Marbled savory snack from China / SUN 11-6-22 / Electronic toy with a blue pull handle / Flat-topped military hat / The Tasmanian one has been extinct since the 19th century / God who was said to be in love with this sister while still in the womb / Support group with a hyphen in its name

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Constructor: Michael Lieberman

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Length-ening" — familiar phrases get two changes: the addition of "EN" and the changing of the spelling / meaning of the word that follows "EN"—so the phrases have been "length-ENed" but also respelled:

Theme answers:
  • SQUARE EN ROUTE (from "square root") (24A: Why the party's about to get less hip?)
  • HOW EN SUITE IT IS (from "How sweet it is!") (35A: Realtor's exclamation about a primary bathroom?)
  • MARINE ENCORE (from "Marine Corps") (49A: How Shamu acknowledged the crowd's appreciation?)
  • "EN GARDE, IANS OF THE GALAXY!" (from "Guardians of the Galaxy") (70A: "Prepare for a sword fight, McKellen, Fleming and all other namesakes out there!"?)
  • MAKE-UP ENTREE (from ... I guess, "make-up tray" (?)) (90A: Dish cooked to smooth things over after a fight?)
  • CHOPPING EN BLOC (from "chopping block") (106A: What students in a karate class are often doing?)
  • THE ROYAL ENNUI (from "the Royal We") (118A: Challenge for a court jester?)
Word of the Day: "The MEAGRE Company" (Frans Hals portrait) (30A) —

The Meagre Company, or The Company of Captain Reinier Reael and Lieutenant Cornelis Michielsz Blaeuw, refers to the only militia group portrait, or schutterstuk, painted by Frans Halsoutside of Haarlem, and today is in the collection of the Amsterdam Museum, on loan to the Rijksmuseum, where it is considered one of its main attractions of the Honor Gallery. Hals was unhappy about commuting to Amsterdam to work on the painting and, unlike his previous group portraits, was unable to deliver it on time. The sitters contracted Pieter Codde to finish the work.

Hals was originally commissioned in 1633, after the favorable reception of his previous militia group portrait, The Officers of the St Adrian Militia Company in 1633, in which all ensigns are holding flags and all officers are holding their weapons. The sergeants were shown, holding halberds to differentiate them from officers with spontoons. Hals seems to have initially intended an Amsterdam version of the same painting, beginning on the left with a smiling flag bearer wearing a flamboyant cut-sleeve jacket with lace and holding a flag in the color of his sash. Though it is impossible to tell on which side of the canvas Hals began painting, the light falls onto the figures from the left in the "standard" Hals tradition and this is also where the most important figures are situated within the painting. Since each sitter paid for his own portrait, it is presumed that Hals began with the most important sitters in order to "sell" canvas room to other paying officers. Whether or not Hals did in fact start on the left or drew a sketch of the entire group at once, the flag bearer on the left in this painting has been painted in a remarkably flamboyant way from the tip of his hat to the toe of his boots. This was possibly to prove to the decision makers in Amsterdam that Hals was capable of painting a schutterstuk in the "Amsterdam style", which included the entire figure. In Haarlem, the civic guards were traditionally portrayed in the kniestuk style of being "cut off at the knee" in three-quarter length portraits. (wikipedia)

• • •

Liked the way this one started, with the BLURRIER TAQUERIA of the NW corner, but with the revelation of the first themer, SQUARE EN ROUTE, I could feel my spirits deflate a little. "We're just adding 'EN'!? That's what 'Length-ening' means!? O... boy." There was something that seemed so, well, MEAGRE about the concept (more on MEAGRE later). And then came MARINE ENCORE, following the same add-an-EN pattern, which felt even more flaccid, and I reconciled myself to merely enduring yet another Sunday. But I will admit that "HOW EN SUITE IT IS!" ... well, it didn't win me over, exactly, but it definitely brought me around a bit. That is the kind of all-out loopiness I really want, in fact *need*, to see in themes that are this basic (e.g. add-a-letter (or two), drop-a-letter (or two), etc.). You wanna do some dumb puns, well OK, but please, nothing ... MEAGRE. Go for it. Better to be really truly gorily horrible, completely loony, then merely mildly chuckleworthy. "HOW EN SUITE IT IS!" has a fearless insanity that I admire. I also really do like that we're dealing not just with an "EN" addition, but with a complete word change as well (in the word that follows the "EN"), even though the title of the puzzle doesn't capture that aspect of the theme At All (it's a really bad title, tbh). I even retrospectively went back and gave a little credit to the clue on SQUARE EN ROUTE (24A: Why the party's about to get less hip?). It creates a ludicrous situation. Now, not all the themers (or their clues) do this, but there were enough that did. Enough, that is, to make me like this puzzle somewhat more than I like your average straightforwardly themed Sunday puzzle, and way more than I liked it at first blush. THE ROYAL ENNUI is very clever, and, well, I find it very difficult to be mad at an answer like "EN GARDE, IANS OF THE GALAXY!" That is a Marvel movie I would actually see.

There is some "oof" fill here and there, though. Let's start with MEAGRE, which clearly I am not yet over. I am kinda happy to learn about the Hals painting, which has a cool history, and which Van Gogh apparently rhapsodized over in a letter to his brother, Theo. But as fill, MEAGRE is super-ugly, and today it's also ridiculously hard. I needed every cross and was still certain something was wrong. Apparently this is how Brits spell "meager" (!?), but in its (very few) recentish past appearances, solvers were always alerted of both its meaning and its Britishness—we get Neither here: nothing to tell us that meagerness is at issue, and nothing to tell us about the British spelling. Worse, we get a *Dutch* painter, so the hell knows what letters are going to show up, really.
MEAGRE made me MOAN even more than ÉTAPE (oof, crosswordese of the oldenest kind) or EWASTE (a thing that I acknowledge is real but that is still bottom of the E-barrel fill). Then there's the execrable and always unwelcome EL*N MUSK, why!? That is a choice. I do not understand that choice. I also do not understand putting "IT" in your puzzle not once not twice not thrice but quattrice! HOW EN SUITE *IT* IS, IN *IT*, "*IT* CAME!," BOP-IT! make it stop. A couple of "IT"s in a Sunday-sized puzzle is probably not going to draw anyone's attention, but four ... four is four, and it's a lot. You may think, "I ... CON DU IT ..." ... but you really shouldn't.

