Spiral-horned antelope / WED 6-29-22 / Relative of a cor anglais / NYC venue for the Ramones and the Cramps / Cardamom-infused tea / Legendary Himalayan humanoid / Amber quaff / Troop troupe for short / Cartoonist Goldberg who drew contraptions like the Self-Operating Napkin

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Constructor: Jared Goudsmit

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (the "challenging" part is mostly for the extra effort it takes to locate / fill in all the rebus squares)

THEME: AB CRUNCHES (61A: Core exercises .. or a hint to eight squares in this puzzle) — letter sequence "AB" gets "crunched" into one square, eight times (four theme answers, two "AB" squares apiece):

Theme answers:
  • GRABBED A BITE (17A: Ate and ran, say)
  • INHABITABLE (21A: Fit to live in)
  • ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN (37A: Legendary Himalayan humanoid)
  • ABRACADABRA (52A: The magic word?)
Word of the Day: NYALA (39D: Spiral-horned antelope) —
sexual dimorphism!
lowland nyala or simply nyala (Tragelaphus angasii), is a spiral-horned antelopenative to southern Africa (not to be confused with the endangered Mountain nyala living in the Bale region of Ethiopia). It is a species of the family Bovidae and genus Nyala, also considered to be in the genus Tragelaphus. It was first described in 1849 by George French Angas. The body length is 135–195 cm (53–77 in), and it weighs 55–140 kg (121–309 lb). The coat is maroon or rufous brown in females and juveniles, but grows a dark brown or slate grey, often tinged with blue, in adult males. Females and young males have ten or more white stripes on their sides. Only males have horns, 60–83 cm (24–33 in) long and yellow-tipped. It exhibits the highest sexual dimorphism among the spiral-horned antelopes. [...] The nyala's range includes MalawiMozambiqueSouth AfricaEswatiniZambia, and Zimbabwe. It has been introduced to Botswana and Namibia, and reintroduced to Eswatini, where it had been extinct since the 1950s. Its population is stable and it has been listed as of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The principal threats to the species are poaching and habitat loss resulting from human settlement. (wikipedia) (emph. mine)
• • •

first Premier of China
Big gap here between quality of theme idea (great!) and quality of overall puzzle (less great). As with the Monday puzzle, I felt my confidence flag very quickly after I ran into a lot of short fill that felt very yesteryear, most notably the name partial ENLAI, which used to appear all the time in grids, back when people didn't have software to help them and also didn't have to try as hard for clean grids because competition wasn't nearly as fierce as it is today. You used to see CHOU (or ZHOU) a lot more too. Anyway, either one of that guy's name parts are potential red flags, warnings of "rough fill ahead." Neither name part is inherently bad, and if your overall puzzle were killer, you wouldn't blink at a stray CHOU or ENLAI. But in this grid, with so much other overfamiliar short stuff (e.g. EDAM AVAST NENE NOTA ATON ALOE SYSCO ERIN HUTT (another name part), ENLAI felt not like a necessary compromise, but like a bad omen of what the overall fill quality was going to be like. And what do you call stuff that *used* to be crosswordese but that you almost never see anymore? Asking for a friend. That friend's name is NYALA. I (eventually) remembered NYALA from my various expeditions into the wilds of ... crosswords of yore. The only reason I know most antelopes is from crosswords. I remember ORIBI very, very well from one of my first write-ups. But though the actual NYALA is not endangered, crossword NYALAs have all but gone extinct. So it's crosswordese ... but resurrected crosswordese. Ghost crosswordese. So is it even crosswordese anymore? If crosswordese has been pretty well buried in the past, maybe it's not stale any more. Maybe it's "retro." Can ASTA come back and play now? Anyway, my point ... wow, what was my point? Oh, EN-LAI had me fearing the worst. I didn't get the worst, but I didn't get much of anything good, either. *Except* the revealer, which, as I say, really truly works and is cute. So it's an extremely one-note puzzle, despite having 8 x "AB" = sixteen (musical) notes. If the rebus squares are, in fact, musically playable, and especially if what they play is the theme from "Jaws," which opened 47 years ago this past week, well then, this puzzle is genius. Otherwise, this puzzle is thematically clever but a bit tiresome to work through.

The rebus came swiftly. I wanted ARABS, ARABS wouldn't fit, but the surrounding fill meant that ARABS absolutely had to fit ... therefore "AB" rebus. Didn't get the 2-per-answer dealie with the rebus squares immediately because I had no idea what that first themer was going for, based on its clue. I had GRABBED and figured that since the familiar phrase is "grab and go" and the clue was "eat and run," the answer would be, what, GRABBED AND WENT (!?!). But no, not verb and verb but verbed A BITE. Puzzle is really pushing its luck with the "___ A ___" levels in this part of the grid. GRABBED A BITE x/w IN A BIT and *also* x/w TIE A BOW. None of these reaches EAT A SANDWICH levels of absurdity, but en masse, they're still a lot to take. I find things like INBETA and ADSPACE really dreary, maybe because once an answer gets 6 letters or longer I really expect it to brighten up the place a little. Something about the technicality and ho-hum adequacy of these answers is dispiriting, moreso when the grid is kind of anemic to begin with. I wish the "AB" answers themselves had had more sparkle, but just finding 2x"AB" answers that you can arrange symmetrically at all was probably a challenge. Maybe I'd be more happy about ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN as an answer if a. it had its initial "THE" (it's really awkward to pretend that he's just ... ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN), or b. I didn't see YETI in the grid all the damn time, thus making ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN feel (ironically) like a common sight. I did like "WHAT'S NEW!?" It has this quaint quality, having largely been surpassed in recent years by the more colloquial and somehow less genuinely curious-sounding "WHAT'S UP?" "WHAT'S NEW?" sounds like you really want to hear how a person's been. "WHAT'S UP?" is more formulaic, more of a "hey!" Like "How ya doin?" You ask that, you don't really wanna know. You're just being polite. But "WHAT'S NEW?" actually seems to invite a response. Also, "WHAT'S UP?" can have kind of a "why are you bothering me right now?" that "WHAT'S NEW?" is simply never going to have.  "WHAT'S NEW?" is the cry of someone who cares about you and wants to hear how you've been. Whereas "AVAST, NENE!" is the cry of someone who's been at sea way, way too long. 

No mistakes today except NIQAB for HIJAB (11D: Muslim headscarf) (NIQAB is a veil, which some women wear as an extension / interpretation of HIJAB). I also got "cor anglais" confused with a French horn and so tried HORN at first for 63A: Relative to a cor anglais (OBOE). I know, you must be thinking, "What a RUBE." But if I'm being *really* honest, my first thought was that "cor anglais" was some type of pastry. And now I'm hungry. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 6:21 AM  

I picked up on the AB rebus right off the bat. Made it a particularly enjoyable solve for me as (in real life) my initials are AB. Plus, I do have what's often called a pretty good "six-pack". Not abs. Heineken.

Eric NC 6:28 AM  

For anglais was a gimme as I had just finished todays WSJ puzzle which used it in two clues. Coincidence?

Conrad 6:29 AM  

Unlike @Rex, I didn't get the rebus from AR[AB]S. Figuring there might be a three-letter horse breed I didn't know about, I let that one slide. I got the rebus from S[AB]RA at 32D. I know there are other hummus brands, but SABRA is one I know, from supermarkets as well as crosswords. With that in place I replaced REdo with REH[AB] at 24D and I was off to the races.

I've been solving NYT puzzles since the Will Weng era and I don't recall encountering NYALA before. Had to get that one from crosses.

bocamp 6:41 AM  

Thx, Jared, for this fantABulous ABfest! :)


Caught on to the rebus early, but still a bit of a slog, albeit an enjoyable one. :)

Always love to see Catherine O'HARA. 'Beetlejuice', one of my fave movies.
yd 0 / 33

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

Spencer 6:44 AM  

Missed opportunity to have six "AB" squares instead of eight, and then create a visual "six-pack" to tie into the theme.

Anonymous 6:53 AM  

With you 100%, Rex. Knew that NYALA would get a rise. Now I’m gonna grab a bite of that yummy cor anglais.

JD 6:55 AM  

Abominable Snowman, Thor, Abracadabra, Kathleen O’Hara. Jared Goudsmit knows good words, he has the best words. He’s majoring in theatre and political science at Tulane. Drop that poli sci major son and you could be president of the United States.

Fun and somewhat challenging. But I made it harder than it was by crunching the AB into the wrong spaces (beads of sweat on my forehead as I try to avoid using the words it was a workout, damn, there it is). Nyala was tough. For a few seconds Tie Bow made me think it might be a homonym for Tae Bo and part of a theme. Just some delirium. It passed.

For my money, this is a really impressive puzz world debut. Great theme, overall great quality.

jcal 7:00 AM  

A classic musician's joke. What's the most interesting thing about the cor anglais? It's neither.

Todd 7:01 AM  

Tartt is the ugly combo of letters I have every seen in the puzzle. I kept trying to turn glint into anything else.

Laura 7:12 AM  

Odd difficulty. A rebus on a Wednesday is unusual, but obvious to experienced puzzlers, but likely very tough for the newer crowd NYT is trying to attract. Doesn't go along with getting easier to attract newbies. So I had a fun time solving, and a bit of hope for an end to the easy slide.

OffTheGrid 7:20 AM  

I grokked the AB at INHABITABLE. That helped a lot with the rest of the solve. I would put it somewhere in the easy range, yet it was fun and interesting. I'm glad I don't get distracted by "ESE". I mean, like a mosquito or a Republican, it's always going to be there. Last evening I FED myself EDAM slices dipped in SABRA and washed it down with ALE.

Anonymous 7:21 AM  

I had NOTo bene and was convinced it was correct for a long time. Cross d with OHoRA but, well, sure?

Son Volt 7:38 AM  

What Rex said - although the fill didn’t bug me as much and I had fun overall. Liked the revealer and the consistency of the two ABs in each themer. The down rebus felt flat. No clue on NYALA but the crosses were fine. The earth’s orbit is elliptical - OVAL is a reach.

Had so much fun at CBs - first shows were in ‘78 - Blondie with Fripp and then Elvis and Richard Hell. A dump - but super cool.


Enjoyable Wednesday solve.

Lewis 7:40 AM  

@rex -- Actually a repeated A-B wouldn't work for the Jaws theme. It would have to be A-Bb.

A bit of background. Beginning in 2020, having rebuses on Wednesdays took a leap in the NYT. There were four that year, four in 2021, and already two this year. Before 2020, it was lucky to have two in a year, and there were years with none. You’re welcome.

It was fun to see unusual within-word letter pairs – RW, ZU, BH –not to mention the anagrams ARABS and SABRA, and palindromes NOTA and ATON. It was lovely and impressive to see a junk-free grid, especially on a debut.

