State of uneasiness informally / SUN 1-22-23 / British sailor in slang / Sales promotion acronym / Plants used in wickerwork furniture / Plant with purple-pink flowers / Cozy stopover / Fragrant medicinal plant also called colic-root

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Constructor: Garrett Chalfin

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "With Ease" — familiar two-word phrases have a long "E" sound added to the end of both words, creating wackiness:
Theme answers:
  • CHILI FACTORY (23A: Kitchen at a barbecue restaurant?)
  • HIPPIE BOOTY (28A: Result of a 1960s Haight-Ashbury shopping spree?)
  • POINTY OUTIE (38A: Highly visible belly button?)
  • NOSY BESTIE (48A: Good friend who won't stop snooping?)
  • SWEETIE TREATY (66A: Prenuptial agreement?)
  • WHINY STORY (85A: Long anecdote from a complainer?)
  • CRAFTY FAIRY (91A: Tinker Bell or Puck?)
  • PHONY BOOKIE (104A: Bad person for a gambler to make bets with?)
  • TESTY GROUPIE (110A: Acolyte with a bad temper?)
Word of the Day: FANTODS (93D: State of uneasiness, informally) —
"You have got strong symptoms of the fantods; your skin is so tight you can't shut your eyes without opening your mouth." Thus, American author Charles Frederick Briggs provides us with an early recorded use of fantods in 1839. Mark Twain used the word to refer to uneasiness or restlessness as shown by nervous movements—also known as the fidgets—in Huckleberry Finn: "They was all nice pictures, I reckon, but I didn't somehow seem to take to them, because … they always give me the fantods." David Foster Wallace later used "the howling fantods," a favorite phrase of his mother, in Infinite Jest. The exact origin of fantod remains a mystery, but it may have arisen from English dialectal fantigue—a word (once used by Charles Dickens) that refers to a state of great tension or excitement and may be a blend of fantastic and fatigue. (
• • •

With ease, yes, that is how you are likely to solve this one. The clues are toughened up a little, in places, and there's one answer that (for me) was from outer space, but otherwise, this was a gentle walk in the park. The theme itself is a good old-fashioned add-a-sound theme, or a variation on it—add-a-sound ... twice! These stock theme types only work if they yield truly outrageous and original results, and I'd say this one hit the mark only half the time or so. I think the biggest winner is probably the first one, CHILI FACTORY, because it has an original base phrase ("chill factor") and the added "E" sounds really dramatically reorient the meaning of that phrase. The others are too often kind of sing-songy and silly, and certain words, like "sweet" and "craft," aren't sufficiently recontextualized by the addition of the "E" sound. Some of the base phrases, like "wine store," are kind of dull to begin with, and then there's "knows best," which would never fly as a stand-alone answer (would it?) and so I don't know why it gets to fly as a themer. I still don't get what "BOOTY" has to do with a "shopping spree" (do you really call the things you purchased "BOOTY"?? pirates are disqualified from answering this question). It's not that the concept doesn't work, it works fine, it's just ho-hum at its core and lackluster in its execution. Also, I don't think EASY A'S has any business being in a puzzle with "EASE" in the title, but that's just a minor matter of overall elegance and polish. The thematic tepidness is the bigger issue.

Also, once again (for the umpteenth ... or second ...) time this week, I finish the puzzle with only one answer on my mind—a longish answer that means absolutely nothing to me. It doesn't look like a word. It so much doesn't look like a word that I assumed I had a mistake. So I checked and rechecked and rechecked the crosses, then said to my wife "I'm going to spoil the puzzle for you now" and she said "eh, it's Sunday, it's probably fine," and I said "the clue is [State of uneasiness, informally] and it's seven letters and starts 'F'." Her: "... um ..." Me: "FA-" Her: "... ... ..." Me: "F-A-N ... T ... ODS" Her: "[squint] [head tilt] [shrug] no idea." Me: "But ... it says 'informally' ... we're informal ... why don't we know this?" So, looking it up, I ... yeah, I don't get it. I mean, informally? If you used that word with me "informally" I would just stare at you. It seems way more "literary" than "informal." Merriam-Webster dot com's explanation (above, "Word of the Day") mentions some author named Charles Frederick Briggs (??) and then Twain and David Foster Wallace, but ... is this still a viable term? Weird that there are two Ph.D.'s in this house, one a Ph.D. in literature, the other a Ph.D. in history who has actually read more literature than the Ph.D. in literature, and yet: nothing. I can't imagine even wanting to use this word. But I look it up and there it is, so ... can't argue with the dictionary, I guess. I mean, I can, and do, but ... sigh. FANTODS! I really thought this was going to be some online thing, something to do with ... fandom or something. Fans of Tod (Browning?). If the Tod Browning fan club is not called the FANTODS, that is a crime and they should rectify it immediately.

I do not believe for one second that PRTALK is a thing, what horrid, insufficiently curated wordlist coughed that one up? (78D: Bit of hype, informally). Yuck. That spelling of CAPEESH ... or any spelling of CAPEESH, ugh. I looked it up just now and there are at least four viable spellings, apparently (91D: "Is that understood?"). I tried CAPESCE and that, sadly, was not one of them. We get the most Americanized one of the bunch here. Blah. Y'HEAR looks awful. It's YA HEAR. Seriously, the crossword *told* us it was YA HEAR back on Jan. 6, what the hell? I've watched roughly a thousand seasons of the Great British Bake-Off and still thought the verb was PROVES (6A: Activates, as yeast => PROOFS). Why is it a "proofing basket" but a "proving drawer," and do I really want to know? (I might). ISLE and ISLA in the same puzzle is bad even if you clue ISLA as a name (42A: Actress Fisher of "Now You See Me"). They're the same word in different languages, boo. What did I like? Well, I like "IF YOU WISH..." and I almost like "ALAS, NO..." for its self-conscious quaintness. I also like STRAY DOG—a great late '40s film noir by Kurosawa. Also, I just love STRAY DOGs, and all dogs. Speaking of which, I spent some time at the pet shelter on Friday and ... say hello to my new STRAY DOG (not actually a dog):

I typo'd STRAY GOD just now, and who knows, maybe! But for now, she's just a wee kitty who tried Very hard to escape from an animal trap (hence her face and paw wounds), and finally got discovered, and then turned into the shelter, and then spayed, and then (a few days after that) ... us. Her name is IDA MAE SUNSHINE NÉE FLOOF (seriously, the name she came with was FLOOF). She's also IDA MAE, IDA B., IDA B. WELLS (when she's investigating), IDA LUPINO (her real namesake), IDO DIDO, MRS. FLOOFINGTON, etc. She is currently busy sleeping and sleeping and sleeping and recovering from her traumas and putting on weight and being a purry love-baby who purrs and loves. We are quite smitten. Alfie ... less so. But he'll come around. I need to get back to smushing her now. See you later!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. BOGO is "buy one, get one" (34D: Sales promotion acronym)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:32 AM  

What is “chill factor”? Wind chill factor?

Gary Jugert 12:34 AM  

Congrats πŸ¦– on rescuing IDA. She's been through some stuff and is lucky to have you.

As for today's puzzle:

Nope. Just no.


Looking forward to Monday.


1 Celebrity chef delights in offering Zoom classes.
2 Orphan wanting more than soup.
3 Kook's kaleidoscopic keester.
4 The dorms, once.
5 Reason why so many techies are suddenly sleeping in.
6 Excitement at getting a second sitar for free.
7 Alpine Jewish leaders wearing bell bottoms.
8 You can't take the sourdough home, got it?
9 Wanna try? Try.


Anonymous 12:35 AM  

Fun puzzle. Except for FANTODS. WTF?

TimG 1:10 AM  

Wow, first one in! Wild ginger, per Wiki, is Asarum Canadense, commonly known as Canada wild ginger, Canadian snakeroot, or broad-leaved asarabacca. The plant commonly called colicroot, colicweed, crow corn, or unicorn root, is Aletris, family Nartheciaceae. Asarum is in the family Aristolochiaceae. Coli-root is definitely NOT wild ginger.
Didn’t like ‘spots’ in the clue for blots Never remember how to spell Ms. Stahl’s name! Started with Leslie. Not sure rattan exists in plural. Not a fan of “guess which language” clues (Erse, Lao). Total agreement on “capeesh” “yhear” and “fantods” is just awful!
Also, odd clueing on genes, they’re not just in your blood…
Never heard of author Jhumpa or their book, nor the author of Dragonwyck, only gettable off crosses. Likewise the first name of Taiwan’s president. Too much arcana for my taste.

Alice Pollard 1:16 AM  

IFYOUWant before IFYOUWISH. did not know LAHIRI and the cross w LIRAS was kinda a Natick for me. ALASNO was awkward. I got the trick early at TESTYGROUPIE. so that helped. I had ODDball before ODDDUCK but I knew it was wrong as 6D *had* to be PLACE. Fun puzzle... took 2 cups of coffee. I never race through these things, I actual slow down if it is going too fast. I do hardcopy with no clock. Nice puzzle

chefwen 2:09 AM  

Ida is one lucky kitty. Thank you for rescuing her, she is going to be a beauty.

As for the puzzle, not my cuppa. Too cutesy.

Where is Elizabeth Gorski I when you need her?

okanaganer 2:26 AM  

Not as fond of this puzzle as Rex (that almost never happens!). I think it's cuz he's in a cat rescue bliss. She looks kinda like a cat Snapchat filter! That will change for the better I'm sure.

Again, so many unfamiliar names piling on. ISLA LAHIRI LAO LSU (college name abbrevs the worst). The theme was mildly amusing. Difficulty parsing POINT YOU TIE. Whaaa?... oh, it's POINTY OUTIE.

Typeover: for "Went 90, say" had AGED before SPED. I guess I was thinking "Reached 90, say".

[Spelling Bee: Sat 0, last word this 8er. Last 7 days, Sun to Sat: 0, 0, 0, -1, 0, 0, 0. Missed TAGLIATELLE on Wed; really can you blame me?]

Joe Dipinto 2:50 AM  

I like Floof as the name. I think you should keep that and ditch Ida Mae, which is too much like Oda Mae, the supremely annoying character Whoopi Goldberg played in "Ghost". But, you know, it's your decision. She's a cutie.

I didn't particularly care for this puzzle, I thought most of the theme answers fell flat. I wish 15d had been AS YOU WISH, clued for a certain movie. I'm sure that corner could be reworked, as we also didn't need ISLE and ISLA both in the grid. PR TALK is ridiculous and Y'HEAR is from desperation. And I'm really really tired of CAPEESH, in any of its cutesy spellings. It's insulting and needs to get lost.

jae 3:02 AM  

Mostly easy, however the BOGO area took some effort...jim, PAM, and jAn all work for “The Office” clue.

FANTODS????...I’ve actually read “Infinite Jest” but I somehow missed that line.

Reasonably pleasant solve, liked it.

fishbaby 4:44 AM  

Ida LUPINI cuz you’re gonna be squishing those toe beans soon!😻 Congrats!

Anonymous 5:33 AM

Conrad 5:40 AM  

Congrats on being acquired by Floofida! May she bring you much joy and happiness!!

I tripped over several pitfalls like @Alice Pollard ODDball at 27A, @TimG LESLie before LESLey at 52D, uTe before OTO at 9D, nosy before AGOG at 46A (disabused by NOSY BESTIE right across the way). WOEs included WILD GINGER and LAHIRI (55A).

But it all came down to FANTODS. At 103A, I was torn between LEfT and LENT for "Didn't give forever," thinking something along the lines of somebody who gave up waiting forever at the DMV and just LEfT. Couldn't make sense of FA_TODS with either one, so I picked LENT and was surprised when entering it resulted in the happy music.

BritSolvesNYT 7:07 AM  

We prove bread rather than proof it here in the uk, so that confused for a bit. This is my least fave theme type, I hardly ever find any of these remotely funny and that was the case today. Fantods I put on autocheck for as was certain something was wrong. Another poor Sunday.

Anonymous 7:15 AM  

Weird, FANTODS was right in my wheelhouse, a DFW/Infinite Jest thing. Not everyone's cup of tea, and the man was a bonafide creep, or worse, but "the howling fantods" stuck with me.

Colin 7:27 AM  

Congrats on Ida! The photos are heartwarming on this gray, chilly New York morning.

This puzzle was fine, but I too found the theme... meh. Not quite happy with AGOG as "curious in the extreme" and I had HEME before GENE in my blood. (Yes, some components like the white blood cells contain DNA but the red cells do not.) My wife and I were stuck in the NW corner for a spell, with all the musical PPP's. Naticked with OTO: We had UTE then UTO, and left it at that.

Lewis 7:36 AM  

I was both charmed and impressed with this theme. Charmed by the idea itself, adding the ee sound to both halves of a common phrase, and by the playfulness of it all. Impressed for two reasons: One, I love how the words in the original phrase have their meanings totally changed by adding the ee (i.e.,“treat” to “treaty”), and two, these transformations are hard to come up with.

At least for me. I tried, using all the tricks I know, but nothing came up as good as what Garrett produced. I could come up with words, say, that had their meanings changed by adding the ee sound, like “cough” to “coffee”, or “cop” to “copy”, but no accompanying word worked with it.

And while I’m on the subject of “impressed”, here is an individual who not only has produced a quality Sunday NYT puzzle, but (according to his notes) is about to enter the University of Chicago as a philosophy major!

A couple more puzzle thoughts. Please, yes please, give me wild never-heard-of answers like FANTODS any day of the week! I love this word. I will probably never use it, but I love it, and will remember it. I love that our language has quirks as do we all. And speaking of lovely quirks, I love HOHO over BOGO. Finally, I love silly, and thank you for coming up with [I’m toast!] for BREAD, Garrett.

Please keep ‘em coming, sir, y’hear? And thank you for this lovely creation!

Anonymous 7:41 AM  

I'm not sure how PROOFS is right. You activate yeast by adding water. You PROOF bread by letting active yeast do its job. PROOFing isn't activating, as far as I can see.

Son Volt 7:44 AM  

This one didn’t go big - it went home. No real wackiness to be found. The things Rex and @Joe D highlighted grated on me also - namely Y’ HEAR and CAPEESH. Add EASY A’S, REORGS, RATTANS etc and this defined slog.

CHINA Crisis

I did like ODD DUCK. Didn’t know ANYA or LAHIRI but the crosses were straightforward. No real pushback in this big grid.

Almost as if the editor canvassed potential constructors and asked for a Sunday sized grid with a played theme and flat fill.

One for Floof

SouthsideJohnny 7:48 AM  

About 75% of the grid was really excellent. Some of the content was unfortunate and I’m guessing the constructor was let down by the editing as well - a couple of misdemeanors (plural LEGOS, no abbreviation in the clue for REP), one felony (that horrible clue for GINGER ROOT), and one capital offense (FANTODS).

The unfortunate content was mostly all stuffed into one small section on the east coast, pretty much turning it into a mini-wasteland, with ISLA, LAHIRI, LIRAS, LAO, LSU and AEIOU; That’s just terrible - I imagine even a true fan of trivia and gibberish would cry uncle at some point.

It’s kind of a shame that the NYT team can’t seem to get out of its own way - they should please bring back Robyn, give her a clean slate late in the week, and get out of her way.

Anonymous 7:54 AM  

Ooh, congrats Ida Mae on choosing your new caretakers! (They may think they chose you, but we both know that cat magic was afoot.) You chose well!

As for the puzzle, I was with the crowd of WOErs on FANTODS until Rex’s citation. I’m impressed that the word is in Huck Finn, and I can only presume that the whole mass of us just glossed over the unrecognized word and never questioned it.

Eater of Sole 7:57 AM  

First, congrats Rex on your new family member, looks like you've got many head bumps in your future.

- FANTODS, no prob, filled in with a few crosses. I suppose I must have learned it from DFW, but I am tickled to learn from Anon@5:33 of Edward Gorey's publishing house. I encourage all of you skeptics to embrace this lovely word.

- Someone may correct me I don't believe that SETI has anything to do with UFOs. The buik of SETI's work is trying to find signals.

- ALAS, NO, @TimG, Colic-root is a name given to any of several plants, one of which is Asarum canadense, at least according to

- Another hand up for HEME (way better answer, given the clue) before GENE. Though it's worth noting that "blood" is also used metaphorically to refer to one's genetics, as in "blood line," "blood of my blood," stuff like that.

Anonymous 8:16 AM  

+1 for FANTODS WTF. In my mid 50s, reasonably intelligent person with a graduate degree who also happens to watch way too much British TV, so I tend to know Brit slang better than the vast majority of people I know. Good thing it wasn’t that hard to get from the crosses.

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

If you haven’t read Jhumpa LAHIRI’s Interpreter of Maladies, you’re missing out.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

What is a HIP BOOT?

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

Aww...enjoy your new furbaby! 😻 Just a shout out to say that I loved TLC crossed with Lovin' (En Vogue).

Barbara S. 8:32 AM  

This was a groaner. The only theme answers I sorta liked were PHONY BOOKIE (OK, I admit, I laughed at that one) and CRAFTY FAIRY, because I thought the base phrases were stronger in those two than elsewhere. For me “chill factor” is always “windchill factor,” so that one breezed right by me (ha, ha). It never occurred to me that “chill factor” was the weather term; I assumed it meant something about being hip or cool, as in “Wow, look at Randall, so centered, so with it, so himself – I wish I had his chill factor.” Overall, I thought this wasn’t a bad Sunday without being remarkable. It kept me entertained throughout the solve, so thanks, Garrett Chalfin.

I have some nits, though:
AGOG (46A): excited or amazed rather than [Curious in the extreme]. Merriam-Webster agrees with me.
UFOS (60A): UFOS are not SETI (Search for extraterrestrial intelligence) subjects. Electromagnetic radiation, specifically radio signals, are [SETI subjects].
LIMEY (59D): Although the word originated as [British sailor, in slang], it’s commonly used today for anyone who’s English.

FANTODS threw me for a loop, too. I’d never heard of it and couldn’t believe it was right. But unlike many, I was fascinated by the word and really glad to learn it. Here it is in situ in David Foster Wallace:

“Orin’s special conscious horror, besides heights and the early morning, is roaches. There’d been parts of metro Boston near the Bay he’d refused to go to, as a child. Roaches gave him the howling FANTODS.” (Infinite Jest)

Jhumpa LAHIRI is an author worth exploring if you don’t know her. I haven’t read her novels but her short stories, such as those in Interpreter of Maladies and Unaccustomed Earth, are gems. Here’s a taste (as it were):

“Eventually I took a square of white chocolate out of the box, and unwrapped it, and then I did something I had never done before. I put the chocolate in my mouth, letting it soften until the last possible moment, and then as I chewed it slowly, I prayed that Mr. Pirzada’s family was safe and sound. I had never prayed for anything before, had never been taught or told to, but I decided, given the circumstances, that it was something I should do. That night when I went to the bathroom I only pretended to brush my teeth, for I feared that I would somehow rinse the prayer out as well. I wet the brush and rearranged the tube of paste to prevent my parents from asking any questions, and fell asleep with sugar on my tongue.” (Interpreter of Maladies)


1. Jewish spiritual leaders in Geneva channeling James Brown.
2. Newspaper headline the day after a Navajo rave came unglued.
3. What are on display when small, man-shaped cookies run amok.
4. “Disaster will inevitably result if you buy an ECOTank ET-2400, young man.”


Rex! Pat Ida for me! Lots and lots!

[SB: yd, -1. Got all the hard ones, no sweat, and then missed a nondescript 5er that SB uses all the time. SB = selective blindness.]

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

It is capisci. Fake authenticity of Americanized southern Italian dialect notwithstanding.

kitshef 8:39 AM  

No joy from the theme, and a lot of what Rex said, and the already-voiced complaint about SETI and UFOs.

I like FLOOF. It's an appealing name and gets the @RooMonster seal of approval if anyone wants to put it in a puzzle. But Rex and MrsRex are doing the work so it's their call.

Anonymous 8:39 AM  

What does chili have to do with a Barbecue restaurant?

Mr. Grumpypants 8:40 AM  

Ugly, boring, and just plain wrong in places. Some have been noted already. I'll simply add that an "acolyte" is NOT a groupie. Not even close.

Weezie 8:52 AM  

Welcome Ida! She’s the cutest. I’m not Italian, but my half brothers and my sister-in-law are, in the Brooklyn Italian, still in touch with family in the old country kind of way, and CAPEESH sent a woeful shiver down my spine on their behalf.

+1 for Jhumpa Lahiri being a wonderful author, +1 for the WILD GINGER nit, and another +1 for not remembering FANTODS despite having finished Infinite Jest (minus oh, about 80 pages of skimming through tennis match descriptions) before knowing about his creepiness.

I hated the theme, somehow managing to be both boring and also distinctively so. Something nice: I did appreciate some of the trivia-centric cluing for what are otherwise common answers. At least I learned something new.

Twangster 8:53 AM  

The only Chill Factor I've encountered was The Pretenders' "Chill Factor":

But I see it was a movie, too.

Lolcat Lisa 8:55 AM  

Ida's "cinnamon bun" sleeping position is a 10 out of 10.

TaylorSlow 8:57 AM  

Rex, congratulations on adopting IDA! May she be part of your family for many, many years.

I enjoyed the theme of this easy puzzle (with the exception--noted by Rex--of HIPPIE BOOTY, aaaargh, matey!), but the fill had some big flaws and clunkers. The problems with GENE, AGOG, PR TALK (which is popping up in puzzles everywhere, and ugh!) have been well defined by others, but I have to say that CAPEESH is just...terrible. It's stupid to substitute the spelling of how a foreign word sounds for the word itself. Will we soon be seeing "bawzhoor" or "graahseeyaahs" because we're a nation of idiots?

I'm surprised at how many commenters don't know Jhumpa LAHIRI. Her many works of fiction have won her international acclaim and numerous major awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal. Try "The Namesake."

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

FANTODS was a gimmie for me, from Huck Finn. I’ve never read Infinite Jest but apparently have wasted too much time reading corny 19th-century American humorists, who loved to drop silly, pretentious-sounding words into the mix. Didn’t we have “sockdolager” in a NYT puzzle a year or two ago?

TJS 9:01 AM  

absolute garbage to end a rotten week.

TTrimble 9:08 AM  

First of all -- congratulations on rescuing Ida! Aka... and I have to agree with @Joe D., sorry... Floof. She looks like an old soul. And a real SWEETIE.

[We'd also lost a cat this past year, same day as Rex in fact, and the other cat has never seemed quite the same since.]

I too gave a side-eye at WILD GINGER and was unable to confirm it's clued correctly. That section was tough for me: don't know my Prince lyrics well enough, had a hard time coughing up BOGO (Buy One Get One) -- just what is the currency of that acronym I wonder -- wanted hEmE instead of GENE (lots of cells carry DNA, but heme is specific to blood). And whoever saw an OUTIE that was POINTY? As in, tapering to a point?

Way back in the solve, I had ODDball, then it was ODDniCK, and ODD DUCK at last. I misspelled LESLEY as LESLie, grrr. Before CROWS, had glOWS.

Some curious comments this morning, and I don't mean the kind of curious that makes me AGOG.

As a verb, PROOFS is correct: you proof the dough, at least here in America. And Rex: BOOTY is absolutely attested outside of piracy. I would translate it as "goods". (I do agree with you about Y'HEAR though.)

(My kids and I used to have fun with Google Translate as follows: take a rap song like "Talk Dirty to Me", take a lyric like "but your BOOTY don't need explaining...", translate into a language like Russian, and then translate that back into English. "But your production is not necessary to explain". Preferably spoken with a Russian accent.)

(Speaking of kids: listen up. You're in your bare feet and you step on a LEGO [or LEGO brick, IF YOU WISH]. In the moment of pain, do you command the youngsters to pick up their LEGOS, or do you go all prescriptivist and call them LEGO bricks, because that is what corporate headquarters says is correct? Be honest now.)

Yes, FANTODS I think I may have seen, but it's a weirdo, no doubt. One curious comment, more in the agape sense than the agog sense, came from an Anonymous at 7:15AM: "... a DFW/Infinite Jest thing. Not everyone's cup of tea, and the man was a bonafide creep, or worse,..." Wait, what? Who's a creep? David Foster Wallace? Why on earth would someone say that? I mean, I have my criticisms of the man and his writing, but I don't get it. (Also: the poor guy, I wouldn't wish his fate on anyone.) You sure you're not thinking of someone else?

As far as the puzzle goes: yeah, I can see why Rex would rate it easy. I found the theme mildly amusing, but the fill tedious. Lots of choppiness, I think due to the grid layout.

SB: oh, FF sake, I'm soooooo mad at myself for missing these words. Eyeball-stabbingly obvious.

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

Let’s go TWINS! (Came here just to say that.)

Pete 9:27 AM  

Hey, did I every tell you guys my HIP BOOTs story?

Smith 9:28 AM  

Impressive construction for a hs student!

I do Sunday in the irl magazine, so didn't realize I had an error with PHONeBOOKIE; didn't know 95D Seton, so ANeA looked ok, but I did wonder why this theme answer had only one added /ee/ sound (once long ago I read something that advised the reader "never to ignore that small voice within you" - usually it's the voice that says "You will drop what you're holding if you reach for that other thing" as you promptly drop it all, usually on a foot... but I guess it applies to xwords, too).

I thought FANTODS was a great word, new to me. Clue for REP needed an abbr. or a "briefly".

The youth I wrangled as acolytes (for seven years, before handing over to a paid staff member, youth minister) would probably have gotten a *huge* kick out of being called groupies, but that's just us. One of my originals, at the time entering 10th grade, looked over my "dress code", which was only about footwear and nice hair, since they would be wearing robes, and said, " So Christian commando is ok?" I swear one of the attractions for the guys (and some of the girls) was... learning how to use a lighter! (to light the candlelighters)

Looking forward to more from GC!

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

I thought when I filled in FANTODS, “I can’t believe I remember this, I think I only saw it once. This will be a hard one!” Enjoyed seeing ODDDUCK and the clue for RHYMES.

Aesop 9:31 AM  

@Barbara S - It's a poor intellect that is astonished and yet not filled with wonder.

Whatsername 9:33 AM  

Taking a break from eschewing crosswords while relishing a glorious football weekend, I just popped in to say - welcome IDA Floofie Cat! Your beauty is exceeded only by the generosity of your humans. May you be blessed with a long happy life of purrs and loves and smooshes. πŸ’Ÿ

I have a kitty whose name is Lily, Lily Mae, Lily Billy, Lily Belle or Miss Lily Belle Black. She is that rare feline who actually responds to her name and will come running when I call her.

