Symbol of poison on a warning label / WED 1-25-23 / Persons who identify as female, in an alternative spelling / App with stories informally / Composer of the piano piece played in the Tom and Jerry short The Cat Concerto

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Constructor: Nancy Serrano-Wu

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: [Sports bar purchases?] — sports terms that end with words that can also mean "drinks one can order at a bar":

Theme answers:
  • FANTASY DRAFTS (56A: Sports bar purchases?)
  • PENALTY SHOTS (56A: Sports bar purchases?)
  • STAR PITCHERS (56A: Sports bar purchases?)
  • TRIPLE DOUBLES (56A: Sports bar purchases?)
Word of the Day: Tang DYNASTY (9D: Tang, for one) —
The Tang dynasty (/tɑːŋ/, [tʰǎŋ]Chinese唐朝), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907 AD, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Historians generally regard the Tang as a high point in Chinese civilization, and a golden age of cosmopolitan culture. Tang territory, acquired through the military campaigns of its early rulers, rivaled that of the Han dynasty. [...] Chinese culture flourished and further matured during the Tang era. It is traditionally considered the greatest age for Chinese poetry. Two of China's most famous poets, Li Bai and Du Fu, belonged to this age, contributing with poets such as Wang Weito the monumental Three Hundred Tang Poems. Many famous painters such as Han GanZhang Xuan, and Zhou Fang were active, while Chinese court music flourished with instruments such as the popular pipa. Tang scholars compiled a rich variety of historical literature, as well as encyclopedias and geographical works. Notable innovations included the development of woodblock printingBuddhism became a major influence in Chinese culture, with native Chinese sects gaining prominence. However, in the 840s, Emperor Wuzong enacted policies to suppress Buddhism, which subsequently declined in influence. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is a solid theme idea. It's a good catch—noticing that sports terminology has a preponderance of drink-related terms (or words that *look* like drink-related terms: "homographs," I guess they're called—spelled the same, meaning something else). Yoking all the clues together via the same clue is a nice touch, and toughens the puzzle up a little bit. "Oh, were you hoping for a different, more specific clue this time? Sorry, have another go." I think the theme is only good for about three answers here, though. DOUBLES feels like a stretch, in that of course one could order a "double" at a bar, but that's just ... more. It's not really a variety of drink, or even a beverage unit. It's two ... of whatever. Most often two SHOTS, which already appears in the grid. Other drinks can be DOUBLES ("... and make mine a double"), but this still feels like it's in a different category from the others. Or else it's reduplicative, which makes it seem like it's cheating, kinda. But I guess in the strictest sense, it still fits the category: at a bar, you can order a draft, you can order a shot, you can order a pitcher, and you can order a double. It's just that with the first three, if you say them, people will at least know what variety of beverage you're talking about, whereas if you just order "a double," people will just wonder if you know what you're doing. Kinda like in "Licorice Pizza" when Alana orders a martini at the Rive Gauche and the waiter asks "Vodka or gin?" and she says, confidently, "vodka-gin." The waiter then tactfully tries to get at the answer another way. "Would you like an olive or a lime with it?" To which she replies, "Yes." 

I had BEER PITCHERS at first because, as sometimes often happens after I get the theme ... I then forget the theme. I turned the phrase over in my head, "BEER PITCHERS ... I guess that sounds right ... "pitchers of beer, BEER PITCHERS ... you'd just order a pitcher ... BEER PITCHERS sounds a little weird, weirdly redundant." That's because BEER PITCHERS was wrong, in no way in keeping with the (already established) theme of the dang puzzle. So that was the hardest themer for me to come up with. The hardest one for me to *understand* was TRIPLE DOUBLES because my mind absolutely and completely blanked on what those were. Again, my brain did not bother to remind me "psst, think *sports*," so all it could think of was hamburgers. Turns out my brain was thinking about the "Double-Double" at In-N-Out (as it often, nostalgically, does—I miss you, Southern California). Anyway, a "triple-double" is a basketball feat in which a player hits double digits in three different statistical categories in one game: points, rebounds, and assists. I think maybe ... maybe you can swap out a different stat for that last one, like blocks or steals, or something, but classically (typically), it's points / rebounds / assists (and yes, I'm now reading that "blocks" or "steals" can count as well ... but in practice most TRIPLE DOUBLES are points / rebounds / assists). 

The fill on this one was just OK. No real high points (except maybe CAT'S MEOW—I love the fact that it got a different animal idiom for its clue: 11D: Bee's knees). MR. YUK is a hard yuck, as I don't believe in that that ... guy? ... has a name (53D: Symbol of poison on a warning label). The only people who have ever tried to foist that "guy's" "name" on me are not people, they are crosswords. Even the spelling on YUK is yuck. I think I never learned this "symbol"—maybe I'm too old. I'm looking at it now and it is Not At All familiar to me. 

