TV 6-year-old who attends Little Dipper School / SUN 5-15-22 / Jazz bassist Carter / Component of a bridge truss / 1990s film with a famous wood chipper scene / Graffitied artistic attraction along 114-Across

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Constructor: Daniel Mauer

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Way Out West" — a puzzle about ROUTE SIXTY-SIX (114A: Theme of this puzzle, which winds its way nearly 2,500 miles through all the shaded [circled] squares herein); the circled squares contain the abbrs. of the states that Route 66 runs through, arranged in a very rough visual approximation of the route's actual path:

Theme answers:
  • THE MOTHER ROAD (21A: Nickname for 114-Across coined by John Steinbeck)
  • PAINTED DESERT (39A: Colorful natural attraction along 114-Across)
  • GATEWAY ARCH (65A: Tall, curved attraction along 114-Across)
  • CADILLAC RANCH (92A: Graffitied artistic attraction along 114-Across)
  • Grant PARK (34D: Grant ___, northeast terminus of 114-Across)
  • Santa Monica PIER (83D: Santa Monica ___, southwest terminus of 114-Across)
Word of the Day: CADILLAC RANCH (92A) —

Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation and sculpture in AmarilloTexas, US. It was created in 1974 by Chip LordHudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm.

The installation consists of ten Cadillacs (1949-1963) buried nose-first in the ground. Installed in 1974, the cars were either older running, used or junk cars — together spanning the successive generations of the car line — and the defining evolution of their tailfins. (wikipedia)

• • •

Surprised that a trip across America on ROUTE SIXTY-SIX could be this dull. It's basically a bad map with some arbitrary trivia thrown in. Here's what the actual trajectory of ROUTE SIXTY-SIX:

I was in Flagstaff a few summers ago. Nice place. Route 66 goes right through. It goes right through a lot of places. Thousands of miles of places. Shrug. These four trivia answers don't mean much to me, and seem chosen solely for their ability to fit symmetrically in the grid. I'd never even heard of two of them (THE MOTHER ROAD, CADILLAC RANCH). I figured CADILLAC RANCH was a brothel, actually. Which famous "ranch" am I confusing it with? Ah, Mustang Ranch ("Nevada's first licensed brothel," per wikipedia). That is not really anywhere near Route 66. CADILLAC RANCH turns out to be a bunch of cars nose-deep in dirt. Interesting. Almost certainly more interesting than the puzzle. There's not a lot to say. Bad map. Random trivia. End of story. (note: I see that the puzzle wants me to believe there are six Route 66 trivia answers, but PARK and PIER are disqualified based on length—they're just four-letter words playing thematic dress-up).

The grid does not have a lot of interesting fill, in part because it's really not built for it. Not a lot of room for longer answers. Lots of black squares, lots of choppiness, hence lots of shorter fare. And what longer fare there is tends to get wasted on stuff like SEMITONE and ACETONE and ATONED and probably some other "tone" that I'm missing. I mean, ENDPOST? (11D: Component of a bridge truss). Whose idea of a good time is that? That answer, with its FOLKSY and PAOLO crosses, was one of a few unfortunate sticking points in the grid, though the puzzle was no more difficult than your average Sunday. Because I couldn't work my way up into the NE without ENDPOST, I ended up having to restart cold up there, and that was oddly hard: DOT com before ROM com, LODES before GOALS (12D: Positive results of some strikes), ISM before IST (16D: Natural conclusion?). But it was all workoutable. Also had trouble in and around INTRANET, which is about as lovely as ENDPOST. But INTRANET brought an equally dull date, namely DATATYPE, and when ACETONE and CXL got involved, well, that whole SE area just got ugly. I loved "DON'T DO IT!" Puzzle could've used a lot more of that energy today. 

  • 5A: Pertaining to any of five Italian popes (SISTINE) — the popes in question were all named Sixtus, for the record
  • 20A: Hardly a team player? (SOLOIST) — many soloists play with teams, if the team is an orchestra. I wanted EGOIST here ... EGOOIST, I guess. 
  • 24A: Corpse ___ No. 2 (morning-after cocktail) (REVIVER) — love these, though never had one in the morning
  • 58A: Peridot, for one (GEM) — can never remember what this is. I want it to be a color, or a wine. Like a periwinkle merlot or something.
  • 98A: Jazz bassist Carter, who has appeared on more than 2,200 recordings (RON) — legend who appears on my my favorite album of the '90s (A Tribe Called Quest's "The Low End Theory"), and who just won a Grammy (Best Jazz Instrumental Album) for "Skyline." Here's his very recent Tiny Desk Concert:
  • 13D: TV 6-year-old who attend Little Dipper School (ELROY) — This is a "Jetsons" reference, kids
  • 37D: $100 bill, slangily (BEN) — the movie (2002) was called "All About the Benjamins," not "All About the BENs"; this "slang," like much purported "slang" in the NYTXW, feels at least mildly off
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:07 AM  

Medium. Bottom third was pretty easy, the top third was tougher especially the NE. The SVEN/RON/PUSHED area was also tricky. Fun Sunday and Jeff gave it POW, but my vote (I actually have no real vote) goes to Friday. Liked it quite a bit more than @Rex did.

okanaganer 12:56 AM  

Oof, so Rex was not as much of a fan of this as Jeff Chen (Puzzle of the Week!). Rex didn't even mention the circled state abbrev's nicely spaced out. I thought it was pretty good, except there seemed to be a lot of names.

I was in St Louis overnight once; saw the GATEWAY ARCH from the ground, but the line to go to the top was too long. I can't believe they fit an elevator into that thing!

[Spelling Bee: Sat pg in 3:50, about another 30 - 40 min to QB. My last word has been my last word every time it's appeared; dunno why. 6 day QB streak!]

Re Wordle, Phrazle etc... I fell for Wordle at first but quickly got tired of it; not fun. But for some reason, I love doing Octordle. It's in widescreen on my HD monitor, it's so colorful, the challenge to solve all 8 is funner than trying to "get a birdie/eagle". Just personal taste, I guess.

Anonymous 1:19 AM  

I thought 5 Down, “Character seen on a keyboard” was awfully good. How many gazed over your phone or laptop keyboard looking for inspiration before the “Peanuts” light dawned?

Ken Freeland 2:03 AM  

I'm even less sanguine than Rex about this one. Once again, ended up on the (de rigeur) natick, GEM/MAY... Once again guessed right, but less happy about this than last week. Though I give its creator credit for original construction, the fill was just PPP-loade schlock, and I had trouble finding traction anywhere. Just loads of obscure answers and equally obscure cluing.

My fantasy is to line up these natick-producing constructors with the editor who repeatedly fails to prevent them in front of a firing squad, and then give the command: OKSHOOT!

Gary Jugert 2:33 AM  

A slog. I had CADILLAC RANCH mixed up with Mustang Ranch too.

SCHROEDER: Great pianist.
SEMITONE: All music answers are yay-ful.
SOLOIST: See above.
TREVI: A must-see kinda place.

Pretty blah otherwise.

Anonymous 5:07 AM  

The original Route 66 went through Santa Fe, NM. See map at

That piece, which deviated from what is now I-40, was decertified, saving travelers some time.

From the same article:
"According to legend, the rerouting was done at the behest of Democratic Governor Arthur T. Hannett to punish the Republican Santa Fe Ring, which had long dominated New Mexico out of Santa Fe."

Z 5:30 AM  

It is a tribute publish. It could be worse. It could have been a quote puzzle.

Anonymous 6:31 AM  

What a depressing revue!

When is @Rex going to give us the stunningly original never been done before Sunday puz with fabulous grid art, slangy in the language joy - with the woosh, woosh, bam bam brilliance he craves?

Son Volt 6:44 AM  

I did like the geographic placement of the shaded states - not much after that. Is this just a random tribute puzzle or am I missing something? The spelled out ROUTE SIXTY SIX revealer is bad. Don’t get me wrong - I’ve toured the entirety of ROUTE 66 - love the history and FOLKSY lore - but a Sunday puzzle theme it does not make.

Maybe Rex should talk to the Boss about the CADILLAC RANCH.

Anonymous 6:52 AM  

I had fun with it - memories of my road trips past, and my teenage daughter went to Cadillac Ranch on a road trip last summer -I’d never heard of it until then.

A bunch of crosses were slow to come for me. Last ones fell in SW corner. I think I was resisting the somewhat ableist answer at 110A and I still have no idea what 112D refers to. Made the right guess eventually to complete CA-NEY at 120A, but hadn’t heard of him.

Lewis 7:08 AM  

Appropriately, this one didn’t solve like a cruise through interstates; there were diversions and occasional red lights, and sights along the way. It wasn’t a utilitarian get from point A t point Z then forget the journey; it left me with things to remember.

Such as … Afterward, I looked at some spectacular views of the Painted Desert, something I’ve never done before. I read up and watched a video about the elevator in the Gateway Arch – had no idea there was such a thing, as elevators are supposed to go straight up and down. I looked at images from Cadillac Ranch, a place I’d never heard of, and now I know, a hoot as well.

I also looked up the lyrics to “Get Your Kicks On Route 66” and got a kick myself out of its interior rhymes, such as “Travel my way, take the highway that’s the best”, “Oklahoma City looks might pretty”, “Flagstaff, Arizona, Don’t forget Winona”, and “Won’t you get hip to this timely tip”.

Then for a moment I flashed on the faces of of George Maharis and Martin Milner.

Finally, I reflected on how freely one could move and travel pre-covid, something I took for granted. I will take it for granted nevermore!

Thank you, Daniel, for not only fulfilling my crack-a-puzzle-satisfyingly itch, but for leaving me with a lingering aftertaste both colorful and enriching, like a true road trip.

JOHN X 7:10 AM  

This puzzle was great! I got the gag right away, filled in all the theme answers, and went down the state initials in order.

I’ve driven ROUTESIXTYSIX (or I-40 really) three times, twice going west and once going east. CADILLAC RANCH is pretty iconic; there’s even a Springsteen song about it. I’ve been there twice. Between Amarillo and Tucumcari you can see Cadillac Ranch or eat a 72 oz steak or do both, but there’s nothing else. Spend the night in Tucumcari and roll in at sunset; lots of great vintage neon and lots of motels shaped like tepees. It’s a travellers oasis and everybody is nice and you’ll have fun.

ROUTESIXTYSIX the song was written by Bobby Troup who did that and then played the other doctor in Emergency! and also played the soldier who hates army jeeps in MASH. The movie MASH is great because it is so gloriously pure and un-PC as opposed to the horrible pandering TV version M*A*S*H where Alan Alda’s Hawkeye was constantly in danger of becoming pregnant whereas the movie’s Hawkeye was played by Donald Sutherland who also played Oddball the tank commander in Kelly’s Heroes that same year and then played the groovy minister in Little Murders which is just great.

Back to the song, it’s a real standard covered by many artists in many different ways, and I own a bunch of them. My versions are by Nat “King” Cole, Patti Page, Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones, Them, Ted Heath, The Cramps, Depeche Mode, Yo La Tengo, The Yardbirds, The Replacements, Toasted Western Swing Band, and notable covers by Trini Lopez and M.A. Numminen. The Cramps version is my favorite but then I like everything they ever did.

I did this puzzle in 23:00 which is pretty good considering I’m totally jacked on opiates. I hurt my ankle pretty bad while fleeing a crime scene but don’t worry I didn’t get caught and I’ll heal completely which I can’t say for the other guy. I’m very careful with powerful ful drugs like these because they are habit forming. I’m supposed to take two a day, so during the week I don’t take them at all but then on Friday night I take seven of them and then another seven on Saturday. Don’t worry about this either, after a lifetime of high-end substance abuse that ain’t nearly enough to kill me, but it makes for a lovely weekend getaway without leaving home.

OffTheGrid 7:14 AM  

On our way to the Buffalo River in Arkansas for a week long canoe camping trip we stopped at the Arch. We bought tickets to ride to the top. If I had seen the conveyance beforehand I might have opted out. Each "car" is tub-shaped and resembles a large clothes dryer. You sit so that the curvature requires bending your neck forward a bit. It's gimballed, so remains level as it goes up. I was glad I did it (my anxiety said "DONTDOIT") but once is enough. Not for the claustrophobic. SEE IT HERE

krimoflasher 7:44 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bocamp 7:58 AM  

Thx, Daniel; what a doozy of a Sun. puz! :)


Tough going, all the way.

Fair crosses bailed me out.

Knew ROUTE SIXTY-SIX, but not all of the themers.

My kind of a challenge; loved it! :)


Agreed re: Octordle (Quordle, too)! :)
yd pg: 15.03 (-1; missed your last one @okanaganer) / W: 3* / WH: 3/ Duo: 34/37 / Phrazle 52: 2/6

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

SouthsideJohnny 8:06 AM  

A missed opportunity (to enjoy) for me today, as I got the theme and was making progress - but there are just too many clue/answer combinations that I just did not get along with. The popes answer - SISTINE - wtf kind of clue is that ? Similarly, I have no interest in trying to decipher the nonsense about IRVINE which apparently is a place of interest to someone, somewhere. Unfortunately the grid abounds with this type of linguistic malpractice - see UNPACK for “attempt to grasp” and PSHAW for whatever . . . Maybe it’s regional, maybe it’s just me - but like I said, missed opportunity.

It must be hit or miss trying to fill out the grid when you have an ambitious theme that uses up so many squares with the theme entries and the abbreviations - I think this one missed the mark for the most part today.

MaxxPuzz 8:19 AM  

I enjoyed this. It was a clever concept with an effective and fun visual component. The sometimes tricky cluing made the more mundane fill keep my interest. Sometimes I wonder what Rex really wants … although his Friday and Saturday reviews were right on with the vibe of those puzzles. A chacun son goΓ»t!

Ray 8:25 AM  

Long slog to a yellow grid icon.

Nancy 8:26 AM  

Because I don't drive and I live in the East,
This puzzle's a terror, a nightmare, a beast.

I'd rather have anagrams, rebuses, tricks
Than have to know deets about ROUTE SIXTY-SIX.

Don't know where it rises, don't know where it bends.
Don't know where it starts and don't know where it ends,

What States it will cross and what States it will link,
Will I fail this puzzle? Well, whaddaya think?

N.K. Cole 8:38 AM  

Would have had more fun if long answers were people - you know, people like....Martin Milner, George Maharis, Nelson Riddle

John H 8:42 AM  

The puzzle itself was pretty good. Easy to suss out the theme early on (for a nano second I thought the theme might be the Oregon Trail).

Two nits:

Why is "No Sir" naval?
Don't gondoliers use poles, as opposed to oars?

Carol S. 8:43 AM  

You must be way younger than me. Art Carney and Jackie Gleason provided hours of laughter for me on The Honeymooners an early TV comedy.

mmorgan 8:46 AM  

For whatever reason, this played significantly harder than the average Sunday for me, and I liked that, but the theme was a real snoozer.

Mr. Grumpypants 8:46 AM  

Matt Gaffney did this for the Appalachian Trail many years ago [2012 maybe?] and I remember it as being far more intricate and entertaining. This one was kind of boring.

Anonymous 8:47 AM  

Not sure why Rex says it is a bad map. The constructor it seems had in order all the states that Route 66 goes through, at least according to the map Rex published. For the person with the question about 112D, fools are often seen at the start of the month of April (April Fools Day), thus the APR answer.

Ken Freeland 8:50 AM  


mmorgan 8:51 AM  

@JOHN X and @Nancy — ha ha ha ha, thank you both, much better than the puzzle!

B. Troup 9:01 AM  

So not getting your kicks on Route 66, Rex?

Not hip to this timely tip?

What a pity.

Guest 9:03 AM  

Calling "Meet the Mets" a "fight" song is kind of silly (even though Wikipedia does it). It's a *theme* song, but there's no "fight" or "rah" in it. The theme is that all kinds of folks go to the ballpark and have fun. Kind of sweet and non-aggressive, really.

JD 9:10 AM  

The puzzle flushed out @JohnX and got Nancy to rap (or wax poetic), so that made it worthwhile. But I'm with @jae on the NE, the rodents just weren't happening. It was there at the end where I choked and cheated.

PPP turned the thought process into a giant Wordle ... x number of letters, what vowels, consonant blends? Screamin' Jay Hawkins went in like that because I wanted Ronnie Hawkins whose backup band included Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, Rick Danko, and Levon Helm. They left him (knowers will know). But Ronnie didn't fit so it was throw some Hail Mary's and pray to Gof.

I think the concept here is brilliant. I good bit a lot of Steinbeck 35 years ago but this must be from the book where he went on a road trip with his poodle, the point where drew the line.

Pete 9:11 AM  

Not a big fan of the puzzle, but loved the RON Carter video. My wife almost begged me to go to his 85th birthday concert at Carnegie Hall, but, you know, crowds & people. Watching that clip sent me on a Russell Malone you tube rabbit hole, which led me to video of Diana Krall and Russell Malone playing Route 66, where for the first 4 minutes, neither has played / sang any better.

Unknown 9:20 AM  

Nifty puzzle. Enjoyed it a bunch. Sure, a few toughies, but I don't sweat them like Southside.

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

I thought it was clever and a lot of fun.

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

Given the horrific events of yesterday in Buffalo, I find the Ken Freeland post at 213 am to be in extraordinarily bad taste and think it should be removed. I also frankly don’t understand why John X’ occasional self deprecating posts about drug abuse are either funny or in any way relevant to the puzzles.

I thought the puzzle today was clever, and much better than most Sundays. Having the states go in order from NE to SW was a very ingenious and well executed ploy. And the landmarks he included are much more than trivia. ELROY is trivia; the GATEWAY ARCH is a landmark, and the PAINTED DESERT is a wonder.

Mohair Sam 9:50 AM  

@Nancy (8:26) - Don't agree, but loved the poetry. Neat stuff.

Got 21A and thought (hoped?) this might be a salute to Steinbeck on the 60th anniversary of his "Travels With Charley". But no - disappointed.

Any flaws in the puzz are forgiven by the wonderful SCHROEDER clue, a classic.

Anonymoose 10:08 AM  

For the umpteenth time(as Dad used to say), clue validity does not depend on a one to one exclusive relationship between clue and answer.

JD 10:09 AM  

@Anon 9:42, Agree with the delete. It's disgusting in any event.

Please excuse typos in earlier post.

Another Anon 10:13 AM  

@Anonymous 9:42. Couldn't agree more. Don't expect Ken Freeland post to be removed. The mods have a low bar.

Sister Mary Discipline 10:21 AM  

As a nun, I find JOHNX’s tales of drug abuse, prostitution, and time-travel to be refreshing and candid.

Clay 10:26 AM  

Missed the opportunity for a Springsteen “Cadillac Ranch” video!

RooMonster 10:31 AM  

Hey All !
I'm into cars, and various things that go along with that, so I've heard of (but never been to) CADILLAC RANCH. Some farmer decided to bury a bunch of Cadillacs front-first in the ground with the rest of the car sticking up out of the ground. It started to get graffitied, as those asshole people do, but ended up as a "whoever visits can spray paint them" kind of thing. We took it back from the graffiti-ists.

Anyway, I thought puz was neat. ROUTE SIXTY SIX going through the puz, state by state, stopping at the attractions along the way. Some tough state abbrs. to work with, KS and TX for two. FOLKSY was a nice find. SILENT X left a sour taste in my mouth, but again, TX is tough to made into something.

Tough time in North-Center. Had to Goog twice up there, as didn't know who SCREAMIN Jay Hawkins is, the Corpse drink (wanted REVIVal), or what the hey obsequious meant. Plus not knowing ROUTE 66 was dubbed THE MOTHER ROAD. Took me till right now to grok SCHROEDER. The Peanuts kid on the piano. Clever. But, got the rest of the puz, so a two-Goog cheat ain't too bad.

PSHAW fun to see. I like saying it. PSHAW!

Good SunPuz. Happy Ides of May.

yd -3, should'ves 2
Duo -1, missed 1-2-9-15-17(dumb, missed a highlighted yellow letter)-28(mixed up remaining letters, a valid two-way word)

One F

TJS 10:32 AM  

Well, we got a better than average Sunday, a classic @Nancy, and a guest shot from @John X. Works for me.

I dont read the Jeff Chen puzzle commentary, but if he thinks this one is better than Fridays' then I'm not missing anything. Maybe he skews towards personal relations with the constructors like someone else we know.

I think I had all but one letter of Schroeder before the light went on.

We cant say "crazy" anymore ? Yeesh.

Teedmn 10:38 AM  

Solving randomly, the first theme answer that filled in was GATEWAY ARCH and I was wondering what else a St. Louis-themed Sunday would have in store; I was glad to rather find myself on ROUTE SIXTY-SIX. It may be the closest I ever get to drive it - I'm not one for long road trips. The journey is not the destination for me.

I love, love, loved the clue and answer pair for 5D, a unique clue for the Peanuts “character” and a successful misdirection for me; it was one of my last entries.

I asked the bartender for a Corpse Revival #2 - (sounds like a Sunday tent event for zombies) and it sure made SCHROEDER hard to see with my PC keyboard fixation and ___lOEDER in place.

Daniel Mauer, I admire your idea and this puzzle. Maybe someday I'll even visit OK and NM. (Can you say you've been to TX if you've only spent the night at the Houston airport hotel due to airplane mechanical problems?)

Colin 10:50 AM  

Above-average difficulty for me. I liked the Route 66 theme, but didn't know many of the answers. For example, I wrote RAINBOWDESERT at first, but my wife (who went to college in Arizona) swore there was no such thing... and was right, of course, when she finally came up with PAINTEDDESERT. (But then, she didn't believe me when I told her that yes, there is a bull on the bottle of Elmer's Glue.) What seemed to be a lot of PPP didn't help.

My favorite clue was "Character seen on a keyboard." Timeless, those Peanuts.

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

Never heard of Cadillac Ranch!?!? Rex, you need to listen to more Bruce Springsteen…

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. I'd much rather have CADILLAC RANCH in my puzzle than a rollcall of b-list TV actors.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Redacted redacted redacted redacted, redacted redacted redacted. Redacted redacted redacted. Redacted redacted redacted redacted redacted, redacted redacted redacted redacted redacted.

That's where speech is headed. Redacted.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:13 AM  

@Anonymous 1:19 AM - Funny thing is, I got the Peanuts thing right away, but I thought it was Woodstock (which fits), because Woodstock sits "on" the keyboard, while Schroeder sits "at" the keyboard. But when you introduce the band, you say, "Schroeder on the keyboard," so okay, I guess so.

egsforbreakfast 11:15 AM  

Looks like ROUTESIXTYSIX must run through the south side of FARGO the way I read this map.

Is the SCREAMING SOLOIST that starts at 19A excited about the MOTHERROAD MARMOTS he’s sitting on top of?

We’ve got something that sounds like a good headline starting at 28A: ELITE OMIT FOLKSY HIP ORDEAL, BASTE CORA.

Puzzle was fast, fun and easy for me. Thanks, Daniel Mauer.

Joseph Michael 11:19 AM  

During this trip from IL to CA, the question I kept asking was “Are we there yet?”

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

Total NY-centric view of the theme. Just what I expected from a New Yorker that views the area between LA and NYC as flyover country.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:23 AM  

@JOHN X 7:10 AM - Emergency! Hadn't thought about that in years. I know I watched it, but I don't remember a thing about it. I just read the Wikipedia article...still no recollection. I remember Adam 12 and Dragnet, the two other major Jack Webb series, much better. Anyway...thanks for the memories.

beverly c 11:26 AM  

At first I thought it was going to be the Grand Canyon, and was looking for The Big Ditch or something like that, but crosses set me straight in a hurry.

I just saw my first MARMOT last week, crossing a road in Redmond OR. Didn’t know what it was until seeing a Local Wildlife display at Dry Canyon the next day. It was quite a bit bigger than a GERBIL but not anywhere near the size of a capybara.


Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:27 AM  

@SouthsideJohnny 8:06 AM - 41D [Site of a U.C. in the O.C.] translates as "Site of a campus of the University of California in Orange County." I thought it was a clever clue for a fresh entry (although I'm no expert on the latter; I know several folks who comment on this blog are indeed experts on historical frequency of entries).

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:27 AM  

@MaxxPuzz 8:19 AM - I think Rex just wants to kvetch. There are people like that.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:32 AM  

@Nancy 8:26 AM - Nice work, Nancy. Me too, me too—Don't drive, do live in the northeast (NYC), don't know much about Route 66. But I wish I did. I have wanted to make that road trip for many years now. I thought maybe my hubby and I would do it someday...but we split last year, so, c'est la vie, sayonara, arrivederci to that dream, for now. If any eligible men out there are looking for a wingman with whom to "make that California trip," hit me up.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:33 AM  

@N.K. Cole 8:38 AM - [Millennials and zoomers stare blankly at screen]

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:34 AM  

@John H 8:42 AM - Re: "Don't gondoliers use poles, as opposed to oars?" ikr?!

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:37 AM  

@Guest 9:03 AM - Call it a fight song, a theme song, or what have you, it was mostly a marketing jingle for a fledgling baseball team in a city that loved its Yankees and mourned the loss of its Dodgers. (DISCLAIMER: I know virtually NOTHING about baseball...but know PLENTY about the history of New York.)

thefogman 11:40 AM  

Better than the usual Sunday offering but that’s not saying much. Rex is right. Sundays can and should be much better than this.

sixtyni yogini 11:41 AM  

Love the romance, lore, and HIPness of ROUTESIXTYSIX 6️⃣6️⃣.❤️πŸš—❤️6️⃣6️⃣
But the 🧩 - not so much. Prosaic, dull-ish.
Went straight to the 6️⃣6️⃣ themer and got it early on. Yes, ok kinda clever having states move as on the route.
Just not the fun, excitement, and magic (despite TAROT) associated with that drive.
Used to only work Sundays, but haven’t seen a fun one for…. Months.πŸ€—

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:46 AM  

@JD 9:10 AM - This puzzle did not strike me as having a lot of PPP, so I started listing them...and then stopped, because it was a lot of PPP. I did not notice because either I did not mind, or I downright enjoyed it. Did not know SCREAMIN Jay Hawkins, but after a few crosses, I caught on. Do not know my Guccis by heart, but again, based on a few crosses, it fell into place with no surprise (although I did not know whether I was going to end up with a PAOLO or a PAOLA). Never watched "Downton Abbey," but quickly saw it had to be CORA or NORA or something like that. Anyway, I won't go on, but just to say—Yeah, when you don't know PPP, you need to rely on crosses...but to me that's part of the challenge, and part of the fun. (And I do understand the argument in favor of wordplay, but variety remains the spice.)

sixtyni yogini 11:57 AM  

Wish the themer clue would have been
Where some get there kicks.
Oh, well, just a little snarkle sparkle.. πŸ˜‚

relicofthe60s 12:03 PM  

Surprised once again by what Rex, an educated person and supposed expert on pop culture, doesn’t know. How could he have never heard of the MOTHER ROAD or CADILLAC RANCH?

Carola 12:17 PM  

An arduous trip for me, with lots of red lights, detours, misread signs, and swerving to avoid rodents - and I even understood what the ROUTE was. Highlights of the journey for me were the theme sites, along with SCHROEDER, COATTAILS, SQUALOR, ENTHRALL, and DON'T DO IT.

@Offthegrid 7:14 - Sitting in that elevator on the way to the top of the ARCH, my mantra was "Thousands have survived, thousands have survived..."

Do-overs: SlaVIsh before SERVILE, Holy toledo, Actor before AGENT. Help from previous puzzles: IROC. No idea: RON.

EAbbe 12:31 PM  

Did Will S. allow a mistake today? Isn't the logo for Elmer's glue Elsie the Cow? I don't remember seeing a bull anywhere.

Screamin' Jay Hawkins was a gimme for anyone who is a fan of the films of Jim Jarmusch. In Stranger Than Paradise, one of the lead characters plays I Put a Spell on You incessantly on her boombox and tells anyone who come near to her the name of the singer, whether or not they ask. If you like offbeat films, it is a must see.

Adam S 12:33 PM  

The exclamation point and bad pun on an answer does not excuse the fact that conjuring the idea of killing Will Shortz and a whole host of constructors is in incredibly poor taste.

johnk 12:39 PM  

When I was 13, my family and I traveled THE MOTHER ROAD with 2 family friends in their pink Cadillac Fleetwood. We took it only to AZ, our final destination. CADILLAC RANCH and the GATEWAY ARCH were yet to be, but we loved the PAINTED DESERT. I can still taste the perfectly-prepared catfish and onion rings I enjoyed in Rolla, MO.
So this puzzle was highly enjoyable to me. I only had short-lived problems up around IL and MO because I wanted SOLO ACT. Sorry if you youngsters encountered problems with basic knowledge, e.g. END POST, INTRANET, DATA TYPE, ACETONE. I'm certain you'll have your rap and texting abbreviations back during the week.

Anonymous 12:55 PM  

Has anyone else noticed that Rex's map of Route 66 is wrong? It's missing the bump north of I-40 west of Flagstaff where it goes through Peach Springs AZ.

This is actually significant because that bump is the longest piece of Route 66 that still exists today - 87 miles that isn't replaced by an Interstate or else immediately parallel to an Interstate. Anyone who writes about Route 66 is sure to visit Peach Springs.


Anonymous 1:08 PM  

I enjoyed this one … the theme was a bit easy to crack but I thought the concept was fun and enjoyable.

Nancy 1:15 PM  

Adam S said...
"The exclamation point and bad pun on an answer does not excuse the fact that conjuring the idea of killing Will Shortz and a whole host of constructors is in incredibly poor taste."

Well, yes, that would certainly be pretty terrible! So I used the F3 function to try to find Will Shortz and see who suggested killing him and nothing of the sort is there. What on earth are you talking about, Adam???

Tom T 1:16 PM  

Embarrassingly lengthy journey down Route 66 for me, but persisted and kept my modest current streak in place.

Last space entered was the I in HIP/IROC. I thought it might have been HeP, and I can't seem to remember that old friend IROC Camaro from the last time he showed up. But went with the I for the win.

Impressive construction job.

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

I think getting PARK and PIER aligned into the geography meme of the grid is adequate to qualify them as theme answers.

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

@Nancy - You know that by including "deets" in your poem, you've relinquished your rights to complain about kids these days, how they talk/dress/write/sing/dance/ everything, right?mBecause deets fit just perfectly.

old timer 1:46 PM  

News to me 66 ever went through St Louis. But it's in the song so it must be true.

I grew up near Santa Monica, and what I remember in the 60's is a prosaic California highway sign that simply said: "US Route 66 END." I don't think it was at Lincoln, which was US 101 Alt, and which in my day went north to join 101 in the Valley. But also not at the Santa Monica Pier. My memory is it was at Ocean Avenue, where Santa Monica Boulevard ends. The Wiki article seemed a little off. Plus it seems to me the route over Cajon Pass to San Bernadino was very well traveled and used heavily by trucks, though there were no trucks allowed on the Arroyo Seco Parkway (now the Pasadena Freeway). Truck traffic had to travel across a couple of bridges to reach Pasadena from the eastern part of Santa Monica Boulevard.

JC66 1:51 PM  


@Adam S (and others) were responding to @Ken Freeland 's (2:03) post.

Dan M 1:56 PM  

For what it's worth, it was indeed originally clued as "baseball team theme song" ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Anonymous 2:00 PM  


Dan M 2:09 PM  

Hi, constructor here! Not surprised that Rex was a little bored (it's not a themeless, after all!) but glad to read all the comments. Was a fun one to construct!

A 2:36 PM  

Good idea for a theme, OK puzzle except all that short stuff*, but was more ENTHRALLed by@Rex’s GEM of a writeup. Funny stuff from OFL:
probably some other "tone" that I'm missing (it’s [Bon] TON)
four-letter words playing thematic dress-up
purported "slang"

I wanted egotIST for SOLOIST.

My first thought for [Character on a keyboard] was Liberace, but he was too short. Glad it turned out to be another pianist and not some $%^*@ character.

As GATEWAY ARCH filled in, I was oddly hesitant. Looked it up - it wasn’t named that until 2018. I’d heard the St. Louis ARCH, or just The Arch, and GATEWAY to the West. Somehow didn’t get the official memo.

Love to say PSHAW, and I like the SWATHPSHAW symmetry.

If you BATHE lying down you might NEED a Corpse REVIVER.

Does THE MOTHER ROAD go through Sierra MADRE?

A Singles Trio? ONE ACE UNO


Can’t decide which band name I like better - YANNI MAY & THE SILENT X RAYS, or THE SCREAMIN’ MARMOTS.


Here’s a little exit music by today’s birthday composer, Michael William Balfe. The Bohemian Girl - Galop

Anonymous 2:36 PM  

Maybe it’s an age thing here, but I thoroughly enjoyed this - brought back memories of my road trips, watching TV show Route 66 and their adventures, and got a kick out of reminiscing about visits to places mentioned in the puzzle. Challenging enough to make me think, and still fun - what an xword should be.

Thane of Thirteenth 2:43 PM  

So that (partially) explains it! I’m a semi-regular reader of this blog and had never ever seen you before (January). I was away for the first four months of this year and when I returned and started reading again, I wondered, “Who is this guy
who makes a comment on everybody else’s comment?“ A breakup would explain all the time on your hands to do so!
Anyway, I’ve driven parts of route 66 two or three times and most of it is quite boring — long flat stretches through the plains and desert. There are some interesting places in NM, AZ, and CA but they are heavy on nostalgia, especially’ 50s nostalgia. I’m not a fan of nostalgia and I find ‘50s nostalgia especially irksome. The route also caters toward motorcycle/biker types, if that’s the sort of wingman you’re looking for.
So, I’m not likely to do that route again, but I love to travel and I’m certainly open to any other trips you might want a “wingman” for. I’m also in NYC; have no idea how to connect privately here.

Thane of Thirteenth 2:47 PM  

@Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:32
See my reply to your post at 11:32.

Maybe . . . 2:57 PM  

I had never heard of 46A TWITCH or a "twitch user" before today, so I learned something. Then, reading the news online, I literally twitched in shock to learn that the racist Buffalo shooter live-streamed his killing spree on Twitch!
I hope never to hear of Twitch again.

pabloinnh 3:01 PM  

Well I thought this was the most fun Sunday in a long time, probably because I have sung Route 66 enough to know the lyrics. THEMOTHERROAD, was new to me but a quick trip to the SE yielded ROUTESIXTYSIX, as I had suspected, and then using the state abbreviations in the answers was wicked helpful. IL gave me GERBIL, TX finished SILENTX and there were others. Good memory test to see if I could get the states in the proper order. Liked the layout and the attractions were all reasonably well located. Not too hard but hard enough. Fun road trip with the top down on a Sunday, which is good enough for me.

Thanks for all the fun, DM. I know you Didn't Make everyone happy, but if it's any comfort, you never will.

Masked and Anonymous 3:42 PM  

Well, sure not the most humorous of SunPuz themes … but it sure brought back lotsa neat memories, at our house. First of all, we live darn near within spittin distance of Route 66. And we've been to all them there Route 66 themer spots.

fave stuff: Corpse REVIVER. SCHROEDER clue. SCREAMIN Jay Hawkins. DONTDOIT. FOLKansaSY. OKlahomaSHOOT. SINENTeXas.

fave Ow de Speration: SOLOIST/IST.

staff weeject picks: YAK & ROM. Cuz they were both cute mis-fires durin the M&A solvequest. Wanted ELK before YAK and DOT before ROM.

Thanx for the Way Out SunPuz ride, Mr. Mauer dude.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Anonymous 3:51 PM  

How long would you suppose those poles would have to be?

Mike in Bed-Stuy 4:06 PM  

@Thane of Thirteenth 2:47 PM - Hah. Quite a reply. Well, it's a bit laborious, but, if you are sufficiently determined, you can click on my handle (Mike in Bed-Stuy) in any of my comments, and that will take you to my Blogger profile. Then click on the link that says "Pedagogishness" (a blog I used to maintain on Blogger). When you get there, you will see a link to "follow me on Twitter," and from my Twitter profile, assuming you have a Twitter account, you can DM me. That's the best I can think of other than posting my email address here for all to see.

DigitalDan 4:11 PM  

Bad with distances, I guess. JOHN MUIR TRAIL fit in the spaces, and I had CA at the end, so I wandered offroad for quite a while. "Rex" seems pretty unwilling to give us nerds our due, carping about INTRANET and DATATYPE, mother's milk to some of us. I'm sure he would have preferred another couple of obscure rappers with names that must all contain "LIL" somewhere.

Anonymous 4:47 PM  

An curiously un-PC cartoon was going around last year of two astronauts walking on the moon who find a female body lying there. Upon close examination. one says to the other “It’s Alice Cramden!”

Thane of Thirteenth 5:04 PM  

Unfortunately, I don’t have a Twitter account. Don’t think I really want to create one, though I guess I could and then delete it after it served it’s purpose. Posting email addresses on here doesn’t seem like a very good idea, either.
I guess I could post my fake (anonymous) Gmail address here very late in the day when, supposedly, it has very little traffic (rather surprised you saw my late post, but with posting so often I guess you check in for any responses frequently).
Any other suggestions? From prior comments, I think people have met privately on here, but I don’t know how they did it.

Georgia 5:29 PM  

I often wonder what the moderator actually does ..... some posts are so nasty, disrespectful, inflammatory. What, if anything, is ever rejected?

Georgia 5:30 PM  

I found this puzzle clever, entertaining, and sufficiently challenging. Well done!

Anonymous 5:54 PM  

I see KS is one of the two letter map points, it I don’t think the route went into Kansas. I think it headed south from Joplin, MO, into Oklahoma.

virgsurf 5:56 PM  

Cadillac Ranch is hard to forget once you've seen it, and the song is in my head all day... A truly fun Springsteen song. I don't know anything about Mustang Ranch.

Anonymous 5:57 PM  

The other “ranch” tugging at your memory may have been The Chicken Ranch, the Texas brothel made famous by the musical “The Best Little Whorehose in Texas.” Dolly Parton played the Madam in the movie version.

CDilly52 6:51 PM  

I’m a veteran warrior ofThe Mother Road, and I have driven all of it. There really is lots to see. Flagstaff is probabky one of the cities that has continued to flourish and is a favorite. The restaurant scene has grown i. The last 20 years and my husband and I made it a regular stop n our summer trips out to the high desert of the west.

I got absolutely shut down at the STASHED, PUSHED, SVEN, RON chunk and just had to guess at the names. Other than that, I found it a worthy Sunday and urge Rex to take a road trip. The Blue Whale at the Port of Cstoosa, OK is one if the iconic stops, along with so much more history.

Anonymous 7:19 PM  

I found this puzzle to be pretty ambitious. To work the state abbreviations in the right order and find themers to fit that pattern was pretty impressive. Was there some sub-par fill? Of course. But overall it’s was something interesting to solve. As one who has traveled Rte 66 (but had to miss Cadillac Ranch in favor of a trip to the National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives in Amarillo) it was a nice reminder of my very fun trip.
I do find it interesting that when Rex doesn’t like a puzzle, he comes up with sometimes dubious reasons for doing so.
Cadillac Ranch

Anonymous 7:24 PM  

P.S. Go ahead and try to fit Tucumcari into this. I’ll wait.

RooMonster 7:37 PM  

I've never driven/ridden/sightsaw/visited @M&A on ROUTE SIXTY SIX, but I did ride The Dragon. That's a very (very) windy road in Tennessee, a favorite of motorcyclists. It's 11 miles of really (really) tight turns and spectacular drop-offs if you decide to go too
fast through the windiness. And I didn't even do it on purpose! I bought a car that was in Southern Tennessee, and flew into Knoxville Airport instead of Atlanta. The Dragon was the most direct way to get to where I was going. Needless to say, I had no idea of such a thing. My head hurt after driving through it! Luckily, I had a small Rental Car!

Stephen Minehart 8:03 PM  

Sorry for the nit-pickiness, @Ken Freeland 2:03AM, but GEM/MAY is not a Natick. A Natick is two crossing PPP's, not easily inferable. Peridot is not PPP, sorry. It's a semi-precious "gemstone."

Joe Dipinto 8:21 PM  

Busy day. What's up with that idiotic clue for BATHE?

Cadilla Cranch sounds like a snooty grande dame character out of one of those "Downton Abbey"-esque shows.

"Thank you, thank you...let me introduce the band – on a bass...Ron Carter! And on a keyboard...Schroeder!"

The Bobby Troup "Route 66" is great, but I've always been partial to the TV theme. Here's the original instrumental by Nelson Riddle.

And here's a lyric version by Teri Thornton, retitled "Open Highway". Coincidentally, Ron Carter is on this album. On a bass. Not sure he is on a bass on this track though.

Phrazle 53 took me three guesses, mainly because the phrase didn't seem that familiar. I've heard other synonymous phrases more often.

puzzlehoarder 8:36 PM  

This was one of your better Sunday puzzles. It had just the right amount of difficulty where it stayed interesting without feeling like a grind.

yd -0

Joe 8:41 PM  

Rex, I find it hard to believe that you don’t know The Boss’s “Cadillac Ranch”. It’s a defining song of rock and roll.

Beezer 9:45 PM  

@Steve Minehart…Thank you! I agree that the PERIDOT crossing was not a NATICK.

Joe Dipinto 9:55 PM  


Phrazle 54: 2/6
πŸŸͺ⬜🟩 πŸŸͺ⬜⬜⬜ ⬜🟨πŸŸͺ🟨🟨🟨

🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

A 10:26 PM  


@Joe, 53 and 54 were both challenging for me. I don't think I'd have gotten 53 in 2 if my 2nd word hadn't shared 3 letters with the answer. I'll post them tomorrow.

Only did one yesterday, #52. Tried to come up with a real phrase for my first guess and failed:
to win A hEart Is but A dance —> IN FOR A PENNY IN FOR A POUND (Hadn't heard that one in decades.)

Ashkitty 10:48 PM  

So glad to have a standard crossword back...THANK YOU.

Anonymous 11:25 PM  

One of the more geriatric puzzles in recent memory. The contemporary clues are LLOYD Austin and SEXTS??? Could have been written 20 or 30 years ago. A slog for young people.

Dan M 11:32 PM  

@Louis, really enjoyed reading this comment, especially glad to have provided so many diversions-within-a-diversion. Happy travels!

Dan M 11:39 PM  

I did try submitting a "good map" version with all the states in their correct geographic positions, but Will Shortz said the irregularly-shaped grid and non-square "squares" of wildly varying sizes and jagged borders wouldn't work with their typesetting software.

Lol. 😜

kitshef 11:26 PM  

I'll be an outlier again and say I really enjoyed this. Don't know much about Route 66 other than its appearance in song, so it was educational for me.

Anonymous 10:28 PM  

I don't know Rex Parker from Peter Parker, and I am no crossword expert by any means. But, given that he is seemingly never satisfied, I wonder if he could do better himself? Perhaps produce a puzzle worthy of his seemingly unreachable standards?

spacecraft 11:51 AM  

I was slogging happily (sorta) on, having started (where else?) in the SE and nailed the revealer, when I came upon 92 down. Having just ranted about this very thing only yesterday, I felt personally insulted. The clue, AGAIN!!, contained the word "warning." At that point I put it down (wasn't grabbing me anyway), and declared a RTF (refused to finish). Of all the bleedovers...

Another bad start led to a par, strangely containing no green until the end:


Burma Shave 11:57 AM  


so IT's NO ORDEAL, just traffic CODE,


rondo 12:29 PM  

Being a 'highway guy', this was near and dear to me. I have been to each end of ROUTESIXTYSIX and driven portions of it in nearly all the states it passes through. I have yet to see the CADILLACRANCH, though. Stopped in to the ROUTESIXTYSIX Museum in Tucumcari, NM this past vacation; bought an official NMDOT highway sign for Historic ROUTESIXTYSIX. All of those state abbr.s helped out the solve. Plus: RON is in the puz! So enjoyment here.

Scratched out a wordle par

BS2 1:49 PM  


NOSIR, we DON'TDOIT, PSHAW we're friends,
she'll BATHE so there's NO SQUALOR,
only SIXTYSIX but wears DEPENDS.


Diana, LIW 4:33 PM  

I would have bet a Friday Puzzle that @Rondo had driven ROUTESIXTYSIX from one end to the other and back. Just in bits, @Ron?

Well...I, yes lil me, have driven it's entire length twice. Once in a Uhaul truck that broke down several times along the way. Good times.

This puzzle was a good time, too. It only broke down once - in the middle, where May and Yak could start out as Mae and Emu. Don't do that.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Yaks to get their own insurance commercials

rondo 6:02 PM  

@D,LIW - yup, only segments. Same with the Lincoln Highway, I've got an interesting book on that one.
Historic ROUTESIXTYSIX road sign going proudly to the man-cave.

Anonymous 3:50 AM  

Right. I learned that "stlouis" and "gateway" have the same number of letters!

Anonymous 3:57 AM  

I like how 34D Grant PARK is just below IL, and 83D Santa Monica PIER is just above CA. The two ends and their corresponding states anchor the rebus of the route.

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