Landmass once surrounded by the superocean Panthalassa / THU 11-24-22 / Folk-rock quartet whose name derives from its members' last initials / 2006 Beyoncé album released fittingly on Sept. 4 / Turn of the century financial crisis / Savage X Fenty product / Iconic Voyager 1 photograph taken 3.7 billion miles from Earth / Singer with the debut single My Bologna 1979

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Constructor: Pao Roy

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: DOT THE I'S (56A: Pay attention to details ... or a hint to filling in seven of this puzzle's squares) — a "DOT" rebus in which the "DOT" square always appears above the letter "I"; in the Acrosses, the letters "DOT" are part of the answers, but in the Downs, the "DOT" is just supposed to represent an actual dot (i.e. "."):

Theme answers:
  • [DOT][DOT][DOT] (10A: And so on)
  • PALE BLUE [DOT] (20A: Iconic Voyager 1 photograph taken 3.7 billion miles from Earth)
  • POLKA [DOT] DRESSES (26A: They're spotted on Lucille Ball and Minnie Mouse)
  • CONNECTS THE [DOT]S (43A: Begins to see a pattern)
  • [DOT] COM CRASH (Turn-of-the-century financial crisis)
Word of the Day: PANGAEA (9D: Landmass once surrounded by the superocean Panthalassa) —
Pangaea or Pangea(/pænˈ.ə/) was a supercontinent that existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras. It assembled from the earlier continental units of GondwanaEuramerica and Siberia during the Carboniferous approximately 335 million years ago, and began to break apart about 200 million years ago, at the end of the Triassic and beginning of the Jurassic. In contrast to the present Earth and its distribution of continental mass, Pangaea was centred on the equator and surrounded by the superocean Panthalassa and the Paleo-Tethys and subsequent Tethys Oceans. Pangaea is the most recent supercontinent to have existed and the first to be reconstructed by geologists. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hello once again from Thanksgiving Vacation. My mom is busy in the kitchen roasting pecans for the pie and trying figure out the recipe for cranberry sauce, and since the kitchen is basically adjacent to my writing space, I can see I am going to have some difficulty keeping myself focused on the puzzle. I just heard my mom say to her longtime partner, "I need to keep my mind focused on what I'm doing," and, well, yes, same. I'll do my best. And yet I keep hearing him making "suggestions" to my mom about how to cook things, did he just meet her!? (reader, he did not). I mean, you can talk to my mom about anything, she is very open-minded, but the last thing you wanna do is offer unsolicited advice over her shoulder as she's cooking. Vermouth in the cranberries!? This is no time for improvisation! The woman knows what she is doing and is Not about to take suggestions from the peanut gallery. Now mom is making fun of the "certified biodynamic" label on the cranberry packaging, good for her. OK, sorry, I know, puzzle, puzzle, OK, here we go ... puzzle! Nope, her partner is now singing "Alice's Restaurant," so I'm gonna have to pause for a bit until that subsides. . . OK, here we go. . . now!

The theme was very easy to uncover, and as soon as I uncovered it, I thought "Oh I've definitely seen this theme before. And recently too." Turns out I was both right and not quite right. The DOT THE I'S theme we got earlier this year (Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022) was not i-dentical to this one, but it was close. In that one, the letter "I" turned completely into a "DOT" (so "dotting the i's" meant literally turning i's into "DOT"s). Here, of course, the "DOT"s appear above the i's, which makes more sense on a literal level, but was not nearly so interesting as the weirder, more complicated February version. What both puzzles have in common, admirably, is that the theme applies to literally every "I" in the puzzle, not just the "I"s that appear in specially designated theme answers. But in this one, "DOT" always appears as the word "dot," whereas in the February one, the letters "DOT" were mostly buried inside longer answers (like YOU DO THE MATH and TORPEDO TUBE). Today's puzzle just gave you phrases with the word "DOT" in them. Less interesting, though DOT COM CRASH is pretty snazzy, and DOT DOT DOT is a nice thematic flourish (even if you would never actually do the "I" in IRA (always a capital) (10D: Nest egg option, for short). Overall, this puzzle was fine, but it felt like a pale (blue dot) version of the very very similar puzzle that came out earlier this year.

Speaking of déjà vu, did we not just have this clue for LOLA (14A: Actress Kirke of "Mozart in the Jungle")?? (we did); and HSBC in exactly the same grid position!? (we did). I thought we had PALE BLUE DOT very recently as well, but that was actually well over a year ago now. My favorite thing about today's puzzle was either WEIRD AL, or seeing the word HORNY (13A: Aroused, informally) just one day after I used the word "HORNY" in my discussion of RANDY. I also like that PALE BLUE DOT very nearly T-bones PANGAEA. Those two have a nice whole-wide-world kind of synergy. I also like seeing that it still remains next to impossible for clue writers to lay off the cutesy "?" clues for ELOPE (64A: Not get reception?). Some things never change. Like mom's Thanksgiving dinner. Never changes. Always perfect. I need to go prepare (i.e. sleep / fast). Enjoy your day, whatever you eat.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. CSNY stands for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (52D: Folk-rock quartet whose name derives from its members' last initials)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Robin 2:36 AM  

The DOT squares were not necessarily a rebus. I was able to enter a dot, i.e., a period ".", in each and the software was happy with that.

jae 2:52 AM  

Medium. Me too for vaguely remembering seeing both HSBC and LOLA recently. Anyway, the vague memory was helpful today. This was fun especially the ... in the NE corner. Liked it.

BTW, Xwordinfo links to other versions of this theme.

okanaganer 3:03 AM  

@Rex: "My mom is busy in the kitchen roasting pecans for the pie..." Fond memories of my mom at holidays; she would be 100 now.

Fun Thursday! I actually caught on to the theme on POLKA [dot] DRESSES, which was great. The downs had me baffled (what... I'm supposed to just ignore the dots??) until I got t0 56 across.

I actually finished with an error at 14a/8d, where I had LONA crossing ONE. This is a true Natick: a first name of someone I've never heard of, crossing a partial album name from 1961??? Bwaph.

(@TTrimble from yesterday: Yes I saw that Arcade Fire video and in it Regine is really off key. In the official video link I posted she is not so far off key, just enough to be intriguing, like a circle that isn't quite round. Great music from them, Win Butler's alleged behavior aside.)

[Spelling Bee: Wed so far pg-1 yet again, this is becoming tiresome.
Tues pg-2, I missed these although I got this. @TTrimble I agree about that N word!]

Anonymous 4:15 AM  

This was a lot of fun. For some reason I was a bit slow on the uptake—probably thrown off by having “etc” for 10A at first, and then not seeing how a DOT rebus would read on the down clues. I left those squares blank until I got to the revealer, afraid that maybe I was missing something. I almost got annoyed at the idea of possibly having to type DOT as a rebus, which would make the down answers appear sloppy or imprecise. Was more than pleased to discover that “.” was accepted as the input, which made the i’s actually appear dotted, and kept the grid so much cleaner. (The animation in the NYTX app turns them into larger black circles at the end, which made them look less dotted. Sigh. Que sera.) Fun puzzle.

Anonymous 4:50 AM  

I really enjoyed your narration of the family kitchen commotion. It brought warmth to my cold studio apartment.

Jen 5:39 AM  

Came here to see if anyone found a pattern after connecting the dots? Wasn’t sure if the final picture was supposed to represent a comet or something - either way, very enjoyable solve. Happy Thanksgiving!

American Liberal Elite 5:43 AM  

I hate rebus puzzles.

Joaquin 5:46 AM  

I hated this puzzle ... until I got to the revealer and then I loved it. And the northeast corner made sense. Very clever!

Happy Thanksgiving fellow solvers! Stay safe (and stuffed).

Anonymous 6:22 AM  

Clever theme. Thanks Pao

Anonymous 6:23 AM  
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Anonymous 6:48 AM  

Extremely easy. Not a personal record, but close enough! I thought the ellipses was low hanging fruit and revealing it aggravated me. The rest of the cluing was also too basic.

Anonymous 6:49 AM  

Love ya Rex - Harper person here - I promise to help w/ $ from here on :)

Anonymous 6:50 AM  
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Anonymous 6:50 AM  
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Anonymous 7:01 AM  

Please help me understand how the rebus works on the down answers. Thank you. Jim

SouthsideJohnny 7:04 AM  

Wow, a gimmick puzzle with a lot of pressure on the grid and it seems pretty gunk-free. Yes, there are items such as theJohn Coltrane album from 1961 next to the place called PANGAEA, Savage X Fenty hanging with his cousin EARL Sweatshirt, a Beyoncé album from a decade ago, the Genus Equus - pretty much well within the NYT’s tolerance level for trivia.

I wasn’t sure about IONS and the Hadron Collider - it seems like IONS would be the result of things plowing into each other, but who knows. I’m sure it is plenty legit enough for CrossWorld.

Enjoyed the clue for PET SHOP (pound alternative). PAEAN looks like a word that melted when it was left out of the fridge and then got put back in when it should have been placed in the trash and properly disposed of.

Grouch 7:15 AM  


Son Volt 7:18 AM  

Yes - we saw a similar theme recently but that’s fine - I liked this one. Took me some time to figure out - couldn’t quite get the verticals. The limited I’s in the grid creates the elegance here - restrictive theme but still well filled.

ON RECORD, MERCY ME - some good non-theme material. Gene Chandler. We get two “AE” diphthongs? together. Following tradition - I will SLAKE my thirst today with more than one Celebration Ale and there will be turkey POT PIE before the weekend is over.


An enjoyable turkey day solve - Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Lewis 7:20 AM  

I am so very grateful for this smart, funny, civil, friendly, feels-like-home group of regular commenters. You not only enrich the crossword experience, but you warm my heart as well. Thank you all, and happy Thanksgiving!

Gary Jugert 7:22 AM  

And so we reach Thanksgiving
with the SMELLS of POT PIES
and the CHAOS ... MERCY ME.

I can't remember if we obfuscate the unpleasant history of the United States with the culinary delights of the day, or if we agree cranberry out of a can celebrates a common hope for a better future. Or if we're just being glutinous oinkers.

This puzzle had nothing to do with the holiday, but it was filled with DOTS with great meaning going one direction while simultaneously being utterly meaningless in the other direction (perhaps a metaphor for life) and rendering them halfway useful, or un-useful, depending on your proclivity toward grouchiness or generosity. I found the last dot in the bundle of three at the northeast corner and thought it was a hoot.



1 Viking helmet wearing grandchild of the protagonist in a 1970 song by The Kinks.
2 "Don't you try to hug me."
3 Silhouette cutouts of a dog, a cat, a bird, a snake, and a preying mantis at the head of each aisle.
4 Beloved General.
5 When fellahs say, "I pity the palooka."


Anonymous 7:41 AM  

The DOTs are to be taken as actual dots for the “I”s above which they appear. The letters “DOT” do not factor into the Downs as letters per se.

Merce 7:44 AM  

Well that's cool!

Lewis 7:46 AM  

Some random observations:

• I adore the quote about CHAOS – that alone made this puzzle worthwhile. “Oh, so true and so perfectly put,” I said to myself.
• Pao likes graphic motifs. In his April puzzle, he had “V” squares below “I” squares, which look like down arrows, representing the word DOWN in four vertical theme answers.
• Wanted GRAWLIX for [&#$!@, e.g.] – terrific misdirect.
• Loved the pair of AEAs (PANGAEA and PAEAN).
• My brain prefers riddle clues that have to be cracked, over direct clues, which simply rely on memory, and there were so many lovely riddle clues today, including those for CHAOS, ALARMS, OPEN ARMS, GRAPH, HEARSE, ELOPE, and SUNS.
• Standing O for the dot-dot-dot corner – that alone (as well) made this puzzle worthwhile.

Pao, your puzzle not only had wit, but it felt so polished as well. You backed up the inspiration with perspiration, making your puzzle a thing of beauty as well as a pleasure to solve. Bravo, and thank you!

Anonymous 7:50 AM  

It seems no one is on the lookout for dupes any more. I was annoyed by POPICON crossing APOP. And also the answer PANGAEA with the word “Panthalassa” in the clue. Laziness - makes it harder for me to enjoy a puzzle.

Dr.A 8:07 AM  

My memory is not as good as Rex’s and I did not have any recollection of the other i dotting puzzle so I thought this theme was adorable. Fill, not great. But not the worst ever. Happy thanksgiving Rex, I am grateful for your blog!!

pabloinnh 8:15 AM  

Caught on to the missing DOT at POLKA DRESSES, but didn't see that it always went over an I until later. I blame this on the fact that I always use capital letters when I pencil things in.

Hello again there, LOLA. Sorry I didn't remember your name. Patting myself on the back for remembering PANGAEA. Almost laughed out loud when the NE corner became clear.

Re HORNY-Many years ago when I was going to school in Spain our little group of students (mostly girls) took a side trip to Cuenca. We were all of an age when there was a lot of flirting going on and attempts were made to perhaps make a little more progress than that...
Anyway, I was sharing a room that night with my friend Nacho, who was a wonderfully patient helper with my Spanish. I had never heard him say a word in English but just as we were turning in I heard this-"Pablo, I'm so HORNY! ". Surprise surprise. Years later I learned he had travelled extensively in India and spoke only English there, so he knew a lot more than he was letting on.

Really enjoyed this one, PR. Perfectly Realized theme, and thanks for all the fun. (Coincidentally, set a PR in the Mini today.)

What @Lewis said about being thankful for our little group. Always look forward to seeing everyone's opinion, and I know I repeat myself, but thanks for all the fun.

Patti Ann 8:17 AM  

The comments section on this blog is a lot more civil lately than it used to be. That’s a good thing. Happy Thanksgiving 🦃 all.

Roberto 8:33 AM  

I m surprised 6across and 7 down had pop right next to each other. That was a bad edit

Anonymous 8:37 AM  

Uta… no

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

Amy: Happy Thanksgiving. Think I enjoyed Rex's description of his mom in the kitchen more than the puzzle. It is fine, just wasn't in the mood for polka dots I guess. Looking forward to the Broadway Show snippets in the Macy's Parade.

Unknown 8:45 AM  

This puzzle dotted it's it's for sure. Every I had a dot...nice. Only two obscure people, but everything else was a sure thing one I got it. Sydney had to be right...where else are large cities in the British Empire next to forests? And spotted polka dots were a pun. And several clues were clever, delivering an aha.

Great puzzle!

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

Today I am not thankful for this puzzle.

Bob Mills 8:47 AM  

Finished it without a correction, but I have no idea how. I caught on to the theme, but mistakenly assumed the dots had to work in both directions. Then I realized that WEIRDAL was really WEIRD AL (somebody). Typical Thursday...bizarre but doable.

kitshef 8:52 AM  

If you are going to cross OLE with LOLA, you need to have a lot better clue for LOLA than that one. Or a lot better clue for OLE. One or the other, I don’t care which. [note: I see I complained about LOLA last time it appeared, which clearly did not help me remember it.]

This is the right way to use repeater clues. In ‘pound alternative’ pound is completely repurposed.

Anonymous 8:56 AM  


alexscott68 8:58 AM  

The dots (which should be entered as . or •) dot the letter i directly underneath each one. It’s not a rebus where you spell out the word DOT. You’re literally DOTting THE i’S.

Barbara S. 8:59 AM  

Well, 1A was a demonstration, if a demonstration were needed, that I really need to read Saramago. I’ve always been wimpy about him, feeling that his books are just too grim and avoiding them. Buck up, @Barbara! So the NW was its usual non-starter, what with my ignorance of the quotation, and never even considering HORNY or anything like it – this is the NYT after all. I was sure that [Aroused, informally] was going to have something to do with waking up. I should have taken “informally” more seriously: why would you need to be informal about a word for waking up? I did get HOLA and ARAL but they weren’t enough to give me the corner, so I moved on...

to LOLA, which was a cinch thanks to the identical clue the other day. But then, a bit of a drought. I was looking at the across clues and got nothing until 34A EAU de parfum. After that, a bunch of answers in the southern half fell in quick succession, SUED, POL, WARN, PEON, ATOP, SARI, BLESS, ART, YEA, POSY. Yeah, well, thank goodness for the much-maligned 3s and 4s – without them I would have been nowhere. Oddly, I didn’t get the theme until the last one: [DOT]COMCRASH. And it, combined with the revealer, DOT THE IS, showed me what was going on in the dotty down answers. Cool.

IMAC, IpAd and Ipod form a triple kealoa – someone had a nifty term for that recently. I always fill in the I and then wait for crosses. I liked OPEN ARMS [Guests may be welcomed with them], GRAPH [It has its ups and downs], SMELLS [Seems bad somehow], ELOPE [Not get reception?] and SUNS [Space heaters?]. I was just watching a nature documentary in which belugas were [Prey for polar bears], but not in this puzzle. Belugas are darn hard to catch compared to seals – but they make a great feast! I liked the two [Pound alternative] clues. Rex is often critical of this type of cluing but I thought today that both clue/answers were right-on and their meanings so different that the pairing worked.

Here’s the PALE BLUE [DOT]. The “sunbeam” in which the Earth appears is apparently a happy accident – it’s a camera artifact that resulted from shooting that close to the Sun. It’s always puzzled me why the Earth is alone -- why can’t you see stars behind it? Again, I think it’s because none of the stars that would potentially be in the frame is bright enough to register because of all that sunlight in the camera.

Happy Thanksgiving, all you south-of-the-border people. I think I'm still full of turkey from our Canadian Thanksgiving six weeks ago -- man, that was some spread. I wish you all good eating and good cheer.

@SouthsideJohnny (7:04) Loved your take on PAEAN!

[SB: yd 0. I don’t know about other SBers, but I have a stable of easy words that I often miss. There’s no explanation for it, but I forget about them repeatedly. This is one of them and it was my last word yesterday. So, yay, I got it this time – but don’t put any money on my getting it in future.]

mathgent 9:08 AM  

When I was a kid and we were having the family over for Thanksgiving, my mother would usually forget the cranberry sauce. I love the stuff. I would run out to the corner market and get a couple of cans of Ocean Spray.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Smith 9:14 AM  

Otherwise a fine puzzle. I wonder why so many of us got it at POLKA.DRESSES. Never saw WE.IRDAL, I mean that I didn't parse it out and just thought it was some new singer I'm not familiar with. So thanks all for pointing that out.
Also, why doesn't OFL mention both revealers? It was the first one that clarified things for me.
On the NYT app I entered DOT as a rebus, but when completed the app changed them all to very big dots.

And a big Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate!

Todd 9:17 AM  

It makes a lot less sense when you put DOT in each box instead of a . When I completed it the program made all the dots much bigger dots.

Alice Pollard 9:30 AM  

10A was great... initially I thought it’d be “etc”. Got the theme when WEIRDAL had an extra box. I was thinking “Don’t tell me there’s asking us to spell Al’s last name”. We just saw the movie about Weird Al starring Daniel Radcliffe - was very good. Great puzzle. Happy Thanksgiving to all.... such a great holiday. I hope everyone here has family and love close by.

Nancy 9:35 AM  

So either the "." stands for DOT or it stands for...I don't know:

Skip this square.
Ignore this square.
Don't put anything in this square.

I couldn't complete the NE corner because I didn't get the fiendishly clever "..." for "and so on" at 10A -- where I tried ETC and TOO and couldn't get either my IRA or my ROTH and I also couldn't get my IMP. I gave up in complete frustration. And I applaud the puzzle for the 10A "..." and its clue.

But what to make of the skipped dot-squares in POT PIES and POP IDOL and WEIRD AL? I can't make anything of them and, therefore, would say that this puzzle simply doesn't work.

Now I'll go read the blog and see what, if anything, I'm missing.

Wanderlust 9:37 AM  

Kealoaulu - ulu being the third Mauna in the Wikipedia entry.

Nancy 9:38 AM  

Oh I see. In the Downs, the DOTS are merely dotting the "I"s they're over and not there for any other reason. Clever!!!!!!!!

Mary McCarty 9:50 AM  

Pretty amazing the there were only 5 i’s in the whole puzzle…yesterday’s had 10.

TTrimble 9:53 AM  

A straightforward and uncomplicated puzzle. Arguably slightly boring. The online graphics are not too appealing with those most un-DOT-like chunky bullets; I preferred my own understated period dots which look more like what you put over a lower-case i.

Decent cluing here and there (nice to see OLE clued more interestingly than usual), but let's swap out Kirke for Kinks, just to inject more variety. We get four three-vowel combinations (two AEA's, then EAU and III), which is a tad unusual. I see LOLA and HSBC and ARAL have begun to take up residence.

BLESS the commenters here for all their input. I learn so much here that I would not learn otherwise, and for that I give thanks.

Thanks also for Rex's blogging, so often so witty, and thank you Rex for having a thick skin through it all. I'm glad you're having a good time with your family. Be sure to help your mom with the clean-up; she's worked hard.

(Homemade cranberry sauce is fun! I love watching them burst in the POT.)

@CDilly52 yesterday
Thank you for the heartwarming glimpse into family. Your granddaughter and grandniece sound like such kind and sensitive girls, who do you and your family proud. Your telling sends a message of hope for the future.

RooMonster 9:57 AM  

Hey All !
Get what the theme is accomplishing, but an uneasy feeling about how the "DOT"s don't add to/change the Downs. A nit, sure, but we all have them. 😁 I did figure out the NE, amazingly enough, that 10, 11, 12D were only three-letter answers, and to leave 10A blank until I could figure out what in tarhooties the puz wanted. Then got the Revealer, and said, "Aha, I see!" And proceeded to put my "DOT"s in. But again, 10, 11, 12D end up as DOTIRA, DOTIMP, DOTISH. But Lo! After completion, the puz app changed my "DOT"s to large periods/dots. Yet still, POTP•IeS and WE•IRDAL just look strange. Wishing the "DOT"s worked with the Downs

Anyway, overall it ended up being a nice puz. Liked the dual " Pound alternative" clues. Only one OLE today...

PANGAEA with a gigantic ocean. They say ("they") that the continents are slowly drifting toward each other after the great split-up, and eventually will meet up again across the planet. We're talking many millennia here, so don't panic yet!

Happy Thanksgiving, All ! Don't eat too too much!

No F'S (That SMELLS!)

Teedmn 10:03 AM  

Hmmm, I like this, but the CONNECTS THE DOTS and DOTS THE I'S imperatives had me thinking we were going to get turkey art in the grid. Not enough DOTS for that.

Pao Roy, nice Thursday theme, thanks!

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

My brain originally went to a weird double I thing where the first I just represented the word DOT (I wound up with CONNECTTHEIS and DOTTHEIS in the grid so it made a weiird [Al] kind of sense), so I had a small bit of trouble getting the software to recognize when I was done even though I understood what all the theme clues were supposed to be.

Joe Dipinto 10:09 AM  

A Miles Davis album ("Pangaea") and a John Coltrane album in the same puzzle. Plus the Petshop Boys, CSNY and a Journey song. (We won't bother mentioning Etta James since she's always hanging around.) I thought for a second that "polka dot dresses" was a lyric from "My Favorite Things", which would have been a nice Coltrane tie-in, but no, it's "white dresses with blue satin sashes".

Cranberry sauce recipe
• One can of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce
• A can opener
Directions: use can opener to open can. Slide contents onto plate. Serve immediately.
Accompaniments: this.

Happy Thanksgiving Day to all.

Rick Sacra 10:17 AM  

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Almost a thursday record for us (Father Son team of Rick and Jared), 12 minutes. Loved this holiday romp, pretty easy, but a bit of a surprise with the DOTDOTDOT in the corner--thankful for the number 7 in the revealer, that made me quicker to figure out that NE corner. Enjoyed all the themers, and especially enjoyed Rex's video of Weird Al on the accordion. Truly hilarious. Thanks, and have a great holiday! Rick

Carola 10:17 AM  

I liked this one a lot - easy to get the idea with the first DOT (the PALE BLUE one) but then a not-so-easy and engaging hunt for the rest...and lots of puzzling over how the DOWNs worked. I especially liked how the DOTs were not arranged symmetrically, making the ferreting out more difficult. Last in: the DOT DOT DOT up in the right corner - I loved that joke as the finisher.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

bocamp 10:24 AM  

Thx, Pao, you definitely DOTted all the 'i's today; well done! :)


My first entry was SLAKE, giving me POLKA and an inkling of the DOT theme. Nevertheless, this one still proved to be somewhat out of my wheelhouse, hence the '+' rating.

Educated guess at LOLA / OLE for the win! :)

Had to chuckle; didn't parse WEIRD AL until post-solve analysis.

Nice to see that a simple '.' worked for folks. Being inured to 'rebus Thurs.', I dutifully entered DOT. Next time I'll try to remember to economize. lol

Loved the theme; fun adventure! :)

@Barbara S. (8:59 AM) 😊 for your 0 yd

I join you in wishing our 'south-of-the-border people' A BLESSed Thanksgiving Day! 🍁 🙏
Peace 🕊 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🙏

Anonymous 10:26 AM  
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JP 10:28 AM  

No one else bothered by "horny" appearing in the puzzle? I guess at 57 I have become a prim old lady.

Tom T 10:32 AM  

Apparently I need to pay more attention and increase my memory skills. I dnf'ed at the LOnA/OnE Natick. If I had realized as Rex did that LOLA was just in a previous puzzle, my 30+ day streak would still be intact.


Seems like "OLE Coltrane" should have a comma in the middle, but it doesn't.

When I failed to hear Happy Music, I spent 20 minutes a) trying to find my mistake without asking the app for help and b) changing all seven "dots" from . to a rebus DOT and back again.


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I'm thankful for the daily dose of fun you all provide!

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

Can anyone tell me the meaning of arcs at 18 down

jberg 10:36 AM  

So of course I put in etc and couldn't make any crosses work. I finally got to 20-A, which just had to be PALE BLUE DOT, so I figured there was a rebus for the acrosses, and that the down must be POPdIvas. Much later I saw POL, so that down had to be POP IDOL, with the dot serving to divide the words. Or, in 4 cases, to precede the word-- but what to do with WE IRDAL? Not to mention POTP IES. I never did notice that all the dots were ATOP Is, which raised my opinion of the puzzle considerably once I read Rex.

Using one of the dotted Is to spell IOTA, clued as "I" is either a nice touch or an off note, I can't decide. That part didn't bother me at the time, but the Homer part did. To the extent we know anything about Homer, he was a legendary bard who composed the Iliad and the Odyssey orally -- although he may have then dictated them to scribes. It just seems odd to use him to clue letters. I suggest "to Zorba" as an alternative.

The clue for IONS was a bit off as well; the LHC collides streams of protons, which are ... hadrons. I guess you could argue that a proton is a hydrogen ion, but in the context no one would. I mean, I got it, and @Joachin's rule, and all that -- but the bad science is irksome.

Kealoaulu, eh? Wish I'd thought of that. I put in Ipod, changed it to IpAd when I saw PANGAEA, and then forgot about it, thereby finishing with errors. Maybe that's why my newspaper didn't enlarge the dots.

Anyway, that's on me; I loved the puzzle.

As for Thanksgiving, my assignment was to make a pie crust, and that's all taken care of. My wife is doing the rest of the pie, which we'll take over to my daughter's house this afternoon.

As for cranberry sauce, I once made a big patch of Susan Stamberg's recipe, featuring horseradish. which she used to read on the radio. I wrapped it up tightly, flew with it to Green Bay, and took it to my Mom's house for Thanksgiving. No one would eat it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

Vermouth in the cranberries is an intriguing idea.

Marcus M. Garvey 10:46 AM  

@Joe D - That's Saint John Coltrane to you.

RDuke 11:02 AM  

Tom T, “OLE” meaning “old”, not what soccer fans chant. No comma needed.

Carolita 11:08 AM  

Loved this really clever puzzle. Thank you, Pao.

Have one beef with Saramago. I had to google him to get the quote. Was totally stuck in the NE. Thought of randy, but not horny. Anyway, just above the quote in this puzzle was this quote: "A woman is essentially a vessel made to be filled." It just doesn't get any worse than that.

@Barbara, don't read him. If only just for that.

Masked and Anonymous 11:17 AM  

Knew somethin ThursPuz-lish was goin on early, when my 10-Across answer seemed to just need to be left blank. Made more sense soon after, at POLKA.DRESSES. Fun theme mcguffin.

staff weeject pick: … at 10-Across.

fave themer: Other than …, really also partial to: .COMCRASH.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Roy dude. Nice job.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

Happy ThanxGivin, y'all!

Joseph Michael 11:17 AM  

Thank you to Pao Roy for this Thanksgiving treat. i loved it, especially the NE corner which was the last section I finally got. That DOT DOT DOT is an instant classic.

Tom T 11:19 AM  

RDuke, thanks! I considered OLE as "old," but couldn't get there. Was thinking it had to be OL' (as in good ol' John Coltrane). I should have seen LOLA as a better choice than LOnA.

Appreciate the clarification.

burtonkd 11:19 AM  

I forget who on here always points out that the usual term "rebus" is misapplied when used to mean several letters in one square. But they get something to be thankful today in that it is a symbol used to stand for letters in the true sense of the word.

Thanks OFL, for the beautiful writing and scene setting of a family Thanksgiving preparation. @Barbara, we are taking the feast to Canada today to visit a daughter in school since they don't get a break here. I get to pull out all my favorite winter gear for a little cold season preview.

I love reading everyone all year, thanks for adding brightness and interest to my days!

Whatsername 11:23 AM  

Very clever idea for a theme and well done. However I had a painful time with it since I solve on paper so instead of entering dot SYMBOLS in the rebus squares, I wrote out the word DOT. That had the result of making the down answers quite confusing because I kept trying to work the those three letters into the answer.

I cannot express strongly enough how much I hated the clue and answer to 13 ACROSS. I mean really. We’re doing this today when people are gathering with their families and grandchildren? Can we please just not?

Wishing everyone peaceful and joyful Thanksgiving Day.

Nancy 11:54 AM  

Very good news for all N.Y. Giants fans:

I didn't realize that the Giants were playing the Cowboys today starting at 4:30. (Of all days and of all times!)

But I will be at Thanksgiving Dinner -- not at home -- and will not be able to watch a single minute of the game. (And you know I would watch if I could watch.)

So I can't possibly be The Kiss of Death today :) Go Giants -- go successfully in my absence! And Happy Thanksgiving to everyone on the blog.

Joe Dipinto 12:13 PM  

@RDuke & @TomT – Actually it *is* what soccer fans chant, spelled OLÉ (see album cover avatar).

Newboy 12:17 PM  

What a delightful way to begin our thanksgiving. Pao’s grid had enough CONNECT THE …S & POLKA …DRESSES to allow order to evolve from the opening CHAOS of the NW. Having the equally iconic eArthrise?? photograph mentally block out PALE BLUE … took a loooong time since millions & billions were snarled as units of measurement.

Then the happy Rex write up & usual commentariat brilliance were whipped cream on the pumpkin pie. Especially appreciated @Barbara’s link, @Lewis’s GRAWLIX (I knew dingbat was wrong & couldn’t dredge that other word from the mental muck), @Gary’ s usual clever Uniclues, and the several posters of family tradition/memories.

May all have a full plate of happiness.

Anonymous 12:39 PM  

Seriously? Just a word! Don't let it spoil your peace! People will still gather with their families whether the word was in the puzzle or not! 🦃

Diego 1:35 PM  

LMAO with @jberg’s comment about the horseradish-cranberry recipe from Susan Stamberg (remember her well).
Cute puzzle, not my favorite genre but well done.
Not a fan of turkey either but looking forward to the chocolate pie!
Happy, happy everybody.

Beezer 1:44 PM  

Liked the puzzle and actually thought this “dot” theme was more elegant than the one @Rex mentioned…Hope I’ve hurt no feelings, I REMEMBER it but do not remember the constructor.

Worked the puz early a.m. and I can tell you I am very envious of folks who are “pitching in” a pie, a casserole, or A anything cuz I pretty much whip up the whole thing. I can tell you my prior ability to coordinate all the food is waning, as is my interest in making 99% of the food. Lol. The last time I had to lift nary a finger is when we met our daughter and SIL (who live in Alaska)in Maui during TurkeyDay week! The rest of the extended family aren’t lazy… just limited in cooking. When I SAY that, it’s not due to my particularness…it’s truly that they don’t cook.

Happy Thanksgiving!

okanaganer 1:47 PM  

[@Barbara S, re SB, I had the same last word. I got it this morning so counting it as a 0*. I think we tend not to see it because, well it's not a "real" word, it's the sounds of two letters!]

johnk 2:14 PM  

No thanks.

Anoa Bob 2:44 PM  

Hmmm, how does this work with upper case "I"s? That's how the NYT app enters the letters into the grid. Even back in the dark ages when I did xwords on paper, I used upper case letters. No dot needed. A dot over an "I" would, in fact, look kind of weird.

Strikes me as ironic that some have commented that having an actual dot (".") in the relevant squares rather than the letters "DOT" disqualifies this as a rebus puzzle. I think it's the other way around. Having some thing, here a punctuation mark SYMBOL, would make this closer to a rebus puzzle in a way more consistent with how rebus is and has been used by the rest of the world over the ages. Having multiple letters in a single square would make this a "litteris" puzzle, from the Latin litteris, "with or by way of letters". More on this here.

How often do we see the letter string "AEA" in English words? I liked that today we get two, 9D PANGAEA (I tried "EAE" at first) and 26D PAEAN. I always thought the former was pronounced pan-gee-uh and the latter pie-un. Wrong, buffalo breath. Just checked and yep, it's pan-gee-ah for PANGAEA, but nope, no pie in PAEAN; it's pee-un. (I still prefer pie rather than pee in my PAEAN.)

Yesterday we had WAR DRAMA and some mentioned the M*A*S*H movie and TV series as examples. Today's 17D SLAKE reminded me of one of my favorite episodes from the TV show. I couldn't find a video but here is a drag-and-drop from

Unfortunately, Simmons is not interested in movies, preferring to stay in, listen to music or read poetry. Seizing this opening, Radar turns up at Simmons' tent that night with Klinger's poetry book. Simmons invites him in and asks him to read some poems to her. He opens the books and clumsily reads some thoroughly unromantic lines from Rupert Brooke's "Channel Passage" about retching and being sick on a ship. Suddenly Simmons pounces on Radar exclaiming, "You don't give a girl a chance do you!" and "There ought to be a law against guys like you!" She pushes Radar onto the bed, with Radar all the while protesting that she is "bending the book!"

Much later, Radar staggers into the company office, shirt ripped open and lipstick all over his face. Trapper and Hawkeye, who are there for Klinger's wedding to his fiancée over the radio, are astonished. "Radar, what happened to you?" "I think I've been slaked," Radar says.

old timer 2:50 PM  

@whatsername, don't you understand that all those children and grandchildren are around your table because the grandparents and the parents got HORNY once upon a time? It really is the familiar term for sexual arousal. A HORN was once a male phenomenon, but the meaning of HORNY has long morphed into a general term for wanting to get it on, applicable at once to men and women.

Of course, one response to being told "I'm HORNY" is: "Let's don't and say we did." If that was always the response, so long humanity.

I really liked the puzzle, though I must say I had to come here to get that there was a DOT over every i. The three dots at the top made me laugh. I think I almost wrote down all the things that some others here put in and then had to take out.

I also really liked OFL's recount of his Turkey Day experiences.

Anonymous 3:13 PM  

Seven I’s? Where are the other three? Aha!
Very clever.

Tom T 3:16 PM  

@JoeDiPinto and RDuke: Fascinating revelation about the Coltrane album, which now makes the clue look really wrong; apparently it should be "____" (1961 John Coltrane album). That would really be a tough clue. I suppose the album was/is primarily Spanish and or Mexican selections?

Smith 3:24 PM  

@Beezer 1:44

I for one am *super* thankful that I no longer have to do that! As an only daughter married to a solo son (whose parents died early on) with 2 brothers (one with husband, one too far away to count), two sons, a father, and having lost my mother at age 35, guess who did all that for almost 30 years? Now we're happily in our charming apartment and everyone else has plans so we just have the kids on Saturday. And all is well, I am BLESSed!!

So I'm sending good wishes your way, and hope they at least help clean up!

Anonymous 3:31 PM  

The app does accept the rebus “DOT” but also accepts, and appears to be designed to just input a “.” So not technically a rebus, but seems to be open to that, dor familiarity amongst solvers.

jazzmanchgo 3:44 PM  

The Coltrane album title "Ole" is not a homonym for "Ol'" -- there's an accent over the "e". The music itself explored the Eastern-influenced musical modes of Islamic / Moorish Spain (an often overlooked facet of Spanish cultual history). That was the Spanish connection.

MetroGnome 3:46 PM  

I always thought "horny" referred to the horns of a cuckhold in Elizabethan comedy.

Anonymous 4:51 PM  

It very much does in Italy. There “cornuto” is a major insult when addressed to a married man.

Anonymous 5:48 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
egsforbreakfast 6:18 PM  

A puzzle that features a PAEAN to a PEON is something to give thanks for. Does a PETSHOP’s PETSHOP? Been cooking all day. Now to dinner. Happy Thanksgiving to all (including @Rex)!

Whatsername 6:49 PM  

@Beezer: I feel your pain. Been there, done that. This year I cut back on the menu and used disposable pans, paper plates and plastic wear. Not only did no one complain, they all seemed to enjoy the more relaxed atmosphere. As much as I hated the waste of throwing things in the trash, at the end of the day, it was worth it.

Anonymous 7:08 PM  

Clean up from yesterday.
In fact the Olympic Rings do represent the continents. Far from being debunked that fact is simple to confirm. It’s rule 8 of the Olympic charter.
But you need ent be conversant with organizational charters to make sense of tne 5 rinds/5 continents idea.
The Olympics were founded, and are still 4th by Europeans. Most of them say the Earth has 5 continents. If you’ve ever bought a pair of Puma athletic shoes you know as much. Their famous for Theo&z tag line: Puma. On All 5 Continemts.

Joe Dipinto 7:57 PM  

@Tom T – I have the LP; the back cover and the side binding both have "Olé Coltrane" and "John Coltrane" printed separately as title and artist. So the clue isn't wrong. The liner notes don't actually say much about the the music itself. There are only three tracks: "Olé", which takes up all of Side 1, and "Dahomey Dance" and "Aisha" on Side 2. It's a good album.

Anonymous 8:18 PM  

You are not the only one

Beezer 8:23 PM  

@Smith…thank you SO much! I don’t know if this will be posted at this late time or if you will see this…but it sounds like we have similar backgrounds…❤️ I really don’t like to sound like a b**tch.

jcal 10:04 PM  

Happy Thanksgiving all. A Rex - rather than puzzle - note. I was so happy to see him write "peanut gallery" - from the old Howdy Doody show. I used to use that term all the time; and it gave me a smile to revisit my youth and fond memories of my family on this holiday.

Terra Schaller 10:21 PM  

I think I'll try harder. Not be so gullible. Not just me in here.

Anonymous 1:50 AM  

A breezy puzzle with a twist of "dots".

That and a tequila grapefruit were the perfect accompaniment to a late night solve while cruising the coast of Mexico (today's port of call, Puerto Vallarta).

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

I just checked that 10 Feb puzzle and as the memory of solving it SEEPED to the surface of my brain, so did the fact that the the past tense of SEEP appeared in that puzzle, like it’s present tense appears in this one. And both times in the southeast corner, like SYDNEY does on most world maps. MERCY ME!

CAK 2:09 PM  

Lewis, you are a joy to read every day 🤗 I'm thankful for you - you help me keep my glass half full 💚

Anonymous 2:33 PM  

It’s gross. Only the news in the Times has to be fit to print, not the puzzle.

spacecraft 11:19 AM  

I don't recall the other puzzle, so this one seemed fresh to me. A different take on the usual rebus; I like. Most admirable is the absence of all Is except the DOTted ones. Bravo.

One WOE for me was sq. 38, a true natick. I had no idea either direction, started to run the alphabet, said "screw it" and stopped at B. MERCYME, it was right!

Fun solve, though a bit easy for Thursday. Birdie.

Wordle birdie, too.

Burma Shave 11:53 AM  


When she's HORNY, God BLESS ETTA,
(EAU, she won't WARN you with ALARMS)
she SMELLS and DRESSES better,
and welcomes ME with OPENARMS.


Diana, LIW 2:50 PM  

So if you have read any of my posts, you know names are my nemesis and I'm not a big fan of the rebi. But I did get this one. PALEBLUE* What else could it be? Go Voyager!

Had the same Natick as @Spacey, tho. Savage X Fenty sounds either frightening or like a rapper name. Oh well. To get most of Thursday is a triumph for me.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

thefogman 5:14 PM  

Loved this one. I had four of the dotted I’s and was almost finished except for a few squares in the NE corner. I couldn’t figure out how or where the last three dotted I’s were to go. Then Mrs. Foggy came to the rescue…

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