I grew up with skull & crossbones as the poison symbol. So maybe I just ... missed the MR. YUK era (which I guess we are still living in?). Still, I've literally never seen the name outside crosswords. I also haven't seen WOMYN since the early '90s, when I guess the idea was to take the "men" part out of "women" (6D: Persons who identify as female, in an alternative spelling). The term now reads as quaint and bygone (it's been criticized as trans-exclusive when used to refer to trans women, as has the much more obviously trans-exclusive "WOMBAN"). There are still a *lot* of alternate spellings out there. Look for "WOMXN" to come to a grid near you ... well, maybe not soon, but ... maybe! (it has a certain prominence within intersectional feminism). As for WOMYN, I guess if you get yourself in a constructing situation where you've got "Y" in the fourth position of a five-letter word, your options narrow considerably. Oh well. Most of the non-thematic stuff was easy today, except for that DYNASTY clue, which is wickedly ambiguous and highly misdirective. Needed the whole front end of that answer before I had any clue what was going on. Is "tang" a flavor quality? No. Is "Tang" a powdered beverage once purportedly drunk by astronauts? No. DYNASTY! I'd've probably clued this via the '80s nighttime soap opera starring Joan Collins, but that is (very much) just me. Really liked the clue today, and it added some needed ... let's say "bite" and not "tang" ... to the grid. That's all. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Bob Mills 5:57 AM  

Finished it OK, after struggling a bit in the NW. I was able to catch on to the theme fairly quickly, which I thought was clever and original. WOMYN a true alternate spelling for females, or just a contrivance by the constructor?

Conrad 6:09 AM  

I don't watch much TV, but I couldda sworn that Better Call Saul and its predecessor Breaking Bad were on hbo. So AMC at 54A required crosses. My only WOE today was the Tang DYNASTY, but crosses fixed that.

Anonymous 6:13 AM  

It’s permissible to actually read the write-up

Loren Muse Smith 6:20 AM  

I think my favorite themer was PENALTY SHOTS. I’ve somehow missed playing beer pong, but don’t you have to drink if you miss? When I worked at Quinn’s Mill in the early ‘80s, people were still doing the three-martini lunch, and I tell ya – I had many a table ordering TRIPLE DOUBLES. Hard to imagine now, right? These people would stagger from their table and grab a “go-cup” from the hostess stand for their half-drunk fourth martini to finish while driving back to work. Jeez Louise.

Really sat up and stared at WOMYN. Who knew? I sure had never seen that spelling before.

Love clues like the one for LOAFER. I make bread sometimes, but I’m a baguette gal. I even have these pans.

To find other theme possibilities proved almost impossible. Sucker punch? Poker chips?

Be careful and alert if you’re dipping your toe in the INSTA pool. I think I’ve tried like three times and maybe even have those accounts, but for the lyfe of me, I can’t figure it out. No biggie. I never really look at anyone’s INSTA, but I imagine it’s mainly a platform to post really flattering pictures of yourself? I would need first to master all the photo shop and filter stuff out there.

Sneaky of Nancy to cross LOAFER with RESOLE. Nice.

With the theme lurking in the background, it’s hard not to notice the other drinking/sports entries like ICED, WALK, BASE, that southPAW, LANES, STIR...

My compulsion to run my mouth about things linguistics just won’t die, so I have to remind everyone that words like PAPI and BABA (and mama, mee-maw, mammal, babble, baby, blah blah) all are the results of a fledgling language-learners just doing their level best to copy the mouth movements of the people cooing down at them in their crib. The two lips are the easiest to see, so bilabial sounds are first.

Words using the teeth or alveolar ridge (nanny, nana, dada, daddy) usually come next.

Here is a confession (re yesterday’s continuum) I enjoy more than anything messing around with language when I comment, planting little winky-wink jokes here and there. Y’all have no idea how hard it was for me to slip that word in yesterday. I was just being a smart-ass. @Areawoman – thanks! I’m really looking forward to meeting you! I’ll be at the Marriott around lunchtime on Friday and will be easy to spot: just look for me sitting in the lobby acting like I’m solving a puzzle but really trying to spot and then gape at all the Crossworld superstar bad-asses walking around.

OffTheGrid 6:26 AM  

@Conrad. NETFLIX streams Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. The final season of BCS has aired on AMC. I'm waiting for it to show up on Netflix.

I liked the puzzle a lot. Solid theme, low PPP, and just well made. Better than Mon or Tues.

Wanderlust 6:38 AM  

I think DOUBLES works as well as SHOTS - they’re both units of liquor, and in neither case do you know which liquor is being ordered. I kind of like that two themers are beer and two are liquor. None are wine, but who orders wine in a sports bar?

I had ShIfTS before STINTS, which led to a ballet being performed ON hOE. I am picturing dainty ballerinas balancing on garden tools. I’d pay to see it.

I also had PAPa before PAPI. In Spanish, PAPa can only be your dad, but PAPI can be your boyfriend, your buddy, or a baseball player.

I like the tense on HAD IT ALL. It implies that she had everything - dreamboat husband, great career, adorable kids, killer house - and she lost it. She became a drunk spending her days dropping quarters into slot machines. She ran for office and it came out that she’d been having an affair with a donor, and she resigned in disgrace. Or she died. She HAD IT ALL but she’s got nothing now.

Tim 6:59 AM  

This predates my birth, but I definitely remember the Mr. Yuk commercials from when I was really young.

SouthsideJohnny 7:10 AM  

LISZT crossing ZOOT suit was brutal for me. Never heard of either. Google tells me that ZOOT is apparently a “type” of suit, but not actually a suit - so, ok, if you say so.