While this filled in smoothly, I was motivated throughout, trying to guess the reveal before it revealed itself, and I was stumped, so a sweet aha came when I finally saw what it was.

Clever theme – one that made me sit up! – and a debut that made me hope for more to come. Thank you, Jared!

Colin 7:40 AM  

Congrats to Jared on his NYT debut! I enjoyed this, and was a bit surprised at Rex's overall positive comments (I thought he didn't like the rebus!). Visually appealing, with the two ABs in each themer that really do look crunched together.

blinker474 7:43 AM  

I like rebus puzzles and this one was a treat with all those ABs. I think it must be a real chore to construct a puzzle like this so I am disinclined to speak ill of the fill. Fill is necessary and should be tolerated, not criticized. Excellent puzzle, Jared Goudsmit and Will Shortz: thank you both.

Brainpan 7:47 AM  

I suggest zombie fill. And the creator making it rise and do their bidding is then a Lich. Stranger Things has made it ok to be D&D nerds now, right? I think so.

Joe Welling 8:02 AM  

The Earth's orbit around the sun is a near circular ellipse--not an oval.

Wundrin' 8:07 AM  

@Lewis. Wouldn't ATON/NOTA represent an emordnilap? not a palindrome?

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

Amy: got it at hijab. And yes, Rex, would be delightful to welcome back ASTA, along with FALA, too. Perky little dogs.

SouthsideJohnny 8:13 AM  

I believe Rex gave it a fair write-up today. By the time I realized I was dealing with a rebus, I really had pretty much made a mess of the rest of the grid by filling in best guesses at things I suspected were stretch answers which required a quite a bit of rearranging.

I suspect those who have suggested that this one will be tougher on new solvers are onto something. TARTT, SABRA and NYALA were the outliers for me today. Probably tough to construct, definitely on the tough side for me for a Wednesday, but all in all a fair test in my opinion.

Z 8:16 AM  

NYALA was rare pre-Shortz, just three appearances, and still isn’t all that common with just 12 total NYTX appearances. There are a couple of 6 year absences in the Shortz era. I suspect that Y keeps it from appearing in more puzzles. Still, that’s 12 more appearances in the puzzle than I’ve seen in the wild, so still ese.

The fill didn’t bother me as much as it did Rex, making this my favorite NYTX this week. I was thinking we were going to get some sort of bloody revealer, so AB CRUNCHES was a pleasant surprise here. Probably the only time AB CRUNCHES have had “pleasant” attached to them.

@Son Volt - Interesting. When I think of IDAHO I think of something more…uh…military.

pabloinnh 8:19 AM  

Well, another grumpy primate day for OFL. What did poor Mr. ENLAI ever do to him?

I got the rebus at the ARAB/GRAB cross and had fun finding the others, but couldn't come up with what the revealer might be (blood types? until it showed up at the end in the SE, which is where it belongs, and was a surprise, as it should be.

We had regular SYSCO deliveries at our little resort here in NH, and the driver was known, inevitably, as the SYSCO Kid.

NYALA may be rare, but just reading a clue like "spiral-horned antelope" fills me with nostalgia and A Remembrance of Crosswords Past, when obscure currencies and places and animals had us reaching for our crossword dictionaries. Reminds me of all the pleasure I've had from something so relatively unimportant for lo these many years. If you don't like this stuff at all, or are enraged by crosswordese, find something else to spark joy, is what I'd suggest.

Congrats on the debut, JG, which I'd say falls somewhere between Jolly Good and Just Great. Keep up the good work, and thanks for all the fun.

Dr.A 8:36 AM  

I’m very annoyed about INHABITABLE. That means NOT fit to live in, and also who puts “in” in the clue and in the answer? That clue took me far too long because I wanted it to be IS habitable. I hate bad clues.

Anonymous 8:47 AM  

near circle = oval

kitshef 8:48 AM  

NYALA has long been on my wish list to see in the wild - we've been close but never far east enough to be in range. So definitely not crosswordese for me.

I read The Goldfinch. It is one of a handful of books I've read in my life that I just flat out didn't like. Interminable scene descriptions to no end. Unlikeable, unrealistic characters. A lot of time invested (it's a looong book) for no payoff.

Nancy 8:49 AM  

A very dense and ABSolutely lovely rebus puzzle -- with a spot-on perfect revealer. And that's not the half of it.

Oh, Jared, you clever, clever, fiendishly fiendish man!! You built perhaps the best single double-clue Trap I have ever fallen into. The 24D/33A cross is ABSolutely inspired.

It happened just the way you planned it, Jared. Without a moment's hesitation, I wrote in REDO for "fix up again, as a house", confirmed by DAZE for the "unclear mental state." What could possibly be wrong with that?

ABOMINOLE SNOWMAN. That's what's wrong with that! And so eventually I figured out REH[AB] crossing HAZE. What a great trick!

Was that sleight-of-hand an early inspiration behind the puzzle, Jared, or did you just sort of stumble into it through sheer chance? I'm dying to know.

Son Volt 8:52 AM  

@Z - the ZEN is strong with you. I noted I saw Costello at CBs in ‘78 - it was later in the year. Just prior to that my future wife and her brother had asked me to go see the B52s. I didn’t go for whatever reason but it’s interesting how all things get tied together.

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

The Cramps were referenced in the NYT?!? Unexpected bliss. In truth, this would be a perfect place for a Talking Heads reference if one wished to make it more accessible - but just thinking about Lux & Ivy brings a smile.

