Composer Luigi who pioneered noise music / SUN 6-12-22 / Chemical ingredient in flubber / Rock's CJ or Dee Dee / Former name for the NBA's Thunder informally / Goldman who crusaded for birth control access / Monocle-dropping exclamation

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Constructor: Will Nediger

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: "Didn't We Just Have This?" — words appear in the grid, and then get referred to in entries that refer to said words appearing ... again:

Theme answers:
  • "... AND ANOTHER THING" (27A: Argument extender [ref. 18-Across]) (18A = THING)
  • "THIS ISN'T MY / FIRST RODEO" (48A: With 87-Across, "I've been around the block a few times" [ref. 23-Across]) (23A = RODEO)
  • "IT'S DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN" (70A: Classic Yogi Berra quote [ref. 33-Across]) (33A = DEJA VU)
  • "BABY ONE MORE TIME" (111A: Debut album by Britney Spears [ref. 82-Across]) (82A = BABY)

Word of the Day:
UNROLLED (91A: Consolidated for easier reading, as a Twitter thread) —

The beauty of Twitter is that every message is constrained to 280 characters and under, but sometimes you simply can’t get all your thoughts across in just a single tweet. Or perhaps you’re following a live news story and you need to follow the thread to read the news as it develops so there’s context for what happened earlier.

Whatever the reason, sometimes Twitter threads can get long, which can make them difficult to follow. Thankfully, there’s a bot that can help piece those tweets together into one piece of text without all the extra replies from anyone other than the person who originally started the thread. This is called “unrolling” a thread, and it’s created by a tool called @threadreaderapp, which lets you combine tweetstorms into one single post simply by using the keyword “unroll.” (theverge.com)

• • •

I can't say this isn't a cute joke but it ends up making the puzzle so easy that it ends up being not much of a puzzle, to be honest. Also, there are just four themers, and with thematic content that light, I'd expect a much brighter and more vibrant grid than what we end up getting. The only non-theme answers that really struck me as interesting were two proper nouns that briefly sent me into "holy crap, please don't let any of these crosses fail, please" mode (AYOTOMETI, RUSSOLO). I thank those names for giving me some genuine excitement, even if that excitement was basically Failure Terror. Nothing else in the grid was that thrilling, although, again, I'll grant you that the basic thematic premise is kind of funny. It's especially funny to run this puzzle directly after a puzzle that also duplicated a word (EAR), but with absolutely no self-awareness or humor. And yet this theme was all too thin and simple to satisfy on a Sunday-sized canvas. "IT'S DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN" is a perfect, grid-spanning 21 letters long, and it seems a wonderful phrase to build a puzzle around. I just wish there'd been more places for this concept to go, or that this particular execution of the concept hadn't made too much of this puzzle too obvious too quickly. Look how fast I got the theme:


And not just the first theme answer, but the whole dang theme concept:


Maybe if both THING and RODEO hadn't both been in a solver's most likely starting point (i.e. the NW), things would've been a tiny bit tougher, and maybe that would've made the solve a little more satisfying, I don't know. Also, maybe if the theme clues had found some (much) more elegant way of handling the cross-references than just plunking them down in aggressively straightforward, workmanlike, non-wordplay fashion, i.e. in brackets with instructions that are roughly the equivalent of "just go look at this other answer"—maybe that would've provided the elegance, the oomph, that this puzzle seemed to lack. Promising concept, fizzling execution, not much grid spice to offset the thematic thinness. That was how things looked from where I was solving. I do want to praise [Monocle-dropping exclamation], which is a hilariously specific and vivid clue for "I SAY!"


Buncha stuff I did not know today. For instance COCO Palm, which sounds like a stage name, not a tree name (5A: ___ palm (tropical tree)). If you'd told me the tree was a COCOA palm, well, I wouldn't have known that either, but it definitely would've felt more plausible. Also, been eating doughnuts (donuts?) and other pastry for half a century-ish and somehow never heard of a LONGJOHN (12D: Doughnut similar to an éclair). Put an "S" on the end of that LONGJOHN, and then it's something I'm plenty familiar with. But in the singular, doughnut form: new to me. I had RIALS before RIYAL (57A: Currency of Qatar) because RIAL is the name of the currency of lots and lots of places (hmm, apparently just three places (Iran, Yemen, Oman), but ... it feels like a lot, is what I'm saying). Qatar puts a "Y" in there for some reason. More international currency things for me to learn and then forget! Non-human primates don't have CHINs??? (25A: Body part that humans have that other primates don't). Also, not a thing I knew. I would've thought any creature with a jawbone technically had a CHIN, but apparently not. Thought flubber might've been made out of BORON (76A: Chemical ingredient in flubber = BORAX), and that the alleged 2018 legal drama might then have been called "On the Basis of SIN" (66D: "On the Basis of ___" (2018 legal drama) = SEX), so that was a fun little alternate-universe diversion. I don't have anything else marked on my puzzle, so I guess I'm done. 


Time once again for ...

Letters to the Editor

No new topics in my Letters to the Editor this week, but a few letters did harken back to the subject of the first letter I published a few weeks back by Gene Weingarten—the question of what fill, if any, should be off-limits in a crossword puzzle (read Gene's original letter here, and a few reader responses from the following week here). Several writers this week shared Gene's (mostly) anything-goes attitude toward crossword fill, and (implicitly or explicitly) dismissed "sensitivity" as a valid concern. Toby S. writes:
I think we’re of a similar age/era (I was b. in ‘68) and so I have a hard time believing that men of our era do not have the ‘…but words will never hurt me’ ethos burned into your (our) lizard brainstem. Yes, I get the idea that certain names and phrases have the power to turn on the horror movie projector inside one’s mind. But…as Gene gets at, it is just a crossword puzzle, reflecting the world as it is. Such clues / words do. not. imply. approval. They just don’t. So why do you let them ‘take up residence’ in your mind even for a moment? Has this always been your ‘human response’ or is it possible that over time your internal algorithm has noticed that the fussier you comment the more emails / comments you get?
And Julian Rosenblum basically agrees:
I don’t think being included as part of a crossword puzzle’s fill is inherently much of a pedestal. If it were, we’d probably have far more statues of ERNEs and WRENs. Filling a crossword puzzle is not easy. I doubt that someone writing a puzzle is thinking, you know what this thing really needs? Phlegm. That’s just not how those words come to be part of the puzzle. And it would be a shame to reject someone’s beautifully constructed puzzle because it required them to incorporate a word that some people find mildly distasteful.

There are absolutely certain words that should not appear in a crossword (racial slurs, for example), but I think the criteria for being, let’s call it, de-worded, should be very high.

I also posit that Elon Musk, self-proclaimed champion of free speech, would be elated to know that a bunch of pearl-clutching liberals are trying to remove his name from the New York Times crossword puzzle. Plays right into his hand.
Allison Hughes, however, has a much different take on the issue:

I think there’s value in thinking about why some people have a strong reaction to certain words, and some people have no reaction. Please excuse me, but I’m going to use Trump as an example, because that is a name that I personally have a reaction to.


When I say “reaction”, I mean hearing his name evokes a feeling in me. When I hear the word “Trump”, I think of that moment during his campaign when he bragged about repeatedly sexually assaulting women. I am a woman. 


There are multiple layers to my feelings. First are the feelings that I would have if any person on earth bragged of hurting women simply because they are women. Of hurting me just because they can. I feel helpless, despairing, sad, and pessimistic [...]


I don’t want to see the word Trump in the crossword because I don’t want to feel all of those feelings his name evokes. Presumably you have similar reasons or feelings as to why you don’t want to see his name in the crossword as well.


I’m sure there are people out there who feel happiness at the thought of women having fewer rights or being assaulted, and presumably those people want to see Trump’s name more often in the crossword. But what of these people who feel neutral about his name? Those who say that Trump is simply “one of 46 presidents of the United States”. This is a fact, they say, and facts are neutral.


What a blessing to see his name and not feel sad or anxious. What a blessing it is to not worry about your future equality. What a blessing it is to not think about being intentionally hurt because of an intrinsic part of your existence.

B.K.S. Fisher isn't troubled by unpleasant people or topics in the crossword, but would like us to consider the premium some solvers put on "currency" (or "recency" or "contemporariness" in crossword fill), particularly when that push for currency involves the denigration of the "old":

I have a broad tolerance for the words, people, organizations and events that land in my crossword puzzle.  I may grimace or shake my head at certain clues or certain answers, but it’s a reaction of the moment which colors no more than 15 seconds of my day.  These things exist (or existed) in the world in which I live, and I don’t expect the crossword to be walled off from them.  It’s a learning experience when something I know little or nothing about provokes a strong negative reaction from you or the people who comment on this site.  I look it up with as much interest as I would something positive or neutral.  That said, hate-speech has no place in this or any forum.  I want pleasure from my crossword puzzle just as much as the next person.  But I don’t find that references to the unpleasant detract from my enjoyment in any significant way.  Moreover, I find no reason to gripe when someone else takes offense at something I don’t.  We all have our sensibilities and I’m disinclined to call anyone a prude or a pearl-clutcher.

In my mind, this question of crossword suitability based on propriety dovetails with the question of suitability based on currency.  In both cases, the issue is what individuals and which aspects of the human endeavor are to be considered crossword-appropriate.  It seems the dudgeon can climb just as high for older references as for mucus, McConnell and Musk.  I think that history offers a rich trove of material for puzzles, and I don’t just mean our friends Tut and Homer.  A few months ago, one of the stars of the silent-movie era, Theda Bara, appeared in a puzzle.  When commenters complained about her being decades out of date, I didn’t know whether to laugh or groan (and did both).  Out of date!  Of course, she’s out of date!  She’s part of the very beginning of the history of Hollywood, a history which has taken us from the Kinetograph to digital cinema, and from the antics of the Keystone Kops to sophisticated explorations of the human heart and mind.  For Theda Bara’s particular legacy, I refer you to Rita Hayworth (Gilda), Kathleen Turner (Body Heat) and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl).  I understand that solvers don’t want their puzzles laden with historical fact at the expense of current references.  I, too, want a balance.  But it’s too prescriptive to require each puzzle to strike parity with the age of its references.  And I regret the growing tendency to see history, within the solving community and without, as random occurrences with no contemporary relevance, rather than as “a chronological record of significant events” (Merriam-Webster) which informs every aspect of our lived reality.  

Thanks for the letters. Feel free to write me about anything crossword-related that you'd like to get off your chest (rexparker at icloud dot com). Be sure to mark any letters "OK TO PRINT." Please try to keep future letters to 300 words or less, just so I can accommodate several of them if I need to. Thanks so much,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. ANI = AN "I" — that is, the letter "I" (78A: The last thing a Mississippi cheerleader wants); you'd think the Mississippi cheerleader would've grown used to all the "I"s, or that they'd dread the "S" just as much, but whatever, just go with it... (actually, I think "last thing" = literally the last letter in "Mississippi"; you know, "Gimme an 'M'! Gimme an 'I'! etc. all the way until Gimme an 'I', the last letter the cheerleader demands (i.e. 'wants'). I miss the [Black cuckoo] already).

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

78 comments:

Joaquin 12:03 AM  

Harder than most Sunday NYT crosswords.
Odder than most Sunday NYT crosswords.
And a lot more fun than most Sunday NYT crosswords.

Anonymous 12:36 AM  

Loved the theme, very fun. Too much short fill, however, including a bunch of 3-letter words.

okanaganer 1:10 AM  

Cute theme; DEJA VU was probably the best one, as you could literally react "I've already seen this! Deja vu!" But THIS ISN'T MY FIRST RODEO also has a nice cultural reference feel.

Rex doesn't know LONG JOHNs? Back in about 1975 in my Junior High school, they sold donuts etc at the morning break. Every day I would get a chocolate LONG JOHN for... I think it was 15 cents. I can still taste themmmmmmm.

So you don't have LABOUR DAY in the US? Ah, you have LABOR DAY. I see. Like a lot of things, it's spelled both ways up here. We also do color/colour, miles/km, deg F/C, defence/defense.

[Spelling Bee: Sat 5:20 to pg and QB later. A lot of words, but not quite as hard as that 74 worder a couple of days ago.]

jae 2:12 AM  

Easy. Yep, AYO TOMETI and RUSSOLO were WOEs but, as @Rex pointed out, the crosses didn’t fail. Delightful, funny and clever, liked it a bunch!

chefwen 2:35 AM  

LONG JOHNs, my favorite, right on up there with Eclairs. I have a mini Eclair and a mini Cream Puff every night as a good night snack. I share them with Rice the kitty, she gets the cream.

Our Ohana renter climbs COCO palms for a living. Sells the water and the meat to all of the health food stores on the island. We call him Monkey Man.

I really enjoyed this one.

Conrad 5:01 AM  


I was solving while watching the runup to the Belmont Stakes, so I needed an easy puzzle and this one delivered. It bothered me somewhat, though, that the short "seed" words weren't at all repurposed in the long themers. THING is just clued as "Doohickey" and then used in the same sense in AND ANOTHER THING. Maybe RODEO, for example could have been clued as a ritzy L.A. street or an Aaron Copland ballet?

I can't unsee IT'S DE JAVUAL LOVER AGAIN.

H. Gunn 6:43 AM  

Only things lacking to complete the idea: if the theme had been done before using same theme answers. lol

Ginger Capellini 6:52 AM  

Rickrolled!

Lewis 7:17 AM  

This was a lovely chaser following what for me were tough Friday and Saturday puzzles. Very few no-knows and mostly direct cluing. It was fun guessing the theme answers, and I like how each theme answer illustrated the concept of “repeat” in a different way. The rebel in me also liked how the standard crossword bar against repeating words in a grid was flouted.

Little plusses also pleased. The CHIN up and SAGS down. SLY abutting STONE. How the puzzle starts with ATRAIN, then delivers one with ASANA, KOREA, ARENA, IDEA, EMMA, SALIVA, SYRIA, TALIA, GONNA, ASTA, ANA, and SHONDA.

I keep looking at RUSSOLO and thinking “Han’s brother!”

A breezy please-y float down crossword lane and today this repeat-performance puzzle hit me just right. Thank you, Will Nediiger!

pabloinnh 7:36 AM  

About as fast as I have done a Sunday in a while, but nice fast, as I found it mostly entertaining.

I liked the O section vocab quiz in the top half, OUTRE, OTIOSE, and OSMOSES.

Britney Spears does not appear on my play list but easy enough, especially with a new BABY in the family to make a "crib sheet user" pretty obvious.

Also was delighted to see ASTA bound into this one, joining old friend ANI from yesterday. I look forward to the return of other bygone A words, ATLE, ADIT, and for our resident hater of POC's, ANOA. I'll leave the light on.

Good stuff, WN. Seems like We Never get a clunker from you, and thanks for all the fun.

JD 7:50 AM  

I loved this puzzle. Loved it. Until I didn’t, which was in the SW corner where I didn’t finish.

Elmer, L Bomb, Osmoses (worked hard for that one), Styne, the clues for Lion and Saliva. Such fun puzzling. Yogi, he of, “No one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded” fame there with Brittany, a motley theme pair.

But then there was that 91D x 86A block where I roamed around like a dog whose water bowl was moved.

Twitter. I loathe it. So pat and convenient that a president who was probably on a Sleep Inducer could sit up and feel confident enough to issue forth in the wee hours until they took his phone away at night. So I don’t know about things Unrolled. Didn’t know Reblog either but sussed it out.

Don’t know Batman’s girlfriend or the names of Cholesterol Lowering Drugs. Algonquian, all I have is a hotel. How do I not know the tribe? Dunno. I was not going to get ___ometi without some help.

Still, loved this. Thank you Will Nediger. You’re a favorite of mine.

Colin 7:56 AM  

I didn't quite "get" this theme. OK, a word is repeated from elsewhere. I'll have to agree with Rex on this one. But, Yogi Berra's quote in the center was a nice inclusion.

I know brand names make it into puzzles, but seeing LIPITOR made my blood pressure rise (sorry for the mixed "metaphor"!). (My wife suggested LIPITOR, and I said, "No, it's got to be STATIN or something like that with 7 letters, but not a brand name!") I am not a fan of direct-to-public advertising by drug companies, and find their frequent TV commercials annoying.

Son Volt 8:46 AM  

The theme doesn’t feel fully developed - although grid area wise it probably matches up to any other puzzle. Like others - I was able to just fill this in methodically - nothing momentous here. Did like that whole Hawaii block in the top and of course RAMONE is always a plus.

No idea on some trivia - complete blank on the TOMETI - LIPITOR stack. Never heard of LONG JOHNs in the doughnut world. My wife coerced me into watching Bridgerton with her recently so I actually knew SHONDA.

Dan Hicks can complete the RODEO theme - They don’t call me ELMER they call me Satch

Enjoyable enough Sunday solve.

Beezer 8:48 AM  

For the second day @Joaquin very succinctly wraps up my sentiments EXCEPT I rephrase to say the puzzle was easy for me (until it was NOT), but my DNF did not impair the fun I had solving the puzzle.

Yeah, I misspelled LIPaTOR, which made my Algonquin tribe indecipherable for me considering that mODS never came to mind as the VIPs (D’OH!). @Colin, I ALSO resisted the brand name for the cholesterol drug at first.

