One-named former wrestler who twice won the W.W.E. Divas Championship / THU 6-9-22 / Hip-hop subgenre in Lil Nas X's Old Town Road / Creatures whose saliva acts as a blood thinner / Italian sportswear brand named after a Greek letter / Some sleeveless undergarments informally / E-commerce site with a portmanteau name / One wearing a traje de luces suit of light in the ring

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Constructor: Dan Ziring

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: SHORT / FILMS (37A: With 39-Across, some Sundance submissions ... or a hint to four squares in this puzzle) — a rebus puzzle where four films with short *titles* are smushed into four squares throughout the grid:

Theme answers (movie titles in red):
  • ARETHA / MEET-CUTES ("E.T") (17A: "Queen" of 40-Down / 3D: Rom-com staples)
  • RADIO EDITS / AHI TUNA ("It") (18A: CeeLo Green's "Forget You" and the Black Eyed Peas' "Don't Mess With My Heart")
  • SUPERSTORM / GROUPON ("Up") (61A: Increasingly common weather event akin to a hurricane / 47D: E-commerce site with a portmanteau name)
  • PC USER / SOUL MUSIC ("Us") (63A: One with Windows / 40D: Otis Redding's genre)
Word of the Day: "Us" (see 63A / 40D) —

 is a 2019 American horror film written and directed by Jordan Peele, starring Lupita Nyong'oWinston DukeElisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker. The film follows Adelaide Wilson (Nyong'o) and her family, who are attacked by a group of menacing doppelgängers. [...] Us had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 8, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on March 22, 2019, by Universal Pictures. It was a critical and commercial success, grossing $255 million worldwide against a budget of $20 million, and received praise for Peele's screenplay and direction, Nyong'o's performance, and Michael Abels' musical score. (wikipedia)
• • •

Really hard not to like this one, but I found a way. Kidding! It was fun, even if the theme was exceedingly easy to pick up. Maybe it was fun *because* the theme was easy to pick up—with some theme concepts, you pick them up and then it's just a dreary march to the end, finding more of the same things you've already found, or performing more of the same "wordplay," or whatever. But SHORT / FILMS!? Sign me up. That is an Easter egg hunt I am happy to go on. If the concept is interesting, then I am happy to go tiptoeing through the rebus minefield, waiting for the completely non-violent and delightful explosions. I still say the late-week puzzles are being excessively defanged, presumably in the interests of being solvable by a broader chunk of the paying public (a motivation which *sounds* noble, but is entirely about $$$). I would like my late-week puzzles to push me around a little, in a fun, consensual way. And this one didn't. But it made up for it with the high entertainment value of the content. I liked that there were other film-related answers in the grid, including one that contained one of the SHORT / FILMS in question (MEET-CUTES). There's also Irene DUNNE (legend—more than just a crossword answer, kids!) and Oscar-winner Rami MALEK (54A: Best Actor winner for "Bohemian Rhapsody"), whose name I managed to spell right on the first try today. And I just spelled his first name right too! I know there is a publisher called TOR, after the [Craggy peak] of crossword fame, but is there a movie, or anything movie-related, called "TOR"? Reason I ask ... 
  • TORT
You can also see it backwards in PROTÉGÉ. If you solve long enough, the puzzles will start whispering to you, and then eventually you whisper back, and it's a whole thing. If you're a novice solver, I would say "get out (!) while you can," or at least "never solve more than one puzzle a day"), but you're gonna do what you're gonna do, and honestly, if this is how my Crazy manifests—seeing things in grids that quote-unquote "aren't there," ascribing significance to coincidental letter strings—then I'm OK with that. Congrats to this puzzle for its bite-sized pleasures, and for managing to cram Fritz Lang's "M" into the grid a full seven times! Now that's what I call a bonus answer!

CAMIS ICH SHAHS LEECH—that's how I started, without hesitation, and I was off like a shot. Before long, I had found the first rebus square ("ET tu, rebus!?") and then found my way straight to the heart of the grid, where the reason for the "ET" square was revealed. 

To my great joy, that first rebus square had nothing to do with Latin, and while it did have to do with aliens, I wasn't staring at the prospect of having to find 3-to-god-knows-how-many more "ET"s in my grid. I was, instead, on a short (-titled) film hunt. The game was afoot and I was all deerstalker-capped, magnifying-glassed, tobacco-piped, houndstooth Inverness-caped and ready to go. But at first, and for a long time, no movies turned up. I got this far before the lack of movies got suspicious, so I stopped to take a screenshot:

What I wanted to say was "How have I gotten this deep into the puzzle without encountering a second movie squares!?" But it turns out I already had encountered said square. If I'd realized that  18A: CeeLo Green's "Forget You" and the Black Eyed Peas' "Don't Mess With My Heart" was asking for a plural and not a singular, I would've found the clown hiding under the sewer grate or whatever the hell happens in "It." The remaining movies came pretty easily. Well, "Us" very easily (what else was gonna follow SOUL but MUSIC?). "Up" was a little tougher, since I didn't remember that SUPER was a kind of STORM, so I had to back into that corner via SORORAL (a word my software is angrily red-underlining), and then sort things out from there. IRATE TORTA ENYA, the end.

  • 56A: Grist for a mill (LOG) — sincerely, probably the hardest thing in the grid, for me. I had LO- and no idea what was going on. "Grist" had me thinking of grains, for some reason (anagram of "grits"?!). Huge tree parts ... never thought of them as grist. Clearly I don't spend a lot of time thinking about grist.
  • 10D: What Britain left in 2020, in brief (THEEU) — I love this answer because it just looks so incredibly stupid in the grid. It looks like a minor Lovecraftian monster—maybe something Chthulu feeds upon. THEEU! Anyway, this and PCUSER were today's minor parsing challenges. 
  • 69A: Genderqueer identity (ENBY) — Nonbinary => N.B. => ENBY. I don't think this is the first time we've seen the term (my memory is correct—we saw it in the plural (ENBIES) back in January). 
  • 60A: Underground N.Y.C. group (MTA) — that's the Metropolitan Transit Authority. In charge of the subway, which is "Underground," don't ya know...
  • 22D: Ridiculous introduction? (UTTERLY) — I like this clue a lot, though it is UTTERLY ridiculous that there are so many -LY-ending adverbs in this puzzle (see also BARELY, SLIMLY). OK, not UTTERLY. OK, not ridiculous at all. Just remarkable. Not as remarkable as this puzzle's mysterious TOR-storm, but remarkable nonetheless.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 6:35 AM  

My nomination for worst word of the week: SLIMLY

Conrad 6:53 AM  

I think I accidentally took an extra dose of stupid pills this morning. I struggled with this puzzle. And it wasn't the rebuses (rebi?) -- those came more-or-less easily. It didn't help that my bygone rulers at 5D were tsArS (I also tried czArs) and I mistook Einstein's I clue for a 1 and had ein (I'm no German scholar, obviously). Then when I finally discarded those my 1A undergarments were ttopS.

Lots of problems in other areas too: RADIO EDITS were a WOE, wREath for the Christmas display at 33A, PROdigy at 44D before PROTEGE, and although "soror" is in my Latin vocabulary, I firmly refused to believe that SORORAL is an English word.

kitshef 7:05 AM  

Clue for UTTERLY is Hall of Shame-worthy. Whatever other nice things there were about this puzzle were lost in the garbage that is that clue. On a bad day, PAIGE would be the low point of the solve. UTTERLY is a couple of rungs below that.

Plus, the film is called ET THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, not ET.

Now I'm off to shake my fist at some clouds.

Phillyrad1999 7:07 AM  


MarthaCatherine 7:12 AM  

I've always been an on-paper solver. Call me old-fashioned. I yam what I yam. I print out the puzzle, solve it (or not) in one sitting, or come back to through the morning (definitely not a speed solver), and then use the back of the sheet for shopping lists or whatever. But, alas and alack, my printer has died. So, for only about the third time ever, I solved online.

I knew all the answers to this one! In one sitting! Yay me! (although I was momentarily confused because of the big dark squares on either side of SHORT FILMS, thinking at first that the rebuses lay therein.) But I never got the happy music because I can't figure out how one enters more than one letter in a square.

Can someone please tell me how you get more than one letter in a square? I feel like I should know this...

Gary Jugert 7:15 AM  

MEET CUTES ... Wha??? Stared at it for 45 minutes. Last thing I filled (because somebody doesn't know how to spell LEECH) and because my brain kept saying NO NO NO. Sheesk. MEET CUTES. Staple of Rom-Com. Bah.

Other failures:

Just now learned there's a thing called a RADIO EDIT. Why not just write what you believe in as an artist the first time? Why is there a term concealing the nature of you sanitizing your own vision for profit. We used to call it selling out. Now it's apparently called RADIO EDIT.

None of the films listed are short so the revealer face plants. They have short names. They're not SHORT FILMS.

By the way, Wikipedia says the longest movie title is "Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Alien, Flesh Eating, Hellbound, Zombified Living Dead." Put that in a 168x168 grid puzzle.

ENBY might be a real thing, and I am pretty sure I've seen it in another puzzle, but who thought it was a 21st century idea to take an initialism like NB, then make it longer, and then misspell BE. I wouldn't degrade a magnificent idea in genderqueer with something like ENBY. I'd ask for my money back from the PR firm. SYFY should do the same.

I'm surprised how many longer words are so blah. BARELY, UTTERLY, TERM LOAN, SLIMLY, HEISTED (I'm not sure that's even a word), REDONE, and the granddaddy of all blah-ness {drumroll} THE E U.

Okay, onto the redeeming qualities of this puzzle:

DOLED OUT was funny.

Now onto the tee-hee report:

It's important to admit I have a huge crush on Sappho while simultaneously I'm on a quest to grumble about NYTXW junior editors' proclivities to foist their loneliness upon us by letting naughty bits into our puzzles. I was dead-on positive the word after G would be SPOT and I left it in long after it was clear I was wrong, because GMAIL ruins the only tee-hee, and leaves only my crush on a dead harp playing poet as the naughtiest thing in the puzzle. Lonely NYTXW filler-outer Tee-Hees (LNFOTHS) doesn't roll off the tongue.

I am glad this puzzle is over.

Bungalowgirl 7:33 AM  

@marthacatherine. Click on the three little dots, put your letters in the box, then click the check ✔️ mark

Anonymous 7:35 AM  

Played more like a Friday for me. Got the revealers early, but thought it would refer to actual short films, not just short names, and who knows those? Kinda like all those rapper clues that I hate, never know any of these people, so I was almost thinking I would not finish. Also, had leach instead of leech, which really slowed me down. And then meet-cutes? WTF is that? So, NW corner was very slow.. Was fun once I caught on, some clever clueing. Felt like I won a minor battle.

Son Volt 7:35 AM  

This was neat - I had fun with it. Took some time to get the theme but it did help with IT and US. Definitely some unfortunate fill - the MALEK x KAPPA x PAIGE string was mainly crosses and guesses. Agree with Rex on PC USER and THE EU.

Liked SUGARED and PROTEGE. SORORAL is odd but in a good way. I thought the use of ENBY has become controversial? The Captain Literal Man in me didn’t like the MTA clue since nearly half of the system is above grade.

Note to editors - give the greats their due - drop the The it’s just Minutemen

Enjoyable Thursday solve.

albatross shell 7:43 AM  

Yes yes! There does seem to be a remarkable amount of repetition and redundancy in this one.

Rex caught the TOR STORM. RED is the color of the day.
But maybe that is not so many since I have 3 RED'S in my first paragraph totally by accident.

