Colombian cornmeal cake / TUE 11-8-22 / Award-winning Chinese artist/activist / First noble gas alphabetically / Activity tracked by the Nest or mySunPower app / Bad-tempered and combative

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Constructor: Enrique Henestroza Anguiano

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: EYE-OPENERS (67A: Enlightening experiences ... or what 18-, 26-, 41- and 54-Across have, phonetically speaking) — four theme answers all "open" with a homophone of "eye":

Theme answers:
  • "AYE, CAPTAIN!" (18A: Affirmative at sea)
  • "I, CLAUDIUS" (26A: Hit BBC series of 1976)
  • AI WEIWEI (41A: Award-winning Chinese artist/activist)
  • "AY, CARAMBA!" (54A: Bart catchphrase on "The Simpsons")
Word of the Day: AI WEIWEI (41A) —

Ai Weiwei (Chinese艾未未pinyinÀi WèiwèiEnglish pronunciation: (help·info); born 28 August 1957) is a Chinese contemporary artistdocumentarian, and activist. Ai grew up in the far northwest of China, where he lived under harsh conditions due to his father's exile. As an activist, he has been openly critical of the Chinese Government's stance on democracy and human rights. He investigated government corruption and cover-ups, in particular the Sichuan schools corruption scandal following the collapse of "tofu-dreg schools" in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. In 2011, Ai Weiwei was arrested at Beijing Capital International Airport on 3 April, for "economic crimes". He was detained for 81 days without charge. Ai Weiwei emerged as a vital instigator in Chinese cultural development, an architect of Chinese modernism, and one of the nation's most vocal political commentators.

Ai Weiwei encapsulates political conviction and his personal poetry in his many sculptures, photographs, and public works. In doing this, he makes use of Chinese art forms to display Chinese political and social issues.

After being allowed to leave China in 2015, he has lived in Berlin, Germany, in Cambridge, UK, with his family, and, since 2021 in Portugal. (wikipedia)

• • •
[still from CITY OF FEAR (1959)]

Well, that's a better revealer than what I was expecting, which was "FOUR EYES!" With "EYE OPENERS" you get both a revealer *and* a fifth themer (i.e. it describes the conditions of the theme *and* satisfies those conditions, "opening," as it does, with "EYE"). Whereas with "FOUR EYES!" you'd get a rude expression as well as a fifth ... eye, rendering the revealer itself nonsensical. Annnnyway, hi. How are you? This puzzle started rough for me, as the fill seemed (as it has often seemed lately) somewhat clunky. ILIAC, which for me completed the INTL ISIT NOLA SOAMI ILIAC cranny up top, was the answer that actually made me stop and take a picture. 

There just wasn't a thing in the NW to be interested in (AREPAs and DOLMA are tasty, but not interesting enough on their own to hold up a whole corner). Doesn't help that the first themer is also the most boring / crosswordesey of the bunch (ay ay ay, it's AYE again!). Even when I dropped down and got all of the NW corner (including ACADEMIA and the decent ENERGY USE), there just didn't seem much to be interested in. And the first themer wasn't too promising. And I don't know that the fill really ever got off the ground. EREADER ESME ADIEU GOTTI DEE IOTAS ALTOS CARTA OSTER YEESH OARED ... I'm looking for any part that seemed particularly clean or any (non-theme) answer that seemed particularly entertaining, and ORNERY is the only thing that actually made me smile—I love the countrified quaintness of that term. AREPA ARENA AMANA, NONA NOLA—the fill isn't horrific, by any means, but it just ... gets by. 

The theme, however, ended up being solid, and the themers that followed "AYE, CAPTAIN!" were all far more lively and welcome. I was so happy to see AI WEIWEI, a crossworthy figure whose crossworthiness I was pushing for ten years ago. I actually misremembered debuting his name in the NYTXW—he must have just been in an early draft of one of my puzzles. I searched and found the record of me asking my more experienced crossword friends (in 2012) if AI WEIWEI was OK as a puzzle answer:

Despite AI WEIWEI's international fame at that point, it was not a given that the NYTXW would deem him well known enough to appear in a puzzle. In the same Facebook conversation pictured above, a veteran constructor revealed that Shortz "once singled out HU JINTAO as an obscure entry in one of my puzzles. You know, the president of China."  Anyway, AI WEIWEI ended up debuting in the NYTXW in 2014. I can't remember if I used him in a puzzle for another outlet or not. The point is, he feels like a friend to me, and I was happy to see him (he's also the reason this puzzle is 16 (instead of the usual 15) wide—in order for an answer with an even-numbered letter count to sit dead center, the grid has to be an even number of columns wide). He was the best answer in a good set of themers, and, as I said up front, the revealer really was a winner. Nice to end on a high note (even though I apparently technically *literally* ended on TERROR!)

  • 10D: Fine writing paper (VELLUM) — this is news to me. I wrote in VELOUR (!), which was semi-obviously wrong, but it fit. I teach pre-modern literature and in that context VELLUM is indeed something you write on, but it's the specially treated animal skin that forms the pages of manuscripts (pre-printing press). "Fine writing paper," it isn't.
  • 24A: 12 parts of a dodecagon (ANGLES) / 33A: 12 parts of a dodecagon (EDGES) — my brain didn't fully process these clues: I got the answers easily enough, but as I was writing them in, I was imagining *dodecahedrons*, specifically a 12-sided die such as one might use in "D&D." This reminded me of some graffiti I saw recently which maybe was supposed to be commemorating some couple's love for one another, but it really looks like a gaming slogan:
  • 14D: Dispatches (SENDS) — had the "S"s, wanted SLAYS!
Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. UPDATE! I wasn't dreaming! When my one Sunday NYTXW puzzle (co-constructed w/ Caleb Madison), came out in 2012, I *wrote* about how Will had balked at AI WEIWEI. His words, verbatim:
I like the theme, but ... would you be willing to change the lower-left corner? I'm not crazy about the entry AI WEIWEI. He's not so well-known yet, and his name is crazily spelled and not inferable. IS DONE in the same corner isn't so wonderful either. Maybe the whole area can be improved.
Oh well. He was right about IS DONE, at any rate.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:02 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week
(in order of appearance):

1. Acts as one? (4)
2. Truffle hunting option (6)
3. One backward musician? (3)
4. Game where it always counts? (4)(3)(2)(4)
5. Met for a few hours in the evening? (5)


kenji 6:10 AM  

The historical vellum is pretty interesting...well, maybe not to vegans. But, Rexy, today's vellum is usually made of cellulose fiber (i.e., it's paper). And it's fine, as, for example, the layer atop my recently-married daughter's "save the date" note.

This 'n' That 6:15 AM  

The BEE escaped yesterday's BONNET to appear in today's puzzle with his buddies. AI has an encore at 65A, HAI. I find myself wishing I had a DUAL citizenship with our northern neighbor. The D.C. player appears upside down at 9D, TAN. NHL GOAL in the ARENA. ROE but no Wade. Good Tueday!

Anonymous 6:27 AM  

What a morning — a lunar eclipse, spectacular, and then Anita O’Day! Thanks, Rex (for the song). Thanks, universe (for the moon).

Gunner 6:44 AM  

I'm very surprised that Rexy didn't know that. Thanks for pointing it out.

Adam12 6:44 AM  

I’m always disturbed by the alto/alta thing. I’m sure it’s correct enough but always puts a speed bump for me and should probably give the ladies their due, in Spanish anyway. Not sure about Italian.

Lewis 7:00 AM  

HAI all, good to see you again!

Oh, I did love the theme – solid as a ROCK, tight, and with a robust aha-evoking reveal. But I also loved the stabs of beauty that appeared seemingly every time I turned a corner – a VELLUM here, BAYOU there, and then DOLMA, ORNERY, PASSE, and PLATED. These sparks on top of a sweet theme made for a splendid outing, for me.

I also liked seeing the contrary pair of MANIC / IDLENESS, and an almost-pair in ROE / OARED.

Very much to like, and I’m very grateful. Thank you, Enrique!

Anonymous 7:09 AM  

I’m okay with VELLUM. (I tried VELOUR too, Rex.) I think I recall VELLUM from the mechanical typewriter era. The advice was to use it for resumes.

My only quibble with this one: YEESH.

bocamp 7:15 AM  

Thx, Enrique; just r'i'ght for a Tues. puz ! :)


Nice, crunchy early-week offering.

Interesting NW sector with AREPA leading off.

Needed all the crosses for I CLAUDIUS. Vaguely recalled VELLUM.


Enjoyed the adventure. :)


Yes, a relatively easy Croce (1 1/3 hrs). A half-educated guess at the 'counterpart' / 'leader' cross. See you next Mon. :)


Paolo's Mon. New Yorker was a fun challenge; esp the NW & SE. As with Croce's, one half-educated guess at the 'doctor' / 'drop down' cross.
Peace 🕊 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🙏

Son Volt 7:21 AM  

YEESH - consecutive days of less than ideal fill. I liked the homophonic concept - it’s just not supported by the rest of the grid. Rex points out much of it - all I needed to see was INTL. I love AREPAs - but when the top entry of the puzzle is 1a - there’s a problem.

Wasn’t much pushback - some of Rex’s nits I missed due to crosses. ESME is one of my favorite nieces so that was nice to see and ORDER HERE was pretty good. SHADY Grove. The COD x ROE cross is neat.

We used VELLUM for our record plans until the late 80s - I can still remember the feel of the Leroy pens on it. Then it was mylar and now only digital.

Laura Cantrell

Better than yesterday - but in the end an elegant theme wasted.

Unknown 7:27 AM  

Briefly had AYEAYECAPN and AIWEIWEI, so was pretty sure the theme was something about repeating syllables. ACADEMIA to the rescue!

KateA 7:28 AM  

As a New Orleanian, I enjoyed the NOLA and BAYOU after beignet and gras also appeared recently. Answers I know!

pabloinnh 7:36 AM  

I saw the I variations that I would see more of, I guessed, after a couple I could not miss, but I didn't see the revealer coming, which I liked very much.

Enough of that.

Thought this was a good solid Tuesday, but if I never see OAR used as a verb again it will be fine with me.

Up early to see the eclipse, saw part of it, and then the clouds rolled in. Nature giveth, nature taketh away.

Always enjoy your stuff, EHA. Everyone Has A nit to pick, I suppose, but thanks for all the fun.

And now off to vote.

kitshef 7:42 AM  

Week is skewing tough so far. Never heard of DOLMA, and NONA and AIWEIEI I only know from crosswords.

Wanted AYE AYE CAPN at 18A, which cost some time. The PBS series, was, of course, I CLAVDIVS. More time lost.

Lewis 7:53 AM  

By the way, a big thank you to those who were kind enough to comment on my WSJ puzzle last week...

Bob Mills 8:18 AM  

Easy except for ORDERHERE, when ENTERHERE seemed correct. Nice theme, with the varied "I" sound spellings.

Barbara S. 8:29 AM  

I (AYE, AI, AY, EYE) like the theme! But I must say I didn’t really notice it while solving, just zoomed through. Afterwards I went back to look and was tickled. AI WEIWEI is a fascinating artist. If you’re interested in learning more about his art and activism (and you have the time), here’s an excellent documentary: AI WEIWEI: Never Sorry. I’m not much of a Simpsons watcher, but I was glued to I, Claudius back in the day, and I’m also a fan of Star Trek in all its iterations: AYE CAPTAIN is an affirmative not only at sea but also in space on starships.

Another tough 1A. (Although I love cornmeal and must look into it – does anyone here have personal experience of AREPAs?) For the most part, the other clues/answers in the NW were gettable, so I didn’t do my usual abandon-the-NW-and-head-for-the-hills routine. In fact, it was a pretty straightforward solve. I left the unknowns blank and only had a couple of write-overs: the classic kealoa SOdoI and Alit for ATOP. I’m always on high alert for types of clues I find impossible, and for a split-second I thought, surely there’s no state in the Union that styles itself the [Do-nothing state]! I was also amused by RAYON and ARGON, which look like they should be in the same category of thing. NIT: when you prepare to be painted, I think you “sit” rather than POSE.

Dodecagons are fun – I always enjoyed geometry. You find dodecagons in architecture in various periods and styles. Here are examples in France and Spain.

I’ve never known any Esmés. Apparently the named means “esteemed” from the Old French. There’s an Esmé in J.D. Salinger, though: "For Esmé – with Love and Squalor" in Nine Stories. As I recall, it’s about a former soldier struggling to heal emotionally after WWII and his friendship with the child Esmé.

[SB. A couple of quintessential Bee words in the crossword today: IOTA(s) and ILIAC.
* Yd: 0
* Dbyd: -2 No excuses for either of these misses, although the lower one is less well-known. I’m glad I plotted them, though: neat graph!.]

T.C.C.A. Germanicus 8:36 AM  

A puzzle demanding all of my wits.

As for being half-witted: well, what can I say except that I have survived to middle age with half my wits, while thousands have died with all of theirs intact! Evidently, quality of wits is more important than quantity!

OF course, it helps that, upon the advice of my dear grandmother, I never once touched the figs...

Whatsername 8:50 AM  

I thought this was a nifty Tuesday and really don’t understand the criticism of the fill. Seldom do I critique a critique by Rex Parker because I figure it’s his house and to each his own opinion. But! Today there’s a but. I don’t see the weakness in things like AREPA, DOLMA, EREADER, ACADEMIA, ORDER HERE, NEW MOM. Nothing wrong with any of that IMHO.

I didn’t know AI WEIWEI but it went in smoothly with the easy downs plus the theme giving a strong clue for the first two letters. SO a tough entry but gettable even for someone who’s never seen it before. Exactly as it should be on a Tuesday. Nicely done, Enrique.

NYDenizen 9:07 AM  

Wordle 506 3/6*

⬜R⬜A🟨 I ⬜S🟨E
🟨G🟨 I ⬜V🟨E🟩N
🟩B🟩E🟩G🟩 I 🟩N


pabloinnh 9:16 AM  

@bocamp-Toughish Agard in today's New Yorker. I think Patrick Berry will be around tomorrow.

Rachel 9:18 AM  

I didn't know who Ai Weiwei is, but glad to learn about him.

I also got annoyed at the "paper" hint for vellum, because vellum is made of animal skin and paper is made from plants. It's in the name. Vellum comes from the same root word that gives us veal; paper comes from the same root word that gives us papyrus. The History of English podcast talks all about it. But apparently today, vellum is also a fine paper, so I guess it's ok.

RooMonster 9:23 AM  

Hey All !
Brain cells still working, as saw 16 wide grid right off.

First thought for Bart catchphrase, DONT HAVE A COW, MAN. Too long.

Nice puz. AI WEI WEI an unknown, you know, unsophistication. But crosses were fair. Flirted with ACADEMIx, then actually ended with ACADEMIc, thereby a FWE on a TuesPuz. Full disclosure, also had INTs/DOsMA. Ugh.

No rant on why a dodecagon instead of a triangle or square? 😁

Windy today, and expecting rain out here in Las VEGAS today. Yes, it rains occasionally. And it gets cool/cold. We are usually 50's/30's this time of year. So not 100's all the time. Although, this year it stayed hot well into October, which isn't the norm. Wreaks havoc on your electric ENERGY USE to keep cool.


Anonymous 9:25 AM  

Just got a box of letterhead at my law office. right on the box it says "Premium Vellum."

Diego 9:35 AM  

With AIWEIWEI center-stage, my day was made! Hard to believe anybody would be unfamiliar with this giant of a man and artist.
Liked this theme more than yesterday’s (which was also well above average) and thought the fill had ample bounce.

@pabloinnh 9:16 I really enjoyed Agard’s NYer puzz last night, some resistance and esoterica but all fair and gettable with crosses.


GILL I. 9:52 AM  

Ay Chihuahua...I get PLATED with the backbone of Columbian gastronomy and I want to bailar with an AREPA...I make them all the time. My go-to filings are black beans and pork that's been marinating in mole. I think I'll make some tonight.
This was a fine Tuesday. They seem to be getting more interesting and fun. Of course my favorite is Mr. AIWEIWEI. What a name! What a talent! Do his friends call him WEI for short?
I have no idea what a dodecagon is. It sounds like some relative of the MASTODON. I live in TERROR of anything math related...
ORDER HERE: the Blue PLATED special is an EYEOPENER....One free AREPA and a SAUDI DOLMA stuffed with rice and ROE from YEMEN. IS IT delicious? YEESH...what a question!

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

Perhaps someone who speaks Latin can correct me, but I thought the Latin I was pronounced like the long E in English (EE CLOUD-EE-OOS). In which case that answer doesn’t fit the theme.

Whatsername 9:57 AM  

T.C.C.A. (8:36) Your comment about halfwits reminded me of a meme I saw the other day: “I haven’t completely lost my marbles but there’s definitely a hole in the bag.” 😄

tea73 10:00 AM  

In my world vellum is a translucent paper you can use for architectural drawings, from back in the old days when you ran them through blueprint machines not copiers.

K9doc 10:02 AM  

Put down AYEAYEMAAM for 18 across. Fit perfectly.

Nancy 10:02 AM  

"Like many flights to JFK and LAX". I had ??T? -- the "T" from AYE CAPTAIN -- and without missing a beat I wrote in LATE.

You can see my opinion of air travel.

Whenever I see a clue like "big kitchen brand" for a brand I never heard of, I always want to say: "Not that big."

PLATED is a fancy word for putting food on a plate, not a word for putting a "fancy dish" on a plate. You wouldn't expect to eat it out of a kitchen pot, would you? Even if it wasn't a "fancy dish"?

You're not going to "evoke" any TERROR in me, Jordan Peele! That's why I haven't seen any of your films.

A pleasant enough Tuesday if it weren't for the squooshed squares. The squooshed squares annoyed me even more than usual because I was using Bic's newest ballpoint design (you can't find the old ones) which has an improbably thick nib that produces thick, heavy ink. Thick heavy ink and squooshed squares are not a match made in heaven.

Beezer 10:03 AM  

Pretty nifty Tuesday puzzle with a clever theme. I was born in TERRE Haute which is in a pretty flat area but it must be on relatively “high ground” next to the Wabash River. Like @Roo, before I figured out the puzzle theme I thought of “Don’t have a cow, man.” @Diego I hang my head in shame because I am one of those people you feel it is hard to believe did not know (until today) AIWEIWEI but I’m happy that I do know now and will learn more about him.

I had a great aunt ESME and when I grew up I decided that Esme is a beautiful name. When I was a child I thought it was an oddball “old lady name” but then again I’m pretty sure I always mispronounced it as Izme.

PHV 10:04 AM  

Enough with oaring the galley already. In the real world, no one uses oar as a verb. No one says "l oared around the pond in my dinghy".

Autocorrect agrees. It changed oared to pared.

Joseph Michael 10:08 AM  

A good theme for egotists.

Excellent revealer ties it all together.

But did we really need not one but two dodecagon clues?

Anonymous 10:15 AM  


Anonymous 10:21 AM  

“Alto” is short for “contralto”
Plural is “alti”
Originally altos were men

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

Has anyone ever really said “let’s ore this gallery around the lake”?

egsforbreakfast 10:46 AM  

First the good news. I’ve taken to calling E*on Musk the boy/monster here. But yesterday I read this tweet and I am still prostrate, bowing with awe and reverence to Emma Bell, originator of the perfect, and now viral, moniker “Space Karen”:

Emma Bell, PhD

Rapid antigen tests trade sensitivity for speed. They return a result in <30 minutes, but can only detect COVID-19 when you're absolutely riddled with it. What's bogus is that Space Karen didn't read up on the test before complaining to his millions of followers.

I’ve got a few problems with the puzzle, although I thought the theme was fun enough. But, since 40A IRS fits the revealer every bit as well as 26A ICLAUDIUS, I think a bit of editing might have been in order. Especially since 31D SIB is a mediocre answer at best and could have been converted to SOB.

Also, I was screaming “WTF is going on with the dodecahedron answers?” as I solved. Eventually reread the clues slowly enough to realize that we are talking dodecagons. Not the same thing. Nope. Not at all.

Film director Preminger had a flatulent dog named after Dorothy’s mutt. We used to beg “Make TOTO toot, Otto.”

Gotta love AIWEIWEI crossing LEEWAYWAY if it should ever happen. I also like ROCK and ROE on top and bottom at 36A. And then there’s ROCK crossing one of the great guitar pickers, Leo CODKEY.

Thanks for a fast and fun Tuesday, Enrique Henestroza Anguiano.

P.S. My daily Ass watch is getting boring. Perhaps I’m feeling the ROYALENNUI. Anyway, I’ll henceforth comment only when there is something too puerile to pass up.

TJS 10:47 AM  

The North central in the Agard puzzle, btw, is garbage.

sixtyni yogini 11:01 AM  

Loved this one - all liberal artsy, pop culture-y, and fun.

Big smile at AI WEI WEI! Recently saw a lot of his work and was smitten by his Lego pieces. Somehow I think he would like being in the company of AYCARAMBA and Bart. (BTW - Ai WEI WEI is admired for his art and his fearlessness in the face of Chinese government which 🦖 may have mentioned in his post - oops skipped over that part.)

So HAI indeed, I liked this one while agreeing w 🦖about NW corner being humdrum. Finished Nw corner last so did not bother me, the rest was so good.

This one - brilliant in its simplicity (the highest form of sophistication according to daVinci, even in a xword 🧩, I would add)


mathgent 11:06 AM  

ICLAUDIUS is a great title beginning with "I." Much classier than my favorite novel when I was a teen, I, The Jury, by Mickey Spillane. "How could you, Mike?" "It was easy."

Joe Dipinto 11:14 AM  

That NONA clue is a headscratcher, it's like saying "____ Harrison, 'Hey Jude' singer". Patti Labelle does the whole lead vocal and the background parts are
pretty brief. Why not just "____Hendryx, member of Labelle"?

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

Regarding Will's take on the lower left of your puzzle: He was entirely right.
Weiwei wasn't terribly well known in 2012. ( a pretty case could be made that he isn't terribly well known today).

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

I finally did that puzzle last night. Hella good. Took a while to catch on but when I did I got a big smile. Nice job!

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

MOTES for "Tiny specks" and not knowing the proper spelling for AY CARAMBA and my cultural ignorance for AI WEIWEI and "ACADEMIC" kinda works for ACADEMIA, doesn't it? All that doomed me to check aganst the solution.

Masked and Anonymous 11:52 AM  

ICLAUDIUS/SOAMI. har Eye-opener and eye-closer pairin.

So-so "starts with" & "sounds like" combo theme mcguffin, but real cool themer/theme revealer, with EYEOPENERS.

Kinda feisty at our house, for a TuesPuz. I think maybe the mysterious AREPA, guardin the puzgrid entryway affected M&A's thinkin, on that. Re-inforced slightly soon after, by the mysterious DOLMA. Must get to know my puzfood groups better.

staff weeject pick: IRS. Overlooked themer, I guess cuz of its runty size.

fave fillins: All that dodecagon stuff. ORNERY. NEWMOM & DADDY.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Anguiano dude. EyeEnjoyed it.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


bocamp 12:01 PM  

Learned (or re-learned) 'dodecagon' from the Spelling Bee. Here's a 'dodecagon' 'Fidget Toy'.

@Barbara S. (8:29 AM) 👍 for your QB yd! :)

@TTrimble, okanaganer, puzzlehoarder 👍 for being constant SB superstars! :)

@pabloinnh (9:16 AM) / (Diego 9:35 AM)

Thx; got Erik's puz on today's solving docket! :)
Peace 🕊 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🙏

jae 12:14 PM  

Medium-tough for me.. AREPA at 1a does not bode well for a quick solve and it’s been a long time since I’ve run across VELLUM in any context. NONA was a WOE as was the clue for ENERGY USE. So...toughish. The theme answers did it for me, liked it.

jberg 12:23 PM  

Like others, I thought AYE AYE cap'N, but played it safe by filling in only the AYE AYE part -- it could have been ma'am, event mate. That was quickly corrected by PIC, so I saw I had to spell out the CAPTAIN. But then, there was AI WEI WEI, so I, too, like @unknown, thought there must be a repeating-syllable theme. I wasted precious nanoseconds confirming that my first answer was correct, and finally went on to the rest of the puzzle. This was mostly my fault, but I do think 'aye aye sir' is the usual usage.

But I really liked the crossing Greek letters, IOTA/OMEGA, particularly because neither was actually clued as a Greek letter.

And 39-D brought back pleasant memories of koans: "What is the sound of one key jingling?"

Like @Nancy, I questioned the bigness of the AMANA and OSTER brands. They are both iconic in the history of kitchen appliances, but they failed to keep up. They did give a nice sepia tone to the puzzle.

Diego 12:25 PM  

Hey @egsforbeakfast 10:46,
Imma sorta glad you’re brining the ass-motif to an end. But what about moving around to the front, uh, of the anatomy. Imagine the possibilities there! Or would that be a bridge too far? Not really breakfast-appropriate, maybe? Just a thought.

Gary Jugert 1:00 PM  

AiYaiYai I feared I'd be beaten in the northwest, but I struggled through. I had a fun time working on this one.

I only know AREPA and DOLMA from crosswords. Am I missing a culinary delight?

Like 🦖 ILIAC gave me pause. I'm considering adding words for internal body parts to the list of things crossword constructors use, but shouldn't unless they post with a medical degree, and if they have that, shouldn't they be on a boat somewhere instead of laboring over XW software? AND, "backpacker's hip belt" is modern googly-wash for FANNY PACK and those were outlawed in 1981 and only criminals use them now to hold dog poop bags.


1 Pop TV sharing exactly how Rome was(n't).
2 The nagging feeling you're actually going to be required to watch the Simpsons if you're going to keep doing crossword puzzles in the age of oily youngsters writing them.
3 Chai tea, La Brea tar pits, and... (you know, doubling words meaning the same thing).
4 Well, the dermatologist says zero sun is correct, and Elle magazine says a deep post-Caribbean vacay hue is beautiful, so somewhere in the middle seems like something to shoot for.
5 Rex keeping up on modern animal skin alternatives.
6 Locksmith emails sales brochure for fingerprint entry system.


CAK 1:08 PM  

Barbara, I had my first AREPA at a local farmers market and fell in love! A Colombian family started out with that booth and now have a permanent food truck 💚

Beezer 1:46 PM  

@jberg and @Nancy…yes. Every time I see AMANA in the puzzle I think…I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen an AMANA appliance or an ad for Amana. Seems like the last big hurrah for AMANA was having one of the first microwave ovens in (late 70s early 80s?). It does seem like I have seen OSTER blenders still out in the wild though.

@Gary Jugert, I have not had AREPA but you can usually get DOLMA at “full menu” Greek or Middle Eastern restaurants AND many “nice” grocery stores will have DOLMA if they have an olive bar. I love it, but as with any food I can only account for my taste!

ShaaronAK 1:49 PM  

Lewis, I loved your clues of the week.
But I'm let bewildered as to how I only saw one of them. I thought I did Sunday through Thursday. So how could I have missedTruffle hunt/Godiva ...Where ir always counts.

Oh I see. The Godiva clue was on Friday. So the order of the clues you list has noting to do with days they appeared.
I rarely try Friday and Saturday. But that a leaves two I should have seen.
Game where it always counts is my fave of your five.

TTrimble 1:51 PM  

I didn't find it easy for a Tuesday, with AREPA and DOLMA (which I've had; not my thing) and NONA and OSTER and AI WEIWEI. And let's toss VELLUM into the mix. I liked the puzzle only so-so. The revealer was a good one.

I was annoyed that I didn't think of ANGLES sooner. First, I was reading too quickly and thought "dodecahedron" instead of dodecagon. A dodecahedron has 12 facets, which I put in. Later, after EDGES, I went back but instead thought of the 12 vertices, before ANGLES became manifest (after examining crosses). It's funny because the Greek stem -gon literally means "angle". Got me a little ORNERY at myself.

Behold: the truncated icosidodecahedron, aka the "great rhombicosidodecahedron". (Try saying that a few times.) Ain't it purty?

Understood. I always thought the ASS sightings were born of well-deserved mockery anyway, of a kind of winking nudging business that the editors are indulging in whenever they drop the A-bomb. If they've let it go recently because they perceived such mockery and their attempt at being cute as backfiring (heh), then good. Otherwise, please continue if and only when you feel like it; I'll be cheering it on and enjoying the silly humor of it as well.

SB: today, at the moment, pg -2. A weird little assemblage of letters, which caused me to feel slow on the uptake.

Diane Joan 1:59 PM  

I was able to see the remarkable Ai Weiwei work “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” installation at Princeton University. You can still see videos of it on the Internet. He was certainly deemed newsworthy by The NY Times in an article dated September 25, 2012. On this Election Day his work and his treatment as he speaks out through his life and art in response to a repressive regime is certainly on my mind. His name is definitely crossword worthy in my opinion.

okanaganer 2:19 PM  

As others have noted VELLUM was a very common paper for drawing before computers. It is translucent so the light from the blueprint machine can shine through it onto the copy. It was definitely not made from animal skin! Per Wikipedia: "Modern "paper vellum" is made of synthetic plant material, and is called such for its usage and quality similarities".

[Spelling Bee: yd 0, somehow got all those goofy words.
dbyd -2; missed these. Note the longer word is used about 3000 times less frequently than the shorter.
@Barbara S, we are in sync now!]

Son Volt 2:19 PM  

You can find AREPAs on many food carts throughout the city. They’re similar in taste to a fried polenta cake - with a firmer consistency. I used to work with a Venezuelan guy who ate small ones for breakfast every day - smothered in butter. When we were doing field work on the 7 line - we’d go to a small place in Jackson Heights called the AREPA Lady and get the AREPA de queso with chicharron - yum.

Lewis 2:53 PM  

@Shaaron -- I'm very glad you liked the clue list! The clues DO, actually, have to do with the days they appear, as they are always listed in the order that they appeared during the week. This week's five clues were of the following order: TH / FR / FR / SAT / SAT.

Made in Japan 9:56 PM  

AIWEIWEI - It's what I do when I want to know how much byproduct I have left over when I remove the curds to make cheese.

Peter D 10:57 PM  

Dodecagons have 12 edges, 12 vertices, and 12 angles. Plane figure.
Dodecahedrons have 30 edges, 60 angles, and 20 vertices, as well as 12 faces. Solid.

thefogman 10:53 AM  

DNF because I wrote in ACADEMIe thinking the clue for 5D suggested a French word “Mileu with tenure tracks”. I knew about AIWEIWEI but did not know the spelling of his name. Great puzzle, in spite of my DNF.

Burma Shave 12:01 PM  


An EYEOPENER that SENDS panic,
when I,CLAUDIUS, LEARN of an error,
RISKS that my ENERGY turns MANIC
as I cry, "AT,CARAMBA!" in TERROR.


rondo 12:19 PM  

AYAYAY! This has to be the best Tues-puz of the year. At least the themers. And SASS in the corners. Either of those ALTOS - Cher or Sade - AYCARAMBA!
Another wordle birdie after starting BBBBB.

BS2 12:21 PM  

Obviously a typo - AYCARAMBA

spacecraft 1:02 PM  

What, EASY???? Are we doing the same puzzle? AREPA--at 1-across?!? DOLMA? VELLUM? Well, that last one I happened to know, but still...YEESH! Today IS only Tuesday, isn't it? I mean, I have a doctor's appointment, I have to be sure. Two things a dodecahedron has--and NEITHER ONE is "sides?!"

Plus, the theme--doesn't work for me, as there are any number of non-theme entries beginning with "I." Even an 8-letter one, IDLENESS (not the most thrilling fill).

This whole thing just did not play well for me. Double bogey.

At least I got a good Wordle starter out of it. Maybe restart a birdie string after yesterday's par.

rondo 6:30 PM  

I have eaten DOLMA in Baku, Azerbaijan - delish. Started my engineering career drawing construction plans on VELLUM; it is indeed fine paper, or at least spendy.

Diana, LIW 7:55 PM  

So, when you went to your friends' house for dinner, did you ask them to pass the AREmA or the AREPA? You know what I asked for. Because my Insta feed had a mic so they could hear me.

The rest was fine, but really - arepa is not the way to start a Tuesday puzzle. (Ay yi yi yi yi!)

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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