SIzeman 9:34 AM  

I literally yelled "FANTODS?" and then came here thinking "surely Rex will be equally irritated with this non-word!" I'm always happy when The King of Crosswords agrees with me.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

Amy: a pleasant, easy Sunday. Glad it wasn't an intricate theme requiring a lot of energy. Feeling a lazy Sunday coming on here.
Ida has gumption. And good luck, which she apparently appreciates. Thanks for the photos.

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

My thought exactly! Can anyone tell me what we are missing? Also, I was a huge Twain fan in elementary school and fantods was a shiny new word that I never forgot.

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

Fantods! Edward Gorey!

David 9:45 AM  

Someone needs to stand up against the New York City nonsense. Chili is _not_ a barbecue food.

Loren Muse Smith 9:47 AM  

Rex – Ida is one lucky cat. I know she’ll bring y’all lots of joy. Congrats.

Oh my gosh, I loved this. The title is so absolutely perfect - wonder if that was the seed or if it was an afterthought. The title’s aptness is the best part, imo.

@Lewis, I know, right? It’s irresistible not to try to think of others. (Heck – there’s even a volunteer in the grid: OLLIE’S welly.) What about a Boise nightie? Ready auntie, stormy celery, petty Harry...

I think my favorite is actually NOSY BESTIE, but POINTY OUTIE is a close second. I guess you could have a city outie, even an EDGY outie. But enough about navels.

@Alice Pollard, @Conrad - me too, for ODD ball before ODD DUCK. Bet there’re a lot of us this morning.

Happy Sunday – I’m already late to pick up my sister for some errand running.

Urban Garlic 9:48 AM  

Long-time reader, first-time commentor, here to defend FANTOD -- it's a bit niche, obviously, but with all due respect to Rex's vastly greater expertise over mine, I think it's not entirely out of bounds.

My introduction to it was via the artist Edward Gorey, whose oeuvre is sort of "whimsical horror". (Google his work, you'll see what I mean.)

I'm a fan, and purchased some merch several years ago, including a pack of novelty Tarot cards, billed by the seller as a "Fantod Pack", at which point I looked it up and learned a thing.

Since then I have run across it a few times, in contexts I've now forgotten, but certainly not the high-blown literary material that the Merriam-Webster folks referred to.

So, definitely obscure, arguably archaic, but not encumbered by impossible crosses, and worth a bit of brain-stretching. I'll allow it.

Jennielap 9:50 AM  

Mazel tov on your new arrival! Poor baby, she’s going to be beautiful once she heals.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

I looked up fantods in the OED. Here are the citations:

1839 C. F. Briggs Adventures Harry Franco I. 249 You have got strong symptoms of the fantods.
1867 W. H. Smyth Sailor's Word-bk. Fantods, a name given to the fidgets of officers.
1880 L. Parr Adam & Eve xxxii. 440 I'd do the trick, if I was she, 'fore I'd put up with such fantads from you.
1881 S. Evans Evans's Leicestershire Words (new ed.) Fantodds, ‘megrims’, ‘mulligrubs’, a stomach-ache; a fit of the sulks or other slight indisposition, mental or bodily.
1884 ‘M. Twain’ Adventures Huckleberry Finn xvii. 138 These was all nice pictures,..but I didn't somehow seem to take to them, because..they always give me the fan-tods.
1886 W. Barnes Dorset Dial. 63 Fantod, a fuss, fidget. ‘She's always in a fantod about Meary’.
1910 Sat. Westm. Gaz. 1 Jan. 6/1 Sundays inside of a house gives you the fan-tods.
1920 J. Galsworthy In Chancery i. v. 47 You mustn't get into a fantod, it'll never do.
1935 J. Masefield Box of Delights viii. 220 ‘I say,’ Kay said, ‘what a place!’ ‘It gives me the fantods,’ Peter answered. ‘I don't like the place.’

I agree with anonymous that 'proof' is the wrong word for activating yeast. And fantods is just ridiculous.
I mean we all love Galsworthy and Masefield, obviously, and who can forget Brigg's Adventures of Harry Franco?

RooMonster 9:54 AM  

Hey All !
Here's my WHINY STORY ... one-letter DNF! Argh! And after a six (count 'em, six!) day streak. Which included two SatPuzs (albeit both easy ones). Totally my stupid fault, too. You'd think it was at the by now infamous FANTODS, but no. Regardless that I didn't know that, the crosses were quite solid. It was at WHINY STORY! How apropos. Had LESLEe, and even at the time I was filling in WHINeSTORY, I scratched the ole head wondering why there wasn't an E sound there! Silly brain.

Ah well.

Rest of puz wasn't EASY A'S pie, but went quick enough. Fun concept. First Themer gets a little side eye. Is CHILI really the definitive product of a Barbecue Restaurant? Maybe clue as "Kitchen at a rib joint?" or somesuch. And although HIPPIE BOOTY is funny in a couple of ways, HIP BOOT is (to me) not the greatest base phrase. NOSY BESTIE gave me a chuckle once I figured it out. I was like "Nose best? Wha? ... Oh, Knows Best! Nice."

AEIOU clued so nicely, I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet.

ODDDUCK odd looking with that triple-D.
FANTODS should need a The in front, like The Vapors. "I was so apprehensive, I got The FANTODS!"

Hope your favorite team doesn't get any Griddy Irony today! (Oof!) Or as @Gary Jugert would say - ~

Six F's (Sweet(ie)

Ciclista21 9:59 AM  

Hat tip to Gary Jugert. Loved your uniclues.

Re FANTODS (93D), ugh. Nasty. Instead of “informally,” it would be better clued as “in a hopelessly recondite manner.” Or, with a nod the theme, “Like the heebie-jeebies, only older and rarer.”

I also object to the cluing of UFOs as SETI subjects (60A). SETI is in search of ET intelligence, not the visual phenomena that some take to be the craft ETs arrive in.

Nancy 9:59 AM  

So here was my solving/thinking process right before I dropped this a quarter of the way through:

They're giving me an unknown TV character right next to an unknown acronym. How perfectly unreasonable of them. I'm never gonna get that so I decide to look up the ??M TV character. Aha, JIM, says Google.

The J would make it JUTTING OUTIE (I already have OUTIE), right? No, wrong -- it doesn't fit.

I give up and come here. It's PAM/POINTY. Google didn't say anything about PAM. (Maybe if I'd scrolled farther to the right when I was looking at the cast of "The Office"...)

This is what I'm going to have to do for the next half hour or perhaps a lot longer? Nah, don't think I want to. I've suffered enough in the last 15 hours. I was watching the Giants playoff game last night.

I dropped that one quickly as well -- also about a quarter of the way through. I'm just not enough into suffering, I guess.

Birchbark 10:15 AM  

@Anonymous (9:52) and all who identify as "FANTOD-curious":

Great citations, and reflecting more recent scholarship. I was looking at the old lexicons here and note that FANTODS didn't have a standalone definition in the OED until the 1933 Supplement (citing Twain and one other), as a variant of "fantad." "Fantad" is defined in the original OED as "crotchety," again with scant citation.

Webster's 2d Unabridged (1934) prefers the FANTOD spelling to "fantad" and offers more precise definitions, all denoted slang:

1. State of fidget; a fuss; a pet; also, stomach ache.
2. A vision in delirium tremens.
3. (Naut.) A fidgety, fussy officer.

The OED suggests FANTOD relates to "fantastic," whereas Webster points the reader to "fatigue."

As the Thomas Jefferson character says in "Hamilton," "And if you don't know, now you know."

Weezie 10:23 AM  

@TTrimble, sorry to burst your and other DFW fans’ bubble, but (CW: stalking, intimate partner violence)

yes, he was a dangerous stalker and abuser to author Mary Karr, who wrote of him on twitter, “tried to buy a gun. kicked me. climbed up the side of my house at night. followed my son age 5 home from school. had to change my number twice, and he still got it. months and months it went on.”

As this article documents, all of this info was widely documented and is included in biographies, just not given nearly enough attention.

As someone who has lots of mental health issues in my family and has lost more people than I care to count to suicide, I take seriously his emotional suffering and recognize his genius, *and* there is no excusing his behavior.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

The actual Italian word is capsice. The final e is pronounced in Italian as a long Italian e (that is, as "ay"). But then in English it generally gets pronounced capeesh.

