Product-testing nonprofit since 1936 / TUE 8-2-22 / Late-night show starting in 2003 / Moon-landing acronym / Vaccine shot in British lingo

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Constructor: Jay Kaskel and Daniel Kantor

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: REPEAT AFTER ME (36A: Swearing-in words ... or a hint to 17-, 22-, 48- and 55-Across) — in each theme answer, a letter "repeats" after the letter string "ME" ... I think that's it

Theme answers:
  • FOR OLD TIMES' SAKE (17A: In remembrance of former days)
  • STEAMED DUMPLING (22A: Dim sum serving)
  • CONSUMER REPORTS (48A: Product-testing nonprofit since 1936)
  • "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE" (55A: Late-night show starting in 2003)
Word of the Day: KRONA (4D: Swedish currency) —
  1. 1. 
    the basic monetary unit of Sweden, equal to 100 ΓΆre.
  2. 2. 
    the basic monetary unit of Iceland, equal to 100 aurar. (google / Oxford Languages)
• • •

Hello again from Lake Michigan. The write-ups for these next three days (T, W, Th) really are going to be shorter than usual because timing ... is just ... hard when you're on vacation. Drinking and eating and socializing really horns in on your crossword time, it turns out. So I'm sitting here just after 10pm writing fairly frantically while my wife and friends are all sitting around planning tomorrow's adventures. I could get up at 4:30am like at home but LOL that is not happening on this particular vacation. There's a reason I normally have people cover for me on vacation, and cover for me they will once my vacation switches VENUEs (headed to Los Angeles on Friday). But for now, you get squibs. Is that the word? Squib? Maybe I mean "stub," I don't know. Definitely not "squab," which is some kind of small fowl, I think. Onward!

It's possible I'm missing something today, because I don't see what makes this particular concept special. A double letter following "ME," is that really it"? I thought maybe the repeated letters would spell some relevant ... something, but no. S + D + R + L, that doesn't spell anything I'm familiar with. I have no idea how high or low the difficulty bar is here. Seems like there must be a million phrases that feature "ME" and then repeated letters. Today, the repeated letters break across two words every time (that is, the first of the pair (e.g. the "R" in "CONSUMER") is the last letter in a word and the second of the pair (e.g. the "R" in "REPORTS") is the first letter of the next word. That's ... something. But it's not a particularly flashy or even noticeable thing. The concept just doesn't feel tight enough. Also, there should be no other "ME"s in a puzzle like this. If the theme is REPEAT AFTER ME, then that should hold for all "ME"s in the grid, which is why "ME"s should occur only in themers. But there are, of course, other "ME"s, like in MEATS. Eliminating all non-theme "ME"s from the grid is a way to make the whole theme seem more elegant. And it wouldn't have been hard to do. The grid is not tough to fill—in fact, the fill really could be saucier and more interesting overall, given how little pressure the theme puts on the grid. Mostly what we get is very familiar and predominantly dull stuff. It was really hard even to decide on a Word of the Day today, so uninspiring was the fill. Basically, where the fill was concerned, this puzzle OGLED OGRES. The point is, well, twofold: there should be no non-theme "ME"s and the fill in general should've been much more interesting. 

There is nothing terrible about this puzzle. No big misses, nothing off-putting (except TASE, which, for me, is too strongly associated with police violence). The most jarring moment was trying to figure out 5D: Palindromic rental, getting D-D, and having no idea what that could be. I forgot that people still rent DVDs. Hell, *I* still rent DVDs, in that I still have (or recently re-got) the Netflix red-envelope snail-mail DVD/Blu-ray subscription dealie (and I love it). But cluing DVD as a rental still really threw me, since that is not how most people get their movies any more. OK, that's all, gotta go eat peaches. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:15 AM  

Three out of the last four puzzles have featured Enya. That’s a lot of Enya! (Elsa had to fill in on Monday, presumably Enya’s day off).

Gary Jugert 12:29 AM  

Two follow-ups from yesterday:

I was accused of being just like @Rex because I think Thai food is gawd-awful. First of all, I read OFL with wonder and awe and admiration each day now, and he's been at this year after year. He's beyond dedicated, he's hilarious, he's really good at this, and (here's my main point) people show up here daily to complain about showing up here. That's genius-level blogging. Leading to my second point which is: Me acknowledging how disgusting Thai food is -- and is it ever -- only makes me emperor-has-no-clothes-level-genius and that's quite a bit lower level than the good ole perfessor. I will admit to being onto the blueberry and chocolate chip marketing machine too, but still not at RP's level.

My other thought this morning relates to the concern @Rex might have been harsh to a 17-year-old constructor. I don't think it should matter who wrote the puzzle when you critique. If you want to talk about author's intent, or skill, or prior history, or age, or gender, or ethnic heritage, after examining the puzzle's content then that's fair, but we all bought this puzzle from a commercial venue proferring what we hope is worth a nickle. We didn't buy it from the author. He or she's been paid. If you work the puzzle on the app, and don't visit the other crossword blogs first, you'd not know who wrote the puzzle and you might be less biased about the merits of the puzzle. I taught high school for a long time and young people are equal parts shockingly brilliant and shockingly stupid, so I don't get overly sentimental about one of them making a crossword. There's software people. I'm happy a young person got one published, but we've seen other puzzles by youngsters that were better and worse than yesterday and we see weekly the Times publishing turkeys and rare gems by adult constructors. That's why we stop here. To talk about it honestly no matter who wrote it.

Okay, as for today... themeless, right? Or shall I be more nuanced and say meaningless theme?

Clean grid for so many spanners. The cluing was mostly unimaginative.

You know how many of us freak out at the mere mention of a Disney princess even though we know the answer is gonna be ELSA? Well, that's me when I see ballet clues. I know it's PLIE, but I am resolute in refusing to remember how to spell it.

I know we sometimes spell EON as AEON, but I don't know why, and I am hoping for similar outrage today as we had over GORILLA yesterday.

I am undecided if I love or hate the spelling of UEY.

