Captain of M.L.B.'s Swingin' A's of the 1970s / SUN 11-12-23 / Robotic anime genre / Dark green Indian dish / 2022 culinary black comedy / Anton food critic in "Ratatouille" / Robotic anime genre / Firefighter famous for extinguishing burning wells

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Constructor: Garrett Chalfin

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Right on the Money" — Down theme answers are double-clued; one clues is for the regular old Down answer (not really themed), but the other clue is for the answer that turns "right" and then descends again; the parts where the answers jog "right" (i.e. the horizontal/Across part) are all units of currency (or "money"):

Theme answers:
  • DOES WELL BY / DOES WONDERS (3D: Treats favorably / Has a very good effect)
  • MEMORABLE / MEMORANDUM (12D: Like a momentous occasion / Office communiqué)
  • EXPERTS / EXPOUNDED (52D: Masters / Elaborated)
  • FIRING / FIRE ALARMS (88D: Part of a potter's process / Parts of a building's safety system)
  • "HAPPY NOW? / HAPPY ENDING (81D: "Are you satisfied?" / Common fairy tale conclusion)
Word of the Day: SAL BANDO (78D: Captain of M.L.B.'s Swingin' A's of the 1970s) —
Salvatore Leonard Bando
 (February 13, 1944 – January 20, 2023) was an American former professional baseball player and general manager. He played in Major League Baseball as a third baseman from 1966 to 1981, most prominently as the team captain for the Oakland Athletics dynasty known as the "Swingin' A's" that won three consecutive World Series championships between 1972 and 1974. // Bando was runner-up for the 1971 American League (AL) Most Valuable Player Award, won by teammate Vida Blue, after helping lead the team to the first of five straight division titles. // A four-time All-Star, Bando averaged 23 home runs and 90 runs batted in (RBI) in his last eight years in Oakland. Although he was often overshadowed by his contemporary, Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson, Bando remained a strong MVP candidate through Oakland's championship run, finishing third and fourth in the voting in 1973 and 1974. In 1973 he led the AL with 32 doubles and 295 total bases. (wikipedia)
• • •

I went to see Anatomy of a Fall (great) in Ithaca tonight, which means I got back home later than usual, which means I'm blogging later than usual, which means I'm tired, which means which means etc. Which is all to say that this may be a short affair, both because I want to cut things short so I can go to bed, but also because ... I don't know what there is to say about this. It's pretty self-explanatory. I think that if you wanted to you could probably have guessed the theme idea from the title (+ circles) alone. It's a one-note concept, a bit of wordplay that probably seemed inspired at first blush, but ... building an entire Sunday-sized puzzle around that wordplay, that's a tall, tall order, and the puzzle just isn't up to it. Yes, you go "right" on "the money"; and then you do it again; and you keep doing it; and once you know that's what you're doing, it gets very easy to do it, and sadly the theme answers themselves never really give you anything. It's all very workmanlike, adequate, fine. The theme answers are dull, and since there are technically two of them each time, they're doubly dull. I mean, MEMORANDUM? EXPOUNDED? How am I supposed to get excited about these, to say nothing of their even less exciting counterparts (MEMORABLE / EXPERTS). There's one semi-interesting thing about this gimmick, and that's that every one of the currency units is cluable in a non-currency way. That narrows the currency field, and maybe raises the construction difficulty a little. But sadly that has nothing to do with whether this puzzle was exciting to solve or not (it was not). You get the gimmick probably early, and then it's just a whole lot of methodical filling in of squares, with almost no wordplay payoff. Since the theme has this double / forked element to it, there's not a lot of room for additional, interesting, longer fill. HAD A GOOD TIME just sits up there, promising something the puzzle never manages to deliver.

Further: SMALL ARMS???? (79D: What a Tyrannosaurus rex grapples with?). How ... in the World ... is that an acceptable standalone answer? That is nonsense. The green paintiest green paint answer that ever green painted its way into Green Paint* town. SMALL ARMS ... was that originally a military clue, and then they decided that the climate was not for warlike answers, so they went with ... a T-Rex? It's so bad. Is it worse or better than the nobody-has-ever-said-that "RIPER years"? Or the ill-advised and never not creepy LEERERS? You be the judge. You have hardly any long answers to work with outside the themers and you burn one on SMALL ARMS!?!?!? I'm at a loss. I guess SMALL ARMS technically *is* a themer, since the "right on the money" answer, FIRE ALARMS, merges with it, but still, oof and yuck. Also not great: standalone DRAGON TATTOO (112A: Titular feature of fiction's Lisbeth Salander). It's like if you clued LONELY HUNTER or TWO CITIES as a standalone answer, with vague reference to Carson McCullers or Charles Dickens, respectively. About the only answer I really enjoyed today, because its clue was so clever, was AMEX CARDS (58A: Where to see heads of gladiators, informally). Oh, and INDIANA JONES, he's fun (102A: Movie hero introduced in 1981). Not hard, but fun. Otherwise, yeah, there's just not much happening here today.

I'm slightly startled by LMFAO (67A: "That was hilarious!," in textspeak). The "F" stands for "fucking." I mean ... it just does, and everyone knows it does, unlike the "F" in SNAFU, which, yes, technically does stand for "fucked" but the initialism became an acronym became a full-on word, and so the "fucked" is mostly buried and forgotten, whereas the "fucking" in LMFAO is still right there on the surface. I'm all for a non-prudish NYTXW, but you may as well open the profanity floodgates now, because this coy "Oh, did I refer to a bad word? Well, aren't I naughty?" act is a little grating. Put "fucking" in your puzzles, you cowards, is what I'm saying. (And if you tell me that "F" stands for "freaking" I swear to god ...)

Some more notes:
  • 47A: Prefix with sphere (HELIO-) — uh, ok, if you say so. I have no idea what that is, and the only time I've ever seen HELIO-, it's been followed by "-centric," but sure, "-sphere," whatever.
  • 115A: #34 (IKE) — Oh, sure, everyone calls him "good ol' #34" (this convention of referring to presidents by their number in the sequence of presidents is tiresome).
  • 9D: Jacinda ___, New Zealand prime minister who, at 37, was the world's youngest female head of government (ARDERN) — well it's about time. Took y'all long enough to get around to acknowledging this woman. I mean, she's already been out of office for nearly a year now. She and Benazir Bhutto are the only heads of state ever to give birth while in office. Please note that JACINDA has never appeared in the puzzle. Feel free to fix that, anyone.
  • 65D: They're no longer "fresh" (SOPHS) — well, this is awkward. Who ever called freshmen "fresh"? I mean, FROSH, maybe. But the equivalency here seems very off.
One of the great joys in my puzzle-solving life is when Fireball Crosswords decides (once a year?) to a do a vowelless crossword. These are regular crossword puzzles in every respect but one—no vowels appear in the grid. You just omit them when entering the answers. I find this extra challenge delightful. It also means I get more bang for my puzzling buck, because these puzzles generally take me a little longer to solve. So I am happy to see that Peter Gordon and Frank Longo have a Kickstarter going for "B-t-Z Vwllss Crsswrds"—"Twice a week for 13 weeks you’ll get a 9×11 crossword puzzle in which you enter only the consonants. The letter Y is not part of any answer. Each puzzle will use all 20 consonants." That's 26 puzzles by two of the best puzzlemakers in the country for just $14 (!?). Trust me, I am not steering you wrong here. Go do the sample Vowelless puzzle on their site right now if you're not sure what the no-vowels solving experience is like. If you are even a little bit of a puzzle junkie, I'll be surprised if you aren't hooked. Also makes a very affordable gift for the puzzle-lover in your life. 

That's it, see you next time.  

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. MECHA (38D: Robotic anime genre) is just what it sounds like—anime that features robots, typically giant battling robots. Yes, it is a thing.

*Green paint = arbitrary adj/noun pairing that you might hear in conversation or see in the real world but that isn't really strong enough to stand on its own as a crossword answer

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


egsforbreakfast 12:14 AM  

If an "ort" is a leftover from a meal (which it is), how would one define/describe an ASSORT (hi @GaryJ!)?

I was puzzled over what IKEA might be an acronym for. I've Known Endurance Aplenty seemed possible, judging from my experience with the long, merciless, refreshment-free forced March through the entire store before, on my 10th trip there, I discovered the miracle of the secret shortcuts. But no, IKEA is an acronym for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd. I should have known.

I'm very happy to learn from Uncle Googs that Seton Hall University was, in fact, named after a DEADSETON, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.

While being in my RIPER years doesn't seem too bad, I'm really dreading my Diaper years.

Addict's dilemma: DOUSE or Don't Use.

I have to agree with Rex on this one. Easy and not real interesting.

Anonymous 12:22 AM  

Just a Sunday slog. Not much gave me joy. I agree that Amex cards was a good answer, but that's about it. Small arms made me chuckle for a minute I guess. You can solve it as a themeless if you want (and I got most of the way there before the light bulb went off).

Also, that bottom combination of Sal Bando, Dogie, and Omnia: woof and yikes. A non-HOFer from the 1970s crossing a Latin phrase is going to make a lot of people cranky.

Really wish I didn't dread Sundays, but more often than not, we get something like this which does nothing for me. Oh well.

maverick 12:35 AM  

Wow, this felt like a PPP minefield to me. So many authors, journalists, politicians and sports people. I wouldn't be surprised if many get naticked somewhere.

I almost naticked myself between OSSA and OSSo, I had a brain fart and couldn't remember which was the mountain and which was the veal dish for a second. I figured it out (thank god) though, because SAAG(?????) and that clue on SOPHS was hard.

Anyway, in spite of the excessive PPP, this played toward the easy side for me. Liked the theme, simple and clean, though it seemed perhaps slightly light for a Sunday (though I'll make that tradeoff for clean fill any day of the week, and I feel this mostly was, minus the PPP).

I like that the circled connectors were all gimmes to help facilitate the solve for perhaps those newer to xwords, didn't play too much for me, but I appreciate when you give newbies a helpful entry into xwording. Good puzzle overall, for a day I have been growing to dread.

okanaganer 12:40 AM  

Oh yikes help me... this ended on the most horrible cluster of garbage. OSSA crosses SAAG which crosses SOPHS which crosses CHIASMUS. What I was dealing with: OSS- crossing -A-G crossing -OP-S crossing C-IASMUS. Never thought of an abbrev like SOPHS... I tried DOPES, MOPES, etc. What a disaster.

The actual theme was okay, the ol' Thursday turn right/left gimmick. If not for the above mentioned disaster I might have enjoyed this. But I'm not LMFAO, DAD GUM IT!

[Spelling Bee: Sat currently -1 missing a 6er. Got some kind of nasty flu like bug so probably won't put any more time into it. Bah.]

Melrose 2:03 AM  

Never hear of DADGUMIT, which messed me up in that spot, as I had FLIPS instead of TURNS for 40 down, just couldn’t make it work. The rest was pretty easy. Agree with Rex on the theme, which seemed pretty minimal.

JMS 2:06 AM  

Never got, or needed the currency “fork”. Whatever…

But Rex complaining about heliosphere? Really? For someone who presumably has a fairly large vocabulary, and who presumably keeps current on general knowledge, I guess sciencey things are out of scope, eh?