Then there are 2 double EE's and 1 each of DD NN OO LL SS. Plus the pair of consecutive 4 letter EN- words and the near by pair of identically clued 6 letter -LY words. And still nearby in the extreme SE a double ED of convenience which as a old guy with a too big prostate I can do without.
And just too put a smile on @anoa's face let me mention the quadruple POC stack. In fact, you can connect the first letter of the puzzle to the last of the by means of @anoa's words of convenience:
CAMIS SHAHS TORAHS AREAS FILMS STOOPS SUGARED and still have POCs leftover including 2 theme answers.

Then there is HE HE THEE U and GURU to add to the repetition theme and of course four 2 letter movies.

Quite remarkable in its own way. It was a nightmare for me as a success in solving. I think of the first 7 words I entered 5 were incorrect. RIB I got right. spRayer for AERATOR. Fit with ARETHA depending on where the rebus was. Not even close to my wavelength or AREAS. Still something was nice about this one.
But it wasn't LYRIST.

And since when is there something ugly in the grid that Rex likes? Is that a first?

Zed 7:52 AM  

@Gary Jugert - Some songs, no matter how perfectly they capture universal truths, just aren’t going to get airplay. Hence, RACIO ED(IT)S.

👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽 - Fun puzzle.

Zed 7:55 AM  

And I forgot - Everybody but everybody knows that the proper plural for a latin word appropriated into English and then reappropriated into xword slang is the Greek rebopodes.

Lewis 7:58 AM  

I was so inspired reading Dan’s notes on this puzzle, where he describes coming up with at least 25 iterations before ending up with this final version. That is a lesson in dedication and striving for excellence. Thank you, Dan, for working so hard on this, and terrific theme idea!

It filled in fairly smoothly, except for some resistance in the SW. I was helped by a lucky moment. Yesterday I was doing a puzzle from another venue, where, in a clue, I came upon the word “sororally” – a word I don’t ever remember thinking about before – referring to sisters in a sorority, so when I saw today’s clue [Sisterly], I popped SORORAL right in. It also helped that the rebi are symmetrical.

A schwelebration of schwallowers (schwa followers) today: ARETHA / IDA / ENYA / TORTA / OVA / ERA / NIA / KAPPA / TUNA / IOTA.

Today’s grid also has two Utahs, one abutting the eastern edge and a twin on the west. Constructor David Kwong describes the Utah as “the ugly five block monstrosity”, and something crossword editors don’t want too many of in the grid. In a rebellious moment, Kwong made a puzzle in which all the blocks were formed into Utahs – eight of them – and Will Shortz accepted it! The grid is worth taking a peek at – 3/27/15.

But today’s star is Dan Ziring. Congratulations on your NYT debut, sir, and high props for all the perfecting you did on it. I sure enjoyed solving it. Thank you!

Anonymous 7:59 AM  

Amy: @GaryJugert wrote "None of the films listed are short so the revealer face plants. They have short names. They're not SHORT FILMS." Agree, and copied here because it threw me off.
IT was the one movie I didn't know, and RADIO EDITS is a not a term I know, so that wasn't fun.
Wish I found more to like. Glad Rex had fun.

OffTheGrid 8:08 AM  

@MarthaCatherine. First of all, "You're old fashioned" (HEHE). 2nd, I do the e-edition version on my lap top. To enter multiple letters I hit the insert key, INS.

AS I read the review I, at moments, wondered if there was a guest blogger. It didn't feel like @Rex. Anyone else?

I think ET is the only one of the four shown at Cannes. Please let me know if that's wrong. (I know that's not a requirement of the theme)

SouthsideJohnny 8:11 AM  

I'm guessing that most everyone who grew up listening to a lot of music has heard an edited, shortened, or sanitized version of one of their favorite songs on the radio. The clue for RADIO EDITS is still tough as it's just not a term one hears/uses very frequently (and it's clued by way of an example, which further pigeonholes it as a niche entry). Probably ok for a Thursday, but I definitely found it challenging.

I spelled PROdEGE wrong and no clue on MDA/MTA so I got a bit of a chuckle re my miscue there. MEET CUTES has shown up in the NYT before I believe - this year or last if I am not mistaken. Never heard of CRECHE until today - it doesn't sound very Christmas-like.

The clue and inclusion of UTTERLY must be an inside joke to which we are not privy, because it's too much of an embarrassment to the NYT if it was included without some sort of a backstory.

Mike G 8:17 AM  

All I could think when I got the themer is: "That's it? Meh."

Anonymous 8:17 AM  

Did @Lewis body snatch @Rex today? Ah, I see the real @Rex masquerading as @Gary Jugert.

— Jim C. in Maine

Anonymous 8:19 AM  

TOR Johnson, of course.

JustMarci 8:45 AM  

“ but is there a movie, or anything movie-related, called ‘TOR’? ”

Yes! And he was literally named TOR!

Thank you, anonymous at 8:19.

NB 8:49 AM  

I've never seen anyone take issue with ENBY, speaking as one :) Not all nonbinary people use the term to describe themselves, but the term itself seems pretty non-controversial

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

Why the movie poster for My Favorite Wife but a clip from The Awful truth?
And why that clip? Her crashing Grant's potential in-laws place and doing her Gone with the Wind song may be the best 5 minutes of her career.

pabloinnh 9:04 AM  

Crap, my deathless prose just hit the "whoops, that's an error" screen and disappeared. I'll see if I can remember any of it.

Found this to skew younger than what we've had lately-ENBY and PAIGE and MALEK and even RADIOEDITS. Hope you whippersnappers are happier today.

SORORAL a gimme, the counterpart of fraternal.

The college up the road does The Sundance Festival every year and we are regular attendees. Great chance to see some very interesting films before they are released. The "short films" didn't bother me (Joaquin's Dictum).

What bothered me was HEISTED. HEIST is a verb? No. No it is not.

Very nice Thursday indeed, DZ. After all your hard work to whip this into shape, I bet you were Dan Zing on air. Thanks for all the fun.

(Crosses finger, tries again.)

kitshef 9:07 AM  

Vaguely related to radio edits. The song Teenage Dirtbag has a line that goes "her boyfriend's a dick, and he brings a gun to school". When the song came out, the word "dick" was bleeped out on radio, but "gun" was left in. Nowadays, "gun" is bleeped out, but "dick" is left in.

Nancy 9:15 AM  


Couldn't finish it. Didn't want to try. The incessant pop culture took the heart right out of me. I was frustrated...and more than a little bit depressed. The actor. The song genre clue. The song subgenre clue (two different clues, btw). The two song titles clue (that's a third one!) The comedian. The portmanteau website. The "dad". The wrestler. Would it ever stop?

No, apparently it wouldn't. Instead, I did.

It didn't help that I wanted to put either SCI FI FILMS or SPACE FILMS where SHORT FILMS goes. (After all, ET was my first rebus entry.) If I'd only had decent crosses to help me. But what I had were ridiculous crosses that helped me not at all.

The title of this puzzle should be: How to ruin a perfectly swell rebus puzzle with a plethora of pop culture junk.

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

Nancy was a little strong but,to the point
I agree,too much obscurity for me.
Pencil went down at 67 across ,the final straw,Paige who?

CDilly52 9:29 AM  

May your raging at the universe soothe your soul, @kitshef! I was unhappy about the truncated “ET” myself.

Kevin Uy 9:36 AM  

I got a little hung up because I got ET and US and AHI TUNI but put the rebus with the TU instead of the IT (had RADIO EDIT instead of RADIO EDITS) and was sure that BRUT or BR UT would hiding somewhere!

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

maybe its just because i went to an old gristmill last weekend, but that clue makes no sense. it's for grinding grains, not lumber.

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

Agree with those who don't like ET being in there.

I struggled in the SE. Had SOULM--C, PC-ER, and PA-GE, but then couldn't figure out where to go from there. Eventually figured out US was one of the two missing squares but it took a while.

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

No one calls ET by its whole title in real life conversation - its always referred to as ET.

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

Meet cutes???

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

Meet-cutes is a standard movie critic and cinephile term to describe the first encounter of the couple in a Rom-Com

David Grenier 10:02 AM  

I hit so many stumbling blocks in this one. Lets start with what I associate with Sundance:


That killed me for a while, until I got the ET, IT, and US clues and decided it was


It also doesn't help that I initially had TANKS for CAMIS and XXXXXX HITS for RADIO EDITS.

Beezer 10:03 AM  

I found the puzzle to be a bit of a challenge as it seemed to unfold for me much in the way a Saturday puzzle does…me “giving up”in many sections only to revisit later, then eventually putting it all together.

I thought the crosses seemed fair, for the most part, with the pop culture references…I think KAPPA, MALEK, and PAIGE may be a little too close for comfort for many folks and since KAPPA sportswear was not in my knowledge universe I was lucky to know MALEK, so KAPPA was a gimme. I loved SUPERSTORM. I finally figured out RADIOEDITS…it totally makes sense but I just had not heard of that particular term, my brain just always thought of it as “songs that have been sanitized (or shortened) for radio play.”

I think I must still be jet-lagged because I stared at “place for hammer and anvil” way too long before my big d’oh EAR revelation. Maybe because I think “stapes” instead of hammer? Nope. I just looked. The malleus is the hammer and the stapes is the stirrup. Ear anatomy be damned! 🤣

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

Just glad to see the great Minutemen, a trio, name dropped into this puzzle.

RooMonster 10:11 AM  

Hey All !
@Conrad 6:53
We have established here, through many greuling hours of blogging, that the correct plural of Rebus is Rebipodes. Don't ask... just accept. 😁

Nice puz, seemingly took me forever to find the first Rebus. Finally sussed it at SOULM(US)IC, as having in S_UMUSIC and scratching the ole head as to what that could possibly be. Had an itch that 63A had to be PCUSER, so finally the ole brain decided to help, and I remembered US the movie. Then, in a panic, I said "Gee, how many movies are two letters?" Went back up to NE, saw IT, as the clue for RADIO EDITS was strange to me. There are lots of songs that have a *bleep* or substituted words, no? Heck, Eminem's "Cowboy" song even has that phrase in the song. Anyway, then went to SW, managed to remember UP, and that finished off the mystery square down there nicely.

Back to NW, knew it had to be ARETHA (SOUL MUSIC cross-reference), and said, "Aha, ET. Even though the title is longer, I'll let it slide." (Like the puz universe needs my approval!)

Who had CAKE first for ACHE? I'm betting the OVER. Har.

Neat Center things above and below Revealer, CRECHE AREAS and ELLEN STOOPS.

So if your squatting on the edge of a building... Are you doing a STOOP STOOP? Asking for a friend.

Liked the open corners, tough to fill all that whiteness cleanly, especially with the Themers there. Neat grid design. RED DWARF was cool. I'm gonna follow Megan THEE Stallion and change my name to Roo THEE U. Har.

yd -5, should'ves 5! Dang.
Duo 36, missed 1-2-3-7

One F

Newboy 10:23 AM  

Delightfully Thursday: old actress, rap music, rebus titles, Rex & @Lewis holding hands and singing “Kum bayah.” Dan nailed it!

Whatsername 10:28 AM  

@Joaquin(6:35) “nomination for worst word of the week: SLIMLY“. I’ll second that and add HEISTED to the list.

OffTheGrid 10:34 AM  

OOPS! Wrong festival in my earlier post.

MkB 10:36 AM  

Got thrown off quite a bit by the fact that "indie films" would cross very well with "rink" as an icing location.

Was prepared to be outraged that somebody else was being dubbed the queen of soul, until I remembered that it was Thursday.

Personally, I don't like pop culture trivia, but this felt way better to me than some: the trivia clues didn't cross each other appreciably, and things like STU and PAIGE are easy to work out from a couple letters.

