Go all in in poker lingo / THU 8-4-22 / After-dinner drink made with creme de menthe / Letter-shaped piece of piping / Tobiko or ikura at Japanese restaurant / What if propositions informally / He independently discovered the same comet as Hale / Inflation spec

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Constructor: Ella Dershowitz

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: POP-UP SHOP (60A: Temporary spot to do business ... or a hint to answering 17-, 35- and 41-Across) — the letters "SHOP" sort of ... pop up in three different longer answers (this basically means that from the "S" you go up one for your "H" then over one for your "O" and then back down to the row you started on for your "P" and the rest of the answer:

Theme answers:
  • BRITISH OPEN (17A: World's oldest golf tournament, familiarly)
  • "HERE'S HOPING" (35A: "Fingers crossed")
  • GRASSHOPPER (41A: After-dinner drink made with crème de menthe)
Word of the Day: Sam RAIMI (16A: Sam who directed 2022's "Doctor Strange" sequel) —

Samuel M. Raimi (/ˈrmi/ RAY-mee; born October 23, 1959) is an American filmmaker and actor. He is known for directing the Spider-Man trilogy (2002–2007) and the Evil Dead franchise (1981–present). He also directed the 1990 superhero film Darkman, the 1995 revisionist western The Quick and the Dead, the 1998 neo-noir crime-thriller A Simple Plan, the 2000 supernatural thriller film The Gift, the 2009 supernatural horror film Drag Me to Hell, and the 2013 Disney fantasy film Oz the Great and Powerful. His films are known for their ostentatious and highly-dynamic visual style, inspired by comic books and slapstick comedy.

Raimi has also produced several successful television series, including Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and its spin-offXena: Warrior Princess. He founded the production company Renaissance Pictures in 1979 and Ghost House Pictures in 2002. His latest film, the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, was released on May 6, 2022;  becoming his highest grossing film at the box office. (wikipedia)

• • •

This is the last of my very brief vacation write-ups. After today, a bevy of beautiful bloggers (including a few fresh faces) will take over for me for ten days or so while I'm in Los Angeles with my family. I'm back ... something like a week from Monday, I think. Michigan has been great. I will miss Michigan. Mostly I will miss my best friends, though. I could be anywhere on the planet with them and be perfectly happy.

with Shaun, my best friend of 31 years, at
Sleeping Bear Dunes in northern Michigan
(not pictured: our spouses)

This was a very easy Thursday puzzle. Much easier than yesterday's puzzle, for me, insofar as I was able to fully understand and complete it. This one has a much tighter, neater, cleaner, more elegant concept, though it wasn't obvious. Or, rather, the revealer wasn't obvious. I knew what was happening with the whole "SHOP" thing very early, but I was just guessing at the rationale until I hit the revealer, which the theme perfectly expresses. I had fun trying to guess what the revealer might be. Mainly my problem was that I didn't know if the gimmick involved "SHOP" or "HOP" (since the answer seemed to be, you know, hopping up one row and then back down again). Actually, at first I thought the theme related to premium cable TV channels, in that I thought BRITISH OPEN involved all the letters headed straight up from the "S" in "OHSNAP" (so ... BRITI and then SHO straight up and then the answer continuing on with PEN). So I thought SHO (or Showtime) had somehow popped up, and later on I'd be running into, I dunno, HBO or something.

Figured out what the hopping letters were *actually* doing with the next themer, but still couldn't decide if shopping or hopping was involved. Thought maybe that the formation of "SHOP" into a kind of box was going to lead to a revealer like "BOX STORE" but I guess those are usually called "big-box stores" (unless they actually sell boxes).

While I enjoyed wondering what the revealer was going to be, there was not any point at which I got genuinely stuck or challenged at all, which is kind of a disappointment on a Thursday. High-payoff trickery is what I want on this day of the week, and it was in short supply. The hardest answer for me was actually ESP (39A: Abbr. meaning "in particular"), which bugged me so much I actually threw it out to the house (i.e. my wife and friends) to see if they could get it so I wouldn't have to think about it any more (my non-solving friend Steve got it immediately). Why would you get cute with crosswordese like this? Why turn a repeater like ESP from innocuous to lamentable like this? You've got the fake "ability" ESP and the "Spain on an Olympic scoreboard" ESP, who exactly was clamoring for weird abbr. ESP? Beyond that, nothing very remarkable, bad or good, about the fill today. GROWTH SPURT is a winner. Everything else is just OK.

Anything need explaining? "Cuban" is a sandwich (hence HAM). PSI = "pounds per sq. in." (4D: Inflation spec), so it's the air kind of inflation, not the economic kind. UFOs are "dishes" because of their shape (14A: Dish seen around the world?). I don't know why a BOW is a [Finishing touch, so to speak]; I mean, I get the finishing touch part, but it seems literal to me. Put a bow on it. Nice final flourish. I guess it can be used metaphorically? Pretty sure it's the ribbon bow and not the bend from the waist kind of bow. Guess HYPOS are "hypotheticals." News to me. LIESL is really coming at us this week. Weird. Hoping you all have a wonderful stretch of puzzles coming your way during my absence. I won't be looking at crosswords, or puzzles in general, or anything involving a grid. Maps? Nope, too griddy, don't need 'em, won't use 'em. Gonna drive around L.A. by feel, and by shouting at other drivers and pedestrians for help with directions. It's gonna work great. See you later.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:10 AM  

Easy and easier than yesterday’s for me too. Sorta figured this out early and had a @Rex like solve, although I never saw ESP. Cute idea, liked it.

