1930s Depression-fighting org. / Where Ulysses encountered the Cyclops / Capital city with three consecutive vowels / Farm delivery letters / Charity even involving a coast-to-coast human chain / Places to find dishes of different cultures

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Constructor: Michael Lieberman

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "With 1 Across" / "With 1 Down" — the theme repurposes a cluing convention, taking the common opening clue phrases, "With 1-Across" and "With 1-Down," which normally denote cross-references, and using them literally instead—that is, you have to add the word "Across" (or "Down") to the answer (1 time, I guess) to make sense of it:

Theme answers:
  • SHOT [ACROSS] THE BOW (16A: With 1 Across, warning at sea)
  • KNOCK [DOWN] DRAG OUT (26A: With 1 Down, like a free-for-all fight)
  • HANDS [ACROSS] AMERICA (42A: With 1 Across, charity event involving a coast-to-coast human chain)
  • UPSIDE [-DOWN[ CAKE (56A: With 1 Down, dessert sometimes made with pineapple)
Word of the Day: Cicely TYSON (63A: Three-time Emmy winner Cicely) —

Cicely Louise Tyson
 (December 19, 1924 – January 28, 2021) was an American actress. In a career which spanned more than seven decades in film, television and theatre, she became known for her portrayal of strong African-American women. Tyson received various awards including three Emmy Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Tony Award, an Honorary Academy Award, and a Peabody Award.

Having appeared in minor film and television roles early in her career, Tyson garnered widespread attention and critical acclaim for her performance as Rebecca Morgan in Sounder (1972); she was nominated for both the Academy Award for Best Actress and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for her work in the film. Tyson's portrayal of the title role in the 1974 television film The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, based on the 1971 novel of the same name by Ernest J. Gaines, won her further praise; among other accolades, the role won her two Emmy Awards and a nomination for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She received another Emmy Award nomination for her role as Binta in the acclaimed series Roots (1977).

Tyson continued to act on film and television in the 21st century in projects such as Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), A Lesson Before Dying (1999), Because of Winn-DixieDiary of a Mad Black Woman (both 2005), The Help (2011), The Trip to Bountiful (2014) and Last Flag Flying (2017). She also played the recurring role of Ophelia Harkness in the ABClegal drama TV series How to Get Away With Murder since the show's inception in 2014, for which she was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series five times. (wikipedia)

• • •

The off-brand punctuation (or non-punctuation) in the first themer should've tipped you off immediately that something funky (if not STENCHy) was going on. When the NYTXW wants you to look at 1-Across or 1-Down, you get hyphens between the "1" and the "Across" (or "Down"). Today, no hyphen, which set off alarm bells. Which isn't to say that I didn't actually look at 1-Across at first. Thought maybe the [Warning at sea] was SHOT BACK ... something something. But then I thought "what if I mentally added the actual word "ACROSS" ...?" and there it was: SHOT [ACROSS] THE BOW. I wrote in SHOT THE BOW, it looked stupid and felt wrong, but then the crosses worked, so ... yay? After this, all the themers were a cinch because every theme clue essentially hands you one of the words in the answer. I absolutely no-looked "HANDS [ACROSS] AMERICA"—got HANDS, added ACROSS, and there was nowhere else for that answer to go. I don't think they actually got people to hold hands all the way Across America, but I'm realizing that my memory is heavily mediated by "The Simpsons"'s representation of the event, so who knows? (Well, someone knows, probably). Anyway, like "We Are The World," "HANDS [ACROSS] AMERICA" was one of those high-profile, bad song-driven charity thingies that feel like they happened only in the '80s, i.e. my adolescence. So though the actual event is a haze, the song, unfortunately, is seared forever in my brain—well, the chorus, for sure. 

I'm on record as not being a huge fan of nonsense-in-the-grid themes. It would be funnier / more entertaining if all the Across-less / Down-less answers at least made funny phrases, so I can imagine my own wacky clues, but KNOCK DRAG OUT makes zero sense, even wackily (unless you know a guy named "Drag"). Same with HANDS AMERICA. UPSIDE CAKE would be a good theme answer for a TAKE DOWN puzzle (you know, where you "take" "DOWN" out of a familiar phrase, creating a wacky phrase, etc.). You could clue it wackily and everything: [Confection for the optimistic?], something like that. As is, this is a one-note gimmick. It's a cute idea, but on paper (or screen), it kind of fades the second you grasp it. And the fill is pretty crosswordese-laden, so there's not much here for you, joy-wise, once you get the trick. "I CAN'T EVEN" and "THAT'S ON ME" are nice colloquialisms, but that's about it for high points. The puzzle was also pretty easy for a Thursday, though it was thorny enough in places to make me work. Started at MI-AN / -ABS for what was probably two seconds but felt like an eternity. Couldn't remember a thing about "A Farewell to Arms" and couldn't even make sense of MI-AN, and the "dishes of different cultures" part of the LABS clue absolutely fooled me. I was stuck on food, until I wasn't. Had TEASES before TAUNTS (17D: Baits, in a way), and despite belonging to a CSA, couldn't figure out how "letters" applied to a "farm delivery" (maybe that's because we pick our CSA up at the farmers market—no "delivery" involved) (39A: Farm delivery letters). 

Bullet points:
  • 3D: Benjamin (C-NOTE) — first thing I put in the grid. Always feels slightly like cheating when I lean heavily on old-school crosswordese for traction, and traction doesn't get any old-schoolier than C-NOTE ETNA ATHOS 
  • 34A: 1930s Depression-fighting org. (NRA) — Nope. Nope nope nope. Nope. "But we've clued it as a different—" Nope. I look at the grid, I see NRA, and it's school shooting / hospital shootings (yesterday) / white supremacy and terrorism. There are actually very few answers I'd like to see wiped from the grid forever, no matter the clue; this is one of them.
  • 28D: West of Malibu (KANYE) — So ... he lives there, I guess? Kinda weird. I get that you're going for a misdirection, a misdirection direction, a clue that makes us read "West" as a direction, but I can't imagine cluing any other celebrity by the place where they just happen to reside. Looks like he (famously?) bought a $57 million house there. Meh. Lifestyles of "celebrities," extremely not my beat.
  • 15D: "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" actor Robinson (CRAIG) — had no idea here. Is this the Old Spice guy? Hey, wait, this is Darryl from "The Office"! OK (OK), I know exactly who this guy is. He was on that show for the whole damn run, whereas he's only been on 9 episodes of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," what the hell?! What a weird clue. (P.S. the "Old Spice guy" is Terry Crews)
  • 48D: Mini freezer? (BRAKE) — the groaniest of groaners. Even after I had the answer, I wasn't entirely sure how "Mini" worked. "How is a BRAKE "mini"? Miniature in relation to what!?" But, sigh, they mean the car brand Mini. So the BRAKE makes a Mini (i.e. the car) freeze (i.e. stop). As the answer next door says, YIKES (49D: "Oh, no!")
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Coniuratos 6:33 AM  

CRAIG Robinson might've only been in nine episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but they were consistently some of the most memorable episodes of the series.

BunnyR 6:36 AM  

I'm so with you on the mini freezer clue. Talk about a head-slapper. Somehow, I just hated that one. Otherwise, pretty fun puzzle. I can't even was hilarious!

Anonymous 6:47 AM  

Anyone else see that “Farewell to Arms” clue and plop down “spaiN”? Oops, wrong Hemingway novel.

JD 6:58 AM  

Great fun! Worked east to west after getting a toehold in the NW corner. Because of that, for a while a Free For All seemed to have something to do with sauce … RAGOUT. But Best and Back were so perfect, so what the hey was going on? Word play and fun misdirects that’s what.

I was Down for a while until the message came Across and then it just rolled along.

Fresh cluing NYT. This one had it. It’s been a while.

Nice, Michael Lieberman.

Conrad 7:15 AM  

Got the theme early on, but got hung up on 16A anyway. I thought it was SHOoT [ACROSS] THE BOW, with a rebus somehow involved. After there were no other rebi and I failed to get the happy music, I realized that "warning" was meant as a noun, not a verb. The rebus didn't work anyway, since the 4D author would have had to be KA[to], which would have been the wrong rebus sequence. With that straightened out, I agree with Easy-Medium.

Joe Welling 7:30 AM  

7D is obviously talking about peach tree dishes.

JG 7:40 AM  

Easy for a Thursday but didn’t want to see NRA in any capacity.

Lewis 7:44 AM  

My three favorite parts of the puzzle:
• The poking-fun and misdirect spirit of the theme.
• The wordplay in the cluing – I marked eight wordplay clues that I especially liked, and there were more besides.
• Some lovely answers to uncover: KNOCK DOWN DRAG OUT, I CAN’T EVEN, MAHALO, and THAT’S ON ME.

When I looked at the completed puzzle and saw COLBY it triggered “Colbert”, as in Stephen, and then AMERICA (which is right above COLBY) triggered the title of Colbert’s long-lasting best seller, “I Am America, And So Can You”, a title that always makes me smile.

Smiles all around. Thank you, Michael for a theme that gave me a “Hah!” of discovery when it hit me, plus an additional “Hah!” at how it winked at cross-referencing in puzzles. This one made me happy!

Son Volt 7:51 AM  

Cute little theme - but like last week not what I expect from a Thursday puzzle. Like Rex - saw the theme early and it became a no brainer type fill in - my mom made a great UPSIDE DOWN CAKE.

Split on the overall fill - STENCH, STAINS, MAYO are all rough and there’s some flat trivia. Didn’t know NEW GIRL but put CRAIG right in.

LAKE HURON rolls - Superior sings

Enjoyable early week type solve.

SouthsideJohnny 8:01 AM  

Lots of good stuff which some others have mentioned already. Also a couple of swings and misses like the aforementioned BRAKE/Mini connection (I also fell victim to Ursa minor/Miss America as I had CAT/TESS - I don't know many beauty pageant winners and definitely don't know what state/country they come from or what their ethnic/religious backgrounds are).

I don't watch (what used to be considered "network") television, so the TV personalities and TV show names usually just elicit blank stares from me, and today was no exception. Fortunately I had seen The Fugitive (the movie - although I do vaguely remember a TV show of the same name). So a typical Thursday for me - held my own with the wordplay and more traditional crosswordese, and struggled with the popular culture references.

Trow 8:04 AM  

34A in the print version was clued by the slightly more palatable "Org. opposed by Moms Demand Action". Doesn't make the fill any nicer. But I would have thought that the online version would be easier to change.

David Fabish 8:07 AM  

For the most part, I wasn't a fan of the fill, but I LOVED the cluing. I even liked "Mini freezer" (but then, I'm a car guy)...

Dishes of different cultures, ones behind the Times, Made a bank getaway, Hero features, Ursa minor, West of Malibu - all clever and just "off" enough to add a bit of challenge to an otherwise pretty easy puzzle.

Tim L. Smith 8:09 AM  

Interestingly, The clue for 34A in the national print edition is “Org. Opposed by Moms Demand Action.”

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

Super easy solve except for the NW corner that Rex mentioned relies on old school crosswordese. Couldn’t parse ATHOS, CNOTE, or KAT after a speedy run through the grid. And I’m unfamiliar with the theme phrase it crosses. Oh well.


Anonymous 8:35 AM  

No doubt it is easier, hence the online version being clued to refer to a different, less unpalatable [those letters] instead of the one more recently in the news.

Laura 8:37 AM  

Loved all the word play. And the theme was a great aha, since I didn't catch Rex's tip off. The "nonsense" answers didn't bother me because the theme was such a clearly missing word from the "nonsense".

All the themers could have funky clues for a different theme. E.g. "pugilist's homophobic costume choice."

bocamp 8:45 AM  

Thx, Michael; excellent Thurs. puz! :)


Had a general idea of the theme (which did help with the solve), but not sure if I fully grok it!

No major hitches, altho CSA and BRAKE had me smh. πŸ€” [it's morning now; got the BRAKE 'Mini freezer'. Cute!]

A bit surprised I had no errors.

Knew MAHALO from time spent at Pearl.

Have learned EILISH from xwords.

Another enjoyable solve! :)
yd 0 / Duo: 36

🌎 Jun 1, 2022 🌍
πŸ”₯ 6 | Avg. Guesses: 5.83
⬜πŸŸ₯🟩 = 3

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

Lobster11 8:46 AM  

Didn't realize I had finished with two errors (solved on paper) until I came here. I had confidently written in BEaT at 1D, and had KA_ for 4D but didn't know the name, so wound up with aHOy (across) THE BOW -- an expression I've never heard but which sounded perfectly reasonable for the clue on 16A.

Nancy 8:52 AM  

No, I don't know Malkovich's movie role, nor the Chow person, nor the sitcom, nor the Hawaiian word, nor the Portuguese word, nor the singer, nor the actor, nor the Sephora purchases, etc., etc. And isn't the fifth word of "American Pie" PIE? As in "Bye, bye, Miss American Pie..." 1,2,3,4,5. No?

I threw this barely filled in at all puzzle against my wall so hard that I've called for two plasterer/painters to come repair it. None of the arcane clues in this puzzle provoked even a trace of curiosity in me -- only aggravation and frustration in equal measures.

kitshef 8:52 AM  

Learned something new about Mount ETNA, which is nice. My favorite thing about ETNA is that it blows smoke rings

Overall, a very nice puzzle that needed to have the clues toughened up a little – especially for the theme answers.

Kate 8:58 AM  

I didn’t realize that the clues could change from paper to online. Fun puzzle.

pabloinnh 9:10 AM  

Finished this entirely and completely and correctly and somehow missed the obviousness of the 1A and 1D stuff. Not sure how I was able to be that dense.

I thought the "Mini freezer" was trying way too hard. See also "Made a bank getaway". I mean really.

@Nancy- You're thinking of the chorus. Verse one starts "A long long time AGO.". You may hear from some others on this one.

@JC66, Hartley70, and Whatsername-Thanks for the congrats from yesterday. I know babies are born everywhere and all the time, but there's still something wonderful about all this.

Nice enough Thursday, ML. Mostly Liked it. Would have helped if I hadn't lost track of the day and was looking harder for a devious ploy. Thanks for all the fun.

Zed 9:16 AM  

@Anon6:47 - Apparently the bell tolls for us. At least I managed not to write it in, but wanting Spain made that the slowest section for me.

Nifty Non-lookie-loo cluing. πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½

HANDS AMERICA STAINS seems apt given the appearance of that criminal organization in the puzzle. As does DISASTERS.

RAIL and RIAL caught my eye.

Saw through the KANYE clue quickly. I hear he’s a genius. Whatever. It seems like he is more famous these days for his infamy than his music.

JD 9:21 AM  

@pabloinnh, et al Mini commenters. I drive a Mini Cooper, got the answer on the crosses, and didn't understand the clue and answer until I got here. But I'm kinda obtuse.

@Anon 6:47, I was trying to think of some version of Hospital. Spain was nowhere to be found in my brain and I just read it a few years ago.

@Son Volt, Thanks for the link. Glad to know about her.

Marion 9:22 AM  

I read the brake clue literally, as in braking is a temporary stop while freezing is a full stop.

Ryan Miller 9:22 AM  

Glancing over at xwordinfo I saw that the constructor, Mike Lieberman, made mention of 34A saying "I'm sorry that I put 34-Across in this grid. You won't see it in another puzzle of mine." So it sounds like the idea of keeping the NRA out of puzzles is finally starting to happen with constructors. So that's a positive at least.

Joaquin 9:39 AM  

I don't get it. The abbreviation NRA - in a totally benign context - is triggering. But CSA - in a context that probably 90% of solvers learned just today - gets a pass.

If we compare the "other" NRA and CSA, which is worse?

I have no love for either the current NRA or the old CSA but I do believe context matters (at least it matters to me - obviously YMMV).

albatross shell 9:43 AM  

Bess Myerson was not just a rando Miss America. She became NY commissioner of consumer affairs. Also got involved in a couple of political scandals that also involved her. personal life. I remember them because when she came to visit her lover who was in doing soft time in Allenwood PA she stopped at a local store and got busted for shoplifting.

Being Jewish was also not a small thing for Jews or the American people. Some towns she toured as Miss America would greet her with No Jews signs.

As a spokesman for Frigidaire she also became famous for selling refrigerators and infamous for not being able to open the door of one on live TV.

She was also on I've Got a Secret.

I had KA_ and thought the missing letter is not T unless she's a comedian. Post-solve I checked her out to see if she married into the name or what. I found that her parents and siblings are unknown as is even the existence or lackof existence of a husband. She has kept her personal life completely out of the public arena. Kudos to her.

ALCOVE nice one.
I agree on the good clueing but thought WEVE had a poor one or at least over odd.

RooMonster 9:44 AM  

Hey All !
Interesting puz. Kinda wished Michael could've found a Themer with two DOWNS in it, would've spiced up the clue slightly. My two cents, and all that.

Seems like lately I've been grokking the theme at the last/bottom one, as happened today. Figured out UPSIDE CAKE from the letters I already had in, and said, "Ah, they are using Down and Across as actual words, not in reference to the words in 1A and 1D that are in the puz."

Thanks Rex for explaining the BRAKE clue. That one gets a "Boo" from me.

I was a "chain" in HANDS ACROSS AMERICA! Our High School had a bus trip to lower PA (forget exactly where, outside of Philadelphia, I think) that I had signed up for, and a bunch of us went down there, and became part of the chain! I got to hold the hand of a cute girl, so that make the trip even better! Then, our School Bus broke down on the way back, but that's another story...

Not bad fill, considering the Long Downs intermixed with the Themers. Tough to get clean fill.

CSA one time stood for Confederate States of America, yet I don't see anyone saying that shouldn't be in a puz. I, too, am disheartened at all these shootings, but NRA in a puz not clued as the gun thing should be fine. Like others have said, IDI AMIN and others who have done horrible things never even get a peep when they are in puzs. They are just words in a crossword, not commentary or endorsement. Again, my two cents.

Anyway, good puz. Sneakily got out of @Anoa Bob's lower rightmost square S plural, with MESS/BESS.

yd -4, should'ves 3
Duo - skipped Yesterday

No F's (another Boo!)

Gary Jugert 9:45 AM  

Took me until the very end to figure out the theme, and boy would it have been helpful to figure it out way earlier. Pretty sneaky. Fun puzzle. Researched plenty as usual later in the week, but no "nyt" cheats.

Aren't you surprised EILISH isn't in every puzzle? Those are very crossword-y letters.

Don't you wish constructors would lose NRA from their word lists?

Took me every single cross to get KANYE after staring at Google maps for 20 minutes. Ya got me good Lieberman.


MILAN: I was in Milan once and it was 42 Celsius which must be about 900 normal degrees because the entire city was in A/C blackout and we ended up leaving and going up to Bergamo and it was heavenly.

PANGOLIN: Aww-inspiring.

KAT CHOW: I am gonna go read her memoir with a name like that.


TOT: For those of us child-free on purpose, tots are less aww-inspiring than eww-inspring. Get your vowel team on that Shortz.

GOATEE: Since the devil is fake, his goatee is fake, so if it is in fact a feature, it's a double-fake feature, so I guess that makes it theoretically impossible ... or the one true thing about the devil. Math is hard. No wonder they can't figure out they lost an election.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  
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Anonymous 10:10 AM  
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Anonymous 10:10 AM  

If one wishes to be a crossword maker, the Thursday puzzle is a good place to start. You can put in anything, whether it makes sense or not. Do better.

Hartley70 10:22 AM  

This puzzle was all about the cluing misdirection for me and I loved the moments when I realized I was on the wrong track. BRAKE and KANYE made my morning. CUB was a cutie. I expected an rfd address for “farm delivery system”, which I realize is very old school now that snail mail is more and more obsolete. I hadn’t heard of the CSA acronym used any way other than the Civil War. It’s Boomer vision, I suppose. It took me awhile to see the theme today. I went through the same process as Rex, but as I jumped around the grid it only became a little too obvious when I saw the pineapple CAKE. Those cakes were everywhere in my younger days and I don’t miss them one little bit. Blech! This puzzle, however, hit the mark for me.

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

Maybe it's just me, but I really don't like that Across/Down are capitalized in the clue but only Hands Across America needs that capital letter. Seems unfairly misleading to me.

Dory Kornfeld 10:26 AM  

wanted CABS for LABS as overhearing drivers on the phone to family in many languages is surely the "dishes of different cultures."

kitshef 10:26 AM  

@Joaquin NRA vs. CSA - I get your point, but I think CSA as used in today's puzzle is probably what most people think of when they see those letters.

I think there is also something to be said for people/things that are dead/gone as opposed to those alive/still here. I would be really hesitant to put Afewerki or Cargill in a grid, as those particular evils are still with us.

But Mao or The Royal African Company, while even more awful, are part of history. Maybe that's a way to phrase it: once it moves from Current Events to History, it becomes more palatable. And when it moves from History to Ancient History - where no person alive today was personally affected by it - even better. Pompeii was a terrible tragedy, but seeing it in a puzzle isn't going to hit anyone hard in a personal way.

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

A long long time ago….

Whatsername 10:39 AM  

I’m on board with @Nancy today (as usual) in being one of the few dissenters, although I did finish filling it in before I threw it against the wall. I got the trick right off at 16A but I just couldn’t believe that was actually the theme. I kept thinking - seriously? I take the word that’s handed to me in the clue and I apply it to the answer? That’s your IDEA for a theme? YIKES!!

Among the plethora of trivia, I learned what an ARMOR covered pangolin is and still shaking my head at CSA. I have farming in my DNA, grew up with an RFD address, and still live smack in the middle of farm delivery country but never heard that one.

Wondering if anyone else thought SHORTZ at 25D. No? Alrighty then. I’m off to pick strawberries for a short CAKE and get STAINS on my clothes while humming American Pie. That last part undoubtedly for the rest of the day. Oh, I’ll be driving my Chevy too.

Carola 10:42 AM  

I filled the grid but am giving myself a DNF for not understanding the Thursday trickery, despite seeing that the theme phrases each required an additional ACROSS or DOWN. Got me good. I'd say that I at least understood the other tricky clues, except that I never saw the one for BRAKE, which I now file under "a bridge too far," but I'm probably just disgruntled. STAINS over STENCH is great; time to do the laundry.


Tom T 10:45 AM  

So I wanted to cry "Foul" on this puzzle, but after all these comments I'll just whimper "Shame on me." I never figured out the gimmick. But in my weak defense, DOWN is a perfectly good answer for the 1-Down clue: Outdo. "We expect the Yankees to DOWN the Orioles tonight." (I had considered BEST for that answer, but when I got UPSIDE CAKE I stuck with down. Which led me to think, "Maybe it's a SHOT [over] THE BOW and HANDS [over} AMERICA. YIKES! Add in @Nancy's rant about the other words/clues in the NW (KAT, ATHOS, ETNA) and I finally had to acknowledge defeat and hit the dreaded reveal button.

OffTheGrid 10:50 AM  

What @Rex said about the theme. Ditto. But not a deal breaker. I try not to let one little thing ruin a puzzle and I didn't today. I just have to (along with Rex) say how awful the Mini freeze/BRAKE entry is. It's a STAIN and a STENCH and an IDIOTic clue. But to be fair, there were many strong, clever clues and this was a pleasant solve over all.

bigsteve46 10:59 AM  

Doing the puzzle (or not doing it) on-line makes "throwing it at the wall" kind of dangerous, not to mention expensive, if it results in a ruined computer and a damaged wall. I guess you could do the puzzle on line (as I do) AND keep a paper copy of the NYT nearby (as I also do) and express your frustration by throwing the paper at the wall and redirecting the computer to checking the early entries at Belmont (race track, that is.)

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

Absolutely. And the N for New Girl confirmed for me!

TJS 11:06 AM  

This was one of those puzzles, usually a Thursday, where I couldn't figure out what the hell was going on but was able to fill the grid anyway, When I filled in the final letter I was shocked to get the congrats instead of being directed to find the error(s). So I just stared at the thing until I got the trick.

Hemingway was an ambulance driver in Italy, but when he returned to his home in Oak Park, Il. he walked around town in an Italian Army uniform and gave speeches at the local High School. Hard to say whether his writing or his gift for self-promotion was his greatest talent.

That Bess Myerson ad where she can't open the refrigerator door is priceless. Gotta love those old live TV moments.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

In this version the 5th word is I

Long long time ago, I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they'd be happy for a while

Mary McCarty 11:11 AM  

@Joe Welling (7:30) Loved “peach-tree dishes” (smirk); reminds me to make “gestapo” as it’s really hot today!
I knew 34A would raise hackles the minute I typed it in; please, let’s find some other depression-era initials; that other one is just too depressing.
Had Odysseus and Cyclops meeting in a cave for a bit, but the crosses eliminated that. Same way I got all the answers @Nancy complains about, although I did recognize half of them when they appeared. Explains why multiple-choice tests are easier than fill-in-the-blank...
14A confirms my suspicion that the newest NYT puzzle would start slipping into the x-words. Not the first time, but literally within seconds.
Loved the trickiest of the theme; never occurred to me to look for hyphens on the referenced clue: it doesn’t always work that way.
One of my fastest Thursdays in a long time...

Joseph Michael 11:15 AM  

This was really hard until it wasn’t. and wasn’t fun until it was. When I finally figured out the trick, it all made sense, though the resulting themers look like they’re in need of meaning. For example:

SHOT THE BOW - took a photo of the ribbon on top of the gift box

KNOCK DRAG OUT - ban campy shows where men dress up like women

HAND’S AMERICA - novelist Elizabeth’s televised tour of the U.S.

UPSIDE CAKE - dessert for optimists

JHC 11:16 AM  

I want to object to the clue on 8D. If you're going to ask us to know the verses to a song that is literally famous for everybody knowing the chorus and nobody knowing the verses, can you at least give it its correct title ("The Day the Music Died")?

Whatsername 11:17 AM  

@Joe W (7:30) Re peach tree dishes . . . . πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Better call the Crossword Gazpacho!

@pablo (9:10) “babies are born everywhere and all the time.” Of course they are but not many quite as wonderful as yours. 😌

sixtyni yogini 11:21 AM  

Liked it. Good points made about the flaws, but several clever clues.
But I was CLUE-LESS about NEWGIRL and EILISH 😜!

jae 11:25 AM  

Easy. CSA was it for WOEs and I caught the theme about half way through. Like yesterday’s there were some fine long downs, liked it.

The Joker 11:35 AM  

I get the idea that @Nancy doesn't care for being BESTed by a crossword puzz.

Aelurus 11:42 AM  

DNF today. LOL, the puzz got me good.

At 26A KNOCK DRAG OUT I got that I had to add “down” to the answer, and at 42A add “across” to HANDS AMERICA, but seriously overthought, actually seriously missed, that the words “with 1 Across” and “with 1 Down” in the clues were simply directions. I thought each one had to have a bonus meaning connected to the answer. Such as: With the one mistake aHOy THE BOW at 16A, making BEaT at 1D, I got all cerebrally wrong and thought, well, you beat an UPSIDE DOWN CAKE and someone beats someone else in a KNOCK DOWN DRAGOUT.

That didn’t work, of course, for connecting 1A BACK to either of the two add-an-across answers.

I, too, liked THAT’S ON ME and I CAN’T EVEN. Also the misdirections for BRAKE, LIMO, CUB, SWAM.

PPP unknowns KAT, CRAIG, NAOMI went in via crosses, and didn’t see KAN_E until I got the cross MAYO even though I know the name. 35A NICKS could have been clued “rocker Stevie.”

@bocamp (of the Phreagle coinage), @Nancy, @Joe D, Might a 3/6 be a Phralbatross? Loved when the aha! arrived for this one and I suddenly saw the answer.
Phrazle 89: 3/6
⬜ ⬜🟩πŸŸͺ πŸŸͺπŸŸͺπŸŸͺ⬜ πŸŸͺπŸŸͺ⬜ 🟩 ⬜⬜🟨⬜🟨πŸŸͺ 🟨πŸŸͺ⬜⬜πŸŸͺ
🟩 🟩🟩🟩 ⬜πŸŸͺ⬜🟩 ⬜⬜⬜ 🟩 ⬜⬜⬜⬜🟨⬜ ⬜⬜⬜⬜🟨
🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

Wundrin' 11:42 AM  

If anyone said what CSA is I missed it.

Google says community supported agriculture. @Rex mentioned "belonging to a CSA". What does that mean?

egsforbreakfast 11:45 AM  

When I first saw 5A Setting for much of “A Farewell to Arms” , I already had M_L_ _ from crosses. I thought “gee, I know it was a long, long time AGO that I read the book, but I don’t remember anything about Malta in it ( or Melta for that matter)”.

14A Saw (ADAGE). reminded me of AdAge magazine, which used to be a must read for those in advertising, marketing, etc. apparently it still is, as their glitzy web site is full of up to the minute stuff:

Get the highlights of the most important daily news delivered to your inbox every weekday morning, combining Ad Age reporting…

Perhaps a bit of a mini theme going with STENCH IDIOT YIKES NRA.

When someone indisputably better than His Airness comes along, will MJ become the GOATor and make the new guy the GOATEE?

Super easy theme and fill, but very fun cluing at times. Thanks, Michael Lieberman.

old timer 11:54 AM  

Finished it. Never really got the theme, but who cares? That is, I knew across or down was needed, but the revealer was over my head. I loved the clue for SWAM.

Gotta say, the original clue for NRA had the great advantage of being honest. The online edition alternative was namby pamby. And to tell you the truth, the oft-used CIA offends me, as it has so often been a truly evil organization. I associate the NRA with happy times at summer camp, learning riflery. And when Congress fails to do the only sensible thing, which is to ban assault rifles entirely, while allowing hunting rifles and small capacity pistols, it won't be because the NRA was an effective lobbyist. It will be because the Second Amendment requires the Federal government to allow citizens to own firearms, but has never prevented reasonable regulation of them.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

Loved it.

Masked and Anonymous 12:21 PM  

Primo great ThursPuz! Lost many precious nanoseconds, starin in total confusion at SHOTTHEBOW, early on in the solvequest. Why are they shootin their bow and arrows backwards? Sneaky+ themer clue. Like. And, good for M&A to suffer.

Had lotsa neat fillins in this rodeo, too boot. Some faves: EILISH [Just saw a Letterman interview with this gal]. THATSONME. LAKEHURON. ICANTEVEN. SEOUL clue. BACK [Musta looked BACK at it a ton of times, early on.]

staff weeject pick: NRA. Here's an extra weird thing. The puz's NRA clue today at our house was: {Org. opposed by Moms Demand Action}. But evidently it changed, by the time it got to @RP's house?

Any org. that still features Trump as their major convo speaker has gotta be pretty suspect. I see we have an alternative clue for CSA today, also: {Farm delivery letters}. Sooo … maybe a clue of {Mass shooting delivery letters} for NRA, if it shows up in another xword not clued by that {1930s Depression-fighting org.} type of cluin?
I dunno. Mostly, just want folks to be safe.

Thanx for the neat & sneaky fun, Mr. Lieberman dude. Superb job. thUmbs, with 1 Up.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


chance2travel 12:23 PM  

@lobster11 @Aelurus

+1 for DNF at aHOy THE BOW

Mike in Bed-Stuy 12:24 PM  

Re Rex's comment, "Nope. Nope nope nope.... There are actually very few answers I'd like to see wiped from the grid forever, no matter the clue; this is one of them," I adduce the ever-relevant Santayana maxim, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It is literally Orwellian to want to erase such words and ideas from the historical record—And the NYTXW is part of the historical record. I know Rex's sentiment appears frequently in his reviews and in these comments. I see it as an unfortunate conflation of ideas about the limits on freedom of speech. We place limits on speech that poses a danger to public safety (shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater). We place limits on speech that poses a danger to public morals (obscenity, comic books, rap lyrics). And we place limits on hate speech (slurs against race, ethnicity, nationality, religious affiliation, political ideology, gender, sexuality, etc). The impulse to ban terms like "NRA" from venues like crossword puzzles belongs more to the recent discourse on language deemed to "trigger" discomfort around traumatic experiences—limiting speech that poses a risk to an individual's sense of safety or comfort. I am not discounting out of hand the validity of that argument for censorship; rather, I question it, and I suspect it has dangerous implications for the kind of historical awareness that we need in order not to repeat calamities of the past. We see this happening in efforts to censor discussion of racism, gender identity, and sexual orientation in classrooms. When we oppose teaching something in our schools, it generally means we want to maintain a see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil approach towards various kinds of difference (or fundamental rights). Similarly, if we are not allowed to talk about the NRA, how are we supposed to combat the gun industry, the gun lobby, and gun violence? What I am saying here is off the cuff, not a carefully researched thesis, so please take it in that spirit.

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

If you belong to a CSA, you support the farm itself (as a member of the community). Could this mean that “farm delivery letters” are literal renters of the farm, through a CSA?

Mike in Bed-Stuy 12:32 PM  

@Anonymous 6:47 AM - Almost. But I plopped down "Italy" instead, which is less erroneous from a literary perspective, but just as problematic from a crossword-solving perspective.

Dave G 12:41 PM  

Fully agree about NRA. Had the same sinking feeling on Monday with AMMO, less than a week after Uvalde. Seems very tone deaf to me.

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

100%. Felt smart too.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 12:47 PM  

But it is NOT "A long, long time ago"; it is "Long, long time ago." But the entry was obviously AGO, even though that's wrong on the merits.

Sharon;AK 12:50 PM  

I loved 48D, eventually, when I had all but one letter, and realized it was brake and the mini a car.
@Joe Welling 7:30 LOL
and also enjoyed the follow-ups: gazpacho, etc.
@Kitshef 8:52 Thanks for the link.
I read almost all the comments hoping someone would explain CSA. No one did. Maybe if I google it.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 12:51 PM  

@Joaquin 9:39 AM - Am I missing something? Doesn't CSA merely mean "community supported agriculture"? I'm serious. If it means anything more controversial, I am unaware of that. Please enlighten me!

Mike in Bed-Stuy 12:55 PM  

@Anonymous 10:22 AM - Ikr?!

Mike in Bed-Stuy 1:00 PM  

@Anonymous 11:09 AM - I mean, like, "Yes!" and also, like, what other version is there? All you have to do is listen to the darn song on your favorite streaming service.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 1:04 PM  

@JHC 11:16 AM - Uhh...If you grew up in the 70s, you know the verses. In fact, if you grew up in the 70s, you can prolly sing the whole song word-for-word from beginning to end. And...where did you get the idea that the title of the song "American Pie" is "The Day the Music Died"? FWIW, *American Pie* is also the name of the album.

Wanderlust 1:07 PM  

I don't think I've ever seen a puzzle with so many clever and misdirection clues, and that is one of my favorite things about solving, so this was one of my favorites in a long time. "Places to find dishes of different cultures" for LABS is a candidate for clue of the year. But there were so many more, such as clues for EDITOR ("One behind the Times"), KANYE ("West of Malibu") and so many more.

I agree with some that the clues for SWAM and BRAKE were stretching a bit. They are both at the bottom. I picture Michael getting there and just saying, "F- it, I'm going for the record..." Speaking of stretching, I also liked the clue for LIMO.

I didn't figure out the clue until UPSIDE CAKE, then went back and filled in the themers. It worked for me. Regarding the PPP, I get how much most of you hate it, but I knew a lot of it today and it definitely increased my speed.

There's no issue -- except perhaps voting rights and voting integrity -- that I feel more strongly about than gun control, but I don't get bothered by NRA as long as it's not clued in a positive way about the evil organization. Mostly when I see it in a grid, I just think, "Oh, Rex will rant again..." I also noticed CSA and wondered if he and others would object to that because of what it once stood for.

Joaquin 1:10 PM  

@Mike in Bed-Stuy - CSA = Confederate States of America (that pesky organization responsible for 600,000+ American deaths).

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

CSA - community supported agriculture
In my experience it is prepaying for a box of vegetables/fruits delivered weekly or available for pick-up in a community location (such as a farmers' market) during the growing season. The fees help support small farmers during the expensive process of planting and in return, you share the benefits of the harvest.
The average age of a small farm owner is up there (late 50s) and CSA's were started to encourage and support independent farmers vs, Big Ag. And to encourage younger farmers.
If you don't know about it, check it out locally and support it. Just another step toward a healthy future for the next generation.

JC66 1:12 PM  

@Mike in BS

In my experience, CSA stands for Confederate States of America. I never heard of the farm reference before today.

Bitter 1:15 PM  

I had "OCEAN" for west of malibu. It quickly disappeared because of crosses, but nothing made sense to me, even when I was only missing the "y". I just kept mumbling to myself "There's nothing west of Malibu!!"

Mike in Bed-Stuy 1:16 PM  

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa. I am 61 years old. I have known "American Pie" by heart since I was 10 years old. But we all live and learn, all the time. I just did my overdue diligence, jumped onto Spotify, clicked on that play button...and I'll be darned! It is, in fact, "A long, long time ago." I stand corrected. It's good for this old dog to learn a new trick now and then.

Whatsername 1:33 PM  

Re the song title brouhaha, here’s what Wikipedia says:

On February 3, 1959, American rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and "The Big Bopper" J. P. Richardson were killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, together with pilot Roger Peterson.[1][2] The event later became known as "The Day the Music Died" after singer-songwriter Don McLean referred to it as such in his 1971 song "American Pie".


Mike in Bed-Stuy 1:40 PM  

@Joaquin 1:10 PM - Thanks—I picked up on that from subsequent comments. But how does that related to the clue [Farm delivery letters]?

Mike in Bed-Stuy 1:45 PM  

Any music theory mavens out there? I know this question is off the topic of crosswords...but it's on an entry in today's puzzle. For the past 30 minutes or so, I have been listening to the Don McLean album, *American Pie," and it suddenly hit me that his chord progressions are very reminiscent of those of Paul Simon of the same era. His sense of how to construct a melody, however, seems to my ear to be very different from that of Simon. Am I right about these two points? Similar on the harmonic structure, different on the melodic structure? I'm fascinated by that kind of thing. Not having studied music is one of my enduring regrets.

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

Grocery stores are also in communities. And their food is just as healthy as anything in any CSA.

Joaquin 1:53 PM  

@Mike in Bed-Stuy (1:40) - The Confederate States of America [CSA] does NOT relate to the clue in any way. That's my point. Just as the letters NRA in the clue has no relation to the hated gun organization. Again, my point: Context matters (to me).

okanaganer 1:58 PM  

Like @Lobster11, I put in AHOY THE BOW before I figured out the trick and just never got back to fix it. I mean, AHOY just had to be right!! What are the odds?

Here in the great white north, CSA is the little tag on many devices: Canadian Standards Association.

[Spelling Bee: yd 5:30 to pg then 0 later.]

Masked and Anonymous 2:27 PM  

Full disclosure: I have, on occasions, had NRA as an answer in one of my own (runt) crossword puzs.
Last time I did, I clued it up as:
{Gun org., not ran right??}.


Anonymous 2:57 PM  

I’m guessing they’re referring to the Confederate States of America, but I think very few people’s minds go there when they see CSA.

albatross shell 3:11 PM  

American Pie lyrics. The first place that gave the lyrics said LONG LONG TIME AGO. I went to Spotify and listened to the song it is clearly A LONG LONG TIME AGO and the Spotify lyrics are the same. Accurate clue.

Dumas wrote 5 novels with the Four Musketeer characters. All 4 were based on real people. The Man in the Iron Mask was likely real also.

Zed 3:19 PM  

@Joaquin - Yes, context matters and the NRA is culpable in three civil wars worth of deaths in my lifetime.

@MiBS - Not wanting criminals and racists celebrated in our crossword puzzles is not the same as banning words.

Anyone have anything more to say about the rest of the puzzle? Personally, I’ll reiterate that I thought the theme was fun.

jberg 3:57 PM  

Nifty theme, let me get UPSIDE CAKE with no crosses, which is always gratifying. Me too for spaiN and ocean before MILAN and KANYE. (What, I'm supposed to know where celebs live, now? When I had the K from crosses I seriously considered Kyoto, which is West of Malibu by a few thousand miles.)

@Nancy, I too thought the fifth word was "pie" -- but then remembered a comment you wrote a couple of years ago about how important it was to always sing the verse. That memory saved me from an error, so thanks!

Is ETNA legit? A long long time ago since I read the Odyssey, but Wikipedia says that Odysseus meets the Cyclopes on an island "traditionally Sicily," which seems not all that definite. I needed all the crosses to get it. That was hard because I had no idea the the man in the iron mask had anything to do with the three musketeers (looked that one up, actually).

Anonymous 4:05 PM  

This was a good puzzle! I appreciated seeing New Girl and Brooklyn 99 in the same puzzle, since they had a couple crossover episodes like 5 years ago. Cluing "idiot" by way of a work of Classic Literature got a chuckle out of me. I also didn't realize that The Man in the Iron Mask was a partial adaptation of the sequel to The Three Musketeers, so it was a pleasant surprise to see Athos appear in the crosses.

For better or worse I am numb to seeing NRA in grids, but CSA gave me a bit of a start. I associate that acronym first and foremost with child sexual abuse, sometimes used as a trigger warning on social media (as in, "tw: csa"). But at the end of the day, the constructor and editor likely spend less time reading gloomy twitter threads than I do, and honestly, good for them.

CDilly52 4:05 PM  

Yesterday we had what I call a “constructor’s theme.” To me, this type theme is one in which a constructor (possibly/probably?) starts a new puzzle having observed something around which to create a theme. Yesterday, the observation might have begun upon seeing that the phrase “ARTS AND CRAFTS” has all the letters for the word “ARTS” among the letters remaining if one were to eliminate the word “ARTS,”decides to do just that and then include circles at places the A-R-T-S letters appear, and in so doing breathes life into a theme idea. I marvel at these themes because of the labor required to find enough material.

That was yesterday, and the theme seemed there to demonstrate the constructor’s ability to find enough material from which to build theme answers. The rest if the fill was very challenging for a Wednesday.

Today’s theme was incredibly easy for me to figure out. After all, the words ACROSS and DOWN appear in the clue itself! @Rex can talk all day about the hyphenated 1-across/down distinction, and that seems superfluous to me simply because of the crossword “rule” that words in the answer cannot appear in the clue. Or so I have thought for the 64 years of my daily solving. I am apparently mistaken. OK, I get that I was supposed to be confused and want the answers at the across and down references to have something to do with the ultimate answer sought. However, when the theme answers so obviously require the word ACROSS or DOWN, there simply was no confusion other than my very momentary hiccup of “well the word ACROSS is in the clue so it can’t be in my answer” which lasted less than a second because I had actually already assumed inclusion of the already given ACROSS and written in SHOT THE BOW, and moved quickly on to KNOCK DRAG OUT. If I missed something more clever or subtle, please feel free to educate me because this one eaves me confused. And are we now “allowed” to use answer words in the clues?