Unknown 10:39 AM  

@NEWBOY I totally agree with you! I read REX but thought I was reading @LEWIS???!!! Did Lewis' spirit possess Rex??? Great Puzzle, Dan, really enjoyed it.... nice to have 4 different Rebipodes to discover. Great wide-ranging clues and topics, good for this father/son team (like I had no knowledge of MEETCUTES but was fine with Irene DUNNE--but my son had all the modern lingo down pat. In contrast to @kitchef I loved the clueing for UTTERLY. Terrific puzzle, thanks Dan! 24 minutes for us today. : )

Kiki 10:40 AM  

Wow, Rex, I come back every three or four months to read one of your posts to see if by a miraculous chance you've gotten less pessimistic, bitter, angry, etc. And today, despite that ominous beginning, I felt so pleased with the tone of your post! Maybe Covid got you down--but whatever it was, I am happy to see you looking on the bright side of life. Maybe today you'll even do a bit of a Silly Walk. I hope so.

jazzmanchgo 10:43 AM  

@Gary Jugart -- RADIO EDITS have been around for decades. A lot of hits were originally recorded as longer versions that appeared on an LP, but were shortened for radio play. Sometimes the editing was done to excise "controversial" verses or lyrics. One of the most famous of these was Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," the original (album) version of which included the verse, "I go the movies, I go downtown / Somebody keeps telling me / Don't hang around . . ." which obvious referred to the harassment of a young Black man in a segregated "downtown" area. It was excised for radio play. Another well known (but not as politically charged) example was the Doors' "Light My Fire;" the radio edit eliminated virtually all of keyboardist Ray Manzaerek's now-legendary five-minute-plus organ solo. There are plenty of other examples.

bocamp 10:46 AM  

Thx, Dan; excellent Thurs. challenge! :)


Really had to work on this one despite getting the NW very quickly.

Got the first rebus (ET), but didn't have any idea how it fit into the theme until filling in SHORT FILMS.

Way off Dan's wavelength, but lots of stuff to chew on.

Only head-scratcher was ENBY.

Fun adventure! :)
yd 0 / W: 5* / WH: 3 / Sed: 18 / Duo: 34

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

Whatsername 10:49 AM  

Well I finished it and I get it - FILMS with SHORT names. Alrighty then, if you say so. ET was the only one I recognized.

Loved the clue for OLD SALT but then it kind of went downhill. HEHE? HEISTED? SLIMLY? LYRIST? ENBY? Never heard of RADIO EDITS but might’ve had a chance of getting the answer had the clue not been Proper Named to death. A CLASSIC four-corner rebus is always a favorite but found this frustrating. Just not in my AREAS of expertise I guess.

Carola 10:50 AM  

Medium-challenging for me. The gift of the most famous of the movies in the first-encountered rebus square + the reveal clued me in to the theme. But my not knowing either IT or its crossing EDITS caused a major slowdown, and I had forgotten about US. Thank goodness for UP and the theme symmetry, which came to my rescue with SOUL MUSIC. Hardest chunk for me was the SW corner, but lucky guesses at ENYA and SORORAL gave me enough to piece it together.

I found more to like in the non-theme realm, enjoying picturing a MEET CUTE between a RED DWARF and an OLD SALT and writing in SUGARED, HOLLERS, PROTEGE, KISS ME, PESTER. An ARCED eyebrow, though, for HEISTED, and ??? for T-RAP, ENBY, PAIGE. A fine debut, I thought; look forward to his next one.

Anonymoose 10:51 AM  

@Pabloinnh & Whatsername. I agree with your HEIST comments. Sadly, the verb form is legit. But it should be avoided IMO.

ET seems fine without the subtitle.

LOGs are cut into lumber at a sawmill but the connection to grist is weak.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:01 AM  

@Gary Jugert 7:15 AM - I don't think the RADIO EDIT concept is as sinister as you make it out to be. The songs cited in the clue have lyrics that would make them impossible to play on the air, so the artists came up with lyric workarounds that preserved the spirit of the song while allowing them to get air play. If anything, the phenomenon calls additional attention to the un-airable lyrics, for which you need to buy the record. It's kind of like the way Jews (myself included) say "Adonai" or "HaShem" when we encounter the tetragrammaton (the unpronounceable 4-letter name of God).

GILL I. 11:02 AM  

This was probably the most brain twisting, unlucky, HEISTED puzzle I've ever done on a Thursday.
I had AR(ET)THA. I moved on. I went looking for ET. Nowhere to be found. I figured out ME(ET) CUTES because I'm pretty sure we've had it in puzzle somewhere in the past. So...two ET's... I moved on.
I knew 12D had to be AHI TUNA, but that meant the IT was hiding somewhere. Is it really RADIO EDITS? What is that? Two IT's?... Moved on.
I get to the reveal: SHORT FILMS. Do I clap my hands? Do I UTTERLY shout out Yay? My SORORAL sister didn't come to any rescue....Still in the dark wanting to suck my thumb.
I circled the ET and the IT. What does it mean? No idea.
I don't know the rugrats dad. I don't know the best actor for that Bohemian guy. And I certainly don't know any wrestler in the Divas Championship. I moved on.
Two things I was happy for: TORERO and TORTA.
I haven't read Rex nor any of you yet. I know it was probably easy for some. Probably doing the fandango tango somewhere in happy land. I stubbed my toe badly. I still don't understand ETITUPUS. Is that a SHORT FILM I'm supposed to know? It sounds like a LEECH sucking saliva. I need to go walk the dogs.

Hartley70 11:03 AM  

MEETCUTE gave me the rebus early. I’ve been seeing that description a lot lately. I thought perhaps ET would repeat but EDITS put me straight. The four squares were easy to see but I wish there had been more of them because I was ready for a rebus fix, not that I have a plethora of two letter films at my fingertips. ENBY was new to me. I must have missed it’s first appearance. It made no sense until I got here. UTTERLY had my favorite clue. I wanted rink instead of ACHE. DOLEOUT was a HEHE. I found it a fairly easy Thursday.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:05 AM  

@SouthsideJohnny 8:11 AM and others - I don't understand the brouhaha about UTTERLY. The clue [Ridiculous introduction?] refers to the phrase "utterly ridiculous," which took me a while to get, but when I had the "Aha!" moment, it was UTTERLY satisfying.

Joseph Michael 11:09 AM  

Congrats to Dan on the debut. I enjoyed the theme, though the puzzle was not an easy one to solve, due mostly to all of the names.

Nailed the ARETHA rebus early on but then got hung up on the rebus in the NE. HE HE is not a giggle. HE HE is a stutterer starting to say something about the fellow across the room. HEE HEE is the giggle. Or maybe HE HEE. Which for a while gave me a SHORT FILM called “He” and a sushi roll stuffed with ahe tuna.

Liked the term SUPER STORM but never heard it before. Here we call them “microbursts” and, man, are they scary. A tree can be ripped in half in the blink of an eye. Outdoor furniture that was here can suddenly be OVER there.

Nit of the moment: “steamed” does not seem like the right clue for IRATE. To be steamed is to be irritated or annoyed. To be IRATE is to be furious.

Favorite answer: SOUL MUSIC
Favorite row: ELLEN STOOPS
Favorite reparsing: RED ONE

@Gary Jugert, loved the longest film title

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:14 AM  

@jazzmanchgo 10:43 AM - The best such anecdote in my book may be when the Rolling Stones were forced to change the refrain "Let's spend the night together" to "Let's spend some time together" for an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show on January 13, 1967.

RooMonster 11:20 AM  

SHORT FILMS has nothing to do with the length of the movies. C'mon y'all, you know puzs hint at things a lot instead of being literal. SHORT FILMS can apply to the Titles.

An Oops! In my last post. @Zed has it right as Rebopodes, with an O, not an I.

I knew MEET CUTES from a previous puz. It was discussed quite well here.So that got a smile.

Looking forward to a movie named "MA", maybe it'll be about @Masked & Anonymous! 😁

RooMonster Loose Ends Guy

Whatsername 11:20 AM  

@Nancy: My dear, dear lady. You seldom disappoint. Yes indeedy, “splat” is the perfect metaphor today.

fiddleneck 11:21 AM  

Great blog today Rex. Thanks for the movie clips.

JD 11:22 AM  

DNF on Malek/Kappa. Barely knew what I was doing while I solved and had no idea about Enby (ENBY?). If it stands for NB why not just spell it NB? It already has the sound.

Didn't even realize the Rebustos (Spanish for Rebus, it's true) were movies, even though I'd seen Up and ET. Sororal is not great but was gettable. E

ked out Radio Edits. I like it. Great clue for Ache.

Do cows give milk? Yes Utterly.

Nice first effort Dan Ziring. I look forward to your future.

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

Radio edits are nothing new. Before lyrics (and titles) became more explicit, songs were edited down for length, under the belief that radio stations needed songs to fit in a 3 minute window. But even radio edits for language content go way back.

You might think they go back to the 1960s or 1970s, with the rise of rock. But it goes back further.

Cole Porter's lyrics were often too racy for radio and cinema of the era. Today, few would find exception. But times were different. One early hit, from the musical "Anything Goes" is "I Get a Kick Out of You." The line about some getting a kick from cocaine would never have been allowed to play on radio. So it was changed to perfume from Spain in some versions. Sinatra recorded both versions.

Similarly, Lorenz Hart's lyrics for Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered had to be sanitized. No more "worshipping the trousers that cling to him." When the movie version of "Pal Joey" was made, at least half the song was excised.

Even chaste Rogers and Hammerstein had to be edited. The word "bastard" is used in the song "Soliloquy" in the original Broadway show. That had to be changed for airplay and the film version.

There are many more examples, especially from early jazz and R&B. It's not a new phenomenon.

Linda R 11:32 AM  

@Bungalowgirl 7:33 AM - I've never noticed 3 dots for a rebus. What 3 dots do you mean?

Linda R 11:35 AM  

@MarthaCatherine 7:12 AM - I do the daily puzzle online here and for entering multiple letters in a square, I click on "Rebus" (at the top right, below "Print"), enter the letters, and then press "Enter"

beverly c 11:40 AM  

I agree with much of Nancy's take. I finished the puzzle but it didn’t spark joy. It got me off on a tangent thinking about how much I appreciate puzzles that rely on dictionaries. And that led to wondering if the campaign against everything “Old” reflects an acceptable prejudice. Of course it does - what am I saying…

Some here think the NYTXW should aim to be a puzzle that is cutting edge current. So we have the motto of the culture we live in today. Everything is disposable. Nothing of the past has value.

It’s hard to watch where that's going.

Linda R 11:43 AM  

@MarthaCatherine 7:12 AM - Sorry, I left out the link: I do the daily puzzle online here:
and click on "Rebus" (top right, below "Print")

egsforbreakfast 11:51 AM  

@Gary Jugert. Perhaps your teehee report for today could include KISSME BARELY? Or you could, if desperate enough, explore the OVA and SAC AREAS. Interesting that AREAS (35A) also kinda appears backward in 2D ROT AREA.

I thought this was a delightful and somewhat tough puzzle. I can understand if it just wasn’t for you, but some of the complaints are UTTERLY ridiculous. Congratulations on a nifty debut, Dan Ziring.

Liveprof 11:52 AM  

Who slipped those torahs into that creche?

Just figured out what a UTAH is -- thanks!

kitshef 11:52 AM  

@Roo Monster 11:20 - there was a movie called 'Ma' just three years ago, with Octavia Spencer and Juliette Lewis, among others, in the cast. Pretty sure it was not about M&A, but thanks to the "anonymous" part I can't be sure.

sixtyni yogini 11:56 AM  

Thought this week: it’s time for a rebus.
Been on the look-out - so this 🧩 was fun and quick.

faber 11:58 AM  

Utterly ridiculous is an expression you often hear. So "introduction" is xword for "before".

faber 12:06 PM  

So I want to know why the mobile app didn't like up the cross references like it used to. I noticed a recent update made the font thinner. Maybe that is connected somehow? You need a magnifying class to see the numbers on a phone.