Kevan Harris 12:18 AM  

I was putting SHO rebuses into three of the squares and wondering why the adjacent P`s didn`t go in also. Obviously, that didn`t work. Rex`s explanation doesn`t seem like a popup, but a pop around.

Robin 12:53 AM  

Rex, now that you have finished your write-up, you can tie a BOW ion it.

okanaganer 12:56 AM  

Well Rex enjoy LA; I took my last cross-border trip there at Christmas 2010 and had fun even though I didn't know a soul there. Drove all the way from BC and was dreading the notorious LA traffic, but at xmastime it wasn't bad at all. I slotted Xmas eve for the Getty museum; planned out my route the night before, allowing about an hour to go halfway across town. But the traffic was so light on the freeways (xmas eve) it took me... about 12 minutes! I arrived a half hour before the museum was supposed to open, but they opened it early anyway. I was the first person to the top!

I got the trick right away at BRITISH OPEN. (I just watched "The Open", as they call it now, a couple of weeks ago, why did they change the name? Dagnabit you youngsters stop changing things.) This was quite a contrast to yesterday, where the troublesome theme invited ~165 comments! Reading the comments was almost worth the theme problems.

Four Japanese clue/answers! TORII, EEL ROLL, KYOTO, ROE.

[Spelling Bee: Wed. pg-1, missing a 6er.]

Chaiminded 1:34 AM  


Joe Dipinto 2:45 AM  

Like a lover, the velvet moon
Shares your pillow and watches while you sleep
Its light arrives on tiptoe
Gently taking you in its embrace

Yes Rex, "wrap it up and put a bow on it" is metaphorical. Why no Japan-related clue for YEN— did Will Shortz stamp his foot and say, "four is enough"?

ESP-Disk was the name of an out-there record label from the 60's and 70's. It released a lot of free jazz, folk, avant-garde and miscellaneous weird stuff. ESP stood for Esperanto. Apparently the label was revived recently.

Yesterday UHURa; today SCOTT. ("She can't take any more, she's gonna blow, Captain!")

I did like the POP-UP SHOPS. I guess in real life they do fade away.

Loren Muse Smith 2:48 AM  

This wasn’t as easy for me as it was for Rex. I got HERE’S PING early on and, with magnificent disregard to spelling *and* the presence of that P, thought the theme was some kind of “lost hope” deal. In my defense, I was distracted by CNN and the spectacle of that prince-among-men, Alex Jones. Jeez Louise.

That I confidently had “tar” for the stuff Cubans are full of didn’t help. Bet I’m not alone.

Fun to have SPURT and SPEW sharing the grid. I looked at those words for a while, settling in to discern the slight difference. SPEW I guess is longer-lasting, right? Teens experience a GROWTH SPURT. Could there be such thing as a growth spew? It suggests something much messier and more menacing, but maybe I’ve seen too many dermatological TikTok spectacles.

EEL ROLL feels vaguely yoga-some. Now melt into the mat and surrender to the EEL ROLL pose. Inhale to lengthen… that’s right. Perfect. Tuck in your tail bone, MOIRA. Good, good. Hi, @Lewis. Just kidding love ya mwah.

Seriously, though. . . I just visited my son and daughter-in-law in Durham, and they treated me to lunch at Sushi Love, one of those sushi places with a list of 234 kinds of uramaki rolls with startling ingredients. And they’re all bogo. My favorite was the beef-wellington-stuffed otter roll with chia seeds and muddled asparagus.

Who knew that OTTERs are related to wolverines? Badgers and polecats are also in this family. Hah. I guess the OTTERs got disgusted by all the violence, moved away into little communes and started floating around on their backs holding hands, the conscientious objectors of their ilk.

CRAN – Every few weeks, I have to procure a bottle of Great Value cran-pomegranate juice and a bottle of straight pomegranate juice. Mom has this involved system of mixing them in a specific ratio, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what this wards off. Every morning she also ingests 6 almonds that have soaked in water and 9 golden raisins that have soaked in gin. No. Really. I don’t know why I’m laughing; I was right there with her during our food-grade flea-killer phase, dissolving it in water and drinking it once a day for thicker hair. All fun and games until Mom started growing hair out of her temples. Nothing will stop you from drinking flea-killer faster than noticing that you’re growing another set of eyebrows.

Rex – enjoy LA and your continued well-deserved vacation.

Anonymous 3:22 AM  

Spent way too much time thinking this was a rebus with SHO in one square… until the app told me I hadn’t finished it yet, at which point I frantically tried every combination of moving the rebus around, just doing one of the letters, etc… *face palm*

Anonymous 4:16 AM  

as a zoomer, i use “esp” all the time in texts, but calling it an abbreviation feels wonky like just indicate its slangy/text-y some other way???

Conrad 5:15 AM  

WOOSH! Or if you prefer, WHOOSH! That's the sound of the theme going over my head. Hand up for @Kevan Harris, @Anon3:22 thinking the theme was a [SHO] rebus, read as a simple [S] on the downs. Luckily, I was lazy and only entered the [S], so when I finished I got the happy music.

@LMS: LOL about the conscientious objector otters!

Anonymous 5:30 AM  

Same as others, I toyed around with the SHO/HOP rebus potential before it became clear the puzzle was all inline. A little bit of a letdown actually (after being primed with the gad-awful stealth rebus of yesterday), but a way more entertaining solve that much better fit the pattern of trying to figure out why the obvious patterns don’t fit. Bit of a waste in the end, actually, as this is really how a good rebus aught to be done. Anyway.