Anonymous 7:13 AM  

My wife calls the go cups “ roadies”

David Grenier 7:24 AM  

I’m surprised you’ve never heard of MR YUK in the real world, because I think weee about the same age and I remember PSAs about MR YUK being pretty common in 80s kids TV. Maybe we’re not the same age, or you didn’t watch a lot of cartoons, or it was a regional thing? But definitely remembered that name (and it’s symbol, which I don’t think I’ve seen in decades) the second I got enough crosses.

Doctor John 7:25 AM  

Mr. Yuk has been around for the many decades I practiced emergency medicine. Visually conveys the message that that the contents are bad. It does it much better than the skull and cross bones symbol. Remember 1-800-222-1222 for any ingestion or exposure issues.

Son Volt 7:37 AM  

Wonderful little puzzle - layered theme and well filled. Not difficult but edgy enough with things like TENABLE, ABASE, PRIMPS etc. Both WOMYN and MR YUK were new to me.

Women and SEAMEN don’t mix

DOUBLES fits better than DRAFTS. Like CATS MEOW and I’M SPENT. Hand up for digging the LOAFER clue.

Enjoyable Wednesday solve.

the great Mike NESS

dan 7:41 AM  

Aren't TRIPLE DOUBLES also figure skating combinations? I don't really sports at all, but somehow this feels right.

Lewis 7:46 AM  

This was a NYT debut puzzle that felt like the work of a pro. Clean grid, lovely answers like RECUSAL and PRIMPS, perfect Wednesday-level bite in the cluing, and clever cluing itself (i.e. those for ICED, and TANG). The grid, for me, was very satisfying to fill in. So, I’m hungry to see what comes next from Nancy.

I found sports echoes to complement the theme, aside from the obvious ASHE:
Baseball – WALK, SULTAN (as in the Sultan of Swat, Babe Ruth), A BASE.
Football – Those passing LANES.
Basketball – Those passing LANES, plus HAD IT ALL (because it’s such a good rhyme for “basketball”).
Hockey – That backward DEKE at 7D.

As your resident alphadoppeltotter, a role I inexplicably inhabit, I must report that there are no double letters in any of the across answers – it is very rare that this happens in either the acrosses or downs. However, there are enough doubles in the downs to take the puzzle out of the “unusually low double letters” category.

Nancy, this was a beast of a debut, and congratulations on joining the roster of NYT constructors. Thank you for this sparkling gem!

mmorgan 7:56 AM  

Today is unusual in that reading Rex made me like the puzzle… more! I got all the drink terms but didn’t quite realize that the first words were all sports, so yeah, there’s more here to like than I realized. So often I’ve enjoyed a puzzle only to have Rex trash it. Today, Rex turned my “okay, fine” into “oh, nice!”. Thanks,

GAC 7:57 AM  

Rex's rant about DOUBLE being an outlier can be said about SHOT as well. And even about PITCHER and DRAFT. All of them require additional information about the brand before the drink can be delivered. I would have had trouble with Spanish dad before David Ortiz played for the Red Sox. Big Papi was da man! He was a favorite of Red Sox Nation even before he delivered his statement at Fenway Park following the Boston Marathon killings that "This is our city, and nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong." The FCC received 25 complaints about this and FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, (a Brookline, Mass., native), tweeted his seal of approval of Papi's speech. I liked the puzzle a lot.

mmorgan 8:00 AM  

Maybe it’s my age and political-cultural environment, but WOMYN is very common and familiar to me, and it’s not especially retro. On the other hand, I’ve never ever ever heard of MR YUK. Luckily.

kitshef 8:01 AM  

“Tang” is quite the versatile word, it turns out. The possible meanings I ran through before hitting the right one were:
- The powdered orange drink
- The reef fish
- A strong flavor or scent
- A trace amount

And in addition to the Chinese dynasty, it can also be a sound or the part of a blade that sticks into the handle.

T.R. Ibble 8:02 AM  

Have phasers ever been set on anything BUT stun? Just asking for a friend

@Offthegrid 6:26am: Well worth the wait You will not not not not not be disappointed.

George 8:05 AM  

+1 to Wanderlust: "Doubles" works just as well as "shots", period end of sentence. A "double" is a concept that exists out in the world, but has a specific and universal meaning once you walk through the saloon doors.

Regarding "womyn" being quaint -- yes, it is, so here's a question: are the people who were using it in the 90s on the right side, or the wrong side, of history?

Good morning to all.

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

Kinda surprised that other posters haven’t commented on WOMYN’s nostalgic ‘70s vibe. Makes me feel like loading up the VW van and heading off to the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.
@Rex: Womxn! Fifty years from now someone will be saying how “Latinx” has that nostalgic 2020s vibe.

OffTheGrid 8:10 AM  

@Doctor John. Today's puzz is my first awareness of MR YUK. Before reading your post I was thinking the traditional skull and crossbones is more ominous and Mr YUK almost makes poison look almost fun, just another emoji. But I will take your knowledgeable opinion over my own.

kitshef 8:16 AM  

Bee’s knees is a popular cocktail so it was odd seeing that for a clue. I’ll take it as a feature rather than a bug.

New York Cosmos
Cincinnati Reds
Run for the Roses

TaylorSlow 8:34 AM  

Really, really liked this theme, and no problem at all with DOUBLES--it seems perfectly legit. The fill felt fresh. Look at that clever clue for ICED!

I'm wondering when WELD was last clued as "Tuesday" or some variation thereof. As a suburban child, I was fascinated by the characters' names on "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis"--Thalia (Tuesday's role), Dobie, Maynard G. Krebs. Among all of the kids I knew with typical 1950s names, they hinted at a nearby world vastly more interesting than mine. "WERK!"

And speaking of names, one of several erroneous first answers was SKULL for 53D, although I did wonder where the crossbones were. I've never seen MR YUK, but I have to admit that, if your goal is to keep kids from tasting something, that icky green face would do a better job than something that might be mistaken for a pirate flag.

Eire instead of ERIN, and the southwest corner slowed me down a bit. My ACLU membership card arrived in yesterday's mail, so 64A was a gimme.

@Loren Muse Smith: Three martinis at lunch--hard to imagine what the afternoons were like back in the office, assuming they got there after driving drunk. I rarely drink martinis, but every once in a while, I like one (vodka, olives--several, please). And I do mean one. I can't even do two. Also enjoying Dry January, so no martinis for me--just improved sleep without the daily glass of wine.

Todd 8:35 AM  

I certainly look forward to answers which are nonsensical letter combinations but "have a certain prominence within intersectional feminism"

pabloinnh 8:40 AM  

I looked at the first clue about the Tom and Jerry composer and thought, now THAT'S obscure and then looked at !D, thought for a minute and thought LOAFER! Brilliant!, and since the only five-letter composer I know I know that starts with an L is LISZT, there it was. The Z gave me ZOOT. Malcolm X talks about wearing ZOOT suits in his autobiography, which I read a long time ago, but was clearly memorable.

The only themer I found a little off was STARPITCHER. The others I see in combination fairly often, but a STARPITCHER is just an "ace".

Thanks to @LMS for the warning about INSTA. I will continue my practice of never using it.

Congrats on a terrific debut, NSW. Already looking forward to the next one, and Never Stop Writing new ones. Thanks for all the fun.

Mark 8:55 AM  

I'm older than Rex, I believe, and I remember first encountering Mr. Yuk in grade school in the 70s in a Weekly Reader article about his introduction. It explained that kids too often found the skull and crossbones attractive; Mr. Yuk was an attempt to better convey hazard to the preliterate set.

jberg 8:56 AM  

Sorry to get here late, I started wondering about the difference between the cat's pajamas and the cat's MEOW, and my brain just stalled. @Loren, help me out here! (Loved your avatar, by the way -- for once I understood it right off the bat!)

Seems to me I've seen WOMYN fairly recently, but maybe I was reading something old. Fine word, though. (@George, didn't you mean herstory?)

I'm not that much into beer, but my son is, and at one point gave me a lot of Belgian ales for Christmas. Many of them were doubles and triples, though I'm not sure what is was that was doubled or tripled, nor whether any of them were TRIPLE DOUBLES. I only know the basketball term from doubles, but I remember enough to know that double-digit steals would be quite a feat.

I've always thought I was too old to learn Chinese, but it's starting to look like the puzzle's gonna force it on me.

@Rex, why no more cat pix?

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

Amy: love Bee's knees and CAT'S MEOW, but then, I know what a Zoot Suit is (think they're from roughly the same period)..
Could you have a SPLIT (bowling) of champagne?
🖐another one new to Mr. Yuk.
Fun solve.

Joaquin 8:59 AM  

Great puzzle. It took me back many decades to my high school years. It was then that I fancied myself a STAR PITCHER, but the girls usually referred to me as MR. YUK.

RooMonster 9:02 AM  

Hey All !
Surprised no one has asked what a ZOOT suit is. That was even before me...

Nice puz. I got "combined sports-bar thingamabobs" as the theme. Either the Themers work as a whole, and/or they work as the thing being ordered at a bar (the second half, anyway.) Sometimes even I don't know what the hell I'm saying.

SAT AT A BASE - When you lament getting thrown out at Second and stay there for a few seconds. (Quite possibly the worst attempt at a Uniclue ever!)


OKAY, enough out of me.

Two F's

TTrimble 9:06 AM  

MR YUK and I missed each other somehow. I'm going to call it his loss -- not mine.

Yes, @Bob Mills, WOMYN is attested and not just a nonce invention by the constructor. I believe I've even seen "wymyn". Ah, yup. But I've never seen "womxn". Would that be a three-syllable word? (Apparently it's been around since the 70's.)

You may have heard some of LISZT's work, even if his name is unfamiliar, through such luminaries of the piano as Tom the Cat and Bugs Bunny. (As you may know, Bugs was a prodigy; see here at 1:24.)

The pleasure of the puzzle would be much enhanced by being really into sports, which unfortunately I am not. I was glad to learn from Rex what a TRIPLE DOUBLE is.

@Beezer from yesterday
I replied late last night, so you might have missed it, but it ends with "sorry about that".

SB: 0 yd, even though I've never heard of my last word. Live and learn.

But hey: anyone else having trouble with SB today? I was three words in, stopping at a pangram, at which point all progress is halted because they're interrupting to ask if I want to be a genius subscriber, and I can't figure out how to get back to the puzzle. [I'm already a subscriber to the NYT; what kind of nonsense is this?]

bocamp 9:26 AM  

Thx, Nancy; nice, crunchy Wednes! :)


Felt a bit tougher, but avg time.

Recall my first encounter with SIA which, along with 3 other unknowns, crossed the unknown – Nosferatu – in a NYT' puz of yore. Have ever since remembered her! :)

Wanted WiMiN before WOMYN.

I wonder if WELD has ever been clued as: Tuesday ___? (maybe even on a Tues.)

New to me: MR. YUK. ☠️

Enjoyed today's challenge; it was definitely the CAT'S MEOW! 😻


Med. New Yorker Mon. (83 mins), but alas, 2 wrong cells, i.e., 4 unknowns: 25A / 26D & 42D / 52A. :(
Peace 🕊 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🙏

andrew 9:28 AM  

Thanks to The Who (both from Quadrophenia and years earlier when they were the High Numbers), ____ suit was a gimme.

“Zoot suit, white jacket with side vents
Five inches long…”

Great debut - congrats!

JB 9:41 AM  

This puzzle made me recall Mr. Yuk psa's from the 70's - had not seen or heard this name since! But was part of the schoolhouse rock edutainment filler rotation for sure.

mathgent 9:47 AM  

We had a clothing store here named Howards which would advertise ZOOTsuits in the 50s. They had wide lapels and pegged pants.
They may have been popular in the Black community.

Nancy 9:54 AM  

Boy, was I slow picking up on the theme. The whole time I'm thinking: I'm here to watch, not to gamble, so what do I need with a FANTASY DRAFT? I'm also thinking: I'm here to watch, not to play the game myself, so what do I need with a PENALTY SHOT or a STAR PITCHER? The whole thing was sounding like Fantasy Football or Fantasy Baseball -- those bro passions that the guys I know at the Central Park tennis courts are always babbling about.

And then, right before I came here, I saw that the second themer word was a...drink!

Very nice! Fooled me for a while. And the cluing was nicely done too. Especially "Tang" for DYNASTY. (Although I don't know too many people running around saying I'M SPENT. Do you?)

I have no idea who MR YUK is. Never saw him in my life. So in the future, please alert me to poison with my usual skull-and-crossbones or at the very least a great big X. Otherwise very bad things could happen. Do we have a deal?

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

Nice puzzle and analysis . Good argument can be made that DRAFT is one that doesn’t fit. That refers to source while others refer to amounts?

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

We had Mr. Yuk in elementary school in the 90s, just as another data point.

Also speaking of the 90s, ZOOT suit was a gimme for me mainly because Zoot Suit Riot was all over the radio for about five days circa 1998.

Anon 10:17 AM  

I had MELD for WELD. Since the down was a fake word, I think it should count, no?

Gary Jugert 10:20 AM  

Haha! Well it's nice to finally meet you MR. YUK. I've never seen you, or heard of you, but I understand you've been around awhile, are widely employed, and the skull and crossbones thing is so played. Yer CUTE as all heck.

I do miss seeing WOMYN since I left academia in the '80s. Those were simpler times when gender-forward thinking was mainly about being "not men." If only they'd known 40 years on we'd still be mostly listening to dead white guys at the symphony they'd have stuck with pushing it a bit longer.

I will look to 🦖 to help me with OPER. That filled in from crosses and I said, "Hm. Well, okay."

BABA and PAPI, but don't we want BUBBA in here with all the sporty stuff?

Read yesterday's comments very late last night and they were VLDRE ... very long definitely read enthusiastically.

Poor Stubby and poor you. I apologize (sorry/not sorry) for laughing out loud at the situation. What a wonderful/tragic story.

Uniclues (extra-long for disgruntled Anonym-oti):
1 Those long-gone giddy hours every other Friday night on pay days.
2 A non-stinky father figure in Uruguay.
3 Love skiing in Alta. {I'd planned a polygamist compound joke, but I didn't fancy it.}
4 A world littered with red plastic.
5 The cost of saying, "Nope."
6 The young dude in silk with a breathtaking chin, a love of puppies, and a renowned ability to relate to commoners.
7 The nervous conversations at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes regarding the marketability of the upcoming Australian wildlife painting exhibition.
8 Adds photo of Prohibition Agent Eliot's office onto middle-school poster-board report detailing the exploits of The Untouchables.


egsforbreakfast 10:25 AM  

I see that we have Wednesday WELD here. I wonder what happened to her sister, Tuesday?

I’m not so sure about 6D (Persons who identify as female, in an alternative spelling). Is “an alternative spelling” different than “misspelled “? Sounds a bit like the alternative facts of the orange traitor’s era. Now, I do know that WOMYN is actually a preferred spelling for certain feminists. But then I also found that MYN is a (presumably tongue-in-cheek) preference of certain male anti-feminists. I just want to keep my kyds, my cousyns and all of my brethryn out of this ado.

Balance Beam (for Jim Beam)
Hop Scotch (for I don’t know what)

Congrats on a nice debut, Nancy Serrano-Wu.

Nancy 10:38 AM  

Re: The perfectly awful WOMYN:

I think it came in around the 1970s during a period of a lot of women's consciousness raising. Someone had figured out that WO-MAN was derived from "out of man" as in out of a man's rib and they wanted to get the word "man" out of the word defining them. They wanted to do it ASAP, in fact.

Like all the misguided attempts -- past and present -- at making the world better through a change in language rather than a change in laws or attitudes or political leaders or anything that's actually practical, the spelling of the word woman as "womyn" didn't make a single woman's life better then or now. And so, if not many people have ever heard of "womyn", it's for a very good reason.

I hope the same thing will happen to many of the feel-good new coinages of our own time -- coinages that make people feel virtuous when they utter them but fail to make anyone's life actually better. I hope these too will be relegated to the dustbin of history.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Zoom Suit Riot was a huge radio hit during the late 90’s swing revival, so for a certain segment of millennials it’s probably really easy, and everyone else it’s a nearly 100 year old fashion item.

Gary Jugert 10:48 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 11:01 AM  

Medium. Clever theme, average fill, liked it. Nice debut.

I didn’t know that symbol was called MR YUK

....cute clue for LISZT

Upstate George 11:07 AM  

Are we going to have to accept this incorrect definition of "amok" forever? It appeared (similarly misclued) a week or so ago, and I guess it is now set in stone. "Amok" (from the Malaysian) means "with murderous intent", not the innocent "every which way" or "all over the place".

Josyph Micheal 11:10 AM  

Not a big fan of sports bars, but I enjoyed the puzzle, especially the clue for DYNASTY and the introduction to MR. YUK. But what have you done, sir, with our skull and crossbones? Perhaps they’ve been locked up somewhere with the E from WOMEN.

GILL I. 11:11 AM  

I guess I'll go sit somewhere in a corner all by myself because my Agita UNEASE crept in.
I had absolutely no idea what this puzzle was asking me to do.
I had no trouble with LISZT/LOAFER...yay frickin me. I move over to 6A and had [MELD] instead of WELD. So what did 6D give me? "MOMAN." Yes, it did. Why not? I actually had DRAFTS and so I naturally thought (groan) we're going to be discussing beers.
I'm flailing all over the place. I went looking for some sort of reveal. There is none. What's going on? Do I want to continue?.....Should I go visit @Nancy's wall?....
I stuck to it because I'm curious. Now get this...I call one of my bestie gay friends and ask her if she's ever heard the term MOMAN. Pregnant pause..."Read me the clue" she says....Laughter....She said it's either WOMXN or WOMYN. Ellie then goes off on a very long dissertation about the meaning and where it came from and how it was invented by (probably) some white liberal feminist wanting to axe any suffix with the word "MAN" in it. Yikes. We then went on other interesting topics; I said adios and she told me to be sure and let me know how the puzzle went.
I poured myself another glass of Arius Pinot Noir and decided that I would try to finish. I did...with one mistake... at the end: I've never heard of MR YUK and I have no idea at all what a golfer may do that is spoiled...My final answer is MRYUL and I figured a WALL could be spoiled if you play indoors.
When I (kinda) finished, I thought the only thing I liked about this were the Spanish words. I call my husband PAPI (Hi @Wanderlust) and I always like a good bee's knees smiling at the CAT's MEOW.
I come to @Rex, read him, and change my mind. I had to sit back and re-stare at my answers. it's not as bad as I made it out to be. See, I don't do sports bars or drink beer or order shots of anything and the only doubles I'll ask for is when I'm on a plane flying somewhere.
I will wait until around 10 to call Elie back and see what she thinks.

Zac 11:15 AM  

I disagree that DOUBLE is the outlier. A shot, pitcher and double are all a quantity. You can order multiple different bar beverages for each. But DRAFT isn’t; you can order a pitcher or a pint of a draft.

Camilita 11:16 AM  

@LMS I had NOHEEL for the baker shoemaker! I'm still laughing about your comment yesterday about sucking a bug up through a straw=bubble tea grand finale!

Tom T 11:17 AM  

"... just like Bogie and Bacall ..."

Whatsername 11:20 AM  

Late to the party this morning as I took time to go outside and clear last night’s snow off the birdfeeders before I could sit down in front of the fire with a clear conscience. I thought this was a very clever theme and fun to solve. Kept looking for something SPIKED and wanted ROUNDS at 56A.

WOMYN was enlightening as I don’t ever recall seeing it before. And I’m not buying the MR YUK propaganda. I have personally never noticed that on any label - maybe because I don’t have any poison sitting around my house - but that face wouldn’t scare anyone away. If I did see it my first reaction would be just that it’s something which doesn’t taste good. Give me the old creepy skull and crossbones if you want me to actually pay attention.

@Joaquin (8:59) I find that hard to believe about someone who grew up to be such a charming gentleman, but I hope at least you never got hit with any PENALTY SHOTS. 😂

nyc_lo 11:22 AM  

As an older Gen-Xer, I remember MR.YUK blanketing the airwaves during good portions of Saturday morning TV. I think it must have fulfilled the Networks’ FCC obligations for educational programming to offset the vast amounts of brain-shriveling dreck they foisted on our young minds.

CT2Napa 11:29 AM  

Mr. Yuk
To promote poison prevention and the poison center, the iconic symbol Mr. Yuk™ was created by the Pittsburgh Poison Center and was the first recognized poison prevention/poison center awareness symbol in the U.S. Since then, Mr. Yuk has been used to educate children and adults in the U.S. and internationally about poison prevention and to promote poison center awareness.

Doug Garr 11:54 AM  

I had the same speed bumps as Rex. Never heard of Mr. Yuk, never saw womyn. And I wondered why the last theme -- the triple double -- was a bit off from the others. And Tang was a drink until I figured it out.

TTrimble 11:58 AM  

In fact "woman" means "wife of man". WOMYN or "womxn" doesn't change the wife part at all. (But that might not matter much, since not many people seem to be aware of this.)

Speaking as a man, I should know by now not to opine on these neologisms, otherwise I'll get into trouble, but my main objection to "womxn" is the same as when I see "Latinx": it just looks ugly to me. And confusing to pronounce. (By the way: I learn now that "womxn" is pronounced exactly the same way as "woman".) I would much prefer "womyn" over that, on aesthetic grounds, and don't really get how "womxn" could convey such an advantage. But even saying such things makes me a troglodyte in the minds of some.

I agree with you: there are much bigger fish to fry in this whole arena.

Beezer 12:04 PM  

Had a lot of fun with this puzzle, and appreciate it more after reading @Rex and @LMS.

@Roo…I’m not sure HOW I learned about zoot suits but I think it might have been from the old cartoons. Seems like a wolf was always in the zoot suit. Like @pabloinnh I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X…and I somehow knew what it was then. I googled it and apparently they were banned during WWII because it was considered “a waste of fabric.”

Hand up for initially thinking a skull and crossbones would be a better deterrent than MRYUK but @Dr John and others have me rethinking that. I mean it IS mostly aimed at toddlers and pirate flags are cool! A few years ago I had taken some plant fertilizer into a small empty jar to use for my houseplants. My husband found it, asked what it was, then said…”well, this looks like chili powder.” It was NOT in a cabinet near food, but I grabbed the jar, put a skull and crossbones on a piece of paper and tightly taped it to the jar. He was satisfied. So, a skull and crossbones WILL work for a man in his late sixties!

Joaquin 12:33 PM  

@Whatsername - Thanks for the kind words. Now we must join forces to send some positive vibes in Arrowhead's direction for this weekend!

Masked and Anonymous 12:33 PM  

Whoa, Baba … Weird-bar sports theme … made M&A dribble his drink.

Likeable stuff: CATSMEOW (yo, @RP). DYNASTY & its tangy clue. LOAFER clue. MRYUK (a mysterious yuk, at our house). HADITALL. Learnin about Chinese family names like BABA and dynasties like Tang. RCA clue.


staff weeject pick: UNA. Some Spanish, to go with our Chinese in the SE. About time for a new, peppier UNA clue, tho. Maybe somethin like: {Allowing B-Z only??} = UNA. (Sorta like UNPC could be MAC, or whatnot.)

Thanx for the saucy WedPuz, Ms. Serrano-Wu darlin. And congratz on yer fine debut.

Masked & Anonymo8Us


hello jamie: 12:55 PM  

I was born in 1976 and grew up with Mr Yuk!!

SethC 1:00 PM  


Appropriately, the Carnegie Mellon's men's ultimate frisbee team is named Mr. Yuk

Teedmn 1:00 PM  

I'm apparently a balker. This is a term I learned decades ago when I took a Small Business Class. There are two kinds of people, those who balk when they come into a business and see a long line (oh no, I'm not sticking around for this) and those who renege by standing in the line for a while, finally lose patience and leave. Well I'm a balker when I don't know 1A in a crossword - I immediately hop to a different section without checking out the downs to see if I can make inroads. Today I moved directly to WELD, not knowing about LISZT's Tom & Jerry connection. If I'd stuck around, AVION, ZOOT, ON TOE and EDT would have opened up the NW nicely. And it may have saved me some black ink when I dropped "logical" in at 5D.

And I had a mirror-image write-over down in the SE, where the withdrawal to avoid a conflict was a REtreat. Great answer, but wrong.

FANTASY DRAFTS and PENALTY SHOTS were great theme finds. And I have to agree with Rex on how nice the clue was for DYNASTY. With DY in place, I was wondering if Tang, the baby-aspirin flavored beverage powder, had a special DYe.

Nancy Serrano-Wu, congratulations on your debut and thanks for the very nice, challenging Wednesday!

JonB3 1:01 PM  

Received today Rex's hand written reply postcard to my annual donation. Appreciate his personalized comments and loved the blog-themed puzzle on the front.

old timer 1:11 PM  

Finished the puzzle with no real problems. Pretty good for a Wednesday, I thought.

I do wish OFL had included what was once my favorite song:

"DOUBLE SHOT of my baby's love." I know exactly when and where I played that song over and over: Fall (or early winter) of 1966-67, circa 10 p.m., at the old Dutch Goose in Menlo Park. A bunch of us first year law students used to stop studying and go out for drinks at that time, and dream of the days when we might have a babe who loved us two times.

I remember WOMYN, having diligently read all the underground newspapers back in its day. Indeed my feminist friend from a neighboring SF flat back in the early Seventies may have adopted it, though probably not for long. @Nancy and @GillI pretty much nailed it on that neologism.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

Yes, it is a true alternative 👧

Carola 1:36 PM  

This one was on the challenging side for me, and I enjoyed matching wits with the constructor. I thought the theme got off to a great start with the DRAFTS and SHOTS but then faded in the stretch with the (for me) less than stellar PITCHERS and incomprehensible DOUBLES (thank you to @Rex for the explanation). My favorite moments came from some of the non-theme clues, starting with 1A, where "Are you kidding me?!" quickly changed to LISZT after a glance at the baker's shoe (hi, @pabloinnh); DYNASTY got a laugh after my vain attempts to do something with "powdered drink that went into space"; and so did the joke of WALK. Fun to write in CAT'S MEOW and HAD IT ALL.

Whatsername 1:37 PM  

@Joaquin. Amen on the positive vibes. I read earlier that QB1 is practicing with the team sans brace. Fingers and TOEs crossed.

Joe Dipinto 1:41 PM  

@old timer – As you wish.

CAK 1:43 PM  

I bought a double baguette pan decades ago (only used it once!). It was solid metal. I think the perforations are a brilliant idea! A good crust all around 😊

Ellen 2:30 PM  

Came here to say the same about shots and doubles

albatross shell 3:37 PM  

@Whatsername, Joaquin
My positive vibes are headed to the Eagles this Sunday. Still have a soft place for Andy but I was rooting for our other coach (Doug) last week.

@Joe Dipinto
The 4 cities still playing in the NFL were listed intentionally from E to W. All are fairly close in latitude and fairly far apart in longitude. When I first thought of the question I realized they were too close to be sure of any of them S to N.

After FANTASY I thought there were going to be FANs in the bar and later had to change DRinkS to DRAFTS.

Pretty good week so far.

Anonymous 3:56 PM  

Can someone explain "Oper" as "Abbr. Above "0"? I googled it and am still clueless.

Gary Jugert 5:39 PM  

@GILL I. 11:11 AM
You are on fire!

Gary Jugert 5:45 PM  

@Loren Muse Smith 6:20 AM
Second attempt at joke...
Not to put too fine of a point on it, but it should be {air quotes} Crossworld superstar bad-asses {end air quotes}.

Beezer 6:06 PM  

@GILLI…you were in rare form today! Loved it!

@TTrimble yesterday…it is I who should apologize. You did say you were in a hurry.

Anonymous 6:37 PM  

After several mentions of the terrible Zoot Suit Riot song, I feel compelled to mention that the actual Zoot Suit Riots in 1943 are an important moment in the history of civil rights in the US and worth knowing about.

Joe Dipinto 7:44 PM  

@Anon 3:56 – It's referring to a phone dial or keypad. "Oper" stands for Operator; you used to dial 0 if you needed an operator's assistance (not sure if this feature exists at all anymore).

Methuselah 8:17 PM  

@Anon 3:56 - In the Olde Days of Yore, telephones had letters under the numbers, and under the 0 was OPER, signifying that if you simply pushed 0, you would talk to a real live human being in the same area code as you who would provide assistance for free. Really. That was what life used to be like.

Anonymous 9:32 PM  

The violence & gore in Breaking Bad definitely pushed the limits of non-premium cable when it came out, put AMC on the map alongside The Walking Dead a couple years later for original serial drama.

TTrimble 10:15 PM  

Or dialed 0.

Joe Dipinto 11:23 PM  

@Anon 3:56 - in this song, Jim Croce has availed himself of the operator's assistance in contacting his old girlfriend, who has two-timed him and is now living with his best old ex-friend Ray (we never learn the name of the slutty girlfriend).

Jim had to dial 0 (OPER) because the phone number he had is old and faded. So the operator gives him the number, but then Jim asks the operator to make the call, because he can't read what he wrote down, because "there's something in my eye".

The operator places the call while Jim sings another chorus, but she is getting annoyed. Then, when Jim finishes, he decides he doesn't even *want* to talk to his no-good ex-girlfriend. Needless to say, the operator is livid. He thanks her and then condescendingly tells her to "keep the dime", without realizing she hung up on him 4 measures ago. Then he sings another chorus.

Marissa 2:48 PM  

I just don’t like rebuses. I have tried to love ‘em since I know they aren’t going anywhere, but they bug me every time as being just a little too much. Trying too hard to be clever, or something. Today’s in particular made me groan aloud when I finally picked up on it. Took me way too long to get it for the payoff!

Burma Shave 12:18 PM  


my CUTE FANTASY demon,


spacecraft 12:28 PM  

Remember the whole "person" (no, that won't do, still has "son") --> "perit" thing? Sometimes I think we try too hard.

The theme works for me; I ignore the niceties about TRIPLEDOUBLE that so bother OFF. DOUBLE is a bar term, TRIPLEDOUBLE is a real-life sports stat. Amen.

I take more issue with some of the fill. SATAT is maybe the PAPI of awkward partials. Nice one there, shouting out to "Big PAPI" Ortiz. Plus of course, the slightly ridiculous WOMYN.

HADITALL makes me think of Tiger Woods. World #1, beautiful family...and somehow it wasn't enough.

Agree with medium. Had a few more teeth than we've seen lately at midweek. Birdie.

Wordle par.

Diana, LIW 12:53 PM  

After all those DRAFTS, SHOTS, PITCHERS, and DOUBLES, all you end up with is a WALK at the end? Another sports mystery discovered.

I had a bit of a pause 3/4 way through the puzzle, but then a couple of the bar orders appears to my fuzzy brain, and the rest was history.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Diana, LIW 12:54 PM  

So then, out of curiosity, I looked up WOMYN. Wish I had not.

Lady Di

rondo 5:39 PM  

I think @spacey nailed it.
Having SHOTS and DOUBLES are not necessarily duplicates. All themers close enough for horseshoes.
Wordle par.

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