Nancy 12:12 PM  

Oh, how I wish I knew who you were, @Anon 11:28! We would seem to share many of the same interests, much of the same knowledge base, and a lot of the same outrage over the Bowdlerization of the lyrics of America's greatest theater lyricists.

(That's what I've always called it. I've never heard the term RADIO EDITS.)

FYI: Were you aware of this unfortunate change to "Bewitched"? Most people wouldn't have picked up on it. I have a hunch that you did.

The cleaned-up version:

He may laugh, but I love it --
Although the laugh's on me.

Here's the double entendre that Larry wrote:

He's a laugh and I love it
Because the laugh's on me.

From the Carousel "Soliloquy":

Altered version:

I never knew how to get money
But I'll try, I'll try, I'll try

Oscar's version:

I never knew how to get money
But I'll try, by God, I'll try

More "Soliloquy": Altered version:

And I'm damned if she'll marry the boss's daughter,
A skinny-lipped gal with blood like water

Oscar's version:

A skinny-lipped virgin with blood like water

I would never listen to the Bowdlerized versions -- not even when Sinatra sang them. I always wanted the original cast albums.

Jerry 12:32 PM  

In answer to your TOR question, Tor Johnson was a professional wrestler who started doing bit parts in the movies in the 1930s. By the ‘40s he had moved up to slightly larger parts, and in the 50’s he was in several Ed Wood movies, including Plan 9 From Outer Space. His last movie was the starring role in the completely awful, utterly enjoyable, The Beast of Yucca Flats.

mmorgan 12:34 PM  

Well, *I* found this one hard, and didn’t make the connection that the rebus squares were short *titles* till I came here. But I liked it a lot!

jae 12:37 PM  

Difficulty?? - I got off to a smooth start but ran into a heap of trouble in the bottom half. I blanked on MALEK even though I watch the first season of Mr. Robot and could not spell SOROAL for a long time. Plus HEISTED just seemed weird. Then I had to hunt down a typo. Clever idea, a fine debut, liked it.

Masked and Anonymous 12:40 PM  

Runt flicks! Like.
ergo, staff weeject picks = ET, IT, UP, US.

Really l-u-v-ed {Distribute, as pineapples?} = DOLEOUT. Potential runtpuz theme material, there.

Figured out the rebus fairly early, by insistin that 17-A be AR(ET)HA. Like @RP, still had a bit of a challenge, in trackin down the west of them wascally different webuses.

stuff with fave sparkliness: RED DWARF & RED ONE. UTTERLY [with nice clue]. GURU. Two "by a narrow margin"s in a row. HOLLERS.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Ziring. And congratz on yer fine debut.

Masked & Anonymo6Us [not a MA … more of a ET]

test solvers thought this one was extra extra weird:

lodsf 12:51 PM  

With 3 complete unknowns (to me) — SORORAL / ENBY (not they or them?) / MEETCUTES (?? still don’t know what this is) and actors out of my easy-to-recall “wheelhouse” (or out of my AREA as clued) this was a difficult Thursday for me. DNF without help. Kept ‘indie’ films in for too long. Liked the clue “Distribute as pineapples” for DOLE OUT.

MarthaCatherine 12:56 PM  

Thanks to all who learned me how to do these rebuses on the interwebs. I feel fully up to date. Next: figuring out the difference between Yahoo and Yeehaw.

OfftheGrid: I am old fashioned, and you're funny.

lodsf 1:08 PM  

On an iPhone there is a “More” key on the bottom left of the keyboard (next to the “Z”). When selected this reveals a “Rebus” selection (also on bottom row, to the right). Selecting “Rebus” allows one to enter multiple letters within a square. Tap anywhere in the grid outside of the square working on & the entry will be accepted.

Dave 1:09 PM  

I don't like defining the MTA as a "group" . I think of group as a disparate, well, "group". While the NTA is a single entity.

Teedmn 1:24 PM  

I knew from MEET CUTE needing a plural that there must be a rebus in there somewhere but I got no traction in that area; wanting icing on my cakE, not my ACHE didn't help.

SSR before KGB, RADIO hITS before THEEU made me rethink it (and confirmed my rebus theory) and going with beLLERS before HOLLERS, hmmm.

Dan Ziring hoisted HEISTED on us, tsk, tsk. I was with Rex, thinking a flour mill re: grist. And I agree with @M&A on the nice clue for DOLE OUT.

Congrats, Dan, on your debut!

Anoa Bob 1:41 PM  

Ah, Rebusgate rears its ugly head again. I find it ironic that OFL uses the Classical Latin phrase "Et tu, rebus" but then elsewhere uses "rebus" in a way completely different from its Classical Latin meaning of "by way of or with things". It does not mean "by way of or with multiple letters in a single crossword grid square".

By the way, "rebus" is already plural. It's the Plural Ablative Case of the base word "res" meaning "thing". We occasionally see RES in a xword grid clued in a way that remains true to its Latin roots such as the legal phrase "res ipsa loquitur" or the literary term "in res media".

I know some of yous make light of and have fun playing around with original meaning of "rebus" but I think that undermines one of the most valuable qualities of Classical Latin, its timelessness, its set-in-stone-ness that ensures words and phrases like "non verbis sed rebus" will be unambiguously understood by all people everywhere for all time. It's why scholars and historians chose the term rebus principle to describe how hieroglyphics and pictograms evolved into abstract letters of alphabets.

jberg 1:55 PM  

I started off the puzzle steamed over HE HE -- not even a kealoa, since neither it nor the more commonly seen tehe is correct. But the theme and some of the clever fill won me over (even though I didn't know all the movies). And everyone complaining that these movies didn't all go to Sundance, reaad @Roo, who gives good explanation of what "hint" means.

I got all kinds of things I didn't know, e.g. ENBY and MALEK, but for some reason had to look up ENYA, with whose crossword presence I am very familiar. Doh!

@marycatherine, you say you solve on paper, but everyone is telling you how to put in rebus letters electronically. On paper, you have to learn how to make tiny letters. Or else you can put in *s and explain them in the margins.

@Southside, a CRECHE is a Nativity scene, constructed with little pieces of pottery or plastic made for the purpose. Just another word for it.

@Rex, the reason you didn't know logs could be grist is that they can't. A grist mill grinds grain; logs are processed in sawmills.

I'm not sure about LYRIST. Sappho wrote lyric poetry, which was meant to be sung, so we could call her a lyricist (like @Nancy!). But do we know that she played the lyre? Or is it just that all poets of her time accompanied themselves on the lyre as they sang their poems? My research is limited to the Wikipedia article, which doesn't go into that, so if anyone knows this I'd love to hear from you.

l'americaine 2:33 PM  

My age is definitely showing as a young solver all the ones that other readers had trouble with were gimmes for me. Enby, trap music, radio edits, and meet cutes were all obvious. Not so much Irene Dunne.

Anonymous 2:42 PM  

Anoa Bob,
I'd add that there are scores of words and phrases that have not simply been undermined by ignorance, but that the undermining impoverishes the language.

Whatsername 2:47 PM  

@beverly c (11:40) You captured my thoughts beautifully. Knew we were kindred spirits the first time I saw your avatar.

kitshef 2:49 PM  

@Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:05. I can only speak for myself, but that clue opens up a whole world of clues that don't actually clue anything, such as:
Beginning of time - ALL
Band follower - CAMP
End of time - PIECE
It comes before a fall - RAIN
Intro to business - MONKEY

Beezer 3:43 PM  

@jberg, I took LYRIST to mean someone who plays a lyre, but that didn’t stop me from thinking there might be a CI rebus which made no sense.

Linda R 4:01 PM  

@Bungalowgirl 7:33 AM - I found the 3 dots. I do the puzzle on my computer but I installed the NY Times app on my phone and now I see the 3 dots you were referring too.

OISK 6:36 PM  

Yep! But I did finish it. Hiphop subgenre?

Newboy 7:13 PM  

Just back to say thanks to @Masked and @Lewis for sharing a couple of really interesting recommendations that provided a nice post lunch amusement under our budding grape vine. Learned about our neighbor to the east & found “ test solvers thought this one was extra extra weird: **gruntz**” to be pretty accurate!

Colette 8:47 PM  

This was the first Thursday in over 10 years that I could not finish. Sororal?Utterly? Term loan? Didn't even know that was a thing. Term insurance, yes. Term loan? Nooooo. Lyrist? I assume that's one who plays a lyre? Enby? I was going through the acronym LGBTQ etc. This was painful! I liked the theme, but the SW? Ugh!

TAB2TAB 9:03 PM  

Rex got excited about these themers:




and the show-stopper...


Let that sink in for a moment.
In the meantime, allow me to dislike the puzzle on his behalf.

LateSolver 9:58 PM  

The theme was easy my A$$!! I finished the puzzle and still didn't get the theme. I found half of the clues incredibly easy, and half incredibly difficult. All of the answers Rex loved were nonexistent to me - DUNNE, MALEK, MEETCUTE -WTF!!!

Eventually knew it was a rebus, but couldn't figure the pattern.

Nonbinary = NB, not ENBY. And it's EU, not THE EU 'Like it's not THE Ohio State University'

Anonymous 10:23 PM  

@Anoa Bob - You're 100% right about Latin. The problem is, we don't speak Latin, and the puzzles aren't in Latin. We speak, and solve, in English. English has what are called borrowed words, words we take as is from other languages. Actually, English is 100% borrowed words. We were seeded with Old German, but we borrowed all the rest, and changed all the Old German. We eat garbanzo beans and rapini in our pasta fagioli without ever speaking Italian. When I order crepes for desert, I'm ordering crepes without speaking French. When we borrow words we treat them exactly as we treat all the other words we've borrowed from all the other languages that make up our own. We expand on their meanings, turn verbs into nouns and vice versa ( see, I didn't speak Latin there either), and make a general hodge-podge of things. So, while you're 100% right about Latin, you're 100% wrong about how we treat the English word rebus.

Zed 10:27 PM  

@kitshef - That class of clues has been around as long as I’ve done puzzles.

@Anoa Bob - You’re pining for a thing that never actually was. There’s no such thing as “Classical Latin,” that’s a made up thing and preferring it is the equivalent of saying the English of Shakespeare (or Chaucer or Cary Grant) is “proper English.” Languages, all languages, are constantly changing. And that was certainly true of the Latin of the supposed “classical” period.

JMS 10:43 PM  

Got burned by “place for icing” and could only think of American College Hockey Association ... (probably thinking of the WCHA, the once home of the Fighting Badgers!)

Otter 12:30 AM  

Nonbinary people use both NB and ENBY, everyone has their own preference. NB had also been used in the Black community to mean non-Black, and Black activists have asked white nonbinary people to avoid co-opting the term. Enby is the popular alternative. Some nonbinary people also don’t like enby because they think it sounds infantilizing. But basically, the puzzle is correct, and ENBY is a widely used identifier within the community.

Anonymous 12:32 AM  

I was so glad to see Minutemen in the puzzle that I didn't care that the rest of it was a bit herky-jerky. God rest your soul D. Boon. I only had a Corona.

RADIO EDITS is very familiar to me. I don't watch rom-coms but I knew MEETCUTES well enough to wince and drop it in. SORORAL, no problemo. but I have no idea who PAIGE is and had never seen ENBY before, though at least the latter makes sense.

But HEISTED is such an abomination that it almost cancels out Minutemen. Almost.

albatross shell 1:51 AM  

The undermining enriches the language. Literature is not math nor cobalt.

Space Is Deep 8:14 AM  

Toughest Thursday in a long time. So tough, that it took me two days to finish. Had to sleep on it.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP