoseconds to move this one just past easy. Cute, amusing, tight, and smooth, liked it.

Joaquin 12:23 AM  

I got a kick and a chuckle out of all the theme answers, tho the 10-year-old in me likes GOES ON THE LAME the best.

okanaganer 1:14 AM  

Hi Malaika! Mwednesday again... mwexcellent.

So the theme is: add an E with accent aigu! Pretty good. Love those imported French words, even if I don't know how to type those accents with my english keyboard.

Once at work the boss told me I could order a new Dell computer of my choosing. Doing it online, I saw the choices for keyboard: US, Canadian, etc. Canadian... yes! Big mistake; a really weird layout including a bunch of French diacritics where you least expect them, not even close to what I'm used to. Dell's version of "Canadian"? Desolee, mes amis!

I was so puzzled by PASSE JUDGMENT... surely it's spelled JUDGEMENT? Evidently, only sometimes. I gotta pay more attention to things.

[Spelling Bee: Tues 5:30 to pg, a while longer to QB. My last word a bit silly.]

egsforbreakfast 1:16 AM  

LETSPARTY! PEYOTE! AMEN! TITHE! All crossing PASSEJUDGMENT! This feels like a dreaded family reunion with my communist blood relatives and my Mormon in-laws. I’m stuck in the middle, but there is no doubt about where the fun lies. It’s not on the side of those who ask for A RC when they make their drink order.

INCOMÉ TAX, AVALNCHÉ and CHAPERONÉ were all noted if not understood. Actuallé, it was a fun and appreciated puzzle (by me anyway). Thanks, Eric Bornstein.

Anonymous 1:29 AM  

I think the first themer is out of place as it requires the é to replace a normally y letter in the phrase, while the others add it onto the end. Unless TOUCH TYPES is a thing I’m unfamiliar with?

chefwen 3:06 AM  

Took me a little while to figure out the add an E trick, when I did with TOUCHÉ TYPES I laughed. I still had to do a little extra thinking to get the rest, so I’ve got to go with medium, for me.

Got myself in a bit of a bind in the bottom middle where the mini VW was escaping me and for some strange reason I want to spell ATTILA with one T and two L’s. Every single time, GAH! Finally got that sorted out and all was right with the world again.

OffTheGrid 3:39 AM  

FUNNY BUT NOT FUNNY SEINFELD

AArdvArk 4:13 AM  

The A List:
ANA
ALAN
ANAT
ANAL
AXEL
ATTA
ARC
ATTILA
ARIA
ASLEEP
AVALANCHE
ATTACHE
AYES
ATEMPO

AMEN

Rabbit Girl 5:29 AM  

i'm sure you'll get a plethora of similar comments, but you were 100% right, attache is a briefcase. Why do you doubt yourself? it was named so i believe because ambassadors(attaches) commonly carry them.

Zed 5:43 AM  

GOES ON THE LAM feels redundant somehow and has DOWN PAT sounds better than GOT DOWN PAT, so the base phrases were just a little off to me, making this less than stellar.

ATTACHÉ - Seems like the sort of word that Merriam-Webster would have an explainer on why it means the embassy staffer and the case, but it doesn’t. It does say it’s first known use as the person is from 1822 and is from the French verb, “attacher.” Not only will we make nouns into verbs, but we will do it fancily by stealing from French.

Anonymous 5:43 AM  

"Touch types" means working a keyboard without having to look down at the keys. It might be an antiquated term because that skill is pretty ubiquitous these days. Last century, when keyboards were much less a part of everyday life, most of us had to rely on the "hunt-and-peck" method

Zed 6:27 AM  

And verbs into nouns. D’oh.

@Rabbit Girl - I presume because Malaika hasn’t heard this usage before, which hardly seems odd, and it is a little strange that a person and a case both use the same word. That seems like a perfectly reasonable moment of doubt when running into a new usage. Etymology Online just points to the root idea of being “attached,” no necessary link between the person and the luggage. I think the idea of an ATTACHÉ carrying an ATTACHÉ case is something more out of spy novels and movies.

Anonymous 6:55 AM  

Didn’t like this one until I completed the solving. NW corner was last to fall in place. (Had ZITO instead of ZITI.) The revealer actually revealed something - made the theme answers make sense. This one was okay. Theme answer clues were a bit lame but a solid revealer saved things.

Anonymous 6:58 AM  

It is a bit is a stretch to include ANAT as a MCAT subj. the study of anatomy is usually left to medical school and not pre-med. I am a physician who serves in the admissions committee of a medical school.

kitshef 7:06 AM  

Not sure why Monday was POW as this seems to me to be better on theme and fill, and basically even on cluing. My only guess is the Agard effect. For some reason, crossword pros like his stuff a lot more than I do. And I often do like his puzzles, and always appreciate what he is trying to do through puzzles. But he's as capable of making a sub-par or par puzzle as anyone.

O. Beckham 7:09 AM  

I'd call Malaika's completion of the puzzle using just a single finger a one-handed cachet.

Lewis 7:11 AM  

Talk about a fivesome sitting around a table, whose conversation I’d love to listen in on: LEON Trotsky, ALAN Turing, WES Anderson, EUGENE Levy, and ATTILA the Hun!

This was a very tight and well-clued theme. And it had the exceptional reveal of ATTACHÉ, on a par with last month’s FROM STEM TO STERN (where the clues substituted “rn” for “m”, such as [Bums, for example?] for SCOTTISH POET).

There were sweet little sparks in the puzzle, like ATTA over ATTA, three palindromes (ELLE, ATTA, ANA), and the PuzzPair© of ZAP and LASE.

A lovely smile-producing jaunt to buoy the day. Thank you, Eric!

albatross shell 7:22 AM  

I hope this doesn't set @GILL off too much but I couldn't help thinking:

ATTA boy
ATTA girl
ATTA CHE

And the ATTA just below ATTACHE.

Lee Gerston 7:44 AM  

How does one type without looking?

Dr.A 7:51 AM  

I guess I’m the only one that felt ANAT could not be right because it is NOT a subject on the MCAT. You get Anatomy in medical school. Well I got hung up on that being a doctor. Who actually took the MCAT. I even looked it up and it’s still not a subject on the MCAT. Whatever.

Really old white man 7:55 AM  

Malalaika

Words have multiple and varied meanings, an educated person learns these things over time. Glad you're learning new things.

You can even learn things from a grandpa

Anonymous 7:58 AM  

"Touch typing" refers to using a keyboard or typewriter with ones hands on the home row of keys and moving only other finger your using to enter the current letter.

SouthsideJohnny 8:02 AM  

I thought the theme itself was pretty lame - especially the grandpa clue for PASSE JUDGEMENT. Perhaps there is an anglicized pronunciation of PASSE that sounds like PAHs that I am not aware of. SANS that, I don't know how we got from the traditional French pronunciation of PASSÉ to grandpa.

Personally I agree that we could do with less vehicular trivia, but I guess the gearheads are welcome to REV up their engines and have a seat at the table as well.

OCTAND is one of those bizarre plurals that only an NYT editor could love. There has absolutely got to be a better way to clue OCHO other than a math quiz in a foreign language.

mmorgan 8:06 AM  

Thanks, Malaika! Though I remain curious what Rex would have said about this.

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

@Lewis gave me a traumatic flashback by mentioning that awful r-n,m travesty.

Anonymous 8:08 AM  

Seems like the NYT missed an opportunity for some post-solve pyrotechnics. The E’s should have just exploded with fiery red accent marks upon solving successfully. As it is, I look at the revealer and see ATTACH E, but you don’t — you attach É.

I did like it, though. NASDAQ before THE DOW, and I will always put OCTet before OCTAD. I would never use the latter. A kealoa where the two possibilities don’t seem equally valid.

Nice writeup as always, Malaika. I wish I could answer your question but I have no idea about cluing rules. And I love your explanation of why workplace comedies are better than friend comedies. Never thought of that before, but it’s true. Family comedies could also fit with work comedies because you also don’t have any choice over the characters you have to interact with. Like Schitts Creek.

Georgia 8:08 AM  

To touch type is to type without looking at the keyboard. Probably used more when we boomers used typewriters.

Lewis 8:09 AM  

Nice bit of wordple.

pabloinnh 8:13 AM  

Now that's some straightforward cluing-"King Tut's land", "Colosseum country", and several others. On a Wednesday. Really.

I did like the theme and caught on after touche and lame, rendering the revealer superfluous, if indeed clever. The other themers made me smile and I was sure I had a mistake when I got the DGM combination from doing downs, but no, JUDGMENT to the rescue, which is how we spell it in the USA. Which reminds me, @okanager, I was really hoping that your Canadian keyboard would type "eh" any time you tried to use a ?, but I guess not.

I have yet to see "Schitt's Creek", which is apparently a gold mine for proper names, but I used to drive a JETTA, which was fun and peppy, so that all evens out.

Nice enough Wednesdecito, EB. Not Exactly Baffling, if you get my drift, but fun while it lasted, for which thanks.

albatross shell 8:20 AM  

I hope this doesn't irk @GILL too much, but I couldn't help thinking:

ATTA boy
ATTA girl
ATTA CHE

I mean the ATTA is just under ATTACHE.

Also sounds like ancient throwing device?:
ATTA AXEL

I posred or tried to something like this a little past 7am or so. I did something wrong or it got lost?

John H 8:31 AM  

Loved it. Laughed at it. Fun, Two nits: rev does not power an engine, it gooses one that is already powered, and I would not normally pronounce ELLE as L-E. I would pronounce it the same as the magazine of that name.Those of you with that name, are you single or double syllable people?

Malaika, you did your usual charming job here, and I agree, solving with one finger is also an achievement., Do you not touch type, normally? Not to disparage young people for inexperience, but an attaché in NOT a briefcase, it its an embassy employee. Briefcases carry briefs (the lawyers kind, not the Calvins) and attache cases are carried by embassy attaches. Briefcases and attache cases are not interchangeable terms. Brief cases are soft, often of leather, and open vertically, with only one opening on top; attache cases are rigid leather boxes, hinged at the back, so they lay flat and open horizontally.

Laura 8:32 AM  

Nice puzzle. Funny themers. The puzzle was made much easier because the didn't just add an e, but added an e with an accent aigue. Yesterday was closer to Wednesday difficult; I'm glad today wasn't all the way down to Tuesday.

Leaving out the last names of actors I've never heard of is the right way to make bit easier.

Son Volt 8:35 AM  

A letter changing theme needs to go big and goofy - not sure this one does. I liked GOT DOWN PATE - but the other fell flat on me. INCOME TAX, AVALANCHE, NAFTA are rough - add THE DOW and the solve gets ugly especially given recent performance.

Harmless enough - but not a lot of fun.

bocamp 8:35 AM  

Thx Eric; not a LAME effort! :)

Hi Malaika, good to see you again; thx for your review! :)

Med.

Smooth sailing, except tAME was LAME, so changed tASE to LASE and that went a long ways! :)

Tried watching Shitt's Creek, but it just wasn't my cuppa. I do like EUGENE Levy, tho.

Did very much like Benedict Cumberbatch as ALAN Turing in 'The Imitation Game'.

Learned to TOUCH TYPE in gr 10. Has stood me in good stead thenceforth.

Excellent Wednes. offering; fun solve. :)

@jae

Just shy of 3 hrs for Croce's 704, so med solve pour moi. Never fails to grab me, how a feeling of hopelessness gradually turns to optimism. :) See you next Mon. :)

@okanaganer 👍 for last two QB's :)

Yep, always try the British vars; I think there's at least one that's accepted (don't recall it offhand).
___
yd's: pg -3 / WH: 4 / Sec: 18/21 / Duo: 35/37 (one blunder)

Phrazle 30: 2/6
🟨🟪⬜🟪 🟪⬜⬜ ⬜🟩🟪🟪🟪
🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

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

Nancy 8:40 AM  

Let us never look back and say that we SAT meekly by or that we were ASLEEP at the wheel as a Supreme Court, SET ON completely ZAPping women's rights, UNDID half a century of women's bodily autonomy and liberty...

Let us never say that we allowed their PASSE JUDGMENT to inflict on us all the ILLS of an earlier time and bury us in an AVALANCHE of harassment and criminal prosecution...

Let us never say that we went ALONG with it or that we allowed reactionary LEADERs with all the tender mercies of ATTILA the Hun to wrest control of...well, our most personal and private ANAT, actually!

Instead, let us say that every GAL and DAME in this country is ON IT -- from EUGENE, Oregon to the great state of CAL. Let us say that we will find our 21st-century Joan of ARC and that wth her as our LEADER we will re-do what they so IGNOBEL-LY UNDID. IF SO, LET'S PARTY like it's 1973 again! AMEN!!!!

Conrad 8:46 AM  


@ Malaika: Anyone who would post a blog comment saying you (or anyone else) is “unintelligent” for not knowing a word or its usage is the worst kind of ignorant, inconsiderate boor and should be banned from the blog for life. You keep on telling us what made you scratch your head and don’t worry about the ignorameese.

@Dr. A.: I thought the same thing. I’m not a doctor, never wanted to be and never took the MCAT. But if I had and I’d encountered an ANATomy question I’d have shouted out loud, “I shouldn’t have to know anatomy to get into med school; I’m taking this freakin’ test so you can TEACH me anatomy!”

Mikey from El Prado 8:49 AM  

Southside Johnny, the PASSÉ isn’t relating to the PA in grandpa. It’s regarding that something passé is old, like grandpa.

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

I agree with the anonymous physician above. Anatomy is not an MCAT subject. Also, judgment is spelled correctly in the puzzle, but not in the write up

Smith 8:57 AM  

Started this before school and knew I had a typo. But it was only when I looked for the typo just now that I saw ATTACHE in all its glory. I mean, I knew that was the theme from TOUCHETYPES, but I didn't actually get the revealer this morning.

And it was a typo, b for neighbor N, which I do often on this tiny keyboard.

Haven't read Rex or you all, but I expect comments about the sound change from TOUCH to TOUCHÉ. Which the others do not.

No biggie, I liked it enough! Kinda easy for a Wednesday.

Zed 8:57 AM  

I can usually figure out some way to make sense of a clue beyond the one tripping up the experts in the field, but I’m having no luck with the MCAT clue. The closest I can get is some tortured interpretation of ANATomy = medicine, but it just doesn’t work. Anyone got anything?

amyyanni 9:04 AM  

Malaika, what a treat! You reminded me of my Teach for America time in Mississippi. My little 1st graders loved Flamin' Hot Cheetos. While I too love spicy food, it is an acquired taste that developed during my teens and twenties.
Yes, agree with you: this is a sprightly puzzle. Theme made me smile, much appreciated as I got the 2nd booster yesterday. Decided to mix it up so went with Pfizer after 3 Moderna.
So far, biggest side effect is insomnia.😳
Thanks for your post!

burtonkd 9:04 AM  

@ Malaika - I believe you answered your own question about clueing: day of the week, difficulty desired. "Numb" can be a verb or a noun, probably with many possible answers, so they narrow it down for a Wednesday. I think Rex (or @Zed?) wrote about this fairly recently.

Ironic that you would chafe at a car model clue, then recommend "American Auto" two bullet points later:) I agree that car model clues are sub-optimal (Hi, @Nancy), but this IS the USA, even if NYT comes from the least car-dependent part of the country. Also, if a show is well written, the basic premise doesn't matter so much.

@Lee Gerston - not sure if you were serious. F and J have raised dots so you can feel them; you then learn by feel where all the other keys are so you don't have to look.

One eyebrow is twitching at including OCTAD and OCHO, not sure if it should go full arch.

I like the 9 letter pairings, with one caveat: If you go to an AVALANCHE PARTY, don't bring your INCOMETAX CHAPERONE.

Had NASDAQ before THEDOW, someone had to not fully read a clue today in Rex's absence...

PPP lessened with SETON clued as such.

JD 9:08 AM  

Great fun! Loved this.

If I’d had some Lamé, my faithful but untrainable dachshund would have gone on it, his crowning achievement. He once planted his front half out the door to the backyard, leaving his business end in the house so he could go on the carpet.

@Zed, the last time someone referred to an Attaché (case) was probably when Sean Connery played James Bond. We need a fancy word for backpack, maybe just backpacké.

@Megafrim from yesterday, har! I was in marketing and sales being paid to mingle and hover. Imagine a conference of the Something Association of Anything. Their evening mixers would be habitat for the table, likely now eradicated. They carried cheeseboards with the necessary brie and things wrapped in puff pastry.

@Malaika, I vote for no qualifier on a Wednesday Sand Castle. IMO, the NYT overuses it.

@okanaganer, the E in Judgment. Only learned it years ago when I worked for litigation lawyers. It just screams “I’m a typo” without it.

Birchbark 9:10 AM  

BEROWNE: My love to thee is sound, SANS crack or flaw..
ROSALINE: SANS "SANS," I pray you.

-- Shakespeare, "Love's Labour's Lost," Act V sc. 2

@Okanager (1:14) -- The "e" in JUDGeMENT(like the "u" in Labour's) is correct on Canadian/UK soil, but not so in the US. We can thank Noah Webster for that approach. His dictionary "improved" many words by eliminating what he considered unnecessary spellings.

Gary Jugert 9:23 AM  

Yesterday's news kept me off the internet so I didn't read yesterday's blog after a few posts. I miss this place when "Anonymous" hijacks the discussions. I wish our moderators were a bit more heavy handed and wouldn't allow any Anons. If you're going to hold extremist views, post them on extremist websites (not a puzzle blog) and put your name on them. Sheesk.

Today's puzzle is more good than bad. I love the word ATTACHE (suitcase and person), but it's wrong as a revealer. The E's are already attached?! The theme feels strained to me, but there's two with cute wordplay so I'll take 'em.

Yay:
ZAP (still love this idea)
TOUCHE TYPES (funny)
PASSE JUDGMENT (Over 50? This is us.)
AVALANCHE (Colorado is in the playoffs)
PEYOTE (feels Soutwest-y)
CHAPERONE (thanks for volunteering)

Boo:
ATTILA (butcher of the day)
Heavy on crosswordese today

Lonely NYTXW Editors Tee-Hees (LNETHS)
DOPE
ANAL

OffTheGrid 9:24 AM  

@Zed. According to those who know, doctors, the clue for ANAT(omy) is in error. It happens.

Nancy 9:25 AM  

Phrazle 31: 2/6
⬜🟪🟪🟪 ⬜⬜⬜🟨🟨🟨⬜

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩
#phrazle

Carola 9:28 AM  

Hail to the crossword Muse who whispered ATTACH E to Eric Bornstein - who then knew what to do with it. Terrific idea, funny phrases, I especially liked the three where the "other part" of the phrase changed its meaning, too: TYPES, from keyboard writing to kinds of people; GOES, from proceeding forth to peeing (@Joaquin - me, too), and GOT DOWN, from learning to managing to eat. And the phrases still make goofy sense - and have kept me laughing.

RooMonster 9:47 AM  

Hey All !
Make sure to get your CHAPERONÉ out of the way of the AVALANCHÉ.
EUGENÉ needs PEYOTÉ to justify his TITHÉ.
OLÉ.

Those extraneous É's aside, I thought this was a fun puz. Two Themers with the É's in the first word, two in the second word. Consistency. And as Mailaka points out, each attached to a one-syllable word, and making it two syllables, turning it into a "wacky" phrase. Good stuff. Fav being TOUCHÉ TYPES. Revealer also neat, ATTACH E/ ATTACHÉ. Nice.

Fill good, dreck-lite. Had adE for ICE first. Think that might've been my only writeover. Fun WedsPuz, good way to start the morning.

One more ... ELLË hit her golf ball off the TEË.

yd -6, should'ves 3 (some odd words, there)
Duo 33/37!! Only missed the first word. Funny solve with words 2 through 12 all having an R for the second letter. Turned out, 12 words with second letter R.

One F
RooMonster
DarrinV

Joe Dipinto 9:50 AM  

The suitcase is actually called an attaché case but, you know, having to pronounce an extra syllable is time consuming.

Coined from the French, the word attaché refers to an administrative member of an ambassador’s staff. Due to their responsibilities, these people carried papers and documents with them in slim cases. Over time these came to be known as attaché cases.

Now where did I put my new leather brief?

Zed 9:57 AM  

@JD - Backpacké it is! 🤣😂🤣

@Off - Not as often as experts claim here. Usually it’s the expert misunderstanding the clue. Today seems to be the exception.

@burtonkd - Yep, that was me, on pretty much the same sort of clue. I remember Games Magazine used to run a puzzle with two sets of clues demonstrating how much it is the clues, not the answers, that matter.

Geezer 10:02 AM  

My inaugural Phrazle. I'll take it.

Phrazle 31: 3/6
⬜🟨⬜🟪 🟩🟪🟨⬜⬜⬜⬜

🟨🟩⬜🟪 🟩🟩🟩🟩⬜🟩⬜

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

RooMonster 10:05 AM  

Dang, wrong button hit. Although ELLË and TEË could be another theme...

Always like the word SANS. Unclear why.

RooMonster SANS Wrongness Guy

Wanderlust 10:09 AM  

Not sure why my handle doesn’t appear anymore. The comment above is from Wanderlust

beverly c 10:12 AM  

Malaika, re ATTACHE - it's not your fault you haven’t seen all the spy movies from the 1960s.
Easy puzzle, entertaining themers.

jberg 10:12 AM  

Very nice theme, even if we had to imagine the accents over all those terminal Es.

It's been implicit in a couple of the comments, but just to spell it out-- the item in common was originally an ATTACH'E case (forgive the fake accent, too hard to get the right one in). They were carried by those embassy staffers, and by others who thought they were classy. Then maybe 20 years later they got shortened by dropping the "case." For some reason, that shortening did not happen to briefcases. Are attach'es a type of briefcase? In everyday parlance, yes; etymologically, no.

@John H, the clue says ELLE is pronounced 'like a letter,' not like 2 letters.

We all got ANAT from the clue, right? So by stretching the Joaquin rule a bit, it's legitimate, if wrong. But really should have been clued better.

Eight pts. was a nice misdirect, but isn't there a rule against also having PTS in the grid?

I just now noticed the clue for WAR, which I got from crosses. Brings back memories!

@Nancy, that was brilliant. Thank you.

Joseph Michael 10:24 AM  

Someone who gets put down by a smart aleck, a dog pooping in the house, an old guy giving advice that is of no use, and a guest choking on the hors-devours. Sorry. This is not a PARTY I’m enjoying.

But some good comments today. ATTA GAL, @Nancy, AMEN.

Gary Jugert 10:30 AM  

@Joe Dipinto When you can't find your leather briefs, you've probably had one heck of a BACCHANALIA.

GILL I. 10:41 AM  

OK...so I'm the one sitting in a corner sucking my thumb. I won't be rude because, well, because. I'd make a lousy critic. I lie. I'll tell you you look fabulous when, in fact, you look like an elephant.
I didn't really have fun. GOES ON THE LAME was so lame that I actually got up and mopped the kitchen floor. The clue: Ruins a shiny fabric, as a pet might? Does that mean the dog poops on your dress? GOT DOWN PATE? I don't down it...I eat it slowly with some French bread.
Maybe my mind doesn't meld with Eric. I have a sense of humor and I like fun...but ay chimichanga, it needed some salsa.
Also...I'm not sure I've ever met a Bacchanalian who'd yell LETS PARTY. They like wine and sex and a bit of ecstasy.

@Albatross 7:22. HAH! I'm glad I'm known for the boring DAME who yammers on and on and on about CHE. Pero que boludo.

@Nancy...That was one terrific post.

Leslie 10:44 AM  

@Nancy Thank you

The Joker 10:47 AM  

Isn't THE DOW that eastern philosophy thing?

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

Nancy,
The Supremes haven't done anything to women. Nor are they likely to. They will however get Dobbs correct and reverse the grotesque error they mad in Roe.
I assure I will not be asleep when that day comes. I'll be rejoicing.

Masked and Anonymous 10:53 AM  

Not yer usual same OLE stuff, theme-wise. Like.

Lotsa extra, sparkly longballs: INCOMETAX. AVALANCHE. LETSPARTY. CHAPERONE.
Also partial to: PLUTO. EGYPT & ITALY.

staff weeject pick: PTS. Luvly plural abbreve meat. Primo weeject stacks, in the NE & SW, too boot.

At first, based on the 17-A clue, thought the theme was turnin TOUCHY TYPES into TOUCHE TYPES. But GOESONTHELAME soon straightened m&e out. Solvequest seemed to hum along mighty smooothly, at our house. No no-knows; EUGENE came the closest, as he was only vaguely recalled. Had OCTET before OCTAD, but that didn't last long enough for the pencil lead to cool off.

A-SLEEP was our fave ATTACH-A-er.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Bornstein dude. Very nice work.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


second in the series:
**gruntz**

Anonymous 10:53 AM  
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Whatsername 10:58 AM  

A fairly challenging Wednesday with a little bite to it. I actually found the theme a little week, not really the theme I suppose but the revealer. Anyway, I liked it much better once I finished it. I learned OCTAD is the same as OCTET but thought the clue for REV was way wrong.

TOUCH TYPING may be thought of as a lost art, or at least one which is no longer taught. However anyone who uses a keyboard and can type a continuous stream without looking at the keys is applying that practice. It’s a skill I learned at a young age and which became the cornerstone for a secure and comfortable career over the course of my life.

When I say a young age, I really mean young. My parents had an old Underwood typewriter and one of those ancient desks with a drop down front. It had a bookcase on the side and was called a secretary. When I was just a child I would spend hours banging away on that old typewriter and pretending I was in my office working. Some days my mother would even bring me my lunch so I could eat at my desk. Probably sounds boring to most people but there’s no explaining the emotions attached to those beloved childhood memories.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:00 AM  

@okanaganer 1:14 AM - Ohhh!!! I didn't get the accent aigu (aka acute accent) thing. Thank for clarifying.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:02 AM  

@chefwen 3:06 AM - Same here! On all counts.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:03 AM  

@Rabbit Girl 5:29 AM - Indeed, the full term is "attaché case."

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:06 AM  

@Anonymous 6:58 AM - Haha! Thanks for that perspective. I thought it seemed off...but I'm just a lowly freelance medical writer (LOL).

Surphart 11:08 AM  

Being that all the theme answers contain French words ending in E,
I find it odd that the constructor included 2 more French words, pronounced the same in English but silent, placed nearly symmetrically running down in the NE and SW. Although, avalanche includes the e, chaperon does not... Anyway, fun puzzle and touch type slowed me down a tad.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

OK, for the gazillionth time, I suppose, but I can't resist. The CASE (not a suitcase) is named for the guys (weren't any gals way back yonder) who used them in the course of their diplomatic work. Now, as to the physical difference between an ATTACHE case and a briefcase?? No clue.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:11 AM  

@SouthsideJohnny 8:02 AM - *My* problem with PASSÉ JUDGMENT is that it's agist. Outdated judgement can come from anyone of any age, while old folks, of course of course of course, can offer very sound judgment.

egsforbreakfast 11:15 AM  

@Nancy. Thanks for your post.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:15 AM  

@pabloinnh 8:13 AM - Agreed on the overly straightforward cluing as fit for a Monday, maybe a very easy Tuesday, but not a Wednesday. Oh, and I have tried watching Schitt's Creek a number of times, and can never get through a single episode. I am completely uncomprehending as to its apparently considerable charm. Makes me think of the old adage about 50,000 flies.

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

@Lee Gerston:
How does one type without looking?

Braille?

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:22 AM  

@Conrad 8:46 AM - Thanks for your comment to @Malaika about ignoring ignorant boors. I was going to comment on that, but I decided it did not need to be said now or by me (that's a 12-Step recovery thing, but I'm glad you did you). In fact, I am so sorry and sad to see (look at me with the alliteration all of a sudden) that what appears to be Boomer commenters (a demographic in which I number myself) have a tendency to say these kind of a-hole things (there are a number of examples today, but I won't cite them, for the same reason: Doesn't need to be said now or by me). @Malaika, you keep doing you, too.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:23 AM  

@Mikey from El Prado 8:49 AM - Which is *totes* agist...Am I the only one here who thinks that?

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:29 AM  

@Mikey from El Prado 8:49 AM - Re: "Had NASDAQ before THEDOW," me too! I was surprised, because 1885? But as soon as I got TEE, I thought "Ugh." Is there a term in crosswordese for when the constructor seems to rely on a plausible-but-not-strictly-necessary THE to make an entry work in their grid?

The Cleaver 11:31 AM  

Not to ignite yet another flame war as yesterday, but even Xword addicts need to consider the ramifications. A sufficiently 'originalist' body could even prohibit wasteful pastimes like violent video games and, gasp, crosswords.

Here's one explanation. Read it. https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/04/politics/roe-alito-obergefell-loving/index.html

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:31 AM  

@Gary Jugert 9:23 AM - Re: That crotchety Anonymous: Agreed to the undefined ordinal degree!

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:33 AM  

Damn you! @Gary Jugert 10:30 AM - *I* was going to make that joke!!!

TJS 11:36 AM  

Malaikas' start made me think how John X would begin a review. "I solved this puzzle while snorting"...

Somebody at WIKI apparently has the hots for "Hotot".

Now to read y'all. I hope we were able to change the subject.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:37 AM  

@Nancy - Don't let the crotchety Anonymous get you down. I mean, I know you don't, and you won't, but I needed to express my solidarity, a solidarity which I suspect *at least 99%* of those of us who comment on this blog share.

Eugene T 11:41 AM  

Any oldtimers from the Maleska era that saw the BACCHANALIAN clue thought "EVOE". That was a regular back in the day.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:42 AM  

@Nancy - Oh, one more thing, and I know this is not really the place to say this, but fuggit: Joe Biden was absolutely right in his comment about how other rights are now at grave risk, too, including same-sex marriage. In a really awful way, this moment may prove to have been in the service of some greater good if it knocks certain population groups out of their complacency about the putative "enshrining" of rights anywhere, be it the Constitution or laws—although laws are certainly a better, more secure way to go, as RGB herself recognized.

Anonymous 11:55 AM  

When I was in junior high school in the late 1960s and took a typing class, the keys on the typewriters in front of the students were blank. There was a chart at the front of the room showing where the letters were. We had to learn it and type by touch, starting with our fingers on the middle row of letters. I can type on a full size keyboard really fast, but use one finger on my phone.

Hartley70 12:00 PM  

I just had to see Levy and enter EUGENE to feel happy this morning. And thank you Malaika for the musical number from Schitt’s Creek. It put me right in the mood to appreciate this slightly zany theme. ATTACHÉ was just a brilliant revealer. LAME was my favorite theme answer. It seems to me that TOUCH TYPing would be more important than ever today. In 8th grade we girls were lucky enough to be forced into a year long typing course. It has probably served me better than most things I learned during that year. It got me in the door of my first job when I arrived in NYC after college, followed by a hiatus of many years that ended abruptly when the Computer Age began.

Hartley70 12:00 PM  

TJS 12:15 PM  

Don't feed the trolls !!

Beezer 12:15 PM  

First let me get out the fact that I enjoyed the puzzle and thought it had a pretty tight theme. Of course I always like it when I am able to pick up a theme early, so there is that.

@Okanaganer…one of my law school professors in first semester said (apropos of nothing at that moment)…”I’m going to tell you a very important piece of information and that is that JUDGMENT does not have two Es. Please remember this because if a judge reads one of your briefs and you’ve spelled it incorrectly, it could affect how the judge thinks about your work product.” Needless to say, THAT worked for me and I had never really thought of the spelling prior to that. Unfortunately it also makes me cringe just a bit when I see it spelled with the extra E. I’m pretty sure the extra E is actually “acceptable” here in the US, but I doubt one would ever find it spelled like that in US reported court decisions.

Malsdemare 12:22 PM  

Amen, @Nancy. To the streets . . .again.

JC66 12:27 PM  

@Nancy

Not surprised. Loved your comment.

Euclid 12:35 PM  

@Nancy:

You have our support.

Nancy 12:48 PM  

Thanks, @Mike in Bed Stuy for the support -- along with thanks to @jberg, @GILL, @egs, @Leslie and #Joseph Michael for their hearty AMENs.

Nah, the Anons didn't get me down at all -- in fact I was expecting much worse. And I actually chuckled at the "Joan of ARC was a virgin" comment, though one must remember that Joan would be living in a completely different era now. And that she was only 14, after all. And also that ARC was in today's puzzle. (Now if GLORIA or ELIZABETH had been in today's puzzle...)

As for the Anons -- not so many of them today, Yay!!!! And I agree, Mike, that the Supreme Court draft decision will be highly unpopular -- perhaps even infuriating -- to most members of the Rexworld commentariat. Which is why I love this place.

Anoa Bob 12:56 PM  

Finding potential candidates for a themed crossword puzzle is doubly challenging. Not only do they have to cohere tightly and consistently around the central theme concept but they also have to have matching letter counts for symmetrically placed themers. The combination of those two requirements increases the degree of difficulty of constructing themed puzzles and elevates them above more mundane puzzles such as word searches, anagrams and the like. It's sort of like going from checkers to chess.

So I always notice, and not in a good way, when one of those requirements isn't met and needs a quick and easy shortcut solution. That happens today with TOUCHE TYPE. It is one letter shorter than the symmetrically placed GOT DOWN PATE. The fix is, of course, easy and convenient, just tack on a gratuitous S and problem solved! But resorting to that plural of convenience (POC) lowers the degree of difficulty and thereby the overall quality of the puzzle and would be a major deduction in the puzzle's rating, in my book.

Both 11D CHAPERONE and 32D AVALANCHE look like they might be auxiliary themers. Bonus or just a distraction?

PEYOTE (46D) is the name of the cactus. The "Psychoactive drug from a cactus" (as clued) would be mescaline. They say that if you eat PEYOTE, the spirit Mescalito will pay you a visit, speaking words of wisdom.

CDilly52 1:08 PM  

@Zed 5:43: I think the constructor used GOT DOWN as one might say after having a wicked bout of stomach flu, “I finally GOT DOWN some solid food today.”

CDilly52 1:15 PM  

Easy, in fact I agree that this one topped Monday by a long shot. This was a well crafted, consistent theme that works because of the care our constructor took to make this silly, ridiculous theme hang together. And it gave me a few good chuckles so I care not a bit that it was a might too easy for Wednesday. GOES ON THE LAMÉ actually got a little LOL. I admit it, I cut my crossword teeth on the silly stuff and am still an absolute sucker for a puzzle like this as long as it is high quality. Thank you ERIC BORNSTEIN!!!

Pete 1:25 PM  

@MiBS - You're right of course, but we old guys have much, much more PASSE advice to hand down. You wipper-snappers are just getting started.

Anonymous 1:27 PM  
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burtonkd 1:32 PM  

@Gary Jugert for the win!!!

Rug Crazy 1:56 PM  

Enjoyed this . 23 across is the funniest clue/answer ever!

Anonymous 2:04 PM  
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Anonymous 2:07 PM  
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old timer 2:29 PM  

The puzzle struck me as easy for a Wednesday, but then I know what an attache' is. As I lawyer I had both a briefcase (soft-sided red leather) and two Attache' cases. One the simple one carried by embassy staffers, and an extra large one to put bulky documents in. I thought it was classier to use the leather one for arguments before the higher courts, and yes, put all the briefs in the case there, as well as essential documents I might need to refer to. My smaller attache' case was what I took to local courtrooms for routine appearances. The big one was needed when I was defending the opponent's deposition in trial court cases, and needed access to everything.

We have an interesting history with regard to attache's. We Americans did not have ambassadors until 1893. Before that, we sent "ministers" to major countries like England, France, Prussia and Russia. We also of course sent Secretaries of varying ranks (First, Second, Third) and the Minister usually took along a personal secretary, paid at the Minister's expense. At least two members of the Adams family served in that role: John Quincy Adams, who was secretary to his father John, and Henry Adams, secretary to his father Charles Francis Adams, our envoy to Britain under Lincoln.

These personal secretaries, along with the First, Second, etc. Secretaries were all ATTACHEs to the ministry or, later, the Embassy.

malaika 2:32 PM  

to everyone wondering why i typed w one finger-- there was dorito dust all over my hands!! (i am actually an extremely fast touch typist.)

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

@Nancy: Brilliant!

I'm not a lawyer but it seems to me Alito is wrong on the law and the Constitution. The 4th amendment ensures that a "person" is secure from "seizures" by the government. This right of privacy was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 1967 in Katz. Government forcing a woman to carry to term is certainly a seizure.

The idea that those creating a democracy created "of, by and for" the people would not ensure their right of privacy is bizarre.

Lewis 2:47 PM  

@nancy -- Spot on and so well expressed -- brava!

Master Melvin 2:52 PM  

Ah, virginity. A virtue defined by old, celibate males. How would they even know she or anyone else is a virgin without violating their privacy? (Which is what the ruling is ultimately about.)

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

@Master Melvin:

But the whole point of Alito's diatribe is there is no right to privacy. He tries to gull those who can't read into buying the notion that there being no right to privacy (it isn't explicit in the Constitution, after all) applies only to the abortion issue. Anyone who believes that's all the Radical Right is up to needs to have their head examined.

Anonymous 3:12 PM  
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Joe Dipinto 3:23 PM  

@Gary Jugert & @MiBS

I found my leather brief. I won't tell you where it was.

Phrazle 31: 2/6
⬜🟨🟪🟩 🟨⬜🟨⬜⬜⬜⬜

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩
#phrazle

https://solitaired.com/phrazle

Beezer 3:39 PM  

@malaika, I type one fingered into my iPad all the time…I thought I was pretty fast at it but your time was impressive given that!

@Nancy…good job today madam.

LorrieJJ 4:32 PM  

To type é, press Alt-130, then release Alt, and Voilà! BTW à is Alt-133.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 5:42 PM  

@Anonymous 1:27 PM - You are correct that nothing will change the decision. But I am surprised at you for not appearing to understand that the primary mode of policy implementation under the Constitution of the United States is legislation, not judicial review. As I mentioned in one of my comments, RGB herself argued that it would have been better for abortion rights in the long run if the matter before the Supreme Court had been framed as one of equal protection rather than privacy. She was concerned that the decision based on privacy would cause decades of pitched controversy. Of course, she was right. In the long run, the right to choose an abortion must be enshrined in law, either at the state level, the national level, or both. It appears we got 50 years of Roe, and now we are going to be, to some if not to a great extent, right back in 1973. Oh, and please don't tell me what to do. At some point, I may have to make a mean-spirited joke about "sticking to the Greek" (something I have done to me on a regular basis, by the way (that joke I just made was tasteless, but not mean-spirited—the essence of camp!).

Anonymous 5:46 PM  
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Anonymous 6:06 PM  
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Marnie 6:26 PM  
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albatross shell 6:51 PM  

@anon546pm

Because it is not yet born. Because it is a choice women have with their lives. Because you are not God. Because exactly when a fertilized egg becomes a human baby can be anywhere during the nine month period. Because women are not cattle and they are sentient beings with the will and right to make their own decisions about their own bodies. Because biology is not destiny. Because they know your opinion and they don't care about your opinion. Because they want to make their own decisions. Because they don't want you deciding what they can and cannot do. Because they want privacy.

And I believe it has been mentioned often. I agree nobody should force you to have a baby. Nobody should compel you to birth a baby.

JC66 7:43 PM  

@albie

Well said!

Anonymous 8:08 PM  
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Anonymous 8:43 PM  
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LateSolver 9:15 PM  

Even as a hunt and pecker (hold your comments), I do know the answer to the common question I have seen in this thread as to how TOUCHTYPERS know where they are typing without looking. It's relative hand positioning on the keyboard. You set your hands in a defined home place and letter strokes are relative to that position. In fact, many keyboards, including the laptop I an on now, have little nubs on the F and J keys for touch typers to home off of. What amazes me is the younger generation who can text at 70 WPM on their phone with only two thumbs! I text w/ 1 finger (and the particular one varies based on whom I'm texting :-))

And add me to the list of people who thought this was a crossword blog and not a political blog. Agree that any post not related to the solve should be rejected (as an independent thinker, I'm equally put off by both far left and right posts).

GILL I. 9:39 PM  

Theocracy . I don't need divine guidance by any divine rule.
Thanks, @Rex.
Hasta luego.

Anonymous 10:02 PM  

@albatross shell:

Finally, some usefulness to watching all those L&O episodes. And right on, btw.

As to the myriad Mouses (or just one, who knows) hypocrisy knows no bounds. Is this thread appropriate to a Xword blog? Since we're in discussion raised by the blog owner, Hell Yes.

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