Just listened to L'Elisir d'Amore on the Met radio broadcast yesterday. The word gets used in the first person singular: capisco.


kitshef 10:28 AM  

colicroot (plural colicroots)

1) A bitter American herb of the bloodwort family (Haemodoraceae), with small yellow or white flowers in a long spike.
2) Any of several other plants with bitter roots:
Aletris spp. (crow corn)
Apocynum androsaemifolium (flytrap dogbane)
Asarum canadense (wild ginger)
Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)
Dioscorea villosa (Chinaroot, wild yam)
Liatris squarrosa (scaly blazingstar)

The Joker 10:31 AM  

I'm a fan of the wacky phrase genre for Sunday. BTW I always thought the PROOF was in the pudding. Now you're saying it's in the bread. What about bread pudding. ARGH! My head is exploding.

bocamp 10:33 AM  

Thx, Garrett; dug your 'easy' puz! :)


Had a mild case of the FANTODS while tiptoeing thru the 'colic-roots'.

Toughest area by far was N. Cali.

ODDball before ODD DUCK; Want before WISH.


Enjoyed my stay in DELHI ('70).

Very grateful to ACE this one. Another testament to fair crosses saving the day! :)

Great battle today; loved every minute of it, in spite of the FANTODS! :)

@Sat. Stumpers: smooth solve; on the easy side. SE was last to fall.

On to the NYT Puns & Anagrams puz by Mark Diehl.
Peace πŸ•Š πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ™

egsforbreakfast 10:34 AM  

It’s in your blood = It’s genetic. This is how we talk in colloquial English.

For those who can’t accept that CAPEESH is now part of the English language, perhaps you should next focus on getting mathematicians to say al-jabr instead of the nauseating algebra. You can do this while providing koekies in lieu of cookies.

A great many complaints today (FANTODS, Jhumpa LAHIRI) are equivalent to saying, “I’m not well read.” This seems more like a cry for help than a puzzle criticism.

LAPTOP is a backward POTPAL. After 40 years of marriage, my wife and I have become POTPALs as we soothe our aching joints with legal gummies. Turns out we’re about the last people in our crowd to have discovered this balm.

Carryover question from yesterday for @Nancy. If you needed 100 TOOTSIEROLLs, would you go to a BOGO sale, or a “Buy two, with a 50% chance of getting two” sale?

I’m not a fan of “add a sound” puzzles, but liked this well enough all things considered. Thanks, Garrett Chalfin.

Congrats on Ida, Rex.

Nancy 10:35 AM  

Re: Fluffy white cat curled up on bed photo: Awwwwwwwww!!!! So cute! So sweet!

From late yesterday's blog. @TTrimble's (11:08 p.m.): You're giving me a math formula and I'm giving you a football coaching situation. (I used the Russian Roulette analogy to make the point much more powerfully and compellingly.) For everyone who may be wondering what the heck I'm talking about, see the last third of yesterday's comments section.)

With the score tied and with even as much as 10 minutes left in the game, I do not want you going for a 2-point conversion, @TTrimble and I will fire you as head coach if you do. You have a 48% of making it and thus are more likely NOT to make it. Even if you do make it, a field goal will beat you. And the other team can also try for 2-points if they absolutely have to and have the same chance of making it as you do. Meanwhile, your 1-point conversion is a gimme, that pathetic Dallas placekicker cited in yesterday's blog notithstanding. (He'll be gone soon I'm quite sure, never to be heard of again.)

Anyway, take your one point gimme and run with it. You will now have the lead. Having the lead is not to be sneezed at.

The bottom line: I want a head coach who plays the percentages, not one who employs mathematical formulas.

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

I was surprised to see it as a Californian because it’s so regional (at least in the way we use it), but in dialogue it would sound like “the new coffee shop downtown is great, major chill factor.” To mean it’s a great place to hang out. Maybe it’s used otherwise elsewhere?

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Had ASYOUWISH which I think of as the more commonly used phrase.

Anonymous 10:44 AM  

Love Edward Gorey! I was actually hipped to him via NYTXW a couple years ago and did some deeper dives on the internet, found an entire fam community and purchased some rare memorabilia! The magic of xws sometimes…

Unknown 11:01 AM  

Didn't get a lot of joy out of this one.Like Rex, I was convinced FANTODS was wrong. YHEAR really annoyed me along with the calling an acolyte a GROUPIE. Also, I had trouble with TSAI, LAHIRI, ANYA and OLLIE. Congrats, Rex on your new family member! Thank you for rescuing!

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

And no contraction indicated in the “Is that understood” clue at 92D.

Michiganman 11:04 AM  

@Nancy. I am totally with you on football. Take the best chance to get points. I was furious (not really THAT mad) with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh's decision in the opening drive in the Fiesta Bowl (Are you asleep yet?). They were on TCU's 2 yd. line, 4th & goal. You go for the high probability field goal. Take an early lead. Right? Not coach Harbaugh. He goes for the TD and doesn't get it. So you have squat. The Wolverines are demoralized and TCU is all fired up. They never recovered and lost. If you made it this far, thanks for listening.

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

Say what you all want about the puzzle.....Rex readers, please tell me, what YOU were up to when you were 18yo?.....I say a big congratulations to Garrett Chalfin.

Liveprof 11:07 AM  

The Merriam-Webster people send me a "Word of the Day" every day (duh), and it was "fantod" maybe a year or two ago. So I was happy to see it again in the puzzle.

Here's an old cat joke in honor of little Ida. You ask someone: Who sleeps with cats? They say, I don't know, who? And you say: Mrs. Katz. (Get it? It turns out you had asked: Who sleeps with Katz? Hysterical, right?) So you ask them this every few weeks and finally they remember to say Mrs. Katz, and then you say -- No! -- it's Mrs. Schwartz - and it's a real scandal!

Anyway, I had a cat we named Mrs. Katz, may she rest in peace.

@Barbara S -- thank you for that wonderful Lahiri excerpt.

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

Lmao … savage! And true.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

23A - sorry but CHILI is NOT barbecue - what the hell?

Nancy 11:09 AM  

@egs -- Thanks for your very gracious reply to me last night, btw.

As for the question you pose today: I'm not a risk-taker, so, if I wanted the extra TOOTSIE ROLLS, I'd do the BOGO. But I don't even want the original TOOTSIE ROLLS.

So what I'd really like to do instead of a BOGO is a BOGAAJ. "Buy one, get an Almond Joy."

Diego 11:18 AM  

Or. . .Easy Peasy. Mostly meh.

But nice to see Jhumpa LAHIRI in the mix. Agree with others here that Interpreter of Maladies is one of the great short story collections of our time. The first story in that book, A Temporary Matter, is an absolute gem.

So is Ida Mae, what a doll! Keep her warm, Rex.

Congrats to the young constructor; his debut is promising.

beverly c 11:18 AM  

Whoo boy! I thought I wasn't going to get that NW corner. Outcast for misfit and I couldn't think of anything better than heme. I finally realized it had to be some kind of FACTORY, but ribs, brisket.. I don’t associate CHILI with barbecue. Once I had it I thought the CHILL was more in the FANTOD meaning, which, by the way, I liked, even though I thought I had to have a mistake.

I'm a fan of TESTYGROUPIE. Big smile there. CRAFTYFAIRY is kind of a comprehension test - how well do you know those characters? Learned supervocalic.

Sweet kitty, Rex. I hope she grows into the Lupie (Loopy) part of her name.

@Nancy - I'm not a football watcher but I got a laugh from your Russian Roulette post.

DrBB 11:22 AM  

Re FANTODS: just gotta say, as a former lit. prof. myself, also a medievalist, thus professionally and by predilection interested in the history of the language, I just do find some of Rex's literary blindspots baffling. Of course we all have them, and certainly this one isn't going to be a gimme for everyone, but still The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is way up on the list of Things You're Supposed to Know, stuff you're gonna end up teaching even if it's outside your specialty, and the word is SO richly redolent of time and place that for me it just plunked right into that place in my brain that retains this sort of thing forever the first time I encountered it, and revisiting it made me realize why.

Turns out it's not really trivial. It occurs at the climax of the description of a key moment in the narrative, when Huck first encounters Jim at the outset of their journey of escape, and in context that single word does a huge amount of work in creating the time and place and character of Huck himself. I'm certain Twain, who was supremely finicky about craft and usage, selected it precisely for that fact. It stands as such a fine example of Twain's economy and artistry that I'm just going to have to share the whole dang scene here on behalf of anyone who didn't appreciate this bit of fill as much as I did:

So I took my paddle and slid out from shore just a step or two, and then let the canoe drop along down amongst the shadows. The moon was shining, and outside of the shadows it made it most as light as day. I poked along well on to an hour, everything still as rocks and sound asleep. Well, by this time I was most down to the foot of the island. A little ripply, cool breeze begun to blow, and that was as good as saying the night was about done. I give her a turn with the paddle and brung her nose to shore; then I got my gun and slipped out and into the edge of the woods. I sat down there on a log, and looked out through the leaves. I see the moon go off watch, and the darkness begin to blanket the river. But in a little while I see a pale streak over the treetops, and knowed the day was coming. So I took my gun and slipped off towards where I had run across that camp fire, stopping every minute or two to listen. But I hadn't no luck somehow; I couldn't seem to find the place. But by and by, sure enough, I catched a glimpse of fire away through the trees. I went for it, cautious and slow. By and by I was close enough to have a look, and there laid a man on the ground. It most give me the fantods. He had a blanket around his head, and his head was nearly in the fire. I set there behind a clump of bushes in about six foot of him, and kept my eyes on him steady. It was getting gray daylight now. Pretty soon he gapped and stretched himself and hove off the blanket, and it was Miss Watson's Jim! I bet I was glad to see him. I says:

"Hello, Jim!" and skipped out.

TBH I didn't care for this particular puzzle all that much over all, but one of the chief pleasures of doing these things is when some seemingly opaque clue opens up a window like this. Hurray for FANTODS says I.

Birchbark 11:27 AM  

The FANTODS of the Vikings season now behind us (courtesy of the Giants last week), I side with @Nancy (10:35) on the math vs. real life decision point over extra points -- The odds are only equal if two touchdowns are as likely as one. Going for two on the first touchdown is borrowing against a mythical second touchdown "make-up" opportunity. In football as with personal finance, thinking this way leads to poor credit.

Also, @Nancy, stage-worthy rhetoric on this subject. I kept wanting it to lapse into iambic pentameter.

Forgot to mention how much I liked WILD GINGER. I made a tincture of it from some we have on a shady slope south of our house -- a ground cover with big, heart-shaped leaves. It regulates the humors nicely.

pabloinnh 11:27 AM  

Eventually pretty easy but I had to start at the bottom, where PHONYBOOKIE illuminated the concept, and I had fun finding the other ones. As usual, reading the title was helpful, as I was looking for lots of E's or a long E involved somewhere, and what do you know?

Re FANTODS-I remember the very first time I ran into this word when I was reading Huckleberry Finn I thought it was such a wonderful expression that I tried to find occasions to use it for some time afterward=-"Yikes! That darn near gave me the FANTODS!". So I was delighted to run into again today in print after literally decades of not seeing it.

@Rex-Well done you. Ida, you are one lucky cat. Live long and prosper.

I had a good time with this one, GC. The Great Choice of FANTODS allows me to forgive you for some (for me) obsuce PPP. Thanks for all the fun.

Stumplers-Agree that yesterday's was on the easy side, which doesn't mean I flew through it. Good challenge.

Mr. Benson 11:28 AM  

Thumbs up for HYDE Park, home of my alma mater, where the constructor will be enrolling in the fall. Go Maroons.

VinylOnVine 11:35 AM  

Not super exciting, but never a bad morning solving a crossword together with a cat on our laps. Angela wishes Ida the best!

Always think these sorts of themes would be stronger with a revealer to tie it all together.

Finished in the middle of side B of Big Thief's superb "Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You," which would would surely ruffle some feathers as a crossword entry :)

Sam Ross 11:43 AM  

Just hated this. Even after you figure out the theme, it gives you barely any help at all. All it tells you is that each word in the theme answers will end with a long e sound. But that doesn’t help you infer the words in question, even when you have one of the two words, because the clues have nothing to do with the base words before the e sounds are added. So for example, I was staring at _____ OUTIE, and despite having identified the theme, and having OUTIE, I had essentially nothing to go on. I was just left looking for *any* two word phrase ending with OUT?? Beyond that, chill factor and hip boot are just bad base phrases. ALAS NO, FANTODS, PR TALK, and especially YHEAR are terrible answers. My least favorite puzzle in a long time. An unpleasant slog. I blame you, Garrett Chalfin, and you should feel bad.

Teedmn 11:53 AM  

I didn't really catch onto the theme until I saw CRAFTY FAIRY and silently thought, "Ah, CRAFT FAIR". Even then, I didn't bother to check on the base phrases until after I had finished solving. I just noticed a lot of Y and IE endings. That may be why my favorite answer is CHILI FACTORY with the I ending adding a nice change-up.

I'm so glad my original "to eat in" answer ended up being FOR HERE. But I think my "as YOU WIll" works just as well for 15D. It did cause some head-scratching on exactly what A__E Great Britain might represent, geographically.

One of my last fixes was changing 36D's downfall from RaIN to RUIN. Coulda been my downfall, har.

My friend, an audiologist, used to have vanity plates on her vehicle, either Ya HEAR or YHEAR, can't remember exactly. She dropped it on this latest auto, must have decided it wasn't worth the extra money. It didn't exactly prompt PR TALK amongst its viewers, I'm sure.

SET LIST - Makes me sad. It's been 7 1/2 years since the frontman of the band I was in died. I still have some of his handwritten set lists. It was great fun, never made us any money and I miss it, and him, terribly.

Garrett Chalfin, thanks for the fun Sunday, nice job.

JC66 12:01 PM  


Think fishing.

CDilly52 12:06 PM  

Most important thing today is obviously to congratulate you for being chosen by Ida Mae! She is a beauty, and obviously already at home. Shelter is the best breed. Please share a picture after her nose heals. You know she is happy to have a home and staff but embarrassed to be in such a state despite its proof of valor.

Next, FANTODS. I had a Mark Twain phase in third and fourth grades and when I read Huckleberry Finn, I fell in love with the word. For months everything that in any possible way was not to my liking or displeased or upset my world view gave me the FANTODS. Finally, Gran (as usual) introduced me to Mr. Roget and his thesaurus, and every time her “Gran sense” (puts Spidey sense to shame) discerned an attack coming on she would ask me to describe with specificity the feelings I was experiencing (we had been solving the NYTXW for maybe about a year) giving rise to the dreaded FANTODS and would ask me to please (if I could have seen it, her speech bubble with “please” would have also said “for the love of Mike!”) pick a more apt descriptor. As always, her creative corrective parenting won the day. To this day though, I still get a case of the raging FANTODS occasionally.

Other than that, this puzzle was very Sunday, fairly easy and the theme was fine. I kind of liked CRAFTY FAIRY and PHONY BOOKIE as well as the first one.

Have a good week everyone!

thefogman 12:10 PM  

Not bad. Way better than last week but that’s a low bar. Can’t say it was completed “With Ease” and it did have a few rough edges. Gratuitous use of the superfluos S-plural i.e. RATTANS, LEGOS e.g. were BLOTS on the grid. I learned a new word. FANTODS was an ODDDUCK to me. The themers didn’t land perfectly all of the time but in fairness some of them were pretty good. Maybe a 15 x 15 grid with just the best stuff would have been a better idea. Sorry if this sounds like a WHINYSTORY, I just wanted to POINTYOUTIE a few things,

CDilly52 12:12 PM  

I forgot my big mistake. I entered CAPisce i stead of CAPEESH. After “correcting” my “mistake,” it fixed that little messy chunk. I was on a mini-rant (nothing that rose to the level of the FANTODS) about it until I discovered that good old Webster’s recognizes both spellings as independent entries. Live and learn.

other David 12:25 PM  

I think you mis-understand the accents on the GBBO show. It's a "proofing" drawer, not a "proving" drawer. One "proofs" their dough, just as it's the exception which "proofs" the rule. [Yes, it is.]

Capeesh? Y'here? Only in crossword universe would these spellings be allowed, it drives me nuts. [Capisce? Ya'hear?]

3 pop song references in just the tiny NW corner is 3 too many. Stray dogs generally should not just be adopted.

SETI has little to nothing to do with UFOs and they're certainly not looking for them.

ESP is not are you thinking what I'm thinking?

But. Thanks for "fantod," perhaps the most obscure word in the English language. Cool.

Pretty okay puzzle with weird spellings and stretched cluing.
That's my whiny story today.

J.W. 12:30 PM  

egsforbreakfast: "A great many complaints today (FANTODS, Jhumpa LAHIRI) are equivalent to saying, 'I’m not well read.' This seems more like a cry for help than a puzzle criticism." — Extremely agreed.

Got FANTODS off just the F. The way my brain works is that various words and facts stick to it like barnacles to a hull as I travel through life, and occasionally one comes in handy. I probably got it from Wallace, because I automatically put "howling" in front of it in my mind. Another one this happened with today was HOGAN (101D), which I somehow magically pulled all the way back from second grade in 1992.

Today's constructor is 18. That may explain a lot for some. I think even grading on a curve for youth, a lot of these clues are fairly awful, though editing may be responsible for some of it. There are countless examples of clues that mean what their answer indicates only in the most technical or oblique sense. It feels like a kid dictionary playing dress-up in his dad dictionary's closet.

The worst answer by far was CAPEESH, which is how a third grader would sound out capisce, the only spelling I personally will accept as correct. Anyone who would spell it "capeesh" probably also thinks "see you later" in Italian is "chow."

The theme was mostly pretty dull, with many of the answers jumping off from phrases that don't feel like anything an actual Earth human would say, though placing SWEETIE TREATY as the marquee answer was the correct choice imo. It has a nice ring to it that the others don't.

Neville 12:30 PM  

Solved this puzzle with a friend. We had pretty much the exact conversations Rex described regarding FANTODS, Y'HEAR, and CAPEESH. I was too distracted by those to bring up PR TALK! πŸ˜…

Carola 12:33 PM  

Liked it. I got a laugh out of HIPPIE BOOTY but liked NOSY BESTIE the best, because of the switch from the expected play on "nose" to the surprise (to me, anyway) of "knows." Non-theme treats: WILD GINGER, FOR HERE, IT CAN'T HURT.

I'll be the ODD DUCK who loved writing in FANTODS, which I learned from some British mystery or other - thought it was a great word when I encountered it...but when would you ever have the chance to use it?

Do-overs: ODD soCK, FUNnY, LESLie, IF YOU Want. No idea: TLC, LOVIN', PAM. Help from previous puzzles: CAPEESH.

thefogman 12:34 PM  

PS - FANTOD would be a good name for a progressive rock band.

johnk 12:43 PM  

I guess young Garrett, Will (and Rex too?) go to BBQs for the chili. Or perhaps they go there to chill after suffering the FANTODS. An editor could have re-clued it as "Hormel facility."

Masked and Anonymous 12:53 PM  

Funny stuffy theme. Preferred SunPuz type, at our house.

Lotsa no-knows, but worked thru em all. TSAI, FANTODS, LOVIN, LAHIRI & ANNA come to mind.
Best Ow de Speration moment: PRTALK. har. Knotty goodie.
some faves: STRAYDOG. LOGCABIN. IDA the new @RP cat. ITCANTHURT. IFYOUWISH [tho, M&A kinda wishes it had been ASYOUWISH, a la "The Princess Bride"].

staff weeject pick: TLC. Helped guard the openin themer, along with LOVIN and WILDGINGER and FUNKY Prince quote.

Thanx for the big bucket o'crossword-ease, Mr. Chaffin dude.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


Canon Chasbuble 1:08 PM  

It is inconceivable to me that on the day of the Chinese New Year the puzzle's answers should parody the language of Pidgin Chinese found spoken by 100s of Asian actors and characters in American plays and films from the 1910s through most of the last century. The insensitivity of the NYT puzzle constructors and editors (especially in light of this morning's tragedy in Los Angeles, is nothing short of appalling.

J.W. 1:08 PM  

Also, better hope the Lego diehards don't see this puzzle. Pluralizing Lego is a big no-no in that scene. [103D]

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

I knew that most people would not be a fan of this puzzle, but remember, Garrett is only 18 years old and still in high school. How many of us can say that we created a crossword puzzle that appeared in the magazine section of Sunday's New York Times?

CDilly52 1:18 PM  

AMEN!! Of course Michigan might have missed the FG (as did Ohio State). But still, I coach with the probabilities especially against top opponents.

CDilly52 1:22 PM  

@other David AMEN! Capisce?!

TTrimble 1:25 PM  

Well, I kinda expected you would want to argue about it some more, and I was wondering last night whether it was worth taking it up, since I don't exactly relish online arguments.

I'll say: no, you didn't make the point more compellingly with Russian roulette, you simply changed the problem over to something else altogether; it's not a fair argument.

We can probably agree that extra conditions and exigencies of the game will dictate what is tactically the best move, be it the extra point or the two points. For example, you piled on the extra condition of "score tied" in the last minutes. Well, obviously going for the one extra point is warranted in that situation, because you just want the win, it wouldn't matter by how much. If you were down one point though in the last minute, then a compelling case could be made for going for the 2 points -- perhaps particularly so if the opposing team were the odds-on favorite. But hey, you don't have to take my word for it: see here for example.

There are all kinds of complicating factors that may decide you one way or another. The linked article goes into some of these.

Okay, I wasn't aware of this about DFW. Thanks for filling me in. (I didn't think my earlier post indicated that I was a "fan", and I wouldn't consider myself one.)

bocamp 1:33 PM  


Didn't think I'd ever come across this term, but I'd be wrong about that since I've read Huck Finn, Infinite Jest and all the Dickens novels; just a poor memory (without the aid of mnemonics).

Fun coincidence: I'm a little over 1/4 thru Stephen King's 'Fairy Tale', and wouldn't you know it, he has Mr. Bowditch saying on the audio tape he recorded for Charlie, "The idea of being smothered by their wings gave me what my mother would have called the FANTODS".
Peace πŸ•Š πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ™

A 1:36 PM  

Whoa, @Rex, love your STRAY kitty! She is a fortunate feline, indeed.

Re the monikers, Ida is ok, Floof is better, but Sunshine gets my vote (not that I have a vote, but if I did that’s what I’d OPT for).

Just think of all the songs. When you chose her: You Are My Sunshine. When she mews at the bedroom door: Let the Sunshine In.
When she learns to perch on you: Sunshine On My Shoulders. And anyone who lives with a cat can relate to this one: Sunshine (Woke Me Up This Morning).

Hand up for NOSY before AGOG, LEfT before LENT, LESLie Stahl and giving side-eyes to YHEAR and CAPEESH. For IF YOU ___ I wanted like but wrote want before my NOSY BESTIE got his WISH..

STILL, as I slogged through the PPP I found some fun. STRAYDOG right by FOOD, SODOM (and LOOT) crossing BOOTY, FATCAT crossing TREAT. “Word that may come from a pen” cute but not too cute for OINK. The BREAD SPED cross.

I also didn’t exactly swoon over the theme, especially after I remembered that’s how we 60’s kids used to imitate Chinese. Kind of gave me the heebie-jeebies.

Speaking of which I did learn FANTODS. Online Etymology says:
1835, jocular formation, perhaps based on fantasy.
There is an indescribable complaint, which will never allow a moment's repose to mind or body; which nothing will satisfy—which allows of no beginning, and no ending—which wheels round the mind like the squirrel in its cage, ever moving, but still making no progress. It is called the Fantods. From the diagnostics, we pronounce Lord Brougham incurably diseased with the Fantods. [The Metropolitan, London, October 1835]

Off to practice Beethoven 8 and cheer on the Bills.

Anonymous 1:43 PM  

Puzzle: fine.
Ms. Ida B. Floofington-Wells: awesome. Enjoy!

Bonnie 2:06 PM  

My initial reaction was that it's a puzzle by an 18-year old for other 18-year olds (which is OK because we need the younger crowd to get into Xwords), but then I realized the theme is a tad tricky. But you could finish this one without ever realizing the theme. My main problem is with some of the clues. SETI never studied UFOs, but rather signals from outer space indicating intelligent life. UFOs have been mainly the Air Force's domain. Also, describing a rabbi as a prayer leader is misleading. Any adult Jew can lead prayers (only males in the Orthodox tradition). Rabbis are teachers and authorities on Jewish law.

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

Growing up on a Wisconsin farm 85 years ago, having a sore throat or other stomach related problems was characterized as having the fantods and the collywobbles

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

A beautiful little girl -- no wonder you couldn't resist her. We have always adopted our kitties, and they have always been wonderful housemates. Thank you for taking her in!

Suzy 2:31 PM  

As usual, I’m probably the last to comment— just finished the puzzle after a very nice birthday party!
I’m neither as hard to please nor as easy to offend as many of you, including, of course, Rex. Sure most of
the puzzle wasn’t particularly difficult, but I loved learning Fantods, and wish I’d known about wild ginger
when my kids were babes. (Should have stopped to learn why we gave them ginger ale when they were sick! Bet
Twain knew the cure!). For an eighteen year-old to have put this together is most impressive. Good luck
to you, Garrett!!

Rex, congrats to both you and your new kitty, who is obviously very happy— cats are never grateful! To the rest of
you, with a couple of exceptions, quit being so grouchy! Could you equal Garrett’s contribution to our Sunday mornings?

Nancy 2:54 PM  

@A -- Thanks for calling my attention to the Bills game -- which I see takes place at 3 p.m. EST.

I've sulked enough over last night's NY Giants fiasco. The Giants were so abysmal that they do not deserve to be sulked over. They were so abysmal that I felt as though even I could have scored a touchdown against them. I need a new sentimental favorite ASAP.

And for obvious reasons, the Bills fit the bill this year. I hope they will play better this afternoon than the Giants played last night. Certainly they can't play any worse.

Weezie 3:02 PM  

Ah yes, rereading I see that fan wouldn’t be an APT term! Sorry bout that.

jberg 3:15 PM  

I don't do the puzzle on Sundays, but came here to see Rex's 4-footed news. Sort of a heart-rending story, but I think she's in good hand now! Congratulations, Rex.

Sharonak 3:59 PM  

I'lm with Lewis on the toast/bread clue answer. I put a smiley face beside the clue when I got it. (Obviously I solve on paper)
Of the themers got chili factory first and liked it and most of them. Not so keen on whiny story because I definitely pronounce, and hear, the h in whine which does not exist in wine.

Agree with /rex that if fantods had to be used it should have been led as literary, not informal.
I guess I can understand Lewis liking the word, but I do not. (With another meaning I might)
Hoped to find her an explantion for 10D. How is not OH, I finally get it. Duh.

Agree that yhear is bad. Surely it should be spelled yahear or yuhear. I definitely hear a vowel sound when it is said.

Still, what fun getting nosy bestie and crafty fairy and the other themers

Anonymous 4:02 PM  

1. 46A "AGOG"? Really?

2. I thought three of the themers were flawed:
23A CHILI and barbecue are tenuously related.
38A POINTY? Kidding, right?
91A What makes them CRAFTY?

SharonAK 4:06 PM  

@Louthside Johnny and others who mentioned the lego problem. Isn't it possible that a plural is appropriate in some contexts? As with fish and fishes. The plural is normally fish, but when talking of different species accumulated it is fishes. People and peoples, etc. Not sure if th wording of the clue created that sort o fcontext.

Anonymous 4:21 PM  

Welcome Ida!!

Anonymous 4:27 PM  

going more than a little insane by the fact that, apparently, "chilifactory" is an actual word (albeit an antiquated one) describing the production of a lymphatic fluid (chyle) in the GI tract. the source is wiktionary but i doubt it's trolling because the page was created in 2017.

Anonymous 4:43 PM  

I agree -- if I want chili I might think of a diner or a truck stop, but never a barbeque restaurant. Maybe it's a regional thing.

Lili 4:50 PM  

Rex Parker is obviously not an Edward Gorey fan.

SFR 5:25 PM  

Nice vertical juxtaposition of RACK and RUIN

Camilita 5:39 PM  

Congrats on the kitty! My dog died the same day as Rex's cat, on 18 October 2022. I'm still so very sad. That's 3 dog losses in 5 years. I need to stop adopting old dogs.
I lasted 2 weeks before I got another furry friend. She came with the name Ruffles. Sounds like a potato chip. I didn't like it so I Italianed it up to Raffaella. Now she is Ella or Ella Mae Potter, we never forgot 'er!
I had a cat in College named Raffaello but we called him Ralph.
Ella only has 3 legs but so far so good! At least I didn't name her Peggy (PegLeg) or Hoppy.
I didn't do the puzzle. I'm not enjoying the Sundays at all anymore.

crayonbeam 6:43 PM  

that is an absolutely gorgeous blanket that Ida is sleeping on

Sj 6:52 PM  

Big fan of yours, Rex. And this is my first comment because I want to celebrate the arrival of Ida! What a beautiful cat, whose feelings for you are already so clearly good.

dgd 7:10 PM  

As far as I can tell, in late week puzzles, there is no requirement for the clue to indicate abbreviation or contraction. It has been that way for as long as I can remember. It looks like it is not a requirement on Sunday either.
FWIW it doesn't bother me, although they often have clues like 78D, where the clue signals something non-standard. Not being consistent is part of the trickiness, apparently.
Valid point about stuff in the NE as Rex said.

Anonymous 7:12 PM  

Type of wading boot.

Anonymous 7:25 PM  

@Canon Chasbuble 1:08
Now you're just looking for stuff to be offended by. Nothing the LA thing, these puzzles are scheduled weeks, sometimes months ahead of time. Just stop. I'm exhausted just from you reaching. I can't imagine how exhausting you must be.

Ellen 7:40 PM  

I came here to make the same comment. Have read her extensively. She's a beautiful writer. Just got nominated for a PEN award

Ellen 7:42 PM  


albatross shell 8:10 PM  

First theme answer to fall for me was HIPPIE BOOTY. So since BOOTY and HIPPIE (or at least HIPPY) may refer to (or sound like) rear-end or the NYTCW fave ASS, I thought we were looking for redundant-sounding word pairs the first ending with an IE and the second ending with a Y. So don't count your extra points before you've kicked your chickens.

A few naticky areas for me. Some stuff in the crosses that were no cakewalk here. Some celebs probably have FANbots but FANTODS?

Thanks for all the research. Did you notice
that Twain was kind enough to be quite suggestive about the meaning in case your 11 pound unabridged dictionary was not near enough to drop down and whack you alongside the head just when you needed it.

Anonymous 8:40 PM  

What makes Tinker Bell and Puck CRAFTY??

tea73 8:43 PM  

Coming in late to say, this was one of the best Sundays I've done in a while. Agree that Chili is rarely served at Barbecue joints. Surprised that so many people didn't know FANTODS. I think I learned it from my sister-in-law who was an English major, but I've also read Huckleberry Finn, and the entire Forsythe Saga, though not David Foster Wallace. Love the Dracula clip - read the book for the first time last year. I actually have yet to see the movie, just heard everyone quoting the best lines.

Trin 10:30 PM  

Like many others I’m sure I just jumped to the comment form - so happy for you bringing home a kitty! And this special one needs you guys. Hearts.

Now back on to read the previous

Made in Japan 12:35 AM  

After a puzzle like this, I'm tempted to just skip Sundays altogether. If a weekday puzzle is bad, at least you can get through it quickly, but a big bad puzzle like this ends up feeling like a slog.

The clue for CHILI FACTORY was worse than worthless, and TLC crossed LOVIN which were both clued by references to 90's hits (where was the editor?). This made it hard to see my mistake of oddball for ODD DUCK. Then there was the LAHIRI LIRAS LSU section, where I thought Stale could be an antonym for sparkling, ending up with Lahari and ESU, which looked wrong (What could it be? East Shreveport University?). Still, I left it until the end and got the error message).

I was largely spared the ugliness of YHEAR next to FANTODS, as the acrosses got me through that section, and I didn't even see FANTODS until Rex mentioned it in the review.

Anonymous 1:04 AM  

Some YALL have never read Infinite Jest and it shows...

Roth 1:55 AM  


Chili Factory? Chili and Barbecue are not the same, not similar, and I've been to plenty of Barbecue restaurants and they don't serve chili. It's like saying an Italian kitchen is a Tapas Factory. Just wrong!

And too many weird proper nouns.

Not my favorite puzzle.

shmoliken 12:34 PM  

The late author/illustrator Edward Gorey created The Fantod Press in order to publish some of his books, so I was familiar with the word. Never actually looked up the definition though.

OISK 2:04 PM  

Commenting the next day, as was occupied by football yesterday...( I split. Football for me is a gambling game, and I have no loyalties......perhaps some day if the Jets are in the playoffs....) Disliked this puzzle very much. Chili hhas nothing to do with barbecue, and there was no reason to clue it that way. A tex- Mex restaurant, perhaps? A hit by "en vogue"?? Crossing some rock group from 1995? Phooey. Does Turkish money take an "s" plural? Rudolph Maya?? Not much enjoyment for me...

LesleyB 4:04 PM  

Yay, new kitty family member! Hi, Ida :)
I was actually still saying FANTODS? out loud, over and over, as I opened your blog, Rex. I mean, FANTODS. Wtf

ghostoflectricity 9:16 PM  

Cute kitty!

Anonymous 11:08 PM  

Just curious, are you all using an app to finish? Am I the only one writing in pen?

Anonymous 11:37 PM  

Longtime fan (following in my mom’s footsteps); first time commenter….

A) love that beautiful kitty and so glad she is safe and warm and indoors. That picture of her stretching all the way over to give you a headbutt was adorable.

B) I haven’t seen a comment about the one clue that has me completely baffled, so I’m wondering if I’m missing something - “What to add to ‘Iraq’ to make it adjectival” - and the answer is “ani.” IRAQANI??? That cannot be right. What am I missing?

(Please and thank you.)

Anonymous 6:24 AM  

ANI = AN [space] I, so just the letter “I” πŸ˜€

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

@Anonymous - oh my lord. Thank you. I thought I was losing my mind. “An I” - SNEAKY. Thanks again!

Deniz Bevan 4:00 AM  

Ugh, this puzzle!
Welcome to the sweet new kitty :-)

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Great Britain is not an isle (singular) since it also includes Northern Ireland. Common mistake.

Burma Shave 1:25 PM  


I'd POINT OUT these EASY SWEET TREATs may linger.


rondo 3:10 PM  

The humor FACTOR was just not there. Almost called it off after AEIOU.
@D,LIW - isn't it a bit BRISK for golf?
Wordle par.

Anonymous 4:19 PM  

Maybe I miss going to the barbecue restaurants that don't have chili, but every barbeque restaurant that I've been to, has had chili either under their soup or sides menu. All of them.

Anonymous 4:30 PM  

Also, someone asked if BOGO was really common. I see it every day, whether it's in a store, sale flyer, email sale , Amazon, Woot, what have you. I see it all the time.

spacecraft 6:22 PM  

DNF. That East cubicle (43-45 down) is the nastiest multi-natick I have ever seen. Some third-rate actress and that "household" name Jhumpa-whatever? And cross that with "Alternative to sparkling" = STILL??????
You have GOT to be kidding me. Where's the editor? If you call that a fair section you'd call a popup BEHIND home plate a fair ball. Ridiculous.

At least I was able to perform a "DRAIN DANCE" and hole a Wordle eagle.

Anonymous 4:37 PM  

You mustn't get out much(no snark intended), but I've been to restaurants that offer bottled waters, and the server has asked sparkling or still?

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