  • 13A: A boatload (LOTS) — I had TONS because of course I did, the Curse of the Kealoa* is upon me!
  • 108D: Joy of TV (BEHAR) — I have it on good authority that she solves crossword puzzles. That authority is a 2016 US Weekly interview where she says "I do the New York Times Crossword every day."
  • 97D: "On Juneteenth" author ___ Gordon-Reed (ANNETTE) — she's a professor of law and American history at Harvard. I assumed "On Juneteenth" was a poem. I was wrong. It's a well-regarded short book explaining the significance of the annual commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S.
  • 111A: Flatbread made with atta (ROTI) — had the "O" and wrote in DOSA, which is "a thin pancake in South Indian cuisine made from a fermented batter of ground black gram (lentil) and rice" (wikipedia). No atta in sight :(
  • 17A: "Keep Ya Head Up" rapper, informally (PAC) — as in Tupac Shakur, or 2Pac.
  • 92D: Unlike p (RATIONAL) —I got this easily despite having no idea what "p" stands for. I figured it was something something math something number something, and I was right. Looks like lowercase "p" can mean lots of things, depending on context, but nearest I can figure here, it's somehow "pi" (!!?). You couldn't just write the additional "i"?? [UPDATE: the clue *actually* reads [Unlike π] but my software couldn't handle the character and so rendered it "p"]
All hail the return of Standard Time, the Best Time, God's Own Time. Please enjoy the hour you were denied by Demon DST. See you ... soon, I hope.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

*kealoa = short, common answer that you can't just fill in quickly because two or more answers are viable, Even With One or More Letters In Place. From the classic [Mauna ___] KEA/LOA conundrum. See also, e.g. [Heaps] ATON/ALOT, ["Git!"] "SHOO"/"SCAT," etc.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:50 AM  

Medium. This was amusing. Clever with more hits than misses, liked it.

egsforbreakfast 1:12 AM  

My comments may be subpar today (which would be a step up from my usual sub bogey), as I’m suffering from a bout of HOWENSUITE-ITIS. It only hurts when I laugh.

I can take NRA, Bush, Bannon, Idi. I’m game for even the most hideous stuff publishable. But I must admit that seeing ELONMUSK today brought me up short. I’m trusting that Rex will rant about the superbly bad timing of including the boy monster at exactly the time that he’s wreaking havoc with thousands of lives, while most likely setting his sights on installing a permanent orange buffoon on our soon-to-be-unveiled throne to serve as his puppet and sex toy. I’m writing this before Rex comes out, so if he doesn’t rant, at least you have a small taste of how I feel.

What did OSIRIS’ cow say? OMOO! But then, she was a Type E.

I thought the theme was corny and adorable. Particularly the IANSOFTHEGALAXY one. I might have gone to the effort to get rid of non-themer ENs in the puzzle (ENDTABLE, GREENER, NINTENDO, MENTEE, TENET, AMENS). Actually, now that I look at the list, I doubt very much that I would have tried to get rid of all of those. Never mind. Anyway, thanks for a real fun Sunday, Michael Lieberman.

One AWM (Ass With Modifier): BADASS
One HAE (Hidden Ass Equivalent): ENDTABLE
One GNCCA (Garment Not Completely Containing Ass): THONGS

Robin 1:15 AM  

92D seems to be a problem. I solved this via the Times website, where it was clear to me that the final character of the clue was the Greek latter pi. You know, 3.14159.....

The MEAGRE painting was new to me, but I have to admit that the only time I have visited Europe, I did visit the Frans Hals museum and saw various others of his paintings. Basically these are clubs, militia groups, drinking societies, or whatever associations of that particular time hiring a painter to shoot a group picture. Rembrandt's "The Night Watch" also falls into this category.

okanaganer 1:17 AM  

A nice amusing tribute to French terms common in English! Our language is full of Frenchy terms; these ones retain the original pronunciation while many have evolved away... eg "hors d'oeuvres"; originally "or duv-re" but most of us say "or derves" cuz we really wanna pronounce that S!

(Note to Rex and others: I use AcrossLite on Windows, and it has its issues, but tonight in the 92D clue it handled Pi correctly! Kinda surprised me.)

Rex said "All hail the return of Standard Time, the Best Time, God's Own Time". I say: Standard Time, Schmandard Time. As a retiree I don't change my clocks in the house; I just stay on Daylight time year round. My phone keeps track of the "real "time for appointments etc. And I keep my dinner time the same in the last of the fading daylight.

One writeover: for "Crews", had PILOTS (verb) before POSSES (plural noun).

[Spelling Bee: Sat 0, less than 2 min to pg!]

Loren Muse Smith 2:14 AM  

There’s much more to this than just lengthening a phrase by adding EN. It’s so involved that I’m still trying to work out the linguistic brain contortions it takes to create a themer.

Michael had to make sure that the EN in the phrase is pronounced more like our on (à la française, hi, @okanaganer). This constraint decimates the possibilities: can’t have stuff like HONOR GARDEN, CHRISTMAS ENTRY, ENGINE AND TONIC, or ENROLL MODEL.

And Rex – I need to add to your description: “…familiar phrases get two changes: the addition of "EN" and the changing of the spelling / meaning of the word that follows "EN"—so the phrases have been "length-ENed" but also respelled”: The new phrases are indeed spelled differently, but their pronunciation must stay the same. So something like DEAR SIRENS wouldn’t fit. Wait. That wouldn’t fit anyway ‘cause the SIRS doesn’t change spelling. Maybe LOVE BURDEN. . . No. I can’t. I’m done. My head hurts trying to fully appreciate what’s apparent: this group of themers is extremely tight.

I almost wrote in “lip” for the bad service. Defensible. I’m in public education.

“Place for a lamp” – anywhere it’ll fit. I have six lamps in my classroom, and I’m so grateful the powers-that-be haven’t fussed at me for them. Overhead lights make me sad. Invite me to your place for dinner and have the living room overhead light on for the pre-prandial chitchat and I just want to leave. No. Really. I even have a lamp in my bathroom.

Michael – thanks for the mental workout involved in processing the trick here. I need a nap now.

PS – Rex – I must’ve gotten MEAGRE with the crosses. Never even noticed it.

Conrad 5:06 AM  

I was solving as we were watching one of Pat's grandkids while simultaneously watching Michigan do poorly against Rutgers (they turned it around in the second half but by then the puzzle was done). I needed an easy-ish puzzle, and Lieberman and Shortz delivered. No Sergey, no Larry, no cheats. Overwrite at (of course) MEAGer and a bit of trouble spelling Beignets at 88D. A typical gendered adjective kealoa at 45A (OTRa/OTRO). And at 54A WTO was a WOE, but the crosses made it gettable.

Colin 6:35 AM  

Medium difficulty, but maybe that's because I was binge-watching NCIS at the time (last evening) while tending to our persistent please-let-me-out-I-want-to-eat-some-more-rabbit-poop dog Teddy. Cute theme, which I thought Rex would skewer. Very bad timing about ELONMUSK showing up this week, but how much leeway do the puzzle editors have?

Congrats to Houston and Astros fans! I remember the Phillies won their first World Series when I was a high school senior, and our school (in suburban Philadelphia) held a Phillies Day that holds a place in my yearbook.

Dave in Ancaster 6:48 AM  

Amazon sells makeup trees for drying brushes.

bocamp 6:56 AM  

Thx, Michael, for this ENCORE performance! :)

Tough, but fairly crossed.

Good guess at the BET / BOP IT cross.

Cute theme.

Enjoyed the challenge! :)

On to the Acrostic. 🤞
Peace 🕊 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🙏

Natasha 6:57 AM  

My mom just offered my sister and (or) I her extra copy of Ain't I a Woman via text last night. Maybe this is a sign that I should both take and actually read it.

Anonymous 7:02 AM  

I groan whenever I see a puzzle like this - appreciate some people like this genre of crossword, but I’ll never understand how or why.

Wanderlust 7:11 AM  

You had me at EN GARDE, IANS OF THE GALAXY. When I saw the clue for that one, I knew it would be the most tortured of them all, and it was, in a good way. I like that it crossed IMPALE, so I could imagine Gandalf skewering James Bond’s creator. I also like SQUARE EN ROUTE, which is undoubtedly what partygoers say when they hear I am on my way.

Thanks, @LMS, for explaining how the theme is even more complex than it seemed at first.

Shiner before FAT LIP, and nibble before A TASTE. Ended with no happy music, and it took quite a while to find the error: LEgGO before LET GO. Obviously, I was thinking “Leggo my Eggo” and I didn’t even notice the football DgS instead of DTS (are there defensive guards?)

Does anyone still make a pie crust with LARD? I have never used it. Curious if you can taste the difference.

TTrimble 7:21 AM  

I liked @LMS's more appreciative write-up more than Rex's. I tried to think up another themer, without success. "A rolling stone gathers no en masse" stinks.

Rex went a little over-long on MEAGRE and the lack of the British heads-up, since the spelling is uniquely determined by the title of the painting (in English, anyway). Yes, it was hard in the sense that not many will know the painting. I love that name in the subtitle, Cornelis Michielsz Blaeuw -- how do you pronounce that last name? And I kind of love the painting: some of those assumed stances are pretty BADASS, like the dude near the center with his back 3/4-turned. And the guy two men down to the right, who's angled himself back. I like to think he had to hold that the whole time while the men waited, waited, waited for Hals to (never) complete the portrait.

I agree with Rex that some of the fill seemed olden: TYNE, EARTHA, OMOO.

I don't really understand EWASTE, what that is supposed to be. I think I understand generally that it connotes "a WASTE", but I don't know what that E is doing, why it's there. E for Entertainment?

That fact that pi is not RATIONAL is about the second thing everyone learns about the constant, but the proof is no cinch. The proofs that involve continued fractions are kind of nice. But the real bear is proving transcendence of pi, i.e., that pi is not a root of any nonzero polynomial with integer coefficients. I've never seen any proof of that that I won't forget in six months' time. You, @mathgent?

AMENS all around to the brilliant vitriol @egs wrote about that bad smell in the room, ELON MUSK. That SHONDA.

Ellen 7:32 AM  

Did it but didn't like it. The changed spelling of the word following the added "en" was less than EN-tertaining. I'm too annoyed to be clever

Colin 7:32 AM  

@TTrimble, 7:21 AM: E-waste is electronic waste. Computers, smart phones, etc., all count. They comprise a separate category, as they contain some rare earth metals and other materials not found in more "historical" garbage, and also in this day and age, may contain electronic information about the previous owner.

Son Volt 7:57 AM  

Elegant theme - I’m with @LMS on the second level nuance that Rex overlooked. Played straightforward - not a lot of pushback anywhere. It felt like a trivia and proper name overload in real time - all gettable. I liked ELM TREE, BOP IT and the TAQUERIA - PIÑATA combo. EZRA Pound and T.S ELIOT fighting in the captain’s tower

Not just MUSK - but BEHAR too? That’s some ugly fill. We can add KNELLS/KNEEL, EWASTE, TWIXT and MENTEE etc and things go south. I would say Kanye has gone from the A-list to the DELIST pretty rapidly.

Guadalcanal Diary. I’ve seen ALS destroy a friend of mine - I’d really rather not see that in a puzzle. The lamb shank TAGINE at Mogador on St. Marks is unreal.

Have you ever seen DALLAS from a DC-9 at night

Enjoyable enough Sunday solve - just not BAD ASS enough for me.