Ok. Am I mixing up expressions or am I the only one who thought the rodeo needed to be a GOATRODEO?

Thanks for the Sunday fun Will N!

Laura 9:02 AM  

I was in the mood for an easy, comfortable walk through the puzzle and NYT caught my mood. I've appreciated the tougher one's recently, but today needed a smooth start.

Loved the fun facts like chin. And Miami up in the Midwest with Algonquin?!? And liked the clues I could figure out, even if not word play. I didn't know ox hide was a tough leather, but crosses made hide likely, and then we needed a 2 letter domestic animal.

Obscure names tripped me up for awhile...I twice decided I had a Natick, but then the crosses came through. Very satisfying,, and I can't object to seeing the founder of BLM, even, especially, if I never heard his or her name before.

Good puzzle!

kitshef 9:06 AM  

Based on the early comments, I’m an outlier as I really, really did not like this theme.

Never heard of RUSSULO. I’d rather see RUSSULA/RUT/STALER/STYLE in that section, although I’m probably in the minority there. But given a choice between little-known word and little-known name, I much prefer word.

Also never heard of LONG JOHN.

pmdm 9:11 AM  

I tend to circle the number of an entry that's inferred by the crosses but that I'm not sure of. These tend to be PPP entries. The more circles, the more my thumb points down.

I could appreciate the difficulty in constructing the puzzle. But, when all is said and done, deja vu doesn't entertain me that much. By tomorrow I will probably forget the puzzle and its theme. (Unlike the sad hockey game I watched last night. At least sad for Ranger fans. Oh well, almost time for the Tour de France.)

SouthsideJohnny 9:12 AM  

I could tell it was on the easy side as I was solving it. As is typical, I got hung up mostly on the popular culture stuff, which somehow seems to never be very popular with me. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t know the BLM dude and the BP medication, because that would completely choke off the entire SW section (which was potentially tough for some with the way MIAMI was clued).

Whenever I get to a section like we have today with RUSSOLO and STYNE, I feel like I am staring into space at a black hole. So work the crosses as best as I can, take a guess here and there and see what gives. TALIA al Ghul just looks and sounds like a lot of nonsense to me for example, but I’m sure it’s right up there with Star Wars and GoT for others, wheelhouse-wise.

Yoga poses seem to be getting a lot of airplay recently, may have to start keeping track since they all sound weird. We haven’t had a guest appearance by Ms. Teri Garr, Ms. Nora Ephron or that lovable Shrek in a while - this week perhaps ?

Nancy 9:29 AM  

The impulse behind this adorable and highly original puzzle almost certainly must have been Yogi's IT'S DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN -- which, btw, is my favorite Yogi-ism. I laughed when I saw the concept represented so literally, but there was even more fun to come.

THIS ISN'T MY FIRST RODEO is a highly colorful idiomatic expression--- one that tells you not only the type of experiences the speaker is likely to have had, but also the type of person who has had those experiences. And, yes, it's the exact same type of person who might also say: "I've been around the block a few times." Now that's vernacular phrase-cluing at its absolute best.

And my sometime collaborator Will Nediger has also come up with the best clue for ANI I've ever seen: "The last thing a Mississippi cheerleader wants?" Wonderful. "Mouth-watering?" for SALIVA is also pretty nifty.

Because of the helpful repetition, I did find this easier than most of Will's puzzles. But after a week filled with PPP-riddled grids that often frustrated and annoyed me, this was a breezy and smooth Sunday jaunt that I enjoyed.

Beezer 9:38 AM  

@kishef and others. I Googled the party to see the difference -I HAD heard of the LJ moniker but if I get donuts give me glazed yeast. I stumbled upon either a Reddit or Twitter which discussed how a guy had gone into a Dunkin’ Donuts in North Carolina and asked for a Long John whereby the store clerk told him she did NOT appreciate the crude language. 🤣

GAC 9:43 AM  

Although I was baffled by some of the proper names, this was as much fun as I've had doing a crossword. Just a real treat. Thanks to the two Wills, Nediger and Shortz for creating this one.

Carola 9:57 AM  

Entertaining, a fine diversion. Besides the amusing theme, I liked the inclusion of SHINDIGS and a LONG JOHN, a bakery favorite around here, suitably placed in the grid by "mouth watering."

Colin 10:06 AM  

You know, I'm picturing monkeys and gorillas and the like, and thinking, "They have chins, don't they?" Turns out, no. There is a specific definition to a chin! How about that! - I suppose all you dentists out there know this, and I learned something new and fun today:
https://thedailywildlife.com/do-monkeys-have-chins/

Teedmn 10:09 AM  

I was worried about this puzzle while I hopped around in my random solve looking for an opening; it seemed like there was a lot I didn't know. SHONDA was my first entry but probably my seventh or eighth leap about the grid. And when I encountered WOEs such as AYO TOMETI (my "touch" keyboard doesn't feature the O with a dot below), RUSSOLO, STYNE and EMMA, I experienced Rex's Failure Terror. But all was well in the end.

LONGJOHN, I know exactly what those are, they were sold in my hometown bakery. A bit bread-y for my taste but I would never turn one down when I was a kid. Now, hard to say. I try to stay away from bakery goods.

Because of my random solve method, I didn't figure out the theme as easily as Rex, and it wasn't until DEJA VU was in and I saw its 70A companion that the lightbulb went off. I thought it was very neat.

There are some nice clues - "Crib sheet user" for BABY was cute. ESP being the sixth of the five senses, aha. I can't say I needed a cute clue for SALIVA, the thought of which is not exactly mouth-watering.

Thanks, Will Nediger, nice Sunday puzzle!

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Hated every minute of it!

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

Count me as another ASTA fan. Glad to see the ol' boy show up.

RodeoToad 10:43 AM  

Pardon me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?

It should be "ain't my first rodeo," not "isn't."

RooMonster 10:48 AM  

Hey All !
Well, I thought this was a neat theme! Words that get used again, with statements "in your face" that say, "yes, this word is duplicated". THING ... AND ANOTHER THING.

A few Naticks that tried ruining my Happy Music music. That M of MIAMI/the Tomato guy (🤣) (even though that M had to be correct), the O of GMO/ODENSE (again, O for GMO worked), and another one I can't seem to find right now!

Good job, Will Nediger. @Nancy, your puz partner can make some good ones!

yd -8, should'ves 5
Duo 35, missed 1-2-16 (with 16 being a "two-way-word" that naturally I picked the wrong one!)

Two F's
RooMonster
DarrinV

Aelurus 10:51 AM  

What fun to dispense with the idea you can’t use a word more than once!

Fairly quick solve and I learned a THING, AND ANOTHER THING, and even MORE THINGs. Like Rex, was grateful many of the crosses worked out; I'll add those for RAMONE to mine. And smiled at his x-ref to yesterday’s 30A clue.

Best themer: IT’S DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN. And it was.

Thanks a whole bunch, Will Nediger!

kitshef 10:52 AM  

If Wikipedia is to be believed, Long John is specific to the US Midwest and Canada.

Barbara S. 10:52 AM  

It took me a minute to get this. When I filled in AND ANOTHER THING, I wondered why the puzzle was repeating a word we’d just had – that’s a no-no, isn’t it? But DEJA VU and Yogi’s terrific line gave it to me and I had a good chuckle. I would have loved more themers, but the grid architecture would presumably have been impossible, and I like the set we were given.

**FURTHER COVID VACCINATION STUFF**
In response to some concerned emails I got yesterday, I’m posting this clarification about tongue-swelling as a possible vaccination side effect. This happened to my cousin some 60 hours after his fourth shot of Moderna. Because of that time lag, it’s far from certain that the vaccine was responsible – it may have been something else. And his symptoms were never life-threatening. Only one side of his tongue was affected, his airway remained clear, the worst of the swelling lasted for about 90 minutes and the whole incident was over in less than 24 hours. All’s well that ends well and he’s happy to be fully vaccinated. But the cause of the swelling remains a mystery – even to his doctors – which led me to ask whether anyone here has heard of a vaccine/tongue connection.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

Picking up the letters to the editor discussion, here is the point of view of one constructor of crosswords. Me.
In every creative endeavor that I can think of, there are those whose creative output can be labeled self-indulgent. There are examples in movies,music, art, and more. At the opposite end of the spectrum are those who create for the enjoyment of the consumer of their creations. Obviously, it's not so black and white and people create for a whole host of reasons, but discussions of this type are often highly polarized, so my response is geared to one side of the argument (and is my opinion, not a conscription to my point of view).
Having gotten that out of the way, my M.O. when constructing is always "Solver first". It doesn't take a rocket scientist to be aware of entries that may be extremely polarizing. I'm not talking about "moist", which for some has unpleasant connotations. If I try to eliminate anything that has even a remote possibility of rubbing someone the wrong way, my fill would be tedious indeed. However, when certain words are potentially offensive to a large group of solvers, it doesn't make it into my grids. Trump is obviously one of them. I don't want someone solving my puzzle to have the kind of visceral, negative reaction to a word or phrase in my puzzle. Sure, lots of solvers love to see him in their grids, but it's at the expense of others, and that's not why I construct. I'm not writing puzzles to tick people off, I'm writing them to engender happiness and a sense of escape for the time it takes to solve. I have yet to be forced to put something into a puzzle that would be controversial (and I have constructed hundreds of them). With computerized construction software and a good word list, it isn't necessary. So in my mind, you can be self-indulgent and riddle your grid with the names of your favorite politicians, knowing that a good number of your solvers will be off-put, or leave these entries out. It by no means makes a puzzle dull, with great theme entries or lively phrases your grids can still shine.

Birchbark 11:02 AM  

I was doing some organizing in our bedroom closet this morning and found a pair of LONG JOHNs I'd forgotten about. The day has started well; even as we near the summer solstice, long evenings of fireflies over the meadow, etc., we see ahead to the obverse axial tilt and know we'll be warm.

egsforbreakfast 11:03 AM  

Wow!!! I’m literally stunned (I’m actually not, as I probably wouldn’t be writing this if I were literally stunned). But I am incredulous. I respect this constructor and generally like his work and his willingness to collaborate with all comers. But either he or WS made a decision to just cross reference answers in a way that made this one of the easiest, least satisfying puzzles I’ve ever done. I mean, if there is a themer like 70A where you are told that the answer contains DEJAVU and that it is a Yogi Berra quote, most sentient beings are not going to need to expend many brain cells on the solution. OTOH, if you remove the [ref. 33-Across] from the clue, it becomes a bit more interesting in that you have to infer from the puzzle title (Didn’t We Just Have This?) a reason for the multiple dupes that you will gradually figure out exist. I’m aware, of course, that my complaint centers on the solver having already solved the previous part of the dupe. But I had the first instance solved in the case of each themer, meaning the themer always took zero thought. Sorry to rant, which I don’t usually do, but this was awful.

I hope to be more positive in the near future.

Nancy 11:06 AM  

How did I manage to miss 3/4 of the great DRY/WET MARTINI conversation late yesterday? Such fun!

I do have something I'd like to OPINE on the subject, but will anyone take me seriously if I cop to drinking Vodka Martinis rather than what purists will call "real" Martinis made with gin? Maybe not, but here goes anyway:

1) My father always said that the reason both Martinis and Manhattans had such a potent "kick" was the "mixing of the grain and the grape." It's the vermouth, therefore, that provides the kick, and to leave it out completely kind of spoils the whole point of the drink. FWIW, I put in 1/3 of a capful of vermouth. Because I'm lazy as sin, I don't use two frozen glasses (hi, @old actor) or run droplets along the sides of the frozen shaker (was that @Gill or @JC66 or @Whatsername or @A?) The waving the unopened bottle of vermouth over the glass or pointing the unopened bottle towards France is funny, but a cocktail it doesn't create.

My big contribution to the discussion, however, is this: use several twists of lemon instead of an olive. Use an olive only if you want your gin or vodka to taste like an olive. Lemon, OTOH, will make your gin taste more gin-ny, your vodka taste more vodka-y. Just as lemon makes your salmon taste more salmon-y and your branzino taste more branzino-y.

Try it, everyone. Then we'll talk. OK?

Joaquin 11:09 AM  

LONGJOHNs are delicious, but I've not been able to enjoy an eclair since that day 60+ years ago that my father referred to them as "pus buns".

Gary Jugert 11:13 AM  

Pleasant solve but after filling in the themers without needing any crosses, it was mostly a secretarial task of filling in the puzzle. It was solidly in my wheelhouse house, so kinda dull actually. If I can't get furious about something in a puzzle these days, then I have to be furious about not being furious.

Crosses solved all the no-knows like OTIOSE, ODENSE, RAMONE, RIYAL, and RUSSULO. I know LIPITOR all too well. I knew AYO TOMETI in theory, but did not know how to spell her name. After she was all filled in I went to double check her Wikipedia page and it's a fascinating read

Now, as for not knowing LONG JOHN, I can't help but blame a culture of indifference toward the doughnut eating world. People, you know a bit about OREOs, why do you embrace cookie-dom and turn a blind eye to donuts (sic)? I can barely walk into a Safeway without hearing the siren song of the doughnut case and the LONG JOHNs tick like horcruxes in my head the entire time I'm in the store. Sometimes I need to destroy them.

Blue Stater 11:23 AM  

Well, not easy for me, but this has been a bad couple of days. The NW, in particular, was Ab.So.Lute.Ly impossible.

thefogman 11:24 AM  

Best Sunday in EONS. On Jeff Chen’s blog Will Nediger says he does not agree with the cluing for 78A. On an unrelated note: I'd like to state for the record that I don't think 78-Across parsed as AN I is a legitimate crossword answer (I clued it as ANI). I wonder if Will Shortz discusses the edits with constructors before going ahead with them. Looks like, at least in this case, probably not.

Andrew Heinegg 11:32 AM  

The letters to Rex re offensive persons as answers in crosswords are logical and understandable, even if you or I disagree about their inclusion. What I object to is patently false clues as in today's 122a. Yetis are not elusive giants. They are mythical creatures but, there are people who continue to successfully promote their existence by descriptions like elusive.

The 2020 Election was not stolen and there are not hundreds of videos showing how it was done. The Covid -19 vaccine does not
have tracking chips in it and so on. If we are going to write and advocate for the idea of everybody being entitled to their own facts, as is happening, we are going to keep digging the hole we are in already. And yes, the existence of the Yeti is trivial in the context of a crossword but, it is on the same line of a disturbing part of our current world. Facts are facts and fiction is fiction.

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

Delightful! Something fun around every corner from getting UNROLLED to gently rickrolled. Nice to see AYO TOMETI in there, and to make the acquaintance of RUSSOLO though his work seems to have taken a very dark turn!

Beezer 11:35 AM  

@kitshef, the great pastry debate continues. Here is what I found on the Dunkin Donut site with respect Bismarks:

This premium and decadent donut includes more dough, filling and topping due to its rectangular shape. Depending on your location, the name and build of this donut may vary! Down South, this may be called a Long John, and could be unfilled and tossed in powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. In the Northeast, it can be similar to a Boston Kreme with chocolate icing and Bavarian Kreme filling, resembling an Éclair. We also use the Bismark to make fancies, filled with raspberry jelly and topped with vanilla buttercream and sprinkles.

bocamp 11:36 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary McCarty 11:36 AM  

Just a little bone to pick on SALIVA: “mouth-watering” is an adjective: (according to thesaurus.com)
“What is another word for mouth-watering?…palatable, scrumptious, appetizing, appealing, salivary, delicious, savoury, , scrummy, flavour-packed and tempting” (I went with SAvory.) Without the hyphen it’s a kind of gerund/noun phrase, “watering (of the) mouth,” and should have been clued that way, which makes SALIVA a correct answer. Two nouns with a hyphen in between makes an adjective, as in “jaw-droppping (thing), law-breaking (person), awe-inspiring (place).

bocamp 11:47 AM  

Thx, Will; a fun, challenging Sun puz! :)

Hard, (esp the SW).

Dnfed with ActS instead of ASKS. Kicking self for thinking tIDDIE pool might be a thing. Have heard of SHONDA, but cHONDA seemed reasonable. When Will I Ever Learn?

Was reluctant on FEE, but what else could it be?

Learning: COCO, EMMA, RAMONE, UNROLLED, RUSSOLO, BABY ONE MORE TIME, AYO TOMETI, LIPITOR, TALIA, CHIEFDOM, OXHIDE, TELEMEDICINE.

Loved ESP for 'Sixth of five'?.

Enjoyed the adventure despite my egregious aCT. :)
___
yd 0 / W: 5* / WH: 3 / Sed: 18 (one gaff) / Duo: 34

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

Anonymous 11:53 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joseph Michael 11:55 AM  

So King Kong didn’t have a chin?

Very enjoyable and clever puzzle. Liked the choice of themers and how they each provided a unique deja vu all over again.

Came up with a lucky guess for RUSSOLO but had no way of figuring out AYOTOMETI whose multiple vowels must be music to a crossword constructor’s ears.

My biggest trouble spot was the SW corner, due mainly to my certainty that 119A had to be ME TOO.

thefogman 12:00 PM  

FLUBBER was new to me. I love learning new words. It’s like stopping to smell the roses. Rex should give it a try…
The title of a Sunday puzzle is an opportunity to spice up the puzzle a bit while hinting at its theme. Is it the editor who picks the title? Anyhoo, Didn’t We Just Have This is a bit of a letdown. Something like Is There an Echo in Here? would have been better. I’m sure fellow BLOGgers can come up with even better ones.

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

If at your first rodeo, you can’t stay on the bull for even 8 seconds, what is it about the second rodeo that makes you so much smarter?

puzzlehoarder 12:25 PM  

This was a mixed bag. The theme was a dead give away but much of the fill was rather difficult. Overall this was a big step down after a couple of great late week puzzles.

yd -0

Joseph Michael 12:38 PM  

@Nancy, here’s a trick taught to me by a bartender years ago for a perfect dry martini. Keep the vermouth in a mister and the vodka in the freezer. When five o’clock rolls around, spray the inside of the martini glass with vermouth and then pour in the ice cold vodka. Add whatever garnish you like and you’re on your way to Martini Heaven.

Suzy 1:25 PM  

I’m with Joaquin!! And not a rap artist in the entire puzzle! Why am I expected to know the names of those
who perform “music” I don’t care for? And I had to laugh at those of you who considered shape wear a new term, perhaps even a new concept. My grandmother wore a corset when she was young and my mother wore a girdle most every day. I am incredibly grateful that I no longer feel the need to be shaped by Spanx or shape wear of any kind! There now— my first official rant in these comments! I feel so much better!

And, thank you, B.K.S. Fisher for your very well-written letter to OFL, with which I totally agree!

Karl Grouch 1:36 PM  

Ditto!

Anonymous 1:53 PM  

Hopefully you've read the list of comments before getting here. The answer to what should and should not appear in crosswords is laid out in this thread, to whit: Americans are no longer capable of having a civil discourse about politics. Ad hominem attacks and generalizations have become the norm. The solution is to leave religion, politics, and every other subject that Americans can no longer talk about like adults out of crosswords. There's plenty of other media out there to get hot under the collar about.

Son Volt 1:59 PM  

@Nancy 11:06a - with you 100% on the lemon twist but I must insist on Beefeater’s - no vodka for me.

My dad died at 98 - he had his late afternoon martini nearly every day as far back as I can remember - including the day he passed. His trick was to keep a bottle of vermouth soaked olives in the fridge - always Spanish and Noilly Prat.

David Plass 2:20 PM  

Same. We DNF.

SharonAK 2:22 PM  

@ Joaquin Thank you Thank for your first comment. Every other commenter seemed to find it easy. I DID NOT, and I'd rather not feel totally stupid.
Agree with your second comment, but not the third. At times it was quite fun. Liked the first theme which came quite easily. But after it got really hard for me, at about I/3 of th eway down, it wasn't as much fun. Tho I smiled at some of the clues/answers. Forget which ones.

GILL I. 2:44 PM  

I'm late for our Sunday tete-a-tete but I have an excuse.:
After reading all the MARTINI discussions yesterday (Hi @Nancy et al) I asked my husband if he'd like one. My British sister-in-law gave us a bottle of Beefeaters because that's all she drinks. It sat unopened for about 2 Years and I thought I might open it. I asked my British husband if he'd like a proper one and he said". I SAY, you old bird...bloody hell, yes!"....(He didn't really say it quite like that!)...So I made two. I chilled the martini glasses, then added a slosh of dry vermouth, swirled it around like a merry-go-round, tossed it, then added the cold gin from the the shaker, added two olives each of the green Spanish variety and gingerly sipped. IT WAS DELICIOUS and it also knocked me off my keister. I slept in today and then decided to make an onion torte.
I usually forgo Sundays because they tend to bore me. I actually enjoyed this. When I saw a Yogi Berra reference I actually did a little fandango tango. Is he better known for malapropism or is it yogi-isms? I know he was famous for saying things twice. I thought my sister and I were the queen of killing the language. I once read where Mike Tyson yelled out " I might just fade into Bolivian".....Perhaps he was bonked on the head too many times. My sister very loudly said she had applied to Ambush. She didn't get accepted.
Anyway...this was fun entertainment. I always enjoy a Will Nediger.
My onion pie is calling...See you hasta luego.

kitshef 3:17 PM  

Oh, and it is questionable that Yogi originated the quote in question.

He denied saying it several times, before later taking credit for it, some forty years after the alleged origin.

sixtyni yogini 3:24 PM  

Enjoyed the letters. Good arguments - both “sides.”
🧩 not so much.
Oh Sunday puzzles! Oh the MEH of them all! 😜😂😜
🤗🦖🦖🦖🤗

Zed 5:49 PM  

Being a midwesterner by birth (the original midwest, the former NortheWest Territories- Everyone else is a wannabe) I certainly have had a LONG JOHN or a hundred. But is it a doughnut? Wikipedia says so, but I disagree. If there ain’t no hole it’s got to go. Don’t tell me it’s the dough, that’s a bunch of houghy.

Hand up for easy.

@Suzy - I know right?!?!? Why is opera and 70’s pop music constantly being forced on us. I demand more rap music.

@Mary McCarty - That question mark in the clue indicates funny business is afoot.

@thefogman - From discussions here years ago it was stated that Shortz does discuss changes to clues but retains final decisions for himself. Personally, as AN I clues go I thought today’s was pretty good. Better than a Skywalker or blackbird clue, in my opinion.

@Barbara S - With allergic reactions I think it’s impossible to rule anything out, but four days later and after having no such reaction the first three times makes me think the vaxx should be cut some slaxx.

thefogman 6:41 PM  

Cheers Z. I liked the clue too. I don’t know why Will Nediger was miffed. Maybe he’s an ANI Di Franco fan?

A 6:52 PM  

I thought I posted this earlier but don't see it so here it is again:

I’m on team @Rex today, enjoyed some THINGs but the theme gave away too much, and the end came too soon. And though I experienced the “failure terror” in his spots and a couple more, I got to the end and literally said “That’s it?”

Made my own fun with some entries, like considering CHIEF mOM for the Hawaiian political unit. And, being a Mississippi resident, I spent a few minutes trying to think of something specific that our cheerleaders might shy away from. Math majors? Oh, the cheer thing. That did get a teehee.

Grid entertainment:
crosses BABY/BUM and ENLIVEN/SHINDIGS
DEJA VU over OVER SEE
neighbors NAE, I DIDN’T and GUILTY MEMOIR

OSMOSE a verb? Move over, enthuse, I have a new pet peeve word.

Does anyone say “TOOL around” anymore? My mom used to use it and it always made me think of Model T’s. Where did that come from anyway? Online Etymology says: probably from tool (n.) as if "to manage skillfully." Can you TOOL around in a self-driving car?

Didn’t remember JAI ALAI as a game, so I searched for it and found a short history on YouTube. Looks like it may be trying to make a comeback in MIAMI.

Speaking of MIAMI SHINDIGS, here’s El Diablo Baila (Dance of the Little Devil) from Amadeo Roldán, Cuban composer born in Paris Jun 12, 1900. (d. 1939) The Amadeo Roldán Theatre in Havana is the home of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

dgs 7:09 PM  

There is a university called Miami of Ohio so that helped me.

Sandy McCroskey 7:12 PM  

Only 63 comments, and this has been online for a whole day now? What's up with that?

burtonkd 7:35 PM  

Did Will throw in a MARTINI clue just so we could have a deja vu discussion from about a month ago?

burtonkd 7:36 PM  

Oops, Martinis were yesterday...

beverly c 8:13 PM  

@Joaquin - from yesterday - my memory isn't so great either. The word was Homophone - used in the clue, probably - and your comment was along the lines of “I learned a new word -and I am one!”

Joe Dipinto 8:49 PM  

@Burtonkd - but as the Carpenters sang, "It's yesterday once more."

Anonymous 9:55 PM  

I found this a bit stickier due to the abundance of names, including two stacked composers.

Rex will jump over anyone on the right but will ignore the murky finances of BLM with 'alleged' nepotism and embezzlement?

Anonymous 10:12 PM  

What letter writer Allison fails to see is that while she hates to see Trump in the puzzle because it evokes strong feelings in her (disclaimer, I am not a Trump guy), there is an equal number of people, statistically, that get the same reaction from an Obama or Clinton reference (I am not a Clinton or Obama guy, either), yet she would have no problem with those in the puzzle. That's where an Independent like me has conniptions. The left and right are so extreme that they cant see past their own biases, to the point where they won't even allow opposing views in an F-ing crossword puzzle!! Was Trump a good president - No! Was Trump a president - Yes! And did the left have their share of embarrassments - absolutely! And they are all fodder for crossword answers.

Harry 11:58 PM  

After a DNF Saturday, and a very tough go of things today, I'm scratching my head over Rex's ratings. Either Rex is dopamine charged this weekend, or something been sucking my brain sap at night!

A 12:26 AM  

I can’t believe I DIDN”T think of this sooner - it’s one of my absolute favorite songs! Thanks to @burtonkd and @Joe D for the nudge! A reference to this song is what the puzzle today was missing.

"Where or When" (Ray Heatherton, 1937)

It seems we've stood and talked like this before,
We looked at each other in the same way then, but I can't remember where or when.

The clothes you're wearing are the clothes you wore...
The smile you are smiling you were smiling then, but I can't remember where or when.

Some things that happen for the first time, seem to be happening again...
and, so it seems that we have met before--and laughed before--and loved before, but who knows where or when?

A 1:00 AM  

This recording by Barbara Cook has the whole song. The lyrics from the introduction:
When you're awake, the things you think
Come from the dreams you dream
Thought has wings
And lots of things
Are seldom what they seem
Sometimes you think you've lived before
All that you live today
Things you do
Come back to you
As though they knew the way
Oh, the tricks your mind can play….

Anonymous 1:20 AM  

Very enjoyable puzzle.
There really is such a thing as Flubber? For me it will always be something that Fred MacMurray’s character invented in The Absent-Minded Professor(1961). It was sort of a rubbery anti-gravity doohickey.
Lewis at 7:17 AM and I both had similar thoughts about Russolo. Except my thoughts reach back further to Napoleon Solo. The Man From UNCLE. Pretty sure that’s because I’m 73. I’m open to any clues referencing Theda Bara or the latest rapper. Bring it on.

Burma Shave 12:05 PM  

GUILTY ADULT PERIL

SO IMUST say ANOTHERTHING then,
AND, BABY, THISISN'TMY FIRST rhyme,
IT'SDEJAVUALLOVERAGAIN,
BABY, GONNA have SEX ONEMORETIME.

--- NAOMI TALIA SNEAD

rondo 2:04 PM  

I think I've been here before. Anyway, if you're GONNA break one of the 'rules', go big or go home. Britney Spears in a clue, BABY oh BABY!

Wordle birdie today. 20th in 51 tries. To go with 4 eagles.

spacecraft 7:02 PM  

Easy--well, except for a couple of horrendous obscurities, AYOTOMETI (are you kidding? I had no clue if--or even whether--this name should be divided. RTeminds me of that Giannis dude of the NBA: Ante-something-kumpo.) and RUSSOLO (yer kidding: who would remember--or even care--about someone who made "noise music" [an oxymoron!])?

But the theme is clever and cute and fun to discover. I liked doing it, so I guess birdie.

Out of my funk just in time: birdie on the last hole:

BBGBY
BBGGB
GGGGG

27 birds and 3 eagles against 18 bogeys and 2 doubles: -11. Top ten, maybe?

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