RMK 9:07 AM  

rex -- Actually a repeated A-B wouldn't work for the Jaws theme. It would have to be A-Bb
Not in Germany.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

Hopefully @Dr.A 8:36 is not a medical doctor. I wouldn't want him diagnosing or prescribing medication or treatment for me. Perhaps his PHD involves one of the physical sciences as English is certainly not his forte.

Damfino 9:11 AM  

After getting 10D, the right side of my brain spent the rest of the puzzle singing (off key) Linda Ronstadt’s version of What’s New. Thank you, Rex, for including the video of her heavenly performance.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

You are thinking of "uninhabitable". Both "habitable" and " inhabitable" mean able to be lived it. Google it.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  


Anonymous 9:26 AM  

Before I could correct “hija” to “hijab”, the Congratulations screen came on and I couldn’t finish

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

Dr A:


Jess Wundrin' 9:35 AM  

Y'all know that CRUNCH doesn't mean crush, right? You crushed the A & B into one space, but there was no crunching involved. So, WTF was this puzzle?

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

Just say "no" to rebuses. It's a cheat! A crossword puzzle allows one letter per square, period. If Mr. Shortz does intend to torture us with multiple letters in a square, leave it for Thursdays, please.

Lewis 9:38 AM  

@wundrin' -- Yes! You're right. It's a semordnilap, not a palindrome. My apologies, and good catch!

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

Scientific sacrilege. Ovals are for toy trains. Ellipses are for planets.

RooMonster 9:44 AM  

Hey All !
Thinking I'd missed a day of the week somewhere, after grokking the Rebus. A Rebus WedsPuz has me wondering what we'll get tomorrow.

Relatively easy for a Rebus. (Auto-stupid keeps making Rebus have a capital R, even though I'm typing a regular one.) Figured it out after having GR_BE in 17A. I said, "It's gotta be GRABBED. Could it be a Rebus?", then saw ARABS, and say, "hmm, a Rebus Wednesday? Cool." I talk to myself a lot...

We get a rare ROO crossing today. Nice! BROOD/ROOMY.

The debuts keep a-coming! *Insert rant about not mine* 😁 Undaunted, I still send an occasional puz in. Yep, I can't be daunted.

Cool puz idea. Looked like a Pangram at first quick glance, but missing K, Q, X. Nice one, Jared.

yd -4, should'ves 3

One F

Gary Jugert 9:50 AM  

It was a puzzle. Had a lotta ABs in it. I don't know what to think about that.

ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN and ABRACADABRA are amazing. Loved discovering CBGB. Looks like a place I'd never go.

Fun puzzle and surprisingly do-able.

Our RWNJs from western Colorado cleared the way to return our biggest embarrassment to the HIVE of RUBES in the U.S. House. As a native of this increasingly stupid state, I apologize.

1 Jaquiski eats too much.
2 Housemate figures out you've been drinking her beer.
3 Buy a drink for Scarlett.
4 Nickname for Brockovich if she bought a bunker and joined a survivalist cult.


(BTW, in my mind, Idaho = potatoes and whackadoos. Maybe they need a PR firm? Surely there's more?)

mmorgan 10:00 AM  

I’ve been out of the country and puzzle-less for three weeks. This was my first one since getting back and it was fine — got the rebus right off the bat and didn’t have any particular trouble anywhere. I don’t know if I missed the puzzle while I was away, but, strangely, I realize that I missed Rex’s write-ups. Who’d a thunk?

KateA 10:08 AM  

I liked that Jared’s notes say that he also wanted to include SANT(A B)(AB)Y.

jberg 10:13 AM  

When did one's ABs start becoming one's core? I learned the term in physical therapy last fall, although it took me a while -- I first assumed it meant the diaphragm, which is more in the middle of the body. Anyway, I know it now -- So after getting a couple of the rebuses I took a look at 61A and immediately, confidently, wrote in AB squeezES. That led to Eire instead of ERIN, and generally didn't work with any crosses, but I stuck with it until I saw MASCOT. Aha!

@Nancy, I noticed that little trick, but by then I had the ASB at the end of REHAB; otherwise I'd have fallen for it.

Just the other day we had he SPACE FORCE; now we learn that there are ADS there.

I liked the puzzle, and I really liked seeing THOR clued correctly.

J.M. Bergoglio 10:19 AM  

A bit of inside baseball here, but....

A friar's home is not an abbey.

An abbey is the principal home for a monastic religious order under the care of an abbot (hence they derivative name for the home, abbey). Sometimes the monks live in a priory (satellite home), under the care of a prior.

Friars are belong to one of several mendicant (not monastic) religious orders, and these have no abbots; their home is generally called a friary, sometimes a monastery, but NEVER an abbey.

Expect to see this on the final exam.

Joseph Michael 10:25 AM  

This was a great workout. Since it’s Wednesday, I wasn’t expecting a rebus puzzle, so the NW had me stumped for quite a while. I finally figured out what was going on as I untangled INHABITABLE. Then AB by AB the grid fill into place, with AB CRUNCHES providing a satisfying aha toward the end. By the way, I never thought twice about EN LAI. And if NYALA is crosswordese. I’ll be a money’s uncle.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

Flagged for excessive rebus

GILL I. 10:49 AM  

CBGB gave me the heebie jeebies. So did TARTT...right in the middle of where I needed a name I should know.
This was interesting and fun. I did a little holy bunions dance because I didn't expect an AB rebus on this here day.
I was all oiled up and ready to run into the wild when GR[AB]BED [AB]ITE made me think I maybe could see the finish line. I continued with the AB focus and sure enough ABC RUNCHES was waving the flag so that I could claim victory.
For some reason, I can't unsee ABOMINABLE WOMAN. Just stare at it for a while and scratch your head.
Never heard of SABRA nor SYSCO nor RUBE but I still finished with no errors.
No FIGHT; a GLINT of hope... and shouldn't it be {To} WHOM it may concern?

Carola 10:51 AM  

Me, too, for seeing the rebus early at GRAB x ARAB and enjoying the hunt for the other theme squares - and for momentarily being brought up short by dAZE. I thought the reveal was a terrifically clever payoff. Mysterious workings of memory have apparently established an African antelope section, where the NYALA, oryx, springbok, kudu, eland, et.al. hang out. Moment of solver shame: getting faked out by the HARD C, after all these years and after many a "They won't get me next time."

@kitshef 8:48 - Amen on The Goldfinch. Getting toward the end, I found I just didn't have it in my to go on.

thfenn 10:51 AM  

Nice CRUNCHy Wednesday. Got the rebus thing in the NW, kind of like how @Nancy did with REHAB. First had FIGHT, got rid of it to go with 'later' at 6D, which gave me Flail, got rid of 'later' to go with ENLAI, got rid of Flail to go with HATH, went back to FIGHT, INABIT fell in because in the back of my mind I knew something was up with ARAB/ARABS and voila, zipped through the rest of the ABs. Very frustrating 'Almost there' at the end, because I had REfAB/fAZE there in the middle and couldn't see any problem.

Have seen lots of NYALA - it's worth moving them and other antelope from crosswordese to 'seen and appreciated'. Agree with other complaints here around OVAL etc, but want to fuss about UHUH. I read that as affirmative - that's the way UHUH UHUH I like it. Seems to me the negative should be spelled differently, more like unhuh or something. But maybe it's all in the pronunciation.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  


Quite right.
Like many words, we can denote a strict sense and a more relaxed colloquial sense. We can also note that the meaning of the words have changed a bit over time. The word monastery originally came from the Greek word monazein, which means “to live alone.” In the earliest days, monastics (both men and women) went to the desert to live a largely solitary life, in separate dwellings.

However, many of them in a local area came to share some common buildings for prayer and eating. Over time many came closer together, and eventually were housed under one roof, though the monks and monastic sisters still tended to keep long hours of silence. Thus they lived in a relative, if not physical solitude, coming together also for communal prayers, meals and necessary community deliberations in the shared chapel, refectory and chapter hall.

Today the word “monastery” has tended to be used only of communities of men, while communities of women have tended to have their dwelling denoted as a “convent” or “cloister.” But technically, there are women’s communities whose domicile is most properly termed a monastery.

The main difference that the term “monastery” is meant to signify is that those who live there, live “alone” or apart from the everyday world. Their prayer is centered in the monastic community. Generally too, their work or apostolate is also centered there, rather than out in the community or world. Some enclosures are strict, others less so, but the concept of dwelling apart is key.

“Convents” and religious houses, however, tend to house religious men and women who do not live and work in such isolation from the everyday world. Perhaps they work in education, hospitals or other external places during the day, but then return and live in community, sharing meals and prayer and other aspects of common life.

The word “convent” comes from a Latin word that means “to convene or gather,” and is less inclusive of the concept of solitude contained in the word “monastery.”

Of course as a Jesuit, you know all this. But as a Jesuit, you also enjoy obfuscation.

burtonkd 11:10 AM  

I like thinking of the A to B Jaws theme as a happy shark comes to rescue someone. As RWK alluded to, it would work in German, since B is understood as Bb; H is used for B natural, thus the Liszt variations on B-A-C-H.

Just heard The Goldfinch mentioned on the NYTimes Book Review Podcast yesterday - did it lead to an automatic fill in the blank? Of course not, but with a letter or 2, it came into view. TATE came to mind from recent fill first.

We could have had a mini-theme 2nd appearance of Ted Lasso this week with a "Jamie" clue for TARTT.

@anon 9:26, that is a little secret - you only have to put in the first letter of the rebus to get credit in the software. On a big puzzle, you might want to fill in the whole rebus anyways, just to keep track of where they are.

I thought the cor anglais answer should be hautbois. Why the French clue for an English answer?

capacious looks too much like capricious for me to remember that it has to do with roominess.

jae 11:19 AM  

Mostly easy except for the SW. IMPACTED did not come easily nor did AD SPACE, not to mention HARD C. Fun rebus, great reveal, liked it. Nice debut!

Whatsername 11:19 AM  

What a simply outstanding rebus puzzle! Made me work for it but gave me A TON of satisfaction in return. Hard to believe this is a debut for Mr. Goldsmith, who I was very pleased to see, claims my home state as his own. Really nice job Jared!! You did STL and MO proud.

That said, I felt this would have been much better placed on a Thursday - not because of the rebus but BASED on the difficulty level. Starting right off at 1D, I have no clue what CBGB stands for. None. And the clue referencing the Ramones and the Cramps is ZERO help. WHO/WHAT the heck are they?? And why reference a house in a clue for REHAB? That one rankled because I had DAZE at 33A which made REDO the obvious choice then for 24D. With that being one of the rebus squares it really kind of threw things off. Then we had Kigali and cor anglais and N.B/NOTA. This time tomorrow I would not bat an eye at any of that but it was just a lot for a Wednesday.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

Six national parks in Idaho. Try Craters of the Moon

lodsf 11:41 AM  

I remember The Goldfinch author’s name from the NYT book review title: “Is it Art or is it Tartt?”. (Her first book — The Secret Garden — was widely acclaimed as art.)

Had “abdominals” for the reveal at first until crosses revealed AB CRUNCHES.

J.M. Bergoglio 11:43 AM  

@ Anonymous (11:09 am)

So true.

But who am I to judge?

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

CBGB is actually CBGB
That's how the name appeared on the plastic roof in front of the door.
It stood for Country, BlueGrass, and Blues.
Other music For Gormandizers.

It was little more than a club/diver bar in Manhattan's East Village. It was ground zero for the punk music scene in the 1970s.
The Ramones and Cramps were bands that played in the club. Big noises in that world.
Today, lost of people claim to have gone to CBGBs ( No one included OMFUG) but the truth is, it was a tiny, tiny club in a very dodgy neighborhood, catering to a very small audience. It is incontrovertible has been celebrated by musical tastemakers for the in crowd for a long time. There are books, and films and plays, all manner of paens to the place, the artists and the man who started the place--whose name I can not recall ( I'll be shunned by several friends for that memory loss).

Anyway, don't feel bad for not knowing a very, very niche place whose importance wanes with every passing day.
Now if you want to talk about City Gardens or the Khyber Pass, well, then we'll have something worthhy of conversation.

sixtyni yogini 11:54 AM  

I was sighing, but ABCRUNCHES made it cute and fun.
Good one and hooray for the Ramones and Cramps…. 🀸🏽‍♀️

albatross shell 12:15 PM  

This puzzle had an excellent eight-pack. Or was it a 16-pack?

OVAL is correct because all ellipses are OVALs. I assume that is what @anon847am was pointing out. Some ovals are not ellipses.

Yeah I was slow seeing the AB rebus thinking it might be drop an A day or drop an A before B day rather than accept a rebus Wednesday. My dumb.

The absent THE did not upset me at all. The scientific "humanoid" in the clue I took as an indicator that the THE was unnecessary because who says there is only one. Unproven.

Fun today because of the theme, the rebus, the ARABS SABRA palindrome, the great revealer (Crunch as fit into a smaller space), two great theme across answers and two more than adequate, and all good down answers save SABRA that was saved by ARABS.

Some of the fill was a little weak. Overall a grade B puzzle at the lowest. Yeah should have been an A- B+ by the theme.
Big Nit.
Thanks for the OBOE joke.

Aelurus 12:18 PM  

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition and (almost) nobody expects a Wednesday rebus. At least I didn’t. It was great fun because it was unexpected.

New to me: NYALA and SYSCO.

Thanks, Jared!

Joe Dipinto 12:20 PM  

"The Goldfinch" was a ridiculously overpraised book, and I would prefer not to be reminded of it when I set out to solve a crossword puzzle. I thought this was supposed to be a safe space.

But this puzzle is perfect. I briefly entered the (UN)(IN)HABITABLE twilight zone of trying to sort out which meant what. But no other worries.

Masked and Anonymous 12:27 PM  

All them ABs kinda brainwashed the M&A … almost wrote in ABDOMINAL SNOWMAN.
WedPuz rebus -- sorta different, tho happens on rare occasions. Sooo … like.
8-pack of ABs! Do them there mysterious NYALAs have that many, or somethin?

staff weeject pick: AB. Only seven 3-letter weeject choices, btw.

no-knows: The three -A listers: NYALA. OHARA. S(AB)RA. Also, how to spell TARTT.

Also, some sotra missed opportunity, not cluin up REST & ROOMY as a pair somehow.

Fairly easy solvequest, with just a few nanoseconds hi-jabbed by the no-know areas. They had a coupla ?-marker clues, so the puz was at least tryin to live up to its early gesture of puttin up that FIGHT, at the mid-puzgrid summit.

In other news: it has been revealed that Trump likes to throw stuff at walls. Just sayin. har

Thanx for the AB-solute fun, Mr. Goudsmit dude. Congratz on a great debut. Neat that the debuts have been so numerous, lately. Lotsa new talent arrivin, to gang up on us.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


Inquiring Mind 12:29 PM  

Are there any astronomers or other sky people in the house? Is the earth's orbit asymmetrical (in which case it would be oval, but not elliptical)?

Aelurus 12:35 PM  

@Joaquin 6:21 am – Six-pack Heinekens, ha!

@Lewis 7:40 – Thanks for the heads-up about there being rebuses on Wednesdays. Sadly I missed all of those.

@Nancy 8:49 – That’s exactly what I had for a while, REdo and dAZE, before seeing the rebus and then ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN.

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

CBGB --- Great film starring the late, great Alan Rickman

Peter P 1:02 PM  

@Inquiring mind - All ellipses are ovals, but not all ovals are ellipses, just like all squares are rectangles (and equilaterals, and rhombuses/rhombi, and a trapezoid -- this is stuff my 2nd grader brought home for homework this year, so not completely advanced stuff, though I don't blame people for forgetting it.) Similarly, all circles are ovals and ellipses. They are specialized cases of the other shapes.

Whatsername 1:49 PM  

@Anonymous (11:45) Thank you for that explanation. I feel much better now. πŸ˜„

@Joe D (12:20) Thank you also. The Goldfinch is one of those books I tried to read and wondered what all the shouting was about. As one Amazon reviewer described it . . . “sentences so run-on they needed track shoes.” Life’s too short to spend time on that kind of torture.

JD 1:57 PM  

Your Holiness and Anon @11:09, Posts of the day! Thank you!

JD 2:00 PM  

@JoeD and @Whatsername, You might find The Goldfinch movie a little easier to swallow. There's no super hero and only one explosion. I never attempted the book.

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

Sometimes a convent and a monastery intersect.. I give you (part of) the story of Haller Damenstift

The Archduchess Magdalena, born in 1532, was the fourth daughter among the fifteen children of Emperor Ferdinand I.
Ferdinand, intended to marry her off. But Magdalena and her younger sisters wanted to remain unmarried and create a community of pious women. Fortunately, Magdalena had a saint for an ally. In the early 1560s the famous Jesuit preacher Peter Canisius became Magdalena’s confessor and helped her spiritual vocation to mature. In 1563, through his intercession and that of her sister Anna (who had married the Duke of Bavaria), she begged for her father’s permission to found the new community. He twice refused. Undeterred, Magdalena continued to pray and write to Prague, where her father’s court resided. In the end, her father acquiesced. The Haller Damenstift was built. Around this time, the Italian master Arcimboldo painted his now famous portrait of the archduchess.

Magdalena died in 1590. Years later, two more Habsburg nieces followed in her footsteps and entered the same house. The Haller Stift existed for 216 years. Unfortunately, on July 9, 1783, Emperor Joseph II dissolved it and left its church desecrated, as part of his campaign to eradicate monastic life (a total of 1,300 monasteries were suppressed). In the centuries that followed, the convent would eventually become a Sparkasse bank—until 1915, when Blessed Emperor Karl rededicated the monastery and invited a new order of nuns from Belgium—the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus—to reside in the same sacred space where his saintly ancestor had lived 350 years before. Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament continues at this convent even today.

Z 2:47 PM  

@Dr A’s gaffe does raise a (rhetorical) question: HABITABLE and INHABITABLE are synonyms but they have just the one antonym of the same form, unINHABITABLE. What did poor unhabitable do to English speakers to justify non-existence?

Son Volt 2:48 PM  

@anon 11:45a - the memories will never wane for me. Hilly was the owner - and always there. It was a dump and tiny but for a short period there the center of it all. I agree later in the 80s a place like City Gardens made its name but they were two different types of venues. All I know is I saw the Misfits at CBs years before Danzig in Trenton.

My favorite show at Gardens was Green on Red - I think ‘84. It was too much of a trip from Queens - but they did get some good bands.

okanaganer 2:51 PM  

@Aelurus: "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition and (almost) nobody expects a Wednesday rebus." Nice!

I still bristle at calling ellipses ovals, even if it's supposedly defensible. The US President's office is the worst offender. Fun fact: if you look at a perfect circle at an angle, it appears as a perfect ellipse.

Re CBGB... by coincidence, last night the Talking Heads "Pulled Up" played on Radio Paradise so I had to look on Youtube, and found this neat handheld video of a 1978 outdoor concert (not at CBGBs).

[Spelling Bee: yd 0, my last word.]

Lori 2:52 PM  

i had refab too!

Joe Dipinto 3:03 PM  

@JD - Even if I'd wanted to watch the movie (which I didn't and don't), I can't now anyway because it stars Ansel Elgort and he's borderline-cancelled.

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

Son Volt,
You are quite right. I was being sarcastic about City Gardens. ( And the Khyber for that matter).
And frankly, I was a bit rough on CBGBs. It was THE Mecca for punk. I mean second place is so far away, it's not even worth talking about. I was just sympathizing with whatsername. I guess I've lost my taste for a lot of that music.
And maybe I speak from jealously. I was too much of a goody two shoes to try and sneak in when it was still the legit Punk place. By the time I was legal it was already sort of trading on its fame.

Anonymous 3:28 PM  

Son volt,
BTW. Glad City Gardens was too far for you. My wife used to go there plenty. Might have never met her if she met you first...

C. Ximinez 3:32 PM  

@ Aelurus (12:18 pm)

I trust you completed the puzzle in the comfy chair - and right through until lunchtime.

Grouch 3:40 PM  

Do you OVAL/ellipse quibblers have any idea at all how boring you are?

kitshef 3:53 PM  

Well, the earth's orbit is not a true ellipse, either. If the only bodies in the universe were the earth and sun, it would be. But we've got all these other bodies (most notably the moon, but all the other planets, asteroids, etc. to lesser extents) that distort the orbit from a true ellipse.

@Carola - I wish I had simply given up. But some books do redeem themselves in the end, so hope kept me going.

Nancy 4:30 PM  

@kitshef, Carola, Joe D, Whatsername -- Your opinion of the awfulness of "The Goldfinch" seems to be unamimous. But thanks to "the Literary Guild Shelf Test"*, I didn't suffer through a single page. I remember the hype for that book being off the charts, but, as per always, I paid no attention. I needed to ee for myself. So I stood in Barnes and Noble performing the LGST on Donna and in exactly 37 seconds I had made my decision. Too dense; much too much pointless physical description; prose that felt lifeless on the page. I am not going to read this book, no how, no way, no matter what the reviewers say. So there!

*The rule back then for Guild Editors was that you could stand at the shelf where the manuscripts were put out and thumb through them until the cows came home. But once you took the ms. back to your desk, it was "yours". No putting it back. So we all became quite adept at riffling through a manuscript and getting a feel for whether we'd enjoy it or not. Our happiness during that week was at stake. And there was a method in the Guild's madness: you didn't want me picking up, say, a science fiction book; you wanted someone who actually likes science fiction. You wanted the first reader to be the person most likely to like the book, not the least.

Would there have been someone inn the department who really would have wanted to read "The Goldfinch" and picked it up voluntarily? Almost certainly. I wasn't still there when the novel was published though.

Anyway, to the people here who suffered through at least some of "The Goldfinch", some advice: Develop your LGST skills. It will stand you in good stead in the future.

Joe Dipinto 5:32 PM  

@Nancy — I didn't think "The Goldfinch" was completely awful. I didn't find it a slog, and I did finish it (though I skipped over some of the verbose passages). I thought a lot of parts were well written, but other parts seemed amateurish or derivative, of Dickens especially. The protagonist was uninteresting and never inspired empathy. I could go on at length about things that annoyed me, but I'll just say that for me it didn't add up to any coherent whole. I'm not sorry I read it though, and I wouldn't tell anyone else to not read it.

Anoa Bob 5:40 PM  

AB in a single grid square non est rebus sed aut litteris aut verbis.

In the style of Watergate and Irangate we now have Rebusgate I think future generations of crossword solvers will look back on this and shake their heads sadly wondering how a group of people who you would expect to be meticulous with word definitions, especially Latin definitions, could be so smugly cavalier about using a Latin word that means "by way of or with things" to signify "by way of or with either letters or words". It seems to be so deeply entrenched, however, that it might take several generations before that enlightenment happens.

egsforbreakfast 5:46 PM  

If we want to resolve this oval vs. elipse issue, I suggest we bring in Cassidy Hutchinson. She mentioned The Oval and The Elipse multiple times in her testimony. This makes me think that Offal in the Oval might have been a good moniker for the Chief Big Mac HEAVEr. Or, now that we’ve learned of his penchant for hurling plates of food at the wall (fortunately not @Nancy’s wall), perhaps the ABOMINABLE thrOWMAN. Amazing how every simile for ABOMINABLE shown below applies so aptly to him:

Learn to pronounce
adjective: abominable
causing moral revulsion.
"the uprising was suppressed with abominable cruelty"

Congrats on a primo debut Jared Goudsmit.

Joaquin 6:26 PM  

@egsforbreakfast -
The "Abominable Throwman" - FTW!

Anonymous 6:34 PM  

How on Earth does one do this online at the NYT spot? How do you put 2 letters…AB…in one square?

SouthsideJohnny 6:39 PM  

@egs 5:46 - omg, quite possibly the best single post of the year so far ! ! !

Beezer 7:09 PM  

Anonymous 6:34, I can only tell you I have the NYT puzzle app. On THAT the pop up keyboard includes “rebus” and you can put multiple letters in. I HOPE this helps!

Whatsername 10:12 PM  

@Nancy: I’ve been a faithful practitioner of the Shelf Test most of my of my life but had no idea there was an actual method to my madness or that I shared it with such lofty bibliophiles.

@egs: πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ You deserve an award for that post. Something with a golden hamberder engraved on it would be apropos, mounted on a cup of cofveve. 🀣

CDilly52 10:49 PM  

Hand up for long time solver who didn’t recall NYALA, but then again, I’m old so , . . Seriously though, it was a nee word that I really enjoyed!

CDilly52 11:10 PM  

Was certain of the AB Rebus with GRABBED A BITE, ARABS and HIJABS and then got confused because “habitable” fits at 21A without the IN . . . so I scoped around looking for rebus opportunities and by the time I discovered the ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN, all was resolved. A bit on the crosswordese-y side of things but nothing that made the quick solve unpleasant.

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

Best, most entertaining review in ages. Even the usual snooty parts were funny. Your reviews are always appreciated, but this was a masterpiece. Thanks.

thefogman 10:00 AM  

To WHOM it may concern: If I were editor, I would have ZERO tolerance for any puzzle that has HARDC (or soft g) or any of it’s ugly variants in it. I BLAME WS for this ABOMINABLE bit of crosswordese that crosses SYSCO which crosses USO. Too bad. It sticks out like a big zit on the face of the Mona Lisa. It coulda been a masterpiece. Alas, it is not.

Burma Shave 10:58 AM  


your HARD FIGHT is BASED ON what?


spacecraft 11:31 AM  

@Foggy: Moved and seconded. Silent & soft/hard letters should die a painful death. It's the missed putt that turned this birdie into a par.

Hand up for REdo/dAZE. Only writeover. I too had trouble spots all over the north. Really wanted HIJAB which would leave an -ABLE ending for 21 across, so I went on a revealer clue safari--and there it was. And the clue revealed all, instantly. All at once the entire north made sense. Not so much an aha! moment as a "God's in His heaven and all's right with the world" moment.

Some roughish fill--including the abominable one noted above--but an absolutely nailed theme. I almost feel like apologizing for the par--but you must take your punishment.

Went on a Wordle safari too, giving up the chance for an eagle--and being rewarded with a birdie!


rondo 1:19 PM  

Maybe this will spare us from the usual Thursday nonsense. But I (AB)LY B(AB)BLE (AB)OUT (AB)SOLUTE speculation. WHATSNEW? Easy enough. Can't help but think of Pizza the HUTT from Spaceballs.
Wordle par.

Diana, LIW 3:48 PM  

My sentiments echo @Rondo's regarding the rebus!

However, I did manage to struggle through and get it all w/o help.

Diana, LIW

thefogman 8:18 PM  

Missed opportunity: Y(AB)BA D(AB)BA DOO

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

Sri as a title of respect? Stumped me for a few minutes.

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