Anonymous 2:50 AM  

(103D) NEIN may be NO in Munich. But, in Hamburg it’s NE.

Sven 2:56 AM  

The Mid-North section was difficult due me as I had PLain instead of PLUMB. I had 5 or 6 remaining totally unknown letters to fill in after completing the puzzle, and somehow I drilled them all first try -- that would have been a nightmare to try to spot-correct without knowledge of SA_G/OSS_, then S_TIE/_NN/_OES, and _MN_A

Ann Howell 2:56 AM  

Pretty tepid for a Sunday. Unlike Rex, thought the "small arms" answer was cute, but totally agree about "LMFAO". "Snafu" has a PG-version with the F standing for "fouled", but the F in LMFAO is always what it is.

Ken Freeland 2:59 AM  

Just so full of schlock I don't know where to start... PPP torture from start to finish. I yearn for the days when crossword puzzles were honest vocabulary tests, instead of pop culture quizzes. Phooey!

jae 4:10 AM  

Just a tad easier than medium. My most costly erasure was sEt before MEG because my first take on gig was a musical performance. Pretty darn clever and a fun solve, liked it quite a. bit more than @Rex did.

I did not know CHIASMUS.

Jfknorth 5:29 AM  

Speaking for the global solving mob: the abomination DADGUMIT should never appear in the crossword ever again.

Conrad 5:40 AM  

I ignored the second part of the theme clues and solved it as a large themeless with some circled words that could also be interpreted as currency. Still Easy.

set before MEG for the Gig part at 7D (thinking a musician's gig)
MangA before MECHA at 38D
LechERS before LEERERS at 53A

Tami HOAG (63D) was a WOE but I barely noticed because the crosses were fair.

Fortynslow 6:47 AM  

More or less agree with Rex today with the exception of "Small Arms". The idea of two T-rex's trying to wrestle with those little tiny arms made me chuckle.

Son Volt 6:55 AM  

Thought the trick might have promise - like a big Thursday - but sadly just another Sunday slog. The big guy highlights some of the rough stuff - especially LEERERS. The BEA Arthur - SAL BANDO stack is cute.

32 this morning but Venus really showed herself. Not a great solve but nice morning for a run.


Anonymous 7:23 AM  

I had REDAnAIR/DAnGUMIT and absolutely no hope of figuring out what was wrong.

SteveF 7:26 AM  

I always thought it was fat asa

Anonymous 7:38 AM  

Quite liked small arms, didn’t think it was green paint. The play on words of the T. rex both metaphorically grappling with having small arms, as well as literally grappling with them amused me.

Hated dad gumit, particularly crossing Red Adair. Took me several times going through the grid at the end to guess that might be the error.

SouthsideJohnny 7:38 AM  

OMG, It just keeps getting worse. It’s like every week the Times is actually trying to set a new high in low. This grid is the literary equivalent of a floating garbage scow (and it smells like one as well). Look at the crap in this grid - REDADAIR(?), DADGUMIT, CHIASMUS, Lisbeth Salander ?, MECHA, OMNIA, ITZA, and that gratuitous acronym with FUCKING in it. Well, if you wanted your solvers to EAT DIRT this morning, you certainly served up an ample helping. This has quickly become the “Autumn to forget” as far as the NYT Xword goes.

Please, please, please WaPo - don’t let me down today.

Tom F 7:39 AM  

A joyless slog for the most part but it reminded me of the brilliant T-Rex Trying book series by Hugh Murphy:

Wanderlust 7:42 AM  

Solving on the app means I don’t see the Sunday puzzle titles unless I go looking for them. As usual, I didn’t do that until I was finished, so “Right on the money” was like a revealer that gave me a nice “Oooohhh!” Like many others, I solved it as a themeless, wondering what the circles had to do with anything. After solving, I saw that the second answer was a zigzagging thing, but still didn’t see the currencies. That definitely elevated it for me. I agree that the theme answers were mostly bland, with the exception of HAPPY NOW.

Absolutely disagree with Rex on the green paintness of SMALL ARMS. That is a defining feature of T-Rexes that has inspired countless New Yorker cartoons and stand-up jokes. Why was the T Rex on the run from the law? He was a small arms dealer. Why were T Rexes so angry all the time? They couldn’t masturbate. So SMALL ARMS wasn’t at all green-paintish to me, and the “grapple with” word play was nice. DRAGON TATTOO also seemed fine to me - again, it’s a defining characteristic. But I agree with you about RIPER!

I’d never heard of CHIASMUS but I love the concept and the clue example. A famous one from literature: “Pleasure’s a sin, and sometimes sin’s a pleasure” from Don Juan.

A kealoa car crash with OIL (Ore) running into LOAF (LOll). And the latter is actually a kealoaulu because Laze works too.

Anonymous 7:44 AM  

It’s a Roman soldier, not a gladiator.

Sybil Carter 7:47 AM  

So RP says he’s slightly startled by LMFAO but not a peep whenever NWA appears. I think the latter is more objectionable but maybe that’s just me.

Anonymous 7:54 AM  

Yes, on the easy side.
I was surprised by the phone books/AREACODEMAPS. I mean, I remember them but....
And egsforbreakfast: the official answer is 'DINGLEBERRY'

mmorgan 8:01 AM  

Got the theme right off, and the whole thing was super easy. I’ve had Mondays take me longer, I think. Very little here that’s interesting or memorable, but I wanted to LMFAO at DADGUMIT.

kitshef 8:05 AM  

I was somewhat charmed by the SMALL ARMS entry. Maybe should have been clued as "T-rex's weapons of choice?".

Nifty theme. Some 'golden oldie' fill like SAL BANDO and RED ADAIR will flummox the young 'uns, but this was pretty much in my cultural wheelhouse.

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

LMFAO is an annoyance also because the Times has such strong filters on user comments. They don't even allow AF, FFS.

kitshef 8:23 AM  

@Anonymous 7:42am
From the US Patent and Trademark Office's official website:
American Express Marketing & Development Corp
Application #90862191
Trademark application details
"The mark consists of a Roman Gladiator Head enclosed in an oval shape design."

JD 8:32 AM  

Yeah, what @Conrad said about solving approach.

Are there references somewhere to Leering Satyrs. I thought of them pictured with a lyre but I admit it was awkward.

Does the constructor or anyone else who looked at this puzzle at the NYT realize that Ezra Pound wasn't just an anti-Semite but an active anti-Semite and fascist who spent the war years in Italy radio broadcasting his poison for Mussolini? The nuts in Congress today are playground bullies compared to Pound. After the war, the Americans threw him in a cage and eventually and eventually parked him at a psych hospital.

Later he took up with American white supremacists.

Dr.A 8:42 AM  

I did think this was easy and agree about most of the not good fill, BUT, Lisbeth Salander was THE GIRL with the DRAGON TATTOO so it actually works pretty well for me. Charles Dickens is the author of Tale of Two Cities so that is completely different. I liked that clue.

hankster65 8:42 AM  

Too many names. Not fun at all.

bocamp 8:43 AM  

Thx, Garrett; 'Right on the Money' with this one! 😊


Right on avg Sun. time, except for putting in some spidey-sense thot at MENU / MECHA. Very pleased that I made the extra effort here. MoCHA & MaCHA both sounded plausible. Had no idea of the 'black comedy'. Had considered the 'E', but MENU didn't click at the time. Finally took a closer look at the entire clue, when the light bulb went on at 'culinary'. Bingo, the 'E' it was; and, MECHA also looked good for 'mechanical', which may or may not be related. Wow! what a most satisfying experience.

The rest of the puz was somewhat challenging as well, altho in the end, no major guesses required.

Short before SMALL ARMS hid GAMUT for a while.

Dropped in SAL BANDO right off, which was a big help in that area.

Coincidentally, just started re-watching 'The Girl with the DRAGON TATTOO' yd (the Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer version).
Matthew Sewell's Sat. Stumper was med (just over 3x NYT Sat.). One cell dnf at the cross of Resa / Lighthouse (a big D'oh!!). Yay you @Carola (2:34 PM yd)! 👍
On to Ryan McCarty's NYT Vowelless at
Peace 🕊 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness ~ Freudenfreude & a DAP to all 👊 🙏

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

As a not so closeted pedant myself, I can’t tell you how much I love that you did this so I don’t have to :)

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

Wow my whole life I thought the F stood for fat….TIL (when I googled to fact check Rex) that it’s actually for effing! Wow. Mind blown a little bit.

Todd 8:49 AM  

Am I the only persob who has never heard the term Riper Years? That doesn't seem like a thing to me.

Todd 8:50 AM  

Am I the only person who has never heard the term riper years? It seems awful to me.

Mack 8:53 AM  

Wait, that guy on the AmEx logo is a gladiator? Is there a little caption that says that? I thought it was Hermes or Apollo or something.
The rest of the puzzle was an unpleasant morass of third-tier PPP. SAL BANDO? RED ADAIR? C'mon.

There was plenty of bad stuff in the rest of the fill, but I wasn't as bothered by some of it as Rex. SMALL ARMS isn't a big deal -- it's obvious from the clue -- and I got HELIO immediately. But other stuff like RIPER... That... that's not a phrase: "riper years". No. Neither is SHEDDED. "My cat SHEDDED all over the floor." Even spellcheck doesn't like SHEDDED. Yikes.

The cherry on the top, however, is DADGUMIT. What on earth am I looking at here? There are two ways to spell this: daggumit or dangumit. Not this DAD nonsense. I mean, try saying it out loud: DAD. GUMIT. You're saying it wrong. (Also, dadgumit and GAMUT in the same grid is... weird)

Lots more to dislike, but I'll stop with those.

OldCarFudd 8:54 AM  

The Times has a vowelless today. Why did OFL ignore it, if he's so high on them?

pabloinnh 8:58 AM  

Read the title, missed the instruction entirely, so this solved as themeless, and it was easy enough that the instruction was unnecessary. Would have been more fun if I'd made the right turn though.

Hello REDADAIR and SALBANDO. You both used to be famous, but now we're all RIPER, I guess. (RIPER? Really?) I can imagine some younger solvers have never used a telephone directory but I thought it was a good clue for AREACODEMAPS.

Today's learning experiences were CHIASMUS and SAAG. Also discovered the name of the woman with the DRAGONTATTOO. How do you do?

Hand up for SET before MEG. The price of actually having the occasional gig and having to come up with a set list.

OK Sunday, on the easy side but mostly Good Clean fun, GC. Thanks for a reasonably good time on a choir-less Sunday morning (Covid in the ministry.)

Now off to wrestle with the NE corner of the Stumper, which still needs subduing, darn it all. (DADGUMIT.)

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

New here?

burtonkd 9:06 AM  

We cyclists like to joke about our T-Rex physiques, with powerful legs and arms ideally withered away to keep the unnecessary weight down for climbing. I had ShortARMS first. Clue absolutely made me smile.

The puzzle has been rather SATYRical this week...

Today's puzzle felt like a single-handed effort to provide gender equity in clues with many women right at the edge of my knowledge base (all worthy and fairly crossed).

DADGUMIT: didn't we just have DAGNABIT? I wonder about the etymology of these.

Puzzle put up just enough resistance to be engaging.

Liveprof 9:20 AM  

In my case, unfortunately, the F in LMFAO is for fat.

Speaking of which, the Car Talk guys used "Pinkwaters" as a measure for how wide the back seat of a car is. Apparently, NPR commentator Daniel Pinkwater had an ample rear. Another gauge of theirs was "mothers-in-law," but I don't think that specifically addressed tuchas size.

If you feel that SAL BANDO is too obscure to appear in a puzzle -- he had a cameo role in a Simpsons episode once (along with teammate Gene Tenace). That's a good cultural measure of fame, no?

Bob Mills 9:27 AM  

Finished it without knowing all the foreign words. DADGUMIT was hard to get, but overall it was an easy Sunday.

thfenn 9:30 AM  

LMFAO, would've sworn it was 'fat' here too. Thought SMALLARMS was one of the better ones. Learned there's a word for the "mankind ends war or war ends mankind" phrasing. Throw in some Lisbeth Salandar, Indiana Jones, and gladiator heads and, well I HADAGOODTIME.

Liveprof 9:32 AM  

On DADGUMIT vs dagnabbit, I picked up the following from Wiki Diff:

"As interjections, the difference between dadgum and dagnabbit is that dadgum is goddammit while dagnabbit is goddamnit." (diff between damm and damn)

But if there's no meaningful difference between goddammit and goddamnit, what's the difference? I guess the difference is in the derivation?

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

Literally the only clue I liked

RooMonster 9:54 AM  

Hey All !
I liked this puz, although it seems it should've had at least one more Themer, maybe two. Five Themers (technically ten, well, technically 15 if you count both Downs taken up by the beginning/ends of the Themers...) OK, maybe the five monetary units/cross to other words is enough! My bad.

Had a similar reaction to LMFAO as Rex. I thought, "Spicy! @Gary Jugert will get a kick out of this!" As shown in a RexClip, you could've clue it via the musical group (duo? trio?) But hey, there ya go. It does Garner an F...

That OSSA/SAAG cross was a sorta guess. Thanks to crosswords, kinda had OSSA niggling at the back of the ole brain, so SAAG it was. Finished up in that little closed off NW corner, to the dulcet sound of the Happy Music tune.

Quite funky looking Blocker patterns. 86 of those Blockers. High, as normal cut-off is 78 ish. I count 10 cheater squares, so then it would be normal. I have nothing against cheater squares, if it helps get cleaner fill, more power to them!

DADGUMIT is fun to see. ANTIthesis to LMFAO. DAGNABIT also fun (although not in the puz.)

Happy Sunday, and Go (insert football team here)!

Four F's

Fox 9:55 AM  

Um.. the guy on the AMEXCARD is a Roman Centurion, nearly the antithesis of a gladiator. I mean, they both fight but under very different circumstances.

Sutsy 9:57 AM  

Tough Sunday to say the least. Could not finish without cheating. The plethora of word/concepts/people I had never heard of before was overwhelming.
Not my day. :(

Nancy 10:03 AM  

Talk about your euphemisms -- I guess I'm in my RIPER years now. It's lucky that there weren't that many possibilities and that PIPER, VIPER and WIPER years all seemed unlikely. I didn't know/remember the criss-crossing NZ female PM's last name -- even though I've seen her interviewed on TV and she seems terrific. Wish she were ours.

The other treacherous cross is DADGU?IT/?ECHA. I guessed the M correctly, but would have pronounced the puzzle "Solved!" even if I hadn't.

So that's what that word reversal is called!!! If I had learned nothing else other than CHIASMUS, that alone would have made this puzzle extremely worthwhile. That I will probably forget it by noon today is not Garrett's fault.

Very nice construction job, Garrett. Really impressive for a college freshman. I think you've got a big puzzle-constructing future ahead of you.

Chicago Chica 10:10 AM  

I’m sure I’m the last to know, but in my mind LMFAO was always … my FAT ass…

John 10:20 AM  

I'm just here to say that I liked SMALLARMS.

pabloinnh 10:35 AM  

Stumperfans-Turns out the rice in question is not WHOLE, and down went the NE. Whew.

EasyEd 10:46 AM  

Also thought SMALLARMS was fun surprise. And what’s not to like about DADGUMIT, especially familiar to those over 80 who read westerns written 20 years before they were born. DAGNABIT, we gotta keep a sense of humor…

R Duke 10:56 AM  

We just returned from 3 weeks in New Zealand and were surprised that many of the people we met had a very low opinion of Ms. Ardern. She certainly seems charming based on her Colbert appearances but the general feeling was “you can have her.”

Nancy 11:04 AM  

For all you Wordle fans, I just posted this on the Wordplay Wordle Blog. Wondering if any f you have had a similar reaction:

These have been my thoughts for quite sometime on many Wordles.

I always ask the bot to analyze my guesses. The bot is always ungenerous in his appraisal. When I "match" him, which is very, very often, he is ungenerous, almost never giving me the 99 he always awards to himself. And when I actually beat him, which has happened more than a few times I won't hesitate to point out, he churlishly refers to my "luck".

If he were a person, we would refer to him as "a bad sport" or "a sore loser."

So a word to Wordle Bot: You need a Mommy and Daddy to teach you good sportsmanship. Otherwise we well-brought-up humans will stop playing games with you.

Beezer 11:20 AM  

The puzzle had some PPP stumpers fer shur but I thought they were all pretty fair considering the crosses and I enjoyed it overall. Many things to learn about, which I typically like. Pretty sure REDADAIR has made appearances in the past and I’m gonna look him up after I comment. I guess the quotes with “fresh” make SOPH okay but that is probably my only nit with the puzzle and I’d rate it a low-grade nit.

Apparently the “is it a GLADIATOR or a centurion” debate “is a thing” and is mentioned in Wikipedia. After looking at various Roman gladiator AND centurion helmet images, my conclusion is the “real” helmet images for both provide much more protection than the AMEX helmet image, but the Amex image allows you to see the handsome Roman profile. I go with Joaquin’s Dictum but I think the “safety/security” thing associated with the centurions is probably right when paired with a credit card.

Nice puzzle Garrett!

Gary Jugert 11:29 AM  

Golly, that was rough in all of the wrong ways. Glad Monday is only a few hours away.

Tee-Hees: @egs ASS OR T ... the nagging choice we must make between an afternoon dalliance or chamomile.


1 Wise ones shovel spinach.
2 Archer appreciates Pleiades.


My Fascinating Crossword Uniclue Keepsake from Last Year: Make it to third base. GO PAST INSEAM.


Carola 11:50 AM  

I enjoyed it. I got my start in the AHEM area, and at first, I thought we were only dealing with RANDom currencies until...I decided to pay attention to the double definitions and the title: then I spotted MEMORABLE and MEMORANDUM, with the delight of discovery and with the additional treats of DAD GUM IT and DUM DUM....I dunno, just something pleasing to me about that cluster. I had fun figuring out the rest, too, down to the appropriately last HAPPY END.

Do-over: my flying fish were eaten by EelS (no defense, other than the automatic eel response). Laugh of the day: SMALL ARMS. I've been doing too many crosswords: LEERERS went right in with no crosses. Raised eyebrows: SHEDDED and LMFAO, for different reasons.

@Fox 9:55 - Thank you for centurion v. gladiator.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

Puzzle was a snoozer so I had to look for entertainment elsewhere. I take note that Rex uses 76 words to tell us that his write-up will be 'short'. Then goes on to pen a 1,185 critique. For which i am grateful...more joy reading that doing the puzzle. Just cracks me up though, that for our professor considers it to be a short one.

Trina 12:08 PM  

I also liked the T-REX clue/answer. Not green paint at all!

Given that the Amex trademark application quoted above specifically referred to a GLADIATOR have to consider the clue/answer correct …

AS TO Jacinda, she was a covid-tyrant. Happy to never see her name again. (But I am nevertheless in the camp that says tyrants are fair game for crosswords …)

Fubar 12:08 PM  

In his interview after the U Mich - PSU football game yesterday, Michigan’s stand-in head coach unleashed a stream of beautiful, emotional, tearfully joyous profanity on network TV that got me LMFAO. I’m all for letting the real world be reflected on TV and in the NYTXW. Also got a chuckle out of small arms, but that was about the only fun I had doing this puz

Suzy 12:10 PM  

Yes, it was a fairly easy solve, although I didn’t know Sal Bando and needed the acrosses to remember Jacinto Arden. But I think you should cut Chalfin some slack. Regardless of what courses he’s taking, he’s still a freshman in college. I nope all the negative comments won’t deter him from pursuing his”hobby.” Thanks to Will for encouraging younger puzzlers!

egsforbreakfast 12:12 PM  

@Nancy 11:04. I agree with you about the WORDLE Bot. To me, the very most annoying thing is when you read its comments on each of your word guesses when, e.g. CRUMB is the solution and you've guessed THUMB. You'll often get "THUMB was a good guess, but CRUMB would have been more efficient." Well yes, it would be more efficient to just utilize the correct answer, but I didn't know it. Suppose the real answer is again CRUMB and your first guess is BEGAT. I suppose you could say that CRUMB would have been more efficient, but so what?

Anne 12:13 PM  

Hear, hear! I've been gnashing my teeth at the Wordlebot's ungenerous scoring for us humans.

Teedmn 12:17 PM  

I was mighty surprised to get the "Correct" signal today after I finished - I was certain the ARDERN RIPER cross had to be wrong even after running the alphabet. RIPER? No, just, NO!! I refuse to think I'm in my riper years, yecch, even if I am getting squishier.

I liked this theme but the fill was only so-so. I had to have the AMEX CARDS clue explained post-solve because I didn't remember seeing the helmeted logo. I'm with @Carola on the raised-eyebrow entries.

Thanks, Garrett Chalfin!

thfenn 12:22 PM  

And thank you, @kitshef 8:23

SharonAK 12:23 PM  

What T Rex grapples with/ small arms clever clue and answer. How Rex could choose that to go off on a negative rave I cannot imagine.

I didn't watch on to how the theme worked until I came here. Then I really liked it. II had tried turning right at the circles but had not caught on to going down at the end.

Anonymous 12:23 PM  

As a former cyclist, I remember they used to tease us as having T Rex arms. You know, massive legs and thighs from riding bike and tiny undeveloped arms.

Pete 12:26 PM  

@Rex - I can't believe you voluntarily drive to Ithaca for fun and recreation. I get the draw of a college town, but I did the drive from Bingo to Ithaca once and that was the most depressing 1000 miles of my life. Well, the second most depressing. The most depressing was the return trip.

I don't look at the title, so it took a while to figure out what the whole gimmick was. "RIGHT ON THE MONEY" was a phrase begging to be the revealer of a puzzle, but I wasn't a fan of this one.

Sharon AK 12:26 PM  

@ Egsfor breakfast

Laughed out loud at your paragraph on Ikea.

Canon Chasuble 12:31 PM  

How appropriate or ironic that “DUM DUM”, as in dum dum bullets, appears the day after Armistice day.

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

Similar here. Dnf as a result of completely baffled in the north.

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

I also got a giggle (not LMFAO) at SMALL ARMS.

Sailor 12:44 PM  

One more entry in the Gladiator/Centurion sweepstakes:

"The man dressed in ancient armor is referred to as a gladiator in both the original trademark and also in the current American Express trademarks. The initial trademark of 1958 described the gladiator in the American Express logo as a gladiator on a shield whereas the current American Express website lists the logo character as a Gladiator Head Design. The lawsuit of 1989 between the Vibra Approved Laboratories and the American Express also simply termed this character within the logo as a gladiator head design. However, there are many who believe that the gladiator is a centurion who in the roman century was a commanding officer and a part of the general Roman legion."

SharonAK 12:46 PM  

Todd @ 8:50 I had never heard it and agree, did not sound good. However, I got a chuckle at Egs comment re riper and diaper years.

newbie 12:52 PM  

it’s always been “laughing my fat ass off” but some people say f*ck for everything, so by now it’s probably both

Alan Weinberger 12:54 PM  

Do we all know what Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd is?

jb129 1:08 PM  

I totally agree with Rex's write-up. Where was the excitement? What was going to make me sit up & say "WOW?" It's Sunday after all & even though some Sundays fail to excite me (most of late), I didn't get the theme until I came here. And when I came here, I still didn't say "Oh wow." I didn't know SAAG or the "C" in CHIASMUS but since I solved as a themeless they worked themselves out.

Sundays are becoming disappointing.

johnk 1:09 PM  

So easy you'd think it was constructed by a TEEN.

jb129 1:11 PM  

And to Nancy @ 11:04 (Hi!), the bot wouldn't admit it even if you did beat him (her)!

Georgia 1:43 PM  

Pumps are not worn by "stylish" women but by women that dress more conservatively for business or comfort. I held out there. Don't know "Chiasmus" and wasn't clever enough to realize "sophs." The constructor's young age showed throughout, and that's fair, but I was tickled HE knew Dadgumit.

Trina 1:57 PM  

@PETE, I don’t understand your disdain for the Ithaca area - the southern tier of NYS is beautiful!

@ NANCY, before you wish JACINTA on us read up on New Zealand’s COVID draconian COVID policies (and I am not an anti-vaxer by any stretch).

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

The cluing and answers are so stale throughout this puzzle I'm having a very hard time believing a college freshman didn't just ask an AI chatbot to fart this out.

Bass 2:24 PM  

SHEDDED SAAG LEERERS OSSA CHIASMUS... all great big boots for me...

Masked and Anonymous 2:35 PM  

Re: Theme directions: Seemed kinda more like a left on and then right after the money.
That's ok … M&A always has occasional trouble correctly identifyin the left/right or the east/west directions.
Otherwise, the puztheme seemed pretty good, even tho pretty easy to pick up on, at our house. Shoulda gone without them circles, maybe?

staff weeject pick: WON & YEN. Was cool, how all the circled money words had non-moneybuck meanins.


Pretty good FriNite Scholckfest flicks, last Friday evenin. We've been goin for all-classics, in Nov. M&A brought "Bride of Frankenstein" [luv how she moves her head around]. Bro-in-law brought "Hound of the Baskervilles", Hammer Films version [starrin Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee].
Just sayin.

Thanx for the good 40-Downs, Mr. Chalfin dude.

Masked & Anonymo11Us


J. Haiges 2:41 PM  

The answer to 85 across appears to be incorrect. Because the words in the clue repeat themselves, the answer should be “antimetabole”. See Wikipedia: chiasmus. JH

oldactor 2:55 PM  

I had a seat next to Red Adair on a flight from Dallas to LA. I'd been bumped up to First Class. Fascinating man. Being in my very Ripe years, I Plumb loved Dadgumit!

yinchiao 3:00 PM  

One more thing about the gladiator/centurion debate - the AmEx logo may have the helmeted guy, but the cards themselves no longer do. At least, mine doesn't.

Anonymous 3:55 PM  

This was so boring and obvious. After I got through the first two theme answers, I just filled in all the rest of the theme answers and then quit. I didn’t feel like slogging through the rest of it. What a Sunday letdown.

Anonymous 4:26 PM  

Me neither! I thought it was “dagnammit”

Pete 6:12 PM  

@Trina - The distant vistas might well have been nice, but the close up view on the backroads Google sent me on was one endless scene of poverty. Fully 80% of the houses were seriously in need of repair, the little towns were empty with no signs of viable commerce save for the establishments which sold pea-coal for everyone's heating systems. It was rural decay writ large. Human suffering writ large.

Anonymous 6:23 PM  


Anonymous 6:51 PM  

Didn’t notice what the money bridges did, didn’t care, didn’t need to to complete the puzzle. Fail to see how that’s a theme.

Anonymous 7:35 PM  

Amen brother.

dgd 7:39 PM  

Ingvar Kamprad is the founder’s name. I looked up the origin of the other 2 names up and immediately forgot it. Something to do with place names from where he grew up.

Without being as vulgar as the Times, LMAO in reference to
the DEADSETON joke. And as we say here, I learned something. (I grew up right near a Catholic college which played Seton Hall in basketball every year but never made the connection.)

Anonymous 7:46 PM  

Some people, like me, enjoy the Latin phrases. Some people love a lot of trivia I don’t. But this puzzle is made for millions of people. So that’s how it works.
Anyway, the phrase isn’t exactly obscure. Love conquers all is the English translation.
Sal Bando was very obscure to me but I got it on crosses. I don’t see anything wrong with him being in the puzzle

Anonymous 8:01 PM  

Maybe someone could do a thesis, but I remember seeing dagnabbit and dadgumit. Perhaps the 2 fused in your memory?

dgd 8:09 PM  

Red Adair USED to be very common in the Times puzzle. But after he died, the answer disappeared. I can see why his sudden reappearance could be confusing. But as Pabloinnh says, he is an old friend to those who started solving the puzzle in the’70’s.

Anonymous 8:15 PM  

See above. Red Adair most definitely flummoxed the “young-un’s”!

Anonymous 8:21 PM  

Too lazy to look up, but euphemisms. for goddammit, I think.

Anonymous 8:24 PM  

Apparently, it is a gladiator

Anonymous 9:42 PM  

Crazy as this may sound, SAL BANDO was the first answer I filled in. And I didn’t even know he was captain of the team. But as soon as I read the clue, his name immediately popped into my head. And it fit the squares, so I put it in. Funny how the subconscious works.

I had DAGNABIT instead of DADBURNIT, and that screwed me up for awhile

I too was taken aback by LMFAO, and I’m someone who’s known to drop dozens of F-bombs during a conversation .

Joe Dipinto 9:50 PM  

I think using the -ED from past-tense SHEDDED to also make EXPOUND past tense, in order to get a "dual" answer to 62-down, is kind of lame.

Anonymous 7:22 AM  

Agreed. I hated this one.

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

I'm fairly new to crosswords, and I have no idea how I was supposed to figure out that a word double-clued was supposed to make two right turns.

Feels like the time the chess club in college begged me to come out because they needed members and they all beat me in three moves just to show off how little I knew about chess.

Proper names. Obscure facts. Nonsensical twisting words. Who is this for?

CDilly52 2:36 PM  

Agree with LMFAO, alas, no matter how many times I tell mtself the F is for “fat.”

CDilly52 2:40 PM  

Or, @dgd, who started solving even earlier. I enjoyed seeing RED ADAIR again. Been a long time.

CDilly52 3:23 PM  

I solve on the app, and deliberately open directly to the grid. Consequently, the best part of the solve today was hitting the first circles at WON and doing a good head scratch. At that point I was whooshing along across only. The circles were curious but I kept on “acrossing.”

And got stuck at the “euphemistic cry of frustration.” I needed some down help at last, and to see the front end of 37 D, I headed back up to 12 D to see the first theme clue, “. . . momentous occasion/office communiqué” that tipped me off to my arrival in “theme land.” “AHA! The game’s afoot,” says Self. She went back to the first circles to see what they might have in common with RAND, and as if I had ribbed a magic lamp, the crossword GENII swirled around me to illuminate the clever trickery. I didn’t think “Right on the money,” but the theme clues asking for two answers (cued by the / between phrases) and the circled word identifying where the trickery occurs made sussing out the theme pretty easy for a seasoned solver (and “seasoned” in my case just means “old”).

OK, sure. Once you get it yo’ve gotten it and the same thing occurs with all the circle spots. But, I am a huge fan of constructors, and I appreciate the effort it takes to bring the germ of an idea to full fruition whether it be in a Monday “introductory” puzzle or a fat Sunday grid.

While not difficult, this is a Sunday grid that could lure a “sometimes” solver to actually tackle a big fat Sunday grid and succeed. Kudos to our constructor and to all the solvers out there who persevere. Who needs the title page anyway - hi @ Wanderlust!

This one certainly had lots of PPP that put up a fight, but it had some fun too. Contrary to @Rex’s opinion, I got a good chuckle from the T Rex and his small arms. Done and dusted. A bit of a slog in spots but overall I enjoyed it.

Paula 5:59 PM  

Hella annoyed by this puzzle. Riper years is just not a thing. It's not. If anyone can vouch for this phrase, though, I would be truly delighted. For the satyrs clue, lechers makes a whole lot more sense to me than the is-this-really-a-word-anyone-has-ever-used- "leerers" or are they just tacking "ers" at the end of an actual word?

Paula 6:01 PM  

Dadgumit, never heard of it.

Maura 10:19 PM  

I still cannot figure out the “gig part” and MEG connection. Can anyone enlighten me?

noni 12:08 PM  

A megabyte is 1000th of a gigabyte.

Maura 2:02 PM  

Thank you!

Robin 10:54 PM  

The HELIOsphere is that portion of space in which the Sun Is the dominant actor. Anything outside the HELIOsphere is interstellar space.

If one read any of the occasional articles about the Voyager space probes over the last few years, you likely would have encountered this word because of the scientific discussion about measuring the change as the probe crosses the bow shock between the two regions.

Yes, I'm commenting on this post four days later. I happened to read it the other day when someone commented about the write-up on Mastodon, and something reminded me of it Thursday night.

spacecraft 2:16 PM  

Look up the word "slog" (rhymes with SAAG?) and you'll see today's puzzle. The theme parts, SURE, easy...but a lot of the rest of it, not so much. At the end, I was looking around for the time clock so I could punch out and go home. Bogey.

Wordle par.

Burma Shave 2:48 PM  




rondo 3:02 PM  

I've met Sen. AMY Klobuchar several times; she's a genuinely nice person in a job where few of those are found. Noticed: DEADSETON LIEON ONVIEW. Jen ANISTON, yeah baby.
Another wordle eagle from nowhere. 30 of those and not to 500 games played yet.

Diana, LIW 6:59 PM I get the "trick." Not bad at all!

Fine for a Sunday romp, with moments of, as @Space would say, slog. But hey - could I make one of these up? I fear not!

Diana, LIW

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