As for the rest of today, I enjoyed the trip down Memory Lane with HANDS (ACROSS) AMERICA. My daughter was 7 and her entire (small) K-3 school made posters and raised money by doing chores at home, helping neighbors and doing a neighborhood food drive for the school’s adjunct food pantry, and they learned a great deal about the many folks in her own “back yard” struggling with poverty, hunger and homelessness. Those days in the 80s that sought to remind us of our better selves and the activism of the 60s may be long gone but the spirit awakened by things like “Hands” is out there and it remains alive. I see it often in my daughter’s peer group. And it gives me hope.

Jasper C. 4:06 PM  

Not reading clues carefully enough (and not knowing "SHOT THE BOW") led me to trying to fill the ACROSS themers with DOWN. HANDS DOWN AMERICA sounds almost plausible...

Crosswordese corner in the NW was a pain. Loved LABS' cluing, BRAKE was a bit more cute than clever, and TARS/NRA can return to their respective 17th and 19th century origins where they ought to remain.

crayonbeam 4:17 PM  

Loved this gimmick, but maybe that's because I got it, whereas some Thursdays I'm clueless. I was definitely weirdly clueless on the Brooklyn-99 clue even though Doug Judy is hilarious. I almost feel like I know him from the Jake the Fake books more these days.

Anonymous 4:21 PM  

@Z 3:19 Celebrated ? Is it your contention that using someone or some organization as a crossword answer an implicit endorsement of them ?

GTownInfo 4:47 PM  

Spotify concurred with the puzzle author.

Nancy 4:56 PM  

I urge you, @Joker (11:35), to look back on my posts over the years and see how often I have waxed rhapsodic over being fooled, bamboozled and out-maneuvered by everything ranging from tricks like rebuses...or answers written in backwards or upside down...to really, really deft and devious wordplay. That's when I do feel "bested" if I can't finish and inclined to tip my hat in tribute to a clever and devious constructor.

But I didn't feel "bested" today. Rather I felt "trivia-ed" to death with tiny bits of arcane information I don't know and wouldn't remember even if I took the time and trouble to learn them. Plus I'm always asking myself: Did the constructor create this puzzle with Google perched in his lap? In short, does he know this stuff without looking it up? If you make your trivia obscure enough, you can stump Einstein himself, but what does that prove? I hate these kinds of puzzles when I'm on the solving end and I wouldn't dream of inflicting them on other solvers when I'm on the creative end. Don't take my word, @Joker -- check out my posts over the years.

jae 5:55 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate 5:56 PM  

100% πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Zed 6:56 PM  

@4:21 - Have a question about the puzzle? No? Alright. Here’s a little vocabulary instruction:
Celebrate {pay special attention to the third definition}
Hint: If I meant “endorse” I would have said “endorse.”

Anonymous 8:01 PM  

I can’t see anything remotely benign in describing the NRA in a positive light this week. Or many many weeks. And can’t imagine who at the Times decided this cluing change might make these monsters more palatable.

Anonymous 8:26 PM  

I liked the mini freezer clue - a good one that took me a bit and then had a nice aha moment.

The CSA clue stumped me for a while as while I’ve been a member of 5 different CSAs including the 3rd one founded in the USA back in 1986, I’ve never been part of one that delivers food. I just go to the farm to pick up. Eventually I realized I had heard that in urban areas the CSA sometimes comes to you.

And I’d only heard the confederate states acronym in recent years though I grew up just south of the Mason-Dixon Line and I’m old enough to recall participating in Hands Across America in elementary school.

NRA - I know it’s just a puzzle and context is everything, but hits you in the gut to hear it right now. I’m a high school teacher and I have two teenage kids myself. Let’s avoid it in crosswords until they aren’t tearing up the fabric of American society anymore. Then we can look at it more dispassionately again.

gina 9:17 PM  

Another one to point out 8 DOWN is incorrect. The fifth word of American Pie is I. (First mistake I've ever found)
And the song is called American Pie...not "The Day the Music Died"..in response to above Poster.

Anonymous 9:55 PM  

Was scrolling through the comments to see if someone mentioned the NW corner! Since BEAT and BEST were both plausible for 1-down, and I didn’t know ATHOS, ETNA or KAT despite having a few letters, made it hard to parse the theme phrase up there. Rest of puzzle fell pretty Thursday-y

Joe Dipinto 10:04 PM  

@Gina – no, I checked, because I tend to hear the opening as "Long long time ago", and the lyrics sometimes get printed that way, but he does sing "A long long time ago". The "a" is an octave below the second note. So the fifth word is AGO.

Zed 11:14 PM  

YouTube actually has videos with the lyrics on the screen.

albatross shell 11:39 PM  

Any one ask Erica?

Deb Sweeney 9:06 AM  

I feel like the #1 reason I read this column is to explain stuff like Mini freezer. Thanks Rex!

Mike in Bed-Stuy 12:00 PM  

@Joaquin 1:53 PM - Ah! I did not get that part about NRA being National Recovery Administration. I did the print version, where the clue was [Org. opposed by Moms Demand Action]

Mike in Bed-Stuy 12:03 PM  

@Joaquin1:53 PM - So, now that I'm clear about the whole double meaning of both CSA and NRA thing, I can make an informed judgement. I think it is fine for them to be in the puzzle if they are clued as farm share (CSA) and depression-era program (NRA). I mean, otherwise, it's like avoiding the word "gay" because it no longer primarily means "joyous."

Tita 2:29 PM  

@JD... I too drive a MINI Cooper (Chili Red 06 S convertible, to be exact), and got the gimmick, but still groaned big time. Fun fact... MINI is the official spelling for the BMW reboot of the original Mini.

I liked the theme... I appreciate being fooled by a clever constructor... and this kind of aha moment when i finally get the joke...

MReap 2:54 PM  

According to the posted lyrics, “ago” is the fourth word of American Pie.

“Long, long time ago…”

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

What do I know? I put PARIS in at first.

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