Barbara S. 8:10 AM  

I had trouble with the theme in two ways: 1) I couldn’t figure out the base phrase behind MAKEUP ENTRÉE and 2) I wasn’t sure I understood CHOPPING EN BLOC. There’s an online retailer of cosmetics called Makeup Tree, but the base phrase has to both change spelling and retain pronunciation, so that can’t be it. Rex’s “makeup tray” must be right. (Sorry, Makeup Tree, you haven’t been elevated to NYTXW status after all.) And CHOPPING EN BLOC means CHOPPING in a group? It took me a while to get that, and it seems like one of the weaker themers. But I loved HOW ENSUITE IT IS and THE ROYAL ENNUI – delightfully clever. So a mixed review for the theme, accompanied by a bumpy solve, as follows.

After a certain amount of flailing, I had to look up Ken JEONG’s name, never having seen any of “The Hangover” movies and being in a complete muddle in that area of the grid. I couldn’t see RESET or HOEDOWN, and my EN GARDE, IANS OF THE GALAXY was shaping up incorrectly in the most hilarious way. For CONDUIT, I had CONDUcT and for INIT, I had atIT, which gave me EN GARDE, cAtS OF THE… [I hadn’t yet filled in the rest]. Cats? Cats of the what? And what do cats have to do with people named IAN, which will have to go somewhere in the answer? Honestly, I don’t know how I get myself into these jams. Anyway, with JEONG in place and after getting a few more down answers nearby, I realized the last word was GALAXY, which meant GARDE IANS, which meant the felines had to go. And not a moment too soon.

But I still got a DNF – at the LETGO/DTS cross. I know next to nothing about football so the linemen clue was a WOE, and for LET GO I had LegGO, as in “my Eggo” (hi, @Wanderlust!). That’s a particular instance of “Hey, I had it first!” and I thought the answer was being cutesy. Oh dear. I guess I can conclude that I watch too much network, commercial-driven TV (although “Leggo, my Eggo” probably hasn’t aired for decades.)

I never would have thought The MEAGRE Company would have made it into a NYTXW (too obscure), but I’m always happy to see Frans Hals. Did Rex explain the use of the word MEAGRE in the name? The official title of the work is The Company of Captain Reinier Reael and Lieutenant Cornelis Michielsz Blaeuw. So why MEAGRE? It was noticed that the men in this painting were considerably thinner than the fatter, more prosperous-looking stalwarts in other militia group portraits displayed nearby in the Voetboogdoelen (crossbowmen's shooting range), where the work originally hung. About a hundred years after the picture was completed, an 18th-century art historian nicknamed it The MEAGRE Company and the name has stuck.

[SB: yd: 0. The Zs were daunting at first but really no problem.
Dbyd: -3. Bleargh (to quote the sorely missed @Z). The 5-letter word was a should’ve, the 6-letter an unknown variant and the 8-letter something straightforward that I probably never would have thought of.]

TTrimble 8:11 AM  

Thank you very much -- I will remember that. That's an important category to be aware of. Obviously I had misinterpreted the clue: when I saw "TV that's trash", I was thinking The Housewives of Beverly Hills or some such.

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

“elonmusk” next to “rational” made me chuckle a bit

Joaquin 8:34 AM  

While I agree that the world's richest man is a complete schmuck and a danger to civilization, I am not willing to pretend he doesn't exist. Further, I don't believe being an answer to a crossword clue is an endorsement or even a compliment. It's just a fact.

I do find it somewhat amusing that R*X Parker is loath to even write ELON's name.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

Amy: found this entertaining. Like it a bunch. LMS, me too re: overhead lights! I have a portable rechargeable lamp for the bath. Lots of lamps in the rest of the rooms, and unscrewed the bulbs in the overhead fans.

pmdm 8:41 AM  

So today's theme had three components: adding en, making sure the en used the French nasal pronunciation, and using a homophone in the entry. I view this as a tour de force and wonder at those who do not appreciate it. So I liked the puzzle's theme. Enough said about that.

I used to eat up problems like proving whether a constant is rational or irrational. And marveling at how a constant could suddenly become in seemingly unrelated places. But, having been forced to study New Testament Greek, it's tough to hear what should sound like pee sound like pie (and I do not meant to suggest grossness).

Speaking of E-waste. My brother sent me a link to a You Tube posting that shows someone who figured a way to turn E-waste into a musical instrument. As Spock would say, fascinating.

Joey 8:45 AM  

DST is superior to Standard Time, and I look forward to it finally becoming permanent 😁

S.O. Crates 8:56 AM  

Mixing apples and oranges?

Tutor and mentor name two different roles that comprise two substantively different relationships with their charges and two different purposes The charge of a tutor is a tutee, not a mentee.

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

@Barbara S. You weren't the only one with the issue on LETGO/LEgGO.

To make matters worse, the term defensive guard is an alternate to defensive tackle in American football. So DGS is a valid answer, IMO.

Nancy 9:05 AM  

Sort of silly, but much fun. Some of the themers were adorable. My faves were THE ROYAL ENNUI; ENGARDE IANS OF THE GALAXY; and HOW ENSUITE IT IS (I love Realtorspeak.)

But what on earth is a MAKEUP TREE? I get the ENTREE in the pun -- but a TREE?? I've heard of makeup kits, makeup tables, makeup sessions, makeup artists -- but I've never heard of a MAKEUP TREE. Maybe when I go back and read the blog...

Question for Will Shortz: Why on earth would you give away the puzzle's best theme answer -- the "ennui" part, at least -- in your Editor's Note? You've never done that before and it makes no sense at all.

Don't know why a KILN is filled with hot air. Didn't like the partial "A WASTE" at 96A. Thought the clue for CLEAT was a stretch. But mostly this was an enjoyable romp -- with plenty of groaners to keep me entertained.

Bob Mills 9:19 AM  

Good puns, and a not-too-tough puzzle. A little long on hip language, maybe. But the punned theme answers made it worthwhile.

NYDenizen 9:19 AM  


Wordle 504 2/6*

🟨R🟨A⬜ I ⬜S🟨E


Teedmn 9:36 AM  

I'm so glad Rex ended up on the positive side of this puzzle because I thought it was the best of the Sunday puzzle lately. I found the theme amusing and thought there was a lot of wordplay, which has been lacking in recent Sundays.

I loved Rex's "bottom of the e-barrel fill". Nice!

And I'll go along with his wondering about the clue for RATIONAL although I didn't even have a "p" to ponder. The software I use rendered it "Unlike π". Luckily, crosses worked and I knew it was some mathematical clue.

Also, on MEAGRE and the Dutch spelling - I was expecting 12D to be clEaNER and had entered the A into the grid, making the Hals "Company" a MaA-something. I even wondered if it should be haArlem but I just kept going on my random-solve way and it fixed itself. I only skimmed the "Word of the Day" explanation but did not see why the word MEAGRE describes the company. Google tells me it's because the officers in the painting are so thin. WEIRD.

Great job today, Michael Lieberman, thanks!

Pete 9:47 AM  

If all makeup were eliminated, after about 10 minutes the world would go on without alteration , except we would not be spending up-teen billions of dollars on useless crap.

Speaking of useless crap, I read an article yesterday about EM's bid of 54.20 for Twitter. The 4.20 was just a weed joke, not based on any valuation. Even if you just look at the $0.20 part, 785M shares translates to $170M dollars. That's the annual salary of 900 people who got fired to pay for that $0.20 joke.

I appreciate @Barbara S sharing the "Meagre" part of the painting reference, that it's just a nickname. I also almost had a DNF because of the same LET[g]GO / DTS cross. I know some linemen are guards, but forgot that they're offensive, but not 'I had to fire 1000 people to pay for some dumb weed joke' offensive

Diego 9:58 AM  

I’m with you on the LAMPS! We have a hanging-thingy over our dining table, but I also light candles every night (on the table) to soften the overhead. But lamps in the bathroom? What about the cords? Imma nervous nelly about electricity and “moist”environments. And what about the kitchen? At my age, I really need all the help I can get in there!
As for the puzzle, I had no problem finishing it, thought it was a tad overcooked, but had a few chuckles—and it is Sunday.
I agree with the Musk comments, a poster boy for all the excesses of our times. And after Tuesday, it’ll likely get worse.

Mack 10:01 AM  

I can't believe Rex's very first gush is over the answer that bothered me the most. BLURRIER?
Memories aren't blurry. They're foggy. FOGGIER is the correct answer.

"This photograph is blurry."
"My memory is a bit foggy."

(I would also accept "dimmer")

Beezer 10:03 AM  

I REALLY enjoyed this puzzle and I loved ONGARDEIANSOFTHEGALAXY. I tend to agree with @Rex that, in this case, the wackiness puts it on a higher level. Well, I think that’s what he said. I must confess I had a DNF in the BOPIT area because I’ve never heard of it (maybe like a mini-whack-a-mole(?) and I was convinced the Sistas network was TNT. This led me to think that MAYBE ATnUp was a term I was unaware of…you know, like…two people are totally in love so the wedding nuptial is soon to come. 🙄

@Joey, I chuckled when you said that about DST. I don’t know about your state but MY state has constant bickering about whether to observe DST (we did not for awhile) not to mention suggesting the whole state should be Central zone, not Eastern (which is a fed call, not state). I think whether people in a state are agitated about “time” depends on where the state sits within a time zone. I tend to stay OUT of the daylight saving v standard debates but roll my eyes on changing zone lines.

RooMonster 10:08 AM  

Hey All !
Finally, the return of OMOO! Been a while, ole boy. Sit for a spell.
(My OMOO- ness is WEIRDer than my F counting.)

LOL YesterComment! I now know it's you with your ASSets!

Puz is 22 wide, in case that hasn't been brought up yet. More SunPuz for THOUs money. Or, more Slog for your money...

Still wondering what EN DTABLE is. 😜

I liked this puz. Fun finding all the EN additions. I suppose changing a word in each phrase had to be done, otherwise you end up with nonsense EN(word). The ole brain took a second before realizing a word had been homophoned. Silly brain.

Never knew ENNUI was pronounced EN-WE. Unsophistication strikes again! I always pronounce it literally, as EN-EW-EE. Thankfully it's not in my daily spoken vocabulary! I also do that (on purpose, though) with Tonneau. I like to say TON-EW-EE. So now you may think me even stranger! 😁

Great clue for OWLET.
Got our daily ASS. And it's BAD!
KNEEL and KNELLS a neat pair.

Enough FAT LIP YAMMERing from me.

Two F's

Colin 10:15 AM  

I think a few folks are a little confused about MAKEUPENTREE. This is not derived from a make-up tree but a make-up tray: ENTREE is pronounced like "on tray" here.
I admit I've only a vague notion of a make-up tray, but Etsy has several selections of these:

Northwest Runner 10:19 AM  

There is no good way to clue tutee or mentee because there is appropriate way to use them in speech or writing. I will die on this hill.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

I Prefer standard time but wish they would just pick one. The clock changing fucks with my head.

Beezer 10:21 AM  

@LMS…I ALSO agree about LAMPS! However, now that I just recently passed the mark where I’m closer to 70 than 65 I totally get @Diego! I’m now actually contemplating installing SOME recessed ceiling lights in our great room area due to the apparently unavoidable diminishment of rods and cones and those things they call cataracts (of which my damned ophthalmologist says aren’t “ready” to be removed). I think that we can ALL agree that fluorescent lighting sucks! Um…just kidding to any opthalmologists out there…I KNOW there must be a good reason for waiting…

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

Same. I hated this puzzle's theme.

sixtyni yogini 10:33 AM  

Well, it’s Sunday and the puzz will be either stupidly easy or stupidly hard (imho).
This 🧩was the former. Boring and so what? theme.
🦖Gave a a good crit today, and my response is like PI … illogical probably…
But strongly felt bc did not enjoy.
Haha pretty harsh!

Carola 10:38 AM  

What a theme! I enjoyed it while I was solving the puzzle but didn't fully appreciate its complexity until reading the comments, especially @okanaganer's 1:17 and @Loren's 2:14. I'm with @pmdm 8:41: a tour de force. I loved the opening SQUARE EN ROUTE and thought the puzzle ended with the grand prize-winning ROYAL ENNUI. I'll admit, though, to wondering why the grid had two TREES, ELM and MAKE-UP.

@Barbara S. 8:10 - Thank you for the detail on The MEAGRE Company.

GILL I. 10:43 AM  

@egs....You should always post before "Rex comes out." Thank you for the EN SUITE morning laugh.
I have become pickier with my Sunday delights....This one had a twinkle. I thought it might be fun to give it a whirl. Taking the bite was worth it.
It did take me a long time to straighten out my mangled thought process. I got to HOW EN SUITE IT IS, and knew I would enjoy today. I did.
I had name problems along the way. JOENG, ANNETTE and SHONDA were no shows at my party. They were not missed. I became even happier when I met up with HALS and his MEAGRE Company. I was in Amsterdam about a THOU years ago and visited the unpronounceable and spelling disaster museum. I stared at it for hours. My then boyfriend wanted to head for the red light district...I never saw him again. Anyway, the painting is stare worthy for so many reasons. Look at all those men! Look at how they hold their swords! They look like dandies heading for a ball. Does a WOMAN find that appealing I ask. I'll take Omar any day of the week.
I stopped daydreaming and finished the puzzle. I really did enjoy figuring out what Michael might have up his sleeve. My only scratch my head moment was 112A MENTEE. I don't think I've ever heard nor seen that word in all of the years I've flirted with the English language. Is it some bastardization of MENTOR?
ENGARDIAS OF THE GALAXY also want to know.

Tom T 10:44 AM  

Fun puzzle, just about average Sunday time for me. Had to find my Happy Music blocker, which turned out to be the oft mentioned LEgGO/DgS cross. I actually think LEGGO is a better answer for, "Hey, I had it first!". On the other hand, it turns out that there is no Defensive Guard position in football (just Defensive Tackles and Ends).

Thanks for the various clarifications from Rex and others concerning EWASTE, EN "TRay," and EN BLOC. I really enjoyed the punny themers in this puzzle.

No idea of MEAGRE as clued, but every letter very fairly crossed.

No more ATBATS until Spring ... sigh.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

Natick at the DTS/LETGO (vs DgS/LEgGO) crossing.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

I appreciated the extra touch of all the themes using alternative spellings for the same sounds. None simply inserted “EN” and kept everything thing else.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

Lard (shortening) makes a great pie crust. Having one for dessert tonight,

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

Worth coming here just for the picture of a young Ian McKellen.

G. Weissman 11:13 AM  

This is the rare puzzle I rate far lower than Rex does. Usually I feel just about as negative as he does. He likes this one well enough, whereas I found the theme answers to be terrible all around. The “respellings” are not clever but simply cheats. GARDEIANS is not a word. Also, the opening commentary by Shortz is braindead, since it clearly gives away the theme and includes an answer (EN + we = ENNUI). This is a notably poor puzzle in my book.

johnk 11:16 AM  

Re DST vs Standard Time: Does anyone in Binghamton, NY, really want daylight to begin in the middle of the night on JUNETEENTH?

thefogman 11:26 AM  

Don’t know why Shortz gave away the best pun in the puzzle ENNUI in the explainer. Also, ENNUI is an outlier in that it contains two Ns in ENNUI as opposed to all of the other themers which only have one N in their EN extensions. MAKEUPENTREE is too obscure and should not have been added. That’s three strikes ATBAT. Also, why is 81A (TAN) clued the way it is? i don’t get it. Better editing would have made this one a BADASS puzzle.

Anonymous 11:35 AM  

As soon as I figured out it was BLURRIER, which no one says, about their memories—Hazy? Foggy? Sure.—and then got the absolutely horrible pun of SQUARE EN ROUTE, I wanted to quit. MARINE ENCORE? ROYAL ENNUI? This puzzle isn't just about lENgthENing. There are spelling changes involved in these tortured groaners, one after another. Some of the trivia featured here is for the over 60 crowd. Some of it is for rap fans (PAC), maybe of a certain age, or those worried about inclusion (JUNETEENTH reference. Check.) or the environment (EWASTE). In other words, this is a puzzle worried about offending and leaving anyone out. No wonder it wasn't any fun.

Joseph Michael 11:58 AM  

Grumbled my way through most of this, but did very much like ENGARDE IANS Of THE GALAXY and THE ROYAL ENNUI. I guess my wavelength was otherwise in a universe far, far away from the puzzle.

@Nancy, I feel your pain about MAKEUP ENTREE. I guess it’s a play on MAKEUP TRAY since the -TREE is pronounced -TRAY when it’s part of ENTREE, but boy is that one tortured pun.

And what the hell is EWASTE? I think it should have been A WASTE which is how I felt about the much of the time I put into solving this puzzle. Oh, Sunday, Sunday, why dost THOU always torment me so?

deerfencer 12:25 PM  

Bah. Found this labored, corny and just EWASTE of time

Lori 12:38 PM  

I totally agree with @Nancy and am sort of furious with the intro, which I always read before doing a puzzle. The entire theme was given away in the description plus the title. Not only that, but the "ennui" was actually USED later in the puzzle (and was in fact the first themer that I got.) Why on earth would the author of the intro (Will Shortz?) ruin a perfectly fun theme by completely revealing it?

As far as the puzzle went, I really enjoyed it; and parsing the "en" (like in the pronunciation of "entree") was fun. Too bad I knew what I was looking for before the game was even afoot.

JohnJay 12:42 PM  

ANNETTE/TAGINE was a natick for me. _AGINE could be anything, and in my mind an obscure author's name Anne _te could also be anything, since with the hyphenated last name I thought there might be a rare-spelling middle name to go with Anne. After I got the "t" it was "Doh! Of course, Annette!".

My favorite was THE ROYAL ENNUI, after struggling to understand what a SQUARE ROUTE was (pronounced as "ow" in cow, not "oo" in root; in IT the network devices are routers , not ).

bigsteve46 12:50 PM  

Defensive tackle (DT);

Sometimes called a "defensive guard", defensive tackles play at the center of the defensive line. Their function is to rush the passer and stop running plays directed at the middle of the line of scrimmage.
(Says wikipedia)

So there certainly can be a "defensive guard!" - and perhaps going back a few decades to when the game was a little simpler - there definitely was! So DGS crossing LEGGO is perfectly correct And since it was the my only "mistake" in what was for me a tough puzzle, by the authority vested in me by the guy who looks back at me in the mirror, I hereby declare my DGS/LEGGO cross to be correct!!

And, furthermore, the "Hey. I had it first!" clue seems to ask for a slangy answer ... that makes even more correct!

I feel much better now.

CDilly52 1:18 PM  

Everyone’s comments have been so much more enjoyable (for me) than the puzzle today, and I am usually one if the staunch defenders of the cutesy Sunday themes simply because they are silly. This one struggled. The phrases could have been sharpened so that they all worked as well as THE ROYAL ENNUI. That was almost worth the time it took to get there. That one was tight; the subject of the theme clue (Jester) was perfectly connected to the object of his task (eradicating ENNUI) on behalf if “The Royal We.” The others just fell short, although GUARD-IANS OF THE GALAXY tried really, really hard.

Makes me sad that my Sunday silliness puzzle was leas than. It did have some really good clues though. Really high marks for the idea. Just needed some more work. Would editorial assistance have well, . . . assisted?

okanaganer 1:18 PM  

@Loren, I'm like you with overhead lights. I don't have one in my living room; I have 3 table lamps plus a torchiere with a flexible reading light halfway up. In the bedrooms I only turn them on for cleaning, just like they do at the bar.

[SB... @Barbara S, on Friday I also missed your 5er (which I have never ever heard of) plus I somehow missed this 8er, for a -2.]

pabloinnh 1:29 PM  

Once I saw that this was more than +EN, with the last part being a homophone, my appreciation went way up, pushing this into the Really Good Sunday category. Some unknown PPP, but everything fairly crossed.

Always want ETAGE for ETAPE, and it's always wrong.

I think any puzzle that includes both OMOO and KEPI deserves an award for historical reference. Hello old friends, and how have you been?

I'm generally in favor of lamps, but boy do I need those overheads when I vacuum.

Very nice Sunday indeed, ML. Mostly Loved the concept and the execution. Thanks for all the fun.

yd SB a QB. Loves me them short numbers of possibilities.

And now on to the Acrostic.

Anonymous 1:30 PM  

My error was also LEGGO; I figured a DG (defensive guard?) was as likely as a DT (defensive tackle? I know very little about football…). I call “Natick!” on this cross.

FearlessKim 1:36 PM  

Thanks, Barbara S, Tom T, and others for pointing out the Natick at LETGO/DTS. I thought LEGGO fit the clue better, and that DGS was as likely a football position as DTS. Sheesh.

Anoa Bob 1:36 PM  

Call me Anoa. Melville's second novel has a very grid fill friendly string of letters, OMOO (36D), and has appeared in a NYTXW 360 times over the years, 96 of those during the Shortz era. His first novel and the one that made him famous was "Typee". No surprise here but with that letter sequence it has shown up only 25 times, 9 of those during Mr. Shortz's editorship. Melville's "Moby-Dick" gets the top grid fill prize via the whaling ship Pequod's peg-leg Captain AHAB. He has appeared 412 times, 134 in the Shortzian era.

MarthaCatherine 1:50 PM  

@LMS: I'm with you on the overhead lights. Especially at restaurants. No one. NO ONE! looks good with a light shining on them from above--a sort of reverse Blind-Man's-Bluff monster look. And those little spotlight ones are the worst. Seems like it's the more upscale places that are the worst offenders. When I become queen, I shall outlaw all lights that shine from the ceiling or right into my eyes. I'm too old to have the lighting make me look even older.

Can someone please explain 29A to me? how is service that is not good "let?" (I'mma feel really stupid about this...)

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

Agree completely re Musk. Ruined an otherwise good puzzle for me.

TTrimble 2:15 PM  

Sorry for what may be a barrage, but a "let" serve in tennis, where the ball in service hits the tape but still lands in the service area, is not considered "good": the play is stopped and it's a do-over.

Beezer 2:31 PM  

@MarthaCatherine, in tennis a “let serve” is not “good” if the ball touches the net but still lands inside the opponents “return of service” area. It’s not really BAD because you get to serve again. If a served ball lands outside the service area it is a “fault” whether or not it hits the net on the way over. I hope this helps. It is very confusing for people who don’t “know” tennis. Heck, it was a little confusing to me!

MarthaCatherine 3:04 PM  

Thanks @TTrimble and @Beezer for the info about Let. I know almost love (see what I did there?) about tennis.

Masked and Anonymous 3:14 PM  

Mark M&A down as pro-theme, today. Wacko and humorous and pretty much consistent except maybe for that last length-ENN-ed themer. My kind of SunPuz.
Side-eye maybe also on ELMTREE with its followup themer cousin MAKEUP(EN)TREE, but one could argue that either way, sooo … OK.

22x21 puzgrid, also -- more for yer moneybucks. Also, 145 words, btw. 5 over the usual 21x21 max amount.

Fave themer: ENGARDEIANSOFTHEGALAXY. One of M&A's all-time fave schlock flicks. Groot Groupie. I unabashedly admit to it.

Fave fillins: LANGUAGE. TEAEGG. FATLIP. TAQUERIA. BEIGNETS [yum]. Once waited in line forever in Nola, for some primo beignets.
Ye olde stuff to be-har: E-WASTE & A-TASTE.

staff weeject pick: ISS. Nice, in that it went the space station route, rather than the maga.zine iss.ue route. M&A just finished up buildin a runtpuz that had ISS in it, and this NYTPuz entry helps ease some of my [admittedly limited] shame. Hopefully it makes Lieberman dude feel a little better, too.

Thanx for a funSunPuz, Mr. Lieberman dude. Oh, man -- just a V short of yer pangrammer en pointe.

Masked & Anonymo10Us

sorta passes the breakfast test:

ShaaronAk 3:28 PM  

@LMS Really?? How can that be when overhead light is most like the sun? I'm the exact opposite. Overhead light cheers me up.
(Except when it is fluorescent and not bright enough). Lamps can be useful to add light in some spots. But lamps alone are stressful lighting and, yes, sometimes, make me sad.

Rex's write up was quite amusing today, Fun to read.

I did not find the puzzle easy. Too many things I did not know crossing words that did not spring to mind easily from the clue.
Like the painting title, which state is called the ocean state (Seems to me many could be). Some names.

Is" blurry" ever used to describe a memory?

Found the theme quite fun, tho, and after reading LMS on how tight is is, I'm impressed.

Gary Jugert 3:45 PM  

Felt overall like more work than joy and gad what a strained theme.

Anyway, it's done. We're off to a new week.


1 One of those huge Amazon boxes they use to send one thing and sixty feet of bubble wrap set on its side and pushed up next to your La-Z-Boy with a beer on top.
2 The siren songs of the hammock.
3 Eyelid tattoos.
4 Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


beverly c 3:51 PM  

I agree with Rex - Looniness in the theme makes all the difference.

Beezer 4:22 PM  

@Roo…this is late and you might not see this…BUT…I remember an embarrassing incident where I said en-new-we to (thank Gof!) to someone who was a nice guy and a trusted colleague who didn’t decide I was a dolt. He (kind of) chuckled and said…”do you mean “on-we”? Funny how if we’ve READ a word but haven’t actually HEARD it how these
things happen!

pabloinnh 4:58 PM  

@Beezer-For me it was "debacle" which I pronounced DEB-a-cle, to rhyme with "tentacle". What a debacle.

Ken Freeland 6:35 PM  

Thought I 'd escaped the natick traps at TEA EGG/TYNE, but turns out I was done in by BOPIT/BET. As MET and bET seemed equally implausible names for a cable channel, I reasoned that the blue handle could have been for a mop device, the sudsy equivalent of a roomba. But no.

Though I 've never heard of "Guardians of the Galaxy," I thought the theme was pretty creative, and this constructor went farther than most in maming fill answers zingers, so I give this puzzle a mixed review...

Anonymous 6:55 PM  

Re: “ All hail the return of Standard Time, the Best Time, God's Own Time. Please enjoy the hour you were denied by Demon DST. See you ... soon, I hope.”

It’s…so…DARK…so early. We are all being denied an hour of sun!

No idea what Rex is referring to. Standard Time is dark and gloomy. Give me my hour of daylight please!

dgdicola 7:14 PM  

But in the Northeast route rhymes with root, not rout. So no problem for this Rhode Islander.
BTW I was surprised no one complained about No. 64 A: Ocean State / URI. I thought it
would be considered obscure by many here.

andrew 7:56 PM  

“execrable and always unwelcome EL*N MUSK“

Joy of Tv Blowhard also fits that description. My personal Kealoa of un-EN-gaging slogfest…

Lampless in Louisville 8:00 PM  

"Overhead lights make me sad. Invite me to your place for dinner and have the living room overhead light on for the pre-prandial chitchat and I just want to leave."

You are one tough guest. Don't want to make you sad. Bye bye.

C’mon 8:41 PM  

I welcome the execrable ELON MUSK and BEHAR. Need more inclusivity. The puzzles would be a lot worse off if they only included admirable people, organizations, etc.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  


Anonymous 1:38 PM  

A let in tennis is a serve which hits the net and lands in the service area, and is replayed.

Anonymous 11:44 PM  

Am I a dumb? Behar/Tagine cross natick got me.

Anonymous 1:22 AM  

Can someone tell me what a WOE is?

kitshef 9:11 AM  

Advice to everyone. Don't read the puzzle titles. Don't read Will's notes. Your solves will be more enjoyable.

Thought this was fairly entertaining if a bit uneven, and a little tougher than the average Sunday, which I liked.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

He does this all the time with the intro! I’ve even tried cutting out the square that had it but that makes the paper rip. It’s mind blowing that he does this again and again !

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

Another Sunday, another spoiled theme by will shortz. Please stop doing that!!

Anonymous 9:38 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Diana, LIW 5:43 PM  

I can just see, and hear, Jackie Gleason saying 35 across. HOW ENSUITE IT IS.

Now I have to go back and read Will's notes and the title - I hardly ever do that.

Anon 1:22 - not sure which WOE you refer to, but usually a "what on earth?" or, in other words, "I have no idea what this is."

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Christoph Wienands 9:08 PM  

E-waste as in electronic waste. Cell phones, computers, TVs, rechargeable batteries and such.

Justin 12:36 PM  

This is old and you will never see it, but I can no longer abide our differences.

I disagree with basically every non-crossword opinion you espouse (and many of the crossword opinions, as well.) I find your incessant need to color everything with your superficial, quasi-political fingerpainting quite obnoxious. But I was able to get past it. No more.

Calling standard time "the best time" and taunting me to "enjoy the hour I was denied..." is absolutely unforgiveable.
What world do you live in where light at 6 am is more important to you than light at 5 pm?
I'm writing this as sort of a joke...but not really. I don't think I've ever been more angry at something so trivial. I pride myself as someone who is quite tolerant of others' opinions.
This. Is. Not. Okay.
It is not an acceptable opinion.
There is a special place in hell for those who would deny me daylight at an hour when I may actually get something accomplished and replace it still being darker at 6 am than it was a month ago?

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