I thought Sweden uses euros. Do they still have KRONAS? Toss in Bitcoin and ETH and basically everything is free or really expensive in Stockholm.


OGRES crosses OGLED.

Always love that mythical ship ARGO.


When did RUMPUSes (RUMPI) become brouhahas? I thought they were like TOGA PARTIES, you know, fun between the sheets.

FEEL ME is a stealth themer in a bad way.


1 Backward uniclue for a billionaire bash.
2 Get that girl outta her lederhosen.
3 Slim Jims.
4 Irish castle dweller agrees to watch old school.
5 Darth wannabe skips ComiCon.

1 MUSK DWARF EVIL (srsly read it backward)

Anoa Bob 12:49 AM  

ASS again? When will it stop?

If I only got one STEAMED DUMPLING for my "Dim sum serving" (22A), I would be STEAMED. It would raise my IRE and I would alert CONSUMER REPORTS to that rip off. It could even be an opening line for JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE; "Momma MIA, customer orders dim sum and only gets one STEAMED DUMPLING!" [audience bursts into raucous laughter]

okanaganer 1:01 AM  

I haven't rented a DVD in about 15 years. I used to take DVDs out at the library but then my DVD player broke, so I could only watch on my computer, not my fave medium. Then I got a free much newer computer... but the DVD drive doesn't work. So I can only watch DVDs by moving my monitor cable over to the old computer (Windows XP!!), firing it up, and hoping it works...

Anywayyyy, the puzzle: yes the theme is thin (that sounds neat!), though the answers themselves are okay. Don't much follow late TV any more so I had JIMMIE KIMMELL TV, JIMMY KIMMEL SHOW, etc.

[Spelling Bee: currently Mon pg-4, one of those off days. Missing 2 5ers, a 6er, a 7er.]

Loren Muse Smith 1:14 AM  

Yeah – I had the same thought as Rex – there had to be more than just a letter repeating after ME. So I popped over to XWord Info to see that Jeff awarded it the POW because, as Rex noted, the repeated pairs span two words. So like MAKE MERRY or FOUL SMELLING wouldn’t fit. This flourish tightens the theme substantially, imo.

Also – I hadn’t thought to be annoyed that there are other occurrences of ME that don’t have double letters following. Fair point, but I can’t bring myself to be all annoyed and stuff.

I looked into the etymology of nincompoop, but the back-story is hazy at best. My inner 13-year-old-boy soul was hoping for some animal called a nincom, and, well, you do the math.

VENICE – I had lunch with a lawyer friend Sunday, and she was detailing an upcoming trip to Italy. Said they would fly straight into Venice. I expressed my surprise that VENICE had an airport and then felt stupid that I hadn’t known. It’s hard being a public-school teacher and hanging out with fancy people; I’m always scrambling to appear relevant and interesting, worldly. FEEL ME? I tried to recover by suggesting that she add an excursion to the island of Murano ‘cause it’s so cool to watch the glassblowers [side glance to see if she was admiring my worldliness – couldn’t tell] When she mentioned Florence and David, I said, Yeah – the Uffizi is terrific. [another side glance] When she still didn’t seem to be taken with my sophistication, I encouraged her to shop at the leather market in Florence and at least get a backpack or purse or something. I lost interest when my hamburger arrived and dug in as she picked at a fancy salad. Sigh.

SEDAN – I just drove my mom’s Kia Cadenza to Boston to deliver it to my, ahem, veterinarian daughter who needs a car. Mom can’t drive anymore sooooo. . . Sage is experiencing that rite of passage that is driving her grandmom’s car. And man oh man, it screams grandmom, I guess just in its SEDAN-ness. I drove two grandmother cars, both Buick LeSabres, both the length of the VENICE airport runway.

STEAMED DUMPLINGS – I’m dying to go to a Dim Sum restaurant and order stuff off those carts they roll around. Maybe I’ll read up on the different kind of dumplings and the etiquette involved in ordering/eating. Then I’ll invite my lawyer friend.

jae 1:47 AM  

Medium. Very smooth with a subtle theme that according to Jeff at Xwordinfo was tricky to pull tricky in fact that @lms he gave it POW. I liked it more than @Red did but not quite as much as Jeff did.

chefwen 3:00 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle, but the theme was MEh.

hundehaftpflichtagilas 3:33 AM  

Very smooth;)

chance2travel 4:49 AM  

I'm currently on a Rome-Florence-Venice trip so I was a bit embarrassed that my first thought for 44D was something in Asia Pacific, like Jakarta maybe.

@LMS in your defense, the Venice VCE Marco Polo airport is on the mainland, about 5 miles north of Venice "propper"

On Mondays and Tuesdays I work the downs first, and found this one tricky from that standpoint. I can never remember Lion King names, wanted T-nut or something for 2D, couldn't get DVD or RUMPUS without help from crosses - and so on it went. (Why can I never remember LEM? I always want something like MER or MRV... are those things?)

At least I have VENICE.

Joaquin 4:49 AM  

The best part of this puzzle was that it generated a posting from LMS. She always gives me a brain-RUMPUS.

Gabriel Byrne 6:47 AM

Tom Reagan : [on finding someone sitting in the dark in his apartment] Hello Bernie.

Bernie : Hello Tom. What's the rumpus? How'd you know it was me?

Tom Reagan : You're the only one I know who'd knock and then break in.

Bernie : Your other friends wouldn't break in, huh?

Tom Reagan : My other friends want to kill me so they wouldn't've knocked.

Miller's Crossing

Harryp 7:03 AM  

Early week puzzle with a complicated theme. Ok.

kitshef 7:14 AM  

Agree with Rex that the theme was not well executed with additional "ME"s in 41A, 9D, and 25D. I try not to be too negative about any puzzle, each of which is somebody's brainchild. And here the idea is sound. But this just should have been sent back for additional work.

'Tricky to pull off' should not be the standard by which puzzles are judged. Nor bandages.

Irene 7:27 AM  

I'm so used to being out of the popular-culture loop that I thought that maybe the first three long acrosses were things that Jimmy Kimmel said regularly. Unlikely, of course, that "steamed dumpling" would be a punch line, but you never know.

Phillyrad1999 7:39 AM  

All in all very Tuesday so no complaints but the theme was a little vanilla. End of August we will head to a cabin on Lake Winnipesaukee with no internet and so I just ordered a box set of DVDs of Brooklyn99 and a new copy of What About Bob? Since the VHS player at the lake house broke last year. Having written that, FOR OLD TIMES SAKE is clearly my favorite answer in this puzzle.

OffTheGrid 7:47 AM  

I enjoyed solving this one. I created my own resistance with entries like bnb (DVD) and RUMble (RUCKUS). UBER could have been lyft so I waited on that. I do not know Disney stuff after 1970. After finally stumbling out of the north it went much more smoothly. The theme was irrelevant at best. To quote 43D UM,OKAY. Wanted CONSUMERSunion but too short. CU is or was the name of the non=profit that publishes CR. Good puzzle.

Anonymous 7:52 AM  

I liked the theme. Simple and elegant, with lots of constraints.

@Loren, nice to see you here! My daughter’s family spent 10 days in Italy, and it was over 100F every day. We’re hoping to go in April, early May at the latest.

Meanwhile we’re heading out to Bend OR this morning, by car. I’ll be back Aug. 27.


SouthsideJohnny 8:01 AM  

Agree with Rex that the theme was more MEH than ME, but harmless enough without putting undue stress on the grid is usually good enough in my opinion. LIESL made me work a little (the whole von Trapp clan is definitely outside my wheelhouse - similar to the individual names of the BrontΓ« babes).

I also chose not to play whack-a-letter at the cross of MUF_SA and _Line. So a Tuesday DNF on a PPP-type cross. Now off to google what an A-LINE is, lol.

EdFromHackensack 8:04 AM  

RUckUS before RUMPUS. Anyone do the Mini? 3 down s/b MPG not MPH

Lewis 8:13 AM  

Just as with yesterday’s puzzle, this one has a tight theme. In this one, it’s because the double letters after ME are split between two words of a phrase. On top of that, the four theme answers are grid spanners. But wait, there’s more – this is a very junk-lite grid, and there are four sizeable answers that have never before appeared in a NYT puzzle, and without exception they are solid: CONSUMER REPORTS, JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE, STEAMED DUMPLING, and REPEAT AFTER ME. All of which adds up to an impressive puzzle construction.

I liked the three palindromes – MGM, ASA, and DVD – plus that backward LEG crossing TOE. I liked the EVEN / STEVEN rhyme, and maybe even more, EASEL / LIESL (they do rhyme, no?). I liked seeing a backward LIVE to go with a forward LIVE (in the Kimmel answer), and a backward MEATS (in STEAMed) to go with a forward MEATS. Plus, I learned that the Brits call a vaccine shot a JAB. Huh!

The cluing made me think more than it does on a typical Tuesday puzzle – a big plus – and as I solved I just had the feeling that I was in good hands. This all adds up to a sterling solving experience that I loved. Thank you so much for this, gentlemen!

Mike in Bed-Stuy 8:14 AM  

I liked this puzzle a lot. Yes, the theme is a bit of a rim shot, but, as others have noted, it was quite a feat to pull off, and gave me a smile, which is all I can really ask for. LIESL was a gimme for's BAMA I had to get through crosses LOL!

pabloinnh 8:20 AM  

Rough start in the NW. My granddaughter has not made me sit down and watch The Lion King yet so my knowledge of those guys is strictly from crosswords. Eventually seeing the obvious WORLD was a little embarrassing. I mean come on, self. Also missed the extra p in "propper". Sheesh.

RUMPUS is a wonderful word. What happened to the RUMPUS room?

Had to go back and look at each answer to grok the revealer. That kind of a morning.

Am happy to learn that OFL still dares to eat a peach.

Solid enough Tuesday, JK and DK. Just Kept at it, Didn't Kill me, but I'm not sure it made me stronger. Thanks for some fun.

B Right There 8:22 AM  

Nice puz. Seemed like it gave me more thought than a usual Tuesday, but time says I filled it in within my average range (under 8 minutes). The SW was dicey for me. Had no idea about JAB, IRA, or MGM at first, so needed to go to the acrosses. Luckily I've heard of JIMMY, and like ARGO (a neighbor's schutzhund dog is named ARGO), so that resolved that. I agree the no other MEs nor double letters would have been super elegant, but this was just fine, imo. @LMS nice to hear from you again! I like your meal date story with the posh lawyer friend! Totally been there, done that! (Trying to make up for unworldlyness). I only made it to Rome for a weekend but I know Venice has an airport from recently doing a jigsaw puzzle! It is part of a series of fishbowl aerial shots of world cities. I was stunned at how small Venice actually seemed, for all that it's reputation is huge! Even more stunned to find out the Berlin, Germany has more bridges than Venice! (Berlin is larger in acreage and has lots of rivers). Who knew?!

Nancy 8:32 AM  

How often on a Tuesday am I not able to get a toehold in the NW and hfind myself obliged to move elsewhere? Just about never. This was a challenging Tuesday for me, and for the best of reasons: tough clues.

Did I know that MUSK was an ingredient in cologne? Or which letter-shaped hardware we were talking about? (There are so many!) Or the name of the Lion King patriarch? (Loved the show, but that's the sort of thing I never remember. I did remember LIESL, but she's been in puzzleworld many times before. Such a valuable combo of letters.)

Even the "palindromic rental" baffled me. I was looking for something like a house or a boat or a car -- something much more substantial than a DVD. Nice clues for IRS (35D) and EASEL (10D).

Only the awful "FEEL ME" which sounds like an obscene invitation and nothing at all like "Ya get my drift?" bothered me. Other than that, a nice early week challenge. Oh, yes, the "theme". One of the most feeble theme ideas I've ever seen and it didn't matter at all. It produced four nice long grid-spanners that were not immediately guessable and an unusually challenging Tuesday. I solved it as a themeless and I enjoyed it.

angela 8:34 AM  

what is 'let' - 34D service call?

Anonymous 8:42 AM  

@Angela - it's a tennis term for a serve that is otherwise legal but touches the net (it basically becomes a do-over). I'll put the over under at about two dozen of us that reply to that query.

blinker474 8:56 AM  

Anonymous's explanation of 'let' will likely be the only one since it appears right after Angela's query. For most of tennis's history, in major tournaments there would be a human net cord judge to call the lets. Now that function is shifting to mechanical judges.

Nancy 9:00 AM  

@Lewis (8:13)-- EASEL, as we know, has an "S" that's pronounced like a "Z". Whereas LIESL (I'm pretty sure) has a hard ESS sound. So they don't rhyme.

Smith 9:02 AM  

@ed 8:04

Agreed, that was odd

Son Volt 9:19 AM  

I liked this puzzle - high word count with spanners is pretty nifty. CONSUMER REPORTS and JIMMY KIMMEL were pretty flat but other than that the overall fill was smooth and the grid was done in no time.

A LINE always messes with me. I liked the EASEL clue and seeing DREAMER in the center.

Let me kiss you just FOR OLD TIMES SAKE

Enjoyable Tuesday solve.

Mr. Cheese 9:21 AM  

@LMS is here!!!
…. makes me smile

Whatsername 9:35 AM  

Thought this was clever and cute if maybe - as Rex said - a little underwhelming theme wise. I feel better knowing that he was also thrown by 5D as I skipped over that one too, thinking in terms of a moving van or a car. And then when I saw the answer, I thought people still rent those? Never heard the expression FEEL ME in that particular sense. Kinda got an eeww vibe from that. I nominate UEY/UIE for the next addition to the Kealoa List.

Hey @Crimson Devil if you’re lurking . . . Roll Tide!!

RooMonster 9:35 AM  

Hey All !
Dang, imagine Rex's outrage if one of the double letters weren't split across two words. He played it off today:
That's ... something. But it's not a particularly flashy or even noticeable thing.
Har. He'd'a torn the puz a new one otherwise. Ah, Rex, gotta love him!

Wanted to spell KIMELL thusly, but managed to suss out the correct spelling once LST didn't make sense. MDS or EDS both work for the 59D clue (well, in my mind, anyway)

Thought it a good puz, 15's always nice to see. Slightly disappointed Jeff gave it POW, it seems the PuzWeek goes downhill from here.

Too bad no other repeated letters, but last Themer blew that one out of the water.

Maybe I'm just cranky today ...Did like the Revealer tying things up nicely. And the four 15 Themers. πŸ™‚

yd -10 (oof), should'ves 7

Three F's

mathgent 9:54 AM  

The theme isn't cute enough to justify the sloppy grid. Twenty-six Terrible Threes, 22 in the downs alone.

TJS 10:10 AM  

Anybody else up for limiting our responses to maybe the length of a Robert Frost poem or something ? I think somebody needs to start their own blog.

DVD ANI IRS REPO ASA IRA MGM POL MIA MDS...these are supposed to be cross "words", no ?

Nancy 10:16 AM  

@blinker474 -- Back in the days of real-life netcord judges (they rested their fingers along the top of the net when players were serving to determine whether the ball had touched the net and then removed them during the rest of the point) there was one famous judge known as "Fingers Fortescue" -- as singled out by Wimbledon commentator Bud Collins.* We, the viewing audience, never knew if "Fingers" was real or apocryphal -- any more than we knew if Bud's "Uncle Stutley" was real or apocryphal. But the reference became as much of Bud's TV persona as his bowtie.

*Bud Collins's non-stop patter grew extremely tiresome over the course of a tennis match -- at least it did to me. He was the forerunner of the kind of [American; the Brits simply don't do this!] commenter who never lets a tennis match interfere with his conversation. Think of Mary Carillo during every point of a math, even a tiebreaker. Think of John McEnroe whenever the match bores him and the outcome isn't in doubt.

Bud Collins once came to Central Park and took part in an open-to-the-public tennis clinic. I didn't partipate (hate these things; you stand in a long, long line, under a blazing sun, waiting to hit one or two shots), but I knew some of the people who were in line with Bud. They said he never shut up the whole time.)

I did watch him hit some balls. He always made jokes on TV about "hackers" and it turns out that he was the Quintessential Hacker.

Tom T 10:18 AM  

Easy and enjoyable Tuesday puzzle.

Delighted to have LMS with us today!!!

@Lewis: They rhyme well enough to satisfy a Broadway or country song lyric.

EdFromHackensack: You are correct about the really bad editing flaw in today's Mini (has to be MPG for the clue).

My nit of the day: I'm surprised nobody commented on the fact that JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE has two sets of double letters (MM and MM) that do not come after ME. Makes the theme less impressive, IMO.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

the only thing I had to wait for was OGRE or OGer. oh, yeah, and the extended spelling of AEON. get rid of that one. and, is Jimmy Kimmel's show actually live? I'm old enough to remember, but only on Friday, Jack Paar, which was truly live. about the only teeVee that's live these days is some sports and some news. and one ought to praise the constructors/editor for cluing DWARF such as to not trigger the disability community; just above the fold is Beyonce` caving. did the editor change the clue when he saw the galley??

pabloinnh 10:22 AM  

@Phillyrad1999-Forgot to say have a great time on our big lake. Summer here in NH has been relentlessly hot and sunny, so perfect lake weather.

Joseph Michael 10:24 AM  

ME, ME, ME, ME, ME. This crossword is begging for attention.

Though the theme is a bit of a LET down, the puzzle had a number of challenging clues and was fun to solve. My two biggest hang ups were the D_D rental (can you rent a Dad?) and the LIESL vs DIESL question, depending on the LET vs NET call.

Favorite cross: EVEN STEVEN.

Good work, gentlemen.

Unknown 10:35 AM  

@Nancy 10:16

Bud Collins's commentary used to drive my father crazy and he'd mute the volume whenever we were watching tennis.
Back then, coverage was so minimal, it was basically the US Open & Wimbledon, and that was pretty much it. And yes, Bud was so enamored with the sound of his voice that he'd just go on and on. That said, I read (in one of his obituaries) that he was exceedingly generous with his time and knowledge of the sport whenever a younger, newer journalist came to him for advice.

Regarding "lets," I believe that now in the college game, "let" serves are playable. I think it was a move to speed up the game. I think they have changed the scoring system as well to move things along.

Wm. C. 10:37 AM  

@Ed8:04 & @Smith9:02 -- me, too on the Mini -- 3D should be MPG not MPH. This error is So-o-o obvious! Was a Will asleep when editing this?

Mike in Mountain View 10:39 AM  

I love the image of a LeSabre the length of the VENICE airport runway. Thanks, LMS.

Joaquin 10:45 AM  

@TJS suggests limiting comments to the length of a Robert Frost poem. Even though I normally keep my posts to haiku length, I disagree.

Some like to orate
But God gave us scrolling wheels
Scroll by, don't look back.

Beezer 10:50 AM  

Yay! So happy to see @LMS had time to show up today!

People here say “Tuesdays gonna Tuez” and maybe that was today? I dunno, I liked the themer entries and I’m always amazed when someone can conceive of any theme and execute it.

@LMS, I don’t know if this will give you any feelings of schadenfroid (with your fancy salad lady) but I just looked up Venice weather and it is hot AND rainy all week! I looked because, before I ever visited Venice, my husband and daughter were there together in mid summer and they said the sewer smell was practically overwhelming. Anyway, I was later there in mid-May and it was very nice. Timing definitely makes a difference and the ‘net says September-November is very good for Venice.

@Gary Jugert, I missed yesterday but I can relate to the THAI food scene. I have TRIED and tried to find something I like with each friend telling me THEY will steer me to something I will love. I must have strange tastebuds because for me, it is either MEH or SO HOT that I can only eat a few bites before going into distress mode.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

So, Tase "is too strongly associated with police violence". . . Forgot about growling police dogs, high pressure fire hoses, and billyclubs to the head, didja??. . . s'pose you would have a cop tap a perp on his shoulder and say
"Excuse me, misunderstood youth, could you PUHLEEZE drop that gun". .Jeez, Louise.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

Forgot about growling police dogs, high pressure fire hoses, and billyclubs to the head, didja??

well... with the Klan Fellow Travelers infiltrating law enforcement, we'll have all those just like we did in The South in the 60s. also the time when Bill Russell was a civil rights activist. but it won't be limited to The South.

Anonymous 11:03 AM  


yeah, but... he wasn't as horrible as that screaming lunatic, Dick Vitale.

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

Thrown for a loop thinking (hoping, for variety's sake?) it might be Bono...

Gary Jugert 11:08 AM  

@TJS 10:10 AM

To wit:

Whose blog is this? I think I know.
His house is in New York though;
He will not see @TJS stopping there
Too many words fall like driven snow.

My little phone must think it queer
To scroll and scroll without fear
My right thumb flicks as a skater on a lake
On the darkest evening, for it, I cheer.

Scroll past entries thick as malts or shakes
The infernal length must be a mistake.
The storm of words will put @TJS to sleep
Or cause a rage like an earthquake.

The blog is lovely, dark and deep,
But sixteen lines should suffice any creep
I'm scrolling down before I freak,
I'm scrolling down before I freak.


JC66 11:09 AM  

re: MINI 5D

There's no error. The clue is "Car speed measure.

Smith 11:15 AM  

@Joe I think the clue was changed

No Name 11:15 AM  

@LMS Just happy to see you back.

bocamp 11:22 AM  

Thx, Jay & Daniel; I REPEAT, TTHHXX for an excellent Tues. puz! :)


Always good to see ENYA; she's got STYLE, and her DREAM is only a 'nimrod' away:

Marble Halls ~ ENYA

I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls
With vassals and serfs at my side,
And of all who assembled within those walls
That I was the hope and the pride.
I had riches all too great to count
And a high ancestral name.

Very smooth drive in my SEDAN, with no 'dings' or DENTs along the way.

Enjoyed this solve very much. :)

@jae / @pabloinnh

Success on Croce's 731; just over 1 hr.; near my best ever time. Agree that the 'a' in the clue for 25D was tricky. See you next Mon. :)
Peace πŸ™ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

egsforbreakfast 11:24 AM  

It’s noteworthy that ASS appears for the 42nd time in a row, but we also have ASSENT, which in Britain is spelled arsesent.

And an A-LINE dress.
She thought that these’ll
Be in STYLE for AEONs, maybe less

By some OGRES ‘til she TASEd their TOEs
She put a DENT into those DOLTs
And then she JABbed their NOSE

Nice to have @LMS drop by today. If we could only spring @JOHN X from whatever jail is keeping him incommunicado, I’d be happy.

Pretty nice trick to take REPEATAFTERME and build a whole puzzle around it. It may not be one of the all time greats, but a very fun Tuesday is still something. Thanks, JK and DK.

old timer 11:25 AM  

The puzzle was pretty Easy and fairly amusing. Of course I rely on OFL to explain what the trick is, so I come here to avoid the feeling I've been in some kind of RUMPUS. In the back of my mind, there was a comix panel, or maybe a kids' book, that has the phrase, "Let the wild RUMPUS begin!"

Ah VENICE! Went there with one daughter, and to Florence with another, while their mother and youngest sister stayed it our marvelous hotel on the shores of Lake Thun. The train to Florence was direct, but to get to Venice we had to change trains at Milano, which is a total Zoo. We reserved a hotel room about two blocks from the Rialto, which Browning calls "Shylock's Bridge" in one of his poems. Shakespeare has the line, "What news on Rialto?" It was the only bridge across the Grand Canal, and was therefore teeming with a lot of news. (There is a new bridge now, for the convenience of folks heading to the Airport, which is indeed on the mainland.)

In any case, we had the best possible location, or at least the best possible affordable location, in that charming city. And no matter where you go, or what you order, the food in VENICE is amazingly good. We took total pot luck, taking a steamer to a remote and little touristed location, and are still talking about how wonderful the meal was, and how friendly the waiter.

A 11:46 AM  

Dipping my TOE back into the blogwater after a relaxing vacation featuring the Erie Canal and its charming little port towns, Lake Ontario, and nearby waterfalls. My malamute and I spent a fair portion of our days ferrying Mr. A and his bicycle to and from his rides along the canal towpath. I even cycled the jaunt from the Niagara River to Lockport and it was beautiful. The women’s rights history sites in Seneca Falls, an old CCC-turned-POW camp in Hamlin, NY, and the Holocaust refugee shelter museum at Fort Ontario all made for fascinating side trips from our rustic cabin on the water. Perfect weather the whole time. Highly recommend western NY in July!

Very smooth sailing for this Tuesday puzzle as well. Noticed the repeated letters ending/beginning successive words after getting the 2nd themer. Had a moment of letdown that the reveal was so early but it was cute so I let it go. Didn’t notice the non-dopple-followed MEs. UM, I’m OKAY with that.

One true writeover - RUMble/RUMPUS. I thought rumble sounded a bit rough for a brouhaha. PLIE brought back balance. Then I started to write Maria but only got as far as the M before realizing that only the nuns considered her a child. Lovely name, LIESL.

Too bad @M&A is away - I count 6 U’s, with the utterly appropriate UEY in the running for weeject pick.

Not sure how I knew the Venice trivia. Probably from watching some food travel show, most likely one of Bourdain’s. Made me think of Vivaldi’s lute concerto that I first heard watching the movie “A Little Romance,” in which Venice is the destination for a pair of love-struck kids wanting to be an ITEM.

Thanks for the AIRY Tuesday, Mssrs. Kantor and Kaskel!

Conrad 11:48 AM  

I got a late start due to internet problems. I don't have anything to add about the puzzle, but I do want to add my voice to the chorus welcoming @LMS back.

GILL I. 12:11 PM  

I'm not sure I understand the POWiness of this puzzle. I mean it's clever and different, but I was a tad bothered by:
.ME in MEATS....I eat MEATS but it should be left out of this menu. Ya get my drift?
.FEEL ME. Why? Will I discover TOE GEL?
.UEY...I have some difficulty with my vowels....Plase make up your mind on the
I did like EVEN STEVEN. Did not like seeing the ASS again.
EVIL FEAR TASE OGLED JAB LYE ACIDS...ouch. Clever clue for at least gave me Venice.
I loved Venice when I saw it on a cold WET October weekend. You go back now and you'd be lucky if you didn't find yourself floating in the canal. Tourists galore; prices through the roof; gondoliers over charging and waiting for a table to eat is insane....HOWEVER...if you do go, promise me you'll eat at the Osteria Enoteca in the San Marcos Square. It's probably overpriced now but their sea bass and scallops were some of the best I ever ate.
@Gary J 10:10 and @egs 11:24 get my giggle of the day award.
Loren....Always good to see an old (young) friend stopping by with your usual wit....

Carola 12:14 PM  

Like some others, I found that tough cluing, especially up top, made this a more challenging than usual Tuesday. And that's what made the puzzle enjoyable for me, rather than the theme. I guess I prefer theme answers that are more related content-wise.

@Lewis 8:13 and @Nancy 9:00 - Re: Liesl - in German pronunciation the S has a Z sound here, so German "Liesl" would indeed rhyme with English "easel." From what I can tell, on Broadway, the name was pronounced instead with an ESS sound, as in this interview.

TJS 12:26 PM  

@GJ, that was actally the poem I had in mind. Very neatly done. And brevity is the soul of wit.

And as someone suggested above, there is always the scroll wheel.

bigsteve46 12:27 PM  

I had no idea that there so much hostility to Thai food out there. It's a little too spicy for me, but the rest of the family likes it, so I can usually find something tasty on the menu that I can handle. As a little aside, I traveled through Thailand in 1980 or so and found the food over THERE so hot that I couldn't handle it. Fortunately, every other restaurant or food stand seemed to be Chinese - and overseas Chinese food is pretty much the same all over the world,* so I had almost all my meals there.

* I know there is an infinite variety of food in China - but overseas "Chinese restaurant" food - particularly CHEAP Chinese restaurant food has always seemed pretty much the same the world over.

This observation is also probably a little outdated, as far as world travel goes - as am I. For this Bronx guy ... these days a trip to Brooklyn is a major excursion.

Wordler 12:37 PM  

Anyone else get their ASS whupped by Wordle today?

Wordle 409 X/6


Nancy 12:43 PM  

Thanks, Carola -- I've known several women from Germany playing tennis-- a Helga, a Hilga, and a Hannelore to name a few -- but no LIESLs. So I had no idea how the name is pronounced in German and assumed that the play and the movie of "Sound of Music" got it right. If it really is pronounced with a "Z", then, yes, it does rhyme with EASEL. Sorry, Lewis.

Nancy 12:48 PM  

Wordler (12:37) Not really.

Wordle 409 4/6


Anonymous 12:49 PM  

@lms 1.14. dimsum cart. YES! lawyer friend. YES!

order chicken feet, promptly start sucking on them, sideways glance YES !

The Joker 12:50 PM  

Are folks really upset by the fact that among humans there are different food likes and dislikes? Just to cause trouble I'm going to tell you how much I enjoy cilantro. So there!

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

if it comes up on the guitar soon (or, I suppose YouTube), take in Bourdain's visits to Thailand.

Ex-NCO 12:56 PM  

@LMS: You gave me the idea for a themed puzzle -- except I haven't come up with any other theme entries besides this one: what a PO3 leaves in the head: NONCOMPOOP.

A 1:24 PM  

@Anoa, hilarious comments about the STEAMED DUMPLING - also singularly ironic.

@LMS, your daughter is lucky. My “grandma” car was actually my godmother’s, a late 60s Delta 98. I called it The Boat. One rainy night I was on a two-lane highway in south Mississippi or maybe Alabama, not sure where the state line was. Anyway, peering out into the dark I saw what I thought was a side road with a stop sign. Nope. Not only was it MY stop sign but the intersection was a T-stop. I slammed on the brakes and predictably went for a spin. The car came to a stop, still on the road and short of the intersection, but facing the way I had come. I glanced around for witnesses to my idiocy and yes, I’d been seen by someone at the corner gas station. Avoiding eye contact, I turned around and quickly but slowly continued on my way. It was actually kind of fun, except for the embarrassment. Well, also not knowing if I’d end up in a muddy field. But there’s no way that tank would flip over. Thanks, Betty! (Betty was my godmother, not The Boat, though if I could go back......)

Tennis pet peeve alert. With serves as fast as they are now, it’s dangerous to have a judge sit at the net. Some players’ serves are so fast they hardly even have to play tennis. How about we limit the size of the racket head to what it was when the court size was determined? Then we’d see less bashing and more tennis. End of rant.

Glad we got the LIESL/EASEL brouhaha settled.

RooMonster 1:32 PM  

Tom T @10:18
See Me@9:35. 😁


RooMonster 1:46 PM  

I have a "boat" now. All original, 25000 miles 1976 Lincoln Continental Mark IV. Comes in at 228", which is 19'. 😁

RooMonster Ahoy! Guy

sixtyni yogini 1:49 PM  

Agree, consistency following all the ME s would have been more elegant.
Nevertheless, for a Tuesday the doubles —REPEAT(ed)AFTER ME made me smile.
It had teeth and some sparkle to keep us awake and alert! πŸ‘πŸ½

Teedmn 1:51 PM  

I put in RUMble first at 8D. My mom said that when her high school played their biggest rivals in sports, there was always a RUMble in the parking lot. She didn't say if this involved words, fists or knives - knowing a little about that part of southern Minnesota, it may have been all three.

I liked the theme phrases but wasn't blown away about the theme itself, though it was tight per xwordinfo's write up so there's that.

Thanks Jay and Daniel!

mathgent 1:57 PM  

@Wordler (12:37) Me, too. I switched my first word from RAISE to DEALT a couple of weeks ago and I've struck out twice with it. But it's not the fault of DEALT -- it gave me a green today. Nancy was lucky, getting an uncommon letter in the first position.

Beezer 1:57 PM  

@bigsteve46…to be clear, I hold no hostility toward Thai food and, in fact, I am bummed that my taste buds don’t seem to match up with a ton of folks in the world. I never VETO Thai food when a group votes and I truly hope one day I’ll find a dish at SOME restaurant that will make my tastebuds sing instead of cry. I don’t know if I’m a weenie or what some have called a “super-taster.”

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

Like @NoName, happy to see @LMS back. Missed you!

burtonkd 2:10 PM  

During a Wimbledon telecast, I heard McEnroe arguing in favor of playing let serves, which seems fair. Sometimes it would drop for an easy ace, sometimes it would pop up as a sitting duck for the returner and many times would be no more or less playable than if it hadn't touched the net.

Now if only we could get Rafa to stop that infernal routine before every.single.serve. Once you memorize the order of ball bounces, shorts adjustments, and eyebrow wipes, you can't unsee it.

Anonymous 2:18 PM  


well.. may be. OTOH, Rafa is (I suppose) the only offender in tennis, but does all that or worse before every.damn.pitch. but no one watches America's Game any more.

Newboy 2:43 PM  

Well, well, well. A Tuesday to enjoy & community response all over the place, plus we get @LMS & @Chefwen sitting almost at the same table. Then, I’m scrolling as @Gary suggests, and I find his lovely copy change poem & I’m only half way down the page! These constructor buds certainly deserve Chen’s POW as @Lewis astutely observed. I can see Rex’s nits, of course, but it’s only an amusement so I’m willing to rhyme LIESL and EASEL. I may even finish the commentariat postings & read anonymous.

Peter P 2:53 PM  

@beezer - Pad Thai, of course, and khao pad (pineapple rice) would be the two classic non-spicy options to go for. Even my kids have no problem eating it. Personally, I've found for those who don't like spicy that ordering a dish "mild" is generally mild enough. The spice levels at most Thai places I've been to is about a level lower than what how I use the terms -- that is, their "hot" is my "medium." My problem is getting certain dishes "Thai spicy" or "phet phet" without having to convince the server that I actually do want it that spicy (and 90% of the time, it still doesn't come particularly spicy for my taste buds.) It's not a machismo thing -- it's more a desensitization thing. Over time, you get used to the heat and need more to feel it.

But see if you can get some of those dishes mild enough. Usually a mild panang or massaman curry works and you can get some of the more complex marrying of flavors that Thai cuisine can do. (But these usually do have some chiles in the paste they use, so, depending on how your spice tolerance is, maybe even mild is too much for you.)

Peter P 3:38 PM  

Addendum - khao pad sapparot, for specifically pineapple fried rice. "Khao" just means rice, and "pad" is basically "fried."

kitshef 4:35 PM  

@Wordler - close but I think by the time of my final guess it was the only possibility.
Wordle 409 6/6


Beezer 4:59 PM  

@Peter P…thank you for the very welcome advice. Yes, Pad Thai (mild) is my “go to” dish. This is what I say I consider “meh”…it is totally fine, but let’s just say I don’t Jones for it. I actually looked up the whole super-taster thing (again) and was reminded I like too many things on the super-taster list so I think I am a capsaicin “weenie.” Thai and Indian (the type most people like) are high in this. Man oh man when I see other folks enjoying this I think, “what is wrong with ME”!? Perhaps I need to forge a relationship with a Thai restaurant and have them incrementally raise the capsaicin level…🀣🀣🀣. Ok. That might be a bit much.

Anonymous 5:00 PM  

I loved the clues for IRS (Org that takes many forms) and TOE (Little Dipper). Fresh clues like that can make plain fill delightful!

Zed on his iPhone somewhere in Iowa 5:14 PM  

What @Gary J said.

Thai - anything with peanuts - medium.

Nancy 5:15 PM  

Re: Thai food. Put me in the camp of those who don't want their tongues, lips, throats or esophaguses burned in the holy name of so-called "flavor". In my book, hot doesn't = flavor. Flavor = flavor and hot = hot. I love deep, rich flavors, and my favorite flavors -- garlic, reduced wine sauces, briny seafood, cheese and cheese dishes, chocolate -- don't cause any physical suffering.

There used to be not one but two Thai restaurants in my neighborhood where, when I ordered a dish like lamb in green curry sauce "very mild", I would actually get a dish that was very mild. Sadly they both closed. A new restaurant opened called "Thai Hot Box" and I tried on three different occasions to get one of their curry dishes made mild for me. (I like curry when mild, whereas a dish like the always mild Pad Thai bores me. Noodles are boring.) Anyway, this restaurant seemingly cannot make a spicy dish milder; it just can't. Or won't. So now I'm no longer eating Thai at all.

A word to those who like these sorts of Southeast Asian flavors but hate heat: Vietnamese cuisine is similar in many ways but will never burn your tongue. Try it if you haven't already.

GILL I. 7:00 PM  

@Nancy 5:15. You can sit at my table any time you want. Several of you can.
Thai is not my favorite Asian food to eat but oh boy, do I love Vietnamese.
My step-mother was born in Vietnam. Her parents were both French and they were commissioned in Vietnam. Monique's mom could make "Pho" (the Vietnamese national dish), and you literally die and go to food heaven. The vegetables..the broth....the herbs.....the spices! It takes a long time to make because of all the chopping of the vegetables. The broth is infused with perfume. Add meat or chicken to the noodles (or just have it with vegetables only) and slurp loudly as you use your chopsticks. Pick the bowl up, bring it to your mouth and inhale the rest..... No hotness involved.

Beezer 7:22 PM  

@Nancy…gotcha but…there is a popular internet show called “Hot Ones” which has celebrities eat chicken wings dipped in sauces that go upward on Scoville scale. Just to add that if you Google the one with Paul Rudd…very entertaining. Anyway, that spurred some “regular folk” to have parties that included the competition. MY daughter won hands down in one of these kookie soirΓ©es. Yeah, my progeny, when I am so far down on Scoville tolerance it’s ridiculous! I guess I’m just saying that I GET that for some people capsaicin makes their tastebuds sing. Dang. I wish it would for me cuz it has good health benefits. I will say that Hot Ones pushes people to their limits and I guess that is just competition rather than enjoyment. I know my daughter said she never felt “distressed” like I do, but it kind of got beyond true enjoyment for her.

Joe Dipinto 7:30 PM  

Not. so. fast.

The German consonant “s,” in front of a vowel, is pronounced like an English “z” (as in “zipper”). It is voiced and soft. Following a vowel, the “s” is pronounced like an English “s” (as in “snow”), unvoiced and hard.

Eins (1) (s sound)
Sechs (6) (opening z, closing s)
Sieben (7) (z sound)
"Der Rosenkavalier" (z sound)
"Die Meistersinger..." (s, then z)

LateSolver 7:36 PM  

Easy peasy. Still rent DVDs on occasion from the Redbox - cheaper than PPV movies.

Only comment on Rex's blog is that the legs crossed angle photo is as original as ENYA, APE, OGLE, OGRE, ANI ... it's the tired fill of Twitter/Pinterest/Snapchat.

albatross shell 8:20 PM  

@Nancy, wordler
I was happy with my 4.
Wordle 409 4/6*


egsforbreakfast 8:22 PM  

@ Gill I 7:00 pm. “ Monique's mom could make "Pho" (the Vietnamese national dish), and you literally die and go to food heaven.”

If true, then I would avoid it like the plague.

GILL I. 8:57 PM  

@egs...Haha. My metaphors are as bad as my dad jokes.

albatross shell 9:12 PM  

Random comments on other comments
Did this late last night. Tired. Did not reexamine it even for finding a theme. I was not overly impressed. Your comments made me realize how much you can miss without a proper review. Changed my mind about this one. I noticed the grid spanners and the clever cluing, but not the fill connections etc. Thanks.

Why would I know how to spell or pronounce it or where the vowel in the second syllable went?

UBOLT and A-frame OK. ALINE??? Needed 3 crosses.

I like hot food but start bailing at habaneros. How hot depends how much hot food I have been eating lately. In hot weather I like the sweating effect. I am very fond of Vietnamese food but those restaurants are just starting to show up in my nape of the country.

At the thighs or lower back depending which direction you are headed.
Oh I see that "?". So the answer is THE SECOND S.

Nancy 10:10 PM  

@GILL (7:00) -- Our taste in food is so similar that I sometimes find myself wondering if we're the same person. Except for pizza. I understand that it's not haute cuisine, but a really good slice of pizza can be quite irresistible -- especially when you're really hungry.

Oh and btw, @GILL, I think what might have driven @egs to his "avoid like the plague" comment was your use of the word "literal" :)

CDilly52 11:39 PM  

Easy but themeless to me. However, the clue for EASEL (‘propper’ noun) was creative and imaginative and even better - new or just not in the ENYA class of repetitive clueing. Anyway, that gave me a chuckle.

I never got the theme. Found no connection between the theme answers even after reading the explanation here. But kudos to our constructor - to any constructor who gets a puzzle published in any major print media.

Enjoyed filling in the easy answers and dis not find any of the experience off putting. Fine Tuesday for ‘me.’

Zed 11:44 PM  

Wordle 409 5/6


B Right There 6:33 AM  

Too funny!!!!

mathgent 12:03 PM  

I knew UHURU as the title of a novel by Robert Ruark written in 1962. It's about the native uprising in Kenya against British rule. UHURU was their battle cry.

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