Got hung up on a few small tangles of my own doing in the fill, but it was clean (nothing felt overly forced). The presence of a theme became clear enough, yet kept me guessing enough to be a challenge—and the revealer actually did its job to help sort that all out. Easier for a Thursday, but still took me a little over my average time with the misdirects in my guessing. Good puzzling.

GeorgiaM 5:49 AM  

Ha, I had "hop" rebuses, wondering why the downs didn't make sense.

Anonymous 6:33 AM  

Hypos is a popular term in the legal field. I'm sure Ella's father has peppered here with these throughout her life...

OffTheGrid 6:44 AM  

Major point deductions on the theme. In BRITIS(HO)PEN, the H ends the first word and the O begins the second word. In HERES(HO)PING and GRASS(HO)PPER the H and the O are both part of the second word.

Phillyrad1999 7:07 AM  

Theme and revealer executed in an appropriately clever way. Over all an easier than average Thursday. Maybe though Baby Carrier should have been clued with a “?”

OffTheGrid 7:10 AM  

The missing HO's can be found in HOY, EUPHORIA, AND SHOVE.

kitshef 7:11 AM  

Never heard of HYPOS as defined today. I'm betting that's true for 99.64% of the population.

Nice to see AAH defined correctly, for a change.

Love the long downs GROWTH SPURT and HIGH SPIRITS.

Surprised at the ‘easy’ rating. I thought this was harder than 90% of Thursdays.

Anonymous 7:15 AM  

Maybe ESP is short for “Especially”, which makes sense for the clue, but I wouldn’t call it an abbreviation.

JJK 7:20 AM  

I’m in the crowd who didn’t get the theme until I read Rex’s write up and put in “hop” rebuses, which didn’t make much sense. The theme is much more clever than that, and I’m sorry I didn’t get it. Maybe I would have if I’d known BRITISHOPEN but my ignorance of all things sports reared its head once again. I was trying for something having to do with St Andrews and that got me nowhere.

Anyway, have fun in LA, Rex!

Wanderlust 7:33 AM  

So good to have you back here. It think you could ruff hilariously on ANY answer in the grid. I think we should give you a random word from the grid every day and see what you come up with. BOPP. Go….

Anonymous 7:42 AM  

I like Shaun’s “Rumble Ponies” shirt!!

Lewis 7:42 AM  

Playfulness all around. There it is in the clues for HAM, UFO, PSI, BOOKS, and in the stops along the solving journey itself – food, sex, EUPHORIA, poker, and even dance (with the lovely en pointe answer ON TIPTOE). There it is in the reveal itself – POP UP SHOP!

That thorny theme is playful as well, in how the SHOP letters hop around. In Ella's last puzzle, where she made chair shapes out of titles of musicals for the reveal MUSICAL CHAIRS – her first solo puzzle – there was similar letter meandering fun.

I liked the “in particular” clue for ESP – it’s only been used a handful of times out of that answer’s 512 appearances in the NYT, and for that reason feels fresh. I was also amazed to see that this is the first time BRITISH OPEN has appeared in a NYT puzzle in its 80 years.

This puzzle made my brain and soul happy – thank you so much for it, Ella!

Wanderlust 7:45 AM  

Also harder for me than for Rex. I also started with TAR and took a while to give it up.

BRITISH OPEN - soon to be renamed the Saudi Open if some unbelievably greedy and amoral golfers have their way.

Funny to see a STORK right above the late lamented ROE. I think Alito and company probably believe that’s really how babies come to us. No accidents, no rapes, nothing but a happy family eagerly awaiting that bundle being dropped down the chimney. And as for that G-SPOT - let’s pretend that doesn’t exist.

Anonymous 7:50 AM  

@OffTheGrid: GRASSHOPPER is one word.

Son Volt 7:55 AM  

Fun time with this - maybe a little too straightforward in terms of Thursday trickery. The revealer was apt and well placed.

LIESL getting a lot of play recently. The TORII x COCO cross was a complete back-in for me. The G SPOT - SAT ATOP cross piqued my interest. Alan Hale of Hale-BOPP fame did not play the skipper. CURER is awkward.

Make the most of your life - while it is RIFE while it is light

Enjoyable Thursday solve.

Michael 7:55 AM  

All new PR for Thursday, very breezy with my only pause on TONGS of all things. Reusing that LIESL from earlier.

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

I use ESP all the time, ESP in texts, as short for "especially." And I'm no youngster. I think the clue is spot on and Rex should recognize it as current usage, or in-the-language, or whatever they say.

B Right There 8:05 AM  

We'll, I need to start Looking at the durn grid before giving up! I totally missed the HOP squares popping up around what I had as a "S/HOP" (S for the Down word, HOP for the Across) rebus. Therefore thought the revealer should have been cOrnerSHOP. Was absolutely sure that 35A ("Fingers crossed") should have been (rebus)HOPEto...something, so that indicated 35D to start with an S for SuPOS. What the heck?, says sleepy brain. I s'pose that had I been more awake, I should have taken another look there. Anyway, that also gave me a t for 26D so it took forever to get CURER for my shaman. My erroneous t from Hope to... suggested CitER. Um, sure, they recite certain ritualistic words in their ceremonies, don't they? Wake up, brain! Many other mis-steps:. mica for OPAL, ired for SORE, sNeaking for ONTIPTOE, randb (again repeated from yesterday) for AFROS. I was at sea. A real struggle. 12D OMEN still doesn't feel right as clued. 45D (Has reservations about/BOOKS) also doesn't feel appropriate. Shouldn't it be reservations 'for'? So, bummer. In general, thought I was on to things with my S/HOP rebus, straightened out many of my above-mentioned errors, thought at that point that it was a nice, crunchy Thursday workout, but got done in by 35A. : (

Zed 8:16 AM  

I’m curious, what do you all think “abbreviation” means?

Hand up for tar before HAM. Hand up for trying a SHO rebus, but I did suss it out when I had POP filled in and looked at the revealer clue. I liked it.

Somebody asked about puzzle genres yesterday, “the theme answer changes directions” is one.

Are we past the age of UFO EUPHORIA?

@LMS - OTTERs are gaslighting you. All playful and charming until you’re not paying attention too closely and then their murderous side comes out.
OTOH - I also had a momentary flicker of “what would that yoga pose look like?” I blame my son, not @Lewis, though.

Not surprisingly, I think this is far better a puzzle than anything we’ve seen this week and so disagree with Chen’s POW award.

mmorgan 8:18 AM  

I found this tough, challenging, and lots of fun. And it accomplished something I see very rarely: it featured a clever and impressive construction gimmick that actually helped me solve the puzzle. That almost never happens, so please, Ella, take a BOW!

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

That’s Rex in the M shirt no?

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

Let’s pour one out for Liesl https://www.vontrappbrewing.com/

alexscott68 8:52 AM  

@okanaganer It has never been “The British Open” to anyone in Britain. It’s always been The Open Championship, or more familiarly, The Open. Americans referred to it as The British Open to distinguish it from the later US Open. At some point the Brits got annoyed with this and started insisting they call it by its proper name.

Carola 9:07 AM  

Easy, yes, except...I didn't notice the HOs above the S and Ps until after I had the reveal; before that, like some others, I'd tried to figure out how a Thursday rebus was working. But lo and behold, there they were, having POPped UP as they were supposed to. I thought GROWTH SPURTS and HIGH SPIRITS made a great pair, as did the complementary EUPHORIA and ON TIPTOE for different sorts of HIGHs.

Help from previous puzzles: RAIMI, TORII, OH SNAP. No idea: MOIRA.

@Wanderlust 7:45 - I appreciated your comment about the STORK.

Nancy 9:08 AM  

I spent the first few minutes of my solve wondering if anyone, anywhere, had ever called the BRITISH OPEN the "BRITS OPEN". I was pretty sure that no one ever had. If only I'd watched it a few weeks ago, but I didn't. (Explanation to come.)

But I wrote in the "S" anyway -- which left me with PSs for the "inflation spec" at 4D. The "inflation" of a letter or email, maybe? A constructor can always hide his Thursday trick in an obscure crossing abbreviation. I'm not really sure what PSI stands for.

I didn't figure it out until HERE'[SHOP]ING. I then went back and changed the "S" to an "I".

I knew there were extra "H"s, "O"s and "P"s ATOP some answers. I hadn't yet noticed the extra "S"s. And I still didn't know why they were all there.

I liked the revealer ALLOT once I got to it. I hated the "You just got burned! clue. What on earth does that mean? And at times I felt as though I was solving in Tokyo (55A; 59A; 51D). Also -- do you you use TONGS to "flip" stuff? I thought you used them to move stuff in and out of hot places. Didn't like the TONGS clue.

But the clues for ON TIPTOE and STORK were nice.

More about not watching the BRITISH OPEN in my next post. This one's running long. And btw, I found this puzzle fairly tough.

JD 9:28 AM  

Like @Nancy, This was on the tough side for me. Things went south in the south when it went to the East with Kyoto and Torii. Eel Roll filled itself in.

However, @Nancy, I learned Oh Snap and Burned from my kids (now in their 30s) when they were in middle/high school. Someone might say, "I aced chemistry." Then someone might say, "Cause you cheated off me dude!" And then everyone might yell, "Oh Snap, Burned!" That one was for the Millennials

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

I interpreted finishing touch as bow as in “take a bow” (rhymes with cow) - kinda works that way too, right

TJS 9:35 AM  

Interesting puzzle. Lots of stuff that usually annoys me like names crossing names (Moira/Sasha/Tesla) and foreign cuisine questions (eelroll/roe)and oddball fake words (ubend/hypos). But this was, as @Z says, the POW.

Sometimes the stuff OFL has never heard of or is annoyed by is way more interesting to me than what he likes.

Great to have @LMS back. Hope you enjoy the rest of your Summer Break.

Who can forget "Coco ? I can't, because I never heard of it.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

For those who had "tar" instead of HAM, don't feel bad. I put "rum" (morning brain decided that Cuban could be some relative of a Cuba Libre).

Nancy 9:35 AM  

Why I didn't watch the BRITISH OPEN this year:

It's the oldest golf tournament in the world. It's the birthplace of golf, in fact. And while the tournament is not always played at St. Andrews, St. Andrews is considered the premier and most venerable British golf course. True golf nuts like my brother worship at the altar of St. Andrews.

I am not a golf nut. But I do admire history and tradition and, with the weather hot and humid in NYC the weekend it was being played, I thought I'd watch some of it. "Some" of a major tournament for a non-golf nut like me consists (at most) of half of the second to last day (Saturday) and half of the last day (Sunday.)

St Andrews is what's known as a "links" course. All the traditional British courses are. They run along a beach, with ridiculously deep traps, and pretty much no other defining features. Few trees, few if any water holes (the ocean, especially on a windy day, is all the water you need.)

Every hole looked the same to me. Scruffy. Drab. Colorless. Sort of dour, as the Scots are sometimes said to be. I found myself dreaming of the beautiful golf courses I never miss watching. Augusta (the Masters) and Pebble Beach, to name two of my faves. Every hole is breathtaking. Every hole is different.

My eyes glazed over. My mind wandered. And soon I turned it off.

So perhaps that's why I didn't know this morning whether anyone had ever called the BRITISH OPEN "the BRITS OPEN".

DrBB 9:40 AM  

Easy for me too EXCEPT for the NW. Got the HOP thing early on--seen various versions of that before--but couldn't call up BRITISH after getting -ISHOPEN and that jammed that corner up for me for quite a while.

RooMonster 9:55 AM  

Hey All !
GRASSHOPPERS need to be renamed. Somewhere along their evolution they grew wings (yes, we have winged GRASSHOPPERS out here in Las Vegas), so they should be called GRASSFLYERS.

@okanaganer - I bet I know which word you missed from YesterBee. What in tarhooties was that? So much for leaving out obscure words...

Interesting puz. Had the misdirect that Rex and others had after getting first Themer, seeing the SHO going up, then trying the same thing for the second Themer. Then saw how it was supposed to go, but Then thought the HO would only be in the Revealer, so took a second to see that the whole SHOP was included. These things take time. 😁

Didn't find it easy like Rex. Sticky spots in SW corner, and a bit in SCenter. Even the little NW was kinda tough.

Clues for the Themers as they appear:
Names your writing implement after Ms. Spears? - BRIT IS PEN
Line in the Japanese version of "The Shining"? - HERES PING
Stuttered the word for seizing? GRASSPPER

Keep the groans to a dull roar!

*Warning! Crude joke ahead!*
Seeing GSPOT gives me a GROWTH SPURT.. 🤣

yd -8, should'ves 3

Two F's

pmdm 9:56 AM  

I liked the theme so much I almost liked the puzzle, but the PPP persuaded me to ultimately give a thumbs down to the construction. Too bad.

To respond to Z, to me "abbreviation" means a shortening of an object.

No reason to say more.

Whatsername 10:04 AM  

Well for the second day in a row I spent an awful lot of time thinking WTF? On the difficult side without looking up some of the more arcane trivia. Couldn’t get anything to fit in the themers so finally ended up with a SHO rebus and even after the revealer, never did get the POPUP part of the SHOP. 🤷🏻‍♀️ It was clever and well executed though and no fault of the puzzle.

Tom T 10:05 AM  

Played as a medium for me. Slow start, then moving smoothly after I caught on to the trick. I had the HOP rebuses for too long.

TONGS are very useful for turning/flipping pieces of meat on the grill, and some veggies, too, like asparagus and eggplant.

It just finally dawned on me why a couple of folks thought that Cubans were full of "tar." Ah, cigars! I got HAM right away, having lived for over a decade in Louisiana and over two decades in S. Florida. Don't see so many muffalettas in the Pacific Northwest, where I now reside. Maybe I'll see one at a POP UP SHOP one day.

Nice puzzle. Fine write-up, Rex. Take a BOW and enjoy LA.

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

Rebus rabbit hole. Up, over, back?

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

After re-reading the answers, it feels like there is an underlying “sex” theme going on here.

beverly c 10:20 AM  

It took a tour through almost the entire puzzle to get my first answers at LIESLE and PGA! Building from the bottom I found the revealer first, and knew we were in for a direction change. HERESHOPING showed how it was done and the puzzle came together.

I was lost in the NW. I didn’t know that poker term, not a fan of Schitt. Questlove or Batiste who? Golf tournaments? Cubans are cigars, and I thought they might be cocktails too, but didn’t guess sandwich. Even the Model Y clue had me wondering - weren’t there K cars in the 70’s? Maybe there were Ys too?

Actually I’m pretty pleased I solved this!
STORK! HIGHSPIRITS and GROWTHSPURT both vertical! If only GROWTHSPURT was backwards.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

Really really really easy for me, but then I'm really really really a lot smarter than anybody else who wastes time posting here. Really!

bocamp 10:29 AM  

Thx, Ella, for the Thurs. SHOPping expedition! :)


Definitely not on Ella's wavelength; was all over the place on this one.

Only got SORE & SASHA in the NW; had to come at the end to finish it off.

Knew TORII from SB.

POPping in POP-UP SHOP was a big help with the themers.

Fun adventure; liked it! :)
Peace 🙏 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Joseph Michael 10:30 AM  

Easy? Not for me, ESP in the SW with the Disney film crossing the shinto gate. But when the HOP rebus turned into a structural SHOP, the resulting aha! felt good.

This seems to be LIESL Week at the NYT. Maybe she’s on her way to becoming the new OREO.

Ghosts who haunt taverns and sample the wares might be HIGH SPIRITS.

GILL I. 10:32 AM  

I had several Sisyphean moments with this puzzle. The climb with a boulder on my shoulder started with 1A. Cubans are full of plenty of things. The sandwich in question, though, is called a "Cubano." It does have HAM, but the star of the show is the puerco.
POBOY...another sandwich. I wanted to squeeze a beignet during my moment of trying to figure out what cleverness would behold me.
MOIRA and BOPP left me dangling on a cliff.
Move away and go find a GLADE to re-gather my thoughts.
I figured it had to be the BRITISH OPEN but I still was in a dark space. My Eureka and a bit of my EUPHORIA moment came to me staring at HERES PING. AAH...it's a SHOP. Sometimes just looking at the letters that seem to not want to appear, do. I reached the top but with a lot of effort.
I didn't exactly find this easy. I really had to think in spots. Rather than agonize over some of the words not popping into my head, I went with the obvious (HOY, DWAYNE GSPOT and so on)....Then I read the reveal and just filled in SHOP. Wait to fill in the beginning and go about my business.
Little by little words began to flow. Easy in some "spots", hard in others.
I think this was a good and well architected puzzle.
PS...@Loren and @Zed. I don't understand why Cubans are full of TAR? Am I missing something?

Beezer 10:41 AM  

Yep, I agree this should get POW even though I had HOP rebus squares until I came to POPUPSHOP and it STILL took me awhile because I briefly thought “pop-ups hop” (kind of like “up pops hop” 🤣) I pretty much had no trouble with the grid other than figuring out which way The Rock spelled his real name, and it took me forever to figure out BOW.

@JD yeah, I’m not sure whether was “devised” by elder Millennials or late Gen Xers but I heard it first used by both categories.

@Z, I pretty much think of the term abbreviation the way you do because ESP gave me no pause. Um, isn’t it often used in dictionaries?

So. I realize Scotland is part of Great Britain but went to Google before I commented and found quite a few hits that say people from Scotland prefer to be called Scottish (big surprise, /s). I wonder if there will ever be a name change to the Scottish Open?

Hack mechanic 10:42 AM  

Easy except for the NW corner. Not a golfer, never heard of questlove, jon batiste or mothers on schitts creek. Total natick

Dan Tuller 10:49 AM  

Nobody's mentioned a major flaw of the puzzle!

Only one of the three theme answers -- just the middle one -- has its SHOP 'pop up' following an UP in the answer above it.

Specifically, the SHOP in HERE'S HOPING 'pops up' following the UP in EUPHORIA.

I figured that had to be part of the puzzle theme, so I wrote UPs in corresponding places for the answers above the other two themers.

Took me a while to undo that!

Mike Herlihy 10:55 AM  

ESP shows up frequently in dictionaries when discussing the usage of words.

Gary Jugert 11:05 AM  

Frost's still a lot, eh @TJS? But rhyming's the silver lining... or EASEL which rhymes with everything if you're a German teen.

Behold the thumb.

-Cubans have HAM? Di'n't know ma'am.
-G-spot in a puzzle! So hot... not.
-Tastiest dish was UFO. Ho ho ho. (Themer?)
-Raimi who? Boo.
-I OTTER know wolverines aren't X-men then?
-I like Dwayne (in the main).
-I'm planning on saying, "Great Scott!" a lot.
-To do a 20's puzzle, we need Moira euphoria.
-AWW, then AAW, then AAH. Gah.
-Hoy, the joy of @SouthsideJohnny
-LIESL, easel (sorta), geez, von Trapp week.
-Storks don't carry babies. NYTXW WRONG!!!! :-)
-Tobiko roe just mo' and mo'. Yo, nobody know.
-Torii new to me. Gee, awful pretty.
-ATIT 'n' INON begone.
-What's THAT ain't phat.
-Just now got "Inflation spec." Heck. Not dreck.
-EEL ROLL gave me an eye roll.
-CURER is pure(r) putrid(er).
-GROWTH SPURT is expert.
-Ornithomancy sounds super fancy.
-Kyoto's Nijo Castle by Tokugawa shogunate. Gr8.

Theme was annoying, hardly buoying.

Here's PING our lonely NYTXW editors and their Tee-Hees (LNETHS) can find some HIGH SPIRITS or DOPES. Their puzz-ing is fuzzing, They must need a BOPP on their GSPOPP.


1 Carmex.
2 Golf fanatic's dog's collar bauble.
3 Teen who sneaks out.
4 Folder label for RWNJ Covid cures.
5 Sociologist describing bibliophile's perch.


Bob 11:10 AM  

I thought the clues were above average in cleverness and challenge. Lots of empty space after going through the acrosses. Really enjoyed it,

Nancy 11:21 AM  

Cuban , @GILL. @Tom T mentioned this at 10:10, before you posted today. I guess that's called a "prequel" response.

egsforbreakfast 11:40 AM  

If Miss von Trapp married Vin she’d be LIESL Diesel.

Clues for 9A and 9D kinda sorta work if flipped around.

Yoga synopsis: UBEND until EUPHORIA.


Nice theme idea. Easy fill. Thoroughly enjoyable. Thanks, Ella Dershowitz.

mathgent 11:44 AM  

"Tar" is the name of some of the residue left when tobacco is burned. It's different from the material used on roads.

Wonderful puzzle. Great kick when I saw the little boxes holding SHOP.

I really am losing it. I had PO?OY at 4A and didn't see POBOY, an entry which has been in the puzzle many times.

sixtyni yogini 11:52 AM  

Ditto, 🦖!
But really liked it, More easy medium here. Loved all the Japonoiserie in lower half. 🇯🇵 🤗🇯🇵
The somewhat easiness of fill with clever clueing balanced the time spent figuring out the shop-hop placement/theme.
POPUPSHOP - very cool 😎!

B Right There 12:01 PM  

Just two final wrongs that I forgot to list. edSel for TESLA. I know, it makes no sense. Did I mention brain was asleep this morning? And hyenaS for OTTERS. That one made alot of sense to me and I wouldn't give it up until proven otherwise.

puzzlehoarder 12:06 PM  

I found this to be a somewhat challenging solve. The NW was mostly blank even though I could throw in answers like MOIRA, BOPP and SASHA reflexively. A big part of the difficulty was thinking a Cuban was some kind of mixed drink and 1A should be ruM. Another out of left field problem was my lousy print out of the puzzle had a random line in it that made the 4A clue read "Order in New___Orleans." This was indecipherable to me and completely contradicted what would have been an obvious POBOY clue. Also my LIE/LIP write over didn't help either.

The GRASSHOPPER section was where the puzzle opened up. That area got off to a good start because after years of solving I finally have LIESL down cold.

While POPUPSHOP wasn't hard to see I have always called them pop up stores.

Backfilling the NW was a true OHSNAP moment when I discovered how easy it actually was after it had initially stumped me.

Since GRASSHOPPER was my first themer l expected some kind of "HOPping" up and over theme since the "HOP" part literally does that. The revealer kindly showed up next and disabused me of that little misdirect.

The British don't call it The BRITISH OPEN? Who knew? Certainly not me. You couldn't wipe a fly's ass with what I know or think of golfing.

The above paragraphs aren't in an ESP coherent order but I don't have time to fix that.

yd -0, dbyd + Mon -0, Sun pg -4, Sat -0

GILL I. 12:38 PM  

@Tom T 10:10 @Nancy 11:21 and @mathgent 11:44. AHH..OK so now I see.
Cubans are full of a lot of things I can think of but none of them fall into a 3 letter category.
We're full of beans; we're full of mojo; we're full of fandango; we're full of rum from a "Cuba libra"...but TAR never entered me cabeza.
I still haven't gone back to my beloved island that we fled in 1961. I said I would wait until Fidel died and then I would see. Well he'd dead but his brother Raul - while far more progressive than his brother - still doesn't allow much freedom of anything....Communist still to the core. If it weren't for tourism, this beautiful island would be nothing.
At least Che died a very inglorious death!

Bitter 12:41 PM  

I also had "hop" rebuses. I figured the revealer would somehow explain why "hop" replaced "p" in the downs... but alas "Pop Up Shop" just left me confused.

okanaganer 1:06 PM  

@RooMonster; yd missed this 6er (though I had tried a couple of times my own personal variant spelling with an N in it). Also it's frustrating that it seems to be a proper noun; in the Wiki article it is always capitalized.

Nancy 1:14 PM  

@GILL (12:38) -- You sure don't "see" TAR because of me. I had written "Cuban cigar" in my post, but the word "cigar" was somehow left out. Did I inadvertently hit the key that turns things blue and then erases them? (I hate that key, btw!!) Have no idea, but thanks for thinking that I was actually of any help:)

For the teensy handful of people here who actually WILL be interested:

I boldly went for the "phrace" -- which I almost never do; I go for letter distribution -- on Phrazle #2 today. And I came so, so, so close. When the first two words came in, I was sure I had it. Only I didn't.

Phrazle 216: 2/6
🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 ⬜🟩⬜🟩⬜🟨

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

Can anyone guess what my first guess was? Bet you can.

bigsteve46 1:29 PM  

Weird: sometimes - not often, but sometimes- Rex has a puzzle "medium" or even "challenging" that I, if not "breeze" through, but find reasonably doable - and I'm no all-star solver. This one is labeled "easy" - and it ate me alive. I just didn't know any of the proper names and couldn't figure out stuff that should have been obvious. Oh well, as Annie sang, "The sun is coming up tomorrow ..." (I hope!!)

Anonymous 1:31 PM  


Chip Hilton 1:32 PM  

Definitely not easy here as I wrongly assumed it was a rebus with SHO in one square. Stupid on my part as it would’ve had to be SHOP to work with the revealer. I enlisted help from my wife who had already worked out the HO over SP deal and, from then on, I progressed rather nicely. Clever construction, I’m happy to concede.

@Nancy: I agree, links courses can look pretty awful on tv. But, having played several of the great ones, including St. Andrew’s Old Course, I can assure you, in person, they are beyond spectacular. The beautifully maintained courses we see on the PGA tour have their charm, but, if you want to experience golf in its original natural form, the links courses of the British Isles are a must. My personal favorites: Royal Dornoch and Royal St. George’s (which looks awful on the tube but is an absolute paradise to play).

Peter P 1:49 PM  

I'm puzzled by the comments that ESP is not an abbreviation. It is quite literally an abbreviation, i.e. "a shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase." (Dictionary.com). Also in dictionary.com, this: "esp. abbreviation 1. especially." Or Merriam-Webster: "esp abbreviation especially". This is hardly a new abbreviation, in my experience.

Overall, this puzzle kicked my butt. I just wasn't on its wavelength and was trying to make rebuses fit where they wouldn't. I should have known better, but I just wasn't in the mood to plow through.

Unknown 4:14 PM  

I was playing with the rebuses, and it wasn't until I got rid of them and just went with the letter that fit into the down clue that I got the music. So the rebus made this skew hard for me, but overall I thought it was a fair Thursday, and certainly clued along Thursday lines.

I have eaten a lot of Cubanos in my life, and never heard of a "Cuban." Perhaps a regional thing?

And anyone remotely familiar with the legal field would have gotten HYPOS right away. I guess it's all about the wheelhouse. I did think that if I were a new solver and not really familiar with the rebus, that this puzzle would have been a killer.

Anonymous 4:39 PM  

Gimmick puzzles are simply detestable.

Anonymous 4:42 PM  

Bow refers to the bow a performer takes.

other david 4:55 PM  

I really, really wanted 40A, One of "them", to be "ant".

Anonymous 5:34 PM  

"Cubans are full of it." Did the constructor or Will Shortz even READ that clue out loud to realize what it sounds like?

So, what are "Cubans" full of? Do they mean what are Cuban cigars full of? HAM?? Nah. Or perhaps Cuban people are each walking around with a government-issued slice of ham shoved in their mouths all day? This is a disgusting and exceptionally obnoxious clue.

Anonymous 6:30 PM  

It’s a Cuban sandwich ingredient

pabloinnh 6:47 PM  

Quick vacation to the sunny shores of Maine where it is 90, but not in the ocean. Solving online, which I hate, but at least I didn't have to try to jam in a rebus.

Easy enough, some good stuff, but the highlight of course is the OTTER.

Thanks for the fun, ED. Not Extra Difficult, but a smooth enough ride, even without my trusty Ticonderoga # 2, the one with the good eraser.

Now off to find some seafood.

Anonymous 7:01 PM  

Sorry you’re wrong. This was not “easy”. End of story

Anonymous 8:33 PM  

A present for Anon 5:34:

Cubans skit

Anonymous 8:47 PM  

the dictionary uses this abbr. frequently. i always thought of it as "especially", but "in particular" is an aha moment & feeling for me. ❣️👋🖖

LateSolver 9:02 PM  

I guess I'm in the minority that had an easier time yesterday than today (seems I am always opposite to Rex). The SW was the last to go, with the COCO/TORII cross being the sticking point for me - haven't seen any Pixar movies.

Joe Dipinto 9:20 PM  

@pablo 6:47 – Here.

Anonymous 9:29 PM  

If it weren't for tourism, this beautiful island would be nothing.

true fact: before Castro, if it weren't for Mafia tourism and gambling, the beautiful island was nothing. at least now Cubans get real education and healthcare. lots of 'Muricans living in the hollers don't get either. if you want Social Darwinism, vote Trump (or whoever he's backing this week), but don't expect Joe Sixpack and his friends to actually have a better life as a result.

Anonymous 9:38 PM  

To me, the trick was in “pop up,” not hop

GILL I. 10:27 PM  

@Anony 9:29
It's late but maybe you'll see this.
I sincerely don't need any lecturing on pre or post Fidel. The people we knew waited anxiously for Castro to take over Batista's Mafia/gambling/prostitution/horrendous treatment of the poor...I don't need to go on.
He came in to Havana like a knight in shining armor...we all regaled ; it didn't last very long.
It would take a tome for me to describe the incredible harm he actually did during his process to liberate people in the Batista camp. I'll spare you.
He gave the poor medicine. He gave the poor an education (if they wanted it). He gave the poor homes that belonged to those that fled. He gave a lot of hope.
In the meantime everything crumbled; Russia bailed out...no money to feed anyone. No money for hospitals. No money coming in for all the wonderful things Cuba could actually produce. Buildings crumbling. No cars or decent roads to drive on. Medicine in hard supply...not even a decent pot of black beans or rice could be found without money. No money...
Except....the Mafia. They left a legacy. Smuggle, lie, and grease palms to get what you need. Money can always be smuggled in, people will find a way to open a restaurant in their homes; a pig and rice and beans can be bought for a price...and the beat goes on.
It was truly bad when Russia left them in the lurch. People fleeing in make-shift boats and rafts. So may deaths to deal with.
Today, tourism has saved this island from starvation.
All the education, free housing, equality amongst the people, can never truly repair the spirit of the people who lived under Fidel. Maybe there's a silver lining with the young if the elders can teach them.
Batista was a thug beyond belief. Castro had a dream that became a nightmare in the end.
Maybe someday.....It will be a happy, safe, and prosperous island that I will dare return to.

A 10:52 PM  

PSEUDO EUPHORIA sounds like an Indie band whose big hit is “I’ll Have What She’s Having”

Medium-easy except for the NE, where DuANE led me to reluctantly fill in "a YOuTH SPoRT for what a teen experiences. Minutes ticked by before I was whacked over the head with the TIRE iron. But it was worth it - imagining @Rex’s reaction to “A YOUTH SPORT.”

Jaded after yesterday, I chose to lay in wait for the prey rather than go rebus hunting. So other than the aforementioned NW gaffe, my only write over was the edsel/TESLA trap. And I consider myself a car enthusiast -sigh.

@LMS, thank you for another hilarious post. Muddled asparagus and OTTERs being the conscientious objectors of their ilk - the world should BOW to your genius!

My yoga thought: U BEND. I CANT.

Sorry, LIESL, if you’re ON TIPTOE and using GRASSPPER TONGS to get to them, you’re too young to have the HIGH SPIRITS. Wait ’til you’re eighteen to taste your first champagne. The sun has gone to bed and so must I.

Brava, Ms. Dershowitz.

A 11:58 PM  

@GILL, glad I stayed up long enough to see your 10:27 post. And if you ever write that tome I'll read it.

albatross shell 12:09 AM  

GRASSPPER has a UBEND in it, yes?
If you are too literal-minded turn it upside-down.

Anonymous 12:17 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joel R. 1:22 AM  

I use the abbreviation "esp." routinely every day in e-mail when I want to say "especially." Why would that be such a mystery, Rex?

As for "BOW" as the answer to "Finishing touch, so to speak," it suggests to me not a ribbon-type bow on a present but rather the *bow* (rhymes with "cow") that a musician, magician, or other performer takes at the end of his or her onstage performance.

Puzzled 9:47 AM  

Realize I’m a day late and a dollar short with this comment, but did Rex even get the theme? He didn’t mention anything about the HOs popping up over the theme answers? I didn’t figure that out and still don’t get the theme. Isn’t this more of POP UP HO? SHOP doesn’t pop up, HO pops up.

Amerivend Works 7:43 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 12:47 AM  

Jon Batiste… doesn’t have an AFRO. I got stuck on this clue because it’s, well, wrong. There’s really not one Black person that Will Shortz knows who he could fact check that on?

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