TV producer Chaiken / WED 2-22-23 / Southeast Asian noodle dish invented in a nationalist recipe contest / Region in South America that's technically part of Europe / Greek city renowned for its olives / African country with its own 13-month calendar / Eminem song with a Guinness world record for "most words in a hit single" (1, 560 in six minutes) / Pronounced features of American Craftsman-style houses

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Constructor: Adam Wagner

Relative difficulty: Easy 

THEME: ONOMATOPOEIA (52A: Word sounded out by the ends of 20-, 35- and 40-Across) — 

  • CHEEP (1A: Bird's sound)
  • ROAR (6A: Lion's sound)
  • BARK (10A: Dog's sound)
  • HISS (63A: Snake's sound)
  • PURR (64A: Cat's sound)
  • SNORT (65A: Pig's sound)
Other theme answers:
  • FRENCH GUIANA (20A: Region in South America that's technically part of Europe)
  • KALAMATA (35A: Greek city renowned for its olives)
  • ETHIOPIA (40A: African country with its own 13-month calendar)
Word of the Day: ONOMATOPOEIA (52A) —
the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g. cuckoosizzle ).
"a relatively large number of bird names arise by onomatopoeia"
• • •

Finished this one without having any idea what the theme was. First step: notice that you can sound out the word "ONOMATOPOEIA" from the endings of the longer theme answers ... but that ... is not ... an example of ONOMATOPOEIA. That's just sounding things out. So I was, naturally, confused. Eventually I noticed the rather innocuous-looking animal sounds on the top and bottom edges of the grid and thought "oh ... no ... that's not it ... IS IT?" Because ... sigh ... those are just animal sounds. I mean some, yes, are definitely solid examples of the word in question (HISS, PURR), but BARK? SNORT? First of all, WOOF and OINK would like a word ... Second, BARK and SNORT just seem like ... normal words. I can definitely say these words and make them sound like animal noises, but is that their actual derivation? I mean, were the Anglo-Saxons really imitating their domesticated canines when they used the term beorcan? ARF, YIP, YAP, these are [Dog's sound]s that are written like they sound. I don't usually think of ROAR, BARK or SNORT as onomatopoetic, and even if there's some defense of categorizing them as such, this themer set seems arbitrary and odd. Why animals? Lots of ONOMATOPOEIA have nothing to do with animals? If animals, why does the theme stuff, the longer answers, have Nothing To Do With Animals? Are there other examples of ONOMATOPOEIA in the grid that I'm missing? If BARK is an example, then for all I know any of these words might be examples. Is WELP? Is SWILL? Is WAH!?!? ALO!? Is PETS part of the theme? Is there a BEAR noise in here somewhere? I see the vague association of the different theme elements with sound, but that's all I'm really seeing. The whole thing just doesn't seem clear or coherent enough. It's got animal sounds up top and below, and it's got a little sound-y out-y game in the middle, but those two parts don't have much if anything to do with one another. It's like two separate elements that want to come together and make sense, but don't.

The grid seemed clean enough, if not particularly interesting. BREAST MILK was probably the most surprising and therefore best thing in there (10D: Liquid that may be pumped). "Surprising" because I had trouble parsing it from the middle-to-late letters. This was in part due to having IRENE instead of ILENE in there at 42A: TV producer Chaiken. It's also (slightly) surprising because it's the kind of answer the NYTXW would've BALKed at not that long ago, when they were much more squeamish about bodily fluids, much more committed to the "breakfast test." BREAST MILK *is* breakfast for some! So anyway, liked it, glad it's here. I also liked KIDS MENU. It makes a funny little counterpart to BREAST MILK.

The puzzle was, overall, astonishingly easy. Close to Monday in its easiness. Beyond the ILENE/IRENE thing, I don't know where I had any trouble. I guess it took me a few crosses to get the "?" clue at 1D: Ones who will give you a mouthful? (CHEFS), but "?" clues frequently slow me down, no matter what day of the week they appear on. All the proper nouns were familiar to me. I know lots of Eminem songs, but I know "RAP GOD" only from crosswords. This is because I was paying attention to pop-rap in the late '90s / early '00s, but in 2013 (when "RAP GOD" came out), not so much. But the point is I do know it now, having seen it at least once before in the grid, so I was able to put RAP over GOD there, no problem (6D: Eminem song with a Guinness world record for "most words in a hit single" (1, 560 in six minutes)). Oh, and I had trouble with WAXER, which I did not know was a stand-alone job title. I was really looking for something to do with hair, and ... well, I guess that's what I ultimately found, just ... not the kind of hair I was looking for. I hope you find what you're looking for today. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Conrad 5:54 AM  

Easy-Medium for me. CHirP before TwEEt before CHEEP at 1A, and KIDS game before KIDS MENU at 38D. Didn't know ILENE Chaiken (42A) or ELI Roth (56D)

Weezie 6:14 AM  

Weird day, up too early. My grandpa passed away a few days ago. Because I’m disabled and immunocompromised, I was actively dissuaded from risking a flight, so I had to attend yesterday’s funeral service by Zoom. (No commentary on risks, etc, please.) As my aunt said, my grandfather “died of being 96,” so that part is sad but okay, but it feels very strange and hard and wrong not to be there with my father for shiva.

Anyway I share all this to say I’ve been working my way through the archives lately. So, yesterday I had the comforting synchronicity of coming across a “shop steward” answer - my grandfather was a lifelong lefty, never crossed a picket line, and was so proud of having been a shop steward. Grateful for a little bit of inadvertent comfort from the crossword cosmos.

Anyway, on to today’s puzzle. Easy, breezy, thought I was in for a near-best time (thanks, FRENCH GUIANA & BREASTMILK!). But then for some reason I thought Brown’s mascot was a bulldog (I know I know, Duke). Even though I didn’t have good fill, that gunked up the center west for a bit. I’m glad I finally erased most of it and then got back on pace. Still a respectable finish time for me given the relative ease of the puzzle.

Basically, I’ll take it, I liked it fine, even though it didn’t much register on the sparkle meter for me (BREASTMILK being one of a few exceptions).

Weezie 6:20 AM  

Oh, forgot to mention that ILENE was a gimme for me, as a card-carrying homosexual of a certain age. The original L Word was such a delicious hot mess; I was disappointed by the heavy-handedness of the reboot’s first couple episodes, but might give it another chance some uneventful evening.

Weezie 6:47 AM  

WELP, it’s the *Yale* bulldogs. College sports and the team spirit that comes along with them are, shall we say, not a strong suit of mine.

SouthsideJohnny 6:59 AM  

WELP crossing WAH ? Plus, as usual, way too much PPP and niche trivia. No ASS today though, not sure what’s up with that.

Tom T 7:05 AM  

Remember a puzzle a few weeks/months back that used a "word + word + word" kind of clue to produce longer wacky answers?

How about:

Yoko's mother visits a tiny Midwestern community


If I had come up with that while solving the puzzle, I wouldn't have spelled it ONOMATaPOEIA and spent some wasted seconds trying to identify the reason my happy music wouldn't play. (Which makes me think of, "I went down to the sacred store, where I'd heard the music years before, but the men there said the music wouldn't play.")

Didn't notice the top and bottom lines full of animal noises that are (more or less) onomatopoeic until I read Rex, but unlike OFL, it made me appreciate the puzzle much more.

Camilita 7:16 AM  

Why is it called BREAST MILK and not HUMAN MILK or BABY MILK? Why is the body part it comes out of what it's called. I feel like the terms Breastfeeding and Breastmilk are a big reason Americans are so offended by it. Is snot called Nostril Snot? Are tears called Eye Tears? Is Spit called Mouth Spit? Is pee called urethra pee? We do have Ear Wax, so there's that.

Son Volt 7:28 AM  

Disjoint theme - not fully developed and filled with trivia and names. I’LL PASS on this one.

At least we get a twofer today with ENVOY x EAVES

Kent 7:48 AM  

I thought the theme might have something to do with geography, since the longer themers are place names. Had noticed the animal noises at the top, but forgot about them by the time I hit the revealer and didn’t see the connection to the theme or to the bottom row.

Dr.A 7:49 AM  

WAXERs usually call themselves Estheticians which I can never spell.

Lewis 7:52 AM  

With this puzzle having been born in a new-parent fog (according to Adam's notes), I see where WAH came from, and I’m thinking it could have been clued [Human’s sound].

I adored the theme when I thought all it was, was the three country ends sounding like ONOMATOPOEIA. That was so unusual for a crossword theme, and so silly, that I fell in love with it, because I am an uber-fan of loopy and out-of-the-box. When I noticed, after completion, the animal sounds, then came a joyful oho at the addition of the onomatopoeiac sounds.

Speaking of which, I whooshed through the grid, swishing around corners, rumbling through rows, and vrooming down columns, due to the direct cluing. I did notice that backward STEP crossing ONEUP.

Adam, I was most charmed by your theme. Wishing you well on your fatherhood journey, and thank you for bringing me smiles today!

Bob Mills 7:56 AM  

Got a DNF because of the WELP/WAH cross. Never heard of either word. Otherwise the puzzle was quite easy, provided one can spell ONOMATOPOEIA.

The word means "subsequent similar sounds," but it doesn't really work here. The theme words don't sound that much alike.

pabloinnh 8:00 AM  

Had the animal sounds on top, went down the East Coast, and ran into ONOPAOPOEIA early, although I needed some crosses to help with the spelling. Thought of WAVER which sounded dumb, so WAXER was a relief. RAPGOD? OK.

Learned something about ETHIOPIA and TIMOR and knew FRENCHGUIANA because the French teachers always had lists of French-speaking countries in language classrooms I shared.

A Whiz-through Wednesday, AW. Too easy for my taste, but thanks for some fun.

mmorgan 8:03 AM  

WELP?? WELP?!?! I mean, really, WELP?! I had a mini Kealoa with 55D, thinking it could be WAH or pAH (even though oom-pah would go better with a tuba), but neither letter made sense to me with _ELP. I know what a whelp is, but that made no sense either. Sadly, pELP made as much sense to me as WELP, except that pELP was wrong. WELP, I guess I learned a new word, but I don’t much care for it.

Otherwise, the puzzle was fine.

@Camilita — ha!

KnittyContessa 8:09 AM  

@Weezie so sorry for you loss. I'm immunocompromised, too. I understand the frustration.

@Camilita great point, never thought of that!

@SouthsideJohnny I was hung up on that, too. I still don't get WELP.

Peter P 8:12 AM  

Rex, the ultimate etymology of the word BARK is listed as of "echoic origin," (another term for ONOMATOPOEIA) according to SNORT is also said to be imitative of the sound made. ROAR, as well. So, yes, I do think all qualify fine as ONOMATOPOEIA.I agree that BARK may not be as strong an ONOMATOPOEIA as something like "woof," but it still clearly qualifies to me.

marye 8:25 AM  

Just so disappointed that the NYT let this go - every fourth-grader knows what an ONOMATOPOEIA is.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

What on earth is an ANTI-SPAM filter? It's a spam filter, plain and simple. You can't trick me, crossword.

MarthaCatherine 8:28 AM  

Weezie: All good thoughts to you and your family.

Camelita, 7:16: Terrific points. Agree completely. But ear wax most definitely does not pass the breakfast, lunch, appetizer, dinner, or midnight snack test.

Dr. A., 7:49: If an esthetician made a onomatopoeia-ic sound, my head would explode.

Alice Pollard 8:31 AM  

BARK is NOT “ONOMATOPOEIA”, I’ve seen many dogs in my life and, well, fail. I had pAH instead of WAH (oom-pah?) .WELP, wth? Bad puzzle - sorry. It does not work for me. How did this one pass muster ?

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

Too much geography and second tier TV/Movie trivia for me. There needs to be a hard limit of 2 geography clues in a non-Sunday puzzle unless it’s your theme and if geography is your theme go host a pub trivia night in your neighborhood bar. Didn’t care for “ONKP” as that’s a nonsense phrase written like that. Pretty much would prefer they do away with all military shorthand.

Was also confused by the ONOMATOPOEIA “revealer” for all the reasons Rex pointed out.

Just a bizarre puzzle overall tbh. Clueing consistency was all over the map (geography-and difficulty-wise). Think this needed to be sent back for revisions or sent to a different editor.

Barbara S. 8:49 AM  

I thought Rex was much too hard on this puzzle. I think the animal sounds at top and bottom are all onomatopoeic – some are stronger examples (HISS) and some are weaker (BARK), but they all make the grade. And I see no reason why they have to be closely tied into what’s going on with the themers in the middle. The whole is ONOMATOPOEIA being explored in a variety of ways. And, furthermore, WHAAM!

I was held up slightly by thinking the [Cat’s sound] would be “meow,” so I took out the MENU part of KIDS’ MENU, but ended up reinstating it pretty quickly. I once had a cat who regularly made four of the given animal noises – PURR (when in the mood she was very cuddly), ROAR (she had a deafening and somewhat throaty/raspy meow), HISS (when offended, and she was often in high dudgeon over something) and SNORT (sometimes standalone, sometimes in conjunction with PURRing). Ah, Lina, you still live in my heart.

I thought FRENCH GUIANA had a Y – hmm. Obviously confusing it with its near-neighbor, Guyana. FG’s capital is Cayenne, which I find a delightful name for a city. I hate sports team mascot references but for once we had an inferable one: Bruno suggesting bruin suggesting BEAR. I briefly mixed up SKIMP and SKInt, but ALP put me right. Yikes, ETHIOPIA, how do manage international relations if your calendar is different from everybody else’s? We’ve had ILENE Chaiken before, which was a great help – I didn’t know her name right off, but with a cross or two it came easily. That was a yucky clue for SWILL. Did you know that SWILL is the same as the literal meaning of “hogwash” – kitchen scraps mixed with water for feeding to pigs?

I see there's a lot of pushback on WELP. I’ve never fully taken in the word until this puzzle, although it was also in the grid on Jan. 8, 2023 with the clue ["Eh, what can you do?!"]. I have to say – I love it! It’s a usefully hangdog version of “well,” suggesting defeat or resignation in the face of whatever you're about to say, hence today's "WELP, so much for that!" I have a feeling it’s going to show up in my speech from now on. And as for WAH, I thought it was quite a well-known syllable for the wail of a trombone. I think it's usually rendered as WAH-WAH-WAH, so I'd call it one-third of a trombone sound rather than half.

[SB: yd, 0. For some reason, it took forever to see this pair. And I almost failed to get this, thinking the word was solely a noun and forgetting that it can be a verb, too. Hey, @okanaganer, you go, guy!]

Weezie 8:49 AM  

If we didn’t think of cow milk as the default milk, we would probably just call it “milk,” though I agree with you (for different reasons) that human milk would make more sense.

I think whenever there’s a substance that could have different sources than the default definition or contextual inference, we specify it (hence “beeswax” or “ear wax” or “soy wax” or “board wax” are used, whereas when we simply say “wax”, the “candle” or “car” or “body” part is typically inferred from the context). Other bodily examples I can think of are “toe jam,” “eye boogers,” and “eye goop.”

Jeanette 8:50 AM  

@Camilla — great comment. Love it! So true!

NJT 9:03 AM  

Am I the only was who was annoyed at ONKP without any indication from the clue that an abbreviation was involved? Spent forever staring at 61A knowing it was KNEE but trying to figure out how in the hell a word would go (Random vowel in ONOMATOPOEIA alphabet soup)-N-K-P. Or maybe "On KP" is a common-enough phrase and I just need to talk to people more?

RooMonster 9:04 AM  

Hey All !
Is 37A the ONOMATOPOEIA of cheap people? 😁

Different kind of puz. I start puzs doing all the Across clues in order, so I saw the first three "sounds" right away, and said, "Hmm, something happening here." Once I got the Revealer, it took a sec to "see" the like-sounding endings of the long Themers to make ONOMATOPOEIA. But knew the "sounds" were part of the theme, seeing as how they were the first and last three Acrosses. Cause I be smart. Har.

Not smart: Had oLa for ALO until the end.

Got yer I ATE, I BEG, I SIT. 😁

Had WELL for WELP, and was wondering what PERISCOLES were...

Happy Hump Day

One F

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

Amy: interesting. Like the critter sounds along the edges. Also enjoying SKIMP right there in the middle. Very useful word. Love PAD THAI, ETHIOPIAN food, and KALAMATA olives.
@Weezie, sorry about your grandfather's death and not being able to sit Shiva. My condolences.

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

Did not like welp (new word to me) crossing wah. I associate wah wah not with a trombone but with a guitar. Why not just clue it as "half a pedal", rather than use a sound that crosses what may be a completely unfamiliar word. Otherwise the puzzle was easy.

Nancy 9:30 AM  

I think WELP is a very midwestern comment, in Michigan especially.

Being a person of a certain age, and a Todd Rungren fan, I used to play his album Hermit of Mink Hollow over and over, and loved singing along to the song Onomatapoeia. It's back in my head now after doing this puzzle.

Am I allowed to post a link to Youtube here? if

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

Count me in the PAH for WAH club

andrew 9:34 AM

Todd Rundgren defined Onomatopoeia best!

A sound in my head that I can't describe
It's sort of zoom, zip, hiccup, drip
Ding, dong, crunch, crack, bark, meow, whinnie, quack…

A sound in my head that I can't describe
It's sort of whack, whir, wheeze, whine
Sputter, splat, squirt, scrape
Clink, clank, clunk, clatter
Crash, bang, beep, buzz
Ring, rip, roar, retch
Twang, toot, tinkle, thud
Pop, plop, plunk, pow
Snort, snuk, sniff, smack
Screech, splash, squish, squeek
Jingle, rattle, squeel, boing
Honk, hoot, hack, belch.

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

Thought the theme was related to spying . ANA Montes, MATA Hari, PÍA Monterí ( a character in the Spy in a Green Hat).
ALO? Is that Spanish? Been taking Spanish lessons for six years with native speakers— hsve never seen or heard this word .

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

@NJT - Definitely an old timey phrase. KP is (or at least was) military slang for Kitchen Patrol. Cartoon images of WWII army men peeling piles of potatoes are evoked.

Sir Hillary 10:00 AM  

Not a fan. Feels like barely a theme at all. And the emphasis on the "pee" syllable in ONOMATOPOEIA doesn't match the emphasis on the "oh" syllable in ETHIOPIA.

Still, some things to like:

-- Any six-syllable word is fun.

-- While ONKP, IATE BITTER KALAMATA olives and PADTHAI. They were not on the KIDSMENU.

-- BREASTMILK: In 1999, my wife and I traveled to London, about 6 months after the birth of our third child. We brought an electric BREASTMILK pump so she could express for the five days we were away. Upon arriving in our hotel room, I plugged it in...only to hear it hum for a few seconds, then pop like a firecracker. Oops, forgot the converter. My poor wife had to hand-pump for the remainder of the trip.

Ellen 10:00 AM  

Had the same issue with PAH before WAH. I thought I knew my instrument noises

Nancy 10:11 AM  

DNF. My half a trombone sound was pAH (as in Oom pah), my horror director was ALI not ELI, and therefore "So much for that!" ended up being PALP. Well, why not? It makes about as much sense as WELP.

Does AOC take off her HOODS or does she take off her HOOPS? If HOOPS, does she mean her earrings or her skirts? It's all a mystery. But since ONEUd is not a thing, I went with HOOPS -- even though I've never heard ONE UP used that way and certainly wouldn't have clued it that way myself.

I guess if you're going to construct a sounding-things-out kind of puzzle, ONAMATAPOEIA is the best possible word to base it on. It was certainly my favorite word in the puzzle. And I love the clue for RAVE (16A). There's a playfulness to the cluing that I quite liked.

mathgent 10:16 AM  

Liked it very much. Good sparkle, well-executed theme, pleasing reminder of ONOMATOPOEIA, only a few Terrible Threes.

Are there any other words with four consecutive vowels?

LAHTI. Never seen the lady on a screen and yet she's a crossword gimme for me. Because it ends in "I"?

Was Naticked at WAH/WELP.

We saw Marlowe the other night. It's sort of a parody of all the tough-guy private-eye movies of the past. Sad to see the wonderful but aging Liam Neeson struggle his way through the role. But we enjoyed it.

jberg 10:20 AM  

DNF cuz of WELP. Had no idea about either the TV producer or the horror director; got the first from crosses, but not the second. and WaLP seemed just as good.

Am I the only one who started with twEEt crossing teEth? The latter seemed obviously right for 1-D!

Two problems with the theme. First FRENCH GUIANA is no more "technically part of Europe" than Guam is technically part of North America. Continents are geographic entities; countries are political ones.

That's just the clue. But KALAMATA seems more obscure than the other two long theme answers. I've heard of and eaten the olives, but had no idea whether they were named for a city, a region, or a variety of olive tree.

@weezie, sorry for your loss.

Barbara S. 10:22 AM  

Here's the WAH-WAH sound.

J.W. 10:24 AM  

Not sure what the fuss is about here? An onomatopoeia is literally just a word that describes a sound. All six animal-sound themers pass. Then with the three longs, you get the inverse—sounds that "describe" (in the more obscure sense of delineating or tracing) a word. It's no POW, but it's serviceable.

Barbara S. is exactly right about WELP. The hint of resignation is the key.

WAH as clued is a little odd but far from inscrutable. I'm more inclined to think of the onomatopoeia for a trombone as "womp", as in "womp womp" (as heard e.g. when a joke falls flat).

Nancy 10:28 AM  

1) Better get that sparrow and that beagle out of the lions den!

2) Ambassador who's a soft touch -- at least to doggies

3) "Hey, whassup, Apple? All my best bot buddies get to spew disinformation and bring down powerful corporate leaders and maybe even start wars. Whereas you've given me the most boring, ho-hum, mundane job in all of botdom. Am I mad? You bet I'm mad!!"




Whatsername 10:55 AM  

At first I thought we were going to have a geography theme and got all PSYCHED because I’ve been working hard at improving my knowledge of world geography by solving Globle every day. (It’s fun if you’ve never tried it.) So I start thinking I’m really gonna ace this. But if there’s one thing I’m more of an expert on than geography, it’s animal sounds. And by the way Rex, I assure you, pigs do SNORT and I have a Jack Russell mix who will convince you quite quickly that BARK is a genuine onomatopoeia.

I don’t recall a Wednesday I have enjoyed more. Thank you Adam. Can’t wait to see what you give us NEXT.

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

Oooh don't forget belly button lint

bocamp 10:57 AM  

Thx, Adam! for the POEtIc offering! :)

Med (slightly over avg time, but felt tougher).

Took a while to grok the theme; liked it!

The upper Midwest was a bit of an adventure, as was the SW (pELP; paLP; WaLP; finally settled on WELP, which sounded vaguely familiar. Also, was confirmed by realizing that oom-pAH relates to a tuba, and WAH-WAH to a 'trombone'. In addition, ELI seemed to fit better than aLI, so in the end, Bob was my uncle! :)

Love Amy ADAMS!

Fun solve! :)
@Weezie (6:14 AM)

Condolences on the passing of your grandpa. 🙏
Paolo's Mon. New Yorker fell in under an hr; so, easy-med. :)
Peace 🕊 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🙏

Gary Jugert 11:07 AM  

Sort of a worthless theme, but it's built off ONOMATOPOEIA (which I have just misspelled three times since my phone doesn't know it's whams, sockos, kablamows, or meows), and what's not to love about a few sound effects.

Super brilliant addition to have the top and bottom lines read CHEEP ROAR BARK HISS PURR SNORT. Of course that takes out two of my uniclue opportunities. WAH WAH WAH.

One thing this blog has done for my solving experience: When I see a foreign phrase now, I immediately imagine @SouthsideJohnny throwing his pen down and saying, "Those bitches."

Several geography questions needing crosses today, and I might actually remember the olive fact.

@Canon Chasuble 9:58 AM Yesterday
I'm just now seeing your comment from yesterday regarding Roald Dahl, but I think it's worthy of response. Truthfully, I couldn't care less what they do with an old anti-semite children's author or his book. I'm assuming most teachers have long since moved on to better literature (hopefully less moralistic and written by somebody who's still alive) to teach children. It appears the people in charge of his legacy made the edits (a good business decision) and the media reporting falls into the old alarmist conservative-baiting "they're censoring your childhood" genre. Roald's rotting in a box, so who cares? I do lots of music arrangements and often those songs are written by horrible people, so I fix the lyrics. If students want to see the original, that's what Google and universities help do.


TV producer questions, whaa??

BREAST MILK and its squishy clue. Sheesk.


1 British ambassador gently strokes Larry the British domestic tabby serving as Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office at 10 Downing Street.
2 Say no to gross food.
3 Said no to gross food.
4 Here's hoping my subsequent brew gets me drunk.
5 What fills Santa's medicine chest.
6 Electric submarine viewing apparati.
7 What children order from at Dr. Dre's Beats Cafe.
8 The best polisher in Korea.
9 I say no to gross food.
10 Neatest. (I know, don't use the word in the clue. Maybe Dahl's heirs will fix?)


Joseph Michael 11:07 AM  

So there were 1,560 words in RAP GOD. Were any of them any good?


Also wondering if it’s OK to SITON SATIN.

O MAN. This puzzle put me in a bad mood, especially after plodding past ANA MATA PIA to the SW corner where neither WELP nor WAH made sense and Mr. Roth could have been an ELI or ALI. My onomatopoeic response is more of a HISS than a PURR.

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

I actually really loved today theme. I wasn’t expecting there to be one so when I got to the revealer there was a pleasant “oh!”
Spelling onomatopoeia though was another matter..

jae 11:21 AM  

On the tough side for me. I need to stare post-solve to grok the theme. It was more of an “oh yeah” than an “a ha”. I had BRE for 10d and went with BREak fluid which contributed to tough. Smooth grid, some nice long downs, pretty good themeless, which is how it played for me. Liked it as a themeless.

Beezer 11:21 AM  

@Barbara S, thank you for saving me time on my comments as my feeling about the puzzle was the same as yours! Additionally, I agree about WELP and WAH. In fact, I started an email to my daughter last night with WELP to tell her her Dad was FINE but twisted his knee doing a recreational sport that I think he MAY need to curtail. Given he is okay…WELP (whatcha gonna do?) seemed appropriate. I agree also with WAH…however I associate it with the sound made when the mute is placed in the bell of a trombone or trumpet.

@Sir Hillary, I’m not sure I get what you are saying about ETHIOPIA and ONOMATAPOEIA ending sounds as I tend to pronounce them the same. Are you saying that you pronounce “poeia “ as pay-uh, or are you saying you pronounce the “pia” in the country as pyuh?

MKM 11:25 AM  

My favourite WAH-WAH:

egsforbreakfast 11:25 AM  

Is a thing we do for sport!

Goooooo…. Cruciverbalists.

Seems odd that both @Lewis and Jeff Chen, two of the most astute crossword analysts extant, note that the puzzle uses the endings of three countries. This is 2/3 wrong:

FRENCH GUIANA is an overseas department of France.
KALAMATA is a city and an administrative region of Greece.
ETHIOPIA is a …….country!!!

@Camalita 7:16 am. I am sympathetic to your assertion that there is something off about calling it BREASTMILK. But as I pondered your comment, I couldn’t escape the fact that cows, by definition, are female. So, if you want the equivalent term for humans, I guess it would be Women’s Milk. (BTW, I don’t think you can use Baby’s Milk, as babies might also drink formula or other milks).

Interesting and thought provoking puzzle. Thanks, Adam Wagner.

thfenn 11:44 AM  

Hand up for all the animal sounds qualifying as themers. Some spot on, some a little off, but all fine. @conrad, also had the CHirP, twEEt, CHEEP progression and at @Barbara S also had meow. Even had woof. But all easily resolved, and qualify. Also didn't like WELP/WAH, but with _ELP/_AH, it didn't take too long to run through b,p,h,W.

Had forgotten TIMOR, but it was pretty clear Hispaniola wasn't going to work. Just like FalklandIslA...wouldn't fit at 20A, tho we could quibble about whether they're still "technically part of Europe".

Fun Wednesday.

Camilita 11:51 AM  

@eggsforbreakfast As you know, all mammals nurse their babies, this us what makes us mammals. I believe all nursing mammal babies suckle from the mother's breast. I believe all nursing mammals are females, but I'd have to look both of those up. I do like Mother's Milk but that could be a wolf or a cow or a whale or a bat. I suppose we drink Homo Sapien milk.

Camilita 11:54 AM  

I looked it up.
One branch of mammals doesn't suckle: the egg-laying monotremes, which include today's platypus and echidna, or spiny anteater. These animals lack nipples. Their babies instead lap or slurp milk from patches on their mother's skin.

I guess they drink .....drum roll please....Skin Milk!!!

Whatsername 11:55 AM  

@Weezie (6:15) My sympathies on the loss of your grandfather as well as the fact that you had to miss out on the formal mourning process. I know that feeling well as the same thing happened when I lost a beloved uncle during the early days of the pandemic. He died of being 98 and it wouldn’t have been quite so hard if he had not been the last and the favorite of my mother’s four siblings. A few weeks ago, on what would have been his 101st birthday, I had a small flock of cardinals at my bird feeders. Given he was a big St. Louis Cardinal fan, I couldn’t help but think he might be paying me a little visit. Those symbolic reminders are such bittersweet moments.

Sir Hillary 12:08 PM  

@Beezer -- What I meant was that, to my ear, the emphasis on the second-to-last syllable is different for "on-uh-mah-tuh-PEE-uh" than it is for "ee-thee-OH-pee-uh". If ETHIOPIA had been replaced by, say, Cassiopeia, the emphasis on that syllable would be the same.

Sheli 12:21 PM  

I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather’s passing. May time console you.

Alix F 12:24 PM  

Camilita, Weezie, and Anonymous, you’re making my day as I enjoy some belly laughs, enhanced by eye tears and nose snot.

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

I think WAH does count as onomatopoeia, doesn't it? Not that it helps the theme much.

thfenn 12:29 PM  

@Weezie, my sympathies as well, hars times, and hope your own health holds up. And @Whatsername, my mom pays me a visit every time the Chickadees drop by to see me. Bittersweet for sure, but I love reconnecting with her everytime that happens.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

The Times' ultra-liberal and progressive agenda once again makes its way into the crossword with a totally unnecessary reference to AOC. Disgraceful.

Teedmn 12:55 PM  

I'll agree with Rex that some of the animal noises are more ONOMATOPOEIc than others in the grid (man, I needed a lot of help from crosses to get 52A filled in properly, with an extra O here, missing an O there, etc.). But I don't agree that it was easy; too much I didn't know off the top of my head.

For instance, the whole top central - ROAR, ANNO and eggS (Tamagotchis) along with no idea what AOC was talking about (HOOdS?) left that section up in the air until I decided Eminem must be talking about RAP and ONE Ud made no sense as a video game extra life.

Then there's the "___ of you" at 32D. I had IDLED in place and ETHIOPIA and decided L_H__ was possibly LeHar. So Brown's mascot was a dEeR? No a BEeR? Really? Gah, BEAR and LAHTI. Add to that my spelling issues with the theme answer and I'm at easy Friday time, solve-wise.

But I love the word ONOMATOPOEIA and its concept, so thanks, Adam Wagner!

okanaganer 1:09 PM  

I was kinda delighted with this theme, it's multidimensional! Hardest part was spelling GUIANA and ONOMATOPOEIA. I expected to be corrected (hey that rhymes!) by the crosses, but wasn't.

Typeovers: CHIRP before CHEEP, PORTHOLES (even tho it doesn't fit) before PERISCOPES.

Every time I see ILENE I think of that old joke about the girl with one leg longer than the other... what was her name?

[Spelling Bee: yd 0, last word this 4er, dunno why. QB streak 12 days! Thanks for the encouragement @Barbara S.]

Anoa Bob 1:14 PM  

@mathgent 10:16, I read once that there are three words in English that have four consecutive vowels. Today's ONOMATOPOEIA is one. Sequoia is another. I don't know what the third would be. Maybe there are only two and it was a trick question meant to leave us in a perpetual quandary. Anybody?

Carola 1:38 PM  

Thanks to @Rex for pointing out the animal sounds, which I'd completely overlooked, smitten as I was with the appearance of the word ONOMATOPOEIA in a crossword and blinded to the rest. I certainly like the puzzle a lot more now. While I was solving, I found myself described in the row: GETS MAD... BALK: there were so many names and random facts. But, pressing on from there, I was rewarded with WELP, which got a laugh with its perfect clue.

@Weezie, I'm sorry for the loss of your grandfather and the added sadness of not being able to be together with the others who loved him.

@Camilita, a tip of the hat for the Question of the Day! It made me first think of German, the foreign language I know best, where "to breastfeed" is stillen, which has the complementary meaning of "to satisfy a need." Then I wondered when "to breastfeed" had come into the English language, as up to a certain point, that was basically the only possibility; a look at the OED has the first citation from 1869. I wonder why it displaced "to suckle" (totally, I think) and "to nurse" (mostly?).

albatross shell 1:41 PM  

Aa nuh ma tu pee uh.
Works just fine. The Oh sound in Ethiopia has nothing to do with it, does it?

I certainly would not call this one Monday easy. Maybe Wenesday medium. Maybe I just dumber than usual this week.

BREASTMILK was a highpoint of the puzzle, the discussion, and for a year or more of many of our lives whether we remember or not.

WELP totes unknown to me. I thought it might be an alt-spelling of whelp.
But of WELL? Help No!

My Condolences and best wishes. No doubt risk decisions are yours to make. Covid continues to affect our family and community rituals. I hope the Zoom option helped. And 96. Impressive.

Smith 1:48 PM  

@Nancy 10:11 (who's that other Nancy at 9:30??)

With you on AOC and HOOPS. Got it, but no idea what it means. I doubt they wear HOOP skirts in the Bronx. If earrings, why should they be told to take them off?

Probably completely missing something here...

Saw the animal sounds but did not connect them to ONOMATOPOEIA.

Super easy, but not quite a pr as I had to rethink the pAH aLI paLP area when I got the "not quite" msg. It had to be pAH or WAH, so having made that change the rest dropped.

Here in San Diego we have 25 mph winds with gusts up to 50. The breakers are unbelievable. By Friday SD county will have gotten more than its usual annual amount of rainfall.

So it is not true that it never rains in California.

Beezer 1:51 PM  

@Sir Hillary, thanks for the explanation! I see now there is a VERY subtle difference.

@Anoa Bob, maybe I misunderstood your question to @mathgent but a quick Google dive (without getting into the lists) revealed queue, and obsequious. Maybe the U after Q doesn’t count?

Anonymous 2:04 PM  

A relatively easy puzzle, but SO unsatisfying. Lately I feel like the Times puzzles are sliding down the slippery slope of mediocrity. Themes are not clever as they used to be, often just lame. There's way too much pop culture and slang, not to mention clues about rap and rappers. I'm working my way through the Sunday puzzles of the archives to satisfy my yearning for truly original, clever and challenging puzzles. Times have changed, and not always for the better.

Lewis 2:05 PM  

@egs -- Good catch! Sloppiness on my part...

CDilly52 2:05 PM  

I was trying to have ends of the geographic location names be the “ends” that Adam considered onomatopoeic. Had to put it in park to reconsider. I’d been zooming through this so fast that I hadn’t considered a theme at all.

I agree with @andrew 9:34 am that Todd Rundgren’s “definition” of onomatopoeia works best. Accordingly, I thought using the front “ends” of our three geographic locations do not provide the best possible examples of ONOMATOPOEIA, but I live the fact that both “ends” of the three locations chosen work - kinda sorta - and certainly close enough to make this bee dad’s puzzle work. Congrats on everything Adam Wagner!

Another good choice was no using an oom or pah for a trombone sound. WAH is in fact half a muted high and medium low brass sound - the WAH-WAH made by holding a cup mute over the bell of the horn and raising it halfway and closing it - twice- to get a WAH-WAH. Trumpets get more opportunity to employ this technique but trombonists certainly have their turns. The tuba, however is the oom-pah instrument.

WELP was certainly a challenge, but since WAH was a gimme for me, it completed the puzzle nicely. I liked the complexity of the theme with both ends of the places arguable working as theme material. And for our able constructor in his state of new baby sleep deprivation, a great feat.

MKM 2:22 PM  

@Smith 1:48
Click on her name and you'll get her profile!

Carola 2:29 PM  

@Smith 1:48 - This article sheds some light on AOC's HOOPS: "Why it Matters That Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Wore Hoops to Her Swearing-In Ceremony"

bmv 2:34 PM  

@Nancy. I appreciated your comments on Topsy-Turvy yesterday. Turns out it's on Amazon Prime, not Netflix. And they wants you to subscribe to watch it.

albatross shell 2:46 PM  

From the inner tubes:

Xcentric 3:22 PM  

Welp, that was an odd puzzle.

Anonymous 3:40 PM  

4 words with 4 consecutive vowel? In English? Huh?


Iriquoian and Siouan( Gotta get the DEI in)
Roualt ( For art fans)
Quaoar ( for you astronomy fans)
was obsequius mentioned?
all the poeia(s):

Too tired to go on

Barbara S. 3:41 PM  

Wanted to add my sympathy. It's hard to be far away from family during times of loss. I hope you have many terrific memories of your grandpa.

Anoa Bob 3:43 PM  

@Beezer it was a long time ago that I saw that English words with four consecutive vowels question. Maybe It stipulated four unique/different consecutive vowels. Since "queue" has only two and "obsequious" only three unique vowels, they wouldn't count.

Reminds me of another brain teaser. What is the longest English word that has only one vowel? The letter "y" would count as a vowel.

Masked and Anonymous 3:59 PM  

One of M&A's no-knows on this puppy was the KALAMATA themer. Confused the M&A, theme-wise.
Nice theme notion, tho.

staff weeject picks: ANA & PIA. Iguana & marsupial sounds.

Only ?-marker clue I recall was at 1-Down. And M&A initially went with CHEWS, for its answer. Lost precious nanoseconds.

WELP. har


Thanx, Mr. Wagner dude. PURR-fectly BARK-y.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Thecla 4:03 PM  

Personal best for me. Would have been thirty seconds faster except for staring at "onkp" until I tried it and the app said it was right.

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

Welp may have some parlance but it has ZERO place in this or any NYT puzzle. Surreally poor judgement by all those involved.

Anonymous 4:31 PM  

Ditto squared. WELP is ridiculous by itself, doubly so because of the Natick! Ugh!

Anonymous 5:36 PM  

I have heard of wah wah pedal so I didn't think of pah at all. Figured wah had something to do with music.. I have seen welp somewhere, crossword maybe.

Anonymous 5:53 PM  


okanaganer 5:53 PM  

@Anoa Bob 3:43 pm, there may be longer ones but my favorite is STRENGTHS because it's actually used in everyday speech by normal people.

Beezer 6:44 PM  

@Anoa Bob…good enough explanation for me! Thanks!

Beezer 7:08 PM  

@anoa Bob…omg…I have NO clue! I’m still “reeling” from fact you responded! 🤣 cuz…you are a celeb to me…

Escalator 7:21 PM  

Adam missed a chance to cross “tweet” at 1A and “elon” at 4D. Or maybe he do not want to…..

Anonymous 9:41 PM  


Anoa Bob 12:39 AM  

Way too late but got to say @okanaganer bingo! Plus it's a plural of convenience!

Camilita 8:43 AM  

@weezie by that same logic, cow's milk should be Udder Milk. Goat Milk: the Udder White Milk.

Nancy 2:50 PM  

Answers to Thursday's challenge posed by moi.



Tiger Lily 3:29 PM  

One of the worst puzzles ever!
Too many phrases to fill --I wish I had more thumbs up! is not something that anything says--unless they largely communicate with emojis.
"Swell!" could be the answer to the thumbs UP! Really though, this register's now open!..."Must be something....
And then overloaded with trivia.
I wish I had two thumbs down! How about Crap puzzle?

Anonymous 10:43 PM  

My condolences on the passing of your grandfather. I think it’s generous, in a way, for you to share this with us. We are a fellowship here, I do believe.

Chicago Chica 9:41 AM  

Anyone else try BRAKE FLUID before finding BREAST MILK?

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

Anonymous 9:41pm - "abstemious" has only 3 consecutive vowels: iou.

Dr.A 8:33 AM  

REVERCARD! No, just NOOOOOO, and then RATE for some reason eluded me for way too long. Otherwise, I was slogging along. And yes I did call it a slog. I did not find it as easy as Rex! But it’s done now, whew. and i learned something about poker that I will never need to know except for Xwords.

kitshef 10:37 PM  

Awful theme. Can't recall two worse puzzles back-to-back than yesterday and today.

oconomowoc 2:54 PM  

Re 40-across:

Those ETHIOPIAns are onto something! If we had 13 months, each month would be 28 days long (with a single day left over at the end of the year).

Say January 6th was a Wednesday... then February 6, March 6, etc. would all be Wednesdays for the year. In the following year, the 6th of each month would be a Thursday. So the first 12 months would have identical 4-week calendar pages throughout a given year, and the 13th month (called Triskadekember) would be 29 days long (30 days in a leap year).

Sounds strange, but monthly planning would be so much simpler.

Disadvantage: Neither a "quarter" nor "season" would be 3 months long. We would have to say 13 weeks.

oconomowoc 12:43 PM  

I didn't research the Ethiopian calendar before that last comment. They don't go with 28 days per month. They have 12 months with 30 days and the thirteenth month is 5 or 6 days long!

I like my system better.

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

I always thought ONOMATOPEIA was pronounced Oh-no MATOPOEIA not Anna MATOPOEIA. I learned something new today.

Diana, LIW 12:37 PM  

Tamagotchis? Eminem song? Video games and HOOPS for Bronx girls? That whole area just did me in.

The rest - a fine time was had by all. (also not sure of the spelling of the "FRENCH" SA country)

I remember learning about ONOMATOPOEIA in High School English class - a cool word.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 2:09 PM  

Not a welp to be heard in Minnesota.

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

I always thought ONOMATOPOEIA was pronounced Oh-NOMATOPOEIA not Anna-MATOPOEIA. I learned something new today.

Burma Shave 3:07 PM  


that FRENCH CHEF'S SWILL IS too steep,
I'm PSYCHED and I'LL BEG NEXT time when you


spacecraft 5:29 PM  

DNF; too techy/rappy for me. Now that I read what the theme was, I'm glad I was spared all that. Taking the last syllables of three themers to come up with...please. Constructor: be glad I don't score DNFs.

Wordle par.

rondo 5:44 PM  

Relatively EASY animal sounds but don't ever ask me to spell ONOMATOPOEIA again.
Wordle par.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP